Now This Log

Archives: March 2002

Monday, 18 March 2002

I'm about ready to come back, but I had decided to wait for Movable Type 2.0 and slip a minor redesign in while I'm at it.

Predictably, MT 2.0's release is later than originally expected, so I'm sort of chomping at the bit to get started but at the same time aware that other projects should be getting this 'extra' time that I supposedly have... anyway. In the meantime I'm loath to post via Greymatter because it crashes on me so often; grrrrr.

In other news:

Bought a house last week.

An old buddy of mine (whom I haven't kept in touch with as well as I should) has started his own weblog: Leper Messiah. Smart and funny, just as I remember him... Check it out. permanent link [Post a comment]

Wednesday, 20 February 2002


Time for heads-down mode on things other than a weblog.

Back in a few weeks. permanent link

MacOS X 10.1.3 is out. I'm going to wait to update until I do another backup and have at least a small period of downtime.

MacinTouch and MacFixit have reader reports of various problems (mostly for people who mess with their system in ways I don't) but also news of improvements and snappier performance. I can hope... permanent link [Post a comment]

Turns out there's a more straightforward way to do what I wanted, with no need for style sheets or putting scripts in the <head> or ...
<script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript"><!--
    document.writeln('JavaScript is ON');
// --></script>
<noscript>JavaScript is OFF</noscript>
(thanks to Matt W.)

(Follow the comment link to read about the overly-complicated stylesheet-manipulating JavaScript I threw together the other day to do the same thing in a worse way...) permanent link [3 comments so far]

Tuesday, 19 February 2002

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.
-- George Washington Carver

permanent link

Monday, 18 February 2002

Tipping: I'm unclear on a social norm.

Someone brings you food to your personal habitat (house, dorm room, whatever), you tip them at least 15%, probably more. If you go to the place-of-food and pick up your own meal with a credit or debit card, there's still a blank on the slip for "TIP _ _ _ _ _".

Is there a convention that one should put something there (And for what? Carrying my food to me from across the room?), or can it be left blank without one being thought rude? permanent link [17 comments so far]

I want a president who can speak in complete sentences using the right words for what he means. Is this too much to ask?

Yen dips on Bush slip of the tongue [BBC]
Mr Bush added a third item to this list, the need for "devaluation" of the yen. This remark immediately triggered a drop in the Japanese currency until Bush aides hastened to clear up the confusion.

The president had "misspoken", they said, adding he had meant Japan's problem of "deflation" - steadily falling prices, which depress economic investment - not devaluation.
People who actually know what they're talking about generally correct themselves if they misspeak ("My mistake, I meant deflation, not devaluation"). Not our highly-approved-of leader, no; he leaves it for his aides to take care of hours later. How are we supposed to interpret that? permanent link [2 comments so far]

Sunday, 17 February 2002

Joel Spolsky says some useful things about making web-based systems for paying clients:

The Iceberg Secret, Revealed [Joel on Software]
...most software is like [an iceberg] -- there's a pretty user interface that takes about 10% of the work, and then 90% of the programming work is under the covers. ... That's not the secret. The secret is that People Who Aren't Programmers Do Not Understand This.

Corollary: If you show a nonprogrammer a screen which has a user interface that is 90% worse, they will think that the program is 90% worse.

Corollary: If you show a nonprogrammer a screen which has a user interface which is 100% beautiful, they will think the program is almost done.

Understand that any demos you do in a darkened room with a projector are going to be all about pixels. If you can, build your UI in such a way that unfinished parts look unfinished.
The ensuing discussion has plenty of gems too:
[Jeff Porten] Whenever possible, GET YOUR CUSTOMERS USING YOUR SOFTWARE WHEN THE FEATURE SET IS SMALL. ... Make them wait until it's 100% done, and they'll be annoyed by the wait, and then take for granted everything you've done. But put them live when you're at 30%, and every step of the way to 100% will seem miraculous.

[Brian Curtis] know as well as I do that thereís a lot more to UI design than just "prettying up the pixels." ... What makes you think the design is something you can fix up in a day? ... coming up with a good, intuitive, USABLE interface design involves a lot more work and effort than just tossing some pretty pixels on the screen.

[Ted Boren] ...on another level customers know EXACTLY what they want. They want their work to get accomplished and they know their work far better than you or I. It would be a fatal mistake to assume that you have little to learn from customers just because you canít trust what they say about design & technology.
Good stuff. permanent link [Post a comment]

Overkill, thy name is Disney:

Disney resurrects classic cartoons [CNN]
Peter Pan is back in theaters with the sequel "Return to Never Land,"...
Next year, "The Jungle Book II" will hit theaters...
"Dumbo II"...
"Cinderella II: Dreams Come True,"
"Atlantis: The Lost Empire II" and
"The Hunchback of Notre Dame II." [!!??!]

Top sellers already include "Lady & the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure," "The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea" and "The Lion King II: Simba's Pride." ... [and] "The Enchanted Christmas." [Beauty and the Beast]
Hunchback was pretty much a travesty the first time; they want to make a sequel? permanent link [Post a comment]

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synthesis from
Steve Bogart

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photo by my wife
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