Capn Design

July 2002

This month I posted 26 entries, watched 10 videos.

Opinion Please

Posted July 31, 2002

My DVD player is broken. I thought it just needed to be cleaned, but I was wrong and now I have a dilemma.

It will cost $176 to repair my DVD player, according to the Sony website and the player cost me $325. So, should I get it repaired or just replace it? It's a nice player but I'm not emotionally attached to it or anything.

What should I do?

Top 10 Things I'll Miss

Posted July 30, 2002

These are the things I will miss about Madison and college, aside from my friends, which is an obvious choice.

  1. The Union
    I have spent more time here than anywhere else in Madison. This listing includes the music committe, Emmie, the Terrace and all the other great things the Union offers. Cannot be replaced.

  2. Living in Limbo
    Nothing beats having minimal responsibility while still living away from home and having a good time. I understand the "best 4 years of your life" comments, especially as I'm looknig for jobs now.

  3. B-Side Records
    Easily my favorite record store in the midwest. It's not big, but the selection is amazing.

  4. 446 Parties
    Granted, it's been a while since these have been possible, but they are some of my favorite party memories from college. Way to go guys.

  5. Constantly Learning
    Even if I only did my homework sparingly, I did learn a lot here. Unless grad school is in the cards, this is was my last opportunity to focus on learning.

  6. Glass Nickel Pizza
    My favorite pizza ever. It's all about the crust and amount of cheese. I will miss you dearly.

  7. Madison's Landscape
    Madison is beautiful. Do I need to give more of an explanation?

  8. Halloween
    I love the insanity and it provided a great medium for costumes of yore.

  9. Kickball League
    I will miss these types of things in Madison. I think it's awesome that we had six teams of people playing kickball. I hope to carry on the league elsewhere.

  10. Cheap Things
    One thing that's great about college is cheap movies, software, airfare, sometimes meals and various other promotions. Thankfully, I am not throwing away my student id for a little while.

What will you miss?

Crafty Spam

Posted July 30, 2002

This is a spam I received this morning. It is crafty and I like it. My favorite line is bolded. Enjoy.

Subject: This Message Is a Warning. Internet Detective @ Your Fingertips

This message is to notify you of an investigation on you by an "iDetect 2002" user. We Have Blocked The "iDetect 2002" user's Identity for Security reasons. Don't Be Scared, You are not going to jail. This just means that someone saw you online and wanted to find out just who you are and maybe a little more. Using This Software. This is Not A Real Detective

You can do a little investigating for yourself by getting iDetect 2002. You will also get A list of people who have done Investigations on you and your family.

p.s. I like The Use of Capitalization.

A. Finkl and Sons

Posted July 28, 2002

Last night I went to see Guster with John Mayer at A. Finkl and Sons in Chicago. I love Guster but the show was ridiculous. There were 10,000 people there and about 3/4 were waiting to see Mayer. It was also hot, humid and sticky. Oh, and Guster's set was only an hour. It was disappointing, but free, so I will limit my complaining. Here are some lists.

Order of play:
1. Martin Sexton
2. Guster
3. John Mayer

Amount of Talent:
1. Martin Sexton
2. Guster
3. John Mayer

Sex Appeal:
1. John Mayer
2. Guster
3. Martin Sexton

Album Sales:
1. John Mayer
2. Guster
3. Martin Sexton

Freakin' music industry.

Apple bids Microsoft Adieu

Posted July 26, 2002

If you follow the ongoing saga that is Apple, then you've probably seen some of the stories surrounding last week's Macworld. I explained some of the new products and vented frustration, but it seems something even bigger is going on.

Two Mondays ago, Microsoft annouced their new version of Windows Media Player that will compete with Quicktime 6. They also voiced frustration with the number of copies of Office v.X sold (only 300,000 when they were expecting 750k, but who can blame consumers when 4 pieces of software cost $500?). Essentially, Microsoft thinks Apple is not supporting Mac OS X enough and it's losing everyone money. The line in the sand is starting to be drawn.

Today, the OS X developer build of OpenOffice was released and Apple announced they will be partnering with Sun to create a consumer-friendly version of OpenOffice that Sun works on called StarOffice. OpenOffice will also be available but Sun's version is coupled with fonts and other things that require licensing. Cost to consumers for OpenOffice: $0. StarOffice: $50 (maybe).

