Thursday, December 1, 2005

My head is throbbing

Unfortunately, a throbbing head is contra-indicative of flying to Chicago, Austin, DFW, and LGA in four days, so I'm thinking that the weekend trip to Chicago and Austin may be put on hold. Which is a real shame since I need 293 miles to retain AA Platinum status for 2006.

Perhaps I can fly return to Albany.

Anyway, I will decide in the morning whether I'm leaving Friday or not. If I don't go, I'll likely postpone until January (fear not, I will suck it up and do a mileage run before the end of the year).

Since I might not be out of town, if you happen to be flying in from the greater Los Gatos, CA metropolitan area for meetings in Westchester next week and would not mind dinner, drop me a line. Hint. Hint.

e.p.c. posted this at 03:02 GMT on 1-Dec-2005 .

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Heading to DC

Heading to D.C. for the weekend...family emergency sort of thing. Apologies for the drop-off in postings, I've been in a sort of funk for several weeks and, while on the upswing, don't expect it to pass until after the holidays are over.

e.p.c. posted this at 05:14 GMT on 17-Dec-2005 .

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Drive by Tuesday

We arrived back from Washington late yesterday afternoon. The drive was uneventful aside from a detour around an accident which shut down (allegedly) I-95 in Maryland. Frisket charmed everyone in D.C. If I figure out how to transfer pictures from the Motorola RAZR I switched to I'll post some updated pix of her at Lafayette Park.

Coding on dripldu continues apace. Nothing functional yet, still hoping to have something up by 1/1/2006.

One of my favorite episodes of The West Wing was on tonight, Noel. I'm not sure if it's the discussion of PTSD or the tale that Leo McGarry (played by John Spencer, who passed away last week) tells to Josh:

This guy's walking down the street when he falls in a hole.
The walls are so steep he can't get out.
A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up:Hey you, can you help me out?
The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on.
Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up:Father I'm down in this hole can you help me out?
The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on.
Then a friend walks by:Hey Joe, it's me, can you help me out?
And the friend jumps in the hole.
Our guy says:Are you stupid? Now we're both down here.
The friend says:Yeah but I've been down here before and I know the way out.

I have nothing interesting to add about the TWU-MTA transit strike here in New York. I've given up correcting people that the city has no direct role, the MTA is a state chartered public benefit corporation. Bloomberg has no say or sway other than to call press conferences and express his anger at the strike. I think there are bozos (bozoes?) on both sides of the negotiations, and that the strike will go on for awhile. I've cancelled my only commitment in Manhattan that I rely on the subway for.

Ok, I'll add this comment: when the chief law enforcement officer, the "chief executive" so to speak, regularly revels in flauting or breaking the law, why are we surprised that the TWU would break the law in calling a strike (it's illegal in NY State for public employees to strike under the Taylor Law)?

§

In other news...

Huh...Lenovo's CEO replaced by Dell exec: Stephen Ward, the IBM PC executive who became the CEO of Lenovo last year, has stepped down and will be replaced by William Amelio, one of Dell's senior executives for Asia.

I just made a collossal mistake with Firefox while writing this. See, I make lots of bookmarks, stuff that I think is important I'll add to del.icio.us, otherwise I file bookmarks away in folders by year and month. I also tend to create many to_read folders, within a given month. The mistake? I tried to open all bookmarks in the December 2005 to_read folder. Instead, through a mouse-slip, I had Firefox open all bookmarks in the December 2005 folder. So, now I'm watching spinning wheels in maybe 50 tabs.

Most frustrating: One of the tabs is playing music.

However, that mistake has given me a chance to review everything I bookmarked over the month, here's a brief hitlist of interesting items:

  • Struggling to Monetize Web 2.0 summarizes the known options to generate revenue for so-called Web 2.0 applications and sites (ads, subscriptions, transaction commissions) and posits that there is a need for one or more additional models. I've had a couple of ideas for YaSoBoTo (since shelved) and dripldu, but they're basically subscription services, with ad revenue supplementing.
  • Craig$list.com: about the rise of craigslist and the ensuing impact on the traditional newspaper revenue model and its founder, Craig Newmark. I'll summarize so you don't have to read it: Basically: boo-hoo, craigslist is stealing revenue and eyeballs from newspapers and that's not fair. And, ooh, now he's trying to get into citizen journalism and that's not right either. In my opinion: newspapers have missed a huge opportunity and now the marketplace is routing around them. Newspapers brought prestige, eyeballs, and reputation to the table when they came online in the 1990s. Instead of building on that, they built walls and fences around their content. Want to read an article from yesterday's newspaper? Pay us a buck-fifty. Sure that's more than the paper cost, but how else are you going to get the content? Instead of leveraging the immense amount of content for ongoing advertising placement, newspapers have (generally) cut off this revenue stream. Content is fenced off, so it doesn't appear in search engines. They were slow to add RSS/Atom feeds, and have lost eyeballs as people move to feed aggregators and away from surfing from site to site. Newmark's revolution? He made it easy to create, manage, and read classified ads. That's it. I've had no need to take out an ad myself, but I've had need to read through classifieds occasionally and you know what? For the most part newspapers make their online classifieds about as friendly as a Vogon highway notice. They're barely searchable, rarely categorized or classified (heh) well, and require a few hoops to get through (I guess because they want you to buy the damn paper).
    Craigslist isn't the problem, sticking with a 1970s approach to revenue generation is the problem.
  • This is a neat reference site of Web 2.0 APIs: Web 2.0 API Reference. It's updated regularly.
  • I need to read through and digest this: Dynamic Accessible Web Content Roadmap: The Dynamic Accessible Web Content Roadmap addresses the accessibility of dynamic web content for people with disabilities. The roadmap outlines the technoloiges to map controls and events to accessibility APIs, including custom controls. The roadmap also outlines new navigation techniques to mark common web structues as menus, primary content, secondard content, banner information and other types of web structures.
  • The Guardian reviews the Yahoo! acquistion of del.icio.us and speculates on Yahoo!'s (is that even remotely grammatically correct?) direction: Searching for a fresher taste Through a series of hires and acquisitions, Yahoo is clearly assembling a squad of innovators and forward thinkers.
  • Funny short movie from Coudal Partners: Copy Goes Here.
  • Tagging by Bloggers, a Small Study: My conclusion at the end of this was that we need more flexibility and better tools for tagging at the blog post level, including creating tags at several points: around an object, at the link level, at the post level, and possibly at the comment level. Additionally, users need easy ways to tag, and set their preferences around how their tags will appear, or be created. And they need flexibility for linking within the tags, as well as some different choices depending on what they were doing, about how the tags will function.
  • A Bluetooth microphone that wraps around your car headrest: The Iqua Snake HHF-801
  • A review of Googlbase, including a negative observation on its use of tags: The blooming of information architecture at Google: A close look at facets, tags & categories in GoogleBase: Trust Google to use tags in a completely different manner. When you click on what seems like a tag, then you are essentially doing a search on that keyword.
  • Damn, I knew that seminar in Hamiltonian Circuits would haunt me. Attention Networks vs. Social Networks: The vast majority of online social networking tools assume that users are modeling friendship and thus if you're friends with someone, they better damn well be friends with you. As such, they use undirected graphs and you are required to confirm that they are indeed your friend. The world is not an undirected graph and very little about social life online is actually undirected. Many social relations are unequal; they are rooted in directional graphs - fandom, power, hierarchy. So why do we use undirected models? Go read the article. I had more quotes but realized I'd end up quoting most of the article, so go read it (that's to you, Todd. And possibly Sean, if he still reads here.) And the comments.

That ended up being a review of my 11/2005 and 12/2005 bookmarks, just the highlights I thought were interesting. I left out the link to the StickySheets. No. Don't click no that. Please. Well, I warned you.

One last thing: I fixed up a little JavaScript thing I wrote to display the UTF-8 symbol table from 0x00 through 0xffff. It still does not work in Microsoft Internet Explorer, I have no idea why (I thought it was a DOM coding problem and added tbody and thead to no avail). It's here: UTF-8 Encodings Tool.

e.p.c. posted this at 04:44 GMT on 21-Dec-2005 .

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Kind of a grey Christmas

Left the house at 6:20 for LGA, arrived by 6:45 a.m. Then spent close to 30 minutes going through what had seemed to be a short security line. As an added twist, someone broke a bottle at the top of the D gates ramp to security, which the TSA staff seemed to neither know about (as they asked us to remove our shoes).

