Archives » January, 2003

January 19, 2003

An Ormsby Grand Opening

Grand opening today of the Ormsby House photo gallery part of my website. It’s the saga of a casino in Carson City that’s taking way too long to renovate.

This photo gallery has been soft-opened in a beta version for a week or so, but now it’s finished. Well, not finished exactly, because that won’t be until the casino reopens. And that could be a loong time from now.

January 16, 2003

LinuXP

Robert X. Cringely has an interesting proposal for Microsoft. They’re not going to do it, of course. Not even in a fantasy world would MS consider ditching DOS and putting their XP desktop on top of Linux. But it’s an intriguing idea.

January 15, 2003

Drama Queen

Mark Pilgrim is being such a drama queen this week.

On Monday, he got a little snitty because XHTML 2.0 doesn’t have a <cite> tag in it. So he declared “Standards are bullshit” and put his page back to HTML 4. His design didn’t work too well with HTML 4, so he redesigned his page, and wrote up this long rant about how XHTML 1.0 was supposed to be a stepping stone to XHTML 1.1, and since he wasn’t going there anymore, he didn’t want to do XHTML at all. He has had it.

This is the point where he throws down his feathered boa and storms out of the room. I just want to slap him like a child and send him to his room for a time out. What’s the point of this little tantrum? Mark is usually so reasonable, and his site has always been a shelter of sanity that you could turn to for a nice middle ground. Why such a snit? Why now? The XHTML 2.0 working draft has been out for nearly half a year. And it’s a working draft. As in a bunch of non-related ideas just thrown around to see if any of them stick. Everybody pretty much declared it irrelevant last year, but now Mark has single-handedly reignited the debate, and everyone is coming around to the same conclusions again. Is he having a bad week? Is it a publicity stunt? Or did he just feel like flushing his Prozac, ripping his clothes, and jumping around like a monkey for a while? I don’t know.

Most of my site is XHTML 1.0 Transitional. Except for this weblog, which is HTML 4.01, because Blogger uses <br> instead of <br />. They’re decent standards, I picked them because they work well, and I’m not going to be throwing a holy fit about them any time soon. I just can’t figure out why some people get so worked up about all this stuff.

Zeldman says his piece gorgeously.

Larry Has Lost

The news has come down that Larry Lessig has lost his Eldred Supreme Court case. Lessig was trying to get the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act overruled, and basically trying to get the Supreme Court to limit the power of Congress to extend copyrights whenever the hell they want. He lost, and so we all lose. The concept of a work slipping out of copyright and into the public domain after a certain period of time is effectively dead. But still, through it all, Lessig is trying to be optimistic. He says:

But if there is any good that might come from my loss, let it be the anger and passion that now gets to swell against the unchecked power that the Supreme Court has said Congress has. When the Free Software Foundation, Intel, Phillis Schlafly, Milton Friedman, Ronald Coase, Kenneth Arrow, Brewster Kahle, and hundreds of creators and innovators all stand on one side saying, “this makes no sense,” then it makes no sense. Let that be enough to move people to do something about it. Our courts will not.

More from Doc and Dave. I guess the ball’s in our court. What should we do now?

Bye Bye Kmart

Yesterday’s announced Kmart closings have hit close to home. The Kmart here in Carson City, where I worked for a year and a half, is one of the stores getting the axe. Not that we care, we’ve got our shiny new Wal*Mart on the edge of town. But I still can’t help feeling like I’ve dodged a bullet. I haven’t worked there for four years, and still I’m thinking to myself, “I’m glad I got off that sinking ship.”

Plus, the Kmart was always convenient to go to if you were in that part of town. Now it’s just going to be a big empty store in the middle of a big empty strip mall. A strip mall that was built because developers thought stores and shoppers would flock to any strip mall built up around a Kmart. They didn’t. And now the Kmart is going, which leaves McDonalds and Starbucks as the anchor stores for the mall. Yeah, that’ll pull the shoppers in. This could easily be the preface to a book titled “How to Lose Money in Real Estate”. And now the empty Kmart can join the empty old Wal*Mart at the other end of town, the two of them perfectly bookending the city. Factor in the empty Ormsby House hotel downtown, and we can start marketing Carson City as a modern ghost town!

