email addresses available!

If you arrived late to the Hotmail party, you probably got stuck with a crazy email address, like If you’d like to try again, you might be interested to know that Microsoft “went live” with their “Windows Live” services a couple of days ago. Part of those services include Windows Live Hotmail, which is a Hotmail account with a much-improved interface. In fact, it’s really close to Microsoft’s Outlook Web Access product… which really kicks ass!

Anyway, as part of the rollout, they’re offering email addresses. You can’t “upgrade” your existing account to an one, but you can always try and see if your name hasn’t been taken yet. And even if it has, you can possibly “move down the list” and become instead of

Windows Live Hotmail offers 5GB of storage and also has a nifty Contacts Import Wizard if you use Outlook or Outlook Express.

Sign up for a email address by clicking here. For best results, use Internet Explorer to do the sign up; people using Firefox (and even Firefox with the IE Tab extension) are reporting error messages when signing up.

It drives me crazy…

People that mangle the English language drive me nuts! There are dozens of ways to use grammar incorrectly, but the one that’s been driving me crazy lately is the whole “loose\lose” thing. If you’re one of those people that seems to have trouble with the two, please enjoy this brief refresher course:

“Loose” is the opposite of “tight”. Something that is not tight (such as a screw) is loose. Clothes that are baggy could also be called loose. “Loose” is also a derogatory term for a woman of weak morals, but that’s not really important right now.

(To) “lose” something is to misplace it. You don’t want to lose your wallet or your car keys. And you don’t want your favorite football team to lose on Sunday. You probably did want to lose your virginity as a teenager, but that too is neither here nor there.

Interestingly enough, it seems that most people don’t use the terms interchangeably (like the whole there\their\they’re mess). I rarely see people use “lose” when they mean “loose”, but I often see people using “loose” when they mean “lose”, as in “I hope you didn’t loose your XP install CD – you’re going to need it soon”.

In any case, please do the world a favor and use the terms correctly. Those of us that actually paid attention during grammar lessons would appreciate it!

What the hell?!?!

Remember the sentence that Lewis Black overheard at the IHOP that almost made his head explode? You know: “if it hadn’t been for that horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college”. Here’s a police report with a similar sentence:

Wacky 911 Call

Wait – what? The guy was drinking liquor in front of the bird… which somehow makes the dog mad? Do I have that right? I ask ‘cos I read the sentence over and over and am still having trouble parsing it.

Why “Progress Bars” Suck

If you’ve spent any time at all on Internet message boards, you’ve probably seen the same question asked over and over again. On computer message boards, a common question is “Why do the progress bars (meters) in Windows suck so much?” You’ve probably dealt with this yourself: you want to move a file from one hard drive to another on your computer, so you do the drag and drop thing, and Windows’ progress meter appears… “2 minutes remaining”. It then inexplicably jumps up to “38 minutes remaining” for a minute or two, then drops back down to “45 seconds remaining” before jumping back up to “1 minute remaining”. A similar thing sometimes happens when you’re installing software: the progress meter will slowly move up to, say, “38% complete”, and then stay there for a couple of minutes before suddenly jumping up to “75% complete”.

What’s the deal? Well, the snarky answer is that “your computer can’t predict the future”. The longer answer is the same, only slightly more involved.

Let’s say that you have a GPS system in your car. You’re sitting in downtown Charlotte, NC and want to drive to an address in downtown Atlanta, GA. You enter the address into the GPS unit, which immediately gives you an estimated drive time of 3 hours and 25 minutes (which is based the current distance you want to drive divided by 55mph). So you start driving to the address, and the estimated drive time slowly starts ticking down… “3 hours, 15 minutes remaining… 3 hours, 5 minutes remaining… 2 hours, 55 minutes remaining”. As luck would have it, there’s a massive wreck just outside of Greenville, SC. You’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic and are doing around 2mph. Suddenly the estimated drive time jumps up to “16 hours, 47 minutes remaining”. As you creep along, the drive time keeps getting longer: “18 hours, 2 minutes”. You finally clear the wreck, and you figure that all the local cops are busy dealing with the accident… so you floor the gas pedal. Once you hit 125mph, the estimated drive time plummets to “45 minutes remaining”. Your road rage subsides after a few minutes, so you lay off the gas and settle in at a more reasonable 70mph. The estimated drive time is now back to a more normal “1 hour, 25 minutes”.

Continue reading “Why “Progress Bars” Suck”

Trent Reznor loved OiNK!

The now-closed Bittorrent music site OiNK had many, many fans (but not me; I could never get an invite). One of OiNK’s biggest fans was Nine Inch Nails’ frontman Trent Reznor. In a recent interview, he had the following to say about the site:

What do you think about OiNK being shut down?
Trent: I’ll admit I had an account there and frequented it quite often. At the end of the day, what made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world’s greatest record store. Pretty much anything you could ever imagine, it was there, and it was there in the format you wanted. If OiNK cost anything, I would certainly have paid, but there isn’t the equivalent of that in the retail space right now. iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don’t feel cool when I go there. I’m tired of seeing John Mayer’s face pop up. I feel like I’m being hustled when I visit there, and I don’t think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc. Amazon has potential, but none of them get around the issue of pre-release leaks. And that’s what’s such a difficult puzzle at the moment. If your favorite band in the world has a leaked record out, do you listen to it or do you not listen to it? People on those boards, they’re grateful for the person that uploaded it — they’re the hero. They’re not stealing it because they’re going to make money off of it; they’re stealing it because they love the band. I’m not saying that I think OiNK is morally correct, but I do know that it existed because it filled a void of what people want.