Monthly Archives: August 2006

Are you a collector?

The other morning while I was out shopping for groceries, my friend Juan Gutierrez emailed me, asking for advice about a cheap (or free) database program that his wife, Cindy, could use to keep track of the books she reads. (She reads about one book a day. Wow!) Cindy has been keeping track of them in an Excel spreadsheet over the last year or so, but that has become burdensome and not flexible enough for her needs.

When I got back from my shopping trip, I began searching for a tool that might meet Juan’s requirements, but before I could get back to him with a suggestion, I got another message from him saying that he had received a recommendation from another friend. I took at look at that recommended program and found that it appeared to be ideal for his needs. The site Juan’s other friend recommended is www.collertorz.com.

After reviewing it, I communicated with Juan to say that I agreed with that recommendation because this tool is already built to do what he wants and is relatively inexpensive ($39.95). It seems to be just what he was looking for. I also explored the MP3 Collector database, downloaded the 15 day trial copy and installed it. As a part of the initial installation, I allowed MP3 Collector to search my hard disk for recognized file types (MP3, Ogg Vorbis, WMA, APE (monkey audio), FLAC and WAV files) and after that initial search discovered that it had found 2102 files, including all my sound files that I’ve downloaded through the years from the Internet as well as all my trial podcasts (in MP3 format). My initial reaction to this tool is that it is delightfully efficient at doing what it is designed to do. It offers many of the functions that I’d want to do with it, such as searching for files, categorizing files by genre, editing tags, printing lists, and exporting the catalog. I may have to wait to purchase a license until I can afford to do that, but I suspect it will become a part of my arsenal eventually.

If you are a collector of music (CDs), movies, books, comics, games, MP3s or photos, you might want to give it a trial run.

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A new page about software and services

Those of you who use Internet Explorer may not notice, because of the way IE displays my template, that I have added a new page to this website. (That’s a source of consternation for me that I haven’t yet resolved, but that’s another story.) So let me call your attention to it by linking to it here. It’s listed in the sidebar on the left where it is called Software and Services. On this new page, I have listed a number of pieces of software and some web services that I use and enjoy. I have provided links to them all, and as my time permits, I may go back and elaborate more on each of them, but for now I just wanted to get the list up here so that I can refer you to it should the occasion arise when I am making posts.

I have not enabled comments on that new page, because I don’t want to get into a “mine is better than yours” series of posts. It’s just there if you care to look at it, and if you don’t or if you feel an evangelistic religious zeal about your own tools, then more power to you. Feel free to post a similar list on your web site if you want to. You are, of course, welcome to write to me at talktoperry @ gmail.com, if you have questions that you think I might be able to answer for you about one of these tools. However, let me emphasize that this is not an offer to do tech support for them. 😉

You’ll notice that I have divided the list into three basic groups. First, I have listed software that is free, as in it doesn’t cost money, not as in freedom to modify and distribute it. (I may add a section having to do with free software in that sense at a later date. At the moment I’m too much of a novice at Linux to begin pontificating on it.) I would point out that the authors of these free software tools would, in almost all cases, welcome a gift of money to support their work, if you appreciate using one of these tools, but they don’t require it before you can use it or in order to permit you to continue using it.

The second section of this new page relates to web services that I find useful, and I think it pretty much speaks for itself.

Finally, there is a list of non-free software, as in you’re going to eventually have to pay money for it if you continue to use it. Most of these programs, though, offer trial versions that you can use for a period of time to make sure it meets your needs before you flop down your credit card.

I hope you find this list of software and services helpful.

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Funtwo’s identity revealed

The New York Times is reporting this morning that the identity of Funtwo has finally been revealed. If you don’t know who Funtwo is, then you obviously haven’t been doing your homework at YouTube.  Here’s a link to the video that made him an international man of mystery and a source of amazement to all who have seen his performance.  (The link to the Times article requires a one-time, free registration.)

Funtwo’s video has been viewed 7,498,824 times at the time I am writing this, and it has been “favorited” 45,705 times.  It was the first YouTube video I chose to add as a favorite.  His fame is yet another illustration of how connecting up the whole world and giving everyone the opportunity to create content has changed our society in remarkable ways.  It remains to be seen I suppose whether this change is for good or ill, but in eleven short years the world wide web has made all the world a stage that anyone with a connection can see and even perform on if they choose.

