October 2002

October 30, 2002

[waltanium:~] walt%

My latest favorite UNIX command: “curl http://a.well.coded.site/ | bbedit”

Now there needs to be a button in Chimera that will run that script on the page that’s currently being browsed. Hrmmm…

[Unrelated: Yesterday Earthlink sends me, their loyal DSL customer, an advertisement which says that if I subscribe to their DSL service, I’ll get the first six months at $30/month. Basically it’s the same offer that I’d get if I switched to SBC. Except I can’t get the deal through Earthlink, because I’m already subscribed. So essentially the company who’s currently screwing me for DSL service is reminding me that the only way to save money is to quit using their service. Thanks… ya bastards.]

October 28, 2002


Today we noticed that in a little under two years our humble Forums have amassed over five thousand messages. Add to that nearly a thousand weblog comments, hundreds of DVD entries, and dozens of photos and you’ve got an impressive little community of guests. All of us here at iWalt.com would like to say thanks for sticking around to play along with our little obsession.

Tonight’s micro-project was to make our RSS feeds validate. Which we accomplished. A few other projects are percolating their way to the top of our to-do list but are still waiting out some prior commitments.

Zeldman: “Many web designers do not see this kind of reductionism as design at all. For them, the labor of design consists in the crafting of many visual elements. For us, the labor of design consists in the proportioning and positioning of only those elements that are needed.” Right on. I’m glad Zeldman is finally redesigning. Now he can practice what he preaches.

October 27, 2002

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

Today began with football and will end with baseball. Rob and I are trying to carry our karma across sports and help the Giants to their first bay area victory.

October 26, 2002

Saturday Stuff

San Francisco Sunset

Early this morning we were at SFO visiting briefly with Bryce as he blew through the left coast on his whirlwind vacation. Later we found ourselves back in Berkeley making a fuss over our under-the-weather girlfriend, running to Costco and the supermarket for munchables. In the afternoon we did a bit of work before zonking out on the couch for a little while. The evening was monopolized by the sixth game of the World Series and the Simpsons Halloween marathon. Finally back to a bit more work and a bit of blogging.

One thing we did tonight was to tweak the font settings here. If you’ve got the fabulous Lucida Grande and one of these excellent font-smoothing browsers (as we do) then it looks pretty sharp. If not, then the styles should downgrade gracefully.

October 24, 2002

Now I’m Older Than Ever

Thanks to everyone for all the happy birthday wishes. It’s clear that I need to blog early on the 24th of October in the future. Not only to keep the Dad birthday greetings separate but so theories don’t start forming as to where I’m hiding out. (I was in a meeting most of the afternoon.)

Anyway, I’m 26 now. We’re going out to dinner tonight with Tabitha and the family. It was nice to get up to Santa Rosa to see Dad yesterday if only for a couple of hours.

Which reminds me… everyone needs to go check out a new weblog by none other than my sister, Nani Dickinson. “There is another…” =-)

October 23, 2002

Dad’s Day

I’m no longer exactly half as old as my Dad. It was nice while it lasted. Today, and today only, he’s more than twice my age for the last time. Tomorrow I start closing the gap. Clearly it’s just a matter of time before we’re the same age… wait. Scratch that. Happy Birthday Dad!

[Heh: Dad shares his birthday with the iPod and Transmit 2.]

October 22, 2002



We always seem to be fixing some little thing around here. For the time being however, at least a few of the pages around here are once again valid XHTML 1.1 according to the W3C’s new markup validator.

Speaking of validation, Mark Pilgrim and Sam Ruby have cooked up an RSS Validator to help aspiring content syndicators perfect their feeds to match the specs.

You can vote for the official badge of this new validator. I mention this because I submitted a few which I feel are (at least) better than the average offering. I actually dislike badges but if it’s possible to make them suck less then I’m willing to give it a shot.

Also today, Brent Simmons released a new beta of NetNewsWire Lite which strives to streamline bandwidth consumption and fixes a bug or two.

October 20, 2002

The Monkey

The Angels really demonstrated the power of that damn monkey tonight. =-) It’s a good Series though. High-scoring, close game, big home runs. We still expect the Giants to emerge victorious though, in San Francisco, Game 5.

[Thanks to everyone who wrote in about that obnoxious little bug. Everything should be good now.]

October 18, 2002



Okay, it all started when Apple gave iTunes some nice AppleScript hooks. All of a sudden it was easy for other apps to know what was going on with iTunes. Then someone made the obvious connection to the web, an AppleScript which collected the iTunes information and sent it in a text file to an FTP server. Rachelle uses this method on her site and it’s pretty cool. I wanted more customizability though. Then waferbaby came out with his own method and, recently, released the source code. His method generates PHP variables rather than plaintext. A step forward but not what I was after.

For months now, in scraps of spare time, I’ve been working on a project which transmits more data in a more web-servicey way. It runs like an app on your desktop. It’s got a GUI. It pings the server over XML-RPC. It detects whether certain pieces of software are running and, if possible, what they’re doing. It lets the user configure some of the settings. It’s pretty darn cool.

Introducing Pingthing. I’m off to bed.

October 17, 2002

Everybody Panic

One of my favorite software companies is hinting at an upgrade. Drool.

October 16, 2002


We don’t mean to brag, but if you were wondering how long Tab and I have been together (as we had often wondered ourselves), it’s been about three years.

