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 Last Updated: 10/01/2005 at 12:50 AM EDT Choose Color:
 July 2001 
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120 Degrees
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Sunday, July 29, 2001

Note: I'm off to Seattle for a week for a much needed pseudo-vacation, where I'll be attending and speaking at a conference. I'll try to keep the updates steady, but no promises.

I use Google almost religiously these days. Very rarely does it fail to find me the information I need. So, last night I was thinking about having some "I love Google" t-shirts made, and immediately followed up that thought with a search in Google. Of course, someone has already done it.

Today's inbox: 4323 messages. Maybe it's time I finally downloaded my email... (I read and respond to my email with Pine, but manage it with Microsoft Entourage.) I keep looking at procmail, and I prefer a server-side solution for managing my email, but because I'm limited in disk space at my hosting provider, I'd quickly run out. So, the next solution is to run my own mail server and point the DNS of one of my domains to it and then filter all of my email to it. But I'm reluctant to do this because my DSL may not always be up, thus preventing me from getting to my mail (and mail archives). Sigh...

Flak Magazine: An Open Letter to John McCain


Saturday, July 28, 2001

CamWorld Story: Just-in-Time Journalism. Some thoughts on Web-based instant publishing.

JavaWorld: Will Mac OS X be your next development platform?

Emacs for Mac OS X

Congratulations to Jesse James Garrett and Rebecca Blood, who got married today. Your kids are going to be brilliant.

How To Tell If Your Head's About To Blow Up [via b3ta]

James Gosling: The Story of Java, a Play in Four Acts [via Lambda, the Programming Language Weblog]

More links about user-authentication, cognitive science, and how user interfaces apply:


Friday, July 27, 2001

Microsoft Research: Collaboration and Multimedia Systems Group

USA Today: Anthropologists adapt technology to world's cultures. "She and two colleagues were doing fieldwork for their employer, Motorola, investigating how the company could best enter the emerging markets of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. They found that people in the Caspian Sea area have learned to read the numbers on bar codes to see where products were manufactured. The buyers believe that products from American companies are better if they were built in America."

White Paper: Design for what? Six Dimensions of Activity (PDF)

Understanding Interactivity: Steps to a Phenomenology of Human-Computer Interaction, by Dag Svanaes. (4MB PDF). This is a 294-page book that is definitely on my list of things to read next, perhaps on the plane...

Authentication architecture links:

Adam Fields sent me this link: Zero Knowledge Protocols and Small Systems

TechWeb: Can Sharing User Data Speed E-Commerce?

Flying [dead] cows! [via Boing Boing]

Usability Issues in Agent Applications: What Should the Designer be Aware of


Thursday, July 26, 2001

On my to-read list: The Journal of Experimental Fiction

From 1997: Multimedia Theory and Experimental Fiction

Doc Searls reports on Day One of the O'Reilly Open Source Conference.

First Monday: The IMLS Digital Cultural Heritage Community Project: A Case Study of Tools for Effective Project Management and Collaboration

Icon & Interface Design Studies (bibliography)

Journal of Design Science: A Web Site is a Public Place. Nice article that reminds me of the thoughts I had about wayfinding a while back.

Allen Cypher: Bringing Programming to End Users

Extending Document Management Systems with User-Specific Active Properties

What disturbs me the most about the Bush Administration's big "tax rebate" is that it's not really a rebate at all. In fact, it's an "advance payment" on this year's tax credit. This means that if you underpay your taxes this year, the $300-$600 you receive within the next few months actually works against you. Even for Republicans, this is a pretty sneaky accounting trick.


Wednesday, July 25, 2001

The Duke of URL reviews Yellow Dog Linux 2.0

IBM DeveloperWorld: Transitioning from Windows to Linux [via dangerousmeta]

How to keep bad robots, spiders and web crawlers away. This is excellent info. I'm constantly fighting bad mis-behaving robots and spambots that repeatedly hit CamWorld. [via Q Daily News]

Dan Gillmor: Diverse open-source advocates face common threats

At work, we are building a new intranet that we'd like to be more heavily used by our developers and application engineers. One of the things we want to do is display recent IRC chat logs in a web-based interface, preferably in a data chunk that gets parsed into the intranet home page template and department group home page templates. DiaWeblog sounds like what we need. Also see the Daily Chump Bot.

