This just in: Netscape Seven. Should have been called Netscape 6.4 as far as I can tell from the specs, but what the hell.
Zeldman talks about things we've all come to realise - we're still stuck with tables for layout. It's just that now we can cut down the amount of tables we need to use; simplify the whole system and make it work for just about anyone. It'd be nice to use 100% CSS but browsers still don't cut it. Until they do, web standards are still a nice idea but not an attainable goal for many commercial and/or large scale websites. The war is far from over. A few key battles have been won, but there's a long way to go.
Shop Till Eggs, Diapers, Toothpaste Drop. Vending machines reach a new level.
CNN.com - Technology takes hold in cyber dream home - August 28, 2002. I like this idea. Although I suspect I'd end up with an apartment that has a bathroom, bedroom and one big weird-shaped open plan room. I'm pretty fond of space :)
heheheh, it's a classic Sluggy Freelance today.
Lust for learning in library - smh.com.au. The National Library may start collecting porn web sites to add to its erotica archive.
Mr Crook said the library did not collect the material for "the salacious enjoyment of the contemporary reader". ... "[It is] an indicator of social mores, standards and public attitudes to matters sexual," Mr Crook said. "With this in mind, it is clear that there is no merit in being coy today and therefore delivering an incomplete picture to future researchers."
Parental training criticism silences minister - smh.com.au - in an unsurprisingly move, pollies have backed away from the idea of making parents go through training before being given benefits. Also unsurprising is the fact that Labour attacked the idea tooth and nail, then turned around and said that more needed to be done to support and equip new parents. We do notice your hypocrisy, guys.
While I personally think every prospective parent should be made to attend some form of preparatory training, this would at least have been a good start. If taxpayers are going to fund a family, why not include some training in the system? It might help people cope with having kids on a low income. But no, standard knee-jerk outcry silences any real discussion of the idea.
Census shows Australians use 'the Force'. 27/8/2002. ABC News Online... finally, the real number! 70,509 people put down Jedi or something similar as their Religion. The ABS got all pissy about it, trying to argue that skewing the census would create problems. Err, hello people, if someone was a devout christian they would not have put down Jedi. So you're just getting a prank answer in a field that would otherwise have been left blank.
The Register - When Feds attack. The FBI proving once again they think they're above the law.
i wish all these quizzes had valid code fragments, but that's beside the point. westley? i can handle that :) i was a little worried i'd come out as fezzini.
Slashdot | How Could TV Survive Without Commercials? - damn fine question. Less bitching and more thinking!
News in Science 20/8/2002 First look at 'bionic eye' - a different bionic eye project, by an Aussie this time.
From Unseemly to Lowbrow, the Web's Real Money Is in the Gutter. No real revelation to anyone who's been online for a few years. I think people lose sight of one thing though - get rid of spam, banners and popups and you'd get porn out of everyone's face. It'd still be there, but grow up people, it's not an invention of the net and it will never go away, censor the net and something new will come along.
... the Internet's diversity, good and bad, means that people will find the information they want, as narrowly and as deeply as they care to explore it. While he, too, would like some method to control the spam that flows into his e-mailbox, he said he preferred a complex ecosystem to a monoculture as bland and regular as a suburban lawn.
Jeffrey Zeldman Presents: The Daily Report
Readers continually ask: “How can I sell standards to my client/boss/co-workers?” Here’s a thought: Don’t sell. Show. The reality of standards in commercial web design, in one short article. Remember, you should take credit for setting up a site with a CSS-driven design. It may seem simple and obvious to you, but you've done it; and it is a great solution for the client... which is what you're being paid for. Which is also what you will hopefully continue to be paid for, next time they need web development services.
News: Opera cuts legacy code--hums faster. Go Opera :)
Pizza potshots make local chefs boil - smh.com.au I reckon this guy hits on the head:
"They are trying to make more money for trade," he said. "I won't be blackmailed to buy more Italian products. I use as much Australian produce as I can in my restaurant. ... If I use them, my cooking is still authentic Italian.
NRL backs away from chairman's expulsion remarks - smh.com.au
The National Rugby League today watered down claims by chairman John Chalk that the Bulldogs will be expelled from the competition for breaching the salary cap. Chalk told today's Sydney Morning Herald that competition leaders the Bulldogs "certainly won't be in any finals" after breaching the salary cap by more than $1 million over two years.
