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Friday, April 25, 2003

"Who wants to see hot chicks in lingerie?"... not

So last night I went to the [Trashy Lingerie] party in Hollywood, once again at the Key Club. They had a model contest, did a musical/dance number thing with one of their models singing, and any girl in lingerie got in free. That part of it was, eh, so so. Nothing exciting, nothing to write home about. More than half the club was VIP only, and between that and the various people taking pictures there wasn't a lot of room in the place. 3 bands played, one whose name I didn't catch that did all Led Zepplin covers, Crash Radio, and Beautiful Creatures (a friend of a friend's band). Crash Radio was pretty good emo-ish stuff. Beautiful Creatures was an 80s-type big hair metal band, the keyboardist was a Guns N Roses refugee (Dizzy). Because of the lingerie show, BC didn't go on till after midnight, which had me yet again feeling old and tired.

While I was at the show, I wrote a good song in my head but completely forgot it by the time I got to the car. Oh well.

Before the show I had some time to kill, so I went by the Hustler store again. There was a signing going on with a bunch of girls from Jill Kelly Productions - Jenna Haze and some other people I didn't know. There was quite the crowd there. Thankfully the Cafe part of the store had Jones Green Apple soda, so the tension of spending all that time in traffic on Southern California's abysmal roads melted away pretty quickly. As I was sipping my soda I noticed the person managing the signing session was [someone] I had worked for a few years back, and left on ambiguous terms with- I don't know if a bridge was burned or what (long, odd story). According to a mutual friend it's no big deal, but I stayed out of sight while I was there. Yes, I'm a wimp.

Thankfully, I didn't get rear ended on the way out of Hollywood this time.

Unrelated: I might start a new martial arts/self defense course soon, which should be cool.

4/25/2003 05:01:26 PM ] [  ]


Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Three things

So there are 3 MacOS X APIs that I'm currently looking at to start hooking into EvilToaster:
  • Accessibility

  • Speech

  • Scripting

All three of them have similar requirements, and have to be hooked to some of the same things.
Most people don't realize that Speech Recognition has been built into the MacOS since even before System 7.5 (about 10 years ago!). Speech can be used in the Finder and any scriptable application to issue commands like "Open my Documents folder", though for dictation you need a commercial speech engine like [iListen] or [Via Voice]. From what I have seen and heard, iListen is the better product.
At any rate, few applications directly support the Apple Speech Recognition API. Why? Because it's always been somewhat difficult for developers to work with. Unfortunately, that hasn't changed with the introduction of MacOS X. While there are a lot of new speech capabilities, the API open to developers is Carbon and essentially unchanged from the old API that no one used. It's really unfortunate, because that means at least for now Evil Toaster won't be supporting Speech recognition. It would have been nice to be able to say "Read me my new mail" and have it do that, but Apple's managed to make supporting speech enough work that I can't do it yet (the design of their API is such that you really have to redesign a lot of your code to access speech, and I suppose that's why not even Apple's own apps use it). Speech should really be transparent, and even just a layer on top of Accessibility, but it doesn't seem to be a priority with Apple.

Accessibility under MacOS X is great, there's a good article on it [here].

4/23/2003 09:18:46 PM ] [  ]


Those stinking piles....

The various mac rumors sites are [reporting] on various new features that supposedly will be a part of MacOS X 10.3, to be previewed at WWDC in June. Amongst other things such as a [new filesystem layer] that's more like BeOS, [multiple graphical logins], "64 bit support", and even support for AMD x86 processors (yeah, right). The one thing they are all consistently reporting on, however, is a set of new UI features that are being called ["user at the center"].

There has been a lot of talk of "piles" being a major new feature in 10.3. Piles are a user interface idea that's been around for a while, but nobody has really used it yet. Apple's patent on piles can be found [here]. One intrepid user put together a Flash interactive demo of how piles should work in MacOS X, you can get a feel for it [here].

While piles seem interesting, I don't think they're as paradigm-changing as the rumors sites seem to imply. If Apple implemented [half the features of Copland] in MacOS X, that would be something to see.

4/23/2003 12:41:28 PM ] [  ]


Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Say Hey to your Marshmellow Peeps

The weekend in SF was ok, on Saturday the weather was really nice and of course I was out and about without my camera. Duoh!
Mom got us all easter baskets, which I haven't had in years. She kicks ass.
Chelle and I were having some problems, communication problems I guess, but after talking about it everything is OK now. A lot of it was me- me being insecure I think- but she's awesome and understanding and even though one of the things were talked about was how it's gotten hard for me to talk about some things, she's one of the easiest people in the world for me to talk to.
She totally kicks ass. On the way back to LA sunday night I doglegged to Fresno and got to see her for about an hour, which made my week. We fed each other Jelly Bellies and talked things over. Whenever we talk about things face to face the problems don't seem nearly as bad as they do from 200 miles away.

I'm thinking we need an iguana.

4/22/2003 11:43:35 PM ] [  ]


Monday, April 21, 2003

Rocket Man

On Friday [Scaled Composites] unveiled their [X-Prize] entry, [SpaceShipOne]. The X-Prize is a $10 million prize for the first team to privately send 3 people to 100km (62.5 miles) altitude, returns them safely, and can do it twice in 2 weeks. The idea here is to give people something to shoot for, and to encourage innovation in space tourism. While some of the teams are working on concepts you sure wouldn't catch me hitching a ride in, Rutan is almost definitely going to go all the way, and right now it looks like Scaled's entry will be the first to do it.
AvWeek has a good[article] on SpaceShipOne that gives a lot more detail than the [ story], and AvWeek has a second [editorial on the x-prize itself]

Before I left college disillusioned, Rutan was one of my role models as I worked toward an aero degree. Back then, to me working for Scaled or the Lockheed Skunk Works would have been heaven. If you read [an interview] with Rutan you might get drowned in aero jargon, but if you look at [this QTVR pano of some of his designs,] you'll see he doesn't make "normal" planes.

4/21/2003 06:14:38 PM ] [  ]