January 31, 2002
and in the darkness bind them

Via Alex Knapp at Heretical Ideas:

Recently one of my friends, a computer wizard, paid me a visit. As we were talking I mentioned that I had recently installed Windows XP on my PC. I told him how happy I was with this operating system and showed him the Windows XP CD. To my surprise he threw it into my microwave oven and turned it on. Instantly I got very upset, because the CD had become precious to me, but he said: 'Do not worry, it is unharmed.'

After a few minutes he took the CD out, gave it to me and said: 'Take a close look at it.' To my surprise the CD was quite cold to hold and it seemed to be heavier than before. At first I could not see anything, but on the inner edge of the central hole I saw an inscription, an inscription finer than anything I had ever seen before. The inscription shone piercingly bright, and yet remote, as if out of a great depth:

12413AEB2ED4FA5E6F7D78E78BEDE820945092OF923A40EElOE5 I OCC98D444AA08EI324

'I cannot understand the fiery letters,' I said in a timid voice.

'No, but I can,' he said. 'The letters are Hex, of an ancient mode, but the language is that of Microsoft, which I shall not utter here. But in common English this is what it says:

One OS to rule them all, One OS to find them,
One OS to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

It is only two lines from a verse long known in System-lore:

"Three OS's from corporate-kings in their towers of glass,
Seven from valley-lords where orchards used to grow,
Nine from dotcoms doomed to die,
One from the Dark Lord Gates on his dark throne
In the Land of Redmond where the Shadows lie.
One OS to rule them all, One OS to find them,
One OS to bring them all and in the darkness bind them,
In the Land of Redmond where the Shadows lie."'

Posted by Lee at 03:59 PM | Comments (0)
Fido Forever?

But taxidermists think freeze-drying Puff downgrades their professional standards ... At a handful of taxidermy shops, man's best friend and other pets are frozen in time.

Hmm, maybe we could freeze-dry Granny too ...

Posted by Lee at 01:31 PM | Comments (2)
Conventions & Web design

Via today's webword, an article definitely worth reading: Attack of the killer conventions by David Walker.

Which leads to Web Design Patterns by Martijn van Welie.

Then read Examining User Expectations of the Location of Web Objects by Michael L. Bernard.

A lot to digest. But interesting.

Posted by Lee at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)
January 30, 2002

Wow ... webgraphics: a daily compilation of hypertext design resources, links, commentary and notes.

Posted by Lee at 12:12 PM | Comments (0)
Very cool resource - very cool

Form elements tutorial from Ross Shannon. I learned a couple of new things today - stuff I can use right now. Forms Accessibility | guiding users using TABINDEX, FIELDSET, LEGEND, ACCESSKEY and LABEL || HTMLSource ]. Go to the home page for more - this is a GREAT resource!

Thanks to ia for posting this today.

Posted by Lee at 11:57 AM | Comments (0)
Pell on John Walker & Shrub's Speech

Interesting rant from

--> by Dave Pell + 1.28.02 + Monday (an email, um, newsletter?)

Walker This Way

My scientific, math, deductive and statistical
skills hit a high point in preschool. We were
required to perform a project in which we
had two bowls - one filled with water and one
empty - and a large sponge. The challenge was
to use the sponge to transfer the water
from bowl to bowl. That was the only non-Humanities
academic moment of my entire education not
associated with a current nightmare.

But I managed to pick up enough data along the
way to realize that a lone, troubled kid leaving
his neighborhood and ending up as a member of
one of the worst regimes in modern history
really proves no theory beyond that individual
case. Unlike the sponge project described above,
it is not a repeatable act. In fact, the best
of our knowledge, John Walker is the only guy
from Marin County who has ever been accused of
training at an a Al Qaeda terrorist camp.

The fact that Walker is an isolated case (and
an individual much better suited for psychological
treatment than political or cultural debates) would
seem obvious enough to make it clear (even to the
many among today's preschoolers) that there is
no broader lesson or moral here.

But it's not clear if you have a political axe
to grind or if you are almost pre-wired to attempt
to score some kind of cultural points no matter
how childish that attempt might make you look.

Last week, (smart, young, successful, well-spoken
and almost always wrong) National Review editor
Rich Lowry said of Walker: "No jury is going to send
this guy to death because they're going to look
at him and see partly a moral cretin and partly just
a waif who was never told what was right and wrong
over in liberal Marin County." (It is interesting,
while not at all surprising, to note that Lowry
mispronounced the word Marin indicating - well
you probably know what it indicates). Having grown
up in Marin (contrary to popular opinion, my
adolescence was in a period when peacock feathers
were totally out, hot tubs were fading and the
rock group Journey was on the ropes), I thought I
would test Lowry's implication that Marin's liberalism
was somehow at the root of Walker's record-setting
number of wrong turns and bad decisions. I waited
for several hours at the county's main bus station,
checked all the schedules, and yet, was unable
to hitch a ride to Kandahar. Why? Because one
guy slipping off the deep-end by way of Yemen does
not a trend make.

