Google Halloween Doodle

First off I just wanted to say Happy Anniversary to my parents, celebrating 26 years of marital bliss. Second off Google has posted a new Halloween doodle ::cough:: even though they haven’t given me IMAP yet. Who knows, maybe that will be their “treat” for me today, although at this pace I doubt it.

youtube halloweenP.S. YouTube, a company owned by Google has changed their logo for today as well.

Give me Gmail IMAP!

Moving to the bay area has it’s advantages. So far I’ve been to more geek parties and events then I’ve ever been able to attend living in Tampa Bay. One of the biggest advantages, is that some of the largest companies in the world are just around the corner, especially some of my favorites like Apple, Google, Flickr, Twitter, etc.

At the Google-Plex

Unfortunately, my day job keeps me from being able to visit these awesome companies during work hours, at least until I get some vacation days.

Google Lobby

Well here is my problem. When Google announced Gmail, I was one of the first people with an invite. I’ve used it as my primary and only source of email ever since. It has been the best, fastest, and easiest way to have access to my emails anywhere I go, no matter what phone/device/computer I am on. With the recent thefts that I’ve lived thru, my iPhone and any other computer I can get my hands on (ie Apple Store computers), are my primary source of internet. It is a pain in the butt to read emails on my iPhone, then have to mark them read again inside of Gmail, given that I have very limited access to the internet on a desktop computer.

Posting at the Google Lobby

Google just released a new feature to their Gmail service, IMAP. It allows you to sync emails on any device you are using as marked read, put in folders/labels, etc. No more going thru and spending extra time marking emails I’ve already read again. This is the greatest thing since the Gmail app on the BlackBerry, but wait…where’s my access to this?

Posting the first letter

When Gmail added Gtalk into Gmail, they seemed to roll it out in reverse order. The newer accounts got it before the older accounts. My friend Adam who got Gmail 3 days after me, was one of the last people to get Gtalk added to his account. My Gtalk access came after his even.

Letter 1 posted

I really hope Google isn’t doing the IMAP in the same fashion…by screwing the long time loyal users. I couldn’t imagine my life without Gmail, and now that IMAP is included, it will even be a more integrated part of my life. Why Google? Why must you always make me wait?

Posting at a different building at the employee entrance

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, some of the greatest companies are literally minutes from me now, so last night my friend and I (who she now has IMAP, but I still don’t) went to the Google campus, where we looked up the address on Google Maps. I drafted a letter (ala Martin Luther) using Google Docs (available here), and even signed the letter with my Google pen.

Posted at the Employee Entrance

So, now I wait and see what happens. I’m hoping that magically my account has IMAP on it today, as opposed to the opposite where they shut down my account for good for breaking into their campus and taking a bottle of Naked Juice and my friend using their bathroom. I can’t think of a better way then to go straight to the source.

Check out the Flickr set of posting the letter on 2 of Google’s buildings.

P.S. We accidentally drove by LinkedIn as well. I’d love to swing by their offices some day as well.

Robbed…again

As if life couldn’t get any worse, last night my car was broken into and ALL of my clothes were taken out of my vehicle. I don’t know what to say. I literally now have 2 pairs of jeans and the clothes on my back.

Let me try to re-cap the day if I can. I have been a bit down and depressed due to recently being broken into and robbed of my laptop and most of my gadgets. I was however meeting with a photographer from the NY Times about a story they are working on regarding Twitter. I left work (I work in Novato), and went into the city (SF). We meet up and walked around taking pictures “around town.” Some of the shots he had me posing in situations where I would never be “twittering,” like on a MUNI bench, and other different posing positions, like my leg up on a step looking off into the distance. Either way it was fun and the photographer said the shots and the scenery were great. The story should run soon, but I don’t have a set date yet.

After leaving there, I went and parked my car between 8th and 9th, one block south of Market in SF. I walked over to my PO Box, which I found is closed at 5:30pm on the weekdays, so I will have to wait to get my mail till weekends. I decide just to walk around a bit more, as I now have no laptop and nothing to do at night. I make my way over to a Subway, and grab a diet soda. I then head into the Apple Store for about 1 1/2 hours. I putz around online for a bit, and talk to an employee there to try to psych myself that it will be okay to downgrade from a MacBook Pro to a MacBook.

