Another Day, Another iPod

Apple — or more precisely, Steve Jobs, announced a complete revamp of their iPod line-up this morning, and as usual they’ve managed to one-up the competition on all fronts in the battle for your digital pocket, creating new products too sexxay to keep hidden (though too pretty not to fear being mugged for) and dropping the prices at the same time.
I already own a Shuffle, a Nano, and an iPhone. I had an iPod “Classic” (as they’re now called) but it died recently, and would not hold a charge no matter how hard I tried to make it do so. It was a v3, I think, pre-video version with a line of buttons along the top and a monochrome screen, so it was horribly out of date and had I pulled it out at SXSW next year, people would have laughed at me derisively and pointed out that I was so behind the times that I shouldn’t even be there. So it was time for an upgrade anyway.
The dilemma: which iPod is right for me?

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Posted in Daily Doldrums | 2 Comments

Magnetosphere Beta Available

I must admit I’m a little bit jealous of all my friends being suddenly pregnant. I know at least four lady womens who have buns in the oven, and they are all about the “it feels like this!” and “I can’t wait until it’s out there!” and “I pee a lot!”
Well, I’ve been living the life of the dude who watches the mommy going through the birth pains thing on my own, sort of, and can now proudly announce the birth of a 319Kb bouncing baby application saddled with the mouth-twisting name of Magnetosphere.
What is it? It’s an iTunes visualizer that snaps into your music library and turns all your songs into wildly gyrating points of light that swell and recede and grow tendrils and change color and pretty much make you wish you were high as a kite while you watch it. My boyfriend Robert coded up the bedrock of the thing and his company, The Barbarian Group, fiddled with the plug-inning-ness of it and now you can have it for your very own, whether you’re on Windows or Mac.
They launched it yesterday and it was enjoying a little Digg action before the whole HD DVD code blew up in their faces so I was afraid it might get lost in the white noise, so feel free (if you’re a fan of it) to spread the link far and wide. It’s free!
Have at it!

Posted in The Wonderful WWW | 1 Comment

The Big Fat Open Directory in the Sky

My boyfriend, Robert, is very smart and very creative (and, you know, sexy) and makes very beautiful stuff out of pixels and sound. He uses Processing to program up these amazing interactive screen toys that respond to anything they hear, and you can use your keyboard to change the way they interact with those sounds, too.
Lately, he’s been building very complicated and extremely processor-intensive media toys that the average — or even the above-average — computer has a hard time dealing with in real time, so he sets them up to render overnight and then he creates a Quicktime movie out of the results and has been posting these rather large and rather beautiful creations to his blog, and everything was going along fine and dandy.
Then, suddenly, everyone started to discover what he was doing and wanted to see his art first-hand, so one of his fat bandwidth creations got blogged and delicious’d and linked to from all sorts of places, and all sorts of people were downloading the movies and he was very, very happy.
Until he received his bandwidth bill from his not-so-understanding ISP and discovered how much popularity costs in this new video-centric Web world in which we live.
Luckily for him, there’s an answer that all of us can use right now, and it’s not a Flash-based video site that compresses your beautiful movies to the point that you can’t tell your daughter from your dog.

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Posted in The Wonderful WWW | 2 Comments

Repositioning glassdog, Part 2

Continued from Part 1
I always start my designs in Photoshop, and worry about how I’m going to accomplish it later. I mean, sure, I keep in mind the limitations and problems that HTML and buggy browsers provide, but when I’m setting out to redesign my own site, I’m usually more concerned with the “what” than the “how.” Although I am also usually intent on exploring the capabilities of HTML, CSS and JavaScript when it’s all put together toward a single goal.
That being said, I have to point out that I am not a JavaScript coder. I am a JavaScript borrower and re-user. Luckily, with Scriptaculous and Open Rico and Yahoo’s UI Library all open for use, it’s a lot easier to borrow scripts to get special effects working than it ever used to be. Still, it helps if you understand what’s doing what, so when you need to start cramming the tools into your page you can do it without causing too much damage.
That being said, it’s one thing to think you know how you’re going to accomplish something, and quite another to actually accomplish it.
Anyhoos, the part of the navigation slider I thought was going to be the most problematic was the actual sliding part. Luckily, Open Rico came to the rescue and proved to be the simplest of the options available for me to use and tweak. Open Rico gets most of its power from Prototype, yet another JavaScript framework, and I leave that part completely alone. Where Open Rico shines for my uses is that the controls themselves — the pieces of code that perform the actual function — are very simple to play with. Soonce I had inserted that script to make the tray slide open and close, I thought I had it made.

