Posted on 1 Comment

While Cathy was away, the boys played!

Cathy went to visit Sarah in New York City. The grandparents basically had Amy and Evan for the entire trip and Noah for much of the trip. That left Tommy and me at the house alone. Tommy, like Freakzoid, gets sucked into the Internet so I basically had the house to myself for duration of her trip minus the time I spent for clients and the time I spent juggling at Boo at the Zoo. So what happened in that time? The yard had a major cleaning of the junk which had been accumulating for a decade. The house received a sweeping and mopping. Then there was this surprise for Cathy:

Posted on Leave a comment

Minister and family on mission to keep violent video games from youth

On October 20, 2007 a tragedy occurred. A 16 year old had been home bound with a staph infection. During his time from school, he secretly purchased Halo 3 and played up to 18 hours a day. Discovered by his parents, the game was confiscated. He then shot them. The mother died; the father survived. Now the pastor and his family crusade against violent video games.

The family is now on a collective mission to keep violent video games from the hands of America’s youth.

"I’m gonna fight them," says Petric of the video game producers. "They put weapons in the hands of our children that teaches them murder, and that killing is okay." (emphasis added)

[Source, True Crime Report, Daniel Petric Assassinates Mom, Shoots Pastor Dad in Head Over Video Games]

This is a horrific crime. I’m making no excuse for any party and, although studies have shown no link between violent video games and real life violence, I am not defending the games either. I take issue with the statement that " put weapons in the hands of our children" because, in this case, the weapon clearly came from the father.

Daniel, who had raided his father’s lockbox, raised his 9 mm handgun — loaded with hollow point rounds…

[Source, True Crime Report, Daniel Petric Assassinates Mom, Shoots Pastor Dad in Head Over Video Games]

Daniel used his father’s key to unlock the lockbox and take back his game. Daniel also took his father’s 9 mm handgun along with the game.

[Source, Wikipedia, Daniel Petric Shooting]

I am not suggesting that we take away people’s guns. This is not an attack upon the second amendment. I am suggesting that this crime would have possibly been prevented with an appropriate gun safe, gun locks, or not having a weapon in the house at all. Please lock up your guns in a way your children cannot access them. Please teach your children gun safety.

It’s not the game. It’s not the gun. It’s not the parents. It’s the person holding the gun.

Posted on 1 Comment

New things I tried today

I tried Google Wave and see great potential in collaboration. I also see Google Wave treading into Facebook’s territory not Twitter’s. Mashable has the best write-up thus far including a reference to Google Wave’s advance serarch commands. Robert Scoble discusses the overhype and sums up the problem I’m trying to get my head around "noise" and "I don’t know where to look".

I tried TinyChat which is a video chat service that promises to supplant Skype but the true potential is in the features included in the $14.95/mth price. The video quality is high. The features are well integrated into the user interface. I think this could be a lot of fun for synchronous chat but I question why use TinyChat instead of or Livestream.

I’ve also tried Twirl TV which looks a lot like Hulu for the networks. They also claim to only be letting the first 10,000 people in.

Posted on 1 Comment

Your thoughts on embedded WMVs with progress bars

Let me reach out to the community for a moment. I’m trying to deliver a movie to be played in a web browser. The movie must play in Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8, Firefox and Safari. The movie sits on a LAMP box. The movie is roughly 35MB windows media (WMV). jQuery is available. The challenge: Deliver the movie to the client without the client impatiently clicking the play button repeatedly (elevator syndrome), reloading the page, or giving up and leaving. This implies some sort of progress bar or loading spinner. I can’t seem to get a loader to work to save my life.

I’ve tried:

  • Various attributes on the object and embed tags
  • Using jQuery plugins like jQuery Media plugin and jMedia
  • Looked into other players and ruled out Flowplayer and SWFObject2
  • Tried getting Ajaxy but the document finishes before the movie completely downloads and the spinner quits too early.
  • I’m testing WVX streaming right now but it’s not looking good.
  • Some other stuff

The goal is simple: Take a large wmv movie and present a loading indicator until the movie is cached in the user’s browser. This one is giving me a real hard way to go.

Posted on 1 Comment

I understand the Wii fit!

Watch this NSFW video titled Why every guy should buy their girlfriend Wii Fit and you’ll understand too!

