san diego california usa is the personal website of joe crawford

January, 2002: 72 posts.

One of my favorite computing environments was my Amiga 1000…

One of my favorite computing environments was my Amiga 1000, which was purchased by my father back in around 1985 — while I was still in high school. I can now engage in nostalgia for that more innocent time by looking at this page. Collected there are many screenshots from the various iterations of Workbench. This was the operating system and GUI for the Amiga. Considering how old these screenshots are, they hold up well as a computing environment.

Other Amiga related stuff on
TI-99, Amigas and PowerMacs, oh my!
amiga pictures

Spam Note

Spam is out of control these days. I cribbed the phrases below from a slashdot thread on battling spam. Add these to your mail filters / rules so that they get looked for in the body of incoming mail. You can then have them moved for a folder for review.

Here are the phrases:

to be removed
to be permanently removed
to get removed
to get off the list
to get off this list
to be taken off
to remove yourself
removal instructions
remove in subject line
“remove” in subject line
remove in the subject
“remove” in the subject
‘remove’ in the subject
S. 1618

Roast a Pig!

Jenny and I missed out on Noche Buena (Cuban Christmas Eve) in 2001. Maybe we’ll make it in 2002. The big tradition is a pig roast. Not familiar with the concept, and have a hankering to roast a 70-120 pound (30-55kg) pig? Learn how to roast a Noche Buena pig!

New Lab Item:

Ava South emailed me some kind comments recently…

Ava South emailed me some kind comments recently, and has a journal that’s worth a read. Check her out.

For no reason in particular:

Fun facts!

How Islam Lost Its Way:

How Islam Lost Its Way: {well worth a read}

For nearly four months now, leaders of the Muslim community in the United States, and even President Bush, have routinely asserted that Islam is a religion of peace that was hijacked by fanatics on Sept. 11.

These two assertions are simply untrue.

First, Islam — like Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism or any other religion — is not about peace. Nor is it about war. Every religion is about absolute belief in its own superiority and the divine right to impose its version of truth upon others. In medieval times, both the Crusades and the Jihads were soaked in blood. Today, there are Christian fundamentalists who attack abortion clinics in the United States and kill doctors; Muslim fundamentalists who wage their sectarian wars against each other; Jewish settlers who, holding the Old Testament in one hand and Uzis in the other, burn olive orchards and drive Palestinians off their ancestral land; and Hindus in India who demolish ancient mosques and burn down churches.

Now, religion itself can be a worthy thing, and gives comfort and support to billions of people. The trouble comes in when religion demands to be seen as the one true way to look at the world. Tolerance is golden.

For San Diegans: Residential Electronics Recycling Day is this Saturday

For San Diegans: Residential Electronics Recycling Day is this Saturday
This is such a good idea. Nobody has any idea what to do what that damn old MacII or 386, and what’s more disposing of them improperly lets all kinds of nasty toxics into our landfills.

So for goodness sake, recycle and dispose of electronics safely! And learn more about Electronics Reuse and Recycling at

Question: How come neither San Diego Goodwill Industries nor The City of San Diego‘s Environmental Services / Recycling Programs have anything about this on their websites? Granted, it’s a once-a-year event, but it deserves more play than a story in the U-T.

For Screenwriters: looks like a neat resource for screenwriters.

Mage: The Movie?

Mage: The Movie?
One of my favorite comics from the 1980’s was Matt Wagner’s original Mage: The Hero Discovered. I have thought that it would make a great movie for years. At one point even Kevin Smith was talking about doing something with it. I think the motion picture industry has caught up with the comics. Lord of the Rings shows us that we can do anything in the movies when it comes to fantasy effects, goblins, dragons. Mage has some hard-to-pull off scenes, but I think it could be done. And more, I think it should be done. The pacing is such that I think the storyline could fit into a movie nicely – 2 to 2 1/2 hours should do it. And more, given the political climate, it would probably sell. It’s about a man who does not want to be a hero, but whose circumstances push him toward heroism. Hardly a unique story, but a good one. Time will tell if Mage will get out of development hell.

Other links on this:
Mage Movie Rounds First Base
Ancient Brain Parts
tnmc movie news: Mage

For Geeks:

webdav in two minutes. And that’s exactly how much time I have to spend on it!


