Friday, April 02, 2004

Remote Web Cam

I'm going to be in the market for one of these soon. Saving this for then

Remote Web Cam. Putting eyes on the web [Cool Tools]

3:59:27 PM •  • comment  
Send-up of "Respect Copyright" PSAs

Logic and rational argument have had little effect in the copyright wars. Let's hear it for scorn and ridicule!

Send-up of "Respect Copyright" PSAs. The CBC's Rick Mercer has produced a screamingly funny, vicious parody of the copyright boo-hoo-poor-Hollywood ads that run in front of all the movies in Canada now.


You know, people go see a comedy or a fantasy or an action film and nine times out of ten they walk out of the theatre at they look at one another and they say "Wow, that was really bad."


I make a lot of sequels. I'm the guy who makes part four and part five of movies where you haven't heard of the first one. Someday I'd like to make a part two.

What kind of movie do I like? I like a movie about a monkey that gets special powers and then has to play a sport. That's the kind of movie I like.


I don't know why anyone would ever steal a movie. Unless of course it's to avoid this commercial which we now play in front of every single movie you could possibly go to, telling you you're bad for stealing even though you just spent $11 to see some movie and instead you have to sit there and listen to me whine at you and accuse you of being a thief. Nevermind the $9 you just spent for $0.30 worth of popping corn.


You're very bad people.


Real Stream Link (Thanks, Ted!) [Boing Boing]
3:56:19 PM •  • comment  
Jim Macdonald explains writing

I still have enough to worry about with improving my non-fiction writing skills. Nevertheless, this is a good read if you have any interest in understanding the craft of writing.

Jim Macdonald explains writing. Jim Macdonald, half of the Doyle-Macdonald writing team, has been presiding over a hundreds-posts-long running tutorial on how to write that is unbelievably good and sensible and right. If you want to write, go read this now.

Well, now, what to put in the opening?

We're going to stick with the chess game metaphor for a while here. In the opening you're trying to put yourself into a strong position for going into the midgame (where the exciting action and the exciting combinations occur), and you do this mostly by getting your pieces off the back rank as quickly as possible. The pieces are your major characters. Get them out there, and get them doing things.

Don't neglect your pawns -- your minor characters. You should cherish your minor characters. They'll save your life. If you have a selection of minor characters you can pull them out to solve problems later in the book.

Now, what to put in that first chapter? (Recall that if your readers don't finish the first chapter they'll never get to chapter two.)

To answer the question of what goes into chapter one, I'm going to grab the first stanzas from a bunch of Anglo-Scots folk ballads. These were the popular songs of earlier times, cooked by the folk process so that only the important and memorable parts remain, they're entertaining, and they tell stories.

Link (via Making Light) [Boing Boing Blog]
3:50:04 PM •  • comment  
On the getting of agents

I've had occasion to point several people to this already and, who knows, with luck it will be relevant for me sooner rather than later.

On the getting of agents. (Note: In its previous version, this piece was a comment posted to Slushkiller, but Iíve gotten a surprising number of... [Making Light]

3:47:22 PM •  • comment  
MessageSave and EZDetach make Outlook mail management a lot easier

Some more friction reducers from Marc to investigate.

MessageSave and EZDetach make mail management a lot easier.

Reading some of the e-mail questions I receive from readers and scanning through some of the older posts on the Getting Things Done forum, it appears that many people are struggling with two problems related to Outlook e-mail

  • How to save e-mail for archival purposes (say, on a CD), to improve Outlook performance, and/or reduce the server space used by IMAP or Exchange servers.
  • How to manage attachments to e-mails when archiving

An elegant solution for Outlook users comes in the form of a pair of small add-ins for Outlook from TechHit - MessageSave and EZDetach. These add-ins are available as two new buttons on the Outllok toolbar and provide a number of ways to quickly process your accumulated mail and define rules for new incoming messages.

MessageSave gives you the ability to save e-mail messages as either native Outlook e-mail files (.msg) or plain text (.txt) files. You can save individual messages or process an entire hierarchy of folders at once. A wide range of options are available fo adding data points to the saved file names including date received, sender, etc. This makes sorting the output folder contents a lot easier.

