November 30, 2002

Sat, 30 Nov 2002 05:14:25 GMT

Hmmm....the Rendez-Pod. I might have over-estimated the complexity of Napster v2.0 (Which I really should be calling Napster 2G). Maybe it runs on its own network that doesn't require centralized routing or authentication of the sort found in your run-of-the-mill wifi installation. Kind of hard for RIAA to track down pirates if they aren't leaving tracks behind.
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Sat, 30 Nov 2002 05:14:22 GMT

"If you refuse where you have always granted you invite to theft." - Publilius Syrus (~100 BC)
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November 29, 2002

Sat, 30 Nov 2002 04:24:38 GMT

"Spiders weave a web covering more than 60 acres. Local sheep not amused"

Only in Canada eh? Pity.

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Sat, 30 Nov 2002 04:10:59 GMT

I've been thinking about my tablet envy a little bit more. Two big takeaways: 1) the form of this current generation still isn't perfect which diminishes the potential value that a buyer can extract from the units which means that 2) these things are extremely overpriced.

The experiments over the last twenty-four hours have taught me a few lessons. First, carrying around an extra keyboard and mouse so that I can use my laptop on a ninety degree angle is a pain in the ass. I mean, taking everything to work this morning was okay because I had something to look forward to, but packing everything up and bringing it home and then reassembling my contraption on the coffee table was, well, annoying. Second, I realized that computers were much more useable in portrait mode. I've set up my desk at the office so that I can use both displays rotated 90 degrees (yup, I flipped the 21" just before I left tonight. Spending a few minutes googling whether or not I would wreck the monitor, I decided to give it a shot.)

What this noodling made clearest to me however was the value of input. As I said to Elliot on this point earlier, reading in portrait mode is excellent. But, when you are using a computer, reading usually leads to writing (c'mon, don't tell me that you *only* surf the web). Think about it for a second. You read an email, then you respond to it. You get a spreadsheet, then you annotate or edit it. You read a Word document and you just can't resist adding your own two cents. The problem that this creates for convertible tablet users is that in order to read a document in portrait mode, you render the keyboard inaccessible. In order to use the keyboard, you're forced to revert to stone-age widescreen mode.

The pure slates don't pose quite the same problem for users, but the fact that the keyboards are detached means that you need to cart around a keyboard, mouse and stand for the slate around with you just in case you want to write a real long email (like this blog post). I already carry around too many things, so this doesn't appeal to me. The fact that this has already started to annoy me during my experiments doesn't mean I'll be jumping on a pure slate any time soon.

So what does that mean for the Tablet PC? I think that they'll be expensive toys that appeal to people that don't want to use their computing technology to the full extent that it was (or in the case of the convertible Tablet, should have been) designed for. That is unless the manufacturers want to pay me to fix this small design problem. The solution is quite simple actually and wouldn't require a significant overhaul of the units. Now given that we're all friends here, I'll tell you what my plan to save these manufacturers from Microsoft's short thinking is. Just do me a favor and keep it between you and me - I would love to start getting royalty checks from Toshiba and Acer.

The deal is this - simply put the brains of the unit behind the screen like they do with the pure slates. Now, the magic comes into play by realizing that Acer et al actually got it 90% right with their current design. What they didn't do was give users the capability to -detach- the monitor from the keyboard. Put infrared in the keyboard and both the portrait-top and portait-bottom of the slate/Tablet/LCD (everything thats left net of the keyboard). All that Acer and Toshiba are left to add to the design is a simple, yet stable way to prop the portrait slate up on the desk or table when you are using the keyboard in its detached infrared mode.

Gotcha thinking now I'll bet.

The rest of the solution is almost child's play. Picture frame manufacturers solved the problem ages ago. Pocketop has applied this in miniature with a design that they use for supporting PDA's in an inclined mode on the desktop. Here's the neat thing. Pocketop only builds these stands so that people can use the Pocketop's nifty folding infrared keyboard in conjuntion with the average PDA.

Like I said, 90% of the work is done - I can't wait to see which one rips me off first. Everyone else is intellectually (and likely economically) overinvested in the current designs and Dell, well they like to manufacture proven ideas cheaper, faster and better than everyone else.My bets are on HP. They (okay, the Compaq portion of HP) gets portable computing in a big way and I'm betting that their itching to get back at Toshiba for the e740 stealing the limelight from the iPAQ. Or not.

Regardless, I'm still left wondering if I should wait to get the form that I want, wait for the prices to drop to a point where the price/value curve is a little more rational or whether the sex appeal and novelty of these units will force me to beg my wife to let me get yet another toy.

Then again, Christmas is coming.

