Flixster Could Be Better

Ugh. Flixster is so annoying… all the advertisements and silly activities, it is reminiscent for pre-dot-com-bust era websites – in a bad way. And it kinda looks like MySpace. Normally, I’d like to think I wouldn’t rant here about a website I dislike like this, but in this case it’s not so simple. You see, Flixster could be so much better, and I need it to be. Case in point:

I want to keep track of my film watching habits. I want to log the movies I see, for personal reference and for sharing… this could include public or private notes about the films.

I want to keep a list of movies that I want to see. This can be public, and I could see which friends want to see the same movie and then we could watch together.

I want to keep a list of the movies I own… so that my friends can see what they can borrow from me. The site should also let me track who I’m lending my discs to.

I want to know what my friends think about movies… so aggregating their notes onto the movie’s page.

Sadly, Flixster probably won’t be able to become awesome like this unless someone were to buy it… whoever’s in charge seems to be pretty clueless about what they’re doing. So, someone, please steal the ideas listed above and give them some competition.

Oh and here’s my Flixster profile, lol.


My Problem with URLs at FFFFOUND

I have have a problem with the URL schema at image bookmarking website Today on Google Talk, my friend Sujay Vennam set his away message to this “ ” which is an image which I found interesting and looked possibly like a t-shirt design. I wanted to find out more information about it, but how? I figured I could try searching for the URL address, maybe Google indexes URLs of HTML embedded images. Apparently not this one, at least. I also tried googling “5110fee08a1a350ce6493b8eef47a83e7618c77f” to no avail. Next, I thought I might be able to identify the URL schema by looking at some other images from… and sure enough: … looks similar right? just replace the id’s and voilà… now we have the photo’s page on FFFFOUND. But I still don’t have my t-shirt.

Well, on that page, you’ll see that the source is linked to… “Quoted from: Friends_Are_Foreverv27Detail.png (PNG-Grafik, 768×576 Pixel)”. Okay. So the t-shirt is probably called “Friends Are Forever”, and the “wootsaleimages” account at Amazon S3? Oh this must be the woot t-shirt thing that I heard about. Sure enough: … just like most links to woot… it was something that is sold out, meaning in this case, a t-shirt that I can’t have.

Damn it FFFFOUND, look at all the time you made me just waste. Can you please change your URLs somehow? Maybe just do{id} and{id} or maybe{id}/originalfilename

Also, try to be more respectful of where you quote your images from… like using the title of the source page, which in this case is: “Shirt.Woot : Friends Are Forever” … so your users will know where these images are coming from.

Mmm, and I have more feedback for you too. You can call me or email me if you’re interested, cause I don’t want to write it all out if you’re not listening.



Thoughts on iTunes 8 and Genius

I’m generally impressed with the new Genius feature in iTunes 8. I want to give my reasons…

Let me clarify that the recommendation engine itself seems to be no significant improvement over thefilter, which is what Apple apparently bought and integrated into iTunes 8. However, the integration itself, and the UI job is commendable. If you haven’t tried it yet, the Genius music recommendation feature is essentially a button you push when you have a song selected, and it will create a playlist of “similar” songs from your iTunes library.

A lot of people I’ve talked to have complained about the quality of the recommendations… but I think we’re spoiled by Pandora. Pandora’s recommendations come from the labor-intensive “expert” analysis of their music collection, so naturally an entirely automated system can’t compete… yet.

I think Genius is a step in the right direction… and it should get better over time, assuming it takes into consideration how you respond the recommendations and leverages that feedback across users.


Yeah I’m Camping Out

Yeah I’m Camping Out, originally uploaded by Rex Pechler.


Sleeping Kittehs

Sleeping Kittehs, originally uploaded by Rex Pechler.

Entertainment Hacks Mac Music Web

Lyrics for

Ever since I installed MobileScrobbler on my iPhone, I’ve been using a lot … like almost every day, and for hours at a time. Here’s my profile. “scrobbles” (keeps track of what you listen to, and uploads that info) your music, and my iPhone automatically does this when I listen to anything in the iPod feature, and so does my Mac when I listen to anything in iTunes. Why do I want to do this? For posterity, as you might imagine, but also provides music recommendations in the form of a personalized radio station. And the personalized radio station is what I really love. I mean, you press play, and you’ve got all sorts of new stuff to listen to, and the percentage of it that I like is much higher than listening to anything else. And it’s more interactive, because I can teach the system my preferences by pressing either the “Love” or “Ban” buttons.

Anyway, MobileScrobbler lets me read lyrics while I listen to songs… Which I LOVE doing. That Mac version however, does -not- do this. I was able however, to find a Greasemonkey script that adds lyrics to the song page on, and therefore enables a workaround. (Greasemonkey is a FireFox plugin that I use daily… it let’s you add things to, and modify websites. People make scripts to make all sorts of websites do all sorts of cool things. Check out for examples).

My workaround is this: Listen in the app. When I want to read lyrics for the current song, just click the link in the app to open up the song page at The greasemonkey script shows the lyrics right there for me. Works.

Oh, and then I can also comment on the song right there too, another feature I’d like to see added to the Mac client.


Boarding This … To LAX

Boarding This … To LAX, originally uploaded by Rex Pechler.


A Beautiful Morning in Santa Cruz

…and it’s getting hot out. From the lookout at UCSC.


Location Based Services … coming to life

You’ve probably driven a car with GPS navigation. You’ve maybe used a handheld GPS device. And maaybe you’ve geotagged some photos. But what you haven’t done yet is get location-based notifications as you navigate your world.

I think peoples awareness of location based stuff is sufficiently raised, judging by Helio adverts I’ve seen anyway, that now’s a good time to be throwing in the ‘Location Tagging’ stuff without scaring people too much.
 » geobloggers » Are We Nearly There Yet?

I want to be walking downtown and my phone reminding me of what I need to pick up from the pharmacy when I walk by it. Or whatever. Or tell me when my friends are in my vicinity. Or tell me what nearby events or parties are currently taking place.

It’s happening. The only thing yet to be seen is how fast the adoption will be.

Hopefully some of the Google Phones will have integrated GPS. If so, then the future of location-based computing will arrive this summer.

Entertainment Featured Hacks Mac Music Productivity

Applescript: Fade iTunes to Selected Track

Ever playing music for other people from iTunes? And want to change the song without everyone noticing? Trying to do a manual fade is tough. This script lets you select the next song you want to play, and then fade the volume out and in to that track. Download:

property initialVolume : null
tell application "iTunes"
set speed to 5 -- lower means slower fade
if sound volume = 0 then -- if volume is all the way down, fade in
set initialVolume to 60
repeat until (sound volume) is greater than or equal to (initialVolume - speed)
set sound volume to (sound volume + speed)
end repeat
set sound volume to initialVolume
else -- fade out, skip to selected track, fade in
set initialVolume to (get sound volume)
repeat until (sound volume - speed) is less than or equal to 0
set sound volume to (sound volume - speed)
end repeat
set sound volume to 0
play selection
repeat until (sound volume + speed) is greater than or equal to initialVolume
set sound volume to (sound volume + speed)
end repeat
end if
end tell