Dylan: January 2002 Archives

Cringely

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Cringely in The Pulpit ] : A New Modulation Technology Promises to Turn Your Cable TV Connection Into a 10 Gigabit-Per-Second Digital Fire Hose

King to step down

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[ CNN.com ] : Stephen King to call it quits. 5 more books and he's outta here!

Winerlog cut off

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Its official. Winer cuts Winerlog. So they are gone from editthispage, but now popped back up on weblogger. Metafilter is talking about it.

My thoughts? Good for you Dave. Really. Not ass-licking here as I am sure Winerlog would accuse. People can mock and do parodies, but when it goes too far on server space and bandwidth that you are paying for, then cut them off. Let them do it elsewhere. Probably one of the most fascinating things about the whole saga was that Winerlog was hosted on UserLand servers. Now that it has moved elsewhere the only amusement factor it had has vanished. So long, Winerlog. I hear you used to be something worth reading. Now get a clue and stop whining.

Dave Barry on Squirrels

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Dave Barry: "For one thing, if you see a squirrel dancing, you are looking at the final stages of rabies.

Break In

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Our landlord who lives in the big house in front of our cottage just came by and asked me if we had seen anybody around his place last weekend. I said we hadn't and asked why. He said that someone had broken into his house while he was away in Tahoe and was curious whether we had seen or heard anything.

He then showed me where they had broken two windows, a main floor window and a basement window, and pried the hell out of his side door, destroying the latch mechanism and the deadbolt. It was pretty sloppy work. Sort of a brute-force approach to home-invasion.

They obviously got inside, but didn't take anything. What they did do was put a good slice in his main gas-line in the basement and let his house fill up with gas. When he arrived back he could barely breath inside. The house remarkably did NOT blow up. Even though the water heater also runs off  gas with an open flame. Maybe we can thank some bad seals in a draughty house?

Creepy! It looks to be the act of deliberate sabotage. And whoever did it seems to have wanted the house to blow up.

We're talking about Palo Alto here!

Megway

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I have a feeling that the Megway is going to be some major competition for the Segway! I hear it even doubles as a blow-up doll! Ha!

Small Ass

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How to tell if you ass is too small.

A Brown Birthday

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Ben Brown's birthday. Yeah, yeah, yeah... when are we going to see a new show, huh? Maybe we'll get to see some birthday footage?

Beauty Kit for Little Girls

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Beauty Kit for Little Girls :: This is just bizarre. One has to ask: why is it acceptable for an adult to do these things, yet not a child? I personally don't think it is acceptable for either but our society certainly does. The tune is even a little catchy.

iMac Phone Home

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Imagine this: iMac gets stolen. iMac has remote-access software installed. Evil-doer uses stolen iMac to go online. Rightful owner connects to stolen iMac over the Internet. Through some interesting tweaks and a little luck... weeeeellllll you'll just have to read about it yourself.

Weblog Introspection

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Audience. Who is my weblog audience? Or perhaps a better question at this point is: who do I see being my audience? This is something I'm still trying to figure out.

I like writing here, but my style, length, topics and voice seems to change on a daily basis. Does this matter? Maybe not. Maybe it is the initial erratic stage that many weblogs go through? I haven't read a lot of new weblogs (ok, none -- except this one :) so don't have a lot to go from.

My wife says I should 'relax' in my blog. Don't try to make each word and sentence 'perfect'. Interesting points. I do hold back. I am reserved. It's a strange thing talking to the world through a website. Makes me nervous. I get wary about potential long-term ramifications. Potential employers reading something they disagree with. People making judgements about who I am without knowing who I am. blah blah blah. Nothing new here.

Let's open a bit shall we? I'm hoping this weblog makes me rich and famous. Don't we all secretly hope that? Isn't that what we wish all new endeavours bring us? I want to write words on this site and have millions read them. I want to influence lives and stir imaginations. I want to have an incredible design that never looks dated. I want to be original, but trendy; approachable, yet unpredictable; critical, but humble. I want to be liked, and linked to, and referenced, and adored. I want to win awards.