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Posted in Web Design | 3 Comments

Repositioning glassdog.com, Part 1

Hello, again! It’s been more than a few months since my last post here at glassdog, and I’m starting up again with a new/old direction; Web site design. Perhaps some of you remember many years ago when you could come visit glassdog and dig through Design-O-Rama and get some tips and tricks in the early days of HTML and tables and transparent GIFs and CSS when all it could really do well is help you define your typographic elements.
Times have changed greatly, and I’ve been trying to catch up and make sense of it all, and as I do I’m going to pass on what I’ve learned, as usual, in hopes that you’ll glom onto some of it and go out and make more cool stuff.
So… onward to the hows and whys of the completely weird and somewhat silly and awfully time-consuming navigation element at the top of this screen. It’s still got some bugs in it, and it’s not performing precisely as I would wish it to, particularly on Safari, but I’m also asking it to do an awful lot of little things all together at one time, so while it’s not necessarily professional grade and I probably wouldn’t offer it to a client, it’s another in a long series of “How can I do that?” experiments that I want to continue to use glassdog for.
If you’ve already tried it out, you’ll see that there’s a little sliding tray that appears when you click on the arrows (or anywhere on that bar, really) and within the tray there are three distinct sections. The first section lists posts and also provides a floating pop-up Bubbletip with a 25-word excerpt for each title. The categories show off just that, and in the last section you can start a search query on the site, adjust the text size as you may wish, grab the RSS feed or Email me. I’m sure I could make that section a little more interactive, but for the time being I’m just going to be talking about positioning.

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Posted in Web Design | 6 Comments

Mobile gaming and video and… everything

In the U.S., it’s pretty unusual for mobile phone users to do anything other than talk or take pictures with their phones, and even picture-taking isn’t as widespread as you think. But in the coming months and years, look for that to change dramatically.

Stage one: Mobile gaming. It won’t be like video or computer gaming, because it can’t be. Tiny screens, tiny buttons and tiny time frames all limit the cellphone to upstart games like Doom creator John Carmack’s “Orcs and Elves,” id Software’s first new title since “Quake” debuted in 1996.

And what else can you do with a cellphone? Why not shoot video? Nokia’s upcoming N93 replaces their current N90 by pumping up the megapixels to 3.2, adding in support for everything from Bluetooth to WiFi, and when you plug in a 2.0gig SD card and point it at your kids making mudpies in the backyard, you can record 90 minutes of MPEG4 video at 30 frames per second in VGA resolution, then plug it directly in to your TV to watch the fun — or load it onto your computer and edit your first instant movie masterpiece.

Big ass N93 review here. I’m salivating already.

The N93 won’t be cheap when it comes out in July (look for a $650-$750 price tag) and you’ll only be able to get it at Nokia’s new flagship stores in Chicago and New York, but I’m willing to bet there’s enough early adopters out there to prove that a camcorder phone is more camcorder than phone.

Posted in video | 1 Comment

New election; Same old enemy

You knew it was coming, and here it is right on time. The Republicans are scared of losing control of the House and Senate because they’re just not very good at governing and upholding the Constitution and running a specious war and so forth, and their own constituents seem to be leaving their ranks. So what to do?

Why, drag out Queer Fear again! Just in time for the mid-terms, a group of religious leaders has opened up a new web site and signed an online petition calling for a Constitutional Amendment to bar same-sex marriage. While the timing isn’t curious, some of the signature are.

While this avenue of pandering used to be the venue of the far-right and evangelicals, now the Catholic Church (not exactly a bastion of morality of late) is adding their signatures to the scroll calling for legalized descrimination. Yay, Catholic Church! You go, girl!

Posted in link | 2 Comments

Starblecchs

Reading this entry at Yahoo! News about a Temple University prof’s multi-year Starbucks-based modern culture research project, the only thing that struck me as amazing was that there are 500 Starbucks in Tokyo.

“Is that all?” I thought to myself. “I think there are 500 Starbucks at the local mall.”

And also: Blecch! Starbucks? Blecch! Peet’s Coffee! (On those occasions when I am not near the Blue Bottle kiosk in Hayes Valley, of course.)

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The next Orbitz?

Liquid Cereal – The BevNET.com Review

“With a slight thickness to its body, this product also feels somewhat like cereal in your mouth. The greenish color is probably our biggest issue with this product as green colored milk is typically a sign of some sort of problem.”

Posted in link | 2 Comments

Tolerating intolerance

Christian Evangelicals are taking their intolerance of homosexuals (Editors’s Note: Lance Arthur is a professional homosexual) to the courts in order to make it legally acceptible not to accept others, starting with the gays.

In Georgia, a 22-year-old college student is suing her college, the Georgia Institute of Technology, to force it to revoke its policy of tolerance so that she’s free to be intolerant. And the Christian Legal Society is a national group of what we will assume to be backwards-looking narrow-minded judges and lawyers to challenge tolerance policies in federal court.

Why do they think it’s time now to strip away the rights and protections of homosexuals? It’s a kind of scapegoat tactic. They know they can’t attack racial or sexual tolerance policies because those are, you know, you can’t help it if you weren’t lucky enough to be born a white male. But you can, according to them, help it if you were born gay, because nobody is born gay. The gays simply choose to be vilified, hated, put down, denied employment and marriage and called any number of names and possibly suffer violence at the hands of righteous Christian martyrs. It’s our own fault for deciding to be gay.

Then they can finally be free to practice their form of religion, which apparently involves hating the differences of a human society without worrying about being labeled something bad. Because of course right now they’re being denied all sorts of human rights — like stupidity.

Posted in link | 3 Comments