New Orleans, in food

To say that my sis­ter and I enjoyed the food dur­ing our trip to New Orleans would be an under­state­ment. Antic­i­pat­ing a blog post like this (and for pos­ter­i­ty), I took pho­tos of near­ly every­thing we ate, and checked in at each restau­rant using Foursquare.

Foursquare nor­mal­ly annoys me, but in this case, was very help­ful in log­ging all the places we went, on which days we went, and so on.

(Unless oth­er­wise not­ed, my meal is in the foreground.)



Tues­day, March 9




Dinner: Parasol’s Restaurant & Bar

Me: Hot Sausage Po Boy. Despite being a life­long dis­lik­er of pick­les, I decid­ed to try my sand­wich with them any­way, hav­ing order­ing it “dressed.” While I’m not sure they added much, it was not bad with pick­les. Mine was also a lit­tle light on meat, at least com­pared to Allison’s.

Alli­son: Roast Beef Po Boy.


Wednes­day, March 10




Lunch: Gumbo Shop

Me: Red Beans & Rice with Smoked Sausage Gum­bo. Gum­bo was yumbo.

Alli­son: Chick­en Andouille Gumbo.





Dinner: Port of Call

Both: Burg­ers (mine with cheese, hers with mush­rooms) with baked pota­to. While I was a lit­tle sur­prised at the lack of fries as an option, I did­n’t mind at all. The baked pota­to was amaz­ing. Also, I was­n’t going to break out the flash, but yeah, the light­ing was a lit­tle on the low side.


Thurs­day, March 11




Brunch: Slim Goodies Diner

Me: Robert John­son Burger

Alli­son: Havana Omelet. Came with tortillas!





Snack: Creole Creamery

Me: Black & Gold Crunch Ice Cream

Alli­son: Oat­meal Cook­ie Ice Cream


Dinner: Verti Marte

Ver­ti Marte, a con­ve­nience store with sand­wich counter in the back, had no seat­ing, so we ate this meal in the car. Sor­ry, no pho­to; we were hungry.

Me: Muf­falet­ta, some­thing I had nev­er tried. My reac­tion was along the lines of: “I’m pret­ty sure I’d list half of the ingre­di­ents on my do-not-like list, but boy are they good togeth­er!” Quite pos­si­bly my food high­light of the trip.

Alli­son: BBQ Po Boy


Fri­day, March 12




Lunch: Willie Mae’s Scotch House

Me: Chick­en Fried Pork Chop. Mine was good, but I was jeal­ous of her chicken.

Alli­son: Fried chick­en. Quite pos­si­bly the best I’ve ever tried.





Dinner: Slice

Alli­son: (From left) Bacon, Basil, and Gar­lic; Pineap­ple; Fresh




Me: (From left) Jalapeño and Andouille Sausage; Greek; Fresh




New Orleans: A++++ Would nom again~~~

…but my new camera sucks a little too much

[If you’re just join­ing us, see part one.]

I recent­ly felt like I need­ed a new crap­py cam­era in my life. I found myself in a drug­store yes­ter­day, where I pur­chased one of those minia­ture ones, a Viv­i­tar Clip­shot (née Sakar 11693). At $10, the price was right but it’s a lit­tle too cheap to have a screen built-in, and the “viewfind­er” is a laugh­ably inac­cu­rate hole in the body. Even more excit­ing, I thought! It’ll be like tak­ing pho­tos with film and wait­ing to see what develops!

I could­n’t find ref­er­ence to the cam­era work­ing in Ubun­tu with a quick Web search, but the specs on the pack­age claimed that it works in OS X with­out dri­vers. This seemed to imply that it was a stan­dard USB Mass Stor­age device, the kind you plug in and have just work, as it appears to the com­put­er as a remov­able drive.

So I expect­ed quick and easy access to my pho­tos. I was wrong.

The OS detects the device, but not as a nor­mal cam­era device, nor a Mass Stor­age device. This is what lsusb had to say about it:

Bus 007 Device 008: ID 0979:0371 Jeilin Technology Corp., Ltd

Search­ing for that lead me to a num­ber of blog and forum posts where peo­ple dis­cussed ways to pos­si­bly get the cam­era work­ing, but to no avail. This post received a num­ber of replies, with this reply being the most help­ful: (empha­sis mine)

Pro­fes­sor Theodore Kil­go­re from Alaba­ma has been work­ing on a dri­ver for this cam­era. As of about 6 months ago, the Pro­fes­sor had me down­load his dri­ver for the cam­era, and the dri­ver lets down­load files from the cam­era. But since the pic­tures are stored in an encrypt­ed for­mat on the stor­age media of the cam­era, there is still work to be done to decrypt the pic­ture files into a view­able for­mat (this is the last I heard anyway).

The pho­tos are stored encrypt­ed on the cam­era, so you have to use the includ­ed Win­dows soft­ware to down­load them. Glad to know they’re being pro­tect­ed… from me. This crap­py cam­era is a lit­tle too crap­py for me. I haven’t tried it on a Mac yet, but I can’t imag­ine how this could pos­si­bly work with­out drivers.

