is a personal website. it belongs to joe crawford of san diego california usa

February, 2002: 65 posts.

Talking Heads, Live

In stunning news, Talking Heads, who have been broken up for years will play two songs as a quartet at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. vh1 will air it. Previous news: msnbc story on the induction. [ via, a fan site ]

When I was in high school (1983-1987), Talking Heads was one of my favorite groups. They were a smart, funny, fun, wide ranging group. I had a 2 sided cassette tape which consisted of Remain in Light on side A, and Fear of Music on side B. I used to drive a 1972 Volvo with only an AM radio, and I would carry a portable, as in handheld cassette recorder — designed to record professor’s notes I think — and blast that thing. The sound wa s not good, but I knew what the LPs (this was before CDs) sounded like. I could hear it in my head.

I think the thing that I liked about Talking Heads was that they seemed to consider their work in music to be artistically based. They did not app ear to be driven by commercial concerns in any way whatsoever. No doubt they considered whether their records would sell, but the decisions they made — taking new and strange left turns with every record — were not part of a plan for rock domination. They just put out interesting stuff. Not a bad goal to set for oneself — put out interesting stuff.

I look forward to what they do together after 10 years apart.

Our Cold war legacy…

VersionTracker for Windows

VersionTracker for Windows
VersionTracker – which has been a great resource for Mac folk for several years, apparently also has listings for Windows now. What do they do? They maintain extensive lists of software, and the upgrades, fixes, and patches thereto. Super-useful.

MSN Slate on Enron

At Slate, The Enron Blame Game (requires Flash) [link directly to popup]. Taking responsibility? No thanks, I’ll blame someone else.

Christina’s New Piercing…

Christina’s New Piercing. I still think she’s cute. She makes many many many whacked out fashion choices, but she’s still cute.


Let me direct your attention for a moment to the giant-size list of links on this page. These are links to friends, folks I think are cool, folks who provide good news, and other interesting and useful stuff out there on the web. Do take a moment to look at them, as I recently updated them. Most of them also have their [title] attribute set, so when you put your mouse over the links (in better browsers) you get a small note about the link. Check this old article about the [title] attribute.

Lyrics of the Day

Thanks for the Bug Reports!

Phil D. and Shelby B. noticed (both in the past 24 hours) that the lower link to Colophon was not working. The bug has been fixed. Very nice to get feedback, even if it’s word that things are broken. Bug reports make the site better. They’re an excellent way to keep my ego in check, too.

San Diego Blog

Do you have or know of a San Diego Blog? Visit

Zeldman asks:

Is CSS design really ready for prime time?

To which I reply. No, it’s not. It’s a little late to be asking this given that people have been pushing for xhtml+css for months. I’m not abandoning tables yet. And how can I? To give the best experience, to the most folk, I need to strike the balance between forward compatibility and backward compatibility. And that means I’m not using 100% structural markup. Yet.

But I’m sure I’ll be able to someday.

And yes, I’m willing to help with web standards. Obviously, the job of advocating standards is not over by a longshot. How about we start pushing for more complete CSS1, CSS2, DOM in Opera, PNG, SMIL, SVG in all the browsers? There’s work to be done indeed.

Libro de Kynn

My pal Kynn is writing a book on CSS, it has a website. Cool.

BeOS meets OSX

If you have any interest in BeOS or Mac OSX, you will be very interested in Tales of a BeOS Refugee: From BeOS to OS X (by way of Windows and Linux). Which is a long and thorough article comparing the two operating systems at length from the point of view of a person who was a Be die-hard. It’s excellent. And be sure to read the follow-up, Tales of a BeOS Refugee Redux as well, where the author responds to comments and corrections emailed by readers of the article.

I played with Be when it was still geared toward PowerPC machines, and it was a dazzling OS, really fast at anything multimedia, and now I play with OSX very much, so I really have an appreciation for this article. For anyone technical there’s a lot to like in the article.

Comment: This kind of article / interaction is precisely what the web is about. Commentary that turns into a Socratic dialogue where all participants (and spectators like me!) learn something in the process.