I like this. I'm going to try to get rid of the facade. The facade that appears when one is potentially talking to thousands but is unaccustomed to it. (Thousands? Get a life! You mean you and your two friends (one of which is your wife!!))

That's another thing I got flak for. Using the word 'wife' in my weblog. At home my partner and I mutually refer to each other as wybands. We both couldn't relate to the title of husband/wife so we decided to invent a word, and we came up with wyband which (you clever readers you) likely noticed is a combination of wife and husband with some liberties taken with the spelling.

Ok. Can one turn over a new leaf after only a few weeks of blogging? Let's give it a try. I really hate trying to find some wicked-zip-zoo-yaa-cool things on the web to link to, and then trying to come up with with some equally wicked-zip-zoo-yaa-cool clever tagline to post it with, so I'll likely not be doing much of that. I'll write what I write, and we'll see how it goes.

Deal? Deal.

Oh. Right. And before I forget. My weblog kicks ass -- and don't you forget it.

Design Mod

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I made the content area wider. Much easier to read when I manage to write something with any length.

NanoChips

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HP patents a process for making nano-sized computer chips.

Weblog Interest Group Details

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Notes from the Weblog Interest Group Meeting

I went to the Weblogger Interest Group meeting yesterday. I got off the Caltrain early in Mountain View, Tracey [my wife] was waiting for me, and we walked to the Dana Street Cafe.

I'm new to this whole thing, and so I wasn't sure what to expect. Would it be geeky? ("But *you* are geeky!" says Tracey) Would it be dull? Would anyone else show up? Would I appear ignorant? ("What's a Scoble?")

So, we showed up, ordered some simple food items (soup, a quiche-like thing and 2 cups of tea) and sat down to see what happened. It became obvious after a little while who belonged to the Interest Group and who didn't. The people walking around with laptops and laying extension cords while others setup wireless Internet connections and an In-Focus digital projector can safely be assumed to be part of the group. Others who looked confused by the sudden display of technology and did quick hunched-over runs through the projector beam were decidedly not part of the group.

By about 7:10PM the group of around 15 people dominated the cafe, speaking calmly but with volume to each other over the roar of milk being steamed and the persistent background music. We did intros, said our software of choice (Manila and Radio for me right now), and then had an informal chat about what blogging means to us. I didn't talk much. Just listened. Tried to catch names and URLs, see if I recognized any, and generally see where people were coming from.

After a little while, Evan (of Blogger fame -- but I didn't know this yet) started to do a presentation on Blogger Pro, the 'pay' version of the Blogger app. I'd heard of Blogger, had read some Blogger weblogs, but had never seen their publishing interface before. I was very impressed. The interface was attractive, approachable, intuitive, completely browser-based, adequately documented and apparently easy to navigate. They had what looked like an IE 'bar' (like the Google and Yahoo bars) but branded with the Blogger logo, that allowed easy navigation and configuration of one's weblog. I later found out it was just DHTML cleverly disguised as an IE-bar, which is even cooler though since it doesn't require any "Click the yes button" component install.

I think I'll look more into Blogger. I chose Manila not because I was totally informed, but more because it was the only blogging app I knew about. I'm curious about how extensible Blogger is. Can you run it on your own host? Are there macros? Can I stream my weblog to another host? (more than one host?) Is the non-PRO version free? etc etc. Will have to assign a block of time to investigate all that...

After the presentation we went to the Tied House, a few blocks away, and had some beers and food. I met some great people and had a really good time.

Who was there? Well, I didn't manage to get everybody's name, but of those I did, I also tried to get the URL of one or more of their weblogs. Here's my somewhat incomplete list of Weblog Interest Group attendees. Click on their name to view their weblog.

Evan Williams, Jason Shellen, Robert Scoble, Bill Humprhies, Dan, Apollo, Philo, Wendy, Doug Baron

Talk about an inspiring set of weblogs! These blow me away. Full of details and links to more details with still more links to MORE details... These weblogs are literally living, breathing, online versions of their authors.

