delusions of grandeur

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Plastic Bags Illegal in All California Supermarkets

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

The new law goes into effect for large grocery chains and pharmacies beginning July 1, 2015. It will extend to convenience stores and liquor stores July 1, 2016.

Under the law, stores will be required to offer customers recycled paper bags or bags made of compostable material at a cost of at least 10 cents. Consumers buying groceries using California’s food-assistance program won’t have to pay for bags.

Assuming the law keeps expanding: How will Chinatown function?

My New Favorite Scammer Warning About Those Other Scammers

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

“BE CAREFUL OF THE HOODLUMS.”

Why Not Take a Whole Hour?

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

It’s not a huge waste of time, it’s HBO.

hbo

Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

New favorite feature on the iPhone: “Block This Caller.”

Old Car, New Car

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

I’ve never had much interest in building or rebuilding a motor vehicle — I can focus on a long-term project for weeks, but this seems overwhelming — but this photo essay of a “Volkswagen Ferrari” being put together is so much fun that it makes me want to try.

YaPogue!

Monday, October 21st, 2013

So David Pogue is headed to Yahoo, eh?

Having spent 4 years at Yahoo!’s very first stab at a tech site (which was also planned to be “much more than a site”), all I can say is best of luck.

Someone poke me when Walt Mossberg starts at Microsoft, ok?

Cheap Thrills

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Here’s a fun trick you can try. Call someone (or Moviefone, if you are Forever Alone) on your iPhone, and put them on speakerphone. While they’re speaking, place the bottom of the phone (where the speakers are) against your lips. Have fun.

Now Celebrating 4013 Years Open!

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Google’s kinda funny sometimes.

Copy Hard Disks in Windows for Free

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

I use Clonezilla regularly to clone disks, but if I can mount both disks in Windows, why deal with the command line? Macrium Reflect does the job, with a few points and clicks, for free. Perfect for if you have, say, two USB drives you want to copy more reliably than drag-and-dropping from within Windows Explorer. (Hint: It never works!)

A Double-Whammy of Movie News

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

Have you checked out Film Racket yet? You should, because it’s awesome. Everything I learned from 20 years of talking about the movies is distilled into this new website, which just launched this week.

Have you read Five Stars! How to Become a Film Critic, the World’s Greatest Job? Oh, you have? Well maybe you should check it out again. The 2005 book is updated and reissued with new material in this revamped 2013 Second Edition. Check it out now in paperback or ebook format.

 

Topics of Conversation During My Comcast Telephone Call

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

(in rough order)

My job.
My children.
The Comcast rep’s children.
Where I live.
Texting.
Children having cell phones.
Laptops.
Wireless routers.
Google Glass.
Whether mobile technology is causing us to disassociate from society.
Windows 8.
My Comcast service request.

How to Update HootSuite Icons/Thumbnails/Avatars

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

It’s been bugging me that my HootSuite profile icons have been old or, worse, blank. Finally figured out how to update them… courtesy of the HootSuite help desk:

To update the icons for your social networks, you should click on your Profile icon in the top left corner of your dashboard. From there, simply click on the ‘gear’ icon next to the social network you want to update, then select “Sync avatar.”

How to Restore Items (Including Calendar Entries) Deleted by Outlook Auto-Archive

Monday, January 14th, 2013

I spent 20 minutes trying to figure this out today. Nothing online is very complete.

Outlook 2007 (other versions act similarly), by default when you install it, auto-archives your email every 14 days. This includes deleting many calendar entries older than 6 months, which makes using Outlook for archival purposes almost impossible.

If you forgot to turn auto-archive off, here’s what to do to get that stuff back.

In the left hand “Mail Folders” pane, find the Archive Folders text. Right-click and select “Close Archive Folders.”

Now, go to Tools > Options > Other > AutoArchive. If it’s not on, turn it on for a moment. You’ll see a button next to “Move old items to:” and below that a location string, such as: C:\Users\admin\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\archive.pst. COPY this string with CTRL-C. Close this window after turning AutoArchive back off.

Next, back in the main screen, click File > Import and Export. Select “Import from another program or file.” Click Next. Select Personal Folder File (.pst), click Next. Now paste the string from the previous step into the “File to import” box. Click Next and use defaults for the remaining prompts. After a few minutes of work, all your mail and calendar items will be back where you expect them to be.

Lance Armstrong + Oprah: Here’s How It’ll Go Down

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

Here’s a digest so you don’t actually have to watch the Lance Armstrong shame-fest.

Gosh Oprah, it feels so good to finally admit to the doping. Living with this shame for years has really been impossible. I’ve let my fans down. I’ve let America down. But mostly I’ve let myself down. I take responsibility, but you have to understand the pressure they put on you in professional sports to do this. I never had a choice.

I want to put all that behind me now, though, and I would love to find a way to educate people so no one else has to go through what I did. I want to do this for the children of America. So I’m announcing today that I’m going to start a new foundation dedicated to educating kids about doping. I want to make sure this never happens again! (applause sign)

What’s next for you, Lance?

I’m going to write a book and tell all the details. Maybe a talk show, we’ll see how that goes. I’m really excited about the future. Don’t do drugs, kids.

Gosh Lance, this is all so honest and brave of you. You’re welcome back into society. Now take a seat next to Hugh Grant!

iPad Storage Made Easy

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

ipad stand - napkin holderI hit on this idea after watching our iPads fall over on the kitchen counter for the thousandth time, where we (attempt) to store them vertically against the wall, but which I have always had to prop up with a bottle of wine lest the slide across the counter. My brainstorm: A paper napkin holder. This $12 job from Amazon is solid metal (so heavy enough to not tip over), compact (to take up minimal space), and looks pretty stylish. Two iPads (both with cases) fit in it side by side perfectly.

Lifehacker has a similar idea using an ugly Ikea napkin holder and a MacBook.

Best Spammer “Name” Ever

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

“Lazarus Nielsen”

Top 10 Movies of 2012

Friday, December 28th, 2012

By popular demand, here are my picks for the year.

1. Argo
2. Silver Linings Playbook
3. Promised Land
4. Compliance
5. Safety Not Guaranteed
6. Flight
7. Jiro Dreams of Sushi
8. This Is 40
9. The Queen of Versailles
10. Cloud Atlas

Better Even Than a Tazer

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Best question from Cub Scout visit to Presidio Park Police Station today: “Do you have a morning star?”

Also popular were questions about swords, machine guns, bazookas, and flamethrowers.

Stuff People Give Out at Food Drives

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Spent several hours going door to door with my son’s Cub Scout pack this morning collecting canned goods for the San Francisco Food Bank. Among the items received for donation:

  • A jar of “Goober Grape” PB&J combo
  • A bottle of Trader Joe’s Thai curry sauce
  • Multiple 12-packs of Coca-Cola
  • Bag of dried lentils from a bulk bin
  • Jelly (expired)
  • A frozen “Claim Jumper” apple pie
  • Individual snack packets of Annie’s organic Bunny Grahams
  • Boxes of frozen stuffing (thawed, rank, very expired)
  • A canned ham (these still exist!)

Why “New York Times Bestseller” Means Nothing

Monday, November 5th, 2012

What does it take to get on the New York Times Best Seller list? A lot of money, that’s all. Here’s how publishers looking to cash in on those golden words do it. The secret: “bulk sales” — where a few bookstores receive massive orders driven by a small number of buyers. The NYT now reveals the reporting of bulk orders in the footnotes of its listings.

In related news, it’s true: Nothing is sacred.