March 2003

March 28, 2003

WWDC Is The New Macworld NY

From all indications, Macworld Expo New York 2003 is going to be a full-blown yawn-fest. Apple has retreated from the event, the name is being changed, and exhibitors are bailing. Instead, Apple has pushed its World Wide Developer Conference into the summer Macworld timeframe, beefed up the exposure, and are hinting that this is the event to get sneak previews of the next iteration of the Mac OS X operating system.

It’s possible that this is the new paradigm of Apple über-events. Macworld SF in January, the WWDC (also in San Francisco) in June, and a smattering of smaller international Apple expos as have been going on in the past.

March 28, 2003

Liberated, With Extreme Prejudice

I’ve got no real justification for this post other than that I feel the title is disgustingly clever.

[Also: The Onion: “Baghdad resident Taha Sabri, killed Monday in a U.S. air strike on his city, would have loved the eventual liberation of Iraq and establishment of democracy, had he lived to see it, his grieving widow said.” (If you’re not familiar with The Onion, the story is a spoof. You may think it’s in bad taste but like so many of The Onion’s tales there’s an eerie, awkward truth running beneath the uncomfortable humor.)]

[One More: Arthur Schlesinger Jr.: “Today, it is we Americans who live in infamy.”]

March 27, 2003

Movin’ On Down

Tabitha and I made arrangements today to move from our teeny-tiny one-bedroom apartment to the huge, expansive, mammoth two-bedroom apartment downstairs. We are thrilled. When we stumbled across our current place a little less than a year ago, we knew it was the best place we were likely to find by the time we’d walked from one end of it to the other. It wasn’t very big but the location, the quality, and the atmosphere were right. Now we’re fortunate enough to keep nearly all the benefits of our current place, and drastically increase the square footage. It’s going to be more expensive, naturally, but we feel we’re getting a good deal. And we’re really happy.

March 24, 2003

Sea Ranchers

We’re very excited about Dad’s first contribution to the photos section. There are some excellent examples of first-rate Northern California scenery in there. As well as a couple of intrepid and well-exercised parents. =-)

[Also: If you’ve uploaded photos recently but either haven’t attached them to a group or haven’t marked the group completed, please do so. There’s some new stuff in there which I haven’t been able to publish yet.]

[Later: Sean has posted an excellent batch of iris photos.]

March 23, 2003

Oscar Shmoscar

I decided I couldn’t be bothered to watch the Oscars this year and decided instead to check out Donnie Darko, the little cult favorite that seems to have been making the rounds recently. There were a few aspects I thought didn’t work but they were mostly lost between all the excellent performances, bizarre plot evolutions, and fantastic dialogue. More films should push to be so edgy and stupid as Donnie Darko.

March 23, 2003

Dear IE 5.2.2 for Mac OS X,

When I tell you to make a DIV 520 pixels wide, you had better make that DIV 520 pixels wide. Not 521 pixels. 521 is not the same as 520. It’s a completely different number. It screws everything up. I know you’re probably confused because there are elements within the DIV which are stretching it, but there’s really no reason they should be. Every other browser willed into existence in the past several years is capable of properly handling the nested elements. Why can’t you be more like them? And what is with your insistence on caching the stylesheet? Seriously. Do you think I like having to constantly reload it? I don’t. Shape up IE 5.2.2 for Mac OS X. Shape up or go away forever. Thanks.

[Also: Allegedly, Safari v67 is niiice. Nice new features. Still need to fix those tabs though. Not that I have a copy or anything.]

March 21, 2003

Blogging The Protests

Derek Powazek: “We need to show the world that smart, rational, intelligent people oppose the war for good reasons. Not because we think Saddam is a kick in the pants, but because we don’t believe in punishing the people of Iraq just because we haven’t mounted bin Ladin’s head on our wall yet. And because we don’t believe our president when he says that Iraq has something to do with the horrible events of September 11, 2001. And because we all know that there really was no pressing need to do this now, except for our oversized national ego.”

Jason Zada: “I will leave my personal opinion out this, because after standing in the middle of 2nd st., as thousands and thousands of protestors streamed by, and hundreds and hundreds of police in full riot gear followed, I am speechless. Captured on video, that might show up here eventually, this was by far one of the most interesting things I have ever seen.”

