D-Land 3.0
It's..... The geekiest blog on earth






Monday


Tay Zonday became an overnight internet sensation for his song "Chocolate Rain."

Now he's recorded this new video that opens "Man, this internet is somethin' else." The name of the song?

"Internet Dream."




8:40 PM



Tuesday


I was getting a haircut to look nice for my job interview at a popular geek web site. As I scooch into the chair, I'm all excited about the interview, and try to make conversation about web sites with the woman cutting my hair. (I'm hoping to find out if she's ever heard of the sites I'd be writing for). Our conversation goes like this.
ME: So, do you ever look at any web sites on the internet?
HAIRCUTTER: No.



12:01 PM



Sunday


"Like many baby boomers, the general-purpose computer was born in the years following World War II, grew up in a restrictive environment and went batty as a young adult."

Steven Levy has always been my favorite technology writer...



6:08 PM



Monday


       


Maybe from now on, this blog will only be about my Minesweeper scores.


10:21 AM



Friday


I learned something today. You can have Firefox open a web page in a new tab without opening the tab first!

After you type the URL in your address, bar, just hit ALT + ENTER instead of just ENTER.



10:30 AM



Sunday


BubblePLY!



BubblePLY, people.

BubblePLY!


This is going to be huge.


7:48 PM



Sunday





OMG! I totally rock!


UPDATE: Holy crap! I did it again!



(Five seconds...!)


10:17 PM



Sunday


Code Monkey

Songwriter Jonathan Coulton writes geeky songs, and Spiffworld creates videos for them using World of Warcraft.


Via sinneK


3:45 PM



Friday


Eyargh!!! Firefox 2.0 is drawing little red lines under misspelled words!

How can you stop this?

layout.spellcheckDefault


After typing about:config into the URL bar, double-click on the value at the end of the layoutspellcheckDefault line, and enter 0 in the pop-up window.


I can proofread my own speling, thak you very much!


11:54 PM


It's a miracle!

For years every time I'd try to copy something cool from Wikipedia, it would mistake the keyboard shortcuts (Alt-E C) for an attempt to edit the page myself.

Firefox 2.0 eliminates this behavior. Now typing Alt-E C will copy the text, just like it's supposed to.



6:17 PM



Friday


I bought a Samson C01U microphone. It's ideal for podcasting. (You can tell, because on the microphone there's a sticker that says "Ideal for podcasting.")

The instruction manual advises users to install the driver-and-applet combination from Samson's web site - but I wish I hadn't. This sets the volume levels so low that recording is impossible. And even worse, the driver cannot then be easily uninstalled.

That web page provides a solution for uninstalling the driver from Windows 2000 machines. Fortunately, I eventually located instructions for uninstalling the driver from Windows XP machines.

I hope the microphone works better than the drivers!



12:43 AM



Monday


Prepare to be jealous.

There's an article in the latest Business 2.0 called "Blogging for Dollars." It talks about the insane amounts of money that the top blogs like BoingBoing and Fark are earning.



11:12 PM



Sunday


Interesting.

Someone took an interview with snarky blogger Heather Havrilesky -- then substituted their own naive questions in front of her answers...



4:37 PM



Thursday


Yahoo! hates your freedoms.




10:57 PM



Sunday


The son of novelist Norman Mailer describes Generation Y as "the last generation to begin discovering what the world was all about before we got hit by the technological revolution and the age of terror." After the advent of the internet , "The world was suddenly faster and smaller and filled with near-infinite possibilities."

"It was also a great deal more confusing. After my generation is gone, no one will remember what the world was like before the technological revolution. [This] makes me feel the responsibility to preserve what I can of the old world, and pass that on to the generation beginning to come up now."

It's an interesting set-up for his book of interviews with his father. "[T]he chance of history being rewritten to serve the powers that be increases exponentially. What advice would you give us in trying to hold on to the positive elements of the twentieth century?"

Mailer senior replies that he can't even turn on a PC. He argues that handwriting is "perversely elegant" - and when it is then typed up, "you are able to read your stuff as if someone else wrote it." (Working on a computer, in contrast, conflates the writing and editing processes into one.)


Mailer's son says writing on a computer is too sterile, and mourns the fact that his generation doesn't understand the pleasures of holding a newspaper.


1:52 AM



Wednesday


In the last 90 days, nearly 1 million AOL users cancelled their accounts.

On March 31 AOL had 18.6 subscribers. By June 30, AOL had 17.7.

AOL responded in March by laying off 1300 of its customer service staff. 90 days later, they announced that the entire service would be free.

"Too little too late?" asks a CNN headline. AOL has lost nearly 50% of its subscribers since 2002 (when it had over 35 million).


Ironically, CNN is owned by....AOL.

Losing 900,000 members in 90 days means losing 10,000 every day, or one every 9 seconds.

Also, that's a *net* loss. The number of subscribers cancelling is undoubtedly much higher.


7:30 PM



Sunday


World's tiniest web server.


I'm amazing this site is still online. I found it in 1999.


10:28 PM



Saturday


Dear Google:

Everyone hates the way Google maps now spontaneously zooms in and out.

Please make it stop.

D-Land


P.S. Google Zeitgeist is still a lot of fun!


