Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A lecture from a Senator who doesn't LOL

I was driving around the other day and landed on a public radio station that was airing a speech by Joe Lieberman. He was going on about the shameful content in video games and on the internet and all that stuff like he always does, so I stopped to listen.

After he finished, a woman Senator came on (from Minnesota, I think). She opened her remarks by relating a story about a talk she gave at a college recently. She said she was discussing the internet and kids and whatever, and a smarty-pants college kid asked her "Do you even know what LOL means?" And she admitted to him that she didn't. After the talk, her twelve-year-old daughter explained what LOL meant and told her mom she was sooooo embarrassed by her. Hahaha, she laughed and made it out to be a cute story, and then continued her speech.

Well, she eventually got to a part in her speech where she started admonishing parents for letting kids access inappropriate content online. And she talked about how parents need to watch out about what video games their kids are playing, spend time on the internet with your kids, know what they know, etc (all stuff I'm trying to do).

So, I guess the point is just how ironic it is that this woman was going on about being involved in our kids' high-tech world and literally saying how we don't spend enough time understanding or relating to our kids in regards to the internet and modern video games... when she has already admitted that she doesn't do any of that - she doesn't even know what LOL means. Wow.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Scrabulous on Facebook

So, I'm digging my Facebook page a lot lately. I'm regularly updating my Eric Bolstridge is... tag, Playing Scrabulous with a bunch of folks (okay, mostly just my wife), posting my Pandora stations and songlists, and even playing around with cutesy little Fluff friends.

So far I've found about half of the silly applications you can add to your Facebook page to be dumb or only only fun for the first time you set it up. But the other half are actually kinda fun!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Wif-Fi and the Nintendo DS

I've been looking into possibly getting the wife a Nintendo DS for Christmas. The mini-games are fun and she likes the Brain Age and other "adult" games. I think she'd like Nintendogs and cute games like Drawn-To-Life, too. So, with this, I've been checking into the features of the DS and how it works. I know you can play wirelessly, you can download demos and such from stores and at McDonald's, and I know you can even do basic chatting and access the internet for content. And that's really what I'm interested in: the Wi-Fi and online capabilities of the device. Why is that important? Because while I don't know how to do those things, my 6-year-old neighbor does...

And don't laugh and say "Haha, but he's just a kid! Who cares about their silly games?" Because those kids will become teenagers and then adults - growing up as the technology grows with them, and anyone who doesn't keep up will just be another clueless old person to them. And tech-savvy kids have no respect for clueless old people. I know, because I was one of those tech-savvy kids.

Modern example:

In checking out the DS's online capabilities I discovered that Nintendo actually discontinued their Opera-based browsing software for the DS a month or so ago. The reason they discontinued it is that parents were buying it without realizing what it was and then discovering that, to their surprise, their kids were going online with it (um, duh). So, with parents screaming that their kiddo's Nintendo DS suddenly had become a portal to the evils of the internet, Nintendo went ahead and stopped making that "game" and it's now becoming somewhat a rare find in used game stores.

While I think it's funny that a parent would buy their kid a game they don't understand, I have to admit that I don't understand how the DS gets online. What games work online and what is the extent of the file sharing and online gameplay? Other then my Blackberry, I've never owned own a single web-enabled device, let alone set up or accessed a Wi-Fi connection.

But with their lil' Nintendo DS, even the lamest 8 year-old has. And why not? I defeated bowser and saved the Princess at 7 years old - why shouldn't the average kid be able to master the full capabilities of the current Nintendo product in the same way I did?

So, getting a DS and keeping up with modern gaming isn't just a bad idea for a Christmas gift, but it's also a good idea from a parenting perspective: my oldest kid will no doubt have a next-gen Nintendo of his own one day and I think it's important that I not only understand how it works, but maybe even be able play with him.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Video update

I've been doing lots with YouTube and such lately, so here's an update: a while ago I realized it was clunky and messy to embed YouTube videos right on ericbolstridge.com. So, I simply put a link to my my YouTube account and another link to my Arlington County videos.

