Other articles

  1. Coming up to speed with OpenStack

    Was asked to look at OpenStack a few months back. Had read a bit prior, and was impressed with the velocity and vigor of this open source cloud platform and project.

    Made the mistake of starting with OpenStack. Read a large chunk of the OpenStack documentation. Stood up instances of ...

    read more
  2. Observation, delayed

    A regular exercise. Sit in an outdoor patio at a restaurant, for lunch, and watch. There are patterns. Most for which I do not have names. There is something about big purses, and small women, not interesting. High heels worn wobbly, or slow, or fluid. (Reading a book about the ...

    read more
  3. Great Love Debate, Long Beach

    Another random excursion...

    Saw an event offered on a MeetUp group: "THE GREAT LOVE DEBATE comes to LONG BEACH!" Title sounds a bit whack. Never been to that venue, so ... bought a ticket. No particular qualification needed.

    There is a Facebook page ... completely disused, aside from the promoters. Also, turns ...

    read more
  4. Social mapping/accidents

    Early evening, sitting alone on a restaurant patio at an outdoor mall, watching girls, looking for patterns. Pretty girl from inside parks in front of me, holds an entire phone conversation. Waitress comes out, asks if we(?) are ready to order.

    Group of four girls, one very nice, and smiling ...

    read more
  5. The tree died.

    The tree died. Not sure

    The dwarf apple tree over the backyard patio died. Not sure when, exactly. Some time in the past year.

    The tree grew like crazy every year. Required careful pruning for balance, and to provide ...

    read more
  6. New Buildings and Old Sidewalks

    In line for a performance in Los Angeles. Standing on an old, warped sidewalk. Building across the way getting a new facade. Lame conversation behind with three heads echoing a single thought, before interrupted. Girl posed a question: "What do you want to talk about?"

    What indeed. Struck by the ...

    read more
  7. No Nostalgia

    Motivated by some random post on Facebook.

    1. the state of being homesick : homesickness
    2. a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition; also : something that evokes nostalgia

    Noise on the web-stream about "nostalgia" - made me realize I have none. The common theme ...

    read more
  8. House Concert

    From the start, I assumed that the advent of the web would allow change the structure of how music was performed and distributed. The web allows more direct connection of all sorts, and in this case between musicians and their audience. Exactly what form that would take, I had no ...

    read more
  9. Visions

    Seems there are an increasing number of folk in and around my life that see the world in an ... er ... different way. Not sure what to make of this, but should at least make an effort.

    Went to a meetup a couple months back. Something about yoga and meditation (not ...

    read more
  10. Puzzle pieces and emotion

    This is the picture that broke my drawing.

    In college I took a single drawing class, and did somewhat well. Always wanted to take this a bit further.

    I took up drawing again, a couple years ago. A local artist hosted sessions in his studio where I could draw against ...

    read more
  11. Another Lisp flashback

    Reading up on Dependency injection in the Spring Framework. Class-binding is late-assigned in XML (mainly). Spring uses another (different) interpreted language, derived from JSP expressions.

    Reading up on the Standard Template Library for C++. Class templates are written in this semi-interpreted template-script with tricky semantics, rather different from C++.

    Right ...

    read more
  12. Predictable ego - or "Shotwell" is a piece of crap - and priorities.

    The prior photo-handler in Ubuntu was implemented in a slightly idiosyncratic language. Could be pragmatic, or could be programmer-ego. Not immediately obvious, which. The current photo-handler in Ubuntu (and OpenSUSE) is Shotwell ... implemented in a *completely* idio ... idiot ... er, "unique" language. And it crashes on uploading photos ... for months. (A ...

    read more
  13. Progress

    Not much on my weblog in the past year. The past year has been about personal change.

    At the work-level, went from working at a dull company with a dull product (kept alive only by a couple extreme efforts on my part). Served the purpose I needed. Allowed me a ...

    read more
  14. Mind tricks

    During the "Art Walk" in Laguna Beach. Walking along a dark, crowded, noisy sidewalk.

    "Do you have a cigarette?" Heard distinctly from an approaching blonde girl, when still twenty-odd feet away.

    "No." I answered, as the couple passed.

    "What??" She turned after we passed. "What did you say??" She had ...

    read more
  15. When in doubt, confuse the innocent.

    It is fun, having intelligent children. Was trying to remember a phrase. I have an odd memory. I cannot remember a person's name, told to me moments ago, but came recall an interesting notion from decades back.

    There was a quote. Something like "Confuse the idiots", but deliciously subtle ...

    read more
  16. Misplaced Music?

    Trying to rebuild a personal social network. Something I neglected over the last decade.

    Music ... local social groups offer "tribute" bands. Not interested. I liked ... at the time ... a lot of the then-popular bands. The "tribute" groups are bands that cannot produce of value their own music. I did like ...

    read more
  17. Active organizing in place of passive participation?

    I am trying to tie together a whole lot of threads into a coherent whole. This is going to be rough (very very rough), in the first iterations, under I can better sort things out.

    Of late, I have been wandering around, trying random things, trying to get socially reconnected ...

    read more
  18. Segregation - Partition the problem

    My question (in 2002) to Steve Theby, who originally told this story:

    You were part of a project deploying a large database application.
    Response/processing times were not reliable or predictable until each
    computer was dedicated to a specific kind of transaction.

    At least this is my somewhat hazy collection ...

    read more
  19. Story based reasoning and interviews

    Roger Schank (a prominent AI figure) gave a talk at UCI several years back. His notion was the humans do not naturally reason deductively, rather we use something he called "story-based reasoning". In fact most of human communication is in the form of "mini-stories". This upset the deductive AI people ...

    read more
  20. Firsts

    A list of programming languages is not very informative, so I compiled this list.
    (Right. Like this page really has a serious purpose.)

    1973 - First program in Fortran
    1974 - First program in Basic
    1978 - First program in Pascal
    1979 - First program in Lisp
    1983 - First program in Modula-2
    1984 - First ...

    read more
  21. Burning Man isn't - anymore

    First time I heard of the Burning Man event it sounded pretty cool - a scrappy creative exercise outside the usual bounds. At the time I was wrapped up in the tail end of a bad marriage, and had young kids to tend. Attending was just not practical.

    A few days ...

    read more
  22. Found a doctor I like ... for the very first time

    A remarkable thing, thus the remark. For the very first time, quite by accident, I have found a doctor that I like. Unexpected, that. If you live in south Orange County, California and you need a doctor, I suggest you check out:

    Michael A. Waldman, M.D., FACP

    read more
  23. What went wrong with nuclear power

    Oddly enough, I found one of my missing pieces yesterday, quite by accident.

