24 May 1999
"Contrary to many open source advocates, I don't see everything becoming open source. What I do see is a growing recognition that anything resembling large-scale infrastructure ought to be open source, much as the United States has recognized that interstate highways should not be toll roads. On the other hand, we don't expect city parking lots to be free except in certain enlightened municipalities. So I'd expect to see Windows become open source before Word does."
-- Larry Wall, creator of Perl, in a May 1999 Linux Journal interview
I've been spending a lot of time enjoying my surfing instead of worrying about collecting goodies for the log. I recommend it now and then...
Lameness disclaimer: Much of today's stuff is recycled from other logs.
Seen on The Bradlands, a masterful rebuttal to the scapegoat-of-the-day analyses of Littleton:
- Fear the Geek by Dan Savage [The Stranger]
The power cliques that rule American high schools are every bit as murderous as Harris and Klebold, only their damage is done in slow motion, over a period of many years, and fails to draw the attention of parents or teachers -- let alone news anchors, SWAT teams, and presidents. How many kids ostracized, humiliated, and assaulted in American high schools, like the survivors of Columbine High, are left scarred for life? How many commit suicide every year?
In our rush to make martyrs of the victims and demons of the murderers, ... the culpability of the other kids at Columbine has been glossed over. So long as some kids go out of their way to make high school hell for others, there are going to be kids who crack, and not all of the kids who crack are going to quietly off themselves.
It includes the text of a crystal-clear explanatory note from Eric Harris that has inexplicably not appeared in any other media coverage I've seen.
My high school experiences were actually predominantly positive (he says as his ten-year reunion looms), but I still recognize the truth of what he's saying.
Very worth reading.
Some very valuable technical web design advice (mixed in with some silly advice) from Kibo to the webmaster of Gore2000:
- Al Gore's Open Source Presidential campaign [Deja, seen on RobotWisdom]
If your page changes periodically, a better idea would be to use an "Expires:" HTTP header, rather than "Refresh:"; "Expires" can be set to tell the browser "This site changes a lot, reload it when they come back to it." "Refresh" says "interrupt them while they're reading the page and reload it even if they're still looking at it." Assuming, of course, people are still looking at it three whole minutes from now.
Most sites would have to pay an expert to get this thorough a critique (with solutions!). So the Gore site's "openness" has done them some good, in a way, by inviting the scrutiny of skilled people.
Seen recently in Camworld's list of logs: http://www.lemonyellow.com/, an interesting new log with an architectural point of view. I like it so far; check it out.
I'm this close (really, this close) to taking the plunge into CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). A sufficient number of browsers that I use (and, more importantly, that the wired world uses) support a large enough subset of the spec that I finally think it's worth investing the time to learn it and use it.
In that regard, I found a page that I think will help me get jumpstarted...in the middle of a W3C slideshow I found through Tomalak's Realm, here's an example of the same original content with differing stylesheets producing very different results:
In contrast, I've now been scared away from learning XSL. Michael Leventhal recently produced a scathing critique of it that has me convinced:
- XSL Considered Harmful [multipage, from XML.com]
XSL, a "sometime in the future" technology, full of beautiful (if vague) prognostications about its "power" and "richness", offers no useful improvement in capability over current and implemented full W3C Recommendations for stylesheets and transformation.
... hideous and unwieldy language ... stands absolutely no chance of acceptance by the web community.
...we are very close to defining the ideal intersection between the talents of the programmer, the data/document designer, and the style expert with XML, CSS and the DOM ... XSL is a big step back, it mixes everything up again and puts everything in the hands of the few people who can understand this weird declaration thing...
Anything XSL can do in the Web environment, I can do better using technologies supported by current W3C Recommendations [CSS, DOM].
I've found it can be a smart move to wait on learning & implementing the latest fad technology, if only because you'll save yourself a lot of wasted effort.
There's plenty we can accomplish today with the tools in front of us; we should only adopt the newer "better" stuff if it truly enables new functionality or eliminates unnecessary complexity in the old tools. Apparently, XSL does neither.
I have a lot more, but I'm late for work... Look for more frequent updates this week though.