We've been cranking out content at work, so eventually the Arlington County YouTube account page was getting cluttered, and it was way too hard to find videos or expect anyone to see the "good stuff" with 70 or 80 videos spread over 6 pages... So, I dug into YouTube a bit, figured out Playlists, and set up a bunch to keep things organized. Now, I point people here at work (and on ericbolstridge.com) to the Arlington County Playlist page instead. Ooh, organization! How nice!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The webcam returns to ericbolstridge.com!

Hooray! The webcam is back on ericbolstridge.com! Thanks to my devoted wife, who found me new and improved FREE webcam software, my web-cam is back online! I'm using YawCam, from www.yawcam.com. I needed to go back into my GoDaddy account to remember the right way to type in my FTP server address, but that was no big deal. Simple install and the webcam is back! Woo-hoo!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Camperino.com goes online

Most of my friends and family like to camp, and back when I was in college I had a Geocities website called "The Camperino Website." I would post stories about camping trips that me and my pals would take and I used the site to semi-coordinate trips with people. Many new friends were made and many adventures were had. But that was
literally 10 years ago.

So, I was talking to one of my best buds about bringing the Camperino website back into existence. Maybe branching off my ericbolstridge.com page. Well, he would have none of that! (this friend does website junk for a living, btw) So, he reached out and grabbed his laptop off the kitchen counter and with a few deft strokes on his keyboard and a mouse click or two, Camperino.com was born!

I think we'll set it up much like the old Camperino website, with blog-type entries, trip announcements, etc. Maybe we'll let anyone post trips and invite folks to come along. Should be fun. I think we'll definitely have it up and running for the 2008 camping season. Yay, internets!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Yup, I just got a LinkedIn account, too. So now I'm on there. Seems like a lot of stupid social networking crap to me, but what they heck, isn't that the point of this blog? I'm getting too bitter about technology and what folks are doing that I think it's crap? Yeesh, and on top of that, I'm using the word "folks."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Okay, so I have a Facebook account, but never really put anything on it. It's nothing more then a basic replication of exactly what MySpace is, but I've heard that it is supposed to be more mature / professional / whatever. Anyway, a couple of my "real" friends sent me invites over the past couple weeks, so I went ahead and put some very basic content on my profile, a lil' photo and a link to my website.

Monday, October 1, 2007

I love Pandora.com!

My wife turned me on to this great online radio station / music website, Pandora.com . You tell it what music you like, and it then picks songs for you, playing them back to back without interruption. You help it learn what music you like by giving songs a thumbs up or thumbs down (or nothing to be neutral). I've been using it for a few weeks and it's fairly refined, almost always playing music that I really like (across multiple genres even!).

It'll play bouncy fun music like They Might Be Giants, then go to some nice J-pop, then to something like Primus or Soul Coughing or even Prodigy... but always something good! The feedback system is simple and fun and you can query it to find out "why" it is playing certain songs.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Web Cam software expiration

So, my Web Cam software, Biromsoft Webcam, was downloaded on a trial basis. It works awesome, automatically linking to my web server at GoDaddy.com and uploading an image every few seconds via FTP. Works great! So, of course, when the trial period ended, I clicked "Buy It!"

I paid my $29.99 via paypal to a company called ShareIt!, which I now know is a middle-man company that accepts payments on behalf of independent developers. So, they got my $29.99 and allegedly notified the Biromsoft folks that I had made the purchase. According to ShareIt! I was to receive my verification code by email within 24 hours.

Well, much more then that went by. So I emailed ShareIt! and I emailed Biromsoft. No response for over a week. So, I clicked through PayPal's "Resolution Center" thingy that sends another email... The next day I called American Express and had them retrieve the money.

Thankfully, AMEX is awesome about this stuff, so I got my money back with limited hassle, but I'm pretty grumpy about the whole experience. Here's this great software that I was fully willing to purchase, but because of some glitchy something or maybe just bad customer service, I don't get to have a web cam and they don't get my money. Such a lose-lose. Ah, well.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Web Cam on EricBolstridge.com

Hahahaha! Yeah, it's been a while since my last post, but it was worth it. I downloaded a couple software applications to see if I could get one to solve my webcam question, and I got this one from Biromsoft to work! It's set to my cheap Labtec cam and is uploading straight to my server that I have through GoDaddy! After getting the image uploading (the frequency of the upload is variable), I then had to get the HTML in there to refresh the page. That kinda sucks, because it's not a true streaming feed - it's just refreshing the webpage automatically ever few seconds.

