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When booking my ticket to Cairo (about which I’ll blog more later) I was going to have a 6 hour layover in Amsterdam. Since this seemed too short to actually do anything in Amsterdam I instead opted for a 15 hour layover in hopes I could see a bit of the city. Schiphol Airport is so well set up for travellers, and getting to the city center from it is so easy that 6 hours would have been enough. 8-12 hours would have been ideal. 15 was a bit too much, simply because I got tired and went back to the airport early to sleep a little. Despite the extra time, It was a great way to spend my layover, and I wrote up a little guide, mainly for Renata, who is flying through Amsterdam in a week, but also for anybody else who might get the chance.
- Download this map of Central Amsterdam. I’ve marked some key locations
- Sleep (Optional) - I arrived at 6am, it was still dark (and cold) outside and I was tired already. Plus I wound up with extra time to kill. In retrospect this would have been the perfect time for me to snooze in the comfortable looking lounge chairs above Lounge 2 near the resteraunts.
- Put your extra stuff in a locker - These are scattered around (before you go through passport controll). The smallest ones (still way bigger than I needed) were 5 euros for 24 hrs (pick wisely what you put in or you’ll have to pay again after you open the locker).
- Head towards the Baggage claim, pass it, and go through Passport control
- Head out into Schipol Plaza, find a train kiosk and buy a return ticket to Amsterdam Centraal - you can use a credit/debit card and it was 6.20 euros for my return ticket. trains leave about every 10 minutes
- Figure out which platform you need, go downstairs and get on your train the ride only takes about 15 minutes, and it will be pretty obvious which stop is the Central Station
- Check out the CityThe station is on the north end of the city center, and all the streets and canals essentially radiate out from there.
- Allow enough time to get back to the airport for your flight.I’d allow 2.5-3 hrs but I’m usually overly cautious about stuff like that.
It’s a great city to just wander around in, but the “attraction” that I enjoyed were The Van Gogh Museum, which cost 10 euros to get in. It’s a really nice size: you can see the whole thing in an hour, but you can easily spend two or three. Since it’s all about one artist, it feels a lot more unified and coherent than most art museums.
If you are interested, here are Some photos of Amsterdam I took.
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last week I blogged about Firefox’s bookmark keywords. This Week I’m gonna tell you how to use those keywords to do something even cooler: quickly and easily search pretty much any search engine on any site. This works anywhere firefox does.
Step 1: go to a site you want to be able to search often. I’ll use wikipedia for this example.
Step 2: find it’s search box, right click on it and choose “Add a Keyword for this Search.”
Step 3: This will be saved as a bookmark, so give it a name (e.g. Wikipedia Search) and a keyword (I use wp). you may also want to put all these search bookmarks in their own folder (mine’s called Quick Searches)
Your done. Now you can just hit ctrl-L (or ctrl-T if you want to perform the search in a new tab) then type ‘wp vanunu’ to see whether I’ve recently re-replaced Vanunu’s photo with that mustard picture
here are some other keyword searches I use all the time:
imdb for IMDb
amg for All Music Guide
bt for IsoHund (bit Torrent search)
nws for the National Weather service
news for Google news
quote for Google finance
img for Google images
slang for Urban Dictionary
php for the php manual
price for Pricegrabber
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Disclaimer: This post will lack in relevance (not all of us are Mac OS X users) and depth (there are people who are much more knowledgeable about Mac OS and other things writing better “reviews” all over the interweb). I thought you might want to hear my impression just the same.
I was faced with the “necessity” of upgrading my OS when last week I decided to fix a few issues I had with iPhoto and DVD player by taking in to the newish Apple Store here in T-town. Part of the problem was that I never received an iLife ‘06 install disc because I bought it pre-loaded from the campus bookstore back in 2005. The other part of the problem was that although I am still covered by Apple Care and could have iLife ‘06 reinstalled, I was still running Mac OS Panther. For the most part, I never noticed that I was two generations behind (Tiger came out right after I got my machine). Recently, however, I have been bugged by some glitches when installing some apps and what not. I was faced with the options of upgrading to iLife ‘08, which has some very nifty changes to iPhoto that I would use, or upgrade to Leopard and reinstall iLife ‘06. For expense and longevity, I chose the second option. If you’re still interested in what I think of Leopard, let’s go for Read the rest of this entry »
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This technique is really handy for lots of things, but I’m gonna explain how to use it to quickly bookmark sites with del.icio.us in case anybody is dying to get in on the new Linkroll you may have noticed to the right. Even if you are not into the social aspect of del.icio.us, et al. I find it’s a handy way to store sites that aren’t important enough for my local bookmarks, but that I might want to find again someday.