I want one of these special Christmas ornaments for Festivus 2002! Evolt is smurfy.

Griffith Observatory will get a massive refit!

Griffith Observatory will get a massive refit!
It’s going to take 3 years, but that’s good timing since I’m not in L.A. now. Heh.

I’m a sucker for Griffith Observatory. When I was a kid, maybe 6 or 7 years old I saw a planetarium show there that included a bit on constellations, and speculated on creatures from outer space. They included some pulp SF covers which scared the daylights out of me! I wish I knew which covers they were, it would be cathartic to see them again. That was also the era of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, aggravating my suggestibility. Oh, and I also have a soft spot for Paula Abdul’s Rush Rush, a song whose video features the observatory prominently — it copycats the plotline Rebel without a Cause. When I lived in L.A., I would often go up there to look, especially when I had visitors. One visitor from stands out: Jenny and Joe @ Griffith Park Observatory, 1996. And yes, that’s the Hollywood sign behind us – the camera is facing northwest.

And yes, it’s true. In addition to scads of html and javascript ephemera, I also keep the plotlines of Paul Abdul videos in my head.

Embed a time capsule in cockroach DNA…

Embed a time capsule in cockroach DNA. Cool idea. How will people know to look?

Spellpunk and Family Ties

Captain Cursor coins the term Spellpunk …. I like the coinage! It seems to me that with Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings being the rage that I’m noticing fantasy fandom out there.

In other genre news, I bought the new Buckaroo Banzai DVD today. I don’t usually frequent The Wherehouse, but the one I bought it at — near the San Diego Sports Arena — had a a spanish cover of Tainted Love playing, which was an appropriate strangeness to go with the purchase of the genre-bending Banzai.

I also picked up some yummy See’s Candy to bring to an impromptu party for my Aunt Sally, who was married 2 weeks ago. It was nice to see my Mom’s side of the family — the Silva’s. The company was wonderful, and there was lots of great food as well. I rarely see that part of my family, probably to my detriment.

Jenny and I had a wonderful time.

I’m not sure, but could it have been La Union I was listening to at the Wherehouse?

That felt good.

In attempting to reinvigorate myself, the site, or both, the home page has been replaced with something like a splash page, and there’s a new header to match it here in the blog.

I don’t know if it will stick, but it feels great to play.

As Bruce Sterling exhorts: Follow Your Weird!

Re: Apple Hype

It’s a new iMac. Small and nifty. [ via macintouch ] The actual announcement will be in a few hours. I’m an Apple fan, have been since Amiga went down the tubes, and I always enjoy the Apple Hype. They do well for themselves making creative products and working the hype even better than Microsoft. In an alternate universe Steve Jobs is Bill Gates, and Bill Gates is CEO of a scrappy, smart Microsoft. But where we live Gates is the leader of dumb but relentless Microsoft, and Jobs is the impish, creative troublemaker.

Update, 6:50pm Pacific
Doc on the new iMac. He was there — worth a read.

Quote of the Day:

“Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid.”
– Frank Zappa

Neat rumors about a third version of Blade Runner…

Neat rumors about a third version of Blade Runner. Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies, so this is tasty news.

Silly Scrollbars:

Cookie Monster:

Seems like several times in the past few weeks I’ve seen questions on web405 and websandiego about the rules for cookie and cookie origin — and how those were pretty much plugged holes.

Well, The most modern and current versions of Windows IE 5.5 and 6 apparently are taking us back a few years when these holes were more common.

So, Microsoft in so doing is making liars of all of us who have “why cookies are safe” pages on sites.

I’m sick of their idiocy.

Microsoft Breaks Netscape Rule In New Security Flaw [ via ip ]

Powerpoint Makes A Difference!

Quote of the Day

Pranzo con Kynn a Filippi’s

Today was unremarkable save that I had an enjoyable lunch with Kynn at local Pizza joint Filippis’s Pizza Grotto. There is no electronic substitute for good company, conversation, and food.

There are not many people on the planet who I can keep up with and can keep up with me while: eating antipasto and pizza; talking about Justice League, the W3C, section 508, CSS, web accessibility, the Web Standards Project, mailing lists,, DeCSS, Jakob Nielsen, Apple Industrial Design and Anime. Kynn took the train down (he lives north quite a few miles) and used the excuse that he could get some writing done on the train.