This sounds like it could be a Microsoft-killer. Office is the only thing Mac users rely on from Microsoft. I'll end this all with a great quote from one of the Sun people.

"I don't want to sell StarOffice for OS X," Siress said. "I want Apple to bundle it. I'll give them the code. I'd love it if I could get the team at Apple to do joint development and they distribute it at no cost--that it's their product. Nobody makes a product more beautiful on Apple than Apple."

Friday Five

Posted July 26, 2002

1. How long have you had a weblog? Since September '99, but I didn't know I was blogging then. I didn't even know what the word meant. I started using blogger a year later in December of 2000. You can check out all of the early posts here.

2. What was your first post about? It was about a Guster concert. I mean the first one was about creating the webpage, but that shouldn't count.

3. How many changes (name, location, etc.) of your weblog have there been, if more than one? When it all began my website was "Matty's Playland," and then it became "Iodine Nation," and it all ended with the current name. I like this one for now.

4. What CMS (content management system) do you use? Do you like it or do you want to try something else? I am using Movable Type and I love it. I have no desire to switch. For a while I used blogger but I wanted to do more with my website and blogger couldn't do it. Still, blogger is great so use that if you want to do minimal work.

5. Do you read people who have both a journal and a weblog? Or do you prefer to read people who have all of their writing in one central place? Pretty much everyone I read only has a weblog and those who have journals tend to write them like a weblog. So yeah.

Big Rock = Big Fluke

Posted July 25, 2002

There has been a lot of discussion about a gigantic asteroid set to hit Earth in about 20 years. Admittedly, I was scared by this thought and especially the accompanying photos. Thankfully, I am a nerd and received all of this news via Slashdot. According to their post, this is not really much of a threat. Here is what they had to say...

The BBC article's headline (and accompanying illustration) are more alarming than the story itself seems to warrant: this asteroid has been given a 0.06 on the Palermo technical scale, which means it shouldn't bump getting run over by a llama off your list of worries.

And thus, I fear no rocks of life-threatening size. Bring it on universe, show me what else you got.

Top Tens

Posted July 23, 2002

I just finished a top ten, but I have decided that in honor of my last few weeks in Madison, I will roll out a few top tens related to Madison and college in general as a way to look back without writing pages of drivel about how I loved college and am nervous to move on but will do it because I have to yadda yadda yadda.

This plan will be better for the both of us. Oh, and it will gain a more prominent display (i.e. in the main section as well) during this time. Prepare for the first one at the end of the week.

Top Ten

Posted July 23, 2002

  1. Wet Hot American Summer
    Certainly the funniest movie from last summer. If you liked The State and/or you're human, you'll love this.

  2. Alex Gopher video
    This video is for his song, "The Child" and the whole video is done with typography. It is amazing. Jenny, this is for you.

  3. Fear of Pop
    This is Ben Folds' side project from the BFF days. I still love it.

  4. Wagamama
    The best restaurant in the UK. A hip, Japanese-style noodle house with good cheap food = unbeatable.

  5. Eternal Darkness
    The best new videogame for Gamecube. After playing for an hour or so I was sincerely frightened to enter my laundry room. Tooooooo dark.

  6. Jukeboxes
    It's like going DJing with another DJs records. A challenge but the success is always sweeter, usually in the form of a brodeo getting down to J-Lo.

  7. Delta Thrives
    A phenomenal graphic story drawn with CG tools that is a pleasure to look at. Like nothing I've seen before. (Warning/Enticement: There is digital nudity)

  8. NYC
    New York City will be my new home in just over a month and I think it deserves a top ten nod for that reason. If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere. Note to self: copyright that phrase.

  9. Asparagus Pot
    Specially designed to cook asparagus by boiling the bottoms and steaming the top, this thing rules. Also good for brocolini. Yum.

  10. Wavebird Controller
    I know, two spots go to nintendo, but it is warranted. This controller makes playing from the couch so much easier. Watch out though, throwing the controller when angry is 3.5x as dangerous.


Posted July 23, 2002

Yes it's a Zoolander joke, but this post will be serious.

