Pets Warehouse Sues Hobbyists

Why Salon.com is great: covering little stories like Pets Warehouse Sues Hobbyists.

I’m grateful to Salon.com for running this story, about how the people behind Pets Warehouse sued a bunch of hobbiests. From reading the article, it sounds like a classic case of someone using the legal system to intimidate and outspend an opponent into submission. I doubt very much if Salon.com will roll over and play dead in quite the same way, and so they’re making sure the story of the little guy is heard.

Salon.com is a great online publication. They have outstanding political coverage, and do a great job of covering technology in a way that no one else really does, with thoughtful, in-depth writing of the highest quality.

Recommended.

Purging Spam

If spam in your Inbox is a problem, Mailfilter is a pretty good solution, especially if you’re using Mac OS X.

Update: I no longer recommend Mailfilter under any circumstances. See my Personal Survey of Anti-Spam Tools for more current recommendations.

I get a lot of spam (unsolicited commercial e-mail), primarily because I have a lot of public web sites with my e-mail address on them. The spammers have robots that spider the web, scanning for e-mail addresses and adding them to their databases of victims to send offers for free porn, herbal viagra, multi-level marketing opportunities, transfers of money from Nigeria, and the like.

I get dozens of spam messages a day. For a long time I sent them to the Spam Recycling Center, but recently that started bouncing the messages back to me, so I had to find something else to do with them. And frankly, I’m tired to trying to fight spam. Now I just want to get less of it.

I recently found a utility called Mailfilter that is my new answer. Basically it pre-scans my incoming e-mail, and if anything matches a spam rule, it deletes it before I ever see it. I’ve been using it for less than a week, and it’s already deleted more than 200 spam messages. I am a very happy user.

The best thing, for me, is that it runs natively on Mac OS X, and integrates quite well with my e-mail client, Eudora, via AppleScript and cron.

It’s not for the faint-of-heart, technically. If you don’t know what a compiler is, or cron, or a shell script, then it’s probably not for you. But if any of those things sounds familiar then Mailfilter may be a pretty good solution for you, too.

Building a Better Keyboard

Today I attached to my Mac G4 the most advanced, comfortable keyboard I’ve ever used: a 10-year old Apple Extended Keyboard.

Today I gave up on the KeyTronic, the keyboard I selected when I couldn’t stand anymore the Apple Pro Keyboard that came with my new computer. I used it for several months to be able to say that I truly gave it a shot. But, in the end, it sucked. Like most keyboards today suck.

I now have my trusty 10-year old Apple Extended Keyboard attached to my 6-month old Apple G4, using a Griffin Technology iMate ADB-to-USB adapter.

It’s kind of an ugly hack. I’d much rather be using a modern USB keyboard, especially one with the special keys for volume up/down/mute and CD eject, like the new Apple Pro Keyboard.

But all of those just have the wrong feel. Too spongy, wrong resistance, not enough tactile feedback. The AEK is perhaps the finest keyboard ever made. Certainly, it is to me. I may never give it up.

I Love College Basketball

This is the best time of year to be a sports fan — March Madness! And I am headed to Vegas for the tournament opening!

Every year since we’ve been together, Rochelle is baffled by my sudden disinterest in virtually everything except watching basketball on TV. She’s weaned me almost entirely off football, and just can’t figure out what it will take to do the same for college basketball.

There’s no cure for March Madness, baby!

In the run-up to Championship Week I’m watching games a couple days a week (including one during lunch this last week where I told my co-workers to leave without me, I’ll walk back when the game is over), and then during the actual conference tournaments I’m watching games just about every day.

But the capper is the actual NCAA tournament. Most years I take vacation days so I can watch the first two rounds of the tournament. I usually just watch at home, except when an important game (to my bracket) isn’t being aired on CBS, then I have to go to a sports bar to catch that one.

This year I’m headed to the ultimate sports bar — Las Vegas — to watch the first two rounds of the tournament. I’m meeting up with a bunch of folks from my last job. Should be a blast.

Oops, gotta run, the ACC Tournament Final game is about to start!

