wtfudge is a lovely weblog that uses blogger to track my thoughts, etc. it is an offshoot of where mathew hoy does code, content, and creative for all things lovely.

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Location: London, Canada

a buddhist, vegetarian, and beta-geek, i build web sites, am an iconographer, write, doodle, and noodle. i like cookies and candy and fruit juice. do you?

Thursday, October 28, 2004

today is the greatest

it's hallowe'en dressup day today at work and while sucking loudly, my costume is better than it's ever been before. that's not saying much since this year i've got orange hair gel in my hair that's given my scalp and hair an orange tinge. and it's straight up.

for the interested, last night i started the new HellaBoss and am quite happy with the look of things so far. lots of little pixel bits here and there and some clever artwork. i think the direction of the site will be directionless, and will feature illustrations i've done, some pixel icons, and random blips of art that are kicking it on my system.

this includes a lot of stuff, from a long time ago and up until recent times. pixel icons created at an old job (evil, inc.), my pixelpalooza icon contest entry, greeting card progress, logos, early drafts of the HellaBoss sparrow, my world-famous omni-graffle stencil kit (with a new one), and more. the site should be fun with lots of details and neato bits, but will take a while to accomplish.

off to the doc's.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

colour ipods and the a-team

i've read it elsewhere - the u2 ipod looks like the a-team van. i totally agree. except that i would add that the ipod is like the van with the twirl filter in photoshop set to "ugly". man, that thing looks like a reverse-coloured version of michael jackson's thriller jacket. it looks like a dragon i coloured in grade 5 that no one liked because "black doesn't go with red". might be because i don't like u2, but i don't like it.

i'm also not a fan of the ipod photo. no sync through iphoto? doesn't that seem like the hot thing to do? that's what iphoto is for, mm? i'm sure that the next ilife upgrade will feature that ability, however. at that time, the ipod will be silly, but at least understandable.

the idea of showing itunes album art with your music is clever, but hardly important. i don't use that feature at all in itunes. i'd use it, however, if itunes did something i've wanted it to do since the beginning - auto-grab the album art when you import a disc from amazon or somewhere. that would be great. i'm not about to go ahead and find the art. ugh.

what the ipod photo needs to do is ditch the album art thing and add the "show me the pictures of my goddam contacts, sucka" feature. that's the missing feature. photos are not. i'm not excited about it at all. i don't like the colours onscreen, or the way the battery icon looks. i'm a geek and i'm listening to the ramones and want it all my way.

please ignore this post. :)


last night was the last class of my level html course. in 2 weeks i begin teaching level 2. from what i hear, they're really filling my classroom quickly, which is pretty exciting and fun. nearly all of my level 1 students will be taking level 2. that's neat because when i started, there were 3 people taking level 2 that were pre-signed up, and about 3 in my class who thought it might be fun when i asked on the first night.

level 2 covers things like frames, forms, and stylesheets. i think it should also cover imagemaps, but since i've already covered them, it's not important.

last night, exams and final assignments were handed in. i got all the exams marked while i was waiting there for some students to finish the test/project portion of it. no one failed. many got 30+/30. i love the bonus marks. and the fact that the exam was open book was nice. i did that (open-web as well, now that i think of it..) because if they're doing sites in the field they'll be referring to books and the web for help all the time. seemed fair at the time. level 2's class will be like that as well.

luckily, i've 2 weeks to design the level 2 part of the course, come up with content and slides and more. i've already got an idea or 2 of what i need to get done for it, i'll just have to construct it and move forward. i think i'll use different colours on my presentation slides this time too - a more "in-depth" set of hues that make it look more advanced. haha.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

HellaBoss: mia

"where the heck is HellaBoss?", you've been asking. "are you actually going to build a site?", you've been asking. "how is your scooter?", you've been asking.

first things first: the scooter is out of harm's way. the gas guage was faulty and said that i had half a tank left when in fact i had none. i (ugh) ran out of gas on the road like a chump. however, i'm blaming it on faulty guagery, so all is well. i should be getting the bike back this coming saturday. and then going for my m1 motorcycle license.