For more, try Daypop.

[Later: Jason Kottke photoblogs the NYC protest on Saturday. Huge march. Excellent photos.]

March 20, 2003

RSS For Employment Websites

I haven’t seen this mentioned anywhere else yet and it just seems so damn obvious and worth pointing out. I know RSS hasn’t caught on in a big way yet with the mainstream but some of us are completely hooked on it. For me, there’s the web browser, email client, IM client, and RSS aggregator. That’s the holy quadrangle of killer internet applications. RSS is a phenomenal format for syndicating news content but the leap to job listings is so obvious and so easy I’m amazed I haven’t come across it anywhere yet.

Here’s the ideal scenario: Some poor bastard gets canned from their job and starts the long, painful process of finding a new one. Right now, they’d probably go to Monster or (gasp!) HotJobs or any number of corporate websites. They’d search the respective databases. They might find some things worth applying for (browser), they might even submit their email information and build a job agent (email), but what would be truly convenient for these job seekers would be to subscribe to these sites’ as-yet-nonexistent RSS feeds (aggregator) and have the jobs they’re interested in pushed to them as they become available.

You’re now asking, “Isn’t this just like a job agent?” Well, yes and no. Email doesn’t aggregate, it clutters. It becomes annoying. Email forces you to deal with processing a perpetual stream of incoming messages, RSS passively degrades posts as they reach a certain age. Moreover, I’ve never enjoyed getting anything from a company over email. There’s distrust on my part as to what the company is using my address for besides pushing job listings. With RSS that concern is nonexistent.

So now the job seeker visits these sites, subscribes to their feeds, gets pushed these fresh, customized job feeds which will only help companies encourage repeat visits and track seekers. And although the bulk of the web hasn’t caught on to the value of RSS yet, I suspect it will in time, especially when more companies make as good of a use of it as I’ve described here.

March 20, 2003

SXSW In MPEG-4

There’s a ton of digital video from SXSW available for download. I’m really happy to see that the Robert Rodriguez presentation is available since I missed that one to watch Lawrence Lessig speak. Check out the Josh Davis keynote or the opening remarks by David Weinberger if you’re interested.

[Also. New York Times: “By late in the day, Assistant Chief Alex Fagan said, the situation in San Francisco deteriorated into ‘absolute anarchy.’” I had a pretty good view of the events on Market Street for most of the day and I would argue that our recently indicted Assistant Chief grossly mischaracterizes the mood on the street.]

March 20, 2003

Protests

Powell and Market is currently gridlocked due to a mob of peaceful protesters pulling an impromptu sit-in in the intersection.

The crowd grew quickly. Two busloads of police arrived. With amazing effectiveness and minimal baton jabbing they cleared the intersection. The crowds are pushed back to the sidewalk and out of the intersection now.

The protesters have regrouped further down Market Street. The crowd remains peaceful and vocal. Police are poised to control the crowd.

The Chronicle is covering the protests in San Francisco.

Some of the protesters have been isolated. About a kajillion plastic handcuffs are being prepared. The police and the protesters have shifted positions several times. The protesters are chanting for the police to release the detained protesters.

I snapped more photos while walking through the crowds. The police came and went twice, each time collecting a small batch of protesters to arrest. The intersection seems much calmer now. More activity is happening up the street but it’s a bit too far away to describe.

[Also: I’m compiling a set of protest photos I’ve taken yesterday and today. I’ll be adding to it as I collect more photos.]

March 19, 2003

Photoshare v0.3

Scott uploaded a great batch of photos from his vacation yesterday. Based on his feedback I made a couple of tweaks to the Photoshare tool. You’re now able and required to provide a description of your album. You’re also now required to provide a description of your photos. There’s also a new, long-overdue feature which lets you assign a Creative Commons license to your albums. I’ve already made all my albums available under a more open license than standard copyright. Enjoy.

[Later: Sam has now shared several of his photos from the trip as well.]