    Reading Freeman Dyson's book "Disturbing the Universe" (1979). Did not know he had anything to do with nuclear reactors. Turns out he was part of a small very capable group that designed an early "fail-safe" nuclear ...

    read more
  24. Very pleased

    Wanted to capture this picture for years.


    Green grass, blue skies, an animal in the right place ... all are unusual.
    This last Wednesday, everything lined up.

    read more
  25. Help the Libyans

    For once, I wish my government would do the right thing, rather than what is easy or expedient.

    The Libyans are standing up, and pushing back, against their old corrupt government. This is an amazing thing. But the corrupt old man has had decades, and the wealth of his nation ...

    read more
  26. Change in North Africa

    Simple statement - the "Arab" world I do not really understand. Past friends from that world gave some insight, but I could not measure the endurance of oppressive regimes.

    The present changes in the Arab world are amazing and inspiring. I know good people there are dying. I know the outcome ...

    read more
  27. What is an efficient "Free Market"?

    The "Free Market" meme is very popular. The usual definition is a market without government intervention, and somehow efficient.

    From where does this notion come?

    One gift to European-derived societies, earned in the "Dark Ages", is the notion that society and government are separate, and that society can exist without ...

    read more
  28. That’s not correct (on economics)

    Seems the folk that write about economics are largely idiots.

    OK ... maybe that is a bit strong, but with so many examples like this, it is hard to come to any other conclusion.

    The shift in income shares since the 1970s — from the middle and bottom to the top, as ...

    read more
  29. Example of certificate creation with OpenSSL

    If you need to create certificates for a test setup, the online examples and O'Reilly OpenSSL book examples - while instructive - seem rather awkward and obscure. The fault lies with OpenSSL (otherwise a great piece of software) and the mash of parameters between the configuration file, the command line, and ...

    read more
  30. Scalable democracy

    How can a representative democracy work, without the risk of corruption, subversion, and tedious partisan behavior we see at present? A couple of observations take us part of the way to a solution, and a final clue takes us the rest of the way.


    First impressions - at least in ...

    read more
  31. Corporate rights

    Back in the late 1970's or early 1980's I saw an advertisement from an oil company (I think it was Mobile) asking the question - if individuals have rights, should not corporations also have rights? The question stuck with me, as then I had no idea what answer made ...

    read more
  32. How to make a perfect omelet

    Making a good omelet is simple, but ... most of the recipes on the web produce (in my opinion), an inferior result. I suspect many recipes originally came from restaurants. In a restaurant, time is money, and shortcuts are profitable. To my taste, restaurant omelets tend to be closer to scrambled ...

    read more
  33. Cable companies and bad software

    I have Internet, phone, and cable TV through Cox Cable in Orange County, California. Cox does an excellent job as a cable and Internet provider.

    On the other hand, the Cox website has always looked pretty, but worked poorly. (This does not really matter at all, as the important bit ...

    read more
  34. Practical thermonuclear power at small scale?

    Thinking about small-scale fusion and came up with a couple questions, for which I do not know where to look for answers.

    1. Send a stream of accelerated protons into a pool of water, what is the rate of fusion?
    2. If the pool of water is at the center of an ...
    read more
  35. Is Tivo still a good bet?

    I have a Tivo Series 2 that I bought when the model was new. For the most part, I have been very satisfied with the Tivo service ... but not so much lately. There are now many sources for video that I would like to watch on the TV, and the ...

    read more
  36. Status check

    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch ...

    read more
  37. Strict mode for Javascript

    A small item...

    Javascript is a hash (pun not entirely intended). There are good parts to Javascript, and bad parts. For folk attempting to learn Javascript for the first time, they could use some help avoiding the icky bits.

    My first cut at rules for a "strict" mode for Javascript ...

    read more
  38. Perfect Pineapple Pizza

    Bit of nonsense....

    Have experimented occasionally but steadily on how to make really good pizza. I do not have a massive coal-fired brick oven, so I have to make do with a slightly fancy counter-top oven. Note also that I am allergic to tomato, onion, and garlic - so the most ...

    read more
  39. VirtualBox as free software

    File this under "Missing the Obvious".

    I bought VMware Workstation several years back. Used virtual machines quite a lot in developing and testing software. The company I work for licensed the enterprise version of VMware, at least in part due to developer experience using VMware. A few of the VMs ...

    read more
  40. Odds and ends in testing with Active Directory

    Of late, I have needed to test against Microsoft's Active Directory - so I setup a virtual machine hosting Windows 2003 Server and configured as a domain controller. The domain controller is connected to small number of machines (also VMs) on a private network - pretty much what you would expect ...

    read more
  41. Odd fragment

    Ran across this when reading a product description on Amazon.

    This item is not for sale in Catalina Island


    Note that Catalina Island is a modest-sized inhabited island off the coast of the most populated part of southern California. About the only industry on the island is catering to ...

    read more
  42. WordPress hacked (again)

    On around May 13 someone subverted my weblog to serve pharmacy ads. Annoying, but not otherwise a big deal, given regular backups. This hack was more clever than prior incidents Took me longer to find and remove the problem.

    I expect WordPress to be insecure. Looked at the source code ...

    read more
  43. Stepped on someone's gravy train?

    Published: Wed 21 April 2010
    By admin

    In Web.

    About five years back I wrote an article with my colorful speculations about a locally advertised business - Model Quality Introductions. To my slight annoyance, that one article is consistently popular. I was strongly tempted to delete the article, as I was not comfortable with slightly tawdry speculations as the motivation ...

    read more
  44. Odd ... how is this spam?

    Attempted to comment on Gosling's post.

    Not that you likely have any shortage of suggestions - but if in your shoes I would take a close look at the zoo that includes RepRap, CupcakeCNC, and a host of related devices. Feels very much like the experimentation with small microprocessor-based computers ...

    read more
  45. Rude tax-time gift from past Republicans

    Having just done my taxes (oh so early), thought I should note one really nasty zinger left behind from the Bush years, and the supposedly tax-adverse Republican Congress.

    When one of your dependents hits 17 years old, they no longer count as an exemption at tax time. Best name I ...

    read more
  46. Less noise

    After a good long trial, I went through and deleted a bunch of "social" accounts. Found my time and attention taken, to no significant end. I tend to go through this exercise, regularly. Listen to lots of things for a while, then prune heavily.

