pervasive connectivity

My cell phone can handle voice and data (web/email). The voice works are you’d expect – quite well for a cell phone. The data works as you’d expect – like shit. It’s ridiculous. Typing on the numeric keys is so slow it’s embarrassing and the three line screen is just too small.

The Danger Device
There is hope for those of us who have some type of phobia of disconnection. Danger is a company about to release a handheld device that is about the same size as my cell phone works are a traditional cell phone, and has data features that look as though they may actually be usable.

The device is mostly screen and slides open to reveal a full thumb-keyboard. It can handle all of the web/email data features of my current phone, as well as always-connected data features such as instant messaging (not sure what protocol).

Handspring's TreoHandspring has a similar device coming out with more advanced PDA functionality, but will not be ‘always-on’ connection ready until next year. It is available with either thumb keyboard or graffiti and was designed by the bad-ass geniuses at IDEO.

Is any of this necessary? We threw out necessity as a factor years ago. I wonder if our language will eventually discard the word ‘necessary’ the way equatorial languages have no word for snow.



Cars are evil. However, I am and will probably continue to be unwilling to sacrifice the convenience of owning one. Now that I have out of the way, let’s talk about cars.

The Dodge Colt and some snappy dressing shortstopsThe form factor of the old Dodge Colt / Mitsubishi Expo 3-door (one sliding door) hatchback always made sense to me. According to some, they were not particularly reliable and parts were expensive and hard to find. It was a short (in length) and tall (in height) car. It was small on the outside and enormous inside. The driver and front passenger sit upright with a commanding view much like in a minivan. It may not have been a great car, but it was a great form factor.

Until recently, this form factor was only available in the 10-year old Dodge. It looks like some of the major auto companies are revisiting the form.

The following models are all new or about to be released (the Audi, which I have previously praised, is only available in Europe). Their various stylings are sure to appeal to some and offend others, but they are at least distinctive.

All feature four doors, a hatchback, loads of interior room, a relatively small exterior, versatile seating. They are all around 170″ long and between 57″ and 63″ tall (except for the Audi which is smaller). To put that in perspective, they are all small than a Neon. These (pictured below) are smart designs: Audi A2, Mazda Protegé5, Toyota Matrix, Chrysler PT Cruiser.

some smart cars

There are a many more cars of this form factor in the works for release in the next few years as well (see a few Chrysler concepts: Java, Pronto). Regardless, I still drive that big old sedan.


ed the sock is much smarter than me

I caught him doing a little editorial talk the other day on his ‘big wham bam’. I enjoy hearing him speak because he is smarter than I am, and I feel like I’m learning.

It was about the WTC, and ‘evil’ and so on, it was a great piece. I couldn’t find the ‘evil’ editorial (ed-itorial, get it?) but a lot of them are all listed on his site. Good reads.

From Ed:

“On TV, these self-appointed members of the intelligentsia dress up their prejudice and bias as lofty, principled and evenhanded commentary. They’ll claim they’re just being objective. These critics may even seem well-intentioned… but, like a nice pair of legs, they eventually make an ass of themselves.”


sarcasm that works on the internet
I’ve commented before on the quality writing at indy tech news site, The Register but it’s worth revisiting. Compared to, who seem to automatically parse corporate press releases into front-page news, the writers at The Register shine. There is a tone of smart sarcasm (not whiny sarcasm, ala slashdot forums) that actually lends credibility to their content.

For example, one of today’s impressive headlines is representative of the usual quality:

Scumbag virus writers try to whip up ‘Anthrax outbreak’ – Fail due to super-lame coding

I do have two grievances with The Register though. First, their hosting is poor – their site is often slow or inaccessible. Second, their front-page is poorly laid out and it is difficult to tell which stories are newer than others.


fans in the attic

Northern Exposure from Cicely, Alaska, on the cusp of the new Alaskan Riviera, in the borough of Arrowhead Country
In order to make this post, I have to reveal that I am a loser. Perhaps I’m fooling myself thinking that this may be news to some of you. Regardless, let it be known that I wrote A&E to complain about the cancellation of the reruns of Northern Exposure.

Just a quick note to express my disappointment of your cancellation of the Norther Exposure re-runs you’ve been running. I understand that the show can’t run forever though, and I thank you for giving such a great show a second life and a whole new audience during the time you did run it.

