Why are so many computer users skinflints?

A couple of days ago I responded to a review of a Twitter application I use with the following observations:


The review I was referring to was one in PC Magazine about a BlackBerry Twitter application I use and love called Tweet Genius. Twitter’s 140 character constraints make it a bit tough for me to be completely clear, but my point is this: why is the $10 cost of a highly useful application considered sufficiently noteworthy to be mentioned several times during an otherwise positive review? And why is it that this “it is great, but a major drawback is that it costs something…” kind of notice is so common in software reviews these days?

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Life with a BlackBerry Bold

I have had my BlackBerry now for a couple of weeks, so it is probably time for me to give my initial impressions. At this point, I can say I am quite impressed with the BlackBerry Bold. I am happy I chose it over the BlackBerry Storm or the iPhone. There is definitely room in the market for a choice of devices, and the iPhone is not always “the best”. Now on to my explanations and observations.

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Shifting my Twits around

I’ve moved my Twitter feed from the right side to the left side navigation area on this page. The “balance” was starting to bug me (i.e.: too much vertical “stuff” on the right versus the left), and for some reason it just seems to make more sense under “recent comments” then above my photo gallery block.

I have not yet really slowed down my rate of “tweeting” yet: by the way, I prefer calling individual Twitter posts “twits”, but apparently that is bad form- sorry. I started on May 14th, and I’m posting somewhere around six to eight updates per day. if you look at my follow cost I seem to have stabilized at just below 400 milliscobles. I’m not feeling any compulsion to tweet: I just do so when something catches my eye and I think other folks might want to hear about it. Probably my main “vanity” when tweeting is that I respond to a few people like badastronomer (Phil Plait) and wilh (Wil Wheaton) on occasion. In part I do this because I’m hoping they might say something back- but generally I actually *do* have a question, I just probably would never have the courage to ask them to their face.   

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Cat banner…

I have added a cat banner which will appear periodically at the top of this page, along with my various tree and flower images. Here is a teeny tiny version for your enjoyment:


A couple of notes about these “rotating” images

  • if you have Javascript enabled, the image should rotate (change) every 20 seconds. If you don’t have Javascript enabled, the image will change each time you refresh the page or navigate to a new one
  • the banner images are 1920 x 150, and the cats are spread out across almost the entire width in their image. That means that most people won’t see all seven of our cats. Sorry: all I can suggest is that you get a larger/higher pixel count monitor 😉
  • All of the photos in the banner are taken by either Irene or myself. Thus they are not professional- that’s what you get on an amateur blog. All of the pictures are “photoshopped” to varying degrees to adjust lighting, size and (in the case of the cat banner) to frankenstein several images into one
  • in order, from left to right, the cats in the image are: Nimbus, Elcee, Coco, Bilbo, Iris, Tuxedo, and Willow. Bilbo is the oldest at 17 years, and Coco is the youngest at about a year and a half I believe. Scale is not accurate: but if you pretend the cats are at varying distances from you, it sort of works…
  • I will eventually add a “computer stuff” banner, with photos of all of my various computers and computer-related gadgets. No promise on exactly when, though. Creating a photoshopped image like the cat banner takes me a couple of hours, and although it is sort of fun, it isn’t something I want to do regularly.


Knowledge workers vs Working with your hands

I am a “knowledge worker”. I design multi-media “webcast” applications and services, and lead a small team of smart, engaged developers- I occasionally get to write some code, but most of my “real” work involves middleware and server maintenance activities to keep our applications operational. My work is largely intellectual, and this is after I spent several years altering my career path so I could work more directly with the technology.

There was a period when I was perilously close to slipping into management, and another time when I performed the role of a proposal solution architect, but fortunately I recognized that these roles were not satisfying for me. I like having a more direct connection with the technology, with actually making the solution work rather than philosophizing about how it might work. I’m willing to make sacrifices in order to keep that proximity to “reality”, and so it was intriguing to me to read an article describing why even more “physical” work might be the smart choice after all.

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I like new gadgets. This isn’t really a general desire for new things, but rather new technology. Sometimes this desire can be beneficial: as a direct result of my interest in technology that is desnew, I am arguably more aware of the current state of the computer, game console, and smart phone markets. Other times, though, my interest becomes a bizarre kind of fixation, one which I often can not logically justify.

Continue reading Shiny….

New layout more or less settled

The Atahualpa theme has been active here on the site now for several days. I haven’t received any positive or negative feedback, but I’m happy enough with it now that I’ve made a few minor tweaks.

  • The banner pictures at the top are now my own photos: I plan on adding in a few cat pictures at some point, but the format requires some fiddling so it may take me a while
  • I’ve corrected some problems that prevented my archives from showing up
  • I have managed to get a twitter feed working that doesn’t require the Flash plugin

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The new Star Trek: a worthy successor

Irene and I went to see Star Trek today. It is her birthday (or as she says, “Birthday weekend”), so the movie was her choice. I wanted to see Star Trek, but I didn’t have a lot of faith in this “re-imagining” or “reboot” as it has been called. I left the theatre, however, feeling quite differently than I expected to.

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What is an Atmos clock?

I am now the proud owner of a middling-quality Jaeger LeCoultre Atmos clock. I purchased it on eBay a few weeks ago, and it is the first thing I have actually received from my adventures there. You might reasonably ask “what the heck is an ‘Atmos’, and what’s the big deal?” In this post I’ll try to answer that question

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