The Rise of RSS

I think I'm coming down with something; my throat is kinda itchy and I'm losing my sense of taste. Must be the thing that Jason had the other day. Either that, or my allergies are kicking in. Anyway, consider this a full-on request to any MT hackers out there. When someone leaves comments for one of my entries, I want to have a field for their RSS feed (as well as a link to their site). It's all I use anymore to keep up on my favorite Web resources. I'm not lazy – it's just that I want information to come to me. And why shouldn't it? I'd really like to move all of Lockergnome's newsletters to RSS ASAP. The protocol is well on its way to replacing e-mail newsletters – mark my words.

Google Party Pictures

They're up – and they're pretty much guaranteed to offend. Pictures from tonight's Google / Blogger party. If you just met me tonight, please understand that my sense of humor is warped. Just ask any lurker around here. But don't expect much of a response (after all, lurkers never post comments). Anyway, please “sign in” if you see yourself in one of these photos or you were at the party. It was great to take your picture; we'll have to do it again some time. I have higher resolution images available, as well as a few others that didn't make the slideshow. Enjoy!

Weapons of Mass Distraction

Gretchen and I are about to head over to the Google / Blogger Party. We received a box of Raging Cow today, and I'll be bringing it with us to capture the reactions of daring bloggers as they absorb the moo juice. Robert just turned me on to SNARF! (a nice little news aggregator that doesn't install anything and fits within IE's sidebar). Wish I had more time to play with it; I've already suggested that the author support importing / exporting OPML documents. That'd make things infinitely easier for people like myself. If you can't visit my site at work, then at least you should be able to scrape the RSS feed and parse it. Huh? Read on.

I received this note from a Snozberry earlier: “A perfect example of why Internet filters suck. I am at school right now, subbing in a technology class, and I decided to read (and maybe show) your blog. When I tried to access your blog, this is what I got – a big honking ACCESS DENIED followed by: 'this site has been categorized as Weapons. It has been blocked per your organization's Internet Usage Policy for cipa 2.' If you feel you have reached this page in error, please contact your System Administrator.' Does this bite or what?” Well, yes – it bites. I'm not a weapon, nor can any part of me be used as a weapon. In fact, last I looked – I have no weapons on me. This isn't a game – it's a blog. It's to be taken very, very, very, very… very seriously. My head, on the other hand, is to be taken very lightly. Or 'hot pinkly' after tomorrow evening. Oy!

Crap You Shouldn’t Watch

I'm a nice guy; I love helping people. So, I thought I'd help you watch our show tomorrow. “But Chris,” you say. “I already know how to turn on my television!” Therein lies the rub. You've got more than one station at your fingertips. Let me narrow down the selection for you. You've got the local news; that's always depressing, except for when they play the surfing dog segments at the end of the broadcast. He's out with an injured tail, so don't bother flipping over. There's “Blind Date,” which always has some jackass trying to impress a hot chick… kinda like our show, with less computers. “Charlie Rose” is playing on PBS; today, he's speaking with Jessica Lange. Isn't she dead? Oh, wait… that's Jessica Tandy – who also started Radio Shack out of her water shed, FYI. Uh… there's “Shipmates,” which is nothing more than “Blind Date” meets “Survivor” meets “Romper Room.” Thn, there's “Judge Mathis” – a Judge Judy wannabe. If it ain't Wapner, it's a flopner. You always have the option to go with “Paid Programming” content – but if you really want to watch infomercials, just tune in to TechTV later tonight. Our commercials are better. We still run Elf Bowling in the middle of spring. We love Christmas THAT much.

“Hercules” is playing on the Cartoon Network, but since James Kim is flexing his portable MP3 muscle tomorrow, you'll have plenty of animated testosterone with us. Ah, there's also a rerun of the “Brady Bunch.” It's the episode where one of the kids does something wrong and Mike and Carol get mad at them, but by the end of the show, everybody's happy. Hardly as predictable as showing you the tech world's greatest blunders. Did you own a Lisa? Don't feel stupid – two other people did, too. “Unsolved Mysteries” appears to be running in tandem with “Call for Help” as well; this week, they're asking what happened to Screetch's career. I see they're doing a Carnie Wilson biography, too. She's kinda hot now. Not as hot as Cat, though. Cat's gonna help us master the celebrity stock market. “Nashville Star?” Isn't that like “American Idol” with half the teeth? “Roseanne” is on, but when was the last time you saw her give you a bonus tip? That's right – never. And now that the show's in syndication, you know she never will. Our show is live. It's alive every day of the week (and I don't count Saturday and Sunday as days, either).

