March 29, 2002
payday tools

Paycheck City has a bunch of calculators and, what's cool, a thingie to help you figure out how to fill out your W-4.

Are you making what you should be making in your job? Find out at - it's FREE. (Note to self: print it out and take it to my performance review if my director ever gets around to it ... )

Posted by Lee at 02:11 PM | Comments (0)
March 28, 2002
MS Word - help resource

Microsoft Word: Living with the Beast

Courtesy of Fred Langa's Langa List.

Posted by Lee at 01:40 PM | Comments (0)
Out of the mouths of children

I don't know who did this, or where it originated. I got it from an expatriate friend who lives in Toronto. It's great!


Posted by Lee at 12:08 AM | Comments (0)
March 25, 2002
Sites dumped from Google

Because Google doesn't want to be sued for copyright infringement. Operation Clambake and (they're the same thing - mirror I guess.)
Read all about it here, in Wired: Google Yanks Anti-Church Sites

Posted by Lee at 01:21 PM | Comments (0)
March 22, 2002
Hope it's worth it

Today I'm going to attempt the update to Movable Type 2.0. With a bit of luck, it'll work fine and maybe won't be nearly as difficult as the last MT update.

Posted by Lee at 02:04 PM | Comments (0)

This site spotlights several web designers - it's fascinating to poke around and see what people are doing especially as these seem to be outside the usual navel-gazing ring of "hey look at this cool site" designers . >>NEWWEBPICK<>SUPER PICK OF THE WORLD<

NEWWEBPICK itself, however, is a damned ugly site, too busy by a long shot, too hard to read that assinine tiny type, way too hard to navigate. The interface is supposed to resemble, what, Flash (the application I mean)? Which is not exactly user friendly to begin with. Oh, or maybe it's supposed to be PhotoShop - another friendly interface - not.

I'm not sure what the purpose is - I just know if I were a coprorate type looking for a designer for my big corporate redesign, I wouldn't have the patience for this interface. So I guess it's meant to be yet another mutual masturbation ring.

Posted by Lee at 01:05 PM | Comments (0)
March 21, 2002
Next they'll require dna samples in order to get medical care

From the New York Times, March 22, 2002:
Bush Acts to Drop Core Privacy Rule on Medical Data

WASHINGTON, March 21 — The Bush administration today proposed dropping a requirement at the heart of federal rules that protect the privacy of medical records. It said doctors and hospitals should not have to obtain consent from patients before using or disclosing medical information for the purpose of treatment or reimbursement.

The proposal, favored by the health care industry, was announced by Tommy G. Thompson, the secretary of health and human services, who said the process of obtaining consent could have "serious unintended consequences" and could impair access to quality health care.

The sweeping privacy rules were issued by President Bill Clinton in December 2000. When Mr. Bush allowed them to take effect last April, consumer advocates cheered, while much of the health care industry expressed dismay.

Today's proposal would repeal a provision widely viewed as the core of the Clinton rules: a requirement that doctors, hospitals and other health care providers obtain written consent from patients before using or disclosing medical information for treatment, the payment of claims or any of a long list of "health care operations," like setting insurance premiums and measuring the competence of doctors.

The proposal is to be published in the Federal Register next week, with 30 days for public comment. The government will consider the comments and then issue a final rule, with the force of law.

Secretary Thompson said he wanted to remove the consent requirements because he believed they could delay care.

Pharmacists and hospitals had expressed the same concern. Drugstores said they could not fill prescriptions phoned in by a doctor for pick-up by a patient's relative or neighbor. Hospitals said they could not schedule medical procedures until the patient had read a privacy notice and signed a consent form.

Hospitals and insurance companies praised today's proposal as a victory for common sense, but consumer advocates and Democratic members of Congress denounced it as a threat to privacy.

"In general, this is great for the health care industry," said Elisabeth Belmont, corporate counsel for Maine Health, which operates seven hospitals, a nursing home and a home health agency in Maine. Mary R. Grealy, president of the Health Care Leadership Council, which represents drug makers, drugstores, insurers and hospitals, said: "The new proposal strikes an appropriate balance. It's a workable compromise."

But Janlori Goldman, coordinator of the Consumer Coalition for Health Privacy, an alliance of more than 100 groups favoring patients' rights, said the administration was proposing "a destructive change."

Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, said: "By stripping the consent requirement from the health privacy rule, the Bush administration strips patients of the fundamental right to give their consent before their health information is used or disclosed. The administration's proposal throws the baby away with the bath water."

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, said he was "very concerned" because he believed that "an individual should have to give permission before medical information is disclosed."

The Bush administration denied that it was eviscerating privacy protections. "The president believes strongly in the need for federal protections to ensure patient privacy, and the changes we are proposing today will allow us to deliver strong protections for personal medical information while improving access to care," Mr. Thompson said.

Under the rules, doctors and other health care providers would still have to notify patients of their rights and the providers' disclosure policies. Patients would be asked to acknowledge in writing that they had received such notice, but could receive care without the acknowledgment.

Ms. Goldman, director of the Health Privacy Project at Georgetown University, said: "It's absurd to suggest that a notice serves the same purpose as consent. Signing the consent makes it more likely that people will understand their rights."

Some parts of the Clinton rules would survive the changes proposed by the Bush administration. Patients would, for example, have a federal right to inspect and copy their records and could propose corrections.

Congress could try to set privacy standards by law, overriding decisions by the Bush administration. But that appears unlikely. Under a 1996 law, Congress instructed the secretary of health and human services to issue rules on medical privacy in the absence of action by Congress, and lawmakers have never been able to agree on standards.

In its proposal today, the Bush administration tries to ensure that parents have "appropriate access" to medical records of their children, including information about mental health, abortion and treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. The Clinton rules "may have unintentionally limited parents' access to their child's medical records," the Bush administration said. The proposal makes clear that state law governs disclosures to parents.

The Bush proposal would also relax some consent requirements that medical researchers saw as particularly onerous.

The rules, the first comprehensive federal standards for medical privacy, affect virtually every doctor, patient, hospital, pharmacy and health plan in the United States.

Health care providers and insurers must comply by April 14, 2003. Anyone who violates the rules after that date will be subject to civil and criminal penalties, including a $250,000 fine and 10 years in prison for the most serious violations.

When Mr. Clinton issued the rules in December 2000, he described them as "the most sweeping privacy protections ever written." Mr. Bush took political credit for accepting those rules last April. White House officials said Mr. Bush would back a wide range of privacy protections for consumers, even if he had to defy his usual business allies.

The White House wanted to avoid the political embarrassment Mr. Bush suffered when he altered Clinton policies on arsenic levels in drinking water, global warming, ergonomic rules and the contamination of school lunch meat with salmonella. But after studying the medical privacy rules and listening to the concerns of companies in the health care industry, the administration concluded that major provisions of the Clinton rules were unworkable.

Posted by Lee at 11:48 PM | Comments (0)
interesting movies (flash)


Posted by Lee at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)
March 20, 2002
this Scam still snags people

I've seen this particular scam around for years, but it's new for some people, or relatively new. I was surprised to read that a man pursuing the 419 scam, aka "Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud," was actually killed. Here's the story in e-Commerce Times: (4-1-9 Fraud Reaches Out via E-Mail

Posted by Lee at 04:03 PM | Comments (0)
make a face

Create your own composite guy Ultimate Flash Face

Posted by Lee at 02:08 PM | Comments (0)
Glass Engine

I've never encountered anything like this before - it floored me. The Glass Engine The site was built be an IBM research team to showcase the music of Philip Glass.

Posted by Lee at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)
March 19, 2002
wayne's lists and lists and lists

Despite being a Canadian site, what with the weird spelling and all, this site is a lot of fun to poke around in. Or on? Maybe about ... Oh, it's useful, too, if you come across an idiom you've never read. English Idioms.

Hmm, I wonder if it's listed in RefDesk???

I keep losing the links/resources page the New York Times put up for its writers - does anyone know what I'm talking about or where it is?

Posted by Lee at 02:15 PM | Comments (1)
March 16, 2002
amazing amount of effort


Posted by Lee at 01:51 PM | Comments (0)
What it means to be unpatriotic

Michael Moore says it well:

"Let's get one thing straight -- this is what it means to be "unpatriotic:"

1. When you shred our constitution and eliminate our civil liberties, passing laws that make it illegal to encourage opposition to the government's actions, THAT is un-American.

