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April 22, 2006

Stephenson's Barbeque

Went to Stephenson's BBQ in Willow Springs (McGee's Crossroads), NC this afternoon. Great barbecue - didn't even need sauce. Good, sweet hush puppies. Good sweet tea. Homemade french fries, a bit floppy, but I liked them okay (good flavor). I liked the brunswick stew, H. thought it was okay. We got the white meat chicken, which was good but dry and a bit salty. Average banana pudding (the only dessert item, FWIW).

This place wins hands down for "BBQ restaurant with the most people wearing John Deere paraphenalia". As we were finishing up, a guy sat down at the table next to us; the waitress asked "how many?" and he answered "three and a half". The "half" turned out to be a lad of two, wearing a John Deere hat and a John Deere shirt, itself protraying a child wearing a John Deere hat (and possibly t-shirt), which would distract lesser minds. But we were stuffed from the barbecue and trying to dart to the car between rain squalls, so it did not deter us from our exit.

Rating: 3 out of 5 fried okras. Worth trying, would go back if it were closer. BBQ itself was a 5. Everything else was just okay at best.

April 21, 2006

More tabclearing

Stuff to read later:

April 20, 2006

Spellchecking is for atheists

The dumbest bunch of bozos on the Internet.

April 18, 2006

Don't spend too much time thinking about stupid shit - Lao Tzu

My brother sent me this brilliant version of the Tao Te Ching today. May you enjoy it as much as I did.


If you can talk about it,

it ain't Tao.

If it has a name,

it's just another thing.

Tao doesn't have a name.

Names are for ordinary things.

Stop wanting stuff;

it keeps you from seeing what's real.

When you want stuff,

all you see are things.

Those two sentences

mean the same thing.

Figure them out,

and you've got it made.

April 17, 2006

More Tabclearing

Some other links to go back and read later:

April 13, 2006

Ajaxy Goodness

I've been invited to participate in a panel discussion of Ajax by the Triangle User Experience group, so I figured I'd throw together a few resources on Ajax for future reference and to share.

Background and Tutorials

Frameworks and implementations, assorted


Here's another good roundup of Ajaxy JavaScript libraries and frameworks.


More tab-clearing, this time it's calendar apps. Seems that Joyent is well-liked by those who use it; quite a list of all-stars they have on staff.

Google just announced Google Calendar, but they don't officially support Safari yet, which is a (not unexpected) bummer. Come on, Google, take some of that GM-surpassing market capital and hire some frickin' cross-platform Web people already. And buy a few Macs to go along with the Windows boxes. It's 2006, for chrissakes.

Some comments on Google Calendar:

  • doesn't work in Safari, URL for subscribing to an iCal calendar uses high-bit ASCII (!) in the URL
  • Safari URL doesn't work in iCal, which defeats the purpose of using iCal format, doesn't it?
  • I can't see a way to set when a day begins - I don't think it's necessary to show me 12am- when my workday doesn't start until 9AM at best
  • okay, it's obviously just broken in Safari; works nice in Firefox, even with iCal
  • invites seem to work; seriously, though - can't you come up with a shorter URL?
  • weird that the invite URL includes TZ info; shouldn't that be in the event instead? (try it - leave the TZ parameter off the URL, then put it back)
  • ICS file attachment in the invite works well with Mail.app
  • Um, so far I've gotten fourseventeentwenty-eight copies of the reminder message for an event, all with the same Message-Id (sigh)

More comments later as I play around with it some more.

UPDATE: The zillion copies of each email message problem seems to be because Google mail completely fails to respect my GreetPause timeout. Gmail is teh suck.

April 12, 2006

OS X Battery Menu Replacement

So, I have an iBook G4 that I'm getting used to (I loved my Pismo G3/900, but it failed to go to sleep properly when the cover was closed on one occasion several months ago and all the magic smoke got out). Anyway, I'm a big fan of OS X, but like everything else I use, I have to tweak it to suit my needs.

