Saturday, January 19, 2002

$1/19/2002 11:31:27 PM

Wow, I almost skipped this post. There's comedic gold in them thar hills.

$1/19/2002 10:41:48 PM

All in all, street parking sucks. However, it has given me an ample time to vastly improve my previously mediocre parallel parking skills. Honestly, I can now reliably fit the car I'm driving into ridiculously small spaces. Now, I don't know about this "car length + 2ft" business, I do just fine with 4-5 inches. Since I just parked yet again in a spot that my car had no earthly right to be, I just thought I would share. Street parking still sucks though, and I'm putting off making my new car purchase until I get a spot in my building.

$1/19/2002 03:41:46 PM

After initially being modded down, my AC humor is finally being appreciated. I normally wouldn't have bothered, but the article had just shown up and honestly, who can resist a good first post, especially with such a perfect topic?

$1/19/2002 03:33:00 PM

For some instant fun, go around to various sites in Mozilla and CTRL-+ until you're at maximum font zoom on various sites. Try it on here. Weee! (who needs the shredder when you got moz?)

POTATOLAND.org has some cool stuff, but the page doesn't work in Mozilla.

$1/19/2002 03:21:37 PM

Last night, I received my package from Post-Parlo Records (since it was so cheap, I went ahead and bought Everything). The original impetus was that I was going through my MP3's and came across some from Subset, a band that one of my former co-worker's is in.

Since I'll be resuming my archiving of my CD's soon for my MP3 Jukebox for my home system (this USB->Coax converter is the only component I have left to get), I figured that I should probably get started seeing what's out there nowadays. Two formats that I haven't looke at quite yet, but may should are: Ogg Vorbis (waiting for v1.0), and Monkey's Audio (Windows only? Grrr).

In any case, I grabbed and reset up the latest version of EAC (v0.9p11 still), checked out Dibrom's latest recommended compile of LAME (v3.90.2-ICL) and fired away.

Listening through my 4 year old pcworks speakers, you really can't tell the difference between any of them. With a quick run through my Grado SR-60s that I have at home right now, both r3mix and alt-preset standard sound really good. My Sennheiser's are at work, but I'll probably hold off on comprehensive testing with PCABX and multiple tracks etc. until I get my sound system set up. Feel free to give these tracks a spind and send me an email w/ your thoughts.

$1/19/2002 12:45:22 PM

I was looking for a Mozilla sidebar (Browse By Number), and knowing it was attached to a humorously titled bug in bugzilla, did a search for "porn browser". One of the 3 results that turns up is just hilarious. Be sure to check out the linked testcase.

Oh, Browse By Number while I'm sure is useful for those who surf for porn, also is great for catching up on other reading.

Friday, January 18, 2002

$1/18/2002 03:53:52 PM

No place for political correctness in film - Hell yeah. Fuck political correctness. And fuck censorship, fuck em right in the ear.

$1/18/2002 03:18:17 PM

It's funny realizing how unintelligble and badly written a late-night tract when one is quoted and forced to re-read it the next day. ;) In any case, I cleaned up one particularly unintelligble passage, so hopefully it makes a bit more sense.

Some addendums: "creativity" can also be hard when the grammar is arcane and the production tools immature or non-existant. I don't think anyone would argue that TeX would be much more widely used if it were more accessible (despite it's power), or that visual artists only really started proliferating with say, pixel pushing when relatively usable graphical tools became available.

Lastly I wonder if part of the reason that CSS, at least on a visual level isn't really designed to do much more than the technology it is replacing? People who want pixel perfect control, motion graphics, etc. are already using Flash, people who want full backwards compatibility and standard layouts are using graphics and deprecated HTML? On the other hand, the really cool stuff, like advanced DOM and other styling features are for the most part not very well defined/implemented. CSS3 and DOM L3 are both in draft format, and no browsers really support even the DOM L2 and CSS2 comprehensively. Lastly, I want to emphasize some of the ridiculous design choices made (ie, how current the box-model specifications append padding and margins to the width (very inconvenient for using %'s) as well as the relative complexity of doing simple things like vertical aligns (and we're not even talking about to the document, but just to the viewport), [oh, and how about namespaces? grr.]. If you do searches on these things, you'll find all kinds of similar business. I suspect that many people view CSS as a rather retarded and slightly useless standard, written by a committee of academics and monied interests who had no intention of eating their own dogfood (say like MS, which participates in the standards process and goes of on it's own [although admittedly, some of it's CSS interpretations, while being incorrect when compared to the standards, seem to make more sense, and it's DOM collections and addressing methods are much more convenient in real world usage].