2:49 PM



Friday


Jon Stewart mocks the chairman of the Senate commerce committee, saying Ted Steven's critique of internet neutrality sounds like a "crazy old man in an airport bar at 3 a.m."

"But that's okay," Stewart ads sardonically. "You're just....the guy in charge of regulating it."



12:20 PM



Sunday


Google's GMail does something strange. You can sprinkle periods throughout the email address, and the email still goes through.

g.m.a.i.l@gmail.com goes to the same mailbox as gmail@gmail.com.


Rumor has it that this only works if no one else has registered the email address with the extra periods...


9:13 PM



Thursday


I enjoyed this summary of debate over the telecommunications bill in the Senate Commerce Committee.
"If we include net neutrality in the bill, we won't have 60 votes to pass the bill", [Ted Stevens] said, to which John Kerry responded with something along the lines of "If you don't put net neutrality in the bill, you won't have 60 votes to pass the bill either." Ouch.



8:13 PM



Tuesday


Tim Berners-Lee is considered the inventor of the web as we know it today.

In this video he's appearing in your web browser. He has something very important to tell you...



6:25 PM



Monday


As a public service, I want to help Yahoo tell you about the most important feature in their new re-design.


Thank you. That is all.



10:05 PM



Thursday


What do you get when you cross Google with Government?

"Google U.S. Government Search." Searches reportedly can be narrowed to Federal, State, or Local governments, according to Red Herring, but I can't seem to figure out how.


I think they should've called it "Gooverment."


8:46 AM



Tuesday


A guy walks into the BBC for a job interview. The BBC mistakes him for a pundit, and puts him on the air.

BBC: Hello good morning to you.

GUY: Good morning.

BBC: Were you surprised by this verdict today?

GUY: I'm very surprised to see this verdict to come on me. Because I was not expecting that! When I came, they told me something else. And I'm coming, and you've got an interview so - a big surprise anyway.

BBC: A big surprise?

GUY: Exactly.


That's close enough to an actual answer. The BBC pushes ahead with the interview...

BBC: Yes, yes. Um, with regards to the cost that's involved, do you think now more people will be downloading online?

GUY: Actually, if you can go everywhere, you're gonna see lot of people downloading through internet and web site, everything they want. But I think, uh, is, is much better for the development and to import people what they want to get, an easy way and so faster if they looking for.


It amazes me that the BBC doesn't miss a beat. They just keep acting like useful information is being conveyed.

BBC: This does really seem to be the way the music industry is progressing now that people want to go onto the web site and download music.

GUY: Exactly. You can go everywhere on and you can check, you can go easy - is going to be easy way for everyone to get something through the internet.



It was all a mix up. His name was Guy Goma, and his accent apparently confused the receptionist into thinking he was Guy Kewney. The real Guy Kewney records his surprise on his weblog.

"[L]et's admit it: of all the things you can say about me, one word that really has to be deleted from the list is this one: 'Black.'"




The poor Congolese graduate student told a British newspaper that he's "still waiting for the result" of his interview. One insider claims that, truthfully, he's "a little upset that nobody asked him about his data cleansing expertise."

"Is there anyone else you would like to impersonate?" a TV interviewer asks him.

"Misunderstanding the question, Mr Goma replied: 'Yes, I really want to work at the BBC.'"


Reminds me of this BBC story from 2001.


11:10 PM



Wednesday


The Wall Street Journal ran an article about how the internet has been portrayed in movies over the last two decades.

My favorite part of their online gallery of clips was this close-up of Tom Hanks' mailbox in You've Got Mail. Besides that fateful email from future love Meg Ryan, there's also two messages in Hanks' inbox which are clearly spam!



See also: AOL vs. George Clooney

WSJ link via Waxy


12:57 AM



Thursday


Fans film flicks...

for Firefox!



My favorite one is "Wheee!"


9:53 PM



Tuesday


When I tried to create a new account, their site gave me a blank web page. When I tried to contact them - the site gave me another blank web page.

Since this is the site where I order prescriptions through my company health plan, I was disturbed that it wasn't supporting Firefox. I emailed them that "Firefox development is considered a very important cause for many people who work in the technology industry - so your lack of support is upsetting."

Here's their reply back.


PrecisionRX Website does not except FireFox , we apolizie for any inconvinence please use Internet Explorer.

Ricardo
Internet Team Member



8:47 PM



Saturday


I uninstalled RealPlayer today.

It wasn't playing the movie trailers at the Internet Movie Database. RealPlayer left Firefox showing the green jigsaw puzzle piece over the message "Click here to download the plugin" - even though I'd already installed (and re-installed) the latest version (10.5).

A web search found a MozillaZine article about embedded media and problems with poorly-coded web pages. It gave me the idea of un-installing RealPlayer altogether, and instead using Real Alternative.

It works like a charm.



4:30 PM



Tuesday


Steven Levy wrote Hackers and Insanely Great - two of the best books about the early days of the internet.

He just co-wrote a great article for Newsweek, arguing excitedly that the web "has finally matured to the point where it can fulfill some of the outlandish promises that we heard in the '90s."

Levy finds different ways to explain the positive effects of "Web 2.0" applications, calling it a "live web" that takes advantage of the large number of connected web surfers. The people he talks to cite "the wisdom of crowds" and call Flickr "the eyes of the world."

"The smartest guy in the room is everybody," Levy writes.