HellaBoss is being cleverly updated roughly every week. but with no real content. this week it features a delightful sparrow eyechart that you can download and put up on your wall at home (if you do, be sure to take a picture of it - i will post all the pictures taken that i get!). the real site has been started about 15 times. i'm not happy with any of them yet. not happy enough to even put something crappy up.

also, not sure what to put up, period. should i move the wtfudge weblog over to HellaBoss? should i use HellaBoss as a portfolio site that's a 1-off for people to come to and leave from again? should the site link to my school notes and presentations? what should i do with it? i'm in the middle of an idea vortex at the moment with things swirling all around me.

that said, this thursday i'm going to talk to my doctor about whether or not i have add or adhd and see about an official testing appointment, and possibly some hotmeds to help me organise things and not get this kind of lost.

i've been this kind of lost for about 10 years now and it's getting worse the further i go along. i'm at the point now where i can sit down with a book i want to read and read it, in its entirety and not remember a single thing from it, aside from the pictures. i can read a paragraph over and over and over and even if i force myself to focus on the page (this is really difficult to do - i often get bored mid-sentence no matter if it's the first sentence or the middle one, or wherever), i still won't remember anything, except for the ideas i had to supress to do that.

my problem is that i get ideas. all the time. while i'm reading. while i'm showering, cutting the grass, doing the laundry, shagging, whatever. and for the most part (excluding the last one...), i have to stop what i'm doing to write them down or talk them out. during the course of writing one of these entries, i start and stop between paragraphs about 3 times each to check email (even though it alerts me when new stuff has arrived), jot things down, get sidetracked, etc. i guess in the end, getting ideas isn't the problem.

it's that i don't do anything with them.

or that i start working on them right away and quit them when i start to get a feel for them. i have so very many illustrator files on my computer that feature 10 different illustrations on them at once. most are mockups or plans for future drawings. others are collages that are confusing to look at. i'm all over snap to grid and most are simple stg experiments. they are all variations on a theme and rather boring, but that's that. they are what they are, i guess. other started and stopped projects include: removing wallpaper from my house (some walls are half done), abandoned client projects(!), hundreds of abandoned, half-read books, half-completed video games, half-started web projects (HellaBoss, the redesign of wtfudge), and more.

the next few months should be very fun for me, and maybe for you.

wish me luck!

Monday, October 25, 2004

the apple monopoly

last night i was listening to this radio show (history of music by allan cross i think?) and they were talking about digital music. when i tuned in, they were talking about all of the formats that existed. they cut to commercial and just before they did, they said that they would talk about a few more things and then close up.

i was going to blockbuster to return megaman anniversary collection for gamecube, in case you were wondering.

anyways, when they came back, the radio announcer started talking about media formats again and got to "apple's aac format. it's the only format they care about because it lets them have a monopoly...". i've heard people talking about apple's strongarm bits before, but never their monopoly. it got me thinking (after i was done rationally talking to the radio and saying that you can play mp3 and audiobooks on an ipod so you don't need to use apple's aac format media on your ipod or with itunes) about this whole monopoly thing.

what exactly is a monopoly? does microsoft have one? does apple have one? does parker brothers have one? does a monopoly exist if opposing companies are selling the same products?

a monopoly is this: "exclusive control by one group of the means of producing or selling a commodity or service." according to i suppose that apple's control of its itunes service is a monopoly because they own the format, the storefront (itunes), and the container (ipod).

i suppose i don't get this, however: there are tonnes of other kinds of digital media players on the market. rio, creative labs, dell, pocket pc, sony, you name it. if you go into your local tech-bigbox, you'll be deluged with 1 metric tonne of digital music players. some, like product x by rca, even play videos and pictures.

there are other online media sellers, including microsoft, real (you remember them - the people who hacked aac and sold the resulting files like they did nothing illegal - we should all hack realplayer and sell the product and see what happens), hundreds of music labels with content online for buy and download, and more.

and players. oh, the players! winamp, itunes, microsoft media player, realplayer, & all.

the alternative choices are endless. it's funny because where i live there are few people with $400 to spend on a digital music player. i got mine for free as part of a freelance contract. i can't buy itunes music in canada. i'm forced to use (a download service if you're so bold and brazen) puretracks, or another service. itunes isn't a monopoly in canada. i know many more people who are using alternate players, and alternate computer-based players. from where i stand, there is no dominance.

people here are just as closed-minded towards apple as they've always been. our local bigboxes sell apple products in their flyers, but there are no apple items in the stores. there is an ipod display, but it's tiny and wedged between the irivers and sony car stereos. asking people about ipods in stores gets you the same blank stares you get if you ask about the new imac g5s.

friends of mine in australia cannot buy music via itunes there either. does any other online service sell aac? if not, i'm not sure how apple's monopoly extends north of the usa border.

now granted, when i rip my music from my cds i do it in aac format. but the option to do so in mp3 format is in itunes as well. by having the ipod able to play mp3s and having itunes allow people to import files in non-aac format, i think they're giving people a choice as to what media they listen to. and if you don't want to buy aac, don't (if you're in canada, you've no choice...). buy puretracks or real (shudder). or import your own music as mp3 and put them on your ipod (if you even have one).

by the definition, apple does seem to have a monopoly on the aac digital media format execept, funnily enough, this article on apple's site says "AAC was developed by the MPEG group that includes Dolby, Fraunhofer (FhG), AT&T, Sony, and Nokia—companies that have also been involved in the development of audio codecs such as MP3 and AC3 (also known as Dolby Digital)."

it's funny that the companies who are bitching about apple's evil aac format actually helped develop it in the first place (sony).

and the megaman game was pretty good. i played each of the games, killed 2x guys in each and moved on. as in traditional megaman terms, the game(s) were terribly frustrating to figure out the patterns of the enemeies and full of flicker. it's good for a rental unless you love megaman to pieces, particularly if you're playing with someone else with whom you can share the controller. give it a try!

