Twenty Nine

Yesterday was quite an amusing afternoon. Immediately after work I hit the mall to treat myself to a used Xbox so I could finally play my copy of THPS 2X (think of it as the widescreen director’s cut of 1&2) that had been sitting around for months. Andrew planned a little surprise party at Satchel’s for me and the pizza was brought out with candles that merely fell over when blown upon

[Steve w/ 29 crown on playing guitar]
Steve at Satchel's 2003 | photo by Andrew Chadwick

Andrew, Josh, Tanya, Lynn, Tricia, Jeremy and Juliet made it and I wore a Lynn-crafted construction paper 29 crown…with red glitter spots! Two older gentlemen played various songs, mostly from the 40’s/50’s, on banjo, piano and trumpet, and it added the perfect amount of ridiculousness to the evening. Before leaving I rushed up in front of them for a photo op and ended up being cajoled into playing a song. I played You Belong To Me and goofed most of the lyrics. As we got up to leave I made one of my best/worst puns. They said something about church music and asked if anyone wanted to hear Olivia Newton-John, to which I remarked, "Let’s get hym-n-al".

We went back to my place and Andrew had secret pie! of banana cream, no less. I’m sorry all my friends couldn’t be there and apologize to those I didn’t tell. You’ll be excited to hear I already opened the disco level and, thanks to Natalie, we’ll be seeing Airplane on DVD soon.

Don’t Sing Love Songs

[pic of the Caravelles]the Caravelles  

"Don’t Sing Love Songs" (mp3)—here sung by the Caravelles—is a traditional American song called "Silver Dagger" dating back to at least 1907. The reverb-heavy production on the Caravelles’ version is creepy enough without the lines "you’ll wake my mother / She’s sleeping here, right by my side / And in her right hand, a silver dagger". This was to be on my Halloween mixCD that I never got around to making…

The Caravelles also sing one of my favorite pop songs of all time: The Other Side of Love (.wma clip at It appears on Volume 8 of the terrific "Here Comes the Girls" compilation series. I just ordered volumes 8 and 10 from since the girl group comps seem hard to come by in the US. "The Girls’ Scene" has another one I’ve been looking for: Lulu’s "Try to Understand," so I couldn’t pass it up.

Don’t sing love songs, you’ll wake my mother
She’s sleeping here, right by my side
And in her right hand, a silver dagger
She says that I can’t be your bride
All men are false, so says my mother
They’ll tell you wicked, and sinful lies
And the very next day, they’ll court another
Leave you alone to pine inside
Go court another fair, young maiden
And hope that she will be your wife
For I’ve been warned and I desire
To sleep alone all my life
All my life

Multiple versions of IE on Win2k/XP

Joe Maddalone, with a little help from Roger Ly, has made quite a contribution to Win2k/XP-using web developers by discovering how to install two older versions of Internet Explorer (5.01 & 5.5) as standalone browsers without altering IE6.0. Particularly, this allows developers to test CSS rendering in these older browsers without installing multiple version of Windows in emulators like VMWare ($300) or Virtual PC.

Roger discovered the last two files needed to truly enable the older HTML/CSS rendering engines (without these the browsers were returning their respective user agent strings, but using IE6’s renderer).

A few helpful additions to Joe’s technique

  • The source installation files are available from Download IE5.5 and 5.01 (both SP2)
  • I recommend using Power Archiver 6.1 for nag-free archive handling comparable to (and very similar to) WinZip’s “classic mode”.
  • Extract the .CAB files all into the same directory—certain files depend on more than one .CAB file.
  • During extraction it’s OK to let the extractor "overwrite all files".
  • It may turn out that many of the other files are unnecessary as well. We have them running with only eleven, but certain functionality—like the ability to selecting text and type in forms—is disabled).

The resulting browsers, as you’d expect, can be quite buggy/crashy beyond their inherent CSS limitations, but arguably still quite useful. Also keep in mind that this could be considered mild Windows hacking and Microsoft could potentially refuse to support an installation with such files present (although there’s no overwriting of OS files involved). In short, be careful. For everyone’s convenience, I hope will consider hosting .ZIPs of the resulting files, as surely everyone would rather download/serve a subset of the 80MB.

That’s everything…

The Picture of Everything by Howard Hallis

Includes : super heroes, cartoon characters, rock stars, movie stars, space ships, fantasy buildings, historical figures and places, religious figures and iconography, famous vehicles from movies and TV, video game characters, modern and ancient wonders of the world, 157 Pokemon, reproductions of Alex Grey, MC Escher and other famous artists works, corporate logos, flags of the world, his friends and family…

“The picture was done on 8.5 by 11 inch pieces of regular typing paper, held together by scotch tape and separated into four massive sections. These sections were each approximately 76.5 inches in width and 44 inches in length, bringing the completed picture to 76.5 by 176 inches.”

from the FAQ:

Can I buy a copy of “The Picture”?
No. To avoid legal hassles from every single person on the planet trying to sue me, I cannot sell copies of the work.
Do the sides of The Picture meet each other?
Yes. The sides meet, as do the top and bottom. I wanted to have an endless loop.

