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AIM consolidation

AOL has finally implemented multiple simultaneous sign-ons to the same AIM screen name. As of today, I have no more use for (previously used on my PowerBook) and njrwireless (previously used on my hiptop): I use njriley everywhere. This not only makes it easier for other people to contact me via AIM, it means I’m more likely to get your messages. Half the time my hiptop is sitting somewhere I’m not, or I can’t hear it or feel it vibrate when I’m wearing headphones. Someone IMs me, then gets frustrated that I don’t respond when I appear to be around.

A bonus is that it’s a lot more convenient not using iChat all the time if you want to carry on audio and video chats. I hope to see some type of iChat-on-demand make its way into the third-party AIM clients for the Mac, so it’s possible to start AV chats from a contextual menu or similar mechanism.

I also looked at the popular third-party AIM clients for the Mac. Adium 2 seems wonderful except for its lack of Address Book integration and a few user interface nits; Proteus seems to have fallen behind, as it seems quite flaky, and I can’t get its Address Book integration to do anything. Proteus also maintains its own buddy lists separate from those stored on the service, which I’d have to manually sync between my desktop and laptop Macs, and copy separately to my hiptop…not worth it. Fire I haven’t tried in ages; it used to be very unstable.

So until I can see people’s names instead of their nicknames in other clients with a minimum of setup, I’m sticking with iChat.

LiveJournal doubles

Another in the series of "this is dumb" screen shots.

Every few weeks it seems LiveJournal revises their RSS generation, and half the LiveJournals I subscribe to become "unread" in NetNewsWire. Most of the time the changes are unnoticeable, but this time it was definitely for the worse (yet slightly more humorous).


Philip K. Dick

A Wired article mentions the increased visibility of Philip K. Dick’s work as Hollywood picks off short stories to make into movies.

Quite coincidentally, I just finished a book of Dick’s short stories which Steve loaned me, including four of those which had been turned into movies (Total Recall, Screamers, Minority Report and Paycheck). Being a not-too-fanatic watcher of movies, I’ve only seen Total Recall and Minority Report.

I read “Second Variety” last night, was somewhat drawn into its world, but it ultimately left me thinking how hollow its premise was. I spent more than half the story anticipating how it would end, just wondering what was taking so long. Tonight I finished with “War Veteran”, which was for me among the best stories in the book. Dick seems to do a lot better writing about people than technology, though part of that may be my inability to ignore the technical implausibility of many situations.

One of Apple’s computer systems had issues on Sunday when I called for repair service, and it apparently caused the request for a box for my PowerBook to be lost. I spoke with a very helpful, realistic (and funny) woman at Apple today, and I should be able to call back in the morning to get a same-day box shipped to me.

Why me? Why today?

I put off my ECE 441 project preparation today, and to thank me for it, my PowerBook’s video hardware died a few minutes after I started work. At least I can still back it up.

This in addition to the 512 MB DIMM in my desktop Power Mac which died last week. I guess November is Hardware Failure Month or something.

Palm Desktop to iCal switch

I finally switched from Palm Desktop to iCal a few weeks ago, the superior force of iSync winning me over. iCal and Apple’s Address Book are usable in Panther, but still very slow and inefficient to use compared with Palm Desktop. Compare the information density of the images below:

iCal displaying my October 2003 calendar

Palm Desktop displaying my October 2003 calendar

Sorry about all the modifications, I can’t seem to stop PyDS from upstreaming… (Answer: Preferences: Basic Data: show on/offline switch.)

There doesn’t seem to be an “actual size” option, so for the moment I’m constructing the above images with \$pictures.imageTag(2, (400, 400), bigpage='1024x768').

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