Thursday, January 29, 2004

Irrational exuberance

If you’re looking for some good coverage of Trippi’s resignation, the campaign’s focus (or lack thereof) and what this means moving forward, be sure to read Noam Scheiber’s mea culpa at TNR last night.

Bottom line: the clock is ticking. Roy Neel has his work cut out for him.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Linux update

Thanks to this page and Linux Voodoo, I am now syncing my Treo 270 with SuSE Linux. Still can’t print.

I’m setting up a wiki page to catalog what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, etc.: LinuxResources. Feel free to add your comments, tips, suggestions, critiques, etc.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Good on-the-ground reporting from NH

If you’re looking for the on-the-ground reporting that the news media seems to be embarassed by (why cover the story when you can just tell people what to think?), some great sites you should be reading:

  • DailyKos, as with Iowa, has great reporting by folks like Jerome Armstrong, Kos, and Tom Schaller.

  • The Gadflyer. The aforementioned Tom Schaller is posting longer observations from NH than what’s going on dKos. His report on Dean’s organization today is a must-read.

  • TalkingPointsMemo. Josh Marshall is my hero — and has been in NH for nearly a week covering all of the major candidates.

Help with Linux

OK… so I’m up and running with SuSE Linux 9.0. And I’ve hit a wall. Two, actually:

  • Printing. I have an HP OfficeJet G85xi connected to an HP JetDirect print server. While you’re supposed to be able to connect a printer via TCP instead of via the parallel port or via USB, I’m getting nowhere. And sites like LinuxPrinting are terrific, but don’t appear to have any info specifically on point. How do I set up a printer connected to a print server? Every test page I set up says it’s sent successfully, yet nothing ever shows up on the HP.

  • Syncing. Though I found this site talking about syncing a Treo with Linux, the “instructions” presume a level of understanding of administering Linux that is completely beyond me.

Bottom line: the KDE desktop I’m using on top of the SuSE distribution is pretty elegant. But getting stuff to work with Linux is a chore.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Greetings from Linux

Just blew the dust off an old PC in the basement, and after more than a bit of work, now have a fully-functional Linux desktop running SuSE Linux. Will provide links and feedback tomorrow – but so far, I’m pretty impressed.

(This is a far cry from my first attempt at installing Linux – Red Hat 5.2, when, after all was said and done, I was staring at “[root@localhost /root:#_” and wondered: what the hell do I do now?!)

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Still around

Hi there… Been quiet for a few days, will be back to normal posting in the next day or two.

I’m not quite sure what to make of this, but thanks to that scream, this ended up being the most popular week in my blog’s history, with more visits this week than in all of December.

And for all of you who got here from Google looking for more on Howard Dean’s Iowa scream, be sure to check out this page for a complete run-down on all of the remixes out there of Dean’s speech.

Be back soon.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Does the Internet matter in politics?

Just got interviewed by Farhad Manjoo at, who I’ve spoken with in the past and who wanted to know whether I felt that Dean’s defeat in Iowa meant that the Internet “lost” Iowa, or whether the Internet’s ability to make a difference was overblown.

No on both counts. The Internet proved you could mobilize over 3,000 individuals from around the country to stand up for what they believed in. Trust me — getting anyone to go to Iowa in January is a task (no offense Iowa, but it’s a bit chillier in Iowa than it is in, say, Texas). That the campaign did this — and gave the volunteers something to do, gave them a voice, gave them a feeling of being involved — is a testament to how the Internet can drive participation in the process.

As I said to Farhad, if we’d won, we’d all be crowing about the fact that the Internet made the difference. But we didn’t, so there you go.

Will the Internet make a difference? It already has. Dean’s organization, coupled with his money lead, mean that he’s in the race through the primary season. He’s no longer the front-runner (only Kerry can claim that mantle now) and can take a breather and regroup. But the Internet is what made the organization and fundraising possible, so for what that’s worth, we already have our impact.

If Iowa teaches us anything, it’s that organization matters if (and only if) you stay in control of your message.


