Month: May 2001

Sjoerd Visscher: “To be able to try some XML-RPC calls, I built a simple interface around the XML-RPC client, so that there is now an online XML-RPC debugger. Then I found out that Graham Dumpleton had one available already, including introspection.”
7:59:41 PM  

CNET: Sun loses two key executives. “The server giant is losing two key executives on the eve of the company’s most public conference devoted to its Java software.”
7:57:35 PM Egg-Faced News Divisions Stick With VNS Despite Election Fiasco. “The networks and Associated Press decide to stick with Voter News Service, cited as the culprit for last November’s election night screw-ups. None would pay for an alternative.”
5:07:52 PM  

CNET: offers $50K for cybersquatter capture. “The owner of the porn portal is offering a $50,000 reward for the capture of a man who cheated his company out of money by illegally co-opting the site for five years.”
1:51:56 PM  

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Brent: “The software industry is sick in bed with the flu, a thermometer sticking out of its mouth, its pillow cold with sweat, an untouched glass of flat ginger ale on the nightstand.”
5:03:34 PM  

Sjoerd: “The good part is: you don’t have to do complex things. The web has a new simple interface standard. 3 user actions: scroll, click and type. And one feedback option: content replacement. That’s the interface your grandmother understands. She doesn’t understand drag-n-drop or overlapping windows. And this simple interface standard is very easy to do with DHTML.”

While I agree that the three user actions Sjoerd lists are easy enough for my grandma, I’d have to add that even my grandma understands pulldown menus. Anyone with rudimentary computing skill knows what to do with a pulldown menu when they see one, since nearly every Windows and Mac application has a menu bar.

The fact that web users only understand scroll, click and type is, I think, a result of the fact that richer UIs are so difficult to design in (D)HTML. If menus were easier to implement, they’d be much more common (and users would know how to use them). When used consistently, they can add lots of value to a user interface, while saving valuable screen real estate, IMHO.
1:10:32 PM  

BBC: Air pollution: The view from space.
12:55:13 PM  

Wired: Laid Off — Got Mail?. “The dot-com downturn has wrought many casualties, from CEOs to mail clerks. How are downsized companies dealing with the glut of mail and e-mail still arriving for former employees?”
12:54:49 PM  

BBC: Genetic clue to schizophrenia. A gene that reduces brain performance may be linked to a slightly increased risk of schizophrenia.
12:54:19 PM  

A year ago today, I was working on DHTML pulldown menus, which work like the menus you get in standard Windows and Mac applications. I made an observation then, about the web browser and DHTML as an application framework, which still holds true today:

“I can barely believe how difficult it is to design complex user interfaces in DHTML. Simple stuff is — well, simple — but complex things (even if they conform to common user interface standards) seem to just suck the life out of you. When will the browser guys get their act together? This stuff is ancient history in any other application framework.”
1:21:03 AM  

BBC: E-mail users warned over spy network. “Firms and individuals should encrypt all e-mails if they want to avoid a massive UK-US eavesdropping system, say Euro-MPs.”
1:04:49 AM  

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CNET: Bertelsmann to buy Myplay. “The German media giant’s online retail division will acquire the online music locker, according to people familiar with the negotiations.” Interesting. I know a former Sonic‘er who went to MyPlay. I wonder what he thinks about this…
9:08:35 PM  

CNET: BMG: Artists to receive money. “The record label says it will share damages–estimated by industry sources to be $20 million–from a lawsuit against the online music company with all of its artists whose copyrights were infringed by the company.”
3:09:51 PM  

Mom: “Those were happy times. everyone was glad to be past WWII and still alive. We anticipated increasing prosperity, peace, with education and houses for all…”
12:50:14 AM  

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I had a great uncle, Charles, who was a radio man in WWII. He was one of the guys who would sneak behind enemy lines in the dark of night, and set up communication infrastructure for the following day’s assault. It was dangerous, and I’m certain, terrifying work. Of our family stories about him, my favorite is this:

He refused to carry a gun.

Whenever he had a working rifle or sidearm, he’d manage to lose it, break it, or give it away. After numerous reprimands, he was finally provided with a broken rifle, which he dutifly carried, until the end of his service. I doubt I would have had the same resolve.

Later in life, he was a repair technician, at a music shop in Pennsylvania, and according to family lore, was the only person who was allowed to work on Andrés Segovia‘s guitars whenever he came to Pittsburgh for a concert.

My uncle is at least partially responsible for my interest in both computers, and music. As I was growing up, he mailed to me many lessons, projects, and articles about both music and electronics, which were his two passions. They have become mine as well.

Charles was a quiet, and generous man, and I’m glad to have known him.
7:43:00 PM  

CNET: U.S. government outsells Amazon. “The U.S. government sold more than $3.6 billion of products on the Internet in 2000, more than the $2.8 billion in sales the online retailer reported for the same period.”
4:43:37 PM  

Jeff: “Andrea Frick and Oliver Wrede posted pictures from the Scripting News dinner in Amsterdam!”
1:01:05 PM  

The Register: FTC blesses Amazon’s privacy sleight-of-hand. Yeesch.
12:32:25 PM  

BBC: Jupiter probe in trouble. “A Nasa space probe exploring Jupiter and its moons is running into problems as it embarks on the latest stage of its mission.”

