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Steve Bogart

News, Pointers & Commentary Archive: October 1998

28 October 1998 "You must remember that you don't know what people find in your work so there's no sense in trying to repeat it. You can only do, in the way that seems best to you. Like not knowing really why people like or dislike you -- do they like your brains? No, it is your cooking and perhaps your apartment. Is it your conversation? No, it is the fact that occasionally you let others talk. So -- for reassurance in finding some of your work so bad -- remember, you don't know."
-- from the journals of Dawn Powell, reprinted in The New Yorker, June 26 & July 3, 1995.

Tonight: the beginning of the end for Babylon 5. Episode Finale-minus-4 will be on TNT tonight at 9pm Central. Recommended.

On a related note, TV Guide recently had an online chat with Peter Jurasik (Londo Mollari):

Must...check...sources...: The estimable Eric Roling points out to me (regarding the Myers-Briggs item last time):

Usually, your sources are very well cited, but I was taken off-guard by one of them in this case. Specifically, I was not aware until checking DataGraph's homepage that DataGraph is home of the Association of Forensic Psychometrics, and in my opinion has a vested financial interest in promoting handwriting analysis rather than MBTI as a preferred method of personality profiling.

This certainly doesn't invalidate their argument, but I think that a vested financial interest should have been disclosed when you use their argument as a critical reference since it wasn't obvious from the URL or source citation.

A fine point, and I apologize for not checking up on the source more thoroughly before citing it. I've added a note to the item below. Thanks to Eric for the heads-up!

Why 2k?: Microsoft wants to make sure people use the word "Windows", so they're renaming NT (sorry, "Windows NT") to use the same stupid year-number scheme as '95 and '98.

Putting a year number in a program's name makes great marketing sense but little actual sense...What if (VERY hypothetically) Microsoft makes a fabulous, works-as-advertised OS in 2000 that doesn't get (or need) a major update for, say, 4 years? People will feel like they're using outdated stuff when in fact it could work just fine for many years.

Of course, then all Microsoft would have to do is put out some tweaks & updates and give it a new year number, and everyone would want the new one, because, well, it's better to have *this* year's, right? Ding! Windows 98.

The differences between Win98 and Win2000 will be much greater than those between Win95 and Win98, but how will the consumer know? If they were using version numbers, that would be made evident (Win 3.1 -> Win 4.0 [95] -> Win 4.1 [95 OSR 1] -> Win 4.2 [95 OSR 2] -> Win 4.3 [98] -> Win 5.0 [2000]). The new naming provides much LESS information to their customers. Yeesh.

Finally, a couple of Onion morsels:

26 October 1998 "An omelette, promised in two minutes, may appear to be progressing nicely. But when it has not set in two minutes, the customer has two choices -- wait or eat it raw. Software customers have had the same choices. // The cook has another choice; he can turn up the heat. The result is often an omelette nothing can save -- burned in one part, raw in another."
--Frederick P. Brooks, Jr. in The Mythical Man-Month

Still cheaper than milk:

I have yet to take the Myers-Briggs test. After reading these, I'm even less inclined to:

I never thought this sort of thing actually occurred, but...

Um...nothing to say, really, except that it seems to me to be a horrible waste and certainly goes nowhere toward solving the 'shameful situations'.

I picked up the 20th anniversary edition of The Mythical Man-Month this weekend and am eagerly devouring its contents. Excellent reading if you go anywhere near the process of software development (especially from a managerial standpoint).

24 October 1998 "The deadly game of chess continues! Suenteus Po's next move is king's bishop to queen's bishop four... Disaster looms! How very like disaster... "
--Punisheroach, in "Flight" (Cerebus #159)
Taking a weekend trip (hi Pete! hi Toni!); no time to write.

I've finally signed up for my own domain name, though. Watch for an announcement and URL change (to something easier to type and remember) someday soon! :)


18 October 1998 "Most people deceive themselves with a pair of faiths; they believe in eternal memory (of people, deeds, things, nations) and in redressibility (of deeds, mistakes, sins, wrongs). Both are false faiths. In reality the opposite is true: everything will be forgotten and nothing will be redressed."
--Milan Kundera, quoted in Steve Martin's Pure Drivel

MacOS 8.5 is out:

Seems quite good: faster, more stable, looks better, adds useful new features.

Especially cool is the integration of similar functionality to both LiteSwitch (keyboard application switching) and The Tilery (visual indicators for all running applications); I always put those two free utilities on any Mac I configure; it's nice to know that in 8.5 and up I won't have to think about it.