As if life couldn't get any worse

I left and headed back towards my car, and I see someone (seemingly homeless) looking at my car funny. I begin to prepare myself for what is to come. I see the trunk is left open in my car, and a suitcase is on the ground. I see a hoodie (not one of mine)over the back passenger window. The guy says, “Well at least they didn’t break the glass.” I pull back the hoodie to find the picture above. The glass was broken and my car was yet again robbed…4 days after it had just been. This person obviously was homeless, as they took BOTH of my laundry baskets of freshly cleaned and folded clothes. They took my only coat, my Bose QC3 ($350) headphones (of which the battery and charger were taken last time), they took the spices out of the side compartments of my car, they went thru my glove box, they tried to take my stereo and Harmon/Kardon Drive+Play. They took everything they could get their hands on. I had a bag of small technology items in my trunk, I had my nice Kenneth Cole watch in the trunk, I had a power inverter for my car in the trunk, they robbed me blind.

I honestly didn’t know what to do. I sat there in my car for what seemed like an eternity. I saw a homeless person down an alley, and went and offered him free beer if he saw anything. He hadn’t, and I couldn’t see any of my belongings in his LARGE stash.

I drove to the nearest police station and they gave a piece of paper to fill out a claim online. They said that cars get robbed all the time in the city, even right outside of the police station in broad daylight.

As if life couldn't get any worse


I now am left with virtually nothing. I had my iPhone and an old 2 gig nano on me, and only had the nano with me because I don’t have a computer to load it up with Opie and Anthony episodes.

I try to maintain an even demeanor most of the time, at least what you can see on the outside, but today I am a broken man. I have no faith in humanity, and there honestly doesn’t seem like there is anything that I can do to escape the evil surrounding me.

That being said, those that have donated do show me that there is a bit of humanity left in this world, I just don’t think any of it lives in San Francisco. Last night James from MadPod let me stay on his couch and gave me a few pieces of clothing up in Novato. I don’t plan on going back down towards SF anytime soon. I was going to an event tonight, but will not be attending. I don’t want anything to do with SF, and am staying as far away as I can for now.

Now, I try to pick up the few pieces of my life that are left and move on. I will be looking for a roommate situation or a cheap studio in the North Bay area (ie San Rafael, Novato, Petaluma, etc). Because of how the donations work, I don’t have access to them instantly, I need to wait for them to transfer to my bank account, but I need to verify my bank account, which takes a few days. So, I currently still am in the negative as far as finances go. My first paycheck won’t be arriving till November, so hopefully I can live up this way with a broken window until then.

Thank you everyone for your support in this VERY difficult time of my life.

$466.64 Raised & Some Things Explained

Thanks to everyone who has donated so far…I’m now at almost 50% raised towards a new MacBook laptop, after my MacBook Pro and all of my gadgets in my laptop bag were stolen recently. You can help me raise money towards a new Macbook by donating here.

I’ve noticed some people asking questions people have been asking, and I want to see if I can field some of them here.

Q1) Dude, why can’t your insurance just pay for it all?

A1) I do (since I am financing my vehicle) have full car insurance on my car, including Comprehensive and Collision coverage. These two coverages DO NOT cover anything that is stolen from the vehicle, unless it is bolted down (ie. cd player, chairs, etc). My broken window WOULD be covered under my insurance, but since my deductible is $500, it doesn’t make sense to file a claim (thus raising my rates) for a repair that costs $160.

If I had renters insurance, which it is sort of difficult to do without a permanent address, they would of covered the theft. I still have my insurance in the state of Florida, where it is next to impossible to get renters let alone homeowners insurance.

Q2) Why did you leave it in your front seat and not in the trunk?

