Back from the Cape

I’m just back from a few days on Cape Cod. There was a little bit of rain but not nearly as much as forecast for Boston. The sand was wonderful, the ocean lovely and warm. I got through about half of Ishiguro’s “When We Were Orphans” yesterday. It’s a little dry and heavily introspective, but nevertheless entertaining. Memory plays a big role. I find myself digging through my own memories of childhood, like the protagonist. As I read, I have a recurring suspicion that some critical aspect of the protagonist’s existence, hinted at but heretofore missed by us and the protagonist, is going to suddenly be revealed. Like John Nash’s mental illness in “A Beautiful Mind”.

TiVo vs. Media Center

There’s been some talk about TiVo vs. Windows XP Media Center Edition. Michael praises XPMCE’s flexibility, so I went over and took a look. Flexible, yes, but they’ve got the ergonomics all wrong. To use my TiVo, I plop down on the couch, click on my 25″ Toshiba and surf the menus with an infrared remote. If I understood what I saw in the tour, to use XPMCE I have to pull my chair up to a desk, boot up, click a mouse a bunch of times, listen to the noisy whir of a computer fan and finally get to watch my program on a 15″ monitor.

Half-baked idea

SO we’ve started thinking about actually planning out our meals for the week before we go grocery shopping. Think about this and you realize that there is a lot of information management involved. You pick a recipe for each meal, break the recipes down to their ingredient lists, add up all of the ingredients for all meals, sum up the quantities, subtract what you already have in the pantry and finally you have your shopping list.

Computers could help here, couldn’t they? We haven’t used an online grocery site in quite a while, but as far as I recall the interface was a recapitulation of the brick and mortar version (food categories, aisles, etc). That seems wrong to me. I want to pick my menu and have the server generate my shopping list from it. Do any of the online grocers do that now?