Random Thoughts

Tech, words and musings from an Englishman in Seattle

Chatback - Talk To Me Directly From This Blog

You'll notice over on the right hand side of the blog (if you're reading this on “the website”:, rather than through RSS) a little widget that will let you chat to me, even if you don't have a Google Talk account!

Sweet or what?

This new feature of Talk, Chatback, just shipped - developed by the Google Talk team right here in Kirkland.

IM'ing With The Neighbours

I can't believe I'm sat at home instant messaging with my neighbours - I'm helping someone get setup with Google Apps.

This must be what it's like to be a geek at college these days. Except with bigger dorm rooms.

Netflix To Abandon HD-DVD

I just received the following email from Netflix

We're Going Blu-ray

Dear Steve,

You're receiving this email because you have asked to receive high-definition movies in the HD DVD format. As you may have heard, most of the major movie studios have recently decided to release their high-definition movies exclusively in the Blu-ray format. In order to provide the best selection of high-definition titles for our members, we have decided to go exclusively with Blu-ray as well.

While we will continue to make our current selection of HD DVD titles available to you for the next several months, we will not be adding additional HD DVD titles or reordering replacements.

Toward the end of February, HD DVDs in your Saved Queue will automatically be changed to standard definition DVDs. Then toward the end of this year, all HD DVDs in your Queue will be changed to standard definition DVDs. Don't worry, we will contact you before this happens.

You can click here to change your format preferences.

We're sorry for any inconvenience. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please call us at 1 (888) 638-3549.

-The Netflix Team

That just sucks. I was about to cancel my subscription anyhow as I get more value from Amazon Unbox (and I believe I'll get a lot of value from iTunes movie rentals once Apple releases the AppleTV upgrade).

See ya Netflix. It was nice knowing you.

Memeflow Still Gives Me Warm Fuzzies

I'm always astounded my the number of people that use goto, my little ajax experiment from a few years ago.

Yes the number of seven day actives is only a few hundred, but the fact that it still runs, unassisted and with no real problems gives me the warm fuzzies :-)

It was a nice little project that solved a personal need and obviously solved the need of a few other people out there.

At that is reason enough to keep it ticking along.

Flash Photography

I hate flashes. I really do. I hate the antiseptic feel; the hard shadows; the unnatural light. You'll never see me use a flash.

Of course, this is because I have no idea how to use a flash properly.

I think I've popped the little built in flash on my D200 about three times and hated every single moment of it. As a result I think I've got very good at hand holding the camera - sometimes up to half a second. The stabilization in my primary lens doesn't hurt either (neither does my 80mm 1.8f lens).

But I think I might be missing out.

I need to learn how to use a flash properly.

To this end, I've been reading Strobist a lot recently and man are there some great photographs there. And of course it all looks very geeky and fun.

Check out more of the photographer's work - isn't it astounding?

I think I've been too much of a no-flash snob.

So to set things straight I think I'll start with one of these; a few of these; and maybe a few things from here.

Hmmm. My birthday is just around the corner…

© 2001 to present, Steve Lacey.