Even the elder George Bush has been getting in
on the act of complaining about the Marin liberal/
terrorist feeding system. Bush even went so
far as to decry those evil hot tubs (a job for
the Navy Seals perhaps?). Of course, we all know
that Marin is a far cry from the blue collar,
mean streets of Kennebunkport, Maine.

We know why Bush(I) Republicans hate Marin County.
It is (by perception, in reality, much of it
ain't that liberal) a thorn in the side of the
theory that if people had enough dough, they'd
be smart enough to vote Republican. Marin is
extremely wealthy and still quite liberal making
it a target waiting to be hit - a flaw in the
"us wealthy people know better" philosophy.

But targeted over John Walker? Please. There is
just nothing political about the case of one
kid gone astray. When you find fifty Marin
Taliban members, let me know. Even if you
can find fifty Marinites who don't think
Walker should do hard time, you'd certainly
get my attention.

But in this era (before and after Sept. 11), the
political eye-pokes never stop and the deeper
issues come later or never. Want to ask yourself
some really hard questions about John Walker?
Try this one. Why is he such a massive story
right now? So massive that he is the topic
of Justice Department press conferences, presidential
statements and much political debate? Yes, it
is the ultimate man bites dog case and yes we
all have reason to be both angry at and confounded
by the behavior of this guy. And yes, it is one
of the few stories in this saga that doesn't require
subtitles (although the phony accent is pushing the
limit even there). But when compared to our overall
goals in this effort, does John Walker really matter
all that much (to those other than the Bill Bennett
moralists for whom he serves as some much needed
WD-40 to get their high-brow hogwash flowing freely
after months of being marginalized because we
had more important fingers to point)? Could it be
that the spoon-feeding of this story is really just
a great way to change the subject away from the fact
that we actually haven't yet nabbed too many of the folks
we set out to get? Maybe, maybe not, but it's probably
worth discussing over a bag of granola sometime.

You too can subscribe to NextDraft ...

My take: John Walker makes a piss-poor substitute for Osama bin Laden. He's clearly nuts, and should be headed for a loony bin for some evaluation and treatment rather than Leavenworth. The stooges in the gubmint are setting up the case against him based on what HE says he did, who HE says he spoke with. Yeah, right, like hey, I had a chat with Osama, too, last time I was hallucinating. Puhleeeaase.

Listened to the commentary by Cokie and some professor on The Speech. Did we watch the same speech? I guess I shouldn't be surprised Cokie Roberts is such an ass-licker - no hard-hitting, investigative journalist she. Where are the real journalists? You know, the ones like Woodward and Bernstein, fearless, not needing an approval rating to do their job, telling the truth that people might not want to hear but need to hear ...

Posted by Lee at 09:40 AM | Comments (0)
January 29, 2002
so balmy it is just balmy

At 2:00ish p.m. just outside of New Haven, Connecticut, it is 66 degrees. SIXTY-SIX DEGREES!! In Norwalk, just 40.4 miles west, it is 67.8 degrees! And I'm stuck INSIDE! If I'd known it was going to be this warm, I would've taken the day off, planted those tulips I didn't get in the ground in November.

What's going on with this weather? I'd love it more if I didn't worry about the consequences - I'm sure there's gotta be consequences and, if there are no obvious ones, I'm sure some expert ninny will figure one out ...

Posted by Lee at 02:11 PM | Comments (0)
so balmy it is just balmy

At 2:00ish p.m. just outside of New Haven, Connecticut, it is 66 degrees. SIXTY-SIX DEGREES!! In Norwalk, just 40.4 miles west, it is 67.8 degrees! And I'm stuck INSIDE! If I'd known it was going to be this warm, I would've taken the day off, planted those tulips I didn't get in the ground in November.

What's going on with this weather? I'd love it more if I didn't worry about the consequences - I'm sure there's gotta be consequences and, if there are no obvious ones, I'm sure some expert ninny will figure one out ...

Posted by Lee at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)
How's this for a fixer-upper?

Murder House / How a house with "history" became a dream come true.

And we think WE have a lot of work to do ...

Posted by Lee at 01:12 PM | Comments (0)
January 28, 2002
Road Kill snacks for fido

Dog treats with a difference ... Brown Dog Institute.

Posted by Lee at 04:49 PM | Comments (0)
Well, I don't quite know how to describe this site

All I can say is check it out. I forget how I stumbled upon it ... blogsnob maybe? The home page is just the tip of the iceberg. Damn Hell Ass Kings

Posted by Lee at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)
KISS, Part One

Gerry McGovern makes some good points in his current article: The need for simple English on the Web.

"Writing is about communicating. If your reader requires a dictionary of slang in order to wade through your content, chances are you won’t have too many readers." Hear hear!

And for the most part, I agree with him. Until I get to this paragraph:

"Unlimited choice scares people. (Practically nobody goes beyond the second page of search results.) Complex language confuses them. Long convoluted documents turn them off."

