Friday Grab Bag

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One more week in the books, and more importantly one week closer to my annual Christmas and New Year’s two week shutdown and overhaul. While this week was blessedly yet strangely travel free, we’re getting moderately crushed with a few end of year projects, contracts, and other fun stuff. Well, to own the truth, some of it is fun.

But while I stagger towards the finish line of Christmas week amidst the “freezing mist” here in Denver, something I haven’t done in a while: a Friday grab bag. Enjoy your weekends, everyone.

Boston Red Sox Tickets

I was planning on keeping the news to myself, but in a surprising twist, my conscience got the best of me: single game tickets and four game packs go on sale tomorrow at 10 AM ET. If there’s ever a good reason to get up early on a Saturday morning, this is it. Google Calendar’s set to start SMSing me an hour prior and not stop until they start selling; if I could have integrated it with Asterisk wake-up calls, I would have.

Also in Red Sox news, a couple of you have pinged me on the prospect of trading for Minnesota’s Johan Santana, and rather than bore you with a thousand tedious words of my own, I’ll simply point you to Seth’s piece on the subject as it’s more or less an accurate representation of my views on the matter.

Cell Repeater

Those of you that have been to the RedMonk home offices here in Denver – AKA my loft – know that due to the concrete and steel construction, cellular reception in here is virtually non-existent. In an effort to correct this condition and consolidate the number of phones I need to monitor, I purchased one these – a cell repeater. The hope was to take the reasonable signal that’s available near my window and repeat that within the context of my apartment. Thus far, however, I haven’t been able to correctly position the antenna and base station such that it works. Nor does it help that Az’s new favorite occupation is attacking the wire that connects the antenna to the base station. I’ll try Wi-Ex’s customer service this weekend, but mission outcome is doubtful.

Comments and Community

I’ve long maintained that my personal preference is to avoid the type of traffic and volume that accrues to higher profile blogs like Scoble’s or TechCrunch. While it limits the ad revenue potential, it disincents trolls and encourages higher value participation. Occasionally, I’m reminded of this, as was the case this week when this week’s Fedora piece was linked to by Linux.com, Linuxtoday, and Tuxmachines. Between them, they sent over somewhere just shy of 3,000 people in the past two or three days, which is nice from a visibility perspective but far less beneficial in a participation sense. The lack of context from the visitors leads to comments like this. this or this. Which I can do without.

Google My Location

While this is only working sporadically for me – see my response to the thread here – when it does work it’s magical. It’s certainly not a replacement for true GPS, but as a complementary technology it’s an excellent addition to the geospatial arsenal, bringing as it does location to non-GPS enabled equipment.

Mail Forwarding

Received some excellent suggestions – thank you – for potential solutions to my mail forwarding needs. In the lead at this point is Earth Class Mail, nee Remote Control Mail. If any of you have used them or know people that have, opinions are welcome. And before you ask, yes I’m aware of the fact that they are a Linux to Microsoft migration case study.

NPR’s Best CD’s of 2007

As seen in my del.icio.us links earlier this week, NPR’s currently holding a vote for the best albums of 2007 for All Things Considered. Though you can only vote for 5, there are better than a dozen albums on that list that I could have voted for. The five I ended up picking were Andrew Bird, Arcade Fire, The Avett Brothers, Beirut, and Radiohead. The Avett Brothers in particular have been in heavy rotation of late, and Radiohead got the nod over a couple of equally talented acts because of their decision to release their latest, In Rainbows, with a user determined payment system. It’s not the future, at least not for most acts, but it’s pushing forward.

Separation of Church and State

I’ve made it a point to not discuss politics in this space – mine or yours, and I’m not going to start campaigning now. But I must say that I am deeply troubled when I see signs pointing to the conflation of politics and religion. Leaving aside my personal feelings on either of those subjects, I think it’s absolutely critical that they remain separate and distinct from one another, but sadly the trending in this country seems to be the reverse. Adam’s warning rings more true every day.

Windows Licensing

Once upon a time, the Thinkpad X40 I’m currently working off was a dual boot machine, with Gentoo and Windows XP partitions. Then I did something I shouldn’t have, and it was time to rebuild the entire hard drive. Unfortunately, Lenovo – like many other manufacturers – no longer ships Windows media with its laptops, instead designating a portion of the hard drive for that task. As I’ve since been informed, you can create restore media yourself with that partition, but if you don’t bother to – as I didn’t – before losing the hard drive, getting it shipped to you will cost $45 plus shipping.

Blame for the situation, then belongs as much to me as it does to Lenovo or Microsoft. But nonetheless, I think there is something wrong with charging me $45 for a CD of software that I already own a license for. Your response might be: Microsoft needs to ensure that their software isn’t pirated, and this is one byproduct of those efforts. My response to that as a customer is: that should not be my problem. If I have a license for software, I should be able to obtain and reinstall it at no cost, in my opinion.

And just in case someone’s reading this closely, I’m not switching back to Windows; I merely require an XP instance for testing.


  1. regarding “Cell Repeater” – I know a number of people who have tried the same product with less than desired results. I have the same problem and when I finally bite the bullet, I am going with something a bit beefier. I’ve been considering the DA4KSBR-50U paired with the 489-DB to support most major cell service providers.

  2. regarding Windows licensing. I too hit the brick wall this weekend in trying to recover — only in my case the disc builder utility shortchanged me by one disc and now the system won’t let me try to burn another. Frustrating, I agree.

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