Friday, July 11, 2003
There's a hole in my blog
Well, now that the new Blogger interface has been rolled out, it's like I'm experiencing the work of the Helen Keller School of Torture: where they learn to move the furniture, and I stumble blindly across it. Archive management doesn't work the same way, and though I've been able to force most of my archive pages to update, there's one that won't publish, an I have no idea why. I tried logging into Blogger control to send a message about the apparently missing features, but it doesn't recognize my login, so I'm sort of S.O.L... I figure I'd get better support if I were paying for Blogger Pro, but maybe not. I'm logged into the LoFi interface. That may have to do with problems developing for the Mac platform. I just know I'm pretty frustrated right now.
Much as like Blogger, I'm starting to think it may be time to migrate to one of the other platforms, like Moveable Type. I have to upgrade to Blogger Pro to get RSS, anyway, and I'm not sure there's any advantage to staying with Blogger anymore.
We'll see. I'll let you know what I figure out.
Got an e-mail from the DNC today linked to a petition calling
for a bipartisan investigation into what he knew and when. I think some of
this is the usual spin-control, but overall it's a good idea. I thought about
filling in the comments field, then I thought better of it: My server logs
show that someone from the US Government has been viewing my blog; why make
it any easier for them?
A couple of days ago, I saw a very different account of what happened
to Jessica Lynch when she was captured. She was the "hero" who supposedly emptied
rifle when her convoy was ambushed in Iraq. They said she'd been shot, stabbed,
and tortured... yada-yada.
A short while later, we heard only whispers that none of that was true. The
channels weren't making a big deal out of how they'd
probably been used again. The account yesterday said that the vehicle she was
riding in crashed into another vehicle with tremendous force, killing all passengers
except Lynch. She was in an Iraqi hospital when she was "rescued." There
wasn't an Iraqi soldier in sight. There's speculation that Lynch's family is
under some sort of gag
Speaking of the press blowing it again, it's been nearly 7 years since JonBenet
Ramsey was killed, and the networks have faithfully advanced the insinuation
Patsy was probably the killer, but the Boulder Police Department had simply
flubbed the case... Now the new District Attorney in Boulder has taken the
Boulder Police off the case, and a civil judge in Atlanta has ruled that the
evidence is more consistent with the intruder theory. The Governor of Colorado
was in the business of slamming the Ramseys, too. Interesting that I found
article on the USA Today site, dated Apr. 9, 2003, but the Today Show
didn't pick up the story until a couple of days ago.
I wonder if we could get the reality TV folks excited about a celebrity
cat-fight between Arianna
Huffington and Ann
Coulter. I bet we could get Coulter
a bikini (considering how she seems to like figure-flattering outfits so much),
maybe get them to wrestle in a vat of Jello™ brand
gelatin, or something — get the corporate sponsorhip angle in there...
But thinking it through a little more, Huffington isn't nearly as pro-Democrat
is died-in-the-wool-Republican. Huffington has a lot to say about the spinelessness of
the Dems, for example, and she's much more concerned with corporate annexation
of the political system than with which party is in control, so she might not
like the Jello™ angle so much, either. For that matter, she seems to have a hell of a lot
more class than Coulter...
Yesterday at FlashForward, I sat in on a presentation by Erick
"Interaction Less Ordinary." The presentation was a breath of fresh air from
the typical lightweight how-to sessions you see in so many of these conferences.
Natzke downplayed his own prowess, and seemed intent on inspiring the audience
to explore ideas. To that end, he shared his process- showing a lot of experimental
projects that he'd done for his own edification. Then, he showed how ideas
gained from those experiments ended up as part of client work. Curiosity and
drive (which he calls "stubbornness") have a lot to do with his final results,
which are indeed less ordinary.
One of the coolest results he derived, was an algorithm for drawing ribbons
with the Flash drawing API. Using a tool that lets Flash movies respond to
their own audio tracks, the ribbons expanded dynamically in response to the
pulse of the drum tracks.
Samuel Wan's presentation
wasn't as awe-inspiring, but it showed how far-out you can take collaboration
with Flash, and hinted at where a lot of future Flash development efforts might
focus. Sam made it clear just how simple it is to get fully functional chat
applications running with Flash Communication Server. I'd seen a demo like
but Sam's was cleaner and clearer. He also made something else clear: the biggest
challenge of using FlashComm isn't setting up applications, it's figuring out
how to do collaboration well.
One of the things that Sam is interested in now, is taking advantage of the
Flash player embedded in PocketPCs. He demonstrated a PocketPC Flash app he
wrote days ago that controls a camera mounted on a robotic arm, saying that
he's now more interested in using Flash in stand-alone settings – no browser
Missed the Tour de France coverage yesterday. Can't wait to find out what's
Some of the ads that are running along with the coverage are intriguing,
and others are just plain wack. US Postal has an ad that uses "Neither rain,
nor sleet, nor gloom of night..." very effectively. Lance is also featured
in Subaru ads, where he seems far more animated than I've ever seen him,
which doesn't make him a Willard Scott or even a Bob Roll, but he's more animated.
