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:: Stuff ::
Link | 23 January 2003 | in Ether | Comments (0)

:: Segway Torpidity ::

segway and social harmony: And in the past few days, I?ve noticed a certain aimlessness about myself. Usually when I close my eyes and introspect, I feel an urge to move on to the next thing, to do something new, to finish all the work I have begun. But now I feel nothing. Just a large emptyness inside, no particular desire to do anything. So I ride the Segway, and fight over riding the Segway.

For some reason, I love this notion that balance -- something only absent during a forgettable and brief portion of life -- is core to all other layered senses, such that leaving it by (even temporarily) makes the brain question motivation, incentive, curiosity, intellectual inertia.

That this ultimate amenity will work below the level of banal, psychological sloth, convenience-bred -- it will disrupt basic feedback loops to human operation.

Link | 28 December 2002 | in Ether, Gear | Comments (0)

:: Googlicious rights propagation ::

Web Voice: "There's a fun web service built on top of a combination of Google [Images] and PayPal waiting to be created there. A big distributed clearinghouse of original photos might mean the death of canned stock pictures. Who will miss them?"

I don't see Google among the collaborators, but let's hope they start picking up nearby CC marks, letting users prune away the uncooperative via search options.

Link | 21 December 2002 | in Ether | Comments (0)

:: Away. Back. ::

I've been off writing fiction for a few months. But now I've begun a new Java project, and I'm adrift again in all things tech.

I managed to get something published, and promised myself one publishable short story or poem a month, this moment forward.


Link | 15 December 2002 | in Ether | Comments (0)

:: Happy Happy, Joy Joy ::

I suspect my greatest joy about our nanotech-vr-bioengineered-p2p-singularity future is it provisions enhanced capabilities to Good and Evil in equal measure.

Link | 19 September 2002 | in Ether | Comments (0)

:: Spam, FTC & 1st Amendment ::

Watching C-SPAN, I stewed while the Telecommunications Research & Action Center announced a petition for recommended ammendments to FTC's email regulatory structure. Current efforts speak only to fraudulent practice, where TRAC, via their Ban the Spam campaign, advocates the tired pair of legitimate headers and working opt-out mechanisms. Now, every propeller head knows this won't work.

During the round of questioning, however, it slowly came to light these folks were not complete idiots. They favor stronger measures, but recognize the provisions of mandatory opt-in and private right of action are bill-killers. Further, actions of US national and state legislatures have been glacial and backwards, whereas FTC policy changes can be made quickly and with no higher public consideration -- thus the direct petition.

With each passing year of defeat, and growing 1st Amendment rants exemplified by John Gilmore and EFF, this compromise sounds less and less daft, as one part in three:

  • Narrow junk email to legitimate traffic by well-known companies.

  • Put market pressure against said companies to cooperate with consumers on inbox territory. This stuff works, folks. Consider recent victories with web popups. Consider the odious practices of the late 90s that were rejected by consumers.

  • Cocoon inside our Bayesian futures.

Link | 04 September 2002 | in Ether | Comments (0)

:: Email, blogs & clarity ::

Raph notes, in the blogging age, we could gain some efficiency in the way our email conveys permissions for public excerpt or attribution. I like this idea, however his solution ("+, "-, "?) bothers me, in that we wish to encode what rather has natural domain in concise, but full language.

I remember an early Negroponte column in Wired complaining about superfluous email traffic ("Thanks!", "Appreciate it.", etc.), and suggesting closing emails with "nrn", i.e. no reply necessary. Of course, he was trying to propagate the opposite concept than Raph, one-way comments guilt-free for the recipient.

Nonetheless, it didn't take, and I think the reason was symbology. Email, like blogs, are centered around language. If a message is worth posting, it likely has simple, persuasive verbiage, even when directed towards propeller heads.

Some years ago, after reading a series of papers by Bertrand Meyer, I asked my mother (a history scholar) to read one discussing some aspect of programming langauges. I was struck by Meyer's clarity, particularly that his use of terminology was essentially limited to that which he constructed from first principles, and even these words never strayed far from common understanding (e.g. routine vs function or method). And Mom got through it with a modest, but broad understanding of the topic. This left an impression on me. Resist jargon.

Raph's expressions would be interesting if the majority of email now used html bodies, and stylized, but idiosyncratic features could be linked to personal glossaries. In that absence, "copyleft permission granted" or "no quoting, please" in one's signature makes for simple and universal communication, rather than devolving into geekcode.

Link | 31 August 2002 | in Ether | Comments (0)

:: Further reading on this article ::

:: Open source term leakage ::

During a press conference Monday, Steven Hatfill, an uncharged "person of interest" in the FBI Anthrax investigation, employed our favorite term. In support of his professed innocence, he publicly asked the FBI to release all evidence to the press as open source. This is a fascinating penetration of the phrase into public discourse, limiting its definition to unrestricted distribution (here, with a plea to be so) and broadening its use to arbitrary information. Dictionary.com still defines open source with code-specific semantics. Webster's has bupkus.

Link | 27 August 2002 | in Ether | Comments (2)

:: Further reading on this article ::

:: Epinions for Hackers ::

Dave Winer posits Google will replace the need for customer opinion sites like epinions. Hullabaloo.

No amount of crawl smarts can supercede good group-edited (collaborative filtered) content. Epinions is brilliant. I wish the hacker community had something similar. I'd like to go see hardware specs paired to customer reviews running Linux and qmail and Oracle on 5 different filesystems, and the fellow experimenting with 16 disk IDE RAID5. We tend to see this pass briefly on disparate mailing lists, but should be aggregated in one spot, for search, comparison and ratings.

Google still makes odd decisions for undiscovered, but primo, content. And, of course, the biggest annoyance for bloggers is that Google is not topical (see "Google gap" -- folks directed to your front page looking for content long since scrolled away).

Link | 18 August 2002 | in Ether | Comments (0)

:: IE6: The Backgrade ::

It's been awhile, but I still get my skivvies in a bunch over these UI impedances.

IE6, for the user, was a pointless upgrade. IE5 worked ok, at least its bugs were forgettable. IE6 upped the ante for angst and has become a classic example of Does Not Scale With Experience, a critical misfeature of infrastructure software components.

A few examples of delay:

  • the image scaler: A good idea, scale images that exceed the current size of the window, with options to revert to original. Daft implementation, a rollover-invoked toolbar, with options to save, clip or revert, has a delay of perhaps 2 seconds before it appears, and this isn't even constant (!). It turns out most activity of this sort is photo pages, let's say 75%, where images are already shrunk, so I'm clicking on the larger image for a reason. With the fuzzy delay for re-expansion, browsing a large photo archive slowly causes arterial damage. Luckily, it can be disabled.
  • http redirects: A delay was introduced when Location-based redirects are received. Common technique for web apps.
  • popup delay: Every additional IE window introduces a cummulative delay in popup window spawn. Worse, this seems to hold a global IE lock -- all activities are suspended. I often fill up the sysbar with windows for reference, testing or articles I'm not done reading. Best demonstrated with Lars' IE browser test. Combine with ubiquitous popup ads: much angst.

IE6 promotes Pavlov behaviors: fear and avoidance in your fingertips.

Does anyone know how to contact the IE team?

Link | 18 August 2002 | in Ether | Comments (0)

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