Friday, October 22, 2004

of dubs and doodle

last night aw came over and kicked it for a few to pick up the olde mac classic i had in the basement and wasn't using, to tell me about identity crisis series of comix, and to let me listen to bits of shatner's new cd (which was quite darling).

on my way home last night, i was detained by the reality of the london transit system and decided that while taking a breather downtown, i would go to the library and get a book by this paul rand guy i'd been reading interviews with all day yesterday. to my delight and surprise, they had design form and chaos by signor rand and it's delightful. it gives samples of his logo presentations for ibm, next, morningstar, adstar, and more. these presentations are great explorations of ideas of another designer and an insight into the design process, something that i didn't learn at all in my limited schooling at canadore.

at canadore, we mainly took photos, drew bell peppers, and played with quark on old macintosh systems. while taking the course, i felt there was something wrong, or something missing. what was missing was a shred of design theory or design history. there was no "this is the all-powerful grid" lesson, class, or whathaveyou while i was there. natch, i pooched the gooch early, but i guess i was feeling like things were empty and didn't know how to ask for what i thought was missing.

that and i was incredibly lazy, missing home, and stuck in a bit of a rough relationship that was "dragging me down, man".

anyways, these days i'm trying to play catch-up with things that i wished i'd learned in school. i've been looking at the work of other designers and being in love with what i'm seeing out there (john maeda, & all). then, i'm looking at my own work and feeling a little empty, not knowing why my things look the way they do. if i look at the work of some people, i'm always amazed where they get their ideas from, or how their process works. whenever i sit down to try something out, i don't seem to have any ideas. i just (usually) open illustrator, and start drawing shapes and items until things fall into a place that i like.

take for example, the HellaBoss logo (mr. sparrow). when i first made it, i was playing with illustrator, mainly watching myself making curves. i wanted to see how snap to grid created curves (i use "snap to grid" with a grid enabled nearly 98% of the time i've the app open, if you're keen to know) with the pen tool. the first few versions of the sparrow were smaller, more squat birds that looked like quails and finches and not like sparrows or other birds. for a long time i've loved the drawings of nathan j and in one of his images, there are birds in trees that i've been loving. so i was trying to remake one of the birds in the picture.

anyways, after a while of messing with curves and making basic birdforms, i made a green desktop image that i sent to a few pals who liked it (one of the early bird drawings is on my wife's desktop at work since she loves it to pieces). the image packed some dashedline punch and featured a little bird with feathers on its body. it was, like the HellaBoss logo, very basic.

then, i got bored and recreated it because i hated the shape. i then made the most current version (with the tuft at the front of the head, facing right since i'm left handed so it's like the logo is moving away from the hand that created it [even though i mouse with my right...]) and cut my hair to suit.


then i got bored again (this is about 2 weeks ago). i've never stuck with a logo as long as i've stuck with this one. the logo looked too plain. too boring. nothing fancy. no gradients. no 3d raytraced effects. nothing. nothing like i was seeing in demo reels at ventilate. until recently, i've been very much a treat of the week kinda guy. i'm up on pop culture and couldn't see the problem with the new ups logo which i loved to pieces. i would draw trees in illustrator and call them trees. no idea up in here.

so i set to work reworking the plain sparrow logo that currently adorns the HellaBoss site. after a few neat ideas, nothing was sticking with me. so i left it and went back to the other million projects i was/am working on at the moment.

after reading texts by paul rand, i'm glad i did. in actual fact, i love the HellaBoss logo. i love the simpleness of it. i love that you can tell what it is at 16x16 pixels and 10 metres by 10 metres. you can dress it up on solid, ungradiented colours and set it loose. it looks as good black as it does green or hot pink. the eye is cut out so it looks great against another background too. i ditched my gradiented explorations and stayed the course. i will not change it.

i think that regardless of what you think of my illustrator skills, that the logo is timeless, like some of rand's logos. i'm certainly not comparing my work with that of paul rand, but based on some of his essays and thoughts, the logo isn't subscribing to trends. there is no gradient, no powermac, no new $50 bill, no colour of the week, no nothing. it is a logoform that can be used forever, unlike the new ups logo which will need to be redesigned when the gradient function in photoshop goes out of style. i'm suddenly aware of how pretentious this sounds, trust me.