Which is pretty patronizing stuff. Unlimited choice does not scare people, for cryin' out loud - people have limited TIME and limited PATIENCE - so why bother going beyond the first page of search results if one finds what's needed there? Isn't that the point of searching vs. surfing? Complex language is a waste of TIME - so why bother? Convoluted documents waste TIME and PATIENCE, so why bother with them? There are too many choices available for any web user to put up with bullshit of any ilk. If the crap detector goes off, a reader immediately moves on unless the info is absolutely essential (such as bank-speak, like that found on Chase Online).

One thing web writers ARE doing well is contributing to the destruction of the English language. But I'll save that for my next rant.

Posted by Lee at 10:50 AM | Comments (0)
January 27, 2002
Playing hooky another day

Again, the day was beautiful. I wanted to check out our municipal beach, Calf Pasture (Norwalk, CT) since I'd only been there at night to see the fireworks. Not a very interesting beach - we didn't stay there long. It was interesting seeing the islands in the Sound, though, but we couldn't see Sheffield Island Lighthouse from the beach, which disappointed me.

On the boardwalk at Calf Pasture.

It's very blue today.

Lady feeding the gulls. Mickey D fries, I think ...

We decided to head over to Sherwood Island again, since it really is one of our favorite places. It was a lot more crowded today but still empty and fresh.

On the east side of the island this time.

Ginger walks in a big circle when she's checking out new sights and smells.

Time to play!

What's that??

Dogs fly.

Winter days are much too short.

And then we headed home, where we face Ginger's creation: purloined catalogs shredded so well and so thoroughly we're thinking about renaming her "Enron."

Next trip, we take the cat, too.

Posted by Lee at 05:31 PM | Comments (0)
January 26, 2002
Perfect Day

The dog had so much energy she was wearing us out just standing there. And it was sunny, in the mid 50s, and the snow was gone. A break beckoned, so we went to Sherwood Island. These are very low-res images so they load this century, alas ...

A perfect day. Not your typical Connecticut January day, that's for sure.

Ginger takes Stanley for a walk.

Practically walking on water.

Dog smiling at the moon.

A man, a dog, a goose, Long Island Sound.


Eventually, we had to go home. Twitch was waiting for us.
Twitch supervising his human.

Posted by Lee at 07:50 PM | Comments (1)
January 25, 2002
Blog Traps

gadget-girl is another blog that traps you in its URL. Stupid.

Posted by Lee at 02:03 PM | Comments (0)
Sanctity of Life Day? Puhleeese ...

Mork Morford's Notes & Errata column about Dubya's National Sanctity of Life Day - a smack in the face to women with IQs higher than 80. Bush Does Abortion Right / Lock up your daughters and subdue your girlfriends, it's National Sanctity of Life Day
--- [snip] ---
"National Sanctity of Life Day. It's positively poetic. Let it roll around in your mouth. Taste that bitterness? That acidic aftertaste?

"That's a very special sort of hypocritical irony, rich in creamy gloating as U.S. bombs still rain down on Afghanistan, where thousands of innocent men, women, and children lie dead because of our actions and here's Bush, declaring National Sanctity of Life Day ostensibly to protect unborn fetuses but actually to protect and assuage a fickle and much-needed voting bloc. ...

"The U.S. is sending increasing numbers of troops around the world right this very minute, the last batch just landing in the Philippines, U.S. soldiers now stationed in over 140 countries and counting, the "war" on terrorism a rather tedious and vague part of our everyday lives, and we are told to appreciate the sanctity of life.

"After all, aren't we protecting said sanctity all over the world via countless covert actions and puppet governments and military tribunals and eternally detained immigrants and wiretapped phone calls without your knowledge? You bet we are. Cherish the sanctity."

Posted by Lee at 12:52 PM | Comments (1)
pong: the dark side

When Pong goes bad! Check this out (ignore the Czech text - just watch it) PONG.

Posted by Lee at 10:25 AM | Comments (1)
January 24, 2002
Suck sites sucked away by WIPO

WIPO takes 80% of all (whatever)sucks domain names away from the owners and gives them to the protest-filing companies - so much for free speech on the net. But attorney Ed Harvilla came up with a solution: "Sucks" sites to be doled out for free.

'Harvilla and a group of silent partners are launching the “Free Speech Center.” Harvilla has dozens of .com, .net, .org, and .info domain names than can be appended with a prefix — known to technologists as the hostname of a URL — to make a logical protest site destination. On the list: bizsucks.net, comsucks.net, edusucks.net, and orgprotest.org. So any company that didn’t like Harvilla’s site could create a site called “FreeSpeechCenter.orgprotest.org.”'

One can only hope it catches on. We need to thin the ranks of the gruntled.

Posted by Lee at 02:16 PM | Comments (3)
January 23, 2002
Technoerotica's Opt Out links page

Beings have asked me how to find this. It's here: No More Popup Ads.

Posted by Lee at 01:06 PM | Comments (1)

Check out KATBOT.

I'm not quite sure what this Funny Garbage site is all about, but the design and execution is pretty interesting. Hello Kitty lovers will like this site a lot, I do believe.

Posted by Lee at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)
January 22, 2002
Mac = 4.5% market share?

