Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Lots

  • Pete Albrecht sent me a link to a collection of free fonts with a German flavor.
  • Pertinent to the above, Pete sent a link to a nice free font viewer from AMPSoft.
  • Alas, font rendering is one of the areas where Ubuntu (and Linux generally) is way behind Windows.
  • An almost unbelievable piece of spyware is being installed by Sears, Roebuck on the machines of people who join “My SHC Community.” Good God: The software installs a proxy that causes all of your Web activity—whether associated with My SHC or not—to be intercepted. Disclosure of the spyware is buried in the small print way down in the thick of a 54-page “privacy policy.”
  • Here's yet another reason not to use Vista: It's all about protecting Microsoft and the Big Media outfits that Microsoft is trying to impress. What they did to this guy is criminal, but predictable. DRM technologies like this are the reason I do not buy downloads of music or video.
  • I inadvertently validated a lot of people's objections to ebooks recently: I lost the wall-wart charger for my Sony Reader. I simply don't know where it is, and the Reader is dead as a doornail for lack of juice. I'm sure it's here in the house somewhere, but until I find it, well, paper is looking mighty good.
  • Pertinent to the above: I recently purchased a 109-year-old copy of a theology journal containing an article on the Old Catholic movement. The journal is as readable as it was in 1898—and the several ebooks stored on my Sony Reader might as well be on Mars. We have to work on this. DRM and deprecated media formats aren't our only problems. Could an ebook reader be made with solar panels on the back side so you could charge it by flipping it over and laying it on a sunny windowsill for an hour?
  • Also in the ebook field is a report from Crave pointing to Igor Skochinsky's blog entries reverse-engineering the Kindle. There's some interesting stuff in there that hasn't been turned on yet, further cementing my conviction (now having actually seen Jim Strickland's unit) that as ugly as it is, the Kindle is the most innovative thing the ebook world has yet seen. That doesn't make it perfect, but I'm less dismissive than I was.
  • Every now and I then I spot something that makes me say, “Damn, that's clever.” The Make Blog highlighted earrings that can become earplugs when ambient noise gets too high. Carol and I don't go to many live concerts for precisely that reason: Everything's too loud and gives her headaches. Yes, the plug portion should be designed so that it looks less like a shuttlecock, but the inventor gets credit for thinking outside the box.
  • My Kodak EasyShare V530 digital camera (which died at warranty expiration plus three weeks) may be replaced by this model. 12 megapixels! Are we getting to the point of diminishing returns on camera resolution? (I actually like it for other features, like taking the picture when you press the button and not three seconds later.)

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