Capn Design

April 2003

This month I posted 27 entries, watched 5 videos.

Yes! Slashdot has a games channel now. More stories on video games makes me happy! Maybe we'll get some intelligent discussion out of this (I was going to bash slashdot comments at the end, but that's passé now. I'll be positive).

More On AppleMusic

Posted April 29, 2003

Yesterday, I spent time playing with the Apple Music Store and I have a few more observations.

The pricing of albums appears to be difficult. For instance, Outkast's Stankonia is available as an album for $9.99 despite having 20+ songs. On the other hand, the Nina Simone compilation has a similar amount of songs but does not allow you to buy it as an album. A couple of the Beck albums are considered partial albums but are only missing the final song. This makes me wonder, how is Apple deciding what should be sold as an album? I'm sure there is some logical explanation, but the whole thing seems very haphazard.

I also would like to admit that I was a little rough on Apple in my last post. Apple really has got their shit together. As I was reading What Do I Know? I realized that Apple has done a great job of letting the store be. There are no pop-ups or reminders to use the service -- just the one little button. This is how it should be. And, it is very easy to use. Too easy, which is why I'm not going to buy anything right away, knowing this will lead to a never ending cycle of impulse purchases. So, yay Apple.

Finally, I found my iPod. It was at my uncles' place, as expected. Now, I am thinking about selling the iPod and getting a new 30gig one. I would love to have the dock and the extra space. So if anyone wants a used 10gig iPod with a leather case and all the included goodies, I'll sell it to you. Otherwise I may give Ebay a shot. Email me (link in the nav bar).

More Apple Stories:
MacInTouch Reader Reports - All really good information.
Slashdot's Thread
Kuro5hin tours the store
MacRumors explains Apple's DRM
MacSlash discusses iTunes & album covers

1000 + Apple Music

Posted April 28, 2003

1000 Posts, 400 Comments

This is the 1000th post to Capn Design. That's a crapload of posts. In honor of this I will do something, but I'm not sure what yet. In the meantime, I'm going to talk about Apple's announcements.

For the unaware, today Apple announced new iPods, iTunes 4 and the new Apple Music Service, which is built into iTunes. Before I make any observations, I would like to say two things. First, I am impressed. B, There is a chance I lost my iPod this weekend and that is horrible/interesting.

The new iPods - They are at the same prices as before but they are up to 10, 15 and 30 gigs with new enclosures and a docking station. Also, the Windows iPods now support USB2. Thirty gigs is a lot of room and it is very tempting. The buttons are now backlit, but I don't think that matters as it is easy to remember the location of 4 buttons. The screen is new, but no biggie. What's nice, is they are incredibly skinny which is great. Size and speed are two of my major buying factors. So I give these a thumbs up.

iTunes 4 - They turned aliasing off? All of the text looks really weird. This was the most noticeable thing, by far. After that, I realized that they added AAC encoding and converting (from MP3 or whatever else is supported by iTunes). I converted an MP3 and it took as long, if not longer, than it would take to rip it. So, I guess I may be ripping all of my albums again at some point. Good thing I stopped when I heard the rumors. One annoying thing is that when I search and I'm using the browser it doesn't narrow down the albums as I'm searching. Also, they've added the ability to have album art for your music. Unfortunately, you have to find all of the album art yourself. Boo. Finally, the look of the program is much flatter. There is little depth to the buttons and there is something of a cel-shaded feel (a la The Wind Waker). It looks a little weird but nothing I can't get over. Aside from the music service, which I'll talk about now, iTunes 4 seems to be a bit of a dud. Big features yes, but they skimped out on the little stuff. Very anti-Apple.