Jeez, if it's that low, I won't even factor Macs into my browser/os compatibility fixes. Whatever Mac-lovers say (I'm not one of them), there's no getting around the fact that it's extremely difficult to run Macs on a network - I hear my mac-eater colleagues screaming about it every single day. If that's how Mac wants you to "Think different," no thank you.

Anyway, this article posits Apple is not long for this world as long as it stays with their current chip platform. Schools don't even want Macs any more because they ARE so hard to network. Business 2.0 - Web Article - Trouble at Apple's Core

Posted by Lee at 02:48 PM | Comments (0)
Very nice Robby B.

I link to this simply because I really like the design. It's different, effective, and I didn't even mind having to figure out that the scrollbar is there, just invisible (as opposed to a stylesheet screwup). R o b b y B . c o m My compliments to the designer.

Posted by Lee at 01:21 PM | Comments (0)
The Forwarders 12-Step "Program"

Forwarded to me from a friend in Canada, who got it forwarded from her friend in Massachusetts and where it was before that or who wrote it, I have no idea:


1. "I will NOT get bad luck, lose my friends, or lose my mailing lists if I DON'T forward an email!

2. I will NOT hear any music or see a taco dog, if I DO forward an e-mail.

3. Bill Gates is NOT going to send me money, Victoria Secret doesn't know anything about a gift certificate they're supposed to send me and Ford will not give me a 50% discount even if I forward my e-mail to more than 50 people!

4. I will NEVER receive gift certificates, coupons, or freebies from Coca Cola, Cracker Barrel, Old Navy, or anyone else if I send an e-mail to 10 people.

5. I will NEVER see a pop-up window if I forward an e-mail ... NEVER!!!!

6. My phone will not MYSTERIOUSLY ring after I forward an e-mail.

7. There is NO SUCH THING as an e-mail tracking program, and I am not STUPID enough to think that someone will send me $100 for forwarding an e-mail to 10 or more people!

8. There is no kid with cancer through the Make-a-Wish program in England collecting anything! He did when he was 7 years old. He is now cancer free and 35 years old and DOESN'T WANT ANY MORE POST CARDS, CALLING CARDS, or GET-WELL CARDS.

9. The government does not have a bill in Congress called 901B (or whatever they named it this week) that, if passed, will enable them to charge us 5 cents for every e-mail we send.

10. There will be NO cool dancing, singing, waving, colorful flowers characters, or program that I will receive immediately after I forward an e-mail.

11. The American Red Cross will NOT donate 50 cents to a certain individual dying of some never-heard-of disease for every e-mail address I send this to. The American Red Cross RECEIVES donations.

12. And finally, I WILL NOT let others guilt me into sending things by telling me I am not their friend or that I don't believe in Jesus Christ. If God wants to send me a message, I believe the bushes in my yard will burn before He picks up a PC to pass it on!

Instead of forwarding stuff - why can't people just blog things?

Posted by Lee at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)
January 21, 2002
Well, if you're going to renege

on paying off your student loans, the first thing I would do is NOT work for the government. Boston Globe Online / Metro | Region / Grad accused of faking death to avoid loans.

Hmm, I always wondered what those Army buildings were for in Natick. I wonder what kind of research they do there?

Posted by Lee at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)
A Real Urban Legend

BioMedNet posted a review of Typhoid Mary : An Urban Historical by Anthony Bourdain: Magazine: Beagle Review. (Registration is free).

Her real name was Mary Mallon, and not much is known about her other than typhoid appeared wherever she was employed as a cook. An excerpt:

"Mary was angry at the unexpected site [sic] of me, and although I recited some well-considered speeches committed to memory in advance to make sure she understood what I meant, and that I meant her no harm, I could do nothing with her.

"She denied she knew anything about typhoid. She had never had it nor produced it. There had been no more typhoid where she was than anywhere else.

"There was typhoid fever everywhere. Nobody had ever accused her of causing any cases or had any occasion to do so. Such a thing had never been heard of."

Posted by Lee at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)
January 20, 2002

This is a nicely designed site, despite the truly annoying music, the typos, the random spelling variations (is it "color" or "colour"? Doesn't matter - there's both here). The content is rather silly, from Paul Goldin, Psychologist (whomever the hell that is and why would I even care?) - another of those personality test things. A good way to waste five minutes. Colorgenics

Posted by Lee at 05:41 PM | Comments (0)
Playing with the camera

'Twas a snowy evening. Not much to do 'cept watch bad tv, eat dinner, take pictures of the creatures.

Twitch tries to kill the laser light.

But the light is gone ...

Hey, hey - there's this noise, see, and, well, it's dark ...

The snowplow is coming to get me, oh no,
pleaseletmein ... it's me, Ginger, hey, hurry!

Ah've put a spell on you ...

Posted by Lee at 01:40 PM | Comments (0)
January 19, 2002
LOTR - read this review

It's funny - and dead on. At least for LOTR - I haven't seen The Majestic (and don't care if I see it or not - hearwarming sucks). Lord of the Rings and The Majestic.

Posted by Lee at 05:15 PM | Comments (0)
LOTR - again

Ebert on LOTR - interesting. The best movie of all time? 'Lord,' no!