March 18, 2003

Vistin’ Home

So Tabitha and I headed up to Santa Rosa once again this weekend. She to visit with her family and I with mine. My visit included (but was not limited to) eyeing a very large rock which I may someday help to move a short distance, tossing the football with Dad and Bryce, getting frustrated with Nani at iMovie 3 (more on that in a moment), helping Mom with her as-yet-unveiled project, chatting with Dad about the nuances of digital photo management, visiting the batting cages with Bryce and Art, waking up on the couch in the middle of the night in agonizing leg muscle cramp pain, throwing Bowski’s ball again, and again, and again, and a roundtrip drive up and down Highway 101.

As to iMovie 3 and the unpleasantness. Nani has forged into being an awesome feature-length movie of their trip to (and hike into/out of) the Grand Canyon. However, iMovie has known issues (known to those who read the support sites regularly, unknown to those who do not) with audio synchronization. Essentially, the longer your movie is, the more out-of-sync the audio will become on export. Worse, because it’s iMovie, there are very few options for working around the problem. I do have one lead which I’m anxious to try. More on this when we make some progress.

March 15, 2003

Link Blogging

The links section has had a bit of work done on it recently. Nothing major. The cool points are thus: 1. There’s now a Links element in the sidebar on every page which will show the three most recent links which have been posted in the past day. 2. The mechanism which checks Weblogs.com has been refined a bit to use the iWalt version of the site names and fancier “it’s been n hours” terminology. 3. I can now add and edit the links through the MetaWeblog API interface using NetNewsWire.

In short, check out the Links doohickey in the sidebar. It’s neat-o.

March 14, 2003

Respect The Plat

Raging Platypus: “Raging Platypus is everywhere, it is all around us. Even now, in this very room… It is at the core of what you are, and what you can become. It believes in you, it adores you, it worships you. And it can be yours, all yours. Oh yes, my friend.” You haven’t experienced blogging until you’ve experienced Raging Platypus.

March 13, 2003

You Never Can Tell

Every so often I come up with some kind of hairbrained scheme. It usually involves going somewhere expensive or starting a project which would take months or years to finish. So a couple of weeks ago as Tabitha and I were getting off BART in North Berkeley…

Tabitha: “I’ve got a week or so off at the end-of-May-beginning-of-June.” Me: [Eyebrows wiggling.] “We should go some place fancy. Maybe Paris?” Fast forward several weeks…

We are going to Paris.

We’re very excited about this. We’ve got tickets. We’re working on hotels. One of us doesn’t have his passport together quite yet, but he’s making progress. I’m still not completely aware that this is really happening. Hoping the bullshit relaxes a bit in the next few months. Very happy to be able to go with Tabitha. More on this as it develops.

March 13, 2003

Completely Freelance

I’m working on a project which I could use some help with if anyone has some time to donate. I’m looking for anyone who can run IE 5 for Windows or IE 5.5 for Windows to take some screenshots for me. And, if anyone is still running any 4.0 browsers, that would help as well. I’m working on building a strict XHTML/CSS website and need to know how bad it looks and works on older browsers. Thanks in advance.

[Ugh: This weekend is going to be all about resolving open email threads and organizing my projects. Too much disarray.]

[Later: Thanks to those who can help. I’ll get in touch with all of you soon.]

March 11, 2003

Find The Geek

I am simultaneously pleased and embarrassed to have taken up quasi-permanent residence in the offices of Panic Inc. Try and spot me.

March 10, 2003

The End of SXSW

We’re enjoying our last presentation of the conference, Joshua Davis’ keynote. He is, of course, wowing us with his Flash-powered wizardry. Amazing stuff. The fun thing about his work is how he tries all these unconventional processes with common publishing software which produce these beautiful, software generated, Josh Davis-inspired, effects.

In a few hours we’ll be at the airport, a few hours after that we’ll be back in our separate quadrants of the country, then to sleep, then back to our lives.

[Also: There are a couple of new albums in the photos section of our various tours of Austin. More to come.]

March 9, 2003

Name Dropping

Zeldman and Greenfield and Dominey are who we’re listening to now. Token was sitting a few chairs away snapping photos but he seems to have moved on.

Z and G and D are talking about the decisions they make when writing and designing and coding their sites and the kinds of constructive and bizarre criticism their receive from their readers.

