MovableBlog: Archives: Geekery

A weblog about the Movable Type Publishing Platform and other geekery

March 22nd, 2005

Questions About Google's "Similar pages" Links »

It's probably a safe bet that most people reading my weblog(s) are either bloggers themselves or at the very least, read a few weblogs. It's probably an even safer bet that you're familiar with Google. Those who are either (again, most likely both), I have two questions:

I ask because in my 4+ years of blogging, I've never, not once, seen someone come through a 'related link' referrer. Now, I'm willing to concede that I'm blocking one or two out of my memory, but none ever stood out for me to remember clearly. Also, I can count on one hand the amount of times I've clicked "Similar pages" and actually went to a site based on the results. This is out of thousands of searches over the same stretch I knew about weblogs and have been blogging. I've seen absolutely nobody talk about this 'feature' in the last 2 years, give or take.

Google doesn't even seem to serve ads on those results. Are those links so under-clicked that Google doesn't even bother? And if so, why have those links in the first place? Wouldn't it be more compelling—when and after Google buys a respectable weblog search engine, or develops their own, of course—to have a link to the people currently talking about that page?

Posted by Richard at 12:51 AM | Comments (3)

December 22nd, 2004

Instead of Feeling Overwhelmed by the Amount of Information That I Ought To Be Absorbing »

Suw Charman, writing in her Strange Attractor weblog, writes about the feeling after switching to NetNewsWire from Bloglines:

At last, I feel like I am in control of my aggregator again. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information that I ought to be absorbing, instead of feeling scared to open my aggregator because the unread posts are gonna overtop any second and flood my poor little brain, I feel like I have a nice, tidy resource that I can dip into any time I want. Of course, much of this is an illusion, facilitated by a folder cunningly called 'blogs/tech/stuff' which contains pretty much everything that's currently uncategorised, but I can cope with that act of wilful self-deception.

I've been using NetNewsWire for about a month now, and the 2.0 release makes it a rather elegant and feature-rich, though still simple and easy-to-use, aggregator. The desktop aggregators I've tried on my now-lonely Windows XP box (though you'd think it would welcome the presence of its attractive cousin, the Powerbook G4), made me appreciate content aggregation from both a consumer and provider's point of view. I started on Syndirella, which had a neat screen-scraping feature for those sites that did not have RSS feeds. After active development ceased, I moved to to SharpReader. It has really neat features, like showing the relationships between individual entries aggregated by the software, but it was a memory hog when memory my older system was and still is at a premium. FeedDemon, and though my bank account may have squirmed under the pressure at the time, it was fully worth the purchase price. Development is active, and the 1.5 release, in beta at this writing, is zippy has a really great feature set. I recommend it without hesitation to Windows XP users.

The feature I most liked about FeedDemon, and that I like about NetNewsWire, is seeing the text from all the items ordered reverse-chronologically, be it from an individual feed, a group of feeds, or the list of items that are new. This is the way of displaying feed items that makes the most sense to me, and is the least email-like. The central idea of weblogs, or at least one of the central ideas, is that we were supposed to have web-based, linkable, fairly short (but size doesn't always matter), timely posts that fade into the archives. NNW gives me the option to view the full text of the entries sorted reverse-chronologically. (View » Layout » Combined View.) I'm liking more and more the idea of having one page to look at and letting the old stuff just fall away. This will matter most to people who value only the most recent information. Anything older than that will not be useful to them.

I'm not one of those people, however: I read personal weblogs more than I read technological weblogs, and if it's a few days old and well-written, I'll read, link to, and comment on what they've written. The value for me, then, is not when the information was produced but what that information is. A lot of people are like that. A lot of people also feel there is little value in historical information, because if they're only interested in commenting on what happened in the last day or so, then they'll just set their hundreds of posts that they missed to the "read" status and move on to the new stuff. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information that they ought to be absorbing, then, they could just let the new stuff wash over them as if the old information was never there.

Besides, isn't that what search engines are for?

Posted by Richard at 11:08 PM

November 24th, 2004

Letters From Home »

The chances of my doing a podcast, which, as I understand it, is posting audio of people talking, are pretty slim. I've listened to a few podcasts, and finished listening to only a handful of those. As a podcast consumer and producer, then, I admit to not really understanding the big deal, but then again, I don't really get the big deal about talk shows in general. That's what podcasts are, and that's fine. Lots of people like talk shows, but I'm not a big fan.

