Second Night in Miami

Today I did a bit of exploring. I don’t know how long it has been since I rode a public bus . . . but I managed to figure it out today. I walked a few blocks from my hotel in South Beach to the bus stop, and rode across Biscayne Bay to the Bayside Marketplace, which is evidently a big tourist thing. It is just a bunch of stores . . . and the EB Games doesn’t even have Madden 2006 for the PC (neither does the whole city of Miami, it seems), so I don’t see what the big deal is. It does offer some nice views, though:

Biscayne Bay as seen from the Bayside Marketplace.

My guide book suggested that I ride the Metro Mover – a driverless electric train that is elevated above the street level. Metro Mover is free to ride, and seems to be a good way to get around much of the city. First I rode one of the loops in a . . . loop, to get a general feel for downtown. Then, I rode south to the financial district. Miami is a financial connection to the US for much of Latin America, so the financial district is full of tall bank buildings, and it is quite impressive.

The financial district is also home to luxury apartments such as these.

After sitting out a short rain storm, I headed back north. In my quest for Madden, I got off at a stop that was described as having a “mall”. I ended up walking around what seemed to be a Latin market area, with store after store with electronics, clothes, and perfume. When I decided I had had enough, I tried to get back on the Metro Mover, but it was taking forever, so I walked back to the bus station, and rode back to South Beach.

I ate some good sushi for dinner. I still want to go out for a really nice dinner, but I’ve got plenty of time for that.

First Night of Miami

As promised, I bring you “Night 1 in Miami”.

I will skip the boring details of the flight . . . well let’s just say that the Budweiser restaurant may be getting a letter . . .

Upon arriving at my hotel, I smelled marijuana twice in fifteen minutes. Oh well, that doesn’t bother me; It is just an interesting note. After getting my laptop and speakers set up, I decided to go out and check out South Beach. I have never seen more clubs in my life. The only problem is that almost all of them seem to be “Top 40”. I did expect this, however. This is why I consulted my trusty (well, maybe not so trusty) National Geographic Miami guide book.

The guide book suggested a certain club/bar called “Jazid” about 10 blocks north of my hotel, where it is evidently more laid-back and there is live music (you’d think it might be jazz?) every night. I went in, and there was some horrible solo guy with a guitar on stage, but I sat down at the bar anyway. I went with my old standby – a White Russian. The bartender proceeded to put about half a shot of milk in and the rest ice, vodka, and Kahlua. Yeah, that would have been great if my only goal was to get trashed, but I also like to enjoy my drinks. Oh, and she for some reason put a CHERRY in my White Russian. Total cost: $10 + $2 tip. I got a $5 Bass after that and then left. Final score for Jazid: sausage fest.

I decided to make my way back to the hotel at a leisurely pace, with the intention of stopping again if something caught my eye. I found a cool record store where I proceeded to buy a mix drum and bass CD. I also asked the guy at the counter if there were any places that played trance or drum and bass. He guided me towards sixth street where he had heard of some vague reference from his friend of drum and bass. I found no such place, but I did find a flyer on the sidewalk for Paul van Dyk this Saturday in downtown Miami. Maybe all the trance clubs are downtown?

Tomorrow should be interesting. I want to check out the mass transit and get some Cuban food for lunch, and something nice for dinner. Hopefully my guide book won’t let me down again.

Firefox sucks, and so does everything else

I was a long-time user of Internet Explorer until maybe 1 year ago. I switched to firefox. It is better than Internet Explorer, but it still sucks. Here is what is wrong with all web browsers I have tried:

  • Internet Explorer: no tabs. bad security. no pop-up blocking
  • Firefox: disables extensions when you upgrade to a new version. copy/paste doesn’t work correctly when you have two firefox windows open. scrolling with the up and down keys doesn’t work when you have two firefox windows open. firefox crashes. firefox has a serious memory leak problem. There are hundreds of unresolved bugzilla bugs. You can’t customize the toolbars like in IE
  • Opera: ads
  • Maxthon and Avant: standardized hotkeys for tabs don’t work (ctrl-t). f6 also doesn’t work.

Sigh. I guess I will put this on my list of projects. Maybe I should learn how to program better first. Something based off of firefox would be best, I think.

Potential Future Wikipedia Crisis

I have been using Wikipedia a lot lately. I have been editing a lot of pages too. I have read stories about the extremely dedicated users who spend hours per day editing Wikipedia stories.

This got me thinking that there has got to be a way that people will make money from their Wikipedia skills. One way is, as Wikipedia becomes more popular as a reputable source of information, companies, political groups, or religious groups might hire a full-time Wikipedia expert to support their views and polish their image.