anyways, i'm designing logos to be flags and not to tell a message. i'm designing them to be unique and timeless. pixel or vector, i'm making them scalable to 10 pixels2 or 10 metres2. i'm making them easy to reproduce if i'm offline or the client needs one drawn in a pinch. the HellaBoss logo is easy to rapidly recreate.

this speaks to something i experienced at this past year's flash in the can event at which i volunteered and introed guest speakers (joshua davis, andreas odendaal, for example). i was in the green room watching some of the speakers sign a poster that the group will auction off to make some extra cash. there were 7 posters to sign and one of the speakers (whose presentation was incredible!) was taking close to 4 minutes to recreate his logo on the poster, and then signed his name afterwards. i couldn't help but think that he was wasting a lot of time and that while the logo was neat (i'm still not sure what it's of!), there was nothing rapid about it. the creation process took 4 minutes to draw by hand, a method arguably 1/2 faster than recreating it on the computer from scratch.

it was party the marker's fault. it was one of those pens full of glitter paint that flows out when you press down on the nib. once he got that figured out, however, all the other posters still required as much time to create. and, compared to his presentation (and the original logo), i wasn't impressed.

i think the re/creation of a logo, especially one that's yours that you use and create often, should take about 10 seconds to draw if you need to. the logo should be clear if you used autocad to plot it out within the exact inch or if you draw it while intoxicated. whether it's hand drawn or precision-drafted, you should be able to tell what it is from across the room. even if it's not 100% accurate, it's distinguishable. draw a crappy version of the nike swoosh, apple's apple, or the nhl's crest and people can tell what it is. that's how yours should be.

too often, logos are the same. they all sport a swoosh that shoots over the top of a word, a spiral (have a look at grant's bit of brilliance - once there, quickly scan the page and note how all of the logos are the same), or something else to be lost at smaller resolutions (unless you work for the company).

it will take a lot of practise to go from here into the future and figure out what works for me, but i think i'm heading off in the right direction rather than following the (confusing and lost) pack.


Thursday, October 21, 2004

octothorpe et

i'm reading a book called the elements of typographic style by robert bringhurst (a canadian poet, by the by) that i got from veer after i placed and finalised the order for the photos i was talking aboot a couple of weeks ago. veer sent me that book, a book called f-stop designed up by stefan sagmiester, and a really slick veer messenger bag that i love to pieces (as i've been known to dry-hump hell-of the satchels).

the book is brilliant, if not a little overwhelming for someone with no formal type training. it's one of those books i'll have to read a couple of times to get it all. but, so far i've learned what an octothorpe is, the meaning behind ampersands, and the origins of the ·.

it's an excellent read tho. i often read books critically which doesn't help me retain the information inside. as i read a book, if i get to a part that has something like, "a myriad of" in the text, even if i continue reading the book (sometimes...), i don't take in any more information. if the author and editor are bad enough to let spelling errors into the text, it's not cool for me.

so when i've arrived at parts of this book, i've been hit with these same kinds of cerebral alerts. case in point: "twenty one night stands". i got to that and hit a mild hiccup because i wasn't sure what the author was talking about. 21 nightstands? lots of sex? a little confusing. in the next bit, he then explains how important punctuation and emphasis are in text vs. spoken word. try saying twenty one night stands out loud and change the emphasis on every word. you'll become either a poor salesman, or a hussy. and if you're still reading this, a hussy-geek (which won't be a terrible thing to tracinovich).

in other news, my level 1 class is almost over and the level 2 will be starting soon. next week is the final exam for the level 1 group and i've been threatened with a lawsuit if i grade the class (half-jokingly) instead of just passing everyone. hehe. adventures abound there! the teaching is going well, thanks for asking.

this saturday is game day in a-town! that's right, some lads (and lasses) and i are kicking it in aylmer to play/rent some games all day on saturday which is always a good time.

and the freelance work has been rolling in lately too, which is rather excellent. i've been asked for business cards 5x/week for the last month and i think i should really make some up. my pal leeroy works at a print shop and might be able to slip some of mine in under the wire. i'll let you know once i get 'em done up, mm?

Monday, October 18, 2004

you can, you can

i didn't know this, but you can write basic hyperlinks into the notes in your ipod. just open a text file and start marking up your code with some basic html:

<p>a paragraph in your note.</p>

once you've got that done, you can add some other neat things to the files, like hyperlinks to other notes, and even songs on the ipod!