Posted by Lee at 03:32 PM | Comments (0)

The sound sucked. What ever happened to actors acting like they were whispering instead of actually whispering? I'm very hard of hearing, but I can hear most movies. Directors, though, are increasingly forgetting that the tendency is for their audience to have less-than-perfect hearing. They forget whispering is an effect, not an actual event, at least in a well-crafted movie. And the conversations over significant background noise - ohmygod - older directors seemed to be able to handle this, why can't directors do this any more? They need to keep the sound above a minimum threshold. I'd rather imagine the theater was rumbling rather than actually feel it rumble - I'd rather be able to hear every word rather than try to read lips or give up. In the case of LOTR - I gave up. If I'd paid for the movie, though (we had free coupons!), I'd want my money back or at least the chance to hear it again with those godawful headphones. "The Other" is another example - a great movie ruined for me and any other marginally hard of hearing person because the sound was awful.

Posted by Lee at 03:16 PM | Comments (0)
LOTR - Finally!

We finally got a chance to see it last night. I must admit, Lord of the Rings was better than I expected it to be. I had a lot of trouble believing all the hype - what was real and what was just this nation of sheep bleating in unison.

That said, it was TOO LONG. A good 45 minutes could've been trimmed with no loss. Stanley thinks it was good as it is - he said it could've been longer and he would've been happy. I think trimming a minute or two here and there would've made it a more bearable movie since some scenes were interminable (the Ringwraiths chasing Liv Ullman, the canoe trip, the slogging through the snow, the length of time it took to get across the stone bridge in the tomb of the dwarves, the fight scenes -- all could've been trimmed significantly without ruining anything).

I listened as parents and other people explained what was going on to those (kids and others) who'd never read the books - the movie does not stand alone. It is very confusing unless the viewer is one of the initiated (no matter how long ago. In my case, I read the books about 30 years ago).


It would've been better, too, if the movie weren't so patronizing of the Hobbits and treated them as the central, most important characters - the way they are treated in the books. It rests on Frodo's shoulders to save Middle Earth from The Shadow - no one else, not human, not elf, not dwarf, not wizard. That really bugged me.


But the special effects were great - I loved, especially, the river attacking the Ringwraiths. I'd like to watch it again to see all the details I missed the first time around - the rock creatures embedded in the scenery, more of the background details, the stuff that lent all the texture to the movie in an almost subliminal way.

Posted by Lee at 01:30 PM | Comments (2)
January 18, 2002
Blog-surf traps

Twice today I got trapped in a blog frame when blog hopping. You know, that thing you do when you follow Blogsnob or other links just to see what else is out there. Anyway, I'd ended up on Scott Rubush's blog. Which has a number of links. I followed the Blogsnob link through several, maybe five or so blogs. I happened to glance at the address bar and saw Scott Rubush's http no matter where I was. I noticed that on another blog hop earlier today (I forget which one). This is REALLY ANNOYING. That's why I'm not linking his blog. Sometimes I like to pop the blog into my favorites to look at when I have more time. This blog hopping trap makes it impossible to do that.

Does trapping blog hoppers in an URL jack up stats or something? Increase the popularity rating somewhere? (And why would anyone care?) Why would anyone do this? If it's intentional and not something accidental because one is using Blogger or something, then this is just begging for a countermeasure. Such as ostracism, maybe, or something else ...

Posted by Lee at 05:20 PM | Comments (5)
Just one more use for those little yellow pad thingies

Well, I want to know how long it takes to SCAN one of these puppies ... Post-It Theater. While you're there, explore the whole site - it's a strange conglomeration of stuff.

Posted by Lee at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)
Old Postcards & more

James Lileks, a writer hailing from Fargo, ND, has put together a gallery of postcards from Motels - apparently of the 1950s and 60s. There's also a LOT of other stuff to explore on his website -- a time sink to enjoy. Maybe you could even follow the link to buy "The Gallery of Regrettable Food."

Posted by Lee at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)
January 17, 2002
What my parents saw

GREAT collection of WPA posters via the Libe of Congress site. Wonderful for getting ideas for good retro designs.


Posted by Lee at 07:37 PM | Comments (2)
X-Files Finally ending

Well, I guess its official: Fox to close ``X-Files'' in May.

It Jumped the Shark about four seasons ago, anyway, when Fox started taking himself way too seriously. It tripped over the shark when Dana was abducted ... this show was really starting to get on my nerves. I LIKE Robert Patrick as a replacement for Duchovny, a lot, but the show has taken itself way too seriously for too long now. Time to wrap it all up and enjoy those residuals.

