July 30, 2002
well, so what?

Quiz: Does Your Weblog Own You?

12.5 %

My weblog owns 12.5 % of me.
Does your weblog own you?

Posted by Lee at 02:51 PM | Comments (0)
Bush to Create Formal Office

Bush to Create Formal Office To Shape U.S. Image Abroad (washingtonpost.com)

"A senior administration official said the goal of the office was not to supplant the State Department, which has primary responsibility for "telling America's story" overseas, or replace other agencies with international outreach functions. The office, he said, would add "thematic and strategic value," along with presidential clout, to their efforts."

Sounds like the Ministry of Propaganda to me. So are they going to start trying to control movies, television, etc. before they're "shipped" abroad? Just another way to waste my tax dollars.

Posted by Lee at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)
July 29, 2002
the only thing creepier than an abandoned sanatorium is one that isn't abandoned

Check out The Essex Mountain Sanatorium Home Page. An extremely well-done site. Why it was made, I have no idea, but it's great. (Urban archeology is something I love!) Check out the links page for more.

Posted by Lee at 12:50 PM | Comments (0)
infographics with a beat

"Remind Me" by Royksopp has some nicely done infographics. Reminds me a lot of the work XPlane does.

Posted by Lee at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)
July 26, 2002
Didja ever wonder what makes light sticks glow?

Well you can find out here: WHAT'S THAT STUFF?, courtesy of Chemical & Engineering News.

Posted by Lee at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)
July 25, 2002
poison ivy league

Yale accuses Princeton of hacking

"... admissions officials at Princeton hacked into a Yale Web site that was set up for prospective students. Yale said it found 18 unauthorized log-ins to the Web site that were traced back to computers at Princeton, including computers in the admissions office ... "

This is why the ivy league costs so much more than it's worth -- worrying about stupid crap like this.

Posted by Lee at 10:37 PM | Comments (0)
July 23, 2002
SURL's latest newsletter

Usability News - 4.2 2002. I love the stuff from Wichita State's Software Usability Research Lab -- they do REAL research and present it so I can draw my own conclusions, apply their findings in ways that make sense. SURLs stuff on kiosk usability is good, too (poke around the site).

Posted by Lee at 05:08 PM | Comments (0)
Lomax - not an anthropoligist, but a rip-off artist

I meant to blog on Sunday about the New York Times lionizing Alan Lomax, proclaiming him as king of American folklore because he "discovered" blues musicians such as Leadbelly and Muddy Waters. And he did do some excellent research. But he was also less than honest and had little integrity. He hated the rise of folk rock not because, as he claimed, it was inauthentic (never mind that music is SUPPOSED to evolve), but because people listening to the new folk would no longer listen to the old folk music as much and therefore cut way into his income stream. Plus, he could no longer set the rules.

So I was interested in Dave Marsh's article in Counterpunch: Alan Lomax: Great White Fraud.

As a veteran blues observer wrote me, "Don't get too caught up in grieving for Alan Lomax. For every fine musical contribution that he made, there was an evil venal manipulation of copyright, publishing and ownership of the collected material."

The most notorious concerns "Goodnight Irene." Lomax and his father recorded Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter's song first, so when the song needed to be formally copyrighted because the Weavers were about to have a huge hit with it, representatives of the Ledbetter family approached him. Lomax agreed that this copyright should be established. He adamantly refused to take his name off the song, or to surrender income from it, even though Leadbelly's family was impoverished in the wake of his death two years earlier.

Lomax believed folk culture needed guidance from superior beings like himself. Lomax told Bochan what he believed: nothing in poor people's culture truly happened unless someone like him documented it. He hated rock'n'roll--down to instigating the assault against Bob Dylan's sound system at Newport in '65--because it had no need of mediation by experts like himself.

Posted by Lee at 12:40 AM | Comments (0)
July 21, 2002
As Stanley says, "But it's a benevolent dictatorship"

Wider Military Role in U.S. Is Urged

"The Bush administration has directed lawyers in the Departments of Justice and Defense to review the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 and any other laws that sharply restrict the military's ability to participate in domestic law enforcement. Any changes would be subject to Congressional approval."

Hey, put a tank in my back yard. That'll sure make us all feel safer. Sure it will.

What makes me even nutser is that the gubmint is spending OUR MONEY to figure out ways to take away our rights.

Posted by Lee at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)
More than 500 innocent Afghanis are dead. And for what?

Flaws in U.S. Air War Left Hundreds of Civilians Dead. (Sign-in required, but it's free.)

" ... the evidence suggests that many civilians have been killed by airstrikes hitting precisely the target they were aimed at. The civilians died, the evidence suggests, because they were were made targets by mistake, or because in eagerness to kill Qaeda and Taliban fighters, Americans did not carefully differentiate between civilians and military targets."