"What makes the Web alive is, quite simply, us. "


I didn't know Craig's List was the 7th-largest site in the world. Via Waxy


9:04 AM



Monday


My friend Steve built a city called "Stefangrad" in SimCity.

But the terrorists hated Stefangrad's freedoms, apparently, since two planes suddenly crashed into its sports stadium.

"And here I thought that traffic congestion was my biggest problem," Steve posted wrly.

"I can hear you," he rallied the citizens of Stefangrad through a bull horn. "The whole world can hear you! And pretty soon the people who attacked this sports stadium are going to...."

Er, okay, that part didn't happen.

Instead, Steve watched in horror as the citizenry recoiled from the staggering reconstruction costs. "Soon, the city's population abandoned Stefangrad, taking it from a city of 45,000 down to 20,000..." The tax base evaporated, drastically cutting the money needed for road maintenance, fire departments, and police.

"Crime became rampant and even more of the good citizens migrated out."

As bridges crumbled and railways collapsed, Steve looked at his namesake - a lawless, ruined city. He must have felt a moment of sad, stunned silence.

"Stefangrad now stands a ghost town, a shell of its former self."



7:10 PM



Tuesday


A 20-year-old living in Downey, California raked in nearly $60,000 in payments from adware firms - for surreptitiously installing their products into unsuspecting computers.

At one time he'd commanded an army of over 100,000 "bots" - computers he'd compromised and could command to install the software. He'd also rent them out for denial-of-service attacks.

By July of 2004, he'd created an IRC channel called "botz4sale - making a $400 sale to a woman named "circa", selling a worm to "KiD"... He sold 8,500 bots to zxpL for denial-of-service attacks against King Pao Electronic Co., Ltd. in Tapei and Sanyo Electric Software Co, in Osaka, Japan. He warned client "o_2riginal" to filter out .mil and .gov domains, then sold another 5,000 bots.

By August he had 100,000 bots, picking up 10,000 more per week, and he was now focussing on installing the adware. The paychecks kept coming.

$2,300
$3,000
$3,970
$1,263
$4,044
$1,306
$2,733
$2,353
$2,139
$2,429
$3,188
$7,996
$6,336
$4,010
$2,750
"its immoral but the money makes it right."

His unindicted co-conspirator replied "i just hope this stuff lasts so I don't have to get a job right away."

When told the army of bots now included some .gov and .mil domains, he replied "rofl."

His mistake was infecting military computers at the China Lake Naval Air Facility in California and the Defense Information System Agency in Falls Church Virgina. ("A combat support agency" offering network solutions for "the President, Vice President, the Secretary of Defense and various other DOD components.") The United States attorney did not appear amused when she wrote in his indictment that "On or about January 9, 2005, Ancheta caused a computer on the computer network of the Defense Information Security Agency to attempt to connect to #syzt3m#, an IRC channel he controlled..."

Yes, it was all illegal. Yes, he's facing time in prison. Yes, he had to forfeit the $60,000. (And his BMW, and his three computers)


"rofl."


11:52 PM



Friday


A 15-year-old writes on the blackboard in a schoolhouse in 1921. He's showing his science teacher an idea, as a 6-year-old looks on.

The 6-year-old is now 91. And the other student?

Philo T. Farnsworth.

His idea was the television tube, which he later perfected.



11:32 PM



Monday


"Live Bookmark feed failed to load."

I got that dreaded message when I tried viewing this page's RSS feed in the new Firefox 1.5. The syntax in my XML had a bug which slipped past earlier versions of Firefox - but not version 1.5.

I finally figured out what the problem was. My file started with these two lines...


<?xml version="1.0" ?>
<rss version="2.0">

Firefox wanted the complete version of the RSS version identifier.
<?xml version="1.0" ?>
<rss version="2.0"
xmlns:dc="http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/"
xmlns:sy="http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/syndication/"
xmlns:admin="http://webns.net/mvcb/"
xmlns:rdf="http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#">



11:14 PM



Saturday


A-way back in 1997, AOL visited shopping malls, state fairs and baseball games with a custom-painted 18 wheeler. Their presenters were instructed to answer the question: "Will the internet kill AOL?" by answering...

"AOL is the internet. And a whole lot more."

In a conference call, Steve Case repeated the claim, then added "A lot of this is a semantics argument that will get clarified over time."

Today we find a mind-boggling essay by Robert Cringeley about Google's plans for a recent purchase of fiber optic cable.

...in a secret area off-limits even to regular GoogleFolk, is a shipping container. But it isn't just any shipping container. This shipping container is a prototype data center...3.5 petabytes of disk storage that can be dropped-off overnight by a tractor-trailer rig."
Placing Google data center's at the internet's 300 peering points would create a parallel Google internet, Cringley notes - and one that's faster and cheaper. Even at $1 million apiece, "That's $300 million to essentially co-opt the Internet."

"The final result is that Web 2.0 IS Google."


Link via Waxy


4:20 PM



Saturday


A-way back in 1997, AOL visited shopping malls, state fairs and baseball games with a custom-painted 18 wheeler. Their presenters were instructed to answer the question: "Will the internet kill AOL?" by answering...

"AOL is the internet. And a whole lot more."

In a conference call, Steve Case repeated the claim, then added "A lot of this is a semantics argument that will get clarified over time."