$1/18/2002 02:24:12 PM

Just when I start to get completely tired and annoyed by OSX, something comes along and makes it all worthwhile. The new version of Fire.app does local/remote automatic language translation (English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese). It's great, basically like playing w/ an IM Babel Fish. And what's more fun than passing back phrases through multiple translations in Babel Fish? I'd find a link to some fun, but the answer is obvious. Nothing. Nothing is more fun than Babel Fish. Carry on now.

Actually, what would be pretty cool would be if Fire did swedish chef or jive (whatchu talking bout willis?).

$1/18/2002 12:12:54 PM

By popular request, the latest in the "I have way too much bandwidth series":

The Gorillaz will be in town (Los Angeles) in March, but well, $40 (after Ticketmaster tax) is just too much. I've started to get really picky when I have to pay more than $20 for entertainment. It's not even so much a matter of money as of principle... or psychological hangup I suppose.

Doing these edits in the Blogger textarea for IE5 on OSX, I'm disappointed that there aren't emacs key commands. One of my favorite things about the OSX environment (everything from TextEdit, to Mail.app, and even third party software like Fire.app (new version came out yesterday!)

Thursday, January 17, 2002

$1/17/2002 11:45:30 PM

I was catching up reading some glish this week, and one of the posts caught my eye. Your CSS Bores Me is an interesting article by Chris Casciano; he poses the question: why is there seemingly so little visual creativity in CSS design? Eric responds that there are still significant barriers due to broken and uneven CSS capabilities in the various browsers. He then wonders why that with such limitations, people aren't more creative when in other cases design becomes more creative in the face of limitation.

My take on it? CSS does not benefit from this limitation issue because the limitations do not deal primarily with the medium (as in the CSS 'vocabulary' itself, although in the case of CSS1 and to a lesser degree CSS2, there certainly are limitations within the language), but rather we're talking about bugs. Annoying, annoying bugs. Quite frankly, they're annoying to work around. In all the mediums that Chris mentions (Flash, Shockwave, static images, PDF), the designers do not have to deal with instability in the actual presentation medium. When creating advanced (technical/programmatic) works in client-side web technologies (CSS, DOM), one spends more times working around implementation bugs and with poorly documented interfaces, etc. than with real stuff.

My comparison is, well, would anything have been written if C compilers were as bad as web browsers in correctness? If you think about it that way, it's just ridiculous. I suspect that's why many more technical-minded developers have moved towards creating interesting back-end tools. Imagine an environment where you can experiment and play and with code you write that actually runs and works like it's supposed to. Well, if these people are moving away to more stable platforms (whether it be PHP or (I hate to say it, but it's true) ActionScript), then who's left to push CSS and the DOM? Oh, and don't push too hard, because it'll break. And all the cool stuff? Yeah, that's not implemented yet, in fact lots of cool and useful stuff isn't even defined yet.

Maybe people just realized they have better things to do with their time? Like finding gainful employment.

[neuralust is pretty cool; Chris' explanation.]

$1/17/2002 10:50:09 PM

"Make definite assertions. Avoid tame, colorless, hesitating, non-committal language. Use the word not as a means of denial or in antithesis, never as a means of evasion."