Posted by Lee at 12:35 PM | Comments (1)
enron & ebay

Hopefully these people are employees making at least something to make up for their trashed pension plans ... Enron items garner high bids on eBay - Tech News - CNET.com

Posted by Lee at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)
January 16, 2002
Powell continues to suck up

What Mark Morford (SF Gate Morning Fix) wrote: "Secretary of State Colin Powell has agreed to participate in a global forum sponsored by MTV where he will answer pre-planned, safe, softball questions from pre-selected and entirely unthreatening young people around the world, so long as they don't ask him why he's become such a weak-kneed castrated namby-pamby Cheney sycophant who at one point seemed to have some mildly unique opinions and moderate intellectual stances but who has since been drained of all potential political nuance and now tows the GOP line like a good party lackey and speaks only in vague broad annoying platitudes. "General Powell, why is it the US as a global power feel it necessary to ramrod our puppet democratic frameworks and thinly veiled capitalist paradigms down the throats of poor bombed-out nations under the guise of egalitarian nations-building efforts, when in fact most everyone knows we're merely desperate to keep the billions flowing from the Saudi oil fields no matter the cost in human lives or socioeconomic instability?" said some kid named Tommy, 15, from Pasadena. "Oh sorry. I mean, what's it like being a neat-o general?" "

Which is about a thousand times more relevant/accurate than the actual story: Secretary of State Powell to participate in MTV global forum.

I used to respect Powell. But I haven't seen any evidence since he was named Sec'y of State that there's any Powell there. Too bad - this is a man I would have voted for for president. Not any more.

Posted by Lee at 07:32 PM | Comments (0)

Plaque Meant To Honor Actor Insults Instead. Plaque meant for James Earl Jones has James Earl Ray engraved on it.

Posted by Lee at 05:00 PM | Comments (0)
NYT: The Enron Smoking Gun

Just read it. (If you need to log in to read this, just register with NYTimes - it costs nothing.) Text of Letter to Enron's Chairman After Departure of Chief Executive.

So I wonder why Sherron Watkins didn't resign as well?

Posted by Lee at 04:52 PM | Comments (0)
When I think about just walking

I get bored when I have to re-do something that was done right once, but was "improved" by someone else - which is what I'm doing today. One of those days when I wish I could win just enough in a lottery to quit for a year or two or three. At least quit working for someone else other than my own company (which I don't get to spend as much time on as I would like). But, when I get really frustrated, I take a look at Netslaves or head on here: Ghost Sites. I guess it could be worse - I could be stuck churning out endless PowerPoint presentations for some moron of an executive-something-or-other.

Posted by Lee at 02:35 PM | Comments (0)
Top Websites - what they have in common

An interesting article, well worth reading. WDVL: Ten Top Sites Compared

The top ten web properties:
AOL Time Warner
Walt Disney Internet Group

Questions: WHY are these the top ten sites? Does it really have to do with the design and layout, or is it because of the content? Would people still head to these sites even if they were hard to use?

Posted by Lee at 10:07 AM | Comments (0)

DevX has a decent DHTML reference section: Get Help with DHTML. Some handy quick links to a standard bag of javascripts, code.

Posted by Lee at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)
January 15, 2002
7-11 milk experiment

A 7-11 Milk Experiment is a usability study, sort of:

“The idea is that if we gave you a person with a poured bowl of cereal and no milk and you went to that person’s house, picked them up, drove them to a 7-Eleven, gave them enough money to buy milk, and sent them into the 7-Eleven, 100 percent of the time, that person would successfully buy milk,” explained Jared M. Spool, UIE’s founding principal. “We tried something similar with Web sites.”

They gave users some money and some web sites to go to and a task to buy a specific item sold on those sites and found the success rate to be just 30%. What it means is even if your site loads fast and looks great, if the navigation sucks, it doesn't matter because you won't sell much because users won't be able to find it (or won't be able to figure out how to check out - or just won't bother). The article is Usability and organization are key to site-visitor satisfaction on Tech Republic. You may have to log in - it doesn't cost anything to register and the article is well worth reading.

Jared Spool's site is User Interface Engineering. You can buy the whole study there for about $25.

Posted by Lee at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)
January 14, 2002
More Homeland Stupidity

Dearborn to adopt antiterror program. Right now, Dearborn, MI has two claims to fame. First, it's the birthplace of and headquarters of Ford Motor Company. Second, there is a huge Arab-American population in this city (where I was born - but only because that's where the hospital was). A third of Dearborn's 97,000 residents, and 58% of its students, are Arab Americans. It also has a long, sordid history of racism. The racist tendencies of the old-line, very blue collar, non-Arab population seem to be remerging as they plan to spend a quarter of a million dollars on homeland security.

For what? To protect Ford's Rouge plant from being bombed? Ford has quite effectively crippled itself. To protect Dearborn's Arab-Americans? You've gotta be kidding. To set up a spy network among the Arab-American community? That wouldn't surprise me. What would surprise me is if they actually did anything meaningful with their boondoggle. Especially since there is nothing meaningful to do. Maybe mount anti-aircraft guns along the banks of the Rouge.

Posted by Lee at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)
very weird

Via Mark Morford (Morning Fix) comes news of this Flash, um, movie? Irrational Exuberance.

Posted by Lee at 01:06 PM | Comments (0)
January 13, 2002
I'm God

You know all and see all, but that doesn't prevent you from having a child-like innocence and a playful sense of humor. You obviously think very highly of yourself, but that's okay, everyone does. Told ya God was a woman!!

