Merry Christmas 2008

jesus
With the new year just around the corner, I think it’s time for me to say Happy Holidays! Eat well and enjoy the company of your family. ;) May all of your wishes and New Years resolutions come true!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

My first real dabble in Mac OS X

clamshell_ibook_ad

I’ve been telling myself for a long time that I need to take some time to get comfortable on a Mac. I used a Mac a long time ago. You know, one of those old clam shell Macs..

clamshell_ibook_ad

.., but that was only for a short amount of time. It was running OS 9 and a bit slow, but it was a neat little computer. It would be cool to get it running again, but I’m sure it’s a bit behind the times these days.

Anyhoo, I’ve noticed that Ubuntu and OS X are a lot alike! Not that Gnome looks remotely similar to the Aqua OS X, but I’ve found that I knew my way around in OS X from all of the time that I’ve spent in Ubuntu from Feisty to Gutsy to Intrepid and now to Jaunty.

If I had to explain the differences between Mac OS X and Ubuntu then I would start by skipping the obvious…there is no dock by default in Ubuntu, however, it is possible to mimic the OS X dock and very easily.

Mac has a certain way of minimizing clutter in windows. I would say that Gnome is pretty good at the same, but not as intuitive with file browser views and scrolling options.

One of the biggest problems with Ubuntu, and Linux in general, is that most applications are not polished. Since most applications used in Linux are open source, the development can be slow (or sometimes fast, but rarely) and User Interfaces are not always almost never polished.

There are a couple of themes for Intrepid, one being Dust, that really improve the aesthetics in Ubuntu. If your interested in installing it, checkout this short list of things that I install each time I setup Ubuntu 8.10. You can copy and paste straight into the terminal to install the community themes then select it as usual. For an Opera skin to match the Dust theme in Ubuntu take a look at the two that I’ve developed (Dust in the names). They are Dusty Chrome and Opera Standard Dust.

One of the things I really love about the Mac OS X User Interface is the way the menus are displayed on the top panel instead of in each individual window. This makes each window get straight to the point of it’s being there and reduces clutter and messy appearances. It greatly simplifies every window and just makes things look that much more polished.

It is possible in Gnome to get the menu Items to appear in this fashion, but it is a great deal of trouble (or it was the last time I tried) and a nasty hack.

The icon sets alone in Mac OS X are worth bragging over. I’ve seen some good looking icons in Linux that some people like and some people don’t like, but for the most part I would say everyone likes the icons in OS X and that to me is hard work towards polishing the interface.

I think it will take me a little longer to get used to Mac OS X so I can be just as productive using a Mac as I can using Windows or Ubuntu, but now I know that I can get around pretty well. I think I’ll stick with my trusty installs of Ubuntu for now, but maybe one day I’ll be a Mac fan as well. ;)

Selling Trees and Christmas Spirit

It’s been slow this year selling Christmas trees. It’s very obvious that people just aren’t nearly as loose with their earnings as they have been in previous years.

It’s all good and still a lot of fun, but I haven’t had time for much else other than selling lately.

It’s funny to see the different types of buyers. Just to stereotype a little (hopefully in a non-offensive way…my apologies in advanced), here are the different things that I noticed:

  • Men, when shopping for a tree alone, tend to spot all of the trees in the height range they are looking for as they walk in. After looking over a select few, they narrow down to the best all in a matter of 3-5 minutes.
  • When families shop (parent(s) and child(ren)), the husband tends to stand back and approve or disapprove the children’s pick while trusting or accepting the wife’s pick. The wife is usually mingling in the trees with the children and looking along with them. The husband handles the payment process always unless he prefers to load the tree himself, where his wife pays. Usually takes 20-30 minutes.
  • Couples choose a tree similarly to families, with the male approving of the wives pick and not so much just going along with anything. Basically he has more input and always handles the payment. Usually takes 5-10 minutes.
  • Just women or mothers and their children seem to take much longer, inspect every tree multiple times, decide on one then change their mind and go with the second pick (happens about 50 percent of the time). Usually takes ~20 minutes.
  • Then there is that rare retired couple who come through and want to help by purchasing any Charlie Brown trees. They are usually the most genuinely kind customers and usually take 3-5 minutes.

That’s a pretty brief set of descriptions of the Christmas tree shoppers I see. It’s fun to watch, but they are very predictable. Sales are also pretty predictable. You usually know before you say “Hello” whether or not they will buy a tree from you or if they will want to “shop around a little more” or “check with their wife or husband before they purchase and then come back.”

Like I said before though, it’s all fun. Especially seeing the children light up when they get to pick the tree. They love it so much. It’s really cool. ;)

Two questions in English that make me sick

[rant]Recently I’ve been watching a lot of fairly older television shows on Hulu.com and Netflix.com and I’ve noticed that some phrases that people say in movies just irritate me.