Posted by system at 11:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fri, 29 Nov 2002 20:18:34 GMT

I just saw someone in the office use Google instead of the Yellow Pages. Such is the beauty of a properly crafted index of everything.
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Fri, 29 Nov 2002 20:11:57 GMT

Update on my Yen for a tablet: I plunked down my laptop on its side this morning when I got to the office. Despite the fact that it is located beside a much higher powered computer with a 21" head, I can't bring myself to stop using the laptop. I wonder if this is novelty or appreciation that I'm experiencing.
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Fri, 29 Nov 2002 13:58:45 GMT

Hmmm...Igor must have been cursed with the urge to hum along to songs that play all day and night in his head as well I suppose.
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Fri, 29 Nov 2002 13:54:35 GMT

"Too many pieces of music finish too long after the end." - Igor Stravinsky
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November 28, 2002

Fri, 29 Nov 2002 04:52:13 GMT

Elliot asked me today what I thought about Microsoft's new Tablet PC's. He's in the market for a new portable (and given his penchant for shiny things, he'll probably get one of those aluminum-plated Macs that you occasionally see being paraded around the few remaining conferences by the occasional owner who prefers form over function - as most people do:). Of course, I gave him a "What do you think I think about Microsoft's new Tablet PC's?" kind of look. Translation: I've been dying to get my hands on one since I first read about them a year or so ago.

Given that they've been formally released now, and their functions are being described almost everywhere on the web, I've been able to start comparing the function of this new breed with the functions offered by current portables. The only problem being that I don't actually have a real Tablet to compare my current laptop to. (yup, still using the brick that our lan-guys lent me in place of my anorexic Dell.)

One of the more obvious features that I wasn't sure I could adjust to was the capability to rotate the screen. I mean, it makes sense when I do it on my Pocket PC, but these work out of the box in portrait mode. Its only when I'm working on a Word document or watching divX clips on the handheld that I really have a need to rotate the screen into wide-screen mode. Regardless, I've never actually used a "real" computer in portrait mode so I went hunting for a display driver that would mimic the "rotate display" feature on my PDA to see what value vertical might hold for me in everyday use. I found one, installed it and immediately fell in love with my new view of the dekstop. I've spent the last three hours lying on the couch with a full size keyboard plugged into my laptop with the portable lying on its end on the coffee table about three feet away.

Portrait display is a substantially better way of dealing with the windows into your computer operating system. Let me guess, those shiny Apple computers have been offering this capability for years now, right?

More on my quest for the perfect computing device at some point in the future.

Posted by system at 11:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thu, 28 Nov 2002 18:30:17 GMT

Some thoughts on d arker applications for RFID...
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Thu, 28 Nov 2002 18:13:57 GMT

Prof. Ron just dropped me a note regarding Wired's coverage of Citizenlab's World Sousveillance Day". First I'd heard of it, but I'm thinking that this might be just subsversive enough to classify as fun....but which camera to use. Decisions, decisions.
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Thu, 28 Nov 2002 16:02:17 GMT

Just a minor point of context that I think needs to be explained... Dave was being thankful, not doing schtick. Dave's expression of gratitude reminded me of good schtick. Apologies for any misconceptions this may have caused. Playing with context might be an interesting aspect of blogging, but it sure leaves a gray area on the permanent record...
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Thu, 28 Nov 2002 13:35:51 GMT

Damn - I've gone and created two quotes of the day. Hope this doesn't lead to a temporal paradox that rips the space time continuum. Note to self: finish at least 1/2 cup of coffee before blogging in the AM. Now, off to work with you.
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Thu, 28 Nov 2002 13:31:00 GMT

Ceremonial Delinking? Sounds more like Ritual Silliness to me. Not sure if its the same kind of silliness that Montaigne was talking about, does have a deliberate absurdity about it. "We are at War--as much with Liberals as we are with Islamic terrorists. Your side is, unfortunately, the Enemy.' Hmm...I wonder where that leaves Canadians. Maybe we'll think twice about calling Bush a moron in the future. [note to jen: grab that dictionary and while you are looking up a definition for "censorship", check the spelling on "Islamist" - I corrected it here for you, but I won't be chasing down your misspellings everywhere in the blogosphere. - rwr]
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Thu, 28 Nov 2002 13:19:20 GMT

"No man is exempt from saying silly things; the mischief is to say them deliberately." - Michel de Montaigne
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Thu, 28 Nov 2002 05:41:14 GMT

Tis almost the season to be jolly and Dave gets right into the swing of things by putting a blogtwist on one of Steve Martin's old stand-up schticks. Passable to the point of not having to offer an apology anyways.
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Thu, 28 Nov 2002 05:32:37 GMT

"Imitation is the sincerest form of bloggery." - Ross Rader, with sincere apologies to Fred Allen
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November 27, 2002