The choice is clear: it's Call for Help (in a white wine sauce). Watch today at 3PM, and tomorrow at 9AM Eastern. “But Chris,” you say. “I can't watch your show at those times! Why doesn't TechTV run it later in the day?” Because… that would anger the gods. We asked them a few weeks ago, but they wound up taking Erica Hill away from us. We don't wanna lose anybody else around here, so it's best just to be thankful for what we have. Studies have shown that forty-year old marionettes feel better about themselves if they get airtime in the afternoon. Who am I to argue with the numbers? If watching “Puppetmaster” has taught me anything it's that you don't wanna upset inanimate objects. Why do you think we try to keep Roger so happy around here?

Love Bytes

“Dear Chris – Is it tacky to send my girlfriend and e-card for her birthday?”

This action is only tacky when your e-card has a MIDI file playing in the background. That's just wrong. I would actually encourage you to move your love life entirely online. Physical sensations are so twentieth century! Instead of talking to her, you could post something about your relationship on your blog. Instead of bringing her flowers, you could make up cute little ASCII roses and attach them to your signature, like so: —,—`-{@ If she leaves you, it wasn't meant to be. But I know plenty of fourth-level Valkryies on a MUD in Sweden who would kill for a man like you.

If I Were Noah Webster

These aren't Sniglets; they're new definitions for a new world. PINOCHLE: the finger that inadvertently gets drenched in urine as you zip up when you think you're finished at the urinal; CAMPAIGN: cheap bubbly; STUPID: a sysadmin's dinner process identification; GENERATED: the act of dating oneself through an obscure pop culture reference that's at least twenty years old; CATEGORY: feline roadkill; REPORT: drinking wine from a bottle that's been previously opened; MIGRATE: the headache one gets after laughing too hard for too long; IMPORT: a significant thought that's incomplete; SUPPLIES: an unexpected Engrish event. Am I missing anything?

Warwalking Market

After getting fit for my teeth-whitening mouthpiece, I thought I'd do something I've never done before: Warwalking with my 2.9 pound laptop and a Proxim WiFi card. I couldn't get Netstumbler to work, so I fell back on the Wireless Configuration Utility that came bundled with the driver. I'm sitting down on the corner of Market / Grant / O'Farrell in front of the Wells Fargo Bank with a 60% uplink. Whoever's open: thank you. I'm across the street from a CompUSA, but I don't think the access point is sitting there. The strength of the signal decreases the further away I get from the bank doors. This would have been much more fun to do with a friend. I wonder if anybody's gonna ask what I'm doing. Here, I'll have to take a picture of myself. Where's my chalk?

UPDATE: Here I am; some geek who loves free Internet access. Here he is; some student who wanted to pay me a buck for him to check his e-mail. I refused to take his money. Instead, I decided to Pay it Forward and give $35 to a homeless guy in exchange for a book of poems and a local monthly rag. Minutes later, I strike up another conversation with a passing geek. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), I couldn't spend all night on the corner; I had to get to a meeting. Of course, “sniffing” all the way. I couldn't catch an open network until I was actually sitting down in the waiting room. Man, if only every place had free access – this would be a happier world.

Ode to Dave Winer

In a darkened apartment / cool dip on the chair / warm smell of fajitas / rising up through the air. Over there in the loveseat / I saw a bearded ol' sight / The chips were greasy as he reached for them / He tried to stop for the night. Then he pointed right at me / I heard the Ra-di-o / And I was thinking to myself / “Pretty soon my ol' friend's gonna go-o-o.” / Then he toyed with my conscience / And he showed me the way / There were voices in the bathroom, now / I thought I heard him say-ay / “Good-bye to the good state, California / Such a pricey place / For my fuzzy face / I'm leaving you now for my Harvard, California / You can find it here / Or on Google, dear.”

Geek Culture & Tech Expert: How Can I Help You Today?