It’s those lines that are given to the extras who just get to pop in for a five second phrase to fame…or to a never ending struggle for success.

Have you ever heard anyone same either of the following two phrases?

  1. “You want I should” do-something-here?
  2. “What can I do you for?”

They just sound so ignorant and uneducated. I always just want to turn off a show or stop a movie dead in it’s tracks when I hear cheesy lines and these two ridiculous questions aren’t much better.[/rant]

Anyone know of any more commonly used questions or lines in general that are just flat out annoying? Post them in the comments!

December 12, 2008: Biggest Full Moon in 15 Years

n11815377_38167746_2043

Be sure to checkout the full moon at some point tonight! It will be the biggest full moon to appear in 15 years!

Hopefully I can get around to try to capture a good picture or two!

Update (2008-12-15):
Unfortunately my camera’s memory card was full so I borrowed a friends camera and took a few pictures. The moon is a difficult thing to capture in an image with nothing near it to give it some scale for size comparison. It was a big moon though and here is one picture that turned out alright.

n11815377_38167746_2043

John Mayer – Bold As Love (Live, Stripped Sessions)

One of my friends, Kyle Phelps, pointed this song version out to me noting that at 2:03 in the video John’s solo is sweet so I had to take a look. It most certainly is a great solo, so now you can check it out too!

It’d be great to see John Mayer cover more Jimi Hendrix songs, but for now the many different takes he has on Bold As Love will do. :D

WordPress 2.7 installed now

I’ve finished installing WordPress 2.7 and inspecting the major changes to the administration panel. I must say I’m very impressed.

Although the administration panel is arranged and appears very different from 2.6.5, it is arranged in a way that makes more sense and gives you faster access to the things you want to do.

For instance, the drop down menus on the left can show or hide more links for things such as adding a new post, adding a new page, viewing your settings or plugins. This allows for faster navigation by giving you more direct links while keeping them out of your way when needed and fewer page loads to get there.

Another really cool design feature is that the menu on the left can be minimized to an icon state. Hovering the icons for each category reveals a pop-out menu with more links.

WordPress 2.7 also sports it’s own updating system, so the WordPress Automatic Update plugin that was developed by a third-party is no longer a necessity. Obviously I have not had a chance yet to test the built-in upgrade tool (since there have been no updates since 2.7 ;) ), but I will be trusting it with my next WordPress update for sure.

With most pages you are given a tab at the top of the page titled “Screen Options”. You can click this tab to view a short list of items that you can check or uncheck to show or hide respectively on the page. If you never use the “Custom Fields” section for Posts or Pages then you can uncheck it and you won’t have to look at it any longer or have it clutter your workspace!

It appears that most all sections or elements in the administration panel are collapsible to clean up or provide more space. Elements in the Dashboard and other various pages are now drag and drop arrangeable. A new “QuickPress” section is available for a really simple, short and quick post. I may find myself using it fairly often, however, most of the time my posts are a bit lengthy. :P

Overall I think the changes and improvements far out way the temporary lack of familiarity in the administration panel. It won’t take you very long at all to readjust and see how much better it is!

Hope everyone is looking into upgrading and if you want to make your life easier then you can use the WordPress Automatic Upgrade plugin that I mentioned earlier. You won’t need it ever again once you upgrade to 2.7, but unless you want to open up your ftp client and manually upgrade that way then you’ll probably want to use the plugin. ;)

Enjoy!

WordPress 2.7 Now Available!

WordPress 2.7 is now (finally) available!

The first thing you’ll notice about 2.7 is its new interface. From the top down, we’ve listened to your feedback and thought deeply about the design and the result is a WordPress that’s just plain faster. Nearly every task you do on your blog will take fewer clicks and be faster in 2.7 than it did in a previous version. (Download it now, or read on for more.)

Next you’ll begin to notice the new features subtly sprinkled through the new interface: the new dashboard that you can arrange with drag and drop to put the things most important to you on top, QuickPress, comment threading, paging, and the ability to reply to comments from your dashboard, the ability to install any plugin directly from WordPress.org with a single click, and sticky posts.

Digging in further you might notice that every screen is customizable. Let’s say you never care about author on your post listings — just click “Screen Options” and uncheck it and it’s instantly gone from the page. The same for any module on the dashboard or write screen. If your screen is narrow and the menu is taking up too much horizontal room, click the arrow to minimize it to be icon-only, and then go to the write page and drag and drop everything from the right column into the main one, so your posting area is full-screen. (For example I like hiding everything except categories, tags, and publish. I put categories and tags on the right, and publish under the post box.)

Source: http://wordpress.org/development/2008/12/coltrane/