Take The "Which Kevin Smith Female Are You?" Quiz!!

Posted by Lee at 05:53 PM | Comments (0)
my palm reading

Idle surfing, came upon Yahoo's palm reading thingie. The following is what mine said, though I have a sneaking suspicion they all say the same thing. A suspicion, but not the patience to click through several times to see if I'm right.

You are intelligent and practical, very likely to have a good memory and the ability to make and follow plans. Leadership skills are among your useful traits. Just be careful not to go to extremes and become a dictator.

You may have trouble concentrating or focusing your attention, especially under stress.

You are a warm hearted person, with much love to give. You probably like children, and exhibit many playful characteristics.

There may be times in your life when you give in to feelings of sadness or depression.

You are likely to make decisions based on intuition or feelings rather than intellect.

You may suffer from low energy, allergies, or some kind of chronic health problem.

No matter what other factors influence your personality, there is an under lying sense of practicality that you can draw on if you wish.

Posted by Lee at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)
Center of the world - review

We watched Center of the World last night. What a snore.

This is how Center of the World is billed:
"... an erotic drama about a young computer wizard (Peter Sarsgaard) whose immersion in the digital world has left him unaccustomed to normal social interaction. When he persuades a beautiful stripper (Molly Parker) to spend three days with him in Las Vegas, their arrangement becomes a journey into the dark secrets of their sexuality."

The billing is bullshit. Directed by Wayne Wang, with weird camera techniques that I guess he used to distinguish flashbacks or fantasies from the right-now, it spent most of the time boring viewers with details in the lives of three people one couldn't give a rat's ass about. The rich computer geek was just that, a rich computer geek with nothing of substance to say, having some sort of existential crisis because his work, and therefore his life, is meaningless. Florence, the self-righteous stripper and erstwhile drummer in some band, was mysterious about who she really is becuase she really isn't anyone. And her friend Jerri, a hooker, is in the movie so Wang can entice geekboys with a shot of her cleavage. Carla Gugino's heaving cleavage was the only erotic part of the movie. Mostly it was shallow and slooooooowww. It was a geekboy dotcom millionaire living out his fantasy because he has the bucks to pay for it. After 96 minutes (more if you watch the two alternative endings, which are really just re-sequenced versions of the ending but with the unrealistic addition of Florence refunding Richard's money), all I really wanted to do was smack that annoying smirk off Florence's face and smack Richard a hard one and tell him to grow up.

I guess it wouldn't have annoyed me so much if it had actually been erotic. Or had some depth. But it was neither erotic nor thought-provoking. My recommendation: don't waste your time.

Posted by Lee at 03:23 PM | Comments (1)
Not only is he stupid - he's a liar

Check out Dubya's lies re: Enron via the Jan. 13 blog entry on Puppet Press Journal. THIS is a man Americans trust with the lives of their sons in the military? THIS is the man with the astronomical approval rating? Why would anyone be stupid enough to lie about something so easily checked unless, of course, he or she is a pathological liar. No, make that a stupid pathological liar.

Meanwhile, check out Civilian Victims of United States' Aerial Bombing of Afghanistan.

The whole War on Terrorism thing is such a travesty. The braindeadening of America.

Posted by Lee at 02:43 PM | Comments (0)
January 12, 2002
K-Force Guest Book

Check out the Guest Book on The K-Force. I've never seen one like this before. But then, I don't particularly look for guest books.

Posted by Lee at 02:50 PM | Comments (0)
Chasing Sleep

Watched Chasing Sleep (2000) with Jeff Daniels & a buncha unknowns. About an English professor who is losing his mind - you watch as his mind caves in. I thought it was excellent - it kind of reminded me of Memento - and I'm surprised it didn't seem to make it to theaters around here (I would've noticed a Jeff Daniels movie - for some reason, he's one of my favorite actors). Saxon is a guy whose wife goes missing - but it's not your usual "guy whose wife goes missing" movie. A lot of imagery here, people constantly popping pills, blood, water ... a claustrophobic house ...

We also watched Ginger Snaps, a 2000 Canadian movie about two goth adolescent girls coming of age. One gets infected by a werewolf. It starts out well, interesting study of sisters who are outcasts in the town because they're so morbid. Even the changes that start happening as a result of the infection/start of menopause are interesting and different. But it goes on way too long and begins to fall apart in the last third. It's definitely worth a look. Features Mimi Rogers in the role of the girls' mother - a dippy character that doesn't fit with Mimi's "I've seen plenty of rough times" face. Quite a lot of nasty digs to listen for.

Posted by Lee at 02:41 PM | Comments (0)
Silly stuff, but I love Alice ...

The March Hare

You're blunt and open, and have a reputation for being ruthless. Blood and gore don't bother you, and neither do the reactions of other people when you tell them exactly what you think of them. In fact, you say what you mean quite often, and nothing seems to affect you at all. You are comfortable with who you are, but you're also quite insane.