Racquetball Update

I’ve been making references to racquetball since September (just search for racquetball on And I’m still enjoying it. I started playing every weekend, and now am playing basically twice a week – with family and friends. It’s a fast, fun game. It’s precisely the right game given that you are unaware of the exercise aspect of the game while you are doing it. Moreover, there’s strategy required in the same way as a game like pool. You choose your shots in ways that will bank and bounce away from your opponent. And even better, it’s all in 3 dimensions, rather than pool’s flat plane. It’s also an excellent twitch game. Like Quake or Unreal, the action can be very fast as the ball careens through the court.

I’ve never been a thin person, which has roots in genetics and dietary habits. However, in my early 20’s I was actually sort of happy with my physical state. I was not unattractive to the opposite sex, and I could bound up several stairs in the hospital (where I used to work) to get to a code blue or deliver a blood sample quickly and without losing my breath.

Sometime in making the transition from being a Respiratory Terrorist to Web Designer, I stopped exercising altogether, save the occasional trip to the beach (when one was available). This turns out to be bad for your health, and I ballooned. This rightly worryied my parents. But worse than my shape, my tolerance for physical activity was lessened. I don’t give a care what I look like, save to my wife, but being incapable of going up stairs or on a hike is an ego blow of the highest order. The regular racquetball has addressed some of these issues, and I can actually feel an increased tolerance for long walks and stairs. And most clearly, my tolerance for lots of racquetball has increased! Heh.

I despise exercise for exercise’s sake. I have envy who can muster enthusiasm for going for a run — which seems utterly pointless activity to me. Running seems like a means, not an end in itself, and certainly not pleasurable. But some people are wired to enjoy, or are willing to force on themselves walking, running, treadmills, exercise bicycles.

Perhaps as I age I’ll appreciate “just taking a walk.” But for now, I’m going to stick to racquetball. When summer comes, I’ll add bodysurfing and snorkling back into the mix.

Lunch/Stew/Mechanical Ventilation/Dark Knight 2/San Diego Bloggers

Today, no deep introspection, no thoughtful thoughts.

In lieu, some quickies:
– I’m going to Lunch with a big old crew of folks! Should be rockin’ cool.

– Listen to Stew on KRCW [show in realaudio]

– Learn something about critical care. Pay special attention to respiratory therapy and mechanical ventilation, that’s my old job!

Dark Knight 2: The Dark Knight Strikes Again (#2 of 3) came out last week. Good stuff. But sort of like how you can’t review a movie in the middle, unless maybe you’re MST3K, I’m waiting until the final issue till I make further comments about the (much awaited) DK2. And yes, #2 came out late. Comics always always run late.

– The San Diego Bloggers page was updated. The list is growing!

Open Source TextAds

Open source TextAds from the irascible Bill Rini. Now that’s cool.

Hello I Must Be Going!

Yesterday was busy like crazy. I went to work, lunch with a bunch of WebSanDiegans, then my Digital Design for Designers class in Point Loma, then I came home and troubleshooted (troubleshot?) my connection which was mysteriously down, then went to the SDLUG with Matt Lee, meeting featuring the enigmatic Michael Robertson of, formerly of Much too much to say just now, as I must go to work. But I hope to work my notes from the Lindows thing into a longer piece which will be either here in the blog or in /words/.

Ronny Vardy Update

My “for fun only” Ronny Vardy fansite’s url has changed to Also added are flyers for two events in the L.A. area which will feature her fun, sexy pinup work. If she had a website, I would point you there, but alas, she does not, and all there is is my fan site. Enjoy!

New Splash

If you didn’t come through the front door, you might want to check it out. Some dhtml silliness and a very old charcoal drawing of mine. Hope you like it. Oi. Sleepy now.


The San Diego Bloggers page was given a complete facelift this morning.

Mark Your Calendars

San Diego’s Taste of the Nation looks really good. A good cause and good food. It’ll be in May 2002.

Lyrics of the Say…

Over the weekend I did almost no blogging and got an amazing amount of crud done…

Over the weekend I did almost no blogging and got an amazing amount of crud done. Maybe not crud, but stuff.

