hit more fairways. make more putts. avoid the hazards. play by the rules.
New Web Server

Posted on Wednesday 21 November 2007

After years and years running my sites, and those of a few friends, on WebStar I’m moving over to Apache running on Mac OS X Server. Why? Pretty simple: Kerio, the company who bought WebStar, has let it languish. While they’ve said for a couple of years that they’re committed to the platform they haven’t upgraded it or patched it. Meanwhile, the newest version of Leopard Server is terrific.

I’ll miss the simplicity of WebStar’s admin interface, without a doubt. And I’ve got a bit of a learning curve to climb with Apache, and with Leopard server. But from what I’ve seen so far I’m impressed by the speed. Hopefully I haven’t screwed up the realms for those who need them. 🙂

If you’re reading this it means the move was successful. Now all that’s left is to upgrade to the latest and greatest WordPress version, then make sure my offline editor works.

Now, if you’re reading this it means the upgrade to WP worked, too. At least, we think so.

And finally, if you’re reading this, I’ve verified that the offline editor, MarsEdit, is working with it too. Now on to the next one…

jack @ 5:08 pm
Filed under: personal andtechnology
DC Metro Map for iPhone

Posted on Wednesday 29 August 2007

metroiphone_thumbnail.jpgInspired by Khoi Vinh’s posting a New York subway map and Randy Plemel’s London Tube map for their iPhones I whipped one up for the DC Metro. You can download it here.

To use this with your Mac and your iPhone, download and open the archive. Create a new album in iPhoto, name it something witty (like ‘DC Metro Map’) then import the JPGs into the new album. Finally, sync the album with your iPhone via iTunes.

If you have Windows, or sync your iPhone’s photos with a folder instead of iPhoto, consult the iPhone User Guide.

I originally found Khoi’s map through this post on TUAW.

jack @ 2:00 pm
Filed under: technology
Mossberg Interviews Jobs

Posted on Thursday 31 May 2007

This clip is worth it just for the tweak Jobs give Microsoft at the very end of the clip. Mossberg points out that with several hundred million copies of iTunes running on Windows machines Apple is one of the largest Windows developers. Jobs responds by bragging that Apple gets letters from users saying that iTunes is their favorite Windows application, which gets a chuckle from the audience. Then the clincher: “It’s like giving a glass of ice water to somebody in hell.”

jack @ 7:35 am
Filed under: technology
Just When I Was Ready To Pour It Down The Drain

Posted on Monday 23 April 2007

lostbunkers_thumbnail.jpgThe ESB finally carbonated (the recipe’s here, if you’re inclined toward homebrew)…Turns out the yeast is highly flocculent, and while it produces a very clear and tasty beer, it means that there aren’t a lot of live cells floating around if you leave it in the secondary too long. So it took nearly a month of bottle conditioning before it produced anything other than the weakest of fizzes. But boy, was it worth the wait. Every bit as good as I thought it was when I brewed it. Well worthy of the name… Lost Bunkers ESB. Might even have to come up with a label for this one. Thanks to Jeff Brooks to helped with the brewing and Alex who helped with the bottling.

jack @ 10:52 pm
Filed under: beer
Waiting for the Inevitable

Posted on Monday 23 April 2007

How long will it be before the second person asks when they’ll be able to run Blackberry software on their iPhone?

[Later] Gee, that didn’t take nearly as long as I thought. Not exactly the Blackberry question, but close.

AT&T plans to market the iPhone to business users in addition to consumers but analysts aren’t recommending that enterprises supply workers with the phones.

Cingular, which was acquired by AT&T, recently decided that the iPhone will appeal to business users and the operator is now working hard to ensure that its backend enterprise billing and support systems will accommodate the device when it ships, said a source familiar with the company’s plans, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

jack @ 11:01 am
Filed under: technology andwireless
Hillary Hates Me

Posted on Friday 13 April 2007

Nick, you might find one of these pictures familiar….

jack @ 9:34 pm
Filed under: politics
Options Bite Rim Hard – Twice

Posted on Monday 5 March 2007

Problems accounting for previously issued stock options – and not a few of them – have cost Rim more than embarrassment: they’ve cost them their chairman. According to The Wall Street Journal, Jim Balsillie has stepped down as chairman but will remain as co-CEO. Former CFO Dennis Kavelman has assumed the title of COO for operations and finance.