A2) I parked in a very nice section of the financial district in SF, and from everyone I have spoken to about the street I parked, said that it is a safe area and well lit. In Florida, you only have to watch for your stuff to not get stolen in “bad” neighborhoods, and even then I’ve never heard of ANYONE I know in FL putting stuff in their trunk, unless it was during holiday shopping. I did cover up the bag with a hoodie, and with all of the other clothes scattered in the vehicle it would not of been visible from the outside.

Q3) This wouldn’t of happened if you had a place to put your laptop besides your car. (more of a statement)

A3) Perhaps, but I had just come from the coffee shop where I was online. Unless I lived REALLY close, to the financial district ($$$), and didn’t want to worry about the 15 minutes trying to find a place to park near my “apartment”, and then the other 15 minutes trying to find a place to park back in the financial district, then you are right…It would of been safe in an apartment. However I didn’t want to be late to the show, and with gas prices are high are they are, I am trying to cut down on any access travel then what I have to do on a regular basis. I probably wouldn’t of gone all the way “home” to drop off my laptop if I was right by where I was going to begin with. I would of left it in my car like I did, and we are right back to square one.

Q4) You deserved this, and had it coming to you.

A4) Yes as hard as it is to believe, there are people out there who think this way. To these people I honestly have nothing to say. You obviously prey on the misery of others, and I your negative feedback only shows your lack of humanity and maturity.

Q5) Why didn’t you go for a plan with a lower glass replacement deductible?

A5) Car insurance agencies aren’t like Burger King, you can’t pick and choose your deductible on individual items. I went with the most insurance that I could afford that I needed to carry for a vehicle that is being financed.

With being said, I think I’ve tried to weed thru as much negativity as I can for one day. I will say that as much negativity there is towards me and my life, there is obviously more positivity being shown by many of the subscribers of this site, Twitter users, and people in my daily life. I want to thank everyone who has been helpful and supportive in this trying time.

On a positive spin, I am meeting with a photographer with the NY Times today about a story they are doing about Twitter, and tomorrow will be going to a free public preview of chirpscreen where RonKat will be performing. Feel free to join me tomorrow in SF.

Until later, thanks again for everyone who has donated. Almost half way there in only 4 days, and I have a lot of people who have said they are donating this Friday. Thanks again to everyone for your generosity in this trying time.

Over $300 so far & Now accepting PayPal

At the main donation site, http://NickStarr.com/donate.html, there is a new widget for ChipIn, which someone told me about on Twitter. They include the ability to send money via PayPal. A lot of people have emailed me saying they have some extra money in PayPal they could send my way, but up until now I didn’t have the ability to collect via PayPal.

Over $300 has been raised so far, totaling 31% towards the purchase of a new laptop. Thanks to everyone who has donated so far. Still a long ways from being able to get a new system, but the goal seems closer each day.

I want to thank everyone who has helped out again.

Traveshamockery – Or How I Lost My Digital Life

As many of you already know, the past 24 hours have been quite a trying time for me. Last night I was out and parked my car in what seemed to be a safe area. I was going to be at a show and didn’t want to lug around my laptop with me, so I left in the car covered by a hoodie.

Cat broken into

After the show, I returned to my vehicle to find the passenger side window smashed in, and my laptop bag and all of it’s contents stolen. They attempted to get my Harmon/Kardon Drive+Play system (I would guess they thought it was a GPS), but it is bolted down to the dash pretty tight.

I also have made this a bit more public on my LifeAs.NickStarr.com site, but for the past year off and on (more on then off), I have been living and sleeping in my car. Not having a place to store my items, my entire life (especially my digital life) has been compiled and stored on my laptop. It has become an accessory that I found I am unable to live without, and now it and all of its contents are gone. I know there are many who haven’t agreed with my lifestyle choices, but I have my reasons which I have gone into on my LifeAs site.

Last night I was able to find a remote spot of town, but there were people walking around at all hours of the night. With the cold wind blowing in, and constantly having cars and people go by, I was barely able to get any sleep last night. I had to make sure that my vehicle wasn’t robbed again while I was in it.