As a cultural phenomenon, then, I think I get it, and it's a big deal, because for the price of a computer, a microphone, and an Internet connection, anybody who wants a talk show can have one. That's a lot less than having to ask for a broadcast license (are the days of podcasting licenses near?), setting up a radio station, and so on. The interesting part about podcasting is you don't really need a "pod" (or personal audio player) to listen in. As long as you have a computer with audio (who doesn't?) and an audio player, then you can consume podcasts. You could almost say that pods don't belong in podcasting. 10 points if you got the movie reference.

I am most excited not about people having their own talk shows, but people using podcasting to talk to their friends and family, using them as "letters from home". That phrase comes to me from DJ Shadow's "Letter From Home (Track 1)" and DJ Shadow's "Letter From Home (Track 14)", the first and last tracks of his excellent album The Private Press. (His first album, Endtroducing.... which combined thousands of samples to create an instrumental hip-hop album, is far and away my favourite of all time.) In both the "Letter From Home" tracks, DJ Shadow plays some found art, recordings people have made of themselves speaking to their family members and other assorted loved ones. The first one is a woman talking about how she had difficulty setting up her recorder and how her trip went, and the second is from a man talking about how hot it is and a woman talking about her vacation and plans to return.

I was once instant messaging with a friend whose phone number I didn't have, and felt silly asking for it, since we talked most of the time via IM anyway. She had audioblogged at one point, possibly about a rant she had, I forget. I called up the weblog entry that she posted her audioblog to, and just listened. Not for content, but to hear her voice. Blogging is great—no, really—but it's not really the unedited voice of an individual, at least not literally. Podcasting is the real unedited voice of an individual. It's terribly exciting to hear the voices of people whom I mostly know through print. I'm sure this will wear off, but it's exciting to hear the famous-to-me people speak in my living room, such as my living room is.

In the longer run, voice over IP is probably a bigger deal than podcasting, because with voice over IP, you can at least have a conversation. But podcasting is revolutionary in that, just as blogging did, it lengthens the tail. In other words, the big deal is no longer that some people can do it, but that pretty much everybody can. As a non-consumer non-producer of podcasts, I can at least appreciate them for that.

Posted by Richard at 07:00 PM

November 16th, 2004

Search Engine Optimization Gets You Accessibility For Free, and Vice Versa »

Trenton Moss writes an excellent short article on search engine optimization and usability, two subjects which go hand in hand, because the more usable your site is, and the higher the quality of information the site is, the more likely people are going to come for return, paying visits:

By providing creative, unique and regularly updated content on your Website, other Webmasters will want to link to your site: doing so will provide extra value to their site visitors. Of course, you'll also be adding value for your site visitors.

I like the emphasis placed on making a site structured and and accessibility. He's implying that if you make a site accessible, you get search engine optimization for free, and if you make a site search engine optimized, you get accessibility for free.

(I credit the phrase "you get [x] for free" as well as the idea that accessibility and search engine optimization are two sides of the same coin—as if "hand in hand" wasn't enough of a metaphor for you—to Boris Mann.)

Posted by Richard at 12:30 AM

November 4th, 2004

In the Future, Domains and URLs Won't Matter »

Darren Barefoot writes some excellent advice on choosing a domain name. (I work for Bryght, a company he mentions as an example of having a bad domain name.) A common joke amongst geeks when a new phrase invented—sometimes by the leader of a certain very powerful, English-speaking country, the current example being Rumors on the Internets—the first thought is to register the domain. That way, when the appropriate time comes, you can put up a website mocking said new phrase (in the case of "Rumors on the Internets", by simply looping video of the aforementioned leader saying the phrase—which used to be the case, at least), and hey, maybe you might even register the domain first before realizing that you can somehow profit from it, or at least start a company around it.

Registering a domain, though, will become less important a) when that domain has already been registered (somebody beat me to fakebutaccurate.com by a couple of days) and b) when all that matters is not what people type in the address box but what people type in a search box for the search engine du jour, that title held currently by Google. With Firefox for all platforms and Safari for the Mac coming with a Google text box as the default web search text box, Google because the default search engine, just as Netscape, being the home page of the Netscape Navigator browser, became the default starting point for the web for most people. The default search engine for many is MSN now that Internet Explorer is deployed on the vast majority of computers.