There will be more crap­py dig­i­tal cam­eras in my life, but one can only hope that the next one sucks in the way it should.

Break­ing news: This piece of garbage does not work in OS X either.

Lo-fi cameras are awesome…

I loves me some crap­py dig­i­tal cameras.

Ten years on, my first is still my favorite, my Game Boy Cam­era. Thank you Diego, for per­haps the great­est birth­day gift ever. Sure, I had crap­py film cam­eras before, but that did­n’t stop me from lov­ing my GBC like any­one does their first. Using film meant that I could­n’t go wild and exper­i­ment, take tons of pic­tures of stu­pid stuff like any kid with a cam­era does, and any self-respecting adult with one con­tin­ues to do.

That would­n’t exact­ly work with my Game Boy Cam­era, which only held 30 snap­shots and did­n’t come with any way to, you know, trans­fer them to a computer.

Details. To make do, I would delete all but my absolute favorites, the true ‘keep­ers.’ That awk­ward red car­tridge still has pho­tos from walk­ing home on the day in 2000 I got the cam­era, of good high school friends, of a duck from Kendale Lakes, and self-portraits tak­en every few months as I grew my hair to a respectable shoul­der length in college.

Last year, real­iz­ing that I was far from done tak­ing tiny, grainy, black-and-white pho­tos, I bought a sec­ond Game Boy Cam­era, and a cou­ple of Mad Catz PC link cables, so I could final­ly trans­fer the pho­tos. They’re cheap and plen­ti­ful on Ama­zon and eBay these days (the cam­eras, at least; the link cables are hard to find).

There was a time when mobile phones could be count­ed on to take pho­tos of this sort. Sure it might be frus­trat­ing when you actu­al­ly want­ed to take a good pho­to, but think of the washed-out col­ors! The poor light­ing! The blur­ry faces! Alright, maybe it was­n’t so great if that was the only cam­era you had at a mem­o­rable event, but if that’s the sort of cam­era you go out of your way to use for art­sy, leisure­ly pho­tog­ra­phy, I respect that.

My first mobile phone with a cam­era was a Side­kick, and its pho­tos are by far my favorite:

I could add these effects with soft­ware, but what fun is that?

Then came my Treo, which was, unfor­tu­nate­ly, a lit­tle bit bet­ter at tak­ing photos:

I won’t even men­tion my G1, which takes prac­ti­cal­ly per­fect pho­tos. How sad.

I’m glad I’ve been able to shoot with so many crap­py cam­eras, because I know one I won’t be using any­time soon. Sigh.

To be continued…

Quiet Loudly and the awesome customer experience

Today I bring you an exam­ple of an inde­pen­dent band that seems to be Doing Things Right.™

The band is Brook­lyn’s Qui­et Loud­ly.

I first became aware of the band from the mostly-excellent, but not often released, Cac­tus Killer Radio pod­cast. While the stuff CKR plays is var­ied, the com­mon thread that ties it all togeth­er is that, for the most part, it makes an excel­lent driving-at-night sound­track. I would often wait months to lis­ten to an episode, until find­ing myself alone in the car at night with a long dri­ve ahead of me.

When I lis­ten to an episode of CKR, I almost with­out fail need to make one or two men­tal notes to find out more about a band, or at the very least, find an MP3 of the song that caught my ear. (Oth­er bands I’ve found this way include My Teenage Stride, Spike, and Sing-Sing.) Episode 52, which fea­tured Qui­et Loud­ly’s “Over the Bal­cony,” had me rewind­ing to hear it again, mul­ti­ple times. I ulti­mate­ly shut off my MP3 play­er at the point in the pod­cast where the song began, so I could hear it again the next day.

I tracked the band down to their MySpace page, where I came across a blog entry promis­ing a copy of their never-to-be-released debut album Destroy All Mon­sters to “any­one that asks nice enough.” I went ahead and did that, and before long found a CD‑R and nice hand­writ­ten note in my mail­box. The disc had unfor­tu­nate­ly cracked in tran­sit, but on the strength of “Over the Bal­cony” and the kind ges­ture, I made a men­tal note to buy their soon-to-be-released (sec­ond) debut album, Soul­gaz­er.

The release date must have slipped a bit, because I checked their MySpace a few times in mid-2009 and found no sign of the album. Then it slipped my mind for a num­ber of months before, lo and behold, I checked in and found Soul­gaz­er had been released!

I knew I want­ed it on CD (I like mak­ing my own MP3s, and when disk space gets even cheap­er, FLACs), but the disc was only avail­able from this not-very-reassuring page. I bought it there any­way. I did­n’t get any e‑mails acknowl­edg­ing my pur­chase (aside from the usu­al Pay­Pal receipt), so I was a lit­tle wor­ried, and made a men­tal note to try to find some­one to con­tact if a few days passed with­out word.