Wed, 27 Nov 2002 23:09:04 GMT

"Think about it. If someone goes into the store to buy a computer and they get the Mac instead of the PC, then they don't have the PC so they don't know if it's faster or not!" - Apple marketing VP, Phill Schiller regarding Apple 's decision to automatically add 1ghz to quoted processor speeds. A lot of useful tidbits on this website.
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Wed, 27 Nov 2002 19:17:59 GMT

Someone asked me today what it was specifically that Cochetti had said in Shanghai that had caused me the concern that I outlined in one of my Shanghai posts.. I've excerpted the relevant portions of the NC transcript and put them online as a Radio Story.
Posted by system at 02:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wed, 27 Nov 2002 16:52:38 GMT

Something interesting for RIAA to think about: What does Napster v2.0 look like when edge devices are no longer tethered to one physical location, the devices hop from network to network grabbing DHCP addresses at 55mph and the user's geographical location changes at roughly the same speed?
Posted by system at 11:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wed, 27 Nov 2002 13:37:36 GMT

Some thoughts on end-to-end that I had previously missed. The community should begin considering whether the Registries that ICANN endorses can and should continue to violate these principles. If you haven't read the original e2e document, stop bloghopping and do it now. This is important stuff.
Posted by system at 08:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wed, 27 Nov 2002 13:31:16 GMT

"The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet." - William Gibson
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November 26, 2002

Tue, 26 Nov 2002 18:49:10 GMT

On October 7, 2002 Siebel registered "SIEBELMICROSOFT.COM". Between October 7, 2002 and October 21, 2002 when they finally announced the nature of their deal, Siebel stocks rose, roughly 20% or $0.98 on rumors of a pending merger. Given Siebel's disclosure problems, I'm now left wondering how much this registration lead to the run-up (in addition to the idle speculation that must have stemmed from internal leaks of other types...). It would be interesting to find out who made how much between the 7th and the 21st of October. The National Post ran a story yesterday (that I'm trying to find online) that reported that 53% of CRM installations never work. Sounds about right.
Posted by system at 01:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tue, 26 Nov 2002 17:35:23 GMT

"No one who has read official documents needs to be told how easy it is to conceal the essential truth under the apparently candid and all- disclosing phrases of a voluminous and particularizing report...." - Woodrow Wilson
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November 25, 2002

Mon, 25 Nov 2002 15:24:33 GMT

"Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men." - Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead
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November 23, 2002

Sat, 23 Nov 2002 17:55:38 GMT

Tom notes over at Plasticbag (thanks Doc) that "the future isn't in protecting traderoutes, its about making everyone a pirate". Quite the statement. His description of the dynamic is largely correct - the way that people get their data is changing in extremely fundamental ways. But, doesn't mean that, as he notes, that "Apple is out to make everyone a pirate" just because they are completely out ahead of everyone else in the industry. Apple is amongst the first set of the Big Players that has realized that the "real deal" is about making sure that everyone participates in your traderoute.

Apple is doing it again. No longer satisfied with jousting against Microsoft, they've chosen another large foe that has to defend its traderoutes in order to survive. The problem is that while companies like Sony have vast traderoutes, the traders are fleeing in large numbers to players like Apple amongst others. And Apple, despite the fact that is has a huge number of traders (Napster refugees and the like), they don't have anything that they can legally traffic in. Of course something will have to break, resulting in a (please pardon the expression) huge paradigm shift. The fact that everybody is a pirate in the meantime is simply indicative of the trend, and not the trend itself. The showdown comes when both Apple (and its complicit allies) and Sony realize that they both have what the other wants - consumers and distribution. The result will be both good for consumers and a bloody mess in the meantime.

Posted by system at 12:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sat, 23 Nov 2002 17:24:02 GMT

I've received a number of emails recently about an article that I wrote a while back - a small burst of fan mail I suppose. The burst got me to thinking that the way the Internet links changed in some small way over the last little while - like the recent google dance for instance. Checking the referring logs to my website I couldn't come up with anything concrete, so on a lark I did a Google search for "History of DNS" and lo and behold, in some small way it looked like I found a keyword that was mine. (Considering that I don't own Ross" or "Rader" this wasn't a bad consolation.). The problem is though that while my *words* own the link, my website doesn't. See, I wrote the article for Webhosting Magazine a long time and ago and the version that they put up on their website is substantially more popular than mine. The problem? They don't have publication rights for the Internet. I would never say anything to them - no harm, no foul, I'm not a "real writer" and there is no real economic losses of material consequence (although I'm sure that under the legal definition of loss that there would be). What bugged me about this initially, and still does today, is that I *gave* them the article on very specific grounds and they essentially ignored me.