Today we find a mind-boggling essay by Robert Cringeley about Google's plans for a recent purchase of fiber optic cable.

...in a secret area off-limits even to regular GoogleFolk, is a shipping container. But it isn't just any shipping container. This shipping container is a prototype data center...3.5 petabytes of disk storage that can be dropped-off overnight by a tractor-trailer rig."
Placing Google data center's at the internet's 300 peering points would create a parallel Google internet, Cringley notes - and one that's faster and cheaper. Even at $1 million apiece, "That's $300 million to essentially co-opt the Internet."

"The final result is that Web 2.0 IS Google."


Link via Waxy


4:20 PM



Saturday


On Tuesday, Blogger announced they'd be down for two hours on Saturday, starting at noon. But when Saturday rolled around, Blogger found they were also having database trouble, which unfortunately happened 90 minutes before their scheduled outage.

Maybe this explains something Wired News noticed in April.

"...enter 'Blogger sucks' in Google and you get 720,000 results."
Ironically, Blogger is owned by Google.

"It can make for some pretty ugly reading," the article continues. "Imagine what they might say if they actually paid for the service?"


I actually paid to have Blogger remove their ads from my blogs.

Eventually I got so frustrated with their outages that I moved all my blogs here.


11:48 AM



Saturday


I just watched the March, 2001 pilot episode for the short-lived X-Files spin-off, The Lone Gunmen. And in an eerie coincidence, it offered a conspiracy theory for the World Trade Center attacks six months before they actually happened.

Byers (the geek with the beard) discovers that his father faked his own death because he'd uncovered the plot. Byers confronts him about it...


BYERS: We know it's a war game scenario - that it has to do with airline counter-terrorism. Why is it important enough to kill for?

FATHER: Because it's no longer a game.

BYERS: If some terrorist group wants to act out this scenario, why target you for assassination?

FATHER: It depends on who your terrorists are.

BYERS: The men who conceived of it in the first place! You're saying our goverment plans to commit a terrorist act against a domestic airline...

FATHER: There you go, indicting the entire government as usual. It's a faction. A small faction.

BYERS: For what possible gain?

FATHER: The cold war's over, John. But with no clear enemy to stockpile against, the arms market's flat. But bring down a fully-loaded 727 into the middle of New York City and you'll find a dozen tin-pot dictators all over the world just clamoring to take responsibility and begging to be smart bombed.

BYERS: I can't believe it. This is about increasing arms sales! When?

FATHER: Tonight.

BYERS: How are you going to stop them? Why don't you tell the world this? Go to the press!

FATHER: You think I'd still be drawing breath 30 minutes after I made that call. The press? Who's gonna run this story?


BYERS: We would.


The targetted flight leaves from Boston... (Click here to read more from the episode.)

The actor who played Byers on The Lone Gunmen later called the coincidence "A strange, awful confluence of pulp culture and reality."

After hearing the news on 9/11, "I experienced an eerie terror, as if I had seen the future, and not understood it until it was too late."




9:12 PM



Sunday


"Based on the game by Id Software."

So today I went and saw Doom - the Movie - with a geek named Mr. Neutron. (Who'd warned me, "I enjoy crappy movies.")

Random thoughts...


  • I have to applaud the movie for switching to the videogame's first-person point of view before the climactic showdown between Karl Urban and the Rock.*

  • Mr. Neutron pointed out the geek significance of the name for the mad scientist stranded on the Mars research station -- Dr. Carmack. (Also the name of the Id programmer who created Doom.)

  • Among the promotional clips for the movie is one titled, simply, "Monkey."

    Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam! "What was that?" "A monkey."


Like Roger Ebert, I enjoyed how the Universal logo morphed into the planet Mars. Although for Ebert, that just ended up being a disappointment.

"I'm a science fiction fan from way back. I go to Mars, I expect to see it. Watching 'Doom' is like visiting Vegas and never leaving your hotel room."


* In a very un-Doom-like moment, they eventually put down their weapons and just start punching each other.

Bio-Force Gun? Who among us thought that "BFG" stood for "Bio-Force Gun"?


12:01 AM



Saturday


I'm sorry I didn't respond to your Orkut scrapbook posting.

I haven't logged into Orkut in months, and when I tried to get a password reminder...




12:13 PM


I like how Andy Baio handled this question in his site's FAQ. He co-founded Upcoming.org, which was recently acquired by Yahoo.

You guys are big corporate sellouts!

That's not really a question.

Fine... You guys are big corporate sellouts?

If getting paid for doing what you love is selling out, guilty as charged. But know that nothing has changed our ideals, and we won't compromise ourselves because we're working at a large company. We've always been focused on making something useful and used, and we think that working with Yahoo! will make that a zillion times easier.


Also cool: Gordon Luk, another co-founder.
I met him last night at a party for Andy.


11:54 AM



Friday


Yahoo mail? Handy shortcuts for your Inbox.

ctrl+shift+C            Check mail
ctrl+shift+PcomPose
ctrl+shift+Fview Folders
ctrl+shift+Sadvanced Search
ctrl + HHelp


I should read those tips they show you when you're logging in!



11:16 AM



Saturday


Even if you're just a geek browsing the web, you'll spot sites affected by Hurricane Katrina.

