Richard Tallent’s occasional blog

RSS is still missing comments

A blog is a conversation, not a publication. Yet, there’s still apparently no standardized support for having a conversation thread, and coming back to a post to view it when comments are added. This is one feature set that the blogging world should bring over from the Facebooks of the world. Read more →

The Missing Computer for the Elderly

My grandparents, now in their early 80s, are visiting from Tennessee this week. They are still incredibly independent, living at home half the year and driving their RV down to Florida every winter. But they aren’t in perfect health, especially when it comes to vision, and though they have Facebook and email, they aren’t computer experts. Let’s just say their email addresses still end with “@aol.com.” My grandfather wanted to buy a new laptop, since his is “too slow. Read more →

Word for OS X and Huge PDFs

I saved a PDF file from Word for Mac 2011, and noticed that this tiny 3-page Word file (some text and a logo, a prospectus for the Beaumont Art League) was weighing in at 2.2MB! Unfortunately, I didn’t notice this until after I sent it as an attachment to board members and staff. After bumbling around online, I found this solution on Eduardo Valle’s blog. His solution didn’t work for me, but an alternate solution offered in the comments worked perfectly — saving the file as an old-school DOC file, and exporting to PDF from it instead of my DOCX master. Read more →

Social Security and the Debt

I saw yet another graphic on Facebook being shared that claims that Social Security has no problems at all, and that we don’t need reforms. Unfortunately, much as I am a fan of the system and its successes, this just isn’t the case. Until now, we’ve been running a surplus in Social Security taxes, due to the balance of young vs. retired workers. Now, we’re right at the edge of the revenue equalling the payouts. Read more →

To NULL or not to NULL, the answer is still NULL

I randomly came across this post by Paul White while reading this question on StackOverflow. I don’t have much to add to Paul’s excellent little trick here, other than to say this exact situation came up last week for me and I was kinda wishing Microsoft would add the “IS DISTINCT FROM” operator to MSSQL. Great tip, I’m going to have to share this one at work. Read more →

Back Again

Every few years, I get the blog bug again, I post a few updates, and then I fall off the wagon. But I really, really miss two things about blogging, which is why I’m back again: I’m tired of soundbite updates, be they on Twitter or Facebook. Blogging is all about reading something with meat on the bones, and I miss that, whether the topic of discussion is programming, politics, photography, or my other interests. Read more →

Browser of the Future

Note: this was originally published on 2003-07-02. The predictions came true, but not along the path I expected. Instead, we’ve seen rich JavaScript-based UI frameworks like ExtJS make “native-ish” web application development a snap, and Flash and Silverlight (the latter being closest to my expectations) have become the de facto, though controversial, replacement platforms in the browser. Posted here for posterity. If anyone has a way to easily convert old dasBlog content to WordPress, please let me know… Read more →

This post “originally written” in Objective C. Prove me wrong.

Apple has been getting a lot a grief this week for changing their iPhone / iPad SDK Section 3.3.1 to say the following (emphasis added): 3.3.1 — Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e. Read more →

Advice to Models for picking a Wedding Photographer

Reposted from my reply on a modeling forum thread._ This advice is particularly for models, but there are some general principles here too that are important for anyone choosing a wedding photographer. While I admit I’m biased in what I think is important (as a wedding photographer myself), I know most of my blog audience isn’t local and won’t think of this as an advertisement._ My own prices range from about $2k to $5k. Read more →

A VRBO Review

Since the VRBO web site kinda sucks and doesn’t allow property reviews, I’ll post my review here. Maybe some enterprising vacationer with some Google-brains will find it. Property reviewed: http://www.vrbo.com/261334 Beachfront 2-Bedroom/2-Bath Ocean Drive, South Beach, The Strand, Miami Beach We visited South Beach, apparently, during the coldest January on record, so we ended up spending a LOT more time in the condo than we originally intended. Read more →