Wii Fit Girl

Now the real reason I linked to the video: Views: 5,362,590 in two months! Holy cow! That’s called "going viral!" If Youtube was paying $5 for every thousand views (as suggested in Business Week) that one minute, nine second video of a girl in her panties swinging her hips would be worth $26,812.95!

How does it get viral? Emailed, social networks, links from sites like (AOL) and This one in particular is being passed around so much that you almost have to work to not see it. Getting content to go viral is the dream of most content producers such as bloggers, video makers, podcasters, and so forth. But only one viral piece can bring down your servers and net you very little money. Figuring out the secret to getting content to regularly go viral is how people quit their day jobs and make their living blogging. Is it the underwear? Am I wearing the wrong underwear when I type?

Joystick Division interviews Giovanny Gutierrez who works for Tinsley Advertising to see if this one minute video was a marketing stunt.

Now even though the president of the company told me this is just a private video you posted with your Tinsley account, I’m not fooled. Admit it: you’re a part of a clandestine, Nintendo-sponsored viral marketing campaign!
The whole thing was just an idea I had for a spec viral video. I came up with the idea because that really is my girlfriend (not my sister like many have assumed), she loves Wii Fit and even more, looks hot doing it. [Source, Joystick Division, Q&A With the Man Behind "Why every guy should buy their girlfriend Wii Fit"]

So he did pre-meditate it going viral! That’s powerful. The LA Times even picked up the story. Here’s a great spoof video!

Posted on 1 Comment

Outlook Dim

I am retiring Outlook as my email client and moving entirely to GMail. I’ve used numerous clients over the years including Fidonet and the other BBS packages (my first email experiences), sendmail at the command line, emacs, cc:Mail, Lotus Notes, Thunderbird, Outlook Express, Outlook, and others I can’t remember. Outlook express isn’t bad if you are simply checking email. If you are doing scheduling, group collaboration, todo lists and the works, then you should be using Outlook (not Express). As much as it goes against my philosophy of "be in control of your content," I think that using an email client and downloading email to your desktop is old school. Collaboration is moving to portals such as BEA’s Plumtree and Microsoft’s SharePoint. Meetings are done online now with Webex, GoToMeeting, Skype (I am djuggler), Adobe’s ConnectNow, and even Microsoft’s instant messenger using ShareView. Communication is being accomplished through instant messengers and in some cases instant messengers are being replaced by services such as Twitter. Text messaging is frequently favored over a voice call as it reduces the urgency of the conversation and can provide additional benefit such as retention of information (if I give you a phone number via voice you have to memorize it or write it a text message the number is stored). I can make argument that email is in its death bed. Much like snail mail and fax, it won’t go away completely but is bound to be ignored in favor of better technologies.

The way we communicate is changing rapidly. Video conferencing over mobile phones was promised by AT&T last fall in the Motorola RARZ v3xx and looks to be delivered on July 11, 2008 with the new iPhones will come sooner than later. Collaborative tools are far more powerful than hording information on single machines. And using third party or server tools to store information makes the information portable and available to you from any computer and any location. A couple of decades ago Bill Gates said the personal computer would evolve into a terminal and all software and data would be managed on network connected servers. He was right.

ps. I didn’t forget IMAP but that’s for a different post.

Note: During my transition from Outlook to Gmail I may overlook some email. If you have emailed me and been ignored, please resend your message as I am having to adjust some email habits in light of the different way Gmail handles email.

Posted on 4 Comments

Video Comments Now Allowed

Thanks to the power of Seesmic, you can now comment on any Reality Me post by simply using your webcam. Below the regular comment box, you will find a link "add a video comment"
Video comment
If you have a Seesmic account, you can log in and post a video. I have also opened comments up for anonymous comments which means you don’t have to have a Seesmic account. Try it out! You will be prompted to allow the plug to use your webcam and nothing gets installed on your computer. I have heard that there may be a problem with the video commenting and WordPress 2.5.1 but I am sure that will be addressed rapidly.

Update: If you add Seesmic video comments to your blog, be sure to immediately add yourself to the wiki. It takes only seconds. I could have been within the first 100 but ended up being like 187 because I waited to look at the wiki.