R.I.P. Robert Anton Wilson (1932 – 2007)

January 11, 2007

It’s a sad thing to outlive a parent, a child, or a hero.

One of my major heros, Robert Anton Wilson, passed away early this morning. I’ll doubtless think of more to say about it as it continues to slowly sink in, but I’m going to be hard pressed to say it better than Brian Doherty did on the Reason blog:

“Some personal things I didn’t say in my book: The ideas, modes, thinkers, that he exposed me to explain my intellectual and professional life more than does any other single influence–and from the comments on various blogs today, I think that is true of hundreds of his readers, maybe thousands.

He was my gateway to Welles and Chandler, to Leary and Fuller, to Pound and Reich, to conspiracy theory and libertarianism, and to all the ideas and experiences, intellectual, aesthetic, and actual, that rolled from those varied and fascinating entryways into art, ideas, and living. I hope I can do good by the principles he helped imbue in me. He excelled as both novelist and essayist; he was a noble steward of the ideas he espoused, a brilliant and passionate popularizer, and the characters and scenarios and approaches to fiction of his novels reward constant reading with constant pleasure and insight–he was a pop-Pynchon of sorts in his sprawling, comic-serious approach to Big Crazy Ideas, who got a thousandth of the respect and delivered a thousand times the joy and humanity.

I, and many others, will continue to read his work with both intellectual and aesthetic pleasure from now and on into the limitless human future he helped so many of us to see. If anyone deserved to reach techno-immortality, it was him. That’s what’s making me saddest right now. The best of him remains, and will always.

That all said, two words should suffice. as Pound said of Eliot on his passing (and I know this because I read Robert Anton Wilson): Read him.”

Damn straight.

Dishplayer 942 Near Miss

May 12, 2005

I was all set for some prime HDTV PVR action last night — I was serious when I said that the latest DirecTivo software update was the last straw, and I went ahead and signed up for Dish.

It’s really a no-brainer, at least once I decided that the DirecTivo was an orphan stepchild and was never likely to get the full current Tivo suite of functionality.

I also wanted HDTV PVR support (for more than my locals), so that left me with Cable (not gonna happen), The HDTivo (too much $$ for too many bugs) and Dishnetwork’s Dishplayer 942 (still too many bugs, possibly, but far less $$ for a new subscriber).

Dish’s recent acquisition of another 10 HD channels from Voom’s demise made it even sweeter.
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DirecTivo Software Update (Too Little, Too Late)

May 6, 2005

Matt Haughey is reporting that an upgrade to version 6.2 is in the pipe for DirecTivos.

I’m sure no DirecTivo owner will be surprised to hear that this does not include any sign of Home Media Option or pretty much anything else of much value. It’s not even being rolled out for my Hughes unit yet.

So much for DirecTV.

This is the last straw that will send me to Dish and their new dual tuner 942 HD PVR.

I’m sure the user interface on it will suck terribly, but I’m tired of owning a dead-end orphan PVR, and $250 for this is a lot easier to swallow than the price for the HD Tivo.

As for the rest of the house, I’m sure MCE won’t care whether I use basic DirecTV receivers or Dish receivers.

Anybody want a slightly used DirecTivo and a couple of basic DirecTV receivers? Make me an offer.

More Barista Artistry

March 20, 2005

If you liked the latte art pages the other day, you’ll want to be sure and check out the Latte Art and Coffee Activities photosets at Flickr. Some stunning examples of what can be done with a little coffee, a little foam and (no doubt) a lot of practice.

(via Drawn!)

Using a French Press

March 3, 2005

If you’ve been considering trying your hand at a french press (more properly, a cafeti√ɬ©re), you may want to check this excellent overview of the topic from bread coffee chocolate yoga.

this brewing method really highlights the body of any coffee, which to my mind is a plus, since body is one of the elements of coffee i most enjoy. of course, the drawback is that unless you are careful with your grind and technique, you might get a few grounds in your cup.

Recommended Site Layout

February 14, 2005

The following diagram shows a typical business site layout, and how it interacts with various sources of traffic.  This layout is designed to take maximum advantage of adding content to increase user value, retention and search engine traffic, while providing opportunities to convert that traffic to prospects and customers.
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Reach new audiences with Podcasting

February 9, 2005

Podcasting has yet to hit the mainstream, but the process has started — in the past two days, USA Today has covered the phenomenon in two different articles.  If you have (or can produce) audio content, there is still time to reach a major new audience as it grows.

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Electric Gypsies

January 15, 2005

These guys have a great sound—damn good for a bar band.  I can’t quite place who they remind me of… Someone from my ill-spent youth, I’m sure.

In any event, they’ve got a nice collection of MP3s (that really need ID3 tags); go give ‘em a listen, and if you’re bar crawling in Texas, go tilt a few with ‘em.

Electric Gypsies

(via small thinking)

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E-Mail Addresses & Web Pages

December 13, 2004

It used to be a common sight to find e-mail addresses on small business web pages. Unfortunately, putting an unprotected e-mail address on a web page anymore is tantamount to erecting a giant billboard reading “Please Spam Me!”. Address harvesting robots trawl the ‘net relentlessly, looking for anything that resembles an e-mail address. When they find an address, it is added to spam mailing lists and sold to all of those people who like to send you e-mail about your mortgage and your sex life.

But you still need to have a way to have visitors to your site contact you.

Fortunately, there are a couple of good alternatives.

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Tea is a satisfying part of a balanced diet

April 2, 2004

(NC)—Tea news continues to stir the pot in Canada. Records show we drink as many as 7 billion cups of tea each year – and those who study it as a dietary factor are now telling us not to put on the brakes. Both black tea and green tea contain antioxidant plant compounds called flavonoids, which are thought to be important cancer fighting agents. This, combined with its potential benefits against heart disease – plus zero calories and comparatively low levels of caffeine – is a sound reason to treat oneself to one or more cups of tea every day.

And while those who drink the 7 billion cups don’t seem to need advice, still connoisseurs insist on preparation precision to make the “tea treat” even better. Here, courtesy of the Tea Association of Canada, is a 5-step process for the perfect cup of tea:

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