I did Jenny’s and my taxes (woo hoo!) and because I had a more conventional job than in the past few years (1 full time gig) the taxes were much more clear-cut. No freelance income, not enough business expenses to catalog in detail. Very painless and quick, and I filed electronically which I’ve done for the past 4 years if I remember right. I used Macintax, or rather TurboTax for Mac, which made the process even smoother.

Jenny and I also went to our local Fry’s and picked up a printer cable for her machine. Since we got her a new computer she’s had no luck printing. Turns out it was NOT Windows 98, incompatible drivers, or the Postscript driver – it was the PRINTER CABLE. Looks like the one we had, which was 25 feet long (very nice in it’s day) went bad. The exasperating thing was that the prints we would get would come, they were just bad. Printer technology is either more complex, or much simpler that something like TCP/IP. With that, one can ping to see if the connection is good, and if it’s good, things work. With this, the actual signal was weaker or damaged, causing printing problems. I of course blamed myself for installing the drivers wrong as it’s always a pain to install new drivers on Wintel. I was also blaming Win98 for general flakiness, but with no basis. I was also thinking that it might be the printer (an HP 5MP) might be dying. I had listened to enough of my lovely wife Jenny’s whining reporting printer problems to her Help Desk (Note: Help Desk = me) for several months, I thought I’d give a new cable a shot. So that’s another monkey off my back.

I also played racquetball on Saturday — wonderful games as per usual. Though I find that I have bruises on my legs I’m not sure how I got. I think they are the result of hitting the walls when going hard to make returns. I’ll have to watch that, exuberance is good but I don’t want to hurt myself. I can feel my knees are stressed for a few hours after a game – I’ll have to baby my knees, which are definitely a point of failure for my body as I age.

Speaking of that, yesterday I watched the USRA US Open. I had taped it from Friday from ESPN. I was delighted to see that the champs are older guys – there was even a guy age 50 in the semi-finals.

Add to that, the weather is improving, getting warmer. In 2-3 months the ocean temperature will be warm enough for the beach. In March Jenny and I will go to the wedding of a friend in Las Vegas. In May Star Wars Episode II will be out. In April Edward Tufte is coming to town! (You’d better not chart junk I’m telling you why!) And in July my sister and parents will be flying from back east for a visit. Still no peace in our time, but I’ll accept these personal niceties in lieu of general planetary contentment for the time being.

I’m checking out BlogApp on MacOS X…

I’m checking out BlogApp on MacOS X. It’s a trim shareware mechanism to post to a blogger acccount. (hipped to this by backupbrain)


MySQL-Front is a really nifty freeware MySQL SQL Server Enterprise Manager for MySQL. MySQL is getting more appealing as a database platform every day. It’s not a true RDBMS, but still massively useful. Thanks, Sassy

Phil Greenspun, Bad Examples, and the demise of ArsDigita

How Does Alwin Manage To Find Stuff That Tickles My Neurons?

How Does Alwin Manage To Find Stuff That Tickles My Neurons?
Here’s a cool site with an important-to-our-species’-survival message. Keep Antibiotics Working dot com. And from the “nifty!” department — Emacs for Mac OS X

Sports Term of the Day

Cut-throat Racquetball (aka: Cutthroat Racquetball) — A variation of the game played by three players. The server plays against the other two players, with each player serving in turn.

Racquetball last night was great. Up early now. Stuff to do.

Screen Rulers! (native for MacOS X!)

FreeRuler looks to be just like the Screen Ruler that I’ve been using for years (on MacOS 7,8,9 and Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000) , but now available from a new author, for OSX. Why do you want a ruler on your screen? I’ll tell you why – so you can see how big a graphic on a webpage is — so you can see how wide a layout is, so you can size graphics to fit in that area appropriately. It’s a super useful thing if you ever ever do anything visual. And even the programmiest of web programmers occasionally needs to do visual stuff. If you’re a designer, you need this, like yesterday. I think I’ve been using the original Screen Ruler since 1996 or 1997. Here’s the author with it in his .sig on usenet in 1995. And in case you hadn’t noticed, that’s over 6 years ago. Eons in web time.