2. When you send our kids to go fight and die on a foreign land so that you can finally build a pipeline for your oil backers across that country, THAT is un-American.

3. When you use the dead of September 11 to try to get huge tax cuts passed that will only benefit your rich benefactors, THAT is un-American.

4. When you allow criminals who are stealing the pensions of workers and retirees to come in and hand-pick the head of the agency which is supposed to be regulating them, and then you place some of the criminals' top brass in your administration to "serve" as the secretary of the army and White House counsel, and then these criminals turn out to be your number one financial backers -- and their law firm turns out to be your #3 backer -- and, in spite of all this you still haven't resigned in disgrace, THAT is un-American."

From: Mike's Book Tour Diary 2002_0306

Buy his book on Amazon: Stupid White Men ...and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation ($14.97 as of March 16th).

Posted by Lee at 01:08 PM | Comments (0)
March 15, 2002
So much bat guano, so little time to monitor it all

But this site tries hard. Worth a look.

Posted by Lee at 09:57 AM | Comments (0)
some things never change

Duke University's Digital Scriptorium provides a collection of advertisements from way back. This one is from the "Medicine and Madison Avenue" collection. Pretty interesting considering how the FDA is currently whining about not being able to keep up with all the drug ads on the tube. At any rate, there's tons of stuff here to keep one busy for hours. I like looking at the layout of the ads - gives me ideas for current ads and layouts I need to do.

Venus-Adonis Electric Normalizer, 1950.

Ab Energizer, 2002. The design is sleeker, and it uses electrical shocks instead of pistons, but it's basically exactly the same concept as the Venus-Adonis Electric Normalizer.

Posted by Lee at 09:42 AM | Comments (1)
March 14, 2002
and a little child shall lead them

Predicting the Stock Market Is Child's Play. I love it - a five-year-old trounces two adults!

Posted by Lee at 11:52 PM | Comments (0)
a different perspective of flash mx

Simon St. Laurent wrote this opinion of Flash MX: Macromedia reinvents the Web. It's refreshing to read a viewpoint from someone not sucking up to Macromedia.

The thought of the Web being taken over by Flash MX is depressing - I keep thinking about the endless parade of "cutting edge" Flash websites - you know, the ones that all look essentially the same and all use that teeny, tiny stupid silk font or some equally boring and as-unreadable variation of silk ...

Thanks to WebWord for this link.

Posted by Lee at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)
March 13, 2002
Sharbat Gula then and now

Behind the Search for the "Afghan Girl"

Posted by Lee at 06:08 PM | Comments (2)
boxesandarrows evolt builder

Boxes and Arrows: Because we can.

From their "About" page:

"Boxes and Arrows is the definitive source for the complex task of bringing architecture and design to the digital landscape. There are various titles and professions associated with this undertaking—information architecture, information design, interaction design, interface design—but when we looked at the work that we were actually doing, we found a “community of practice” with similarities in outlook and approach that far outweighed our differences.

"Boxes and Arrows is a peer-written journal dedicated to discussing, improving and promoting the work of this community, through the sharing of exemplary technique, innovation and informed opinion.

"Boxes and Arrows strives to provoke thinking among our peers, to push the limits of the accepted boundaries of these practices and to challenge the status quo by teaching new or better techniques that translate into results for our companies, our clients and our comrades."

I've only had time to read (and comment on, twice) one article (The evolving homepage: The growth of three booksellers by Victor Lombardi) and I'm already hooked. This has all the makings of a truly outstanding, um, magazine? Community? Whatever. I've always liked Evolt, but this seems to be headed more in the direction that interests me the most.

Maybe it'll somehow make up for the "improvement" of What a pile of crap they turned that into, another IT babblespeak site. Like IT sites weren't already a commodity.

Posted by Lee at 04:41 PM | Comments (0)
March 10, 2002
Quiet days at airport security points

Because nobody plugged in the security gates. Really. Plug It In!

Do they really think throwing federal bureaucrats into these positions will make things any better?