If I were Joe Trippi, I would have spent last night on the flight back to NH forcing Howard Dean to watch Dean’s “concession” speech in Iowa. Again. And again. And again.

Try listening to this audio clip more than once. Go ahead, I dare you.

Monday, January 19, 2004


Well, to paraphrase Josh Marshall from another election, that really could have gone better.

It seems to me that the big stories to come out of this caucus are:

  • Kerry and Edwards gave the press a new story to tell

And the media’s fixation on whether Dean’s wife will or won’t campaign for him is nuts. Why do we care?

Watch a caucus

You can also watch one of the caucuses live on C-Span right now.

Track Caucus results

To track results in real-time, be sure to go to the Iowa party’s candidate leaderboard.

Coverage from the front lines

I’m laying in bed, recovering from a terrible bout of stomach flu. My son got the flu at the same time, so we’ve made a great two-some. We don’t have a TV in the bedroom, so I’ve been mostly sleeping the flu off while also trying to keep my son entertained. (Right now, he’s watching Tarzan, which is a great film, BTW.)

In any event, I’m getting most of my Iowa fix from DailyKos — it’s a great combination of rumors from inside various campaigns, observations from last-minute campaign events, and predictions that are worth the paper they’re printed on (but interesting to read nonetheless). This is a weblog at its best: very personal, engaging and more informed than much of the “traditional” coverage out there.

Noone seems to know what happens tonight. When I first got involved in the Dean campaign, I told a friend that I wanted a debate. If we got a debate out of the process, I would be happy, regardless of the outcome. There are certainly at least a couple of scenarios in which Dean pulls out a victory tonight, but there are just as many scenarios in which Edwards pulls ahead, or Kerry finishing strong. There seems to be wide agreement that Gephardt is fading.


Sunday, January 18, 2004

On Dean, organization and the Internet

Organization Man – Why the Dean campaign isn’t worried about Zogby. By Chris Suellentrop

If Dean wins Monday, Connolly and the campaign will have proved that the Internet’s effect on politics isn’t just about fund-raising or Meetup or blogging. The Internet can win the ground war.

This is a great piece by Chris Suellentrop at Slate about how the Dean campaign has used the Internet to be productive offline, and how that may be the story. Where have I heard that before?

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Welcome back to Dean2004 RSS readers

(Warning: if you don’t know what RSS is or you read this site in a browser as opposed to something like a newsreader, ignore this post. Go away. None of this will make any sense. Nothing to see here, please move along.)

This is mostly for those of you who may be reading this in a newsreader, or at sites where my content is syndicated, I’ve now permanently redirected traffic to /dean2004 to my main weblog TINS (including RSS feeds, which I’d previously left in tact). I’m still writing about Howard Dean, just decided to merge the content in with my main weblog. I was recently surprised in looking at my stats that the RSS feed for my Dean blog has been hit 28,000+ times this month, so rather than leave those folks behind I wanted to make sure they knew where my stuff went.

Requests to my RSS feeds from the Dean blog now properly redirect to my main weblog (if you want to be really particular about it, you can update the url by changing /dean2004 to /tins, but the former will continue to work). Keep in mind that if you change nothing, you’ll get everything published to my weblog, not just my writings on the Dean campaign. If you want to be a bit pickier about what you read in your aggregator, browse the category RSS feed page (where, in addition to the Dean feed, there are also feeds for the 2004 election and the Bush administration.)

Sorry for the technobabble. Just finalizing the moves from one site to another and trying to do so gracefully.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Josh Marshall: Blogger of the Year

Congratulations are in order for Josh Marshall. I’ve known Josh for something like seven years, and his success is entirely deserved. If you’re interested in politics and you’re not reading Josh’s weblog Talking Points Memo, you’re missing out. Editor and Publisher, an old-school journal covering the newspaper industry, added an award category for bloggers this year, and Josh was the well-deserving first recipient.

Josh recounted that he had trouble explaining blogs to Arthur Schlesinger (like Josh, I’m a big fan). I shared with Josh my discovery (not unique to me, as it turns out) that blogs have considerable historical precedent. Next time Josh runs into Arthur Schlesinger, he can drop a little Bailyn down on him and get Art up to speed.

