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Rick's Picks (weekly)

  • This is Mike Reed's humorous look at the various personalities you'll encounter on the Internet. Very funny! —Rick Cogley || From the site: Some years ago a minor spat ignited a searing flame ware that threatened to consume a once-placid discussion forum. While the forum burned I amused myself by caricaturiing the chief antagonists. Confounded at seeing themselves thus revealed, the combatants fled the field in disarray. ...

    tags: humor, warriors, flame, humour, blogging, forum, cartoon, culture

  • I've seen this good, energetic "Street Jazz" trio at JR Shinjuku before, but today I waited for a good moment and got some materials from them. The musicians were George Kano on drums, Chikara Saito on Alto Sax, and (probably) Sousuke Kawamoto on upright bass. The flyers I got were pretty clear on who the sax and drum players were, but I'm not so sure about the bass player. Either way, they are all really good musicians. —Rick Cogley

    tags: snapjapan, cogley, chikara saito, george kano, sousuke kawamoto, street, jazz

  • Josh George did the paintings for the album art for Pat Metheny's Day Trip and Tokyo Day Trip EP. —Rick Cogley || From the site: Earlier this year I did the CD cover and interior art for Pat Metheny's newest release "Day Trip". It was great fun having almost complete creative freedom. During the bands world tour they did a live recording of their gig in Tokyo and decided to release it as an EP. Again they contacted me to do a variation on the cover but set in Japan. I don't do to many illustration jobs but working with a respected musician like Pat was very rewarding. Didn't have to do a sketch first! So here is the cover for "Tokyo Day Trip". You can find it in your local non-chain music store. I buy all my music at "Music Matters" in Brooklyn.

    tags: josh george, pat metheny, day trip, tokyo day trip, painter, metheny

  • Text substitution tools. Personally, I use Text Expander which is quite excellent on the Mac, but LifeHacker recommends ActiveText for Windows. —Rick Cogley || From the site: These days, most of us end up having to type at the computer on a daily basis. Some of us are fast and some are slow - but regardless of your typing proficiency, text substitutions can save us all an unbelievable amount of time. The basic idea is to replace a small bit of text with a larger bit of text. So maybe you set 'name' to 'your full name'. Admittedly, this is probably overkill, but it gets the idea across. Apply a small amount of effort and simple text substitution becomes a tool more powerful and dynamic than you might have imagined. Let's see just how much we can streamline your time at the keyboard.

    tags: lifehacker, substitution, text, activetext, textexpander, smileonmymac, productivity

  • Every year, we have a family reunion during the New Year holiday "oshogatsu". The photo in this post is of the 2009 edition. This is A Big Deal for the family here, and they do it without fail. Missing it is also A Big Deal, so I think we've missed it once in the past 15 years. I gather it's an Asian thing to have these big family gatherings, but I always feel like the odd man out, when the conversation turns to whatever it is that 60-ish-year-old Japanese folks like to talk about. Though I enjoy the company and drink and food, great food, these also make me long for home, to see my Mom and Dad, Sister and Brother and everyone's families and friends. Ah, if only Star Trek teleportation was possible! Oshogatsu omedeto!

    tags: resident, snapjapan, reunion, oshogatsu, cogley

  • Squarespace offers a turnkey way to build and publish a site and blog online from 8 USD / month, with some really good-looking results. Seems like it would be perfect for people who do not want to use software and upload via FTP. —Rick Cogley || From the site - In 2003, after being unable to find a way to elegantly publish his personal website, Anthony Casalena began work on the software that is now the Squarespace Platform. Since its inception, Squarespace has blossomed into a product that powers tens of thousands of sophisticated websites for businesses, bloggers, and professionals worldwide and currently serves hundreds of millions of hits per month. Squarespace has been mentioned in both the Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek, as well as on countless other blogs and news sites. Our small team consists of solely bio-worthy names, and due to our entirely organic revenue growth, we operate free from the restrictions and obligations of organizations controlled by outside investors.

