Friday, March 18, 2005

e-Column #110

Free online encyclopedia written by volunteers
The noble foundation upon which the Internet was formed is a digital world where the free exchange of information and knowledge connects the world. And one Web site that represents a noteworthy use of the Internet in that regard is

Monday, March 14, 2005

e-Column #111

Microsoft, Google, Yahoo battle over desktop search
For some computer users, the speed and accuracy of search engines has made finding information online incredibly easy. Now some of the Internet's biggest companies are stepping up to make finding files on your computer just as easy.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Where has the e-Column gone?

My last e-Column for the East Oregonian ran on January 9. Although I had written one for January 23 (topic: Wikipedia), it has not yet run. Since my columns have sometimes been printed in the paper but not on the Web site, I sent another one to the Sunday editor (topic: desktop search). It turns out, though, that there has simply not been enough room anymore to print it. However, the editor has graciously agreed to continue to run the column on the web site. And as space becomes available in the news section, he will return the column to the print edition.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

LEGO® Star Wars™ The Video Game!

"Coming in April 2005, the all new LEGO® Star Wars™ video game lets you become a true Jedi Knight as you battle against the dark side of the Force through all the fun, action and adventure of Episodes I to III."

As can be seen from the trailer, this is not stop-motion animation like The Han Solo Affair, but instead computer-generated animation. Still, that provides for more facial expression than regular LEGOs and the ship models seem pretty true to the toys.

The surfeit of trademarks aside, this is another combination I can get behind. First U2 and the iPod, then LEGO and Star Wars. What's next? The Simpsons and Transformers?

UPDATE: The LEGO Company and Lucasfilm are teaming up to celebrate Episode III with a one-of-a-kind five minute computer-animated special that combines all the action of Star Wars with the imagination and fun of LEGO bricks. It will air on the Cartoon Network Sunday, May 8, 7 p.m.

[ Episode III Release Poster ]Star Wars: Episode III Release Poster
"The theatrical release poster is now on its way to movie theaters. The new one-sheet is illustrated by Drew Struzan, continuing a tradition begun with the Special Edition release of the Star Wars trilogy in 1997."


Dan Rather Signs Off 'CBS Evening News'
"Dan Rather echoed a word he once briefly used to sign off the 'CBS Evening News' — courage — in anchoring the program for the final time after 24 years on Wednesday."

What this article doesn't explain is the source of Rather's usage. It's from the musical "Man of La Mancha" ...

Monday, March 07, 2005

macCompanion March 2005

The March 2005 issue of macCompanion has now been posted and the issues are now available in HTML format again instead of just a giant PDF. There's also a Flash Paper version, but you need Windows to use that. Hmm, a Macintosh-related publication in a Windows-only format. No, it makes no sense to me either.

  • Leo Laporte's 2005 Mac Gadget Guide
    if you're a Mac user (you're reading this, right?) that's interested in gadgets, and don't want to search out lengthy reviews online, you'll enjoy this guide. At least for a few months

Friday, March 04, 2005

Man of La Mancha

"Man of La Mancha" Make your vacation plans now, everyone! I'm going to be performing in a production of "Man of La Mancha," April 28-30 and May 5-8. I've been cast in the role of Padre. There's only been one full week of rehearsals so far, but if the set looks anything like the sketches that've been prepared, it will look incredible. The costumes and props are already coming together and also looking great. The cast seems very talented, the director is well-organized, and the musical director and his accompanist are quite helpful. I can't think of a single thing to complain about! Could this be one of the best shows I've been involved with?

Thursday, March 03, 2005

2005 Macworld Expo SF part 4

Boy, it's a good thing I only went to Macworld for one day. If I'd spent all week, you'd be waiting all year for my recap...

After the keynote ended, and the familiar strains of the Black Eyed Peas played (ironically, "Let's Get It Started"), us 'other' media were instructed to wait in our holding room while large banners were unfurled outside. They were so large that it would be too dangerous for us to be underfoot. This took about 15 minutes. It is unclear to me why these couldn't have been unfurled during the keynote.

I had an 11 a.m. appointment with Griffin Technologies and although the keynote was scheduled to end at 10:30 a.m., it was already after 11. They forgave me, though, and showed off their product SecuriKey, a small USB token that, when inserted into your computer's USB port, acts like a key that allows you to access your computer. And just like your car, no key -- no go. Even if someone steals your laptop and guesses your password, they will not be able to get to your files without your SecuriKey token.

It was spiffy, and their rep answered all my (good) questions effortlessly. I was impressed, but they didn't give me a review copy. What they did give me, though, was a thank-you snack bag. This may have been the best freebie I got the whole day. It contained chocolates, pretzels, nuts, some kind of snack mix, and a tiny bottle of Stolichnaya Russian Vodka. Yes, hard liquor! Just what any Expo-goer needs!

I headed over to the media center, which was now open. The attendants were handing out cards on which were printed the login and password to access the wireless network. It's now about 11:30 a.m. and they were still cutting the cards out as I walked in. Hmmm, and this place was supposed to be open at 8 a.m.? What were you people doing for three hours?

I asked the attendant if we would be receiving food vouchers (which we did last year). He said we wouldn't because a free lunch would be brought into the media center. However, he warned me to be there at noon, since it might go fast. I headed out for just a few minutes to take a quick look around the exhibit hall and then got back to the media center at 11:40 a.m. The food had been served and there was already a line 30-people long. D'oh!

I did get my free lunch, though, and it was quite good for a convention center. I recommend the Moscone Center Pasta Salad. Unfortunately, there were only diet soda drinks available. No, Diet Dr. Pepper is not as good as regular. But it does taste more like regular Dr. Pepper than ... Diet Coke. Hmmm, I guess that's an accomplishment.

My other main appointment for the day was a special, private press briefing by Adobe. I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement regarding everything I saw there. So I can't tell you much until ... well, I'm not certain I can even say that. And I'm not interested in getting cut off from Adobe's product flow.

During the briefing, I sat at a table with an older gentleman that worked for the New York Times. We had quite an interesting conversation, during which I learned he attended the actual keynote in the ballroom. He said I might have been more fortunate to be in the other room, since the ballroom was a little insane with teenagers taking pictures of themselves.

I think I can legally share that Adobe had an incredible food spread, including the best crabcakes I've ever had. In addition, they gave us all hardbound reporter's notebooks with embossed Adobe logos and high-quality silver ballpoint pens (with etched Adobe logos). And they had real soda available, not diet. Oh, and alcohol, of course.