Entirely stimulating, and a very long lunch. Thankfully, I have a flexible employer.

I think the neatest thing about today’s lunch is that I realized something core about what’s going on today. That the September 11th events have brought in many web geeks a desire to do something more — to work towards projects and things which matter in ways that maybe can’t be expressed as part of a stock portfolio or balance sheet. I had not put it into words that way, but Kynn’s right. More of my friends and acquaintances who do web work are thinking of it in very different terms.

The other thing that I realized is that The Web Standards Project has not by any stretch fulfilled it’s mission. Kynn made me understand even clearer that the W3C’s role is really as a technical standards body. The W3C’s role is not and never has been one of advocacy. They merely write up “Recommendations.” Well dammit, there’s a need for Advocacy out there, and that’s the reason the The Web Standards Project was born in the first place – to interact with developers, user agent creators, authoring tool vendors – everyone who uses web standards.

Along the same lines, this is interesting: There is no grassroots organization taking up the issue of Web Accessibility as something to fight for, and something to evangelize on. There are folks doing lobbying, and writing law, but there’s no independent group serving an advocacy role for web accessibility.

I love passionate groups of people banding together. I’d like to see something more in this area.

Much food for thought for me.

And the pizza was good too.

Mr. Ché

In keeping with the reorganization theme… Even my cat’s web page has been updated.


I’ve reorganized the directory structure of my viridian design contest entries — and made a hub for (my) things Viridian: Viridian Design Movement / Joe’s Viridian Contest Entries.

Alton Brown Grab Bag!

I’m not a Food Network fan per se. Jenny digs many of their shows. Me, I only like Alton Brown. His show is like the best old public television – This Old House or Victory Garden. TOH and VG were great shows (still are) even if you didn’t care about home improvement or gardening. It’s not about hyping the latest and greatest fashion, it’s about putting a technology in context (for Alton it’s food) in an interesting, educational, and entertaining way.

And now the grab bag… alton speaks | fan page | the yahoo group | good eats official page | alton and macs [ via backupbrain ]

You can also search for more.

Book Review from Salon of Dot…

Lyrics of the Day: Cheepnis and Village of the Sun


As I have mentioned before, is cool. And they only improve with age and time. I have not written any articles (I have one news item, and that was back in 1999), but I have a fair share of <tip>’s which I posted to thelist.

They also have implemented fancier user pageshere’s mine — with the new new graffito[?] ArtLung logo!

Who doesn’t love a cheesy mustache?

Who doesn’t love a cheesy mustache?
More reorgs and changes making the site more modular under the hood. The bio page was updated to include some new links and formatting as well as a link to me in a cheesy mustache. I also made some small changes to to jenny’s pages on

Fun fact: according to, there are two acceptable spellings for that hair under your nose — mustache and moustache. Either way, I’m glad I got rid of that facial style.

She’s Crafty

– Are you a chick?
– in the San Diego area?
– into fiber arts?
If this sounds like you, check out Stitch & Bitch

Why haven’t I been to San Diego’s Apple Store yet?

Why haven’t I been to San Diego’s Apple Store yet?

Lazy or busy or both.

A history of weblogs…

A history of weblogs, interesting.

Scott Shaw!’s ODDBALL COMICS is cool…

Scott Shaw!’s ODDBALL COMICS is cool.

From crazy Sassy: VBScript API listing Script…

From crazy Sassy: VBScript API listing Script. I had only a tiny part of that magnifico little script. Matt is the MAN. Regular expressions are fun!

The GPS Personal Locator for Children is straight out of Bruce Sterling…

The GPS Personal Locator for Children is straight out of Bruce Sterling. Of course, just because you know where your child is, does not mean you know they are safe. And Dori, it’s cool AND creepy. This is the modern age. Jet planes take me thousands of miles to where my parents live, and they also have the capacity to destroy buildings. This our age, or perhaps our children’s age. Moreover, this is the 21st Century. The trick is to try and retain our essential humanity. Just don’t ask me how to do that. Heh. [ via backupbrain ]

Ancient JavaScript Drawing Experiments

I remember doing lots of experiments with JavaScript when I was first learning it. One I had forgotten about was a drawing program I started in 1999. However, I wanted too high a resolution for what machines could handle then. It would always end up crashing browsers. In 2001 I dialed it back, and made it prettier. Still not really ready for prime time, and I never showed these to anyone. They can now be linked to from Recovering these is part of a wider effort to make my portfolio area make sense.

