Capn Design

March 2004

This month I posted 23 entries, watched 8 videos.

Gmail - Email by Google

Arriving April 1st, 2004, here's an article from the NYT


Graphical representation of Google News. Beautiful. Amazing. (via kottke)

RSS is Ruining Me

Posted March 30, 2004

Currently, I am using NetNewsWire to manage all of the RSS Feeds I read. It is wonderful as I can look at a great deal of content in a short period of time. Its this ease of use that's a problem.

As of today, I have 212 subscriptions in NetNewsWire. This means I am pulling in information from over two hundred locations. In the past, I would never have considered this because I didn't have the time or desire to look at 200 sites every day. Who has four or five hours to spend surfing blogs and other news sources? So, RSS was a godsend at first because I could read the thirty sites I frequented in one-tenth of the time. Now that I have four times as many, it once again takes over an hour to read all of sites.

I believe the problem is that news readers don't allow me to forget sites I like. Instead of seeing a cool site and throwing it at the bottom of my bookmarks, I have my news reader checking once an hour to see if its updated. And since there are thousands of interesting sites, I am amassing quite a list of sites to look at.

So when I say that RSS is ruining me, I mean it in the best way. My real complaint is that the combination of RSS and a growing number of fabulous sites has lead to even more time-suckage. I just can't imagine what it's going to be like in another year when I have 500 RSS feeds. Someone's going to have to figure out a way to infuse all of this text into my brain, Matrix-style.

My Leg is Pulsing

Posted March 29, 2004

I always keep my cell phone in my left pant pocket. Every now and then I will have a muscle spasm or some kind of vibration in my leg when my phone isn't ringing. It is similar (but not identical) to the feeling I get when my phone rings. I'm curious what is causing this. Is it a muscle memory sort of thing or are there waves being emitted by the phone that are now causing my quadraceps to go crazy?

It certainly doesn't hurt and isn't an issue, but I'm curious. Any thoughts or should I bring this to Ask Metafilter?

Madison Square Garden Seating Chart

Posted March 23, 2004

I love checking where my seats are before I head to a game or concert. It's nice to know exactly where you're sitting. In the past, you used to be lucky if you could find a seating chart, let alone one that was easy to use. Madison Square Garden's seating chart is better than anything else I've seen.

When you first get to the page you need to choose the location of your event (MSG, Theater at MSG or Radio City Music Hall) and then click on the image to launch the flash app. Assuming you choose the MSG seating chart, you will see what is pictured in Figure 1.

Initial view of seating chart
Fig. 1

If you would like to it's pretty easy. Figure 2 shows an example of the process of swithcing and how it changes.

fig. 2

My favorite feature is the ability to zoom in on a specific section (fig. 3) and then if you click on the section number in the zoom area it brings up a photo of your perspective from that section (fig. 4). Brilliant.

fig. 3

fig. 4

It's amazing how easy it is to make me happy as this is not a flashy, crazy implementation. It is just enough to get the job. Simplicity and ease of use at its finest.

Visually Track Any Flight in the Air

You can also see all of the traffic to a handful of airports or all air traffic.

My Cooper Temple Clause interview is live at twenty/forty

Please, check it out if you have a moment.

The Movie Marathon Was a Success

Posted March 21, 2004

Despite skepticism from the readers of, my family and my friends, I managed to see six movies yesterday at the AMC Empire 25 in Times Square. I only missed 50 First Dates and that was because of a scheduling error. This little recap will begin with the preparation, the event itself and then a small review of each film I saw.

Suppies and Preparation

I didn't begin preparing until yesterday morning, but I made sure to head to bed early on Friday night so that I would be at my most alert for a day of movie-watching. I fell asleep around midnight watching episodes of the Ben Stiller Show. I won't lie, the first two episodes definitely helped me to pass out.

I awoke the next morning around 10am and started by showering and eating a bowl of cereal. I needed some regularity. I then began to pack my food for the day. Although it was tempting to live on only movie food, I decided I should probably have some real nourishment. Thus, I made myself two turkey sandwiches and a PB & J sandwich. I also brought along a couple of apples and box of raisins.

My next concern was what to wear. I decided I would wear a sweatshirt, jacket and wool hat. This way I could take one or more items off in order to disguise myself a bit between shows.

At this point, I felt prepared to leave for the subway. By 11:30, I was out the door for my 12:20 showing of Triplets of Belleville.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sports Illustrated's Digital Workflow

Their setup is amazing.

The Grateful Dead on iTunes

The Dead are finalizing a deal with Apple to put every live note ever recorded on the iTunes Music Store. Amazing.

I Used to Run Guns

Posted March 18, 2004

Well, that's what they thought. Nearly three years ago, I was a victim of identity theft. A man or a woman or kabal of con-people decided they would use my name in order to steal money from gun buyers online. Nothing was stolen from me and it didn't really effect me in any negative way, which meant it was kind of entertaining.

