Monthly Archives: September 2005

One Year

One year ago today, we launched our site redesign. Other than a few minor tweaks, the design remains unchanged. We are both very happy with the design, and we haven’t felt the need to make any major changes*. We hope that everyone else continues to like the design as much as we do!

  • That is, changes visible to our users. We have made some semi-major under the hood changes, such as moving to fully standards-compliant, semantic XHTML markup.

Meelike Meebo

Meebo is a web-based instant messaging tool I’ve been playing around with for a couple of weeks now. It uses AJAX technology to display a buddy list and IM windows, and the GAIM library to provide connectivity to various IM services. You can log in to AIM, ICQ, MSN Messenger, Jabber, Google Talk, and Yahoo Messenger. The interface is very smooth and simple, and while it’s not as full-featured as a traditional desktop-based IM client such as Adium, it sure packs a wallop for a web application. It’s also a great choice for when you’re on a computer system that doesn’t have an IM client already, and for whatever reason you can’t download one. The Meebo team is hard at work on pushing out bug fixes and feature releases, and they deserve commendation. Their most recent release includes the ability to set away messages, and the ability to view a buddy’s info and away message while hovering over their icon.

If you’re away from your regular IM client, or even if you’re not, give Meebo a try today! And if you’d like to IM us, you can find our screen names for various services on the contact page.

Free Ink

I’m subscribed to Robert Ellis’ blog Futurosity. Robert is a management consultant and Mac fanatic, and Futurosity serves as a place for him to post various Mac-related news and tidbits. I first encountered Robert’s work in his former standalone blog, Handpicked Software. It was a log of his reviews and notes on new Mac software products. I started reading Futurosity after he rolled Handpicked Software into Futurosity, and I’ve been following it ever since (you can still follow Handpicked Software – it’s now a category on Futurosity).

Anyway, I recently noticed a post about free HP black ink cartridges. This piqued my interest, since we have an HP printer, and those cartridges are $30 a pop! So I headed over to read the post.. only to find that this was an old offer, and that since he had no takers, he would be selling the cartridges on eBay. I fired off a desperate comment, and wouldn’t you know it, Robert decided to go ahead and send me the cartridges anyway! What a swell guy! I’m looking forward to getting the cartridges… our printer is running dangerously low on ink. In the meantime, head over and check out Futurosity.

“Who Died?”

fff|ggg|mount_auburn_cemetery/P1040927|Mary Baker Eddy Memorial|ggg|fff

…was the question that my Dad asked when we told him that we had spent Sunday afternoon at the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge.

The website promises that “it is one of the best birding spots and most beloved landscapes in Massachusetts.” And that it played a significant part in the development of many of America’s first public parks.

And the grounds live up to that description. There are so many things to see. The paved roads wind up and down the hills around ancient and modern gravestones and markers. There are dirt paths that lead to hidden ponds and even more hidden gravestones. There is a lake with a beautiful memorial to Mary Baker Eddy. And, as a great surprise to us, a tower with fantastic 360degree views of Boston and her surrounds.

Peter and Corey and I spent a couple hours walking around, reading gravestones, postulating about the lives of the people that were buried there. Who were they? What did they do? How could they stand having _________ for a name?

fff|ggg|mount_auburn_cemetery/P1040853|Tomb of Harrison Gray Otis|ggg|fff

I was particularly interested in one specific tomb. That of Harrison Gray Otis (and family). I knew that he was buried at Mount Auburn, and had seen a photo of the tomb, but was unable to find a specific location. (And with 175 acres to cover it would be the needle and the haystack all over again.) Luckily, the information booth had maps available that showed the location of 60 or so famous people buried there…and Otis was one! It was like a homecoming for me. I spend so much of my life reading about and talking about this man… I work in his first family home and now I’ve seen his final resting place. We’ve come full circle.

Full gallery for the day exists here.

Good Omens

The co-authors of the humor/fantasy novel aaa|Good Omens|0441003257|aaa are both going to be speaking and doing book signings at Harvard in the upcoming weeks! Terry Pratchett is coming tonight, and Neil Gaiman is coming next Friday!

The Neil Gaiman event requires tickets, and they’re sold out… so we won’t be able to attend (unless someone has an extra ticket and wants to donate it). But the Terry Pratchett event does not require tickets, so we are planning to attend tonight! Hopefully we’ll be able to get in the door and hear him talk. And maybe get a book signed. Wish us luck!

Update

ggg|terry_pratchett_harvard/P1040813|Terry Pratchett|ggg

We made it! After I deftly maneuvered us about five blocks further down the street than necessary, then all the way back, we arrived at the Askwith Forum in Longfellow Hall on the campus of Harvard University. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it in time to get a seat inside the lecture hall, so we couldn’t really hear anything Terry said. Apparently it was pretty funny, because lots of people were laughing. However, since we were standing outside the hall, we actually had a stroke of luck, and were put close to the front of the line for book signing! I had my copy of aaa|Good Omens|0441003257|aaa signed. Unfortunately, Terry wasn’t paying very close attention while signing my book, so my name isn’t exactly legible:

ggg|terry_pratchett_harvard/P1040841|Pelite?|ggg

As far as I know, there’s no letter in “Peter” that needs to have a dot over it… hmm. Oh well, it’s pretty cool nonetheless. Now if only I could get tickets to see Neil Gaiman next week… it would be spiffy to have both of them sign the book. 🙂

You can see all of the photos from the evening here.

Bumper Sticker Downgrade

So, I decided it was time to downgrade the bumper stickers on my car. Here’s what it looked like before:

ggg|camry_outside_shots/200205061717732_G|Lotsa Stickers|ggg

And here it is after:

ggg|2001_toyota_corolla/P1040810|No Stickers|ggg

As you can see, the only way I could get rid of the stickers was to get a new car… 🙂

It’s a 2001 Toyota Corolla LE. It has about 58,000 miles on it. It’s not an extravagant or terribly exciting car by any means, but it’s in much better shape than my old 1994 camry with 210,000+ miles. It also gets much better gas mileage:

2001 Corolla vs 1994 Camry

  • City: 30 mpg vs 21 mpg
  • Highway: 39 mpg vs 28 mpg
  • Combined: 34 mpg vs 23 mpg

That should come in handy considering the constant increase in gas prices.

I’m sad to see the Camry go. We’ve had some good times in that car. Becky and I drove on some of our first dates in the Camry, and it has taken us down to Florida and back, out to Ohio and back, and all around New England. It’s taken me to and from work every single day that I’ve been at CBD … except, of course, on the various occasions it was in the repair shop. Becky’s dad has taken it upon himself to fix up our car and to try and sell it, so hopefully it will be useful to someone in need of a car.

Check out my goodbye Camry album, and some initial photos of the Corolla.

Gallery 2 Released

The Gallery team announced today that Gallery 2 has been released. Gallery 2 is a complete rewrite of Gallery, from the ground up. It has some very exciting and powerful new features, the interface is a lot cleaner, and it is much easier to administer than Gallery 1. We’re currently running Gallery 1 on our photo gallery, but I have been looking into Gallery 2 for a while now, as it has been in alpha, beta, and release candidate testing. It will probably be a little while before we switch over, because there are simply so many things to adapt to in this new system. Theoretically, we could easily switch over to the new system in a day, but the resulting gallery would be less than optimal for our visitors. So I want to make sure we take the time to get things just right so that the gallery is as useful for our visitors as it is for us.

In the meantime, head over and check out some screenshots of Gallery 2.