January 31, 2005

Sometimes, I marvel at my lack of a sense of humor.

I was reading this satirical piece, Rice Begins Tenure at State Dept. with Bold Agenda, Show-Stopping Musical Number, and I got caught up on the first paragraph, where it says:

"Right on cue the new Secretary of State descended the grand staircase in the State Department's main lobby in..."

And I think...

Wait! There is no Grand staircase. Do they mean the lame elevator? Did she rappel down from the press balcony? Or maybe they mean the war department "tourist" entrance where the tours are started from and where a State Department Secretary likely has never been seen.

In fact, I don't think a single entrance has a staircase within 50 feet of it. Brother can you spare a chuckle?

January 30, 2005

God Hates Downloaders?

Nice title, huh? I can imagine you saying to yourself...what the heck is Chris going on about now? Well, this article: From Reuters details some of the stranger organizations that have asked the Supreme Court to come down hard on filesharing networks. Okay, so the NFL... I kinda get why they might not like Kazaa. But the Christian Coalition? Whatever your personal politics, what the heck does piracy/sharing/downloading have to do with this organization?

A close reading of the article reveals much: "Other heavyweights in the entertainment industry's corner include Theodore Olson, who until July represented the government in Supreme Court cases." so Ted Olsen has been chummy with the far right neo-conservative wing of the republican party in the United States for a very long time. So this is likely a 'coalition of the billing' that he brought together in a show of lobbying power.

I can only imagine Ted's invoice that he'll be presenting to the MPAA and the RIAA for building up such a collection of heavyweights. In case you were wondering...yeah...this is something to fear, as God and Football now officially hate peer to peer. I would be surprised should the current court find in freedom's/Kazaa's favor.

I should point out that I do obviously belong to the school of thought that even if Kazaa and its ilk are used for sharing music, that their main technical utility comes from the same utility that makes freenet to powerful tool for freedom that it is.

I really want to craft an analogy here along these lines: Peer to peer file sharing networks should be if anything promoted and supported by the us, because it allows our culture to infiltrate theocratic regimes. Must like the old Voice of America. Our Hollywood propaganda should be wielded as the potent weapon that it is. Instead of spending hundreds of vast billions of dollars on weaponry and human lives, we should use a small fraction of this on making bandwidth insanely cheap, and more importantly, available and unstoppable in countries that would oppress their populace through ignorance.

Picture airdropping c-130s full of wimax cards that can connect to the high flying dirigible ISP :-) Okay, so that's a little fantastic, but it isn't so far off. Believe me this kind of thing would be highly agitative, and, in time, effective. The recent Iranian blocking of Orkut should indicate the amount of fear that Theocratic regimes have of open communications.

Which brings us back to the United States. Do they really fear piracy on these networks or raw, uncensored, communication and knowledge?

I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader, as you know, I don't like to get too political online. Not that you could have told from that last 500 words or so.

January 29, 2005

Miguel, You Sexy Bastard.

Bill's got nothing on you, Miguel, and your eyes aren't as red as Mr. Gates'.

January 27, 2005

Adwords API Launches

I'm really happy about this: Google Adwords API, so check it out if you are interested in such things.

Apis++! <--irc speak for Apis are good.

Ah...All Hail Joel

The thing I really like about Joel's latest essay is that it really nails on the head one of my favorite pet peeves. That is, when people present statistics without context. He picks his favorite lame statistic and tears it apart, which is really good to see.

It's common enough that it's a cliche to complain about it (lies, damn lies, etc..) but anyhow. Good essay as usual for Joel.

You crazy!

Thought I'd point this out, my req just hit craigslist last night: Google: Open Source Program Manager. So if you are crazy enough to want to work for me, check it out! It is a tricky position to fill, as you can imagine.

January 26, 2005

Needless to say, my moon base will have to have one of these.

Who doesn't want/need a Big Red Button? I mean...thnk of the uses...you could...um....plug your stuff into it...and...uh...well...they're pretty cool and stuff.

January 25, 2005

Lens Flare


Solar Eclipse Posted by Hello

Taken during the June, 2002 solar eclipse. I had layered a great number of filters on top of my digital camera, probably 3 nd finlters ,2 polarizers and a ir filter I had. It was enough to see some fun imagery, but I wouldn't call my work especially sucessful. I do like the leaves in this image though.

Google Index Notification -- a pretty neat tool.

Came across this while suring around, looks pretty neat. It lets you know when and what the googlebot crawls. I can totally see why people would be interested in the Google Index Notification tool.

Stupid People Pay Many Dollars for Clearly Stupid Things

Stories like this one in the Denver Post remind me that there is really no end of people willing to prey on the stupid. It also reminds me that there is really no end of stupid people to prey on. How would anyone believe that a small disc the size of a quarter, when affixed to a gas tank will give you better mileage. And among those, who are so dumb as to believe this would be worth $299 dollars. Madness. Sheer, unadulterated stupid crazy madness.