Today, I got a call from a postal inspector in Madison, WI, where it all went down. He told me they had "captured the target" and needed my information in case the prosecution wanted to use me as a witness. I was unsure I could trust him at first, so I asked for his name and phone number. After he gave me that, I gave him my info and said I'd be happy to help.

Moments later, I spoke to my mom and she said the same man had called our house saying he was an old friend of mine. "Odd," I thought. I did some research and it turned out he was indeed a postal inspector, but I was fairly nervous for a few minutes.

I'm kind of excited that this is coming back to life three years later. I'm also impressed that they actually caught the guy this much later. Apparently he had been doing the same sort of thing to others.

If you'd like to read all about my adventures as they happened, follow this search for "gun running" on my site and it will pop up all of the entries. There are about eight, I think.

A Movie Marathon

Posted March 17, 2004

This Saturday (or maybe Sunday), I am going to attempt something I have always threatened to do but never really had a good opportunity. I'm going to spend the entire day at the movies. I worked it out, and if I can manage to get into all of these movies without any problems, I'll be able to see seven films in one day. It's going to be tight, and I'm seeing a movie or two I wouldn't have seen otherwise, but I think I can do it.

I'm more than willing to do this on my own, which should make me a bit more inconspicuous, but if you'd like to join me for a movie or for the whole thing, you're welcome. I'm going to do it at the AMC Empire 25 in Times Square because it's easy to get around and they have 25 screens, which makes it easier. Here is Saturday's schedule. Below you can see my tenative schedule. I plan to work on backup plans in case certain ones are full or if there is some muscle outside the theater.

12:20pm: Triplets of Belleville (1hr. 22min.)
1:50pm: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (1 hr. 48min.)
4:20pm: Spartan (1hr. 46min.)
6:20pm: Dawn of the Dead (1hr. 40min.)
8:15pm: Osama (1hr. 22min.)
9:30pm: The Dreamers (2hr. 10min.)
11:45pm: 50 First Dates (1hr. 46min.)

You can expect a full recap of the event, complete with some photographs and information on preparation, after it's all finished.

One Less DVD, One New President

Posted March 15, 2004

Today, I donated to a political campaign for the first time in my life. I contributed $25 to John Kerry's campaign. I had been inspired by a couple sources (nedward, one of my coworkers), but this article is what pushed me over the edge. It explaied how Bush had been raising all of his money, but it also mentioned that he has already raised $159 million, which is significantly more than Kerry. Kerry is aiming for $80 million by the convention, while Bush is expected to hit $200 million.

The NY Times article stressed how the McCain-Feingold Soft Money Bill changed the focus to small donations instead large ones (due to the $2,000 cap on personal donations). As a result, I felt it was my duty to donate money to Kerry's campaign. As my coworker put it, "I don't want Kerry to lose because he was drowned out by Bush's marketting machine." Ok, so she didn't say exactly that, but it's more or less right.

As I said in the title of this post, if you can spare one new DVD, or one nicer dinner or a night on the town, then you can help Kerry to defeat Bush. So please, donate to John Kerry's campaign. Please.

Welcome Home, 300D

Posted March 12, 2004

One Wednesday I called up CDW and told them I'd get them money if they'd send me a package on Friday. They agreed. Today a Digital Rebel and 512 MB CompactFlash card arrived at work for me. I had been saving up for a while now and with my move to full-time employment, I was suddenly able to buy the camera I've been oggling since it came out.

And so, welcome my new, wonderful camera. I love you already.

Also: Check out my first few pictures on the photo page.

The Digital Rebel and me

Roku Soundbridge

I want this (the smaller one). Now.

Information on E.T.A.

This is the group believed to be responsible for the terrorist attack in Spain. I didn't know anything about them before, but this link was quite informative.

Should Music Be More Expensive?

Posted March 10, 2004

In this month's edition of Esquire, Andy Langer asks, What is Music Worth? In his article, he suggests that by raising the price of albums we'll force artists to give us higher quality tunes. His theory is based on the fact that artists like Led Zeppelin and the Beatles continuely sell well even though their albums are sold at full retail prices. Here it is in his words:

Admittedly, raising prices on music will sting. It might even suck outright. But the free ride is over. And a price hike could indeed unite us, raising the stakes for everyone. It's good ol'-fashioned Darwinism. We'd simply raise prices on every record across the board and see what survives. And this much is clear: Paying more for music will mean we're bringing fewer bad albums into our homes, because this is a plan that effectively taxes shitty taste. Fans of Celine Dion have every right to keep her in business, but they'll have to pay extra to do it.

At this point, the idea is totally and completely ridiculous. He does make a concession though.

To encourage us to take a chance on new artists, upstarts would be exempt from the hike for their first two records or their first 100,000 albums sold, whichever comes first.

That helps, because I was concerned about the effect his plan would have had on unproved artists, but I'm still miffed. I just can't understand how raising prices will improve quality. There are bands out there where it might take three our four records before they come up with something the public wants. Despite your personal opinion, take Vertical Horizon as an example. They release three albums of acoustic folk-rock, then switch up their sound (or sell out, depending on who you talk to) for their fourth record and sell a couple million copies. Under this proposed plan, that record wouldn't have been released.