Steven Garrity

Embarrassing, yes. But I had to admit it in order to post this impressive response. I don’t think it was written just for me – there must be at least a thousand freaks just like me. Nevertheless, I was very impressed that a human got my email. One tip for companies responding to customer email: don’t call me ‘viewer’ or ‘customer’ – take a second and type my damn name.

Dear Viewer,
Thank you for your comments regarding programming on A&E.

Because our licensing agreement has expired, the program mentioned in your email, NORTHERN EXPOSURE, has ended its run on A&E and will not be returning to the network. As the final cycle commenced in late July, we did not have enough time to repeat the entire 110 episodes; thus, we decided to telecast the most highly rated episodes.

We appreciate that this popular series has won many friends during its tenure on our network, and we know it’s difficult to say goodbye to Cicely. Keep checking fan clubs and various web sites such as and http// for updates on the stories of Joel, Maggie, Maurice and all the gang.

A cable channel, Hallmark, is now telecasting NORTHERN EXPOSURE. As copied from their site ( we found:

Weeknights at 11:00 pm (ET/PT)
Return to Cicely, Alaska with the Emmy award winning hit series that captured the hearts of millions. Beginning Monday, Oct. 1, watch the adventures of Northern Exposure six nights a week.

A&E Home Video continues to sell single episodes of this popular series, while supplies last. For available episode titles, please visit “Shop A&E” at using the search words “Northern Exposure”, or call to order at 1-888-708-1776.

You may also purchase merchandise, or obtain information on ‘Moose Fest’ by contacting the following:

Cicely’s Gift Shop
PO Box 595
112 W. Pennsylvania Ave.
Roslyn, WA 98941

We hope that other programs telecast on our network make your decision to watch A&E worthwhile. Please be advised that your comments and suggestions help to evaluate our present and future schedules.

Thank you for your interest in A&E. We appreciate your support.

Viewer Relations

A&E Networks
235 East 45th Street
New York, New York 10017

Thank you A&E. And for the record, I do not look like Ed, although I do admire him. Here’s a cheesy midi file of the Northern Exposure theme song.


The Smashing Pumpkins are the Guns n’ Roses of the 90s

it's uncanny
I was never a big Guns n’ Roses fan. While in high school it seemed I didn’t have the hockey skills or perfectly curved baseball cap peak to fit in with their followers. When the Smashing Pumpkins came along though, I was totally on board. The two bands seemed worlds apart until some time ago the following was suggested to me.

It’s just a hypothesis, but there may be evidence to the effect that The Smashing Pumpkins are the Guns n’ Roses of the 90s. Both were monster-rock bands and quintessential rock stars. The pumpkins didn’t seem to resound with the redneck audience like GnR seemed to. I think there are more parallels. What have I missed?


Mars dust storm kicks Earth dust storm’s ass

click for a larger photo (nasa)
An intriguing photographic comparison of the surface of Mars before and after a massive dust storm caught my attention at Wired News. While our world goes all to hell, it looks like the next world over is inhospitable in its own unique way.

In a long-overdue admission of inadequacy on the part of science, a scientist from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, when asked about the Martian dust storm, stated that “We don’t understand the details.”

A quick search revealed impressive terrestrial dust storm imagery and showed that Earth has had some bad-ass dust storms of our own. How come no-one told me about this? (btw, that tiny thing in the bottom right corner is Africa!)

Gadzooks! It's $#@!ing enormous!

Semi-related: the amazing satellite photos at 300 Miles High are well worth linking to again.


and while i’m at it…

I’m running IE6. I have a great little links bar on top with all my bookmarks. I enjoy this. However, IE6 has no idea what it’s doing. When I click on a favourite I have no clue where my link will appear.

Sometimes it’ll pop up a new window, sometimes it will take over some random window (like my Webmail…) and I can’t seem to find out where to fix it. Anybody else have this problem?


i’m not crippled, i’m pensive!

This happens to me all the time, I hope I’m not the only one.

I run Win2k and when I type sentances, I like to capitalize the first letter. I do this by holding shift then typing a letter. Sadly, I often start typing without thinking, so I’ll hold down shift, and muse my first word. Well, Win2k assumes I am crippled and can’t type properly and boinks up this fine message:

I'm pretty sure that checkbox does nothing.