Thursday, May 27, 2010

House Warming Gift

27-inch iMac for my new condo next year:
  • 2560x1440 screen
  • 2.66GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5
  • 4GB 1066MHz DDR3
  • 1TB hard drive 7200 rpm
  • ATI Radeon HD 4850 w/512MB
  • 8x double-layer SuperDrive
  • Wireless Magic Mouse
  • Wireless keyboard
  • AppleCare Protection Plan
C$2,298

It doesn't have the most powerful processor (2.8GHz i7), but I'm not a power user and I don't run high-performance apps. The gorgeous 27" screen is the main attraction, as is the 1TB hard drive (my goal in life is to break the 1TB barrier). This will make for an excellent development machine, as well as for hacking into the Pentagon a là "24".

I was going to get the 15" MacBook Pro (to avoid cable mess and for small footprint), but -- dammit! -- that huge screen is seductive. And at any rate, I want to achieve my life goal...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Offensive PETA Ad?

The Vatican took offense at this PETA ad featuring Joanna Krupa:


I don't know about you, but I really, really, really, really, REALLY like the placement of the cross...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ning Alternatives

Ever since Ning announced that they were phasing out their free service, I've been scrambling to find a suitable free alternative (being the Cheap Bastard that I am). I wanted to find a company that, by virtue of its size and, hopefully, successful business model, was most likely to survive and to keep offering the free service in perpetuity. I evaluated six candidates: Grou.ps, Grouply, Groupsite, SocialGO, Spruz, and Webs. (See Comments section for my selection criteria.) Here are my findings and recommendations...

Grou.ps

What I liked:
  • 10GB free storage
  • Upload and store videos from your computer
What I didn't like:
  • Very buggy -- could never get video uploads to work
  • Unreliable service
  • Profile questions text editor behaves very oddly
Recommendation:

Avoid this service.


Grouply

What I liked:
  • 10GB free storage
  • Can search entire network
What I didn't like:
  • Poor selection of themes
  • No custom profile questions (or their site manager is infuriatingly difficult to use)
Recommendation:

Avoid this service.


Groupsite

What I liked:
  • Can search entire network
What I didn't like:
  • Very awkward method of video sharing
  • Unable to post a blog using Chrome browser
  • Only 250MB of storage
  • Profile questions text editor behaves very oddly
Recommendation:

Avoid this service.


SocialGO

What I liked:
  • Can customize a theme with header and background image from your computer
  • Respectable 1GB of storage
What I didn't like:
  • Very inflexible site manager (in the free service)
  • Profile questions text editor relies on HTML coding
  • Profile questions are more tedious to set up
  • Search facility doesn't work
Recommendation:

Avoid this service.


Spruz

What I liked:
  • Nice themes.
What I didn't like:
  • Profile questions text editor relies on HTML coding
  • Profile questions use colon in a very odd manner
  • Limited storage space if your site has low traffic (100MB for less than 500 Avg Daily Page Views)
Recommendation:

Not a bad choice, if you can live with the quirks.

UPDATE July 8, 2010: Their free service has now changed because of this. A warning to all network creators that the economics of freemium services is unreliable.


Webs

What I liked:
  • Nice themes.
  • Upload and store videos from your computer
  • Video gallery allows embedded videos
  • Very flexible site manager
What I didn't like:
  • Very chintzy on storage space (40MB) and bandwidth (500MB)
  • No subgroups
Recommendation:

As long as you don't need lots of storage or bandwidth, and you don't need subgroups, I recommend Webs. I finally settled on Webs for my free social network, Good Sex Space.


Ultimately, none of these social network services live up to the standard set by Ning. Webs came the closest, but their parsimonious storage prevents them from delivering a knockout punch (however, this may keep them in business longer as the free service is not a huge drain). It's a pity Ning was unable or unwilling to continue providing the free service.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What is the meaning of life?

Every day, I am reminded of this question. Just yesterday, while I was at the Columbus Centre doing my workout, I saw a bunch of school boys in the locker room. I thought to myself, these kids are very strong, they have great potential, they'll be able to do great things with their life.

My best days are long over. Once upon a time, I had great physical strength. I had a remarkably sharp mind. I had ambition. I coulda been a somebody...

Assuming I have another 20 "good" years left (what is a useful definition of "good"?), I'm counting down my days. Yesterday was day #7300. Today is #7299. It's not such a large number, is it?

(And after these days run out, I'll be warehoused, ready for physical expiration.)

It's frightening how easily one can waste a day away. I crawl into bed in the middle of the afternoon for a short nap, and suddenly several hours have vanished!

I watch some shows I've timeshifted from the night before, and more hours evaporate. I go out for a walk on a beautiful day, grab a Second Cup, sit down at the Eaton Centre for a little rest, and hours slip away.

I struggle with an Android tutorial, and a whole afternoon is gone!

I make for a lousy Time Lord. I can't manage my time very well. (The new season of Doctor Who is fabulous! I love Matt Smith.)

My life is running out too quickly. Eighty years are but a brief instant in time. (Stephen Hawking suggests that there may be alien civilizations that live out their entire existence in a matter of seconds!!)

To me, life is meaningless. I have no legacy, and no one to leave a legacy to. Nobody cares whether I live or die. Will anybody show up at my funeral? Will anybody bother to write an obituary for me? What would be the point?

In the final analysis, my life is about making the journey from Point A to Point B as comfortably as I can, without pain or sorrow, without anguish over the past or apprehension about the future. Simply make this moment pleasant. It doesn't have to be meaningful or useful or practical. It doesn't have to be important or memorable. I just have to feel good in it. This moment. Right now.

And like the morning dew, it vanishes.

No one is ever "remembered." You may "remember" Albert Einstein or Winston Churchill, but all you remember are the names and the deeds. Such remembrances have no meaning. They are merely bricks in the foundation of our civilization.

The meaning to *your* life, if it ever existed, dissolves when your last loved one expires. And with the death of memory, all is lost...