The Morning Report
From the dependably on-target Tom Tomorrow:
From the dependably on-target Tom Tomorrow:
I brought my Ford Explorer to the local dealer for the 60,000-mile service the other day. I picked it up this morning, after forking over $1787 for the various work done on the vehicle. Ugh!
My new Palm Treo 700p arrived today--a device that will replace two others: my Samsung flip-phone and my Palm Tungsten. It'll also enable me to have mobile email and web browsing and is a much better platform for text messaging.
As I am getting this phone/organizer through my employer, I had to switch to Verizon from Sprint--probably a good move overall. The IT folks also connected this device to the Outlook server at work, something I noticed when I launched Entourage in the early afternoon and noticed that most of my calendar appointments had been wiped out! And later in the day, I watched helplessly as my contacts disappeared, one by one, from my Entourage address book. Not exactly the way I wanted to start using my new toy! Fortunately, I had my data backed up in enough places that everything has been restored now (though I have to go through the cumbersome process of eliminating duplicate address entries). The syncing process--across Palm, Mac, and PC platforms--is a lot easier using .Mac service and a program called The Missing Sync.
I hit the 1,000 mile mark on my Yamaha Zuma scooter today. It's taken me a few days more than a year to get there (though I was away for a month this past summer--prime riding time!).
. . . oi, oi, oi!
I ordered tickets for Rod Laver Arena so I can attend the first two days of the Australian Open in Melbourne in January, as part of my round-the-world trip during my sabbatical leave this winter. If I can swing a weekend getaway to Paris over Memorial Day weekend, I may try to complete a tennis Grand Slam of my own by attending all four majors in 2007.
Since I got my Treo 700p late last week, I've been floundering a bit in my daily routine because I have not been able to get my "to do" list (which has some 300 items on it, spread over the days, weeks, and months to come) onto the device. The root of the problem is that I synchronized my old Palm Tungsten E directly with Entourage on my iBook (which in turn automatically updated my contact and calendar data with Apple's Address Book and iCal, as well as with the Exchange server). But Entourage does not sync tasks, notes, or categories with the Exchange server, which is odd, given that these are all Microsoft products.
To cut to the chase: since my Treo syncs directly with Choate's Exchange server--thus giving me mobile access to my email account--tasks and notes did not carry over to my portable device. I fiddled around with trying to sync the Treo to my iBook using The Missing Sync program with no success. But I figured that if I could get all my tasks and notes into Outlook on my school-issued Dell laptop, they WOULD be synchronized with the Exchange server. Unfortunately, in attempting to do this, I found out that Outlook and Entourage don't share import/export formats, despite being different versions of the same program on PC and Mac OS platforms. Arrgghh! The solution was to purchase for $20 a series of Apple shareware scripts from an independent developer; these scripts enabled me to convert all my data smoothly from Entourage/Mac to Outlook/PC. Once that happened, Outlook dumped the task and note data onto the Exchange server and my Treo loaded up those tasks and notes to take with me.
One would think that the mighty corporate behemoth in Redmond, WA might have found a way to make all of this a lot easier.
Check out the funny new Mac ad here.
I saw The Departed, Martin Scorsese's new film, tonight. It features great pacing and a first-rate cast (Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg). The story is a version of the Hong Kong hit Infernal Affairs, set among cops and gangsters in the Boston Irish community. Thumbs up.
I took to Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip right out of the blocks this fall, but after four episodes it might be that the show in the time slot right before, Heroes, is the real NBC hook on Monday nights. The pilot was a bit slow, but I caught up on the next two episodes on my DVR this past weekend and then watched the current installment tonight. The show is getting better each week, with a bit of the Lost mystery vibe at play.
I am told that Chris Borgstrom wants to see more controversy in this blog. Okay--this is admittedly sophomoric, but it's a great example of unintentional humor from mid-1960s pop culture:
In the vein of the last post, this is taken from a 1940s Batman comic book:
I started the new book by Newsweek technology correspondent Steven Levy, The Perfect Thing, about the commercial and cultural significance of the iPod, which is five years old this month. Like songs on the device itself, the chapters of this book are shuffled in a different order, depending on which copy of the book one picks up. It's an interesting overview of the impact the Apple music player has had on the music industry, the tech industry, and global culture.
I am now starting my day in a much better mood, as the local NPR station has completed its recent (and seemingly endless) fall fund-raising drive. Since Morning Edition has been part of my waking ritual for some twenty years now, the obnoxious sounds of people on the radio hectoring me for money is an unpleasant intrusion into that half-asleep/half-awake state I'm in for the better part of an hour beginning at 6:50 a.m.
I surely don't pretend to have the pedigree of an opera lover, but I did book myself a ticket to see The Barber of Seville at the Met at the end of the month. As it will be the beginning of my sabbatical, I figure I can afford the time to develop my tastes in a new direction. While in Sydney this January, I hope to see The Marriage of Figaro in the world-famous Sydney Opera House. And, if I can swing what is a very tough ticket to get this fall, I may also check out the Anthony Minghella-directed Madame Butterfly in New York next month, too.
Living in Connecticut, with its high-profile Lamont/Liberman Senate race and three highly competitive battles for House seats, one can hardly turn on the television for a few minutes without being bombarded by political advertisements for the various candidates. With just two weeks left before Election Day, the Dems have a slew of positive indicators suggesting a takeover of both houses of Congress may be within reach, but it's early yet. An "October surprise" could shake things up. And you can't discount the GOP get-out-the-vote machine that was so effective in 2004.
With no classes today, last night was an opportune time for a Mem Garden movie trip. We saw The Prestige, starring Christian Bale, High Jackman, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, and David Bowie. Everyone really liked this movie, which is about the competition between two rival magicians about a hundred years ago. Interesting food for thought in this film.
Today is the feast of St. Crispian (or Crispin), immortalized by William Shakespeare in the timeless "pre-game" speech by the title character before the Battle of Agincourt in Henry V. The holiday is observed annually by Choate Cross Country, as we indulge in a clip of the speech from the 1989 Kenneth Branagh film.
Click here for the accompanying dialogue.
After doing dorm duty on six of the last eight nights, running the Parents Weekend marathon, and spending the morning dealing with the cancellation of all outdoor sports (no final cross country meet on the home course--UN-lucky!), I now begin a Long Weekend break from school, which means no scheduled commitments until my Tuesday afternoon practice and no classes to teach before next Thursday!
This ought to bring back memories of those old enough to remember June 1981.
I've switched my iBook to the Region 2 DVD code for the time being and have been watching the BBC's brilliant 2003 political thriller State Of Play during the Long Weekend break. Highly recommended.