<a href="notename.extension">the link text</a>

<a href="song=songtitle">the link text</a>

i might be the last person to pick this up, but it's pretty cool junk.

frank, you stuff is coming! :)

Friday, October 15, 2004

technical difficulties.

should be cleared up shortly. should be.


last night i performed an update on quicksilver and downloaded the latest version of quicksilver. then, like i had been before it, i attempted to send email via it and found i could not until i downloaded and installed the quicksilver address book plugin. there is something hallowe'eny about quickshiver, but since i just got it before bed last night, i've no idea what it is (aside from the oranje app icon). anyone here using quickshiver and see some neato treats and tricks?

today i should be getting the login info for network solutions for HellaBoss. today, pointers == changed and we'll officially have the domain pointing to the new server setup.

i came up with some great ideas for a client logo i'm working on too. and figured out what i'll be for hallowe'en. excellent.

the latest issue of macworld is pretty great. i love those "1000 great shareware apps you should give a look at" articles. but there are no mentions of xpad (there is voodoo pad), which is disappointing.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

hp ipod tattoos

what an awesome idea for hp to sell printers for the new ipods they're selling! i think i'm going to release some special HellaBoss tattoos in the future, but i have a question about them that i'm not that you can answer: do the tattoos really stick to the ipod? how well do they stick? if i try to take them off, will it leave residue on HellaPod?

for firefox users, i've added a favicon to the segpub Hellaboss. ch-ch-check it out. one of the few things i don't like about safari is how it handles fav icons. aside from when you bookmark sites, is it possible to show fav icons by just going to a web site? i always seem to have a problem with this. anyone else?

and for that matter, have you ever seen a good full-power introduction and in-depth review of how mac os x handles fonts? not just "you can use fontbook to keep track of all the fonts you have on your machine". i mean, "why are there 3 folders of fonts on my machine and if i put a new font in any of the folders it sometimes doesn't show up anywhere, unless i activate it using extensis suitcase (even fontbook doesn't work in some cases)".


last night, much to jez and matthew's collective delights, i made a switch. all that "who is your web host" talk finally got me to going. i got paid from a freelance client and sunk the cash into paid-for web hosting as opposed to free hosting though a pal of mine. i went with my ultra breaker-breaker good buddies at segpub down under in australia.

so far, i got more than i bargained for.

i signed up last night, having entered all of my credit card information in their everclever forms and recieved my confirmation email and the normal "welcome to segpub. we hope you like us!" email. i clicked a few links, jotted down some password material (actually, i've a section on HellaPod under notes called passcodes that contains all the main passcodes i use on a regular basis in case i'm someplace away from my comp with keychain set and need to login someplace but forget how. hahaha... it's happened) and proceeded to

and nothing had switched over, unsurprisingly. i mean, i hadn't changed the dns pointer with network solutions (a good pal of mine is the main contact - something i've been wanting to fix for a while now - so i can't log in to change it myself). i hit up the ip number (cleverly disguised as the title of this post!) and found the segpub "welcome to..." splash that i mimicked in its place.

i connected via transmit and downloaded the original segpub directory contents to my ~/mathew/sites folder so that i can keep an official record of what's been there before. i changed the image and the title (transmit's got a handy "edit this file" feature built in, but i've found that if you're working on a huge file, you should download it before you attempt to edit it. i've been cut off by a shoddy connection in the past and if you save the file after you've been cut off, it deletes everything in the document) and uploaded them. you can see it here if you're keen.

i set up an email address using segpub's user-friendly control panel service(s). a quick login and i had access to mysql(!), wap, email account settings, web-tracking, and more. everything was pretty simple to use and understand.

what i meant by i got more than i bargained for was that i paid $x/month for this service. that's $x+0 more than i used to pay for hosting because of the generosity of my good pal raph at primeweb (we're in the process of reworking his site). i think the amount i've paid, rather than going to pay for my monthly hosting bill, has gone to tech support questions. you see, because i'm a bit of a dolt (they sometimes call me, "slowie") all of those "easy as pie" comments above took me a bit to get the hang of. after a long text chat with jez, 1 email message, and a 20 minute ichat audio chat that ended with us talking about how where we live has extremes unexperienced by the other, i had all the answers i needed.

and that's why, in the end, i had decided to go segpub in the first place, rather than hostrocket, geocities(!), blacksun, (mt) mediatemple, netkeepers, or any other service available to me. i like the idea that i "know" the owner. i mean, we've never met before, but we've chatted at least 1x/day for the last 6 months. i'd say we're pretty good pals for not having physically seen each other in a non-2d sense. i liked the idea that if i had a problem, i could quickly ask what's up and get an answer. namely, because the owner is a) a pal, and b) the one who sets up, configs, etc. the systems. which means he knows exactly what to do. he doesn't have to "get his people on it and get back to me when they have the time" like other hosts do. if i need help, i can get help. and despite the timezone difference (it's already tomorrow there!), because he's cut from the same geeky cloth as i am, he's up all night and day anyways, so contacting him about problems (i don't anticipate any more), ideas, begging to see the new control panel features, and more won't be a problem.

