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14 March, 2003

More on Whole Wheat Radio

I few days ago I mentioned a webcast known as Whole Wheat Radio, which originates from a small town in Alaska. I've been an avid listener ever since.

Yesterday, around noon, a severe wind storm knocked out the power in Talkeetna, and WWR ceased its webcast. They're back up now, but I must admit that I really missed it while it was gone. To fill the void, I went so far as to check out some other webcasts using the list at shoutcast.com. Nothing I found even came close.

I'm sure that most people who tune into WWR don't stick around very long. And that's a good thing. Those who do stay are the ones who "get it" and turn into WheatHeads. The best way to listen to WWR is to keep their web page handy. There, you can read or participate in an ongoing chat, find out the name of the current song, make requests, view photos, and see how many other listeners are aboard.

I'm actually kind of fascinated with the technology behind it. I'm not at all sure how it works, but I do know that much (all?) of it is automated, and there's quite a bit of custom programming involved. For example, if you make a request, the song is played immediately with no human intervention. In addition, there are even  robots that interact in the chat window. I think the entire webcast could go on quite a while with no human intervention. Maybe someday Jim Kloss will explain how it all works.

One more thing. WWR has given me a new appreciation for independent musicians. Over the past few days, I've discovered some incredible artists that I never would have found otherwise. Just a few examples: Edie Carey, Eva CassidySarah HansonKaren Savoca, and Larry Zarella.

Posted on 14 March, 2003

BodyTag

BodyTag: Explorations in Web programming.

You'll find lots of unusual and interesting things here, using Java, JavaScript, and DHTML.

Posted on 14 March, 2003

I Get Fan Mail

Every once in a while, I get fan mail about my books or web site. This morning's email yielded three! Here's one from Mark in from the UK.

I don't think I have ever been inspired to send an email of thanks to an author of a technical book before, but in this case, I feel I have to. I use Access and Excel heavily in my work, and although I am generally regarded as an Excel wiz, my programming ability with Access has always been far more advanced. I bought your book about a year ago partly as a "just in case I need it" reference but also with view to developing my Excel VBA whenever I got some time. Simply put, I love this book. It is easy to read, easy to understand, easy to apply, full of examples that actually mean something to the reader and the companion CD  itself is a work of genius. I have actually found myself thinking "did this guy write this book for me?".

Mark also requested that I write a programming book for Access. He's certainly not the first person to request that. I also get requests to write a book on MS Word. Fact is, mastering Excel is just about all my brain can handle. I have no interest in Access, and I think MS Word is a bloated, buggy, and confusing piece of crap that gets worse with each upgrade -- yet I use it every day.

But then again, I'm getting very bored with Excel (and the lack of new features in Excel 2003 doesn't help the situation). I need a new interest. But we can definitely eliminate Access and Word. Maybe I'll see if I can get into InfoPath.

Posted on 14 March, 2003

Happy Pi Day

Happy Pi Day. It's 3.14. The festivities begin at 1:59.

I'll bet this was a very festive day 410 years ago. They probably sang these Pi Day Songs.

Posted on 14 March, 2003

A Real Cat Lover

Knee-High Cat Feces Found In Home

A broken pipe led to the discovery of a house full of cats with feces as high as a person's knee, according to a Local 6 News report. Last summer, residents of the St. Louis-area home were ordered to vacate the home in Lemay, Mo., but for some reason six cats remained. The filth inside has been growing ever since, according to the report.

Posted on 14 March, 2003

Insect Close-Ups

Beautiful insects, close up. And I mean really close, as in electron microscope close.

Posted on 14 March, 2003

Rude Food

A collection of food products from around the world that have "suggestive" names.

Welcome, friends of the asinine, to the wide and wonderful world of Rude Food. Only here will your scholarly curiosity be rewarded with a rare glimpse into the global study of smutty sustenance.

Some of these items may not be suitable for family viewing.

Posted on 14 March, 2003

The Simpsons Complete Episode Guide

An excellent reference, worthy of a bookmark.

For each episode of The Simpsons, it displays the original air date, a plot summary, and a list of the guest stars.

Posted on 14 March, 2003

More Anti-War Posters

Here's an example of the printable posters available here.

Posted on 14 March, 2003

The Heartbreak of Trimethylaminuria

This story talks about a disease also known as "fish odor syndrome."

This is a genetically inherited disease. The liver cannot metabolize trimethylamine, a chemical produced by naturally occurring intestinal bacteria. The substance is then expelled in urine, perspiration and other bodily secretions, causing a pungent smell.

"It really is very like the odor of decaying fish," he said. "It's a very powerful smell."

Posted on 14 March, 2003