|Thursday, 27 February 2003, 2:41 pm
There’s a chance Jessica Corbin will be in our LAN party today, travel schedule permitting. Her brother is doing much better, I hear, and we’re hoping to lure her back to TechTV.
For those of you who don’t remember her, Jessica worked as a producer for The Screen Savers and was a regular on the show very briefly a year or so ago. She made her mark, though, and people are constantly asking me where she went. With any luck we’ll get an update tonight.
|Wednesday, 26 February 2003, 8:32 pm
Kuro5hin is re-publishing an article that appeared a couple of years back on the urban legend debunking site Snopes.com. The article explains the actual dangers of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. The threat, while real, is apparently vastly overstated. It’s an excellent antidote to media fear-mongering. It also contains valuable advice about what to do if you do get caught downwind. He says, “if you remain calm you will probably not die.”
Snopes also links to a 2001 piece from the Washington Post about the retired Army Sergeant who wrote the article.
|Wednesday, 26 February 2003, 1:25 pm
The 3° beta went public yesterday. It’s a youth oriented group messaging service built on MSN Messenger and Microsoft’s peer-to-peer client. Users can create groups of up to ten friends. Each group is represented by a custom icon on the Windows® desktop. There’s group instant messaging, of course. You can also send an image to everyone in a group by dragging it to the group’s icon, or send animated “winks” built into the program. The most interesting feature of Three Degrees is musicmix. Groups create shared playlists of songs which they can all listen to together. Apparently the music companies agreed to this sanitized form of music sharing.
There are some great ideas in here but read Yoz Grahame’s tale of installation woe before you install this toxic bit of bloatware on your PC. I know my daughter’s going to want it, but personally, I think it’s the work of the devil.
|Wednesday, 26 February 2003, 4:19 am
Man. You work hard on a show to pack it with all sorts of useful information and what do people want to know? What’s the name of that plant Joan Wood gave you. It’s a Janet Craig, a member of the dracaena family, and apparently it’s the ultimate geek plant. (It must be. The OS X spell check recognizes the word dracaena.)
Why the ultimate geek plant? It requires little light, water, or care and cleans the air of pollutants including formaldehyde. Joan has vowed to bring another each time she comes on. Which is great since we plan to have her on a lot.
Think Geek ought to start selling these.
|Tuesday, 25 February 2003, 3:05 am
It worked! I was able to chat this evening in The Screen Saver chat room using Mac OS X and the JabberFox jabber client. It’s a lot nicer, frankly, to use a Jabber client than the Java stuff. I can control the look and feel better, and it doesn’t take over my screen.
Thanks to Grady Joslin who sent me these VERY complete instructions:
This is Grady Joslin, one of the chat hosts. Cindy Wakeman told me you’re having problems in logging into to the chat during chat hours using OSX. I have used a few of them and found ways into getting into chat using PSI client and JabberFox.
Here is what I did to get into chat. After a lot of trial and error, strangely, this seems to work. First for both, I’d logged into chat via Java. I don’t know why but it sort of initializes the client access.
Go to account set up by clicking the (I U tuning fork looking symbol) Account Setup. Click Add. Here is what I put in mine.
Use SSL encryption (unchecked)
Saved Password (checked)
Use plaintext login (checked)
Manually specify Jabber host (unchecked)
I didn’t touch the proxy, nor the details tab, and in Preferences tab I left Automatically connect on startup and reconnected untouched. I also left Log message history and Keep alive packets checked. And Ignore SSL warnings unchecked.
Now here is the strange part. After you click okay to this. The port sometimes goes back to 5222, so go back and make sure its 5223.Then it should connect.
This one is a little easier.When the login pane comes up. I inputted username and password, then checked “Remember password.”
For Resource: JabberFox
Use SSL (unchecked)
This should work when you connect.
Cya in chat.
- Grady Joslin
TechTV Chat Host.
Thanks, Grady! Similar settings should work for Windows and Linux Jabber clients.
|Saturday, 22 February 2003, 3:02 pm
We’re trying something new on The Screen Savers: having members of the studio audience introduce the show. I was a little skeptical when Paul proposed the idea at our morning meeting (after all we are trained professionals) but last night Luke and Sabra did such a great job that all my fears were allayed.
An interesting side note: after we taped them opening the show Luke said, “do you remember me?” I did a double take. He’s 24 now, but when he was 15 he used to be a big fan of my radio show. He’d call in all the time, and even joined me in the studio a few times. He was such a regular caller that he had his own signature sound effect. It was great seeing him again.
Despite the auspicious start, the show ended very weirdly last night. We divide the program into seven segments, A through G, each separated by commercials. We ended the F block with Megan’s download of the day, went to commercial, then got the word that the show was over. We’ve run late before, but never that late. There was considerable bafflement and aimless milling about when Steve, the floor director, yelled “clear” right after the F block.
“Clear” means you’re done – it’s ok to take off the microphone, earpiece, hairpiece, whatever. But we weren’t done. We hadn’t even said good-bye. What happened to the G block? (Or as Kate used to call it, “the G spot.”)
