Monthly Archives: September 2007

Google pushes plug-in hybrids

Google is now making a major push for plug-in hybrids. They have lots of cool data on the actual performance of their fleet, and they are investing $10M in companies that will do plug-in related things. Cool.

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Getting audio off an iPod

I recently needed to get some audio files off of an iPod. As many people are aware, Apple has made this non-trivial without 3rd party software. Luckily, iLounge has a rather comprehensive guide to getting content off an iPod, with info for both Mac and Windows users. Wikipedia has an even more exhaustive comparison of iPod managers, for those that need it.

I ended up using the free Senuti 0.33. It worked quickly, and since I mostly wanted to look at the metadata it was fine. In the comments on the iLounge article, people mentioned iPodDisk as another slick alternative. The 2.0 beta uses MacFUSE to allow one to directly browse the music on the iPod with metadata. I only needed to do this once,  so I didn’t try iPodDisk.

Nihon Noodles = mediocre ramen

Nihon Noodles is a new ramen restaurant that opened in the old Neo Nabe location next to Bunmedio bakery on King St. They boast Hakata, Tokyo, and Sapporo style ramen. Yuka and I both tried the Hakata-style ramen, and I ordered 3 pieces of gyoza. The gyoza came out several minutes before the ramen, which is a bad sign (gyoza almost always takes longer than the ramen at a good place). The gyoza weren’t terrible, but tasted like they were bought frozen and then cooked.

The ramen itself was not very good. The noodles were cooked too long, and there were too many of them for the bowl they were served in. The broth was OK, nothing special. My char siu slice was pretty tough (I could not bite off a piece when holding it with chopsticks).

We were the only customers during the time we were there, and there were more employees than customers. Not a good sign.

We won’t be going back, even if we had a coupon. The problem for a new ramen shop is that Honolulu already has several excellent ramen purveyors. Thus, it’s not enough for a new ramen shop to be OK or good, it has to be as good as or better than the competition. I’m going to call this the incumbent threshold.

MarcoPolo, context-aware location switching for OS X

MarcoPolo is a very cool little GPL-licensed application that allows you to define different contexts (which are often locations) and switch between them based on fuzzy rule matching. The rules are based on evidence like what WiFi access points are nearby, what monitor your are connected to, what USB devices are attached, etc. When switching to a context, MarcoPolo can perform a variety of actions, like changing the default printer, changing your iChat status message, etc.

So the most common usage pattern is to create contexts for the different locations you use your computer, use the rules to detect your location, and then set up actions you want to take when you arrive or leave a location. Very cool stuff, and it’s open source too boot!