The Last Beachwalk of 2006

A cold but clear day with no wind, so my wife, daughter and two dogs set out for a big walk at noon, determined to walk all the way to the southernmost point in town by the water. This is a walk that can only be done at low tide, there is a tidal creek that needs to be crossed and at anything but lowtide the crossing can be a wet one.

Aside from the length of the walk and the great sunshine, a few standouts from the stroll.

We saw the Behlman’s out in their toy tugboat.

Found a lot of rice on the beach, indicating some lucky couple was married on the sands this morning.

Saw a lot of Canada Geese

And came home as the sun went over the bluffs to the west.

There was no sadness over this walk being the last, because tomorrow will be the first!

Full Flickr gallery here. 

SEO Plugin for Firefox

Thanks to the MIT Advertising Lab blog for this pointer:

SEO for Firefox is a little plug-in for search engine optimizers (optimizators?) that ammends Google and Yahoo search results will all sorts of related trivia on sites that show up in the search results. This will give you an idea why certain site is ranked higher up than others for a particular search term. To give an example you guys can relate to: if you search for “advertising blog”, these three come up at the top: Adverblog, Adrants and Adland (I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Ad Lab is #4).”

I downloaded and enabled the plug-in and find it fairly useful.  The MIT blog is a recent discovery and a good one that has gone into the blogroll.

If You Want to Understand Tablet PCs …

Then use Google Reader  … you can sail through a hundred feeds in no time, can star and note them with a touch of the pen, and using the X60 tablet’s “bezel mouse” can scroll and pan to your heart’s delight. Marking a feed as “read” is a snap … I am in love.
I used to consider Microsoft OneNote to be the killer app for demonstrating a tablet’s power, but rolling through an AJAX interface to screen hundreds of feeds via Google is my new de facto show-off app.

I would not recommend trying to blog or comment using the pen interface — my handwriting sucks and it is just as easy to swivel the thing open and start typing.

Cotuit Film Festival continues

The past few days have been an education into obscure film. Working off of my son’s spectacular Janus collection of 50 Years of Art House films, I dove into (with his recommendations), three great classics of French cinema and one Italian great.

This morning I finished Pepe Le Moko, a gangster film set in the Casbah, starring Jean Gabin and directed by Julien Duvivier. Gabin, who also starred in one of the other French classics I watched this past week, The Grand Illusion, has been described as the French “Bogart.” He is incredibly charismatic in the role of Pepe, a fugitive thief self-imprisoned in the exotic back alleys of the Casbah, a dark place the police dare not enter. The film is about their repeated efforts to lure Pepe out of the safety of the Casbah into the city where he can be apprehended. Deceit and treachery, plot and counterplot, and some of the best lines I have ever heard (or read in subtitles), made this one of my favorites of all time.

The Grand llusion is one of those films you know you should see, but manage never to get the chance to watch. This is hailed as a classic of war films, set in a World War I German prison camp and focused on the experience of some French officers and their German guards. Another Jean Gabin film, Grand Illusion ends on a beautiful note near the Swiss border, when Gabin and his fellow-escapee find refuge in the home of a German farmwoman, widowed by the war. The scene reminded me of Barry Lydon, when Ryan O’Neal seeks refuge from the wars in the home of a German woman.

Wages of Fear has been remade as Sorcerer and stands as a prototype for suspense films. Clouzot’s original was chopped up for American distribution, so when I first saw it as a Saturday afternoon television film, I know I was missing something and this reviewing in the original cut confirmed it. William Friedkin’s remake with Roy Schieder was great, but the original, as always trumps. The synopsis: four men accept the impossible task of driving two trucks filled with nitroglycerin to the scene of an oil well fire in South America.

Fists in Pockets is the 1965 debut of director Marco Bellochio, who, at the age of 26, filmed this tale of family dysfunction in his own family home. The protagonist, played by Swedish actor Lou Castel, manages to solve that dysfunction in such a way that the film freaked out the Catholic Church and Italian political establishment, as well as earned Bellochio rebukes from his heroes Bunuel and Antonioni.

And the last film in the ongoing series:

Alexander Nevsky: Sergei Eisenstein’s comeback made for Stalin as an anti-German propaganda film. The cinematography was pretty amazing. Especially the big panoramas and facial closeups. The plot — medieval Russian prince kicks ass on the German knights invading Russia. Battle scenes are pretty cheesy, the exhortations to defend the motherland are kind of quaint. Can’t recommend it unless you want to be able to say you saw it, or have a hankering to see more Eisenstein than the Potemkin

Ten Predictions for 2007

Get ready to laugh. Here is my obligatory foray into the trite, predictable and erroneous.

1. 2007 will mark a return to analog media and face to face community.
2. The Web 2.0 bubble will deflate, not burst, stranding a few acquirers who paid outrageous amount for unprofitable services.
3. The IPO market will remain moribund, limiting the exposure of the Web 2.0 bubble popping to the few companies capable of making acquisitions.
4. Vista will not drive a significant hardware replacement cycle among small businesses and consumers.
5. Online advertising rates will rise at least 15% due to declines in page views, the inability of metrics solutions to track AJAX page refreshes, and a pending love affair by corporate advertisers with video advertising.
6. Yahoo will end the year up in terms of its share price thanks to improvements in its paid search model due to Panama and a new executive team.
7. Yahoo will acquire CNET or Ziff Davis, marking a deeper committment to a content model versus a search model in light of Google’s major lead and brand strength.
8. VOIP will double its consumer household penetration causing further agony with the Bells.
9. Online collaborative services will go mainstream following a terrorist threat or incident which significantly disrupts travel and makes work-at-home and remote meeting capabilities a must-have for uninterrupted business continuity.
10. AOL will be acquired. By whom I cannot say, but I’d put bets on Microsoft or  News Corp.

The rat in the roses is back ….

So I am trying to catch a nap and I hear the shrieks from the kitchen.

“It’s back. It’s back. The rat is back.”

Figures the little rodent would make a reappearance two weeks after I resumed bird feeding. So I get the weapon out, recharge it with a new CO2 cartridge, open an window, and immediately realize I have better things to do than sit in front of an open window in December on Cape Cod waiting for a rat.

So to the hardware store for a rat-sized Hav-A-Heart trap which has been robbed three times today by squirrels and is now loaded with a chunk of cheddar. I do not intend to have a heart when I finally nail the rodent. It’s Goodfella time into the trunk and down to the town pier for the ol’ cement overshoe treatment.