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Saturday, August 31, 2002
10:43 AM      

I'm psyched. Just installed the "Jaguar" (10.2) release of OS X. It rocks.

Happy, because it fixed the glitch I was having with some mail sent to me from Outlook Express - the MIME type "multipart/alternative" seemed to choke the previous version of Apple Mail on my machine. Looked like a rare case, because 3 calls to Apple support and a post on Apple's support forum turned up no solutions and no confirmation of other people with the problem.

Happy, because the Finder now has a search field integrated into every window.

Happy, because Apple Mail now has an integrated spam sniffer [can you tell I hate spam?]. It guesses what might be spam, and marks it for you. I added a rule that moves marked spam into a folder called "SpamCatcher." You can train the sniffer - when it marks stuff that isn't really spam, you tell it that it's not, and vice-versa. I figure this is going to save me a lot of weeding time.

Not a new feature, but related -- I can bounce unwanted messages back to the sender. The messaage appears to the spammer as if it was undeliverable. A number of spammers still have to pay for every message sent, meaning it's in their interest to remove me from their list! It's not fool-proof. Some of those guys don't do any maintenance on their lists, and some use bogus "from" addresses, so the bounce never gets back to them, but it's worth a try. Now, I can just bounce everthing that drops into the SpamCatcher folder.

Combined with the "Spaminator" feature on Earthlink, I should find myself wasting a lot less time trying to dodge the spam bullet.

Happy, because the performance has improved yet again - the dock is noticeably smoother.

And happy, because Jaguar raises the bar again. As slick as I thought 10.0 and 10.1 were, this is slicker still.

One small thing... Looks like they removed the "Temple" sound. I really liked that, and used it to announce incoming mail. Gotta see if I can download it from somewhere.


Flash: Political Games
More evidence in support of Marshall MacLuhan's assertion that the medium is the message - Flash is allowing kids with a point of view and some design skills to create interactive political messages. The barrier to entry for creating and disseminating games as well as messages from all perspectives has come way down.

...This material would have been unheard of a few years back, when only corporations could afford to code video games. But online animation software like Flash has made the means of production easy to download. In an hour or so, angry young Webmasters can spin their political opinions into interactive editorials. Many of the games are hosted at, a portal where thousands of people post their creations; visitors vote for their favorites, and the best ones become part of the site's permanent collection. The site has received so many games devoted to Sept. 11 and the war in Afghanistan that it has a special section just for it.

... they're often riddled with bathroom humor, sophomoric sexual antics, and misogyny. But some merely push the line of taste in a creative way, like Aaron Chapman, a 21-year-old atheist living in Texas. Annoyed by what he sees as omnipresent Christianity in government and society, Chapman began making a series of anti-Jesus games—including Messiah Annihilator, in which you blast away at phalanxes of attacking Jesuses. In the final round—when, in accordance with the conventions of video games, you fight the mastermind Big Boss—the game forces you to battle an Ultra-Mega-Jesus-Bot. (To start playing, you hit a button called "Begin the blasphemy!") Like South Park, it's puerile but acidly funny.


I've got most of the site stuff FTP-d to the new hosting service. There are some bits to clean up, then time to re-point the DNS.

I'm making a design change to the navigation system on this blog so that I don't have to re-publish everything each time I update the archive links. That was a major nuisance in the past. It requires me to change all the .htm files to .shtml files, though... so I need to do some fancy footwork to take care of the chance that somebody has linked to the older files. I think I can do that by adding an .htaccess file with a few redirects.

Been doing some freelance work on an XP machine this past week. I hate the fact that 'doze uses the awkward combination of control-c for copy [either I make a long stretch to the control key with my thumb, or use my pinkie - neither of which feels particularly comfortable]... It's enough to throw me off and make me press the wrong keys when I switch machines.


I turned Donald on to the world of blogging a while ago. I thought this mesage was too cool, so I had to share it. Blogging makes the world smaller. And, I had no idea that Donald was fluent in German...

I have been reading Der Spiegel, which I download daily onto my Pocket PC. There is a great article I thought you might enjoy about blogging in NYC! Let me know if you'd like me to translate.


29. August 2002, 13:38


Die Blogger vom Times Square


Bloggen ist in: So viele Leute führen inzwischenein Online-Tagebuch, dass dieSzene reichlich unübersichtlich gewordenist. Drei New Yorker haben eineelegante, wenn auch altmodische Navigationshilfegefunden: Die U-Bahn- Karte.