As Darren pointed out earlier, the home page will no longer be the most important page on a person or company's website, though the manifesto he links to does not adequately state why this is the case. The reason the home page is not the most important page is because most visitors will be coming into your site via search engine requests, and as is the nature of users on the Internet, expect unexpected search terms for people landing on your site. (That is, if Disturbing Search Requests—a site that is text-based but is not necessarily safe for a sex-free environment—is any guide.) Because most visitors will be seeking you out rather than be led to your site by any clever advertising you have devised, high search engine ranking (i.e. on the first page of results on the default setting for the number of results a search engine gives, either because what they're looking for is on the first page or they are too impatient to click "next") for the key words of your core business—or even a business that you would like to expand into—is priority #1, and not purchasing that thousand-dollar domain name that some kid is squatting on.

I say that this is the future and not the present, because short, descriptive URLs are important now for the following reasons:

When users—if you are reading this weblog, the odds are that you are a techie and while I salute you, you are not in the majority—look for something, they either type the text that they are searching for in the address box or go to Google and type in what they are looking for. People are much less likely to remember what URL they found something than the search terms they used to find it.

Posted by Richard at 04:40 AM

March 26th, 2004

Essential Software »

Earlier this month Matthew Mullenweg wrote a list of the essential software on his PC. Since the main section of this weblog is dying for some content (any content!), here's my list of essential software.

The list is shorter than Matt's because he's obviously far geekier than I am, but in an effort to maintain the appearance of not having lost face, I will add a sentence or two as to why or how I use the software essential to me. This is an inexhaustive list. It may get updated in the next couple of days, but only to append the list. These are all, as you can already tell, Windows software, but I'm itching to buy a new box, get rid of all the software on this one, and install Linux.

Posted by Richard at 01:12 AM

May 29th, 2003

Automatic Trackbacks Regarding Articles You've Linked »

memigo is a site that uses your RSS to determine which articles you link to, and uses Trackback autodiscovery to ping your weblog with more information about that article.

More details can be found on the 'how memigo interacts with your blog' page.

Posted by Richard at 07:19 PM | Comments (1)

May 16th, 2003

China and the Tech Industry »

Over at China Weblog, I've mentioned several times that Asia Business Intelligence is one of the best weblogs for covering business- and technology-related news in China. Two recent posts are worth checking out for the tech-savvy crowd interested in China:

Update May 21, 2003 10:00 PM: the date of the webcast has been changed. See the announcement for details.

Posted by Richard at 02:05 PM | Comments (0)

May 14th, 2003

BlogChatter in Beta »

There is a new real-time weblogs.com-like weblog aggregator now available called BlogChatter (I can't see the pings behind the proxy here at work). There are instructions on setting it up for Movable Type, which I have followed. This post will be the first to ping that service. [via MetaTalk sidebar BlogRoots]

Posted by Richard at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

May 8th, 2003

Pre-Game 7 Links »

With nothing better to do before a big Game 7 for the local sports team, here are some links that need to be cleared from my bookmarks and aggregator.

Okay, almost time for the game.

Posted by Richard at 06:38 PM | Comments (2)

Mark's Matchmaker »

You may have already seen Mark Pilgrim's Matchmaker, which is a CGI script that creates a GIF of tiles with a pattern, and there is only one pair that matches. Mike's Matchmaker, inspired by Mark's, creates the same thing, but in CSS and PHP. Very nice, although he's right about it working well in Mozilla and not at all in IE.

Posted by Richard at 12:31 AM | Comments (0)

April 24th, 2003

Addiction, Community Building and Everquest »

A friend of mine has written a paper about addiction as community building, using Everquest as her example. I happened to be on campus when she presented, so I stopped by, but didn't get a chance to comment on it then. She sees Everquest as a tool for people to negotiate roles for themselves they might not necessarily play in real life.

I emailed her links to two articles, Caring for Your Introvert by Jonathan Rauch and a K5 article, The Net: A Cause of Social Disconnect, and asked her to comment on how they related to her project, but evidently she would need to write a whole paper on that too, so I let her off the hook. Also related is Social Software and the Politics of Groups by Clay Shirky, which I very much enjoyed, but that's only because my degree was in Political Science.

Posted by Richard at 09:58 PM | Comments (0)

April 17th, 2003

Thursday Night Roundup »

Necessarily there are dozens more articles that I still have to read, much less link to. Stupid Internet.

