Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Garfield the Movie
If there's one thing that Garfield does not do, it is expend energy in any way. But the makers of the upcoming live-action movie, who mistakenly think we all want to see a three-dimensional, computer-generated Garfield, decided that Garfield should do a lot of energetic dancing and impersonate Elvis on occasion.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

e-Column: Internet could be your new telephone
Here's my latest column for the East Oregonian.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Late last week a member of Gov. Schwarzenegger's media staff inadvertently e-mailed reporters an internal "hot sheet" of the daily Schwarzenegger spin. Here's a nice sample:

"Groping: No calls on this today. All groping calls are being forwarded to the lawyer."

Hey, are they stealing ideas from Clinton?

Check out the full e-mail at Filbert.net

The Wal-Mart You Don't Know
"There is no question that Wal-Mart is helping accelerate the loss of American jobs to low-wage countries such as China. Wal-Mart, which in the late 1980s and early 1990s trumpeted its claim to 'Buy American,' has doubled its imports from China in the past five years alone, buying some $12 billion in merchandise in 2002. That's nearly 10% of all Chinese exports to the United States."

Saturday, December 13, 2003

2003 Informer
If you can't wait for the printed version to arrive in the mail (or you're simply not worthy of being on my mother's Christmas card list), you can get the web-optimized version of the Hargreaves family Christmas newsletter right here.

It's a ~300KB PDF, so you'll need Adobe's Acrobat Reader, which you likely already have.
If not: Get Adobe Reader

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Mac OS X 10.2, 10.3: How to Eject Removable Media With Simple Finder

Apparently Apple thinks it's worth noting that in the "Simple" Finder you can eject CDs and other removable disks by pressing the eject button or dragging the disk's icon to the Trash.

Which is exactly how it works in the 'Regular' Finder...

e-Column: Add cool features to Explorer with Google

My 84th published column for the East Oregonian is ready for consumption. This one's for Windows users (gasp!).

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Here are my latest reviews for macCompanion: iPulse 2.0 and 24x Internal CD-RW Drive for iMac.

And my original review of iPulse 1.0 is still available here.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

macCompanion November 2003 Review

This is my review of the HARMONi G3 600MHz Processor Upgrade/FireWire Card Combo that appeared in the November issue of macCompanion. My December reviews should be up within a week.

Worst Shopping Trip Ever

I went to Best Buy on the day after Thanksgiving for Christmas shopping. After waiting in the Disneyland-length line for an hour, I finally got to the checkout. The cashier asked me for my name, address and phone number twice. Then she scanned the item(s) and received a Windows Internet Explorer "Page Not Found" error page. After waiting five more minutes for a knowledgeable manager to arrive, she was told that she would have to enter my personal info again and re-scan. The same thing occurred, but the manager hadn't stuck around long enough to see that. So after waiting for another five minutes for them to come back, the manager said he'd go talk to the systems guy. After waiting another five minutes, the systems guy says the national computer system is down (thanks, Microsoft) and the item/items (which I cannot reveal) cannot be sold to me.

The manager tells me to just come back the next day and purchase the item(s) which will "obviously not be sold to anyone else." Besides, they can't reserve anything, because it requires the national computer system.

Realizing that I'd just waited in line for an hour only to be told I can't make my purchase, the manager tells the cashier to give me a $20 gift card. Unfortunately, in order to activate a gift card, the national computer system is needed. Of course, the manager walked away before the cashier had a chance to tell him that.

So after waiting another five minutes, a different manager signs a note which I'm to validate at the customer service counter that I deserve a $20 discount when I return the next day.

When I do return, I have to wait in the customer service line (which consisted solely of myself) for 15 minutes, only to be told I didn't actually need to be in that line and I should just go get the item(s) in question ... which is/are no longer on the shelves.

When I leave, I ask the employee standing at the exit for a customer comment card. He tells me they don't have any, but he gets asked for them all the time and wonders why they don't have any. I think I know why.

Someone at 20th Century Fox has an obsession with acronyms and it needs to end.

First there was "ID4," which apparently stood for "Independence Day." Yeah, that makes sense. The same way that XP is short for 'experience.'

Then they named the "X-Men" sequel "X2." Of course, that had to be renamed later to "X2: X-Men United." Maybe because "X2" didn't mean anything to moviegoers...?

Then their movie adaptation of "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" was shortened to "LXG." That might be necessary for theatre marquees, but it it's still not necessary. And it sounds more like a clothing size.

And one of their upcoming flicks is "AVP." Aren't you excited about that movie? Doesn't the title just say it all? No, the full title does: "Aliens vs. Predator." It's not like putting 'vs.' in a title is bad. New Line raked in quite a few bucks with "Freddy vs. Jason." But someone over at 20th Century Fox apparently doesn't think the words 'Aliens' and 'Predator' could sell the film as well as "AVP" does.

We've got films like "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - The Cradle Of Life," "Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Master and Commander: The Far Side Of The World," and somehow we haven't gone mad from all the reading they require. If 20th Century Fox had its say (or should I say "2CX") those films would have been called "TR²," "M&C" and "GXMAS."

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

SacObserver.com [GOVERNMENT] Schwarzenegger Seeks $1.9B In Budget Cuts: "Education would absorb $160 million in cuts this year and next under the proposal Schwarzenegger presented to legislative leaders Monday."

