Capn Design

June 2004

This month I posted 34 entries, watched 4 videos.


love of or enthusiasm for what is new or novel; today's word of the day

Coudal Redesigns

I like it. They also have Slowtron #4 and their summer reading list up

In Celebration of Edible Food Delivery Devices

Posted June 29, 2004

Earlier today I picked up some Tasti D-lite. I got peanut butter in a safety cone and it was delicious. I also picked up peanut butter with chocolate sprinkles in a cup for a coworker. As I carried the two, I realized how wonderful it was that I could eat everything I was holding in my hand. Forget recycling -- I could make sure there was no unused part at all. It was incredibly satisfying to finish my snack and end up with nothing in my hand. This got me thinking about all the dishes that allowed you to eat both your meal/snack and its delivery device. Here's a list of the ones that popped into my head:

  • Taco Salad (you can eat the shell)
  • Soup in a bread bowl
  • Chips and Salsa (where the bowl is a massive chip)

This short list is fairly short, but I figured you could help. I would like it if we could all celebrate edible food delivery devices together. Please list any other foods/delivery device combos that are completely edible. I look forward to seeing what I've missed.

Tuition Falls 33% at Public Universities Since 1998

This is only if you include grants and tax breaks, but it's still great to hear [via TMN]

Mac OS 10.4 Server Will Include a Blog Server

Blojsom, to be specific [via ]

Apple WWDC Keynote

Posted June 28, 2004

new-apple-display.jpgThis year's keynote was not all that entriguing, but there were three things that I'm excited about.

1. New Displays - This had been rumored for a couple weeks and I was eagerly waiting, as I just bought a new G5. The new displays are beautiful, but the prices did not change. I suppose I can't complain, but it would have been nice if the prices had come down. I'll be getting a 20".

2. RSS Integrated into Safari - Tiger, or OS X.4, will come out in the 1st half of 2005 and Safari 2.0, with RSS integration, will be a part of it. From what I've seen, it looks great. I don't know if it will be able to replace NetNewsWire, but this video from Apple looks very impressive.

3. Dashboard - Essentially, Apple has bundled Konfabulator into Tiger. I have played with Konfabulator but there weren't enough useful widgets. Hopefully Apple will do it right. I'm just hoping that this cannibalization of a third party product will do good and not evil.


A death-metal band, fronted by a parrot. [via boing boing]

John Kerry's Marketing Campaign

Posted June 23, 2004

Currently, I work in a marketing department. It's the first time I've done so and, as a result, I am learning a lot about email marketing. One of the first things my boss taught me was that inundating your audience with email, especially when you are asking for something -- money in our case -- is not the way to go. We try not to send anyone email more than twice a month. In the last seven days I have received four from the Kerry campaign.

Obviously, this is terribly annoying. Unfortunately, it's only the tip of the iceberg. A week ago I got a letter from the campaign that was written in ALL CAPS. It was demanding I urgently send in a donation as the campaign is in dire need of money to combat Bush. I found it offensive. Why is John Kerry acting like a spammer? I want to support his campaign, both monetarily and with a vote, but when it's hard to differentiate his mail with ones about credit card debt I have troule paying attention. It's like the boy that cries wolf or a blog about hard drive-based MP3 players -- eventually you stop listening.

If the campaign, or anyone for that matter, has something important and worthwhile to tell me, I'm happy to listen, but Kerry has taken it too far. Seriously John, you don't have to remind me to donate everytime you start a new commercial on tv. I propose you follow the lead of a software mailing list. Allow those who want to know about big news to sign up for one list and allow those who want to watch every move as it happens to sign up for the development list. It should be that easy.

I'll end this post by regretfully telling you that I've unsubscribed from your email list. It's out of control. You'll still be getting my vote in the fall but our near-daily email communication will have to stop. I'm sorry.


A guide to NYC pizzerias for your iPod. Unfortunately, there aren't as many listings as I'd hoped. [via kottke]

The Day Has Come

Posted June 21, 2004

Power Mac G5It's true. On or around July 16th, I will be shipped a 2.5 GHz dual-processor Apple Power Mac G5. I purchased it today from CDW and it seems I'll have no trouble getting it on the day it's released, which makes me happy.

I have been saving up for this day over the last eight months and it's nice to see it arrive. My Powerbook is definitely getting sluggish after 2.5 years of use, so I'm looking forward to the increase in speed. I'm also looking forward to some more screen real estate. Word on the street (well, word on Think Secret and Apple Insider) is that there will be 20, 23, and 30 inch displays coming next week. Apple Insider says the 20 will be at $999, the 30 at $2,999 and the 23 will be between $1,499 and $1,799. I'll probably go with the 20, but if the 23 comes in at $1,499 it's going to be tough to pass up.