Posted by Richard at 09:26 PM | Comments (0)

April 13th, 2003

On Computer Languages and Strings »

It's been blogged plenty elsewhere, and, necessarily, here too: The Hundred-Year Language are ruminations on what will make a programming that will last into the next century. Tim Bray follows up with thoughts on strings.

Update 11:10 PM: I read The Craft of Programming earlier today, and going through the aggregator just now, realized that this is related to the above.

Posted by Richard at 10:13 PM | Comments (1)

April 12th, 2003

Saturday Afternoon Links »

Posted by Richard at 01:48 PM | Comments (1)

April 11th, 2003

Rather Busy Week »

It's been busy with a lot of things happening this week. Here's are just someof the things that caught my eye in the RSS aggregator. There are still dozens of good-looking items left in the aggregator to read.

Posted by Richard at 12:50 AM | Comments (0)

April 5th, 2003

Saturday Night Links »

Time to clear Bookmarks and Favorites again.

Posted by Richard at 08:02 PM | Comments (0)

April 4th, 2003

Microdoc News and Longer Thoughts »

Microdoc News is rather good website, mostly focussing on Google but also on microcontent and blogging. I tend to only have time to read the summaries in their RSS feed—okay, so I have enough time to read the full entries, but the summaries are actually pretty informative in and of themselves.

I haven't talked much about the blogging phenomenon much, or about the broader implications of other technology, and this is not a reflection on how much I have to say about them. Having a lot to say about something does not necessarily mean having anything of quality to say, however. But maybe in the future there will be an 'essays' or 'longer thoughts' section of this site, since, because of my Political Science degree with an informal background in computers, I do at least feel qualified to speak on the political implications of technology. That may mean breaking down and creating a sidebar of quick links la Anil & Kottke. As if the sidebar weren't crowded enough.

Posted by Richard at 02:43 AM | Comments (0)

April 2nd, 2003

Open Source Filter Clones »

Interesting (if brief) discussion on MetaTalk about open-source MetaFilter clones. Last night I briefly considered converting Vancouver Webloggers to a filter site—largely due to the fact that I'd like a user signup page, so I can reject or accept people based on criteria rather than have them email me, and then set up their user accounts for them in MT. Luckily I slept on that idea. [via MetaPhilter; I still think the name is too similar to MetaFilter]

Posted by Richard at 02:43 PM | Comments (0)

March 30th, 2003

Late Night Links »

Posted by Richard at 02:30 AM | Comments (0)

March 25th, 2003

Programmer's Drama »

Why there are no Programmers' Dramas: every computer nerd has no doubt faced this. I get a lot of ideas while riding for SkyTrain, many of them for my personal (computer-based) journal and many of them things I'd like to try out in terms of web design or PHP (like Paulo in the above-linked weblog entry).

Alas, I'm the only computer nerd I know without a laptop.

Posted by Richard at 10:45 PM | Comments (1)

March 19th, 2003

Grub Distributed Search Engine »

Grub, an open-source decentralized search tool for the Internet. From the docs:

By having websites crawl their own content, and having volunteers donate their bandwidth and clock cycle resources, it decreases bandwidth consumption across the Internet dramatically, allows for pre-processing on the resulting data, and ultimately improves search results sent to end users."

Emphasis mine. Somehow I don't think bandwidth will be decreased dramatically, but rather merely redistributed. It also apparently respects robots.txt. Mark Pilgrim has yet to pronounce that it is a unwanted robot from hell and/or include it in his robots.txt. [first link via Scripting News]

Posted by Richard at 11:38 PM | Comments (0)

March 10th, 2003

Why Blog? »

A friend of mine has a digital art project, WhyBlog.org, which "is a digital art project, exploring the concepts of content, motivation, authorship, and identity in the world of bloggers. Join in if you have a weblog with a RSS feed. [...] In the near future, this info will be used in a postmodern juxtaposition of data exploring the hyperrealities of the blogging millieu."

There are a bunch of reasons for this site, primarily for note-taking/archiving, as well has being able to point to something (along with China Weblog and Vancouver Webloggers), for better or for worse, that has my name attached to it.

Posted by Richard at 09:16 PM | Comments (2)

March 3rd, 2003

Windows Messenger and 'Office' Screenname »

A few minutes ago, I tried to change my Windows Messenger screenname to "The office dullard is a clever foe" (10 points for the first person who knows where the reference is from—without searching Google!), but it would not let me. A bit of Google searching led me to a list of forbidden words in all versions of Messenger. Lame! (Note that some of the words are pretty offensive, but 'headquarters'? 'president'? 'worker'? Sheesh.)