I originally thought that a weblog was like an online journal. Some links. Some text. A place to vent. A place to open up. But now I think they can be more than that. I think they can become the mind-dump of their authors. Give them enough complexity and they gain consciousness. Start sending out feelers and pulling people in. I wonder if there are any cases of people dying but their weblog living on? Getting updated each day? Links being added?

Ok. That's my spooky thought for today. I'm writing this in UltraEdit so that I don't have to deal with the browser crapping out on me (plus I can save every 5 seconds). Almost time to post it.

If you haven't been to a weblog interest group meeting, and think you might be interested (and are actually reading my blog) then go to the next one. Good inspiring people doing some cool things with some cool technology.

I just have to comment that Scoble looks almost exactly like Philip Seymour Hoffman from such movies as Almost Famous, Magnolia and Happiness. Kinda eerie actually. I wonder if he has heard that before?

Amazon Profitable

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Amazon is profitable!

Ben Brown

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Mr. Ben Brown is checking out my weblog font sizes on his Mac for me. Hi Ben!

Early Bird

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Quip of the day:

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

hehe. Think about it.

Field Trip

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Hey! No fair! I never once went on a field trip while in University!

Radio Migration

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I've done some more thinking about whether I should switch to Radio UserLand.

Since I want to upstream through FTP to my own server I lose out on some things. I already mentioned Discussions and Membership, but I forgot about searching and statistics. I mean, that weblog stats page likely gets hit more than any other of my pages (I'm my own #1 fan!). Searching I currently don't use, but there was always that option..

Am I trying to talk myself out of switching to Radio? I don't think so. I'm trying to get it all clear in my head. It looks like lots of fun, but I'm not sure that, after the dust settles, it will be externally apparent what has changed behind the scenes. That could be a good thing, or a reason to put if off.

Those new entry permalinks beside each post are pretty cool though ;)

Hangovers

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Drinking with the boss? Schmoozing with clients? Got a hangover? Apply for workman's compensation!

Netscape sues Microsoft

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WASHINGTON--Netscape Communications, a division of AOL Time Warner, filed suit against Microsoft on Tuesday, claiming that the software giant's business practices have harmed it. [news.com] Who actually doubts this?

Blogger Interest Group Meeting

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10:15PM - Just got back from the blogger interest group meeting. Excellent! Great people! More tomorrow...

Badminton

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In Douglas Couplands Microserfs, the main character, Dan, at one point realizes that he has been neglecting his body for far too long. He then goes to the local Gym to do something about it (and discovers he is a "thin-fat" person -- you can imagine the ridiculing :)

Well, I don't like Gyms, but I do like Badminton, but haven't played in ages. So, I found a place with drop-in Badminton on Sundays (it turns out Badminton is not popular in Palo Alto -- go figure :), and I went yesterday to check it out. I played long and hard and now I am in tremendous pain.

I'm now sitting at my desk, and even the thought of re-adjusting my leg  brings hesitation. My muscles are very angry at me I think.

Dead Links

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I was trying to post a reference to a news story about KaZaA being bought and resuming downloads, but even more interesting is news.com's story links are apparently all broken. Strange. 

KaZaA source

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Here is the KaZaA info at DotComSnoop.

Be Gone

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Be Gone :(

My Day

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I had an excellent day today. Poked around in San Jose with Tracey, my wife, [re]created a beautiful towel rack out of a character-filled piece of driftwood in the bathroom, got some DVDs from the Palo Alto library and watched one (Nurse Betty -- can't be choosy at the library ;), and now I'm going to bed. Ciao!

Contentedness

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Why can't I just settle down? Be content? Why do I constantly analyze the hell out of my current situation with my finger over the eject button?

My work life is in flux. Again. Internally for now, which leads to externally sooner or later. I'm not happy with my current employment.

UserTalk

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Aha! The scripting used within Frontier (and assumedly Radio) is called UserTalk! And Dave Winer today pointed to the online version of the O'Reilly book: Frontier: The definitive guide, which has an excellent 10 chapters devoted to how the language works.