Congrats, Josh!

The Media is saving us from Dean?

This is ludicrous. Peggy Noonan in today’s WSJ claims that the press (who, she admits, have become “an anti-Dean mover”) is saving us from ourselves out of a sense of duty to the Democratic Party:

[Dean] seems as unlovable (unless you’re a Deaniac) as he is improbable. But I suspect there’s something else at work. I wonder if mainstream media aren’t trying to save the Democratic Party from Mr. Dean. They know he’s not a likely winner down the road. Boomer reporters who’ve been through the Clinton experience have sharp eyes. I suspect they’re put off by Mr. Dean’s Clintonian aspects, such as his tendency to dissemble. They’re pushing Gephardt and Edwards and even Kerry. They may push Wesley Clark. But they’re not pushing Dean.

I don’t even know where to begin.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

My Social Networking article in Law Practice Management

My article on Social Networking is up at Law Practice Management’s website. How’d I know? I got a LinkedIn request from a reader. Cool.

One clarification, that I realized after reading my own article: I should have made it clearer the connection between CRM and social networking. I didn’t do that clearly enough in the article, which I think leaves you wondering why the mention of CRM is in there at all. My take: CRM tells you who you and your organization knows. Since the people inside your firm are the ones most likely to have a vested interest in helping you connect the dots to your intended contact, I see those internal contacts as being the strongest and most likely to result in succesful links. External contacts — those that sites like LinkedIn map — increase the potential for finding useful contacts. But the links between you and your target — often have no reason to help.

More on this later, as I’m generally a fan of LinkedIn. But I think they’re going to see some resistance as the network grows and the strength of the intermediate links weakens.

Also, an interesting statistic: when I wrote the article just a couple months ago, my network was 45 people and 15,000 connections. Today, at LinkedIn, my network is over 80 people and today grew past 50,000 connections.

I’ll run the numbers to compare the other stats from the article. It’s an amazing indicator of LinkedIn‘s growth. (Belong to LinkedIn? You can always send me a connection request at

Oh. That explains it.

No sooner did I finish watching Moseley Braun on The Daily Show that I see this item from MSNBC — “Braun to withdraw, endorse Howard Dean.”

Know when to vote

OK. Watching The Daily Show, and Stewart’s guest is Carol Moseley-Braun. Stewart asked her to explain why Iowa would be her Caucus. As a lead in, he asked, “It’s next week, right?”

“That’s right,” she said. “It’s Tuesday.”

Oops. (It’s Monday.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Dean on cover of Rolling Stone

A synopsis of the interview is at

(And no, Jonas — Dean did not say f*** during his interview.)

Comment spam

Ernie’s giving up. David Weinberger’s about to surrender. And Ross is saying that resistance is futile.

Ouch. I was starting to like comments on my blog. I’m getting a few a day, but not the 500 that David’s getting… which makes me oddly jealous. (OK, not really.) In any event, I don’t like Ross’s suggestion of going to Tribe — as a practical matter, it’s imposing a burden that’s too great on the casual commenter. (I don’t have the readership of a BoingBoing.)

I’m going to hold out for comment registration that’s coming with Movable Type Pro; beyond that, I’m going to hope that the boot-strapped system I’ve got stops the lion’s share of automated comments that get posted here.

Update Just by way of clarification, my concern is not comments left by real people (or lack thereof): it’s the automated comments that do nothing but advertise non-existent products, link to pornographic websites, etc. When I refer to “comment spam”, it’s a widespread issue with blogs run on popular software (which Movable Type, the program I use to run this site, most definitely is).

Favor -- IE problems

Hi — if you’re using Internet Explorer, can you verify that the home page for this site loads properly? I’ve heard from a number of people using IE on Windows machines that the sidebar (starts with Archives, goes down from there) doesn’t show up on the side but below the main posts at the bottom of the page.

