OK - Quick check to see if the Blogger FTP is switched-over...
Chicago is a nice town! Can't say too much right now (got places to go), but I had a good amount of time to myself. Made it to Blue Chicago and heard some great music. Also had a fantastic meal at a restaurant called Blackbird -- highly recommended. More later...
An Alternative to Microsoft Gains Support in High Places - From the New York Times Online [requires registration]
More than two dozen countries in Asia, Europe and Latin America, including China and Germany, are now encouraging their government agencies to use "open source" software....
To curb such moves, Microsoft is backing an industry group called the Initiative for Software Choice. The group lists 20 members besides the chip maker Intel, a close ally, most of them small foreign companies or organizations. (Illegally stifling choice, of course, was precisely what the federal courts in the long-running antitrust case ruled that Microsoft did in the market for personal computer software.) ...
The support of open source software by governments around the world is rising. There are currently 66 government proposals, statements and studies promoting open source software in 25 countries, according to the Initiative for Software Choice. The policy statements and legislative proposals mainly encourage the use of open source software in government procurement, and nearly all of them have cropped up in the last 18 months. ...
In Germany, for example, the lower house of Parliament adopted a resolution last November declaring that the government should use open source software "whenever doing so will reduce costs." The resolution also cited as advantages "stability" and "security." Microsoft's Windows operating system is often criticized for crashing too often and for being susceptible to computer viruses and security breaches. ...
"All we're looking for is a level playing field competitively," said Peter Houston, a senior strategy executive in Microsoft's Windows group. ...
Hmmm... Now they want a "level playing field"? Looks like maybe the marketplace will find a way to do what the Justice Department and the Quasi-Elected Guy didn't don't seem willing to do. Wonder if the chefs in Redmond are coming up with exotic ways to serve crow.
Man, I feel a surge of power! Just "pulled the trigger" and put the new DNS info into Verisign. I needed to, since my current ISP's hosting goes dark in a couple of days. There are likely to be some flaky things during the transition, but so be it... I'm leaving town for a few days, and there isn't much I can do until I get back.
Headed for Chicago. I've been there once in the very cold of winter. The weather's supposed to be really nice - 60's for the next couple of days. I'll check out the Art Institute, maybe a blues club... The visit will be short and sweet. I'll take my camera.
By the time I get back, the beansaboutit.com ought to be serving from CornerHost.
Just like that, a chill is coming into the air. I suspect we've run the air conditioner for the last time this season. The leaves on the trees have lost a lot of green, and some are actually starting to turn brown around the edges. My mom, a teacher, heads back to work tomorrow.
Visiting SoHo, I met an interesting artist named Tom Matt. He's an incredibly skilled artist, who has taken to doing pencil drawings on newspapers, letting the newspaper text bleed through the image to create a kind of montage. He looks for meaningful headlines as a starting point for his drawings, and often spends hours getting the details down, sometimes returning several times to complete the drawings. He's experimenting with different moods.
One interesting story he told me, was about the composition he did from the roof deck of the Penninusula Hotel -- they figured he'd make some money selling whatever image he drew from that perch, so they wanted several hundred dollars for the opportunity. Fortunately for him, they were willing to take one of his prints in trade.
We did go to see Actual Proof on Friday. I wasn't disappointed. The band is good, and very interesting. The music is complex, hitting you in the gut, but appealing to the brain. Even though you're tempted to move with the music, it's challenging to dance to. This is no 4/4 dance band. The vocalist reminded me at moments of Robert Plant (Led Zepelin). The drummer was probably the most visually interesting member of the band. His clean head and unwavering chops provided a solid foundation for everything else that was going on on-stage.
Actual Proof started with a song that I'd guess was called "Human" (they didn't announce the names of many of their songs) and it was an appropriate opener. Even though there is so much electronic technical stuff going on in the music, the thing that comes across in their performance is that this is an expression of people, not robots, not machines.
Saw a piece on TV about Aerosmith last night. It's a band I've known for years, and have to admit, tried not to like. But, the more I hear about them, and the more I actually listen to their stuff, the more they get to me. It also didn't hurt that a college classmate of mine was working with the band's management company during the time of the "Permanent Vacation" and "Pump" albums.
I actually got to see them at Madison Square Garden. It's not a show I would have gotten tickets for, but my buddy came through with passes. The show was impressive - those guys worked hard. Of course, being a show in the garden, the place echoed like the Lincoln Tunnel, and the sound system seemed particularly muddy that night - It wasn't so easy to make out Steven Tyler's vocals. But it didn't really matter, because everyone around me seemed to sing every song along with him anyway.
I now have two interesting bits of trivia about the song "Walk This Way." The first is that the groove was inspired by one of my favorite bands - The Meters. Joe Perry had been listening to them intensely, and I believe the guitar lick is a response to "Look a Py Pie." The thing I just learned, is that Aerosmith almost canned the song. They had a groove, but couldn't find the lyrics for it. They took a break, and went to see "Young Frankenstein," and got their inspiration when Marty Feldman said "Walk this way..."
I'd say inspiration is like lightning, except lightning can only hit you if you're near the highest point or out in the open. Inspiration can strike you by surprise anywhere.
The work situation is changing. I've picked up some freelance work from a company that does interactive work and training in Manhatan. Cool thing is, I get to do both. I'll be travelling to Chicago, Dallas, and Austin over the next couple of weeks. I imagine the travelling thing could get old, but right now it's interesting and exciting. I haven't travelled for work in a long while. I'm looking forward to seeing some new places, and seeing some old places anew.
I've modified the Blogger template and made the first pass at updating my pages. It'll be a lot easier to maintain the archive links now, because I'm using server-side includes. [Yeah, in case you hadn't noticed, I hadn't updated the links in months - that's because I'd have to regenerate all my pages each time I added an archive - real pain.] I'll do the same with the "Amigos" links section, and may abstract other parts... Thing is, it requires me to change my file extension to .shtml. The result is that if anyone's linked to any of my entries, those links will be obsolete. I'm thinking of setting up some redirects. There's probably a nice, elegant way to do it through .htaccess. I'll have to do some more research.
Once I update the navigation, it'll be time to switch the DNS over to CornerHost. Too cool.
More fun with Jaguar:
The Sherlock application has been improving since its introduction in OS 9. Now, it includes many of the features that were pioneered in Watson. I noticed that package tracking is one feature hasn't been added, and there are others missing, so I may continue to use Watson a little longer. Hopefully, the Watson folks got a little something from Apple as their product is subsumed. I know Apple gave them a push when they first came out with Watson via the Apple site.
I think this yellow pages module is particularly nice, because it saves me from having to go through a separate Mapquest search, or even clicking on a link, to get a map to my destination. And the sucker is way faster than my browser.
Now that browsers have become so bloated, I think the market is ripe for thinner clients like the Serlock modules, that take advantage of the web's protocols, but provide more streamlined plumbing to present the information you want. Flash MX is particularly well-positioned to allow clever designers and developers to create some of those new thin-client applications. Even though Flash MX is a browser plug-in, it gets around the browser's rendering engine, which is one of the places where browsers really bog down. Now that Flash MX talks elegantly to web services like ASP.net and Cold Fusion, the fun can really begin.
Spring-loaded folders are back. I liked that feature in OS 9. When you drag a file over a folder, a window springs open, allowing you to view the contents, and if needed, drill down through as many folders as necessary until you reach the folder you want. Let go of the file and it's moved or copied to its destination, and the windows all snap closed again. Saves a lot of mousing around to open and close windows.