Posted by Richard at 10:18 PM | Comments (2)

March 1st, 2003

Weblog Hacks, Spectrum »

Also, be sure to check out Ben's call for Weblog Hacks. [via boingboing; check out the home page of Boing Boing today for discussions of the WiFi and the radio spectrum in the context of a private property vs. commons debate.]

Posted by Richard at 03:19 PM | Comments (0)

February 27th, 2003

Thursday Night Links »

Posted by Richard at 08:26 PM | Comments (1)

February 22nd, 2003

Cleared Bookmarks II »

A few more articles cleared out of my Bookmarks.

Posted by Richard at 10:18 PM | Comments (0)

Cleared Bookmarks »

I needed to clear some bookmarks, and here are the geekier of the articles that were there.

Posted by Richard at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)

February 19th, 2003

One Nine »

It's very bad of me to quote without attribution here—okay, from top of the thread to the bottom, and using first names only, it's Ryan, Keith, Peter, and Erick—but this quote represents what I love about the sfu.unix newsgroup. Very geeky, and very picky about things sometimes. And often very off-topic. (This is part of a thread discussing my alma mater's consideration of removing all Microsoft products from the lab computers and going open-source.)

>>>(single point of failure) inter-campus link at DC in all of 2003, it
>>>will have operated at roughly "one nine" service levels for the entire
>>> year.
>
>>"One nine". Useful phrase, that. Covers the whole huge range between 9%
>> and 99%.
>
> Actually no, in this context it refers to the number of 9s after the
>decimal point (with %99. being assumed). The public telephone network typically
>strives for 5 9s reliability (i.e. 99.99999 uptime). One 9s reliability is
>considerably less reliable ...

Wrong, five 9's reliability is 99.999% uptime. The correct way to look at this is the number of 9's after the decimal point with "0." being assumed. One nine is thus 0.9, or 90% uptime.

This allows "nines" to be used as fractional units on a log-scale like decibels
"Zero nines" would mean no uptime and "half a nine" would be about 68% uptime.
"Five and a half nines", 99.99968% uptime. Works nicely, doesn't it?

I've been lurking in the newsgroup for at least 6 years now. Also, the sfu.test newsgroup has some of the funniest rejoinders to test messages I've ever seen.

Posted by Richard at 02:23 PM | Comments (1)

Two Links »

Two links, culled from Anil:

Posted by Richard at 09:39 AM | Comments (2)

February 17th, 2003

Blogger Redesign Mockup »

Leave it up to Jason Kottke to redesign Blogger in the Google mold, although if it were up to me, I'd change the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button to "Get Lucky". He also (necessarily) has some comments on the acquisition, although I have to wonder about the comparison to Netscape, which ended up getting bought out by a faceless corporation (although not the faceless corporation Netscape users were most afraid of).

Posted by Richard at 10:49 AM | Comments (0)

February 16th, 2003

More on Google's Acquisition »

Jenny at The Shifted Librarian (one of my favourite weblogs these days, not least because she includes full entries in her RSS feed) has aggregated some posts on the Google's latest acquisition, and has some comments of her own.

Posted by Richard at 11:21 PM | Comments (0)

February 15th, 2003

Google Buys Blogger »

As seen at 12 million other blogs by now: Google Buys Blogger.

I looked at the calendar, and it's a month and half until April 1st. What gives?

Update Feb. 16, 10:35 AM: Cory Doctorow has an essay on Google's Blogger acquisition. I remain unconvinced that this is a Good Thing, for bloggers or even for Google's brand.

Posted by Richard at 10:47 PM | Comments (1)

O'Reilly Beta Chapters »

There are quite a few beta chapters of O'Reilly books available. The chapters for Google Hacks should keep me occupied, at least for a little while. Update: nevermind that, the chapter from Python in a Nutshell looks more interesting (and time-consuming), since, well, I don't know anything about Python.

Posted by Richard at 05:05 PM | Comments (0)

February 13th, 2003

Reversible »

Six Apart Log, Phil, David and Kottke discuss Reversible.org, which, if I understand correctly, is an amalgam of open directory, public referer log, and Trackback repository (similar to the sidebar of this site, except not limited to MT-Related posts; as an aside, this sidebar is starting to get Trackback Spam).