Via Puppet Press Journal, which was via clarablog

Posted by Lee at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)
January 11, 2002
Color of the Universe

As readers can probably guess by looking at the logo bar on this page, I like colors and spectra. So I loved reading about the color of the universe:

According to Karl Glazebrook & Ivan Baldry, astronomers at Johns Hopkins University, the universe is green. Sooner or later (like in a few billion years), the universe will be red. This is their chart, which shows the color of the universe (the left and right colors are for comparison):


Lest you think the search for the color of the universe was a quest for new and improved paint colors, researchers say, "The cosmic spectrum tells us about the history of star-formation in the Universe." The decimal RGB equivalents are 0.269, 0.388, 0.342.

Glazebrook and Baldry used John Walker's "Colour Rendering of Spectra" work to figure out the RGB equivalents.

I think the universe was a much prettier color about six billion years ago.

Posted by Lee at 01:21 PM | Comments (1)
Oh, this is cool:

Top Secret Recipes on the Web - a recipe for Screaming Yellow Zonkers ... and Zingers ... and Twinkies, Orange Julius, and on. Hmm, nothing about that awful tasting crap they put in Starbuck's coffee - I'm convinced it's some kind of addictive drug or why else would anyone drink that crap?

Posted by Lee at 12:11 AM | Comments (0)
Witchblade ... the new season

Witchblade doesn't begin season two until next summer! By then I will have forgotten what it is about. I like it, have a weird kind of fascination with it, but not enough to watch reruns, 'fer cryin' out loud. Production is only now starting - what the hell were they waiting for??

Posted by Lee at 12:03 AM | Comments (0)
January 10, 2002
Idle Time

15 Things to do when you're bored at Wal-Mart. Courtesy of Onomatopoeia. Guess there's not that much to do in Montreal. eh? (Like there's just SO MUCH to do in Connecticut ... )

Posted by Lee at 07:57 PM | Comments (0)
A site i just like to look at

As well as read. It's Notes from the Road, by Erik Gauger. It's both interesting and beautiful. There are a couple of navigation problems, and maps would be wonderful, but all in all I head here when I just need a dose of just plain pretty and I'm in a mood to explore.

Posted by Lee at 04:49 PM | Comments (0)
Sightings ... this is a strange one

Go here now. My favorite, I think, is "To be recited at the neutering of a humming bird." Why does exist this?

This is another sighting. It has potential, but a bit skimpy at the moment: Corporate Badwill Blog. I bet it wouldn't take too much effort to get just a couple more stories ...

The question is this: will I feel well enough to go to work tomorrow - actually driving to the place I mean, rather than working at home? I'm very glad I worked at home today instead of going in -- I would've had to have left early and the thought of the trek on I-95 with every muscle aching ... a lot to be said for VPN.

Posted by Lee at 12:14 AM | Comments (1)
January 09, 2002
Finally ...

Got this posting properly. Good grief. I forgot the content id in the stylesheet. It's not as simple the as earlier versions. Fortunately, the support forum pointed me in the right direction.

Posted by Lee at 09:10 PM | Comments (0)
Well, it's getting there ...

I managed to figure out how to get Movable Type up & running on my own this time (thank you to Adam for getting Puppet Press Journal up and running!) - it's not as easy as the cool folks at MT would have you think. This is version 1.14. Okay, the main index is up, but I still have to do all the templates for everything else. (If you can read this, I didn't screw anything up this time - it's attempt two to get it up and running on my own.)

My main problem setting up MT was that some of the directories needed to be in upper & lower case, but it didn't install like that, so I had to do some hand twitching. And the only way I knew that could be the problem was from experience. I don't know why the directories didn't install properly - if it's a setting I have on our server or in the ftp client or whatever ...

So, the main index template is the only one done. The rest will have to wait. So this blog is a little schizoid for a while ... what else is new?

Posted by Lee at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)
January 07, 2002
Designer vs. Designer

Gerry McGovern wrote this in a column about web design:

"The role of web graphic design has been vastly over-hyped. It has a function in information architecture, but a minor one. Much more important are the skills of metadata, navigation and search design."

He goes on to tell the tale of a graphic designer who berated him for downplaying graphic design, and found the graphic designer's site to be less than spectatcular, full of the sound and fury ... McGovern continues:

"These designers are wedded to what is cool -- to what sparkles, shines and moves. They design websites that often actively discourage the fundamental activity that the Web was designed for. And what is that? Reading."

Reading? Is that what the web is all about? He continues:

"Let's repeat the word: reading. People spend most of their time on the Web reading. They read a webpage (it is called a 'page'). They read search results. They read their way through a purchase process. They read a discussion forum. They read their way through 'chat.' They read the instructions that allow them to download audio and video.

"When designing a website, you need to focus on two things over and above everything else:
1. Helping the visitor find the information they need as quickly as possible.
2. Presenting this information in the most readable format.

"In web design you should plan for rigidity in the organization of the content and flexibility in its layout. ... once you've placed the 'Home' link in the top left hand corner of your website, it should be left there for the next ten years ... Flexibility is required in how content is laid out because the actual content on a website should be continuously changing."

Posted by Lee at 02:03 PM | Comments (0)