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August 18, 2014

Can you believe it's been over four years?

Man--how time flies when you aren't updating your blog on a regular basis.

March 19, 2009

My love affair with Apple is back on!

Last Thursday, I wrote that MobileMe deleted all of my data when my account expired because I hadn't updated the credit-card information in my account. When I had contacted MobileMe support I was told that my data was gone forever and there was no way to restore it. I was quite distraught.

Well, I have good news to report! On Tuesday, Mike from MobileMe Support called me to say that they had been made aware that I was less than pleased to find all my data gone when I tried to renew my MobileMe subscription. He said that MobileMe engineers would be able to recover my data and that they would set me up with a temporary three day account so I could download and backup the data myself. Much relieved, I told Mike to go ahead and bill me for the full subscription. That's right, I'm a paying MobileMe customer once again.

After going through some account verification protocols for Mike to confirm that I was really the owner of the account, he had the MobileMe engineers begin restoring my data from "the vault." After the initial phone conversation, Mike and I coordinated the rest of my account restore over email. In the final email Mike made sure to remind me that "... this recovery was an exception to the MobileMe Terms of Service, which advise that MobileMe members are responsible for backing up their own data. Apple will not be able to offer future exceptions of this nature... To prevent data loss in the future, we strongly suggest that you back up your iDisk files regularly to your Mac, a flash drive, or other storage device. The more backups you have, the more protected you are. I urge you to back up this data right away." Needless to say I'm backing up my iDisk to my MacbookPro right now with rsync.

I'm very lucky this all has a happy ending. This situation isn't really unique to MobileMe and I can't blame them. They were, after all, simply following the ToS that I agreed to (but of course didn't read) when I signed-up seven years ago. Let this be a lesson to everyone to never keep only one copy of your data no matter how much you might trust that one copy--nobody's perfect. Hopefully my initial overblown reaction to this doesn't damage MobileMe or Apple's reputation in anyway. Of course without my overblown reaction I probably wouldn't have gotten my data back. ;-)

March 12, 2009

Apple, you've broken my heart. :`(

So I had been using Apple's iDisk service since back when it was the free iTools incarnation. When they switched it to .Mac back in 2002 and started charging for the service, I was happy to give them my credit card number to continue using the service. I have been a paying customer for nearly 7 years now. Well the credit card number I had given them expired, as they are apt to do after 7 years. I didn't realize this happened since I had long since switched to gmail as my primary email account. I have all my various email accounts funneling into my gmail account so I never noticed that I stopped getting my @mac.com email. Well today I realized my (now MobileMe) subscription had lapsed when I tried to access my iDisk and it wouldn't mount. Apparently this is the first time I've tried to access it in a couple months. When I logged into me.com it gave me an account "reactivation" page. So I dutifully filled my new credit card number and info. With my account reactivated--woohoo--I mounted my iDisk and then to my absolute horror found it completely empty. SEVEN YEARS OF DATA GONE!!!! That data on my iDisk pretty much only existed on my iDisk. Foolish me, I trusted Apple with the data I didn't trust my own harddrives to keep safe. After spending 20 minutes trying to figure out how to contact MobileMe support I finally found the "webchat with a support representative." Adrian (my support rep) chatted me that since my account was inactive for 30 days everything was deleted from their servers with no means whatsoever to restore it. No backups--nothing they can do. I'm SOL. Yes, thats SEVEN YEARS OF DATA GONE after only 30 days!! I paid them $99 a year for seven years, and because I didn't pay attention for just 30 days, they murdered all of my data. I wish Apple would have paid me a fraction of the loyalty I have paid them all these years. Apparently 3 iPods, 1 iPhone, 7 powerbooks/macbook pros (plus one more for my girlfriend's mother), 4 paid OS X upgrades, a handful of iPhone apps, and dozens of songs on the iTunes Music Store weren't good enough.

