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Friday, June 23, 2000

Clay Douglas found the Waco negotiation tapes! Thanks Clay!
I am in Chattanooga to help the sister-in-law and the bother-in-law-in-law sand floors and such before they move in to their new house. Truckers suck.

Wednesday, June 21, 2000

Find out how fast your pipes really are, with the Bandwidth Speed Test.
It was early 1996, I had just bought my first computer (Power Computing PowerWave 120). My friend John Young had given me a floppy with all the software I needed to connect to the internet through INCH. I became totally fascinated with the web. One of the most interesting things I happened across was actual recordings of phone conversations between David Koresh and an FBI negotiator. The access to primary news sources like that, including a complete 45 minute conversation with Koresh calling himself Christ and the negotiator trying to appeal to Koresh's religion to get him to surrender... man! That is what the internet should be about; making available to everyone what was once reserved for the few. It seemed we would no longer have to have our news filtered through some talking head, or some agency, or some weak writer at the local paper; we could read and hear the raw data before it is turned into "news."

Well, I'm sad today because I can't find those Koresh negotiation recordings anymore! I think they were somewhere on the NPR site, but I searched for them with no success. If anybody remembers what I'm talking about and has pointer for me it would be most appreciated. I am in search of the web's past.
Some of you couldn't care less about archives and history (you know who you are) but here is an excellent article about the web's disappearing history: In Search of Webs Past. Also read author Nick Montfort's follow post about archiving personal pages in the discussion forum.
Journal E makes good use of Flash. And if you haven't seen their collection of postcards and photographs of lynchings in America, you really should: Without Sanctuary.
Ed Dumbill has some things to say about The State of XML:
XML is itself an inherently disruptive technology. Everybody's world, and often their business models too, is being upset by XML. This is one reason why XML is such a great opportunity.
Via Zeldman.
I'm working on an interface that will allow people to comment on Gelernter's Second Coming Manifesto, but before I finish that I have one thing to say. Gelernter says:
21. The windows-menus-mouse "desktop" interface, invented by Xerox and Apple and now universal, was a brilliant invention and is now obsolete. It wastes screen-space on meaningless images, fails to provide adequate clues to what is inside the files represented by those blurry little images, forces users to choose icons for the desktop when the system could choose them better itself, and keeps users jockeying windows (like parking attendants rearranging cars in a pint-sized Manhattan lot) in a losing battle for an unimpeded view of the workspace -- which is, ultimately, unattainable. No such unimpeded view exists.
An unimpeded view! Yes! We get so used to the everyday challenges and frustrations of using computers we forget what it is we really want. No one WANTS to search around for a file, or switch around windows to find that one with the web page we were reading; we get used to doing it though and become complacent victims of bad interface. My epiphany the other day about the small image of a web page in its entirety is all about the same issue. That image is so intriguing to me because it reveals what we are always striving for and never attaining: an unimpeded view.
Chris of Flazoom has followed up his cancer piece with some good thoughts on the use of Flash: Hey Flasher, Stop Abusing your Visitors.

Tuesday, June 20, 2000

Here are a couple of useful pages from AOL's Guide for Webmasters: AOL Browser Features and Functionality Table (via Antenna) and some AOL page caching information (via pixelpony).
Dan Gillmor is excited about the latest from IBM: Big things in store from IBM's Microdrive. Having recently acquired a Coolpix 990, I'm anxious to see the Microdrive put to use in cameras. One of the great benefits of digital photography is that after the initial investment you can take unlimited photographs with no additional costs. That helps when you're trying to get that perfect shot, and combined with immediate feedback on the lcd screen, it really helps you hone your photography skills. Having a gig of storage in the camera would be incredibly freeing and would allow photographers to fully realize that benefit.

More than you ever wanted to know about online traffic stats: Net rankings vex dot-coms.
V. forwarded me this email from one of his mailing lists, which I find humorous:
I have unfortunately been very busy lately and haven't had the time to write a virus, so please take a couple of minutes to open Windows and randomly delete 10 or 12 files (including a minimum of 3 system files) and then send this e-mail on to everyone on your mailing list.

Thank you for your co-operation.
I like that it asks you to "open Windows."
David Gelernter' s The Second Coming -- A Manifesto is very intriguing. Read it, then be sure to read The Reality Club, which is a series of responses to the manifesto from assorted luminaries. Lee Smolin is perhaps the most outspoken dissenter.

Also, if you're interested, this NY Times article puts an interesting spin on Gelernter's piece, noting that it seems quite at odds with the computing strategy Microsoft is expected to announce this Thursday.

The Captain also had a few things to say about it, including a critique of the manifesto and a pointer to some of the work Gelatner is doing to achieve his futuristic vision.

More comments to follow.

Monday, June 19, 2000

5 months later this still rings true: Among the Inept, Researchers Discover, Ignorance Is Bliss.
Last night we watched Bringing out the Dead, the latest from Martin Scorsese

Superficial analysis: Scorsese (and Schrader) do Tarantino doing Taxi Driver.

Other analysis: Too long; facile character development (especially considering this is coming from the king of psychological films); great music (except for Natalie Merchant); beautiful cinematography (nearly all the white in the movie is overexposed for a very edgy look); ultimately the movie seems more like a music video than anything else -- it never really gets beneath the surface. But I enjoyed it nonetheless!

Read what David Edelstein had to say about it.
A good article on some common newbie DHTML issues: Seven Deadly DHTML Sins.
An excellent article by Rick Levine (of Clue Train fame) on e-commerce lessons he learned while creating a site for his brother the hat maker: Your Customer Isn't An Idiot: Retail on the Web.

On a side note: did anybody else feel the same strange thrill upon seeing the image along the left side of the article (and included below) that shows a complete page of the hatfactory.com site? Of course, it's way too small to read or be useful, but I just find it fascinating to see the whole layout of the page without any scrolling. It's like, well, I'm not sure what it's like. But it brings into focus just how annoying scrolling really is, even though we do get used to it. Some part of the document is necessarily always hidden. That little image is an epiphany of sorts; something hidden has been revealed!

Several people have emailed*c* me wanting to know why I have lately been talking so much about the competition I am "having" with my bike. Well, I'll tell you: it's a silly little self motivational tool I am surprised to find out is actually working. I've been pretty good about getting out there every other day and riding for 40 minutes or so. Which is something I really need to do.

I think I could be the poster boy for the sedentary lifestyle, a lifestyle which today's economy has really taken to a new level. I know, I know, there have always been office workers who sit at desks all day long. Well, not always, but you know what I mean. Now-a-days, however, we have people like me who work from home and don't even get a walk to the car and into the office. It's out of bed and in front of the desk. And my work is done almost exclusively on my computer. I don't need to get up to get paper clips, or to get a new jar of white out, or even to get a reference book; 99% percent of what I need to do my work is found online. It's up to me to create opportunities to get exercise or I'm only going to get increasingly unhealthy, so I invented the dumb bike competition.

Oh, and I rode yesterday, a fast and furious ride in order to get back in time for our weekly movie watching party. Which means:

ME 6, BIKE 7.




Here is an Esquire Magazine April Fools article on a company giving away free cars. The site of this fictional company can be found at freewheelz.com. The site of a real company that paid $25,000 for another domain purchased for the parody can be found at freecar.com. They are giving away free cars.

More from CNET.com: Company buys April Fool's URL.

P.S. Anybody speak Swedish? Or know of a Swedish --> English online translator? I am dying to know what Onkel Orvar is saying about FreeWheelz.
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