    tags: squarespace, anthony casalena, web, publish, blog, online

  • Creative Commons founding member Lawrence Lessig's long retort to the ill-informed attack by Mark Helprin on Creative Commons. —Rick Cogley || From the site: This is an insanely long review of Mark Helprin's book, Digital Barbarism (HarperCollins 2009) (Note: if you buy from that link, Creative Commons gets the referral fee). You can download a PDF of the review here. Exactly two years ago today, the New York Times published an op-ed about copyright by a novelist. The piece caused something of a digital riot. As we learn now from his book, Digital Barbarism (HarperCollins 2009), Mark Helprin was at the time completely ignorant about the hornets nest he was about to kick. For him, the op-ed was a professional rapprochement with the New York Times, a chance to make things right once again (though why they were then wrong is a story left mysteriously (and thankfully) out of the book).

    tags: helprin, lessig, solipsist, digital, barbarism, creative commons, cc

  • Mark Bernstein, creator of TinderBox, writes in defense of "everything buckets" that Alex Payne rails against in a blog post. —Rick Cogley || From the site: What Payne misses — what nearly everyone has missed in thinking about the question — is the process of finding and creating structure. Yes: you want to keep things organized. Yes: you want specialized tools for special tasks. But things don’t arrive with structure (and, when they do, they have the wrong structure!) and the kinds of structure you want are always changing.

    tags: bernstein, tinderbox, payne, everything buckets

  • Alex Payne makes a case for using the file system on computers, and against "everything buckets" like Journler, Yojimbo, DEVONthink, Together, Evernote. —Rick Cogley || From the site: Why Everything Buckets Are Not A Good Idea - Computers work best with structured data. Everything Buckets discourage the use of structured data by providing a convenient place to commingle “structureless” data like RTF and PDF documents. Rather than forcing the user to figure out the rhyme and reason of their data (for example, by putting receipts in a financial management application and addresses in an address book), Everything Buckets cry: “throw it all in here! Search it! Maybe I’ll corrupt my proprietary database, but maybe I won’t and you’ll have the joy of sifting through a mire of RTF documents. Doesn’t that sound great?” This proposition should not sound great. If you think you’re going to save time in the long run by throwing your data into a big bucket now, then sifting through it later, you are mistaken. There are better ways.

    tags: payne, buckets, everything buckets, journler, yojimbo, devonthink, together, evernote

  • On the unfortunate loss of focus at Journler, and Doug's consequent "dating" of DEVONthink. —Rick Cogley || From the site: Journler was the answer, but as I’ve just learned, unfunded solo developers are very risky. Who else to turn to? Together concerns me because it gags on data sets over a few thousand items. Evernote’s business model is committed to datalocking you into the application, which is intolerable. Yohimbo is a starter tool not a long haul application for a serous user. Lastly the Lit / Citation managers, like Papers, Zotero, Endnote and Sente are indexers, not writer’s base pads. So yea, DEVONThink. She’s good right now, but I’m lookin’

    tags: dougist.com, dougist, devonthink, journler

  • A wonderful story of a visa denied, and a community's response. Long live the small shops! -- Rick Cogley From the site: A French couple came to town several years ago in search of something. Here, amid the swelling mountains and struggling businesses, the Red Sox hagiography and Yankee taciturnity, they were looking for just the right place to sell madeleines. And croissants. And tarts. And long, thin loaves of French bread that all but dare you to tear at their heel before you’re out the door.

    tags: baguettes, colebrook, ounis, visa, denial, reconsideration

  • The Pharmaceutical Affairs Law "PAL" was revised to allow convenience stores like 7-11, Lawson, Family Mart or others to sell most over-the-counter drugs, so long as they have a clerk who has registered and qualified with the local government. The fact that they no longer need a pharmacist is a big cost-saving difference from before, that also allows a big new income stream for the conbinis. -- Rick Cogley

    tags: resident, snapjapan, snap!japan, rick cogley, otc, pal, mhlw


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