Archives » April, 2003

April 15, 2003

More Wi-Fi

Kinko’s is getting into the game now, teaming up with T-Mobile to equip many of their stores with wireless access. I suppose that makes sense, since Kinko’s has long had wired access in their stores. This adds to the other partnerships they already have, like Starbucks and Borders. And allowing people to print documents over their Wi-Fi will undoubtedly bump up Kinko’s sales.

The Kinko’s deal follow the same pricing plan as T-Mobile’s other partnerships, which I still think costs too much for casual users to get interested. It’s ten cents per minute, but there is a one-hour minimum. So you’re charged six bucks right off the bat, and most people, myself included, won’t pay that just to try it out or play around with it. Cometa had the right idea with McDonald’s: give us an hour free with each Value Meal. T-Mobile’s $30 monthly charge will have to come down one day, too, but as T-Mobile creates more partnerships and expands to more locations, it might be more valuable. Especially if, for your $30, you can get online at Starbucks, Kinko’s, Borders, the airport, and McDonald’s (at least when Mickey D’s dumps Cometa for T-Mobile. Which you know they will.)

Of course, a lot of independent places are giving out free Wi-Fi, hoping that’ll be the hook they need to pull people away from the chains. This free-vs-pay battle will be the one to watch over the next few years. I still think that the free hotspots are going to put a lot of pressure on the places charging for access. But whether there will be a definite winner or whether it will stay fractured remains to be seen.

April 11, 2003

Peter’s back

I notice that Peter Merholz is back online. And of course he gives the mandatory explanation about “why he stopped” and “why he came back” and all that, and even manages to squeeze in a few papragraphs of Quaker philosophy. All of which makes me wonder why there has to be such a huge fanfare everytime somebody “starts” or “stops” writing on their weblog. I mean, it’s not like these things are on any kind of set schedule or anything. What does it matter if you don’t write for a few days, or weeks, or months? I guess for some people all of this is terribly important, and if you’re going to do it, you have to do it all the time, and if you’re going to stop, it better be for good. I could never figure that out. I write when something pops into my head. If nothing’s in my head, I don’t write. If I have something better to do, I don’t write. If I want to prune a tree or get licked in the face by a dog, a couple of the examples Peter gave, I just switch off the monitor and do it. The Web won’t fall apart without me, and if I want to go away for a little bit I don’t have to hang a “Closed” sign on my door. I just go.

Not that any of this is directed at Peter, he just set off the rant. And I am glad to see him “back” And if I wasn’t sleeping I would have noticed that he’s been part of Beast Blog for a while.

April 10, 2003

Go East

Starting today – Go East, Young Man. A travel journal of mine from ten years ago, when I was a sixteen year old kid who thought I could write. It turns out I couldn’t, but that didn’t stop me from filling over 100 pages worth of observations about the trip, Amtrak, NYC, and Disney World. Along with plenty of bad prose that I’m sure I thought was terribly deep and poetic. A sample:

It is now half past eight and utterly dark outside. Inside the train is light enough for all practical purposes, but the windows are black mirrors, showing only occasional hints of transparency when an outside light comes into view, a solitary reminder that there is a world outside the train after all.

Gack. I’ll be putting up one post every day for the next three weeks, reliving the trip in real time.

And keeping on the topic of web design, this little project uses a home-built publishing system, which probably is going to serve as the basis for my own Blogging system one day. I’ve stored all the posts in a database, and the main page simply takes the current date and queries the database to extract the right posts. The archives are static HTML files, also created by the publishing system, and they have date logic built in so no one can look at a post that hasn’t been published yet (for example, tomorrow’s archive page is there, but it won’t work until midnight).

Enjoy, and check back every day for new entries!

April 8, 2003

Gross

I finally found out what is was that the doctor cut off my finger. It was a Pyogenic Granuloma. Not cancerous, but definitely nasty. Any time a medical description includes the words “raw hamburger meat”, you know you’ve entered the land of the gross.