My guess? Learn how to exploit it now, because it may turn out to be similar to weblogs.com. I remember getting a lot of hits from it early on, because a) its traffic was high, b) the amount of pings was, compare to now, relatively low, and c) the name of the personal blog I pinged from is fairly unique. Now my hits from weblogs.com has slowed to a trickle (the name is still unique, but it gets buried in the amount of weblogs pinged in small amount of time).

More later.

Posted by Richard at 10:12 AM | Comments (0)

February 12th, 2003

Reversible! »

What is Reversible? What isn't Reversible? [via remains of the links]

Posted by Richard at 05:29 PM | Comments (0)

February 6th, 2003

Home Network Security »

Home Network Security [Recommendations]: The main reason I'm unworthy of the label 'computer nerd' is that my knowledge of security is, well, limited. Up until recently, there was no firewall installed on my home computer. And it cost me.

Posted by Richard at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

January 30th, 2003

Alma Mater Switches to Mutt »

Bastards. My alma mater decided to remove Pine and switch to Mutt as the Unix email client. I only found this out today, but evidently Pine was removed in November. At least they say why.

So looks like, even though I've used Pine for years, and use it at work, I must switch to Mutt for my alma mater's mail. (It don't really matter in the long run: my alma mater's account is only spam these days.) I did find a pro-Mutt comparison with Pine, and apparently there is a version of Mutt for Windows, which is cool, because Mutt has threading.

Posted by Richard at 02:42 PM | Comments (0)

January 29th, 2003

Open Source Office Suite »

Wow. There's an open-source office suite la Microsoft Office. It's very cool, and even opens Microsoft Office files! Why did I just find out about this? There's even a version for Macs (well, kinda: you have to be running X11, but still). How cool is that?

Posted by Richard at 11:25 PM | Comments (0)

January 26th, 2003

Switch to Linux (and Phoenix!) »

Everyone looks spiffy with a Tux: switch to Linux! "Linux gives us the power we need to crush those who oppose us!"

Phew! Looks like Phoenix development is merely behind schedule and not stopping.

Posted by Richard at 09:11 PM | Comments (0)

January 25th, 2003

Extraneous SiteMeter Code »

If you're having problems eliminating the extra HTML comments info that SiteMeter code generates in Mozilla, use the following Javascript code, found in the source code of Vanishing DIV in Mozilla:

<script type="text/javascript">
var site="your-SiteMeter-site-ID";
var g_leavenoscript="true";
</script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="your-SiteMeter-counter-URL"></script>

Posted by Richard at 02:53 PM | Comments (1)

Google and Cleverness »

Is Googling O.K.? by Randy Cohen

Apparently it is.

Ian's Life Policies: what a neat idea. My life polices change too often to be codified like this, alas.

Wiki Getting Started FAQ: this is a clever idea as well.

Posted by Richard at 01:36 AM | Comments (0)

January 19th, 2003

Creative Commons »

Creative Commons: I know little about copyright, but I think this initiative is interesting and innovative as hell, and wish I produced content that could legitimately be described as original. If I had a camera, I'd be all over having a photo weblog, and would necessarily be all over trying to figure out which licence to use over at Creative Commons.

Posted by Richard at 02:18 AM | Comments (0)

January 17th, 2003

I'm Not a Lawyer »

Would you take legal advice from someone who says "I'm not a lawyer, but...".

Neither would I.

(This in regards to the Warchalking Legality FAQ. Which is in regards to FatPort locations in Vancouver. FatPort. The logo's cute, but the name ain't so hot.)

Posted by Richard at 01:25 AM | Comments (0)

January 15th, 2003

Kottke Sells Himself »

Webloggers and designers have a love/hate relationship with Jason Kottke: some consider him to be a good designer (I do as well, but I didn't find his Gawker creation very good-looking), but on his weblog he doesn't really talk about anything. That said, I do like it when he comes up with mockups for various things. I always wondered why he didn't have a public portfolio, but now he does. It looks great (as do his sites), but sideways scrolling? Whoa. That's pretty bad. Flaming logo bad.

There is also a resume.

Posted by Richard at 09:00 PM | Comments (0)

Internet Addiction »

Will the Internet Become a Significant Advertising Medium? by Rishad Tobaccowala and Robin D. Hafitz

Addiction isn't relevant. People like their favorite media. They usually have more than one favorite. But an addiction contest between the Internet and other media will lead to the triumph of television. Television is the cocaine, the heroin, the after-work cocktail, and the chocolate bonbon of media, all rolled into one. An average of 7 hours and 47 minutes a day.