Speaking of Bob Roll, there's an absurd commercial that makes fun of the
he pronounces the name of the Tour: at the end of the spot, he's looking
into a mirror, saying "Toor - day - France!" over and over. He is the Willard
of sports announcing.
Bush in Africa, etc.
Well, so far, Bush has snubbed Mandela for calling his spade and he's made
a pilgrimage to the island that most represents American slavery – where he
condemned the act of slavery but made no apology. He's walking around making
big promises about American contributions to help fight AIDS, but the fine
print says you'd better not be counseling women on abortion if you want any
of this money. And maybe it all means nothing. Consider AmeriCorps – a successful
and effective program that is a darling of both parties. After Bush promised
to expand the program by 50%, it was initially cut by 80%. After some
last-minute haggling, the cut was adjusted to only 58%. This from a Newsweek
article on MSNBC:
...The more cynical view is that Bush is a lip-service president who makes “compassionate
conservative” promises and even signs bills in the Rose Garden with great
flourish—then walks away. Exhibit A is the landmark No Child Left Behind
Act, which imposes a series of costly accountability mandates on the education
system (many of them commendable) without providing the resources to implement
them. The congressional appropriation is $8 billion short of what Bush asked
But this president is such a strong leader in his own party
that he can’t claim to be stymied by Congress. We know that if he
cares about something, he generally gets it done. ...
Wednesday, July 09, 2003
The Icon was Love
As I sit to write this, "Love's Theme" is running through my head. Still can't
believe Barry White is gone. That deep, husky voice; and those songs - like
"Baby Blues." He truly was the icon of erotic love. A year or so ago, I saw
show, being interviewed because some marine biologist had gotten the idea
to pipe Barry
White music into a shark tank in the hope that the vibrations would inspire
the sharks to mate. You could tell Barry was getting a kick out of it. He
played along with the interview. He smiled, and relished the moment, but
he didn't seem to have a big head, either. Like all of us, I'm sure he had
his ups and downs. We were fortunate that he shared
passion and joy with us, and even though his voice was so deep, you could
say he went
out on a high note.
4 = history
Imagine being tucked into an aero position for more than an hour, with 8 of your
teammates, pulling toward the course finish line, racing against headwinds and
the clock. You start out seemingly slow, and in the end, you dust off the competition
by 30 seconds – an eternity in bike time trial racing. That's what Lance Armstrong
and team US Postal did in Stage 4 of the Tour de France today.
At the end of the day, US Postal held the 8 best
times of the Tour, and a Columbian named Victor Hugo Peña was the Maillot Jaune
- the man in the Yellow Jersey. He'd bested Lance in the prolog time trial
by one second, and that was enough to put him at the top for now. Columbians
had stage wins before, but never in the hundred years of the Tour, has a Colombian
worn the Yellow, until today. Of course, the French can take consolation in
the fact that a Frenchman has already been in Yellow this year, and Mr. Peña's
seems to be inspired by one
of the greats of French literature – a French national hero.
The announcers couldn't help using machine metaphors to describe the performance.
With their aero helmets and tricked-up TT bikes, they did look an awful lot
like some kind of Anime man/machine. Clipped into those petals and hunkered-down
in racing form, they were a sight to see.
The Tour has given us some good racing so far, and unfortunately, there
have been at least one crash in each of the first three stages. Amazingly,
on after a nasty collarbone-breaking crash in the first stage. Another rider
involved in the same crash raced in the next two stages wearing a neck brace!
These guys just don't go down for the count. Tomorrow will be a good day for
sprinters again, but the first significant climbs of this year's race will enter
the mix. US Postal may defend Peña's Yellow Jersey tomorrow, but sooner or later,
the Maillot Jaune will likely land on Lance's shoulders. Once that happens, he's
not going to relinquish it without a fight.
This is just too cool! If you go to Google and type "weapons of mass destruction"
into the search box, then click "I'm Feeling Lucky" you get a very interesting
result... read carefully:
The links work, too. They point to lovely
Kubrick classic, and even Rummy's
own "Existential Poetry".
The clever thing about this, is that this is not Google's doing.
This is the work of a smart and cheeky British web developer who understands
how the Google engine works. Check out the meta tag:
<meta name="keywords" content="404, weapons
of mass destruction, iraq, UN" />
Since "I'm Feeling Lucky" takes you directly to the #1 hit, this
page will come up as long as nobody else puts up a page with that keyword
phrase and manages somehow to out-rank them.
The FlashForward2003 conference
started today. Looking forward to checking out some of the presentations. Tomorrow,
I'll be helping out at the New York Macromedia User Group (NYMMUG) booth.