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10 May 1999

"It's really the media that's most concerned about who's number one. I mean, I don't care whether I beat Titanic. That doesn't prove anything. I'm perfectly happy now. I've shown the film to my friends, and they like it, so I'm happy."
-- George Lucas, Premiere magazine interview, May 1999

Money is what people without talent use to keep score.
-- Jeremy C. Epworth

Amazing how much time spring cleaning can take. I'm in the midst of a Vast Rearrangement of my place, and things are strewn everywhere in piles. Made good progress today though.

I've got so much stuff I could post, but I need to get to bed too... Which will win? We'll see...

I'm continually surprised (though I'm sure I shouldn't be) at how much red tape there is to deal with if one wants to work out of one's home (especially with the extra complication of one's home being a rented apartment). Hint.

Opera 3.6 (Windows) is out and is good. The annoying centering problem that was in beta 3 is gone, leaving only the FONT FACE bug as the defect that most gets under my skin (setting the face works the first time you go to some pages, but go back later and it's ignored). It's a very minor complaint though.

I do over 90% of my Windows web surfing (at work) with Opera. Fast, customizable and more standards-compliant than the big two, with a zoom-in/zoom-out feature nobody else has. What's not to like? Okay, there is the annoying everything-in-one-window interface style, but I mean besides that.

(alternate [US-based?] Opera link)

As far as Living Digitally goes, some areas of my life have been automated quite nicely for some time now.

  • My paycheck is direct-deposited
  • My electric bill is direct-deducted
  • My gas bill is direct-deducted
  • My monthly car insurance is direct-deducted
  • My cellular phone bill is direct-deducted
  • Discover has an always-improving online account center where I can track when payments are received and double-check what purchases they are aware of at any given time
  • NationsBank has a useful (but slow and browser-fussy) accounts interface where I can transfer money, check on balances, see what's cleared, etc. It seems to be down about half the time lately though, which makes it much less useful. Plus, it doesn't tell you it's down until after you log in. If it's down, why not save everyone the trouble of attempting to log in? Just put a message up on the entry screen, why don'tcha?

Each individual electronic thing isn't that big a deal, but add them up and you save a fair bit of time & money each month (writing checks, using stamps, making trips to the bank, etc.).

Of course, all this automation means that making a change (say, when I get ready to move again) will be more difficult than it used to be; stopping all the automated transactions and starting up new ones is a time-consuming, patience-testing hassle. Someday I expect the change processes to get better.

Big Apple news coming this week, or so they say. Watch MacInTouch, MacCentral & MacSurfer for up-to-date info.

Getting the Star Wars trailers & ads & music video made available exclusively in QuickTime was a big coup for Apple; 10 million downloads of the trailer so far, with many people downloading QuickTime solely for the purpose of seeing the clips, I'm sure.

Talk about a killer app - seeing new Star Wars material on your own screen for free is a huge draw for a wide cross-section of the computing population. Kudos to whoever thought of the tie-in and got LucasFilm on board.

As noted several other places, the South Park movie trailer(s) are posted at Yahoo (including a new one). Again, these are provided only in QuickTime. Hmm.

If you download any of these popular clips, you may notice that the files are not being served by, or even Instead, they're coming from servers run by Akamai, a third party specializing in providing high-availability, widely-dispersed servers that can handle enormous levels of traffic (e.g. the 10 million trailer downloads). If bigshots such as Yahoo and Apple find it worthwhile to farm out the serving to this obscure firm, it's probably worth a look.

P.S. They haven't gone public yet.

Does MSNBC really delete its own content? And why? Is their web hosting provider restricting how much space they get? </joke>

I was going to quote some stuff from a week-old MSNBC story on Prodigy (that I saw on jjg), but the story seems to be gone now. In fact, searching for the word Prodigy turns up nothing.

What a way to run a bigshot news web site.

At least CNN keeps old stories around.

I'm nowhere near caught up on all the stuff I mean to post, but it's a good stopping point. See you later this week.

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