Geek Alert!

More Googly goodness

Maps. Hell yeah. I loves me some Google. It’s still in Beta but has much promise. Very cool already.

I think I’m a Winamp convert

I use to be a die hard Musicmatch Pro (yes I actually paid for it) fan. It had the best features, media library, and user customization that I had found. I think it has been dethroned.
Since Jess has an iPod and I will very soon have an iPod (yay X-mas!), that got me thinking. To sync with your iPod you usually have to use iTunes which comes with it. All in all, iTunes is ok and has some cool features, but there was more about it that I didn’t like than what I did. I found myself still using Musicmatch to rip, and alternating between MM and iTunes for playing and messing about. The problem with this setup is that when you rip a new CD you have to update both MM and iTunes if you want to keep your libraries up to date. MM used to have an iPod plugin, but due to some dispute with Apple, MM support told me it was no longer available.
Enter Winamp. I went researching the web to see if I could find a single solution. I used to use Winamp long ago when it was about the only mp3 player around. It’s come a long way. I found that it had almost all the features I liked about each of the other programs, and was highly customizable to your own likings. Most importantly, it has a plugin for the iPod.
One of my biggest concerns in a player is flexibility with how I rip my CDs. This is where iTunes failed horribly. When it rips, it creates an artist folder under which it puts an album folder under which it puts the tracks. If you don’t like that system, then too damn bad. iTunes has spoken and you will live with it peon! MM was much more flexible, though I still had to do a little folder editing in the end. Winamp seems completely customizable to allow you to name your directories/tracks in whatever fashion you choose.
My one bitch is that you really need to purchase the Pro version for $14.95 to unlock what I consider necessary features (such as being able to rip to mp3 at all as opposed to AAC), while with MM, the pro version just adds some nice perks (like ripping faster) but isn’t quite so restrictive in it’s free incarnation. I do think Winamp is worth the purchase. Of course some people are known to get the “pro” version without paying for it, though I would not condone this behavior, of course.[/disclaimer]
I’m still in the initial discovery stage with Winamp, but I think I’ve just found my one media player to rule them all. There are tons of other players out there, but these two are pretty much the kings of the hill, I think, and the only ones which I really have experience with. We’ll see if Winamp holds my attention as I use it from now on.

Wil Wheaton is cool

This isn’t really news, but it needs to be said. He came to the Alamo Drafthouse tonight to a showing of “Stand By Me”. Afterwards he did a Q & A, and signed books (Just A Geek). He was down to earth, charming, and just a cool guy who you want to hang out with. He had tons of great stories about the movie too. Check out his blog.

I took a picture of Jess with him, but sadly it came out completely blurry and unrecognizable. Boo.
More importantly, we have a present for our beloved Annika when we go to L.A. in December.

Geek Alert: Roboform

I make so many entries about browsers, programs, mice, etc, that I thought maybe I better start prefacing them with “Geek Alert”. I’ve thought about implementing the “category” function of Movable Type, but always talk myself out of it since I really don’t think it would serve much of a purpose. Besides it would take lots of fiddling.
Anyway, my newest geeky find is Roboform. Very cool. It saves all the information you could ever need to put into online forms and easily fills it in with a click. It can also save logins and passwords, but Mozilla does that on it’s own so I don’t really care about that feature. I love it however whenver I need to fill out the whoe “name, address, blah, blah”. To make it work in Mozilla, just be sure to download the Netscape/Mozilla adapter (available on the same page).

Estimating the Airspeed Velocity of an Unladen Swallow

I found this terribly amusing.

Looking for a new mouse?

This is the one. I’ve got it, I love it. Feels good, looks good, performs good. Top of the mouse heap in my opinion. And as a compliment, pick yourself up the best Mouse surface ever too.

Mozilla Firefox 0.9

It’s out!
Best results ae obtained if you first totally uninstall .8 before installing .9. If all goes as planned it will give you a dialog box to import your bookmarks, settings etc, from your .8 settings.