Posted by Lee at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)
March 09, 2002
Twitch's Big Adventure

We decided to take Twitch on our jaunt today. Usually it's Stanley, Ginger, and me. Never mind that Twitch seemed perfectly content exactly where he was:


Stanley, Ginger, Twitch, and I headed to Sherwood Island. It was 64 degrees out and pretty overcast. But the beach was fairly empty and the tide was coming in, so it was pleasant.

Ginger & Lee

We walked along the beach, and explored the rocks.


Twitch was making funny noises as he climbed on the rocks.


I said it was because he could smell the rats in the rocks.

All was going well; everybody seemed happy:


While I was angling for another shot, Twitch decided to take off. In about 12 nanoseconds, he was up the nearest tree:


Stanley freaked, which just made Twitch climb higher. We were afraid his leash would get caught or that he'd try to jump down and end up hanging himself. I knew Twitch would stop going up if we calmed down, so I walked away with Ginger and Stanley took some deep breaths. I figured we'd have to call the fire department of something and end up on the front page of the local newspaper (nothing much ever happens here).

We dragged a heavy-as-hell picnic table to the base of the tree - maybe if Stanley could get closer to Twitch, the damn cat would come down. Stanley saw that he could climb the tree, and did. I didn't have to presence of mind to take any shots of this adventure - I'm terrified of heights whether it's me up there or someone else. So I just semi-froze - had to keep Ginger out of the way. Stanley reached for Twitch, and Twitch came down to meet him, and rode Stanley's shoulder on the way down. They both made it, safe and sound:


We walked some more, and Twitch practiced for the Cat Olympics, coached by Ginger:


He showed off his form:


All in all, it was a good trip. Not bad for an indoor cat's first nature hike.


Now the only question is: Will Stanley recover?

Posted by Lee at 06:51 PM | Comments (0)
The universe isn't cosmic green - it's beige

Well, it looks like linen white to me. I wrote about the color of the universe in January, and frankly, I was disappointed in the green. However, there was a bug in the calculations. The universe is really off-white. A good painting color - I can see it now, Ralph Lauren's Cosmic Beige Interior One-coat Latex ... here is the chip:


The explanation is here: The Cosmic Spectrum. I think it's so cool these guys didn't have a problem admitting they screwed up and went to the trouble of fixing their web page and making a public announcement - a truly inspiring lack of that puncture-begging arrogance too many scientists nourish.

Posted by Lee at 01:03 PM | Comments (0)
March 07, 2002
Now we're xenophobes, too

Pentagon may limit tech jobs to U.S. citizens / Plan restricts access to sensitive projects. Such stupidity. It would be beyond belief if it were any organization but the Dept. of Defense.

Posted by Lee at 12:48 PM | Comments (0)
March 06, 2002
the upset of the century? i think not.

Condit loses in California primary

Posted by Lee at 05:38 PM | Comments (0)
gee, i'm so shocked

IHT: Web searchers get what advertisers pay for. Interesting article in the International Herald Tribune. What surprised me was that one company, Overture Services, managed to rack up $288 million in ad fees last year - and it was even profitable. All this blathering about the death of advertising on the Internet - guess it's the TYPE of advertising you do.

Posted by Lee at 05:01 PM | Comments (0)
March 05, 2002
Finally figured it out

Was going nuts trying to figure out why Movable Type breaks every time I make a change to the template. Then I remembered colleagues complaining about how the spacing in their code (for ASP pages) changes after I open them for tweaking with Dreamweaver. So I set DW not to change anything in ASP pages and the complaints stopped.

But the MT template isn't an ASP page. And I have DW set to automatically render everything in lower case to comply with XML standards. So, when DW opens a page, it converts everything it reads as a tag to lower case. So it would read the cgi call as an html tag since it's set between < & >, and convert it to lower case whether I want it to or not. And therefore break MT because MT is case-dependent. And I have to go in and re-do all the tags. Which takes time.

So now I have to make DW stop changing anything when it opens any page - it sucks, to have a feature that's potentially handy be pretty much damaging instead of useful. I liked it because it would make the html tags uniform - helps when more than one person is working on a page. But now it's more trouble than help, so I'll ditch the feature.

DW is starting to remind me of Microsoft Word - many more features that I could possibly ever use, bloated, and too much potential for damage.