Also, I have a slight concern that I might exceed my "upload" capacity or something like that, but since I'm not actually adding tons of images and only overwriting the same one, I don't think it will be an issue with my account limitations...

Anyway, what fun!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

MySpace.com is stupid

So, I killed my MySpace page. I was getting spam and invites from random pron people. Plus, their services are redundant considering I have a blog and website elsewhere...

Maybe this is an admission of how much I actually don't get it, but I'm not into the whole online social networking thing, either, which would be the only other reason to have a page....

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Google Reader

After asking around, I realized that I didn't necessarily need to download something new to start enjoying the splendor of RSS feeds - Google has it built in to their suite of apps. So, I signed up for Google Reader, added a handful of RSS feeds from my favorite sites, and I'm rollin'.

I read a comic strip, check bargains, get a couple blog feeds, and even have Snopes.com sending me their feed. Not bad. I'm a fan of the RSS, but it doesn't work well if the site owner doesn't have their feed set up nicely. Like for Snopes, you get the headline of the story and the content, but no photos or handy "genre" icon. But for everything else, I'm no longer going to the original sites at all, just checking the content on my Google Reader. Wow, I'm so mod-er-in.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

GoDaddy automated payment

My GoDaddy account is still auto-billing me $7 each month for hosting ericbolstridge.com. I decided I'll bite the bullet and pay for a full year to get the couple bucks off. I'll see about calling them this afternoon to make the change (they are surprisingly nice and very helpful over the phone). But I'm always a little scared of anything "long-term" with internet / phone / whatever stuff. They always seem to come back around and bite ya in the ass...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

What is an RSS feed?

The topic came up at work, and I knew the most out of the three or four of us that were chatting together. I knew it was "some sort of subscription thing where you'll get automatic alerts when there are updates to a site or a podcast or something." So, I felt kinda okay knowing that much, but of course, it made me realize I really don't know about RSS feeds.

So, now I do! A little research, a little checking things out, and now I know that RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and you need a "feed reader" or an aggregator to use them. I asked around and looked into what those are, and I'm making it my goal this week to download Mozilla Thunderbird so I can get on board with pulling in RSS feeds, as well as possibly accessing my Gmail accounts through there. My buddy was telling me that he uses an aggregator for his IM, too, so maybe I'll ditch my Yahoo! Messenger and go through Thunderbird for that as well (if it has that capability... We shall see).

Monday, April 9, 2007

iTunes download

Long time since my last post, I know. But that's a good thing, I think - there's less for me to "find out," right?

Anyway, the wife got an iPod shuffle from her mom, so we got the ol' iTunes on the home computer. I tried iTunes on my work machine and it wouldn't install properly - either a work firewall thing or my pc here just sucks, I dunno. Anyway, at home, we got it downloaded okay and had to go through a nice two days purge / conversion of music that we had on there. In the end, we both played around with it enough to create some playlists, some "special" playlists, get music to her iPod and even burn a stack of CDs. I'm going to see if I can subscribe to a podcast or two to figure out the whole subscription and RSS thing, too.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Google Snippets Redux

Ah, well. I thought I had solved my http://www.geocities.com/ericbolstridge problem, but when I Googled "Eric Bolstridge" this morning it came up as the fourth result (behind ericbolstridge.com and this blog). Last night I posted links to some items I sent out to my Freecycle group. The links were to photos that I was hosting on my geocities page (since they have the oh-so-easy upload). I'm guessing that the few people that hit those links made my geocities site jump up in the ranks. So my brilliant "No Snippet" Meta Tag didn't work after all.