    Time to prune.

    Twitter never really ...

    read more
  47. Do you trust Oracle?

    The death of Sun, and the submission to Oracle - as a developer - leaves me with doubts about Java.

    Sun was always a bit of a mixed bag. Some of their work was absolutely brilliant, and some - especially with software - was amazingly dumb. Never did really understand why this was the ...

    read more
  48. Re-thinking the IDE - a starting point

    Time for another user-interface rant. :)

    Use of multi-column lists

    One of my favorite annoyances is multi-column lists. When they first appeared in the early 1990's, multi-column lists were cool. Add in user-sortable and re-sizable columns, and your application could offer better eye-candy than the competitors.

    The usual problem with ...

    read more
  49. Magnetic propulsion?

    Airplanes have always always been an interest, since I was a kid (though theoretic, not actual).

    Simple basic facts about aeroplanes: long thin wings tend to more efficient (aerodynamically, not structurally) than wider/thicker/shorter wings. For much the same reason - propellers are more efficient than jets. Ducted fans are ...

    read more
  50. Using GMail for mailto: links in Ubuntu

    Published: Thu 04 March 2010
    By admin

    In Web.

    Create the file \$HOME/bin/mailto with the contents:

    gnome-open "https://mail.google.com/mail?extsrc=mailto&url=$*"

    Make the file executable.

    On Ubuntu Linux (using the Gnome desktop), go to:

    System > Preferences > Preferred Applications

    Under Internet / Mail Reader select "Custom" and enter the command:

    /home ...
    read more
  51. Between Marketing and Engineering

    Published: Wed 24 February 2010
    By admin

    In Humor.

    Brought up a command window in Windows 7, and saw:

    Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7600]
    Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.

    Yep. Windows 7 is in fact Windows version 6. Gotta love those Marketing folk.

    read more
  52. Giving up HTML@W3C

    Got the "status as Invited Expert in HTML Working Group" email. This I will let expire. Spent my time tilting at windmills, and do not see any point in continuing.

    The HTML Working Group at W3C is ... far too much noise. The HTML5 "standard" is going to be a bloated ...

    read more
  53. UTF8/UCS conversion benchmark

    Point of reference...

    UCS (Unicode) to UTF8 conversion, and the reverse, when efficiently coded in C++ clocks in well above 100MB/s on current generation CPUs. If you are getting something much less - enough to be a problem - then there are questions you should ask. The following run spans 1 ...

    read more
  54. Musing about cumulative impact

    About 15 years back I was working on a C++ GUI application with a cyclic workload and a lot of string manipulation. For both performance and reliability I came up with a lightweight string class that did allocations off a free list. The class benchmarked well, and performed very well ...

    read more
  55. Trie in Java - revisited

    An earlier attempt at writing a fast general purpose Trie in Java gave huge memory use, and disappointing results. Seems a Trie implementation that is both fast and general purpose is not possible. (Translation: For most use a Trie cannot replace a hash table.)

    After the prior results, I wanted ...

    read more
  56. Identifying and documenting bugs in Sun Java Printing

    I have had a fair amount of trouble with odd behaviors and bugs in printing with Java. The time I have had to spend at work to eliminate troublesome behavior in a heavily used Java application (both before customers see the problem, and after customers report problems) ... is embarrassing.

    After ...

    read more
  57. Tilting at windmills

    Bought a Canon MX860. Did my research beforehand, and was able to force-install the 32-bit Canon drivers (for printing) on my 64-bit Ubuntu desktop. Getting scanning to work is another exercise as yet not done. The fact that Canon has published sources that (with the exception of a missing library ...

    read more
  58. Shallow or deep?

    The current trade dispute between China and the US - on the surface - really makes no sense.

    China to investigate U.S. car subsidies
    China is preparing to launch a trade investigation into whether US carmakers are being unfairly subsidised by the US government, according to people familiar with the matter ...

    read more
  59. GTK bug in Ubuntu 9.10

    Upgraded my desktop from Ubuntu 9.04 to 9.10. That was a mistake. I could really use an "undo" button right about now (as ZFS users have for large scale file system changes).

    The problem is buttons. A change in GTK+ 2.18 broke Eclipse, and anything based on ...

    read more
  60. First impressions - Google Wave

    Basically, Google Wave is a full and natural merger of messaging, on the web. Before you say "oh, only that", think this through. This is a pretty big deal. Put differently, this is messaging where:

    • Conversations are a first-class concept, and each message is a part of a conversation.
    • Each ...
    read more
  61. PrinterJob.pageDialog() in Java is broken?

    More specifically, the handling of margins, PageFormat, and the PrinterJob.pageDialog(PageFormat) seems to be broken.

    Fixing up an old Java desktop application for viewing old "green-bar" reports. Should be pretty simple - the reports are all fixed pitch text. Given I like to do things that "just work" (from the ...

    read more
  62. BusinessWeek Online

    Left the videos from the BusinessWeek Online site running in background.

    In contrast to the MSNBC and WSJ sites, the videos came across as politically neutral, and not so much into the financial orthodoxy. Seemed aimed roughly at the interests of middle management.

    Not getting a lot of insight, but ...

    read more
  63. Wall Street Journal Online

    After a news item took me to the Wall Street Journal site, I left the site up as it cycled through recent videos (while I was working on something else). I have not spent a lot of time listening to videos from Wall Street Journal, so had no overall opinion ...

    read more
  64. MSNBC

    Went looking for video of the latest Apple product announcements, and ended up on the MSNBC site. After the Apple-related video played, I left the site up as it cycled through recent videos (I was working on some code while it ran). I quit watching TV news many years ago ...

    read more
  65. Building things

    Took off this week and last with no specific plans. Might have gone driving (might still), but I made several trips in the last year, so ... (shrug). Guess I have been on a bit of a home improvement kick. Imagining a new bit, and - much work later - seeing an entirely ...

    read more
  66. How improve both oil production and the economy

    Part of our economic mess starts with the huge flow of dollars sent outside the country to buy oil. We could produce oil from domestic sources, but the base cost is higher than pumping oil out of the ground and shipping halfway around the planet. If the market price is ...

    read more
  67. Installing Pidgin with support for Microsoft IM

    Needed to get IM working from my Ubuntu Linux boxes to my employer's Microsoft Office Communicator (2007?) service. Was using the Microsoft Messenger 4.7 client in a VM hosting Windows, but of late this seems to not work well enough for some of my coworkers (since I am ...

    read more
  68. Tigers of Granularity

    Several months back, I wrote up a speculation about the granularity of what we call "reality". Since then I have tended notice more those instances of a perceptual gap - where my mental record departs from the smoothly deductive model of reality.