Gmail

I’ve often thought that maybe I should start using the “category” functionality of movable type where you can specify certain categories for each entry. I’ve never really thought that I would use or need it that much, but then I find my entries generally falling into a few categories. This would fall into the “Geek Stuff” category.
For those who may not know, the all-powerful Google have introduced their own web based email (like hotmail, yahoo mail, etc.), called Gmail. It’s currently in beta testing and the only way to get an account is to be invited by someone already in it, or get randomly chosen. For example, they randomly choose people with Blogger accounts (since Blogger is part of Google now). I was interested in checking it out so I checked my seldom used Blogger account to see if I had an invite. Negative. On a whim I checked my wife’s Blogger account. Bingo! Knowing that she would probably never notice it, and even more likely would have no interest in it, I took the invite and made my own Gmail account.
Since I have my own domain, I don’t really need an online email account, but I did occasionally use Hotmail when there were problems with my account, or when certain ISPs had my server blocked because they think my shared server sends spam (though this is a false claim, getting unblocked from an ISP is next to impossible). Goodbye Hotmail. Gmail will be my new alternate mail. Not only because I like Google far more than Microsoft, but because it is innovative, slick, and very cool. They give you a gigabyte of space, and encourage “archiving” as opposed to outright deleting. Then you can do a search through your old mail at any time. No more need for separating things into folders, since you can just do a search for “llamas” if you’re searching for that old email about what to do if your Llama has a stomach ache from eating your A-team action figures.
Keyboard shortcuts and other cool features make me actually want to use Gmail, but I doubt I could ever give up using my main heathallyn.com address and the ability to check it with Outlook or other POP3 mail programs. However, if they add POP3 access in the future, it will become even more tempting. If there’s anyone who needs a cool web based email, and wants to try Gmail, I have 3 invites left to give out.

So many games, not enough time.

I’ve previously discussed how my wife and I are currently addicted to City of Heroes. This has been taking up all our free time lately. Our Netflix movies sit unwatched (the $20 a month fee isn’t so economical when you let 3 movies sit for months), yet I refuse to cancel, because Netflix rocks, and I am determined that we will again get our use out of it.
Our Gamecube sits unused. Metroid Prime, Rogue Squadron 2, Super Smash Brothers Melee, Mariokart, and others sit unplayed and unfinished. Of course, my consoles always end up neglected in favor of my computer, so I don’t know why I keep venturing there. Once I bought a stand alone DVD player, I sold my PS2 and games as a bundle on Ebay. I haven’t had a case of “Nintendo thumb” in a long while (though I have developed some bad City of Heroes hand).
On the computer front alone, there are many games out that I want to play (I’ve still never finished Jedi Academy, which is installed on my computer”. There are many more coming out in the future that I am eagerly anticipating. Tabula Rasa, and World of Warcraft may give City of Heroes some competition. Middle-Earth Online appeals in concept, but somehow it just hasn’t grabbed me.
One game, I am determined to make time for, however, is Evil Genius. I will play this game.

Greetings heroes!

I’ve been quite lax with the updating lately. Partially because I’m a lazy bastard and partially because we’ve been firmly entrenched playing “City of Heroes” a new super hero online game. Very much fun.
There are so many hero ideas I’ve had that I want to try. Currently I’m playing this hero. It all started when I was trying to figure out how I could possibly use my online pseudonym, Nos402. It seemed like a strange “name” for a hero. Mostly because of the numbers. I joked that I’d be some kind of vampire robot, and Jess loved the idea. I then concocted a back-story, which actually made that feasible. I was quite happy with it and my character rocks. Much, much fun. If any of you join up, seek us out on the Virtue server! Jess is playing The Grr.
It’s consuming much of our time. Several other of our friends are playing and we joined a “supergroup” with some cool people.
Other than that, jobs suck, life is alright, and everone should eat more queso.