As the commentators would say, "they're gone, the doggies..."
Heroin dealer can claim $220,000 tax deduction, rules court - smh.com.au
A heroin dealer can claim a $220,000 tax deduction for money stolen during a drug deal, a Federal Court has ruled. Justice Robert Nicholson ruled that Francesco Domenico La Rosa, of Perth, earned his taxable income as a drug dealer, according to a report in the West Australian. This meant that La Rosa could claim as a tax deduction losses incurred during the conduct of his income earning - albeit illicit - business. ... "It is arguably an anomaly to which Parliament should give attention."
Arguably an anomaly which needs further attention?? What's next, claiming back the illegal firearms, ammunition and shovels for burying people who tried to muscle in on his turf? I wonder how much an AK-47 depreciates over three years?
BBC NEWS | Health | 'Cruel' mouse music study blasted
An experiment in which mice died after being given amphetamines and exposed to loud dance music has been criticised by the Home Office.
Animal rights activists are "outraged" at the treatment of mice in this study; as some died and others were brain damaged. Not nice for the mice, but I can understand why the research was done - basically they were simulating a rave. If the toxicity of a drug is increased by environmental factors, people need to know; it might prevent "party drug" related deaths. But then animal rights activists would probably argue that the tests should be done on humans. I wonder if they're volunteering to be the test subjects in future studies?
X-Entertainment - A Non-Review of Nintendo's Rad Racer
There really isn't much to say about Nintendo's old Rad Racer game. You drive cars, and occasionally, you smash cars into palm trees.
I'm laughing too hard to write or quote anything more.
USATODAY.com - New college is a true feat of engineering
The group knew from the start that it would encourage an entrepreneurial spirit in students. But at some point, a consensus also emerged that engineering students ought to think even more broadly. The term "renaissance engineer" — think Leonardo DaVinci, designer of flying machines, bridges and the Mona Lisa — became popular. They decided to require that students take a course each semester in the arts, humanities and social sciences.
Salon.com Technology | Coming up next: Ambushed on "Donahue"! Discussing violence in video games and what real effects it could have; along with the treatment that this guy got when he appeared on the tv show Donahue.
90 percent of American boys play video games, so it's a pretty good bet that if the killer is an adolescent boy, they can find the proof that he was a gamer. ... Banning games doesn't put a stop to domestic violence, doesn't ensure that mentally unstable kids get the help they need, doesn't stop bullying in the hallways, and doesn't deal with the economic inequalities and racial tensions that are the real source of violence in American culture. ... But, during my 15 minutes on "Donahue," I never got to say any of this.
iStockphoto.com - royalty-free photos, for use in your designs...... way cool. the categorisation could be a little clearer, but hey, the content is good.
Zeldman notes the weird news, there's a Netscape 4.8 release. I don't understand why they're releasing more iterations of a desperately outdated, crappy browser. They've released a preview of version seven, for crying out loud. Let version four die, people!
BBC NEWS | In Depth | dot life | Border controls crumble in DVD land - basically a non-surprising bit of news: dvd region coding was a dumb idea and people have hacked it into irrelevance anyway. People are sick of being screwed; and now we have the technology to screw the manufacturers right back. Perhaps if different region DVDs all had the same content, people wouldn't have been so annoyed. But they did have different content; so people hacked the hardware in order to enjoy the movies they love.
typographica: August 13, 2002 Archives - more on the MS vs free fonts situation.
Yahoo! News - Cocaine-filled suitcase bought at auction. I can see the eBay craze already....
You know, I'm not a big fan of mondays. But some are definitely worse than others. Bloody mondays. But at least I know I'm not alone.
Anchor Votes - how Google searches can be influenced.
This is more than just a mod, it's a rebuild... page is in korean, but the pictures are self-explanatory: TTBOARD
Zeldman admits he's really a doppelganger - the secret's out. Amusing post, really. Ultimately though, if one person did all the work of both people, they'd need to be Santa Claus - to make one night last long enough to visit every eligible household in the world... then install standards-compliant browsers on all the PCs......
WPVI.com: Bank Promotes Free Cash ATM! That's free cash for the users, not the bank. For once.
Greer tells Blair to stay off Cherie - smh.com.au.... and feminists wonder why they have a bad name.