From the New York Times, Sunday June 21, 2002:

What is our goal, here? To "get" OBL? To wipe out terrorists? Did we accomplish either? If so, there has been no mention of it in the media.

Posted by Lee at 12:36 PM | Comments (0)
At last - suit filed about requiring ids and searches at airports

CNN.com - Suit challenges airline ID requirements - July 19, 2002

I want to know what I can do to support this lawsuit - I'm getting really tired of the transformation of our society into a Soviet society.

A prominent civil libertarian sued the U.S. government and two major airlines Thursday, claiming that security requirements that compel U.S. citizens to show identification before flying are unconstitutional.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco, John Gilmore, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said that requiring ID from travelers who are not suspected of being a threat to airport security violates several amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

The lawsuit alleges that the regulations restrict freedom of travel, permit intrusive searches without good cause and violate the Freedom of Information Act because they have not been published in the Federal Register.

Posted by Lee at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)
July 20, 2002
fun fun fun

We did it, we went to see Eight Legged Freaks. We even paid full price. You know what? It was worth it! It was fun, it was pretty funny, it was a great send-off on all the mutated-bugs-turned-monster movies. And the cinematography was really well done. It was a hell of a lot better than that lame Men in Black II.

Anyone who sees this movie and says it's awful and therefore he or she didn't like it needs a serious enema. Yes, it's awful, but it's wonderful fun. Contrary to what most of the self-inflated critics seem to want us to believe (including Elvis Mitchell and that peabrained Charles Taylor), not all movies have to be meaningful to be good, fun, escape. Roger Ebert had the guts to admit that he liked it. Ebert got it. Most of the other reviewers did not. No analysis of the movie is required, would just be a waste of time.

Go see it, have fun, stop thinking so much.


Posted by Lee at 01:47 AM | Comments (0)
July 19, 2002
is corn (yeah, zea mays, that stuff) killing us?

When a Crop Becomes King. New York Times (sign-in required, but it's free). Op-ed column by Michael Pollan, author of "The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World."

It's something I never really thought about: eating fewer Doritos will not only make us healthier, but will cut down on our dependence on Middle East oil ... ah, so THAT's why that obscene $190 billion corn subsidy was signed by Dubya last month!

The problem in corn's case is that we're sacrificing the health of both our bodies and the environment by growing and eating so much of it. Though we're only beginning to understand what our cornified food system is doing to our health, there's cause for concern. It's probably no coincidence that the wholesale switch to corn sweeteners in the 1980's marks the beginning of the epidemic of obesity and Type 2 diabetes in this country. Sweetness became so cheap that soft drink makers, rather than lower their prices, super-sized their serving portions and marketing budgets. Thousands of new sweetened snack foods hit the market, and the amount of fructose in our diets soared.

This would be bad enough for the American waistline, but there's also preliminary research suggesting that high-fructose corn syrup is metabolized differently than other sugars, making it potentially more harmful. A recent study at the University of Minnesota found that a diet high in fructose (as compared to glucose) elevates triglyceride levels in men shortly after eating, a phenomenon that has been linked to an increased risk of obesity and heart disease. Little is known about the health effects of eating animals that have themselves eaten so much corn, but in the case of cattle, researchers have found that corn-fed beef is higher in saturated fats than grass-fed beef.

We know a lot more about what 80 million acres of corn is doing to the health of our environment: serious and lasting damage. Modern corn hybrids are the greediest of plants, demanding more nitrogen fertilizer than any other crop. Corn requires more pesticide than any other food crop. Runoff from these chemicals finds its way into the groundwater and, in the Midwestern corn belt, into the Mississippi River, which carries it to the Gulf of Mexico, where it has already killed off marine life in a 12,000 square mile area.

To produce the chemicals we apply to our cornfields takes vast amounts of oil and natural gas. (Nitrogen fertilizer is made from natural gas, pesticides from oil.) America's corn crop might look like a sustainable, solar-powered system for producing food, but it is actually a huge, inefficient, polluting machine that guzzles fossil fuel — a half a gallon of it for every bushel.

Posted by Lee at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)
July 17, 2002
logo design ideas

how to design a logo of letters: both interesting and beautiful. Hmmm ...

Posted by Lee at 01:58 PM | Comments (1)
July 16, 2002
if you need a boost

Enter your first name here and relax.

Posted by Lee at 01:56 PM | Comments (1)
what customers actually do on a website

Mark Hurst has an interesting update togoodexperience.com - customer experience, user experience today. Read "The Page Paradigm."

