onLine weblog archive

Saturday, August 19, 2000

Ok, I abhor politics, but this story from Salon starts off with the most amazing observation: Bye-bye, Bill.
Amazingly, astoundingly, after President Clinton's Monday night kickoff speech to the Democratic National Convention, a Broadway troupe was whisked on stage to perform "76 Trombones," a number from "The Music Man."

Thus, President Clinton was followed on stage by Professor Harold Hill -- a snake-oil salesman, a con artist who charms an Iowa town into falling for his charismatic duplicity. By the musical's grand finale, Hill has so successfully wormed his way into the hearts of the good townsfolk that it didn't matter he had lied to them. Life was good, the town content and he, after all, was so darn charming.
Was that intentional? Was Clinton thumbing his nose at us as he gave what was essentially his farewell speech? Or was that astounding choice of music simply the product of a monumental ignorance of the story and themes of "The Music Man"? Either way, it seems like a moment in some bizzaro-world version of Bob Roberts.
Linux Sux Redux:
But now comes news from BugTraq, SecurityFocus.com's computer security mailing list; gives the lie to the widely held belief that Linux is any less vulnerable than its competitors. Linux's known weaknesses turn out to be proliferating faster than its market share.
Also see the reader feedback, like
I wonder how a columnist as highly regarded as Fred Moody can overlook so many fundamentaly important subjects when making this comparison. I believe that abcnews.com has a published a persons biased opinion and has left out some of the facts.
and
If you still don't understand how badly you've distorted the facts, you would be just as accurate if you said that driving a Grand Cherokee is much safer than driving a car because more people were injured while driving their cars last year than were injured while driving their Grand Cherokees.
From the Atlantic: The Heavenly Jukebox.
Rampant music piracy may hurt musicians less than they fear. The real threat -- to listeners and, conceivably, democracy itself -- is the music industry's reaction to it
I must get around to reading this one.

Friday, August 18, 2000

"A dataset of selected astronaut-acquired imagery of Earth: Earth from Space." Ok, so they need a copywriter. The images are great though.
DeCSS follow-up (previous comments here): DeCSS judge: Code isn't free speech. He's even outlawed linking! In earlier reports the judge seemed really intrigued with the freedom of speech argument, but this decision could not be any worse for the defendants, or for free speech in general. No word of what will become of the t-shirts.
Big storms last night in the St. Louis area downed trees all over town, knocking out power all over the place. I got electricity back about an hour ago. Glish.com was (I think) not working from 10 last night until 10 this morning due to some silliness with our DB server. My development server here at the homestead got hosed in the power outage. I'm taking the opportunity to upgrade it to win2k.

Thursday, August 17, 2000

RealNetworks is going to start charging for content. Not all of it, but some if it. From the Forbes article:
Shares of RealNetworks went up on the news, closing up 5.72% at $43.87. However, investors may be a little prematurely enthusiastic. It remains to be proven if consumers are ready to swallow fees on the PC; and the content may not be compelling enough to demand a $10 monthly fee. For $15 more, consumers can order basic cable and watch TV-quality transmission of a wide variety of quality content. Vice President of Media Programming Mark Hall readily admits that the business will come slowly.
That is way too tentative a criticism of such a ridiculous plan. Their software is rotten (it's marketingware), nobody buys it, and now they want to start charging 10 dollars for compressed to death video clips of UFO's and Super Models? Give me a break.

But still, investors are so eager for dot coms to start turning profits, their stock goes up on the news! Silly investors.

Wednesday, August 16, 2000

A friend from high school that I haven't talked to in 11 years sent me a note and a few old baby pictures of me that she still had from some silly "name that graduate" game when we graduated in 1989. One of the pictures bears a striking resemblance to a photo of me taken last year:

  


I swear I was good looking at some point between those two photos.
Visual Studio.NET Resources and Links
Everything You Wanted to Know About C#, ASP , Visual Studio.NET, ADO, and More... But Were Afraid to Ask

Tuesday, August 15, 2000


"The Internet: the power of computers writ large."

Derek said that a while ago over Guinness at Pat's. I was going to wait for the perfect moment to drop that on you, but I can't wait any longer. I was reminded of it while reading drew's intro page, where he asks "IS IT MAGIC OR IS IT INTER-NET?"
What Microsoft's .NET Doesn't Get:
You can almost hear the brainstorm behind .NET, as Microsoft has re-christened its next generation Windows services: "Hey, wouldn't it be neat if there were something like the Internet, only we owned it?!"
In the spirit of the 5k contest, Webtype.org is having a webtype typography contest. No images, no Flash, just words laid out on a page. Sounds interesting, but I wish they specified a browser; cross browser development constraints are going to limit just how experimental people can be.

Monday, August 14, 2000

This is not a review of Internet Explorer 5.5:
I fire up a browser and start browsing and realize that with only a tiny handful of exceptions, every page I visit is just a text document with a basic logical structure, a couple of links here and there and some careful stylistic touches to make it easy on the eyes. This makes me laugh. What I find so funny is that browser makers are so hell-bent on cornering the budding, tiny, complicated "Internet Application" market when they still haven't come close to getting this "hypertext document over the Internet" thing right.
A must read: An Interview with Dave Eggers.


Well, Lawrence Lee spoiled my fun. He sent me an email quoting two articles from August '99 wherin Jakob refers to "Jakob's Law." I guess it is still possible that Stewart's I always say piece predates Jakob's law, since I don't know the actual date of Stewart's page, but I thought you ought to see these:

From August 2, 1999:
[...] Remember Jakob's Law of the Web User Experience: Users spend most of their time on other sites. So anything that's a convention and used on the majority of other sites will be burned into the users' brain and you can only deviate from it on pain of major usability problems.
And from August 22, 1999:
Jakob's Law of the Web User Experience: Users spend most of their time on other sites. Thus, anything that is a convention and used on the majority of other sites will be burned into the users' brains and you can only deviate from it on pain of major usability problems.
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