  - William Strunk, Jr., "The Elements of Style"

$1/17/2002 09:28:23 PM

I noticed some people coming from Google looking for reviews or information on the Acoustic Research HC6 speakers. Now, admittedly, there isn't much on the web out there, so I can see how my post, however content free could have made it's way up there, after all, even AudioReview doesn't have a review on it.. To help out those poor searching souls out though, here's what I found when doing research: Google Groups has one or two posts, basically mentioning the The Perfect Vision's very positive review ($3 if you want to read it, I didn't bother). Just recently (after I got my speakers, I found a review of the AR HC6 at AudioRevolution, a very cool site. Now, they like the Energy Take 5.2's better, and there certainly are more reviews of the Take 5.2's online (also, here's a review by Sound and Vision and a 5.2 review at AudioRevolution). I got my HC6's pricematched at 800.com to $457+s/h (looks like 800.com no longer pricematches, or doesn't advertise it anymore at least). Doing a quick search shows two (very similar) places w/ Take 5.2's for around the same price range (Note though, that in both cases, the Energy 8.2 Subwoofer is being sold separately for $225, so your total price ends up being probably around $750 w/ shipping to the HC6's $500; the price difference and my preference for how the HC6 looked made my decision; shallow, but we're not talking about a big difference in quality on high end equipment or anything anyway. Having gone and tested a number of various lower and higher end systems, either would do equally well for my purposes, I'm sure.)

I picked up my Harman Kardon AVR-520 (purchased from etronics.com) from UPS yesterday, and will be figuring how much speaker wire I'll be needing to hook everything up tonight. I'll post up my own review this weekend when I get everything setup.

$1/17/2002 06:39:10 PM

Carriers Aim to Kill Number Portability - yah, cell phone companies suck.

Many cell phone companies, including Verizon, lose 2% to 4% of their subscribers every month--or between 30% and 40% a year, according to Telephia Inc., a wireless industry research firm.

Those customers are making the switch despite the number issue, the need to pay a penalty for breaking service contracts and the fact that moving to a new carrier forces customers to buy a new phone because of technological differences.

Yeah, you know why? Because VERIZON SUCKS. They were so bad that they motivated me to write my one and only epinions review. They were so bad that they continued billing me after I cancelled, and I had to call and bitch at them multiple times.

$1/17/2002 11:48:51 AM

This has not been a good week for me and computers. I came into work, and every single program I tried to run on my Mac in the Finder/Dock ended up executing StuffIt Expander on the contents of the .app package. That sucked. I figured I would delete StuffIt, but couldn't get the permissions to do it without getting to there terminal. Couldn't do that because I couldn't run the application (it'd just try to unstuff it). So, I ended up ssh'ing remotely into my box and su'ing to delete StuffIt. Talk about a royal PITA. Now, I do _need_ stuff it, but I'm thinking that perhaps I shouldn't reinstall it until I figure out where and how the file associations are stored (Google turns up nothing, but I expect it some cryptic mishmash of resource fork types, extensions, and MIME types. No central control panel to manage any of this, of course. Who said that Macs were easier to use?

Thinking back about it, I think that trying to open a corrupt .sit file may have set this whole ball of wax rolling... StuffIt certainly has a lot of bugs with OSX.

$1/17/2002 12:46:21 AM

So, a friend and I were talking in the car, and I brought up my USC Staff/Faculty parking pass hanging on my rearview mirror. It occurred to me that it really is a strange thing that USC charges money for faculty and staff to park. In fact, with all of our collected work experiences, USC was the only "company" that we were aware of that had this sort of practice. You need to get to work, and you need to park to be there to do your work. The analogy my friend was that there was if there was a computer usage fee for your work computer...

We ended up agreeing that this was most likely a policy instituted to limit the number of people parking, and to maximize the amount of spaces available for the ticketing nazis (we both agreed that on the whole, the student ticketers are as a group, a scary set of small-minded mutants).

Hah, now may be a good time to say that all these thoughts are of course my own opinion (duh, it's on my frickin' weblog). This of course is obvious, but hits up an interesting topic; say if hypothetically speaking, some bigwigs of a University of Some College were to want to implement a technological solution to this very problem. It seems that in this hypothetical situation, a big disclaimer doesn't cut it (nor does... um, common sense?) when some bigwigs receive hate mail because some people discover some objectionable material? Now, my questions are: Is the current disclaimer inadequate? What kind of precedent/legal implications would this hypothetical type of dynamic modification entail (would the next step be dynamically erasing all mentions of certain topics?)? What happens when (not if) such technological solutions are hacked/bypassed? And lastly, what kind of hate mail will be sent once some disclaimers gets tacked onto every page? (stemming the flow of such feedback being the original impetus for such a hypothetical endeavor).

