log (2001/12/14 to 2001/12/20)
Thursday, December 20, 2001
I love the Web. Part of why I love the Web, I think, is that I love to listen to smart people talk. I can sit at the metaphorical feet of an articulate guru for hours, admiring the flow of ideas and the drape of his toga. It doesn't really matter if I agree with him, with her, if the logic completely holds up, if the claims agree with my experience of the real world (like I have any experience with the real world).
I just like to listen.
Here's a smart person talking about design. Right, wrong, elitist, realist? Don't know, don't really care. I just like to listen.
"I spoke earlier about how the best network is one that is totally generic so that you can't tell one bit from the next. That is the beauty of how the Internet works. You can project on to it what you need to do. Also the network is infinitely extensible, [because] we have ongoing continuous improvement in the underlying technology. Two examples are Moore's Law and DWDM.
I'd be just as blissed-out reading a lucid statement of the entirely opposite proposition.
The passage above is quoted by David S. Isenberg, whose The Rise of the Stupid Network is another bit of smart prose that I greatly enjoy.
What do I mean by "smart"? Heh! I know it when I see it. And I don't really mean just "intelligent". The people who write w3c documents are no doubt intelligent, but as has been observed elsewhere I don't generally admire the results.
(Here's someone defending w3c specs, saying that I should "[r]ealize that W3C specifications are written for implementers, not end users". Well, I am an implementor, and I still find them next to useless. This other bit of advice gets closer to the problem: "Remember that you don't have to read every word. Skim for the parts that make sense." Did anyone ever have to write that about an RFC? About a well-written FAQ?)
Anyway, here's to smart people speaking clearly! Words like single-malt Scotch.
Very cool flash art (referenced in the above article about design).
See also the landmark case of Buckle v. Holmes  2 K.B. 125 from the English Court of Appeals (Civil Division) which held that an owner of a cat is not liable for the damage caused when the cat trespasses. At the time of the decision this case aroused quite a bit of interest in the law of cats on both sides of the Atlantic
I can well imagine!
Those wacky New World Order types are at it again. "Every person in the world would be fingerprinted and registered under a universal identification scheme to fight illegal immigration and people smuggling outlined at a United Nations meeting today."
Google has a catalog search! Eeeeeeeewww...
This week in hacking: The One Dome.
Oppose Unnecessary and Unconstitutional Eavesdropping! (There I go aiding the terrorists again.)
I finished The Vagina Monologues. They were (It was?) really good. My main complaint is that it was only 100 minutes; I want more!
So today theogeny seems to be back up and resolving. I sent in the form for davidchess.com, and NetSol says that it's been processed, so The Main Site may be back like tomorrow as well. It's all uploaded and updated and ready for visitors.
How exciting! Should I have bought new tablecloths?
There's a prehistoric monster
Wow. We were talking at lunch about Saturday morning cartoons, and I remembered this one that I'd been fascinated with that involved these like cave-men who had these pet monsters, and two of them were like these blobs that could turn into anything; but I couldn't remember the name of the show. I did remember "Tobor, the 8th Man", though, so I looked that up.
The site linked above has a whole huge list of kid shows from the 60's, all too many of which I recognize instantly. Peter Potamus! The Cattanooga Cats! The (oh my god) Banana Splits! (Over Hill and Dale the Banana Buggies Go...)
And, of course, the one I was really looking for: The Herculoids. And in particular Gloop and Gleep. I remember Gloop and Gleep. And now I have a little more vivid insight into how the little boy feels about, say, Ash Ketcham or Link...
"Dmitry Sklyarov is free to return home! Let's celebrate and wish him well for his upcoming journey. (We can also wish him a happy 27th birthday!)"
Telling Humans and Computers Apart (Automatically): "A Captcha is a test that can be graded by computers, but that only humans can pass."
A Microsoft spokesperson said the claims were "bizarre and unsubstantiated and should be treated skeptically" and noted that the company couldn't find evidence of malicious code in the system.
... with both hands. *8)
More fun with Windows: Users Can Read Nonsecure E-mail As Plain Text (a durn good idea), and Windows Program Compatibility Mode lets you run programs written for Old Windows under New Windows! Sometimes!
More horror stories from the War on Ourselves. This is why people end up hating the government.
Apparently not everyone in the world has already read this: The Geek Syndrome: is there an epidemic of autism in Silicon Valley?