It’s a classic and necessary web development tool.


Joel strikes again! with great insights on what clients are looking at when they evaluate our software and web projects. As in lfe,we judge things based on surface aspects that are less important than their underpinnings.

This is a great, funny, geeky cron anecdote. It made me laugh. (Requires some unix knowledge)

I think I’m going to implement one of these implementations, probably one of the perl or php ones.

Happy Birthday & Happy Valentine’s Day Jenny!

Happy Birthday & Happy Valentine’s Day Jenny!

You can’t make this stuff up.

Even with lorem ipsum, you’re not immune to the literal-mindedness of clients. We were showing several designs to a roomful of people from many departments of the client’s organization. The designs all had the classic “greeked text” in them. One of the questions we fielded was: “the final site will be in English, right — not Latin?”

We reassured said person that we did in fact intend to put meaningful words on their website. .

We neither have, nor need, any stinking badges.

The San Diego Bloggers page has grown to 35 links. Some I found myself via daypop and google. Some were emailed to me from folks on various lists I’m on – I asked, and they provided! And some folks just found it randomly, and asked to be added.

Today I created a San Diego blogger badge.

Next up – a random blog function — picking it will take you to one of the blogs listed, which one? Only the gods of random numbers will know! I was going to do it in JavaScript, but then I realized that would be too easy. I want to do it in PHP and MySQL!

Yeah, because I don’t already have enough irons in the fire. Ha!

Irresistably Charming Photograph

I find this photo utterly charming

Update: Ava asked me if this photo was related to me somehow. No, it’s not. That photo is of Dori Smith of backupbrain and her son Sean.


Dare I step my toe into usenet?

Yes, I do. Perhaps you think me mad.

According to Macintouch…

According to Macintouch, RealPlayer for MacOS X will be coming in April of this year.

The third person (besides me) using the San Diego Bloggers badge is nerd boy mikey…

The third person (besides me) using the San Diego Bloggers badge is nerd boy mikey. Cool!

On February 19…

On February 19, 2001 I started blogging. That makes it one year starting tomorrow. As it happens, the answer to my question is this: I can indeed keep up with the blogging. At least for a year. I think I’m able to keep it up because I think of it as many things – a diary, a ship’s log, a changelog, an acknowledgements page, a table of contents, a news page, a “what’s new” page. All things current (and public, not everything gets blogged by me) in my life are are sucked into this amorphous thing called a blog. Maybe a better term for it would be “mental junk drawer.” Here’s a graphical listing by month, with a bar graph to indicate the number of posts per month. They are also linked so you can see the individual months.


Today, this blog is one year old.

Leavin’, on a jet plane.

Up early. Jennifer is leaving for Miami this morning. The cat and I will miss her.

It’s a badge morning!

Full of stray energy, I created 4 badges today for my various and sundry hobby / obsession / popular sites … The Mailing List for San Diego Web Developers

San Diego Bloggers

Voltes V ... because everyone loves giant robots.

bebe advertisements [bebe logo (c) and (tm) bebe]

Ronny Vardy Fansite

UPDATE: I do know how to count. That’s 5 banners. I made 4 this morning. The other one I made the other day. Though early in the morning I am less good at math than I might hope.

Hoi Polloi Linking; Badge Update; More to Come.

The infamous Cocky Bastard made a link to the San Diego Bloggers page and so, it’s getting lots of hits today. Very nifty. And hi neighbor!

In other news, Vince Outlaw and 3ones and Airshare are all sporting those lovely badges.

More changes and updates are coming on the SDBloggers page. This weekend I’ll build the “visit a random blog” tool.

Referers Madness

Last night and this morning I added a Referer tracker for the San Diego Bloggers page in PHP/MySQL. It’s cool to see how people are coming to that site. I’ll probably add something similar for my own blog as well. Any suggestions as to how to order the data?

Other stuff to say, but not now.


From Dear Johnny and Davezilla, some silliness. It’s not so much that it’s funny, as that I really dig the illustration accompanying it.