January 24, 2005

Stephen Walli has a blog : Once More into the Breach

Stephen Walli is best known in the open source community for his work releasing WIX and other programs while at Microsoft into Open Source. He is working on an essay for our follow on to Open Sources and he's blogging too, check it out here: Once More into the Breach

Enjoy!

Linger

Hal Hartley has a new movie in the works, called 'The Girl From Monday' (which I found out about on Sci Fi Wire)I've always really enjoyed the Hal Hartley movies I've seen. They're tough(ish) to find, and are usually in the theatre for maybe 2 or three weeks or a month at best.


The first movie of his that I saw was 'The Unbelievable Truth' which came on Cinemax or HBO, I don't remember, during a bout of insomnia. It wasn't a perfect film, but it had a perfect feel to it. One thing that Hartley has always had going for him was the ability to linger. I sometimes think that allowing a scene to linger has completely left the vocabulary of the average filmmaker. Always fast cut, and in such a hurry. I don't mind it that much, but being able to appreciate a scene has its place. Apparently that place is far from Burbank, but anyway....

Here, I'll paint a scene for you... in Star Wars I, Luke looks at the dual suns setting on Tatooine. Anyone I ask remembers that scene, and even given Mark Hamill's acting issues, that scene has a lasting effect on people. He wants off Tatooine and a life of adventure, and his duties on the farm keep that from happening. Was there a single scene like that in any of the Star Wars prequels? Perhaps, but none that stick with me (comment if you disagree).

If anything, Hartley allows linger to last longer than maybe he should, but the result is usually pretty great. I need to see more of his movies. He could very well suck now. I hope not though.

On the subject of movies, Christine and I saw the movie "A Very Long Engagement" and found it very compelling. You should consider seeing it if you haven't already.

Google Ski Trip++


Google Ski Trip Posted by Hello

Well, that was fun. I skied (for a very short amount of time, I'm awfully out of shape.) But it was very fun. Thanks Google!

January 23, 2005

Olde Tyme Transportation.


So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Posted by Hello
As seen on Church Street near Castro in Mountain View. To think the next day, I saw a person (likely a different person, but who knows) riding a segway near the Target on San Antonio. I feel like a time traveler.

January 19, 2005

Brian Behlendorf Hates Me.

Evil Brian Behlendorf pasted the following into an im window today.

Beware!

Click if you dare!

Beware!

Half Life in Real Life


Half Life 2 Moments In Real Life Posted by Hello

Seen on campus, if I pull out this cable with my gravity gun, that'll shut off the forcefield, right?

I'll NoFollow you into a tagged world.

The internet is all abuzz about rel="nofollow" and something I haven't seen yet is people calling it what it is...a ranking specific tag. Not unlike the tags people are used to with flickr, except this one says, 'Just because I link to it, doesn't mean I endorse it.'

This will help with the pagerank spam problem on blogs, but, sadly, comment spam will absolutely continue. It's a prediction that I'd love to see be false, but, it won't be. To truly end comment spam we must do the following three things.

  • Do away with anonymity online.
  • Develop a central identity and reputation management system.
  • Remove all the comment spammers.

Oh, wait...well, we can work on #2 , I guess, I'd be happy to key off of Slashdot's karma system. While #3 is too grisly for me to take part in, I don't think that any of us should be the jury of the person executing on bullet point #3, if you catch my drift. Finally, I'd miss anonymity, even though I only allow logged in users of blogger to post, anonymity is pretty important on the internet.

Our future has spam in it. Comment spam. Link spam. Pagrerank spam. Spam. Sigh.

January 18, 2005

My, what beautiful hands you have



My, What Beautiful Hands you Have. Posted by Hello

As you can see, I'm experimenting with Picasa 2's post to blogger feature. Neato.

I, for One, Welcome Our Giant Plastic Duck Overlords.



I for one welcome our giant duck overlords. Posted by Hello

Chopin, you are boring, and that's what I like about you. And a skiing update.

In the constant search for music that can both shut out the world and provide for proper brain lubrication, I often turn to classical music. The problem here is that much of my favorite classical music has an effect on me such that it distracts me. For instance, I'm currently listening to The Borodin Quartet under Rostroprovich performing Tchaikovsky and it makes it well nigh impossible to code or write to. The beginning is almost tear inducing beautiful.

But Chopin! No, Chopin tends to the brain lubricatin without distraction. Depending on how I want to code I can use this or some mindless techno to get things done. A great number of film scores fit the bill as well, but sometimes you'll get one (like Clint Mansell's Requiem for a Dream) that tend to slap you around mentally a bit, and are just too enjoyable for thought-work.