The Better Template Engine is another templating system written in Java (servlets).

Easy-to-read article about Apache vs. IIS Web servers, and points to Apache's minimalist design as credit for its excellent security record.

I just finished reading Stephen King's latest book "Dreamcatcher." It was typical King but was still a pretty good story. In the colophon he mentions he wrote the entire thing in longhand, all 600+ pages. Wow. I'm now reading an advance copy of "Angry Young Spaceman" by Jim Munroe, who used to work as the managing editor of Adbusters.

Nice timing! I just realized that Fray Day 5 is September 8, which also happens to be the last day of the Web2001 Conference in San Francisco. And since I will be in San Francisco that week to speak at the conference, I'll be able to attend Fray Day. Excellent...


Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Usability News: A Comparison of Popular Online Fonts: Which is Best and When? (Read the whole issue of Usability News)

Lars Markussen: Problems with new Hotmail Design

US senator seeks to block XP release. Hmmm, which senator? Senator Charles Schumer (NY)

AOL-Time Wanrer invests $100M in Amazon. While this looks like a pure marketing move (and a good one), what I'd really like to see is AOL and Amazon (and maybe Yahoo too) join forces to create an open user-authentication technology framework to compete with Microsoft's Passport. I have a bunch of emails from earlier this year that outline something like this that I might re-purpose soon as an essay. Stay tuned. Update: Could "Magic Carpet" be this very thing?

i18ngurus.com is a directory of resources for internationalization and localization. Awesome!

"...all the computers in all the world contained a total of 200 terabytes of storage. This month -- just six years later, the advent of commodity ($300) 100-gigabyte drives means that just 2,000 PCs could contain the world's storage of 1995. (There are about ten exabytes of storage overall all at this point in time -- "half-a-millionfold growth in less than a decade." IDC estimates that the data stored by companies is growing at 80% per year."

A fun conversation from today's IRC server at work:


 msussman: say - anyone in the new york office hear a sonic boom 
           around 6PM last night?
 msussman: http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/07/23/flash.boom/index.html
 susankny: not me
 susankny: we were all in the office, too
           cam farted at about that time....
 susankny: oh. I saw that.
      cam: uh-oh, the aliens have finally come
           msussman wonders how cosmic cam's farts are...
shetech_h: cam: I'm an alien
      cam: i knew it
shetech_h: cam: Mother! I'm finally coming home!
 susankny: lol
 micki_sf: okay - i walk away from my desk for 10 minutes and I come back 
           to galactic flatulence
           cam is originally from Melmac
 susankny: I'm sure we couldn't have heard a sonic boom over all of the 
           noise in NYC
 micki_sf: marklar
      cam: Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam. nuqDaq 'oH puchpa''e'
shetech_h: mylar
shetech_h: KLINGON IS NOT ALLOWED!!!
 micki_sf: oh god he's speaking Klingon
      cam: hee!
 micki_sf: beam my ass outta here
 susankny: what?
 susankny: how did you guys know that?
shetech_h: we're nerds
 susankny: NERRRRDS!!
 micki_sf: <--- geekstress x 10
shetech_h: heh
 msussman: http://www.kli.org/tlh/phrases.html
 micki_sf: aww come on - at least i didn't know WHAT he said
           shetech_h 's name in Klingon is "rebQa"
 msussman: "Today is a good day to die. Where is the bathroom?"


Monday, July 23, 2001

IBM DeveloperWorks: Automating UNIX system administration with Perl

P3P's Privacy Promises. "Have you ever taken the time to read a Web site's privacy policies? Wouldn't it be more efficient if the policies could be matched to your preferences automatically?"


Sunday, July 22, 2001

I spent a few hours yesterday updating my portfolio, adding some of the work I've done over the past year and a half:

WebZine NYC2001 yesterday was good, about half the size of last year's event in San Francisco. Michael Moore's keynote was great, and I was able to meet him afterwards and recount my old, old story about being fired for publishing fiction online. I also met David Gallagher, Andy Wang, Dru Oja Jay, and chatted again with Victor Lombardi.

Web User Agents Listing and Descriptions


Saturday, July 21, 2001

A few months ago I made the conscious decision to stop checking my Hotmail account because Microsoft had tied it to their Passport user-authentication servers, and I knew they were using cookies to track me. Then I read this article about Microsoft having trouble upgrading the interface to their Hotmail service and I was intrigued enough to go see what changes they'd made. (I figured I could always just delete my MS-centric/Passport cookies afterwards.) Holy crap, did Microsoft screw up the Hotmail interface. Gone is the very nicely-designed (and quite usable) interface that took advantage of minimalist HTML design. In its place is a WinXP-inspired monstrosity with HUGE tabs and way, way, too much blue. The worst thing about the whole experience, though, was that since I hadn't used my Hotmail account in more than 60 days, I had to re-activate it. And guess what? Yup, all of my old mail was gone. Poof! My folders were there, but every single one of them is empty. Over three years of email (mostly online store/travel order receipts, etc.) gone, just like that. If this is an example of Microsoft's upcoming "Web Services" I am not impressed. For free Web-based email, I'm sticking to Yahoo Mail. Yes, I know that Yahoo also drops cookies and tracks their users, but Yahoo doesn't have grandiose plans to tie their profile/personal data-acquisition system into an operating system and client-side applications (yet).

Howard Greenstein isn't impressed either, and he used to work at Microsoft. [via Talking Moose]

WebZine NYC2001 is today at Noon. I'm gonna try to drag my ass out of bed to make it. No promises. Noon? Hmmm....

Network Solutions (VeriSign) is up to more monopolistic tricks. Apparently, they are claiming that other domain name registrars are "slamming" domain owners and transferring domains without the owner's knowledge. Despite no solid proof that this is happening, they are using this excuse as an opportunity to change their domain transfer process, making it incrediby difficult to transfer a domain away from them to a competing and more competent/trustworthy registrar. In NetSol's new process, you have only five day to receive an authorization letter from them, get it notarized, and mail it back or your transfer request is cancelled. This is a direct competitive attack by NetSol against their competition in the domain registrar space. Unfortunately, the people that lose out the most by these actions are the consumers and domain owners who have to deal with the incredible headaches caused by NetSol's inane policies and processes. If NetSol was competent at all regarding the domain registration services they provide, domain owners wouldn't be trying so badly to transfer their domains to a competing registrar service.

Well, so much for the separation of Church and State. Hey Bush (er, GOP puppet), are you gonna wipe your ass with the Constitution next?


Friday, July 20, 2001

Damn, that Moose is smart.

I just don't get it. Over the past few years it seems that there have been dozens upon dozens of serious security holes in Microsoft's IIS server software. Every time, the company issues a patch, but often the damage is done. Now, if you are someone who is responsible for choosing what server software to run your site on, why on earth would you choose IIS, when it has such an incredibly bad history of security holes?

Again, I say "lame..." Just keep digging that hole...

css.nu: CSS authoring FAQ


Thursday, July 19, 2001

Winterspeak: Viral software production

Joel on Software: Good Software Takes Ten Years. Get Used To It

"Nope, we're not a monopoly. Oh yeah, and we're not anti-competitive either." Lame...

Michael Lewis: "Corporations do not dream up the technology that is going to undermine their business. Once that technology is dreamed up they have to assimilate it very quickly, or else they get put out of business by someone else who does." Hmmm, sounds like Microsoft.

O'ReillyNet: Embracing the Web Part 1: Distributed Computing

O'ReillyNet: Designing Internationalized User-Interface Components for Web Applications

Business 2.0: The New Corporate Structure -- Unstructured

Clay Shiry: Java is Essential to the Software Ecosystem


Tuesday, July 17, 2001

Join the Red Robot World Domination! You can help the red robot take over the world. Here's a picture of me (at Heather's increasingly famous Mirror Project site) wearing my Red Robot t-shirt along with a bunch of weblog people.

Zimran Ahmed: Windows, a bad ownership experience. Microsoft's draconian licensing regime reduces its experiential edge over open-source software.

How to hide CSS from buggy browsers.

OSopinion: The Trouble with Mono

OSopinion: Through the Looking Glass of Microsoft's .NET


Monday, July 16, 2001

Are you going to be in town for MacWorld this week? I may be available for lunch or dinner (work schedule pending). Let me know and we'll set something up. Also: I will be in Seattle from July 29 to August 4 and should have some extra time if you'd like to get together.

This month's issue of WebTechniques has several excellent articles on building solid intranets.

IBM: International Components for Unicode for Java. Bookmark this. It will become important soon enough.

Interaction by Design: User Experience (UX) vs. Information Architecture (IA). Read all four parts.

Doc Searls: Whose hand is that in your pocket?


Sunday, July 15, 2001

U.S. News: "Five years ago, at the Netscape-Microsoft "browser war" peak..." What? Five years ago? That would have been mid-1996. In July of 1996, Microsoft barely had a Web browser if you can even call IE 2.0 a browser. IE 3.0, also a piece of crap, came out in August of 1996. The "browser wars" that journalists are so fond of writing about didn't really begin until IE 4.0 came out in October of 1997, and really only peaked after IE 5.0 was bundled with Windows in 1999-2000.

I have some ideas of who the Talking Moose is, but I am going to respect his/her anonymity and not voice them here. Regardless, the Talking Moose has plenty of interesting things to say. Go read.

O'ReillyNet: Why Michael Schwern is not a Java programmer

One of my coworkers calls this "one of the wackiest tinfoil hat stories I've seen in years." Ha ha.

Paper: Why Open Source Software / Free Software (OSS/FS)? Look at the Numbers!

Crummy: NewsBruiser is a simple but full-featured weblog management system. It is almost entirely self-contained, requiring nothing but SSI and Python (1.5.6 or greater) to be happy.


Friday, July 13, 2001

Yay, Friday the 13th! One of my favorite days of the year since I was born on a Friday the 13th. I guess we'll see if the day gets any better as it progresses...

Web Accessibility and the DDA (UK)

Exploiting Common Vulnerabilities in PHP Applications

CNet: "Macromedia, for example, said that 84 percent of its Dreamweaver users test their sites for Netscape's 4.x browsers, followed by 73 percent testing for IE 5.5. Sixty-six percent test for IE 5.0, 47 percent for IE 4.x, and 43 percent for Netscape 6."

Configuring Mail Clients to Send Plain ASCII Text. Read this. Bookmark it. Send it to all your friends and coworkers. Make them read it.

MS Office XP - the more money I give to Microsoft, the more vulnerable my Windows computers are

Kent Dalhgren: Creatively building teamwork

Donald A. Norman: The Perils of Home Theater

I just learned that the founder of the Internet Scout Report, Susan Calcari, has passed away. An early pioneer in Internet research, she helped define the medium for us hardcore librarians and news/information junkies were. She will be missed.


Thursday, July 12, 2001

Linux on the iBook2. Read his Thoughts essay. Excellent... [via Axodys]

Yet another reason to be disgusted at Microsoft.

Washington Post: Nukes: A Lesson From Russia. Fascinating article about flawed Microsoft software that has caused inconsistencies in the accounting of nuclear arsenals. Whoah.

Borders.com Interview: Samuel Delany Talks About Dhalgren. Dhalgren is still one of the best post-apocolyptic sci-fi novels I have ever read. I'm pleased to see this book back in print after being so hard to find for so long. I spent lots of time between 1993 and 1996 scouring used bookstores for a copy and finally found one in a used bookstore on South Street in Philadelphia. Highly recommended.

What is a noomeejahoor?


Monday, July 9, 2001

Note: Taking a few days off. Updates will resume when I get caught up.

Wired News: Mono, Opening Up .NET to Everyone [via Openwire]

Craig Burton: Redirection and Beyond. "I was embarassed by the Free and Open Source Communities' invitation to Microsoft to "join them." This is silly gentlemen. Embrace Microsoft through redirection, they will hate you all the way to the bank."

Ximian Announces Open Source Initiative to Develop a Linux Platform for .NET

O'ReillyNet: GNOME's Miguel de Icaza on .NET

WebZine NYC2001 is on Saturday, July 21. See you there.

Late last week while walking down 7th Avenue in Brooklyn I noticed a lot of red-and-white stickers plastered all over manhole covers and sewer drains. They looked very official. Only upon closer inspection do you realize that they say 'Spraying for Sewer Lizards' and feature a URL: www.sewer-alert.org. Rudimentary research shows that the domain name sewer-alert.org is registered to the Sci-Fi Channel. Apparently, it's some kind of promotion for a new series called The Chronicle. Update: readers have reported that these stickers and flyers are all over the Upper West Side as well.


Sunday, July 8, 2001

Usability of Starbucks Website Affected by Cookies. [via Good Experience] This in interesting. Starbucks apparently is pointing the finger of blame at their partnership with Microsoft and their Passport technology that's tied into the Starbucks web site. While cookies aren't such a bad thing, it does raise some issues. How soon will it be before a Passport account is required before you can use certain non-Microsoft owned web sites? You may recall that Microsoft announced eBay as one of its earliest partners for Hailstorm/Passport.

InfoToday: New Web Site Content Options from New Content Aggregators

Citizens United Against Football is a organization dedicated to eradicating violence in sports, especially football. Bizarre.


Saturday, July 7, 2001

Advogato: Mono Culture. An early discussion of Mono, the open-source alternative to .NET

www.mycathatesyou.com

CIO Magazine: The Secret to Software Success [via Massless]

Another example of how the market will decide Microsoft's fate. Companies (which make up much of the market) simply will not let Microsoft get away with such antics.

GeekNews: Fallout in the PHPNuke Community over Open Source

If you're going to be in California for the O'Reilly Open Source Conference, you might want to spend a few extra days and hit the Open Innovation Conference being held in Santa Clara.

OSopinion: "I read recently about a businessman who was complaining about having to pay the "Microsoft tax" when he bought a new computer. However, as soon as he got the computer to his place of business, he wiped out Windows and installed Linux."

MozillaQuest: Netscape 6.1 PR 2 Browser-Suite Coming Soon

CorpWatch: Microsoft, One World Operating System. An interview with the founder of NetAction.

NY Times Op/Ed: It's Good to Be the King (or Why Bush is Slipping in the Polls)


Thursday, July 5, 2001

Building a Community Information Network: A Guidebook (Downloadable book)

First Monday: Intermittent Aberrations: Can Mature Companies Innovate?

Industry Standard: Microsoft Could Hold Passport to the Internet. Excellent article that explains in layman's terms the danger of a Microsoft-controlled Internet as co-opted by Passport/Hailstorm and Windows XP.

Scary thought: What if Microsoft requires a Passport account log-in before you can use your brand new Xbox this Christmas? What about UltimateTV? More scarier is the fact that that Microsoft wants to spend up to $3B to help Rubert Murdoch (News Corp.) purchase DirectTV from GE. If this happens, how soon before you have to have a Passport account to watch satellite TV? Scary, scary...

And let's not forget that Microsoft owns 10% of Comcast Cable Corp., 13% of UUNet, 10% of Progressive Networks (not anymore), WebTV, and has joint partnerships with BET and NBC. What else does Microsoft own? [somewhat outdated chart]. Another list from 1999. Microsoft is not just a software company anymore...

Linux Journal: The Appeals Court Ruling: What's in it for Linux?

Alternative viewpoint: Why Microsoft (mostly) shouldn't be stopped

Boycott Microsoft: A Modest Manifesto

Ximian (formerly Helix Code) to unveil open-source alternative to .NET

Non-Software Examples of Software Design Patterns

Who Are You? Who Owns You? A look at Amazon's privacy policy and issues with customer data. Maybe the braniacs at Microsoft should read this.

Mozilla Community Day. Unfortunately, I will not be attending the O'Reilly Open Source Conference this year, so will have to miss this.


Wednesday, July 4, 2001

Happy Independence Day! (U.S. Readers)

Salon: "Two new books make it clear that the Supreme Court's notorious Bush vs. Gore ruling wasn't as bad as it seemed at the time. It was worse."

Fiber-to-the-home advocacy group formed. This is a great idea, but I wonder how slow the telecommunications industry is going to move on it. Looking at how the big phone companies screwed up the DSL market, hoping for fiber-to-the-home may be just a pipe dream.

BusinessWeek: Innovation Drought

Shorewalker: Content Management links


Tuesday, July 3, 2001

The New Methodology (of Software Development)

From 1992: What is Software Design?

AppleLinks: One Dead Opossum. Excellent essay on Microsoft's latest strategy. [via Have Browser, Will Travel]

Steve Gibson: Microsoft Does Not Understand Security. What This Means About the Future of Denial of Service. And Microsoft's response.

Steve Gibson: Why Windows XP will be the Denial of Service Exploitation Tool of Choice for Internet Hackers Everywhere

Eric Raymond: "The mere threat of being sued by a multibillion-dollar company is enough to scare the bejezus out of any entrepreneur or corporate legal department, and more than enough to exert a massive chilling effect on software-industry competition. How convenient for Microsoft!"

Mini-rant: Why is it that people haven't figured out how to do their own online research? I constantly get email from people asking me to help them research something I once pointed to or wrote about. I ignore most of these requests, but on a few occasions my curiosity got the better of me and I hit Google to see how easy it was to find the very information these people were looking for. And almost every time (with a few exceptions) I've been able to find it in under three minutes. Hello people, are you that clueless that you don't know how to do a search query? Or are you just plain lazy? Update: Tara emailed me and said to "tell them to read Research Buzz." Yeah!

I'm a monopoly. You're a monopoly. Wouldn't you like to be a monopoly too?

The Open Source Quality Project

The Federal Open Source Conference


Sunday, July 1, 2001

Dan Gillmor: A revolutionary pursuit: freedom from Microsoft

Network Solutions is blocking domain registration tranfers.

The best part of the movie is Teddy the Supertoy. Overall, I found A.I. Artificial Intelligence too disjointed to really like it a lot. It was pretty well-made, but I felt that the ending was a bit forced and contrived. It could have been a much better movie. Haley Joel Osment deserves an Oscar, though.

Cool, I didn't know there were two sequels to the Brian Aldiss story "Supertoys Last All Summer Long" which is the story A.I. is based on. I'll have to go buy the book these are in.

Salon: One Big Happy Channel? Excellent article on the deregulation of the Telecommunications industry.

Interview with a content management heretic.

WebTechniques: Transcending Client/Server

MozillaZine: Towards Mozilla 1.0

Merging Technologies. Some reflections on the AOL-Time Warner merger. Microsoft-Philip Morris? Yahoo-Nabisco?

AOL-Time Warner Merger Proves that Microsoft is No Threat. Hmmm...

"Left unchecked, cable firms will funnel Internet traffic to their own content—and the Web won't be worldly or wise."

OSOpinion: Alternative Payment Methods Get No Respect Online

Splinder: Some thoughts about Flurry. I really wih Guha would put his Flurry paper back up online...

Keller Schroeder & Associates: The Standards Shuffle

XMLMag: Microsoft's David Stutz: Perspectives on Peer-to-Peer

Open Source vs. Proprietary Software

Tom Christiansen: Diversity Compliance in Web Design

From 1997: XML, Java, and the future of the Web

ZDNet: Open source code: A corporate building block

Tim O'Reilly in Salon in 1999: "Just how close did we come to a Net ruled by Microsoft? The "server wars" show a grim counterpart to the browser wars."

World Wide Access: Accessible Web Design

SecurityPortal: Protecting Information From Exposure (Part I)


Archives:
2002: Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul | Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan
2001: Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul | Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan
2000: Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul | Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan
1999: Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul | Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan
1998: Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul | Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan
1997: Index of 1997

 
 © 1984, 1993-2003 Cameron Barrett