57 years ago today US Patent 2,612,994 was granted for the barcode.
I wanted to play around with IDNs (internationalized domain names, see Wikipedia for a primer). All of the individual words in my name—廖/Liao, 雨/Yu and 笙/Sheng—have already been registered (damn you domain squatters!), so I took 雨笙.com (in punycode form: xn--zvzm38c.com).
Most registrars (including my usual registrar GoDaddy) are not set up to handle IDNs, so I ended up using DomainSite. It sucks that I have to deal with all these different registrars for the domains I own: one for my IDN (DomainSite), one for my .ca domain (BareMetal) and one for everything else (GoDaddy).
Right now, 雨笙.com is configured to redirect here to liaoyusheng.com. I wonder how useful this IDN will prove to be. In verbal situations, I could see this being a better way to tell a Taiwanese person how to reach me on the web. The average Taiwanese is far more likely to remember 雨笙.com than the pinyin liaoyusheng.com since Taiwanese people don't know the pinyin system.
So, I pulled the trigger and paid for a pro Flickr account. In all my years on the net, I have only paid for a web service one other time. That was in 1996 for ESPN back when it was called "ESPN SportsZone" (with the URI espnet.sportszone.com, remember that?). At that time, all their columns were part of the Insider premium content, only news and scores were free. I continued subscribing annually until it went to all free content a few years back (around '99 or 2000?). Then, a couple of years ago they slowly started having premium content again, but I haven't re-subscribed as most of what I read on ESPN are still free. But at this rate, as they gradually put more and more columns behind Insider access, I'll probably end up subscribing again before long.
Anyway, this post is about Flickr, not ESPN. I've only played with Flickr a little bit these past couple of weeks, but I've seen enough to want to give them some money (USD41.77). The way I'm using Flickr now as a moblog, I didn't really need to upgrade to a pro account, certainly not before I have 100 photos in my photostream (the free account only displays your last 100 photos). But it's a cool product from a cool company, so I thought: "Why not?" The clincher was that they are based in Vancouver, my adopted home away from home. Buy Canadian!
See my photostream at Flickr (at the moment, it's mostly photos from my crappy cameraphone).
Newsweek is reporting that Tivo and Netflix are about to announce a partnership. While I don't use Netflix, I have been a loyal Tivo owner since their earliest days; and if they don't mess up the pricing and execution of this Netflix-on-Tivo idea (a big if, but those are two pretty cool companies), I just might become a Netflix subscriber as well.
This could help give Tivo some independence from DirecTV (an astounding 78% of new Tivo subscribers from the last quarter were DirecTV customers). Or this might just piss DirecTV off enough (by stealing their PPV movie business) that they stop promoting DirecTivo and drop Tivo altogether after their current deal expires.
9/30 Update: It's official.