Now, one interesting thing about this whole use of disclaimers, while perhaps its legal validity is strong, to me, it occupies the same sort of nebulous semantic space as say... of my use of the "hypothetical." Anyway, interesting stuff to mull over, I think, hypothetically speaking.

Just thought I'd add that this whole, "disclaimer, what I'm saying is my opinion" thing reminded me of this psycho chick I met the other month who couldn't seem to understand what I was saying were my own opinions on a topic. Umm, hmm, if I'm talking about something and my thoughts on the subject, why would you assume that it's not my opinion? Who else's would it be? Like I said, psycho chick (hello, Lithium, maybe?)

Wednesday, January 16, 2002

$1/16/2002 10:26:18 PM

Internet Explorer SuperCookies bypass P3P and cookie controls

There is a significant privacy problem with Internet Explorer because of a design flaw in the Windows Media Player (WMP). Using simple Javascript code on a Web page, a Web site can grab the unique ID number of the Windows Media Player belonging to a Web site visitor. This ID number can then be used just like a cookie by Web sites to track a user's travels around the Web.

However this ID number becomes a SuperCookie because it can be used by Web sites to bypass all of the new privacy and P3P protections that Microsoft has added to Internet Explorer 6 (IE6). IE6 ships today with all Windows XP systems. SuperCookies also work in all previous versions of Internet Explorer with all older versions of Windows...

But honestly, who's surprised? At home, I've been using Mozilla almost exclusively for just about everything. Blogger I use in IE, but not for long.

$1/16/2002 02:58:34 PM

Mac OSX tip: drag a PDF into the Desktop Preference panel to make it your background image. It scales. Wee...

An old high school buddy sent me a pretty amusing little clip entitled: why cows hate winter. It's funny. Laugh!

Tuesday, January 15, 2002

$1/15/2002 08:53:14 PM

I was surfing around and spotted this great little gem on a blog called SuperSquish.

An image of a storefront which reads MEGAFLICKS.  The L and the I appear to be a U

See kids? Font choice matters.

$1/15/2002 08:47:33 PM

Hmm, a rather strange Blogger/Mozilla bug - if you have an ampersand in a Blogger post, and you edit it, it automatically changes the ampersand to the HTML character entity (&). Of course, if you've already escaped the character, it becomes "&" and if you post and edit it again, it becomes "&" and ad nauseum.

I'm assuming it's Blogger automatically sending out ampersands as the character entity for the textarea value, but Mozilla displaying it literally instead of translating it (which it probably should).

$1/15/2002 08:40:18 PM

From the KernelTrap Alan Cox interview:

JA: You still maintain the stable 2.2 kernel, the most recent release in that series being 2.2.20. In the changelog building up to this release was a controversial tag, "Security fixes. Details censored in accordance with the US DMCA". What prompted you to censor these fixes? Was it intended as a political statement, or done out of fear of possible prosecution?

Alan Cox: It was simply a matter of following the law and avoiding liability. The fact that American citizens are forbidden by their own government from hearing, or speaking the truth turns itself into a political statement.

It's an unfortunate situation when the major Linux conference pretty much has to be in Canada because the US will not let some of the attendees even pass through their airspace, and many of the others fear to visit. I just hope that over time things will improve.

At the moment the US, UK and much of the EEC slide slowly toward a police state. Innovation is hard, and innovators are generally buried in courts by established interests. I don't want to become a citizen of the new soviet union, forbidden from watching DVD's from the outside world, from burning flags in protest, and risking jail for offending a large company. People have to get involved in fighting such things. If they do not fight, they may well be swimming to Cuba, or serving in restaurants in Mexico City while trying to avoid deportation within thirty years.

I'm working with FIPR (the foundation for information policy research) to do my bit. It's up to everyone else to do their bits too.

JA: You mention the UK moving toward a police state, as well as the US. Has the UK passed similar laws to the US DMCA, or the proposed SSSCA?

Alan Cox: The UK already has certain anti-convention laws, and the EU is implementing a common set at the moment. In some ways it is a lot saner than the DMCA (eg its a lot more explicit about reverse engineering for compatibility) and it doesn't seek to censor people in quite the same way. Nevertheless it has many of the same effects as the DMCA such as getting people arrested for helping the disabled read e-books.