All this will work in Firefox. Some of it will work in other browsers.
First you’ll need to Register for del.icio.us, which is easy.
Next, you’ll want to bookmark the del.icio.us bookmarklet. Once you’ve saved the bookmark, open up its properties. One of the available properties that you may not have ever used is “Keyword:”. Put a keyword of your choosing here (for del.icio.us, I use “delthis”).
Now, whenever you are viewing a site you want to add to del.icio.us, hit Ctrl-L (the Firefox shortcut to the address bar), type ‘delthis’ (or whatever you picked), and hit Enter.
This’ll bring up a form that will be mostly filled in. You can add some tags at this point if you want, or you can just submit the form. Your link will be added, and you’ll be redirected back to the page you were viewing.
I use a similar setup for:the gmail this bookmarklet, the rememberthemilk bookmarklet, and the XRAY bookmarklet
Also If you’ve never used Ctrl-L it’s great. My second favorite Firefox keyboard shortcut. Right after Ctrl-T and right before Ctrl-k
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So, I found a cool site today that I wanted to share, but I don’t really have much to say about it so I decided not to make a blog post about it. Instead, I did what i normally do in these cases: I added it to my del.icio.us bookmarks.
Since I’m pretty sure nobody ever looks at those (and I never look at anybody else’s) I was wondering if you guys would like to put our respective del.icio.us (or other social bookmarking service, i suppose) feeds where the current list of links is (which I’m pretty sure nobody uses).
would you guys like to (a) see that happen? or (b) see my mostly content free link suggestions as posts? or (c) stick with the status quo?
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Why are Asian game shows so much better than ours? Check out this crazy video.
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concerning xiu xiu’s “Support Our Troops Oh!“
Rarely can one quote a whole song’s lyrics in a blog entry. But Xiu Xiu’s “Support Our Troops Oh!” is so vacuous that its “message” about the Iraq war can be seen in full below:
Did you know you were going to shoot
off the top of a four year old girl’s head
And look across her car-seat down into her skull
And see into her throat and did you know
that her dad would say to you,
Please sir, can I take her body home?
Oh wait, you totally did know… that that would happen
Cause you’re a jock who was too stupid and too greedy
And too unmotivated to do anything else but still be
The biggest and still do what other people tell you to do
You did it to still be a winner
You shot your grenade launcher into peoples’ windows and
Into the doors of peoples’ houses
But you wanted to shoot it into someone just to watch them blow up
Why should I care if you get killed?
Is this sickening to you? I hope so. And I like Xiu Xiu. Obviously they have a right to oversimplify complex geopolitical situations and psychological motives as much as they’d like, but does it have to be this bad? Don’t get me wrong — I like the track. Much like I like the work of Leni Riefenstahl, but reject everything it stands for or suggests. Indeed, as someone who does appreciate the art of Xiu Xiu, I feel I have to repudiate the glaring stupidity of “Support Our Troops Oh”.
I hope these lyrics are obviously stupid. One particular line stands out, though: “cause you’re a jock who was too stupid and too greedy…” Was Jamie Stewart serious here? Did he really believe that it was greedy jocks who were enlisting in our military? Isn’t the standard line quite the opposite?– that it is the underprivileged, largely minorities, who are forced or compelled into service?
One could — but shouldn’t — make a broader point here, about leftist actors and musicians simplifying issues and helping lead to a stultified public debate. I say shouldn’t because this is just one song. One really stupid song.
Listen here to Xiu Xiu (w/ Devendra Banhart) seeming to make a parody of their own song.
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Since I think everybody here is interested in at least one of: words, web technologies, and/or graphical representations of information, I thought I would pass this along.
Visuwords takes any word and links it visually to other words. the links represent various relationships like “opposes,” “is a kind of,” “causes,” etc.
It’s hard to explain, but easy to understand once you try it out.
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I’ve started a bit of a blog over at my site, indiemaps.com. I’m mostly going to be talking about programming, Flash, cartography, graphic design, and more professional stuff over there. And I’ll be keeping up my drunken political ramblings and personal updates here at jttm.
I’m trying to keep the blog as minimal as possible — just color and text, with images only within blog posts. I’m also using an extremely lightweight blogware called Blosxom.PHP, written by a Hungarian dude. It’s helping me develop my PHP skills and I plan to re-write the program and add tagging functionality over the winter break.
I’m with Joel on keeping jttm alive. Indiemaps.com is more of a professional thing for me, and most of its content I wouldn’t post here anyway. Anyway, check it out if you want to. Look forward to jttm posts from me soon on David Horowitz at the UW and Hitchens as a political conservative. Soon.