Upon searching my gmail inbox of 539 unread emails, I discovered that Apple did send me two emails letting me know that my credit card info was invalid. They contained the phrases "Please update your credit card information in your MobileMe Account to avoid interruption of service." and "If your account cannot be renewed, your access will be restricted to email only and will be turned off completely 15 days after expiration." I never would have equated "interruption of service" or "access will be restricted" to ZOMG ALL YER DATAS WILL BE GONE FOREVARZ!!!!!!!! I seriously can't believe it's gone. Even Blizzard doesn't delete your World of Warcraft characters when you cancel your subscription. Why? Because they know you'd never come back if they did. Needless to say I have canceled my newly reactivated account and will watch carefully to make sure they refund my money, or I guarantee you I will be calling Visa to block the charge.

May 01, 2008

Twitter Annoys Me

Penny Arcade does Twitter
Penny Arcade vs Twitter

This comic by Penny Arcade and the accompanying article pretty much sum up my feelings about Twitter. It is just too much information. The signal-to-noise ratio is just far to low for me to stand it. The frequency that people generaly update their status line in Facebook is just about right for me. Once every few days is often enough. Of course that is completely thrown off when people forward their twitter updates to their Facebook status line. It bothers me so. You people know who you are. Just stop it. If I wanted to know what flavor of jelly you are putting on your toast for breakfast, then I would subscribe to your Twitter stream. But I don't, so please don't make me.

October 03, 2007

I'm Number One!

That's right, do a search for Paul Baker and I'm finally finally finally the first result. I kick ass. U-S-A! U-S-A!

May 04, 2007

Whatever Happened to Pacman?

This is just too funny. Originally saw this on MOG.

click-thru for video

December 15, 2006

My Elf Costume (no more)

Update: Silly OfficeMax took down the Elf Costume site so none of the links work any more. :-(

Click the image on the right to see me do a little dance. Rachelle pointed me towards this gem of the Internet and says that one of her friends actually worked on it. Anyway you can upload a picture of your self, resize a polygon over your fac and--whallah--you are and elf. I love it! I've got some more Christmas spirit related posts coming soon including my experience on the Holiday 'L' Train. Oh yeah and here are some more FeedBurner folks done up as elves: Rachelle, Beat-up Chris, and Happy Chris.

October 27, 2006

HOWTO Disable Firefox 2's Feed Preview

First off I want to say to the Firefox team, great job on Firefox 2.0. It has replaced Camino as my default browser. It's just as fast as far as I can tell and without the icky memory leak that forced me to restart Camino about every two hours. I also greatly appreciate the inline spell-checker, something I have missed greatly since I stopped using Safari as my default browser. Perhaps once Camino 2.0 is released and picks up the same speed and memory improvements I may switch back. I guess it depends on whether or not I get hooked on having the extra extensions.

That having been said, there has been one thing that has irked me with Firefox 2.0, and that's the built-in feed preview feature. It bothers me because it completely overwrites any styling that some people have done to their feeds. In some cases, people have even decided to serve their site as a stylized feed such as FastAVC. On the left you see what Fred Wilson wants his site to look like, and on the right you see what it looks like in Firefox 2.0.


FastAVC Good

FastAVC Bad

Another place this feature gets in the way is with FeedBurner's BrowserFriendly service. This pretties up the look of the feed and adds a box with several subscription options when you view the feed. So if you are using Firefox 2.0 and want to easily subscribe to a feed with Netvibes or Pageflakes you are S.O.L. Or you have to go through a messy process of hacking your Firefox config to get your preferred web reader on the list. The BrowserFriendly service also makes podcast feeds more convenient by creating "Play Now" links for podcast enclosures. Firefox's feed preview does not show when enclosures exist.


