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Archive: January 2006

AEA Atlanta Registration Open

Registration for AEA Atlanta is now open, so y’all sign up and come see us, y’hear?  It’ll be both a hoot and a holler.  Shoot, we can all have a Coke together.

Just make sure to sign up before March 3rd, unless you want to miss out on the $50 early bird discount.  If you need to exert a little pressure on your boss to cough up the funds, AEA Philadelphia sold out about two weeks before the early bird deadline.

Just sayin’.

How to Avoid Jet Lag

Inspired by some recent conversations and a post by Dave Shea, I’m going to share with you my Sooper-Dooper No-Patent-Pending DIY Anti-Jet-Lag Technique.  I used it in my trips to and from the UK, Japan, and Australia this past year, and I didn’t have jet lag going either direction for any one of those trips.  The technique is so simple, you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it first.  Unless you did, in which case you can feel all smug.

Here it is: after getting your usual amount of nightly sleep, wake up at your normal time in the target time zone.

All right, maybe it doesn’t sound simple.  What I mean is, figure out what time the day starts at your destination.  Then modify your sleep schedule to synchronize with it before you get there.  So if you always get up at sunrise, arrange things so you sleep your usual time and wake up at the same time the sun is rising at your destination.

I’ll use my trip to Australia for Web Essentials as an example.  Going there, I flew across America to Los Angeles and then had nine hours before my flight across the Pacific.  The United flight from LAX left at 11:15pm, and arrived in Sydney at approximately 7:00am Sydney time.  Perfect: that’s about when I get up anyway.  I need about six hours of sleep in a night, and the flight was 13.5 hours long.  So I kept myself awake for the first half of the flight, and slept for the second.  When we landed Tuesday, I was all ready to go.  Sure, I was tired, but I was completely synched up with Sydney’s time zone. 

Coming back was tougher, because we departed Sydney at 1:30pm and landed in Los Angeles at 11:15am the same day.  Still, I knew what I had to do: wake up around 7:30am Los Angeles time (give or take an hour; I’m not overly picky about the time I wake up).  So I slept only an hour or two the night before leaving, in order to intentionally shorten my waking time during the flight.  Part way through the flight, I went to sleep, and woke up a few hours before landing.  While I was exhausted all that day, I was in step with LA’s time zone.

As I say, I did the same going to and from Japan, and when I went over to London.  Synching to the UK was actually pretty simple, because going there was a seven-hour direct flight that landed at 7:00am.  I just made sure to sleep for as much of the flight as possible.  The return flight was a special case, as it left in the late morning and landed in the early afternoon, Cleveland time.  So I just kept myself awake until my usual bed time, and got a full night’s sleep.  Ta-daaa!  No jet lag.

It is no shame to support this technique with medication; I do it myself, in fact.  Tylenol PM works well for me, as does Ambien.  I do not, however, medicate myself into wakefulness upon arrival.  No melatonin, which never has any effect on me anyway; and no caffeine, which I basically never consume in any form.

If you use this approach, odds are that you’ll be pretty tired on the day you arrive.  Just keep going until whatever time you’d normally go to sleep, and then sleep until your normal wake time (or maybe an hour or two later, if you’re feeling indulgent).  The next day, you’ll be back up to speed and still in synch with the local time.

Admittedly, this does require some forethought and planning, but it works for me every time.

AEA: Atlanta Bound

That’s right, folks, it’s on.

An Event Apart.  Atlanta.  April.  Alliterative!

We’ve also given a tiny little peek behind the schedule curtain: Seattle, Chicago, and Los Angeles (not necessarily in that order) will be future AEA stops in 2006.  There may be one or two more in addition to that, but we can’t give away all our secrets, now, can we?  Like the actual dates we’ll be in those cities.  Nope, couldn’t possibly give out those.

Okay, the dates aren’t really secrets.  We just don’t know yet.  Scheduling a road show isn’t an exact science.  There’s a lovely and near-continual juggling act with other travel commitments, venue desirability, and venue availability.  The last thing we’d want is to say we’ll be in City A on Date X, and then have to change it later on.  That’s not simply unprofessional—it’s just plain rude.

Of course, if you’d been subscribed to the AEA RSS feed, you’d already know all this.  In fact, you probably are, and do.  Sorry for the redundancy.  Forget I said anything.

Atlanta!  Be there.  Or, you know, be at one of the future shows.  Either way, we look forward to seeing you!

(P.S.  We know that these are all U.S. cities, and there are many of you in Europe who’d like to have the show come there.  We don’t have any non-U.S. plans yet.  Yet.  One day, maybe, but for now we’re going to stick to the country we know.  It makes calculating taxes a lot simpler, plus there aren’t any awkward customs forms to fill out.)

Four Things

Aw, man!  I was just innocently minding my own business when all of a sudden Jeffrey got meme all over me.  Now I have to go shower.