New York - Pat ist schwul. Geburtstag hater am 29. Juli, er ist gerade 30 geworden. Seit Januar hat er 40 Pfund abgenommen.Am 29. Mai hatte er einen Protein-Riegel zum Frühstück, einen Protein-Riegel zu Mittag, und Spaghettimit Truthahnsauce zum Abendessen. Sein Hauptziel im Lebenistes, demebenfalls schwulen Pianisten Matt Johnson in die Eier zu treten.

Willkommen in der Welt der Blogger. ...

I have a hunch that some of the word breaks are worong here. The text came across with pocket-pc wrapping, so there were some really short lines, and there were some places where spaces were obviously dropped. any corrections are appreciated...

[ link | e-me ]

Thursday, August 29, 2002
3:54 PM      

Today's been a pretty "Blade Runner" kind of day, especially looking out the back door of the office where I'm working. Dark steel fire escapes, old brick, and metal shutters on the building across the alley give everything that wet, cold, rugged look.

After a long period of hanging out in the unemployed world, I'm falling into a good amount of freelance work with a group of folks I really like. Part of that freelance work will put me in front of a classroom again. While I didn't think I'd have the patience for it, I'm actually very excited about the prospect now. It's actually fun!

Yes, I am a geek. I thought the Philips Pronto remote was a cool idea. Now, they've come out with Pronto Lite- software that turns your Palm into a smart remote capable of controlling up to ten A/V devices. I've downloaded the software already. I'm looking forward to giving it a whirl.

gotta go...

[ link | e-me ]

Wednesday, August 28, 2002
1:39 PM      

I found some pictures from the grand opening of the Apple SoHo store about a month ago on their site. The pictures say a lot more than I can in words.

If you want to visit, here's some info on the store location.

Not surprisingly, Apple has been opening retail stores around the country. There are more coming.

Speaking of stores, the bodega (convenience store/deli) across the street from us has put up their "Grand Opening" signs. The transformation is almost complete, though they're obviously still hanging some items and putting in last-minute fixes. I'm pleased as punch. The store's gone upscale. Supposedly they're planning to add a lot more of the items I prefer. For the most part, I only went there for milk, the occasional canned goods, single bottles of beer, ice cream, and in an emergency, eggs. With any luck, quality fresh produce will be right across the street.

They've really done a complete makeover - gutted the place and started over with new tile floors, a cook hood, suspended ceilings, and even pink marble around the facade. Still, not everybody in the neighborhood is pleased - it's a sign of the ever-increasing gentrification of the neighborhood, the force that will eventually drive some long-term residents out. A woman passed in front of the store this morning, paused, made a face, then said "Assoholes! They went and made it into a shi-shi store." The change is more than cosmetic. Rumor has it that they won't carry some of the items that were the main draw for an "unsavory" portion of the old clientele.


It's surprising to see September creeping up on us. Nearly a year has passed since the WTC attack, and as the anniversary approaches, you see signs of revisiting what only seemed to slip from the top of everybody's conversation only a few months ago. At Barnes & Noble in Park Slope, they've already set up a table full of books with a sign that reads "September 11, 2001." Yeah, that was the year we made contact, alright.

Some very good friends of mine live very close to the hole that was WTC. They were telling me about a research report that shows that a very high percentage of New Yorkers (and especially those who were displaced from their homes for a period of time) are showing signs of post-traumatic distress. As the 9-11 anniversary hype machine gears-up, many of those people are likely to feel even more out of sorts. Some might say "Oh, well, it's just a side-effect. Business is business, you know." It's the same kind of thinking that might well have gotten us where we are today.


From "Hitting Back? The United States' Policy of Pre-Emptive Self-Defense Could Rewrite the Rules of Military Engagement" -

Bush's speech signaled a shift in the doctrine of U.S. military intervention. Troops were sent into Afghanistan after Sept. 11 to prevent another attack on the United States. In 1991, the U.S. military fought Iraq on behalf of Kuwait with the support of Congress and the U.N. Security Council. An invasion of Iraq — conceivably with only the White House's approval — could violate the international laws that the United States has championed since World War II.