There are advantages to saving in both formats, of course. Text files are a lot smaller than native Outlook messages. Saving in native format preserves formatting and makes reintegration into Outlook darg-and-drop simple (if you choose to delete the messages from your .pst file or Exchange folder after saving them).

I was able to reduce my personal .pst file from 95 MB to under 20 MB by saving all my older messages to a folder on my hard drive. MessageSave preserves the folder hierarchy (optional) so my very idiosyncratic filing system is unaltered. And, because Lookout, which has become an indispensable part of my Outlook setup, can index and search file folders, my ability to find whatever I'm looking for is preserved.

EZDetach provides a nice solution to the problems associated with storing attachmnts to e-mails in your .pst or Excahnge files. You can save the attachments to a local folder (or network share) and maintain a link to that file in the e-mail message. This obviously saves space equal to the size of the attachment while maintaining the association betwee a message and an attachment. When saving the files, you can have an exact copy of your Outlook folder structure created and attachments can be inserted back into messages when you forward them. You can even reestablish the link if you move the file after detaching it.

Both of the tools are quick to install and easy to use. EZDetach costs $18.95 and MessageSave runs $24.95.

[Marc's Outlook on Productivity]
3:39:29 PM •  • comment  
Adding Feedster search

Just got around to adding Feedster search over in the right hand column here.


feedsterThanks to some help from my brilliant friend in Scotland, Aalia Wayfare at The LeftHander (who previously fixed the gap in the middle column of my permalink pages), the "SEARCH SITE" bar in the upper right corner of my blog is now working. Instead of using Google, this bar now uses Feedster's search engine. From the testing I have done, not only does it pick up all references to keywords anywhere in my archives, it also updates every day, so you can even use it to find references on my seven-day home page and category pages. BTW, Aalia has just ponied up for a Salon Blog.

I'm still hoping that Google will get around to re-crawling all my pages, which should up my hit count by about 400 hits per day, and help people who rely on that search engine to find my site. I'd like to thank these wonderful people for helping me revamp my blog to make it easier for Google to crawl, and for readers with slow connection speeds to use: In addition to Aalia (who has also fixed my metatags): fellow Slogger Philip Vassar at Just Playing, Arve Bersvendsen at Virtuelvis , the blogless Ken Hirsch at No Pundit Intended, and Seth Finkelstein at Infothought, as well as Radio's intrepid Lawrence Lee at Tomalak's Realm. These guys are wonderful, selflessly helpful, and persistent and knowledgeable about all things technical. Thanks, guys!

In the meantime, if you're one of those unhappy with Google's unpredictable behaviour, you can add a Feedster search bar to your own site by going here.
[How to Save the World]
8:40:57 AM •  • comment  
Active Listening (and Reading)

Some good advice about how to be more intentional and mindful in your information gathering and analysis. Apropos of that, let me point, once again, to Ellen Langer's excellent work on Mindfulness and The Power of Mindful Learning. You might also want to take a look at the late Don Schon's The Reflective Practitioner.

Active Listening (and Reading). Piers Young wrote a post called Listening and Anecdotes. Something he said made me realize that getting great advice is one thing, actively thinking about it and doing something with it is something else! He quotes one of the pieces... [John Porcaro: mktg@msft]

8:22:49 AM •  • comment  
Busy People or Productive Organization

Here's an interesting distinction to meditate on. The biggest challenge lies in the slipperiness of defining what it is we want "out of" either people or organizations. When that is as hard as it frequently is in the realm of knowledge worker, it takes an immense amount of trust to let the knowledge workers in your organization figure it out for themselves.

Busy People or Productive Organization. Busy People or Productive Organization -- What is the distinction between...

"We need to get the most out of our people?"
"We need to get the most out of our organization?"
...other than the fact that the former leads one to the idea of keeping everyone busy and the latter, if taken seriously, leads one to making sure that they aren't. Just something to think about. [Frank Patrick's Focused Performance Blog]
7:50:23 AM •  • comment