Organizing Holiday Cookie Baking

Every year I like to make something for my loved ones and friends for Christmas. Usually, it’s just cookies but I make six or seven batches of different cookies (Molasse, Sugar, Thumb Print, etc.) so there are a lot of ingredients both in the number of different ingredients and quantity of ingredients (it’s amazing how fast you can use up a bag of flower 🙂 ). The downside to this type of large scale baking is that it’s very easy to forget something and need to make multiple trips to the already crowded grocery stores. The other problem is overestimating items or buying stuff that you already have. My goal for this year was to come up with a system that would keep me from having these problems.
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Insane Product From Apple?

I have been thinking about what Apple could be announcing tomorrow and I think their best bet is to combine their products into one giant product. I think this would basically be a 50-inch iMac with a touch screen that allowed you to use the iPhone interface. It would also act like a Time Capsule so backups could be saved directly to it’s 10 TB RAID array. Finally, it would have legs so it can run and walk with you when you leave the house. 🙂

A Better Way to Rank Media

One of the things that I love/hate about media player software is rating media.  It’s great that I have a quick way to get to the songs I really like.  The two that I have used so far (iTunes and Zune) both allow you to rank songs on a scale from 0-5 stars.  So 5 stars = excellent, 1 star = crap, and 0 stars = not rated.  The problem is that you can’t rank something 4.5 stars for a song that’s really good but not excellent.

Another thing that iTunes does is that it keep tracks of the number of times a song has been played and when.  I use this feature to have a smart playlist of podcasts that I haven’t heard yet.  If you don’t finish the song completely it doesn’t increment the play count.

I think that a better way to rank songs would be to have the ratio of times the song was complete compared to the number of times the song was started.  So if I never listen to a song fully it would have a ranking of 0 which would imply that I hate it and songs that I listen to all the time would have a ranking of 100.  If the song hasn’t been finished for a long time the rating can slowly decrement to half it’s ranking after a year or so (this could easily be modified to a user’s preferences).  It seems to me that this would be really easy to implement and really would be a better way to rank media.

A Digital President

It’s interesting to see how the candidates in this election are using the internet.  They use all kinds of “Web 2.0” site to reach out.  Most of these are in vain because I think very few undecided  voters will active search this out.  Who really wants to go through Obama’s 700+ YouTube videos (link)?  But how are the candidates in twenty years going to be affected by what they are posting on the internet now?

We keep hearing how things people post online bit them in the end when some perspective employer see them doing a keg stand on Facebook.  But how much of this will get factored into elections in the future where news organizations will dedicate teams of people to going through the digital footprints of the candidates?  We already know how news organizations will jump on the smallest inconsistency in a candidate’s past.  How many flame war, YouTube, and Flickr posts will we see in the 2030 election?  How many misspelled words that questions their intelligence?

I guess the one thing to take away is that if you are even thinking about running of office don’t use the Internet.  Actually, that might explain our current government.  🙂

Syncing Files

I have reached a bit of a problem syncing files between my desktop and my laptop. One of my goals is to have a single repository of all my files that syncs to my laptop and I can quickly access via a web interface. I want to be able to securely sync just the files that I need (because who really needs to walk around with ALL their mp3’s). This way I can back up my laptop to my desktop and then backup my desktop to Amazon’s S3 and have a large redundancy in my backup.

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When to Reinstall My Computer

I have been trying to come up with a definitive way to tell when I need to reinstall my computer and I have figured it out.  I just opened my All Programs folder in my start menu and it doesn’t all fit on my widescreen screen.  I keep running into problems where I can’t remember the name the thirty or so programs I use occasionally so this is actually a problem.

I wonder what the best way to organize shortcuts to programs is.  Would it be better to sort the short cuts by the last executed date/time so the programs I use often would end up at the top or should I group the programs into three folders based on how often I use them (often, never, occasionally).  Normally, I use launchy to run the applications I know the name of and I guess I just need to get better at using that until I have time to reinstall my laptop.

AppleTV Take Two – “Very Nice”

I finally have been able to mess with the AppleTV Take Two and I really enjoy it so far.  I was able to add my Flickr account easily and was quickly able to set it up to use my pictures as the screensaver.  The downside is I couldn’t seem to get it to download more than one user’s pictures but maybe that will come out for AppleTV Take Two.1.  I rented a movie tonight and it allowed me to start watching it before it was finished downloading.  The AppleTV won’t transfer the rented movies over to my computer but I’m okay with that.  Overall, I’m very happy but I wish there were more movies available.

Brief Linux Update

I’ve been using Linux on my desktop for five days now and I ran into a couple problems last night.  My sound card doesn’t appear to be working which really sucks and the back and forward buttons on my mouse don’t do anything.  I’m having trouble finding where you change the hardware settings in Ubuntu but I only spent ten minutes on it last night so I should be able to find something later.  This weekend I’m going to use the parts from my old computers (big hard drive, video card, sound card, 800 W power supply) to turn this computer into a really sweet machine.  I still need to look into mono but that might wait until spring break. 🙂

Taking the First Step into Linux

I’m finally going to put my money where my mouth is (although that analogy doesn’t work very well in this case) and I installed just Linux on my new to me desktop.  I grabbed Edubuntu because I wanted to see how well it was set up for a college student right out of the box. I wanted to see what changes that I would have to make in order to get working.

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