Sunday, June 29, 2003

Pittsburgh: Week 1

I've been in Pittsburgh about a week now, so I wanted to record my initial impressions. The city is a strange blend my two "hometowns": Baltimore and San Francisco. Baltimore for the aging Rust Belt, Union-labor culture. San Francisco for the mighty hills. And both town for their many neighborhoods. The Burgh seems like a patchwork quilt of neighborhoods, broken up by hills and valleys and freeways. But it seems very manageable, very small-town. Just like San Francisco, in a weird way.

The people have been less friendly than I would have expected. Much more reserved. We've only met a few of our neighbors and that was mainly due to our approaching them. Maybe it's the famed midwestern reserve?

We've taken in some decent restaurants, a great ice cream shoppe, and have been discussing how french fries got into the salad here.

On the home front, we're mainly unpacked except for a room or two, although boxes still linger about. We found the local IKEA.

My music taste is apparently not so popular here. It took me four record stores to find the new Liz Phair album. In New York, my taste was practically mainstream pop. Here, I'm "alternative." Whatever that is.

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Friday, June 27, 2003

IE Favorites

One thing that still amazes me is how poorly the "Organize Favorites" feature in IE is. How ridiculously clunky it is to work with. It's actually easier and better to go through the standard Windows file manager page than to use it. It frustrates and annoys me every time I want to add a folder or even do simple things like drag and drop. IE been around for, what, 7 years now? You'd think someone would have taken some time to fix it.

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Design Challenges

MIT interviews IDEO's Tim Brown. An excerpt:

"Technology does not differentiate PCs these days. The only place you get any differentiation is when somebody recognizes a new need that a PC can address. That's the role of what we call human factorsÚthe fit of technology to individuals and groups of people."
Nothing radical here (it's a short interview), but still interesting.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2003


We're in Pittsburgh. The numbers:

  • Moving days: 5
  • # of boxes: ~360
  • Days without plates: 6 (and counting)
  • Miles on the Element: 1500
  • Moving costs: ~$5000
  • Average Pittsbugh Temperature: 90F
All in all, only a few minor glitches, like the phone not working, my new G4 Powerbook laptop's Superdrive being broken, and about a million boxes scattered in every room of our townhouse. Back to unpacking...

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Friday, June 13, 2003


Over the next week, I'll be moving from Glen Ridge to Pittsburgh, with a stop in Baltimore in between. Movers are packing us up Monday and Tuesday, delivering our stuff on Friday. We close on our house on Thursday. It's going to be a crazy week, living out of suitcases between three cities. I don't expect I'll blog until around the 23rd. Wish us luck.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003

P'Burgh Dissed by Forbes

Forbes' list of the best cities for singles ranked Pittsburgh #40 ie dead last. Adding insult to injury, a full article about how lame it is. A highlight: "While cheeky New Yorkers are just recently donning Member's Only jackets to prove their postmodern credentials, Pittsburghers have been wearing them without irony since 1989--a decade after these items were first in style."

Thankfully, I'm married, but not a very flattering portrait of my soon-to-be hometown.

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Color Coordination

A great resource for someone like me: QuickColor, which gives you complimentary colors for a base color. Nifty.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Blogging Woes

Christ, who knows if my RSS feed is working properly. I can't tell. Comments are finally back up after being down for two days. I really wish I had been able to get MovableType to work on my server. I struggled for over a week with it before giving up, even though it has all the things I've always wanted in a blogging program: categories, titles, built-in comments, RSS feed, search, etc. TypePad, the hosted version of MT, might be the answer to my prayers to the blogging gods. I'm sick of the cobbled-together-ness of using Blogger and a host of other services together, all of which barely work or are unstable.

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Monday, June 9, 2003

RSS Feed Change

Voidstar has abruptly discontinued their free service, so I've had to switch RSS feeds. Here's the new feed:

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A beautiful clock. Neat-o.

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Friday, June 6, 2003

Flipping the Byrd

I've never been a huge fan of West VA Sen. Robert Byrd. His KKK background (although long-since renounced) and his famous pork-barrelling have turned me off in the past. But now, at age 85, making speeches like these, I have to admire him.

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Thursday, June 5, 2003


Is it just me, or is Bush's search for Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq starting to seem like OJ's search for the real killer?

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Wednesday, June 4, 2003

True Broadband?

Fast TCP sounds pretty cool: 6000x the speed of current broadband service with no upgrades in hardware required. Wow.

Posted at 07:20 PM | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link



I admit it. I'm a fan of Martha Stewart. Is she a nice person? No, but then again, what multimillionare who's built their own media empire is? That's actually part of the fun of watching her show: to see the cracks where her real, steely personality shows through. I think this indictment is just a witch hunt.

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Building an Ark

This relentless rain must stop! If I wanted to live where it rained for a month straight, I'd live in Seattle.

Posted at 10:40 AM | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Monday, June 2, 2003

Two Weeks Notice

I'm starting my last two weeks at Ameritrade today. I'm excited about starting school, but also trying to wrap up the last bits of the Big Project I'm on. I've done a lot of cool stuff at Datek/Ameritrade and the experience it's given me is invalueable. When I came here, I knew next to nothing about trading, had never designed an application, and nearly every site I'd ever worked on was either overhauled or shut down. Here I've gotten to shape a user-centered design process, go through multiple rounds of user testing (!), and work on some really cool, information-dense, feature-rich projects. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't going to miss it.

Posted at 10:46 AM | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


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