"The standards for invasion now are pretty cut-and-dry: If you're attacked, you can respond," said Sean Murphy, a professor of international law at George Washington University, "But if you make anticipatory self-defense the standard, you open an enormous Pandora's Box." ...

The major precedent for pre-emptive military action is Israel's Six-Day War in 1967, fought against Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq. Israel invaded its neighbors, citing the need to pre-empt an enemy invasion, but never provided full evidence or rationale for its actions.

The rest of the world — led by the United Nations — largely condemned Israel for the attacks. Israel faced criticism again in 1981 — including from the United States — when it destroyed an Iraqi nuclear facility, claiming it needed to defend itself from the plant's capabilities. ...

I suspect that for the next several years, the US will be in a state of military engagement in some part of the world. Perhaps there is always fighting going on in some part of the world — there just isn't always a reason for us to be made aware of it.

[ link | e-me ]

Tuesday, August 27, 2002
7:24 AM      

Apple has a new showcase store in SoHo. I was in there yesterday - white walls, glass and beech wood everywhere. The place is bathed in white. It's a lighter aesthetic than in the movie 2001, a Space Odyssey, but it's just as clean and pristene.

The upstairs level has a large demo theatre. You get there by walking up thick glass stairs that have a familiar texture - it's the grippy pattern that is usually found embossed into steel plates to improve traction. The glass looks to be about 3 inches thick. I imagine the staircase is incredibly heavy, but the whole thing looks light.

Also upstairs is a fun-looking children's area, that was packed nearly to capacity. It features a large round table with a lot of computers, and giant rubber balls for seating. You walk into the children's area from the software and accessories display area, where hundreds of titles are on display, by crossing a glass bridge. It's cool to watch peole cross from below. It looks like it's made of ice.

There is also a service area upstairs. Rather than calling it something as boring as "Tech Support," it's called the "Genius Bar." Little plackards show the available services on tap.

Meanwhile, the downstairs area is where you can simply explore. I saw everything in the current line, except the rack-mount X-Serve machine, up and running and connected to an impressive array of peripherals and accessories. The room virtually screamed "come and play." Wanna see how the Mac does digital photography? A large table features more than a dozen different digital cameras connected to iBooks. How about DV? Same deal. You can see everything from your basic $500 DV cam to a $5000 pro rig. There are even workstations set up for video editing and sound editing. I found out that the eMac is now available outside the education market, and I see that the iPod has been updated again: now it features a remote control fob that has a jack so you can use it with the earphones of your choice.

The place easily holds several hundred people at a time, and at one point, there were people everywhere. My guess would be 150 or more. And they were intently checking out the Macs.

I got to play with OS X 10.2 - the "Jaguar" release - and it looks very good. I tried it out on a machine with 128 meg and a slower clockspeed than my G4 desktop (my machine has a gig), and the dock alone seemed far more zippy. They've integrated a search box for the find feature directly into the Finder windows, and updated both Sherlock and Mail with some really useful features. Many things look just a bit more refined. Overall, the upgrade looks to be worth more than the $129 that they're charging. Have you tried Windows XP? The experience isn't even close. Guess that leaves GigaScoff's Department of Interface "Emulation" with a lot more homework to do...

I also got a look at many of the Nikon Coolpix line, and noticed that they're all much smaller and less substantial than my 990. In fact, they feel a bit flimsy by comparison. The one thing that some of the models had going for them, was higher resulution. One had nearly twice the pixels as my camera has, meaning better color rendition and the potential for larger high-quality prints.


A young girl and a man that I would guess to be her uncle were standing at a counter. The man took his green-tinted wrap-around sunglasses off, and gave them to the girl, who put them on, and started to pose.

The man said "You're going to be famous one day."

"Why?" said the girl.

"I don't know... You'll be like Janet Jackson was when she was a little girl," he responded.

"She died?!" the little girl asked.


Amici Miei ("My Friends" in Italian) is gone. It was a wonderful restaurant on West Broadway, just below Houston Street. A bit pricey, but the atmosphere and the food were exceptioal. For a long time, an amazing bronze statue of a horse rearing up stood outside near the front door. The thing must have been at least 10 feet tall.

I notice the comings and goings of restaurants and stores, perhaps more than others, like the passing of old friends. When an old store or restaurant closes, I have a moment of rememberance - great meals shared there, a great bargain purchase, or a wonderful trinket that was on display - almost a moment of mourning.