Neuhaus Chocolates

We’ve tried a lot of others, and Neuhaus chocolates are the world’s best.

One of the great tragedies of my business trip to Europe was that I was in and out of Brussels so fast that I didn’t have time to buy chocolate. Rochelle and I have tried a lot of really good chocolates, and the best — by far — have been Neuhaus. Brought direct from Belgium.

Our tenant introduced us to them, when he brought them back from visiting his parents over Xmas one year. He picked us up a $5 box of chocolates in the airport as a gift. Sort of like Sees candy in SFO, except way, way better.

We tried buying some here in the US, but you can’t get the fresh cream chocolates that way, only if you buy them in Belgium. So we thought that I’d pick up about a dozen boxes while Euro-hopping, except I never got the chance.

Fortunately for me (Rochelle made me open my suitcases at the airport to see what I’d brought her, and decide whether I got a ride home or not), I managed to pick up a kilo of Neuhaus at Harrod’s in London, right before getting on the plane to come home. But they were 3 times as expensive there, so only one box for us, which is nearly exhausted now.

More Pig-Out Photos

We’ve put up a few more photos of food from our regular visits to fine dining establishments in San Francisco. This time, Gary Danko and breakfast at Bloo.

I’ve put up a few more photos of the food we’ve eaten in San Francisco. It was a long time ago that Rochelle and I ate at Gary Danko, so the descriptions are curt. But the photos should make it clear we were eating well while there.

And in our photos from dinner at Bloo we promised a return visit, for breakfast. Well, we’ve gone twice for breakfast, ordering the same things both times. It’s quite delicious, and there’s no waiting, unlike at the popular Kate’s Kitchen just down the block (which is not as good, IMHO).

Writing for the Boss

Someday someone I work for will read this. Hopefully they’ll like it, because I’m not stopping.

More of my noodling around, I found a great weblog by a very honest man, who’s boss wanted him to stop writing his weblog.

He said no.

Since someday someone I work for will surely run across this weblog, hopefully they’ll like it, or if not maybe they’ll read Mark’s article, and not ask me to stop writing. This weblog isn’t as interesting, as honest as Mark’s, but I’m working on it. And plan to keep doing so.

The Last of the Independents

A new mattress and box spring from McRoskey, and we’re spending more time than ever in bed.

While in Europe, someone on the trip explained his strategy for coping with jet lag. Get back early, run errands all day, then go to bed at the right local time, exhausted, and be in sync by the next day. He had three events to go to the day of his return.

I had exactly the opposite waiting for me when I got back: a brand new bed.

We’d needed a new mattress for a while, because the ditch in the middle of our existing mattress was driving us nuts (never, ever, ever buy a pillowtop mattress). McRoskey Airflex is a local mattress factory that’s one of the last independents, with a great reputation, and happens to be only a few blocks from our house. We’d been meaning to check them out for nearly two years, and seeing them featured on Martha Stewart was the final straw. We went, we laid down, we bought.

Rochelle took delivery of our brand new mattress and box spring literally the day before I got back. Fortunately we stayed away from the new bed until late in the evening, because sleeping on a McRoskey is like sleeping on a buttered cloud (the only thing better than laying on a cloud is laying on a buttered cloud — everything’s better with butter). We’re having real difficulty doing anything in bed except passing out.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Get your minds out of the gutter!

virtual (void)

A great piece of music, and former corporate theme song for Be, Inc.

Since getting started on refurbishing all these BeBoxes, I’ve been listening to Baron’s “virtual (void)” [MP3], over and over again.

For those who never saw a BeOS demo, “virtual (void)” was the song baked into one of the most compelling demo apps we had, a 3D audio mixer that never failed to get jaws to drop. Andy Grove himself said “I didn’t know a PC could do that” when he saw the BeOS demo.

At any rate, listening to this song, which I truly love, and which is so completely tied to Be in my mind, I’m reminded (over and over) how much fun it was to work there, and how much I enjoyed working with the other people who were having fun there, like Baron.

So, I named the first BeBox “Baron”. ’Cause I still feel guilty for trying to take the files from him.