I can’t figure this out, since it shows properly on my machine (in both IE and Firebird). So — if you’re seeing a problem, drop me a line or leave a comment.

Any CSS wizards care to take a crack at figuring out why this is broken?

Monday, January 12, 2004

Investigating the O'Neill document leak

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall

Number of days between Novak column outing Valerie Plame and announcement of investigation: 74 days.

Number of days between O’Neill 60 Minutes interview and announcement of investigation: 1 day.

Having the administration reveal itself as a gaggle of hypocritcal goons … priceless.

Here’s the thing: Democrats were all in a tizzy when the Plame affair hit. If you cut through the partisan BS, it boiled down to a political opportunity that the Democrats seized.

Now those same partisans are largely silent on the breach of confidentiality argument, because this time it (conveniently) helps make their case.

Am I surprised? Nah. Disappointed? Sure. Howard Dean’s statement on the matter correctly pointed out that O’Neill’s comments reinforce Dean’s position from day one, but miss the larger opportunity to establish some intellectual consistency on the topic. This was a perfect opportunity to create a Sister Souljah Moment — by reiterating his opposition to the war, slamming the Bush Administration on its reckless run-up to the war, yet still decrying the potential breach of national security that may have revealed confidential information. (At this point we don’t know whether confidential information was revealed. But that’s the point of an investigation. And if the Plame affair merits an investigation, then surely this situation does?)

Would this play into the Bushies’ hands? To a degree. But the larger point — that a principled stand on the issues doesn’t heed partisan gain — would not be lost on voters or on leaders within the party.

Off-shoring software development Technology | No safety net for programmers

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration determined that programmers like Fusco do not qualify, because of the nature of what they’d produced on their old jobs: software. The government cited commerce and trade rules that classify software as a “service” and “not a tangible commodity,” rather than an “article” as the trade act stipulates.

In other words, code doesn’t count.

Fusco’s lawyer doesn’t buy it. “When stuff is offshored, it’s done over there, and then it’s imported through the communication lines back to America,” says attorney Michael G. Smith, who is now bringing a class-action lawsuit against the Department of Labor and the Department of Justice, on behalf of Fusco and other tech workers like him. “When the work is offshored, we think that all programmers should be eligible for benefits.”

With the growing trend towards off-shoring software development, the fact that the DOL isn’t qualifying programmers for federal aid is worrisome if you’re a developer. What it really indicates is that the brick and mortar industries are better represented by labor unions, who’ve been more successful at lobbying Congress for protection.

I doubt we’ll see union organizing in the software world — but this begs the question how we’re going to address this issue. Off-shoring isn’t going away. And the tech world is showing signs of organizing politically. Unlike in “traditional” manufacturing, management is much more politically active than the workers. Until that changes, I doubt we’ll see a sea change in actions like this one.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Java Home Media Option for TiVo

As I wrote previously, I purchased the TiVo Home Media Option on my TiVo Series 2 box. I love it — it has connected my home PC with my TV and stereo system in exactly the way I wanted.

That said, the TiVo desktop software that is installed on the PC (which “publishes” the music and photos to your TiVo) leaves a bit to be desired. It’s a little slow, and it only serves up photos and music. Why not other digital formats?

Turns out someone already asked that question — fortunately it’s someone who knows how to program. If you have TiVo’s HMO installed, you should definitely check out Java HMO. It’s a replacement for the TiVo desktop software — and it expands (greatly) the content you can stream to the TiVo. With Java HMO, I now get weather (it polls every hour), movie listings (via, radio from, and several other nifty features.

Even more intriguing: on the Java HMO wishlist they include RSS feeds, traffic reports, and more. Check it out.

Updates to the site

Just a quick follow-up to this post from a few weeks ago. I’m not completely done, but some of the biggies are at least in place:

  • Cleaned-up archives. In the top-right at the weblog, you now get a calendar of the current month, a drop-down list of all previous months’ archives, a drop-down list of all categories on the weblog, and access to the search engine.