Four jobs I’ve had
  1. McDonald’s grunt—excuse me, “crew member”
  2. Customer Support Specialist (a.k.a. computer lab monitor)
  3. Hypermedia Systems Manager at CWRU
  4. Standards Evangelist for Netscape
Four movies I can watch over and over
  1. Aliens
  2. The Fifth Element
  3. The Killer
  4. Monsters, Inc.
Four places I’ve lived
I’ve lived four other places besides.
  1. Ware, Massachusetts
  2. Bolingbrook, Illinois
  3. Lexington, Ohio
  4. Cleveland, Ohio
Four TV shows I love enjoy
  1. Iron Chef (either current American or original Japanese)
  2. Good Eats
  3. Beakman’s World
  4. Blackadder
Four places I’ve vacationed
  1. Churchhill, Manitoba
  2. Ragged Point, California
  3. Rosarito, Mexico
  4. Guilin, China
Four of my favorite dishes
  1. Carne asada, medium rare
  2. Cedar plank grilled salmon, medium rare
  3. Shrimp scampi
  4. Notso™ Fries at Yours Truly
Four sites I visit daily
  1. Google (but of course)
  2. CNN.com
  3. New Scientist (not quite daily, but close)
  4. meyerweb (to check for comment spam)
Four places I would rather be right now
…so long as my family is with me.
  1. Bora Bora
  2. Cap d’Antibes, France
  3. Santorini Island, Greece
  4. U.S. Virgin Islands
Four bloggers I am tagging
  1. John Allsopp
  2. Ferrett
  3. Molly Holzschlag
  4. Ethan Marcotte

Scenes From An Event Apart

So if you were wondering what An Event Apart Philadelphia was like, well, you’ll have to come to a future Event.  There’s really no substitute.  We’re working hard to get some new cities lined up and announced, as was mentioned earlier today, so hopefully that little tease won’t be a tease for much longer.

But in the meantime, you can check out the little video number Ian Corey did for us, linked to from the new AEA Philadelphia page.  It’s almost two minutes long, four megabytes in size, and eight tons of fun (and requires Quicktime 7, given that it uses the spiffy new H.264 codec).  It has Jeffrey Zeldman, Jason Santa Maria, and me.  So go check it out!

(Note to the deaf and hard of hearing:  the video is captioned for your viewing pleasure.)

Scenes From An Adium Window

Excerpt from an IM session that just now concluded:

Molly Holzschlag: you seem to be a bit more organized than I do

Molly Holzschlag: although your office looks a lot like mine :)

Eric Meyer: My data is organized.  My life is not.

The Lazy or the Tiger?

So I’ve been putting off upgrading from Panther to Tiger for quite some time now.  My base reason is that I’ve been really, really busy, but the other reason is that I kept hearing that it wasn’t worth it.  Now, I’m used to the 10.x.0 version of any major OS X release being unstable and the source of many complaints, but it’s up to 10.4.4 now.  That seems like enough time to work out the kinks.

Plus, I have to use Tiger if I want to play with the Mac version of Google Earth.  So there’s that.

Admittedly, I do have Tiger installed on a partition of an external drive, and I’ve played around with it a little bit.  Still, that’s a very far cry from upgrading my laptop’s hard drive from Panther to Tiger.  I know that any major OS upgrade will mean time and energy spent on managing the transition, including re-installing or upgrading some third-party software.  That’s where the “I’ve been busy” thing comes back into play.  It’s a lot easier to take the lazy route: the system I have now works, so why mess with it?  Then again, that same attitude would have kept me in the Classic OS if I’d let it.  At some point, you have to upgrade.

So I put it to the crowd: is Tiger (now) worth taking the plunge?

Opera and S5 1.2a1

Just as a quick update, I’ve done some testing of S5 1.2a1 in the latest version of Opera I have available (which, under OS X, is version 8.51).  I’m happy to report that this copy of Opera has all of the S5 features supported in other browsers.  Incremental display, font scaling, keyboard navigation, and even the notes window are all present and account for.

To use the notes feature, here’s what I do.  Upon loading the base slideshow into Opera, I position the window on my secondary monitor, which is here taking the role of an LCD projector.  Then I hit “n”, causing the notes window to appear on my laptop’s monitor (in the role of the presenter’s machine).  After bringing the slide show window back to the fore, I select “Full Screen” in the “View” menu, and the presentation maximizes itself to the secondary monitor.  As I navigate through the slide show, the notes window stays perfectly synched with the presentation.

There may be better ways to get the notes window on the primary monitor and the presentation on the secondary monitor, but that one worked for me.

I did notice some odd bugs here and there in Opera 8.02, a copy of which I also have hanging around, but nothing that was a show-stopper.  The one that sticks out in my mind was that multi-slide jumping wasn’t cleared out after the jump.  For example, from the first slide I’d type “3 (right arrow)” to skip to slide four.  Hitting the right arrow again jumped me to slide 7, which is wrong.  Opera 8.5 acted as intended, so I’m going to assume that it has something to do with how the JavaScript is written.

If there are problems in Opera 8.5 or Opera 9 that my testing didn’t uncover, let me know.  I’ll fix anything I can—and if there’s anything I can’t, I’ll turn it over to the Opera community to figure out.  Members of that community have already been invaluable in figuring out how to work around bugs in Opera’s CSS handling in order to make the controls available, so I’m confident they’ll be able to handle anything I can’t figure  out.

January 2006
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