No matter what, I'm going to be happy with my new system. Coding and designing is going to be so much eachier and I suspect this system will last me 4-5 years (provided this ain't no lemon). So, cheers to me and you're more than welcome to come over and play with it when the system arrives.

Second Generation Traffic Calming

I was weaving through the city on my bike just yesterday

Chicago Tribune's Top 50 Magazines

It's the second annual [via kottke]

Cory Doctorow's Speech on DRM

Prettied up and provided by Matt

Ask Mefi Ponders How to Dispose of a Body

Scarabic's post is eerie. [via waxy]

INXS to Find Lead Singer Via Reality Show

Are you freaking kidding me?!? That is horribly depressing. [via TMN]

Dear Internet Users,

Posted June 15, 2004

I'd like you to know that although I often write about people, events and entertainment that appear in the public sphere, I rarely have any direct connection to these subjects. Believe it or not, I am not a host of Surprise by Design, a direct descendant or personal assistant of Studs Terkel, or Kevin Clark from School of Rock.

I'd like to think that you believe I am a gateway to the stars of stage and screen, but this is not the case. Think of it this way. You know newspapers? Capn Design is kind of like that. I write about things without always having a direct connection to that thing.

So, I'm letting you know now that I, Matt Jacobs, am the only famous person accessible through this website. If you want to know about what it's like to be on Wheel of Fortune or how it feels to be in a commercial with Cindy Crawford at the age of six, then I'm your guy. But if you're looking for a Junior Mint hook up, then you need to look elsewhere.

Good luck to you, mildly inept searchers of the internet.

The Capn

The End of Import Prices?

Posted June 12, 2004

As I type this entry, I am downloading Ash's new record, Meltdown. The record was released in the UK on May 17th, but their label in the U.S. (Kinetic Records) just folded, so they have no official release date here. Nonetheless, I am downloading the record through iTunes (iTunes link) for $9.99. I could also buy it as an import through Amazon for $25.49.

Obviously I'm happy that I'm saving $15, but the fact that iTunes is offering U.S. customers British and other European releases is even more exciting. My spidey-sense leads me to believe this has something to do with the impending iTunes Europe launch, which makes me wonder if these import albums were intended to be released to the U.S. or if this was a lucky mistake. If it was intended, then I'll be happy as a clam. In the last year, I've probably imported a dozen albums from the UK, and I would have saved a ton of money if I could have just downloaded them.

This technology could theoretically rid us of the pain of importing albums. When there is no extra cost for shipping or packaging, I should be able to buy the album at the same prices that are available overseas. And, it seems, that is the case right now. I just hope that Apple is able and willing to release a good number of foreign albums to the U.S. market. If they do, I may stop paying for import discs altogether. Saving $15 makes it worth losing out on packaging and a higher quality AAC file. For me, this is bigger than Airport Express or the new G5s.

The Siege of Fulton Avenue

A teenage party ends in a three-hour standoff with the cops.

Ali G is Back on HBO July 18th
3,000 Crocodiles Seized from Thai Druglord

They seized 9,200 crocs and 100,000 catfish from him last year

Honestly, Do You Like the New Design?

Posted June 9, 2004

I've had a couple of people (namely my sister and girlfriend) gripe about the new site design. Mostly, they don't like the stripes. I like them, but I'm definitely not in love.

So are you all staying silent because you like the design or because you don't want to upset me? You may also not care, and if that's the case that's fine, but if you have any input for me, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

Will Sex and the City Succeed on Cable?

The NY Times thinks it over

Top 100 New York Italian Restaurants

compiled by the Village Voice

Donnie Darko: Director's Cut

Posted June 8, 2004

Thanks to a tip from List, I found out there is a director's cut of Donnie Darko arriving this summer. It was released in Seattle on June 2nd, but no official dates have been set for the rest of the summer. I've been doing a little bit of research, and Yahoo Movies claims a wide release on July 23rd, but no cities are specified. In regards to the purpose of the re-release, an article from CNN quotes Richard Kelly, the director, as saying:

"Even though I am proud of the theatrical version of the film, I've always felt that the story was somewhat compromised in order to come in under two hours," said "Darko" writer-director Richard Kelly. "With this version I feel like I've finally been able to complete the film."

This interview from Empire Online gives a few more details about the new cut. You can expect improved and updated sound as well as a wealth of new footage that didn't make the DVD. A couple sites said there is about twenty minutes of new footage. If you're dying to read a couple reviews and get some info from the fanboys, check out the IMDb message board for the film.

If anyone wants to go see this when it makes it to NYC, I will certainly be your movie buddy.

