archive for February, 2006

Hacker's Diet Update

Last October I posted that I would give the Hacker’s Diet a try. It seems to have worked well. I lost about 20 lbs. in about 17 weeks which works out to 1.1 lbs per week (see the graph). My target was one pound per week. I’ve reached my target weight, so now I just need to try to maintain it (which means eating more than I have over the last several months!).

According to numerous sources, there are about 3500 calories in one pound of fat. To lose one pound per week, you* simply need to eat 500 calories per day less than you burn. For me, it’s a lot easier to not eat than it is to exercise. Don’t get me wrong, I still try to exercise — just not to lose weight.

* Since nearly two thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, I don’t feel bad saying “you”.

Still Flying

Even though I’ve slacked off on my posts a bit, I have still been flying. There was a period of a few weeks where I wasn’t able to get a plane when the weather was good, but since my last post I’ve been up with Jes, did a night flight (in the pattern), and just yesterday I flew over to Van Nuys.

I’m looking at doing a cross-country flight up the coast next weekend (depending on the weather). I’m not sure how far I’ll go. It needs to be at least as far as Santa Barbara, but that’s a class C airport (like Burbank), and has crossing runways. I’ve flown to Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo before, and Jesse and I took a glider flight out of Santa Ynez which might be fun to return to.

Google Ads

I’ve added Google Ads to my archive pages. If you just visit my main blog page, you wont see them (at least for now), but if you’re reading through the archives, or reading with an feed reader* of some sort, then you will. Comments and feedback are welcomed, as always.

* Or maybe not. I just tried it in Thuderbird, and it didn’t show the ads. It’s probably not running the JavaScript code that renders the ads.

Five Minutes with Google Pages

Google has just released a new online website creator/designer tool called Google Pages. I played with it enough to create a page for Nogwater. From what I can tell, it’s really easy to use and targeted at novice users. It has been far too many years since I’ve used any web applications like this to make an honest comparison. I can say that from what I’ve seen it’s good enough to recommend to anyone who wants a website, and doesn’t know HTML. My biggest complaint is that I can’t get JavaScript to work.

Five Minutes with FreeMind

I’ve just tried out FreeMind — a free mind mapping application. It allows you to create nodes and link them together (primarily in a tree). Mind maps are good for brain storming, problem solving, and generally brain dumping everything you know about a subject.

The user-interface for FreeMind is fairly intuitive, but they could use a good tutorial. I’m sure I just scratched the surface of its features, but I was able to start building a map right away. You can link between nodes in a non-hierarchical fashion, but it gets a bit messy. I know they aren’t exactly the same thing, but for my uses, I’ll stick with TiddlyWiki.

Five Minutes with the Democracy Player

I just downloaded an installed the Democracy Player — sort of a TiVo for online videos. It not only lets you download and watch videos, but you’re able to subscribe to “channels” of content.

From what I understand, it uses a file transfer protocol (Bittorrent) that lets people share bits of the file as they are downloading it. This takes a huge load off of the central servers that are hosting the original files. The big benefit of this is that it lets ordinary people distribute online TV shows without having to make huge capital investments (much in the same way that blogs let regular people become journalists). I’m sure there will be plenty of bad content cropping up, but quality content should quickly rise to the surface.

With all of this in mind, I still don’t like the name. Sure, I can see why they chose it from a philosophical point of view, but the philosophy department shouldn’t be in charge of naming. The other big problem is that it’s still pretty buggy. It’s still an early release (not even 1.0 yet), so I’m not surprised by the bugs – I am a bit surprised that they’re cropping up in the first five minutes. After starting to download my first video, the application became very slow. I was able to get a couple more videos going, but it’s pretty much locked up right now.

At this point, I can’t recommend the Democracy Player. It’s a promising idea that will either take off or be copied by everyone else. I look forward to trying version 1.0 as soon as it’s ready.

Breathmoss

I just finished reading “Breathmoss” by Ian R. MacLeod. It’s a decent size story with a different feel than most science fiction. I enjoyed the style of descriptions and unusual sense of time. If you’ve got some free time or are looking for something to read, be sure to check it out.

Yahoo! Widgets

I got to do some work with Yahoo! Widgets today at work. It’s a pretty nice system that lets you throw together simple applications that look nice fairly quickly. Of course, you need some graphic design skills (which I lack) if you want it to look really great.

My biggest complaint is the documentation. It’s really quite bad. I hope they’ll adopt a system like PHP’s that allows users to add comments and examples.

I have a feeling that we’re going to see a lot more development platforms that work like this crop up in the future. Maybe this is where Microsoft is going with Sparkle. I should also mention Google’s Sidebar Plug-ins, and Apple’s Dashboard which work in much the same way.

Todo

Previous/Next post links on each individual post (archive) page.

Tagging in addition to categorization (the category would be the first tag). Need a DB to do it right. Apejet Blog 2.0!

Write a post “What is Ethinol (and other BioFuels)”?

Wootable

I’ve been watching Woot.com for a few months now. Woot is a website that offers one deal each day.* For example, today they are selling a two pack of 128 MB flash drives for $14.99. It’s a great deal, if you’re looking for flash drives.

I haven’t bought anything yet. I’m never sure how good of a deal something is, if it’s something I really need, or if I’m just bending to the impulse buy pressure. I’ve decided to create a list of “wootable” items. They’ll be products I know I’m thinking about buying, and prices that will make them very worth while. Some people may walk around with lists like this in their head, but I usually don’t. I just don’t trust myself to be unbiased in the moment.

Actually, now that I think about it, I should create some sort of woot-watchlist. I could write a little application that scrapes each day’s woot and compares it to a list. If a it matches, then it fires off an email to the list owner. It should really just be a standard feature of Woot.com.

Here’s my current list that I’ll try to keep updated.
(Some of these may be way under priced, but that’s ok.)
$500 Gaming computer
$200 DLP Projector
$150 19″ LCD Monitor
$100 Dyson Vacuum
$100 XBox 360
$90 SoundBlaster Audigy 2 Platinum
$75 Roomba Discovery
$50 Handheld GPS
$15 Bluetooth headset
$10 Coffee maker
$2 Anything once
??? Digital Video Camera
??? Laser Printer

* It’s also a gamer term for expressing excitement. See w00t.

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