Friday, February 15, 2008

iTunes Podcast Subscription Without iTunes

I've successfully ditched iTunes for managing my iPod thanks to Winamp and the ml_ipod plugin, but there was one nagging foolishness left; how to subscribe to a podcast that only sported an iTunes subscription link?

My friends, all you need do to cast off the last iTunes chain is install Greasemonkey and then (after restarting Firefox) install this GM script. This loverly script catches the itms URL and parses out the base url, which it then displays in your browser. You can then just copy that URL from your location bar and feed it to Winamp.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

What the Hell Happened to McCain?

He was tortured as a prisoner of war and has remained one of the most vocal critics of the euphemistically termed "enhanced interrogation techniques" championed by the Bush Administration, but yesterday Senator John McCain voted "No" to a bill that would have outlawed those very techniques.

Maybe a Presidential election happened, and he happened to be struggling to gain the support of his party's base.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

NH XO Usergroup?

I find my craving for the XO growing, which isn't helped by the pm I received today from Infamy (olpc forum moderator who lives in Portsmouth) after he found another seacoast XO-loving resident who wants to start an NH usergroup. Hopefully a meet up will follow, and I'll at least get my hands on one.

Monday, February 11, 2008

XO Designer Yves Behar

I scanned some digg posts a few minutes ago and (speaking of digg, the mailman brought my Digg tee-shirt today. Very nice of the Digg devs to send me one for helping them debug the recent issues with the Digg iGoogle gadget. Thanks Digg devs!) and saw this post about energy harvesting artificial islands, and there at the top of the page was the following vid featuring Yves Behar, the award winning industrial designer formerly of frog design, and the lead designer of the XO laptop.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Fox Decides

Fox News' has a slogan, "We report. You decide." But according to this, what Fox decides is what is news and, more importantly in this case, what isn't.

Steve Wilson and Jane Akre are investigative journalists who went to work for a Fox affiliate in Florida. Rupert Murdock's News Corp had recently been on a buying spree, acquiring television stations across America. Wilson and Akre's first piece was critical of a product of the powerful agro-business Monsanto, and after the station began airing ads for the news piece Monsanto's lawyers started sending letters, the second of which threatened that there would be dire consequences, not just for the station, but for all of Fox News.

Monsanto's spends considerable advertising dollars promoting such products as Roundup and NutraSweet. Wilson and Akre were told the story would be killed and when they refused to sign an agreement that they wouldn't ever discuss the story or the fact that it was killed, their boss told them this, "[Rupert Murdock’s News Corp] just paid three billion dollars for these television stations. We’ll tell you what the news is. The news is what we say it is.”

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Good Morning

I've got about a dozen tabs open in FireFox right now. I normally have half that, but I keep tabs open to remind myself of things to write about; those things usually piss me off, which is why, but I didn't want to go there today, to the anger place.

I had a good morning. After dropping Gabe off and finishing the food run (and all of a sudden we're picking up fresh produce now) I was driving home on McCrillis, and it's snowing pretty hard, and after the bend where the road crosses over the North River I spy a small white dog. Little poodle looking thing, not more than fifteen pounds, if that. I stop. It's wearing a blue walking harness but no collar and no tags, and it's wandering. It's friendly but doesn't know where to go or whether to really trust me. It lets me pick it up and put in in the Rav. I crank up the heat and drive to a series of nearly houses, knocking on doors hoping to find somebody home who might know where this dog belongs. Nobody's home but I finally get somebody who is, a heavyset guy with no shirt on, his two dogs pawing at me like I came to play. He's a nice guy and he invites me in. His wife doesn't make eye contact. He doesn't recognize the dog inside my vehicle, but he tries calling the animal control officer. His two have gotten away and the animal control officer has reunited the pack. He can't get the guy on the phone so he recommends I try the cops.

So the little dog and I drive back to Town Hall. The dog is scared but seems happy to know that I give a damn. I pick her up, if she was a she, and the doors to the police office are locked. I guess if you want them you have to call. I carry her down to the town office because the folks there know, at least, that I'm the guy who delivers food to the Pantry, and one of the guys there gets Tim, the animal control officer, on the line. He arrives a few minutes later with an easy manner and big smiles for her and I hand her over.

Five minutes later I'm driving down McCrillis well past where I found her and there's a minivan parked on the side of the road, a woman looking frantically at the river. I stop and ask if she's lost a dog, and she has -- a small white one -- so I tell her that I found her and that the animal control officer has her and she's ok. Her tears burst out and she drives off and so do I, giving thanks for that best possible ending.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

War With Iran More Likely

Go here and pay particular attention to #4. If you've seen Robert Newman's History of Oil you'll know why. If you haven't, watch it.

Inspiring Words

Hillary Clinton isn't the only person to criticize Barack Obama for his eloquence, but I find these arguments to be tissue paper. Do you attack a singer for his voice? Of course, they try to frame the argument by implying that eloquence and action are mutually exclusive, but Bill Clinton orated well while also running an effective administration.

I know I'm not alone in missing an eloquent speaker in the White House. Nearly eight years of "misunderestimating" is enough, and I thought that four with Dan Quayle as VP was bad (what's up with Republican high-office holders who can't say shit unless it's been speech-written for them?).

Obama bears eloquence in abundance, and I love the fact that he's reminded Ms. Clinton and others that the power of words matter. He's absolutely right. A large portion of a President's duties is to explain and, more importantly, mobilize the public along a national course; not just his party's base, but the entire electorate.

The night that Obama came a close second in New Hampshire, he delivered a buffo speech that motivated, the front man for the Black Eyed Peas, to wrap a melody around it and gather a group of Obama-supporting celebrity friends to sing it. His friends called their friends and, within 48 hours, the music video was on the Web. It's a good effort, and proves Obama's point rather eloquently.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Free PDFs (that aren't rpgs)

After previously speaking about PDFs on the XO, I stumbled on WOWIO, which provides full book PDFs of contemporary as well as classic titles for free. The selection isn't great, but hey, free versions of copyrighted materials. Project Gutenberg rocks, but even it can't boast that.

Monday, February 04, 2008

XO Ebook Goodness

My thanks to librarian Robin Ashford, who's blog provides some excellent content about the XO laptop. Being a librarian, Ashford examines the ebook capabilities of the XO in this vid

Some salient points she doesn't mention are that the XO battery lasts a whopping twenty four hours in ebook mode, and that screen gets 200 DPI resolution in grayscale, so it's very easy on the eyes.

Thanks in part to the great free content over at I've got plenty of ebooks that I'd love to read in the comfort of my bed covers.

But what about reading PDFs? That's not an open format and the XO runs open source. Well, according to Mike Hendrickson at O'Reilly Radar, the "OLPC can handle PDF documents just fine," unlike Amazon's Kindle. Hendrickson's final verdict on the OLPC's ebook reader capabilities? "As for the OLPC: here's to you folks. Nicely done. A wonderfully crafted device, a noble vision, and an Open mindset. Brilliant!"

Can I have mine now?