i also want to mention that not only is jez keen on answering questions quickly, but he's also keen on employing new technology as it comes out. segpub uses the latest version of urchin to track stats and is looking at getting version 6 up with the release of the new control panel features. i'll be taking the tour later this morning to see what that's all aboot.

so anyways, i switched to segment publishing in australia last night. so far they are excellent. i will keep you posted as time goes on.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


flowers to the niffer

sent off, loved, and mailed back with a smewch.

and then thanksgiving was over

and one more year goes by when i don't eat turkey or stuffing, or gravy. but all was not lost. after helping the niffer's pa close the swimming pool with she, her bro and his ladypal, i went inside to talk to her grandfolks aboot the ipod and charley pride. dinner was pretty excellent and the after-nap was such as delightful.

in the end, i think superman looked like luthor.

we got more things done around the house this weekend, including finally assembling all of the new chairs, moving the piano, removing some non-essential junk to other places, and tackling the overwhelming dishes dilemma.

i finished one logo for the frankieshakes and did not exercise except when we walked downtown to meet pals for snacks and treats. we talked about music, clothes, our lives, and found out that one of our pals is pregnant with a baby. the next day we talked about babies ourselves and pretty much resigned to the idea that we'll either not have any, not have any right now, or adopt someone instead. which leaves us where we were in the beginning: undecided. i can't help but feel oddly about the babytalk. i know we're not ready at all to do anything like that just yet (we're relatively destitute at the moment), but the unintended pressure from our friends is worrying me to the point where i've an upset stomach when i really get down to thinking or talking about it.

i bought 2 pairs of cords on the weekend that were $10 each. wonderful. that is making me feel not so oddly now.

and oh dear! apple is making colour, photo-ready ipods! i'm not sure why people are overly excited about this. they just released new models a month ago or so. also, people have been saying that this would be happening for over a year. did you also hear that apple is making a new tabletMac_mc? wow! jeeze. give 'em a break and buy a new imac or sommat, willya?

Sunday, October 10, 2004

fiveaside porno

my pal matthew from fiveaside just sent me the porno i've been waiting for. it arrived in a brown paper bag with fiveaside industries on the label and it will be billed to my credit card as such. except it's his and i'm jealous. and he didn't really send it. and there isn't porno. but there is, which is good, but it's different, which might be bad, but it isn't.

ahh... have a look.

wherein i discover sans-caffeine

today i drank my first can of coke sans-caff and i have to say that it's just as good as regular. i don't like sugarfree, however since it tastes like ass because of all the aspertame (which i've heard gives you lupus).

today i'm tired and though my wife is sleeping on the couch, i cannot do so since i am such as a reverse bat and cannot sleep during the day.

i have been in so much as 10 situations where i wish i had a griffin itrip for HellaPod soo badly.

Friday, October 08, 2004


okay, i've had this problem for a while and it's really still touch and go. it's about relative urls.

my problem is this: when i put a file in a subdirectory inside a subdirectory and want to link to say a css file at a higher level, i always add too many "../" items to try to find it. often, i'll go through 2 to up to 1 bajillion "../" trying to find the file i'm looking for. does anyone else experience this problem?

better yet, do you have any suggestions on how to overcome it? they are hella appreciated!

iphun with iphoto

i never thought of this before, but have a look at this. the link points to a site where the author is talking about taking snapshots of web sites and saving them into iphoto.

now, i don't use iphoto, but this might be a good reason to start. it's pretty incredible how the smallest idea can change your entire outlook on a thing (in this case, my much-maligned iphoto).

to be honest, i used to use iphoto plenty. it was a great little tool to quickly collect all of my snapshots, publish them to the web or create slideshows while i'm away from the comp, or whatever. the new smartlists and rating system seems pretty cool (but requires the whole ilife package that i don't have).

after i went to flashinthecan 2003, took plenty of snaps, then went through and mis-deleted the entire set, i quit using it. i also hated the way the app organises snaps in subfolders by copying the images all the time if you create many folders. not only that, but the naming conventions made no sense. for example, in a folder you would find one called "2004". when it was 2003. inside that folder... well... it might be easier for me to show you this (an approximate path to folder 07 the way iphoto keeps things organised):

~mathew/pictures/iphoto library/2004/02/03/07

really makes no sense. i don't think i really sat down with it to figure out exactly what the naming bits meant, but what can you do?

another reason i wasn't big into iphoto was because of the aforementioned image cloning in all of those subdirectories if i created alternate libraries. i used to use an imac g3 400 (dv and tangerine) that the niffer now uses with only a 10g hard drive. i didn't have the space for duplicated images all over the place. the cloned images also served another confusing purpose: despite there being thumbs folders that sometimes contained images and othertimes contained .db files, i could never find what i was looking for. if i created a library folder called "trip to the zoo", i could not go stone cold into the iphoto folderset and find this path:

album/trip to the zoo

you can't find anything with it if you try to go through your images w/o using iphoto. unless you bleed obscure naming conventions (or invented the way iphoto names files).

