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If I owe you an email…

I’m way behind on responding to email right now. I was out sick/with a sick family for about a week, and for even longer than that, life has been kind of disrupted with the new baby, etc.

So, if you’re waiting for an email response from me, please forgive me, and be patient. I haven’t forgotten you. If it’s urgent, feel free to resend/ping me again, since I’m back up and running, and hopefully will be able to respond soon.

I’m trying to dig myself out, rather than just declare email bankruptcy. We’ll see how that goes. Thanks for understanding! :-)

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Bloglines Responds to Freedback, adds “Are You Sure” Prompt

Yet another reason to love Bloglines. They are really, really good at listening to “freedback”, and responding to it. They even solicit freedback. Sometimes it takes a while, but lately, I’ve felt like they’ve been fixing/adding my personal top list of bugs and feature requests. And that’s a pretty cool feeling. :-)

This time, they’ve made some tweaks to the way the left pane, which contains your list of feeds, acts. It does some fancy AJAX updating now, to show the number of unread items.

Cool, but one new thing I noticed with that change tonight is this new dialog/prompt that comes up when you click your top level of feeds (to read all unread posts, and mark them as read).

If you have a large number of feeds, or a large number of unread items, and you unintentionally click on that top level folder, it’s bad for a couple of reasons. It has happened to me several times – the last time I blogged this was in March 06:

Just now, I accidentally clicked on the top-level folder in Bloglines, which tells Bloglines to load and display all unread items in all feeds. A handy feature, but I had more than 2000 unread items. I think you can see where this is going…

Firefox barfed (actually, I stopped it, because I didn’t want to wait for everything to load). And all of those feed items were immediately marked as Read. Ooops.

So, thanks to the Bloglines team for listening to us, and making Bloglines better! :-)

Now, can we get a check box in the options to disable it? Yes, I’m needy and demanding. 😉 But keep being this responsive, and no one will care about Google’s newly updated online feed Reader, which stole several key Bloglines features (folders, mobile version, etc.)…

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Launching Rockets



Rocket Launch, originally uploaded by JoshB.

I made a couple of model rockets for our Cub Scout pack meeting tonight (I’m a Webelos den leader). I had an ulterior motive – I want to modify one to hold a CVS disposable camcorder, as seen in Make Magazine issue 07. Didn’t get the camera mod done, but I did have two rockets to launch tonight.

(Yes, that’s me in my orange Crocs, and if you look closely, you’ll see Emma in her red Crocs, too. :-))

I asked a friend to take some shots with my Canon SD700 IS. It was getting dark, and it was a little more than the camera could handle. These are a couple of shots that turned out OK, with cool fire trails. Here’s another, more blurry, shot with a launch trail:

Another friend had his Nikon D50 DSLR, and took some really amazing shots – I’ll post those as soon as I get them from him. I also shot video of the festivities, from a tripod, but I haven’t looked at the footage. I’ll post anything that turns out interesting or cool.

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Intel’s Fall 2006 IDF Conference is underway

I’ve been out sick for a couple of days, so I’m kind of out of the loop on what’s going on with Intel. But I do know that the fall 2006 Intel Developer Forum (IDF) has kicked off, and I’ve been monitoring the blogosphere for interesting stuff. I was tentatively going to go to IDF this year, to cover it as a blogger/podcaster, but that didn’t end up happening.

Keep an eye on my linkblog @ del.icio.us (embedded over there in the sidebar), or subscribe to the feed. That’s where I’ll be posting IDF stuff as it comes along (tagged “IDF”).

And check out what some of my Intel colleagues are doing to track what the web says about IDF using del.icio.us – the user “IDFLive” will be tagging IDF-related posts as well (it’s a faceless account, since more than one person will be using it to aggregate links), so if you’re interested, don’t miss that.

Also, Intel blogger Ricardo Carreon is live at IDF and blogging the goings-on (I was really looking forward to meeting him in person… :-(), so check out his blog, too.

If anything earthshattering comes out of IDF, I’ll talk more about it here, but most of the action is going to be in my linkblog. Check it out!

