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Steve Bogart


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25 February 2000

If you need a second opinion
 as you seem to do these days
-- "I Want You", Elvis Costello, Blood and Chocolate

Brad & I attended a faintly puzzling event last night; the site he runs as part of his living (and which I helped automate the drudgery for) is a 'finalist' in the St. Louis Business Journal's first annual e Business Awards, and they invited us to a reception of sorts. It's not clear yet if 'finalist'='winner', but it seems like it might since there were so few sites represented at the gathering last night. Also, the contest runners were unwilling to share who the other 'finalists' were (which is odd in itself -- in the Oscars you at least know who you're up against, yes?) and hasn't yet announced what the prizes are...the whole thing's a little funny.

Anyhow, the event itself was pretty fun; met some cool people from both Build-a-Bear and RBG Cadmium [waves hi]. Had some good munchies too. (Plug for Kemoll's.)

Brad brought a digital camera, so we've added another weblogger picture to the growing collection. (H. says it's a good picture, so I guess that's how I really look; I wish to note, however, that I normally have neither tie nor beard.)

Interface specialist Bruce 'Tog' Tognazzini has an interesting set of suggestions for what Apple could do to really improve the computing experience besides the small steps it's taken in Aqua:

  • Apple Squandering the Advantage [AskTog]
    (Expected permanent location)
    The only changes to input technology that have taken place recently around Apple are the crippling of the keyboard and the farcical round mouse that has made Apple the laughingstock of the industry.

    I should be able to tell, by looking at the outside of a file, how much material is within, how old the folder is, and how long it has been since I've opened it. I'm not talking about surrounding it with text; I'm talking about using that 24-bit color space to add visual attributes. For example, the more the folder contains, the thicker it should appear. The older it is, the deeper the color should become, with age cracks appearing after several years. The time since I've opened it could be represented by cobwebs or dustiness.

Interesting stuff, and much of it seems doable. Maybe not for the initial version of OS X, but certainly for a later update. I hope Apple takes a look at the list.

And he's totally right about the keyboard/mouse thing; I ask again, why not at least provide the option for a real keyboard and pointing device to be included with a PowerMac G4? How can it be a "professional" machine without a delete-forward key, an End key or the function keys F13-F15? Yeesh. Pro keyboards should have more keys than usual, not fewer. (See Tog's comments about the Return & Delete keys near the top.)

Sure, it would mean they'd have to change their nice compact shipping boxes a bit to fit a larger keyboard, but come on (I hope that's not the reason, but I can't think of many others). As it is, people who buy G4s frequently go on to buy real keyboards & mice, throwing the old ones in a corner. It's a real waste of money, materials & space.

Alert for anyone who's been using (or its derivatives) to track updates to this here page: I've opted out of it, so that won't work any more.

Linkwatcher is another place you can check (under 'fresh blogs'), or you can get on my update-notification list (which gets a very brief e-mail every time I update) by sending me mail.

Sorry for any inconvenience.

Thinking out loud: My tools are in my way. The scripts I'm using to do this site right now are keyed to the one-whole-day-at-a-time model and have to be run from a particular copy of Frontier on a particular machine. I'd really like to switch from mid-size updates every few days to updating from anywhere in little gobs whenever I feel like it and not feeling like every day-entry has to be at least x lines long or it's not worth adding.

I'd also like to have two days' worth of entries showing at a time instead of one so folks wouldn't have to check the archive as much as they have to now to make sure they're caught up. (I won't be putting several days' worth on the page because given how much I write it would make the page annoyingly long to download.)

Change won't happen soon, but it will happen. Probably a Perl/MySQL job, or maybe I'll try learning PHP or Zope to handle it. Anybody who's used two or more of the above for static rendering, let me know if I should definitely go with a particular one or if it's all pretty equivalent.

Or, I guess I should ask, does Blogger give very very fine control, or would a site-control-freak be better off rolling his own?

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