Saturday, January 3, 2009

Yelp or, At Least I Post Somewhere

I haven't posted anything recently, but I have been pretty good about posting my reviews at Yelp. It's a site I use regularly to find good places to eat and remember what I like and dislike when eating out. With restaurant selection around my house probably being the best ever both in terms of quality and number, it's also a good way to keep a list of new places I want to try.

Check out my reviews by clicking below.

http://joels.yelp.com/

Monday, April 7, 2008

Something Close To Home That Deserves More Attention

Occasionally I'll read something like this in the newspaper, and sit in disbelief. Comment by Ill. Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago). How this was not covered more widely really surprises me, as a frequent reader of the news.

An update by Eric Zorn, the original blogger on the Trib's site. Zorn called attention to what happened in the original post above, and with this article asks why nobody takes notice.

I guess I wonder the same thing. I'm not advocating one religion or another on this blog, but how about the right in the United States to self-determine what religion we would like to follow? Why is there not more backlash against this IL Rep?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Support for Writers

Well I am hardly the budding young leftist that I once was, I definitely am not a member of a union, and clearly I am not a writer. (See writing for examples.) Nevertheless, I would like to support the striking writers and their fight for fair wages and compensation and a voice over the terms and conditions of their work.

I was lucky enough to work with or learn from some really talented people at Second City and I.O. (formerly Improv Olympic). I am sure some of them are involved in this strike, and I hope that they succeed in getting a fair contract. /end soapbox

Thursday, December 27, 2007

This Isn't a Tech Blog, But I Am a Nerd

I just read my first few posts, and I realized that I am sort of a boring writer. I also realized I'm sort of using this blog as a repository for new things I discover on the tech side, but I hope to also add things from all aspects of life, culture, art, music, etc. This is more of my "to do" post than anything else. I am a nerd, so it is difficult to not just post about nerdy things.

Last.fm - Why Didn't I Know About This Earlier?

I just started using Last.fm,which seems like it will be pretty useful so far. Here's what my home page looks like over there as of right now:
Basically, it looks through your MP3 listening history, and uploads it to that site, something Last.fm calls "scrobbling".

I find scrobbling all my tracks useful for a few reasons.
  1. I am totally and ridiculously obsessive about cataloging my music correctly in iTunes, It's a neurosis, but a harmless one. iTunes doesn't do the greatest job of providing stats on my listening habits, though. Last.fm does.
  2. I listen to a lot of music, but I am also sort of old and out of the loop as far as music stuff goes - with Last.fm I can see users who have the same tastes I do, and see what other bands they are listening to and find new music that way.
  3. Maybe I'll make a separate post about Pandora sometime. Basically it's an Internet radio station that builds based upon a band or song that you like and your future ratings of songs it picks for you. It's very cool. Anyway, Last.fm does a good job of integrating with Pandora via a tool that someone built here. I leave Pandora on at work quietly in the background, and later I can go back and see what I listened to on Last.fm.
  4. I like that it is platform independent, and catches what I listened to on my iPod (walking around and in my car), at work, on my laptop... a centralized database of what I like or what I'm listening to recently. Unfortunately, right before I signed up, my hard drive crashed and took iTunes' .xml record of all my plays with it. My MP3s were backed up, but it would have been cool to have Last.fm grab my last year or so of listening as well.
  5. It tells me when bands I have been listening to are playing in the Chicago area. Although I think that the Early Warnings list at the Reader is still key, this is a pretty cool feature.
Like many sites, Last.fm seems to be trying to capitalize on the social networking aspect. I'm not really interested in that side of it, and from a brief glance around, it doesn't look that popular. Being everyone's "friend" everywhere doesn't appeal to me that much, even though I do have an account at Facebook. Also, Last.fm also has a subscriptions service so you can listen to your music. Since I have such a large music collection, this doesn't really appeal to me, but I guess they have to make money somehow. I'm still new, but those are the only downsides I've seen so far.

If you're into music, check out Last.fm. I am not a paid sponsor, just a poor writer who happened upon a cool site for people who are really into music.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Kwout, An Interesting Way to Post Screenshots

Speaking of Lifehacker, which I mentioned earlier today, I just came across a post about Kwout., a webapp that allows you to grab screenshots (not a big deal) and also retain the links within those screen shots, which is pretty cool. Here's an example, below.

http://kwout.com#

kwout | A brilliant way to quote via kwout

I don't know how much I will use this, but it seems like it will be useful.

Reresolve and Lifehacker

Every year I try to pretend that I will not make a New Year's resolution because I am doing everything that I want to be doing, and every year I secretly do make a resolution anyway. Usually it has something to do with being organized, something for which I am not renowned.

This past year I discovered Lifehacker. I love this site for simple software recommendations, tips on random things and a little bit of nerd-talk too, since I'm a nerd at heart.
I use it pretty randomly. Like when I'm trying to figure out what free DVD burning program to use, or to get random productivity tips. As an aspiring small-business owner, I like to pretend that I'm above needing seemingly boring business tips, but if I want to continue to work full-time while I plan for my own company, I need to get and stay organized. Part of the reason I am starting this blog is to organize my often random thoughts into one place.

Friday, December 21, 2007

New Blog, Same Pants

I've had a couple of blogs before on random subjects, and they usually end up being that type of blog that's updated a lot, then once in a while, then not at all, then a few times, and finally never again. I've never had a blog to myself though, where I wasn't blogging about a particular subject, so this is my experiment.

In general, I find blogging self-aggrandizing. I don't think you can really write a blog without thinking, "Hey, I am just so full of great ideas, read them you jerk and maybe you will improve yourself." Slight exaggeration there, but not much. So if nothing else, here's to successful self-promotion and extensive patting of myself on the back.