Archive for December, 2003

New Year’s Resolutions

December 31, 2003

I’ve never really made or kept New Year’s resolutions, but I think that goal-setting in general is a good idea. The beginning of a new year is a great symbolic time to set new goals for yourself and contemplate goals already met. With the accessibility attendant with web publishing, I’m going to declare my goals publicly this year so that I can get to them easily. Accountability is not an issue since I probably don’t know you and you probably won’t take me to task for not fulfilling them (except for you: J-Dog, T-Money, and L-Man). In no particular order:

  1. Make a budget and stick to it. With the reduction in paid employment at the Brown household, we can no longer spend money as we make it. The need for fiscal responsibility has never been greater so it is time to craft that grown-up bastion, the household budget. I’ll also make specific financial goals regarding debt reduction and so forth, but I’m not committing those to this site because it’s none of your business.
  2. Get things done. I’ve done a first pass at Getting Things Done and I really like the principles involved. It suits my style better than any other time management system I’ve encountered. I just need to reread the book for clarity, set up the way that’s best for me, and start a new habit. At some point, I’ll probably also post a review here since I’ve got a lot to say about the book.
  3. Read How To Raise a Brighter Child, finish Parent Effectiveness Training, and read Liberated Parents, Liberated Children. Though my daughters are only two months old now, they’ll be walking toddlers in no time. I want to read these three books because I want to give them every advantage that I never had.
  4. Reread Atlas Shrugged. I’ve read this book many times and I’m about due for a refresher.
  5. Create FourBrowns.com. I’m paying $19/month to host the site, so I’ve got to make something of it.
  6. Migrate bbrown.info to Zettai, including all content. Same argument: I’m paying $10/month to host bbrown.info and $19/month to Zettai, which allows me two domains under the plan I’m on. It’s going to be a herculean task since Blogger helpfully doesn’t have an export tool and Plone doesn’t have an import one. That’s just for the blogs! I’ve also got hundreds of pages of content. The good news is that once I get bbrown.info migrated and fourbrowns.com created then I’m going to upgrade my account to the plan that allows 10 domains. That’ll be sweet!
  7. Finish Love is Never Enough. I’ve read about half of cognitive psychologist Aaron Beck’s fascinating book on relationships and I’m sold. He’s got excellent advice for couples and he’s much more reasonable—read: not hyperbolic—than Albert Ellis, who seems to tend towards self-promotion. Sandi hates the title, which I agree is a little over the top and was better when it was “Love is Not Enough,” but she can’t disparage the underlying message. I owe it to Sandi and the girls to try to be the best husband I can be.
  8. Baby-proof the entire house. The time is fast approaching that the girls will be up and about. I want to be ready for it so they can explore at will without heightened worry.
  9. Use Python to develop a Cocoa app. I’ve been learning Python for a few months now, though I haven’t had an opportunity to apply my knowledge to any effect. It’s a neat little language and, with the Objective-C bindings of PyObjC, I’d like to make a Cocoa-based app for Mac OS X in the coming year. Okay, that’s a little ambitious so I’d like to at least conceive of such an app in the coming year. Perhaps I’ll resurrect my Java program idea—jCommute—and make it with Python. Hmm.
  10. Start a list of at least five viable business ventures for the future. After two months of parenthood, I realize that I’m not going to have time to actually start a business in the first year of their lives so I want to just prime the pump, so to speak. I’ll act on the ideas in the next year or two.
  11. Control my temper. Those that know me may be surprised to know that I have an uncontrolled temper, unless you know me really well. I think some of the previously mentioned books will help me to be a more contemplative—read: less reactive—person. Sandi and the girls deserve an even-keeled husband and father. More importantly, life is too short to waste the psychic effort on letting things get to you.

That’s a lot of resolutions and goals, I’ll admit. I’ll have a wrap-up in a year and we’ll see what I’ve accomplished. Best of luck to me.

[UPDATE (1/6/04): More thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions.]

OmniWeb 5.0 Beta is Coming!

December 31, 2003

Just got a word of warning from the OmniGroup people that OmniWeb 5.0 will enter a public beta on February 2, 2004!!!

Quoth the PR lady: “We WILL, however, be showing off saved browsing sessions, updated bookmarks, page marking, improved shortcuts, site-specific preferences, and more. Oh, and a little thing called tabs that just a few (billion) people have been asking for.”