Could Sklyarov have happened in the UK. I think the answer is yes but as a civil case. Regardless of what the law says large companies can always play the system against the little guy.

$1/15/2002 08:56:52 AM

Damn the electric fence. One of my hard drives is having conniptions. I don't think it's an actual drive/head problem; it seems to be spinning up, but I may have to break out the old-skool kung-foo.

$1/15/2002 01:46:21 AM

Interesting, it looks like GoLive 6 is teaming up w/ Zend to integrate Zend Debugger w/ GoLive. That along with some of the othe other neat features, like: SVG/PDF site diagramming tools, DTD-profiled and Accessibility syntax checkers seem pretty interesting. Maybe Adobe finally plan on actually competing with Macromedia.... although I never got into Dreamweaver or any of those 'WYSYWIG' web tools anyway.

$1/15/2002 12:31:45 AM

I have some longer thoughts on various web-related topics but since I'm not going to get around to finishing those tonight, here are some more videos.

Monday, January 14, 2002

$1/14/2002 07:15:25 PM

Hmm, just noticed that my current CSS borks IE6... I might get around to fix it, but I'm already doing so many work arounds for IE that it's almost not worth it (go ahead and look at the source, and check out how it makes the validator barf).

$1/14/2002 04:03:15 PM

Who knows if this is a good idea, but since I've only used about 0.1% of my monthly bandwidth right now (300 GB+), here's a few little treats for faithful readers (all five of you):

If you're on 'doze and you haven't tried it yet, give Sasami2K a spin. IMO, the best media player available.

Sunday, January 13, 2002

$1/13/2002 10:12:42 PM

Ok, I indulge in those "what character would you be" tests every so often, but I thought this was interesting because it's actually right. If I were a Kevin Smith character, I think I would be Brody.


You have a genius intellect and an awesome sense of humor. You can sarcastically put someone in their place without batting an eye. Your only problems seem to be that you have trouble acknowledging your true feelings and you may use your humor as a defense to hide what you are really feeling. But, your godliness overpowers any insignificant flaws you may have. Even if you tend to pass gas during very inconvenient moments.

Take The "Which Kevin Smith Male Are You?" Quiz!!

$1/13/2002 09:45:37 PM

Ryan's Too-Tall Chili recipe is Too-Involved for me. Aren't I Too-Clever? Isn't this getting Too-Annoying? Right guys? Ok, I'll stop now.

$1/13/2002 08:48:18 PM

Oh my sides. I love /.

Note to self: remember to code in extensibility to allow tracking and bookmarking of hilarious /. threads in kms.

$1/13/2002 06:33:52 PM

There are much better girls walking around at most American universities than you will find in the airbrushed art of prOn...


$1/13/2002 06:28:47 PM

Bandwidth Demand at American Universities - I won't claim to understand how everything's routed but USC's bandwidth usages has been off the scale. Looking at the local InterMapper charts revealed the active ports on one of USCnet's routers to be at over 3-600% usage on Thursday, and almost 200% on Friday (first day of classes were on Monday).

Wow, some really really interesting comments in here. Looks like KaZaa is the big dawg as far as bandwidth consumption goes.

$1/13/2002 05:27:09 PM

I was thinking about this when I got home early this morning. What would you call breakfast when you're eating it before you go to sleep?

$1/13/2002 04:36:08 PM

Hmm, $1,800 for either an LCD iMac or... an MTV computer! Now, which do you think your average college kid is going to pick? But wait, don't answer so quickly, for you see, the MTV computer has 'MTV-specific content' [Sidenote: remember when MTV used to be cool?] and their new music player. (And as a bonus, you get crunchy DRM for free! Never worry about having fair use rights again! Do your part! The freedom to innovate!)

Yah, this is gonna sell like hotcakes. Welcome to the 21st century.

Completely unrelated: Just got back from seeing Brotherhood of the Wolf. What an awesome movie. It's very damn good; it's beautifully and creatively shot, and it's funny, and fun, and super-stylized, and stylish, and exciting, and utterly and unabashedly romantic and fantastic and cheezy; oh, and filled with buxom peasant girls... and Monica Belluci. What a hundred pounds. So in summary, you owe it to yourself to see this movie.