The folks at Something Awful just posted this message....

Something Awful needs to move its servers out of New Orleans and into a permanent hosting facility in the Kansas City, Missouri area ASAP! If you know of any professional colocation facilities around KC, please email me... We need a 100 Mbit connection, a full cabinet, 40 amps of power in an actual managed data center with several peers...

our systems administrator and resident coder, survived the hurricane, but his parents had their house and business completely destroyed. They are staying in a hotel right now, far north, staffed by the Red Cross. I've been trying to communicate with Ken, but there's hardly any cellphone coverage in the area, much less Internet connectivity



12:00 AM



Sunday


The cable TV program Attack of the Show! interviewed a writer from Something Awful.com.

But the site's creator gave him specific instructions on how to sabotage the interview...

The show's perky host had no idea what he was walking into when the final interview went down. Suddenly his guest was describing the site's $80-a-month fees, claiming the site once illegally sold prescription drugs over the internet, and that now "It's pretty transparent that it's just basically a cult." (Transcript here.)


ATTACK OF THE SHOW: What is Something Awful all about?

SOMETHING AWFUL: Pop-ups. Pop-ups. Pop-unders, Flash ads. Porn ads, porn ads with sound...


But the best part was when they conned the show's host into mis-stating the URL. ("It's actually Something is Awful . com").

And then at that URL, they erected a dummy site that matches that description. It touts their $80-a-year forums, has lame advertising, and automatically plays bizarre ad sounds, over and over again.

"I resolve to freeze the weasel."
"do it naked!"
"i want a sandwich!"



1:03 PM



Thursday


I didn't know this about Firefox, either.
...if you type dict yourwordhere into the location bar, it looks the word up at dictionary.com.


Note: this only works with Firefox 1.0.5 - not 1.0.4.

From the comments on Blake Ross's blog.


5:29 PM



Tuesday


Your local internet service provider is toast .
The Supreme Court ruled Monday, June 27, that cable companies do not have to share their high-speed lines with rival Internet service providers, a decision that will make it more difficult for smaller ISPs and other independent broadband companies to compete in the high-speed Internet market.

"Over time many ISPs will likely go bankrupt," said Michael Salsbury, a partner at Chadbourne & Parke LLP in Washington. "If you can't share the high-speed DSL phone service and can't use the cable system, all you have got left is dial-up, which is a loser in today's broadband world."



9:41 PM



Sunday


And now, a message from the geek-o-sphere about LG Electronics' "Magic Mirror.
LG, donít you know gigantic mirrors telling you what to do in your own home is just kinda creepy?

And have you not seen Watcher in the Woods?



6:00 PM



Tuesday


Our IT lady just sent us a link to "the unspoken rules of IT departments."
1.They are all my computers; I am only letting you borrow them. People constantly laugh at me when I say this, with no idea that I am absolutely serious. I have been given the responsibility of every computer in the office; they are all under my auspices, bar none.

If I am gracious enough to give you access to one of my computers, then be nice to it. Talk to it kindly, call it a nice computer, and occasionally pat the monitor. Your computer and your IT guy will thank you for it.



6:25 PM



Sunday


I had to laugh.

A big apartment complex had a "business center". On its single computer, someone had installed the Firefox browser.

And then labelled its icon "internet explorer."



10:09 PM



Tuesday


Google Earth.

That's the brash name Google gave their breath-taking new mapping service.

I can't figure out if it's available only to subscribers of Google's Keyhole service. But it's truly mind-boggling.

Real 21st century technology...



8:54 PM



Saturday


I've been reading O'Reilly's JavaScript: The Definitive Guide. It turns out that on O'Reilly's web site, you can also read the book online!
Part I
Part II
Right now I'm trying to master the Document Object Model...



7:07 PM



Friday


"...if Google has released a product so damaging that it requires a massive edit of the entire internet, maybe it shouldn't be [the webmaster's] problem, it should be Google's."
Google's new "web accelerator" is controversial.

Apparently it even accelerates the speed in which you can steal someone's password.


A good rant at Something Awful.

Link via Waxy.


6:27 AM


I love reading the "Studio Briefing" at IMDB.com. It's the Internet Movie Database's daily round-up of movie and TV news.

It took me a while to realize that it had its own " smart keyword" in Firefox. Instead of typing in its URL - which I always forget - I can just type imdb studio briefing into Firefox's address bar.

Firefox knows where to go...

UPDATE: Actually, you can get Firefox to take you there with the secret code-word:

imdb sb



9:32 PM



Saturday


From an obscure LiveJournal RSS feed.
It has been an extended battle. Thorny vs Windows XP Pro. The battle to install the correct video card driver.

And the winner is?

A Mac. Screw this shit.



2:32 PM


O'Reilly's technical books are so thorough and precise. I laughed out loud at the last line from a section about Function Literals in JavaScript - the Definitive Guide.
"There is one other way to define a function: you can pass the argument list and the body of the function as strings to the Function() constructor. For example:
var square=new Function("x", "return x*x;");
"Defining a function in this way is not often useful."


Heh. "But let's do it anyways...."


1:55 PM



Friday


We've reached a milestone. Now there's Podcast PR....

Paris Hilton starts a podcast on April 29 - specifically to promote the release of horror film House of Wax. (In which Hilton co-stars.)