RIM said that Mr. Balsillie was directly involved in approving grants following the company’s initial public offering in 1997, including grants that have been found to have been accounted for incorrectly. Mr. Balsillie’s role in approving grants decreased over time, as more responsibility for approving certain grants was given to Mr. Kavelman and other employees.

The company said it will restate earnings as far back as fiscal 2004 as a result of its investigation into the options accounting and will take a charge of $250M rather than the $25-45M charge it anticipated last September. The company said that 63% of all options grants made since the end of February, 2002 and last August were accounted for incorrectly.

jack @ 7:57 am
Filed under: wireless
More Tour Stop Thoughts

Posted on Saturday 24 February 2007

I said a couple of weeks ago I believed some things I read in the papers. I still do, with the emphasis on some. I certainly didn’t believe the comments attributed to a man I respect greatly, Ben Brundred, regarding this subject in yesterday’s Post.

But Ben Brundred Jr., a former Congressional club president and chairman of its U.S. Open committee, said the tour has not contacted the club.

“I think their first step is to talk to a potential sponsor, and if any of those stepped up to the plate, that’s the city where the tournament would go,” Brundred said. “But we haven’t heard word one from anyone, and I guess that’s a little surprising.”

To borrow a well-worn phrase from a former President, I guess that depend on what the meaning of “we” is.

The construction schedule at Avenel (kindly pointed out by Todd in his comments to this post) dictates that the Tour can’t stage an event there until 2009. Period. No discussion. So the most straightforward solution would seem to be to play a Tour event at Congressional in 2007 and in 2008 leading up the Amateur in 2009. That lets the members and the club staff have a year to prepare for the onslaught which will be the US Open in 2011. Which, I shudder to point out, is a mere four years hence.

So will Congressional do it? I’d say its up to the members who, if the past is any indication, will say yes. Because the financial benefits far outweigh the inconvenience.

Sure, the Tour could try to open up a new market on short notice this summer. Kansas City, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Portland are all fine cities. But with a venue like Congressional waiting, a volunteer organization and tourament staff in place and last year’s messy exit still fresh in the fans’ minds, I’d think those savvy folks in Ponte Vedra are working awfully hard to make this happen.

jack @ 10:40 am
Filed under: golf
Will The PGA Tour Return To Town This Year?

Posted on Wednesday 14 February 2007

Probably, assuming they can find a sponsor. Given that there’s already an extensive volunteer organization in place, along with an experienced management team and a proven fan base DC is likely a better candidate than the other towns being considered.

On the other hand, we’re talking about the weekend after the 4th of July. The weather around here is hot and humid; it is so uncomfortable that the Brits used to pay their embassy staff the same pay as those who were stationed in the tropics. It’s also prime vacation time, which means that the fan base, and the volunteer base, will be smaller. Of course, the best kept secret in Washington is that the there is no traffic in July and it’s the perfect time to go to the theater or that fabulous local restaurant, ’cause neither the tourists nor the Hill folks are in town.

OK, enough with the local knowledge. Who’ve you got in mind for a sponsor?
Doesn’t matter who I’ve got in mind, but there are plenty of good local candidates; my guess is that there’s a reasonably good list of national prospects in the Tour files, too. (If there isn’t, then somebody in Ponte Vedra should be polishing his or her resumé, because the job ain’t been getting done.)

The basic ingredients for a successful tournament are purse, course and date, then the management and volunteer organizations get layered on top. The three basic ingredients are a feedback loop: the Tour has to come up with a good venue and a good commitment for dates so they can attract a sponsor who’ll commit enough money to attract a good field for enough years to keep the sponsor’s (and the sponsor’s customers’) interest.

If the sponsor turns out to be a local company who is in any way connected to the local industry you can be sure the long term spot on the Tour schedule will not be while Congress is in recess. At least, not if those doing the negotiating for the sponsor have a clue about what they’re doing.

Where will they play this thing?
My money’s on Congressional for 2007, since they’ve already been approached and they’ve already agreed to host it, if you believe what you read in the papers. In this case, I do.

Why there and not Avenel?
Avenel is still a fan friendly course that the veteran players almost universally intensely dislike. See this post. Plus, if the Tour has its way the place’ll be ripe with large pieces of earth moving equipment come the middle of summer.

