The Making of Mobility, The Making of Self

April 30, 2003

Interesting reading on how the gadgets we carry affect our self image.

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Outlook & Spam Update

April 29, 2003

SpamNet has finally gone to a released version, and along with it, announced a price for the service—$4.99 a month ($3.99 if you were a beta tester).  As far as I’m concerned, this is still a bargain; I was paying $60 a year until recently for one that didn’t work nearly as well.

Inbox Buddy offered very nice categorization functionality, but since I didn’t need its spam filter, and the categorization didn’t really fit with the “Getting Things Done” organization methodology I’m working with, I gave it up after the trial.  A nice package though, and one I’d have certainly gone with in other circumstances.  This is one to keep an eye on for the future, also.

Best Toy Ever?

April 29, 2003

About a year ago, I decided to try using a palm-top.  I hadn’t really messed with them since having one of the original Newtons, and there were a handful of things I wanted to do.

Since I wasn’t convinced about how much I’d actually use the thing, I got conservative and bought a Palm M130, their lowest-end color at the time.  I tried the monochromes, and they were unreadable in most places I wanted to use them; the color added a backlight.

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Steamy Goodness

April 29, 2003

In my ongoing effort to keep you alerted to the best in tasteless male fantasty beer commercials, I thought I’d point out that AdAge has

Miller’s latest steamy effort online for your viewing pleasure.

Of course, if you haven’t seen it yet, the full two minute Honda “Cog” commercial (on the same page) still steals the show; sorry ladies…

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Zen Diet

April 28, 2003

One day, a Sutra Master came and he questioned Zen Master Dae-Ju. “I understand that you have attained Satori. What is Zen?’’

Dae-Ju said, “Zen is very easy. It is not difficult at all. When I am hungry, I eat; when I am tired, I sleep.’’

The Sutra Master said, “This is doing the same as all people do. Attaining Satori and not attaining are then the same.’’

“No, no, people on the outside and on the inside are different.’’

I’ve been overweight my entire life. Alternatively, I’ve been the ideal weight all of my life, just three feet shorter than I should be (I’m 6’ 3″). 

Recently, however, it became time to deal with it.  I’ve dieted before, with the usual “rebound higher” issue afterwords, mostly because dieting was an “event”, not a fundamental shift in the way I dealt with things.

I was reviewing Steve and Connierae Andreas’ “Heart of the Mind” recently and was struck by their “Natural Eating Strategy”.  I recommend reading it yourself if you are interested in the details, but for me, there were two critical concepts here.

1. When you’re hungry, consider the things you might eat (what’s in the kitchen that sounds good, appealing looking items on the menu, etc.), the amount you’d eat, and consider not only how much you’d enjoy eating them, but how you’ll feel afterwords.  Will you be satiated, full, overfull? Will eating this item tend to make you tired, give you heartburn, etc.? After you’ve considered the possibilities, pick the one that’s most appealing based on this “now and afterwords” view.  If you’re not sure about an item, try it, and note the longer term affects for the next time.

2. People tend to over-generalize (see The Structure of Magic for the NLP concept of limitation of options by generalization as one of the core issues in psychology), and a common over-generalization is “Hungry – Feel Bad”, “Eat – Feel Good”…  The problem here is that if you just generalize hungry as “Feel Bad”, then “Eat” becomes a strategy for anything else that gets classed as “Feel Bad”—which can tend to explain emotional eating issues.

It was necessary for me to seriously reduce my food intake (not that I ever seemed to be eating that much) for a few days (3 – 4) in order to reliably become aware of what “being hungry” felt like (as opposed to anything else).  Once I had an adequate calibration of that, then I started on the strategy above.

The net result is that I’m still eating what I want to eat, when I want to eat, and as much as I want to eat.  I just don’t want to eat nearly as often or that much. 

This is a much better strategy for me than “diet and deprivation”—I can do this forever, and it’s motivated towards “more good feelings” instead of “less good feelings”.

It’s probably not for everyone, and I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist (and I do take a serious amount of nutritional supplements), nor do I play one on the ‘net, but it’s worked for me so far.  18 lbs in 14 days, and counting.

