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24 November 1999

"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do."
-- -- Edward Everett Hale (seen on Unobserved Utterances)

I'm currently in Death March mode on a big job (long long hours, very little sleep and only at bizarre times, etc.), so I've had to cut back on the writing, sorry... believe me, this hurts me more than it hurts you.

It's true that I'm being paid more than fairly for the job (which is refreshing), but still, a death march is a death march. I need to get done with this and sleep for a couple of weeks.

Oh, but wait, there are two other big projects waiting on me after I finish this one...

Both with fairly immediate deadlines...

Uh oh.

Inspired by Michael Stillwell's suggestion that Yahoo and Google could complement each other (do a search on Yahoo, see the sites in their directory ranked by how widely-linked they are) and building on a previous meme, I hereby present a new name for Yahoo when it's done merging and acquiring:

Yahoomazoogle (yuh-HOO-muh-zoo-guhl, where "uh" = schwa). No, really, don't mention it.

A couple of notes courtesy of Seth Golub (I think Seth would make an excellent ogger...he's kind of busy with a research project and a postgrad education though):

  • Joe Jackson's signing his new book in San Francisco on December 10. Wish I could be there.

  • He also points out that Amazon is getting into the ratings-rating business ("Amazopinions"?):
    1 people found this review helpful. 0 did not. Was it helpful to you? [YES] [NO]
    ("Heheh. They said '1 people'. Heheh. Buncha dorks." -- Beavis the grammar cop)

    "Helpful" is as simplistic and misleading a measure as "useful", though.

Jesse James Garrett's packing up and relocating, and his log is going on possibly-permanent hiatus. Insert sad face symbol here.

Initially, it took me a little bit to warm up to his style, but I became a big fan -- when you want a complex issue distilled down to a sentence or two without losing anything important, go to Jesse. I'm positively logorrheic in comparison.

Ah well. Hail, well-met and good luck, jjg. I'll miss your site.

I'm still behind on picking out links; for instance, I may be the last to point to the new designs for the $10 and $5 (both coming in mid-2000).

I know I'm not alone in this, but I want more colors, like other countries' money! Also, the extra-wide margins, simplified artwork and large number on the back side of the bill make it look like play money.

That said, I do like the new fronts just fine.

Don't like the QuickTime 4/Sherlock 2 'metallic' interface? Feel like you're typing with mittens on when you don't have the usual control over your windows? This guy can solve your problem, at least for Sherlock:

  • Raul's Sherlock 2 Utilities [Teamdraw]
    This little utility gets rid of Sherlock II's metallic look and puts Sherlock back into a "normal window." 

About 15000 people downloaded it in only three days, according to Wired... hmm, think the new interface could use some work?

By the way, and this is nothing new, here's an interface gripe I've had with Windows since the first time I used it:

On a Mac, there's a lovely little spot on each window, zoom box, that you can click to get a Finder window (and some application windows) to resize itself to a sensible size -- namely, just big enough to fit everything it contains and no bigger. If you change your mind and want it back the old way, click the zoom box (as it is called) again.

There is no corresponding feature in Windows. If your window gains an item or two (say, you've saved or copied a couple of new files into a folder) and you want to re-size the window to accommodate it, you have to size it manually. Click, drag, aim, let go.

And if you want it to only take up as much space as necessary and no more (to conserve your always-precious screen real estate), good luck getting it right in under 2 seconds (unless you're intentionally rushing for the purposes of timing yourself, of course).

And if you don't resize the window to fit your collection of objects, you're forever scrolling a little bit here, a little bit there. Oops, scrolled too far, go back a little. Wait, first I need to scroll up. Gah!

Compare that to a single click. Microsoft, how about innovating that one into your OS, eh? Save everybody some time.

Seen on Metafilter, a fascinating article on growing a business from Bob Metcalfe, inventor of Ethernet and founder of 3Com:

  • Invention Is a Flower, Innovation Is a Weed [Technology Review]
    Most engineers don't understand that selling matters. They think that on the food chain of life, salespeople are below green slime. They don't understand that nothing happens until something gets sold.

    A people recruit A people. ... Forget about big company notions of performance. A people can perform easily 10 times better than B people, sometimes 100 times, or 1,000. The worst thing you can do is rush to fill a job with a B or C person.

    In 1982 my board of directors starting calling me a visionary, and I ate it up. Next thing I knew, I wasn't CEO anymore. Turns out, nobody wants visionaries running companies. At my level of the game, being called a visionary was faint praise.

See, the funny part is, this is exactly the sort of thing they'd write as a plot for 'Action':

From Mike Gunderloy, an odd article:

  • Defense Dept. weighs JavaScript ban [ZDnet]
    But without the popular code, Web sites become largely passive and unable to deliver the most basic interactivity. [???!!?!!?] Dave Plummer, a vice president for Internet and Java at the GartnerGroup consulting firm, noted that without any mobile code capabilities, DOD Web sites would become much more static than standard corporate Web sites.

    "Your sites will end up being less competitive overnight," Plummer said, adding that a complete ban on all mobile script capabilities could lead to a Web presence that does not permit online chats or the filling out and sending of online forms.

The article seems to confuse "choosing not to run JavaScript, Java or ActiveX in our browsers when DoD personnel surf" (which is extremely sensible) with "choosing not to use JavaScript, Java or ActiveX in the content the DoD provides" (which is a very different thing, though also sensible).

And as Mike G. mentioned, it's most strange for the DoD to be worried about its sites being 'competitive'. Toward what end? Will they do a better job of "making the world safe for democracy" by measuring their traffic against CDNow and Excite?

Oh, and the bit about not being an interactive site unless you use JavaScript or some such 'extra' technology is complete & utter BS and probably propaganda. Funny, Amazon seems to do fine with no JavaScript.

I leave you with some fun reading -- a long, really cool profile of some folks behind Toy Story 2:

  • "Toy" story man [Salon]
    "In the first 'Toy Story' film, we had given Woody a bad dream in which Andy is playing with Buzz, who's glowing in the dark; Andy sees that Woody doesn't glow in the dark, so he throws Woody away. Then you see Andy's whole room driving away behind this corrugated-steel moving-van door, and Woody left in a trashcan with roaches crawling all over him. It didn't work, it was too off-putting. But when Pete Docter and I showed that storyboard reel at a talk we gave at CalArts, it got a lot of laughs. It made us realize that if people already know and love your characters, you can get away with things that are a little darker. In this film, it was cool to push toward surreal nightmare limits."

Have a good Thanksgiving. It may be a while before I post again.

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