so, i started using image capture when i gave up on iphoto.

image cap. detects the camera's connection, opens, downloads the images to my photos folder and sits there until i quit it. this is a great way to do things to make sure that i know where the images are and where i want to put 'em, but it's time-consuming and a bit of a bitch if there are tonnes of snaps to put away.

with image capture, i have the following folders set up:


and all the images go into subfolders i create based on what the images refer to. pictures taken at a special olympics soccer tourney, for example, go into:

events/special olympics - kitchener 2004

i think after that link i found, i will try iphoto again. the idea of snapping cool web sites for future reference is a pretty good one that would serve as a kind of pantone guide for styles.

ooh. that makes me think: what about a css-style-guide that's set up like iphoto? you work on a document and you can click a style from the "playlists" at the right and in a preview window, the styles are applied based on what code it finds to connect to? that would be pretty excellent. you could collect css docs from all over and keep 'em in there for your own reference. plus, you could work on a doc, and choose a style from your own collection and publish with it. very cool.

whew. all this said, how do you organise your images? do you use iphoto? image capture? or soemthing else? at work, i've taken to using extensis portfolio which is quite delightful, but have not bought it for the mac (yet).

Thursday, October 07, 2004


i just wanted to say how great it is that HellaPod has such a long charge cable. over 1 metre in length, it's easily charging my ipod (which i left in my desk at work overnight - gasp! i was sooo worried, especially since the cleaners were coming in, that i'd lose it - just like i used to lose money in my desk when i worked at evil, inc.) while staying out of my way.

you see, i've this problem with things touching my hands while i work. i can't wash dishes in the sink if there are more than 1 or 2 objects in there, especially if they're floating. if i'm working on close quarters, i'll take whatever it is apart so i don't have to have my hands being touched while i do things. odd, really.

and this includes mousing. the mouse needs to be free and clear (thank goodness for the periwinkle pointer) of debris and confusion. the cord can't retract, nor can it be bunched up. i need to be able to click and go. if i have to move the mouse, i need to be able to do so and go ahead.

do you have any wierd hangups like that? hate feet? like picking friends' noses, etc.?

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

cycle update and no power

taking it to inglis cycle tonight after work. i'll have to walk the bike over, but that's no problem. it's only a couple of blocks away. i bought some great tie-downs at wal*mart to secure the bike into the truck for the ride home. the neat thing about the ride home was that the box of the truck was 1/2 full of cedar mulch. while i did not get a picture, you can be sure that the scene looked like something from a honda showroom - even with the tie-downs.

HellaPod is *this close* from being sans-poweur. dang. i usually charge, but forgot last night. be sure to watch alton brown's good eats tonight on the food channel (unless they've changed that too! they moved a jamie oliver show from monday nights to whenever and put on this italian/mario show instead. boo-urns).


last night's teaching adventure advanced into phase 2 of 5 with general instruction about margins, background colours, text manipulation (italics vs. emphasis, bold vs. strong, etc.), hyperlinks, and a big-game image safari. i also handed out a homework assignment - search for domain name registrars from other countries and send them to me. 2 people have already done so. last week's homework assigment was to submit 3 html-learning resources to share with the class. all of the submissions were collected by me and put into a (as of yet) unhyperlinked page and shared with the class.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

yoshi takes a dive

recently, i've particularly begun to notice that when yoshi starts up in the morning, there is a knocking sound that goes away once i start up the bike with some gas. the bike only seems to make this sound when i start it up. aside from the normal sounds associated with engine-running, the only other sound i hear from yoshi is the occasional squealing of the brakes when i stop (i think there is dust and dirt in the brakes from all the construction they're doing on my street at home - i'll take a snap for you tonight so you can see what i mean..). the squealing sound drives me nuts, but it's pointless to get rid of it since it'll just come back after i leave my driveway and go onto the "street".

this morning's commute was just like any other trip to work. i got dressed, then chose what i would wear today since the weather outside is getting frightful. today i chose an old northern reflections polar fleece pullover for warmth, my new wind/water-breaker jacket to fight the chill, and my standard gloves and helment for safety (and warmth - that helmet can sure bake the bean!). oh, and my backpack.

i hit the garage and unloaded the yosher to the driveway/staging area. did a bit of a circle check (note: check) and got onboard. turned the key to on, held the brake like i always do, and hit the starter button. things started up as the normally do. when i turn the key to on, that knocking sound starts up softly and continues until i hit the starter button.