KaZaA suspends downloads

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KaZaA suspends downloads of its file-swapping software. How long until 5 more pop up to take its place?

Layoffs

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The why for the layoffs is somewhat unimportant. The real question now is what next?

Even More Radio

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I got a chance to sit down again with Radio last night. My first project was to try and convert this Manila site to the Radio format. I found the ManilaSiteConverter Tool in the Radio dox, but this was written for Radio 7.0.1.

So I did some sleeve rolling and, and startedt hiking up the learning curve towards understanding the UserLand scripting language. In the end I did a bunch of search-replaces on methods and locations that changed from 7.0.1 to 8.0 and ended up with a reasonably functional script. And it apparently worked. I had it upstream the copied Manila site to my host at warmbrain.com/blog. Cool!

But I've discovered something that may not work for me. I do my Radio tweaking while at home, but do my posting while at work. Hmm. With the Manila site, it is solely a Web interface so I can access it freely from both places.

A solution to this is to make my Radio installation at home accessible when I am at work. That may work, but I am a little nervous about opening up the ports for Radio through my firewall. I can definitely force it to only accept connections that originate from my work IP. That would be fairly secure. Would also user authentication. Will have to think about this.

So, in the end the major benefits from using Radio (for me) are (1) that I get to host it under my own domain name as a static site, and (2) I have complete control over all aspects of the site. I do lose out on discussions (which I currently didn't use), and membership (where I was the only member), and likely some other things as well. But for the time being, it looks like a worthwhile move.

I wonder if the $39.95 needs to be paid every year if you aren't using the community server? I wouldn't complain, just curious. I'll have to go read the fine print.

More Ben Brown

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hehe. More Ben Brown fun.

Layoffs

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Wow. Big news. When I joined this company two months ago they were just recovering from their second round of layoffs. The mighty sword hit again today and we lost 9 more. Thankfully I was not one of them -- yet. There are only about 18 left now, and they apparently had as many as 75 a year ago.

People are freaking out and Management is laying low. Harsh talk. Strong emotions. Messing with people's livelyhoods is a risky situation.

We're all still in the dark as to why. Well, at least the official version anyways.

Radio 8

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Radio Experiences

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Well I played around with Radio last night, and am pretty impressed. Almost everything I mentioned here I have so far found in Radio 8. I created the Radio account, looked over the homepage interface, perused the preferences and configured remote FTP upstreaming to a non-UserLand server. Cool! A few posts and upstreams later and I was thoroughly impressed.

So it seems that I'll have all the features, power and control of running my own Frontier/Manila server but instead do it with Radio locally and render it to a remote host.

I'm aching to poke around some more with it, look into copying all THIS weblog data over to work with Radio, but my company has a release of its own coming up so we're squashing bugs this weekend in preparation.

Bad Colour Day

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Ever have one of those days where you suddenly realize your computer is a sickly beige and your "white" window background is really a splotchy grey?? I'm having one of those days, and I don't know what it means.

More Radio

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Ev-er-y-bo-dy is talking about the imminent release of Radio Userland 8.0. Dave has mentioned that the number of hits on the Radio site have surpassed the hits on Scripting News. I'm responsible for some of those hits! I even tried some URL hacking to see if I could find it in the static gems before release time! =) heh. Bad Dylan!

I'm looking forward to trying it out. I've used Radio 7.0.1 (earlier and also a few days ago), and never really grasped its full potential. I'm ready and willing to give it another go with Radio8 and see what she can do.

I'm curious whether I can have a complete site locally and post it to a website through FTP that isn't running Frontier. Ideally I'd rather be hosting this complete weblog at my domain warmbrain.com but was under the impression that I had to be running Frontier/Manila there for it to work. Going through ManilaSites.com is great (and free!) but tends to be a little slow sometimes, plus I feel a little powerless since I can't get in there and tweak some scripts etc.

I'll have to keep on waiting for a bit. Still not released.

Radio Early

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Oh I'm so bad. Because of predictable naming, and a predictable location, you can download Radio 8.0 at 4:30PM here before the website links to it at 6:30PM.

