Monday, July 28, 2003


Camping in Philly

They should give you a Wharton degree just for moving. It's a lot more complicated than, say Microeconomics, where you optimize labor and capital and then you're basically done.

Moving never ends. After loading our stuff onto a trailer 10 days ago, we are now in downtown Philly awaiting our trailer and car to arrive. We're in an empty apartment with suitcases, a recently purchased baby swing, and some groceries from 7-Eleven. The baby swing comes in handy when mom and dad are painting the walls. Yes, we're painting our apartment, something I'd never done (or thought of doing) with a rental property. But we'll be here for two years, and I defer to the Mrs. on all aesthetic considerations. I've never given all-white walls a second thought. Prior to marriage, walls served purely utilitarian purposes, not decorative ones. Walls served to support skis, to house electrical outlets, or to lean against when the chair had too many clothes on it. For those purposes, white walls worked just as well as "desert sand" walls.

Seeing as how we didn't have our car, the acquisition of the paint supplies (3 cans of paint, 2 rollers with extension poles, tape, 4 pans, brushes, etc.) was quite a feat. Home Depot needs to get some big plastic bags by the way. Their biggest ones were about the size of barf bags. On the way home, we hopped on a bus that took us home the round-about way, enabling us to see the parts of Philly they warn you about. In the thick of that journey was just when our 7-week old boy got hungry, and cheesesteaks don't cut it for him, if you know what I'm saying (hint: we didn't have a bottle). After 45 minutes, one baby feeding, one bus transfer in South Hell, PA, and a 10-bag juggling act, we made it home. The moral of the story: rent a car!

Oh, and I've found a use for AOL: that Internet dry spell when you're waiting for your DSL modem but your phone is already hooked up. I'm still amazed that there are still 31 million people relying on this service. It's like camping on the Internet. Bearable for a weekend, but man are you glad when you get home to broadband.

posted by Ryan : 2:11 PM | permalink

Tuesday, July 15, 2003


Moving from Cali to Philly

The dreaded time has come to move. The last time I moved more than 30 miles was 5 years ago. I packed all of my belongings in a Honda Accord and still had room for a big gulp and a good stretch.

5 years later I still have the same Accord. But there are 200% more people to move, 400% more miles to drive, and, miraculously, there is 17,000% more stuff. Needless to say this results in an exponentially larger headache.

So we're not driving. We're letting Upack drive our stuff out and having A2B ship our car. And United Airlines is shipping the human cargo, thanks to some recently discovered frequent flyer miles (I guess consulting had its perks). As for packing, loading, and unloading... I don't even want to talk about it. In the immortal words of Seinfeld:
When you're moving, your whole world is boxes. That's all you think about. "Boxes, where are there boxes?" You just wander down the street going in and out of stores, "Are there boxes here? Have you seen any boxes?" It's all you think about. You could be at a funeral, everyone around you is mourning, crying, and you're looking at the casket. "That's a nice box. Does anybody know where that guy got that box? When he's done with it, you think I could get it? It's got some nice handles on it. My stereo would fit right in there."

posted by Ryan : 2:07 PM | permalink

Kazaa Lite blocks RIAA

Anyone still using the regular version of Kazaa should switch to Kazaa Lite / K++. Aside from being spyware-free, the new version (v2.40) has a host of new features, not least of which is the RIAA-blocking (my thoughts on the RIAA here).

Of course, Soulseek still takes the cake for music collectors.

(P.S. BBC article features a survey showing music downloaders actually buy more music.... you don't say...)

posted by Ryan : 11:29 AM | permalink

Monday, July 14, 2003


Keyboard for pirates

Whether you plunder ships on the open seas or just copy software, this one's for you.

posted by Ryan : 10:37 AM | permalink

Sunday, July 13, 2003


Blogging for dummies

AOL's preparing to offer blogging features this summer to their 34MM users. Some may herald this as the day the blog went mainstream. My guesstimation is that 2MM actually try the feature out, and only 100K actually stick with it. Pessimistic perhaps, but I just don't think blogging is for everybody. To be a blog writer requires a mix of three qualities: boredom, exhibitionism, and a functioning cerebrum. Many AOL users will get tripped up on the tertiary requirement.

posted by Ryan : 10:42 PM | permalink

Friday, July 11, 2003


Battle Mountain, NV

If you find yourself driving on Highway 80 between San Francisco and Salt Lake City, you should consider stopping in Battle Mountain, Nevada. We were lucky enough to find ourselves there on Wednesday, just one stop on our exciting 16-hour-drive-through-America's-wasteland-with-an-eternally-hungry-infant-in-the-back-seat. You'll know you've hit Battle Mountain when you see the big whitewashed rock with the initials "BM" on an adjoining mountain (I'm not making that up).

On Wednesday, we had lunch at McDonalds in BM. It was the only restaurant in town that appeared to have been built after the gold rush. In a nutshell, the McNuggets were terrible (yes, I do usually like McNuggets), we had to re-order the chicken sandwich twice due to condiment errors, and an employee spotted in the bathroom eschewed the popular tradition of washing one's hands after using the toilet. All par for the course for a nowheresville McDonalds, right?

Actually, Battle Mountain, NV is officially the "Armpit of America," a distinction given by a Washington Post article. Here is a teaser, but you really must read the full article:
Take a small town, remove any trace of history, character, or charm. Allow nothing with any redeeming qualities within city limits -- this includes food, motel beds, service personnel. Then place this pathetic assemblage of ghastly buildings and nasty people on a freeway in the midst of a harsh, uninviting wilderness, far enough from the nearest city to be inconvenient, but not so far for it to develop a character of its own. You now have created Battle Mountain, Nevada.
My biggest regret about the trip that I have no pictures for you all. You'll just have to experience it for yourself.

posted by Ryan : 12:40 AM | permalink

Thursday, July 10, 2003


New Janes

Listening to an advance copy of the new Janes Addiction CD, thanks to Soulseek, the online music traders' best kept secret. Not to worry, RIAA watchdogs: I'll order the CD/DVD combo when it comes out. These CD/DVD bundles seem to be growing in popularity, and it's about time. If the recording companies want to innovate rather than just litigate, they might consider doing more of these.

On a personal note, much has changed since I bought Janes Addiction's last studio album thirteen years ago. I now have a drivers' license, a wife, and a son. But then again.... I still have a Ricky Shroeder haircut, still watch the Simpsons, and still subsist on a diet of Ravioli and Life cereal. Some things just don't change.

posted by Ryan : 11:48 PM | permalink

WiFi finder

Kensington has a pretty cool gadget for wireless hot spot surfers: the WiFi finder. Looks like a studfinder, only it finds wireless networks. What I can't understand is why Kensington doesn't let you buy it from their site... or even link you to a preferred vendor for instant purchase. Amazon apparently hasn't stocked it yet but a Froogle search reveals several online vendors selling it for $20-$30.
As for me, WiFi is still a pipe dream. The IBM Thinkpad T40 I ordered from Wharton's computer store (over 1 month ago) has yet to ship. Bummer.

posted by Ryan : 10:46 PM | permalink

Monday, July 07, 2003


First Father/Son outing

Christian and I went on our first father/son outing today. We saw a matinee of Terminator 3. With a 32oz. Mr. Pibb on the left and a 4oz. bottle on the right, we were good to go. I had to explain a bit of the plot to him (he slept through the first hour, plus he hadn't seen T1 or T2).

If you're bored and in the mood for senseless action and special effects, then it may be worth the matinee price. In the end, I gave it 2 stars out of 4 (). Christian gave it 1 filled diaper out of 4 ().

posted by Ryan : 2:13 PM | permalink

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