Apple Music Store - Alright, here we go. 200,000 songs at 99 cents a song. All of the songs are encoded at 128 kbps in AAC format. It is not my perfect set up, but it is an amazing start. You can buy a song with one click and an album only costs $9.99. There are a lot of albums I would buy at that price that I wouldn't even consider at $16-19. The navigation and searching seems good enough, but their servers have been hit hard to day so it's difficult to be sure. I'll try to buy some stuff tomorrow to check things out for real. My only real complaint is that lack of independent music. I want to be able to get my Les Savy Fav albums from this service. See, these are the things I can't find in the store and the convenience of this music service provides the perfect opportunity. Hopefully they'll open things up to indie labels soon.

To restate what I told you from the get go, I think this was a great day for Apple. They are once again leading the field and I am excited about everything that's happening. I'm also excited that I can actually start ripping my entire music collection now.

Note: I have spent a bunch more time with the Apple Music Store and I have noticed some inconsistencies and a number of confusing pricing schemes. I'll post more late tonight.

Games to Movies

Posted April 26, 2003

This is a relatively exhaustive list of all the video games being turned into films. Here are some of the highlights.

Metroid - I couldn't even actually read what they were saying. I was too excited. Hopefully this won't be the next Super Mario Bros.

DOA: The Movie - I can't believe they're making movies out of fighting games. For instance, this movie is set on an island where girls are forced to fight in a tournament. Um, yeah.

Crazy Taxi - The company that has the rights to this movie said it will be a "fun, PG-rated comedy that blends the action and car crashes of The Fast and the Furious with the drama of HBO's Taxicab Confessions and the comedy of Rat Race." I see.

Pac-Man - Woh. I am very curious to see how this will turn out. If they are at all faithful to the game, it will be a long ninety minutes.

Spy-Hunter - This movie will be starring The Rock. That alone piques my interest, but not necessarily in a good way.

The Rep Rok

Posted April 25, 2003

This weekend I am going to Philly to see one of my favorite bands play a show for their reps. It will be fun.

On another note: if your name is Celine and you linked to me from your livejournal then email me. We haven't talked for about 3 years or so.

UPDATE: The weekend was amazing. More later.

Sexiest Babe of Indie Rock

Playboy is running a poll to see who is the sexiest indie rocker (females only, of course). My vote is for Neko Case.

Real Cancun Review

Ain't It Cool News reviews Real Cancun and it is so perfect. They confirm all of my suspicions and make me laugh at the same time. Go Interweb!

MechWarrior Tree Fort

Wow, this would be amazing to have for an 8 year old. The question is, who will have more fun, the kids or the dad who built it?


This is a new project from the fine people at Six Apart who brought us Movable Type. Imagine Blog*Spot (free blog from Blogger) with the power of Movable Type. This is great for the blogging world.

I'm working

Posted April 23, 2003

So if things look screwy right now, they'll be fixed in a few minutes.

UPDATE: Things will have to be fine the way they are until I get home tonight. If you're curious, the front page is all CSS formatting now and I am trying to get it to work on the interior pages. More later.

Some Vocabulary

Posted April 22, 2003

It seems that everyone has very different definitions for geek, nerd, and dork. I would like to help create a more concrete definition for each of these. Below are my own definitions and I invite you to add your own in the comments.

Geek: A person who is completely obsessed with any particular subject. Often, the subject is technological in nature but that is by no means required. As a result of this obsession, the geek is rarely accepted by popular culture.

Nerd: A person devoid of all social skills. A true nerd has much difficulty communicating with others and often shows this through his/her clothing and hygene.

Dork: Similar to a nerd, but much cuter. It has more to do with an attitude. In other words, when people deal with a certain stimulus in an unexpected, and often slightly nerdy, way. Dork is the most subjective of the three.

The Real Cancun

Is this a joke? Are the Real World folks really putting out a movie? When I clicked on this, I thought it was going to be porn. I might be right.

I Led the Seder

Posted April 21, 2003

The blog has been quiet since the 15th. This is because I went home Wednesday for Passover and to see the fam. The picture above is of my role as seder leader at the family seder. Everyone was bitching and moaning about who would lead so I stepped forward and took on the responsibility.\

In the past, my grandfather led the seder. When he was alive, he was a cantor, which meant that we had one of the best seders around. He knew all the stories, all the songs and could deviate from the Haggadah without the bat of an eye. When I think about him, it is often of him sitting at the same spot I sat last Wednesday. It's a very good memory.