    (An odd trap, when deductions - of a sort - lead ...

    read more
  69. Subversion, CVS, and tags

    In the process of converting a group of programmers to Subversion, I ran across a surprisingly awkward bit.

    As a regular practice, before generating a build to go to customers, I always carefully review all the changes to the program sources since the last customer release. Using CVS the command ...

    read more
  70. Another take on the class system

    Reading about the British class system, was surprised at one aspect. Pretty much anyone who reaches a notable level of achievement can get knighted. The class system in Britain - across generations - is not static.

    We have an unresolved problem. At the start of life and career, we want rough equality ...

    read more
  71. I am not a Scientist

    What is a Scientist?

    I have a clear notion. There are two parts. The first part is a pattern of thought. The second is depth of training in a particular area of expertise. My college degree is in Physics, but only a four-year degree. In Physics a four-year degree is ...

    read more
  72. kitchen tips

    If you have no idea (like me) what size KitchenAid mixer is sufficient, and what size is excessive - I can tell you with certainty that a 300 watt mixer will struggle with a kilogram of wheat flour in pizza dough.

    I can also tell you that there is something on ...

    read more
  73. Maybe Bill Gates was smarter than I thought?

    My second job out of college was at Burroughs - then the second largest computer company in the world, and still growing strongly. Interviewing at Burroughs was fun! I went in at about 9am, and did not emerge until 8pm. In between I got to talk to smart people in many ...

    read more
  74. Sun and IBM

    I find perplexing the gap between the performance record of Sun Microsystems, and the published perceptions of professional journalists. Professional journalists and the stock markets seem to have a low opinion of Sun, and I find this ... well ... stupid.

    Sun started out as a scrappy little company that built kick-ass ...

    read more
  75. Matrix Revisited

    xkcd - A Webcomic - Matrix Revisited

    The first Matrix movie was great. The next two - not so much.

    Watching the first Matrix movie - at about midnight, and at the point in the movie where my suspension-of-belief was greatest, all the lights went out in the theater. Walked out of the theater ...

    read more
  76. Where does "capital" come from?

    A question for which I do not have an answer....

    Where does "capital" come from?

    Or more precisely - by portion, and in the present day, where does "capital" come from? Is the bulk of capital currently hunting for a place to invest, from:

    • Baby-boomers saving for retirement.
    • Trust fund kiddies ...
    read more
  77. My Brain is Full

    I was never a big fan of the "Farside" cartoons, but there is one I remember:


    Of late, this applies to me too often. My reading list of good sources, in addition to my stack of books to be read, is both of good quality and a bit overwhelming ...

    read more
  78. Rationalization needed...

    I am sorting through the old computer hardware that was collecting dust in the corner of my study.

    Used to be, hardware would die before it became obsolete. This made it easy to rationalize the purchase of new hardware. Several years back I hooked up a UPS between line power ...

    read more
  79. Windows 2008 Server

    In testing a new software release, reached the point where testing against Windows 2008 Server is now a reasonable requirement. Until now, I'd not had any reason to try out Win2008 Server. Since the (upcoming) 2008 R2 is going to be 64-bit only, created a 64-bit VM (under Sun ...

    read more
  80. Recovery whiplash?

    While I do not pretend to be any sort of "financial wizard" (right - look where those folk got us), there is I think a single common cause driving our economic roller-coaster. The single cause is a flood of capital, accumulating at a compounded rate. Capital flooded the "developed" countries, overflowed ...

    read more
  81. "Hater"

    What do you hate?

    No. I do not mean dislike. I mean really hate.

    To me, hate seems to require a deeper emotion. I do not like rotten bananas. They are a bit disgusting. I throw them away. But dislike is something much less than hate. I do not hate ...

    read more
  82. Apple NetBook? Or not.

    There are rumors that Apple might soon introduce something like a NetBook. The entire substance of the rumor appears to be a manufacturer supplying 10-inch touch-screens for a future Apple product.

    A netbook? From Apple? Sounds a bit too "me too". Seems unlikely.

    NetBooks are kind of a dubious product ...

    read more
  83. My sister and spam

    My personal email address is preston@bannister.us and is posted in public in many places. As a result, a lot of spam gets sent my way. (I do not believe in hiding.) Of all that very little gets through to my inbox.

    My email setup is a little different. All the email ...

    read more
  84. Better living through chemistry

    From the start, I want to offend and repel most who might read this based on the title. If you are amused by chemicals that fuck your mind, go away. I am not interested in that case.

    Are you curious about hacking the human mental engine? Aside from folklore, what ...

    read more
  85. Subcutaneous fat, and global resurgance

    Watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain's mis-adventures - this time in Vietnam - and what strikes me as most meaningful is the presence of subcutaneous fat. This single observation, even amid the current economic mess, makes me oddly hopeful. Vietnam - as an after-effect of the American war there - suffered a measure ...

    read more
  86. Trusting trust

    The curious bit about "security" as a discipline, is that at root you need to know who to trust, and when. Corporate security is critically dependant on the abilities of a small number of well-intentioned employees. Personal security is dependent on choosing which large entities you choose to trust (and ...

    read more
  87. My Google Android phone

    A progress report of sorts....

    Back in December I got a Google Android phone - specifically a T-Mobile G1 phone. I happened to walk into the local T-Mobile store just out of curiosity. They had the phone in-stock and for a good price - and I was thoroughly disgusted with my Motorola ...

    read more
  88. CVS, compression, and tunneling through SSH

    Not an exhaustive benchmark by any means, but what I see...

    Given a CVS repository accessible by the CVS "pserver" protocol on a company intranet, and a box gated via SSH to the intranet from the internet, which usage is most optimal? The CVS pserver protocol supports compression (i.e ...

    read more
  89. Sound troubles on Ubuntu 8.10

    Count this article as a bookmark, so I can find the relevant links, the next time I have a sound problem.

    I have a recurring problem with sound on Ubuntu 8.10. On my desktop sound almost always stops working after a few hours (or sooner). On my laptop sound ...

    read more
  90. Sanity check - too much talk over too little - in html@w3c

    Asked GMail to search my email for: w3c "summary attribute"
    I count 534 messages.