The flattest coca cola is available at the LGA Admiral's Club.

The flight to ORD was uneventful, in fact we arrived 30 minutes early.

Will spend the day here in Chicago visiting family, then return (I hope) tonight to Brooklyn.

So far, just gray overcast skies, no snow or sleet.

e.p.c. posted this at 15:37 GMT on 25-Dec-2005 .

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Students refuse pharmaceutical industry gifts

Backstory: A pill they won't swallow | csmonitor.com Messrs. Kenyon and Petersen are among a growing band of stethoscope-wearing students who believe the medical profession needs more detachment from big pharmaceutical firms. Behind the modest rebellion is the belief that taking gifts from drug companies creates a conflict of interest for doctors. The argument: To accept handouts is to feel indebted, and doctors indebted to drug firms may not be prescribing medicines based solely on what's best for their patients.

e.p.c. posted this at 14:50 GMT on 28-Dec-2005 .

Thursday, December 29, 2005

On napping

It's been a few years, so I think it's safe to reveal just how I managed to stay somewhat sane as IBM's webmaster: I napped in the middle of the day.

Sometimes it was at my desk, sometimes I'd zip home for "lunch" (it was a 10 minute walk across Battery Park). Once I got my own office it was much easier to shut the door and doze, only problem being my not-too-subtle snoring. Alex seemed to tolerate it except for the moments when the snoring would bleed through the paper thin wall between our offices and into his conference calls.

Anyway, three articles on napping: Marginal Revolution: The economics of napping Here in Buenos Aires they use naps as a means of abolishing ordinary sleep.

Via Marginal Revolution: Naptime a long paean to napping includes these morsels: Example for today: napping. I've been on vacation for the last week. On not one of these days have I failed to take a nap -- and each one of these naps has been a blissful indulgence, as luscious and glorious as the best wine, a perfect afternoon on the beach, bittersweet chocolate, or a hot-'n'-heavy make-out session

Dozing off for an hour or two in the middle of the day is, IMHO, yumminess itself. I view napping not as a failing or a problem, let alone as a way to prepare for my next great accomplishment. I view it instead as a pleasure to be pursued for its own sake, right up there with art, sex, travel, friendship, and love.
Many Americans are addicted to the idea that if only they could clear the desk of all outstanding chores, they'd explode with shiney and dazzling energy. But what if you discovered that what the moment really holds for you is fatigue? The possibility can apparently be quite a threat to the American go-getting ego.

Lots more links there as well to other sites touting the midday nap, the power nap, the post lunch nap. Personally I was in favor of a nap after every escalation, though that would mean I'd sleep most of the day.

Via Daniel W. Drezner comes word that the Spanish government has all but outlawed the traditional siesta. I'd post a quote but the Financial Times' site seems to be ill at the moment.

I came to napping midday mostly out of exhaustion. The last year I was at ibm.com I would roll into work at 7:00 a.m. I'd have at most an hour before the onslaught started: redirect this URL, approve this site, how the @)(!@# did this show up on an IBM web site?, who the @#!()# are you to tell me you can't approve a .java top level domain?, and so forth. By midday I'd have been on two or three conference calls (occasionally mastering the art of being on two calls simultaneously, I'm sure there's others who are better at that). I'd work at the office until 7:00 or so, then head home. After a brief dinner, I'd end up online again until midnight.

And people wonder why I have not jumped at chances to rejoin Corporate America.

Anyway, I found a 20-30 minute nap midday to be refreshing: clearing my head and resetting me for the afternoon's troubles.

e.p.c. posted this at 19:29 GMT on 29-Dec-2005 .

Friday, December 30, 2005

Something amiss with Amazon recommendations

From today's Amazon email:

As someone who has purchased books by Theodore Sturgeon, you might like to know that British Foreign Policy under New Labour will be released soon. You can pre-order your copy by following the link below.

Theodore Sturgeon? Science Fiction author. All I can figure is that one of the books I bought was edited by Paul Williams which is the same name, if not person, as the author of British Foreign Policy under New Labour. Maybe I should buy it? I don't think so.

e.p.c. posted this at 16:55 GMT on 30-Dec-2005 .

Slightly acerbic and eccentric dog walker who masquerades as a web developer and occasional CTO.

Spent five years running the technology side of the circus known as www.ibm.com.

More about me here.

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