I'm exactly the opposite. I watch about an hour of TV a day, at most. I'm on the Internet almost constantly. (I'm not saying this is a good thing.)

The Internet is my TV.

Posted by Richard at 03:45 PM | Comments (0)

January 14th, 2003

Bravo, Mark »

As if I needed another reason to like dive into mark, he posts about his switch back to HTML 4.01 while alluding to the 3rd book of The Hitch Hiker's Guide to To the Galaxy 'trilogy'. Bravo, I say.

Posted by Richard at 04:29 PM | Comments (0)

January 13th, 2003

Domain Maddness? »

O'Reilly Network: Domain Maddness!

Turns out I was wrong when talking to friends: not all of the words of the dictionary have been taken as domain names. I can't believe nobody's taken boycottism.

Posted by Richard at 04:20 PM | Comments (0)

January 4th, 2003

Wanker Writer »

How to Write Like a Wanker [via dive into mark]

Popular sites filled with cutting-edge Internet cognoscenti (such as Slashdot and ShackNews) give the lie to this harmful and destructive myth: they are brimming with horrific grammar, atrocious spelling, gratuitous abbreviation and childish, arrogant attitude. To be "in" on the net, you must write like a wanker.

Posted by Richard at 09:01 AM | Comments (0)

January 3rd, 2003

Devon on TV »

Fellow Vancouver weblogger Devon gets a 2-minute segment on CTV (note there is a link to the video on the sidebar). They explicitly say she's not a camgirl, but most of the segment is about camgirls. Plus there's more to 'camgirls' than nudity (it's more the attitude than anything). No offense to Devon, but wouldn't it have been a cooler article/news segment if they found an actual camgirl to compare to Devon?

Things we learn: Devon is indeed a fast (and loud?) typer; that she's been online for 7 years (does that include her BBS days?); she "devotes all her free time to mundane journal entries" (all her free time? are her posts always mundane? I don't think so); "she's almost famous, or at least she wants to be" (who wants to be almost famous?); that media-types are easily impressed with how many visitors people's websites get (you can hear the off-camera interviewer exclaim "wow" after Devon reveals she gets 400 visitors a day).

And talk about a bland statement from a professor. The police officer is actually right: it's easier than people think to find a website owner's address. How do I know? Type whois and then your (or someone else's) domain at a Unix prompt and see if your (or the owner's) street address and phone # appears in the listing. If it does, ask your host how to change/eliminate it.

Posted by Richard at 02:12 AM | Comments (0)

January 2nd, 2003

Blockquote and Character Data »

Your site is getting

character data is not allowed here

while using the <blockquote> tags and trying to validate to XHTML 1.1 because you're not enclosing them with <p> tags (or any other block elements).

Posted by Richard at 08:58 PM | Comments (0)

MeFi Remixed »

Metafilter: Remixed

Cool idea if you ask me. Kinda like how Kuro5hin works (in that someone posts, then readers vote as to its worthiness of gracing the front page), except that MeFi Remixed is an unofficial project, likely an attempt to spur Matt Haughey (a man who has been busy lately, launching Creative Commons and TicketStubs.

It even appears that Haughey is considering putting this feature in place. First saw it this MetaTalk post, however.

Posted by Richard at 08:23 PM | Comments (0)

Text Marker »

I don't know a whole lot about PHP—okay, I probably know enough to make a crude CMS, with a lot of effort—but this PHP Text Marker idea is pretty dang cool.

Posted by Richard at 05:06 AM | Comments (0)

December 31st, 2002

What Makes a Good Blog »

Weblog Analysis

I share Min Jung's elitism and automatic lowering of esteem for certain things when looking for new weblogs to read (which I'm in the process of doing). I tend to pre-judge a weblog on its design, then domain (blogspot.com domains get no respect), then font-size/readability, then the copy itself (good copy does overrule good design if the weblog was recommended to me by someone who knows my tastes). Yeah, I'm bit of a snob in that respect. A weblogs link list only really gets consideration as a launching pad to finding new weblogs. Once I have my "set" of blogs that I'll read, I tend to ignore people's link lists.

Good on Min Jung for reading my mind writing about something I've been thinking about lately. I'll put a more extensive description of how I evaluate a weblog up later, with a better ranking of characteristics.