i took off for work as i normally do, riding slowly through the streets around my house to heat the engine up. then, i get to queens avenue and the fun begins. queens ave. is a long stretch of 1-way street that pretty much runs 1/2 way through the city, starting practically at my doorstep. the street runs through the downtown core, and turns into riverside drive. the ride was uneventful (in that i only had to use the horn once vs. an old lady in a land-whale who doesn't beleive that at her age, checking the blind spot is a required part of automobile legislation).

i took queens/riverside to hyde park road and started towards work. my commute is pretty basic. queens/riverside then hyde park. that's it. things we going fine and nothing detectibly different was up with yoshi. he was running smoothly. i was swerving out of the way of road-trenches and superscript potholes (unlike those car-driving suckas behind me who have to swerve to the shoulder to miss 'em).

i got to a major intersection (hyde park and gainsborough road) and stopped for the first time since before queen's ave turned into riverside at a stop light. while there, i heard yoshi clicking like nobody's business. it sounded like the regular knocking sound, but much more pronounced. angry, if i may so. i gave it some gas and the sound went away a bit.

i continued for the remaining 3 minute ride to work and stopped at the intersection that leads into my work, in the turning lane (on the left). as soon as i came to a complete stop, the engine quit out on me.


like that. without the sound effect. all i could hear was the turning signal clicking away. there was no throttle, no engine-related-i-don't-know-why-more-ladies-don't-get-scooters-because-of-this vibrations, or anything. i was a man on a dormant piece of machinery that was roughly 10 metres from my work parking lot. luckily, with noone coming the other way, i pulled it over to the side of the road and walked it to the lot (after turning it and the signal light off).

i mailed my wife, who called her mom, who is coming after work to pick me and yoshi up with the family f150 pickup truck. i've no idea how we'll get into the truck bed, but we'll have to do it. i teach tonight! i've also contacted a megastar scooter mechanic pal of mine (who i met through friendster) to see if he has any ideas what's up. now, the niffer's bro is also starmech material too, so we should be able to get things straightened out before i have to call hully gully (gaah!). we'll be taking it over to inglis cycle after work tonight. hopefully, things will be fixed up soon.

i just went outside at lunchtime to check the oil. things seem to be fine. i started the bike and it's knocking at me like i owe it back-taxes. dang. time does not heal all.

do you have any idea what's wrong with yoshi?

Monday, October 04, 2004

someone's in the kitchen

andy, the photoshop guru.

today i was in kitchener having a go at the delicate bits of photoshop (7 in the morning, cs in the afternoon) with mega-guru andy anderson. he's featured in the snap above.

the session was terrific and i wrote on every page in my supplied notebook, mainly small shortcuts to speed up workflow and colour-correcting (well, and much more).

i've taken to using my ipod as a travelguide when i have events to go to like this one. i'll create a new ical event and list out the day's activities as per the prelim schedule supplied before the event. after getting the whole thing in there, it certainly helps me figure out where the room is, when lunch is, who's speaking when, and more. still rocking to HellaPod.

what the fudge are you up to? i haven't heard from you in weeks!

Sunday, October 03, 2004

with a new room comes a new post

today/tonight the niffer and i switched some rooms around in our house, a change we've been wanting to do for a long time now (since we moved in, actually) but couldn't because of poor wiring. with the niffer's dad we corrected that situation this afternoon (and installed a new bathroom faucet). this new room's boss and seems to be working better than the previous zone. we need to get some hella shelves up here, however.

anyone go to the cuban council open house party last night?

kitchener tomorrow. and now, popcorn!

Friday, October 01, 2004

not a pal of mine

what is wrong with this picture?

paypal error

all over octoberfest

well, not really. it just helps to draw in nicely to this post: that i'm going to kitchener this coming monday for a tutorial/training session on the delightful wonders of photoshop through work. it is a 1-day show that runs from 8am until 4pm. i'm not sure how many people will be going to it, but i think it'll be a real barn-burner of a good time. geeks who like art sitting around computers, noodling and doodling. just like my masthead reads.

the event's host is a speaker named andy anderson, who looks oddly like george carlin.

tonight is the king's college homefest gig that my pal tom is dj-ing at. my wife went to school there (i wasn't brilliant enough to go uni) and we're going to chill with some of her old pals. i'm mainly going to chill with tom.

holy doodle i love this HellaPod! i just made a playlist last night called autumn and filled it with swell tracks like:

fake plastic trees - radiohead
treefingers - radiohead
autumn sweater - yo la tengo
country trash - johnny cash
silver trees - the kingsbury manx
the lonely - british sea power
sleep the clock around - belle and sebastian (thanks craig!)

do you have any suggested autumn-related (though title, sound, etc.) tracks i should add to the playlist? if so, please mention them in the comments!