March, 2002: 57 posts.
Another San Diego Bloggers Badge user — Organized Anarchy — a cool blog by a local lawyer. Funny and insightful, that guy’s a class act. Current Badgers: see: 3 2 1. San Diego Bloggers is not really a community though. I’m pondering ways to bring bloggers together. I suppose I should notify some of those folks that they’re linked. See if there’s any interest in socializing.
If you need to deal with a mystery Cold Fusion server and you need to find out what version of Cold Fusion they are running, make a test.cfm file and put this in it:
<cfoutput>#server.coldfusion.productVersion#</cfoutput>. Then upload it to the server and view it. Voila!
We live in an appalling time. Airline safety is broken. Energy policy is broken. The educational system is broken. The music industry is broken. Popular culture is broken. Corporate behavior is largely unchecked. Political influence is for sale.
How I manage to retain hope for my Nation, I’m not sure.
Bill Rini has a smart take on slashdot’s move to subscriptions.
I’m very pleased to see an article on augmented reality, which is something similar to what I’ve been hoping for since I read Virtual Light in 1993. Here’s a snippet where Sammy Sal is explaining to Chevette what they are:
“Those VL glasses. Virtual Light.”
She’d heard of it, but wasn’t sure what it was. “They expensive, Sammy Sal?”
“Shit, yes. ‘Bout as much as a Japanese car. Not all that much more, though. Got these little EMP-drivers around the lenses. Work your optic nerves direct. Friend of mine, he’d bring a pair home from the office where he worked. Landscape architects. Put ’em on, you go out walking, everything looks normal, but every plant you see, every tree, there’s this little label hanging there, what it’s name is, Latin under that…
“But they’re solid black.”
“Not if you turn them on, they aren’t. Turn ’em on, they don’t even look like sunglasses.”
So Bruce Sterling is the flavor of the moment of the blogging set for his Austin Chronicle article called Information Wants To Be Worthless. As usual he’s smart, insightful, witty, and forces you to think. He’s able to generate hope and cynicism at the same time. I love the guy. I’ll just say that I’ve been talking about the guy to anyone who would listen to me since I read Islands in the Net in 1989. 1989 was 13 years ago. And with the net, I have proof! Here I am in 1997 talking about Bruce on usenet. For even more Bruce, do not miss the Bruce Sterling Online Index. Be sure to check the speeches. Those are my favorites.
In the lab:
Wow. A buncha new inbound links to here.
Makes me feel not-so-bad to be missing SXSW this year. Fellow WebSanDiegans Caleb Clark and Kelly Abbott will be on panels this year. As are many other web luminaries linked from the sidebar of this site. Bruce Sterling is co-keynoting, and there’s a movie about They Might Be Giants premiering.
“The story of Flash as told by its inventor Jonathan Gay” — kind of neat. At my first web job we did lots of Splash work, crazy crazy stuff.
I have the old FutureSplash and Flash icons in my old resume (I’m not linking you to old resumes. Yuck. The brave and/or crazy may visit the archive if you want to see more ancient artlung stuff).
So here are the old icons: FutureSplash:
And here’s the Flash 2 icon:
And if you want to see some of my old Flash stuff, go here. I keep saying that I’m going to get back into Flash. I have (what I think are) great ideas for some animations and interfaces – I suppose I’ll eventually get to them. Lately though, I get more jazzed by wonderful clean sites, with clean, sparse markup and smart css. Meanwhile, Flash MX is the talk of the town.
As usual, so many ideas, so little time.
Let’s do the Google Groups warp again: Here I am 5 years ago talking about having just downloaded FutureSplash. See, this is the stuff that makes me feel like an old web codger.:
From: artl…@earthlink.net (Joe Crawford)
Subject: Re: FutureSplash site seeks beta testers
In article <01bc33ca$66647040$LocalH…@vintage.stc.net>, "John Grimm"
> Please give this site a shot and tell me what you think. It loads extremely
> fast. I especially need to know how it looks on Netscape. Someone please
> respond besides the one kind person who wrote and begged me to tell him how
> it was done. I am an experienced html programmer. The first two pages are
> what I need feedback from you on. They are done without html for the most
> part. Cutting edge technology. Tell me what you think.
Err… what's the url? I just d/l'd the futuresplash aniomator demo
recently and like what I see … I'd be interested in general comments
about futuresplash/flash animator.