Civil Liberties Quote of the Day

Civil Liberties Quote of the Day (source):

When your government, employer, landlord, merchant, banker and local sports team gang up to picture, digitize and permanently record your every activity, you are placed under unprecedented control. This is not some alarmist Orwellian scenario; it is here, now, financed by $20 billion last year and $15 billion more this year of federal money appropriated out of sheer fear.

By creating the means to monitor 300 million visits to the U.S. yearly, this administration and a supine opposition are building a system capable of identifying, tracking and spying on 300 million Americans. So far, the reaction has been a most un-American docility.

Referer vs. Referrer, Part II.

Links inbound to this blog are now available.

My big ol’ head…


Update February 2010: Since Avencom is gone, here’s what that screen looked like back in 2002, thanks Internet Archive!:

Preach it Brotha!

Scott Andrew speaks up for those who work the client side.

Amen. I’m an odd case now, as I fit in both the server and client sides of the equation. But I like what he has to say about client-side experts. Lots of nuance on the client-side. It’s generally underestimated by those whose focus is elsewhere. Likewise, those who work the client-side sometimes underestimate the server-side of web work.

I think that kid is A-Okay.

She’s Talking About Me!


Baby boomers–the cohort for whom Golden Age authors evoke fond recollections of childhood–currently dominate sf production and consumption. This supersized slice of the demographic pie has exerted hegemony over the pace and direction of cultural change for decades, but the Age of the Internet and the New Economy have, it seems to me, begun to dethrone them in favor of the 20- and 30-somethings who are as comfortable in the seething, mutating cultural ferment of the web as fish are in the sea. The Internet is perhaps the best symbol of everything disquieting to boomers (and their elders) about the present, including the generational divide with respect to technology.

(via bruces )


Jenny’s third day away. The cat looks at me like a detective — “What have you done with her?” he seems to ask. He looks at the front door with circumspection. This will be a brief trip for Jenny, but her absence is definitely felt here in our humble household..

On the upside, I’m getting a lot done.

But then, that’s not everything, is it?

Terrorist -> Hippy

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial’s questionable changes. No sir, I don’t like it. Clean the thing up. Don’t butcher it! What the hell are you thinking Steve?

On a somber note.

Chuck Jones, masterful maestro of many merrie melodies — which is to say many Warner Bros. Cartoons — died today. He will be missed. May his work live on.

Bebe Advertisements Site Updated and Moved.

One of the most searched for things on this site is for “Bebe Ads.” Some time ago I became, well, obsessed about the wonderful photography contained in bebe ads. I’ve added some new ones, notably of Yamila Diaz, Nina Brosh, and Isabeli Fontana. I’ve also given them a home under the “fansite” directory of this domain. I have the larger versions of the ads stored on my free space of I tend to be highly paranoid about bandwidth usage, even though it’s unlikely that I’ll go over the limits set by my host. I had been using my space at, but that got flaky. I’m not sure if it was my content, or what, but at times the site would only work if I used the – which adds a frame of advertising. I don’t care enough to investigate this, so I moved it off of AOL entirely.

That new url:

The Long Con: Enron.

Enron Designed Fake Trading Floor – Former Employee Claims No Trades Transpired. ( via Tom Tomorrow )

See also: The Sting, The Grifters.

Amazing and appalling behavior. The lesson? The bigger the lie, the more likely it will be believed.

I have a Bacon number of 3.

My Favorite Characters from Fiction.

For no particular reason, some of my favorite characters from fiction. Understand these choices of mine and it may help you understand me.
Sefton (played by William Holden) / Stalag 17
Al Rockoff (played by John Malkovich) / Killing Fields
Lt. Greenwald (played by José Ferrer) / Caine Mutiny
Gaff (played by Edward James Olmos) / Blade Runner
Rorschach / Watchmen
Colin Laney / Virtual Light


Dark Knight Returns (DK2 #3) will come out on Wednesday. I’ve talked about this before. The themes in this latest series are of media manipulation, surveillance, coercion, and of the compromises made to be part of “the establishment.” I’m looking forward to this 3rd of 3 issues.

New Header

It’s been a while since I did a new header. So here’s one now! –archived link. All headers here. The photograph was part of a larger AVENCOM shoot by Paul Bowers, excellent and wonderful San Diego photographer.

