Bigger Than Rufus

Tech, opinion, and other stuff.

Month: December, 2012

Why Bigger Than Rufus?

“Why?”

  • The first question people ask me when I say I have a blog.

Whenever I mention to people that I have a blog, they often give me a blank stare. I think they are just unsure of what to say. I imagine that the first image that pops into their heads might be those old geocities webpages that everyone seemed to have back in the 90s.

Before they get over their initial instinct to quickly change the subject to a more interesting topic, I usually blurt out the name of the blog and:

“What?”

  • The second question people ask me when I say I have a blog.

I have to wonder if people think they misheard me. I suppose Rufus is not the most common of names. And if they did catch Rufus, maybe they’re wondering who’s Rufus and just how big is he. If the they decide they did hear the name correctly:

“Why?”

  • The third question people ask me when I say I have a blog.

The answer is quite simple, if not a bit disappointing: All variations, permutations, and deviations of my name + .com, .net, .org, and .whatever were already taken. I also discarded a bunch of other names which I thought sounded remotely interesting, and what was left was Rufus Sufur (his name is an anagram). Since Rufus.com was also already taken and rufussufur.com seemed difficult to type, I decided that my blog would just have to be bigger than all that, hence the name.

See, I told you it was a bit disappointing.

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Living with Witopia

Don’t let the strange title throw you. Witopia is not some affliction, but rather my VPN service provider of choice. Their rates are reasonable, customer service is approachable and readily available if necessary, and for me, their service works well. I don’t know what I would have done without a reliable VPN while living in Japan.

I’ve used them for the past two years, and plan to renew my annual contract again this December (there are monthly plans available too). There are some other free VPNs I’ve tried in the past, but can you really trust those companies? I don’t have any proof (so take that as you will) but I started having issues with my previous PC after using HotSpot Shield. I can’t be sure what the cause of the problem was, but after installing and using it for a few months my computer slowed down significantly and started acting like crap. Well, the cause could have been any number of reasons, but it coincided with my use of Hotspot, so I didn’t feel like trusting it much.

After some digging through reviews, I found Witopia. They have a free one month trial so test it out if you like. After the first day though, I knew I was going to subscribe.

On Writing

Oh my. I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to document my ideas, thoughts, and feelings on such a regular basis.

As I mentioned in the about me section, I am not really a writer. I have a lot of things tumbling around in my head, ready to be forgotten, that I thought it would be useful to write them down before that happened. One thing I didn’t count on though was the amount of effort needed to organize these thoughts and tidy them up a bit before releasing them in the wild.

Its been a long time since I’ve needed to organize any personal writing. With Facebook and Twitter available, not to mention my own plog (personal log if you will) on Day One, I’ve gotten into the habit of writing fast and without much deep thought or editing. The ability to just type a couple sentences into the status update box on Facebook is just too enticing. In a sense, it lets me purge whatever thought is foremost in mind at that time.

But to write something more substantial is definitely more effort. It may not seem like it to you, but I do put some consideration into what I write on this blog. Its not only a place for a brain dump; which is not to say I haven’t/won’t do that on occasion.

I have no great misconceptions about what this blog is though. In a sense, its a bit like what I might post on Facebook or Twitter, but with just a little (just a little) more polish. Its just the thoughts of an ordinary person, at a specific point and place in time.

And that’s OK.

Big Bang Theory

This show is still around and apparently doing better than ever! I caught the first season of it and I liked it, despite its very formulaic and often times marginally funny jokes. However, for some reason I liked it. I guess its probably because despite the show’s shortcomings, I find that I like the characters. Maybe it has something to do with “geek chic”, but I suspect that trend will run its course in due time (if not relatively imminently).

I’ve caught a few episodes on and off over the years, but I would have watched it more regularly if I could stream it consistently in Japan. In any case, I’m surprised and glad to read that the show is becoming more popular than ever. I hope sometime I’ll be able to start streaming it regularly someday (other than on CBS’ website, which I will never remember to go to on a weekly basis) and catch up on everything I’ve missed.

Check out the New York Daily News article for more info.

Photo from the CBS homepage for Big Bang Theory. All rights owned by them.

A fantastical calendar

Fantastical was just released for iOS last week. Reviews are very positive overall, and it seems the blogosphere loves it. For those of you that don’t know, Fantastical allows you to enter your calendar events by just typing in normal text. For example, you can type: “Meet John at 2:30-4:30 on Sunday at the Office”, and it will be automatically parsed by the app to create an event with those details.

Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 8.52.42 PM

Besides this natural language input and the “day ticker” view (Five days are displayed horizontally at the top, while the events are listed below), it doesn’t have much else in terms of functions compared to other available apps. Well, depending on what functions you need, Fantastical might be sufficient.

Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 8.52.10 PM

But, what it seems no reviewer is mentioning is that you have to switch keyboards to type in numbers. Its really inconvenient to have to pull up the number keyboard just to enter in times isn’t it? Almost easier to just use an app with the standard scroll wheel selection…

I suppose this is not an issue with the Mac version (for obvious reasons). But it is really bugging the hell out of me. I hope that in future revisions, the team figures out a way to add in an extra row above the standard keypad to make entering numbers much easier.

For now, I would recommend either Week Calendar or Calvetica. Both have great calendar views, more functions, etc…and Calvetica has an interesting time input mechanism.

Photos from Flexibits.