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Apple Mighty Mouse Won’t Scroll Down

Update: On October 20, 2009, Apple introduced the successor to the Mighty Mouse, the Apple Magic Mouse:

It eliminates the scroll wheel completely, so you’ll never have the scrolling problem again! The whole upper surface of the Magic Mouse is a multitouch touchpad. If you buy one through this affiliate link, I get a little percentage that helps me maintain this site and keep up on the latest technologies. Thanks! :-)

A few times now, the Mighty Mouse on my Mac (the one with the tiny little scroll ball on it) has lost the ability to scroll down. It scrolls upwards, and horizontally, with no problem. Seemed like a software problem to me, and in the past, restarting the app I was using, or the whole Mac, seemed to fix the problem.

It started doing it again this morning, and this time, no amount of rebooting, unplugging/replugging, etc. would work. I figured it had to be a software (or maybe electronic) problem, since if it was just gunked up and dirty, I figured it would impair scrolling in all directions. Not just one.

Well, it turns out, when the Mighty Mouse scroll wheel gets dirty, it stops being able to scroll down. Apparently, it’s a common problem, as a quick Google search turned up tons of pages, like this one at MacOSXHints.com.

The fix? Blow compressed air around the scroll ball, or just push on it really hard and roll it around (that worked for me). If you’re lucky (I was), it will start working again. If it keeps doing it, though, I’m going to have Apple replace it.

What a weird problem. Design flaw? Who knows. I guess it would be better if it were easier to remove and clean the scroll ball. Apple’s official directions for cleaning it are “hold it upside down and roll it around”. Seriously. They even have a video to show you how to do it. :-)

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iPod Nano 2G 8GB

iPod Nano 2G 8GB – Front, originally uploaded by JoshB.

Theo at work caved in and bought an iPod – the second generation Nano, 8GB, in black. He brought it over and let me take a few photos, and fondle it. :-)

There’s just something indescribeable about how the new aluminum bodied Nano feels in the hand. You just want to hold it, and caress it. It feels alternately cool and warm, depending on whether it’s been running or been held recently. And the screen is much brighter than before.

Very tempting, but the price is still kind of steep at $249. You can get the 30GB 5G hard drive model for the same price. And really hard to justify for someone who already has a 60GB 5G iPod, like me.

You can see the few other shots I took of it in this photoset on Flickr.

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The “Hillsburger” Kicked My Butt



The "Hillsburger" Kicked My Butt, originally uploaded by JoshB.

There’s a Dairy Queen in Hillsboro, OR (the corner or Brookwood and TV Hwy) that does things a little differently than other restaurants in the chain. The ice cream menu is the same, but they make their own burgers and fries – bigger and better than the standard frozen stuff.

This is the “Hillsburger”. Two 1/3 pound hamburger patties on an extra large six inch bun. All the fixins. Note the medium drink and my wife’s regular (but still quite large) “Queen” cheeseburger in the background for scale.

Yes, I ate it. Yes, it kicked my butt (in other words, I was regretting it for quite a while afterwards ;-). Worst part was they used Miracle Whip (which I can’t stand) or some other salad dressing instead of mayonnaise. 😛

Had to take this photo to commemorate the occasion.

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Periodic Feed Purge – I’m down to around 600 feeds now

I’m a(n) somewhat obsessive feed reader. I fluctuate between usually 800 and 1400 subscribed RSS feeds, organized into folders in Bloglines by topic and priority (how interested I am in reading them).

But every once in a while, I have to clean house. Recently I’ve found that I just wasn’t getting to a lot of my lower priority folders full of topical feeds (like Second Life, Cars, etc.). Unread items piled up by the thousands, and when I did get to them, I just skimmed through them super fast, mostly to get them “out of the way”.

So I dropped them, and I’m now down to 600 or so feeds, which you can see in real time over in the sidebar in my Grazr-powered blogroll.

Sure, I might miss out on interesting things once in a while, but I’m going to rely on idea aggregators like Digg and TechMeme, plus the blogs I’m still subscribed to, to bring me the good stuff. It hurt to get rid of some of those feeds – I’ve been going back and forth about this in my head for a couple of weeks now. One of my worst (obsessive) fears is “what if I miss out on reading about something cool or important?” So maybe this is a sort of therapy for me, or something. 😉

I’ll resubscribe to anything that catches my interest again, and I’m always looking for new feeds (how do you think I got up to 1400 in the first place? ;-)).

