Oops, Sorry

Not only was this guy unlucky enough to have been beaten up and left for dead while on his winter sojourn to find work, but he was in a coma so long that animal control gave away his dogs. I don’t blame animal control, and neither does he – but man would that stink.

More Gnomedex Day 1

Dean Hachamovitch, from the Microsoft “RSS Team”. Very interesting that there is an RSS Team at Microsoft. The whole Microsoft bunch is all wearing “Longhorn (Heart) RSS”, which would seem to indicate that there’s some big news coming. MSN Spaces purportedly has more than 14 million users, over 1500 Microsoft employees are blogging and all MSN Search feeds include a link to a feed. Their new tagline is Browse. Search. Subscribe. It’s on the back of their t-shirts, in fact.

Sounds to me a lot like they are planning to be the Tivo of the online world. In fact, Dean just mentioned the first time he met someone with a Tivo. Imagine that browsing and searching won’t go away, as you’ll find new information. But being able to then subscribe to that information is where the power lies. Apparently Longhorn will have a “big bet” on RSS.

This means three things. First, that throughout Windows, RSS is enabled and “just easy”. Second, providing an RSS platform to make it easier for developers to RSS-enable everything. More than just in the browser and aggregator. Third is making it easy for everyone to just use.

Recent build of Longhorn now on-screen. IE7 is coming. Allegedly we are the first to see this in a public forum. RSS support in the browser. When the browser encounters a page with a feed, there is an RSS button that “lights up” and will display the feed with a sort of XSL stylesheet, so you don’t see all the ugly XML. Looks nice.

There is also a “plus” button that allows you to subscribe to the site. This would seem to indicate that IE7 and/or Longhorn has a built-in aggregator of sorts. An example is searching MSN Search, which results in an RSS feed, that you can then read and/or add to your subscriptions.

IE7 does this through a “common feed list”, which stores all the feeds in the subscription, and that list will then be availble to all other applications in Windows. This means another application – in this case, RSS Bandit – was updated to allow the application to synchronize with the common feed list.

This allows the feeds to be shared across the entire platform, which encapsulates the complexity. This allows moving from blogs and news to audio podcasting to delivery of any content – pictures, spreadsheets, presentations, calendar events, etc.

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And Gnomedex Begins

Chris is currently on stage here at Gnomedex. So far so good. The suspicion is that the WiFi won’t last long – there are fifteen or so laptops just on the row where I’m sitting. Plenty of power, but I think the WiFi might just be overloaded, as things are a bit funky. My wife is on one side, Nick on the other. So far not much to report, but I’ll update this as the conference moves along.

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Whidbey Island Adventure

While we’ve nearly exhausted our tourist time, we did manage to fit in a nice day of driving by heading down the length of Whidbey Island, just North of Seattle.

But on the way, we had to visit the Fremont Troll, since it was so close and we barely missed it on our Duck ride the other day. Luckily it was indeed on our way, and we simply stopped for a few minutes and checked out the massive sculpture. Very cool.

Then we hit the road, and took I-5 towards Vancouver, veering off to Anacortes before we made it quite that far. Unfortunately, the ferries were not cooperating, so we decided to drive some more. We had hoped to take a ferry out towards the San Juan Islands, but it just was not to be on this day.

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Victoria or Bust

After so much Seattle, we decided that it was time to get out of town for a bit. So we hopped a Victoria Clipper Ferry to Victoria, BC. The trip was uneventful – boring even. A few years ago, I took the Coho Ferry from Port Angeles, and it was much nicer. That is to say, the actual ferry was a lot worse. But it allowed people to go out on deck – a feature badly missing on the Clipper line.

Still, it was a relatively quick and uneventful crossing, taking about 2.5 hours – slightly more than is listed on their web site for the “premium” schedule.

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All About Seattle

Today we left the car in the garage and head out on foot. Our first stop was to Ride the Ducks of Seattle. This ride in a WWII-vintage amphibious duck took about an hour and a half through downtown Seattle and then into the water in Lake Union for a quick dip. Our captain, Cal Zone, was a great addition and made the trip well worth our while.

Next we strolled over to the Seattle Center, where we checked out the International Fountain (unfortunately no shows were underway) and then took the 40-odd second elevator ride to the Sky City Restaurant in the Space Needle.

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How Much do Bootlegs Cost?

So Warner Bros is releasing movie DVDs in China on the same day as the US movie arrives in theaters. The selling price of these DVDs? Just $2.75.

Now I realize that the average Chinese resident makes a lot less than their US counterpart – about $1000 a year isn’t much, and $2.75 can add up if you’re a movie buff. But $2.75 for a DVD? That’s cheaper than the cost of the movie admission in the US, and suggests that the movie industry has done a whole lot of inflating in that price.

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More Relaxed Tourists

After a couple of very fast-paced tourist days, we decided to tone things down a bit. To start things off, we slept in and had breakfast downstairs at a relaxed pace, instead of at the standard eat-and-run pace we had been keeping up previously.

Then we headed out and found our way to Gas Works Park (I was actually able to follow the directions this time). A beautiful day again, and the view across the lake was simply wonderful. Interestingly, there seemed to be fewer homeless people here than at the piers downtown. Perhaps this is an unwritten (or even a written) code someplace, but it seems that a more relaxed setting, with less noise, would be more conducive to living – and sleeping. But what do I know? Perhaps the lesser flow of foot traffic has its downside.

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More on the Northwest

We started off the day with an early trip to the Hiram M. Chittenden (Ballard) Locks. The day started off wonderfully, with a clear morning and a bit of warmth to it. We even managed to see a salmon on the fish ladder and a boat come through the locks – very cool.

I then tried to find our way to Gas Works Park, but I couldn’t follow directions, so I missed it. We’ll try again today. So we then found our way down to the waterfront in Seattle. I don’t remember quite so many people being there when we lived here. It was packed, even at 10am or so on a Sunday.

We picked up our tickets to the Tillicum Village Cruise and then wandered the piers for a little while, where we came across a cool gathering of classic boats sponsored by the Classic Yacht Association. After checking out several of them, we made our way back down to Pier 66 for the departure.

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