Joe Crawford > ArtLung = Artist + Respiratory Therapist <
> Los Angeles, California, USA <
San Diego Bloggers page has been updated. The list is about a month old, some great blogs and journals on there. Updates: several new blogs, visit to check it out. Also, there are now indicators next to the blogs to show whether they include the badge, or a sidebar link. Also moved three links into a “on hiatus, or dead” area. I don’t want to remove people, but when the blog is over, how to handle. Maybe the site needs something like a “hall of fame” area, for older links. I may have some kind of page of anyone who has mentioned and linked to it, though that might be harder to track. Although I do show current referers. I invite folks to provide feedback on San Diego Bloggers – I’m interested in other regionally based blog lists — how other folks are handling (or not) this idea of regional lists. Seems to me that one of the major points of the internet is to collapse distance. Perhaps regionally based bloglists are retrogressive (opposite of progressive). But no matter, it’s cool, so I’m going with it. It’s fun!
On Friday Jenny and I went to see Michael Moore on his book tour. He wrote Stupid White Men, which was nearly pulped, if not for the action of some stalwart librarians. Read about that on his site. There was an amazing turnout for conservative Navy town San Diego. The Middle School (auditorium? hall?) was filled, and Jenny and I were left outside. We got there maybe half an hour before his scheduled to speak, and they were already full. I’m not sure what the numbers were, but it was hundreds. Luckily, Mike took the time to speak to us (the slacking latecomers) before he went inside. He was inspiring, and charismatic, and funny. The book looks to be worth a look. Mike has a new round of acerbic satirical comment. He spoke about the process of getting the book to the public, and the state of the world, and had some intriguing questions he left us with about events related to 9/11.
Michael Moore’s Five Questions about 9/11 for George W Bush:
1. When domestic aviation was shut down after 9/11, there was one private airliner that was allowed to fly, a private jet, picking up members of the Bin Laden family, and taking them out of the USA. (ref: November 2001 / New Yorker / House of Bin Laden / by Jane Mayer url: http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?011112fa_FACT3 Why was this special permission allowed?
2. Your former oil company, Arbusto, was financed in part by the Bin Laden family, can you tell us more about this connection?
3. In this bbc article, it is mentioned that Afghanistan might be the location of an oil pipeline. At the time Dick Cheney was the chairman of Halliburton, an oil and pipeline services company which had many dealings with UNOCAL. What is this about?
4. Why did the USA give the Taleban government $43 million in May of 2001in humanitarian aid and in part to support the Afghani poppy industry?
5. Several outlets have reported that Osama bin Laden needs, and gets Dialysis, why don’t we hear more about this fact given that it may tend to impact how well he may or not be surviving our current offensives?
I’m paraphrasing, but these are nice food for thought. Moore said he would be sending these questions along to his newsletter and would be posting them to his site.
So, if you’ve been Mozilla / Netscape6 / Gecko-phobic, time to step up to the plate and learn to code for the Mozilla rendering engine. And best practice is to code to standards and leave your browser-specific crud behind. There’s a great deal to learn.
Kynn has posted an article covering in depth the recent Michael Moore book tour event in San Diego, check it out: Michael Moore vs. The Police, I had mentioned it a few days ago, and Moore himself has written about this interesting incident: Mike’s Book Tour Diary: Police Raid, Shut Down My Book-signing in San Diego.
Jenny and I stepped out at about 7:45pm, far before the Police got called. Read Kynn’s thing. I think the take-away for me is that in dissenting, we must take care to exercise good judgement. Tricky business, exercising our rights.
This piece about Talking Heads and The Ramones made me a little weepy. Nostalgia sucks.
Boxes and Arrows, a magazing about Information Architecture and User Experience, has launched. I’ll be checking it out.
Based on the referrers this blog gets, I get a lot of hits from people wanting to find the Strokes / Christina Aguilera remix/mutation called “A Stroke of Genius” by the Freelance Hellraiser. The original thing I blogged in January is down. Unfortunately, you’re probably going to have to use Gnutella or something like it. I have a hard time finding it myself. And I’m good at searching for stuff. No mp3s for download on artlung.com.
UPDATE: More about The Freelance Hellraiser
I’ve been thinking about my old job, Jamison/Gold Interactive (no link, they got bought by a big IT Company and crumpled up and blew away) a lot lately. They were a boutique web outfit in Los Angeles, and did excellent Web/Interactive Design. Some news on some of the participants in that place:
Brett Walker, Designer, Director guru, Flash guru, is on the market as a designer, but off the market as a single person. He’s engaged! That’s so cool. So, go to his site, congratulate him on his engagement, and offer him a job!
