Wayback Machine

Sometimes, I hate the interwebs.

Update: Thanks for your emails of support. It's interesting to know it's happened to other people, and it's also heartening to know I still have a good reputation in the web development community despite my total inactivity in that area recently.

Update: The way around the MP3 Download geographical restriction

[Update: This workaround no longer works, unfortunately.]

In the comments to my rant about the geographical restrctions on the MP3 download service, Mark wrote that he could use it from Japan, using his mother's mailing address. This lit a lightbulb in my head (dim as it was): it seems that Amazon uses the default I-Click address to determine whether you have the right to download the MP3 or not. My default address was set to my Swiss address, so first I reset it to my U.S. address and tried buying a tune. No go still - I still got the rejection notice. So, I un- I-Click'ed all my non-U.S. addresses, and tried again. This time I was asked which address I wanted (I had two U.S. addresses to choose from). And bingo, I could download with impunity.

Flying to Zürich is always a culture shock

In this Op-Ed article in the NY Times, Thomas Friedman says, among other things:

Fly from Zurich’s ultramodern airport to La Guardia’s dump. It is like flying from the Jetsons to the Flintstones.

That made me laugh. Flying back to Zürich-Kloten airport from most everywhere, but especially the U.S., is always a visceral shock. "Ultramodern" doesn't adequately describe it.

Amazon MP3 service is useless for expats like me

[Another update: The workaround no longer works.]

[Update: There is a way around the Amazon geographical restriction thing. See here. ]

There have been a lot of raves about the new MP3 download service, mainly because it's 10 cents cheaper than the iTunes Music Store, and it's (allegedly) DRM-free. (I say allegedly, because I'm quite skeptical about these claims from any source, but that's besides the point here.) However, just like their awful UnBox video download service, they restrict download by 'geographical location', meaning that they probably filter by your IP address:

We could not process your order because of geographical restrictions on the product which you were attempting to purchase. Please refer to the terms of use for this product to determine the geographical restrictions. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

Well gee thanks for the concern, Amazon.

How I spent my summer

Compared to Japanese school summer vacations, the summer vacations doled out by English and American schools are heaven. The Japanese school year goes from April to March, and summer vacation occurs during, rather than at the end of, that school year.

How to make sure your movie gets pirated

Some Hollywood studios have a better clue about how to release their movies worldwide than others. Take the Lord Of The Rings trilogy for example, which got a same-day (with a stagger of a day or so in some cases) release all over the world. Here in Zürich, we even got to see The Return Of the King the day before it got released in the US, because of the time zone difference.

On the other hand, you have this ridiculous release schedule for Disney/Pixar's Ratatouille, a movie I've been waiting to see for more than a year.

Middle class guilt and doing the 'right thing'

I caught the last half of a somewhat quirky documentary on BBC Two the other night, called The New Middle Classes (it was part of the excellent Time Shift series). While it was talking about the "new middle classes" in the UK (which still has to be one of the most class-conscious nations in the world), one point they made rings true, I think, for 'middle class' people everywhere: the sense of guilt alleviation and self-satisfaction that is brought along by doing the 'right things'.

How not to issue a press release

I was reading a very nicely worded press release today about a vegetarian food show taking place in London. It sounded like something I'd be interested in, so of course I clicked on the link at the bottom. Which lead to this page:

Coda, or I am a total sucker for pretty

codaleaf.pngEveryone who has been using a Mac for some time is in love with Panic, a small company that has been making awesome Mac software for a long time. I'm no different. I love Panic, and have been using their things for ages. I used Audion before the behemouth called iTunes crushed their cuteness into extinction. I use Transmit as my preferred FTP program. If I still used newsgroups (which I stopped doing a couple of years ago), I'd be using Unison.

Their latest offering is Coda, an all-in-one web development product. On the surface, it's awesome. Under the surface...I'm not quite sure yet.

The list of topics about Swiss Life

The topics just about every expat living in Switzerland writes about on their blogs, or at least rants and raves about to the folks in the home country, eventually:

  • The trials of getting 'them' to pick up your garbage. 'They' won't do it unless you do it correctly. This can often be an epic saga.
  • The Laundry Room Nazi (usually the oldest female resident of the apartment building)
  • What do you mean the stores close at 4 pm on Saturday and are closed all day Sunday?? I'm being deprived of my God Given Right to shop all weekend!

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