Archives » April, 2003

April 28, 2003

Too Many Chickens, Not Enough Heads

Hot on the heels of all those name changes I talked about last week, Mozilla felt that they had to do something to keep all the names straight. That’s what they’ve done in this document. The old Mozilla, the one that’s caled Mozilla 1.4 right now, is officially called the “Mozilla Application Suite” and unofficially called “SeaMonkey”. That’s the one that’s going away. Firebird, which was called Phoenix until last week, needs to be called “Mozilla Firebird” right now, but soon it will again be renamed to “Mozilla Browser”. That’s the one they’re going forward with to become Mozilla 1.5. Along with Thunderbird—excuse me, “Mozilla Thunderbird”—excuse me, “Mozilla Mail”.

Confused yet?

It makes my head spin even more that Mozilla 1.5 will be completely different from Mozilla 1.4. Why don’t they just bite the bullet and call it “Mozilla 2.0” after they’ve made the Firebird change? Maybe they will. I don’t think anybody knows for sure.

Too many chickens, not enough heads.

April 25, 2003

New Names for Mozilla

Mozilla has announced the new names for its new products. The Browser Formerly Known As Phoenix is now called Firebird, and is getting version 0.6 ready. This is also the browser that Mozilla 1.5 is going to be built from, so it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Also work on the stand-alone mail app continues, having been renamed to Thunderbird. Based on the latest Windows build (screenshot), it looks like it’s a Mozilla-branded version of the new AOL Communicator mail program (or is that the other way around?). Which is a good thing, especially if they keep in the AOL account access and spam filters. My wife likes Communicator because it’s handy for her to have her AOL mail and POP mail in one place. It’s a little light on features, though, so I’m sticking with Outlook Express. Maybe one day Thunderbird will have enough to make us both happy.

And maybe Netscape 8 will come out soon, and finally force Microsoft to give us a new version of their two-year-old browser. I can dream, can’t I?

April 24, 2003

Ormsby Three

There’s three new pages in the Ormsby House Photo Gallery today (1 2 3). There’s also a link to a newspaper article that says the casino will reopen “in about a year”. That’s what they said in 2000. And again in 2001. And again in 2002. So at least they’re consistent.

Go there. Enjoy.

April 23, 2003

Good Stuff

It looks like good stuff is happening over at Six Apart, the company that makes the Movable Type weblog tool. First of all, they got funding from Joi Ito’s firm, Neoteny. They’re also going to be launching Movable Type as a service, TypePad, so you can use Movable Type without worrying about installing it (which is probably one of the big things that has kept me away from it for so long). This will put them in direct competition with Blogger, which itself is lauching an upgraded version of its creaky old service soon. And, they also hired Anil Dash to spread the good word of Movable Type and wear a vice-president’s badge. I guess this proves that tech startups still can gain a foothold and grow these days, if they’re good enough. Congratulations all around!

April 22, 2003

Best. News. Ever!

That’s what a burger’s all about.

This is the best news I’ve had all year — no, scratch that, all decade. This, along with the new Krispy Kreme and Weinerschnitzel, completes the fast food trifecta and truly makes Reno a world-class city. I’m sure my wife would agree, except to add that we still need a California Pizza Kitchen.

April 21, 2003

More Local Crap

Speaking of local websites being not quite up to par, look at this piece of tripe that was just foisted on us. It’s a site about the huge flag that used to be on the hillside until the wind ripped it to shreds, and the efforts to rebuild it. Let’s go down the checklist.

  • Nested table layout? – Check.
  • Image maps? – Check.
  • Flash? – Check.
  • Iframes? – Check.
  • No DOCTYPE? – Check.

It’s something for everybody!

April 20, 2003

Real website, or real estate portal?

I live in Johnson Lane. It’s a rural neighborhood, about a thousand houses surrounded by ten miles of sagebrush on all sides. So I was curious when I saw a blurb in the local paper advertising “Visit your neighborhood online!” I wondered what it could possibly be like; most of the web design companies in this area still seem to be stuck in 1998, design-wise. But, there might be some independents I don’t know about, doing good work. So I went to see what it was.

What I found was a real estate portal, a “service” of It’s nothing but a bunch of stock images, boilerplate text, and links to the same old syndicated content everyone else has. And, of course, it’s all sponsored by your friendly local real estate agent!

What a let down. I know this isn’t New York or the Bay Area, but is this the best we can do? Are there really so few people in the area who actually get the Web, and who understand that a site like Gawker or Beast Blog, which is built and run by locals, for locals, can make so much more of an impression and be much better for the community in the long run?

Oh well. The Web is all about marketing and selling, right? No point in doing anything else, or making it look like you actually put some effort into building a site.