And now I have to share my keyword with them.

Posted by system at 12:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sat, 23 Nov 2002 17:21:37 GMT

"The meek shall inherit the Earth, but not its mineral rights." - J. Paul Getty
Posted by system at 12:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 22, 2002

Fri, 22 Nov 2002 23:40:07 GMT

Dinner. Yum.
Posted by system at 06:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fri, 22 Nov 2002 23:29:17 GMT

Culture could beat corp. in this one. Sure its a long-shot, but everyone loves an undermouse.
Posted by system at 06:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fri, 22 Nov 2002 22:36:08 GMT

[sidebar...only 2,408 more IP-offending ms-domains to be deleted ";->"]
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Fri, 22 Nov 2002 21:53:40 GMT

Weblogging run amuck? Try "Dumb run amok". None of the interesting bits of my life are indexable and I'm not about to strap a Fear Factor-style camera to my head in an attempt to make it so. Eeesh. Sounds like a fun project to be working on, but I seriously doubt that their real goals are as described. Even Gates doesn't have that much hubris.
Posted by system at 04:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fri, 22 Nov 2002 19:06:20 GMT

Okay, Akma explains what the Readers Movement" is. That makes some sense. And now, I suppose, it has a name.
Posted by system at 02:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fri, 22 Nov 2002 17:35:04 GMT

....and I'm glad he did.
Posted by system at 12:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fri, 22 Nov 2002 17:30:21 GMT

James Sherman, you are a very, very funny person. Thanks to 2020Hindsight for the archive.
Posted by system at 12:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fri, 22 Nov 2002 17:07:51 GMT

"Do as I say, not as I do" says Lego in this Wired piece. While its perfectly acceptable for a corporation to abuse the intellectual property of a culture, its completely another thing when the culture "abuses" the corporation's intellectual property. I'll never figure some of these things out. I wonder what RIAA would have said if Fanning had stated that he would "continue to welcome viewpoints from both sides of the argument" and would be receptive to reasonable requests from RIAA regarding Napster's use of their intellectual property. I can't wait for the first lawyerly person to tell me I'm off-base because "its a different situation".
Posted by system at 12:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fri, 22 Nov 2002 16:01:44 GMT

Brett notes that it might be a good idea for the next ICANN CEO to come from the technical (well, he said "developer") community. But that's where the outgoing one came from. I'd like to see the next one come from the CEO community. Understanding how the Internet works is but one requirement for the new CEO to fulfill. Understanding how organisations get things done is another. Understanding how to get organisations to get things done is, arguably, the most important.
Posted by system at 11:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fri, 22 Nov 2002 12:59:28 GMT

Is this why technology is less than easy to use nowadays? I didn't realize that the "coolness" of the internals was what drove adoption and sales. On the other hand, it may just be that "Cool" is synonym for "functional, reliable, etc." in developer circles.
Posted by system at 07:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fri, 22 Nov 2002 12:59:26 GMT

Counterpoint: "We ought not be over anxious to encourage innovation, in case of doubtful improvement, for an old system must ever have two advantages over a new one; it is established and it is understood." - C. C. Colton
Posted by system at 07:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fri, 22 Nov 2002 12:59:21 GMT

Point: "He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator." - Sir Francis Bacon
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November 21, 2002

Thu, 21 Nov 2002 13:22:07 GMT

Someone asked me what the heck I was driving at yesterday. Here's another cut from a slightly different angle. The problem that Jon is trying to solve has a lot to do with Digital Identity as I like to understand it, and so much less to do with Digital Aliasing as the PKI vendors like to understand it. Think about it for a second, how many Digital Aliases do you currently have? Will asserting any of them start to solve the Spam Problem in any appreciable way? Certainly, none of them helps out Sony either...
Posted by system at 08:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thu, 21 Nov 2002 05:00:41 GMT

"Uncertainty will always be part of the taking charge process." - Harold Geneen
Posted by system at 12:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 20, 2002

Thu, 21 Nov 2002 04:43:41 GMT

Esther nails the essence. " took time and patience, but the trend now is positive." "Spreading DCT" can work.
Posted by system at 11:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sony has a digital identity problem, not us.

Jon's solution is nothing more than a solution he's been thinking about for a very long time because the concept of digital identity is more of a convenient label than it is a solution to a real problem. The solution that we need to give more thought to is how we create a relationship between our One True Identity and our virtual comings and goings. The problem of identity is well-solved (ask Grog's Mom, she had her act together - too bad her One True Identity was some unintelligible muttering). Making it machine readable is much more interesting. But its not really about My Digital Identity any more than it is about My Television Identity, My Newspaper identity or My Headstone identity. It is about making sure that who *you* think might live behind a name actually is behind that name.