Coming Soon to a Foster’s Commercial Near You

April 28, 2003

Australian for “Battery Charger”

FIRE authorities said today a Perth man was lucky to escape unharmed after his explosive attempt to recharge his mobile phone battery – in a microwave oven.

Firefighters were called to the man’s home in suburban Scarborough last night after the battery exploded inside the oven, causing smoke to pour out of the appliance.

Fire and Emergency Services district officer Alan Riley said the man was lucky not to have been injured in the incident, which caused about $200 damage to the microwave.

“It’s a timely reminder to people not to put things in the microwave other than food – and this includes phone batteries or using your microwave to dry your clothes,” Mr Riley said.

Saving Graces

April 25, 2003

Apparently Verizon does have a few redeeming social values.

It’s nice to know that the RIAA doesn’t find them any easier to deal with than I ever have…

I still don’t want any more services from them, tho 🙂

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Telcos not getting it, Part II

April 24, 2003

Bryce Yehl recounts having gotten a new AT&T Wireless GSM phone complete with a SIM not in his area code.

I had a similar experience about 10 days ago; AT&T wireless managed to get my area code, but put it in one of the few exchanges that is a long distance call from everywhere else in Dallas, including from my home. 

When I sent out the second “I have a new number” e-mail in a week with an explanation, several friends wrote me about similar experiences.

Isn’t it funny how the same company can seem to figure out that it’s a long distance call when you use them for a long distance carrier?


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Increasingly Advanced

April 22, 2003

Awhile back I bitched about the state of client-side blog editors… Well, things are improving steadily…

w.bloggar 3.01 – Marcelo Cabral has released a new version of w.bloggar—I’ve installed it (and am using it to post this), but haven’t yet had a chance to play with all of the new features, but it looks like some nice ones.  Highlights include support of a Windows Media Player blogging plug-in, extended text support in MovableType (still no excerpt, apparently), and official support for PostNuke (which had previously been via a bit of a hack that one had to track down in the usual PostNuke locations). 

I’m especially looking forward to testing the latter, as there were a few PostNuke issues that I ended up hacking my large handful of PostNuke sites to get around.  More as I learn more.

Zempt – Zempt is a new multi-platform poster for Movable Type that looks really promising.  It’s in every early stages at the moment, and I’m anxious to try it, unfortunately the current version doesn’t seem to work on my server environment, despite some fairly valiant attempts at debugging it by the design team (thanks guys!).  So I’m waiting for the next release, which apparently will give us a little more indication of what’s failing.

Ironically enough, some of the changes the Zempt folk suggested fixed the problem I’d mentioned earlier with Kung-Log on OS X (I’m a multi-platform kinda guy :-).  I’ve played with Kung-Log a little now, but so far I still can’t seem to get into it—my attempts at using it to edit a few existing posts (I wanted to add Excerpts) seemed to result in broken hyperlinks.  There’s a new release that I’ll have to try as soon as I get a chance.

All in all, a lot of progress over a short space of time—I continue to be amazed at how fast things are moving in the various blog-related technologies (blogs themselves, RSS, OPML, etc…) Somebody’s been feeding crank to Moore’s Law again…

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Verizon Customer (Dis-) Service

April 21, 2003

What is it about telcos in general, and Verizon in particular, that makes them just not get it?  I’ve had the dubious fortune of living in a GTE (“Giant Telephone Experiment”), now Verizon area for 19 years.  Pretty much without exception, in each of those years I’ve spent a total of at least one, sometimes as many as three business days, on the phone dealing with their customer service.

During that time, I’ve kept two lines; even after the dial-in days were done, I kept a second line for business purposes.  Recently I decided to go to Vonage for my second line, and cancel the Verizon line—the Vonage line was cheaper per month, even before I considered unmetered long distance in the US and Canada.

Today I got a letter from a collection agency, collecting for Verizon.  I was confused—the amount didn’t match what I owed on either one (the existing one or the final bill on the canceled one), and I wasn’t overdue….

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