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First contact

Some might say I’m easily pleased, and I’d find myself hard pressed to disagree. Take a look at this video first …

Okay, let’s acknowledge that this isn’t yet perfect. I’ll grant you that. However, it is the first record of the fact that I can connect my Win XP computer (a Sony Vaio machine) to my Linux computer (a Dell Dimension 4100 machine) running Ubuntu 6.06. In the future, I may add audio content to this, but for now, it illustrates that I’ve been able to connect to my Linux machine from my Windows XP machine, and I’ve been able to record what I see there.

Think of it as “first contact.” Later we’ll work out the details of communication. For now, we’ve proved there is an intelligence on the other side of the dimension we are seeking to cross. I’m delighted with the results so far.

And I must give credit to my son, Mike, for the insight that permitted me to make this connection. Here’s an email I sent him earlier this evening:

Just wanted to congratulate you on your wisdom.

When I mentioned to you at lunch that I had connected to my Windows XP
machine from my Linux machine using VNC but that I still couldn’t
figure out the IP address of the Linux machine on my network, you
asked “Doesn’t it have caller ID?”

That question was inspired.

The answer is that, although it doesn’t have caller ID, it does have a
log of the transaction, called winvnc.log. When I checked that, sure
enough, it identified the fact that the connection had come from
192.168.2.102 (the IP address of the Linux computer on my network).

So you helped me answer my question about what that IP address for my
Linux machine is, and in the process you have assured your place as a
beneficiary in my will. 😉 And what’s more, you have saved a couple
of poor souls like Daryl Houston and Shannon Kamer the chore of having
to hold my hand to find out the answer to this question.

In the words of the Guiness Stout commercial, BRILLIANT!

Thanks for your help

Forty-Four years ago today

Miss Carole Jean Oglesbee walked down the aisle and became Mrs. Carole Nelson on August 25, 1962. It’s good to remember such milestones, I think. We divorced in February of 1981, but before doing so we had a lot of fun and interesting experiences together. And, of course, we had two sons, Jeff and Mike, who are themselves now fathers and husbands. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Dickens said it best, I suppose:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all doing direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

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Ball = rolling

First Daryl then Mike summarized their impressions and assessment of last night’s meeting of the Knoxville Bloggers group, so there’s no point in my posting a “me, too” post about that, although if I did post anything, that is essentially what I would say. I had fun at the meeting and am ready to attend the next one, if/when it occurs. I expect I’ll continue to learn from the others and maybe even be inspired to extend my vision of what role my blog may play in the “great scheme of things” because of these associations. So all-in-all, last night left me with a good feeling and the impression that we got off to a good start.

Today, things moved forward fairly swiftly.

As Mike noted, we’ve begun using the del.icio.us tag, knoxblog, to identify other blogs here in the area so we can be aware of what other local bloggers are saying and paying attention to. And that practice has already paid off for me. As I was reading one of those newly-identified blogs, the appropriately-named Knoxville Blog with the great tagline “my thoughts on our scruffy little city,” I followed a link recommended in Victor‘s July 27th post to Knoxpatch.com. For current residents and maybe especially for former residents who’ve left at least a part of their heart here, this website in the style of The Onion will prove to be a source of considerable amusement.

Because our group needed a home on the web, we registered knoxbloggers.com and Daryl began setting up a website there that will aggregate individual posts such as this in the future. So if you’d like to keep up with what the group is doing, add Knox Bloggers to your surfing habits or better yet subscribe to its RSS feed. The ball is definitely rolling now. Let’s hope that our “tribe” increases in coming months. This could be fun.

Update: After some discussions with both Mike and Daryl, they’ve convinced me that because we are still working on this site, it would be better to delay sending you there until it is “ready for prime time.” If you’d like to be notified when we are ready for visitors, send us an email at reminders @ knoxbloggers.com and we’ll let you know that the doors are open for visitors. My apologies to you for my “irrational exuberance” and the premature announcement. But stay tuned.

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