I just heard that California State Governor Gray Davis vetoed SB1629, even though it passed on the senate floor last month. The bill set out to make life on a bicycle in California much safer and easier, and I'm sad something that worked to guarantee bicycle safety and equal space on highways was defeated.
But it's California, right? Gas-guzzling, smog-releasing cars will always rule here. Environmental Governor, my ass.
An odd coincidence: Stewart also wrote something last night that's nearly an exact opposite view of the current state of the world. But it's a good one. Forget me being melodramatic and read his.
Today, like many days, I grapple with utter fucking despair.
It wasn't pretty, and it took four tries, but I finally won a TiVo. It seems that around 15-25% of the people that entered were rejected, so I guess the lesson here is to bend the rules and keep trying. So I'm getting something for free that I was ready to pay for last week (Circuit City was out of them) and that's just fucktastic!
The Great TiVo Giveaway Contest has produced three winners in my circle of friends. I'm going to try and be next.
After going through many of them, I noticed a few worth mentioning. My favorite is Lawrence from Caught In Between's shots, mostly for the related thumbnails above each shot. I want to live in Jish's apartment. Eric's hidden DHTML popups are much too cool. Brad's photos are great, and now I finally realized why Missouri is called the "Show Me State."
This weekend was great. Fray Day was fun, thanks to Ben, I got the webcam up and running all night. It was great to see everyone again, meet new people, and hear great stories. It was an amazing treat to meet Tom Cosgrave, who came to SF straight from Dublin. The remainder of the weekend was spent going from one party to another, it was almost like a mini-SXSW.
I'm a big fan of the "set it and forget it" school of computer hardware and software. Though, the trouble with that is applications and hardware of that nature are extremely rare. If you look at other things in our lives, most everything is "set it and forget it." My cordless home phone has worked flawlessly for years. My toaster oven only requires minor light-dark adjustment once every few months. I save time by not having to worry if the microwave oven is going to function properly tonight when I get hungry. But computers, that's a different story.
There are a few things I'd like for my computer, one of which is something so simple, I can't believe I can't find it. I want something that will check an atomic clock server once every 24hrs, and sync my machine's clock. I don't want to launch a program, or schedule a launcher, or run anything in my taskbar or system tray. I want it to run completely invisibly, in the background as a service, so I can set it up once and never have to worry about it again. Actually, come to think of it, I'm using a $2,000 computer with a $300 operating system (win2k), and it can't even tell time. Why is this not built into the OS automatically?
If anyone has used or knows of such a program,
post a comment here. I accidentally botched the comment file I was using, but the gist of the conversation was that the lesser known net time services in windows could actually accomplish everything I wanted (oh and that it has been built into the MacOS through a nice simple interface for years [thanks Lawrence]). Meg covers it here.
DevX is really destroying their community. First they buy ProjectCool, and then they kill A List Apart and the Web Standards Project. Now they've started spamming me because I signed up for the projectcool sightings by email long ago, which never alluded to anything showing up in my in box besides a daily sighting (not to mention they haven't updated daily sightings in weeks). That wouldn't be too bad, but the unsubscribe page reads "Unsubscribes may take up to one week to process." That's ridiculous and unacceptable, my grandma can build a simple web application to remove names from a database based on form submits. DevX is becoming a perfect example of how to annoy and alienate your users and best customers.
What if George Washington had a blog? It'd probably look like this.
Proof I'm getting old: tonight's realization
The older I get, the more I realize how much I missed in school, because I lacked the patience to appreciate things. Tonight I had dinner with a bunch of Kay's coworkers and one professor's husband was a history professor at San Jose State. I breezed through college with the minimum amount of required history (1 western civilization (mostly just western europe) class, and a Civil War-through-the-Present US History course), and only memorized the points carefully laid out by the professor (since that's only what was going to be on the tests, right?).
But tonight, hearing this professor talk passionately about things few of us at the table knew about or remembered was an enlightening experience. There's something about passionate people and charismatic speakers that causes their enthusiasm to rub off on you. I heard all about early 20th century communism in the US, and how many early civil rights activists (including many members of the NAACP in the 30's to 50's) were communists. I heard things about W. E. B. DuBois that I never knew about, the struggles he faced which included a ridiculous trial during the McCarthy era. It made me want to learn more about these subjects, and for the first time I could suddenly see merit in dealing with today's problems by learning about the past and seeing what had been done, what succeeded, and what failed.
I never took the time to enjoy many subjects I was "forced" to study earlier in my life, but I'm really starting to appreciate them now.
Since a couple people asked, here's how to do the same with your deepleap bookmarks. Download this xsl file by right clicking and choosing "save as..."
Next, make a copy of your deepleap xml file and change the top two lines from this:
<!DOCTYPE xbel PUBLIC "+//IDN python.org//DTD XML Bookmark Exchange Language 1.0//EN//XML" "http://www.python.org/topics/xml/dtds/xbel-1.0.dtd">
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="iso-8859-1"?>
<?xml-stylesheet type="text/xsl" href="deepleap.xsl" ?>
then pull down a copy of my start.html file by right clicking and choosing "save as..." and change the link to point to your deepleap XML file. Put all three files in the same directory and it should work great (at least in Win/IE5+). If you get any XML parsing errors, you might have weird characters in one of your bookmarks, so just delete those. I don't think the search pane thing works in Mac/IE5, but the client side XML rendering does, so you might want to make the start page a little popup instead.
When I was in high school, I hated the pledge of allegance, but I never had the guts to refuse going along with the class. This person did, and it sounds like she might be at the brink of a big mess. Stay strong and good luck.