They are really not that impressive when compared to the stuff you can find at the 5k contest. However, I learned a much from these in trying them on different browsers and different operating systems and different machine processor speeds. I think these are a big part of how I am able to intuit how browsers will handle different amounts of scripting and complexity. I’m proud of them. For those which use PHP, I also provide the source code for each. So, check them out if you’d like.

Ancient DTD Hacking

In 1999 I was inspired by the lack of the ability to validate code with things like the <nobr> tag, to write my own DTD – Document Type Definition. [see code] I think this article at Web Design Group was the thing that did it. If I remember correctly, their their validator actually listens to this “roll your own” technique. At the time there was no alternative to writing nonstandard html, and if you wanted to QA your code it was a hassle to see it complaining about things like marginwidth and marginheight in the <body> tag. The solution was to roll your own DTD and validate against that.

Modern browsers do their own thing when it comes to DOCTYPE declarations, so for public websites, using a custom doctype would probably be inviting trouble. But for QA, it could be useful. Here’s another article on this issue which may be worth your time.


Alwin nails the straight dope on the Presidential fainting spell perfectly. Who better than a CCU nurse to tell you about vagal response? — Bush “Vagals” Himself, Film At Eleven. Edutainment Blogging!


Continuous Quality Improvement:

Whew. Adding and refurbishing this site like crazy. The upper navigation has had the colophon added to it ( previously mentioned ); as well as a site index. Additionally, the portfolio is getting a substantial refit in an attempt to make it less confusing. Still not finished, but until then you can look at 10 year old digital artwork of mine in the fun area — Easter Card,1992. I hope to add more information to all the items in the portfolio. Information on how they were made, why they were made, and get them formatted correctly.

I also hope to add work that is more current for the pro section of the portfolio, again, detailing what I did or did not do on the sites in question. It’s important to me that I not overstate (or understate!) my role in the sites in question.

Salt Lake City Olympics Website Accessibility: Oops.

B+R points out that the Salt Lake City olympics website is not accessible. Deja vu all over again. Why do so few web developers take the time to understand accessibility? For a high profile, general interest, information-rich site like one for the Olympics, you’d think someone would be paying attention. Why must this be an issue?

Was up too late last night…

Was up too late last night. Working on a big project for work. Fun but tiring. Of course, it’s nothing compared to my co-workers who’ve been hip-deep in it for months.

Time to go to work!

Google in Person! Jealous?

Google in Person! Jealous?
Mark Holmes of Nutshell Digital went to the San Diego Internet Marketers Association meeting last night. The featured speakers were folks from the esteemed Google, and I’m sorry I missed it. Mark posted a wrap up which is worth a read. ( via the mailing list )

Representations of Paths in Time and Space

Graphing lifelines is an interesting information design concept. I grew up all over the place and have been wanting to have a proper geographical map / timeline (a timeline is just a “map of time.” yes?) of all the places I’ve lived.

I know I find it useful in conversation to know more about the background of people – so I can communicate more effectively. If you know where a person comes from you’re more likely to know what kind of metaphors are going to resonate with them. I’m a strong believer in metaphor as a mechanism to teach and communicate. To my detriment at times. My wife and friend ewon still make fun of my “salty pie” metaphor, which I guess got out of hand and became ridiculous.

I compared an experience to mistaking salt for sugar when baking — but realizing the mistake halfway through — overcompensating by adding more sugar to cover it up. Thus, salty pie.

It makes sense to me.


My Beard Is Blue

The home page / splash page has been changed. Check it out if you like. It’s xhtml compliant, and was a blast to do. Time for bed now.

My Beard Is Blue 2: Electric Boogaloo

And for the blog header too. Permalink here, previous header was this. View all the old headers here. Time for work now.