The podcast will contain "her personally recorded accounts of the hottest events leading up to the May 6 release of House of Wax," and it'll be called "The Paris Hilton Podcast - Countdown to House of Wax." (Catchy name...)

Paris "is the first performer to host her own Podcast in association with the release of a movie," reads a gushy news article, "and the custom House of Wax Podcatcher is the first custom movie Podcast client."

Just what the world needs...


Ironically, this movie PR is described in an article in which the word "movie" is itself an ad - an "intellitxt" link to a promo for Blockbuster.

Remember, it's only the HOTTEST events...


11:58 PM



Wednesday


The only TV show ever to make action heroes out of geeks was Fox's The Lone Gunmen. (A spin-off of The X-Files).

The entire 13-week run of the series has just been released on DVD!



6:01 PM


In the future, there will be an infinite number of TV channels. Anyone who wants to broadcast video footage can have their own channel.

Is that day already here? Participatory Culture is making it happen.


Link via Waxy


5:02 PM



Saturday


There's an old geek saying: "Read the F*@king Manual."

Today I stumbled across Google's Firefox home page, and the random tip it displayed was "Know your [keyboard] shortcuts."

Eh, why not. I checked out the list of shortcuts at Mozilla.org - and I learned so much...

  • Typing / brings up the "find in this page" window. But...
    ' brings it up for searching only the names of links

    Cntrl-G will "find again"; and Cntrl-G-shift will do that find-again search backwards.

  • F7 turns on "caret browsing". A cursor appears on the web page when you click in it, allowing you to "arrow key" your way through its text. Very handy if you hate using your mouse to copy-and-paste. And cntrl-A will select all the text on a page...

  • F6 will switch frames.

  • Holding down the tab key will cycle through each link - and cntrl-Enter will open them.

  • Cntrl-tab will cycle through the open browser tabs. (I've been using Cntrl-PgUp.) And Cntrl-W will close an open tab. (I've been reaching for the mouse!)



7:56 AM



Tuesday


Hey, gang! Let's use Google Maps to fly over Las Vegas!

There's the Bellagio, the Stratosphere, and the Mirage



9:13 PM



Saturday


I've never seen six punctuation marks next to each other. Until now.

"The Book of Javascript" explains (in Chapter 9) how to activate a command after a timer has finished counting down. Their example is an alert function, displaying a (punctuated) sentence. It's in single quotes (because it's a text string), and parentheses (because it's an alert!)

To indicate the command has ended, after that closing parenthesis there's a semi-colon. And to isolate that command as a parameter, it appears in quotation marks. Finally, it's the first of two parameters, so before the second one there's: a comma.

Six punctuation marks - all different, all next to each other.

setTimeout("alert('You have been on this page for 3 seconds!');", 3000);



9:29 AM


So I've got a vinyl record album that's over 40 years old.

On the back of the album cover below the liner notes, there's a message touting RCA's "DynaGroove" technology and its effect on surface noise and sound clarity.

"To solve these old and obstinate problems in disc recording, highly ingenious computers - 'electronic brains' - have been introduced to audio for the first time!"


Heh. "Electronic brains."


12:42 AM



Thursday


My web browser can travel back in time!!!

I just type the magic science word backintime before the URL - and lost web pages resurrect themselves from the murky past!

I engineered this scientific miracle simply by right-clicking the text area next to archive.org's "Take me back" button. Firefox prompts me to add a keyword - and from now on, whenever I input that keyword before a URL, Firefox will know to whisk me to the web page that results when that URL is run through Archive.org's search box!

It's not well-publicized, but Firefox allows you to set up a keyword for any text-area form.

Even the form that makes Pamela Anderson say she likes you.



7:48 PM



Monday


"A new ad format - with a twist" ?! Be-still my heart!!!!

Google sent everyone involved in their "AdSense" program an email touting a new format for the ads you'd install on your web pages. Instead of a single four-line ad, it's four single-line TOPICS - each of which is a URL that takes you to a web page about that topic. (And, of course - covered with Google ads.)

Oh, and now your checks from Google can be delivered to you in another currency besides U.S. dollars. (AdSense services 43 different countries!) And, you can set up direct-depositing of those checks!


Of course, so far Google hasn't paid me anything. (I'm below their "smallest allowable check size" of $10.00 by - er, quite a bit.)


9:51 PM



Sunday


Amazon's A9 search engine can now be easily re-configured to displays results from a variety of sources - like the web, books, the yellow pages, a database of images, or the Internet Movie Database.

But there's more. They're pioneering "Open Search Results" - their search results made available for easy incorporation into other sites.

To show that it's a two-way street, A9 is offering users the ability to incorporate into their A9 results the search results from other sites. There's Wikipedia, the CIA Search Engine, Russell Beattie's Weblog, the New York bar search from HappyHourHotSpots.com...

That's one of two things I learned today. The other is that it's hard to impress my friend Andy.

Andy: I was there when Jeff Bezos announced it.

Dland: Wow!

Andy: He accidentally rebooted his presentation laptop

Dland: Did he have to vamp throughout the re-boot process?
Dland: "Okay, instead of the Windows logo I swapped in a bitmap of my wife..."

Andy: yep
Andy: It was hilarious



12:05 PM


Check out the slick graphics on this (mock?) Firefox TV ad

Stronger! Better! Safer! Faster!