Scary, isn’t it?

Save Cockeyed

One of my favorite websites is If you have a sense of humor anything like mine, you will be amused there for hours on end (that is, if you haven’t been there for a while). The website’s owner/creator is Rob Cockerham. He usually updates the site once or twice a week.

Recently, Rob has decided to make a little extra dough from his site by sponsoring links and putting up ads. It started with the fatwallet ad at the top of every page. I guess I will let him slide on that, because they give him free hosting in exchange for the ad. Then came the “Websites that I Encourage You to Visit” page. Now, Rob is actually selling ad space on an actual Cockeyed content page through this auction.

We are molested every day by ads in everything we do. It would be rather unfortunate to see Cockeyed taken over by ads as well. I understand that Rob would like to make money off of his site, but I think there are better ways of doing so. He could sell Cockeyed merchandise (this is how makes money) or even just ask for donations. For now, though, I have appealed to Rob to stop the advertising, making the suggestions I have made above. To show my sincerity, I have bid $50 for the ad space. If you all are as big of cockeyed fans as I am, I implore you to chip in. Contact me at if you’d like to help.

Yahoo! Unlimited reviewed

Yahoo! today launched their new Yahoo! Music Unlimited. For $4.99/month (when paying for a whole year), you can listen to their whole music library from your Windows PC. You also have the option to pay $0.79 to burn a track to a CD.

You access their service with the Yahoo! Music Engine (pictured below).

The interface is pretty nice. It is much more responsive than iTunes, which I have found to take a decent amount of time between page loads and music imports.

When I first started the Yahoo! Music Engine, I was prompted to import the music that I already had. I directed it to the C:\Music folder, and it imported all subdirectories, including files encoded in ogg, flac, and mp3 formats. I was able to go about my business exploring the program while it was busy importing my music.

I decided to put Yahoo! Unlimited to the test right from the start. One of my favorite artists is Dieselboy. I attempted to type “Dieselboy” into the search box on the Y! Unlimited page, but my text would not take. Instead, I used the “Browse By Genre” dropdown box to the right to select “Electronic / Dance” and from there choose “Jungle / Drum & Bass”. I saw several tracks listed, and I wanted to see how quickly their music would start streaming after I clicked play next to one of the tracks. When I clicked the play button, I was informed that I had to download a security update to play the music. The download seemed to go pretty quickly (I am on a fat connection at work). When I next clicked on the play button, the album art simply greyed out. This seemed to be a deal breaker, but having the classic computer mentality, I restarted the program.

And, I am now successfully listening to an artist I have never heard before “MJ Cole”. Clicking “play” on the album started playing the first song within a second. Again, I am on a fat Internet connection, but this is still impressive. I had been wondering for a while where I could find good Drum & Bass. I have now found that place.

I have not used any of the other subscription-based music services to be able to compare, but Yahoo! Unlimited does seem to be lacking in one very important area: completeness. As mentioned before, one of my favorite artists is Dieselboy. My all-time favorite is Tool. Searches on both of these artists turn up a grand total of 0 albums. This isn’t a big deal for these two artists, since I have all of their albums stored locally on my hard drive, but it does not sound good for future searches. Other artists that I have searched have missing albums. I understand that this may be very hard to acheive, but what is really needed is for this service to have very close to all the music I would ever be looking for. Then it would really be of full value to me.

A great part about this program is that it integrates countless radio stations into the interface. You can pick from a standard Launchcast station on the left, or you can choose to “Play Artist Fan Station”, which is supposedly a mix of what fans of that artist will like. In the limited time that I have listened to the Tool and Dieselboy Artist Fan Stations, I have noticed a nice correlation to the artist, and the type of music that is played on the station. I have also noticed something very peculiar. For both artists there are no albums available for download/streaming, but their songs are included in the station mix. I am sure it is some sort of licensing crap, but still annoying that they can play it on the station but you can’t stream the album as a whole.

Another note about the stations is that it can be rather awkward on some stations to not have the tracks mix together, like in almost any electronic station. The tracks were meant to be played back-to-back, so you are left with an abrupt start and ending to each track. There may be a feature to do this, but I haven’t found it yet.

Even on the first day that this program has been out, there are plugins for it. One of them is “1337 m1n1 m0d3” (pictured below) which replaces the current inadequate mini mode.

Overall, this program and service seems to have some growing to do, but being the first day that it is out, I am very impressed. $4.99/month is a bargain, and I think they realize that. This seems to be a limited-time offer. I went ahead and signed up for a year, but my card won’t be charged for another week, so I can cancel if I don’t like it!