The Pauls (van Dyk and Oakenfeld) and underworld are probably some of my favorite writing/code artists. It's like a musical upper. Similarly, if I'm feeling maudlin, Mono (Life in Mono and Slimcea girl specifically) is a great choice.

My fabulous employer is taking us all (The whole company) on a ski trip at the end of the week and I'm considering bringing my completely ear covering headphones as my ear cover instead of my regular head wrap. I haven't skied in years, so I'm anticipating pain, and music will help with that. I've been pack ratting gear over the last week, cheapo gloves, bugz, repairing my jacket and I'll stop by Any Mountain tonight and pick up some warm underclothes. That, some advil for the after party and I'm good to go.

I need to load up a memory card with some music, I'll use my old flash player for the mountain. I'm still going back and forth on the earphones. I'll look dorky, but my ears will be warm and I'll have superior bass response. When I was a pup, I'd ski and the argument for completely enveloping earphones was that I was a little rubber person who was faster than anyone else on the mountain. I am not that anymore... So maybe an in-ear earphone is a better choice, but my ears are so toasty in these, and they really clamp on, so they'd hold my hat and such down well. I wouldn't even need a hat really with these. Hmm....just thinking out loud. I'll post pics from the trip when I get back, I'm taking my camera, of course.

January 17, 2005

Postal Experiments

Tee hee: Postal Experiments. I love the idea of shipping a single ski. I don't know why.

January 13, 2005

Ravenholm Screen Shot.





What you are seeing in that image:

  • Crazy padre who follows you around and says things like "Aim for their heads, brother!"
  • Zombie Flambe
  • I'm carrying the Gravity Gun
  • There are some saw blades on the ground that I used to , um, puree head crab zombies.

    What a game.
  • January 12, 2005

    More on Half Life 2 .

    It's funny how much the game has come up in conversation lately and we all talk about the same thing: Ravenholm. I was imitating the loping zombie head crab thing today while chatting with Gnat and Rael (who stopped by work today) and with Jeremy yesterday.

    Lope Lope Lope. Creepy stuff, man.

    O'Reilly rocks.

    Thinking Big: Welcome to The World (No Jews allowed)

    From the people who filled in the Dubai seaside with the Burj Al Arab, they bring you ... The World, an array of 300 private islands in the shape of a mercator projection of the earth. Amazing what vast tankers full of petro-dollars will buy ya. It's kind of obscene, we can make islands, but should we?

    Update: Go to the nav widget and click on "master plan" and see if you can find Israel. You can't. Political much? My, Dubai, That's an interesting world you have there. Let's see whom else you've removed from that map of yours. No Washington State or Oregon, but that's okay, they're all California to me, too. My favorite island is "Instance194" just south of New York and north of Virginia. I'm guessing that's where DC would be, but that's just a bug I'm guessing.

    The funniest part is the vast amount of islands that comprise the poles. Lots of developmentable islands there. I wonder if among the (non-jewish) residents of The World there will be a pecking order. "I'm in Syria, you frozen loser."

    January 11, 2005

    Predictions, 2005

    I'll dissect my lame 2004 predictions in a later post, but now, my 2005 predictions:

    Some predictions for this year around blogging:

  • This year, you'll see a lot of people fired for blogging, and only some shouldn't have been.
  • You'll see even more people sued for libel.
  • You'll also see a lot of people either settle or lose lots of cash in court after being sued for libel.
  • The blog networks, I'm thinking Calcanis mostly, will mint money.
  • The blog networks will start aggregating into salon like sites.
  • Prominant bloggers will stop blogging about blogging or lose audience.
  • Most won't adapt, will continue to blog about blogging and will lose their influence.
  • Bloglines will continue to rock.
  • This will be the year of acquisition for social networks and blogging, and it will have horrible consequence for all but a few.
  • Lisa Rein will have to stop posting The Daily Show, or somehow become a cable company. Think C&D or an infringement lawsuit.

    Some predictions around hardware:

  • Personal Media Devices will flop, but people who own them will defend them.
  • Tablets are the computer of the future, and will remain so for this year at least, but the niche people who own them will defend them.
  • We'll see a huge price drop in lcd/plasma/oled display costs.
  • We'll see an ipod like device with a flexible oled display around the curve of a surface.
  • An iPod sized device will crash the 100gb barrier by mid year.
  • All iPods will be iPod photos/videos by year end (except the shuffle)
  • And people still won't buy them for this feature.
  • Cells phones will shake out, there are too many types with too many features that are too similar, even within same manufacturer lines for the US Market to handle.
  • You'll see US providers offer phones in a stairstep of features and price, eliminating phones that are too much like other phones in the roster.
  • The Treo 650 will continue to make buckets o' cash for Handspring.