Why Steve is cooler than Bill

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Cringely in the Pulpit: Why the New iMacs Will Be Successful No Matter What They Look Like or Why Steve is cooler than Bill.

Reminds me of Brent Simmons recent blog entry.

Day Length

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The days are getting longer again... I've known it, but now I'm feeling it.

Microsoft rigs a poll

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Microsoft rigs a ZDNet UK poll to promote .NET
A little blown out of proportion, but still an interesting read. It sounds more like some Microsoft employees saw the poll, got concerned that their beloved company wasn't going to do well, and spammed all their office-mates with a link to the voting page.

 

Moron Spammer

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"Bernard Shifman is a Moron Spammer"
A good read! A guy named Bernard Shifman spammed somebody named Neil Schwartzman with his resume, and when Neil complained about it, he was threatened with a lawsuit from Bernard! It only gets better though! Read on!

Ben Brown Show

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The Ben Brown Show!
It's times like these that make me really want a digital camera of my own. I think the opening sequence was my favourite part.

Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a wonderful book. I've started to read it 2 or 3 times in the past and for a variety of reasons never got past the first 50 pages. Not this time. I read through it feverishly during my daily train-rides, visually devouring each morsel of insight and observation as quickly as my eyes could scan.

I found myself often in amazement at the book's ability to explain and categorize many different experiences and perspectives that I've encountered before but had been confused as to their meaning or relevance. I'd get this tingly sensation in my scalp while reading as a certain phrase rang true, and would catch myself eyes-wide, internally mumbling "yes, yes, yes, yes" like Dean Moriarty during his all-night mind-meld sessions with Carl in On The Road.

The book touched a nerve with me and I feel it has given me some very powerful tools for evaluating situations, judging reactions (mine and others) and particularly to aid in seeing the true Quality in the world. I'm going to see if I can find the sequel (Lila?) in the used bookstore on University Avenue.

Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich

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Remember Being John Malkovich? When John Malkovich went inside of his own head? This nifty tool allows you to Malkovich (or whatever you want) to any website you desire. Here is my weblog after being Parker'ed

Woe is me

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I just took a close look at my magnetic access card that unlocks doors for us where I work and it is really obvious that someone else's name was ripped off soon before my own was applied. I have someone's old keycard. Things like that just depress the hell out of me.

Trenchant

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Adam Mathes makes me laugh. People must think I'm sniffing glue because of all the snickering coming from my cubicle. I love how he uses the FAQ format to have a question/answer period with himself "fight-club" style.

TANSTAAFL?

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No go. I had to pay. Maybe it was because I'd almost finished the book?

Caltrain

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I take the Caltrain to work in the morning. On at Palo Alto, off at Santa Clara. This crosses a zone-boundary. For two trips in a row now, I have never been asked to get my pass seen/stamped. This means free trip. Pass Go. Collect $200.

I was under the impression that the Caltrain ticket-staff were very diligent about collecting the fares. I've even been asked multiple times per trip before. So I've been trying to figure out what's changed. Me? The train? The schedule? My seat? Cutbacks? Luck? And I have finally come to the conclusion that it is because I'm reading "Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert Pirsig. It is giving me some sort of cosmic shielding and fending off the fare-collectors. They just walk right by. Don't even see me. I've got to take the train home tonight so we'll see if this theory holds any water.

Anybody out there?

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Something I haven't seen commented on in weblogs is that period when you start and you are pretty sure nobody is reading it. For instance, I don't believe, at the time of this writing, that anybody is reading this except me.

How does one find out?

One might argue that blogging is a solitary endeavour, similar to a personal journal, that is very private and writtern only for posterity. But with weblogs there is this private-made-public aspect. Like tacking your journal entries on the bulletin board at the library each day.

So what if nobody is reading? One might almost get self-conscious about their weblog. Inferiority blogplex? blog-conscious? hehe.

I'm enjoying this so far. Blogging I mean. Took me a bit to get started, but I think I'm getting into it.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Dylan in January 2002.

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