Looking into things, I'm now theorizing that Google is getting the site from Dmoz, the open directory. I listed my geocities pages with them way back in the day. So, I sent a correction to them, asking that they remove the site from their listing. We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I now have 19 videos up on my website, thanks to YouTube. The quality is satisfactory, I think, so I don't think I'm going to bother with uploading and embedding Quicktime videos hosted on my site. Pretty sweet. The website is still fairly ugly, just barely past acceptable, but at least all the links work now, even though most lead to an "under construction" page. Perhaps in the near future I will find some excuse to spend a week with Dreamweaver to create a page that is actually good looking.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Converting video for YouTube: SOLVED

I figured it out! A little more research, a little more testing, and I've discovered the best codec for creating video for YouTube. A Quicktime H.263 for a faster output from my AVID (slower upload to YouTube), and H.264 for a slower output from my AVID (but a faaster upload to YouTube). H.264 is apparently much improved over the previous, but I see no difference in quality once it's converted over to teh flash of YouTube. Check out some of my YouTube videos! I have two accounts - one for work and one for my own stuff.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Web Cam on EricBolstridge.com?

I did a redesign of my website, EricBolstridge.com. All I really did is change the font and background, but hey, it looks a lot better and now it has several pages that I can add content to as I get around to it so whatever. I went ahead and added a page for "Web Cam," too. I'm going to look into how (if) I can stream images to the site from my desktop webcam here at work....

Monday, January 29, 2007

Embedded video and automatic charges

A couple updates for ericbolstridge.com:

First, I finally changed ericbolstridge.com to have my lil' demo reel on the main page. I was having some trouble getting into the FTP client from home, but no problems from work. Must be the uber-security the wife has set up at home. Anyway, I also added dead links to what will eventually be a page with my resume and more video samples. I also put CoasterRadio.com on there, just for kicks. I've been doing some reading about embedding video on websites, and it seems that the way to go is to build 'object' tags for embedding Quicktime and not use WMVs at all. So, I think I will try to get my videos all over to Quicktime and re-upload them.

Second, I got an email from GoDaddy that they automatically charged my credit card for another month of hosting! I know I definitely did not sign up for an automatic renewal, so I investigated a bit. I couldn't find any setting in my account to turn this off or preventing it form happening again, so I guess I'll have to live with paying the $6.99 a month until I decide to investigate hosting options. I'm fairly satisfied with the whole having a website thing, so I will eventually look into a long-term hosting plan with someone.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Google Snippets

A big part of this whole getting myself online thing was a motivation to get my old college Geocities website out of the top spot when people Google "eric bolstridge." Well, I've definately done that with my new pages, this blog, as well as updating my IMDb profile. But what really did it was simply going to Google and looking into how to force the solution.

Google bots troll the internet grabbing snippets from sites, and it doesn't update those snippets too often for unpopular sites. That's why my old Geocities page still had the old description. So, I added a tag ([googlebot metadata=nosnippet] or something like that) to my geocities page that would make the bot not list the site. Then, I requested the Google bot please re-scrape my site. A couple days later, the site is gone from Google. Yay!

Thursday, January 4, 2007


Hey, I'm on MySpace now. See my page here. I got my site name, added a video, a couple pictures, got a song on there, whatever. Tom (a friend who MySpace controls and you automatically get on your page when you join), has Mickey Avalon's song Jane Fonda playing on his page (featuring lyrics like "f- me f- me, you know you want me"). It's somewhat interesting to me that MySpace is fully accepted by mainstream society despite its explicit and easily accessible content.

On the www.ericbolstridge.com side of things, I activated my webhosting account and should be able to upload a bit of content.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007


I bought a year of ericbolstridge.com from GoDaddy, as well as a month of web hosting. All together, it cost me like $9. If I can figure everything out well enough, I'll sign up for a longer period and get a reduced price on a long-term agreement.

That was about a week ago. Since then, I haven't done much to get my website actually doing anything. Today I played around with writing something in straight HTML (a skill I used to have way back when), but I didn't really get far. I made a lame template using the Yahoo! Geocities Page Wizard, but that just sucks. I'll see about getting that up on there for now just to practice uploading and making my webpage "live." I suppose having something ugly up there will be something of a motivator for creating something better.

I was able to get the Sonic Roxio MyDVD software working how I wanted it to, by the way. I made a "real" DVD today, with chapter markings and music on the menu and everything. So that's pretty cool.