archive for December, 2005

Flickr Puzzle #2

My second puzzle is now available. I should really offer prizes or something to the first person to solve them. I just don’t know what I’d give away. Maybe a hearty congratulations?

Flickr Puzzle

I’ve been thinking about creating puzzles, placing them in pictures, and distributing them with Flickr. Well today, I finally forced myself into action. It’s not pretty, or nearly as interesting as what I’m hoping for, but Puzzle 1 is done. I’ll try to create and post more in the coming weeks. Let me know what you think.

Flight Lessons: Practicing for the Practical

I’ve neglected posting about my last couple of flights. I haven’t been working on anything new, just trying to tighten everything up for my practical exam. I’ve also been studying, and trying to set up a time to take the test. I’m hoping to get it done in the week between Christmas and New Years, but I haven’t been able to get in touch with the examiner. Until then, I’ll keep flying once a week and keep practicing.

Save as Draft

I’m currently working on a “Save as Draft” function for my blog. Hopefully this will make it easier for me to make partial posts, and then come back and finish them off later.

Update: It looks like it’s working.
Update: Oops, found a bug when saving an edit. Need more testing.
Update: Ok, I think it’s fixed.

Link Roundup: Dec. 4, 2005

In2TV
Next year, AOL will start offering old TV shows (such as Babylon 5, Pinky and the Brain, and Wonder Woman) online. I’m not sure if it’ll all be ad sponsored, or if you’ll have to pay, but if they get enough good shows, it could be very cool. Read more in the Information Week article.

Hydrogen Powered Trucks
This technology uses electricity to generate hydrogen which is then added to the engine’s intake air. The added hydrogen then gives the engine more power. The thing I don’t understand is how this is working out to a net positive. They have to take energy out of the engine (via the alternator) to break the hydrogen out of water in the first place (via electrolysis). I’m guessing that somehow by adding hydrogen, the engine is able to burn the diesel more completely. Still, it seems inefficient and inelegant to me, but if it works, it works.

Ten Rules for Web Startups
Here is an interesting set of guidelines for startups. They look like good rules to me. Of course, sometimes breaking the rules is what makes something successful. I’d say that Conversive, where I work, is still a startup. I’d say that our weakest points are numbers: 1, 5, and 7. After Conversive becomes a success, it would be nice to have a startup of my own.

D&D Course
Barnes & Noble University is offering a course on how to play Dungeons and Dragons. It looked like a cool idea at first, but now I see that it’s just a way for them to sell books. Since it’s an online course, I thought you could take it at any time and learn on your own. Instead, you have to wait until the session starts. Sadly, it seems that B&N still doesn’t grok the Internet. I would like to get into D&D, but this doesn’t seem like the best way to do it. Besides, I’m not sure that it works well as a two player game.

Tivo Online Service

Tivo has just announced a new set of online services for users with a broadband connection. It looks like their adding support for several Yahoo! services including: photos (what about Flickr???), weather, and traffic. They’ll also offer access to the Live365 Radio Network, Fandango, and podcasts. I imagine that these will all be available for free and supported by branding and advertisements.

This is absolutely the direction that Tivo needs to be moving. From what I understand, their customers are being snatched up by cable and satellite companies that can also offer DVRs at a lower price and with better integration. Of course, the cable companies can also provide Internet access and will soon start offering VoIP phone service. Tivo has quite an uphill battle to fight if it wants to stay in the game. So here’s what I don’t understand. Why are these the only online services that are being offered, and why is it taking them so long to get them out the door?

It has been over a year since Tivo and Netflix partnered up. We haven’t seen anything come of that partnership except that it has been put on hold. Apparently, they had trouble clearing rights with the movie studios. Okay, so why not at least let users connect to their Netflix account to rate movies and manage their queue?

How hard would it be to integrate with Yahoo Games to provide both single player games and multi-player online games? They don’t need to support the whole catalog, but some games would be better than none. While they’re at it, they could provide at least a basic web browser (hopefully with Flash support). If they don’t want to spend the time porting games, then let the rest of the world do it.

The Tivo hardware is already a computer, and for a lot of people it’s a computer with broadband Internet access. Why not open it up so that anyone can develop applications to run on the hardware? Sure, it’s not going to work very well as a primary household computer, but it could be the most popular secondary computer. Of course, so could the Xbox 360, PS3, Nintendo Revolution, or Mac Mini — all of which could be connected to a tv and broadband Internet.

There’s a waiting list to try out these new online services. I’ve signed up, but it could take anywhere from three days to three weeks before I’ll be able to test it out. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Update: Be sure to read MegaZone’s comment.

November Writing

On Nov. 1, I set a personal goal to do more writing. There were three parts to the challenge. Let’s see how I did.

Word count: I was aiming for 100,000 words total or 29,226 for the month. So far I’ve written 6,286 words for the month or 21.5% of my goal. Not so good, but still better than nothing. It just goes to show how hard it is to write 100,000 words (at least for me).

Frequency: I was out of town several days of the month, but I’m sure I didn’t write every day that I was home as I had hoped. I count 26 posts for the month so far — this post will make 27. My average for the previous three months was about 14 posts, so I nearly doubled my frequency. That’s not too bad.

Variety: I was looking for at least one post per category. I was able to hit 13 out of 20. Not great, but probably an improvement.

Overall: I didn’t reach any of my goals, but I did make improvements in each dimension. I hope that I’ll be able to carry some of this momentum forward and do even better next year.

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