Oct. 14th, 2010 09:43 am
walkitout: (Default)
The cute kind, you know, black with the ears?

We're going a little later this year. I've had the flight and rooms and ADRs for months, but am only now poking around to look at ride closures. I've been fearing the prospect of ToonTown being completely closed for the Fantasyland expansion, but it looks like it isn't. Pooh's Playful Spot is already closed (along with Scuttle's Landing and so forth), but I don't think I care that much. It looks like the teacups and Winnie the Pooh will be closed for renovations while we are there, which is a slight bummer. Both kids like spinning rides, and Winnie the Pooh is awesomely cute. In good news, it looks like the Barnstormer is still open.

We have four park days, so there's always the possibility of going to a park other than MK. OTOH, we're going at a dead time of year, and there's only one EMH day at MK; it is very tempting to just eat breakfast and go to the park when it opens (at the gloriously late hour of 9 a.m.) every day and know that the kids will have a grand time with minimal omg something new. Again.
walkitout: (Default)
R. took T. to Boston Children's Museum today. He bought us a pass, so we now have one copy of it each with our name's on it (temporary -- permanents will arrive later) and I've ordered one for the local museums even tho strictly speaking they have reciprocity. This way, when B. forgets to give us back the Discovery Museum pass back, it won't matter at all.

On the way back from the museum, he stopped at the Boca Grande to get burritos, and brought extras home, so I had one for lunch. He also stopped at Newbury Comics and bought CDs, including this one.

Which sounds exactly like what I expect Maroon 5 to sound like. I am happy.

ETA: Altho to be fair, probably a whole lot of the credit for that should go to the producer.
walkitout: (Default)
Yeah, curation is really a word, and I'm pretty sure that's what I meant to say.

I have been extremely hazy on exactly how things would work if I bought something on one device and wanted access to it on other devices: specifically, if I bought an app on an iPad, would I have to syn both iPads to my MacBook to move it from one iPad to the other. One day, I decided I just couldn't be bothered, and attempted to rebuy an app (specifically, bubbles, altho I don't know why because my children are shockingly uninterested in it). R. had bought it through my account for T.'s iPad. When I attempted to rebuy it on my iPad for A., it gave me a prompt saying I'd already bought that one, did I want to re-download it.

Now _that_ is the way it should work.

I have not yet explored how the whole book and music thing works out.
walkitout: (Default)
I'm really glad I did, because while they are relatively commodity items, the ones that came with it are white and the commodity ones are usually black. White works a little better with the green face and the maple box. And it sounds every bit as good as I remember.


Aug. 12th, 2010 06:01 pm
walkitout: (Default)
The lid for the (mostly) indestructible le creuset wok has taken major damage: the paint has peeled and it has been dinged up and bent (I have the old metal lid, not the newer glass lid). Thus far, efforts to find a replacement have failed. Ideas welcome.

I also seem to be missing the lids for the rubbermaid mixing bowls and a frigoverre container. I'm guessing these disappeared during the huge destruction that happened when my sister was living in my condo. Compared to the really nice fans that went on permanent walkabout, this is incredibly minor.

I am now convinced I've opened every box. I have not, however, unwrapped everything. I determined that HGRM definitely accepts sets of glassware, so I'm going to be boxing a bunch up for them. I still have to get the laserdisc player and VCR out to Best Buy, but that's all the way out in Framingham, so I think I'll wait until I've collected all the stray electronic bits that are floating around.

I found the four Baccarat glasses today. I don't remember precisely what happened to the decanter, but I think it got broken somehow and I only have the stopper left. The glasses were wrapped in a single sheet of newsprint each, which was really hilariously funny, given how much extra wrapping there was around things that I picked up for fifty cents or thereabouts at garage sales.
walkitout: (Default)
I still need to find the power cord and the external antenna, but the box is here and the other bits are commodity anyway.

This is a radio, for anyone who is wondering. It's the one that was in the kitchen in my condo. It cleaned up great, too; the dust-encrusted grease came right off the case and the maple wood matches my hutch perfectly.

I foresee a whole lot of NPR in my future.


Aug. 11th, 2010 07:19 pm
walkitout: (Default)
I think I've opened all of the boxes (altho you never know; I just spotted one this morning I hadn't cracked), but I have not gone through all the contents. One of the issues is that there is a lot of glassware and related breakables. If I don't have a place to put them, I don't really want to unwrap them, altho I sort of am for sorting purposes.

I have already discovered the lovely fact that Staples will let you bring in computer bits and pieces (in this case, there was a dead cell phone, 2 all-in-one printer/fax/scanners and a keyboard) and they will recycle them in a way that is compliant with e-waste rules. At least at the Staples in my town, I didn't have to pay a thing; I expected to have to pay for the printers, but I did not.

I found a dead laptop that will be headed over there tomorrow. It looks like I will have to bring the laserdisc player (yeah, there was one of those buried in my condo somewhere -- complete with karaoke features and microphone) and the VCR somewhere else, probably a Best Buy.