Oh well. At least it will be fun to read the front page of the newspaper and hear the city supervisors bitch and whine about this. They bitched and whined when Wal*Mart built their new store on the wrong side of the county line, depriving them of all that tax revenue. I can just imagine what they’re going to say about this new turn of events! Bad for the city, good for people who laugh at city government.

Update: The article in the Reno paper has quotes from city government. I wonder why the Carson paper didn’t go with that angle? They’re usually all over it when the city fathers are cheesed.

January 14, 2003

The age of the crashable watch

The age of the crashable watch. I bet Dick Tracy never got a Blue Screen of Death.

Seriously, though, who needs one of these things? In the 80’s I was in 8th grade, and I had one of those big ass calculator watches. I was the biggest nerd on campus because of it. I had to switch to a smaller discreet watch that you could play tennis on. And even that got me in trouble when people would see me staring at my watch for twenty minutes. But now, fifteen years later, they actually want people to wear nerdy watches like this? I guess these days being a nerd is cool. I must have been born a few years early.

I don’t even wear a watch anymore. I just make sure there’s a clock everywhere I go.

MSAOL?

So Steve Case has left AOL. Thousands of voices have already chimed in on this subject, and I certainly don’t have much to add. I’m always a day behind anyway. I agree with Doc Searls, who said “cut off the head and the body dies”, but I know AOL won’t go away completely. They have enough subscribers to keep hobbling along in some form, and there are too many people (like my mother-in-law) who will never be able to leave the safety of AOL for any other kind of “real” internet connection, so to speak. So AOL will survive. But will Case’s replacement be able to revitalize it and keep it relevant? Will Time Warner cast it off and leave it for dead? Tune in next week for the exciting conclusion!

AOL will stick around forever, moving through AOL 9.0, AOL 10.0 (AOL X?), and so on until the inevitable – MSAOL.

January 13, 2003

Holy Moly

Well, I’m stumped. I’ve gotten about twenty times my normal traffic today, and I can’t figure out where it’s all coming from. Most of them are being referred from www.blogger.com, but I don’t see a link on the acutal homepage. Maybe it has something to do with the new Blogger RSS feed that was released today. That’s my best guess, and it’s a wild one.

So where are you all coming from?

Fired for being an actor

Here’s an example of how effing brilliant the management in the Nevada State Government is. A couple of months ago, HBO was in town to make a documentary on our world-famous legalized prostitution, filming at one of the brothels just over the county line. They hired a few local actors to play customers (“I’m not really a John, but I play one on TV!”). Anyway, one of the guys they hired also works for the State, and had just gotten a promotion. He took his few hundred clams from the HBO gig and forgot all about it, settling into his new job.

In December the documentary aired, and one of his supervisors caught it on the tube. Not too long after, the man, named James Wood, found himself demoted back to his old position, his supervisors claiming “moral reasons” for the dismissal. WTF?! Fired for being an actor?

Cory Farley deconsructs the story better than I could. My analysis just involves a lot of head-shaking and muttering the word “boneheaded”.

Great to live in Nevada, isn’t it?

On a funny side note, the James Wood in question isn’t listed in the phone book. A different James Wood is, though, and he’s gotten so many calls from news outlets in the last week that he took out an ad in the newspaper telling people to stop calling him. Ace reporting skills, there.

XHTML 2.0

Mark Pilgrim finally got pushed over the edge.

Standards are bullshit. XHTML is a crock. The W3C is irrelevant.

He’s ranting about XHTML 2.0, as so many have done in the past. Me? I don’t think it’s worth worrying over. I have a distinct feeling that XHTML 2.0 is never going to catch on or see any kind of widespread adoption, and it was never meant to. The W3 released it as an April Fool’s joke to lash out at everyone who was complaining that HTML hadn’t been updated for so long. It’s the only explanation. HTML has reached a stable plateau, and I can see it staying there for pretty much the rest of its useful life. Backwards compatibility is never going to go away, because browsers like Netscape 4 will never die completely. Any progress from here on out will be done in XML, and there will be advances on that front, but HTML as we know it is something we’re going to be stuck with for a long time. A move away from it, even to XHTML 2.0, would require a simultaneous migration to brand new web browsers at some point in history, and the majority of people out there – the ones who don’t give a pig’s snout about technical matters and who upgrade their computers once every seven years – would revolt if we tried to push a whole new Web on them. So, for me, it’s only XHTML 2.0 that’s irrelevant.