Web site PDF Online lets you convert a bevy of document types to PDF online, sending the resulting PDF to your email address as an attachment.
While PDF Online doesn't convert everything, it does handle a lot of file types (see screenshot), and might come in handy if you need a quick PDF on-the-go. In fact, even if you "Print to PDF" a lot on your desktop, PDF Online might be a nice tool to keep in mind, especially if you email the file to yourself anyway.
In the tech world, we have a bad tendency to view the concept of "private" as a single bit that is either 0 or 1. Either it's exposed or not. When companies make a decision to make data visible in a more "efficient" manner, there is often a panic. And the term "privacy" is often invoked. Think back to when Deja made Usenet searchable. The term is also invoked when companies provide new information to you based on the data you had previously given it. Think back to the shock over Gmail's content-based ad delivery. Neither of these are about privacy in the bit sense but they ARE about privacy in a different sense.
Privacy is not simply about the state of an inanimate object or set of bytes; it is about the sense of vulnerability that an individual experiences. When people feel exposed or invaded, there's a privacy issue.
So, I took a week and explored my podcasting options. In general, the quality of most podcasts varies between "oh my god, it's ham radio" and decent, with the NPR podcasts taking some obvious leads in quality.
I try to avoid the news podcasts. For the most part, I find that, regardless of how intently I watch the news or read newspapers, or avoid doing either, I will absorb news. It filters in. Therefore, I didn't need a bunch of podcasts on what was going on in the world. For the most part, I'm focused on music-oriented podcasts, although I do subscribe to Lonely Planet's "travelcasts" and Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac.
The music podcasts I've focused on are primarily those things that I can't get on the radio. Three come from US radio stations: KCRW's brilliant program Morning Becomes Eclectic and local freeform radio giant WFMU's Antique Phonograph Music and The Audio Kitchen. This is followed by an Australian radio station's ambient/house channel, Ultima Thule. Two stations focus on traditional and modern Irish folk/pop music: the Irish and Celtic Music Podcast and the Cleveland Celtic Podcast. It's nice to have that music available again; I haven't had an opportunity to spend a lazy Sunday listening to fiddles and tin flutes since I moved out of Boston. Finally, there's The Owl & Bear podcast, a mix of rock and depressing folk music - as recommended by JGH.
I'm not 100% with this technology. I haven't had the "wow" moment with podcasts that I've had with blogging or Google Maps. It's still a little too difficult to just stumble upon a sound and stick with it. In other words, it's not like when I was a kid and I accidently tuned in to Vin Scelsa's brilliant show "Idiot's Delight." Idiot's Delight became the forum by which I was first turned on to Dylan, Randy Newman, and other songwriters. The podcasts don't seem to have the inspirational quality that freeform and college radio had (for me). Or, when radio crashed and burned, that satellite radio had for me (I have XM radio in my car, and haven't listened to the FM tuner in nearly a year as a result). But podcasts... podcasts don't seem to have that same spark.
I'm curious to see if and how podcasts develop as an artistic medium. It's a technology dependant on attention, which is not an infinite resource. I wonder if podcasts will be like most of the web, where attention is devoted to just a few popular websites. The remainder will be largely ignored, except for a few brief moments (i.e., when a website is "instalanched").
I have been playing with flickr lately, adding some missing photos, and primarily, playing with the map function. As explained on FlickrBlog, the flickr map function allows you to geocode your photos. For me, this is far more useful than the actual contextual tags. Here's my flickr map.
I feel as though I am reopening a summer house that has not been used since long before I grew up and moved away. There's dust on the writing desk, and the pen is definitely out of ink.
I gave the Movable Type blog a year's worth of a chance. It's too much of a pain for me to deal with the "stuff" of web design. I don't want to have to think about it. Thus, I think I will be migrating, however slowly, the content of Those Dark Trees back here, to Unbillable Hours.
Update, Circa August 2006: After a year of trying to deal with Movable Type, I decided to come back to this page. I prefer not dealing with the technology and just dealing with the content. The CSS/HTML stuff, for me, just became an obstacle to saying what I wanted to say. Nonetheless, it was a good learning experience.
I have been looking for a good consolidated notes/to do editor for a while. Outlook's To Do and Note functions are okay, but not great. I'm giving Evernote a shot, and, so far, this looks like a great program. It's amusing that a text editor would excite me so....
Incidentally, I do have a flickr account, but I don't often use it. There's no advantage to it... unless they do end up offering book and print making services.
For me, there needs to be a consolidation of all of these web services. Flickr, Delicious, etc. ... there's too many "things" out there. I guess that's why I don't often use my account. I consider my blog to be the consolidating factor, not these other services.