Nervous Energy Galore: document.getElementById

In a fit of nervous energy, I made a new lab item: modify the box! a dhtml experiment. Useless, but an excellent exercise. I sat down and wrote this in about an hour and a half. I definitely am feeling better about my confidence with dynamic html – which is where client-side scripting ( commonly referred to as JavaScript, but really it’s ECMAScript, meanwhile, Microsoft would have you call it JScript, and of course originally it was called LiveScript ) and CSS meet.

In a related note: Kynn solved my MSIE6 bug with the current splash page – the trick was to put a false line-height of 3pixels. I had a <div> that was appearing 18 pixels high despite being given a height of 3 pixels. It was apparently making an affordance for text that was not there. Good to know.

Dead AirPort

Dead AirPort
Joe Calls Apple Tech Support
He Shoots He Scores!

So my trustyworthy AirPort Base Station which I have had and loved for a few years now is not responding. I’m currently on hold …. er …no I’m on the phone now…. just a sec…

Well, I went through the same troubleshooting with the amiable tech guy that I did on my own, and it looks like my base station is indeed hosed. They’re gonna send me a new one! Huzzah!

Kudos to Apple Tech Support!

It’s funny, when I called they asked if I had ever called Apple Support before, and I never ever had! This, despite the fact that I’ve owned two Macs for about six years. I think that says something about my experience as a customer.

¡Viva Apple!

Live from Apple Store San Diego

Scoping the hardware, the sexy new iMac, the TiBooks and whatnot here at the Fashion Valley Apple Store — I’m here with crazy Matt Lee– I’m kicking myself that I didn’t bring a camera. Lots of luscious stuff here.

Apple sure knows how to put together a sexy retail experience.

Ronny Vardy Fan Site

A few years ago at San Diego Comic Con I saw some of Ronny Vardy’s work in the gallery portion of the show. Her work was fresh, appealing, and fun. What’s not to love? When I had collected enough stuff, and managed to get some free time, well, here’s a web page!

More Links
»Ronny’s Site from 1999
»heather corinna 29 November 2001
»Vardy invades Moteaze November 2001
»Ronny’s Husband’s Site 2000

They’re not booing…

They’re not booing, they’re saying LOUUUUU
Want to know what I miss? Lou’s Records. when I worked up in Solana Beach at EduPoint, I really enjoyed taking a ride up to Lou’s Records in Encinitas and browsing / buying their excellent stock. It’s a store in two buildings – one side is all used, and the other new. They also sell videos and other sundries. Good record stores are so hard to come by. I remember when I lived in Roanoke that I really treasured trips out of town. A trip to San Diego, L.A., or D.C. meant I could visit a Tower Records. When I lived in Charlottesville I would go to Plan 9, which was prettty good. Certainly better than anything in Roanoke.

Speaking of Charlottesville, I was living there when Dave Matthews was doing regular weekly shows. I always heard good things but never saw them play. Jenny is a huge fan of DMB and I still kick myself that I didn’t at least see them once. ( Note to self: pay attention to groups with strong grassroots followings ).

Dang, that was 10 years ago now that I missed out on Dave Matthews Band. I must be getting old.

My page for Jennifer gets a makeover this morning…

My page for Jennifer gets a makeover this morning.

Don’t be a passive media consumer, be active!

I saw Orange County today and Jack Black was amazing as usual. Some funny moments, but I find myself thinking much of it could have been left out. There’s only about 35 minutes of good movie lodged in that movie. Some cultural works require the full experience to get the right impact. But for some, you just need some of the bits and pieces. Cliff’s Notes. No, not Cliff’s Notes – more – abridged versions. Maybe this is a function for a future TiVo. Think of how many BAD movies there are on cable. Now consider that maybe some of these 90 minute monstrosities may have a 20 minute short film lurking in them. A short film that’s pretty good even! Or perhaps the businessperson on the go – she has no time to sit through Titanic or Gladiator – how about the 35 minute versions of those? Like a remix! I’m liking this idea more and more. Rap/Hip hop was built by people who took existing music, and cut it up in interesting ways. Spielberg’s A.I. was overlong and manipulative, but maybe there’s a film+video Moby or Brian Eno out there who will recut it in a way that’s interesting. Maybe it’s A.I.: The 30 minute adventure! or A.I.: The Sad 20 Minute Version. There is an antecedent for this, for Star Wars – but that’s full length. I want to see multiple, alternate versions. As more people have powerful desktop video capabilities, I hope we’ll see a recut underground.