March 9, 2003

Listening To Lessig

Lawrence Lessig is talking about copyright. (Big surprise.) I ‘m so happy to be here after listening to his OSCON speech litterally dozens of times in Flash and MP3.

It’s great to see such a packed room of SXSWers who are interested in these issues. He’s still singing the same song as he was in the OSCON presentation but now, since the Supreme Court case was lost, it has a slightly different sound. More “this is still right” than “we have the opportunity to correct”.

Learning more about Eldred and what he’s trying to do than I really understood before. This presentation has grown quite a bit since OSCON. Much improved. Excellently well-argued points. I hope someone is recording the audio this time around as well.

[Also: Here’s who’s blogging at SXSW.]

March 9, 2003

The 2002 Award Winners

We’re currently watching a panel of 2002 SXSW award winners. One of the panelists is particularly interested in Flash Communication Server and designing online A/V collaboration tools for people to build and share music and video online. Pretty fun stuff.

Yesterday we went to the opening speech and a panel on Interaction Design with Jesse James Garrett and others. Interesting but not really forward-looking. The panels today will definitely be more interesting.

After the panel we checked out more of downtown Austin. Walked up to the capitol building and wandered around inside. More photos to follow.

March 8, 2003

Why The Web Matters

David Weinberger is presenting his views on why the web is important. He’s talking about the noble and good things that can happen when people publish and link to content on the web.

Later, answering a question about bringing the positive aspects of the internet to government: “I feel so empowered as a consumer, it’s practically erotic. I feel totally powerless in politics.” Nice.

March 8, 2003

Southwest To SXSW

If you’ve become accustomed to “ticketless” travel (as I have) then you know it’s not really ticketless. You have to bring a printout of your confirmation e-mail to the airport. Unless, however, you’re flying on a frequent flyer credit. In that case, not bringing the phyiscal slip of frequent flyer paper to the airport results in confusion, supressed anger, missed flights, huge favors from girlfriends who weren’t expecting to take BART to Oakland that day, rescheduled later flights, and getting into Austin hours later than expected. Oh well. All’s well that ends well. (Thanks again Tabitha!)

The other thing which surprised me at the airport was how regular “ticketless” travel actually is ticketless now. All you need now is your frequent flyer card, flight number, and confirmation number. The best part of this new arrangement is that you don’t have to stand in that ridiculous check-in line anymore. No plastic boarding passes, no inane questions. “Have your hands or eyes left your bags for even a fraction of a second since the moment you finished packing them?” No, of course not. What, do I have ‘death wish’ tattoed to my forehead?

March 6, 2003

iCal and Timezones

I posted the SXSWi calendar to iCalShare.com where an interesting discussion unfolded about iCal’s handling of timezone data. I’ve updated the calendar so that the events are correct for Austin. I really feel like there should be a way to set the timezone on a per-calendar basis rather than have iCal assume that since your computer is set to Pacific, the calendar you’re publishing must be in Pacific as well.

Anyway, it’s late and I need to get some sleep. Getting up early tomorrow for the trip.

(P.S.: Check in over the weekend if you get a chance as we’ll probably be trying to cover everything we can live from the show. Laptop, camera and webcam are all packed.)

March 5, 2003

Two Days To Texas

On Friday I’m heading to Texas for SXSW Interactive. I first heard about this conference two years ago. Last year I kicked myself repeatedly for missing it. This year I’m going. I’m very excited that Nick and Rachelle are able to attend as well. All signs point to a great time and excellent conference.

I’ve started putting together an iCal calendar of SXSWi events (subscribe) since I wasn’t able to find one anywhere else. (To my great shock and disgust.) If there is another one out there or if there’s something wrong with mine, please let me know.

March 4, 2003

Macromedia Relaunch

Macromedia has launched a redesign of their website this evening. The new all-singing, all-dancing, all-Flash homepage is very slick. I particularly like how well they’ve handled giving the user the freedom to opt-in or opt-out of the music and what a nice choice the song was. The best part of the new homepage is all the hidden but easy-to-discover navigation. Plus, it just looks right.

[Later: Rob has pointed out that there’s an article detailing the process of creating the new site. Matt Haughey approves of the new site, particularly Macromedia’s focus on good experiences. I’m noticing that Safari chokes on most of the subpages.]