RedHat Download

RedHat 9 has come. Now begins the long process of downloading. Even over our T1 line at work, that thing can take days to get here. My FTP program right now estimates 915 minutes for Disc 1. It’s going to be a long haul.

Thankfully, I got my trusty Linux for Dummies book by my side. I swear, I’m going to learn this thing one of these days. This will be something like the fifth or sixth time I’ve sat down to learn Linux. Every other time my interest just kind of faded away. I’m going to learn it, I’m going to set up Apache, I’m going to move our company’s Intranet over to PHP…all things I’ve said before. Maybe this will be the time. Maybe this time I can forget everything I know about Windows long enough to wrap my head around Unix.

Maybe.

April 4, 2003

The Honeymoon is Over

Nearly three months ago, in the middle of January, my site was listed in the “Blogs of Note” list on blogger.com. My site went from dozens of hits to hundreds over night. Last night, a bit after midnight, my site finally slipped off the bottom of that list. My fifteen minutes of fame (more like twelve weeks, actually) is officially over. You, the folks that are left reading this, are now my core audience. You’re the ones that stuck around, or you were led here by someone who linked to me during my stint at the top. In any case, welcome, and thanks for sticking around!

Blogshares

I’m not 100% sure what BlogShares is. It’s some kind of fantasy stock market, where weblogs are given a share price and a valuation. And it wouldn’t really matter to me, except that I’m ranked at #9 right now, with a valuation of about 76 grand. Puzzling, but cool! Too bad my site isn’t really worth that much!

Inside EPSN

In part 2 of his interview with DevEdge, Mike Davidson (who recently redesigned ESPN.com to be more standards-compliant) explains his feelings on HTML validation and standards compliance, and why ESPN.com doesn’t validate and probably never will.

Telling me my site needs to validate in order to be standards-compliant is like telling me I need a flag in my lawn to call myself an American … If I somehow felt like having a site which strictly validates was an indication of my manhood, maybe I’d do it, but it really means very little to me … It’s just that complete compliance often isn’t possible without making unacceptable sacrifices. I’d say that if a site is 95% compliant and it uses the other 5% to create a better user experience, then that’s just fine.

He also talks about massaging his browser upgrade page to let NN4 users know why they were blocked out, where the standards fall short, and about the role weblogs played in giving him feedback and guiding the fine-tuning of the site.

April 3, 2003

Mozilla Changes

Big stuff going on over at the Mozilla project. I don’t understand half of it, because when I start seeing things like XUL and XPFE I tend to skip papragraphs. Basically, it looks like they’re leaving behind the bloated Mozilla code they’ve written and instead pushing the Browser Formerly Known as Phoenix as their main “product”. I guess that means most of the changes will be on the user interface/chrome side of things, since both browsers, at their heart, run on Gecko? Does this mean Mozilla will no longer be called “Mozilla”? What does this mean for Netscape? I don’t know. Read the roadmap and this summary and see if you can make any more sense out of it all. I won’t have any clue until I run this new wonder browser (which the roadmap calls Mozilla 1.5 at one point…I’m so confused).

Red Hat 9 is on

Red Hat 9 is on the way. Gads, didn’t I just download RH8? How am I ever going to learn Linux if things keep changing on me?

I was most thrilled to read the part about RedHat adding in ACLs (access control lists). The Unix permission system has always seemed like such a Stone Age contraption to me, having spent so much time with Windows and NTFS. My brain is just programmed to think of permissions as something you can add arbitrarily. It’s great to hear that Linux is going to be getting it. But then I read the next sentence, and found out that it won’t be in this release. Not a huge deal, I guess, because at the rate they’re going, RedHat 10 will be out by the summer.

There’s also the little bit about Gnome being “more pleasant to use”. I thought RH8 was a huge improvement over RH7, so maybe this will be another leap like that. It’s still going to have to be one hell of a GUI to pull me away from Windows XP, though. I’d been waiting for XP to come out for years, and now that I have it, ain’t nobody going to pry it away from me.

Still, that’s not going to stop me from being right there on Monday to download RedHat 9.