Last night, while I was desperately trying to fall asleep, I caught a memorial segment on Ted Williams on ESPN. It was definitely well done but it got me thinking; why can't we do more of these things when people are alive? Wouldn't it be wonderful for people to celebrate your life at a time when you can appreciate it?

One of my deans from high school whom I was close with recently had a bout with breast cancer and was able to experience something like a living eulogy. She said that it was amazing to read people's letters and talk to them on the phone because it made her realized how much she was appreciated.

So I think we should all try and tell people how much we enjoy their presence. If people heard these things it would make "real life" much more tolerable. Enough of my rambling, but ya'll should give it a shot.

Bowling Score: 255

Posted July 23, 2002

Maybe I should clarify. I scored a 131 followed by a 124. Nonetheless, I was happy with my two scores despite a poor start in the second round. Biggest disappointment: misses the turkey in the tenth frame of the second game by one pin. Youch.

In the past I went to Schwoegler's for my Monday night bowling fix, thinking that $2 a game was a steal. The music was good too. Little did I know that Middleton Sport Bowl offered games for just $1. Not to mention, the $3 chilidog / fry combo coupled with a challenging yet fruitful jukebox. I suggest you give it a roll.

There's one thing I know for certain: both bowling alleys beat the Brunswick back in Deerfield, IL that charged me $4.50 for a single game. Unbowlievable.

The End. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

New Feature

Posted July 20, 2002

I have just added a little app that shows what I last listened to in iTunes. The information is right underneath the calendar, which should be updated if you are reading this. If you are interested in doing something similar on your page, you should check out Kung Tunes, an OS X program. If you another system, I know that there are similar programs for WinAmp on Windows.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Posted July 20, 2002

I just finished watching Amelie, which was wonderful. Throughout the movie I kept thinking about how the cinematography looked eerily familiar. Then I noticed the clown-guy from Delicatessen. I wasn't sure if it was him until the waitress said something about "[blah] would be better than eating human flesh."

AHA! I knew it. What I really didn't know was that it is by the same director, Jean-Pierre Jeunet. It was a very pleasant surprise.

Like Amelie, I love the little things.

Sweet and Sour

Posted July 17, 2002

This morning Steve Jobs presented the keynote for Macworld New York, where he introduced a number of new products, both software and hardware. There was the updated version of OS X, Jaguar (10.2), which includes new mail, address book, Sherlock and chat applications as well as something called Rendezvous, which will make networking a snap. Jobs also unveiled iCal and iSync, a new calendar system and a program to sync calendar and address information with your ipod, palm or bluetooth cellphone. There is also a new version of iTunes that has smart playlists; they generate based on your ratings, number of times played or any other rule you set up. In terms of hardware, they have a widescreen, 17-in. iMac and an updated line of iPods. The two existing players are dropped $100 and a new 20gig model will be at $499.

Now that's the sweet, and it's definitely sweet. Unfortunately, there is some sour. Apple's free web services, donned iTools, has received a new name and a complete overhaul. It is now .mac. The difference is more webspace, more email space, virus protection and automated backups. Oh, and its $100/year. I must have forgetten about that. There has been some outcry, and it is understandable since they are taking away a free service, but I think it is slightly unwarranted. The cost is reasonable and the services are high quality. All I'd really want is to keep the free email and charge for the rest.

All in all, I thought this was a good keynote and I'm super excited about OS X.2. It is only a matter of time until I'm all Mac.

UPDATE: My outrage is now increased. I thought that the upgrade to 10.2 would be $20 for existing OS X users, but it appears it is the full $129. I expect to pay for a big upgrade, but to charge the full price for an upgrade that is really the first major upgrade (10.0 was essentially a beta release, so 10.2 would be the first) is unbelievable. $50 would be doable but I will have a serious problem plopping down $130 for these updates.

I Don't Believe It.

Posted July 17, 2002

It seems that in January of 2001, I was smoking a lot of peyote. That is the only explanation for why I put Dashboard Confessional above Grandaddy for my Top 10 of 2000. Aside from that egregious error, the rest seems pretty good. Here is Best of 2001 lists, for those who may be interested.

And Steve, Dashboard was #8, not 3. Pttthpt.

New Photos

Posted July 16, 2002

There are new photos up. Expect more photos, an update of other middle column items, and the promised redesign of the photo page. I am feeling a bit inspired so I may as well run with it.

