I’m a big fan of

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

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.

Proof I’m getting old: tonight’s

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,

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:

<?xml version=”1.0″?>
<!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”>

to this:

<?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

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

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.