Oh, I found a way to get my laptop working again. Oddly, it works fine without a CD in the slot loading drive. Good thing I have an external CD-R.

Damn, iTunes 4 is the jam. We're listening to each other's music over the LAN here, I'm checking out what's on the online store, although they seem to be overloaded and about every other request is actually getting through. Leave it to Apple to find a way to do this right.

So it's official. I will be without a Mac OS machine for the foreseeable future. I don't see much point in replacing the motherboard on the two year old TiBook when it will cost nearly as much as replacing the machine altogether. I have a Sony Windows XP laptop that I will have to make due with in the interim, and I hope to be able to afford a new Mac in the next few weeks at some point. It's really a shame that they soldered the video chipset onto the mobo like they did, it makes something that should be a couple of hundred dollar part, at the most, a critical point of failure for the entire machine. The only saving grace is that I have been using the Windows laptop for work extensively the last few months, and that I lost no data from the TiBook, which is essentially an external firewire drive now. I think that I will be purchasing a 17 inch Powerbook when I do replace it. Despite it's largish size, I think it is a much better fit for me than the 12 inch, I use my laptop primarily as a desktop replacement, rarely on my lap, or on planes. I'm not really travelling for work at all. There is a part of me that got burned with the first generation TiBook, its crappy slot loading drive, low video memory, and lack of an internal cd burner, that wants me to wait for the second generation 17 inch before making a purchase. The difficulty with that is that there is really no way to tell when that will be released. I don't want to wait for MacWorld this summer, or even until WWDC, for another Powerbook. If you have the scoop on this, I'd love to hear about it.

I finally got around to reading JJG's The Elements of User Experience last night. It makes for a quick read, and I think I polished it off in about an hour or so. I'm not sure why I put off reading it for as long as I did now, it made for great mental fuel for some things I've been thinking about a lot lately in terms of project planning and what should drive each part of the development and design process. I think that I already conduct projects where I have the ability to dictate process in a very similar manner to the one he suggests in the book, but it was interesting to see the way in which he presented the material, and to see what distinctions he drew in defining his process and the various components of it. I believe that most Web professionals I have worked with over the last couple of years know that there is a right way to do these things, and have a decent idea of what that right way might be, but I find that most resign themselves to not being able to actually conduct business in that manner because of clients and other factors. I'm not one to resign myself in this way, and it bothers me that people just give up on doing things the right way because it has either always been done another, less effective, way or because they are too tired to fight for the right way. It just seems so obvious to me that approaching these things in a methodological manner yields better results, and my anecdotal experience mirrors this.

Arrrghhh. My TiBook just decided that it doesn't feel like doing the video thing anymore. That is to say something is wrong with its video chipset, it makes nice psychedelic patterns on the screen, but refuses to actually work. Well sometimes it works for about two minutes after I reboot the machine, but then it decides to go flaky again. The machine is two years old now, and out of warranty, I know should have bought Applecare. Well, I didn't. So now what? The video chipset on the first generation TiBooks is soldered onto the mobo.

You can listen to the soundtrack to Matrix Reloaded online.

I've become a big fan of Jack Johnson over the last year or so. His new CD is due for release May 6th. Even better, he's selling the CD as MP3's starting April 28th. It warms my heart that the independent labels are testing these waters, and actually giving the buyer some benefits in the process. It's got to be scary for them to be doing it.

So I've been tracking the press reaction to Hayley and to Mr. Personality in general. Not that I am a big fan of shows like this one, far from it, but it's somewhat interesting to see how the makers of the show frame the personality of the main character, knowing a little of her personality myself. There's been a mix of reactions, most of them not terribly insightful. Of course the most interesting ones are the negative ones. For instance, it seems our friend over at Slate would like to see more Monica and less Hayley, which is weird because I find Hayley to be anything but "forgettable" and "fatuous," but I'd had enough of bland old Monica years ago. Had to stick that SAT word in there to up your literary cred, didn't you? I found it interesting that on the show they had her sit down with the contestants and astrologers because she seemed to be very interested in that particular thing the night we all hung out. We all went around and revealed what sign we were, and talked about what signs were compatible with each other. I wonder if that was previously scripted into the show or if they built that from her interests. Ratings were pretty strong. I think the best overview of the first episode is this one from Zap2It.