Joe Toledo (The Ferreteer), Producer, Gamer, Encyclopedia of Media, cranky movie critic, sometime Screenwriter, now works for Ubisoft (I think I have that right). He’s getting married this weekend, and Jenny and I will be attending (Vegas!). He rocks.
Steve Sigler, Creative Director, Designer, daddy. He’s the first guy I ever met who could hack html like geek, and design like crazy too. He recently redesigned his site, and I (bad Joe!) have not checked it out like I want to.
Meanwhile, at my current job, we had coffee (read: quasi-semi-interview) with someone who worked with a boutique web place in San Francisco at the height of the boom. The descriptions this person gave of their working environment got me thinking more about J/G. What worked, what didn’t. The passage of time makes us idealize things, certainly. But it also brings to mind, for me, a fuller appreciation for what it was about. There may be lessons for me and my employer in thinking of the various events of J/G.
Bill Kelley has what look like some great photos available for sale from his site. The subject of the photos? Folks at Apple, especially Steve Jobs, circa 1977, demoing the Apple ][.
I’ve updated my Border Style Experiment in the lab. You can now tweak the width AND the style of the borders. Very fun to explore what the various style settings end up looking like. You can also cut and paste the source code. It would also be a nice way to text how the borders look on various browsers as well. Enjoy!
I am happy to be back at home, and away from the hyper-world funhouse of Las Vegas. I think Jenny is glad to be back home as well. I found myself thinking of the “User Interface” of Las Vegas and casinos, and how they compare to other “created” environments. Los Angeles’ CityWalk and Disneyworld definitely come to mind. I did a great deal of thinking about how Las Vegas exploits human desire and the human tendency to engage in magical thinking. I feel a a new essay at the edges of my thinking. The downside is that tackling casinos and Las Vegas may be too ambitious. So don’t make any wagers that I’ll get that out of my system anytime soon.
Lindows.com says ruling is first win in Microsoft battle (archived lynx dump), a story from the SDDT, includes a quote from my article on Lindows. To any reporters reading this: I’m happy to be a resource on stories, just drop me a line. I also know a great deal of technical San Diego folks, and can sometimes help steer you toward good sources in the web development and dot com world here in San Diego.
Thanks to Charles I have an image for a new header [header permalink] for the blog. The goofy hat was made by jenny for the WebSanDiego.org Third Birthday. Nifty and goofy. You can see a cooler image of Charles on 3ones right now. Trip the light fantastic!
Editor’s Note: check the image out below, extracted in 2016 from the internet archive:
My favorite character on the animated show Powerpuff Girls is Miss Sara Bellum. She’s the smartest character on the show, or at least the character with the most common sense. She’s also very shapely, has a huge head of curly red hair. Interestingly, the creators made the decision to never show her face. There’s probably a treatise on Feminist Theory in the why of that decision.
My theme lately at work has been to rail against over-engineering. What’s that, you ask? It’s overthinking the architecture and overdoing the planning phase of a project. This is not to say that application architecture has no place. Planning and design is critical. However, the propensity one has, when programming, to try and account for every possible future enhancement to the software, creates a kind of paralysis, and takes one’s eyes off the prize of getting stuff done for the project and for the client. I think of Joel Spolsky’s piece. I also think of the Einstein quote that things should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.
Words not just to program by, but to live by, I think.
I am hard pressed to think of a more delightful application of image recognition than the story Flo and her cat door. I present: Flo Control!
Jenny was playing The Best of Cat Stevens on the stereo last night.
“Morning has broken” inspired this post.
It sounded like the apartment when I was growing up in Alhambra, California.
Other useless musical facts about me: I bought the Sergio Mendes Brasil ’66 CD (the one with “Waters of March”) and The Best of the Doobie Brothers for reasons I think can only be called “nostalgia” for my parents’ music. My mother tells me that my father bought all the records.
Jamie Zawinski has an interesting take (as a coder and as a nightclub owner) on webcasting and the music industry. I’m not certain of all the numbers he runs, but his explanations of the rules around webcasting seem like very practical advice — Webcasting Legally:
The issues of intellectual property, fair use, individual rights and the like appear to be going nuts in this country. I’m nearly at the proverbial tipping point in terms of my own activism on these issues. From the Dmitri case, DeCSS, to Scientology documents issues, the DMCA, SSSCA, and many others, I’m starting to think nobody is speaking up with effectiveness for rational public discourse on these issues.