So I'm looking to get my own domain and run my own server. Where would I go about looking for server co-location services in the St. Louis area? Where are those sorts of things advertised? I don't expect that they're in the yellow pages...

Suggestions for domain names?

Playing around, looking for available domain names, I tried "mine", as in ''. Imagine my surprise when appeared instead and didn't redirect the url to point to their canonical URL:

It seems to be a pretty insecure enterprise, as evidenced by the fact that they spend a whole page trying to demonstrate how Yahoo is a bunch of bullies for not including their pages in Yahoo's listings:

I see. So Yahoo is obligated to list them? If they were such hot stuff, what would it matter if a competitor pointed to them or not? Yahoo is not the gatekeeper of the Internet, nor is it the kingmaker.

And what's with the whole separate host name for the 'about' page?? - - Do those pages get so much traffic they had to be moved to another server? Please. Would the URL be so much harder to understand or remember? Come on.

Saw my first Ally McBeal a couple of weeks ago. Not bad, but I'm not going to seek it out. I'm trying to pare down the number of shows I consider 'musts' - NYPD Blue and Babylon 5 (and, fading fast, Homicide) are the only remaining shows that I'll go out of my way for. (Anybody else still miss Northern Exposure?)

NYPD Blue returns this week, and there's only one more week till Babylon 5 comes back.


Nice idea. Unfortunate name.

12 October 1998 "Doors on the other hand...Doors are reeal tricky..."
--Chimpanzee bartender, to the Roach (who is dreaming that he has finally decided he wants to leave the bar, but can find no exit) in Cerebus: Women by Dave Sim

Darn interesting reading, and relevant to academia: State goverments are having trouble holding onto IT workers. Mainly, the problem is salary.

A nice complement to the above article: Michael Surkan addresses the measuring of the costs and benefits of information technology:

Moxy Früvous is back in St. Louis!: They're appearing tonight (Monday) at Borders Books & Music in Creve Coeur. Best live band I've ever seen, you'll never regret trying them out:

11745 Olive Blvd.
Creve Coeur, MO 63141

Software that works as advertised is all I really want. If Microsoft Windows NT, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Access, et al., actually did what Microsoft claims they do, without breaking through normal use, I wouldn't be so annoyed with them.

Here's a PC columnist feeling a bit of hostility himself:

When Medina, Washington (Gates' home town) needed a computing solution to handle all the documents related to his fancy home, what did they conclude?

To my everlasting regret, last weekend I stumbled on and watched about five minutes of truly vile television. Avoid this show like you would a rotting pile of cockroaches:

A sexist twerpy "teen" cracking Clinton cigar jokes was just one of the things that made me gag...

Don't expect another update for a number of days...I'm having to juggle even more things than usual, and I'm usually too beat at the end of a day to think about the page...someday this will all change, right? Right?

What I really want is a nice, long vacation...fat chance while I'm still working here.

To end on a fun note, COMICS!

5 October 1998 "...the shock of being suddenly single after many years is the feeling that women over 35 are no longer considered attractive, not even by men over 35. // It's a pity, he says. The problem with American men is that they are so superficial. They want youth and beauty right up front in their faces. That isn't interesting. European men like to discover what's beautiful about a woman."
--from An Italian Romance, chapter two in Salon

I've been pretty impressed with the new Student Life site (WU's student newspaper) at They're doing a lot of Good Things, like keeping each issue online with consistent URLs that follow an easy-to-deduce pattern. (They leave out their April Fool's issue, which is probably a good thing because of all the obscene crap that goes into it - that's not the image they or WU want presented to the rest of the world). These are some recent articles that caught my eye:

A nice profile of the City Museum, a great local attraction:

An angry editorial on the new building Olin is adding to the campus, with some useful undergraduate perspective. I hadn't thought of things this way.

For Olin's purposes, there are great advantages and cost savings to having the new building so close to the current building - some staff will be able (or is it forced?) to serve both buildings. That's the only rebuttal *I* can think of off the top of my head.

McGwire gets a road:

The Cedar Rapids Gazoo Gazette is wired now, at - online news from home! Whee!

Here's a new (to me), fun comic strip: User Friendly. It's a Unix-biased, geek-oriented strip with an irrational hatred of both Windows and Macs, but it's pretty funny if you can deal with that.

Here are some good, representative ones:

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