Power! Simplicity! Safety! Flexibility!

Via Waxy


11:41 AM



Saturday


Firefox has an Easter Egg which displays a photograph of William Shatner! Just type the secret code-words "imdb William Shatner" into the address bar - and Shatner's picture comes up!!! (Along with a biography...)

Actually, that's an example of Smart Keywords. Firefox has built-in support for searches on the Internet Movie Database. (For any actor or movie title.) This link shows you what comes up if you go into your address bar and type...

imdb William Shatner
Firefox doesn't appear to be promoting this capability - there's nothing in Firefox's help document about Smart Keywords, for instance.

But wait, there's more. Thanks to Firefox's infinite configurability, you can add your own search keywords. Got a search engine you use alot? Click in its search window, and Firefox gives you the option to add your own custom syntax to the address bar - your own codeword telling Firefox to run any words after it through that same search engine.

It doesn't even have to be a search engine - Firefox gives you the same option for any web-based form. I proved this by whipping up a quick web page with a Form called the "Pamela Anderson likes you" page. Now, thanks to Firefox, my browser supports the keyword Pam.




I think the IMDB keyword was installed just to give people an example of how it works.

But - ohmigod! Firefox has an Easter Egg which displays a photograph of Mr T! Just type the secret code-words "imdb Mr T" into the address bar - and Mr. T's picture comes up!!!


10:27 PM


"Microsoft Word is trying to get me fired!" complains my friend Andrew. An important document has six pages, each with an appropriate header. (Page 1 of 6, page 2 of 6...) But when Andrew prints it, Word 2000 instead substitutes bad headers. (Page 1 of 1. Page 2 of 2. Page 3 of 3. Page 4 of 4....)

"That's right. It isn't just you," a Wisconsin attorney noted in December. "This is a long-standing and still-existing bug in Word." He goes on to link to Microsoft support pages and "service packs" which will make your problems better (or worse!)

You'd expect better from a major piece of software. I thought of this when I realized my Firefox browser didn't have a MIDI player. I installed the latest version of QuickTime, but it's MIDI playback would skip halfway through the song. I don't know if this was QuickTime's fault - Apple had MIDI problems with earlier versions, but Apple's page suggested I could just tweak a few settings.

Instead, I switched - to the Beatnik MIDI player. (Which works fine!)


Now I can enjoy the Hamster Dance/All Your Base Are Belong To Us double-meme page in all its glory.

And the Annette Funicello/Aimee Mann lyric game.


9:26 PM



Friday


Lead Firefox developer Blake Ross has been criticizing the (beta) release of Netscape 8.0. Today he focussed on one particular gripe.

"The first thing I want to do when I start Netscape 8 is close it."

But unfortunately, "closing Netscape 8 is still about difficult as cancelling an AOL account..."

Even more amusing was the responses Blake got. Since Netscape 8 is based on Firefox's computer code, one reader commented...

Hey Blake,

Why are you so wrapped up in Netscape 8? Stop whining and get back to work on Netscape 9ís codebase.

-Jim


They gave their name as Jim Clark.


Jim Clark is the co-founder of Netscape.


6:20 AM



Sunday


Found it.

The original 2002 manifesto announcing the mozilla/browser project and the principles behind it. ("The personal toolbar is the personal toolbar, not the whorebar.")

It was linked in a January 22 essay on Blake Ross's blog. ("People had plenty of obstacles to the web already - popup ads, spyware, and that damn monkey who gets punched and keeps coming back for more....")


Via Jynnan Tonnyx.


10:21 PM


"It's fast, secure, open source - and super popular. The hot new browser called Firefox is rocking the software world. (Watch your back, Bill Gates.)"

Wired magazine's article about Firefox is finally online. Their February 2005 article inspired me to read up on recent browser history. Let's see if I got this right...


April, 2002 - Dave Hyatt notes early development on a separate Mozilla-for-Macs browser, and urges a second separate browser free of extraneous applications (and developers) called mozilla/browser. (Later: Firefox)

January, 2003. Apple releases a new browser, Safari - and instead of using Mozilla code, they base it on the sleek Konquerer browser. (Developers like Mike Shaver concede "We've all known forever that [Mozilla's] Gecko missed its 'small-and-lean' target by an area code...")

Geeks wonder if this means the end for development of the Mozilla-for-Macs browser. (Answer: no.)


May, 2002 - Dave Hyatt sees Attack of the Clones. Geek life continues...

November, 2004 - Firefox 1.0 released. (See below...)



1:22 PM


It's all happening in plain sight. You can watch the Firefox revolution in real-time...

I was reading the actual source code for Firefox tonight. ("Proper fix is to just check whether focus is in the urlbar. However, focus with the autocomplete widget is all hacky and broken and there's no way to do that right now. So this just patches it to ensure that alt+enter works when focus is on a link....")

You can watch new computer code being checked in.

There's even chat channels on IRC - #firefox and #spreadfirefox. One by one, people came in with their questions, and a helpful Firefox booster answered every one of them. It was like watching Firefox adoption in real-time....

November 9 - Firefox released
December 10 - 10 million
January 24 - 20 million
February 16 - 25 million
?????? -



1:14 AM



Thursday


There's a web site called Defending the Fox . com.