Inside my bag were the following items:

  • Apple MacBook Pro 2.2Ghz Santa Rosa (including charger)- $1999
  • Nintendo DS Lite (with 8 games and G6 lite imported from overseas)- $129 + Games + $100
  • Apple iPod connector cord + ear buds – $19 + $29
  • Apple iPhone USB Charger – $29
  • AT&T Global Option 3.6 ExpressCard 3G card – $299 Retail + $59/month
  • Bose Quiet Comfort 3 Charger + Battery – $40 + $50
  • The bag itself – $50
  • ..and other misc items.

My entire life was on that laptop, and I haven’t performed a backup in some time now. All of my music, photos, videos, documents, SAVED PASSWORDS, and more were on that computer.

If you have known me or read the site for any length of time now, you know that I am on my computer nearly every moment I am not traveling or working. I honestly don’t know what to do with myself without a computer. I am in the Apple SF store writing this, and trying to cancel the debit card that was in the case.

Car broken into

I know this is a huge thing to ask, but I just recently moved to San Francisco, and haven’t gotten a single paycheck yet. I had to have my best friend from Florida Western Union me the $160 to have my window replaced, as my bank account now reads in the negative figures.

If you find an extra $5 lying around and are willing to donate it to me toward getting a new laptop, I would HIGHLY appreciate it.

I’ve never put a sticker or any sort on my laptop, but if you have a company and what the logo displayed on my laptop, I will post a sticker on it. I travel all over the Bay Area, and to a ton of the tech meetups, so your logo will be visible in a WIDE variety of locations.

I think that the more reasonable thing to do is to try to just raise enough for a MacBook (non-Pro), as the difference in price is around $700-$800. I do need to get a new wireless card, and my old one was ExpressCard/34, which only works on the MacBook Pro, but they have a USB option (which sticks out like a sore thumb), but it does the job. The base model is $1099 (or $999 with a student discount).

I know this is a huge gesture, but I don’t know what else to say or do. I honestly feel lost and alone in a city I barely know. My life hasn’t been coming together the way I planned, but maybe this can be a huge step in the rebuilding effort.

Below is a way to donate via Google Checkout (think Paypal, but Google’s version without fees). I have also included a link to Amazon’s Honor System which provides donations at a cheap transaction fee (paid on my side). There are pre-set amounts in the Google one, and you can choose any amount you want via Amazon. I regret that I don’t have a PayPal account, but these are the options I have left.

I once again thank everyone who has been supportive and left me well wishes today. Until I get a new laptop, updates in tech as well as my life will be few and far between. I apologize, but once I am back up and running, I will be posting a lot more, and have a podcast in the works as well.

Thank you,

Nicholas R. Starr Schuler

$20.00 – Donate $20
$25.00 – Donate $25
$50.00 – Donate $50
$100.00 – Donate $100
$250.00 – Donate $250
$10.00 – Donate $10
$5.00 – Donate $5

OR
amazon picture link thingDonate via Amazon

iPod Classic 80 vs 160

iPod classic

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I more often then not go out and buy the biggest most expensive Apple product the second it comes out. With my move to SF, I wasn’t able to buy an iPod Classic when they first came out, but now that I have a job (BTW I got a job!!!!) I can now spend that $100 Apple iPhone credit and buy a brand new iPod Classic. The question is do I go 80 gigs or 160?

new ipodsA while back I lost ALL of my music and was able to re-download the iTunes purchases. I’ve built my music collection back up to around 45 gigs (including music, movies, podcasts, etc). Does it make sense for me to spend the extra $100 for a thicker iPod when I won’t even be filling up the 80 gig anytime soon?

Recently I haven’t been buying much music, and I have all of the cd’s from the bands I enjoy. So what is the point of expanding my music library beyond the confines of what my laptop HD can hold? (I’ve had some bad luck with external laptop HD’s recently as well)

So the question is, do I spend the $149 (plus $100 store credit) for the 80 gig or do I spend the $249 (plus $100 store credit) for the 160 gig iPod which I won’t be filling up anytime soon?

Your thoughts?