Wizard People, Dear Reader

In the spirit of What's Up Tigerlily, a brand new soundtrack for the first Harry Potter film. Supposedly, it's funny.

Albums of the Year...Thus Far

Posted June 7, 2004

by Coolfer

Read the rest of this entry »

A Philly Trip Without Cheesesteaks

Posted June 7, 2004

I spent the weekend in Philly to see my cousin race in the IRA finals (she's on the UW-Wisconsin women's lightweight crew team). I hadn't seen her race yet, and I figured the finals would be a good time to go. I think it's safe to say that I was the reason the team kicked ass and won the national championship. You're welcome, UW-Madison. Seriously though, this post is mostly to give props to my Alma Mater and the girls of lightweight crew. So I say, "Way to go."

Aside from a brief visit to the outskirts of Philly last summer, this was my first time in the city since junior high. I didn't get to do too much exploring, but South St. is unlike anything available in NYC. I would liken it to a bigger version of Madison, Wisconsin's State St., which is a compliment. The one thing that didn't work out was the purchasing of a cheesesteak. It's okay though, as my uncle and I realized that the smell of a cheesesteak is at the same time delicious and nauseating, which is a turnoff (until you take your first bite).

At night my uncle and I killed time at Barnes and Nobles since the only good show in town was My Morning Jacket, and I didn't really feel like going since I don't know too much about them. It felt a lot like high school, when Borders or B&N was one of the destinations for a non-partying high schooler. My uncle quoted from a Bush-basing book and I read about all the ways you can use curves in Photoshop. Not exactly a huge night on the town, but it was entertaining nonetheless.

Based on this post, it should be clear that I didn't really do a whole lot in Philly. So, you can expect another trip down there sometime in the future. I will hopefully take a bunch of pictures at that point.

AirPort Express and Airtunes

Nice one Apple. I may have to get this.

Absenter Gets Mugged

Harry Potter at Midnight

Posted June 4, 2004

Oh yes, I did go see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban last night and it was fantastic. I'm an unabashed Harry Potter fan and I think Alfonso Cuarón is pretty awesome, so the midnight showing was a no-brainer for me.

I had planned to arrive at 11pm, but I figured I'd show up 15 minutes early just to be safe. Thankfully, my friend Zack had arrived at 10:30 because the line was already stretched down the block (by the time they let people in it was easily around the corner, pictured below). Upon arrival, I was disappointed by the lack of costumes. The best I got was a couple girls covered in Harry Potter stickers and wearing scarves. That's kinda lame people. This is the midnight showing. Get with it. Anyway, to my surprise they let people in at 11, which seemed ridiculously early and meant that a run to Walgreens for Junior Mints was out of the question. It also meant I would go on to buy a jumbo tub of popcorn and a jumbo soda, finish the majority of it and wake up horribly nauseated.

People waiting in lineMe and my delicious goodies

Once we got inside, it was a lot of waiting but tame. The movie started on time and all was well. I won't go into details yet, but I'll say that I loved the film. It was definitely the best of the three. I do have to share one small bit that doesn't give much away, because it was hilarious. Early in the film, people find out that Sirius Black might be coming to Hogwarts (the school Harry Potter attends). The only African-American student whose had speaking role in any of the three films says, "You think Black could get in here?" The audience picked up on this and started cracking up. I so want to believe that Cuarón did it on purporse.

The movie let out around 2:30 and I quickly headed home. On the way out, and Andy wil appreciate this, some kid said "I'm gonna download this first thing tomorrow." Crazy.

I may have only gotten 5 hours of sleep and woke up with a belly full of semi-digested popcorn, but it was well worth it. Midnight movies are awesome.

Another thought: At work, we have deemed my current state a "movie hangover." When asked if I would be eating popcorn anytime soon I informed them that I wouldn't eat it again. It reminded me of the times when my friends would swear off alcohol after a serious bender. Oh, and people have been telling me to drink lots of water. The fact that I've had way more movie hangovers than alcohol hangovers is entertaining to me.

One more thing (6/7/04): I forgot to mention that Ned saw it ad midnight too.

Capn Design version 1000000.0

Posted June 3, 2004

Okay, I'm not sure how many revisions I've had for my personal page, but it probably isn't a million. Here are some details for the newest one.

It's All About Me

In this revision, I've decided to make this site better suited to my needs. In the past year I've noticed that the posts and features have started to cater more to my audience than to my own needs, and that's no good. So, expect more posts about potentionally benign goings-on and a less features that will be intentionally helpful to you. Don't worry, I do have ideas for sites that could be very helpful to you that are lodged in my brain. One day.

Lots of new colors

More than anything else, I was a little sick of my color scheme. It was time for something fresher and brighter. It may not be all that masculine, but I'm comfortable with my pastel-y color palette.