Their mission? Collect the URLs of web sites that use buggy code which can only be displayed by non-standards-compliant browsers. (Like Internet Explorer.)

"This site will help many web developers and others learn correct CSS and HTML standards so that the web will become a resource viewable by anyone."

So far they've found 184 sites.


Mozilla.org now has their own official site for reporting non-compliant sites.


4:30 PM



Wednesday


Two related bits of information
  • The Mozilla Firefox browser achieved its 25 millionth download today

  • To celebrate, the Mozilla store is offering 25% discounts on Firefox merchandise until midnight Thursday.



7:21 PM



Sunday


Trivia I learned from Wikipedia about the game FreeCell.

* It was invented in 1968, and first computerized in 1978.

* If you use the "Select Game" feature in the first menu ("Game"), you can also choose games -1 and -2, which are laughably unsolveable.

* All the games in the Windows version of FreeCell are solveable - except game #11982.


(Programs / Accessories / Games / FreeCell)


12:07 PM


I may be the last geek to discover there's an undocumented in-joke in Mozilla browsers. Typing about:mozilla into the address bar pulls up a quote from the Book of Mozilla.

The quotes offer fragments from a Revelations-like book documenting the struggle between good and evil...browsers. Mozilla - a Godzilla-like lizard symbolizing Netscape - is obliquely referred to as "the beast."


"And the beast shall come forth surrounded by a roiling cloud of vengeance. The house of the unbelievers shall be razed and they shall be scorched to the earth. Their tags shall blink until the end of days."

That was the quote from 1995 until August of 2002 - Netscape 1.1 through Netscape 4.8. But in 2000 a new quote started appearing in Netscape 6.0, the first Netscape browser to use computer code contributed by the Open Source community of developers.

"And the beast shall be made legion. Its numbers shall be increased a thousand thousand fold. The din of a million keyboards like unto a great storm shall cover the earth, and the followers of Mammon shall tremble."

Alas, rival Internet Explorer grew to more than 90% of the browser market, and hope for a new browser lay with open source project's like Mozilla Firefox. (Originally named "Phoenix" and "Firebird".)

And so at last the beast fell and the unbelievers rejoiced. But all was not lost, for from the ash rose a great bird. The bird gazed down upon the unbelievers and cast fire and thunder upon them. For the beast had been reborn with its strength renewed, and the followers of Mammon cowered in horror.


Another blog post inspired by Wikipedia.


10:01 AM



Monday




The next version of the Firefox browser has been code-named "Deer Park." (Lead engineer Ben Goodger thought "it sounded nice" after passing a sign on the Long Island railroad.)

But it was also the name for a 1955 novel by Norman Mailer "which has something new to say about Hollywood," according to the lurid paperback cover. "Love, sin and sex."

It drew its title from a notorious 18th-century pleasure grove constructed by King Louis XV, described in the book's epigram by a passage from Mouffle D'Angerville.

...the Deer Park, that gorge of innocence and virtue in which were engulfed so many victims who when they returned to society brought with them depravity, debauchery and all the vices they naturally acquired from the infamous officials of such a place.

Apart from the evil which this dreadful place did to the morals of the people, it is horrible to calculate the immense sums of money it cost the state. Indeed who can reckon the expense of that band of pimps and madames who were constantly searching all the corners of the kingdom to discover the objects of their investigation; the costs of conveying the girls to their destination; of polishing them, dresing them, perfuming them, and furnishing them with all the means of seduction that art could provide. To this must be added the gratuities presented to those who were not successful in arousing the jaded passions of the sultan but had nonetheless to be paid for their submission, for their discretion, and still more for their being eventually despised.

Meanwhile, for version 1.5 Ben chose as a code-name "The Ocho," after a fictitious ESPN 8 station in the movie Dodgeball. ( "If it's almost a sport, we've got it!")


Click the images to see a scan of the book cover.
Or click here!


6:03 PM


I found a new geek blog called Micro Persuasion with lots of interesting news.

For about $15, you can have your web-log bound as a book.

Oh, and the french fry that looks like Lincoln was a hoax by McDonald's.



4:36 PM



Sunday


So I'm really enjoying this blog by Ross Blake, Firefox uber-developer.

For instance, I didn't know "Ask Jeeves" was assimilating Bloglines. I've always liked Bloglines' web-based feed reader - but wondered what synergy Jeeves could be going after. The theory (on the site Blake links to) is that Jeeves is going after their archives of web-log feeds...

There's some other interesting thoughts in the discussion...

* "I remember when MS got their hands on Hotmail. Let's hope things stay non-evil at Bloglines..."

* Oh great -- now there's a yet another source for Ask Jeeves' patented "nonsense answers to straight-forward questions" search technology. Misdirected traffic -- my favourite!


Apparently Bloglines new "partner" caught Ross Blake by surprise too. "Does anyone actually still use Ask Jeeves? When the most glowing praise they can find to stick on the front page is "There's a lot to like about the new Ask Jeeves" from October, you have to ask yourself..."

The news comes from Napsterization.org, a site dedicated to understanding "the idea of napsterization: the disintermediation by new technologies and digital media of old economy, incumbent institutions and analog frameworks."

Ironically, I've started watching my RSS feeds using...Firefox's "Live Bookmarks".


9:51 AM