Regular Feed w/ BrowserFriendly


Podcast Feed w/ BrowserFriendly

I'm not sure why Firefox doesn't detect when a stylesheet is used with the feed and then turn off the preview automatically to let the stylesheet show through like they do with the ordinary XML pretty-printing feature. Also, no where is there an option to turn off the feed preview feature altogether. This is only version 2.0 so perhaps version 2.0.1 or higher will correct these inadequacies. In the meantime, I have come up with a work-around to disable the feed preview feature of Firefox. To disable it, you just need to change one line of the FeedConverter.js file in the components directory within the Firefox application directory. On a Windows this file is usually located at C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\components\FeedConverter.js and on Mac OS X you should find it at /Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/components/FeedConverter.js. To get to that directory on a Mac, right-click on the Firefox application icon in Finder and choose "Show Package Contents". Once you have found the file, open it in an ordinary text editor. Scroll down to about line 187 (about 1/3rd down the file) and look for this block of code:

      var chromeChannel;
      if (result.doc) {
        // If there was no automatic handler, or this was a podcast,
        // photostream or some other kind of application, we must always
        // show the preview page...

        // Store the result in the result service so that the display page can 
        // access it.
        feedService.addFeedResult(result);
        
        // Now load the actual XUL document.
        var chromeURI = ios.newURI(FEEDHANDLER_URI, null, null);
        chromeChannel = ios.newChannelFromURI(chromeURI, null);
        chromeChannel.originalURI = result.uri;
      }
      else
        chromeChannel = ios.newChannelFromURI(result.uri, null);

      chromeChannel.asyncOpen(this._listener, null);
    }
You just need to change the "if" line to read:
      if (0) {
Then restart Firefox and you should be all set.

April 19, 2006

Want to Get My Appendectomy Scar Pics by Email?

Well now you can! Thanks to the magic of FeedBurner, you know that place where I work, you can now subscribe to my blog via email. Just use the little form below or on the right side any time. I should mention that I am pretty excited about the new FeedBurner Email service. Being Network Operations Manager of FeedBurner, it was my responsibility for architecting the email server cluster that is driving the mail delivery for the service, a project I've been working on for quite some time. It's great to see it finally launch and to see the response it's getting.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

June 30, 2005

loving google maps api

I have combined Google Maps (using their newly released API) with Where2GetIt's Locator and Routing XML-RPC services. This is just hitting the demo account database so it's basically pulling up KMart locations. But it should give you a feel for what's possible. It uses AJAX to hit a server side PHP script that hits W2GI web services over XML-RPC for location information and routes. So it's pretty sweet. You type in your zipcode, it gives you a map of the locations in your area. You then click on a point and it gives you a pop up with the driving directions to the point and highlights the map appropriately. Pretty slick. Check it out at http://paulbaker.net/gmap/.

June 15, 2005

open letter to themaxx

I have been leaching off of tmbo for over a year. It has been a corner stone of my daily routine and a great way to pass the time at work. As you know you recently changed it to require a login just to view the pictures. Please please give me a login. I can't take it any more. I'm going through major withdrawal pains. Please see the image at http://givetheworld.net/cornmuffinintelguy.jpg.

Update: I have been blessed with a login to themaxx. Hoorah!!

January 25, 2005

buy from amazon

No seriously! Buy everything you can from Amazon.com. And when ever you do, click this link to get there. In fact, just go ahead and bookmark that url. Or this one. Any time you need to buy books, buy movies, buy music, buy tools, buy stuff for me, or buy anything and everything, make sure you use one of these links. Or you can even use the search box I added to the side of the page to search for whatever you want on Amazon.com. And of course if you want to buy something for me, seeing as how it's my birthday in less than two weeks, you can go here and pick something out from my wishlist.

October 25, 2004

never even heard of these guys

What metal band are you?

Opeth

You are Opeth! You are very poetic with your lyrics, and your music flows like a waterfall. Your emotions change from angry to sad very quickly. Some people don't like you because you can sound too depressing. You're one of the best metal bands in the world, and you worship your fans!

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.

May 29, 2003

yeah

I know exactly how he feels. Will the shit-storm ever clear?