[Related: Haughey also points out major shortcomings in Flash speed/handling across several major Mac browsers. Flash’s awful performance on this platform has been going on for too long. Macromedia would do well to work more with browser makers to optimize performance. Experience matters, right?]

March 4, 2003

On This Day

Flash MX was announced one year ago today. I was living in a tiny little studio apartment in the heart of San Francisco, enjoying the city, missing my girlfriend terribly. The year before that I gleeked on the screen of my brand-new PowerBook G4. I was living in a relatively huge apartment in San Diego with Mr. Renslow, surviving after college, visiting my girlfriend often. And a year prior to that I wasn’t blogging as regularly but it was around the time I started my internship at MP3.com. I was living in a small, cheap apartment in the armpit of two major highways, working feverishly on my schoolwork and the Guardian and MP3.com and Sun God Festival materials and the impending art show, girlfriends were not in the picture.

This year I am living in Berkeley, with my girlfriend, in an apartment which we’re becoming increasingly aware is too small for us. Work is busy (which I prefer). I’ve got a little less hair (but I’m substantially skinnier) than I was those previous years. Looking forward to the Spring and Summer months in this region of the state which I find far too chilly after being spoiled by the balmy southern weather for so long. That’s all for now. More next year. (And probably later today as well.) =-)

March 3, 2003

Apple Comes to San Francisco

San Francisco Business Journal: “Union Square sees pixels at the end of Stockton Tunnel as Apple Computer Inc. prepares to move into the three-level storefront LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s Sephora USA LLC is exiting in July.” That’s right across the intersection from where I work. [Via MacMinute]

[Later: LA Times: “The new service … makes buying and downloading music as simple and non-technical as buying a book from Amazon.com.” I hope Apple throws some free tune downloads to us .Mac users. How about three free per month? [Free registration required. Also via MacMinute]]

March 2, 2003

Six Feet Spoiled

Curse you Rachelle for writing about Six Feet Under plot lines on your weblog. =-) Some of us don’t subscribe to HBO and are still waiting for SFU Season 2 on DVD. Brought to you by the partnership for spoiler-free and quasispoiler-free weblogs.

March 2, 2003

MiWiFi

I hardly ever get to take advantage of my laptop’s wireless internet capabilities so I feel I must brag about the fact that I’m sitting in a cafe. Free connection. That’s why they got my business. That’s why I’m willing to spend almost $2 on a tiny italian soda with too little syrup. It’s all about the free connection. And a full battery.

[Update: I’ve been sitting here five minutes and I’ve already helped someone configure his 12” PowerBook’s AirPort settings and showed him how to set the AirPort software to automatically connect to the best signal. Interestingly, Apple ships the new PowerBooks with a thin sheet of foam to protect the screen when it’s closed. Good idea. Better would be to make it so the keys didn’t touch the screen but whatever. The guy was annoyingly not into his $2K toy. Helped him anyway.]

March 2, 2003

Whither Art Thou Wiki?

I’m frustrated this evening by the total lack of good Wiki software for the PHP/MySQL platform. A Wiki, for those who don’t know, is a web-based knowledge management system which enables anyone to contribute content (like a forum) without needed to learn a complex markup language plus the built-in ability to cross-reference content through links called WikiWords. It’s hard to really get a sense of what a Wiki is without exploring one. The Wikipedia bills itself as “the free encyclopedia” and it may well be on its way. In a little over two years it’s amassed over 100,000 articles.

Wikis, unlike weblogs or forums aren’t temporal. They’re about knowledge rather than conversation. I’d really like to include one here but there really don’t seem to be any which work with my hosting arrangement. Either they’re coded sloppy and don’t lend themselves to being integrated into the framework of my site or they have some obscure requirement which I can’t meet. Oh well. We’ll get there.

[Also: Since I can’t seem to stop writing How Tos, here’s how to fix Safari’s tabs.]

March 1, 2003

Resignation

John Brady Kiesling: “The policies we are now asked to advance are incompatible not only with American values but also with American interests. Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America’s most potent weapon of both offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson. We have begun to dismantle the largest and most effective web of international relationships the world has ever known. Our current course will bring instability and danger, not security.”

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