Summer Movie Round-up

It’s almost Labor Day, and I’ve been thinking of doing a wrap-up of Summer movies I’ve seen, so here goes:

  • Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
    Yeah, it’s dark. But didn’t it need to be to set the table for A New Hope?
  • Mr. and Mrs. Smith
    I often don’t even like Brad Pitt or his movies, but he was good here and it is a good movie.
  • Batman Begins
    We arrived late and ended up sitting in the front row, which definitely detracted from the experience. I never knew Batman was a Jedi Knight. The story was most certainly crafted by someone very familiar with Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand too. Michael Caine was brilliant as Alfred.
  • Wedding Crashers
    Another good turn by a guy whose films I don’t usually care for, this time Owen Wilson. I laughed “MAO.” Dana was practically rolling on the floor laughing too. I have never seen her laugh so much or hard. Vince Vaughn was excellent. We probably should have gone to see it again to catch the jokes we missed the first time around because of all the laughter.
  • Must Love Dogs
    Diane Lane and John Cusack (two of my favorites) among others do romantic comedy very well. Perhaps not the laugh fest of Wedding Crashers, but it hit the mark.

Tubing photos

Tubing in the Ichetucknee River.I’m a little behind on posting here, but I thought it worth mentioning that I’ve posted a couple of photo galleries from July tubing adventures at Ichetucknee Springs State Park.

On July 23, Andy and Joy brought Mom and the boys and we floated from Dampier’s Landing down to the South end take-out point. The photos were taken with a Fujifilm waterproof disposable film camera and processed and scanned to cd at Harmon’s in Gainesville.

On July 30, Dana and I got an early start and floated from the North end to Dampier’s Landing. These photos were taken with my Canon Powershot G1 digital camera using my new Aquapac waterproof case. Be sure not to miss the manatees.

Me, the podcaster

I wrote today at work about a recent quick project wherein I added a podcast to the Rock104 web site.

My friend Matt, the designer of the Rock104 site, asked me if he could use the code for AnRWatch.com, another site he’s involved with. I was happy to share the code, but it had to be rewritten in PHP first, which I did as a learning exercise. That ended up being easier than I thought it would be. AnR Watch is a monthly webzine that promotes new, unsigned rock bands.

I mentioned these projects to my friend Susanna, who I know is interested in podcasting since she’s both a musician and a web designer. She asked if she could use the code for podcasting sermon recordings on her church site. I sent her the code.

R.I.P. Trusty old Cuisinart

After 19 years and I don’t know how many pizza crusts, my trusty old Cuisinart food processor bit the dust this evening. The cause of death is cracks in the drive shaft and the blade assembly at their interface point. It’s been making motor bearing noise for years though so I’ve known the time was coming.

Quoth Dana, “I think you got your money’s worth out of it.”

It almost couldn’t happen at a better time as this weekend is a holiday weekend and that means that there will be a sale at the outlet mall. It will probably be replaced with a KitchenAid.

Zeldman marks 10 years…

And I mark nine and a half. Web design guru Jeffrey Zeldman wrote two weeks ago about the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the launch of his personal web site, just a few months after publishing his first commercial web work, for a movie.

That summer of 1995, sometime in June or July, Tony Barr (the owner of Barr Systems, where I then worked as Publications Editor) walked into my office and said words to the effect of, “Craig, we need to have a web site and you’re the one to build it.” Sometime that July, my then boss Paul Firth, the marketing director, and I went to Orlando to a seminar on “Internet Marketing” where we didn’t learn much besides the fact that everyone else present was new at this stuff too. That trip also marked another more personal milestone, but that’s perhaps a story for another time.

My first encounter with Jeffrey Zeldman came sometime when I worked for Barr and started reading A List Apart, on online magazine for web developers which he founded, probably during 1999 or 2000. I didn’t know specifically of Zeldman though until my friend Erin pointed his personal site out to me in 2001 or 2002 and I connected him to A List Apart at that time. I met Jeffrey in the Fall of 2003 at the WebDevShare conference at Indiana University, where he was the keynote speaker. He autographed my copy of his book and couldn’t believe that I brought it with me on the plane in hopes of getting it signed. I met him again this year at the SXSW Interactive conference in Austin, Texas and even had my photo taken with him. He reminds me of a lot of guys I grew up with in “New York’s Southern Branch Office” (Miami if you can’t figure that out).

We launched the Barr Systems web site within days of the 1996 New Year. I stuck around Barr until the Winter of 2001 doing less and less print and more and more web (with some programming thrown in), until I left for the slightly less green, but more friendly pastures of the University of Florida, where I had worked before Barr. (If you ever want to see me head for a door, just suggest that I become a programmer.) I don’t recall exactly when I first launched my personal site with an Atlantic.net “tilde” URL, but it was probably in 1996 or 1997. It became CraigDidIt.com in 2004.

Favorite free photo utilities

Justin asked me the other day if there was an easier way to process a bunch of digital photos for e-mail (downsizing them) rather than opening each one in an editing program, resizing, and resaving by hand.

That got me to thinking about what my favorite free photo utitilities are and here they are (one for Macs, one for Windows, and a Java one that’s cross-platform).

ThumbsUp (Mac)
This is what I told Justin to download. Configure it, drag your big files onto it, and you are presented with a folder of files resized to your specifications.
IrFanView (Win)
I don’t use this much at work since I almost always have Photoshop open, but it’s great if you need a quick view or transformation. I tell my Windows-using, digital-camera-owning friends that this “swiss army knife” should be their first download.
JAlbum (Java, multi-platform)
Not a simple viewer or utility, but a great web photo album creator. If you’re handy at coding pages, in no time at all you can build a “skin” that matches the rest of your web site.
Gallery (web application)
Gallery is what I use to run the online photo gallery here. It has received quite a few files that were processed with ThumbsUp. You gotta have your own web site to run it.