If you’re interested, my pre-purge list of subscriptions is available as an OPML file, suitable for your favorite aggregator or application that speaks OPML, or you can have a browse in this Grazr, um, Grazr. :-)

As always, my current feeds are available in my blogroll, over in the sidebar. This is a live reflection of what I’m subscribed to in Bloglines. It’ll start going up again, but I look at my feeds as an ever-evolving reading list of what’s interesting to me. And now I’m a little bit more free to let my interests go in a new direction, without the baggage of the past.

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Start an External Blog – It’s good for your career

(Note: This is a repost of something I just posted to my internal Intel blog, but I want to share it here, as well)

Worried about your job? Hoping to make a career leap (who isn’t)? Want to show the world what you know, what you’re passionate about, and what you can do?

Start an external blog. It’s easy, and free – there are tons of great services to do it. I highly recommend WordPress.com. Do it under your real name. It’s your place to show off.

Why?

Any prospective employer who has any degree of web savviness is going to Google you before they hire you. You want to control or influence what comes up when they do that, and a blog is the best way to do that. Don’t fall for “search engine optimization” tips – you can’t cheat. Write great content, link to interesting stuff, and keep at it.

Want some great examples? Here are a couple from your fellow Intel employees. Brent Schlenker writes about corporate eLearning on his blog. Read a few of his posts, and ask yourself if he knows what he’s talking about, and is excited about the subject. Would you want him to work on your team? Dawn Foster looks at the world of open source software and culture, and Web 2.0 on her blog. Again, read a few posts, and ask yourself what your opinion of Dawn would be if you were a prospective employer. Does she know her stuff?

Got questions? Scared? Need a push? Let me know what I can do to help (post a comment or email me).

But please, if you care about your career, just do it. Starting and writing an external blog could be the most important thing you do for your career in the next decade. I know that if I were hiring someone, I would care much less about their resume, and much more about what they’ve contributed and shared to the good of the world via the internet. Lots of employers are starting to feel that way, and it’s only going to increase. Don’t get left behind.

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Yay! Bloglines Mobile now integrates with Skweezer for mobile browsing

If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you probably know I’m a huge fan of the online feed aggregator Bloglines, and especially Bloglines Mobile (note the new m.bloglines.com URL, shorter than the old bloglines.com/mobile), which I use many times a day on my phone to keep up with my feed subscriptions.

One problem with Bloglines Mobile (common to mobile web browsing in general) has been that if you click on a post or a link in a post that goes to another web page, it’s not displayed in a “mobile friendly” way, and you’re left at the mercy of how well your mobile web browser can reformat the page. Or not.

I’ve been bending the ear of the folks at Bloglines for a while now, both on this blog, and when I’ve run into them in person at conferences, to take advantage of a mobile web “reformating” service like Google Mobile Page Translator or Skweezer to make outbound links from Bloglines Mobile readable on the small screen.

Today, via a comment from Paul Querna at Bloglines, comes news that they’ve done exactly that!

Puttin’ the Skweeze on Bloglines Mobile

For those of us who rely on and love Bloglines Mobile while on the go, here’s another reason to dig it. Bloglines has now integrated Skweezer technology to optimize web pages for your personal handheld mobile device’s viewing pleasure.

When you click on a link while reading a blog post in Bloglines Mobile, Skweezer will compress and reformat the content so you get it faster and better looking on your small screen. As you surf, the content will continue to be skweezed. Hints & bonus features:

  • Click on the “Hide Images” link at the bottom of the page and skweezed content will load even faster.
  • At the bottom of the skweezed page, you’ll find links back to the feed you were reading and a link back to your feed list.
  • If you run across any pages that are not in your native tongue, Skweezer will translate to more than a dozen languages.

So if you’ve been wary of venturing beyond your Bloglines Mobile on your fancy new Blackberry (or Treo or other smartphone), free yourself from those inhibitions and click away!

I haven’t even tried it out yet, but I’ve used it for a while, and it’s awesome. I’m super excited about this news. A big thanks to the folks at Bloglines for listening and paying attention to what people are asking for, and then making it happen. I’m now more in love with Bloglines than I was before. :-)

Update: Steve Rubel points out that there’s also a new Skweezer-ified Bloglines Mobile Search available now, that combines Bloglines’ awesome mobile blog search and Skweezer’s page formatting for mobile devices. Nice!

Here’s a shot of Steve’s blog – notice the links at the bottom to go back to my Bloglines feeds:


And here’s a shot of the new Bloglines Mobile Search with Skweezer:


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