Back to Two Columns

I've decided to move away from the three column layout. First, I really didn't need all three columns. It worked visually, but there was no functional purpose for it. Second, I wanted to have more room in my main entry side for graphics and photos. I've only added about 60 pixels, but that's helpeful.

The Photograph Style Header Remains

A couple people got to see my original redesign and a couple mentioned how they liked it, but they'll miss the header. After some thinking, I agreed. So, the photography header remains. It's also worth noting that the last word in the tagline rotates thanks to the Image Rotator from Automatic Labs. There are eight right now, and I'll add more as they come to mind. If you want to see all of them, you can keep refreshing or check the source code for their location.

Mini Reviews are Improved

If you head to the Mini Reviews page, you'll see that it exists. This has never been true before. It's a one stop shop for all my little reviews, which I hope to make more regular. The information design isn't totally perfect (archives aren't clear), but I'm working on that.

Photo is Redesigned

I have moved to a black background for the photo section. Personally, I think it looks a lot better. I'm most excited about this section. This is the section I hope to put the most energy into over the coming months. Summer is good for photography.


There is a new about page. The archives are now better organized. I have set up an automatic redirect in my .htaccess file so that no one will get lost, hopefully. There are no more comment pop-ups, except in photo (btw, I still need to redesign the comment template). The RSS feeds will soon be simplified, with the addition of an Atom feed, which hasn't been created yet. I'm also shifting the focus of the calendar, which should pop up next week, and I'm bringing in a new section called lists. More about that later.

That should cover just about everything. If you have any questions or notice any bugs on any platforms, please let me know.

New Design is Up

Posted June 3, 2004

As you see, the new design is up. Some stuff is missing (photo section is done, but not up yet and there are two features not done yet), but most everything should be working. If you see something is amiss, email me on the right.

There will be another post tomorrow (Thursday) with a lot more information.

Night night.

Second Run Theaters

Posted June 2, 2004

Prices for movies are getting out of hand. If you live in a major city then you're paying at least $8 for a movie and as much as $10.25 if you live in New York. According to these statistics from NATO (no, not that NATO), the avergae ticket price has been going up steadily for the last few years. Currently, the U.S. average is $6.03, and the average increase over the last four years was a little less than a quarter.

I don't mind paying $10 for a new movie that I'm really excited about, but I'd rather not pay that much for Walking Tall, not that I'm planning to see that. This is why I love second run theaters. You can see a movie in a theater for less than $4, even if you have to wait a month or two longer than the eager beavers.

Unfortunately, not a single second run theater exists in New York City, and I think that makes no sense. These days, I rarely see more than two movies a month in the theaters because I subscribe to Netflix and I don't feel like tacking on another $20 for movie viewing a month. If I could see movies for $4 a pop, I would see a movie a week. The theaters would definitely lose out on ticket sales, but one of the first things I learned as a film major was that theaters make their money on concessions, not tickets. If you don't trust the UW-Madison film department, check out this CNN Money article.

"Owners joke about being in the candy business," said theater owner Howard Edelman, proprietor of Movieland Cinemas, an independent string of cinemas in the Long Island, NY-area. "If you didn't have concessions at a movie theater, there would be no movie theater. We have movies just to get people in to buy popcorn and candy, where we make our money."

So, if you're getting me through the door a couple more times a month, then you're going to start selling a whole lote more packages of Junior Mints, especially if I'm only paying $4 for the movie.

I'm sure I'm not the first one to think about this, which makes me wonder why there aren't any in NYC. It just doesn't make any sense. I've done a little googling to find an answer, but I've had no luck. Unless one of my fine readers can help, I might turn to Ask Metafilter. We shall see.

Update (6/17/04): Thanks to Time Out Magazine, I found out there is one second run theater in the city. It's called Loews Cineplex State, and it's on Broadway and 45th St. Movies are $5.50. Also, you can see first-run movies at the Kew Gardens Cinemas for only $5 all the time. Oh, and if you REALLY want to travel you can go to the Columbia Park 12 in North Bergen, NJ and see second run films for only $2.

Uh, Hi.

Posted June 1, 2004

Hello everyone. I forgot to mention that I would be in Tucson, AZ from Wednesday, May 26th and Monday, May 31st. I was going to post from Tucson, but I never really had time to get on the internet. Oh well.

Anyway, the trip was great and I have a few photos to post. I'm also planning on launching a facelift of Capn Design this week, possibly tomorrow.

Now, it's time to try and do my work while going through a few dozen sites I haven't checked since I left. It was both disorienting and refreshing to unplug for a week. I'm sure you know what I mean.


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