April 19, 2003


I’m trying a little something here — I’ve added the new Vera font to my CSS, so if you have it installed you’ll see my site in that typeface. I’ve been looking at it for all of sixty seconds now, and the jury is still out. It has a nifty anti-aliased look on Win98, but it’s also a bit of a shock after using Verdana for so long. When I get to the office I’ll have to see how it looks on XP and Red Hat.

Give it a look, if you don’t mind adding a few new fonts to your system.

April 18, 2003

Karmic Meltdown

I know you’ve been there. I know it’s happened to you. It’s those days when everything stacks on top of everything else, and the stars are aligned in exactly the wrong order, and birds go out of their way to poop on your head. Allow me to quote a passage from The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul:

Dirk hurried on, opening the newspaper at the horoscope page as he did so.

“Virtually everything you decide today will be wrong,” it said bluntly.

Dirk slapped the paper shut with a grunt.

That’s my day today. That’s absolutely what this Friday is like. A day when the Universe decides it would be a jolly good laugh to kick you in the butt as often as possible.

Actually, it started last night. I was supremely foolish enough to think I should run an offline defragmentation of the Exchange Server database at work, like I do every few months or so. Nothing wrong there, I’ve done it a dozen times before and it’s pretty routine by now. So I logged into the server, ran through the defrag and restarted Exchange.

“The Information Store service did not start.”

Some frantic Googling turned up pages on database corruption and what to do about it. “Run a repair”, they said. So I did that. Three hours later (in a job that was supposed to take only thirty minutes before bedtime), I restarted the services. They started fine. I opened Outlook.

My mailbox was empty.

I rooted around the server a bit.

Everyone’s mailbox was empty.

Fifty people, tens of thousands of e-mail messages, and it was all gone.

That’s when I knew Friday was going to be a bad day. I couldn’t do anything more from home, since the backup tapes were all in a stack on my desk. So I decided to sleep it off and get there first thing in the morning.

This morning, I popped in Wednesday’s backup tape, and started a restore.

Only half the mailboxes were on the tape.

I looked at the backup logs. Someone had put a huge file on the file server Wednesday, and the tape filled up, leaving no room for mailboxes. This is about when my eye started to twitch.

I grabbed Tuesday’s backup. Thank the stars, everything was there. Set up the restore job, run it. It skipped over A-K and started restoring from the L’s. (twitch twitch) Fine. Whatever.

Today is payday, so why not go online and balance my checkbook a little? Go to my bank’s website — “General Error. Please try later.”

Okay, so I call the bank’s phone system. “Please call back later.” (twitch twitch)

Fine. I know I have the money in my account, so I go online to pay some bills. I notice that has been redesigned, and is running slower than molasses. I try to log in. “The request has timed out.”

By this time the mailbox restore, L-Z, is finished, so I start up A-K.

I call my wife’s cell phone. “We’re sorry. The number could not be reached.”

(twitch twitch)

After a half hour on I get through to my account page. I notice that the bill was due on Tuesday, because Cingular doesn’t know or care what my pay schedule is. I click “Pay My Bill”.

“The request has timed out.”

“Pay My Bill”.

“The request has timed out.”

Finally, on try five, it accepts my payment. “Thank you for using Cingular!” By this time I’m ready to put my foot through the monitor.

A-K is done restoring, and I glance around to make sure everyone’s mail is back in place. Yes it is, except for the messages from Wednesday and Thursday. They’re gone for good, having been chewed up by the Exchange defragmenter. I send out a note letting everyone know this. And since I worked until midnight last night and I’m now on overtime, I decide to head home before they can organize a lynch mob.

I crawl home through the traffic, and collapse in my chair. It’s good to be back, it’s good for this day to be over. I turn on my computer.

“Windows Protection Error. You need to restart your computer.”

Twitch. Twitch…


The World Wide Web Consortium has undertaken a massive redesign of their site, replacing their stale old digs with spiffy new window dressings. This new design marks a bold departure from their long-held tradition of function over form, and…

Oh wait, that’s not real, that’s just the winning entry in the WThRemix contest. This unofficial contest was launched in response to the W3C’s December launch of their new redesign. Their new site is semantically valid, uses XHTML for structure and CSS for layout, and is generally a great step forward, but, frankly, it looks like something I would design. Great under the hood maybe, but very light on the visual punch. So Zeldman, Doug Bowman, Nick Finck, and a bunch of others got together to see what the creative side of the Web could do to jazz things up a bit. The winners were announced this week. I think the W3C would do well to snap up one of these designers and redo their site for real, just because they’ve taken so much flack for their new design.