Saturday Night

Hear the lonesome whippoorwill
He sounds too blue to fly
The midnight train is whining low
I’m so lonesome I could cry

I’ve never seen a night so long
When time goes crawling by
The moon just went behind a cloud
To hide its face and cry

Did you ever see a robin weep
When leaves begin to die
That means he’s lost the will to live
I’m so lonesome I could cry

The silence of a falling star
Lights up a purple sky
And as I wonder where you are
I’m so lonesome I could cry

Everything will go down in flames…

…because things have been going too well lately. The first full French Horns show went swimmingly. I’m doing a website for an interesting exhibit at the Harn Museum — I’ll have to work a few 11-hr days, but still, a neat opportunity. Monday I spent a nice afternoon with a friend. Yesterday I got the first haircut I’ve been happy with for as long as I remember and tonight, out of the blue, a guy who used to live in Gainesville sends me a link to his band’s website and it’s just gorgeous stuff. Hula is their name and they remind me of the first Mojave 3 record, early Aden and a little Low, but catchier. Here’s an mp3: “Over the Ground

…when she’ll put her hand in another’s.

Secretly I want to bury in the yard
the grey remains of a friendship scarred.

It’s hard to leave all these moments behind.

— from “Kissing the Lipless” by the Shins

And songs are new again

This is soooo good. There’s a plug-in for Winamp called PaceMaker. It lets you independently control the pitch and tempo of an mp3 (and probably anything else winamp can play). I’m listening to "Born To Run" at half speed with everyone playing an octave higher. Broadcast plays at break-neck speed detuned to hell. Just Amazing. You have a whole new musical collection to amuse yourself with.

Install it, select it in Preferences -> Plug-ins -> DSP/Effects and a little window should appear. One slider controls tempo (50 to 200%), the next pitch (-1 to 1 octave shift) and the last is the more traditional speed control (50 to 200%) you might find on a turntable. This thing sounds best pushed to extremes, but it’ll cost you some CPU time and winamp may crash after awhile (trying to play a Vorbis file crashed it quick), but you can just open it back up.

2006-06-22: Updated Pacemaker link and it’s no longer nagware!

I missed you in Henry’s Dress…

Don’t end up having to say these words. See Josh, Joe, Tanya and I rock Friday’s Cover Show (Wayward Council) as the one-and-only Henry’s Dress. I’ll be the one providing the head-bopping beats.

Wayward Council is next to Recycled Bikes near the corner of University and 8th St W. No, I don’t know what time it starts, how much it costs, any other details of importance other than I should show up sometime to play. Well, supposedly, other acts include the Jesus & Mary Chain and Operation Ivy…

Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of France Gall.

Back from S.F.

  • I’m back from San Francisco!..a month ago.
  • After 5 years, a new phone number to memorize: 337-6050.
    I hate Bellsouth and can no longer justify giving them $40 a year to keep my number.
  • I moved across town and now live with Andrew Chadwick of Boxcar Records non fame. Don’t stop by the 307 house, the fun and excitement has relocated.
  • A proper French Horns site (one page for now) is finally up. The mp3’s are there.
  • I’m getting bored with this theme, expect a new style soon.

New address and phone #

238 SW 2nd Pl Apt B
Gainesville, FL 32601
(352) 337-6050

What Pop-ups? (An Opera Story) revealed that people click on annoying pop-up ads 13 times as often as they do passive banner ads. This will surely translate to even more sites using pop-ups for generating ad revenue, but I’ll still never see them because the software developers of the web browsers Opera, Netscape, Mozilla and Safari care about user experience. They’ve integrated intelligent pop-up blockers as part of their feature-rich browsers. What I mean by intelligent is that these browsers will still allow pop-ups when you request them (by clicking a link) rather than indiscriminately blocking all pop-up windows (like the 3rd-party, parasitic add-ons to IE do).

I Heart Opera

Speaking of user experience, Opera7.1 is the most user-centric web browser I’ve used.

  • It loads in a heartbeat and uses very little memory.
  • I search google by typing “g [terms]” (similarly for
    Amazon, E-bay, etc.)
  • While I read, I open links in the background so I can look at them after
    finishing an article without having to wait as they load. Meanwhile they
    sit in a convenient, tabbed interface instead of in individual windows.
  • When researching something, I can create simple text notes that automatically
    remember where I was when I took them.
  • To go back I just hold the right mouse button and click the left (and
    vice-versa to go forward again).
  • If text is too big or small, I can zoom a whole page in 10% increments
    with [+/-].
  • I can “skin” the browser when I feel like a new look. (see
    or Azurino)
  • I can toggle images, javascript, java applets, plug-ins (like Flash),
    cookies, animated GIFs, embedded sounds.
  • It’s the most
    compliant browser with regards to modern web standards
    , letting me see
    sites as the designer fully intended.
  • If sloppy designers make broken web pages I can turn their style off with
    one click, giving me access to the unadulterated content of the site.
  • The latest version is only a 3MB download.

I could go on and on, but, basically, Opera innovates in ways that put me in control rather than leaving me at the mercy of the web. It’s all in their vision:

We believe in respect for our users.

Users have since the beginning shaped Opera’s features and spread the word to the uninitiated. Thanks to this interaction Opera Software exists today, both as an organization and as a technology leader. Opera Software will never forget that its main focus is the user.