New Hulk Trailer looks great. I guess I should have expected no less from Ang Lee. It seems like some folks, who might be less familiar with The Hulk comics, and more familiar with The Hulk television series, are having a hard time understanding that this movie is more accurate to the original comics, from the looks of things, than their Lou Ferrigno version. I find this amusing, when people say it looks fake and that the Hulk is not strong enough to say, for instance, throw a tank. It's difficult to disagree with these folks without sounding like a complete comic nerd. When I say, for instance, that The Hulk is the strongest character in the Marvel universe, I usually get nothing but snickers. I guess I will have to come to grips that there is a comic nerd within me.

Weird stuff happening here in Atlanta. You know that show, Mr. Personality? Well it turns out that the woman asking the questions is someone that my group of friends and I have met and hung out with a couple of times. Mark and Adam already went to great lengths to describe the situation, so I'll link to them and leave it at that. I actually have a bunch of pictures of Hayley hanging out with my guys too, but I can't post them from here.

Moock Blog. Coolio.

Hello. Fun weekend. Lots going on in my life, and most of it I want to write something about. Went to see Thievery Corporation this weekend, they were great. Read a good book yesterday. I'm back at work today, and updates will resume shortly.

As an aside, Macromedia has announced that their developer conference will be held November 18-21 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Umm, what is the deal with this? It's the week before Thanksgiving? Someone over there needs to have their head examined. They had announced that it was going to be held in San Diego this year at last year's show, which I enjoyed thoroughly. It has been held in October, in a warm climate, the last two years. I just went from being a sure to attend to a not likely to attend in one fell swoop.

Well, since Todd went ahead and linked to it, I'll add that the project I have been working on for the last couple of months is PGA.com as well. My area(s) of the project included a variety of tasks, but the single largest one was building a real time golf scoring system that integrated with a few different XML golf scoring feeds on the back end, and with our content management system for output. Since some of our vendors for scoring had never used XML before, I had the opportunity to actually author my own XML format for golf scoring. I've learned a lot along the way about the challenges of using XML for something like this. The vendors that had their own xml formats, by and large, didn't understand the value of maintaining the semantic nature of the information they were marking up. They were obviously used to output markup, like html, and so combined unlike information into elements, did not name like information attributes consistently, and generally did not implement XML in a manner that made lot of sense. This meant that I had to do some gymnastics to get the information out of the XML in a raw form. One thing I can tell you is that ColdFusion MX might just be the best platform to use for doing XML development available right now. My development time was considerably lower than some of the open source XML software that I have worked with in the past, and I had little trouble adding additional vendors once I had built the initial framework. ColdFusion Components make it much easier to swap out the data layer of an application without having to rewrite everything that sits on top of the data layer. I guess I will post more about this in the coming weeks, we've got a lot of other work that we want to do, and some great ideas for future features and development.

The other thing I will comment on now is that this might be the most skilled, top to bottom, team of designers, client side coders, back end developers, content managers, system admins, and project managers that I have worked with to date. Everyone was a real pleasure to work with, and the environment here at CNN Center is a great place to work. This is a good thing considering how many hours I have spent here in the office over the last 24 days. It was certainly made more interesting by the current war situation in Iraq. CNN goes into hyper-mode during these times, and it's been interesting to see. We also get a bunch of the raw live feeds here in the office that let us get a glimpse behind the broadcast scenes both in the studio here, and out in the field. This week it is all about The Masters though, and I have to get back to my server and feed watching, more later.

Eeesh, I'm tired. I've worked every day since I got back from a wonderful, relaxing trip to Aruba with my entire family. In the three weeks that have passed since then, I have basically lived at the office. It's gotten pretty bad. Last night, I took a nap when I got home from work at sixish. When my alarm went off a little after seven, I was supposed to be getting ready to meet someone for dinner. Instead, I got up and began getting ready to go into the office. It literally was about ten minutes before I realized that I wasn't supposed to be going into the office. What ensued was a great sushi dinner with good conversation and plenty of Saba and Tako, but I was a little horrified that I'm that far into automatic mode.

Hello, still alive. Been busy, first out of the country, then launching a redesign of a Web site. We've got some tweaking to do this week, but it's live now. I'l link to it when the tweaking is done.