The page paradigm states that on any given Web page, users have a particular goal in mind, and this goal drives their use. Either they click on a link that they think will take them toward the goal, or (seeing no appropriate forward clicks) they click the Back button to take another path.
That's all: users either click toward the goal, or they click the Back button.

The page paradigm has been useful in my client work by focusing attention on the things that really matter on a page or site. Designing a user experience with the page paradigm in mind requires three steps:

1. Identify users' goals on each page.
2. De-emphasize or remove any page elements (or areas of a site) that don't help to accomplish the goal.
3. Emphasize (or insert) those links, forms, or other elements that either take users closer to their goal, or finally accomplish it.

Posted by Lee at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)
July 15, 2002

The Pull for Pull: ICANN's grab for total unaccountability

ICANN is a case study on the formation of a "black hole bureaucracy" (my term): where money is sucked in and never seen again because the bureacracy 1) doesn't DO anything and 2) is accountable to no other body, person, givernment, etc. This agency was bizarre from the beginning and is rapidly heading for psychosis.

This is an interesting article about ICANN president M. Stuart Lynn’s "reorganization" plan (from Entrepreneur) where he's plotting to be Emperor of the Internet.

“ICANN only listens to those who pay it money,” charges Auerbach, who has had to sue to see the books of the organization he supposedly supervises. “Even its board meetings are paid for by the people it is supposed to regulate.”

But without that support, counters Lynn, a cash-strapped ICANN wouldn’t be able to afford its current level of operations. Lynn wants additional staff and an immediate “300 to 500 percent” hike in ICANN’s $5 million budget. Additional funds are to come from whichever governments get board seats, and from unspecified use fees.

Critics worry about loss of accountability and “mission creep” in what is widely acknowledged—even by Lynn—to be a failed experiment at Internet management so far.

Posted by Lee at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)
July 14, 2002
the male brain?

Male Brain (not for kiddies to look at ... )

Thanks to Stanley for this!

Posted by Lee at 07:30 PM | Comments (0)
Finally, I got around to this

t r i c k s    o f    t h e    t r a d e is the web design and building resource page I've been meaning to get up forever. It's only the beginning -- soon I'll start adding all the links I use a lot because they're useful and that I hate to lose track of.

Posted by Lee at 01:48 AM | Comments (0)
July 13, 2002
I'm a wildcat (!)


The Animal In You Personality Test. Another silly test (I'm a sucker for them.)

Posted by Lee at 12:08 AM | Comments (0)
July 11, 2002
How come I never get junk mail like this?

Eli Lilly, Where's My Prozac?

From Act for Change: "Last month, several dozen Florida residents found a surprise in their mailboxes -- free samples of the controversial prescription drug Prozac. The drug's manufacturer, Eli Lilly, appears to have used patient medical records in order to target people who had been prescribed anti-depressants in the past ... "

Lest you think this is BS, here's another news source: Nando Times - Woman sues after receiving unsolicited Prozac in mail.

Walgreens was involved in this. Of course it was Walgreens: that's where I have my prescriptions filled.

Posted by Lee at 07:31 PM | Comments (0)
July 10, 2002
Now we're all supposed to coo and simper and think this is a wonderful thing?

`A bundle' _ Alabama woman gives birth to sextuplets: four boys and two girls. I think not.

Human litters are not cool, they're abnormal. And a burden on the planet -- and probably on taxpayers too, somehow.

Posted by Lee at 12:54 PM | Comments (3)
July 09, 2002
shoot the dog

George Michael's New Video. A sock puppet teaches Dubya the facts of life.

Posted by Lee at 11:55 PM | Comments (0)
Is it a bomb? Oh, it's just some cadbury's

Scanners can mistake chocolate for bombs. I wonder how many times they're going to have to empty the entire terminal before they conclude screening all bags is pretty pointless. If it scans like a bomb and smells like a bomb, it's probably limberger cheese.

Posted by Lee at 10:18 PM | Comments (0)
July 08, 2002
pointless wonders

This is one: Scrollbar Racing. (I forget how I found this. Probably blocked it out.)

I want one: Aquariass.

Making custom scrollbars.

All things Jurgen Prochnow.

More than I want to know about these cookies.

My. Oh my. Just ... oh my ... Art Gallery.

Posted by Lee at 04:03 PM | Comments (0)
July 06, 2002
Just so you don't seem totally ignorant when watching the superhero movies

I was never much of a comic book reader. So I always feel somewhat dumb whenever Stanley drag ... er takes me to see a movie like Spiderman or X-Men and, soon, Daredevil. He's usually pretty patronizing about my total ignorance of the important features of the plot, characters, all that crap, uh, I mean those details. So, imagine my delight when I stumbled across this feature, from no less an august body than the BBC: The Science of Superheroes. Now maybe I'll "get" Daredevil when we go see it (probably the second it opens in Fairfield County, CT).

