Category Archives: austin

Anything to do with Austin, Texas.

The Houston Chronicle adapts (quickly)

AdamNation tells us this morning in downtown Houston, Texas a fire knocked out power in some places.

So today there is a fire in downtown Houston that has knocked out power throughout the city center. Does the staff pack it up and go home to watch Oprah? No. They run over to Starbuck’s with their laptops and start blogging on Movable Type to keep the US’ fourth largest metro up to date, smartly pointing domain to the main blog.

This is a wonderful and surprising reaction to what might you might normally think to be a slow-moving organization or centralized media distributor. Go Chronicle!

Dorkbot Austin Testify!

David Nunez, Austin’s own tech evangelist speaks the truth about the freedom to tinker and to do potentially risky experiments with technology, all in the name of learning and building wonderful things to the at Austin Telecom Commision about Austin’s very own Dorkbot Scene.

And I quote:

“We believe in the freedom to tinker – to tear apart our technology, our clothes, our food, our stuff and use those raw materials to build something new and better…We insist that young students should be encouraged to do undocumented, dangerous, and weird things with their toys, tools, and electricity because they will surprise us with what they choose to invent.”

Watch it here:

Can I get an “Amen”?

At dorkbot austin (next meeting October 12th, 2006) you sure can.


The Vintage Mac Museum

Adam Rosen has put together a great online Vintage Mac Museum, where you can learn all about the history of our Apple hardware. Adam is very knowledgable about the history of the Macintosh, and has some great info.

This brings to mind all of the Macintoshes I’ve owned (or used for work):

  • (Fat) Mac 512k
  • Macintosh SE (with 20MB HD – woohoo!)
  • Macintosh SE/30
  • Mac IIx (with the Texas Instrument LISP chip in it)
  • Mac Classic (color)
  • Duo 280 (where I installed my own internal modem, the Mac equivalent of neurosurgery at the time)
  • NeXT slab (that counts now, doesn’t it?)
  • Powerbook 540 (Blackbird?)
  • Mac IIsi
  • Quadra and Performas (many different ones, all similar)
  • A large, Macintosh-less gap that could be called the dark ages.
  • Powerbook G4
  • G5 tower
  • MacBookPro

And there are probably at least a few more I’m forgetting.

MacBookPro first impressions

Yesterday I got a MacBookPro and am only starting to use it. It’s the 15″ with a 100GB 7200 rpm drive with 2GB RAM. Sweet. The Migration Assistant was just about perfect in moving everything over. I set up a administrator account with administrator priviledges, but not the same name as the account name I want to transfer from my G4 Powerbook. (I think I’m still going to be calling the new machine a powerbook out of habit).

As you go through the migration process, you boot your old machine in target disk mode (hold down the “T” key when booting the system) and with a firewire cable connected to both machines, the data transfer begins after a few questions about what accounts and files you want to move over (just a few choices, for files mostly everything on the disk or just those related to the account you want to migrate). Then the transfer begins. I started this once and when the estimate was more than 3 hours for the transfer, I deferred until later in the evening. Sure enough, about 3 hours later (much later), it seemed to be done.

Easily enough, I just rebooted the MBP (maybe I just need a great name for the new machine – any ideas? “Bender”? too obvious?) and logged on with the account name (and password) from the G4 powerbook. Simple as that. I knew things were looking good right away as the boot screen changed color to the background I had on the G4. Everything loaded from my startup items, with one exception, Textspander (yes, I know there is a newer version out). Nice job Apple software developers. snapped open quickly (after being selected my old customized dock – great!), but crashed in just a few minutes when I went to clearing out my junk mailbox. (It might have something to do with getting junk mail in odd character sets I don’t have the related fonts for. Just a theory.) I started right back up and it’s still going strong now. After working around in mail, I don’t feel a neck-snapping performance improvement, this is a bit disappointing.

Next was Firefox 1.5.06 and it seems fine too, including extensions. I checked and it is a universal binary. This is disappointing in a way, because Ffox still seems slow. (Oh, if there were all the right extensions in Safari versions.)

I like the increased screen resolution and the keyboard feels fine, a little mushy but with good bounce on the keys. Also, not as noisy as the G4. The addition of a camera is nice, but I don’t think I’ll make much use of it. There is not Firewire 800 slot anymore, I would have wished that Apple would have put another USB port in its place. As has been commented on before by many others, there is no internal modem included. I hope I don’t have cause to regret that. The PC Card slot is replaced with a smaller add-on slot that has some name I won’t remember because I’ll probably never need a device for it. The new magnetic plug power supply seems fine, but the box is actually LARGER than the old one. Also, I had three G4 powerbook power supplies, now that investment is lost (except that the extension cords seem to fit with the new power supplies).