Time management. Do as I say not as I do

On 20 December 2001, Matthew Walden sent me some corrected text for his experiences making my Make an RTF Document with PHP work under IIS, and just now, a month later, I am putting said text in place. Matthew rocks, and I am tardy.

me so sleepy. me program long time.

I meant to fricking go to bed early. But sadly, I did not. On the plus side, I have updated the dhtml part of the portfolio. It’s validating xhtml and css and everything, just like Jeffrey Zeldman would like. It works and was tested in MSIE5/Mac, IE6/Windows, Netscape 6.2/Windows. It renders well in Lynx as well, which is nice. In Netscape 4.79 it looks and works fine as well. I can’t tell, but apparently it’s the vogue to make your site terribly ugly in Netscape 4. Ho hum. It’s less attractive and less functional, sure. But something in me makes me consider Netscape 4. I can’t take pride in a site that breaks terribly in my old pal Netscape 4. Opera 5 for Mac is a bit funky with it. I dynamically assign locations to <div>s, but Opera is grommeting them to the upper left corner of the browser. I’m not sure if it’s my bug or theirs.

Anyway…the take home message is this: New and Improved, Joe’s qualifications rendered in validating dynamic html ! And not a single <table> in sight. Kind of neat to see a design of mine not change when I run the Table-ize bookmarklet.

Opera Issue Licked!

About the previous entry, I was using style.posTop and style.posLeft under the code block for document.all. This used to work, but no longer does. Nice to know that about Opera!

Racquetball Championships on ESPN in February

iSwitch …

iSwitchbrilliant idea

But a big part of the reluctance is the switching cost. People don’t want to have to fight with Windows to transfer all their old stuff over.

Now imagine if Apple provided, with their new iMacs, an iSwitch software suite.

After putting the new Mac on the home network, you put the iSwitch CD into your old windows box. Magically, all your old documents, bookmarks, and email begin to appear on the mac. The internet dialup configuration also transfers over. The pain of conversion disappears.

When it’s done, you turn off the windows PC — for the last time.

There must be migration packages out there. Heck, it would be useful to make a Windows box to Windows box migration kit as well. Something for the typical consumer who just wants to move their email and documents and jpegs. I think though, that people end up needing to know some geek, or kid, to help them with migrations of this sort.


Joel on Software has a short piece on rewriting software called Rub a dub dub which I quite like. I’ve been doing it myself in the recent past.

No, strike recent — I’ve been building and rebuilding since 1996!

Tom Tomorrow, blogging

It just don’t get any better than this

Great joy can be simple. A satisfying game of intense cutthroat racquetball. Cheap taquitos, beans and rice.

Tamales Ancira’s

Jenny picked some great tamales up. Ancira’s is running ads on the local cable company, and they’re good. She got two each of chicken, beef, and raisin and nut. Fresh tasting, excellent texture. There’s a definite trend of Mexican food today. And that’s fine by me.

Search Engine Upgrade to ht://Dig

Last night and this morning I installed htdig as the new search engine for this site internally. Back in August I mentioned that I would start using google because the solution I was trying had stopped working with any reliability. ht://Dig is open source and originated here in San Diego at SDSU.

Total time for installation and customization was about 5 hours total. This is valuable information in case I ever need to install an htdig search engine for a client. Lots of small details in doing this installation. I downloaded the installation as a tar.gz file, then decompressed that to a suitable location (cgi-bin). Then I had to do configure, make, make install. Installing unix software is always an adventure. This site runs FreeBSD (see: colophon, and I was delighted that it went pretty smoothly.

Then I was ready to start running it. This got tricky, but it was straightforward as I was able to tweak the conf/htdig.conf file to do what I like. rundig is the key to indexing a site. At first I had broken images, but it was working properly. The site initially indexes the htdig site itself. Just like any web robot, it goes out and looks at that site just as a browser would. This put my mind at ease, as I was not sure how it would deal with databased content, or the fact that the pages on my site are very include() driven. I was also concerned that because it is a local search engine, it would index files I don’t want indexed. The perl search engine I had originally installed had this problem. It would find older versions of files and garbage files that had become garbage for a reason.