Identifying and confirming what the real link between me and my 01010101 moniker is needs to go a lot deeper than forcing the dot populi to deal with managing YAI (yet-another-identity). And this is where Sony might be of some assistance. The fact is, in the online world, Sony's digital identity is sometimes Jennifer Lopez and sometimes its Ripley. Where this gets sticky is that Sony's real identity is "The company that makes sure that Jennifer Lopez and Ripley each make their way into my living room."

In other words, Sony lives at the Transport Layer, but they haven't figured it out yet - much in the same way that I'm a transport layer for my identity. Figuring out what makes my identity valuable in an online world and creating a durable link between it and me (the transport layer) solves a big chunk of the problem that keeps Mr. Sony up at night worrying about Mr. Napster.
Posted by system at 11:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thu, 21 Nov 2002 03:50:13 GMT

so is...(sneak up on it...) THIS "qbullet.list"...
Posted by system at 10:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thu, 21 Nov 2002 03:45:32 GMT

This ";->" is a test. So is this "Andre".
Posted by system at 10:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thu, 21 Nov 2002 03:10:22 GMT

I was talking to DarrylG [nobloglinkyet] about how blogs work and he expressed confusion over the navigation primitives that we've (I mean "we" as in "bloggers") decided to employ (Okay, the primitives that Dave and Evan liked). He was referring to the blogmasters use (or the <%permalink%>that I use) to denote the end of a specific post combined with a link to the permanent URL for that particular post. What was interesting about his question was because while the primitive made tons of sense to this blogmaster, it made me realize how confusing this new web was for the average user - given that the navigation that we employ is for each other and not for the reader. Makes me think twice about the Reader's Movement that ElliotN brought up last week. Note to self: Ask Elliot what he meant when he referred to the Reader's Movement.
Posted by system at 10:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wed, 20 Nov 2002 19:05:30 GMT

Someone just sent me a note and wondered where the ICANN related content has been lately. If you are also wondering note that I never said that this was ver 2.0, rather its just a coincidence that most of my posts are ICANN-related. I spend most of my time working on ICANN-related issues. Hopefully someday you will read more here about UDDI repositories and extra-terrestrial IP. ";->"
Posted by system at 02:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wed, 20 Nov 2002 18:05:31 GMT

I would very much like it if web browsers did not allow content to modify or direct the behavior of the browser. Rather, I would very much like them to simply render page contents as contained in the markup file. I wonder if this might possibly happen anytime soon.
Posted by system at 01:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wed, 20 Nov 2002 17:50:51 GMT

Ever hear someone say "Boy I had a crappy day yesterday"? Seems to imply that for an entire 24 hour period, they had a crappy day. The only reason I bring this up is because I was having a crappy day until about 20 minutes ago. But I really wasn't near close to have a 24-hour long crappy day. I think that people don't look hard enough for reasons not to have a 24-hour long crappy day. Mine? My favorite place to get lunch didn't have a line up when I went in at 12:30. Darn near close to a miracle around these parts. In the immortal words of George Carlin, "Have a nice day!"
Posted by system at 12:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 19, 2002

Tue, 19 Nov 2002 22:30:34 GMT

No more trademark lawyers. Sorry Marty, couldn't resist. My point was that I was pleased that I was starting to see dotINFO used outside of the industry, not that no one was using it.
Posted by system at 05:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tue, 19 Nov 2002 22:03:24 GMT

As the theme turns... "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." - Richard Feynman
Posted by system at 05:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tue, 19 Nov 2002 15:26:08 GMT

Another day, another whack. Now on to transfers-policy.
Posted by system at 10:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tue, 19 Nov 2002 14:57:41 GMT

I wonder if these suck too. (Aside; sometimes themes just develop themselves...)
Posted by system at 09:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tue, 19 Nov 2002 14:56:30 GMT

Toshiba has a released software upgrade the e740. Being a self-avowed Toy Sucker, I had a strong need to upgrade. Without going into the gory details, I bricked my PDA - I think. I don't know if this is a by-product of getting old or not, but my distaste for technology is getting pretty extreme. I mean, using it is as fun as it ever was, but making it work is getting stale. Whether it be tinke ring with Radio or upgrading my handheld, this just isn't fun anymore. Why aren't human interface designers and software architects jumping all over this? Doesn't ease-of use sell? Microsoft and Apple seem to be getting their collective acts together as it relates to desktop computing, but the second that a user strays from the familiar confines of a desktop PC, that's where all bets are off. Even doing something as simple as setting up a Palm V to hotsync with an XP machine via USB turned out to be a major hassle for me not so long ago. Agh. And now, to top it all off, I've got another brick to lug around. At least they both look cool and one actually works.
Posted by system at 09:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tue, 19 Nov 2002 13:45:48 GMT