OmniWeb has been my default browser since 4.5 came out, even though I really like tabbed browsing. It just wasn’t enough to edge out shortcuts and the advanced URL completion of OmniWeb. I can’t wait to test it out!

[UPDATE: Reviewing the announcement page with a bit more scrutiny, I see that it’s going to have the ability to save state (called workspaces) as well as an integrated RSS reader. The discussion over at Macslash brings more details, including video of tabs in action. Holy cow! That tab action is sweeter than Safari.]

[UPDATE (1/1/04): More pics here and mirrors of the three videos here.]

[UPDATE 2 (1/1/04): Think Secret has a page up now.]

[UPDATE (1/5/04): Slashdot article submitted by yours truly with some interesting information. I sent it in on January 1st, but I guess it takes awhile for them to move on these things.]

[UPDATE (1/24/04): Your Mac Life has an in-booth interview and demonstration of OmniWeb 5.]

[UPDATE (1/27/04): ArsTechnica has a forum topic up that spans four pages and involves Dave Hyatt and a guy from OmniGroup. Really interesting.]

Curmudgeonly Things

December 30, 2003

Food for thought. I wrote a curmudgeonly version entitled “It’s a Girl’s Gone Wild World!” earlier this year.

Red Hope

December 24, 2003

I’m hopeful that these proposed amendments aren’t mere words appended to an ersatz constitution. “Private property obtained legally shall not be violated” is a pretty good statement, though legally devoid of meaning without proper judicial interpretation. It’s easy to think of how its meaning could be perverted (and subverted) by kangaroo courts with political motivations.

Despair

December 24, 2003

I like it. [from Rule of Reason]

Faith-Based Parks Initiative

December 24, 2003

PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility) has recently assailed the administration’s ostensible faith-based parks initiative. I’m not a big fan of the group, but this clearly violates the separation of church and state.

After watching a documentary on Ronald Reagan (and reading from his letters), I remember thinking that he seemed a lot more religious than I remembered as a youth. Ayn Rand correctly pointed out his religious leanings back in 1981, but I guess I just never noticed it at the time. His stance against the Soviet Union and his economic policies just had me spellbound, I suppose.

Interestingly, George W. Bush patterned his presidential bid after Ronald Reagan’s, targeting many of the same issues and striking the same tone. He is also, I think, much more vocal in his religiosity than Reagan ever was publicly. Bush’s faith-based initiatives have directly tried to insinuate religion into many previously-secular spheres of public life.

What makes the present situation more troubling is that Bush is quite probably going to win the 2004 election and both his inability to try for a third term and Cheney’s likely lack of interest in a presidential run could embolden him to step up his religious patronage in order to cement his fundamentalist legacy. As an avowed atheist, I can’t help but be dismayed at the prospect of another inch gained in the slope towards theocracy. But what can one do? The Republican Party isn’t going to nominate someone other than Bush, the religious tenor of the campaign isn’t raising the hackles of voters, and the crop of Democratic candidates all want the federal government to enter more areas of private life—excepting, of course, the bedroom—with edicts.

I know in my heart of hearts that the battle for liberty and individual rights does not take place in the context of an election or eight years, but the prospects have never seemed dimmer. Privately, though, my life has never been better and I feel like my future is brighter than ever. I guess I will just have to retreat into the private sanctuary and comforting cocoon of family and work.

Happy Festivus!

December 23, 2003

That time rolls around again this year. We all celebrate it in our own way; there’s even some dispute about its origins.

Happy Festivus, everyone!

Dude, Where’s My Gnome?

December 18, 2003

There’s a strange ad on Yahoo! lately indicating someone named Bill’s displeasure at the loss of his lawn gnome and an accompanying web site that is painful in its forced amateurness. A quick check on Technorati indicates that quite a few bloggers are wondering about its strange origins.

However, the URL from the Yahoo! ad indicates that this is a campaign by Hewlett-Packard—I thought they’ve gone to HP after the Carly Fiorina board fight—so it is clearly an astroturf campaign designed to excite comment from bloggers. Hopefully, it’ll fail miserably since it’s so trite.

[UPDATE: Oh and the 800 number is a dead giveaway that there’s some deep pockets bankrolling this thing.]

Google News

December 14, 2003

Google now can track packages, find patents, look up FAA plane IDs, and look up FCC equipment numbers. I have no idea why they’ve added the last two, but the first two are pretty handy.

Naming

December 14, 2003

Good section on the process of naming a company and good tools as well.