As I got it working, and pointed it at, I found a problem. The indexing process was taking far too long. Seems I had an infinite loop happening! In my accessibility slideshow from 1999 I had a problem. The [next] and [previous] links did not give any thought to whether they should actually show or not. The php for that I had written when I really knew very little php, and I ended up with the search engine indexing not just /words/accessibility/?i=0 to /words/accessibility/?i=10, but it was iteratively visiting the “next” and “previous” links like crazy. ?i=-1, ?i=-2, ?=-3, and on until I stopped it at ?i=-115. That would have been 115 versions of the “previous” page that was no different than the “first” poge. The PHP I had written in 1999 was smart enough to handle bad values for $i, but not smart enough to realize that there was no “previous” pages for those pages. The “next” links had the same problem. The htdig indexer was not smart enough to know that it was indexing hundreds of nearly identical pages. The solution was to fix the slideshow code so that it would not produce spurious links like that. After that fix, it was indexed properly and quickly. This is probably another reason that many search engines simply won’t touch pages with querystrings.

The next problem I had was that it was showing bad search results for certain pages. Example: I searched for the word “Zappa” – and I got far more results than I would have expected. Granted, I am a Frank Zappa Fan, but why would the bio page come up in a result for that? Turns out the indexer found the entry inside the bottom <select> box for my Frank Zappa piece. So the search engine was indeed finding an instance of the word “Zappa,” but not a useful one. The solution is to not include the bottom navigation in the pages served to the search engine. I also did the same thing with the blog such that the archived pages don’t show the outbound links to the indexer. In this way you don’t get each and every instance in navigation when you use the search engine. I suspect there will be more tweaks like this.

Next I began playing with the look and feel to match the rest of I used my preexisting styles and made graphical widgets for search results. They are pretty cute, actually. Buttons should look like they want to be clicked, and these even have a bevel! You can’t go wrong with a subtle bevel. I added the ht://Dig logo in a way to my liking (a banner along the bottom). I ended up changing several pages in htdig’s common directory: footer.html , header.html, long.html , and nomatch.html. I also edited the template_map variable to point to my own long.html file.

Once I got it working to my satisfaction I reran rundig manually for the last time, and swapped out the old google include for the new htdig include on the search page. With a highly include-driven site it’s very easy to make these kinds of changes.

The last thing I did was add a daily unix system cron job to reindex the site daily. The indexing process takes about 2 minutes and the best part about it is that I shouldn’t have to think about it. And it should always be up to date (plus or minus 24 hours I suppose).

With luck, this search engine will work well. If you have comments or questions, feel free to ask!

Surveillance State

The surveillance state is beginning. 1984 is no longer the relevant text. We need to look to how information flows in Cyberpunk novels like those of William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. Where having surveillance and databases out there in the aether don’t necessarily make anyone safer or happier or more secure. We must think carefully about how information tracking technologies can and will be used, abused, and subverted.

It may also be time to learn more about the EFF.

Mr. President, Help Me Understand

  » It’s a war
  » But they’re not prisoners of war
So which is it?

Sinus Bushycardia

Music Mutations

These music mutations are genius. I love the Strokes / Christina Aguilera mishmash – A Stroke of Genie-us [mp3]. Jenny loves The Strokes, and I love Christina. And this is either the perfect blend or something to displease us both.

Either way, sonic stimulation in spades. [ via metafilter ]

Splash, Header, Sleep

New splash page up front, new header here on the blog. Fancy schmancy xhtml up front. Old school tables in here. Fun. The picture, by the way, is of me, age 5 or so. Rocking out.

Tamales Ancira Contact Information

I’m (already!) starting to get hits from yahoo for searches for this Tamale joint. I blogged it a few days ago, and they have no website, so I get hits instead of them. Crazy! Here’s their info — it’s from their business card, transcribed 30 Feb 2002:

They make these kinds of tamales: Chicken; Beef; Pork; Cheese with Jalapeno; Pineapple; Nuts with Raisins.

2 Locations on this card:

2015 Garnet Avenue Ave, Suite 103
Pacific Beach, California
Tel: 858-273-3521

707 South Escondido Blvd
Escondido, California
Tel: 760-739-8421

Fun Fact

For some people most everyone on the planet, black, crushed-velvet pants are a terrible idea.

←December 2001February 2002→