My laptop died. So they gave me a brick as a loaner. I notice that DanB got a new portable PC. I wonder what he's doing with his old one?
Posted by system at 08:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tue, 19 Nov 2002 05:47:22 GMT

....interesting. This link to the Washington Post live interview with Esther came with a pop-up add pushing Verisign's dotBIZ offering. It wasn't too long ago that their marketing department was in denial over the three letter version of "the Internet place for business"...
Posted by system at 12:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Radio 16, Me 1

So interestingly, it appears that my earlier whinings about Radio munging posts was simply me being short-sighted ;) Now while I still think that this is one of the most complicated pieces of software out there (theoretically magnificent, practically unbearable), I'm beginning to get the hang of things - but let me say this one more time in a slightly different way.

I used to run a BBS that ran on software called FeatherNet,  a PCBoard clone. It rendered templates into screens and required the use of a ton of macros. Radio brings back those memories all too vividly. It makes me feel like a Sysop. I hate feeling like a Sysop. Everything takes too long. Ever try and dump macros into an ANSI editor? sigh...

Anyways, this rant is brought to you for a very specific reason. If I can use the HTML editor built into Outlook Express to my satisfaction and post via email, I might just give up on trying to modify the innards of the buzzard to my liking.

And if Dave Winer or anyone else at Userland reads this, I think you've all done an excellent job. I paid for your software. Don't let my whining obscure the fact that I paid for it. People that really hate software don't whine about it, rather, they don't pay for it. :)
Posted by system at 12:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 18, 2002

From the 'don't trip over the nickels' dept.

So CNET decided that it is not making enough money off of its venerable Given that massive download sites like the one we run also have successful developer marketing programs, this move may have made some sense to the suits that need to show bottom line dollars for CNET's investors. However, the CNET approach makes it difficult for the thousands of software developers that count on websites like to reach a broad segment of potential software buyers.

While we sympathize with the need to generate a little more revenue from any content site, we wanted to try and do it in a way that was more win-win by taking a page out of the play books of Overture and Google and only charging software developers for marketing programs on a results driven basis.

So we did.

The $99 (or more) that CNET charges comes out of a developers pocket regardless of whether or not the marketing is actually working. (I'm so proud of us! ;) Isn't competition great?

Posted by system at 04:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


I got paid for the next post to the blog. Its a Tucows-thing. Elliot calls it "BlogPR" which makes this particular post sound more insidious than it actually is. It ultimately got blogged because I wanted it to, but I also want to make sure that you aren't sleeping and forgot where I worked (or that Tucows first love was software ;)

Regardless, it will be extremely interesting to see how this pans out (using push in a pull-type medium). And PS - don't forget that 'next' in blogspeak means 'previous' when you read top to bottom ;)

Posted by system at 03:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'Riverdancing' or 'Nick, Nack, Not-a-whack'?

neat. I guess the google-dance must be on, because in the last twenty-four hours, a search for "Somebody Riverboard" has gone from being a whack, to 45 minutes ago when there were just two results (and I was thinking that I now had a nice keyword for my website) to now when the same search shows three results. And it appears that the nice people over at Somebody's Riverboard Company do have a website. Now they just need a domain name and someone that can optimize that java banner they're running ;)
Posted by system at 02:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mon, 18 Nov 2002 19:12:11 GMT

Boy - that was quick. Now its definitely not a whack.
Posted by system at 02:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


<rant>I really need to get my name removed from the InterNIC whois database. Anybody that thinks being the primary contact for a registrar sounds easy or fun needs to have their head examined. I'm still amazed at the number of people that have no clue that there are multiple registrars and that isn't prepended with a "www" and doesn't end with a ".com" - I kid you not. I swear, if this is any indication as to how people in the real world view domain names, we should just collapse everything into .com and put a universal wildcard in the zone that prepends www. to everything. </rant>
Posted by system at 01:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


This is an interesting link. As I mentioned in my Shanghai notes, is inaccessible from within PCR - but given that CN-NIC isn't likely to post a broken link, *is* accessible from within CN-NIC's LAN. Odd.
Posted by system at 12:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 17, 2002

Emergence Doesn't

"Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software" by Steven Johnson, I suspect, was intended to be an introductory glimpse into the science of complexity. The book was replete with interesting anecdotes and glimples into slices of the world that I'm not normally privy to. Unfortunately, it also lacked a "plot". Usually non-fiction like this one takes you from Point A to Point B and tries to explain as much as is needed for the author to keep the reader from ending the journey early. Emergence, on the other hand, did very little to keep the interest of the reader and ended rather abruptly. As is the case from time to time, I just read through books without reading them - which may have been the case with this one. So while I will be re-reading it at some point in the future to make sure that I didn't miss some big point that Johnson was trying to make, I can't recommend that you do.

