August 2005 - Chris Ullrich dot net
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August 2005

Bad day on bourbon street and Apple news


all i can say about this is i’m glad i’ve been to New Orleans so many times and have experienced that great city and its people. because, New Orleans is no more thanks to Hurricane Katrina. at least the one that i knew and loved. of course, i also feel bad for the people that were hurt and killed and happy that the death toll isn’t higher.

it could have been worse, i guess. now, of course, there is looting, people shooting each other and all the other things that come out during a time like this. most will rise to the occasion and try to help. some will see this as an opportunity and exploit it. i feel sorry for the ones that are going to exploit it. they must have very empty lives. or maybe they are just assholes.

it sort of seems strange to talk about other things going on around the internet but what the hell. here goes:

first, some related stuff. the New Orleans version of Craigslist is being used to help Katrina victims reunite with family and friends. if you know something about someone who is there or want to find out something, it might be a good place to go.

over at yahoo, they have a slide show of Katrina images. some are hard to look at.

apple is preparing some stuff for the devoted mac user (myself included) that should arrive, or at least be announced shortly. among the new items is a major update to the .mac service featuring the new, improved backup 3.0 and exclusive dashboard widgets just for .mac people (try to control yourself).

if they can fix all the problems with isync and get my stuff to sync correctly, i would be really happy. really, that’s all they would have to do. i don’t need new backup software. just make isync work like it used to before you “improved” it.

also, apple is expected to announce the long-rumored iTunes phone the week of september 7th. they have even given out invites to a “special media event” at the moscone center in san francisco to show off whatever they are going to show off. could be interesting. or maybe it could even be a video ipod. after all, they do let you download music videos at the itunes music store. september 7th is right around the corner.

i for one, can’t wait to see what’s next.

distracted and in some pain

not only did i recently get a big new TV so naturally i have to watch shows that i would not normally watch, like any of the CSI shows, because they are in High Def but i have also started to, it seems, suffer from some sort of carpal tunnel or repetitive stress disorder. in other words, when i use the computer, more specifically the mouse, for even a short time, i get a tingling in my right hand and pain in my right elbow and even more annoying, a pain in my shoulder and neck.

so that is some sort of explanation for the longer duration between posts here. its not that i don’t love doing this or really appreciate the readers who keep coming back and read this, its just that i have this new big TV and more importantly, it kinda hurts to get on the computer. so, i got that going for me, which is nice. however, i am here now and my neck does hurt and my hand is tingling but i say what he hell, you guys deserve an update or at least some sort of effort on my part. just had to move the mouse just then and its so odd, it hurt my neck to move it. this is not good.

its especially not good in that i make a large part of my living sitting in front of a computer. not always mine but other people’s. if i could not do it, i would not only suffer physically but financially as well. this has been going on for about a week or so and i thought it would go away. unfortunately, no such luck. so, i guess a trip to the doctor is in order. although, i am not looking forward to it as we recently changed insurance and the doctor that i really like is now not included in our plan. so, we need to find a new doctor.

i don’t know about you but i really don’t like doctors all that much. it took a long time to find one that i not only like but trust is making the right decisions. (let’s not get started on my control issues right now, thanks) so, finding a new one might not be so easy. i really think that the insurance industry in this country has its head up its ass for the most part. isn’t a large part of maintaining patient health associated with believing in your doctor and their ability? it is for me. i only hope we can find someone who we like and isn’t a total lame ass who just follows what the insurance company says is the right thing to do.

with our previous doctor, i really felt like she had our best interest in mind and didn’t really think about what was best for the insurance company or anything like that. it was a great feeling. i really felt like they cared. maybe its lame but it meant something to me. now, who knows what’s going to happen. i didn’t meant this to turn into a rant against insurance companies or anything but it sure seems like the system has some real problems. at least we don’t live in Canada.

ok, now to salvage this post and talk about a little news and stuff around the internets (as i sometimes like to do):

see the innards of the new XBox360! try to control your excitement.

the dualphone for skype is finally available in the good old USA. make calls over the internet for free using this phone and the skype service. you can even call me if you want. although, i probably won’t answer.

and, sadly, one of my favorite places could be under water shortly as Katrina prepares to kick the shit out of New Orleans. i hope the gumbo shop and jaques-imo’s are going to be ok. those places rock. if you ever get to New Orleans, try them. you won’t be sorry.

big Sony televisions, DirectTV high-def video and other cool stuff

lots of cool things happening around my place in the last few days. we are making the transition to HD so that required a new television and a switch to DirectTV in order to get HD programming and a TiVo that will record HD. our old and trusty Sony TV gave it up a week or so ago and so the hunt for a replacement was on.

i looked at various models, features and kinds. i was trying to stay under 2K as i think that’s enough to spend on a TV, even if we do watch a lot of it. we settled on another Sony and are looking forward to the delivery on Tuesday. so, that’s the first part done. need an HD TV. check.

next, due to the good folks at Adelphia not being able to offer HD cable in our area as of yet, we are forced to abandon them and move to DirectTV. actually, its not that big of a deal as DirectTV is the only one that offers a DVR with TiVo anyway and we have to have TiVo so that’s a no-brainer. i would rather give my five bucks a month to a company i like instead of a company that kinda sucks like Adelphia.