At clinics and schools in the Valley, the observation that most parents of autistic kids are engineers and programmers who themselves display autistic behavior is not news. And it may not be news to other communities either. Last January, Microsoft became the first major US corporation to offer its employees insurance benefits to cover the cost of behavioral training for their autistic children. One Bay Area mother told me that when she was planning a move to Minnesota with her son, who has Asperger's syndrome, she asked the school district there if they could meet her son's needs. "They told me that the northwest quadrant of Rochester, where the IBMers congregate, has a large number of Asperger kids," she recalls. "It was recommended I move to that part of town."
And you can also take the Autism test. The mean score is 16.4; everyone I know who's taken it has scored in the high twenties. Hm!
chessfamily.org seems to be fully functional! And I've just sent off the request for theogeny.com, so I expect that'll be back in a day or so. Testing of davidchess.com is still underway...
Books: The Case of the Sunbather's Diary was good, classic Perry Mason. Now I'm reading "The Star Fraction" (or at least, um, I think that's the one that I decided came first in the series; some MacLeod book anyway). Cool pomo (not "porno", "pomo"; gotta watch them fonts) hard SF so far; I expect to enjoy it. ("The Castle", on the other hand, is rather plodding along. What does it say about me that I tend to see the main character as merely an idiot, rather than as an archetype of vainly struggling humanity?)
Looks like I was a little overeager about NetSol's message saying that they'd made the change I requested to chessfamily.org. I can't seem to resolve it from any computers around here, and the official whois record isn't updated yet. A couple more days, maybe.
I've been spending all my random personal web-time getting the files for theogeny.com and davidchess.com onto the server, and messing with them (the cgi's and pm's in particular) to work in their new homes, so that once NetSol gets their act together I can be all ready for my Grand Reopening.
I put up another dozen digital pictures (where "up" in this case means "onto the relevant directory on the laptop and onto the website that no one can see yet"), so I'll have a little fresh content (besides of course the Log) to offer when I return.
I feel like one of them mad scientist fellers, holed up in his tower, rubbing his hands together (under the animal skins) and cackling with glee about his plans for a triumphant return to civilization. (I designed a computer game like that once; never implemented it, but it was fun to think about. It was called "Soon, the WORLD will be MINE!".)
Another long and non-blogging weekend. I'm afraid the rest of December is likely to be pretty relaxed and/or low on content around here, as I curl up and sleep under piles of animal skins (or something like that) rather than blogging.
I finally won that long long long Alpha Centauri game as Morgan of the Morganites; I led boring old humanity to the boring old next stage of universal evolution yet again. Anything gets dull if you do it too often. We'll see how long I resist playing yet another game (I still haven't played as Yang of the Human Hive, or at any difficulty level above the third).
I know you're all itching (those animal skins) to know what I named all the bases in that last game, so here's the list. (We call this "cheap content", Matilda; use it with care.)
Some of those are the built-in names, some are my own whimsical creations, some suggestions of the litle daughter's, some are for historical reasons (I renamed the Pines to Morgan Pines, for instance, and Mir Lab to Morgan Mir Lab, after capturing them from the Gaians and the University respectively, after a frank exchange of views involving small fleets of gravships floating impressively over the horizon).
Microsoft announced on Tuesday it will be using Predictive Networks' technology to track the viewing habits of people who use Microsoft TV interactive television products.
If you have nothing to hide, why should you object?
"The Vagina Monologues" are great stuff; everyone in the world should listen to them at once. I do feel sorta like I'm listening in on a conversation between women, but it's not a bad feeling in this case. Maybe I'll even be able to say "vagina" in casual conversation. (There's one bit in the Monologues about "vulva". I've always liked "vulva".)
Lesee. Microsoft announces a bunch more IE security holes, and moments later someone announces another one. Meanwhile, under a pile of animal skins, the CERT Advisory CA-2001-34 "Buffer Overflow in System V Derived Login" announces that anyone whose Unix system evolved from System V should check their DNA for serious errors. It's not just Microsoft. (There's a motto for you.)
Great progress is being made in getting davidchess.com and friends back! I've got Perl scripts calling ssh and scp and successfully uploading stuff to the new server, and I've heard back from Network Solutions and they imply that they just might have accepted my FAX and now believe that I'm who I say I am. In fact there's at least a tiny chance that the tiny and irony-free chessfamily.org site is even now accessible to you. (It's the smallest of my three sites, so it gets tested first.) theogeny.com and davidchess.com should follow in the next few days and/or weeks (depending on the warmth of the animal skins).