But I like DW because it quickly builds in the code if you need it, such as for mouseovers and dhtml, and because there are a lot of handy extensions to go with it. But if I have to keep the code pure, I'll stick to Arachnophilia - which is STILL the best html coding tool I've ever used. (OH DAMN! I just read Arachnophilia programmer Paul Lutus' note - the next version of Arachnophilia will run as a java program. So it doesn't have to run in Windows, he says. I wonder if it will run well or if it will be a slow pain in the ass like most java programs are?)

Posted by Lee at 05:02 PM | Comments (0)
March 04, 2002
Record Producers with Honor - wow!

The New York Times ran this article: An Ex-Convict, a Hit Album, an Ending Fit for Hollywood (registration required - but it's free). It detailed the hunt for James Carter, who's rendition of Po' Lazarus was used on the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack. They gave him a royalty check for $20,000, with more on the way. The soundtrack was produced by the label of Universal Music Group. (Note: there's not much to be found at the Lost Highways label site - just a list of Grammy winners. Too bad.)

Pretty classy. They could've just forgotten about it, assuming the singer was either dead or would surface as a result of publicity about the movie, but they didn't.

Posted by Lee at 09:52 PM | Comments (0)
March 03, 2002
The Flying Car

The Flying Car - Kevin Smith

Posted by Lee at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)
compelled to finish

Not much time to read or think or do anything except get a new site up - enough of it up so there is a there there because the newspaper ad is out on Sunday - my, that's today ... funny how sometimes doing the actual build of web pages is dreary because, to me, the design is the challenging part - but sometimes building web pages causes total flow, which is what hit me yesterday and today. Maybe it's because I really like the site. Or the client. Or both. But it happened for this site, Small to Tall Scholars, and the last one, Connecticut School of Etiquette.

Of course tomorrow I'll have to spend an hour with a broom sweeping up the dog's debris. She snatched just about every loose scrap of paper she could find and shredded each one. Trying to get my attention, or Stanley's attention - we'll make it up to her tomorrow. After I sweep. We should've named her Arthur Andersen instead of Ginger.

She'd barely begun to shred at this point.

Speaking of dogs, Stanley sent me this today (I forget where he said he got it - Langa List maybe?):

13 rules for being a successful dog

Visitors: Quickly determine which guest is afraid of dogs. Charge across the room, barking loudly and leap playfully on this person. If the human falls down on the floor and starts crying, lick its face and growl gently to show your concern.

Barking: Because you are a dog, you are expected to bark. So bark -- a lot. Your owners will be very happy to hear you protecting their house. Especially late at night while they are sleeping safely in their beds. There is no more secure feeling for a human than to keep waking up in the middle of the night hearing you protective bark, bark, bark...

Licking: Always take a BIG drink from your water dish immediately before licking your human. Humans prefer clean tongues. Be ready to fetch your human a towel. (Ginger prefers a big drink out of the toilet.)

Holes: Rather than digging a BIG hole in the middle of the yard and upsetting your human, dig a lot of smaller holes all over the yard so they won't notice. If you arrange a little pile of dirt on one side of each hole, maybe they'll think it's gophers. There are never enough holes in the ground. Strive daily to do your part to help correct this problem.

Doors: The area directly in front of a door is always reserved for the family dog to sleep.

The Art Of Sniffing: Humans like to be sniffed. Everywhere. It is your duty as the family dog to accommodate them.

Dining Etiquette: Always sit under the table at dinner, especially when there are guests, so you can clean up any food that falls on the floor. It's also a good time to practice your sniffing.

Housebreaking: Housebreaking is very important to humans, so break as much of the house as possible.

Going For Walks: Rules of the road: when out for a walk with your master or mistress, never go to the bathroom on your own lawn.

Couches: It is perfectly permissible to lie on the new couch after all your humans have gone to bed.

Playing: If you lose your footing while chasing a ball or stick, aim for the flowerbed to absorb your fall, so you don't injure yourself.

Chasing Cats: When chasing cats, make sure you never--quite--catch them. It spoils all the fun.

Chewing: Make a contribution to the fashion industry... eat a shoe.

Posted by Lee at 12:16 AM | Comments (3)
March 01, 2002

It's worth a look just for the design. Nice stash of games: Orisinal

Posted by Lee at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)