Don't Save Karyn. Karyn is some girl who got herself US$20,000 in credit card debt, then started a website literally begging for money. Nothing in return, just the karma of helping someone out. Hell, she's collected over four grand to date; so amazingly enough people seem willing to pull her out of the hole she dug for herself. I just like the counterpoint -
Our names are Bob and Ben. We're really nice, and we're asking for your help! You see, there's this other website run by this chick who has no concept of 'fiscal responsibility', and wants you to pay for her bills! And people actually give her money! Lots of it! This has inspired us to create our own website...Don't Save Karyn dot com! We too are Internet panhandlers, but unlike Karyn and the guy who comes up to you on the street about how his car broke down and he has no money for gas, we make no pretenses...if you give us money, in the true spirit of Karyn, we are going to waste it all on stupid stuff!
Geeks in government: A good idea? - Tech News - CNET.com - discusses the chances of success for "geektivism". Basically geeks tend to rant and try to do things democratically. Which is all bullshit. What geeks need is huge wads of cash to buy lobbyists. You can't beat the system from outside it, which makes it really hard to swallow when you're a Knowledge Is Power/Information Wants To Be Free type.
We wish, Bob, we wish.
Slashdot | Slashback: Futurama, Shattering, Footage - seems Futurama isn't dead after all :)
Plustech Walking technology - walking forest machine. Damn, that thing looks cool.
arghgh....grr......gack.... choking on my own rage here... The Salt Lake Tribune -- Spam Fattens Both E-mail And Bank Accounts.
"This is what the Internet is supposed to be," said Michael Jay, whose Houston-based company, America Find, sends several million messages per day advertising $99 background checks. "This is free enterprise at its finest." *froth*
Slashdot | The Golden Age of Cup Manufacturing, where cups just keep getting bigger; so companies can sell more liquid we didn't ask for. As CmdrTaco says,
Christ, how much do these companies think people need to drink, anyway?". The only size change I've really liked in recent years is the advent of the 390ml bottle. One sip bigger than a can. I always used to finish the can when I had one sip's worth of food left... no, really. The thing which really shits me off is the dumping of the "standard cup size"; ie. the size of every damn cup holder in every car. My car a standard size cup holder in every door; but do you think any fucking drink actually fits into them? No.
Apparently some scientists have reason to believe the speed of light has slowed down. Scary and exciting. The article also highlights the fact that real, serious change is going to be seriously unwelcome in the scientific community. Man, that bugs me. What do they think they're there for? It's like they think change should only be accepted if it doesn't really change anything.
Amazing how things can snowball. waferbaby posts about having their design ripped off, without any credit given. The company says they didn't do anything; they "bought" the design a year ago. Meanwhile zeldman posts about it and it starts doing the rounds.
It's hard (well, impossible really) to prevent this sort of thing happening, but it's still aggravating when it does occur. It'll be interesting to see how this pans out...
Wired: Who Needs Paper? Not Iowa College. Seems Iowa College is attempting paperless nirvana. Problem for me is that I don't like reading vast amounts on screen... and I'm a computer geek. Your average student is going to end up printing stuff out anyway. You can't avoid paper - not yet. Maybe one day we'll have tablet PCs that somehow emulate paper, in that they don't cause eye strain.
Viridian Note 00325: Open Source Speech - Bruce Sterling presents with his usual style.
Janis Ian Articles - Fallout a followup to the Internet Debacle. Just like Courtney Love's "do the maths" speech, the original paper has been very widely read. It has added to the ever-growing movement against the record industry. I can't help feeling that basically we've all had it with ARIA/RIAA/etc. It's been no secret that their attitudes and practices are evil and not in any way based on getting good music out to the fans. So, come the music revolution. Imagine life where an artist has to actually have talent to make it big.....
Copyright bill will create vigilantes: critics.
American movie, recording and software executives could be prohibited from entering Australia or extradited to face criminal charges if a copyright protection bill before the US Congress passes into law. Just another point against Howard Berman's dumb-arse bill.
`But Officer, I Didn't Do Anything!': From The Tampa Tribune. How would you feel if the cops pulled you over...... to answer a survey? They say it's legal; plus it does target the right people for the survey. But ultimately it doesn't come across well.