  • Category-specific RSS feeds. In folding my Howard Dean weblog together with this one, it occurred to me that some of you may not be interested in my various interests. So you can now go to the Category RSS page to get a list of all RSS feeds available by category. Note: this is a work in progress, as I’m still back-filling categories on my 1300+ posts. Should be finished in the next few days.

  • As a result of the drop-downs above, I was able to clean up a lot of the filler on the right-hand side. This isn’t done; I still need to make the blogroll more manageable and current. Open to ideas.

Over at the old Dean blog, I deleted the archives, and used .htaccess to redirect requests to /dean2004/* to /tins. I love it when things work out as they should: all old inbound links (from Google, for example) now resolve properly to the pages’ new home at tins.

Still to come: Implementing a “related browsing” feature on a per-post basis, minor improvements to the presentation of posts, and (hopefully) adding in some context-sensitive links to appropriate books at Amazon from certain posts.

Also working: I installed PHPWiki about a month ago. I’ve now created a macro (using MTMacro) that will let me create a wiki page automatically from my blog (or link to an existing page). Example: Wiki.

I haven’t fully implemented this yet, but the idea is that as I hit on a topic that I want to explore in more detail, I can put a <wiki> tag around the word(s); PHPWiki automatically creates a page focused on the subject and holds it open for me until I can start editing it. It will also be open for others to edit, so it becomes a bit of a collaborative space for readers of this blog to visit. (For those who don’t know: a wiki is just an application that creates web pages that are editable from within the browser. If you see something you want to change, update or remove: you just click the “edit” button. It turns out to be a great way to give people the ability to maintain content on the web.)

Saturday, January 10, 2004

SNL parody ad on the candidates

SNL just ran a parody ad from all of the Democratic candidates except Howard Dean. “Why bother waiting to lose faith in him when George Bush accuses him of selling Ben & Jerry’s to finance his gay marriage to Saddam Hussein, when we’re saying it right now?

They got a few of the candidates down cold, a few others were funny but not spot-on. John Kerry: “Please, America. Do this not just for me, but for America. But mostly for me.” Or Gephardt: “This is about experience. This is my 19th time running for president.”

But what really made the ad: after slamming Dean left, right and center, the screen fades and then up comes the DNC logo. “Paid for by the DNC.”


If you can get to Iowa and show everyone else that this campaign is about us, not about Dean, then get there. We sent a dozen people to Dubuque today (they got the trifecta — Gore, Harkin, and Dean — in a rally). A bunch of us are going next weekend. Every person helps.

Friday, January 9, 2004

TiVo Series 2 -- Testing all patience (and it's still cool)

I remarked the other day that I got the Toshiba Media Server for Christmas. It’s a TiVo Series 2 machine as well as a progressive scan DVD player. And, in spite of what I’m about to write, it’s a great machine. I love it.

Of course, that I haven’t thrown it out a ten story window is nothing short of a miracle. (Read the full post for all the glorious details.)

After unwrapping the box, I realized that my first challenge was to get the TiVo working with my DirecTV system. In my family room, I had a DirecTV/TiVo dual tuner machine in the family room and an RCA single-tuner receiver in the study. The Toshiba needed to be in the family room, so I needed to swap out the DirecTV receivers.

I disconnected all the wiring, got the receivers to the right rooms, and figured out that the TiVo needed to control the satellite receiver in order for the whole thing to work. Toshiba includes an infrared “blaster” cable which sends the infrared signals necessary to change the channel on the satellite.

More on that in a minute.

So everything’s hooked up. And TiVo needs to make its first phone call to get the local numbers, then the longer call to download its first program guide. That takes a while.

By the first night, I was up and running on “TiVo Basic” — this is a stripped-down version of TiVo that I’ve come to know. It lets you pause and rewind live TV, record by channel and time, and see three days of programming. No season passes, no wish lists. In other words, I realized the first step was to buy the “upgrade” to TiVo Plus, which is really just the normal TiVo service. $300 for the lifetime subscription.

Friday morning (day after Christmas), I headed out to Best Buy. TiVo Series 2 includes the Home Media Option which lets you hook up the TiVo box to your home wifi network. And the TiVo website recommends (scratch that — requires) that you get the Linksys WUSB11 adapter. So I did. $99 for Home Media Option, $50 for the adapter.

