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Wed, 3 Jan 2007

Software: is it too much to ask?

— SjG @ 2:22 pm

OK. Entrepreneurs, read up. I’m gonna give you some ideas that’ll make you rich.

Start my ranting:

1. Can I really be the only person who wants to share Thunderbird/Seamonkey address books with a spouse? I mean, how hard can it be?

What I’d like:

  • Each of our “Personal Address Book” collections show up as a list on one another’s address books as a list (e.g., mine shows up on my wife’s machine as “Samuel’s Address Book”. It could use the machine name instead, if it’s easier).
  • We can see one another’s mailing lists in our address books
  • Manual sync is fine — automatic would be even better
  • Simplistic merging is OK, so long as there’s a way to resolve conflicts
  • Ability to mark lists as private or shared

2. Can I really be the only person who wants to share a checkbook program with a spouse? I mean, how hard can it be?

What I’d like:

  • Ability to enter checks / charges / deposits into a common account register
  • Ability for either person to perform reconciliation
  • Ability to have accounts that are not shared

3. Can I really be the only person who wants to have an intelligent, revision-capable backup script that doesn’t require shell on the destination end? I mean, how hard can it be?

What I’d like:

  • rdiff-backup, only permitting an ftp-based push of the backup file.

More to come, as I experience more outrage.


Tue, 2 Jan 2007

In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash

— SjG @ 10:02 pm

Jean Shepherd, Doubleday 1966

I arrived at this book via the now-obligatory film Christmas Story. The film is not only adapted from the book, but is narrated by Shepherd.

The movie, it must be stated, is cobbled together from numerous unrelated episodes from the book, and yet forms a much more cohesive narrative arc than the book. The book is a collection of reminiscences, but the thread that ties them together is meandering stream-of-consciousness rather than a telling of a particular story.

The various episodes vary in their impact and quality. Shepherd’s talent for exaggeration and consciously creating mythic trappings for the mundane is the source of some of the humor; self-deprecation, an occasional winking (to let you know that he knows you’re in on the joke), and a real sense of which details are important supply the rest.

Shepherd’s approach is more successful for some stories than others. Some, however, are profound. “Leopold Doppler and the Great Orpheum Gravy Boat Riot” gives insights into human nature, the Great Depression, and manages to create the very distinct feel of a specific time and place.

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