    Asked GMail to search my email for: w3c "alt attribute"
    I count 1769 messages.

    If the result was brilliant, the counts would be worthwhile.
    I do not think brilliant results can come out of those discussions.

    read more
  91. Professional Journalism is Evil

    Some folk worry about the impact of the web on print publications. Newspapers and magazines are dying, and readers shifting to the web are to blame. Professors of Journalism complain that amateurs on the web are displacing well-educated professional journalists. I also was a little concerned, as I too had ...

    read more
  92. Can a modern country have a monarch?

    Can a modern country have a monarch? As an American I am inclined to think the entire notion absurd, and quaint. On the other hand, from my slowly accumulating readings and reflections on state and society - there is a place for exceptional individuals in the state. The founders of this ...

    read more
  93. Absent minded

    In the kitchen this morning, to make breakfast. Had a small amount of diced salami and bacon (both very nice) left over from dinner last night. Simple to fold that into an omelet. Started gathering and preparing the needed bits.

    In the kitchen, my mind is always wandering. Reflecting on ...

    read more
  94. Guess I'm a little slow...

    Self-judgment is always tricky. Some bits took me a long time to figure out.

    Whenever I go into a new situation, I expect to find someone much smarter. It never seems to work out that way. Often I find folk as-smart, but never (yet) anyone I thought clearly smarter. (Worse ...

    read more
  95. How to get started?

    This is simple programming problem. Tune out if this is not your thing.

    Started writing a simple cxi (for CGI-like Xml Interchange, perhaps) program as suggested in a prior scripting-oriented article. Pretty straight-forward coding (with some added clever notions that occurred to me later), right up until I got stuck ...

    read more
  96. Making pizza

    Cooking is a sort of minor hobby. Started back in high school. On one hand my mother was an indifferent cook, so I quickly learned to do better. On the other hand participation in Track and Cross Country meant I had an enormous metabolism. Learned how to make cookies, breads ...

    read more
  97. Disposable appliances

    When I was growing up my parents were usually a bit short of money. Much of what we bought was second hand. Some things we made instead of buying. Often things that broke were repaired rather than replaced. That history means I tend to buy things that I expect to ...

    read more
  98. Questions about urban architecture

    Sometimes simple things bother me....

    In a dense urban environment, in cold climates, why are sidewalks at street level?

    Warm air rises. Walkways elevated above baffled entrances (to keep out the wind) should be warmer than exposed sidewalks, and always dry. Elevated walkways across city streets can only improve the ...

    read more
  99. Dissonance

    There is a television series called "Lost". In passing I have noted some who seem quite taken by the series. Naturally this made me somewhat curious. When an obvious opportunity appeared, I set my TiVo to record the series.

    After watching a few episodes, I wanted all the characters to ...

    read more
  100. Ten years

    On this day, ten years ago, at about 8am my little brother was killed. Arthur was going to work in heavy traffic on the west-bound 91 freeway when he was bumped by a car. Whether the fault was his or the other driver, there is no way to know. Because ...

    read more
  101. Mathematics is Metaphor

    From Shut up and calculate:

    I advocate an extreme "shut-up-and-calculate" approach to physics, where our external physical reality is assumed to be purely mathematical. This brief essay motivates this "it's all just equations" assumption and discusses its implications.

    Yet our ability to answer other questions has surpassed earlier generations ...

    read more
  102. Scripting inspired by Monad - for Unix

    Scripting on Windows has always been pretty lame compared to Unix. The usual command.exe or cmd.exe shells on Windows are pretty pathetic compared to the Bourne Shell (which was released back in 1977!). Lacking a good shell, and with a population of GUI developers less familiar with the ...

    read more
  103. RSS-Atom

    A small proposal - the Atom Publishing Protocol should be named and referred to as "RSS-Atom".

    Why? Because when you subscribe to a feed from a website, you are often offered a list of choices.


    This is bad user interface design. The end user ...

    read more
  104. Vacation 2008.12

    Final scores...

    • Twice 850-odd miles driving, not counting side trips. The trip out was nice.
    • Two kids who slept most of the trip, both ways.
    • Three days my father spent skiing in Telluride with my 2 kids, and one sister. My father has since recovered.
    • One day of falling snow ...
    read more
  105. Mystery houses decrypted!

    About a year ago work started on a new housing tract in a once-empty field across the road from my father's house in Colorado. Walking around the newly built houses, I could not figure out the placement of rooms and entrances. There seemed to be pattern, but I could ...

    read more
  106. GPS in an Android phone

    Got a T-Mobile G1 phone a bit over a week ago. I can write software for my phone, so this counts as a new toy. :)

    Drove out to south-western Colorado from southern California, yesterday. Was curious how the GPS in the phone would perform. The answer: not very well. Could ...

    read more
  107. Metaphors and reality

    Physics is taught and understood through a series of metaphors. Events and processes beyond the range of human perception and experience are are described and understood via metaphors. If the metaphors are close enough to reality, then we are able to derive useful results. When the wrong metaphors are in ...

    read more
  108. The Other Tiger

    Been re-reading some old Arthur C. Clarke stories (largely written before I was born). I did not care very much for most of Clarke's later stories. Whether the fault was his or mine I cannot say. The notions in Science Fiction writings do not affect me nearly so much ...

    read more
  109. Isolating the UI Thread

    I got stuck overhauling a badly implemented Swing application, not so long ago. Seems I end up doing desktop GUI applications every several years. Been doing this since pre-Windows days, so long ago learned the rule that long-running tasks should never be performed on the UI thread (or the equivalent ...

    read more
  110. Microsoft Office Project Server

    Some folks at my employer have chosen to deploy Microsoft Office Project Server.

    I have used Microsoft Project, on and (mostly) off over a couple decades. Each time I've come back to using Microsoft Project, the experience is less than satisfactory. I seem to detect an anti-pattern. Those folks ...

    read more
  111. Hosting a polling place in Orange County, California

    Frankly I am annoyed at reading yet-another article about the "long lines" on election day. Checked Google - search on "polling" and "long lines" and I get 762,000 matches. Is this a sign of careless reporting, or an intentional lie?

    There are polling places with long lines. Polling places are ...

    read more
  112. Got my election supplies, and a few surprises

    Went to pick up my election supplies on Saturday morning (as usual). Got two(!) controllers, and two(!) supply boxes. Hauled in the (heavy!) supply box with a measure of dread. The supply box contains the rosters used to process each incoming voter. One election they gave me two different "precinct ...

    read more
  113. Hosting the local polling place

    The fun part about hosting a polling place is that I have no idea what I'm in for until just about the last minute.

