Technology


Random Spot Check of Toronto Mike Traffic

mouseI just took a peek at traffic to this site from 11:30am to 12:30pm. During this random hour, a few visits were rather interesting.

Crocs

Crocs

Yes, the good people at Crocs were interested in my Crocs conundrum. As you can see, they actually visited the entry twice. They're likely confused as to whether I was trashing their shoes or not. I called them very uncool, but I admitted they're comfy and convenient.

Ask Jeeves

Ask Jeeves

Ask Jeeves is a pretty big company, so this is likely just an employee checking out my blog. But, maybe Ask Jeeves is looking to buy this site... This may just be a scouting mission as they seek to enhance their online content. Is Ask Toronto Mike coming soon?

The Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Tribune is interested in what I have to say about Elizabeth and Anthony, but who isn't? Elizabeth and Anthony reuniting in For Better or For Worse is the biggest thing to happen in comic strips since Charlie Brown unsuccessfully kicked that football. The Chicago Tribune is one of the ten largest daily newspapers in the United States, I'll have you know.

There you have it, a quick peek behind the curtain. I'll let you know if Crocs offers me free shoes, Ask Jeeves makes a bid or the Chicago Tribune quotes me in their Lynn Johnston expose.

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Food For Social Networking Thought

documentationViewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace is an essay by Danah Boyd that's worth reading. She breaks down the socio-economic divisions she's detected, and it's quite interesting.

The goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes, or other "good" kids are now going to Facebook. These kids tend to come from families who emphasize education and going to college. They are part of what we'd call hegemonic society. They are primarily white, but not exclusively. They are in honors classes, looking forward to the prom, and live in a world dictated by after school activities.

MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, "burnouts," "alternative kids," "art fags," punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn't play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm. These are kids whose parents didn't go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school. These are the teens who plan to go into the military immediately after schools. Teens who are really into music or in a band are also on MySpace. MySpace has most of the kids who are socially ostracized at school because they are geeks, freaks, or queers.

In my ethnocentric mind I had the split based on age. Kids and teens were MySpace and then they matured and moved to Facebook. I didn't consider socio-economic factors.

The class system, it seems, even permeates our online meeting space.

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HTML Hand Coding 2 Da X-Treme

webI hand code all my XHTML and CSS. I do it in Dreamweaver, but I can do it in any text editor. I just go, and I thought I was pretty skilled, until I watched this.

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The Wonderful Future

cassetteAs I loaded up my new iPod shuffle last night, I couldn't get over how small it was. This thing is barely bigger than a postage stamp and when it's clipped to my shirt I don't even realize I'm wearing it. As I gazed down upon this tiny music player with over 150 of my favourite songs on it, I thought about young Toronto Mike walking along Jane Street to school wearing a slightly different music player.

I loved my Sony Walkman personal cassette player. Through the years I burnt through many, and I loved them all. I'd dub 90 minute mix tapes and play them in this bulky, heavy device, but at the time it all seemed so awesome.

I wouldn't have believed it if someone had told me then that one day my Walkman would be replaced by a player that:

  • Was smaller than a matchbook and weighed about the same
  • Held substantially more songs than a 90 minute tape
  • Allowed shuffling and skipping of songs without waiting for a fast forward or rewind
  • Could be rewritten with new songs in less time than it used to take to dub a single tune

It blows my mind when I think of where we've come in the past 15 years with regards to personal music players. I can't wait to see what I'll be wearing in 2020.

My New iPod Shuffle

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Mah Nà Mah Nà

wikipediaIt started with Scott. I caught him singing "Mah Nà Mah Nà", a song I know and love from The Muppets.

I started singing it too, and I've been singing it all day. I remembered a version of the song recorded by Cake, and I went straight to the Wikipedia Mah Nà Mah Nà entry to validate my memory. It was there I learnt the song was written by Piero Umiliani and was a hit before The Muppets first sang it on The Ed Sullivan Show. All of this awesome information was right there, on demand.

I've asked this before, but I'll ask it again. What would we have done twenty years ago? Scott and I would be singing this song, talking about our Muppets-centric memories of the tune, and that would be that. I wouldn't know the name Piero Umiliani, I wouldn't know about the pre-Muppets history of this tune and I wouldn't know about the The Muppets performance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Life must have sucked before the Interweb.