I've also been attempting to find a place to donate kitchen equipment, because we have a lot of spares: stuff from R.'s days alone, my days alone, our days together in Seattle, and then what we actually use here at home. It's nice having some extra equipment to deploy for parties, but this is nuts. I think a bunch of that will be going to Home Goods Recycling of Massachusetts, conveniently located here in town and even more conveniently they have no-appointment-needed dropoff hours from 9-noon tomorrow.

I feel a little weird, that I had all this crap shipped across country to just get rid of a lot of it. However, it was difficult enough communicating things like _yes dammit I want all the chairs_, never mind getting into the details of glassware I didn't realize was in the condo in the first place. I've got a call out to C. to try to find out whether I should be hanging onto stuff that I don't recognize in the kitchen for her, or if I should just recycle all of that stuff. Some of it is Crate & Barrel, which is nice, but isn't necessarily our style; I'd hate to get rid of it if they want to keep it and are willing to at least meet us halfway in getting it.
walkitout: (Default)
It has been hot and I have been sick so it has been weeks since I've been out on the bike. Sure, I'd take A. out once in a while for a quick round the block in the evening. But we were even driving T. to and from preschool; it was just unpleasantly warm and we had negative memories of struggles last year when it was so hot.

But today, A. was happy to go to Staples with me to recycle a couple printers and a keyboard. She was not so happy to go to the doctor. Specifically, she was not getting in a car again. So instead, we rode the bike to the doctor. Gotta love being able to do that. We rode the bike back. Then we switched to the other bike, and a different seat for her (wow, the mini is really too small for her now; we'll have to put the bike tutor back on the bianchi) so we could take the trailabike for T. As we were headed out, L. arrived (B. was not here today because she has no transportation, and there was no window in our schedule to go get her or drop A. off). But rather than decant A. from the bike seat (which was cramped, but she seemed okay in), I headed out to go get T. L. and S. at the school helped us get settled with T.'s backpack, and get T. into his helmet and on the bike, then back home again.

Feeling really, really sweaty.

But the kids were basically happy. I was starving. L. fed A. while I grabbed pb&marmalade on an english muffin and repeatedly reassured T. that yes, we would go out on the bike again. Altho he wanted to switch back to the Townie. Go figure.

He didn't have any verbalized opinion about where to go, so I took us out to the consignment store where I bought a bunch of clothes for the kids and put a hold on some little tikes stuff (a kitchen and a shop thing).

walkitout: (Default)
There's been some loose talk about giving ebooks and why kindle does not support that. The reasons I can imagine fall roughly into three inter-related categories: UI problems, privacy and spam/abuse concerns and relative importance.

I believe this will be the first winter gift giving season where most people receiving gifts might plausibly be assumed to have the ability to read a kindle ebook. This is not to say that they own a kindle or have ever even seen one in real life. But most people could get a free kindle reader and read a kindle ebook on a PC, Mac, iPhone or iPad or iTouch, blackberry, etc. This was not the case in previous winter gift giving seasons. Thus the relative desire of people to give ebooks has gotten much more fulfillable in principle and is therefore more important to Amazon to implement.

If Amazon implemented a gift feature that let anyone with access to a browser send free ebooks (or a message to that effect) to any email address, Amazon would be inviting spam of a variety of forms. (Some obvious ones: can you just imagine religious organizations bombing every email address they could lay hands on with their scripture of choice? Or some marketing organization posting a spiel as a free book on amazon and then spamming it to everyone?) It might also incur large cellular costs. And that is ignoring the massive PR debacle. (Massive PR debacle could still occur if, for instance, someone got hold of a list of schoolkids' emails and sent them all copies of Nabokov's _Lolita_. Hell, copies of Huck Finn would work, for that matter.)

That brings me to the real problem where all the solutions lie as well. Here are my predictions for how Amazon will implement giving ebooks for kindle.

First, they will require the giver to log in to a valid Amazon account with one-click settings turned on. This will prevent most spam and simplify the screens in the gift process. It should also slow underage kids down somewhat.

Second, they will not let you give free ebooks. I further bet they won't even forward a recommendation of a free ebook.

Third, they will not let the giver know whether the recipient owns a kindle or whether the recipient already owns the book. They better not or there will be trouble, because this would be a massive violation of privacy and I could see public figures being targeted.

Finally, they will need to have a limit on who you can send gifts to. They can give the recipient the option of declining the gift in favor of store credit, but I doubt they want to get involved in unclaimed property laws. I am guessing they will limit recipients to either Amazon account holders or at least people who will round trip a response to a email notice that someone gave them a gift.

Here's what I think it would look like to a giver:

I go to Amazon. I browse for books. Assuming my one-click settings are turned on and Amazon thinks it knows who I am, when I'm looking at the detail page for a kindle book, I can click on the buy now button. It'll show me the list of which-kindle-to-deliver-it-to, and the bottom option would be "this is a gift". Alternatively, there'd be a separate buy-now button which would be buy-this-as-a-gift.

