Monday, November 14, 2005

blogging hacks

In this posting Steve Rubel describes ten favourite blogging hacks, including one I used to create this post: the online document editor Writely. This editor supports a number of features I'm keen to test out for blogging, including spell check and image insertion.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

still a palm fan

My first PDA was a classic PalmPilot I received for free because I saw it in a colleague's office collecting dust and simply asked to adopt it. Ever since then, I've always kept a Palm PDA within easy reach.

I've upgraded several times since that first PalmPilot (which I still have, but now the kids play with it). I moved to a Palm IIIx and used it for years before splurging for a Tungsten E2 earlier this year, which I enjoyed thoroughly until it was stolen (along with my work laptop) several weeks ago. I knew I wanted to replace my stolen Palm with a new PDA, but I first had to face a more philosophical question: Palm OS or PocketPC?

I spent several evenings googling reviews and blogs for insight, but several factors (including Doug's recent experience with a Dell Axim) helped convince me I'm really a Palm kinda guy at heart. And the latest Palm handheld definitely stole my heart: the Palm TX, with a 320x480 colour display and built-in 802.11b and Bluetooth wireless. Synchronization with Outlook calendar, contacts and tasks has always just worked, and the included Documents To Go software is widely recognized for its excellent support of native Microsoft Office files. And the combination of the open source Plucker reader and Sunrise synchronization software makes capturing web content for later reading effortless.

It didn't take me long to decide to go with the TX - I guess I'm still a hardcore Palm fan!

Friday, November 11, 2005

lest we forget

I recently found an essay I wrote for some English course years ago, in which I describe some of the stories my Opa told me about his experiences in the Netherlands during the Second World War. Looking back now, I can see that these stories gave me a more comprehensive and personal look at the everyday impact that war had on the families that lived through it. Here is what I wrote in the essay about one of those stories:

One story my Opa often told me about was how my Aunt Joanne was nearly killed by an errant bullet while the family was staying in a bomb shelter. One way the shelters of the time were designed to protect their occupants was by the use of 90-degree turns in the entrance way. The theory was that all shrapnel would be absorbed by one of the walls before entering the living quarters.

As it turned out, one bullet somehow bounced its way through the labyrinth-like entrance to graze past my aunt, hit a fishbowl beside her, and finally lodged into a wall. One thing that strikes me as odd now as I remember this story is that my Opa told it in a humourous way, although I'm sure he didn't find the situation amusing at the time. I think my grandfather did this for the same reasons we all do when we re-tell a frightening experience: such stories show us how precious life really is, and how easily it can be destroyed, and humour helps us to face that fact.

Lest We Forget

Thursday, November 03, 2005

serving google from victoria

I never would have thunk it, but this recent post in the official Google Blog is from a guy working for Google, from Victoria! I especially like the Timbits reference he was able to slide into the post. Hmmmm, Timbits...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

a new FSM believer

I've been moved almost beyond words (you were hoping it was beyond, weren't ya?). After learning about the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster as an alternative theory of Intelligent Design, I've become a believer.

After all, it is hard to argue with a faith where it is considered disrespectful to teach the beliefs of the Flying Spaghetti Monster without wearing full pirate regalia. Especially when there is a graph showing the statistically significant inverse relationship between global warming and the shrinking number of pirates since the 1800s. I always thought there was some kind of link, but was worried that people would find my belief crazy...