    The voting machines were delivered today - all sixteen(!) of them. Can I fit them all in my garage in an efficient layout? The guy from ...

    read more
  114. On the Economy

    When it comes to the economy of our world and our society, I do not pretend to be any sort of expert. On the other hand, from the events of the last several weeks, my opinion of those who are claimed as most expert is much deflated. The interpretation they ...

    read more
  115. Filler

    Now is the time for all good men to run in small circles while chasing clouds wearing checkered vests with buttered purple carnations. Now is the time for all good men to run in small circles while chasing clouds wearing checkered vests with buttered purple carnations. Now is the time ...

    read more
  116. Paper size and user interface design

    In a prior post I tried to make clear why today's common idioms in user interface design are horribly inefficient on today's screen sizes. Thinking about this a bit later, I realized there is something I did not mention - the single common basis for why the old trade-offs ...

    read more
  117. Covering a use-case for many screens

    At 45 the eye doctor told me that my vision was going to get worse with age. Nothing unusual there, as a perfectly normal part of aging, the eye gets less flexible, and range of focus gets narrower. He was right, as a few years later I needed bifocals to ...

    read more
  118. Design for standard screen sizes

    An observation that should be obvious - the universe of common screen sizes has changed.

    When you design a graphical user interface (GUI), you want make your design optimal for current and near-future screen sizes. You want your design to be at least passable on less common smaller screen sizes. Over ...

    read more
  119. The stock File Open dialog is wrong.

    The first time I went through the exercise of writing a GUI design guide was in the early 1980's (very much pre-Windows). In the years between I have written a moderate number of GUI applications, but most of my work has been non-GUI, so I often spend years not ...

    read more
  120. Why FileInputStream is slow - continued

    As noted earlier reads through FileInputStream were radically slower than I had expected. Hit a roadblock when I could not find the sources for SetByteArrayRegion(). Got the JDK7 sources to build locally, so went looking again - and finally found a mess of macros. A *partial* expansion of the SetByteArrayRegion() definition ...

    read more
  121. Desktop design needs a kick in the pants

    What is wrong with this picture?

    Don't get it? Try this version...

    Everything outside the text box, everything grayed out in the second picture, is overhead. Wasted space. Pixels serving no purpose. Or very little purpose at the moment. In the above example, 18% active, and 82% overhead - not ...

    read more
  122. Google and Programming

    In an odd way, Google is harmful to programmers.

    To pick an example - look for examples of Java application/applet use. What you find is a lot of poor or obsolete information. For a programmer, how to filter out the (rare) good from the (often) bad is not easily obvious ...

    read more
  123. Today's surprise - applet reload does not sandbox

    In retrospect I should not have been surprised - in either case.

    Load an applet into Internet Explorer (version 7 in this case). Hit "refresh" on the page from which the applet was loaded. Some classes used by the applet have static initializers. Some of the static initializers start threads. The ...

    read more
  124. Swing, Java, and old notions not yet met

    Of late I find myself in rather a strange place.

    What I work on pretty much follows whatever my present employer currently needs. I've done pretty much everything - from device drivers to fancy web applications - and by this time have touched pretty much every major genre in programming. My ...

    read more
  125. Wrapping up Wide Finder 2

    The main point of the Tim Bray's Wide Finder 2 exercise was to solve a common problem (processing web server logs files) in a way that took full advantage of a large number of CPUs. As Sun is shipping machines with many cores per chip, and as Tim works ...

    read more
  126. property.import task for Ant

    I have Ant build scripts that can be run on either Windows or Linux. There are a few properties that need to be set differently, depending on the platform is use. Been using this little snippet for a while now.


    Array.prototype.map = function(f) {
        var a = [];
        for ...
    read more
  127. Sun and tools

    Sun has a problem, and it is not a small one.

    I had a bit of free time last Tuesday, so I took a poke at the wide-finder benchmark. (Took the day off work to host the local polling place, and voter turnout was very light.) The test machine is ...

    read more
  128. Received a Microsoft Office XML document...

    ... and can't do a thing with it.

    Right. Missed the kind-of-obvious. All those non-Microsoft applications that learned to read the old proprietary Microsoft formats are now back to square zero. Need to read a Microsoft document - in the new supposedly "open" formats from Microsoft? Since the only implementation is ...

    read more
  129. Accessibility and HTML

    Sometimes the best thing to do when presented with an unsatisfactory solution, is to walk away from the problem for a while. The continuing arguments in the HTML@W3C arena of accessibility proved an example. After reading through many of the arguments, I was left distinctly unsatisfied with the solutions ...

    read more
  130. alt="waste"

    Tuned out from HTML@W3C working group for a few months. (I was very busy at work, and participation in the working group is entirely a free time activity.) Ran across this long and apparently continuing argument that seems to boil down to whether \<img> tags should be required to ...

    read more
  131. Not so much (electromagnetic) noise?

    Do not know what to make of this...

    My car has one of those common remote lock gizmos - no more than a little radio transmitter that sends a weak coded signal. Around here (densely populated southern California) the range is only about 20-40 feet (at most). Given all the other ...

    read more
  132. JFC Swing and software entrophy

    Been re-working and fixing up a clear example of software entrophy. The sad part is that this is a moderate-sized client part of a client-server application, and reached this state under the original author. So I have spent time (far too much time) looking at fairly awful code.

    At the ...

    read more
  133. One guy's take on the iPhone user interface

    Rather a nice video on this guy's page showing the iPhone interface, and offering some praise and some critique. As to the user interface overhead added - what he calls "administrative debris" - I completely agree. On desktop GUIs the usual/unquestioned overhead includes titlebars, menubars, and scrollbars - all of which ...

    read more
  134. Convert at the edges

    My time writing software spans from 16-bit DOS and Windows, through 32-bit Windows and Unix. I have written a fair amount of code or ported code to run in different environments. Along the way I picked up practices that proved useful.

    One practice I call: "Convert at the edges".

    A ...

    read more
  135. A pleasant surprise

    Last week I had an intermittent problem with my Internet connection. Rather more trouble than usual, in that the internet connection would degrade, become unusable, and then start working again - with no discernible pattern. Cox (the cable company) sent out a guy, who re-did all the coax cable connectors, and ...

    read more
  136. White box programming

    Inherited some code from a younger developer. Not real thrilled with the code, so went about cleaning up. This is the client side of a client/server application. Given this is at least my sixth iteration with a client/server application, the bits done badly are pretty obvious. From the ...

    read more
  137. Fun with IIS 5.1 on Windows XP

    Or not.