Among other tweaks (such as MenuMeters, DragThing, TransparentDock, Saft, PithHelmet, etc.) I have a battery icon I made myself.

I was inspired by SlimBatteryMenu, which I used when I had my Pismo, as it had two batteries, but the iBook only has one (another reason to hate my iBook). And it tends to go through its juice rather quickly towards the end, so I'm seeing shutdown warnings at around 12% battery life remaining, which in the default battery menu icon is a matter of a few black pixels.

battery menu icon showing three thin red bars, spaced evenly across half the battery

So, I added color (also inspired by various other folks who'd hacked color into their menu icons; I grabbed a copy of a color Airport.menu as well, but I forget where I found it). And then when I realized that the battery was draining fast towards the end, I took the last four (red) pixels and spaced them out evenly halfway across the image, then the last three, then two. This gives a much more useful visual indicator for how many minutes I have left on the charge.

images dot tif file showing all color gradients

Anyway, if this is useful to you, feel free to download the images.tif file for my OS X Battery menu icon. Just copy the file to
/System/Library/CoreServices/Menu Extras/Battery.menu/Contents/Resources/; you may wish to back up the file "images.tif" that's already there before you copy over it, though, so you can revert if you don't like my version.

April 11, 2006

Javascript coolness and bleeding edge Safari

Joyful JavaScript with the Prototype library. Also worth the comments, such as this link to some possible drawbacks.

A good rundown of beginning Ajax links from Rushi.

Also, you can get the very latest WebKit here, which I may try out just to see about fixing some of the hideous memory leaks that make Safari such a pain.

In closing, I'd like to say that I love the Spanish word for chainsaw: motosierra. And captchas are so yesterday, thanks to kitten auth.

April 7, 2006

Weird day in the news

So, Judas turns out not to be a "judas", George W. Bush is revealed to be one by Scooter Libby, and you can run Windows on a Mac and will be able to run Mac programs on Windows.

I'm not a strong believer in any sort of teleological or eschatological nonsense, but surely this counts for something.

April 4, 2006

CMS Research

We're looking into various CMS and microCMS products here, and so here's a quick list of a few I've been meaning to take a harder look at.

More Tabclosers

Some pointers to Ruby and Ruby on Rails resources, specifically in the testing realm.

Extending Movable Type

Been looking at extending Movable Type, and so here are some links to resources:

Basically, I've got a couple easy hacks I need to do:

  1. post to my enemieslist antispam package blog via email
  2. get a list of popular posts by visit, not by comment/trackback activity

I've tried a couple of older MT post-by-email packages, and they both pretty much sucked for my purposes. And I know there is a plugin for active recent blog posts, but that's just comments (which I don't allow) and trackbacks (which I haven't bothered with yet).

Also, I'd love to be able to open up comments, but shudder and sweat when I think about the idea of deliberately opening up yet another vector for spammers to abuse without good reason and thoughtful and thorough security in place. And from what I've seen, thorough isn't a word I'd use to describe blog commenting security.

A couple of useful Web design and browser resources

Optimizing Firefox looks useful; I'm still using Safari, though I've been looking at Camino. Firefox has some very cool extensions, though the sort of work I do lately doesn't really demand them often. And I still think Firefox feels clunky. I do everything by finger memory, I can't touch type, and switching from Safari to Firefox is awkward for me. If they could fix one thing to get me to switch, it'd be the way Firefox doesn't know how to strip embedded linefeeds from a cut-and-pasted URL. I get many of my links from mutt running in a Terminal window, and that Firefox can't tell the difference between




is pathetic. Anyway. Maybe Camino will suck less.

Also, Cameron Olthius' 75 Helpful Web Design Resources page also looks useful, even though he doesn't list webdesign-l or css-d.

April 3, 2006

More tab-clearing

Just a note to myself to read through Cymru's secure BIND template again when I set up the new DNS server.

Some day I should sit down and figure out how expensive our Bellsouth voice mail system is versus just using something like Phlink.