Vol. 5 No. 4

November, 2005


iToon on Podcasting

Crash & Burn II

iToon on Phone Formula

Go Go Gone!

LOST and Found




Don't forget to check out the






Crash & Burn II


The technosphere has been spinning out of control. At work. At home. It has been madness. It has not been getting any better.

It got so weird that the following error message box popped up:


Well, the G3 was running OS 9.2 at the time. It is the office legacy machine because some software applications will never bridge to the new Mac OS X. A restart cleared that error message, but still . . . .

The home web host's mail server is functioning as well as hot plate in the North Pole. The world wide web has turned to a sluggish, freezing and frustrating experience at times. To make matters worse, teleco salespeople walk in the office now asking us to sign up with a different service, or sometimes, the same service.

Last month's re-install was really a chaotic partial de-install. In attempting to pdf a Real News edition, the Pagemaker program could not find the Adobe virtual postscript printer. In chooser, I find the ps printer icon gone. A search through the entire hard disk results in nothing; the print driver has vanished. Part of the problem of fixing problems after five years of running a computer is that you forget just about every aspect of how you set up the applications and system extensions. I could not reset the postscript without a printer in chooser, so a long term memory of drop and drag desktop printers led me to the scotch tape solution of creating a postscript file from PM then distilling it in Acrobat.

Why go through this almost daily obstacle course? First, band aid solutions seem to be the quick fix under deadline. Second, zapping the PRAM after every session is a boring way of keeping the bilge pumps going on this listing ship. Third, there is always the fear that the next massive system overhaul will create more problems without solutions. Fourth, transferring the old programs and files to a new operating machine is always a pain in the - - - but it may become a necessary evil. But that final solution takes prep time and crossed fingers, which are both in short supply. It gets tired being a one-man IT army.

Rocky, our Tech Guru, just got a new 5.5 pound edition to his household: a new G5 Powerbook. He says that he will take at least a weekend to get his old laptop files in order before he attempts the dreaded TRANSFER OF DATA. Yes, it is a scary as a 1950s horror movie title. The dread is multiple program conflicts, new system quirks, or corrupted files during transfer. The head explosion could occur that after a successful transfer to a new machine/new OS, your old tried and true programs don't work, turn sluggish, or untrustworthy. Then you have to upgrade them, and the bloated upgrade applications are slow, not optimized for the new system, or damage old files during conversion. A hard disk transfer is like open heart transplant surgery. A risky procedure even under trained hands.


Go Go Gone!

The Chicago White Sox win the pennant!! The Chicago White Sox are World Champions!!

The City celebrated its baseball champions with an old fashion ticker tape parade. The ticker tape parade was pioneered by New York stockbrokers who used the reams and reams of small paper tape (which tapped out the current stock prices) to toss out their office windows upon the grand marshal or celebrated hero of the day as the parade went down the business district. The machines printed the tiny strips during the trading day. In the end, it was pure waste. The ticker tape machine was the modern telecommunication device which gave time delayed stock quotes to brokerages across the country. To be connected with a ticker tape machine meant that you were wealthy, important and part of a small powerful club.

The powerbroker's waste was tossed upon the celebrity de jour: war heroes, generals, aviation pioneers like Lindberg. It was creating an artificial snow storm of confetti. It creates an excellent black and white photograph of an event.

So when the mayor's office decided Chicago should have a ticker tape parade for the Champion White Sox, there was a problem. Ticker tape machines have been replaced by electronic real time quotes. Brokerages are no longer ankle deep in the paper waste of the machines. So if the mayor's office was to keep up with the times, the ticker tape parade could have been updated with current brokerage technology:


Instead of the above carnage, the city spent the night before the parade creating its own ticker tape confetti, chewing up tons of paper into small bits. It hired a firm to fire cannons filled with the newly created confetti onto the buses as they traveled through the city streets. So the city had its parade, the Sox fans had their paper moment under the sun, and the circle of public celebratory life is complete.

LOST and Found

When you have a hot property, you sell and sell and sell it to death. When one of the forgotten networks, ABC, stumbled upon a quirky, sci-fi survivor drama called LOST, it was merely an hour of filler slotted for a season. But in an oversaturated Reality television cycle, ABC suddenly found itself with an audience. Finding an audience in the wilderness of viewer choices is becoming harder and harder for a network executive. Dramas or sitcoms need writers, actors and a big budget. Actors are picky; directors are pushy; producers are greedy. It is a headache. Reality shows are cheap to produce, the 15 minute of fame seekers are naive and will get paid in alcohol to be humiliated on film.

Networks have lost their sheepish viewers. The previously captive television audience has more and more non-traditional viewing choices: surfing the net, listening to the iPod, surfing 100 channels on the dish, exercising with the iPod, working overtime at your computer cubicle, watching DVDs or movie rentals, editing your own home movies, or reading a book (or computer manual).

So ABC finds itself with a series, which each episode asking more questions than it answers. Each character has his or her own secrets. A plane crash, exotic beach locale, violence, sexual tension, mysteries and fear are the elements being weaved into quilt of human dysfunctional storylines. The rumor is that the creators had no idea that the pilot would be a hit. The creators themselves don't know where the storyline is going, so they continue to throw in new mysterious elements to keep the story engine fueled to the next week. It has turned into this decade's The X-Files, the quirky FBI-UFO cult show.

During the first season, ABC's web site had its LOST home page. The LOST page contained the basic fan-base features of characters, photo galleries, TV Guide style previews, a video snippet, trivia, and message boards. For a television network, it was a pretty good site. The best part of Season One at the site was the episode recaps. Most viewers came into the series at different times, so the plot lines were difficult to follow unless you had a reference. The Season One episode recaps were detailed novellas, complete with details which could have missed just from viewing the show. The episode novellas brought in many more viewers into the storyline and hooked them on the strange twists on the island.

Then for Season Two, ABC shifted its focus. It began re-running episodes later in the week. It also doubled up before the new episodes to get people refreshed for the action. The episodes also included more and more repeated flashbacks (which at this point is mere time filler than story line enhancements). As the episodes get stretched out, the LOST web site got compressed. The long novella episode guide is now a short story summation. If you want more information or information that used to be free, there is a premium link (data mining). More and more merchandise sales is crowding the site links. The commercialization of the show has now taken priority over the show itself. These changes are also fueling the rumor that the network and show creators are at the critical point of collapsing on their own sudden success; jumping the shark before the end of Season Two.

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