Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Ear Aches and a Songbird is released

Day two of Alvis ear ache watch. She is still under the weather. Bummer.

Heard two stories on NPR that were interesting: "Solving the Mystery of Mother-Daughter Speak" and "Why Kids Hate to Wear Coats." I almost never wear a coat--unless it is like below freezing. I remember all those fights with mom and dad growing up over coats and cold-weather. Alvis is the same way. I don't really worry about it. If she doesn't want to wear one, fine. (And no, that's not the reason she now has an earache, mom!) I just make sure we take along a light-jacket (just in case she changes her mind). But if you think about it, we don't spend too much time outside. Just dashing from house to car and from car into school or work, then back to car and back to house. We don't spend much extended periods of time outside in the winter. I do keep a coat in the trunk of my car, just in case I end up with a breakdown and have to change a tire.

Anyway, while Alvis was napping after a heavy morning of channel-surfing between Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, and Animal Planet, I did a little web-surfing.

Yesterday I mentioned GreatNews. Two updates to my post regarding that product. First, I couldn't find a quick way to convert my RSS feeds in Sage over to it since it can only import XML format files. Well, turns out Sage has a built-in XML format export feature. A couple of clicks and I had all my feeds exported to GreatNews. Handy. Now I can do a better comparison between the two. I'll let you know as I spend more time with it.

I also mentioned that it allows users to organize feeds into folders, and that I wondered if I could do the same in Sage. My RSS feed list is about 40 feeds long (today). I have had them arranged based on hierarchy of interest; with my favorites at top and less frequently followed at the bottom. That's nice enough, but I still have to drag that slider bar down to scroll them all quickly. I opened up the Firefox Bookmark Manager, opened the Sage folder, then started adding folders and dragging/dropping the feeds accordingly. I very quickly had them all regrouped into about 10 folders. I ran a feed update and Wollah! it worked! Nice! Only bad thing is that the folder names don't go "bold" if they are closed and a feed inside is updated with new content. So you still have to expand to see if there are any updated feeds--but it is much easier to use now. (Note: While on the Sage site, I noticed the screenshot shows the feeds in folders--doh--wish I had noticed that sooner.)

Songbird is now out in an Alpha release. (Note: if beta programs scare you, then don't mess with alpha versions!) Songbird is an attempt to merge a Mozilla (Firefox) browser base with an open-source media player (ala iTunes). The interface is very iTunes'ish. The benefit is that it isn't DRM based like iTunes so you should have more control over what you do with your music. Interesting concept. I'll be keeping my eye on this--though I really do like iTunes. (Spotted over on DownloadSquad.) Right now it looks like the Songbird site is getting hammered right now....

More Video Funny:
Is your IT job creating communication issues with your significant other?
Terry Tate The Office Linebacker.

Tech tip finds:
GoogleSightseeing: Not a Google site, but see what gems can be spotted on GoogleEarth.
Browser Archive: is hosting (for your download pleasure) just about every web-browser there ever was.
Old Version and Wounded Moon: Two smackdown-good sites that host "older" versions of software. Sometimes newer isn't better and the distributors don't make those older versions accessible on their sites.
Azureus: Azureus is an open source bittorrent download manager. I don't really ever use bittorrent except when downloading some Linux Live CD distributions. When I do, this is what I use. Basically, with normal web downloads, you connect to the server and download the file--in one chunk--directly to your pc. When you have a really big file it can take a while--especially if that file is popular. Bittorrent managers identify the file you want to download, finds multiple copies of it on the web from other users, and downloads "bits" of the program from all over. It helps speed up transfer times and conserve network bandwidth. Paul Stamatiou took the time to write a nice guide on how new users can configure Azureus.

Hope you are enjoying clear skies!

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