Posted by Lee at 08:30 PM | Comments (0)
July 05, 2002
MIB 2 - thumbs down

frank.jpgWe went to see Men in Black II on Wednesday evening. Seemed like a good thing to do as it was 90+ degrees at 9:00 pm. And we both wanted to see it.

Well, the best thing about the movie was Frank, the talking dog. It was an okay movie, but more of a "made for tv" okay than an "$8.75-per-ticket" okay. It made us smile.

The theater was nice and cold (Hoyts Wilton 4), but the popcorn machine was broken, thus throwing off all our plans for dinner. (Next time, Stanley said, we'll call ahead to make sure the damn machine is working.)

The best premise in the entire movie was that the post office is staffed by aliens - the writers could've had a field day with that alone. But it was barely touched. Lara Flynn Boyle was funny as the evil alien (what the hell did she do to her lips? Looks like someone went a little crazy with the collagen there - not very attractive. She's gorgeous without the fat lips, dopey-looking with the fat lips.)

In shorts, enough yucks, but nothing special. Either save your dinero and wait for the video or DVD, or go see it as a discount matinee.

Posted by Lee at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)
Design Sense

Guideline dogma: an interesting article from System Concepts, a British management consultancy specializing in ergonomics and usability.

Check out their "Blooper of the Month."

Posted by Lee at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)
the "miss cleo" defense

Testimony: Slaying tied to bad spiritual advice The defendant [Isom] called the Miss Cleo hotline: "The psychic identified a friend of Smith's as the thief and said the person had a 'facial dysfunction.' Larkin [the deceased], Smith [the partner] said, had a bad eye." Turns out that Smith murdered the wrong guy -- it was really his PARTNER in selling drugs who stole the money from him. My oh my.

Seems like Florida is home to a lot of people who are a special kind of stupid.

Posted by Lee at 01:31 PM | Comments (0)
July 04, 2002
dubya's current version

Bush SEC Delay Called 'Mix-Up' (washingtonpost.com). Yeah, sure it was.

Posted by Lee at 08:04 PM | Comments (0)
Things Photoshop

Muchas gracias to Stanley for pointing me to this site by Trevor Morris: GFX^TM - Photoshop Tutorials, Actions, HotKeys, Lightwave 3D Models, Free Images and Icons. While interesting to look at, the PhotoShop tips & tricks stuff, and there's a LOT of it, makes it a very valuable site for me.

Posted by Lee at 02:23 PM | Comments (0)
July 03, 2002

I am tired of:

People who don't use their turn indicators.

Idiots who don't understand the process at a four-way stop. Or think the rules of the road don't apply to them.

Asses who tailgate at 70mph+.

Jerks who insist on going the speed limit in the passing (fast) lane -- they inevitably cause more problems with that self-righteousness than they could ever solve.

Drivers who talk on the cellphone (the actual phone, not a headset) while driving become morons the second they touch the plastic.

Cheap people. You know, the ones that try to nickle and dime you downward, trying to make you feel guilty or otherwise manipulate you, into giving them at least ten times the value they're paying for. High-maintenance clients are one thing (our clients, for the most part, are pretty cool) - high maintenance, cheap ones are another story altogether -- especially if she doesn't listen to the answer to a question she asks.

People who think statements like "Don't call before noon or after 9pm" don't apply to them.

The self-absorbed-to-the-point-of-stupidity people -- I know many more of these than I should. A disease of Boomers and their offspring, I think. Fortunately, it's not a universal disease. Just more rampant in places like Fairfield County, CT.

Clerks barely earning minimum wage who act like it's really important that their customers care what they think and think they can get away with sneering at customers. And the asswipe customers who let them get away with it.

Random Musings:

Why is it all these commentators and pundits and celebrity guests on tv, such as the ones on the late Politically Incorrent show, feel the need to talk (usually shout) over the other commentators before anyone has had a chance to complete a sentence? And incompetent hosts who let them do it SHOULD have their shows cancelled. Do the shouters think this makes them seem smart? They should get a clue, or get their own websites.

William Shatner is one of the dimmest wits ever.

Mayor Bloomberg should keep his mouth shut, or get some elocution lessons. He sounds like a chipmunk on the radio. Of course, nobody sounds like a chipmunk as much as Bryant Gumble does. I'm glad people seem to be catching on to how little there is between his ears.

Ah well. If I were the ruler of the universe ...

Posted by Lee at 08:11 PM | Comments (0)
July 02, 2002
Guatemala - Notes from the Road

Notes from the Road - Guatemala - Mayan History - Peten - Tikal --Erik Gauger's newest travel notes.

Posted by Lee at 12:18 AM | Comments (0)