19. September 2007 16:33
Started getting on the Josh Ritter bandwagon with the last album. Kristin had seen him live on the previous tour and really enjoyed it. The new album The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter picks up where the last one left off, but shows a lot of growth and is a bit more rollicking and fun. Already getting a lot of critical acclaim. I'm still really digging "The Temptation of Adam" about a guy finding post-apocalyptic love in a missile silo. We heard Josh do this at Ravinia when we saw him on the pseudo-classical tour he did with Hilary Hahn. The more you understand the brilliant lyrics the better it gets. I need to listen a bit more before writing much more, but in the meantime here is what some other people are saying.
The Album Project
NY Daily News
17. September 2007 16:00
Pretty good overview here of the options of getting tv shows streamed directly from the networks' web sites. I've tried this a bit, but it still seems a bit "not ready for primetime", if you'll pardon the pun. Getting better though. I got rid of my cable a little over a year ago now and Kristin and I discuss every now and then whether we should get back into that game. DirectTV is always another option, but it seems like the installation is a pain. Comcast will eat up all your disposable income if you'll let them. I like tv, but there have been fewer and fewer shows lately that I've cared about. And certainly the experience of watching tv shows on DVD can't be beat if you can wait that long. The other thing I like is I do much less channel surfing, which is a huge waste of time. At least most of the time when I watch a show now it is intentional.
The past TV season was not without its share of frustrations, but we managed to get along on a combination of over-the-air HD programming, Amazon Unbox, ITunes downloads and using BT to fill in the gaps. It actually worked pretty well, other than the hassle of watching shows on the laptop much of the time. With my MacBook Pro, I think the experience will be substantially better and I may try to hook it up to the TV again (something my Thinkpad struggled with). Another nice thing that happened over the last six months is the ability to hook the Tivo into the Amazon Unbox service, which is something I'm likely to take more and more advantage of. We watched quite a bit of "24" that way, especially towards the end of the season and the quality isn't that bad.
12. September 2007 12:38
It seems like every time I move my site or change Community Server versions, there is always some reason why it is difficult to keep my rss subscription feed url intact. I'm sure eventually I could figure it out, but it's a pain trying to figure out url rewriting and redirects, especially since I run Community Server in a subdirectory and in a single blog configuration already. So there is already a bunch of url rewriting going on.
Anyway, I've looked at Feedburner a couple of times in the past. Community Server 2007 has really good integration with it now and it also mostly solves the problem above, so I'm going to give it a try. Those few of you that are already subscribed to my blog might want to make sure you resubscribe using the Feedburner url.
Subscribe to my Feedburner feed
11. September 2007 20:48
After a fairly long run with WebHost4Life, I finally got tired of them constantly messing stuff up and have mostly completed a move to Re-Invent. It was a toss-up between them and DiscountASP, but Re-Invent is celebrating their 8th year anniversary and offering hosting packages that are just too good to pass up. Plus, I was going to try to use SQL Server Express, but just couldn't figure out how to work it in a hosting environment for Community Server so I really wanted a SQL Server 2005 database available. So far I've found they don't offer quite as many features as WebHost4Life and things aren't quite as automated, but the price is better and they seem to be on top of the latest Microsoft stuff, already offering features like Silverlight and .NET Framework 3.0 features. We'll see how it goes. It's a shame about WebHost4Life as they were awesome when I first signed up. But the last couple years have seen them steadily go downhill in the expertise and timeliness of their tech support. Also, I've been having lots of issues with performance, to which their answer is to keep changing servers every couple months and inevitably stuff doesn't get migrated properly. I've also had issues with them installing fixes or making changes that break stuff and they never even tell you they are doing it, much less make sure they didn't break something. So I'm just getting tired of it. I know these shared hosting accounts don't make them much money, but that's not my problem. It's a commodity market and there are plenty of hosts, so buck up and provide the best service and you'll keep customers, which is how these companies make money in the long run.
11. September 2007 12:48
Great post today by Brett McCracken who writes a lot for Relevant called Conspicuous Consumption. It's very easy as American christians to get sucked up into the lure of wealth. But it's not just enough to pursue money, so much of entertainment drives consumption by purely focusing on how the rich live and why you aren't as cool as them. If you let this permeate your life it will suck up your soul. Kristin and I finally saw Steve Taylor's film The Second Chance and the main character in there is the son of a mega-church pastor who gets banished to an inner-city church. The pastor there calls him Gucci (in reference to his loafers) and that one word drives the point home on what is wrong with this character's values. Anyway, Brett's post is a great reminder of how easy it is for our values to get off track.