Puzzles without Pictures

I’ve just spent the last two hours playing with Legos. It’s been several years since I got them out. I’m a 31 year old man and I had a terrific time just playing. I’m not sure whether Legos are like composing in Photoshop or that composing in Photoshop is like Legos. I get the same feelings in both pursuits. I got ideas in my head about what I wanted to build, but as my composition progressed, other ideas presented themselves. What seemed like a good idea was discarded as an unanticipated effect would move up in prominence. Better, stronger, more funny, smoother ideas would pop out at me. It was definitely a creative process. The same process that I’ve done with these same Legos for about 25 years. I build, tear apart, discard, build — in waves. Eventually order comes from chaos. The result comes from the intellect and from the gut. The result is the picture on the outside of the puzzle box. When I make new headers, like last night, I get the same feeling. The world around me disappears, and in that building time I am lost in the process. I can stand being thought childish if I can keep getting that feeling.

From rini…

From — Chilling
Reported by rini.irg, Chilling Effects Clearinghouse is a mechanism to empower web folk who get the scary, classic Cease and Desist notes.

I’ve gotten one of these myself, back in 1997. You can still find the questionable items in the Flash part of my portfolio, because hey, it was an example of my work, and still is. I was never pursued on the issue.

Mind you, I’m not cavalier about such things – these must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. However, much of what lawyers produce is hot air.

Mothers of Invention Ticket

Steve passed this along to me a few years ago (March of 2000 by the timestamp on my copy of the file). I have it in my Zappa folder on my main computer, but I thought I’d add it to my Zappa Fan piece , and include it here in the blog. So here it is!

THE ASSOCIATED STUDENTS / SAN DIEGO STATE COLLEGE present FRANK ZAPPA & THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION / Sunday, October 4, 1970 8:00pm / San Diego State's Peterson Gym / SDS Students  $2.00 / A Cultural Arts Board Presentation No. 151

At the time I think I was living in San Diego, and I was 6 months old. At the time SDSU was “San Diego State College.” It’s a damn cool artifact.

Building a Giant Gameboy » Gameman!

I love this a local guy is building a gigantic gameboy. Be sure to look at the construction photos! I can’t wait to see progress on this.

(Aside: This is a big payoff for my San Diego Bloggers page, this is one of the journals I found in my searches for San Diego journals. Cool. )

AnswerBus is to AskJeeves as Google is to AltaVista?

Well … maybe. Check it out! AnswerBus

I find this pretty interesting. It’s simple, and provides a nice mechanism to change your question. I tried:

“When was San Diego founded?” that got me some unrelated org –

I changed it on the fly to:

“When was the city of San Diego founded?” and got much better answers.

AnswerBus looks like a neat tool.

I also did “where are san diego web developers?” and got some nice results. 🙂

The response output makes more sense to me than AskJeeves’ – which is very powerful, but also overly complex. This simple interface provides a facility to alter your question in a much quicker fashion. Worth a look.

( via robotwisdom )

Happy Birthday Mike!

Happy Birthday to ASP guru (yep, he’s for hire as far as I know) and all around cool neat geeky (there’s a skiing game written in assembly on his website) Mike Roufa! The guy also bakes! How’s that for a man-about-town?

“A sufficiently advanced Google search is indistinguishable from magic.”

If you have any interest in weblogs and search algorithms, you must read Google Loves Blogs: How Weblogs Influence A Billion Google Searches A Week. I’ve been saying that without Google, I am not as smart as I am with it. Very often I will not so much know something as know where I have the answer stored. An example, for me to get lorem ipsum text for a project, from wherever I’m sitting at work, all I need to do it do a search for artlung greek. Blammo, there’s my lorem ipsum for my project. Any number of items in my lab are just like that. In so doing I appear nearly clairvoyant to my co-workers. But like any good programmer, I am merely lazy. I have no need to memorize lorem ipsum. I have no need to keep a file with lorem ipsum on my desktop at work. But with a string of 13 letters and a click I get precisely what I need. Google is my command line to the web. And I think I am not alone.

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