onLine weblog archive

Friday, October 13, 2000

Did you know that the Flash file format is open? Macromedia published the specifications for SWF in April 1998, and openswf.org "has resources for programmers who want to read, write or play SWF files."
Show and Tell Music
...my little gallery of thrift store album cover art. This site evolved out of a desire to show all these crazy album covers lying around my house to a larger audience.
Man there are some gems in there. [Thanks dub]
Steven Feuerstein has written an article on the uproar caused by the examples in his new book Oracle PL/SQL Programming Guide to Oracle8i Features: I Don't Like Your Examples! He understands what apparently so few people do, that EVERYTHING contains a message, that nothing is neutral. Weltanschauung is everywhere:
I believe that just about every technical book comes with a body of politics, an ideology that governs and usually restricts its example set. We don't notice the political slant because it reflects the dominant viewpoint in our society and is thus invisible.
While I can understand that some people might not want their worldview challenged while studying up on Oracle, I love that Feuerstein had the guts to do this with his book.
Witnesses describe the lynching of two Israeli soldiers.
"Use your apocalyptic imagination to figure out what they looked like."
"Peace, peace, peace, that is all we have heard for more than five years. Where is peace? It is in a sack."
It has been reported that when in 1974 Mary Travers expressed to Bob Dylan how much she enjoyed his recent album Blood on the Tracks he snapped back at her, disgusted that she could "enjoy" something that was so obviously painful. I hate to pull a Mary Travers, but I really enjoyed Zeldman's recent episode of My Glamorous Life: Goodbye, Mommy.

Thursday, October 12, 2000

I'm putting this here so I can find it later when I'm looking for it: Using CSS as a Diagnostic Tool.
I've been meaning to say that last Friday we played a benefit for KDHX, the finest radio station around, and in that show we played The Replacements' "Kid's Don't Follow" for the first time. Tony Renner, music director of aforementioned radio station, said we screwed up exactly like the Replacements. We took it as a compliment.
Point: 3-D Space as New Frontier.
Counterpoint: 2D is Better Than 3D.

[Thanks Peterme]
Recursion in XSLT
Over the course of coming articles, we will be investigating, presenting and explaining several useful concepts and methods in XSLT for creating complicated transformations, creating some reusable techniques for adding additional functionality that XSLT doesn't inherently provide us with.

Wednesday, October 11, 2000

ASP+ Tips and Tricks
Web Publishers Learn to Love Micropayments:
Web usability expert Jakob Nielsen, who once predicted that every content site would be using micropayments by this year, suggests a ... radical step. "The solution to the chicken-and-the-egg problem is to get Microsoft to decide what is the standard and make it happen," he said. "What you want is a micropayment system that is automatic, so you create the illusion of seamlessness for the user."
[Thanks Lawrence]
Sen. Edwards Intro's 'Spyware Control Act'
Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., introduced legislation on Friday that would force software manufacturers to notify consumers when their products include "spyware," bits of code that surreptitiously transmit information about the user's Web surfing habits back to the software company.

Tuesday, October 10, 2000

So over all, I'd say technology reporters are getting better at reporting on "complex" technology topics like cookies, but I still frequently find terminology misused and definitions bungled, sometimes by mistake, sometimes for sensationalism. Take these quotes from Tinker, Tailor, Software, Spy, an MSNBC article on marketing attempts to track you behavior on the web:
Many Web sites use cookies, small files stored on a user's hard drive by a Web site, often for useful purposes like saving user passwords. But cookies can do far more.
Well, the cookies actually can't do anything. It's what is done with the cookie that matters. A sports writer would never say a basketball had made a 3 point shot. Here's the lowdown folks: Cookies don't kill people, marketers do.

Here's some more lousy language, from a consultant of some sort interviewed for the article, talking about "web bugs," which are images that ad and marketing companies place on certain pages to help them track users across sites:
"Once they're hidden and you put them on any page and connected to a server that can pick up the IP address, no matter where you go on the Internet, they can [follow]," says R. Lee Heath,
Now that's just ridiculous. I'm not saying it's not sneaky behavior, and I certainly don't approve of marketing companies spying on us, but come on. I mean, once everybody's wearing a wire tap, and that tap broadcasts to the local CIA office, then they'll know everything everybody ever says! Runaway! Runaway!
The Art Of Web Application Development. [Thanks Weblad]
C# Strikes a Chord
The official line from Microsoft is that C# is a C/C++ derivative. C# clearly borrows from Bjarne Stroustrup's C++ , but it also draws much from James Gosling's Java. I have carefully read the three reference documents for the languages written by their creators -- The C++ Programming Language: Special Edition by Bjarne Stroustrup; Java Reference by James Gosling and C# Reference, by Anders Hejlsberg. Using these sources I will compare the languages and attempt to uncover a family genealogy.
Now available: the September 2000 MSXML Parser Beta Release.
Ask Mark Anders (Product Unit Manager for the .NET Frameworks) your .NET/ASP+ Questions!

Monday, October 09, 2000

I must get an ASP+ box set up so I can play with some of this stuff: ASP Validator Controls.
I've retired the poll below, and come to two conclusions:
  1. I will not add a discussion facility to glish.com
  2. I will add a search facility.
  3. Not many people answer polls.
Three conclusions, I've come to three conclusions.

Actually, the poll didn't have much to do with these decisions. I already knew I didn't really want to add a discussion, because this is my personal site where I just dash off ideas and thoughts. I welcome your response, if you would like to talk back to me, but this is not a public forum. I mean, it is a forum, it's my forum, and it is public, it's just not a public forum. You know what I mean, don't you? Plus, if I can only get 34 of you to answer my poll, I am betting there would be far fewer of you actually engaging in conversation on a discussion board. I don't want to build a bunch of empty rooms.

The search is something I've been meaning to get around to, but haven't yet. It means I'll probably have to add tables to my DB to hold all these entries, which will also require some sort of importing from the XML docs that Blogger spits out for me, which will mean I am one step closer to weaning myself off of blogger and building some nice custom content management tools.

Here's the poll, for the sake of posterity:
-------------------
POLL: If I were to add a search feature to glish.com, would you use it? What about a discussion facility, so that you could comment on any of my posts?




       or view results
From an open letter from Doc Searls (you know, Cluetrain) to Meg Whitman, President and CEO of Ebay:
People come to eBay for something far more active, involved, participatory and precious than the "aggregated eyeballs" that media machines like AOL and Yahoo lust after. Call it a constituency, a community, a web of trust or just a good place to do business. But please. Don't call your members an "audience," Or "traffic." Or "consumers." And don't sit still while others call eBay marketplaces "sticky." Traffic jams are sticky too, and good for nothing but billboards.
(If you haven't read it here's an article from thestandard.com on the increase in advertisements Ebay is planning.)
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