April 10, 2003

bittorrent

What is so special about BitTorrent? I'm using it right now to download the latest Matrix trailor. I'm at 32% and in the many several minutes since I started the download the speed has varied between 14KB/s and 40KB/s. So what makes BitTorrent so great? In half this time I have already downloaded it straight from http://whatisthematrix.warnerbros.com/. So why use BitTorrent?

April 03, 2003

4/1 was lame this year

I have to agree with Joe Grossberg here. This was the lamest April Fools Day I can remember in recent history. Every single story I read was so obviously fake that they just weren't funny. Although when I read the title "RotK Delayed Until May 2004" on /. I was fooled for about 5.3 seconds. Of course as soon as I started reading I was like, "oh wait." By the time I got to the article I knew it was fake but I did get a chuckle out of it. I'm sure it got a quite few people. "Gnomemeeting Closes the Source" had me fooled for relatively quite awhile only because I was the very first thing I read that day and it hadn't yet registered that it was April Fools Day. The funniest thing I think was was CmdrTaco posting about the Evil Bit RFC 5 times. I got a good five minute laugh out of that.

Of course I'm not absolved of the blame. I knew it was April Fools Day the whole day, but for some reason it never dawned on me that I should actually try and do something funny to the people at work until after everyone had already gone home. Damnit!

so terrible

Oh man this is horrible. I think it would take more than $10 even if it is 25 cents a beer. Youch!

fuck jag! fuck him right in the ass!

Peter "jag" Annema has made my life utter hell thanks to his check in to Mozilla that now causes new tabs to load your homepage. Fuck jag and everyone who looks like jag!!! Please feel free send hate mail to jaggernaut@netscape.com on my behalf.</rant>

Okay so I don't really hate jag and you probably shouldn't send him hate mail as I'm sure he has already gotten loads. But seriously though, he is the cause of probably the largest dent in my productivity that I can think of in a very long time. Tabs have been around in Mozilla since before October 2001 when they first officially appeared in Mozilla 0.9.5. Tabbed browsing has been a part of my daily routine for over a year and a half. For the behaviour to suddenly change after such a long time is very disturbing and feels earth shattering quite frankly. I guess I will have to resort to Mozilla 1.3 for the time being.

March 23, 2003

war on iraq - a web experience

Tried to visit Al-Jazeera's website to try and find out any information about the POWs. Not too much luck, it looks like their webservers are very overloaded. Seeing as how the whole site is in Arabic which is a right-to-left language I thought it would be interesting to see how well each browser handled their site.

As you can see, Internet Explorer displays garbage text. Not only does it get the direction of the text wrong, but it is displaying seemingly random characters. Notice the question marks in the title bar of Internet Explorer. Mozilla displays the page beautifully, with all of the proper arabic characters and correct text flow. Notice the beautifully formated text in the title bar and on the tabs. Safari also does a great job of rendering the page and text. Notice also the correct text in the title bar and on the tabs. Safari did have trouble loading all parts of teh page. You can see the big block of white space on the middle left. So in conclusion, Mozilla does the best with Safari coming in at a close second. Internet Explorer doesn't even come close and displays a page that is completely unreadable.

February 22, 2003

wow

My blog is not even 24 hours old and already controversy abounds. My last post actually provoked a response from the man himself. Sorry I was only kidding and you are actually very right. I promise to make an effort to convert over all my px font size usage to em as I clean up css on all the sites that I touch. I was very vocal at my company about using percentages in our css but was beat down. It's now been over a year...time to make another stand.

February 21, 2003

that's so hixie

Hixie today is complaining about people using px for their font sizes. As one who uses px in almost all places out of laziness to go through the effort of using em or % I have this to ask of Hixie. What is the point of running at such a high resolution if it forces you to increase your front size to above normal? Why not just lower your resolultion to the point where normal font size is readable to you? Yeah I told him!