The time has come. I’m being pulled from more than one direction to learn to integrate Flash MX 2004 and XML… The journey begins tonight and it begins right here.


Color Scheming Online

Today I found a decent online tool for creating color schemes. It’s different from others available in that it almost forces you to use a “good” color scheme. Many color scheme programs will let you do just about anything. While the flexibility has it’s advantages, if you’re color scheme challeneged, it almost defeats the purpose of the software.

Anyway, I installed it here… . Check it out.

Also… while I was configuring the database, I found a site I did awhile back that started out as a portfolio site. It’s here: I figure it’s not linked anywhere else, why not put one to it here 🙂


The Money Pit

Before we bought this home, one of the home insurance reps we talked to on the phone mentioned the movie “Money Pit” and said “why did you buy an old house?” Well… there are a lot of reasons we bought an old house, the charm, the neighborhood that actually has TREES in it (imagine that), not every house on the block is the same as ours, we could afford more buying old–there are dozens of reasons. I’ve also discovered right away (and I knew this to an extent in the beginning) that we will definitely be putting money into the home.

At this point, I’m still excited to learn about home improvement and I feel that any amount of money that goes into this house will likely come out–it’s an investment. If the housing market continues on its current trend around here, it should be a very good investment. In any case, I feel the home is a great investment, and being a homeowner feels great.



Finally! We’re first time homeowners. After finding a house we really liked the last day of last year, one month later, we’re ready to move in. It was a pretty crazy process–the way lenders pry into every detail of your life; one I’m not looking forward tor repeating anytime in the future, but hopefully that will all be forgotten with the new home. We move in tomorrow. Pictures here.

It’s an old home–built in 1938 and needs work, but is very livable in it’s current condition. We’re love the neighborhood and all the character in the home. Tomorrow is going to be a very… very busy day 🙂


Marketability of Online-Only Talk Radio

I’m listening to Your Mac Life, a live radio show that is (as far as I know) only broadcast online. The show quality is great–it’s entertaining, the audio is clear and crisp, and really, it’s comparable if not better than a lot of what you hear on talk radio, both AM stations and morning shows. (Here in the US).

I’m not aware of any similar, web only, talk radio shows, but from all I can tell, they are probably making a profit on this. It seems like a feasible business model–they are targeting a very specific, tech-savvy group of listeners who most likely fall into a high income bracket. They appear to have quite a few sponsors on their site, and the commercials (there aren’t many at this point) seem to be professionally done.

Lots of people are looking for a way to make money online, and I think that this is one of the few content delivery areas that has yet to be saturated.

I found their site from a link to the Pepsi iTunes giveaway superbowl ad. You can see it in it’s entirety on their site now. Check out the ad. It’s cool (Quicktime, a few Mb).


Best Tool for Online Genealogy

If you’re interested in putting your family tree online, there’s only one way to go–PhpGedView. Most genealogy programs will export to the common GEDCOM format and aside from a webserver that supports PHP, that’s all you need. In fact, if just getting started, you don’t even need a GEDCOM file, you can create it from the web interface phpGedView provides.

The project is Open Source and has an active team of friendly developers headed by John Finlay. After the research I’ve done, it.s the only good way to graphically display your family tree online in a usable, dynamic format.


Complete OS X Application List

Ok, so this isn’t the most exciting thing you might have seen this year, but here they are, all the programs in my applications folder on my G5 at work. I really think you can tell quite a bit about what type of computer user someone is by their applications, if not about what type of person they are in general. If you haven’t figured it out already, click the image to see it full size.

Just today I found Iconverter and Pic2Icon, two very cool free programs for creating Icons from existing files. Another cool one to check out is ColorDesigner, a program for creating color schemes.


Best Open Source Content Management System

In keeping with the “best of” theme of this site, this entry is about the Open Source Content Management System that I believe to be the best all-around. WebGUI.

WebGUI is almost 100% template driven. When you go to a WebGUI site, you won’t know it right away because it looks just like every other WebGUI site. It is easy to make the site look how you want without breaking the content engine or tweaking source code. There are other solutions available that are also template driven, but I have yet to find one that maintains the ease of use and customizability of WebGUI.


The Vice of Reading

I just had the chance to read “The Vice of Reading,” by Edith Wharton. It’s an essay in which she takes the position that there are certain types of readers, which she calls “Mechanical Readers” that basically should not read and are harmful to literature in general. She contends that real readers, like musicians or other talented people, are born, not made. Mechanical readers are those for whom reading is a task–people who consciously make it a habit to read and who keep track of how much they have read. She explains four reasons that these types of people are harmful, the gravest of which is “the crime of luring creative talent into the ranks of mechanical production.”

It’s an interesting point of view. I don’t think I agree with her opinion that a good reader can’t be made–I think that with enough exposure and the right circumstances most people could become good readers. The essay has something of a condescending tone to it, but that does not mean that most of what she says is not true. What type of reader am I? I’m not really sure–which may in and of itself place me squarely in the mechanical side of things.

If you’d like to read this essay, you can find it here: The Vice of Reading, by Edith Wharton.


Defining Moments in TV

You have to love Spike TV… “The first TV network for Men.” Tonight they’re playing the Star Trek Episode that first introduced the Borg. Over Christmas and Thanksgiving they had Bond marathons and pretty much everything they show is spot on–aimed at the male audience. It’s great. I read the other day that Star Trek will probably be cancelled this season. It’s a shame that it’s going to happen, but with the direction they’ve taken the last couple seasons, I’m not really surprised. It’s gone downhill for sure. On Slashdot, there was a comment that pretty much defined the recent formula of Star Trek as:

:06 – Mystery discovered
:26 – Solving mystery becomes critical to survival
:48 – Mystery is solved/enemy defeated
:58 – Moral lesson learned and crew rejoices in victory.

Something like that anyway, and it’s basically true. The good thing is that there are so many old episodes to see and re-run it’s bound to be on TV for a long time to come.