Except that TiVo (which, at its heart is just a Linux box) only has the drivers for version 2.6 of the WUSB11, not version 3.0 (which is what Best Buy had). That took about an hour on the phone with tech support to determine.

But not to worry: TiVo support told me that there were five other adapters that could work. I took down the model, and version, and anything else that might identify the magic adapter. The only one I found was at Circuit City — which, thanks to its online inventory checker, was able to tell me they had one available at the store less than two miles from the house. $70 for the new adapter.

I got home, plugged in the new adapter, and… nothing.

Another hour on the phone with tech support, only to discover that what the first guy failed to tell me was that in order for any of the five adapters he gave me to actually, you know, work, I’d need the beta software from TiVo that included the appropriate Linux drivers. Fortunately, he assured me, that would only take a few hours.

So I dutifully forced a TiVo download every couple hours, to no avail. Saturday, same.

Sunday, after a few attempts to get the new software, still no beta download. I called tech support again. Another hour on the phone, only to get informed that it’s not a “few hours” but instead “five days”. (Surely I just mis-heard the first guy.)

Monday afternoon, I got home from work. I checked the system, still no update. But wait! A phone update was in progress, and was taking a long time… maybe this was it.

The download took close to an hour. And sure enough, it spent the better part of the next thirty minutes unpacking and installing the new software. When I saw this on my TV, well, I nearly wept:

Upon reboot, it found the wireless adapter, and instantly found the wireless network, obtained an IP address from the router, and we were in business. Two clicks on the remote, and I was wirelessly browsing pictures of my kids from my wife’s computer. When stuff like that works for the first time, it’s a very cool feeling.

Two clicks later, we were listening to a Wynton Marsalis CD I ripped on to her computer. Slick.

Done? Nope. Not by a long-shot.

A couple days later, my wife reported that several of the kids’ shows were in fact just 30 minutes of a blank screen. This is when I found the TiVo Community Forum, an unofficial TiVo support site that is remarkable.

Had I known about the site early on, I would have seen this post which is actually from a guy at TiVo which spells out exactly what I needed. Would have solved the whole wireless adapter problem right away, saved me three hours on the phone, and made me much much happier.

Oh well. At least I found it now, when I was dealing with TiVo appearing to incorrectly change the channel. And I found threads like this, and this . In other words, lots of people had tried hard to find ways of making their infrared controller work. Turns out that (a) TiVo isn’t great at controlling other devices via infrared and (b) the RCA is notoriously flakey when receiving infrared signals via a blaster cable. And after a little searching, I found Roger Cadenhead’s post on a similar subject. He concluded that you really need a data cable to control the satellite receiver.

Fortunately, the RCA receiver I already had has an input for a “low speed data cable”. I wasn’t prepared to give up. Oh, no.

This part should be easy, right? Just head to Best Buy and pick up a “low speed data cable.” Except that Best Buy doesn’t sell them. No worries. Radio Shack. Nada. Circuit City? Nope.

Called TiVo again. (We’re close.)

Only they sell the control cable. $7, plus $5 shipping.

Five days later, the cable showed up. Plugged it in, took the infrared cable out, and PRESTO. It changed all the channels. Flawlessly.

At this point, you’d think that we’re done. That despite every obstacle thrown in my way, I’d shown the machines who was boss.

Nah, didn’t think so.

Sat down with my wife last night to watch Wednesday’s West Wing, which I saw Dave Winer say was quite good. Cool. Pull up the program guide, click “play” on West Wing.

Ready for this? Imagine my surprise, when I saw… nothing. Blackness. I felt like Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation: “Russ, we checked all the connections, right?” “Uh, yeah Dad. I’m sure we did.” I checked every cable. And then tuned to NBC on live TV, only to see that, sure enough, the satellite receiver was telling me that the channel wasn’t available.