What I end­ed up get­ting instead, seem­ing­ly out of the blue, was a ‘fol­low’ noti­fi­ca­tion from qui­et­loud­ly on Twit­ter! I did­n’t real­ize that I had pur­chased the album direct­ly from them. That they take the time to stalk track down their fans online is, well, com­plete­ly fuck­ing awe­some. While it’s typ­i­cal­ly my pol­i­cy to use social net­work­ing ser­vices for only keep­ing up with peo­ple I know, I was glad to make an excep­tion for them (even if most every tweet they tweet is about shows they’re play­ing in New York).

I took the ‘fol­low’ as my receipt and eager­ly await­ed the album’s arrival. It came a week lat­er, but I had­n’t tak­en into account that my only CD play­er was the one in my car, so I spun the disc for the next few dri­ves, wait­ing until I found a com­put­er with an opti­cal dri­ve, on which I could LAME up some MP3s.

I guess I did­n’t give the enve­lope a thor­ough enough look-through at first — and it’s a good thing I did­n’t throw it out — because I had missed some­thing else inside.

See right.

Seri­ous­ly. How awe­some are these guys?

I hope there’s some New York in my future, because I must see Qui­et Loud­ly live, per­haps many times.

What’s all the PubSubHubBub hubbub?

Gen­er­al­ly speak­ing, I’m a fan of emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies and stuff like that. I just don’t always get it right off the bat.

I first heard of RSS/Atom in 2002 or 2003,  when­ev­er Live­Jour­nal start­ed active­ly push­ing syn­di­ca­tion, mak­ing feeds on jour­nals dis­cov­er­able. I looked upon these alien terms with inter­est, but some con­fu­sion. Wait, I can sub­scribe to a blog? Why would I want to do that?

I know what I prob­a­bly sound­ed like back then. Per­haps in a cou­ple of years, I’ll be laugh­ing at myself, won­der­ing what I’d do with­out Pub­Sub­Hub­Bub. Just perhaps.

For now, though, I’m not quite sure I get it. Since Google Read­er now sup­ports the for­mat, I went ahead and found a Word­Press plu­g­in to enable it here on writegeek. I under­stand that to an RSS sub­scriber, it means faster or near-instantaneous updates. And to a pub­lish­er, it mean not only faster updates for one’s read­ers, but less load on the serv­er, since mil­lions of desk­top feed-readers won’t be reg­u­lar­ly request­ing one’s RSS file. (Not that that applies to me… yet.)

Yeah, I’m a bit intrigued at the instant pub­lish­ing, but have a bunch of unan­swered ques­tions. Which servers should I be ping­ing? What moti­vates one to run a serv­er? What are their busi­ness mod­els? A cou­ple of years down the road, when they real­ize that they’re run­ning the most pop­u­lar servers but still aren’t mak­ing mon­ey, will they be putting ads in my feed? And I think I read some­thing about servers talk­ing to each oth­er; how does that work?

There seems to be noth­ing to lose, no lock-in or sin­gle bas­kets in which to place all of my prover­bial eggs,  so I’ll try it out. (That was basi­cal­ly the point of this post.)

Time to click Pub­lish and start jab­bing my F5 key…

I basically have the mobile phone I want, and that is awesome

My G1, in its rooted gloryI just real­ized that I, basi­cal­ly, have the mobile phone I want. I use a T‑Mobile G1 (HTC Dream), root­ed, SIM-unlocked, and run­ning the great Cyanogen­MOD.

I could not real­ly say this about my pre­vi­ous phone, a Palm OS Treo. Though it had its strengths (read: the orga­niz­er fea­tures), I bought it pret­ty much right before the first iPhone was announced, which, for bet­ter or worse, rede­fined what a smart­phone would be.1

My affin­i­ty for the G1 re-occurred to me as I opened the Ter­mi­nal app to check some­thing. I slid the screen open with a sat­is­fy­ing click, typed su and checked that some­thing. I want­ed to go back a bit through my shel­l’s com­mand his­to­ry, and a quick flip of the track­ball made easy work of that.

Sure, I have my gripes… it’s a lit­tle slug­gish some­times, com­plete­ly short on app stor­age space (root­ing fixed that) and takes the crap­pi­est videos I’ve ever seen (worse than my circa-2001 Nikon CoolPix). And now that new­er Android devices are out, I com­plete­ly have 1 GHz CPU-envy, high-res screen-envy, and Android 2.1‑envy (Google Earth, want!).

But for the fore­see­able future, my G1 and I are cool. Its form fac­tor is per­fect. Its phys­i­cal key­board is unmatched by new­er devices with cramped lay­outs. It’s clear­ly no svelte iPhone, but it’s not too chunky either.

My sat­is­fac­tion is matched only by my antic­i­pa­tion for what­ev­er could mate­ri­al­ize in the future and top this. Bring it, future!

  1. By this, I most­ly mean “have a real web brows­er,” not “have no native app sup­port and a charis­mat­ic CEO try to con­vince you that you don’t real­ly want apps on your smart­phone, any­way.”