RSS Readers

Tech savvy readers and fellow bloggers will find this post to be common knowledge, but for some, you'll find a major moment of "a-HA" ahead. Blogs are everywhere. There are private blogs like this one, and there are large blogging websites like Xanga, Blogger, LiveJournal, even Hi5 and Friendster. Blogs are essentially news sources - small bits of new information are released periodically. They come from anyone from idiots to experts. At some point, people realized that they had many news sources they wanted to monitor, but they had to go all over the web to check them. RSS was invented to solve this problem. RSS is "Really Simple Syndication", and it's a way for your computer to 1. Track what news items or blog posts you've haven't seen yet and 2. "Aggregate" or combine everything new into one simple place. Why use RSS? If you normally try to keep updated on what is happening on say 10 or 15 different websites, RSS can help. If all these web pages are RSS enabled, then you can put all 15 RSS feeds into your RSS news-reader, and see all the new things going on in one place. SharpReader - Outlook-ish format and my favorite rss reader (web based) What is RSS? Feeds you can aggregate:
  • All the blogs you care about. Friends, many politicians, many subject experts for you hobbies (cooking, music, etc), and some university departments keep blogs.
  • Wired, Slashdot, CNet, Google Blog, Gizmodo
  • Deal sites: Bens Bargains, Slickdeals, Woot
When I get a chance to gush about this in person, I urge people to start using RSS/Atom feeds now. It's one of those thing that's likely to be integrated into a major program (Windows, Internet Explorer, Outlook) soon, and although it may seem foreign now, some day the concept of syndicated content feeds will become as common as word processing or web browsing.

Apple iPod copy protection hacked,1412,67593,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_1 “Apple Computer did not respond to several requests for comment. To prevent iPod users from easily copying vast libraries of songs from computer to computer, Apple forbids tracks from being moved off the iPod -- songs can only be put onto the iPod. In addition, each iPod is associated with a single copy of iTunes. The association can be changed, but only if all songs on the iPod are erased." Tool for unprotecting iTunes music files (AAC / .mp4)

Chris and Maria Visit

Chris and I DJ'd at The Box. Forgive the artwork behind us, I didn't paint it. MariaChris1.JPGMariaChris2.JPG Chris and Maria saw Tikal... IMG_2305.JPG Lago Atitlan... IMG_2503.JPG Antigua... IMG_2517.JPG Pacaya Volcano... IMG_2548.JPG Pretty much the standard Jeff & Rebecca all-you-can-see tour.

Bryan's Backflip

Long Anticipated, Long overdue This is a video clip of my cousin Bryan throwing huge air in Vail on the terrain park. Great audio from the chairlift spectators and ski patrol asking for a copy of this video via email. Also chronicles how we all thought he was really messed up. Good Quality (4MB .wmv) The full quality video is 20MB, email me if you want it. FlipCap.jpg

Consular Warning

Irony: Why are these Embassy warnings always released within days of when we have visitors? The last one came out right before Tyler and Malena's visit. Today Chris and Maria are arriving for a week. There are thousands of Americans here in Guatemala, and we get by just fine - it's just not that dangerous if you live smart. I guess what you're about to read is just more of a warning for tourists. When you read this, it seems frightening. When we read this, we feel like this is propaganda aimed at striking fear into non-Guatemalans, and not entirely representative. Guatemala Public Announcement US Embassy in Guatemala May 03, 2005 This Public Announcement is being issued to remind U.S. citizens of the continuing serious security situation in Guatemala. This Public Announcement expires on November 3, 2005. U.S. citizens are urged to be especially aware of safety and security concerns when traveling in Guatemala. Although the majority of travelers visit Guatemala without mishap, violent criminal activity on the highways in Guatemala continues, and the number of armed robberies on city streets and in private homes is increasing. Crimes against foreigners have included murder, rape, and armed robbery. Criminals in Guatemala are extremely opportunistic; all travelers should remain vigilant and take appropriate measures to limit risk and losses. Assailants often respond violently if they perceive resistance from their victims. (the balance of this scaretext is in the extended entry)

Chess Clock

Today I went searching online for a chess clock. What I found was a market opportunity. Not that I'm going to do anything about it. Postulate 1: Serious chess players tend to not be concerned with appearances. Axiom 1: People who make chess clocks are chess players. Ergo: All chess clocks are ugly. Now there are 1001 beautiful chess sets, in any style you want. Modern or classic elegance, marble, glass, aluminum, cherry wood, you can even get the pieces in any shape imaginable. You can probably find one where the pawns are a bust of John C. Riley. But nobody makes a chess clock with a LED or gas discharge display. Just ugly LCDs like an oversize $5 Kmart wristwatch. Yes, the device has 24 chess timing modes and can compute Mars explorer trajectories or whatever, but it's U G L Y.

Mobile Brothel

Picture taken by my brother on his visit here: mobileBrothel.jpg We explained to Joel that Bimbo is atually a brand of bread. And when my Guatemalan coworkers saw that we had taken a picture of a bread truck, I tried to gracefully explain what a Bimbo was.


Alex posts Are you kidding me? on his blog about the Idaho state legislature, which spent taxpayer money to write a bill commending the movie Napoleon Dynamite. Incredible. Excerpt from the actual bill (this is LAW): 10 WHEREAS, filmmaker Jared Hess is a native Idahoan who was educated in the 11 Idaho public school system; and 12 WHEREAS, the Preston High School administration and staff, particularly 13 the cafeteria staff, have enjoyed notoriety and worldwide attention; and 14 WHEREAS, tater tots figure prominently in this film thus promoting Idaho's 15 most famous export; and 16 WHEREAS, the friendship between Napoleon and Pedro has furthered 17 multiethnic relationships; and 18 WHEREAS, Uncle Rico's football skills are a testament to Idaho athletics;