So now I call DirecTV. And their first suggestion is to reboot the receiver. Which I do. Still the same thing. The helpful tech asks if I can get the signal if I click “Guide” then go directly to a channel. Nope. “What if you hit ‘channel up’?”

Presto — I’m getting a signal.

“OK,” she says. (Get ready: this is when things get bizarre.) “This is a known issue with some RCA receivers.” I ask what, exactly, is “known.” Turns out, DirecTV has known since September that if you dial into a specific channel, the RCA reeiver chokes. Of course, the only way TiVo can know that the receiver is on the right channel is to dial in the specific channel number, not just send a “channel up” command.

Expected fix date? January 12.

I ask for a credit — both for my wasted time and for their failure to tell me about the problem. She says no, that since I never called them they don’t have an obligation to do anything. I politely asked to be escalated. The first question from the supervisor was, “Which RCA receiver are you having the problem with?”

Huh? I only own one RCA receiver.

TURNS OUT, they’ve been overcharging me for a year. (I know, I know. I should read my bill. But who does that anymore?) So we resolve that issue, and turn to the issue of the fact that they’ve known about this RCA-can’t-tune-to-a-channel problem since September. How, she asks, could we have handled this better? I recommended that they just send me an e-mail: DirecTV is always sending service notices via e-mail (you get a little envelope designation on your screen when you have new messages). Why not just do that for RCA owners? I explained that if they’d been over-inclusive (apparently not all RCA receivers are affected), I could have checked to see; if it affected me, I would have known about the problem. If it didn’t affect me, I’ve wasted (at most) five minutes to verify.

Long pause. “That’s a really good idea.”

So the supervisor does the right thing and offers to credit me $10/month for the next six months against our HBO bill.

I’m not out of the woods yet. Still have to wait for the RCA receiver to download the update. If the update doesn’t take, DirecTV has pledged to replace it with one that does.

But I think the worst is behind me. How could it not be?

And today’s announcement that TiVo is coming out with a TiVo to Go. This will give me the ability to transfer TiVo programs to my laptop and take them with me when I travel. I disagree with Cory Doctorow, whose response to TiVo’s announcement said that this was deliberately broken. Two days ago, I was chatting with a co-worker (time to update the blog, Dave) who agreed that what we wanted was a way to offload recordings on the TiVo to our PCs. And this gives us exactly what we described.

Now, I won’t see it until the fall, so it’s entirely possible that the UI won’t be what I want. But I think I’ll be over this experience by then and wiling to put in a few more weeks worth of effort to get it working.

Come to think of it, maybe I should try to wifi-enable my Sony DirecTiVo box. Anybody want to help?

Thursday, January 8, 2004

It's official - I'm a Dean delegate

Assuming Dean gets the Illinois nomination, I’ll be a delegate to the Democratic Convention in July.

I’m excited.

Wednesday, January 7, 2004

Dean blog imported into TINS

I just completed an import of posts from my old Dean blog into TINS. (For those who didn’t know, TINS is an acronym: There Is No Spoon. It’s a Matrix reference.)

Over the next week, I’ll be updating the category pages, and providing more flexibility in RSS feeds so those of you who only want to hear about certain things from me can do so.

As has been obvious over the last few months, I’ve been writing less about technology and more about politics. Given my level of involvement in the Dean campaign, this shouldn’t be too surprising. That said, I expect to post less Dean-specific stuff here; for those posts (exclusively about Dean), I’ll likely post them to my page at DuPage for Dean, the Deanspace site I set up for our county organization last month.

Bear with me as I complete this transition. If anything appears funky as this process moves forward, just leave a comment.


Friday, January 2, 2004

Mirra personal server

Interesting review at about the Mirra personal server, a Linux-powered home appliance that serves as a personal server. No IP settings to worry about, and it’ll automatically back up any computer connected to the network. It appears to offer file versioning, so you can always revert to a prior version of the file, which would be a nice benefit. The 80 gig model is just $400, the 120 gig model is $500.

If I wanted to do this on my own (I’ve got a spare PC in the basement that’s not doing anything), what would be the easiest way to do it?