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My Issue With iTunes

itunesMy PC music playing history goes like this: Winamp forever, Quintessential Player for a while and then iTunes. What I liked best about iTunes was the enhanced searchability and sortability. As my collection grew, I realized there was a high price to pay for this indexing.

I have my collection organized like so: Artist Name Directory > Album Name Directory > .mp3 files. The album cover is embedded in the meta data of the .mp3 file. I've organized it all to my liking so I don't need my music player to handle this task. When I close iTunes, it requires some time to save my settings. It's not backing up my files, it's saving my library settings so it can tell me how often I've heard what song and all that jazz. These back-up files are large and this adds a great deal of time to my shut down process.

Furthermore, when I add music to my collection, it's a serious pain in the ass to add the new stuff to my iTunes library. Why do I have to have an iTunes library? Why can't iTunes just play the files I have residing on my hard drive?

Long story short, I'm thinking about going back to Winamp which was so sweet and light on its feet. I'm pretty sure it has improved searchability and sortability, and I don't require iTunes to sync my iPod.

What do you use as your music player and why?

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Say It Ain't So, Yahoo!

yahooWith mighty Microsoft badly losing the online search and services battle to Google, they're pursuing Yahoo!. Although I've pretty well migrated all my Yahoo! stuff to Google, I have fond memories of Yahoo! I shared in this entry. Yahoo! was Google before Google was Google, and we shouldn't forget that.

Microsoft isn't Google or Yahoo!, so they're looking to buy up Yahoo! in an effort to purchase their way back in the race. So long as they don't get their grubby little mitts on Google, I'm cool, but there is one Yahoo! owned service I use on a daily basis.

Mr. Gates, leave Flickr alone. Just leave it be. It was developed by Ludicorp, a good Canadian based company, and it gets photo sharing right. You're welcome to screw up everything else in Yahoo! land, just don't touch a hair on Flickr's pretty head. Don't even think about it.

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RSS in Plain English

rssI'm tired of explaining RSS. Previously I've professed my love for the format while admitting many simply don't get it. I know people don't get it because I'm constantly having to explain it to others.

Here's a little video that tries to explain it in plain English. I just posted this on the intranet of a software company, because even at a software development company there are many who haven't grasped the concept and embraced the spirit.

So I never have to explain it again, here's RSS in Plain English.


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Welcome to GWorld

googleGoogle and I have kissed and made up following our little tiff the other day. Now that we're buddies again, I'm back singing their praises.

The tutorial below from Google shows how you can increase productivity by adopting Google Apps for your business or organization. The package they're selling isn't free, but just about everything included in the package is.

The seamless integration of Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs & Spreadsheets and GTalk is all free of charge. Since Gmail allows you to fetch mail from other accounts and send mail from other accounts, there's no reason why you can't remain bob@company.com. The collaboration features with the calendar, docs and spreadsheet apps are awesome, as you'll see below. You won't have to worry about version control, security or drive space.

So long as you avoid sector 6, it's a better world.. for work and play.

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Sector 6 Lockdown in Gmail

googleMy friends and family often joke that I'm on the Google payroll because of how often I sing their praises. That might be changing. All day I've been limited in Gmail. I get messages, but I can't send attachments or open attachments. If I attempt to do so I get an error message that says there's a lockdown in sector 6. It's extremely frustrating.

Apparently you get this lockdown in sector 6 when you violate the Gmail rules. I haven't violated a single one. Not even close. Yet here I am locked down and there's nothing much I can do about it. I contacted support, but I just received a boiler plated reply telling me to check the Gmail rules again.

I'm not alone. Many are experiencing the same thing. What frightens me is that some have their accounts completely disabled which actually has me pleased I'm merely limited. Isn't that pathetic?

The service has been awesome for years, but this kind of a screw up is unacceptable. I'm not sure why I haven't read about this in the news considering how wide spread it appears to be, and the silence from Google is alarming. If you've written me and you're wondering why I haven't replied, this is why.

Google, you're officially on notice.

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