Monday, September 26, 2011

Fun with Software

Currently, one of my favorite computer programs is Belvedere, which you can download here.
I should want to take Mr. Belvedere out to a nice dinner.
I shouldn't want to cut up Mr. Belvedere and serve him for dinner.
Sometimes Saturday Night Live is just bizarre
but Phil Hartman was always funny.

This elegant piece of software keeps my desktop tidy because I setup a rule inside of it that automatically sweeps everything that hasn't been modified in the last three hours off my desktop and into a folder titled "00_Inbox", which is itself inside a folder that is automatically backed up to an external hard drive.  From the 00_Inbox folder I can manage the material, much like one's impulses must be managed:

TL;DR: Things get bizarre when I present both the strange Saturday Night Live sketch about a support group for people that want to violently harm Mr. Belvedere and a computer program called Belvedere, which I use to keep the files that exist inside my computer tidy.  

All you need to know is that Belvedere is a solid piece of software for organizing your hard drive(s).

Update 2/28/12: I updated the link to the Lifehacker website where the Belvedere software care be found.

Monday, September 19, 2011

It Be International Talk Like a Pirate Day, Matey!

Story Time:

During my days as an undergraduate, I was involved in the sport of rowing.  In order to get a jump on the competition, one of the other guys from the crew and I checked a boat out from the dockmaster at the boathouse before organized practices began.  At least we tried to check out a boat when the dockmaster interrupted us with a hearty "Arr, yee be wantin' a boat do yee?"

The eye patch let me know that the dockmaster 
took his pirate talk seriously

"Hmm, yes?" the rower I was with replied with a confused look on his face.

"It be International Talk Like a Pirate Day, it is" replied the dockmaster who had evidently been spending too much time at the boathouse.

"OK, well we just want to check out a pair to row in the marina for about an ho-"

A little waving of a plastic saber from the crazed dockmaster cut off my partner and gave me the idea that this was not going to be settled in regular English.  "We been needin' a schiff for my matey and I to paddle 'round these waters for about a one and a half turns of the hourglass" I offered.  A moment later we made our marks in the log book and were in possession of a boat to row.

Anyway, in honor of today being International Talk Like a Pirate Day I present the breakfast of pirates, which comes from here:

Man the crow's nest!
Let down those top sails!
Fry the Jolly Roger!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Put It In There!

Things to go inside your dwelling, Part 1 - Clocks:

I often see things that catch my eye and make me think "that's something I would like to have when I grow up and have a place of my own".  Well, I am grown up (physically, not so much in terms of maturity) and I can put whatever the hell I want to inside of my place.  Unfortunately, this thought is often soon followed by sticker shock so I typically don't buy any of these things.  

Part one of this compelling series on things I would like to own and may someday make myself in order to get exactly what I want at a price far lower than what a retail store would charge me explores the fascinating world of wall clocks.  Here I will compile photos and links to products that I would like to either purchase or better yet knock off and construct by myself.  

Why do I bother thinking about making my own clock you ask.  Well here is how it plays out inside my head:

Any girl ever: "Nice clock."
Me: "I made that myself using parts salvaged from an old steamship."
Same girl: "I must have sex with you right now."

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that's how this will play out.

Also, clocks are easy to make.  There are lots of stores out there that would be happy to sell you the mechanical devices that power the hands of an analogue style clock around in circles.  The challenge is to find the right display to go with the store bought clockworks.

Below are some of my thoughts on existing clocks available for purchase these days:

I'm not sure why the image of the American Flag appears to be painted on a piece of old wood.
Our Flag tends to be, well, you know, a flag.  Also, having the numerals overlay with the stars
on the flag bothers me.  I think the designer could have just used dots to indicate the hours.
Found here

Black and white goes with anything so your future girlfriend
probably won't insist on throwing this away when the two of you move in together.
Still, the chunky 12, 3, 6 and 9 marks just strike me as being wrong somehow.  Why
make these marks bigger?  Why are these marks even present since the hours
are designated with circles instead of dashed lines?  I find this very busy for a 
minimal design.
Found here

Apparently it's time to eat
Found here

Apparently it's time for more hallucinogens
Found here

It lists an address in London so you know it's fancy
Found here

At the risk of being labeled a steampunk nerd, I'll admit that I kinda like this.  
The problem I see is that the metal hands don't really stand out from the metal back 
of this piece, which, if I have to stare at it for more than a few seconds to tell the time, 
kills the functionality of the clock.
Found here

Again, I would like to see more contrast between the hands and the dial behind.
Found here

Why have three clocks all in the same place that all
tell the exact same time?
Found here

Do I add them up and divide by three to get the average current time?
Found here

I like the metal look.  I like that the hands contrast with the multi-colored backgrounds. 
It would bother me to have the 5 and 11 angled the way they are when all the other
numerals aren't angled at all.  Also, the multiple colors on this one might not gain the 
above mentioned significant other seal of approval.
No product page available
Pic used as a category shot but 
doesn't exist in their catalog

To summarize, I prefer Roman Numerals over Arabic in most cases.  The idea of having three clocks all done as part of one display piece intrigues me but only if they can be set to the time in three different areas, say the U.S.'s East Coast, West Coast and some foreign city.  I like the idea of constructing such a clock out of metal.  Gears are being used everywhere these days to make clock dials, which is a good enough look but I bet one could go further in sourcing materials from which to make a good looking clock.