Archives » June, 2003

June 22, 2003


Found in my referrer logs: “Firebird is the 12" cock of internet browsers

June 19, 2003

More demolition

Having conquered the hall bathroom remodel project in our own inimitable style, yesterday we set to dismantling the master bath. Demolition is easy. Now if only we can put it back together as well as the other one. Or at least half as well as The Head Lemur’s remodeling projects. But around here lightning rarely strikes twice…

June 18, 2003

Golden Rule of the Web

A quick question for Dave Winer: If it’s so important to you that other people’s RSS feeds aren’t “funky”, then why do you write such funky HTML? If you want people to respect your specs, you need to respect others. It’s the Golden Rule of the Web. You can’t have it both ways.


Fire season decided to get off to a good start this year by knocking right at our back door. “Hello, I’m a massive wildfire. May I come in?” The hillside right outside town, along the road up to Lake Tahoe, burst into flames yesterday and a blanket of smoke descended on the city. Firefighters were ready for it, though, and they had it under control pretty quickly. This morning it was out.

We’ve been pretty lucky around here. The Tahoe Basin is full of dead and dying trees, caused partly by drought and partly from disease. When you look at the slopes you get the feeling that one little flame could quickly consume the entire basin. But every fire that’s started on the slopes has quickly been taken care of. They haven’t gotten out of control like the ones in Arizona and Colorado last year. At least, not yet. Every time I see a plume of smoke rising towards the sky, like I did yesterday, I just wait for Lake Tahoe to finally turn into a boiling cauldron.

June 17, 2003

Bring on XP

I put in the order yesterday for a volume license of Windows XP for the office. After five years, the time has come to move past Windows 98 and start keeping up with the Joneses. Or, in this case, the Gateses and the Ballmeresseses. 98 was, and still is, a great OS, and I’ve thought so ever since the day it came out. There are quite a few things I’m going to miss about it, things they seem to have done away with in XP. The little details are what I notice. Gone is the nice compact winipcfg utility for checking and renewing IP adresses. In XP it’s a clunky command line. Here to stay in XP is the concept of user profiles, which sometimes can be overkill for the basic multi-user situations we have here. Gone is boot-to-DOS, for when you’re in a pinch, seemingly replaced by the “Recovery Console” which takes roughly five minutes and a CD to get into. And the Windows 98 Find Files dialog was an exercise in simplicity, which they seem to have done away with in favor of an overwrought Search application. Windows 98 has served me well, and I’m sure that for a couple of years there will still be 98 boxes lurking in the dark shadows of the office. (Update: They’re all gone by Feb 2004) But technology is all about change, and it’s time to start the process of moving on. And XP does bring a lot of improvements to the table. Better stability, for one. Plus all the NT features like finer control over services and background processes. And just like the little things that endear me to 98, there’s also a host of other little things drawing me to XP. They don’t seem like much individually, but taken together they bring a pleasant sense of usefulness to the whole experience. ClearType, tray icon hiding, the new Start menu, snap-to-grid desktop icons. You know, dumb little things that you never even think about, but that really give XP a polished feel.

The jump to XP won’t be painless, I’m sure. Most of the people in my office aren’t what you’d call technically proficient. Most of them are still struggling to grasp some of the finer points of Windows 98. It seems like every week I have to reintroduce someone to the concept of right-click, or more advanced, right-drag. I’m still able to wow the receptionist by using shift-click to select multiple files. So really, the process might go smoother because most people haven’t gotten entrenched in the deeper parts of 98, the parts that have really changed. I’ve already moved a few people over to Windows 2000, for stability reasons, and they seemed to handle the shift fine. And a couple of people have XP on their home computer, including one of the technophobic bosses. For everyone else, I can just hope that overall the migration goes smoothly. There will be a few growing pains involved, and I imagine that I’ll be doing a bit of hand-holding at first, as people try to do a familiar task and find that it’s just slightly different in XP. But I’m confident that, in the long run, they’ll find XP easier to use and better for doing their work.

And getting fewer Blue Screen of Death calls will be a monumental relief.

Please go somewhere else

I found this disclaimer on an ecommerce site. It’s a good thing I was placing a non-fraudulent order! I especially love the “we would appreciate it” bit.

Please read!

To all “Would Be Thieves”,

We have a full staff double-checking all our orders; furthermore we wanted to notify you that we will report your activities to your local police department. If you feel that you absolutely need to steal, we would appreciate it, if you would please go somewhere else. Your participation is highly appreciated. All non-fraudulent orders welcome. PS. We are unable to process international credit cards, please use USA issued credit cards only. Thank You.

June 16, 2003

Car. Hate. Bleeding eyes.

Today we called the dealership and found out a little bit more about the car. It turns out the transmission just disintegrated on us. The techs were amazed that we were able to drive it into their shop. So, it looks like we’ll be enjoying our rental car for a while longer. We just have to make sure we return it before it hits 65,000 miles. You never know when the transmission will impode on you!

Summer weddings

Philip Greenspun: Summer weddings should be in waterslide parks

Keep The Joint Open

Bob Lewis in Keep the Joint Running:

It is barely possible that we’ve reached the point in our evolving understanding of information technology that the end of the line is in sight … I think the better explanation is the simpler one: that some pundits have reached the limits of their ability to envision new and better ways of conducting business, and have mistaken that for a real boundary in the real world.

Bob Lewis’ articles are usually really good at driving a clue stick into the heart of IT managers, yet at his site he puts those articles behind a registration firewall. His InfoWorld columns were never protected like that, nor is his new InfoWorld weblog. Sounds like somebody needs to use a clue stick on the man in the mirror. For now, you can read the article at his home page without registering, until the next article bumps it off.

June 13, 2003

Ormsby Update

Fresh today: three more pages in the Ormsby House Photo Gallery. There are a bunch of pictures in this update, including exciting shots of reopened streets! Poured concrete! Painted parking garages! Plus a reprint of my little Winchester Club rant! Who could ask for anything more?

Pages one, two and three.