I am happy to report however that Springsteen's latest disc is still in heavy rotation in my CD player. If you haven't picked this one up yet, you are definitely missing out. Neil Young on the other hand, hasn't fared as well. I still have yet to give the disc one complete listen through. Frankly, this one starts to bore me about three or four tracks in - I've never felt compelled to listen to the whole thing. Hopefully his next effort is better - he's a great musician that still has great work left in him, I hope. This one just didn't do it for me.

Posted by system at 05:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Speaking of 'Radio for Dummies', RFID gains further traction with Gillette order...

Scott says that I steal stuff from /. too often. I still don't agree with him, but he's left me with some latent guilt and now I feel compelled to at least acknowledge when I'm ripping Cmdr. Taco and Hemos off. Therefore, Ob/.RipoffDisclaimer: The following post appeared on /. before I posted it here.

This is a big story. Retail RFID [?] is definitely the most practical use of leading edge wireless technology. These orders are only going to get bigger as the cost per unit for an RFID device comes down. Wait until these puppies are being sold by the manufacturer at less than a penny per piece. Wireless grocery checkouts? You bet...

What I haven't figured out is how they are going to stop my e740 from masquerading as a box of free razors. As near as I can tell, the technology needed to spoof an RFID device is available off the shelf real cheap - the PDA would make a great controller. I don't think it would take much to forge the radio transmission to make five dozen eggs look like one...

Posted by system at 01:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Radio for Dummies...

Well, hopefully this self-imposed challenge doesn't soak up much more time. I've come to the conclusion that Radio is interminably disorganized. While doing simple things like posting is well thought-out, doing something that could/should be equally simple like changing to a custom template is...well, quite frankly, a pain-in-the-ass. There seems to be references, tags, schema's scattered everywhere hither, thither and yon and no real centralized way of navigating through them in order to make the necessary changes as you go. Instead, you kind of have to guess and create a mental roadmap of all of the dependencies that also need to be updated.

The current implementation is akin to Word requiring you to update both your document and the true-type binary in order to change the layout of a document.<sigh> I know they are trying real hard, but, eesh,  its not exactly user friendly at this point. To paraphrase Bob Frankston who call me for technical support one day not all that long ago, "I don't need Radio for dummies, I need Radio for Ross."

Anyways, there's a few more navigation tweaks that I want to make, but they will have to wait until later today (hah - now if that's isn't a recipe for procrastination, I've never seen one...)

Posted by system at 12:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More on Whacking...

I wouldn't call it addictive, but finding them does come with a certain degree of self-satisfaction. The second one I found was anything but accidental and far more recordable.

Its interesting to think about the digital detritus that we spawn simply by entering words into the global record. I'm thinking that yesterday's whack already shows up on five or six different pages in various parts of the web...It'll be interesting to see what the exact count is after the next Great Spidering.

Posted by system at 09:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 16, 2002

Dem deres a fightin design mista...

The blog is officially under construction. Not only am I tired of looking like a real dweeb with the mostly out of the box template that I am currently using, I'm also getting jealous of how good Brett's blog is starting to look. I can't put my finger on what he's done, but I like it.

Time to raise the bar.

Posted by system at 02:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

My first Googlewhack

Sometimes I'll do the GoogleTV the web with Google while watching a TV show. I find that science shows are the best companions. Anyways, one segment of the show that I'm watching now mentioned a Canadian company that manufactures "riverboards". It looked pretty neat and I wanted to check out whether or not the company, "Somebody's Riverboards" had a website (they don't as far as Google is concerned). So I Googled a singular version, "Somebody Riverboard".

And, instead of finding their website, I found a Googlewhack. Neat eh? Except Googlewhack says there are two websites that contain the search terms I used. I can't figure this out because Google says different and I haven't blogged this whack yet. Regardless of who is right the whack gets whacked as soon as I hit submit on this post and Google indexes me ;)

Posted by system at 02:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 15, 2002

Notes From Shanghai

I'd forgotten that I'd cobbled together some notes from Shanghai over the last few evenings. I suppose a link to them is in order :)
Posted by system at 03:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 11, 2002

Mon, 11 Nov 2002 20:52:22 GMT

While Virginia courts may have allowed the "In Rem" approach to take root in domain name cases, the NY judicial system is resisting the same arguments...
Posted by system at 03:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Big Blue Screen in the Sky

"If Earth's ecosystem was an operating system," my colleague says to me over a coffee, "it would most closely resemble Windows. A single process has the capability to consume all available system resources until the whole system grinds to a halt. This usually requires a reboot." It occurs to me that until the development community starts taking some responsibility for the applications they release, we are staring down the barrel of a pretty serious problem.
Posted by system at 03:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 08, 2002

More on the Internet Government

Curious headline on this press release. While I get the point, I'm rather uncomfortable with the implication. I wonder if this was fully cleared by ICANN PR?
Posted by system at 04:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Never Truer...