Posted by Richard at 12:05 AM | Comments (0)

December 29th, 2002

Yahoo Remix »

Amateur Yahoo Redesign

Here's a redesign of the venerable Yahoo! portal that I could live with, if the colours were a bit more muted.

After reading "99.9% of Websites are Obsolete" by Jeffrey Zeldman, I came up with a grand scheme to create a version of Yahoo! that validated to, say, HTML 4.01 and used CSS instead of formatting within the HTML. I figured I'd be able to save Y! at least a cool hundred thou in bandwidth charges, and Y! would be so grateful that they'd give me a two-weeks-long vacation to NYC, all-expenses paid.

Well, I can dream, can't I?

Posted by Richard at 12:35 AM | Comments (0)

December 28th, 2002

Why is Zeldman Joyful? »

Somebody want to explain why Zeldman finds this so joyful? What should I be looking for?

Posted by Richard at 09:05 PM | Comments (0)

Re: Design? »

Just looking at how many people have chosen the name "RE: Design" for their company name (for those that don't know, RE are my initials--and I'm thinking of going pro as a web designer in the new year, again for those that don't know), and there are a few. Among others, there's (re)design, ReD (redesign), re:design and re:design inc. with random front pages. This one and this one (not all that safe for viewing at work) would make me want to hire the firm.

But then again, I'm a guy.

Posted by Richard at 12:33 AM | Comments (0)

December 27th, 2002

Hiding Content »

Hiding content: "If you want to hide things the web is not the place for you."

Very true.

Posted by Richard at 07:52 PM | Comments (0)

December 21st, 2002

MeFi vs. Gawker »

www.metafilter.com, It's only a web site

An image in reply to the MetaFilter vs. Gawker controversy. Gawker is a blog about media gossip in NYC, and is geared towards snooty, sarcastic NYC'ers, which I am definitely not.

Posted by Richard at 05:14 PM | Comments (0)

November 26th, 2002

XHTML Validator Redesign »

The W3 validator has been redesigned, and it makes better use of colours and seems to have streamlined its error messages. I don't think this page will ever validate, but that's because I'm too lazy to use the URL cleaner to clean yucky URLs. And I either didn't hack MT so that my <blockquote> over-use doesn't screw the validation.

If you don't know what I mean by that last bit, don't worry. Neither did I.

Posted by Richard at 12:52 AM | Comments (0)

September 17th, 2002

PHP Calendar »

Miles To Go Before I Sleep... By Vikram Vaswani

No, it's not something to do with politics or whatever. Just a DIY PHP/MySQL calendar that I might implement on this site. (Or all my sites? There's so much I want to do with my sites, and I pretty much want to do all those things to all my sites.)

Now if only Yahoo! Calendar, which I use regularly for work shifts and social engagements (yeah, I have a social life all of a sudden), had an XML feed for their web-based calendar, I'd be all over that.

No, I'm not that much of a nerd, but I wish I was.

Posted by Richard at 12:38 AM | Comments (0)

August 18th, 2002

10 Tips on Writing the Living Web »

A List Apart: 10 Tips on Writing the Living Web

This is getting linked like crazy (so far Photodude takes the prize for most thoughtful comments on it.)

Posted by Richard at 05:05 PM | Comments (0)

August 1st, 2002

Start Me Up »

Startup Control Panel

Weed out the programs that automatically load at startup. Useful.

Also useful: a list of useless start up applications. To know which programs to weed out.

Posted by Richard at 11:48 PM | Comments (0)

July 31st, 2002

Quake Fuck »

Re: quake beta? reply to a alt.games.quake post

Warning: gratuitous use of the F-word. 46 times according to this concise rejoinder.

Posted by Richard at 10:29 PM | Comments (0)

April 24th, 2002

HHGG Text Game »

DNA/HHGG Infocom Adventure text-based game

This game brings me back to the days when I had a Sanyo 555 (a picture sans monitor: the monitor we had had bright green text on a green background). I remember not doing very well back then (getting only to the point where I got the babel fish from the Vogon ship), and since I'm going on memory trying to get back to that point, now I can't remember how to get past the bulldozer. Yeah, I know. Oh well, I remember how the story goes, having read all 5 of the "trilogy", but translating that into text-based-computer-game action is another thing. Oh well, should get repeated visits by yours truly, if only for the nostalgia.

(I'm pretty sure I found this first at MetaFilter, which is still a really great site for links I'd never even dream of looking for.)

Posted by Richard at 02:56 PM | Comments (2)