Array's day in the life of webloggers is going to be interesting. If I were to shoot 24 hrs of my life on a typical day, it'd be fairly boring, as I spend 8-10 hours sitting in front of a computer at work, and then 3-4 more at home doing the same thing. I could engineer the shots so everything I take is at least somewhat interesting, but how truthful is that? If I shoot an interesting, atypical day, you're likely to see the sights of San Francisco, a beautiful sunset, or some interesting architecture I might see walking around. Making the choice more obvious is that the time span is this Sunday and Monday. Sundays I take rides to the beach, walks on the town, and attend gatherings of one sort or another. Mondays are filled with the boredom of computers. Which day do I shoot?
I guess it all goes back to what is truth and what is art when you're taking photographs. I'll probably opt for the Sunday shooting of atypical events, and take shots of the interesting things. I suppose in the end, it will be cool to see what a loosely related group of people do in 24 hrs of their life.
Through a bit of XML and XSL trickery, I repurposed my Deepleap bookmarks (the XML output I saved before they shut down the servers) and have it running in an IE search pane. If you're on IE/Windows, this page will load my Deepleap marks on the left side of your browser. It wasn't too much work, if anyone wants to know how to do it, feel free to ask.
Today, I've been alive for 10,200 days. Back on Feb. 26, I surpassed the 10,000 day mark. Why didn't I have a party? Seems like quite a milestone. 20,000 days doesn't happen until July 14, 2027, and you can bet, I won't forget to celebrate then. Be sure to mark you calendars.
The Pets.com sock puppet is being sold at Amazon.com. I can't put my finger on exactly why, but it just feels wrong.
Eudora 5.0 came out today, and what is already my all time favorite email app has gotten better. Just last week, some coworkers and I were talking about how email apps should capture stats and help people organize their day or workflow. Eudora now does stats. I can already tell this is going to be a great addition.
Over at waferbaby, I answered some questions with quite a bit too much jibber-jabber. I apologize now if you fall asleep reading me prattle on about blogger. Consider yourself warned.
Music commercialism has always been around. Everyone knew the Monkees were just an act, but everyone still loved them.
But these days, it seems so much more prominent, and no one bothers to hide it. Boy bands and teen female singers assembled, nay, engineered to sell records continue to dominate the industry, even though we all know they're just here to sell stuff. In a horrible union of all that is wrong with the world, Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys are selling CDs at McDonalds, and Nsync is selling them at Burger King. Heck you can even buy Nsync marionettes.
I must be getting old, because merchandising didn't seem this rampant before (but I know it probably was).
You've heard all about it here, you've heard it everywhere else - getting DSL is a nightmare. But I had no idea how far gone the industry was until this evening. When I first tried to get DSL, I went with PacBell. That fell through, so I tried Earthlink next (which forced me to actually sign up with Mindspring, and used PacBell's infrastructure I was told), but they couldn't give me a date so I cancelled the order and cancelled my account at Mindspring/Earthlink and signed up with Concentric (which used Covad's infrastructure). That eventually worked out, and has been working fine ever since.
Tonight, I received a call from Earthlink, confirming my appointment for a some proposed DSL install tomorrow morning that I hadn't ever heard about. Despite my having cancelled my account, they went ahead and ordered an installation from Covad (apparently they've branched out from PacBell's network), claimed that the work done to set up my current line would work for this new line, and the worst part is the person phoning me worked for Covad, but couldn't cancel my account, couldn't access my account, nor could he do more than give me a generic tech support number at Earthlink.
I'm surprised to hear from all the representitives I've spoken with that the computer systems of each participating company can never communicate with their partnering company. Concentric couldn't tell me the status of my Covad order and Covad couldn't alert me to the work done by PacBell that I should have been notified of. Earthlink couldn't talk to PacBell and estimate when I could get an account, and now Covad can't talk to Earthlink and apparently Mindspring didn't tell Earthlink to tell Covad that I cancelled my account and that they should cancel my order.
With all these separate agencies and companies, I'm surprised anything gets accomplished in the telecom industry.
Four words: Spinal Tap action figures.
Reading about Philip Greenspun's bout with Decompression Illness (The Bends) in Australia has convinced me I made the right decision when I stopped scuba diving long ago. I took a scuba course in grad school, and became certified, but our ocean dives were freezing cold (diving in the Pacific in December is no fun) and I had ear and sinus problems for weeks after our dives. Sitting 30-40 feet below the water's surface also taught me that no matter how much training or preparation I had, a series of minor mistakes could lead to death - that being in trouble 40 feet below the water was as hopeless as being in trouble on the surface of the moon.
The vulnerability was too much to bear, especially when weighed against the marginal fun or pleasure scuba diving offered. I'm a snorkeler for life now.
I've been a part of a lot of cool projects at Pyra, but I think our most important so far is BlogSpot. We've made a huge jump towards making Blogger truly easy to use. It's not just for techies anymore. I've always wanted to see Blogger help everyone communicate, and now we are. It was a lot of work, but it was all worth it.
Bicycle realted mumbo-jumbo
September is Car-Free Month here, and I thought I'd try riding my bike every day this month and avoid touching my car for 30 days (less of course the weekly ritual of moving the car from one street to another for street cleaning). Today I rode my bike, despite the drizzle I encountered after leaving the house. I thought the drizzle would disapate as I neared the center of the city, but it only got worse. I knew I had a change of clothes at work, so I continued, and by the time I got to work I was soaked (photo below doesn't really do justice). Damp pants are no fun.
It's hard riding a bike in most of the US. We're so focused on cars that many times bike riders get the short end of the stick. Heck, even Lance Armstrong got hit by a car today.
My favorite bicycle-related quote is this one by a Critical Mass group member:
"A suburban child is more likely to be killed by automobile than an inner city child is likely to be killed by guns."
-- Jason Meggs
And I'm a big supporter of making