So will Congressional host it after this year?
Most likely not. Congo (as it’s affectionately known around here) is hosting the US Amateur in 2009 and the Open in 2011, and I imagine they’ll want to take 2008 off to make sure the course is ready. In fact, they’ll probably need to take ’08 off, especially if an ’08 Tour stop in DC is also in July. July is peak disease month for creeping bent grasses around here, and guess what the Congo has on its tees and fairways?

So is Congressional the only likely spot for a Tour stop other than Avenel?
Pretty much, at least if one makes a couple of assumptions. First, let’s rule out Baltimore. Great courses up there, but when the Booz folded, the talk wasn’t that the Tour would be out of the Baltimore-Washington market for the first time in 20-some years, was it? Second, let’s rule out RTJ. They don’t want a regular Tour stop. They want majors, or near majors, because they see themselves as being in the same league as Congo, Caves Valley etc., not the TPC at Avenel. And they’re right.

Are there other courses that are ‘big’ enough to handle Tour-caliber players? Sure there are: the Norman course at Lansdowne that I wrote about here, for one. But it is not without problems. Putting on a Tour event takes more than a big course; you also need to be able to handle big crowds, and handle the logistics to support both those crowds and the big circus that follows the tour. And one issue at Avenel, that all the course and clubhouse renovation in the world can’t fix, is the crowd logistics. It is just a flat out mess; for example, the nearest fan parking that can be relied on in bad weather is 20 miles away. Another glaring problem is player/caddy/player family/player entourage accommodations, which are not anywhere nearby; these folks don’t usually stay at the Red Roof Inn. These problems are made worse,not better, by moving to Leesburg. And the course in Leesburg isn’t likely to be appreciably better than the new course at Avenel, the protestations of its famous player-architect notwithstanding.

And let’s not forget the bottom line, literally. Avenel is a big moneymaker for the Tour. Not the tournament itself, but the year-round operation. They don’t want to mess that up, so I think they’ll find a way to get a tournament back there, warts and all.

When will Avenel be ready to host a Tour event again?
Frankly, I haven’t been by there since last summer, so I don’t know if the renovation has started or not. Let’s assume it has not, and that they get the course work done over the summer. (That’s not a slam dunk, by the way. Permitting in Montgomery County is never something that can be taken for granted.) They can in theory get the seeding and sodding done in late August and have a good grow-in before December. In my never humble opinion, there is no way it would in be ready for a Tour stop in 2008. 2009, sure, but not after only 6 months. Now, if they were to sod the entire course, and if the event were in July, 2008, they probably could host it in passable fashion. But if that happens, watch for lots of articles harkening back to the opening days of Avenel, when nearly everyone agreed that they held the old Kemper there at least one year too early. And that doesn’t even address the clubhouse and other building issues at Avenel, which are in just as desparate need of renovation to support an upgraded event as the course is.

jack @ 9:58 am
Filed under: golf
The iPhone Application I Want

Posted on Tuesday 30 January 2007

iphonehand_thumbnail.jpgWell, since everybody and his brother seems to have weighed in on whether the iPhone is good or bad, whether version 1.0 will be a hit or a bomb, whether those of us who’ll take the plunge are sheeple or shrewd, whether Apple will ever open the platform even a wee little bit or not, I’ve got another question: what will the first non-core applications be?

The core applications are well known: phone (including voice and SMS), ipod (including photos and videos), ‘Net (including browser and mail), plus the ‘widgets’ – Google maps, calendar, contacts, calculator, weather, notepad, camera, clock, stock. The way the iPhone’s interface is represented these applications are organized as 14 icons plus a Settings icon.

My wish list – which admittedly is not going to match everybody’s – has one main item for a remote control for other Apple devices. My personal preference would be to allow the iPhone to use its Bluetooth radio to control a presentation application – Keynote (or Powerpoint, if you insist – the same way the fabulous Salling Clicker can. And if the UI in the shipping version winds up looking like what Steve Jobs demoed a couple of weeks ago there’s even an open spot on the icon list, see? Right there in the middle right? 🙂

And if Apple won’t do it, I’ll hope that they’ll at least give Jonas Salling the API so he can add iPhone support.

jack @ 4:28 pm
Filed under: technology