In other news, I think I will be moving to NYC in a month. How's about dem apples.

UPDATE: For those wondering, I have no job. If things go as planned, I'll be living with my uncles on Staten Island until I can find a place and a job. Oh, and to my Boston ladies: I'm only a hop, skip and a jump away. Certainly closer than Chicago.

Muppets with HIV

Posted July 13, 2002

According to the NYT, Sesame Street is adding a puppet with HIV on their South African version of the show. I think this is an amazing thing to do. It's time to be honest with kids when they're young, especially in such grave circumstances.

More later, gotta go.

The Best Quiz

Posted July 12, 2002

Take the Which Screen Saver are you? quiz.

Free Slurpees!

Posted July 11, 2002

Today is July 11th (7/11) and there are free slurpees at participating 7-11's. Sadly, there is not one in Madison.

Sorry for the late notice, but get out there and get a free slurpee!

Oops the Tour!

Posted July 11, 2002

This weekend I went home with the main purpose of going to Oops the Tour! The tour consists of The Locust, Arab on Radar, The Flying Luttenbachers, Rah Brahs, and Wolf Eyes.

I'll be honest, I'm not exactly into hardcore. But, I really enjoy going to see it live. There's something about the raw energy of 16 and 17 year-olds raising their fists and bumping into each other. The nice thing about this tour is that only the two headliners were hardcore bands, which made for a nice variety of music. It also meant I was introduced to the Rah Brahs, who are amazing live. Unfortunately the recording on their album doesn't do it justice. Their vocals are raw and energetic but they seem to take a back seat on the album. It's a bummer.

So the show was great. My only regret is not seeing Lighting Bolt and Erase Errata the night before. All you dudes have said they're great and I biffed it. Well, all you other dudes shouldn't make the same mistake. The tour is just beginning, find your city and go.

Big Brother's in the Back Seat

Posted July 7, 2002

Thanks to Slashdot, I've recently learned that Budget Rent-a-car has been tracking customers via GPS and charging them for out-of-state mileage. Article here. My first instinct is to cry bloody murder and wage a campaign to defame and destroy the company. Clearly, tracking a customer's movements without his/her consent is ridiculous. Confusing contracts are also ridiculous.

Still, people are trying to break the rules. Big Brother is bad, I know, but I feel like people are discounting the fact that customers are breaking the rules. The privacy factor is probably more important, but I think people should look at the bigger picture. Ah, I digress.

Now you should go check out 37Signals mock-up of a telematics system. These guys are great and truly care about good design and interface. Yeah.

Director's Commentary

Posted July 5, 2002

Last night I watched the Spike Lee Joint, Get on the Bus. Oh, and it is a great movie that I could talk about for a few paragraphs, but I'll save that for some other time. After finishing the movie, I watched a little of it with the director's commentary turned on. Spike Lee had an approach to the feature that I had never heard before. It was as if he were a friend sitting next to you on the couch who happened to know a lot about all the actors and the setting of the film. He would also repeat lines he thought were poignant or funny. To be honest, I didn't love it, but it was a new style. And so, here are the styles of commentary that I have come across.

Technical Expert: These directors spend most of the film explaining every detail of how they managed to fit a camera in the air duct or managed to get the car to blow up without hurting Joan Cusack. It's about special effects and secrets of the film industry. Usually you find these commentaries on movies like Air Force One.

The Gossip: "During this scene Julia Roberts was having trouble keeping her hair in that up-do. It took about 12 takes." "I probably shouldn't tell you this, but Tom Arnold loves twinkies." I think you know what I mean. You'll find this on movies like America's Sweethearts.

The Film Junkie: This director will tell you every influence and explain every shot choice. They tend to talk almost the entire time and trying to help you better understand their vision. Example: I can't think of one right now, but comment if you can.

Plot Hounds: Similar to the film junkie, these directors explain the intentions of the film but in relation to the plot. I could see this being used for Memento.

Timid Types: This is more of a style. These folks are usually talking on their own and are either embarrased or like the movie to speak or itself. Either way, they're quiet. Spike Lee was like this for Get on the Bus.

Off-topic: These guys just talk about everything and anything, except the movie. "That couch reminds me of this time in college when..." Amusing, usually. I imagine Woody Allen would be like this if he ever did a commentary track.