so, now we have a DirectTV HD DVR with Tivo to hook up to the dish that DirectTV will be sending with an installer next Monday. i will have to use the TV for almost a week with only standard def programming (sad for me). although, i should be able to get over the air HD in the interim as our building has an antenna on the roof. so that’s cool. either way, i can wait a week to get this all finished. then, i can cancel Adelphia. i can’t wait to make that call.

of course, any good HD TV needs a progressive scan DVD player to go with it so we needed to get one of those also. again, a Sony was the call. good reviews at and a price that’s pretty darn low made this a winner. it should arrive in a day or so and then we can really see what one of those Superbit DVD’s can do. more on this later.

as the whole process moves along, i will report back in and also post some reviews of the various parts of this HD puzzle like the TV and the DirectTV Tivo. plus, does the Superbit DVD process really make things look better and is it worth not having any extras on the disk? i’ll get into that also.

Interesting stuff (at least to me) from around the internets

first off, the fine folks at the RIAA are now, it seems, going to be going after you in your homes for making you own cd’s from music you already purchased. so, if you rip a cd that you own and then burn it or make some kind of compilation cd from songs you already own, they feel you are a threat to their business.

is it just me or do the record companies seem to be desperately trying to cling to a business model that seems destined to fail. i don’t know what the solution for them is but i’m pretty sure that lawsuits and the like are not necessarily the way to go about it. all that seems to do is enrage your customers and drive more people to do the things you don’t want them to do. although, i do think their statistics are flawed or at least their interpretation of those stats.

i guess the movie and tv industry should be worried as well. if everyone had a faster connection to the internet, i’m sure people would be trading movies and tv shows as fast as they do music now. its only music at the moment because music files are much smaller than video files. although, i know you can go to sites and download movies right now (no, i’m not going to tell you where). but that is mostly confined to a smaller group. a group that has bandwidth to spare.

in the next few years when every home has a fiber connection running at ten times your current dsl speed, movie downloading and swapping will become a big problem. i only hope that the MPAA has a better solution to the problem at that time than the RIAA has now. i won’t hold my breath on that one.

plus, is your boss a psychopath? take this quiz and find out. it worries me a little how many of these questions apply to people i have worked with in the past. especially certain producers on certain films. i knew something was off about those people. i thought they were just assholes. now i know the truth. i hope they finally got the help they so obviously needed.

ok, have a great weekend all. we are off to hugo’s in studio city for a bite. if you have never been, i recommend it highly. it’s very good and friendly to non-traditional eaters (vegetarian, etc.)


People are crazy and other news of the world


this is sad. its a shame what people are willing to do to save some money. i love the mac too but really, get a grip people. and i have to wonder if the Richmond Police slept through the lecture about crowd control at the police academy.

in other more positive news and tidbits from around the web:

the Xbox 360 is about ready for production (i want mine)

want a Dell computer? here’s how to get the best deal on a new piece of Dell technology from a guy who should know.

Intel (my new fav chip maker) is going to deliver dual core chips sooner than expected. now if only Motorola and IBM could have delivered something earlier (or even on time. 3Ghz G5 anyone?).

run Windows on your PSP. wasn’t that supposed to be impossible? much like running IntelOSX on non-Apple hardware was supposed to be. but that didn’t take long either.

an interesting take on the future of gaming on the mac, especially with the pending switch to intel chips. personally, i hope the switch leads to more games for the mac. and really, it should be easier to code now that we are all one big Intel family. maybe we will even get games released on both platforms at the same time? i can dream, can’t I?

and, hurry before this is gone. if you want one of the cool, black Motorola Razr phones for free (after rebate) check this out at looks like its Cingular only but still, free is pretty cool.

Apple – the final countdown


no, not a mid-eighties rocker ballad. it is, in fact, come to the final countdown for my g5, still in the hands of the glendale apple store. but here’s a miraculous bit of news that i got just yesterday. a nice young man from the store called and told me that due to them having my computer “for so long” and not being able to repair it, they have decided to give me a new one.

yes, you heard it right (or read it, actually). apple is giving me a new computer to replace the one they cannot fix. is this a great country or what? kudos to the entire team at the apple store glendale and especially my new best friend conan. i think this is what could be called outstanding customer service.

granted, i did originally pay over 3 grand for the computer only a year and a half ago and i do have apple care and i did leave the computer there to be fixed almost a month ago and i already replaced it with a new g5 tower at my expense but hey, at least they are finally doing the right thing. i think its very cool. it makes sense. if they can’t fix it, they should just replace it.

i have heard of apple doing this before but not very often. i’m sure this is a last resort type of thing. not something that they want to do. but its nice to know that they will, if they have no other option. and i didn’t even have to ask them to do it. it might also help that my mac consulting company is a preferred consultancy for the store and that i am personal friends with the top managers. so, as they say, your mileage may vary if you try to get them to replace your mac.

regardless of my personal relationships, its just nice that a company will take the steps necessary to satisfy a customer. it gives me hope in these uncertain times of intel chips and sagging ipod shuffle sales. despite all the turmoil, i think things are going to turn out ok. at least in my little apple computer world. its the rest of the world i’m not so sure about.


in other news not necessarily about me (yes, there is some, believe it or not):

apple scraps their shiny new “switch” campaign without firing a shot.

apparently, the rumors of drm preventing you from installing osx for intel on a non-macintosh are not so true after all.

martin sargent, late of the screensavers and unscrewed fame, returns to the web, ready, it seems, to get back to work.

