Month / August, 2003

Friendster

The more I checkout “Friendster,”:http://www.friendster.com/ the more I realize that I know a hell of a lot of people. Must of them, however, would really fall into the category of acquaintances, so I don’t want to add them as friends. Hell, some of them I don’t want to even know I’m alive.

Maybe they should start an _Acquaintancester._

iPhoto Slowly

I have been using iPhoto on my Mac to organize and store my photographs. It is extremely simple and intuitive as far as interfaces go and allows me to see my photographs by icon to quickly find, modify, and export them.

However, being the digital photographer I am I have amassed a collection of 2,550 photographs and now iPhoto is slow, cumbersome, and takes longer than Photoshop to open. Other people have also reported similar problems regarding iPhoto, siting their XML back end is not efficient enough to organize collections of more than 1,000 images.

Apple have really got to fix this major quirk, especially if they are including it with iLife and charging $50.

UPDATE
It seems that this problem does have a fix. You can find it here “MacDev Center”:http://www.macdevcenter.com/pub/a/mac/2003/06/17/iphoto2.html

Múm

Last night at the Bowery Ballroom, I saw an amazing little electronic band from Iceland called Múm, not to be confused with Austrian drum ‘n bass band Mum, which is completely unlike their Icelandic counterparts. They were absolutely mesmerizing. I haven’t ever heard anything like it before.

The best way to try and give you a sense of their music is to say that listening to Múm is to your ears, what watching Amélie is to the eyes. It is haunting without being depressing, grandiose without being inaccessible, gorgeous without being overly beautiful. Closing your eyes you could easily imagine yourself on another planet. Sweeping layers of sound that lie on top of each other, beneath electronic clicks of a synthesizer. It’s like hearing a video game from your youth played by an orchestra.

(Hey that’s a great idea in and of itself!)

From listening to their two albums [Yesterday Was Dramatic — Today Is OK and Finally We Are No One] you might miss the fact that Múm actually play most of their music with conventional very low tech instruments. Until I saw the lead singer pull her accordion on for a song, I hadn’t realized that the sounds I had been hearing on the album were in fact an accordion; it was the same for the viola, xylophone, keyboard, guitar, bass guitar, trumpet, drums, and mouth harp. The only thing I was expecting, and did see, was a Powerbook pleasantly whirring away making the distinctive clicks, tocks, beeps, dots, and other synthetic sounds to accompany the live band.

It was a wonderful show that captured every aspect of the album, except that I found the live show to be even warmer and more human than their album. It was a terrific experience to see the stage come alive with performers who were switching instruments every song to achieve the full effect of each sound.

If you see Múm coming to a venue near you, I urge you to see them. It will definitely be an experience you will remember fondly.

Official Múm Website
Múm Web (has some great audio)

Busy

I am busily trying to create a new look for Fun Time Tree House’s second incantation Up The Tree, but time is not on my side at the moment. You might have noticed the new and highly unpolished photo log that has just been added to the right menu. It has been updated to be completely update and searchable in the future.

Other things in the works:

* A full redesign of the photo log section with thumbnail navigation
* A calendar with thumbnails of all photographs for a given month displayed by date.
* An updated right column with a current links section that rotates randomly.
* An all new and improved reading/enjoying section that is up-datable and not a pain in the ass as it currently is.
* “MovableType”:http://www.movabletype.org/ Tutorials on how each new feature was created with step-by-step explanations.

So, please don’t be alarmed when the next time you visit there is a fantastically different beast looking you in the face… it just might take a while is all.

“The Blackout of 03”

OR

One More Reason I Hate the News Media

Well, if you haven’t heard by now, New York and most of the eastern sea board, lost power on Thursday at 4:10 EST(Eastern Standard Time) because Ohio can’t run their power plants. It was a bit of an ordeal, being that New York is a city heavily dependent on the juice to operate and the lack of it made many parts of my life a little more complicated.

I was at work when it happened. My computer monitor flickered and then went off, My second computer monitor flickered and went off, then my computer went off. For a split second I wondered what I had kicked, or which key command I must have just pushed to bring shut down my computer, but then I noticed everybody else also was looking at a blank monitor. There were the expected “Shit!” and “Aw’Man?!” but after checking with the entire floor and noticing the lights pulsing we realized, this was no tripped surge breaker. Just to let you guys know, there was an instant where I freaked out because I couldn’t understand how we would get down to the ground floor without the elevator.

*I hadn’t used the stairs in some time.*

I decided to split early and get out of the office and back to brooklyn as quickly as possible. Although, trying to get ahold of Diane using the telephone turned out to be a bit of a problem, not because the phone lines were down, but because we only have cordless phones that run on… electricity. My cell phone, however, was one of the few that worked (Thank you Verizon) and I called Diane and eventually got through. We planned our escape from the city.

With Saki our intern, who was staying with friends in Connecticut and unable to get back because of the train outages, we began our hot walk back to Brooklyn with another Million people. It was strangely a very fulfilling experience. Our reliance on electrical power has removed my understanding of distance. Every morning I go down a set of stairs onto a platform, I take a cylindrical tube for 40 minutes into manhattan, and walk up another set of stairs in a completely new borough. You never get a sense of where you are in relation to where you were. As a result you always feel slightly dis-empowered relying on technology to get you home.

