March 2005

The iPod shuffle ad is genius

by Michael Alderete on 3/29/2005

I don’t think you can fully appreciate the genius of the latest iPod shuffle ad until you’ve been watching the NCAA Tournament in a sports bar with a zillion TVs, and the spot is suddenly on 20+ screens all around you, especially if they have the sound turned up.

I dunno if anyone thought of that scenario when they decided to run the spots during the Tournament, but if they did, all I can say is wow.

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2005 Tournament, round 1

by Michael Alderete on 3/19/2005

After the first round, it looks like I had some great picks. One of my ESPN Tournament Challenge entries (labelled “Whimsical”) is in the 100th percentile, just outside the top 10,000, of nearly 3 million entries.

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2005 Tournament predictions

by Michael Alderete on 3/17/2005 · 1 comment

Just so I post these before any results are in:

  • Illinois is overrated; I’ve picked them to go deep in the past, and always regretted it. Of course, they have a new coach this year, so maybe that’ll change. But I have Oklahoma St. in the Final Four.
  • Speaking of coaches that have let me down, I don’t have Kansas going very far.
  • On the other hand, I think this is Roy Williams’s year, and predict UNC to win it all.
  • If it isn’t North Carolina, it’ll be Connecticut.

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Anti-virus for Mozilla Thunderbird?

by Michael Alderete on 3/15/2005 · 19 comments

For many years, Rochelle used Netscape Communicator for her email. About a year and a half ago, I switched her to Mozilla Thunderbird, which is the code and user-interface successor to Communicator. For the most part it works very well, but it has one astonishing omission: its anti-virus capabilities are terrible.

This is all the more remarkable given their tagline (“Reclaim Your Inbox”), and the second sentence of their Why Use Thunderbird blurb: “We designed Thunderbird to prevent viruses and to stop junk mail so you can get back to reading your mail.” Thunderbird is positioned as the more user-centric, safer alternative to Microsoft Outlook.

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The tragic consequences of reasonable decisions

by Michael Alderete on 3/13/2005 · 1 comment

There is no doubt that I should have seen this coming. Should have been ready, mentally and financially, for this to get really complicated, really fast. But it truly did seem simple to me, back when we first started.

I am writing, of course, of our apparent decision to rip the kitchen out to the studs.

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Comment form fakeout

by Michael Alderete on 3/13/2005 · 4 comments

When I converted this site to WordPress, I decided to turn on commenting, and see what happened. I have gotten a fair number of really good comments, and from people I didn’t know, which was cool. I also got a ton of comment spam (most of which never made it online). Not cool.

So I did a few things about it.

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The joy of BAC

by Michael Alderete on 3/11/2005

This passed the “laugh out loud” test with me:

The Famous Sushi Pants story

I used to think that Red Bull was the most destructive invention of the past 50 years. I was wrong. Red Bull has been usurped by the portable alcohol breathalyzer. The same device that cops have been using for 10 years to conduct field sobriety tests is now offered by the Sharper Image for $99. Though not as accurate as a blood test, they are accurate to within .01, which is good enough for my purposes. I was living in Boca Raton, Florida, when I bought one to take out with me on a Saturday night. This is the story.

Hat tip to the Pretty Evil Edith…

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Not feeling sorry for Think Secret

by Michael Alderete on 3/9/2005 · 3 comments

There’s been a lot of press recently about Apple’s lawsuit against the Think Secret website, and virtually all of them assert that Think Secret has a First Amendment right to publish as they have been doing. Finally, someone has written — and done the research to back it up — what I had been thinking for a while: that it’s not unreasonable for Apple to sue people who publish their trade secrets.

It’s one thing to suppress protected speech; if Apple was suing to make the guy stop writing about how much he hates Steve’s black turtlenecks, or something else that was a matter of opinion or public fact, that would be one thing. But Think Secret is publishing commercial trade secrets, or at least trying to, and that runs into other laws besides the First Amendment.

Now, the court may eventually find in favor of Think Secret. And that would be OK. But it’s a complicated issue that deserves debate and deliberation, and the courts are the right place for that. So I’m not at all feeling like Apple is out of line for initiating the lawsuit.

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NYE Open House and Freecycle Party

March 6, 2005

On New Year’s Eve we had a daytime open house and “freecycle” party. I thought I’d post the invite here, since people told us it was pretty amusing…

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March 6, 2005

I am a huge fan of, having started using it to buy books shortly after they launched, and expanding my purchases through them ever since. They’ve never failed to impress me with a very high level of customer service. So Wednesday I signed up for Amazon Prime, which provides free 2nd day delivery on all orders (no minimum order amount), and overnight delivery for $3.99, for one year.

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What’s black, weighs 650 pounds, and will soon be crashing through my front door?

March 3, 2005

You know that “oh shit” moment at the top of a roller coaster, when you’ve just finished the slow climb up, and haven’t really started the first drop. The point where you’d really like to take just a couple seconds to summon your courage, but it’s too late, out of your hands, and carrying you away whether you’re ready or not?

That’s what buying our new stove was like tonight.

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