Friday, July 29, 2005

Ministers Island

Ministers Island is a short drive from St. Andrews and you can only get to the island by driving across the ocean floor during low tide. The name of the island comes from the home of an Anglican minister that was built in 1790.
The real attraction is the summer estate that was built by railway baron William Van Horne in 1890. An extension to the rail line was made so Van Horne could travel to the island in his hown personal train car.
As you go onto the island there is a road that is covered with cedar trees which makes it look like a tunnel and the buildings are spectacular. It’s a beautiful, pastoral island with many fields and interesting flora and fauna. There is a circular bathhouse where the tide comes in and fills the bottom so you could bathe. Now you only can go on the island as part of a two-hour guided tour, but it’s still would be interesting.

I was able to go onto Minister’s Island a few years ago before it was renovated when the Province of NB owned the property, but hadn’t decided what to do yet. We were shooting a film on the island and drove over at low tide and stayed on the island and shot until the tide went out again and then left. It was beautiful and the fascinating thing was that renovations within the buildings were made in the 1960s or 1970s and many of the excesses of the time were throughout the buildings… shag carpets, bright greens and oranges, which seemed to be a startling contrast to the stately architecture of the summer home. At the end of the day we rushed to finish shooting before the tide came in and blocked the road.
I’m assuming that it’s a lot different now with the guided tours and the restoration that has taken place. A few years ago I took a quick look around (I missed the tour) close to the gate after climbing past it. I want to go back and see inside to see what it was like in the past.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Tickets for the Chocolate Fest

The tickets have arrived for the tour of the Ganong Factory Tour which is part of the Chocolate Fest in St. Stephen, New Brunswick. They’re not golden tickets, but pink, probably because Ganong’s famous “Chicken Bones” candy is pink. The tour happens a week from tomorrow and it should be a lot of fun. One disappointing thing was to see that “jewelry and cameras” are not allowed in. So I won’t be able to take any pictures inside. Apparently there is still a lot of secrecy in the manufacture of chocolate and candy. It will still be enjoyable to see the process of making chocolate and candy (and I think that I may buy some of their products as well.)

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Monday, July 25, 2005

43 Places

I didn’t think that I had a huge desire to travel, but looking at my 43 Places makes me realize that I do want to travel. What is wonderful about the way 43 Things and 43 Places work are the elements of randomness and connectivity. You can find out where people want to go and what they want to do in an organized way if you like or you can just look at the thing or place cloud at the bottom of pages. I like to click on intriguing places and then cheer people on.
It’s fun and I’m discovering all sorts of amazing places (and people) and it also is helping me remember some of the places that I’ve visited as well as places where I want to go.

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Sunday, July 24, 2005

43 Things T-Shirt

I wore my 43 Things t-shirt today and when I was getting coffee I was asked, “what are the other 42 things that you’re doing”. It was kind of neat. While 43 Things is public, there is a level of anonymity that is connected with the sharing. I’m glad that I’m sharing the 43 Things vibe with the world outside of my keyboard and screen.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

My iPod Shuffle

I’ve had my iPod Shuffle for a few days now and I really like it. I’m thinking that this may be my iPod for a while now. When I ordered it with saved airline reward miles I thought that it would be a little thing that I’d use until I got a larger iPod, but I’m loving it so much I’m wondering if I need to get a larger iPod.
The iPod Shuffle is beautiful in the minimalist design and functionality. You can’t play games or look at your calendar or photos on it – you just listen to music. The interface on the front of it consists of a play/pause button surrounded by a ring that has left and right arrows for forward or back or scanning and plus and minus on the top and bottom for volume. An LED below the surface blinks green when you press one of the buttons and blinks continuously when paused. When it’s attached to my PowerBook it’s orange and blinks when it is transferring songs. On the back there is a slider that turns on the power and you slide it one notch down to play tracks in order or all the way down to play tracks randomly. There is also a small button on the back with a tiny LED to check battery status. You press it and it blinks green if it is full, orange in the middle, and red if the battery is low.
I just have it about half full (it’s a 512 MB model) and I have three recent albums on it as well as some other songs. Before I take a walk I’ll put one or two podcasts on it. I have to experiment with the autofill function which will randomly fill the shuffle, but for now I’m loving my tiny friend. I store it in a very low-tech Altoids tin with the headphones – simple!

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A Tale of Two Top Tens

I looked at the top 10 podcasts on Odeo and on iTunes to see if I can figure anything out from the lists.