Apparently the line producer had mistimed things and we ended up a minute or two short. The folks upstairs in Master Control have always done their best to accommodate our oddball timings, but they’re supposed to go to Tech Live at 8:00:00 PM no matter what, even if we’re in mid-sentence. And, of course, the worst thing would be to run so long that we miss a commercial.
We didn’t miss any commercials this time, but not getting to end the show is weird. After about 15 minutes of confused babbling, we collected the studio audience, sat them back down, and taped a good-bye which they’ll tack onto the re-plays. I guess they’ll cut out the Download of the Day to make room. That’s one thing I’ll miss about the re-plays. We’ll just have to get it right the first time!
|Thursday, 20 February 2003, 7:04 pm
I’ve had a chance to spend some time now with our new programming executive, Greg Brannan. He’s a sharp guy who has some very definite ideas about where to take TechTV. For the most part we’re in agreement, and in the areas where we disagree he’s been careful to listen to my opinion and take it into consideration. I really appreciate that. There’s a noticeably more open feel to TPTB these days, and I think it will lead to a better channel in the long run.
One of the first tasks Greg has set himself is to rationalize our programming schedule. He’s dividing all the shows into three categories: Help and Info, Cool Documentaries, and Outrageous Fun. Call for Help and The Screen Savers are in the first group. Spy School and Robot Wars are in the second group. And Marty’s new show will be in the third.
Starting at the end of next month, each category will get a block of time on the channel. All the shows of a given type will run next to each other. The theory being that it will be easier to find what’s on, and fans of any particular kind of programming will watch longer. In other words, no more tossed salad program schedule.
The Cool Docs block is going to occupy prime time and Outrageous Fun will take late night. The Help block will be in early prime. (All times Eastern.) Greg has reiterated to me the importance of Help to the channel, and will be adding a Saturday and Sunday Help Block to the schedule. It will be “best ofs” at first but we’ve talked about some ideas for new shows that could go there. Some really great ideas, too.
Call for Help will stay where it is for the time being, as will The Screen Savers, but TSS will be losing its same day re-runs, alas. I know that will inconvenience some of you, especially on the West coast, but most people watch the live broadcast and that’s not changing: 7p Eastern/4p Pacific as always. The next morning re-run will also remain on the schedule.
Frankly, the change is not unexpected – after all how many networks re-run their shows the same night? It was always faintly embarrassing to me that TSS re-ran so much. It seemed a little small time.
There is some good news. Greg and I have had very fruitful talks about another weekly, or maybe even daily, all-call Leo show for the Help Block. It will take us a few months to get it going, but I’m very hopeful now that get going it will.
These schedule changes won’t be announced until next month, but TPTB thought it best to let you know sooner than later (see – they really are changing) so they have given me permission to “leak” the info now. As always, we want to hear your feedback, either here, on the Leoville messages boards, or TechTV’s boards. Or email email@example.com.
And I’d like to know, what’s the best time for you to watch our help shows? Day, night, weekends? Please add your thoughts to the Blog comments or on the message boards. I’ve created a thread here.
|Thursday, 20 February 2003, 3:42 pm
A last minute programming note. I’ll be filling in for Chris Pirillo today on Call for Help. Live at noon Pacific/3p Eastern. Tune in and call in, or Tivo if you have a day job.
|Wednesday, 19 February 2003, 1:31 am
I’m still trying to figure out how to use TechTV chat with Mac OS X. There’s something about OS X Java that chat doesn’t like. As usual, the world caters to Windows users instead of adhering to standards which would ensure things work for everyone. Grumble, grumble.
“Dual Athlon” Dave Plotts has taken the lead on figuring out how to get cross-platform Jabber clients working with the TechTV chat. You can read the results of his research on the Leoville message boards.
He says several TechTV chat hosts are using JabberFox successfully with OS X. I had all sorts of problems with it on Friday night. The binary wouldn’t download, and when I built it from the source code (which requires the Cocoa developer tools) it wouldn’t log in.
According to Dave’s most recent posts, you have to either log-in first with the Java client, or have TechTV’s Interact folks do some voodoo for you. THEN, and only then, the Jabber client will work. I’ll try again on tonight’s show with both JabberFox and Fire. It would be so great to be able to use a real chat client to communicate with viewers during the show.
|Sunday, 16 February 2003, 4:58 pm
I’ve created three new RSS feeds for this blog.
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary (depending on who you’re talking to). Either way it’s an XML standard for syndicating content via the Internet. A site like mine with an RSS url is offering its content in XML so that programs other than web browsers can fetch and format it.
That makes newsreaders like NetNewsWire for Mac OS X and Wildgrape’s truly wonderful NewsDesk for Windows possible. These programs let you read news, blog entries, and the like without the overhead and clutter of a general purpose browser. I use them all the time to check news headlines. (NewsDesk is one of the last few non-game programs worth using Windows for.) And now they work with my blog.
There are currently three different feeds depending on how much content you want to download. From least data to most:
- Headlines only: http://leoville.com/mt/headlines.xml
- Headlines and 50 word excerpts: http://leoville.com/mt/excerpts.xml
- Full articles: http://leoville.com/mt/index.xml
Enter the appropriate URL into your news reader. All three feeds are validated RSS 1.0/RDF compatible. The Full Article feed is RSS 2.0.