These are the big ones I could come up with. As you could imagine, there are a lot of combinations. I wish more directors would do multiple commentary tracks that covered some of these different styles. Anything I missed?

Surprise by Design

Posted July 5, 2002

Watch out Trading Spaces, you have a new competitor. Discovery Channel has created a new show called Surprise by Design. The concept is different, but the feel of the show is the same.

In this case, someone wants to surprise their friend/husband/wife/cousin/whatever and brings in the show's crew to redesign a room while the unsuspecting party is out of town. There is no fixed budget and a looser time constraint, but you still get to see the transformation followed by before and after shots. The biggest difference is the greater focus on the people in the show. In the episode I saw, they talked about the relationship between the surpriser and surprisee using old photos and gooey music. Also, they spend more time showing you how they create all of the DIY aspects of the design. I like that a lot.

I wouldn't say the show is better than my tried and true, Trading Spaces, but it is definitely fun. There is only one design crew, who are entertaining, but you lose the fun of having 6 or 7 different personalities to love or hate.

Despite the differences, if you like one show you will most certainly like the other.

Update (01/22/04): For those who'd like to be on the show, please note that I have no connection with it. I just wanted to talk about it. If you'd like to try and be on the program, I suggest you fill out an application. If you want to try and contact people on the show or those affiliated, here is the information to do so.

A Pledge

Posted July 2, 2002

I'm bit late, but I have something to say about the recent decision concerning the Pledge of Allegiance. I was going to let it pass until I read Lance Morrow's article in Time magazine. I don't necessarily agree with him, but he raised some good points.

First, and most importantly, the phrase "under God" did not exist in the pledge until 1954. This, to me, exhonerates the pledge itself so long as the phrase in question is dropped. It is a clear connection between church and state, the end.

What is more interesting is whether or not the God-less pledge should remain in schools. What purpose does it serve? Yes, it is meant to give young Americans respect for the flag and our country, but we all remember how everyone slouched and mumbled their way through it. Patriotism should come from a belief that your country country is just and works for the people, not from a song or a pledge or a t-shirt saying "These Colors Don't Run." Oh, and it especially shouldn't come from a firefighter. My favorite quote from the article says it best, I'm all for patriotism and all for religion. But they need to be watched. Sometimes patriotism becomes the next-to-last refuge of a scoundrel.

Patriotism has become brain-washing and our president is one of the culprits. I don't mind having memorials or ceremonies but only if our government is working hard to make me want to be patriotic. This is why all the "patriotism" over the last year has rubbed me the wrong way. It's tough to be patriotic with a president and executive branch that is generally idiotic.

And so, I pledge to be patriotic when the government collectively removes their heads from their asses. Oh, and I'm looking mostly to you Bushy.

Quite an Honor

Posted July 1, 2002

On May 1st, I redesigned this site to coincide with Three-Oh's May 1st Reboot. Today I opened up my stats and realized that I had a huge influx of visitors. After checking my referers, it turns out my site was nominated as one of the best redesigns from the Reboot project. I didn't win, but my competition was amazing. Purely amazing. Here's what James Widergren had to say about my site:

You can clearly see that Matt Jacobs has an eye for creating an inviting interface. The blog is clear, structured, held up with great typography and 2 firm bars incuding the navigation. Too bad the sections: About and Photo aren't formatted the same way as the rest.

This gives me a bit more confidence as I continue the job hunt. Thank you for the honor James Widegren and Three Oh. (And I promise to redesign the photo and about sections to follow suit. This gives me some motivation.)


Posted July 1, 2002

For thos unaware, my family owns a car dealership. This means I have the wonderful privelege of receiving a new car every six months. It makes life much easier as I don't have to deal with hassles of car ownership but I still have a car.

This weekend, I picked up a new car, the Mazda Protege5. I have been anticipating this moment for quite some time. I really think this car, or any of the new breed of hip stationwagons, is the perfect fit for me. It has plenty of cargo space, room for 5 people, and much improved fuel efficiency (over a SUV). Most importantly, it looks nice. I know that a responsible car owner (user in my case) shouldn't worry so much about looks, but it really makes it easy to drive a car that is really an entry-level vehicle.

So, I love this car. If you want to go for a spin, let me know. I'll happily oblige.

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