The rest of the trip was a lot of visiting with friends, the usual dentist appointment and packing up some things to bring back to New York. It was very nice to be home and I really needed the break. Now I feel recharged and ready to get to business.

Next weekend: Guster's Rep Rok 2003.

Now What?

Posted April 15, 2003

Well, Safari Beta 2 is out and it rocks. Unfortunately, it breaks this site. I think this is a sign that I definitely should redesign things. (In the meantime, I'm going to fix that) I mentioned I was going to a while back, but I haven't had the time.

The redesign may affect the address of this site. I am starting to pursue freelance gigs now and I need a place for potential customers to visit. Since I am planning on sticking with the name Cap'n Design, the blog may have to move around a bit. I'm still not really sure what I'll do yet.

So, now I ask for suggestions. What do you think I should do? Also, if there are any designers out there, I'd love to chat with you about running your own freelance web business. Shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thanks.

Choose Your Metrocard

This guide helps any New Yorker, or visiting tourist, figure out which Metrocard is the best one for our transit system. I'm going to stick with the monthly card. (Make sure to download the PDF for the charts)

Recovery and Celebration

Posted April 14, 2003

This weekend I was working again, but it was a good time. For American Photo I help out on these photo workshops we run in addition to managing the website I just linked to. The weekends are flat out intense. I probably got a total of 11 hours of sleep between Thursday and Sunday but I also got to see the sunrise on the top of the Empire State Building. Completely spectacular. I also loved meeting all of the people involved in the trip. The students were completely passionate about their art and the staff was a blast. I'm hoping that I can keep staffing these in addition to my web duties.

As a result of the weekend, I went to sleep at 10:30 last night and am waking up now. I feel refreshed. I also only plan on going into work for a short period of time. It's my birthday and I am going to celebrate it by enjoying this beautiful day and going to my improv class tomorrow night. I was treated to dinner by some friends last night (thanks) and I hope to go out with my uncles tomorrow, but I think I'll make this birthday about enjoying life with myself.

So, happy birthday to me.

Cel-Shaded Heaven

Posted April 10, 2003

Finally, I got to spend some serious time with The Wind Waker last night. Right off the bat, I was blown away by the graphics. I am so happy that Miyamoto decided not to try and have a perfectly rendered Link on screen. This look is much more interesting and makes it feel like you are playing a cartoon.

More importantly, the gameplay is excellent. It is not terribly challenging, but it still forces you to think and rewards those who spend time in a certain area. I prefer this model because it lets a wide variety of ages enjoy the game at the same time. While I might try and spend time collecting a lot of rupees and buying a variety of things, a younger person could easily follow the instructions and make it through the game. I love being able to play games with my 8 year old cousin and have both of us retain interest.

My favorite part of the game has been the dialogue. It is especially entertaining for those who have been playing games for a long time as the writers are poking fun at conventions in video game writing. Still, the text is informative and rarely does it drag on. I found it especially funny when the grandmother's text was moving more slowly than other text. Also, you couldn't click through in those dialogues.

So far, this is the best videogame I've played since Mario 64, which engulfed my existence when it came out. If you have a Gamecube, you must own this. If you don't, consider buying one.

Honda Commercial

This is an amazing commercial from Honda. Think Mousetrap. (via Ukazu)

Best Festival in North America

Posted April 8, 2003

Have you heard of the Field Day Festival? Me neither, until today. All of this is unofficial, but based on this image, it is highly likely. According to, the festival will take place in Riverhead, NY on June 7th and 8th. A formal announcement will be made Monday. Here is the lineup, for those too lazy to follow the link.