    Some software Predictions:

  • Firefox will continue to grow in market share.
  • The average user will discover Gaim after getting tired of crappy clients that hate you and see you only as a conduit to advertisers.
  • More and more applications will live online with cool gmail-like/lazloish/flickr rich user interfaces.
  • The age of the desktop app coming to an end? No.
  • Open Source as a term will mean more at the end of this year than is does now.
  • Linux will continue to rock.

    Some filesharing predictions:

  • Circle of Friend filesharing will be on fire this year, with friends sharing files just with friends, and the RIAA is nobody's friends.
  • The Bandwidth ignorant will continue to say things like "movies are too big to share" or "HD movies and flac music won't get shared" or bring quality arguments into the file sharing/piracy discussions "But all online movies look like crap"
  • Bram Cohen will get sued, the eff will represent him and a massive legal defense fund will pop up.
  • The mpaa will start suing RIAA style.

    Some me predictions that I'm comfortable sharing:

  • I'll put on no less than 50000 miles on my frequent flier program and at least 30 hotel nights in.
  • I'll do good work at Google, and will hopefully like my job even more than I already do, and I like it an awful lot right now.
  • Open Sources 2 will come out soon (This is easy, we're almost ready to send this in to production)
  • I'll write and speak more about open source this year than I did my first years of VA, which is saying something.
  • I'll post more often, no, really I will.
  • I'll write some fiction sometime and publish that.
  • The Register is Pretty Funny..

    So I admit that I really like Andrew Orlowski, I read much of what he writes and I think he's pretty funny. Sometimes that humor is unintentional.

    To wit: In this article "An open source Google - without the ads" Andrew talks with Daniel Brandt, who has written an open source program to scrape google. First off, this program is -not- open source, it is in the 'public domain for nonprofit use.', but that's not a huge deal, but Andrew knows better.

    The funny part of the article is the statement near the end "stripping out their wretched advertising", which is quoted on a page with no less than 3 banner ads and 5 text ads, not to mention 4 job come-ons, 7 book links and 7 gadget sales come-ons. On your average google page you'll see, what 5 text ads clearly delinated and on many queries, none at all.

    I've been on the internet for sometime and I think that one day I'll roll my eyes and they'll get stuck there. The only thing I really object to in this article is the use of the term open source, it is not open source at all.

    January 10, 2005

    Don't want to sound boring...but..

    I explicitly try not comment about competitors or even perceived competitors of the companies I work for. For instance, I have some very specific feelings about the 6a LJ merger and what it means and how I think it will turn out. But I don't write about them publicly. There are a lot of reasons for this, but I honestly believe that when people write about their competitors, credibility suffers. There are exceptions, of course, sometimes you gotta defend the mothership from the slanderous crap out there. But defending what you do is different than taking potshots at other companies.

    The funny thing is, whenever someone takes a shot at google, justified or no, I desire, I want, I need, to respond, but those are often the times I try my hardest to not do so. To spend time on my work which, in the end, will discredit those who hate us faster than any transitory post on my blog, or a comment on theirs, might.

    When I was at VA I saw this all the time. We had competitors who spent some time and money on trying to discredit our work there, it was all very evil. I fought the good battle/etc for VA, and I had some reputation riding on said defense. If I had wasted it saying that competitor x or y were worthless, then it would have been just that, a waste.

    On the other side, not commenting (Snap! I got him!) , or judging my own company too harshly (Is he trying to appear trustworthy?), can be dishonest in their own way too. In the end all the blogger can do is use their best judgment. Judgment seems to be in short supply in the blogosphere though. As does perspective. This won't change in 2005.

    Speaking of which, I have to point this out: Blog spam and abusive behaviors in comment streams are not new in any way, shape or form, we had comment spam in Slashdot in 1998. Go read the code and learn something. (This paragraph from the "Damn kids, get off my lawn." department.)

    January 2, 2005

    Half Life 2.....Holy Crow is this a Good Game.

    I swear playing this games makes me want to tag the half life symbol on my house or something, so other resistance members can reload and charge up. I've been playing this game a bunch since I received it for Christmas from Christine. Holy Crap. It's so good.

    I haven't been playing many games since Frannie was born, but this one is worth making time for. So good, and it plays really well on the laptop that google issued me (A t41p ). The built in video is very strong, directx 9 class GPU, so I'm able to play at 800x600. Of course 1400 x 1050 would be better, but I'm not complaining. It's a remarkable game. Go buy it if you haven't already. Although, that said, I'd buy it via Steam and get all the goodies.

    NaNoWriMo updated: sorry that took so long.

    I posted the remainder of Bruce Napoleon on the blog for that novel, here: vampvet.blogspot.com. I was thinking of a good story to tell as a follow on, but I really don't know if my, um, 3 or so, readers would want me to follow on Bruce. Next book: Bob Turner, Irresponsible Time traveling Land Surveyor? Maybe...

    Anyhow, check out Bruce if you dare :-)