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Friday, February 27, 2009

Leave it to the Irish

It's Friday - and you know what that means.

In this article, MSNBC reports that Europe's largest low-cost carrier, Ireland's Ryanair, is mulling over whether to put pay toilets on their aircraft. 

I can invoke the, "Leave it to the Irish," expression because, thanks to my Pop, I are one, as they say.

I love Ireland and I love the Irish; and by no means does Ryanair have the corner on the budget airline market in Europe. EasyJet, better known as SleazyJet, is right up there delivering the best Euro air travel cattle-class has to offer. But please; pay toilets on airplanes? Talk about financial meltdowns!

What are the potential pros and cons:


1. It's Europe. Flights aren't that long and unless you've had a few pints in the lounge waiting to rush the boarding ramp, chances are you can make it an hour or two without needing to use the Lav.

2. According to the article, making the toilets 'pay-as-you-go' will help lower fares. I guess keeping the loo cleaner brings down maintenance costs. Of course, one bad apple...

3. Lots less wobbly tourists bumping the aisle-sitters as they bobble back and forth to do their business - oh, and not as many window-sitters climbing up and down.


1. Er, about that curry you had for lunch.

2. You know there are people hammering it in the lounge before the flight - and they'll be by the window. It's Murphy's law.

3. What about the kids? "Dad, I have to!"

And don't forget the biggie: "Where did I put that copper?"

Can't you see the people in the rear seats scalping for bog entry?

"Why yes, I have a pound coin. If you'll just slip me that fiver, you're in like Flynn!"

People will find a way to profit from anything.

I won't be flying in Europe any time soon. But come on, you know it won't be long before Southwest says, "Now there's a good idea!"

That's what I like about driving. You are captain of your own ship, as it were. Heck, in a dire situation, you can pull off to the side of the road if there are no rest stops or bio-hazardous gas stations handy.

Air travel used to be so cool.


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Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Kindle; Amazon's technological cudgel or a nudge for the attention-challenged?

In an article published today, Helen A.S. Popkin asked an average American (not!) why she owns a Kindle.

Do Kindle owners hate books? - Technotica -

I've heard of these electronic readers and I've even seen the adds for the 2-dot-oh on Amazon. I don't think I'm against them per se, as I own a PDA (Dell's Axim X30) and regularly use a sweet electronic bible suite.

What are the advantages for me? I can search any of seven translations quickly, compare results, view background material for each of the books in the Bible and follow a smorgasbord of devotionals and reading plans to help keep me In the Word. I can add an endless - limited only by the size of my SD card - amount of other Bible-related material: Maps, encyclopedia, etc.

So, as we go back to the original question, I am naturally on the side of the technoratti that Amazon is cultivating. The 2.0 lists for $359 (and even offers free Super Saver shipping). "Golly Beave, how do you think Dad's gonna pay for that?"

I know at least one person that has a Kindle and honestly, I can't recall if I've ever asked how they liked it. So all you Kindle owners out there - pipe up and let the world know what you think!

As for the article? If I had to guess, I'd say the subject, Sarah Lally Brown, and her husband, must not have children. Sarah talks about having three books going at one time and is into a variety of what I consider time-consuming activiities:
  • Vegetable gardening
  • Canning
  • Sewing
  • Sawing Logs
  • Tending chickens
The article makes a light-hearted pass at getting an objective opinion and Mrs. Brown comes off as very intelligent, capable and well-read. However, I'm not sure it succeeds. Please feel free to read it for yourself and let me know what you think!

Oh, one last thing, as an author, I find the picture of Mrs. Brown enchanting. Her face is tremendously interesting and I envision a character in one of my novels having one just like it.


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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

ScribeFire - part 2

Right. Here we are, back at ScribeFire and looking to provide some more feedback on features and quality. Yesterday, I did the test run and after having a few false starts on the publishing side, figured out that I needed a quick refresh to view the blog entries I set up with the wizard (not this guy), I was off and publishing. Although I can't publish to both of my blogs simultaneously, I can select them one at a time and publish the same content to both - very nice.

  • On the bulleted-list thing, well, you can see for yourself
  • Clicking on the little down-arrow at the end of the formatting bar reveals two list options:
  1. Ordered lists
  2. Unordered lists
The ordered list option creates the numbered list and the unordered list creates a bulleted-list. I'm on it!

What about content, you might ask? Here's a video of a (reportedly) 6-year old kid playing the beautiful game. Although many of the clips are obviously sped up, he still has sick skills:

Yeah, he's got skills but he needs to be taught that football (soccer) is a team game and he needs to learn how to pass. Ball hog!

Clicking on the handy 'YouTube" button brings up a window where you can type in a search string and the window displays the videos that meet your search criteria. Select the one you want and quicker than this guy can say, "Bam!" you've embedded a video clip.

Inserting an image was somewhat more problematic. While ScribeFire lets me manipulate images from several locations, I can't understand the upload via API or FTP options when I just want to paste an image into a post. Before all the web meisters jump on board, I know what FTP is - use it all the time - I just can't figure out how to apply it in this instance. ScribeFire kept trying to sign me into Picasa Web albums with my Google account.- annoying.

In summary, at the end of two days of admittedly limited experimentation, I would rate ScribeFire 4 out of 5 stars. It's easy to set up, easy to use, and offers a slew of great features. The only knock at this point is the sticky image wicket.

Happy blogging.


p.s. One more thing, I can't see anywhere to put my tags in for Live Journal. make that 3.75 stars :-)

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Blogging tools; useful?

This is just a quick entry to check out the new ScribeFire blogging add-on that I installed to Firefox this morning. I've messed around with a couple of different Live Journal blogging tools but have never found much use for them. Hopefully, I can put ScribeFire through its paces and post a reasonable performance account/recommendation so that my fellow bloggers will get something useful out of this.

As this is my first entry, I'll lay out some environmental notes:

I'm typing this entry in the ScribeFire window that opens a variety of ways:

 - F8
 - Tools menu (select ScribeFire)
 - Small ScribeFire icon in the bottom right-hand corner of Firefox

The interface is a relatively clean WYSIWYG editor although I'm not seeing a spell checker right off the bat . Also, for bulleted-lists, there's not an icon on the formatting bar. This is a bummer because I like bulleted-lists.

I've also tried to put publishing links to both my Live Journal blog and my, er, Blogger blog in an effort to have ScribeFire publish entries to both blogs simultaneously. I'll let you know how that works out later.

The insert link function seems to work fairly seamlessly, defaulting to the active page in the browser, if you select the URL and then <ctrl-c>. There's also a neat little special character button that pops up another toolbar with a host of, you guessed it, special characters to click and insert. What? No Euro character/symbol? I guess I'll have to get on them about that - the Euro has been out for awhile now, hasn't it?

There's also a right-click function in the WYSIWYG window that's kind of nice. What ho! There's a spell-check thingy in the right-click menu; just right-click on the red-dotted, underlined word. The spell-checker offers some canned corrections or you can just add your word to the custom dictionary. Nice.

That's about all I have time for now; if you're reading this at Live Journal or Blogger, I guess it works!


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