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Parallels, ActiveSync, & T-Mobile Dash

February 28, 2007

T-Mobile Dash - HTC ExcaliburHurray — The new version (Build 3186) of Parallels has been released, and astonishingly enough, ActiveSync under XP actually recognizes and talks to my T-Mobile Dash, running in a virtualized session under OS X on my MacBook Pro (talk about your overland routes!)

I’ve tried this a few times during the betas, with no luck, but it’s working now. Here are the steps I went through to get this thing working…
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Heroes – Company Man (Review)

February 27, 2007

Heroes (NBC)I hope the writers’ room at Lost watched this episode, since it was a great example of doing all of the things that make Lost so annoying, without being so annoying.

They had a suspenseful moment — and they didn’t cut away to another storyline for a week or two. They did do the flashback thing, but the flashbacks were actually enlightening, on-point to the present-day action, and filled us in on details that had a little more relevance than Jack’s tattoos.

Yet there was no shortage of mysterious and amazing stuff going on.

How about that.
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Fear & Loathing at Starbucks

February 27, 2007

A leaked Valentine’s Day memo from Howard Shultz, the chairman and founder of Starbucks Corp. suggests that their success may not have been as sweet as your average Pumpkin Spice Latte…

For example, when we went to automatic espresso machines, we solved a major problem in terms of speed of service and efficiency. At the same time, we overlooked the fact that we would remove much of the romance and theatre that was in play with the use of the La Marzocca machines. This specific decision became even more damaging when the height of the machines, which are now in thousands of stores, blocked the visual sight line the customer previously had to watch the drink being made, and for the intimate experience with the barista.

(ummm… That’s La Marzocco, Howard…)

For me, this has got to be the ‘Bucks’ number one issue — with a bullet.

No matter how good they are, the full-auto machines just do not produce as good of a shot of espresso as a barista who actually uses a little care, and freshly grinds, hand tamps and pulls a shot on a good semi-auto machine like the La Marzocco.

The training just can’t be that hard. I’ll grant you that it takes a great deal of care and practice to be a world class barista, but that’s miles above “competent”, and frankly competent is good enough.
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Alabama 3 – Intervention (The Futech Mixes) – Review

February 24, 2007

Alabama 3 (A3) Intervention - The Futech MixesOkay, anybody who knows my taste in music (or lack thereof) knows that I tend to collect remixes of Alabama 3 music like a dark shirt collects cat hair.

Naturally, the quality of these mixes tend to vary from “Hey, that’s pretty good!” to “Just how loaded were they?”, but some of the consistently best remixes have come from a denizen of the Unofficial Alabama 3 Forum named Futech.

While most of us A3 fans are anxiously awaiting the new studio album, due out someday fairly soon with any luck, Futech has put together 8 of his best remixes into an album, which he’s titled “Intervention”. He’s even done up cover art.

While this is far from official (and far from authorized, probably), there is some outstanding stuff here.

You can find it all right here, as either individual tracks or a whole album download. All in sweet pretty DRM-free MP3s.

Enjoy!

SXSW 2007 Music Torrent

February 24, 2007

The good folks at this year’s South by Southwest festival have been kind enough to once again put up a Showcasing Artists torrent.

Weighing in at 3.1 gig with a massive 739 totally DRM-free MP3s, this may not be quite as good as being there, but it’s a damn site better than not hearing it at all.

Hurray for SXSW for once again demonstrating how to do this kind of thing right!

(via TorrentFreak)

Upgrade Core Duo Macbook Pro to 802.11n WiFi

February 24, 2007

Airport Extreme Base StationUpdate — kids don’t try this at home; see the update at bottom of this post

There’s been a lot of great press about the new Airport Extreme, which is dandy unless you’re like me, and bought a Core Duo MacBook Pro, before the newer Core 2 Duo models that already have the 802.11n hardware on board came out.

Early reports were that there would be no way to upgrade the Core Duo laptops, since 802.11n requires three antennas, and the Core Duos only have the 802.11g complement of two antennas built in.

Which leaves those of us early-Intel Mac adopters with a choice of external USB adapters, or an Expresscard adapter. Blech. Plus, so far I haven’t seen one of either that mentioned OS X drivers.

Which doesn’t mean we couldn’t use one of the new Airport Extremes, but if you’re going to drop nearly 2 Benjamins on a pre-N router, you don’t want to be stuck with (the much slower) 802.11g.

Well, good news.
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Thieves Like Us

February 24, 2007

Thieves Like UsI’m an unabashed fan of a lot of British comedy, but every once in a while you stumble onto one that’s a cut above average.

Thieves Like Us is a perfect example. A classic buddy act, with Bex (Tom Brooke) as a glib but not overly bright burglar, and Ollie (Fraser Ayres) as his far more bumbling partner. Mix in Mel (Jessica Harris) as Bex’s tolerant-but-not-too-tolerant girlfriend (she’s also his lawyer’s assistant, so she doesn’t have any illusions about what Bex does), and Belinda (Chereen Buckley), who is shagging Ollie when she’s not sleeping with everybody else, and you’ve got a great little ensemble cast.

The writing is tight, the chemistry is great, and the show is well paced. Unfortunately, it’s only up for six episodes in this series, and five of them have already aired. With any luck, maybe it will get another go soon.

Thieves Like Us is currently airing on BBC Three, and will hopefully turn up on BBC America sooner or later; if you can’t wait, you probably know the usual places to look..

The News from Lake Wobegon Podcast

February 21, 2007

After my bitching about the (God-awful) movie of A Prairie Home Companion, I was pleased to find out that there’s now an official podcast for “The News from Lake Wobegon” available from publicradio.org.

You know, for those weeks when you’ve got something more interesting to do on Saturday nights than listen to NPR…

Now we just need a Guy Noir podcast…

Automating Bittorrent in Media Center

February 19, 2007

TorrentFreak has a sneak peak of Aufero, a new (and apparently open source) project to nicely integrate bittorrents into Vista Media Center, including managing media, and creating automatically downloading wishlists, etc.

Sounds nice (or it would if I was running Vista MC, anyway), but even though the author appears to be giving quite a bit of thought to solving them, I think there are some huge challenges ahead for anybody that wants to build that kind of wishlist technology today.

There is a really severe lack of standardization in how most video torrents are labeled and classified — often times, the title isn’t even spelled correctly, let alone anything else.

Maybe standardizing on URLs to services like IMDB would help that (at least for movies), but then there’s all the other stuff –

What’s the video format? I don’t wanna watch iPod encoded video on a large flatscreen display.

What was the source? Keep your cammed, telesync’d, r5line’d stuff to yourself, please. Likewise, if there was an HD source available I don’t want to see some letterboxed SD episode of whatever.

Got subtitles? In English? What format?

One disc or two?

…and the list goes on. Beggars and bittorrenters can be choosers, but today pretty much only by actually reading the post that accompanies the torrent — or sometimes even the comments.

Or that’s what I hear, anyway. Not that I’d know anything from personal experience or anything, etc…

SM Radio?

February 19, 2007

…for the masochists among us, no doubt.

Apparently the Sirius / XM Radio merger is on again.

That’s terrific news. Now by not renewing the free year of Sirius radio that came with my car, I can ignore both of them in one fell swoop.


Dear Auto Manufacturers;

If you want to jam more audio technology in our cars, how about better built-in ways to navigate and control iPods, rather than some more pay-to-listen, bland, corporate radio crap?

Or better yet, how about just a well-thought-out open interface to the built-in controls, and the ability to delete your half-assed audio packages but still keep steering wheel controls, audio alert integration, etc.

Thanks

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