Here are the top 10 from Odeo:
1. MAKE Magazine Audio Show
2. IT Conversations
3. SuicideGirls
4. The Odeo Channel
5. Engadget Podcast
6. this WEEK in TECH
7. Adam Curry: Daily Source Code
8. NPR's Science Friday
9. Free Radio SubPop
10. Future Tense

and the top 10 from iTunes:
1. CBC Radio 3 Podcast
2. iTunes New Music Tuesday
3. Quirks and Quarks
4. Z100 Phone Taps
5. Queer Eye Hip Tips
6. The Al Franken Show
7. Podfinder
8. Inside Mac Radio
9. this WEEK in TECH
10. ESPN Radio Podcast

What does this mean?
I think that both services have a lot of featured podcasts that show up in the top 10. I'm guessing that people see a featured podcast and subscribe to it (which makes sense). There are more mainstream media-based podcasts on iTunes than on Odeo. It's interesting how there are two CBC radio shows in the top 10 on iTunes and that's almost the entire CBC podcast lineup now.

The Odeo top 10 is closer to my own personal taste which is probably why I'm getting my podcasts through Odeo now (with my personalized RSS feed going into iTunes 4.9). Odeo users seem to be interested in more alternative music, technology, science and sex, while iTunes users are interested in music, technology, science, fashion and sports.

It will be interesting to see how the top 10 lists evolve as more people use these services and find new and interesting podcasts. With Odeo I'm a huge fan of tagging to generate categories and the ease of adding a podcast to the directory. You basically just add the feed and it shows up. While you can subscribe to outside feeds with iTunes, it takes a while for a feed to be added to their directory. But iTunes integrates it all into the iTunes interface, which makes it very easy to subscribe. But you can't change the category or add it it and your input (via iTunes) is limited to "Report a concern".

Another intuitive and neat thing about Odeo is how you can click on a link to update a podcast feed. It makes sense to let people do that. If nobody is wondering about updates it will automatically be updated the next time the system checks, but if someone wants to check sooner, it can happen. That's smart and simple and good.
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Saturday, July 09, 2005


A bat on a ledge
Yesterday a bat flew into the house through the chimney. I found out about it when everyone in the living room started screaming and yelling. I looked in and there was a bat flying around. Everyone was ducking as it came around. We managed to get it into the sun room and closed the doors and were able to watch it. It flew around and landed in various places. The dog was outside the door and she kept trying to get in and get the bat.
The outside door of the sun room was locked, so I couldn't open it from outside. But I noticed that one of the windows was open, so I went outside, took the screen off and then opened the window a bit more. Then we waited as the bat flew around and noticed the open window.
A bat is a fascinating creature. Tiny little claws and wings that fold up. Watching it fly around and try to figure a way out was kind of neat. Having the glass between us and the bat helped. Even though it probably woundn't have attacked me, I didn't want to go in and open the door from the inside. I think that Batman was onto something when he chose his symbol.
Our bat made several attempts to get to the ledge and managed to get a spiderweb tangled on one of it's arms. Then it was able to get to the ledge and pull itself up onto the ledge and then it flew to freedom. It was cute in a slightly scary way.
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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Language is a Virus

Language is a virus from outer space.

Stuck when you're trying to write something? Want to play some word games? Language is a Virus has a comprehensive collection of things to do with writing and language. Hours of fun if you're into that sort of thing.

(Via 43 Folders.)

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Monday, July 04, 2005

NetNewsWire 2.0

Sometimes you forget about something that's always there, and with NetNewsWire, it's the only program that I consistently use as much as or more than email, or even my web browser. It's transformed how I see the web and stay up-to-date. It's a simple, clean and essential application for me. I've used NetNewsWire since the beginning and it made feeds make sense and become useful to me. Version 2.0 was released recently and looking through a list of More features in NetNewsWire 2.0 you might not know about made me realize how I'm just scratching the surface of Ranchero's wonderful application. My personal favourite feature is flagging. I flag things that I want to remember and keep them around until I blog about them or add them to my links. I also use MarsEdit to edit and create some posts and as MarsEdit develops I think that I'll use it even more. NNW is one of the best software purchases that I've ever made and it's the only application that I use every single day for the whole day.
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Friday, July 01, 2005


While Apple has the dominant position with digital downloads and the iTunes Music Store is easy to use, I love BLEEP, which is the digital download service from Warp Records. It's simple and clean and works very well. The music is not DRMed and is high quality. While I've used the site for a while, it wasn't until yesterday that I realized something else about it - it's very friendly to write about on the web. When you're on a release you can click on the "WEB TOOLS" link and it gives you a hand URL for the release, but it also lets you configure and embed a player that gives you a picture of the release (if you want) as well as a track and entire album listing. That means you can preview the track or the whole album. It's a great way to let people know what you're writing about. I hope that more labels do this online.
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