pimping remember the milk

remember the milk

I’d like to take a quick moment to pimp Remember The Milk. It’s a to-do list manager that I find to be awesome. It uses Google Gears to integrate into the sidebar of a Gmail window, which is great for me, since I always have my work Gmail open. The language processing for adding new events is good too. You can type “write grandma tomorrow”
into the box, and it will make a new task to write grandma, due tomorrow. There is an email interface as well, but I haven’t had as much luck sending quick notes to it in a format it parses well. And if you pony up $25, there is a very nice iPhone version too, which would pretty much obviate the need for the email interface in most instances.

how do you secure your laptop?


Macworld is coming and I always worry about losing my laptop, either by being thoughtless, or by turning my back. With that in mind, I do four things to secure it:

1. I require a password to unlock it from sleep or on startup.

2. I set up a guest account (not the Leopard one) with no password and limited access to software.

3. I installed IPMenu from Loopware to alert me via email whenever the computer’s IP changes. That way, I’ll be notified of the new IP whenever the laptop goes online again.

4. I installed Flickrbooth, so that any pictures a possible thief takes with Photobooth will automatically be uploaded to my Flickr account.

None of these keep me from losing my laptop, but they might help me get it back.

On the network security front, I lock down the firewall, and only access private sites via ssh. And I occasionally crack open dsniff to see if everyone is being so careful.

npr’s slick mobile implementation


m.NPR.org is a well put together little site. You can read the text of stories as you can on the main site, and you can listen to them as well. But rather than mess around with figuring out which mobile phone supports what plug-ins and downloading a big media file over cellular, they invoke a little known protocol called “wtai”, prompting your device to place a phone call which then plays the story to you. The downside is that it costs you minutes, and these days, data plans tend to be unlimited while calling plans aren’t. Also, it leaves iPod touch users and the five people who bought those Nokia n-series tablets out in the cold.

dear griffin technology

I’ve always enjoyed not only your great products, but your ethos of making cool stuff first, and selling it second.

Alas, that all came crashing down back in January, when I got a much-anticipated TuneCenter. I cannot understate how disappointing it was. I’ve waited this long to mention it to you because I was hoping some sort of firmware update would be released that would address some of my concerns, but that doesn’t seem to be in the works.

Here are some things that make me not use my TuneCenter. I apologize if the list is incomplete, as I haven’t used the thing since the day after I plugged it in.

• No album art. Even if the iPod won’t transmit that data as you say, the TuneCenter is capable of getting online. Query Amazon or something. Huge value-add there.

• Sluggish response. Trying to accurately fast-forward through a song is more or less an exercise in futility.

• Just doesn’t work consistently. Often I have to place and replace the iPod a few times to get it to connect to the TuneCenter.

• Can’t navigate videos with the remote. Let’s be honest here people. That is what the damn thing is for. I could have bought a $29 cable and saved $100 if I wanted to walk to the TV to play a movie. And it would be easier to use the scrollwheel if it wasn’t in the dock. I don’t think the backlight works when I’m doing this either, but I could be mistaken. The great irony is that I need the remote to set the TuneCenter to video mode, which in turn, renders the remote useless.

• Can’t fast forward through videos. See above on the saving $100 angle.

In the end, the TuneCenter is pretty well unnecessary as an iPod to TV conduit, since the remote is effectively unusable. As for listening to music, I find it quicker to walk upstairs to the computer, find my selection, and send it to the livingroom via AirTunes than it is to find the artist I am looking for via the TuneCenter interface.

So to sum up, the TuneCenter is a dog, and a real disappointment given your otherwise great stable of products. Too bad, as it had such great potential.

Disappointed in Cleveland Oakland

flickrvision saver


ok, so if you’re nerdy enough to be reading this blog, you are already familiar with flickr, the poster child of the interactive, navel-gazing world of web 2.0. And it is a great service.

In comes flickrvision, a neat site that shows you recent uploads to flickr, and plots the location of the uploader on Google Maps, based on their flickr account information. What could be more fun than that? Make it into a screensaver.

i was asking for it, really.


A couple of days after my post about using disposable credit card numbers to avoid fraud, I got a call from Citi Bank saying that my debit card number had been compromised. The call was out of the blue which was weird, but she didn’t ask for any identifying information. She just started listing off charges I had made on my account, asking if they were legit. They all were, and she said they would be deactivating my card anyway and would send me a new one. She wouldn’t tell me why they thought it was at risk, stating that the security department had reason to believe it was the case. She transferred me over to the debit department to get a replacement card sent out, but my cell phone dropped the call while I was on hold. She called me back and told me it would be a long wait before someone would pick up. She offered me a phone number to call instead, and I took it.

I called them, and while I was on hold, I looked over citi.com in search of a listing of that number. I couldn’t find one. When the guy finally answered, he asked for my card number or account number. I pointed out that I really had no idea who he was, and how could he prove he worked for Citi Bank. He agreed, and pointed me to the customer service number listed on the website. I called them back, and everything was legit. How do I know it was legit? The person who answered was in India. Proof positive, buddy. Anyway, they are sending me a card, leaving me without any access to cash or any idea how this got started in the first place.