Is Amazon in financial …

Is Amazon in financial trouble? [via Dave] Many people seem to think so. Some years back while I was working at, I used to remind people all the time that Amazon was founded by a guy who was known for being a mediocre hedge fund manager on Wall Street. With this in mind, many long-thinking people saw Amazon as nothing but one giant hedge fund that was sure to fail. Whether this is true or not, I don’t know, but the more that people dig into the real financials of Amazon, the scarier it looks. What’s interesting, then, is to compare those financials to companies that [purposely?] avoided the dot-com hype and focused on solid financials instead. Yes, companies like Borders Group, Inc. and Home Depot.

Waiting for the Number 6 line at 42nd Street last night, I spotted a well-dressed man carrying a copy of Eric S. Raymond’s book The Cathedral and the Bazaar, the bible of open source software development. I struck up a conversation with him, and we started to talk about other books on open source. I also told him about a couple of great web sites with which to follow the open source movement and philosophy. I then told him about the O’Reilly book I am co-authoring about creating applications with Mozilla. This prompted him to ask me for my business card and told me that he worked for [*]World. I assumed he was a reporter and asked, to which he replied that no, he was the COO. Wow! We were suddenly at my stop and I had to get off the train. I tell ya, New York never ceases to amaze me. [*name of publication withheld to protect privacy]

Tom Bradford: XML Sucks! Fork You! No! Fork Yourself!

WebReview: An XHTML Roadmap for Designers

If you care about online privacy, you’ll go to this page and click on all the opt-out links that has thoughtfully collected. [via Have Browser…]

HP has decided to replace their internal mail system (called OpenMail) with a Microsoft Exchange-based solution. Um, sounds fishy. My guess is that Microsoft is strong-arming somebody within HP or a manager sold out. It just doesn’t make sense to replace an internally-engineered system that works perfectly fine with a third-party proprietary system that will probably cost more to maintain and lead to other problems of cross-platform compatibility within an organization. It’s especially interesting to note that this may be an attempt by Microsoft to kill a potential open source project that would bring Exchange-compatible calendaring and scheduling services to the Linux desktop.

Clay Shirky: “View Source… Lessons from the Web’s massively parallel development.”

New mailing list on Peer-to-Peer Journalism

You Make the Decision is an essay comparing Velocity/Turbine with Struts/JSP.

I got this link to KUMO weblog from xplane/xblog where they say “This looks to be a strong, interesting newish weblog with some real good meaty links, everything from sound to XML to design to people and movements.” Sounds cool, lots of great information there, I bet. Too bad I can’t freaking read the site since they redirect me to a page telling me to upgrade my browser. Hint: I am after information, not cool layout or design. Don’t make that information inaccessible to me just because I use an old browser. Don’t redirect me, just deliver the damn page regardless of how shitty it may or may not look in my browser. Jeez.

I learned a long time ago not to include images in a site that are served off a web server that you don’t have any control over. If that server goes down, your site is pretty much dead in the water since most browsers will attempt to faithfully load it by sending an HTTP request (for the images) to the dead server — resulting in the end user waiting for the HTTP request to time out, and then load the rest of the page. This is especially bad when you link to remote images without assigning height and width attributes since a lot of browsers won’t fully render a table-based page until it has all the data for that page/table, including the images and all of their associated attributes. This is how HTML was designed to work. So, I get frustrated when I try to visit sites and the pages “hang” because images serverd off remote servers cannot be accessed because the server is down. I see this a lot with some of the Manila sites that use the themes stored on and also with sites that use the images. BTW, I think both of these services are very cool, but I want people to realize that when a server goes down, your site may become inaccessible through no fault of your own.

Related to the above post is the silly problem of IE 5/Windows filling up web server error logs with HTTP errors looking for the favicon.ICO file. Microsoft’s engineers stupidly assumed that every web site would have a little icon image stored in the web server root, and designed IE 5/Windows to request it with every initial HTTP request for a page. All of this simply so people could have a nice little custom icon for each bookmarked site in their favorites menu, sigh…

Spam: Something fishy is going on. I recently transferred an old domain of mine from Network Solutions to For the five years I’ve owned this domain I have never received one single piece of spam at it, nor have I ever used it for email. The registrar transfer happened two days ago, and today I received the first-ever piece of spam at it using a standard mail@domain syntax. How is this even possible? And who is responsible? Is it Network Solutions, trying to get every last cent of value out of their whois database or is it selling their domain database to spammers?

Posted by Cameron Barrett at March 3, 2001 01:00 PM