Thursday was not an ideal day, by any stretch of the imagination, but it rely wasn’t as bad as people make it out to be. Sure, I live in a two story walk up, I don’t watch television, and am a fit 25 year old; these may skew my perspective some. I hope this blackout was a wake up call for a lot of people to instead of coming home, turning on their air conditioner, and zoning out in front of the television, maybe we should spend a bit more time talking with the people around us. The blackout taught me what its like not to hear televisions blasting from my neighbors, it taught me that in order to have a community people have to communicate with each other, and most importantly sometimes a little sweat never hurt anybody.

(Please check out some pictures of the blackout in my newly updated photolog.)

New Possibilities

You may have noticed slight issues with this website. You may have noticed the site was unavailable for weeks on end. You may have noticed panicked posts trying to use this weblog from yours truly.

Those days are (hopefully) now over.

I have switched servers, left behind my pathetically bad service (webhost2.com) and have moved to the very nice and reliable dr2.net instead. I was tired of the excuses my hosting company made. I was tired of not getting responses to e-mails when I sent them… and mostly tired of having my website be accessible when it was convenient for webhost2.com to get it’s act together.

*But this brings up an issue.*

My old website address, funtime.studiom11.com, is unavailable right now, due to a slight problem with linux, and I feel that it is time to move my weblog to its own domain so that people, much like yourselves, can find it without having to stick it in a bookmark (By domain I mean www.yaddayadda.com). Remember when I said that this weblog needed a change? Well now is the time. But which new fantastically original and easy to remember address should I use?

I researched a few names, but found all the good ones…

bq. treehouse.com
funtime.com
ftth.com
thetreehouse.com
treehousedesign.com
mrtreehouse.com
canopy.com

were all gone.

I thought briefly of using funtimetreehouse.com, but I could just imagine the problems in telling somebody to write that one down. It was too big, too cumbersome, and too specific. I want a site that can take on any persona I might throw onto it.

But thinking up more names proved to be much harder than I anticipated. Nothing seemed to be available. Two hours later I had four names and one stood out for being unique and original. This brand new website name was not only easy to remember, but also fun. It could be a new outlook on life. A new mantra… and ultimately could bring me wealth and opportunities beyond my wildest dreams… come on prosperity!

*So, what is this new website of which I speak?*

“UpTheTree.com”:http://www.upthetree.com/
It’s not quite up and running yet, but I hope you guys check back tomorrow and tell me what you think in the coming days.

*Just try to forget the name, I dare you!*

Goodbye Photos, Hello Photolog

It’s taken me a while to admit to myself, that although having a photograph in each post is pretty swanky, it has become confusing from an updating standpoint. Because each photograph is linked to a specific post it becomes a bit of a nightmare to search them and impossible for me to categorize them.

*I love my photos.*

I really do, but right now I haven’t a clue where some of them are on this site. Like where’s that photo of the palm tree I took in LA ? Couldn’t tell you… and I really do want to be able to tell you, but I can’t.

So, I’ve finally decided a photolog is the only way to show my photographs the respect, I hope, they deserve. Right now it’s kind of a mess of code that isn’t particularly customized, but I think you’ll get the drift. Surprisingly it wasn’t as hard as I thought it might be using MovableType and a fantastic tutorial A Photolog in 5 Easy Steps from Kingdom of Squirrels.

*I actually got it accomplished during my lunch hour.*

So please give it a look over and if you feel anyway about it, tell me what you think. (The photolog is in the right-hand menu)

Bacon, Egg & Queen

This morning on the train, Diane noticed a small hispanic girl who looked particularly displeased to be riding. She was cute, a small little thing with dark brown hair and an extremely small face, riding between her mother and father. They looked equally displeased with their morning commute.

The little girl was slouching, leaning on her mother trying to eat a half of a bacon & egg sandwich, but was drifting rapidly off to sleep. She continued to slouch onto her mother’s lap until finally she was laying down, holding her half a sandwich to her face. Like a giant pacifier, she held it over her mouth, smearing egg all over her face.

And that’s when I remembered *We Will Rock You* by Queen.

Nature of the Beast

I guess I should have expected it. Everything technological eventually breaks down… crashes… fails… It just happened to be my time, is all, and I learned my lesson — the hard way.

Earlier this month I had rejoiced in the ease of use this little web logging software. Posting thoughts as they came, a sort of world-wide stream of consciousness pouring from people just like me. I looked hopefully upon the world, marveling on it’s many facetted voices and their billions of ideas. It felt like a revolution. Nobody to tell us what to say. No corporate sponsors.

*An utopian ideal.*

Then the people who host my site had a bit of a problem. It seems that a piece of data had turned to the _dark side_ and decided to take some other data with it and suddenly no more web log. It wasn’t my service provider’s fault, things like this happen all the time, but Funtime Ben never realized that with his account there had been a back-up button which he should have pressed a long time before.

*I lost some posts.*

Any post I publish, out into this soup of electronic information, I expect to have forever. Much like a trusty journal I expected it to be there…. I didn’t expect it to run off with the first disk error it came across. The experience shook me a little.

As such I will be starting over. reinventing the site again with another slant. Much like a near death experience changes people, maybe this near erasure experience should lead to something bigger. It’s not going to be overnight, but maybe one day you might come by and see something completely different… or maybe this is just Monday talk and by Thursday I will have the same feeling about everything.

In short, I urge you if you value your writing and also expect to have it forever, back it up. Download your thoughts to disk and don’t trust the little computer fairies to back it up for you.