June 7th
Underworld, Belle & Sebastian, Sasha & Digweed, Spiritualized, Thievery Corporation, Beth Orton, The Streets, Sleater-Kinney, Groove Armada, N.E.R.D., Lee Scratchy Perry, The Raveonettes, The Music, My Morning Jacket, Jason Mraz, Layo & Bushwacka

June 8th
Beastie Boys
The Strokes, Sigur Ros, Blur, Flaming Lips, The Transplants, Royksopp, Interpol, Liz Phair, Le Tigre, The Rapture, Tortoise, The Polyphonic Spree, Ben Lee

The lineup is fucking amazing. I would want to go see every single band on the 8th. I hope this list is totally accurate. Just tell me where to sign up.

Arthur is Awesome

Posted April 8, 2003

I couldn't watch Six Feet Under last week, and that's sad because I missed the introduction of Arthur. He is a new apprentice at the funeral home and he is amazing. As my mom said, "At the beginning of the show there were a lot of weird characters, so it's nice to have one again." Right on.

I think he is hilarious, original and a breath of fresh air for the show. I will not miss this show again this season. Catch an episode if you can, just for Arthur.

T Minus 7 Days

Posted April 7, 2003

In exactly one week, I will celebrate the day of my birth. I have always thought the big hubbub around birthdays is silly because we should be celebrating our life regularly, but I've softened on this idea. It's nice to have one day where you can bring together the people you care about.

So, I am trying to figure out what to do for my birthday. It will likely be on either Sunday or Tuesday night, as I have my improv class on Monday night. Does anyone have any suggestions? Dinner? Dinner party? Chuckee Cheese?

Suggestions please.

p.s. I had an awesome time this weekend on my little work trip. The people were way too much fun. Good times.

Workin' on the Weekend

Posted April 4, 2003

I'll be gone this weekend. Not too far (Long Island), but it is unlikely I'll be posting.

American Idol Embargo

Posted April 3, 2003

Over the last few weeks I've stopped watching American Idol. The reasons are many and listed below.

  1. It is not nearly as much fun to watch without nelly.
  2. I missed two of the early episodes due to a Tivo mishap.
  3. It's not the summer, like last season, and I actually have things to do.
  4. The lack of Dunkelman. I do think Seacrust is doing a good job, but it was more fun when the show was about mocking everyone.
  5. Randy. He is getting annoying.

That's it for now, but I think there are more reasons lurking in my brain somewhere.

Cheaters Lose a Life

Posted April 2, 2003

As you all know, there is a ton of cheating in PC Gaming. Ok, you probably don't know and may not care, but there is. Blizzard, the creaters of Warcraft 3, have decided to do something about it.

Blizzard has kicked off its War on Cheating by blanket bombing more than 12,000 WarCraft III accounts and 131,000 Diablo II accounts because their owners are accused of using cheats and hacks, GameSpot are reporting. Furthermore, over 7,000 CD keys have been banned from ladder play for one month, and about 1,000 CD keys have been banned from play for good. The company is warning that repeat offenders are likely to have their accounts blacklisted on in its entirety, which will completely cripple their ability to play the games online.

I think that is awesome. This is via 8bit Joystick, who mentioned that Xbox Live is a better solution for online gaming because it cuts out the cheating. I know that on Madden 2003 for PS2 people have found ways to cheat. I don't have any of the details, but I know that there are warnings when you get into the online section. I'm sure it's not nearly as bad as PC gaming, but console gaming is certainly not perfect.

Poor Reporting

Greg Storey (Airbag) has posted a great blog entry about the lack of good war coverage. All he asks is for raw, unbiased news. This is what I want. No editorializing and no filters. Show me what's happening and I'll make my own decision.

The New Digs

Posted April 1, 2003

As promised, here are the photos of my place. You will enjoy them.

The New Digs


Posted April 1, 2003

Fuckin' A. Way to go Cubs. The 15 runs they scored was the most ever scored on opening day by the team since 1899. 104 years.

Just like I said last year, I am excited. I think I'm going to try and get to the game on Wednesday or Thursday.

I missed you Cubbies, welcome back.


Recent Entries