Additionally, you are keeping out new fans of established bands. If I had never heard the Morissey before, but I wanted to buy his new album when it comes out later this year, I'd be forced to shell out $22 to find out about him.

I would consider following Langer's plan if you gave it a twist. Imagine if each shopper had to pay more for each record by a particular artist, regardless of which record he/she buys. I'd say that each album you buy goes up $2, starting at $10. So, if I'm interested in R.E.M., I can buy Automatic for the People for $10 and then go back and buy Document for $12 if I liked the first one. There would be a cap of, say, $18 an album. Granted, this would require some sort of record-buyer registry, but it would be great in a perfect world. My one rule is that for each subsequent record sold, the artist gets a higher percentage of the royalties. This way, if a label wants to exploit an artist by releasing greatest hits records or b-side compilations, they have to pay the artist more to do so.

The benefit of my plan is that you're still forcing a long-time fan to pay more for your album, but you're not making that decision based on album sales or on no basis at all. In other words, you are not allowing album sales to dictate whether a record is of high quality.

I appreciate that Andy Langer recognized there is a problem with the industry's attitude towards new bands, but I don't think raising prices across the board will help anyone. His plan is a populist one, yet he criticizes artists based on his personal critiques of their merit (i.e. Celine Dion). Essentially, he thinks raising prices will cut the crap, but it'll just give us fewer options that aren't necessarily better. Neither of our solutions are perfect, but I commend him for raising the question.

A Caa-razy Weekend

Posted March 9, 2004

Finally, I am no longer tired. For the entire weekend and all of Monday, I was pooped and it was all my Jori's fault.

On Friday she found out she was going to Alaska on Sunday for a week and that she had to photograph sixteen bars in the two nights before she left. Being the good boyfriend I am, I decided to help her out. This meant spending twelve hours of my weekend in bars and the rest of the time was spent helping her pack. Then, I capped off the weekend by seeing the Cooper Temple Clause at Maxwell's on Sunday. The show was awesome, but I probably should have rested since I overslept the next morning. Whoops!

A byproduct of this craziness will be the absence of my girlfriend during the next week. As a result, I have a lot of free time. To fill it up, I will be seeing TCTC again tonight at the Bowery, watching a whole lot of movies (saw the Italian Job last night, review coming), playing video games (just bought Time Crisis 3), and working on the new website design (with any luck, it'll be done for next week). My goal is to average a movie per day during the time she's away.

Also, if you're in New York and I haven't seen you in a while, drop me a line and let's hang out. I'm thinking bowling or going to Blip! at AMMI.

Cooper Temple Clause and Calla

Posted March 8, 2004

I just got back from the Cooper Temple Clause and Calla show. TCTC was fucking amazing. One of the best live shows I've seen ever. More on the show tomorrow. Here is a photo, to tease you...

One-third of The Cooper Temple Clause


Posted March 4, 2004

twentyfortyzine.comMy friends and I have just launched twenty/forty, an online magazine focusing mostly on music. The tagline is "Perfect vision is for fighter pilots, not critics," which I think is awesome (unfortunately, it didn't come from my brain).

We've been working on it for over eight months and are happy to launch with about twenty reviews and fifteen interviews. The writing is great and I'm excited we've all gotten off our asses and made this real.

The magazine is edited by Matt and Natalie. It was designed/coded by myself, Steve, and Tim. So do me a favor and check it out as it has taken up a fair amount of time over the last couple months. Also, there are XML newsfeeds available for those who want to be informed when new reviews or interviews has been added.

10 Great Things About New York

Part 1, from Manhattan's User Guide

120 Minutes Playlists

It is so sad this show is gone. Its disappearance marks the death of the MTV I once knew. Sigh.

Am I a New Yorker Yet?

Posted March 2, 2004

According to Colson Whitehead, yes. As he professed in his collection of essays, The Colossus of New York:

No matter how long you have been here, you are a New Yorker the first time you say, That used to be Munsey's, or That used to be the Tic Toc Lounge.

I've done that now, but I am beginning to consider myself a New Yorker for other reasons. The newest one is that I now subscribe to the three big "New York" magazines -- New York, The New Yorker and Time Out New York. Each week I spend most of my reading time working through these three publications. My recent desire to take a break from fiction is part of the cause, but the choice to subscribe is a bit bigger than that.

Truly, I think it stems from my recent decision to renew the lease on my apartment and commit to staying in New York for another year. Up until now, I hadn't committed to staying here for any definite amount of time. I've only really lived in sublets up until this point. My new commitment inspired a barage of purchases at Ikea and Crate and Barrell, as well as these new magazine subscriptions.

Thinking about it all, it seems I've always been a New Yorker and I'm only now admitting it to myself. The only thing I'm nervous about now is when I actually have to leave.


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