HTML Hell Page
Ah, yes, "Best viewed with..." -- surest sign of an incompetent web designer. This kind of lameness is not just bad taste, it makes the site actually unusable for the large numbers of surfers who happen to be using something other than the designer's favorite browser. Unfortunately, the sort of people who do "Best viewed with..." is also usually way too stupid to get the point if you try to explain that HTML is supposed to be about device-independence -- so pull them by the guilt-strings and point out that blind people surf too. If that doesn't work, club them to death with a chair leg or something. No court would convict.
Even AOL can figure out that popups are bad. New Software (and Bosses) at AOL talks about how increasing poups pissed users off; and decreasing them made them happier. Duh, what do we learn? They're fucking annoying. Quit it.
Has the US military developed a huge blimp? Some people think so: Investigation Casts Light on the Mysterious Flying Black Triangle (the Slashdot post has more links). I hope this is true, really. Airship technology seems like a good idea to me, particular for civilian applications. Well, I think they're cool anyway...
19% Geek -
OK, so maybe you ain't a geek. You do, at least, show a bit of interest in the world around you. Either that, or you have enough of a sense of humor to pick some of the sillier answers on the test. Regardless, you're probably a pretty nifty, well-rounded person who gets along fine with people and can chat with just about anyone without fear of looking stupid or foolish or overly concerned with minutia. God, I hate you.
I can hear my girlfriend demanding a recount...
Tilting at History (washingtonpost.com) - the decline of pinball machines. Apparently the younger arcade-goers don't like a game they can't beat; pinball has no "end", just high scores. I can sort-of understand where they're coming from, but not deep down where the pinball high score is always there to be beaten.
GameSpy.com PlanetFargo: What I've Learned from Twisted Science. Silly but amusing.
As we have seen in countless cult movies and video games, the real answer lies in superior application of gratuitous overblown pseudo-scientific superweapons and archaic lore. Fortunately many of us have been able to take our work underground. As we like to say in this industry, "FOOLS! FOOLS, I'LL SHOW THEM ALL!" You can quote that, yes.
Zeldman writes of something which surprises me... Microsoft, Openwave and AOL have submitted an html 4.01 test suit to the w3c's html working group. I am naturally suspicious of MS's motives, thinking immediately that this means MS has simply created a way to make IE's behaviour the "right way" to render. But, WaSP and Opera were consulted, so I'll try to contain my prejudice. The reality is this is a much-needed development, a good step on the road towards a standards-compliant web.
If you only follow one link today, make it pong - not just a game.
Truth in Advertising (MOV).
Friday afternoon flash fun: wayofthestick
Yahoo! News - Bush Adviser Encourages Hacking
LAS VEGAS (AP) - A presidential advisor encouraged the nation's top computer security professionals and hackers Wednesday to try to break computer programs, but said they might need protection from the legal wrath of software makers. Richard Clarke, President Bush's computer security advisor, told hackers at the Black Hat conference that most security holes in software are not found by the software maker.
This is an encouraging sign - someone in the right place to make a difference, who realises that "hackers" perform a function which the software makers and sysadmins don't do themselves. The flip side of course is that he also realises many hackers are irresponsible about their findings and do not always act in good faith. It cuts both ways.
Starved for Food, Zimbabwe Rejects U.S. Biotech Corn (washingtonpost.com). Basically; if Zimbabwe takes the genetically-modifed corn as part of food aid, they risk someone planting the corn and ending up with modified corn being grown... which then can't be exported. So, they may eat today but be unable to eat or make a living tomorrow. It's a hell of a choice; saying no to the corn will take serious guts - but what is the greater good here? Feed someone once today vs. allowing them to be independent tomorrow..?
Serious ethical issues are clashing on this one... it could definitely be taken as a hostile imposition of US values onto another nation. Zimbabwe has been trying to stay natural for years; for just this sort of reason. But how the hell do you tell a subsistence farmer in Zimbabwe that an American company owns the patent on their corn, so they can't sell it and it's illegal to grow it?
It seems the only viable solution will be to mill the corn before distribution, but all of a sudden it becomes expensive "aid", since processing is not covered by the aid package.
Does Australian law allow "backups" of games and other software? Australian IT - Legal limbo for game copies (Caitlin Fitzsimmons, JULY 31, 2002)
Cell Biology "Like the Bee, This Evolving Species Buzzes and Swarms"
Jakob Nielsen makes mainstream news. "Outsourcing your web development jobs is bad". The article includes Nielsen's critical appraisal of the Australian Government's web sites. I agree with him. It's chaos.