I must have seen Arnold's television commercials at least 50 times, if not 100. One of them featured a staged Q&A session where Arnold said he wouldn't raise taxes and would instead cut government spending. A woman asked if that meant he'd cut education. He responded firmly by saying "No, we can do this without hurting the children."

So, to anyone who took him at his word ...

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Virginia Tech Supercomputer Is World’s Third Fastest
A supercomputer made from 1,100 off-the-shelf Apple Macs at Virginia Tech now ranks third among the world's 500 fastest supercomputers, many of which handle with ease 1 trillion calculations per second.

But do iCal's and iPhoto's windows still resize slowly?

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

A "Best Of" compilation is invariably a subjective affair, and U2's 1990-2000 edition is no exception (No "The Fly"? No "Lemon"?). But if you already have most of the albums and only care about the new songs (such as the Oscar-nominated yet surprisingly good "The Hands That Built America") or the newly-remixed songs ("Numb" is better?), you can now purchase just the individual tracks from Apple's iTunes Music Store for 99¢ a pop. If you have iTunes installed on your computer, just click this button:

And I'll give a prize to anyone that can decipher the brief new lyrics in "Mysterious Ways."

Sunday, November 09, 2003

When I was younger (before the advent of the Web) parents used to always complain about how their teenager(s), especially girls, spent way too much time on the phone. Telephone companies would advertise how you could get a separate line, to make certain your teenage child wouldn't keep you from using your phone.

Nowadays, teenagers use instant messaging via AOL, MSN and Yahoo. And what do I hear from their parents? "I don't understand instant messaging. Why don't they just call the person and talk to them on the phone?"

Online community not as politically powerful as some assumed
Here's my latest e-column for the East Oregonian. I'm not sure why they're using my old black & white mug, but at least they remembered to run the column.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Does anyone use a camera-phone for legitimate purposes? The reason I ask is because according to the commercials of companies that sell phones with camera-capabilities, their only good use is for ridiculous situations.

One has a woman taking a picture of a man who spills his hamburger, sending it to her girl friend and saying 'Here's a picture of your boyfriend.' (Ha.)

Another has the afore-blogged Bugs Bunny taking a picture of a "naked" Daffy Duck. (Yes, that would be useful.)

Then there are the ads where a man takes a picture of a motorcycle and the person he sends it to finds themselves surrounded by burly motorcycle riders or a woman takes a picture of a rodeo and the women she sends it to are surrounded by rodeo animals. (What can I even say about that?)

And there's the guy who takes pictures of items in the street to represent what's for dinner that night. (What will he take a picture of when he's making chimichangas?)

Seriously, if you gave me a single reason why a camera phone would be useful, I might consider ponying up the extra money to add that functionality. Perhaps taking pictures of people who talk on their cell phones in movie theatres...?

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

An advertisement for Sprint PCS features the Looney Tunes characters demonstrating the picture-taking capabilities of the phones. After Bugs snaps a picture of Daffy, disclaimer text at the bottom reads "Screen Images Simulated." What, you mean that photograph of Daffy Duck wasn't real?

Sunday, October 26, 2003

An American celebrity (or more) in Japan's advertising world
Here's my latest e-column for the East Oregonian. It was supposed to run Sunday, Oct. 19, (I sent it in two weeks ago) but the Sunday editor forgot. My column has only run every other week for 3 1/2 years, but I guess it hasn't been long enough to ensure he remembers.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Web Wise : Protect yourself, others on Web

Here's my latest e-Column for the Sunday East Oregonian. Many of my past were somewhat Macintosh-focused, so here's one that's largely irrelevant for Mac users. Bwa-ha-ha.

iPod: How to Get the Most Out of the Battery: "This document explains how to get the most usage out of one charge of iPod's battery."

How can you get the most usage out of your iPod's battery? According to Apple, don't use the light, the equalizer, the previous/rewind or the next/fast-forward buttons. Oh, and if you're not listening to it, turn it off. I would add that if you don't use it at all, that would help conserve your battery life, too.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Compaq FAQ: Where do I find the 'Any' key on my keyboard?: "The term 'any key' does not refer to a particular key on the keyboard. It simply means to strike any one of the keys on your keyboard or handheld screen."

Apparently Homer Simpson learned how to ask Compaq a question. And since it's a "Frequently Asked" question, apparently there are a lot of real people just as dumb as he is. Now we know they use Compaq-brand computers.

SacObserver.com [GOVERNMENT] Court Reinstates October 7 Recall Date: "As the appeals court mulled its decision, the GOP congressman who bankrolled the effort urged either McClintock or Schwarzenegger to drop out.

Rep. Darrell Issa said Monday that if both leading GOP candidates remained on the ballot, he would urge voters to vote no on recalling Davis because a yes vote would assure a victory for Bustamante."

Let me just rephrase that in my own words: 'The person who bankrolled the effort to recall Davis might actually vote No on the recall.' So, for him, it's not really about Davis' qualifications or performance at all, is it? It's simply about which party the governor belongs to. I'm flabbergasted that he would be so transparent as to admit that he'd rather just have Davis stay as governor than the possibility of a different Democrat. What happened to giving the rest of us voters a choice?

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Apple's KnowledgeBase is a valuable tool for troubleshooting and serves as the official voice of Apple Support. So it's nice to see them tackle the tough subjects sometimes, like "Mac OS X: Locked File Can't Be Moved."

Their solution to this problem: "If you can't move a file because it's locked, unlock it before you move it."