    Wasted at least a day tracking this down. It started with trying to run a PHP page and getting an error:

    winsock.dll unusable. 1009

    Clear as mud. Lots of red herrings: FastCGI versus CGI, differing PHP versions, directory permissions, metabase script maps, something not quite right in ...

    read more
  138. The Republicans are in deep trouble!

    Once again I am hosting the local polling place. This my precinct tends to be deeply conservative. There are lots of Republicans and very few Democrats. In some elections the Republican candidate lost out (locally) to a third party candidate, but rarely to a Democrat. Perhaps "conservative" is the wrong ...

    read more
  139. This is still bugging me...

    Follow this story.

    1. Sun introduces the T2 with many CPUs on one chip - an impressive and appropriate work of technology.
    2. Tim Bray visits the question of how to make use of many CPUs for generic tasks, and poses the Wide Finder as an example task.
    3. Readers create a variety of ...
    read more
  140. Why IE8 needs HTML 4.02

    The announcement that the code for IE8 now passes the Acid2 test is a very big deal. We have a strong indication that Internet Explorer 8.0 will offer far stronger support for web standards than prior versions of IE, and perhaps even better compliance that competing browsers.

    The folk ...

    read more
  141. In future...

    No matter how much you like the wild Santa Ana winds, leaving any windows open is not a good idea. Especially when wildfire swept through the hills around your home a few months back.

    The next day I found a layer of gritty black powder on every horizontal surface. Lots ...

    read more
  142. From my daughter's last soccer game

    My daughter was goalie for the first half of the game. This shot was coming in high, fast and centered on the goal - too high catch or block, but low enough to go in. Looked like a certain goal.

    Last season the grandfather of one of the girls on the ...

    read more
  143. Wrapping up "Wide Finder"

    For Tim Bray's Wide Finder, what you need is something that will lift data off the disk at the maximum possible rate, and distribute the processing across as many CPUs as needed. The end-to-end result cannot be generated faster than the data can be read from disk. The first ...

    read more
  144. Dumb software design - overloading Windows Startup

    Visiting my father in Colorado and - as usual - resolving any problems his computers have developed since my last visit. For context, my father is an engineer, spent most of his career in aerospace, defense electronics, more recently chip design from modems (2400 baud through 56K) and more recently cell phone ...

    read more
  145. Sitemap Protocol

    This is a big deal. Digging information out of government sites, I have found, is often obscure and difficult. A framework for making information easily accessible can be both of general benefit, and help oversight on government activities.

    Sitemap Protocol | Sunlight Foundation
    Google has been working with federal agencies to ...

    read more
  146. Dumb GUI example - menubars

    Back in the 1980's, the menubar was brilliant. Applications loaded off floppy disk had to be small. Small applications could not have too many functions. Functions could be completely enumerated in the menubar. Browsing through the menubar pull-down menus could pretty much tell you everything the program could do ...

    read more
  147. Netbeans love-hate

    Have to love Matisse - the GUI composer in Netbeans - and there are many other interesting features, but I find too many sequences like the following when using Netbeans:

    click, drag or type ... !@#\$%??
    (go back) click ... ?!? ... (hold mouse still over object) press mouse button down (wait) release button ... (now it worked ...

    read more
  148. I Want My iTV

    Published: Wed 14 November 2007
    By preston

    In Web.

    I Want My iTV
    "We know that Apple has destroyed the music business, in terms of pricing, and if we don't take control they'll do the same thing on the video side," NBC Universal (GE ) chief Jeff Zucker told an audience at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse ...

    read more
  149. Using Eclipse to improve NetBeans

    Used NetBeans to put together a Swing application framework and to prototype a GUI. The NetBeans folk follow the new Swing/JDesktop work pretty closely, and the generated code is a time-saver. Matisse is good solid step up from other "visual editors" I have used before, and is also a ...

    read more
  150. Eating my words

    Guy from work asked if I needed new equipment. Doing all my work on my personal gear, and upgraded stuff as needed. Told him I was fine - really did not need an upgrade.

    Since then I found my time going into heavy refactoring of code inherited from a departed developer ...

    read more
  151. Point of view

    Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass,
    It's about learning to dance in the rain.

    Where is this quote from?

    Brought to mind by the recent wildfires in coastal southern California. Floods, earthquakes, and wildfires are a natural part of living in southern California. Much of ...

    read more
  152. Wildfires

    The Santa Ana winds are blowing again. Strong winds - gusting here between roughly 20 to 40 miles per hour - carrying warm, dry air. In addition this is a dry part of a fairly dry year. Most of the undeveloped hills in coastal southern California are covered by Chaparral - and highly ...

    read more
  153. trackerd and Ubuntu 7.10

    If and when you upgrade to Ubuntu 7.10, best you run:

    sudo apt-get remove tracker-utils

    There is lots about this on the web (in bits and pieces). Boils down to software that was promoted for general distribution way before is was ready.

    The short form, if you ...

    read more
  154. Product activation - Corel just lost a customer

    Recently you requested personal assistance from our on-line support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response.

    If this issue is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may reopen it within the next 7 days.
    Thank you for allowing us to be of service to you.

    To ...

    read more
  155. CSS gone wrong - java.net

    Published: Fri 12 October 2007
    By preston

    In Web.

    Argh. Had too many annoyances to clear out of late - I am all out of tolerance. You are warned.

    Opened up java.net again today. Saw the too small text, again. Could hit "Ctrl-+", again ... but not today. Turned on Firebug (a wonderful tool, BTW), clicked "Inspect" and on the ...

    read more
  156. Why some schools do better than others

    Subject: Room 9 News
    Date: Mon, 8 Oct 2007 12:22:34 -0700
    From: "xxxx, xxxx (Foothill Ranch Elementary School)" <Lxxxx@svusd.org>
    To: <jxxxx@gmail.com>, <nxxxx@aol.com>, <txxxx@aol.com>,
        <gxxxx@cox.net>, <pxxxx@bannister.us>, <fxxxx@cox.net>,
        <mxxxx@cox.net>, <txxxx@yahoo.com>, <kxxxx@cebridge ...
    read more
  157. Hot memory

    Seem to have spent much of the past week out somewhere past the bleeding edge...

