I nearly tore my left arm off to use as a club for smashing my computer tonight. A while ago at work we began migrating to active directory, and so my laptop got added to the corporate domain. As part of the magic performed by the migration script, I got a new profile on my computer. That’s a standard part of setting up on a domain. The other half of the magic is that the new profile really just rides on top of the old one, and uses a lot of its local settings.
Ever since the migration I’ve been running into little problems that I spend hours researching with no help from Google, only to trace them back to file permission issues. Tonight, the unhappy file is the one that is responsible for telling Quicktime which file types it can play in the browser. After granting the administrators group ownership of: C:\Documents and Settings\oldprofile\Local Settings\Application Data\Apple Computer\QuickTime\QuickTime.qtp, I can finally see quicktime videos again.
All of this because I have a Blackberry which Verizon won’t let receive picture/video messages because it doesn’t have a camera (even though it has full multi-media capabilities) forcing me to check video messages online. So in this rant I blame hours of frustration on Verizon for not enabling obvious features on their phones, Windows and it’s inability to recursively set file permissions, and Apple and their Quicktime installer which uses a mysterious registry key to point to the Local Settings folder of my old profile instead of the new one. The perfect storm of crappy software. May all who helped create any of these “features” die a slow death in a house fire.
A while ago, I signed up for Plaxo, but never got interested in the service. It was all too closed up for me when compared to services like Twitter or FriendFeed. Then today I get an email that reads:
A Letter from the CEO and Founders
Dear Plaxo member,
We are excited to announce some of the biggest news in the history of Plaxo. Plaxo has signed a definitive agreement** to be acquired by Comcast, the nation’s leading provider of entertainment, information and communications products and services. We’ve got at least a few months to go before the acquisition is completed, but we wanted to send you this note to let you know what’s coming up and how it affects you and your account.
I already know how this will affect my account though; It’ll be deleted. I don’t want the company that throttles my bandwidth and inspects my packets to also own the kind of information that Plaxo stores.
A few months ago the folks at Google proudly announced, “we’ve linked up Reader with Google Talk,” and with one fell swoop stole something valuable from their Reader users: control. We lost the ability to exchange our shared items feeds by choice; the process was automated. Tonight the issue really got to me when I was looking through the list of contacts that Google asserts are my “friends,” and saw that it was impossible to stop sharing with several people to whom I would rather not automatically expose my feed. Starting now, I am all but abandoning use of Google Reader’s sharing feature. This is not the end of my shared items however. Sometime in the next day or two I will personally send my RSS feed to you, my real friends, so stay tuned. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve done. Try it if you’re a control freak like me.
First I tagged a story I wanted to share with a keyword (the only way to create a new tag as far as I know). Any keyword you choose will work just fine. Then I just moved my shared items to the tag, made the tag public, and burned a feed. The last bit with Feedburner, is optional. I just did it because I get a few extras that Google doesn’t provide, like stats on the number of people subscribing to my feed. I hope this helps a few of you take back control, and If you choose to re-privatize your feeds, I hope you choose to re-send me your url. :-)
By the way, when you’re viewing an item in reader just hit ‘t’ on the keyboard, then start typing your keyword (it will autocomplete), hit enter, and you’ve shared an item using your new tag. Not as elegant as before, but an acceptable trade off.
So I began thinking the other day about the number of usernames and passwords I’ve collected over the past few months and remembered hearing something about OpenID. After some checking, I found that blogger, Plaxo, wordpress, and possibly other services that I use all accept OpenID for authentication. Of course I love the opportunity to play with new stuff, and this was no exception. I finally decided on Verisign as my provider, installed their seatbelt extension for firefox, and added a few services.
The whole thing works smoothly; I sign in once with Verisign (no need to have firefox remember the one password I’ll use everyday), then as I go to sites that accept OpenID, I supply them with my url. If it’s a service I’ve already approved, then I’m in. If not, I quickly get rerouted to Verisign and tell them if I want to allow the site to use my OpenID and how long it can use it, then I’m right back at the new service. You can even set up multiple OpenID’s as well if you want to keep authentication for sites separate, or if you just want redundancy. Man I hope Google embraces OpenID for more than just blogger, I’d really love to use this for everything.
Not convinced? Look at this slideshow.
I’ve really been enjoying the new Nine Inch Nails album tonight. I think I’m going to do the five dollar download tomorrow to get all four volumes. It’s all instrumental, and really exploratory. Also worth mentioning is the creativity behind the number of options available to fans (and skeptics) to enjoy the experience; from the free download of the first volume to a few hundred dollars for all four volumes in a highly collectible set for big fans with deep pockets. Take a look, have a listen.
Yes, it looks pretty much like the old place, except for the fancy new URL. Welcome to The Crutis.
*Trivia: Crutis is a misspelling of my name from an IM conversation I had years ago with a friend from school which managed to stick as a nickname. Whoever guesses the friend gets a coke.
The answer is Christopher Blackmon. Joe, you guessed two people and he was one of them, and since nobody else really guessed . . . looks like I owe you.
I’ve been trying off and on for a while now to give myself a really good excuse to dig into Ruby on Rails, especially with the 1.9 release of Ruby and the 2.0 release of Rails. I finally registered a second domain today as a playground.
New forms of communication I’m becoming addicted to:
I raised the limit on my out of network text messages about a month ago, and I’m seriously considering lowering my monthly minutes. You call people a lot less when you already know what’s going on :)