At that point, you'd be dropped into the confirm-your-password, and from there, it'll need to collect some information about who the gift is for. I think it'll want an e-mail address, and if it doesn't know that e-mail address already, it'll say something like, sorry, you can't send directly to this e-mail address, but you can invite them to sign up (sort of like the they-don't-have-a-wish-list page). If it does know that e-mail address, and that person hasn't opted out of (or failed to opt in for) receiving kindle books as gifts (more on that momentarily), it'll then do the little do-you-want-to-send-a-gift-message dance. They might do something really nice, too, like let you send a gift message that shows up in the notification e-mail, and separately provide an "inscription" for the ebook, which would be a special case of annotations in the ebook.

From the recipient's perspective, here's what gift giving would look like. You'd have the choice of _not_ receiving kindle ebooks as gifts: either an opt in (yes, I would like to let people send me kindle ebooks) or an opt out (no, I do not want to let people send me kindle ebooks). I don't think it matters which one they choose, but someone out there probably could generate some pros and cons.
[ETA: Wow, another two minutes of thought answered that question. I think they'll make it so if you've bought at least one kindle e-book for yourself, you are opted-in and have to opt-out manually. If you've never bought a kindle e-book for yourself, then you have to opt-in manually. They can stick on the opt in/out page all the boilerplate about how they handle the ebooks you don't either download or opt for store credit on, thus solving the unclaimed property legal problem.] Once someone send you an e-book, you'd get a message from Amazon saying you had received a kindle ebook as a gift. There would be a link letting you go to some part of Manage Your Kindle or Manage Your Account or the Media Library or somewhere. That link would give you some choices. It might say, hey, we know you already own this as an ebook, so you got a credit in the kindle store for this amount. Or, it might say, somebody sent you this ebook. Would you like to accept it, or would you prefer to get a credit in the kindle store for this amount. If you accepted it, then you'd get to decide which kindle to have it sent to. Press this button to send a thank you message to the person who sent it to you might be an option, too.

Amazon might put up a little message on your home page when you log in, telling you you have gift ebooks in the wherever it is center, if you haven't followed up based on the email yet.

The worst part is trying to explain to people what to do to send a kindle book as an ebook if they are not logged in and/or don't have 1-click settings set up. They could supply screens: basically put a button on every kindle ebook detail page saying buy-this-as-a-gift, and then walk you through identifying the recipient (since there would be no point in making someone supply payment and all if they can't give a gift to the person they want to give it to), then collecting identifying information and payment information from the sender. This is an absolute nightmare, however. If the sender doesn't have an Amazon account and/or doesn't have payment information set up, odds are that is because they have some sort of issue with the process. They might not like e-anything. They might not like turning over credit cards online. Whatever. If they are really inexperienced and start mucking about with the back button and what-all, it is just going to be an unpleasant experience all around. It is entirely possible, however, that Amazon doesn't want to roll out a gift giving process that doesn't have a solution for this particular set of issues (giver doesn't currently have an Amazon account and wants to _not_ have an Amazon account, but wants to send someone who owns a kindle an ebook this winter gift giving season). The small number of people who won't have an account with Amazon and do want to send a kindle ebook as a gift is going to involve some noisy ones who complain online loudly and in (possibly inaccurate) detail about how it didn't work for them.

The above would be the long form of what I previously referred to as nasty, hairy problems with coding up a way to let people give kindle ebooks as gifts.

One might reasonably ask, but how would it work if you were shopping on your kindle? And the answer to that will be, I doubt it will work in v.1. If, indeed, it ever becomes possible to buy a friend an ebook from your own kindle reader. Just thinking about it makes me nervous.

ETA: The interaction with the wish list should work _beautifully_.

ETAYA: It might make sense to do a more fine-grained setting on who can send me ebooks: anyone can send me vs. anyone in my address list can send me vs. no one can send me. Probably not a v.1 feature.
walkitout: (Default)
Earlier this month, my friend T. in Seattle was kind enough to supervise the packing and loading up of virtually everything that R. and I left in Seattle, back in 2003 when I first moved east, and again in 2006 when we returned from about a year and a half together in Seattle. Some of it was in my condo, being used by renters. Some of it was in a storage unit. I hired Gentle Giant to do the actual packing and lifting and hauling and lifting and delivering; they did a fantastic job, which was nothing less than what I expected. We had used them in our move from Mayberry, NH (yeah, not really the name of the town) to where we live now in Massachusetts and had only good things to think of them.

Today was delivery day. The arrival window was 9-11 a.m., and I didn't wake up until 9:20, leading to a few minutes of panic while I ascertained that I had not, in fact, failed to respond to phone calls and/or door bell and/or knocking. I got a call a little while later saying they wouldn't arrive until noon, which increased my will-they-be-done-in-time-for-me-to-pick-up-my-son concerns. But they were done and gone in a little over 2 hours.

Most of the boxes are in the basement, where I will have to find time to open and sort through them. We swapped the eat-in kitchen table and instead of having not nearly enough chairs scattered around the house, we now have a few too many (which is just fine). I've already hung a half dozen or so pictures.

And I've also found still more things that do not belong to me, that will need to be delivered to our former renters, who, conveniently, now live in New York State. Depending on how much there is, maybe we should arrange a visit to do the handoff.

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