Clear words from another forum devote to creating "policy". Hopefully it turns out to be a meme.

"If you wish to engage in open-ended discussion without regards to the deliverables or timelines of this [forum], you are welcome to do so somewhere else.  In this context, however, we have a set of  deliverables and a need to produce them within a charter.  That means we need constructive efforts in a timely fashion, not allegations of manipulation."
Posted by system at 04:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 07, 2002

Thu, 07 Nov 2002 23:31:25 GMT

ROTD: "THEEUREGISTRY.COM" - Wonder who scooped this one.
Posted by system at 06:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 06, 2002

Good neighbors don't make good servers...

I'm not much of a network designer or systems administrator, but I've got to ask, why were they on the same network in the first place? The article seems to imply that the servers were actually on the same segment, which is even worse...
Posted by system at 10:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


"Portals will have a lot of clout in the Internet of the future." - IDC vice president Richard Villars, November 2002. Ummm...Did I read that correctly? Drop me a note if you have any idea whether or not Richard is talking about the same Internet that I'm using.
Posted by system at 02:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 05, 2002

Tue, 05 Nov 2002 20:11:58 GMT

In 1997 I attended the Palm Computing Developer Conference. This was around the time that they first started talking about Bluetooth. Last week they finally unveiled a Bluetooth capable handheld. Amongst other things, this completely indicates to me that Bluetooth is getting a little too old in the tooth to seriously consider as a viable networking technology. Anything that takes that long to start to get traction can't possible stay relevant long enough to be considered a serious contender. This week, Cyrix tested this theory with the introduction of its WirelessUSB technology that operates on the 2.4GHZ spectrum and boasts latencies that should make BlueTooth device manufacturers green with Envy. Did I mention that this means that no new device drivers will be required? Every single computer that sits within 50ft of me could be retrofit with this new technology in, oh say, 15 seconds. I'm betting on Cyrix with this one.
Posted by system at 03:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tue, 05 Nov 2002 06:45:54 GMT

Enough with the self-imposed sleep deprivation. I was hoping to finish off my final thoughts on the Shanghai meeting, but the eyes are getting heavy and the info-mercial is over. I'll get to it tomorrow night.
Posted by system at 01:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


In some parts of the apartment, the WiFi tends to get sluggish. I've found that squeezing the Aironet card between my thumb and forefinger tends to help the packets find their source more readily. I guess that my body acts as some sort of wet antenna that improves the reception of the card.


Posted by system at 01:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I gotta start wearing shades...

Interesting. An info-mercial for the online banking services offered by a major Canadian bank. Omigosh - they have a great feature called "I forgot my password" - wow. I wonder if they are giving away a George Forman Grill with every new account signup. As if that isn't cool enough, the commercial is chock-full of Star Trek Communicator-like noises guaranteed to keep *everyone's* attention.

Apparently it's very easy to use and allows you to access your bank balance from *any place* in the world that has Internet access. This web thing might just catch on. Just wait until some smartass gets everyone else to adopt a standardized machine readable data format that allows for some basic security. I'd bet my new George Forman Grill that it might actually get some traction.

Unfortunately, like most commercials, it's not totally realistic. I just watched a segment where two 40 somethings excitedly find out that they will be able to retire in just under ten years. Not a bad dream, but chances are pretty good that they, like most other Canadians, stuffed their RRSP with Nortel during the hey-day making their Freedom-55 plan look like a Freedom-92ish plan.

Posted by system at 01:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 04, 2002



Unable to check who previously owned either of these domain names, I'm left wondering if this means that we might start seeing some true focus from registry operators. Needless to say, given that Verisign still has a multi-million dollar telecom goat to swallow, I'm more inclined to think that both of these names belonged to a squatter that didn't want to pony up the $$6.95. Given some recent sales numbers that I've seen, this wouldn't surprise me.

Posted by system at 05:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 02, 2002

Yellow Kids II - Sensationally Clued

Over a week ago Michael Froomkin wrote to me indicating that had a few concerns about my earlier post, "The Yellow Kids" - I indicated to him in the ensuing exchange that my initial comments were perhaps rather harsh and that I would blog a followup indicating such. I've written up an in-depth response as a Radio story which includes his complete comments and my complete thinking on the dangers of this type of "blog-reporting".
Posted by system at 07:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack