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Saturday, June 17, 2000

Couple of things about the bike and me:
  1. Yesterday was a rainout. I suggested calling it a rainout while it was pouring outside, but the bike insisted that if I didn't ride it was a point for it, rain or shine. Apparently that was all a bluff, because when I conceded that the rules made no provision for rainouts, went ahead and dressed out and started rolling the bike down the steps into the rainy afternoon, the bike relented. We amended the rules such that if rain disallows a ride during the available hours of a day, a rainout is called and no score is assessed for that day.
  2. I rode today. The bike was a little hesitant to go out because of the standing water from all the rain that has fallen over the last couple of days. It was pouring even this morning. But I stood firm and we took the normal route around the park. But the bike might have been justified in its hesitation, as we took a tumble on a slick turn by the Science Museum. I have pictures to prove it:

What this all means: ME 5, BIKE 7.
I haven't read this yet, but it looks promising: DOM Design Tricks, from A List Apart.

Friday, June 16, 2000

A couple of stories on the IE cookie security hole reported a while back:

New York Times balks at cookie recall

PIR Seeks a Public Recall of Certain Cookies
I didn't know that there was a company collecting royalties on the MP3 format, but there is. In response to that comes the Ogg Vorbis CODEC project, an open source project that will unveil it's new audio format next week at the MP3.com summit. Read about it at CNET.com: Programmers prepare new, free MP3 format.
"People think MP3 is free, but it's not," said Jack Moffitt, the 22-year-old iCast vice president who is overseeing the open-format effort.
The Patent Avenger, an article at ecompany.com, looks at Greg Aharonian. Mr. Aharonian sends out a weekly e-mail newsletter called "Patnews" that documents bad patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Aharonian's mailings aren't subtle: One recent missive was titled "Patent Examination System Is Intellectually Corrupt." But at a time when the issue of patenting software is becoming increasingly fraught with controversy--as, for instance, when Amazon.com started a ruckus by patenting its "one-click" ordering system--his message is finding a receptive audience.
Find out more: http://www.bustpatents.com/.

Thursday, June 15, 2000

V. also said:
I like being referred to as V., because people will think I'm really a lizard alien and that I can eat guinea pigs whole and take my eyes out.
Just got back from a bike ride. My stategy: ride for the next three days and even this thing up.

ME 4, BIKE 7.
V. told me the Baffler is very old news. And he offered this review:
They wrote a lot of great stuff, but ultimately it's very pretentious and often just wrong-headed. Academic in a showy way - they're guilty of a lot of what they say they're against.
Barry Schuler explaining why AOL has not been keen on opening up AIM (from an article on techweb.com):
"From a technical point of view, it's a very difficult thing to do," Schuler said. "If you go back and look at the history of mail, which moves at the same pace, everyone had different mail systems and then everyone decided it would be good to have mail systems talk to each other. And standards were created for it. What happened was a mistake, in retrospect. No one was thinking about spam -- about how we could build a standard in such a way that could make spam very hard to do.
I can't figure out if that is just a smoke screen, but it seems to be a reasonable smoke screen if it is.
Anybody read The Baffler before? Here's a bit from the about page:
The Baffler sprang into this world back in 1988 from a very simple idea. Thanks to the forces of academic professionalization, it seemed to us, cultural criticism had become specialized and intentionally obscure. The authority of high culture may have collapsed, but the high-culture critics had no intention of allowing their authority to collapse with it. Instead they abandoned the mundane project of enlightenment and aimed for bafflement, for a style that made much of its own radicalism but had astonishingly little to say about the conditions of life in late twentieth-century America. We set out to puncture their pretensions and to beat them at their own game.
Ok so that sounds fairly interesting. But I'm still not entirely sure what to make of the journal. But then I read an excerpt (they don't have the whole thing up online) from Clip on Tie: The Diary of a New York Art Museum Security Guard by David Berman, and I really like it. Here's a bit of it:
Sometimes, when a beautiful Italian girl wanders into an empty gallery I fantasize about walking over and kissing her on the neck. When she turned around and saw that I was a guard, I would straighten up and whisper "no kissing allowed."

...

What Duchamp did with the urinal no longer surprises me, what surprises me is the idea that they had urinals back then.

...

No one gets hungry at the sight of a lush cornfield or a herd of cattle. It's enough to tell you that we're full of education, not awareness.
From The Standard: AOL Will Offer IM-Sharing Plan.
AOL has argued that efforts by other companies to create unauthorized links to AOL products could jeopardize AOL users' privacy and security. The online giant has now pledged to work toward creating an industry-wide standard for interconnection.
Something good will actually come from the AOL/Time Warner merger!

Wednesday, June 14, 2000

House committee OKs anti-spam bill:
The Unsolicited Electronic Email Act would place restrictions on email marketers. Those limits include requiring spam to include a valid reply address and forcing people and companies to stop spamming upon request.
Doesn't that sound good to you?
I must give hushmail.com a whirl: Encoding E-Mail - It's Not for Everyone. Though it looks like they are delaying the release of HushPOP.

Tuesday, June 13, 2000

Stewart reminisces about his travels in Spain, which is something the wife and I have also been doing quite a bit of lately. Reminiscing that is; we've only been to Spain once. We flew in to Madrid last Autumn, headed down by train to Sevilla, over to Granada and up to Barcelona, and we had a fantastic time. The first night in Sevilla we had a tremendous seafood paella at a little dive of a place run by just one lady. She cooked, she served, she insisted we take the rest of her pack of Kools when we asked for a recommendation on Spanish cigarettes. She showed us a book a foot thick half filled with signatures and notes and hand drawn maps from previous guests; we were amazed by the number of entries, and then she showed us two other such books already full! We want to go back.

In the meantime, we are applying ourselves to learning the art of the paella cook. We just bought an 18.5" pan from Paellapans.com, so we won't have to continue using the monster aluminum pot Katrina bought last week.

My bike is having its way with me. As of yesterday:

ME 3, BIKE 5.

Still hoping to get a ride in today.
Stewart updated Sylloge today. If you enjoy having miscellany puked all over you, as I do, you will surely take great pleasure in his posts. And I just noticed he updated on the 11th also! A bonus!

Monday, June 12, 2000

I can't imagine many things more terrible than the situation of John Ray, the patient described in this NY Times article: being isolated from the people all around him, unable to communicate with anyone beyond simple yes or no eye blinks, unable to move his body but still subject to the miserable pain of bed sores. However, in a most compassionate and amazing use of technology, scientists have wired his brain up to a Dell Pentium and Johnny can "type" out sentences by moving the cursor with his thoughts and clicking with a twitch of his shoulder muscle. Can you imgaine the joy that must have brought to him?
Preparing for standard-compliant browsers, Part 1 is good article that has some good advice on coding for the next generation of browsers. Via Web Mutant. [ed. note: I just realized I already blogged this article, back on May 9th]
Here's an article on the recent high profile Domain Hijackings: Naked Hijackers.
Unable to explain the lapses, NSI spokesman Brian O'Shaughnessy defended NSI's customer service. "I don't want to seem callous to what these people are going through, but compared to the overall growth of the system, it's relatively minuscule," O'Shaughnessy says.
Growth of the system? Huh? I have no idea what he is talking about, but I do know that NSI has proven to have some of the WORST customer service I have ever experienced. What a despicable company.
Another interesting article from Joel, this time on REALBasic. This one is especially interesting to me because my friend Erick is currently writing REALbasic for Dummies for IDG Books. He's even keeping a blog about it! Erick is a real Mac Addict, and he says the guys over at REALbasic are too; apparently, they have no intention of catering to Windows developers because they don't want to compete with VB.
More mainstream site usability coverage from the NY Times: Easier-to-Use Sites Would Help E-Tailers Close More Sales.
Tim Berners-Lee apparently told the International Advertising Association conference that deceptive online ads "pervert" content. The writer of the article neglected to mention the name for such ads, which use elements of computer interface to trick users into clicking: FUI (Fake User Interface). I guess that name only means something to those who know what a GUI is.
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