I think if people realized what was actually happening with this stuff they’d be outraged. But we’re all so numb from other national issues that we’re missing the fact that the Entertainment business is moving to create an entirely pay-per-view culture as fast as they can.
What do you think?
In response to this, Kelly Abbott posted to websandiego a pointer to Interactive Art by way of SXSW. About it he says: The article discusses the culture of art as it pertains to the Internet. As such, it scans copyright law by way of Lawrence Lessig’s keynote address on the first day of SXSW.
Other pertinent links:
Taming the Consumer’s Computer
The Anti-Mammal Dinosaur Protection Act
a letter to your representative
ALERT: Oppose SSSCA; Support Intel’s Bravery: A Bad Law and a Sneaky Process
Anti-Copy Bill Hits D.C.
The Future of Music
Where Music Will Be Coming From
Some time ago I asked about net libel and defamation. the head lemur provided some great information:
“Libel and slander are legal claims for false statements of fact about a person that are printed, broadcast, spoken or otherwise communicated to others. Libel refers to statements in written or other permanent form, while slander refers to verbal statements and gestures. The term defamation encompasses both libel and slander.”
I’ve been collecting URLs as usual. And it’s gotten ahead of me. Time to release these into the wild.
And some links on the CHI tip:
A collection of essays by Don Norman, he of The Design of Everyday Things fame. He also loves the new iMac. And on another note: The Jack Principles, guidelines for designing interactive television programs, based on the game You Don’t Know Jack! Also, local (to San Diego) discussion group SandCHI (San Diego Computer-Human Interaction).
And on design:
A Designer’s Guide to Making Your Own Stock Photography (for non-photographers), which appears to be what Jon Sullivan is up to these days.
And on writing and pictographic systems
Omniglot: a guide to writing systems. I have always been fascinated by the written word. I used to do calligraphy. I used to try and mimic the writing of others, or the “alphabetic” systems of languages that don’t use our A to Z alphabet. Chinese characters, Cyrillic, Japanese Hiragana and Katakana. It’s fascinating that these are alien to me, but for millions of people these are as second nature as M and P are to me.
Betty Page: The Complete Interview CD, sounds really cool. Betty Page, a pinup queen from the 1950s and 1960s, was one of my earliest net.culture discoveries. I first came across her while browsing the net, then later went looking for books and other materials. She’s been completely unavailable for televised interviews, other than her voice. As I understand it, she does not want to “sully” the memory of how she looked then with how she looks now as an elderly woman. I think I do want to see her. There’s a kind of vitality that comes through in the photographs of her. I can see a fun-loving spirit shining through. She also seems to have a dose of irony. She let’s you know she’s in on the game. Granted, it’s just cheesecake/fetish photography, but it seems like she had some empowerment going on.
Volunteer San Diego. Interesting.
Sheesh, I have a lot of links lately. Building up I suppose.
But the senior defense official explained yesterday that the Air Force combat controller was using a Precision Lightweight GPS Receiver, known to soldiers as a “plugger,” to calculate the Taliban’s coordinates for a B-52 attack. The controller did not realize that after he changed the device’s battery, the machine was programmed to automatically come back on displaying coordinates for its own location, the official said.
Minutes before the fatal B-52 strike, which also killed five Afghan opposition soldiers and injured 18 others, the controller had used the GPS receiver to calculate the latitude and longitude of the Taliban position in minutes and seconds for an airstrike by a Navy F/A-18, the official said.
Then, with the B-52 approaching the target, the air controller did a second calculation in “degree decimals” required by the bomber crew. The controller had performed the calculation and recorded the position, the official said, when the receiver battery died.
Without realizing the machine was programmed to come back on showing the coordinates of its own location, the controller mistakenly called in the American position to the B-52. The JDAM landed with devastating precision.
My Comment: The way I read it, the soldier using the device did not know the implications of changing the battery. Seems like he was assuming that state was preserved when the battery was changed. More, it looks like the device does not give feedback that that is what it’s doing when you need to change the battery.
I feel very lucky to not work with interfaces whose malfunction and misunderstanding are likely to end in death and destruction.
One of My Favorite Links to ArtLung.com is usa.pchome.com.tw/art/artists/designer/graphic_designers/. Gotta love inbound links in Chinese. I’ve often thought of maintaining a fully translated site. Perhaps be part of a network that maintains translations of personal sites and blogs. More readers is more readers, right? I wonder what such a network would look like.