The next, system-wide step seems to be making sure I have (intel) universal binaries for all of the applications on my system. I assume all the Apple applications are ready (and they were kept from deletion when I transferred the account over from the G4 with its potentially non-universal binary app versions).

The big question: Does anyone know of a utility that could scan my disk and make a list? (even better, give me links for the apps? even better, auto-download those possible?) Comments or emails are most welcome.

The best thing I have found so far to help with this is the MacUpdate: Universal Binary (Macintosh Intel) page (with an RSS feed).

Hatch Green Chile Salsa

While not really an open-source salsa recipe (it is much too basic), this is what I made this weekend, now that Central Market has their roasted green chiles from Hatch, New Mexico in stock.

There are no exact amounts, almost everything is adjustable for your tastes and what you have available, so let’s be algebraic with ratios:

  • 2x Organic Plum Tomatoes – diced
  • Kosher Salt – 1 pinch/tomato used
  • Oregano, Cumin or fresh Basil to taste (or not)
  • 0.5x Garlic Clove – finely minced
  • Stir these first four ingredients together well and let sit while prepping the remaining ingredients

  • 0.75x Yellow Hatch Onions – diced
  • 1x Roasted Green Hatch Chiles -diced (assume 6″ long peppers with seeds removed)
  • Roasted Yellow Corn (not pictured)

And this is what you get.

Excellent with some corn tortillas.

BarCampTexas in Austin August 26-27, 2006

It looks like we’re having a BarCampTexas (part of something larger called BarCampEarth), Saturday August 26th to Sunday 27th at the amazing Thistle Cafe in downtown Austin.

From the BarCamp Web site:

What is BarCampTexas? Well, the organizers of BarCampAustin, BarCampDallas, and BarCampHouston have decided to join forces and create BarCampTexas! The goal is to get over 1000 campers to join together August 26th-27th. We will be updating this site often so sign up, check back, and participate!

So what is BarCamp you say? What should you expect at a BarCamp? What are the rules of BarCamp? Click and learn.

Note: BarCamp in no way resembles this, since I am able to tell you about BarCamp.

Buck Owens Birthday Bash was just that

Austin being Austin, last night the Continental Club put on its 15th annual Birthday Bash for Buck Owens, the man who made Bakersfield a destination, tried to Act Naturally, combined surf guitar with country and almost (just almost) made Hee-Haw cool. This birthday celebration (now posthumous) brings local Austin talent and those as far away from Nashville and yes – California to step on the stage and render a version or two of some of Buck and the Buckaroos’ greatest hits. As you might expect, there were some boot-tappin’, house rockin’ numbers even “Tiger by the Tail” by one of the original Buckaroos. The band featured great guitar leads, a thumping base and a steel guitar master that made everything move along smoothly.

Buck Owens Birthday Bash at the Continental Club, August 10 2006 (tiny camera phone picture)

As it has been, this event was a benefit for Center for Child Protection, who also has a Happy Birthday Buck tribute CD by many of the artists performing in the past year’s bashes. I picked one up last night and it’s great. Highly recommended.

Happy Birthday Buck CD cover

You missed it? There’s always next year.

Austin's local blog scene (and some quotes from me) in the news

The Austin American Statesman, our main local newspaper has a short article about the two main local blogs Austinist and Metroblogging Austin. Austin’s demographics, of course, are a perfect fit for these aggregate blogs, be it for attracting those who will write about Austin or for those who choose blogs as a way to keep up with things in our fair city.

Of course, as readership grows and authorship becomes more finely tuned there is great potential for advertising or sponsorship revenue. There’s nothing particularly new about all this, except we may be seeing mainsteam publishing getting re-invented (again). These group blogs have the potential to invert the pyramid, if not abolishing it altogether, of providing certain types of news targetting the same demographics as the bloggers themselves.

The most useful aspect (for me) is that the authors are many and can therefore collect a wider range of news and events than one single person (and their blog) can, if anything, point out links to other blogs or Web sites that have local content or appeal. With the informal and often humorous writing style, these blogs are fun to read. Having access to them via RSS feeds makes getting local information quite easy.

And of course, there’s the obligatory quote from me in the Statesman’s article about bloggers telling us about what they had for lunch and how eventually (hopefully, oh please) we will see this kind of blogging evolve into a more cogent kind of restaurant review.

The (unintentionally?) ironic part of the article has a quote from Ben Brown, who was the initial Austin Austinist: “It is the greatest city in the world in which to live, and we will hear no arguments to the contrary. We fight with tooth and nail to stay here, even when our real job asks us to travel for cash.” I’m told Ben has since moved away from Austin for a job out in the Bay Area.