Sunday, September 25, 2005

things I have been doing lately:

Image hosted by

scale model making (i inherited all these modeling tools and have all this spare material, might as well use it)

trying to figure out a way to make a case/pouch for the regular ipod i bought last week

studying my freaking brains out (I'm a law student, recall)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

fashionably barely on time, my entry into TUAW's nano contest

It's always difficult to participate in a contest where the mixture of competition and luck is unknown. Take, for example, an elementary school science fair project. I felt my lovingly adorned three fold piece of foamcore devoted to the strength of bargain priced paper towels was worthy of better than a garishly yellow 4th place ribbon. Technically I wasn't competing, yet there was a yellow slip of fabric telling me I had lost.

See also this contest from The Unnofficial Apple Weblog (aka TUAW. Try to say that out loud, you'll sound like you have a mouthful of toothpaste). What, really, are the judges looking for? Wit and verve? Somehow standing out from the other 100 someodd entries? How well I pimp their site? If so, wouldn't pimping be a function of how many people read my blog in the first place? If I'm actually smart/famous/geeky enough to have a wide readership, do I need someone else buying my gadgets for me? Am I disqualifying myself merely for asking these questions?

It goes without saying that I'm a fan of the site, enough to read it several times daily and have it replace maccentral in my bookmarks bar. Also enough to try to get my lame little duct tape shuffle case posted on the site. As soon as I get my Nano, either through this contest, xmas, or the sudden burning desire to be separated from 200$, I will likely be doing the same for it as well.
With an eye towards thrift and without further ado, my top 10 list of posts on TUAW. I could have simply chosen the posts that reported on the coolest things (i.e. the ipod graveyard) yet were from other sites, but I neither think that should count nor does it really do the website justice.

10. duct tape shuffle case
I had to list the first (and only) post I had linked from TUAW. This was a gimme. Be happy I had the foresight to put it lowest on the list.

9. megaman effect
I have basically four categories of favorite posts. This one falls into the "ridiculously cool software I would never have otherwise heard of" category. I spent way too much of my childhood playing NES not to adore this app.

8. ipod graffitti
The second category is humorous apple-related randomness. Again, emphasis on the fact that I wouldn't have heard of this elsewhere. In NYC I can see this being a huge thing, for if I lived in that city I'd probably spend all my time plugged in too.

7. freeware february: menumeters
This is hands down my favorite application. I've tried Konfabulator and ipulse, and neither just give me what I need in the simplest way of getting it. Interestingly enough, I actually learned about this app not from this post but from comments made on a screenshot in another post (that I now cannot find). Regardless, I can now give a shout out to my favorite piece of software and what was my favorite series on the site at the same time.

6. best mac mod ever
A combination of my two favorite things that I sincerely doubt I am alone in posting on my top 10 list.

5. ctrl-alt-del creator mocks Gates
The next category of favorite posts are probably closest to my heart: those that are purely tech/development related and cater to the extreme end of my geek side. Anything about the history of computers makes for a fascinating read (in this case, watch) and this kind of takes the cake. I'm normally not much of a Microsoft basher, but it's still entertaining to watch their foibles (see #1).

4. what Apple could stand to learn about maintainability
I had a green Imac that died on me a while back. This frustrated me to no end as it left me with a 3 month span wherein my only contact with the outside world was via an old Powermac. Self servicing the videocard on the device was somewhat out of the question and the labor costs would have exceeded the current value of the computer. Hearing an honest, down to earth discussion of what kind of pain in the ass it is to self service a mac was nice given my own experiences gutting my big ball of green plastic.

3. april fools is stupid
It is, too. Especially on the internet.

2. i don't want an itunes phone / why is impossibly small a good thing?
The final category of posts I like is hard to pin down. They're honest, they're open, and they're critical in what feels to me like obvious ways. I can't imagine wanting an Itunes phone and I can't imagine anyone else wanting one either. What I like about both these posts is that it makes it increasingly obvious that multiple people contribute to this blog and often disagree. All authors take a respectful, sometimes paternalistic stance to mac zealotry, but regardless realize that Apple is just a company that has made and will continue to make mistakes. Not every step in consumer technology necessarily benefits either technology or the consumer. Reading commentary from people who recognize this is refreshing.

1. bill gates: "the ipod is just a passing fad."
Oh Bill, you never cease to entertain. This needs no explanation, but suffice to say if Bill is down on it, chances are I like it.

honorable mentions:
griffin's ifill
Holy crap, where did this come from? I only found it while browsing the archives. You mean I can record my friends radio shows from my old station easily? Heck yes!

henrico county: let the ebaying begin!
This whole debacle kind of disgusted me. Kudos to TUAW for driving the absurdity home.

OSX Liger
This made me laugh for a solid 5 minutes.