Strange… The article is mostly a positive account, explaining that Galileo has exceeded it’s expected life by more than three years, having had its mission extended twice, and yet the headline and sub-title are so negative. I’m confused.
12:31:53 PM  

Jeff: “Well… It’s running again…” Been there, done that.
4:02:27 AM Word of the Day: obstreperous.
4:00:35 AM  

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Scripting News: “I already had two broodjes, one herring, one salmon salad. Who knows maybe I’ll have some more.”

I used to eat broodjes nearly every morning, when I lived in Amsterdam. Here’s a new word for you, Dave: Lekker. If you find a good English translation, let me know. ;->

Oh, and Brent: While broodje roughly translates to “sandwich”, I don’t think that the average broodje will fit your definition.
2:41:57 AM  

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11:32:05 PM  

Online Journalism Review: Blogging as a Form of Journalism. Jeff Cheney writes, “This is an excellent article including quotes from Paul Andrews, Deborah Branscum and Glenn Fleishman! (thanks to Daniel Drew Turner for pointing it out)”
7:33:09 PM  

Salon: Why’d he do it?. “Sen. Jim Jeffords has had problems with his party for a long time, but President Bush appears to have pushed him over the edge.”
7:30:48 PM  

CNET: Pacific Bell outage affects Net, 911. “The company says a wide-ranging network outage spread through most of California, affecting high-speed Internet connections and 911 service.” I was out ’till after 2:30 this afternoon.
7:30:25 PM  

CNN: Brazil dinosaur find oldest yet?
7:29:13 PM  

BBC: Space debris warning. “Man-made debris may make parts of space too hazardous for astronauts, says a new report.”
7:28:41 PM  

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Mom: “Too much input! How lucky I am to have so many connections and so much gratification. Overload surely beats inactivity and isolation.”
11:28:34 PM  

Frontier News: Radio’s Music Tool now works with Frontier.
8:19:40 PM  

CNET: Record albums spin past Napster filters. “Research firm Webnoize reports that it has found dozens of albums on the file-swapping service, the latest sign that Napster’s filters are
1:49:34 PM  

CNET: Contractor: Colorful iBook on the way. “Apple plans to release a larger-screen version and multiple colors of its recently introduced iBook laptop in July, according to the Mac maker’s Taiwan contractor.”
12:27:33 PM  

MSNBC/APB: Trial gives insider view of bin Laden.
12:27:03 PM  

The Register: resorts to porn.
12:26:38 PM  

Reuters: U.S.: China Attacks U.S. Over Dalai Lama Meeting.
12:26:24 PM  

Frontier News: It’s now safe to mix browser and Radio editing.
12:11:43 AM  

Reuters: Earthquake Injures 27 in Southwest China.
12:10:19 AM  

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ESA Science News: Europe launches into astrobiology. “Is our planet an oasis of life in an otherwise dead universe? Twenty years ago, the scientific consensus was ‘yes, probably’. Now it has shifted to “probably not” and the field of astro- (or exo-) biology is burgeoning.”
4:26:59 PM  

BBC: Antarctic lake disappoints scientists. Researchers say there are no superhot springs to sustain life at the bottom of ice-covered Lake Vostok.
4:26:32 PM  

Soup is a SOAP implementation in C, written to be asynchronous and efficient. The release is intended to get the ball rolling on further development and user interest. [Hack the Planet]
1:48:49 PM  

Salon: The White House vandal scandal that wasn’t. How the incoming Bush team nudge-nudged a credulous press corps into swallowing a trashy Clinton story.
1:47:19 PM  

Wired: U.S.’s Defenseless Department. “Congress’ General Accounting Office says that the FBI’s National Infrastructure Protection Center is about as effective as Bob Dole without Viagra.”
1:46:57 PM  

CNN: Robbery note found in laundry
1:45:54 PM  

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Plastic: Two Theories On Why The US Was Voted Off The UN Human Rights Commission. “Who knew that the production of torture equipment is the only thing keeping the US economy afloat?”
6:33:12 PM  

Wired News: Rethinkng Music Security. “The major labels continue to work toward substantial digital distribution outlets by the fall, despite the near complete failure of the organization they hoped would help secure their content.”
3:49:24 PM  

BBC: Cheese beats crackers. “A ‘helpful’ virus called the cheese worm is making its way around the web checking computers for vulnerabilities and closing them.”
3:48:43 PM  

Jeff: “Congratulations to Evan Williams on being selected for The Industry Standard’s annual Net 21.”
3:46:51 PM  

Scientific American: Cosmologists Confirm Web-Like Structure of Early Universe.
3:44:04 PM  

CNN: Ex-stripper describes her time with accused spy.
3:37:37 PM  

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Comments closed Supreme Court Backs News Media — Even When It Broadcasts Illegally Recorded Tapes. “6-3 decision by the High Court supports the actions of two Pennsylvania radio stations that aired a leaked copy of a recording of union leaders talking to each other on cell phones.”
8:15:21 PM  

CNET: Apple installs OS X on all new Macs. Apple Computer has started installing the new Mac OS X operating system on all of its new computers–two months ahead of schedule.
8:14:55 PM  

Jeff: “I am running Frontier on Mac OS X. Words cannot describe the joy I feel. This is my software fantasy come true. Thank you, UserLand!”
8:14:31 PM  

CNET: Redback Networks’ CEO resigns. “The Internet infrastructure provider says that CEO Vivek Ragavan is resigning to pursue other opportunities, rekindling speculation that the company could be a takeover target.”
8:12:51 PM  

Jake's Brainpan

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