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20 September 1999

Don't hate the media. Become the media.
-- Jello Biafra
(possibly a motto for watchdogs and self-publishers?)

I've fallen behind again on a big project or two, so this site's going to drop a notch on my list of priorities for a bit. Updates may be more irregular (or shorter) than usual for the rest of September.

Do you trust Alan Greenspan? In this instance, I'm inclined to:

  • Greenspan: Threat of massive Y2K computer failures "negligible" [SJ Merc]
    Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan today characterized as virtually nonexistent the threat that the United States will suffer massive computer failures because of the Year 2000 date change.

    But he cautioned that the economy could still be affected, depending on how many businesses and consumers alter their normal buying patterns because of unwarranted fears.

    On the need to have cash on hand, Greenspan urged Americans that the safest thing Americans can do is leave their money in the bank.

My own unwarranted fear is of flying close to January 1. There's a trip I should take out West, but adding Y2K worries to an increasing discomfort with air travel and an already-overdeveloped awareness of my own mortality makes it very hard to even think about purchasing tickets.

Rational? Probably not. What can I say.

Camworld had a couple of real gems today which I will relay (since my audience and his don't overlap completely):

Network Solutions did an ill-advised thing last week, and they seem bent on making it worse for themselves at every turn:

  • New InterNIC Security Hole [2600]
    Anyone taking them up on their offer for "free web mail" on their page is both vulnerable and capable of accessing ANY ACCOUNT on the following domains...

    According to the people who have alerted us of this vulnerability, NSI was informed of the security hole last week and failed to respond. We believe this may help motivate them.

By the time I checked it, the described method of accessing other accounts was disabled. Still...the people who set this up are the same folks in charge of the namespace? Chilling.

Stick to the task at hand, namely handling domain registrations, eh?

(Also from Camworld:) According to an online TechNote, Microsoft has changed the interface to Word 2000 for Windows, making it so you have a new window for every document (called Single Document Interface, or 'SDI') instead of one window within which you can access several documents side-by-side or overlapping (Multiple Document Interface, 'MDI').

While in some cases the SDI style of interface is desirable, the fact is that Word users have spent many years getting used to and becoming very proficient with the MDI interface. Changing the way Word works in such a fundamental fashion (and in a way that means more precious screen real estate will be taken up by redundant toolbars and title bars and scroll bars) and not giving customers the option to revert back to the old way of doing things seems like a pretty brain-dead move. It's like they're trying to anger their professional customers.

The folks at Byte are particularly annoyed:

  • A Stupid Decision By Microsoft by Paul Schindler [Byte, 2 pages]
    [from a letter to Microsoft:] You have taken a work paradigm that was present since Word 1.0 (which I started with) and eliminated it. My business depends on multiple docs, opened and sized via macros, all within one Word window.

    Please give us the option, as in Excel 2000, to turn SDI off.

    The rest of Office 2000 seems great, but your techs have told me I can't even go back to Word97 under Office 2000 because of compatibility problems.

Another clue why Microsoft made the change might be this line from the TechNote:

Improved Performance with WordMail: Single Document Interface makes it easier and more convenient to send messages directly from Word.

Ah, so the people who use Word for word processing are being made less efficient for the sake of giving Word features that Outlook already has. Yes, I see. Or, rather, I don't.

Some fun stuff recently from the Brunching Shuttlecocks:

In a rare move for a humor site, their anonymous Self-Made Critic's movie reviews are actually both funny and useful for judging movies. He or she often comes up with some real verbal gems, too:

  • The Muse
    What makes it really horrible is that you can see that it was ALMOST a really good movie. It's smart, and while it sets itself up for some obvious jokes and situations, it resists the temptation to go down those roads. However, it also resists the temptation to go down any other roads, so you spend a lot of time at the intersection waiting for the light to change.
  • The Sixth Sense
    [Even though we know from the trailer what the kid's secret is,] you don't learn that the kid sees dead people until half way through the movie. So all the really tense building that the flick's trying to do is useless...

    Bruce Willis is the child psychologist who wants to help the cute little boy with his problem (seeing dead people) but he can't get the child to tell him what's troubling him (the seeing dead people thing.) There is some strange stuff going on, but the director never lets us actually know what's happening (the kid's seeing dead people), teasing us, making us guess (I'm guessing the kid's seeing dead people.)
  • The Blair Witch Project
    Starring: Dead people and fear. And Sticks. And more fear.
  • The Deep Blue Sea
    Sharks make really great villains. For one thing, they have no conscience. They don't care. You don't get a bunch of scenes of the Sharks crying about how they were never loved as a little sharklet. You also don't have to sit through the big final confession where the shark explains why he was eating everybody. "I was just hungry, damn it! Is that so wrong?"

    Who's in this movie? Lots of people who basically play the role of raw meat. There's blonde raw meat, nerdy raw meat, naked raw meat etc.

Check 'em out.

Copped from The BradLands: NPR dude Ray Suarez is heading to PBS. "No way!" "Way!"

As noted by more sites than I can remember, Microsoft admitted that the newspaper ads by The Independent Institute weren't:

  • Microsoft Paid for Ads About Trial [Las Vegas SUN]
    Newspaper advertisements in which a group of California academics backed Microsoft in its antitrust lawsuit were actually paid for by the software giant, acknowledged the company and institute that sponsored the ads.

    "I would not have participated if I had known," said Simon Hakim, of Temple University.

Yeesh. On the plus side, the more light gets shed on Microsoft's principles and tactics, the happier I am. People should hear about this stuff.

More light! More light!

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