CBGB’s gets to stay put.

and, my favorite news anchor, peter jennings, died recently of lung cancer. he was a class act and loved the daily show. was he cool or what? RIP peter.

Testing Dashboard


i’m testing a dashboard widget that allows you to post to my blog. so, how does it look? i guess its the same. why wouldn’t it look the same?

anyway, things are going well. busy and all that. saw “the island” on sunday and i gotta say, it wasn’t that bad. of course, i went into it with low expectations after hearing all the critics bash it and it not making much money, but i was very surprised.

its not perfect but it is fun and has a great look. plus, scarlett johansen looks fantastic so that’s a plus. i mean she really looks fantastic. almost unbelievable. ewan mcgreagor looks pretty good too, if you go that way. but really, just look at scarlett, will ya?

Friday report


last night we spent some time in los feliz. i have to say that although it was pretty trendy i had a good time. we ate at a restaurant called fred 62 and then went on to the LAist one year anniversary party at the vermont bar. a good time was had by all. or, at least, me and most everyone. i went with add and jrod. add has little trouble talking to other people and i can walk away from him to mingle and he will be fine.

jrod, on the other hand, is a little more socially handicapped. he’s a great guy and i like him. he just seems to have trouble in social situations. its easy for me. i can walk up to pretty much anyone and strike up a conversation. and, as this was a party for LAist, a website i write for, it was even easier for me to talk to people. not so much for jrod.

although, i don’t know exactly what i expect. do i think he will be the life of the party and go around charming all the ladies? maybe i expect too much of him. i just want him to be happy. he is single and has a new job that he regrets taking. he was making good money in the freelance world but had an opportunity to move to a full-time gig with room for advancement so he took it. now, he regrets it as the new job hasn’t yielded the results he was hoping for. that’s life i guess. perhaps it will work out in the end.

anyway, i met some nice people like the go fug yourself girls (they were cool and didn’t make fun of my outfit), Mark from Buzznet, Tracy of Little Lady Red and had some good conversation and stayed completely sober the entire night.

i’m sure there are pictures floating around the internets from the event but i didn’t take even one. if i find any, i will post them or link to them. i know people had cameras as i got flashed in the face a few times. as to what happened to the pictures, its anyone’s guess. well, on to the weekend.

Last Call (and some news)

i’m at my “office” (aka Starbucks) and people watching a little. The summer is always interesting here in the warmer climes. much more skin is shown and many times that’s a good thing. in fact, there are some pretty good examples of that here right now.

sadly, sometimes it isn’t. you know what I mean. now, i’m not small or thin by any means. In fact, i’m pretty big. however, at least I have the sense not to wear a shirt where my entire stomach is exposed so it can hang way over my belt. although, mine doesn’t do that. anyway, you’ve seen that person before, i know you have. people just should look in the mirror a little more before leaving the house. i’m not against them, i feel bad for them.

anyway, i am at least taking steps to remedy my situation. first, and this will definitely come as a surprise to many, i have stopped drinking alcohol completely. yes, that’s right. no more booze. i’l give you a minute. . . .ok, you may wonder why? its not because i think i have a problem or that i think alcohol is bad or that i’ve found God or anything. nothing so dramatic. it is just time to stop.

all the rest of you can keep drinking as much as you want. i am not going to judge anyone. what i’m doing is only for me. just to see if i can. it’s really more of an exercise to help me get healthier. i don’t like the feeling i get after a night of going out for a few. the next day (sometimes the next two days) are just not as fun when you have a hangover and feel like crap.

this started after my last trip to vegas for add’s birthday party. that was early june. so it has been a couple months already. i won’t say i have not had a drink at all in the last few months. i have had one or two. stopping completely is harder than it sounds. however, my intake is way, way, way down and is going to stay that way. its just time for a change, that’s all.

also, i have started back to the gym and am eating less and exercising more. just like you are supposed to. i want to try it this way and see if things improve. i don’t want to resort to an all liquid diet like my friends tm and jh are trying. a doctor supervised ucla experiment. i guess its come to that for them. not for me. not yet anyway.

in other news of the world:

apple comes out with a 2-button mouse! hell does not, in fact, freeze over.

the space shuttle will get some in-space repairs.

and, NASA shows a few designs for the next-gen shuttle (nyt reg required). change for the better is good. let’s hope they are on the right track.

a noted Windows expert calls for a boycott of the next version of Internet Explorer (IE7).

and this guy has a lot of time on his hands but he might have a point. i have heard of this. at least it hasn’t happened to me yet. i hope netflix isn’t like that but you never know.