Businesses, like people, have a life cycle. It gets interesting when businesses get acquired. Take The Wiz, for example. It's been bought and sold at least three times in recent history, and each time, it's changed personality. The latest incarnation is far more sober and corporate than in the days when they literally changed the name to "Nobody Beats the Wiz." Now, the Wiz store on Fulton Street is closing. Is this an isolated case, or is it the beginning of crumbling "consolidation"?

In the life and death metaphor, a business being bought is like being swallowed up by a predator. Often, the personality of the company that's been acquired gets completely lost, but sometimes the encounter changes the purchasing company - Consider how Macromedia bought out Allaire corporation, but now the MX product line completely reflects the Allaire developer philosophy. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it also shows where the metaphor breaks. In this case it's more like the acquiring company was looking for a symbiont or maybe a brain transplant.


Oooo... Is that a gun in your pants or are you happy to see me?
- Ad for the Westside Rifle and Pistol Range in Manhattan.

"Looking for a unique date idea? You don't need a gun to learn to shoot. We provide rifles and training," the ad continues.


Again with the laywers...

— WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House lawyers have concluded that President Bush does not need congressional consent to launch an attack on Iraq, The Washington Post reported Monday, citing administration officials...

White House officials told the newspaper that Bush could move without new congressional approval, in part, because the 1991 resolution giving the first President Bush authority to wage war in the Persian Gulf remains in force.

"We don't want to be in the legal position of asking Congress to authorize the use of force when the president already has that full authority," a senior administration official told the Post. "We don't want, in getting a resolution, to have conceded that one was constitutionally necessary."...

Bush Lawyers Say No Vote Needed to Attack Iraq" - ABC

And in a related story:

...Cheney underscored the administration's position that the Iraqi leader remains a threat and must be dealt with sooner, rather than later.

"I am familiar with the arguments against taking action in the case of Saddam Hussein," Cheney said. "Some concede that Saddam is evil, power hungry and a menace, but that until he crosses the threshold of actually possessing nuclear weapons, we should rule out any preemptive action. That logic seems to me to be deeply flawed."

In his speech, Cheney never mentioned Baker or other Republicans who have voiced concern about the administration's planning on Iraq. But he made it clear that the administration did not favor a go-slow approach. ...

Yeah, I trust these guys to protect me; that is, when they're not busy getting the rest of the world pissed-off at us.

[ link | e-me ]

8:19 AM      

Ever heard of Robert Fripp? Alan Holdsworth? Wah-Wah Watson?

If you have, you're probably a guitar fan. Fripp and Eno collaborated in the late 70's and early 80's on what's known as "ambient" music - nearly hypnotic layers of looping, echoing sounds. Wah-Wah Watson's signature sound made the guitar sound like rippling water. And Holdsworth's work with King Crimson drummer Bill Bruford defined a completely different potential for guitar solos.

I encountered a guy named Dave at Union Square park, and his guitar playing reminded me of all of them. I was so amazed, I stood and listened for a good 15 minutes, and yes, I gave him a tip.

He's in a band called ActualProof. His band is playing Friday Night at Mercury Lounge. I think it's worth a visit.

[ link | e-me ]

3:36 PM      

I can't begin to tell you how many times I see people walking down the street with their "hands-free" cell phone rigs, holding the phone in one hand and tugging on the cord of their earpiece to bring the little tumor microphone closer to their mouth. I suspect the proximity really does help, but they probably have a problem with overloading the mic with consonants like p and w, because the mic was designed to be further away from the mouth. My Jabra rig doesn't have a mic in the cord - It's all integrated into the earpiece. Unfortunately, the earpiece has a big problem with wind noise. Some people have complained that they can barely hear me over the turbulence caused by walking down the street into a slight headwind.

Funny thing is, the earpiece rigs became more popular in New York state, when legislation was passed requiring drivers to have hands-free cell phones in their cars. Nice thinking, except the law was enacted before the research was completed showing that talking on the phone while driving was the thing that was distracting, not holding the phone to talk. I think it was the same study that showed that eating and drinking coffee or soda were as distracting to drivers as talking on the cell phone. And to think -- for years, manufacturers have been adding oversized cup holders and surfaces convenient for fast food to cars! Think of all those times a driver has stopped to get coffee as a pick-me-up, only to have the coffee be the distraction that caused an accident. Hmmmmm....

[ link | e-me ]
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