Dylan: May 2003 Archives

Dropping a Matrix Load

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Oh please... oh please... oh PLEASE Wachowski Brothers... if you are out there in Internet-land, then PLEASE read this Matrix: Reloaded review and absorb it. Bathe in it. Print it out, rub it all over your body and eat it. Just make sure you get the damn point! You screwed up bigtime with the sequel, and Philip Graham nails what went wrong right on the head.

Coincidence Design

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Coincidence Design 'designs coincidences'.

In the ultimate example of contrived relationships, Coinicidence Design crafts a meetup scenario with your 'dream wife'. In their own words: "You can't stalk her... but WE can!"

Yipes! I'm still crossing my fingers that the whole thing is a fake.

HTML Tables

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There are days where I just wish the HTML table element, by default, was set to cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" and border="0". That would be so great. It would save me lots of typing and aggravation.

Yeah, yeah.. you could argue that the defaults are good because even Joe Blow can just hack out some tr and td elements and know it will at least look presentable... whereas if the defaults were as I want them, the cells will all run together. True. But I still want it my way.

You could also argue that since I always zero the spacing/padding/border I obviously am using the tables for layout purposes.. and as we all know, that is a BAD BAD THING. And again you'd be right (to some degree). But I still want it my way.

You could also point out that I could just use CSS to force the padding and spacing of tables to what I want without typing it again and again. And again, you'd be right. But I'd still want it my way... but I would enjoy the irony of using CSS to make my tables do what I want.

In the end, I'm just feeling a little lazy. I think I'll setup a macro.

Google News Canada

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Globe and Mail: Google News Canada

Google News Canada, launched Monday, gives more prominence to stories and sources local to Canada while it searches current news headlines and photos from more than 4,500 international news sources, company spokesmen said.
Take a gander.

Tipping

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Howstuffworks: How Tipping Works. Interesting. Damn that candy!

Corporate Baddies

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Doctored Photo

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Whether true or not, the site makes a convincing case that on April 9th 2003, a doctored photo was run as the full page front cover of the London Evening Standard. I wonder who knew?

Refactoring

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"Cleaning up code" is a terrible thing. Redesigning WORKING code into different WORKING code (also known as refactoring) is terrible. The reason is that once you touch WORKING code, it becomes NON-WORKING code, and the changes you make (once you get it working again) will never be known. It is basically a programmerís ego trip and nothing else. Cleaning up code, which generally does not occur in nature, is a prime example of amateur Open Source software.
May the Source Be With You
Robert X. Cringely
I think that Cringely should do some reading. And if that doesn't convince him that refactoring can be a good thing, then I think we should throw him into a Cage Match with Kent Beck and Martin Fowler. heh.

ATT Cable

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The Cable Internet connection has been down for the past 2 weeks at my house. The cable modem has an RF light.. and it just blinks orange. When we first tried to arrange an AT&T tech house call... they could only arrange a maximum of one week in advance, and to make it more amusing, the only opening they had was exactly one week later. Since the only available appointment was a wednesday and none of us would be able to work from home during the day to wait for the cable guy (as no internet connection means no werkie werkie), we asked if we could get the following Saturday which happened to be exactly 10 days in the future. Nope. They couldn't schedule it. His advice? Wait three days (until Saturday) and then call back and hope they have a spot open a week later. What a joke. And we pay good money to these people.

In 2 days the tech comes. A total of 2 weeks of downtime so far.. except.. wait for it.. the damn Cable has started magically working again. We don't know what to do though. If I cancel the appointment and it fails again, then we're stuck waiting at least another week to get it looked at. If it continues to work, then when the guy comes he'll have nothing to test and we potentially face a $50 'fee' because there was nothing wrong.

Let's hope it doesn't go down while I'm posting this.

Mini-Napster

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News.com :: Campus file swappers to pay RIAA

Four students are going to pay the RIAA between $12,000 and $17,000 each over the next 4 years. Obviously just to set an example... as I don't believe the RIAA is waiting on that money to make loan payments or something. I'd be curious how much they spent on court costs to make such a point.

These students wrote software that takes advantage of the fact that most windows machines are setup insecurely with the shares accessible to the world (or in this case the rest of the University network). Sure some of the shares may have been open on purpose, but typically people don't realize what is at risk when they have a pre-Win2k machine connected to a network 24/7.

The software connects to the open shares, hunts around to find any MP3s and then provides some sort of frontend web interface so that people can do searches on the index, get results that are likely just pointers to where the files are, and then connect directly to the opened share and download the music. Although the RIAA described it as mini-Napster (Napster baaaaaaaad) the students actually viewed it as more like a mini search engine (a mini-Google they said) because it just crawls to create an index then provides access to the index through a single website. When you search it provides you with a pointer (a link) and not the actual file itself.

As far as I can tell from the meager details in the news article, their description is accurate. With that in mind, it would almost have made more sense to charge them with accessing remote computers without permission -- cracking -- rather than providing pointers to where music can be downloaded.

Screensaver vs. Wallpaper

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Somewhere along the way people go confused and started referring to their computer's desktop wallpaper as the screensaver. I tried correcting this for awhile, but the rate of spread of this misinformed naming seems to be increasing. In a few years I will be the one that is incorrect. Hmm.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Dylan in May 2003.

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