(Yes, it’s a blurry photo. We were in a hurry to leave, give me a break. =-)

October 14, 2002


Rob and Nani have recently graced the Photos section with some digital snapshots. It’s great to have people using the system. As a result of their feedback, it’s now no longer necessary to manually enter the width and height of the photos. The system now determines the values automatically.

Remember, anyone with an account can use the PhotoShare tool. If you’ve got some pics you’d like to share with the gang, feel free to post ‘em. And if you have any questions about how the system works or want to reuqest any features, please do. Thanks!

October 14, 2002

Mm, Fishy.

I was the 35th person to download Tuna this morning. I’m looking forward to seeing how waferbaby handles the age-old problem of smoothly sending your iTunes info to your web server. iWalt.com Labs has been sort of slowly cooking its own method of pinging various bits of info from the laptop to the server so hopefully we’ll learn some new tricks.

Wired: IBM Promises Muscle for the Mac: “Industry sources say that IBM plans to announce a new 64-bit processor on Monday — known as the PowerPC 970. It will run a new line of Macintosh products that could be available by the end of next year.” Oh boy.

October 13, 2002

Any ideas?

I got an annoyance that maybe some technically-minded reader can help me with. At home I’ve got my computer connected to a Linksys DSL router which is connected to the DSL modem which talks to Earthlink. When I send email out through a non-Earthlink SMTP server I get an error and my mail program asks me to pick another SMTP server. So I pick the Earthlink one and it works. The computer never has this problem when I’m on any other network than the one at home. Is there something I can tweak or route around so I can send mail out through any SMTP server I want? Or is this just part of the magic of dealing with Earthlink? Thanks.

October 11, 2002

Wired’s Got A Brand New Bag

Wired News is redesigned and XHTML/CSS compliant today. It’s great to see bigger and bigger sites taking the plunge into the new standards.

Mark Pilgrim is doing something pretty amazing with his weblog. He’s tracking referrers to his permalinks to create a “Further Reading” menu at the foot of his posts. On top of that, it’s now automatically pulling excerpts from the referring posts. Amazing.

October 10, 2002

How do I scan my LPs?

Just kidding. I don’t own any LPs. But if I did, I’d want to play them on Todd Dominey’s newly improved Flash MX Turntable project. It’s another slick interface to a groovy app with some cool tunes thrown in to make the whole experience a real blast. =-) Check it out.

October 9, 2002

Free The Mouse

Today, Lawrence Lessig is arguing the Eldred case in front of the Supreme Court. He’s arguing against the Copyright Term Extension Act. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution grants “authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries”. Those rights are meant to be protected only “for limited times”. When copyrights laws were first passed, in 1790, “limited times” equated to 14 years. (The owner was allowed to renew the copyright once.) The Copyright Term Extension Act, like those that came before it, redefined the meaning of “limited times” and it now currently stands at “life, plus 70 years” for individuals and “95 years” for corporations.

The effect of these extensions serve to protect the properties of companies like Disney. Companies who got their start by doing exactly the sort of thing that these extensions ensure will never be able to happen again. Steamboat Willie and all of the retellings of the Brothers Grimm’s stories would never have been allowed to propel the Disney corporation into the financial juggernaut it is today if copyrights were defended then like they are today.

The result is that the rich get richer. The big companies buy copyright term extensions and the small innovators have no opportunity to draw on a rich public domain, a free culture. Check out the links above or check out the latest news to learn more. Or there’s always the eye-witness accounts.

October 8, 2002

Older and Wiser

Movable Type turned 1 year old and version 2.5 today. We here at iWalt.com like Movable Type, think it’s really cool, wish we could work it into our system… but our host doesn’t run several of the extensions we’d really want to utilize. Plus, we like our homegrown soup of customizable functionality.

October 5, 2002


Tonight, reading through RSS newsfeeds: “Steven Frank’s ‘Memoir’, Kottke’s ‘The September That Never Ended’, Jeremey Allaire’s ‘Simple Rich Media Communications’ (Has he tried iPhoto? It’s a start.), blah, blah, bla… Mark’s ‘Married‘… Say what?”

Congratulations! =-)

[Also: The Mr. Show show was pretty good but not nearly as satisfying as last year’s Tenacious D Halloween blowout. We’ve got one more show we’re trying to see in the near future and then possibly some plays in Berkeley. More on this later.]

October 5, 2002

Sunny Santa Rosa

Tabitha and I are in Santa Rosa at the moment. Last night, dinner with Tabitha’s folks and friends from her old neighborhood. Today, she’s getting her haircut while I relax, watch baseball with the family, and throw Bowski’s ball out into the yard over and over and over again. Tonight Tab and I will be in San Francisco laughing ourselves silly with the comic geniuses of Mr. Show.

I encourage everyone to check out the issue Mom brought up in the forums and to consider taking a moment to make your voice heard.

October 3, 2002


überdesign is featuring another classic video by the prolific Nicholas. Tuesday Night (I’m led to believe) is a short film which I had some small part in the production of. I can’t remember specifically assisting with this film. I was usually 90% asleep when I was helping Nick with his projects. However, his work did not suffer for my subconscious assistance. Enjoy.

October 1, 2002

Thanks Zoolander

I can’t listen to that stupid Wham song without laughing my head off anymore. Hehehe…

Actually, come to think of it, Art deserves the credit. He talked me into seeing that darn fool movie. =-)

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