    Put together an Athlon64 box with 4GB memory a couple years back. The box ran Linux, served as a Samba file server to the Windows boxes in the house, and hosted test machine configurations running ...

    read more
  158. Not the definition of "lean"

    Downloaded the current version of Ant. Checked the script used to launch Ant - and found the script run every time I type 'ant' at command line is 326 lines long! Right.

    Here is the entire script I need to run Ant (on Linux).

    ANT_HOME="/home/preston/tools/apache-ant-1.7.0 ...
    read more
  159. User centered social networks

    Social networking sites generally try to keep users trapped within a walled ghetto. Users are an asset. Sites do what they can to avoid sharing their user information. Sites often try to limit links out to other competing sites.

    This is in direct conflict with users needs. Most ordinary folk ...

    read more
  160. Bad date

    [![](http://bannister.us/images/1015267794_ba5a4c631f.jpg)](http://www.flickr.com/photos/liquidscience/1015267794/ "photo sharing") [Sash Suicide](http://www.flickr.com/photos/liquidscience/1015267794/), originally uploaded by [Liquid Science](http://www.flickr.com ...
    read more
  161. Security flaws, e-voting, and reform

    Let us get a couple things clear to start. First, the older paper-based voting process is insecure, and always has been. The security of the process relied on trustworthy people in the polling place, and upstream where the votes were collected and counted. Most of the time this works, but ...

    read more
  162. Trillion Dollar Man

    For those who are a little foggy about our current President-Bush and his spending habits.

    Cato-at-liberty » Trillion Dollar Man
    The recent budget update from the Bush administration shows that federal spending will be \$2.918 trillion in fiscal 2008. That means that spending increases under Bush will break the \$1 ...

    read more
  163. Example of configuring Trac and Subversion on Ubuntu

    I chose to replace the stock Ubuntu apache2.conf. The stock configuration created and maintained by Ubuntu is a somewhat clever collection of included files, but ... the stock Trac and Subversion install did not do what I wanted. Figuring out what was not working was tricky enough, so I simplified ...

    read more
  164. What to make of this?

    Read this article a couple days back. A man was sentenced to "144 years and eight months in prison for beating and torturing his then-wife over a four-day period". The crime occurred "at their Foothill Ranch home on April 14, 2005" - my area, and generally otherwise relatively peaceful.

    A couple ...

    read more
  165. Organized violence

    “The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.”
    from Samuel Huntington

    Ran across this quote before, most lately in a post from Tim Bray. The ...

    read more
  166. Must be upgrade time...

    For rather a while I have not felt especially motivated to update my computers. Even my old Athlon 2200+ laptop is adequate for almost everything I do. With Eclipse, VMware, Tomcat, and Firefox running - I tend to want more memory rather than more CPU.

    Until today. Wanted to record a ...

    read more
  167. Hijacked?

    Does it bug anyone else when a Google search returns a hit for a site like "readablog" before the hit for your original article?

    Clearly they have figured out how to game the search engines (or Google at least). Clearly their aim is to sell advertising (as "view source" shows ...

    read more
  168. 50-year-old car unburied


    Tulsa World](http://www.tulsaworld.com/webextra/content/2007/buriedcarunearthed/default.aspx)

    This car was buried the same year - and not far from - where and when I was born. In this field that makes me ancient (something my teenagers will confirm).

    read more
  169. Caught in the DreamHost(?) security breach

    Seems my account is caught in the DreamHost security breach. Checked my pages (via "View Source" in the browser) after the first announcement from DreamHost, did not see any junk, and let things alone. Since DreamHost claimed to be notifying customers whose accounts were compromised, and I had seen nothing ...

    read more
  170. Mapping components - Javascript

    Accessing components in the DOM from Javascript using getElementById() is tedious, somewhat verbose, and does nothing to enhance the readability of the code. Generally there are two cases: finding global elements within the page, and finding members within (possibly repeated) components.

    There are (of course) many ways to do this ...

    read more
  171. Auto-adjusting sizer - Javascript

    Took a couple years to get reasonably fluent at HTML/CSS/Javascript, and pick out what seems a decent programming model. Reached the point where most of the public examples of Javascript usage (in particular) look to me as very poorly written. Still it seems like every time I turn ...

    read more
  172. Safari on Windows!

    Generally I test web applications on Firefox (Windows, Linux) and IE (Windows). On (rare) occasion, I have tested on Opera, but ... it is hard to care about Opera. My one regret is that up until now I have not been able to test with Safari. Personally, I would like to ...

    read more
  173. Storing data within a web page - Javascript

    An approach or two to storing data within a web page. Something like "microformats", only not. First approach, embed JSON data within an updatable SCRIPT tag, with a [test page](http://bannister.us/examples/js/page-data-json-script.html) . Works in Firefox, but in IE when updating the tag containing the data ...

    read more
  174. Simple Base64 encode/decode - Javascript

    While Mozilla/Firefox already have btoa() and atob() functions, this gives you both a Unicode/UTF-8 and ASCII variant, as well as supplying btoa/atob where there is a lack.

    /* $Date: 2007-06-09 22:19:13 $ */
    // Handles encode/decode of ASCII and Unicode strings.
    var UTF8 = {};
    UTF8.encode = function(s) {
        var ...
    read more
  175. Reading and saving cookies - Javascript

    Another simple, minimal Javascript snippet - how to read, save and delete cookies.

    var COOKIES = {};
    COOKIES.load = function() {
        COOKIES.map = {};
        document.cookie.replace(/([^ ;=]*)=([^;]*)/g,function(s,k,v){
            if (undefined === COOKIES.map[k]) {
                COOKIES.map[k] = [];
        for (var k in COOKIES.map) {
            var a ...
    read more
  176. Reading parameters from URL - Javascript

    Another simple, minimal Javascript snippet - how to read URL parameters.

    var PARAMETERS = {};
    PARAMETERS.load = function() {
        PARAMETERS.map = {};
            if (undefined === PARAMETERS.map[k]) {
                PARAMETERS.map[k] = [];
        for (var k in PARAMETERS.map) {
            var ...
    read more
  177. Semantics, AI, and the Web

    On the never-ending river of discussion in the W3C HTML Working Group, there are bits of fuzzy and malformed notions floating by that I hope - somehow - we can clean up. In particular the distinction between "Semantics" in the human sense and "semantics" as used (or misused) within some very shallow ...

    read more
  178. Are political parties the problem?

    Signed up on the mailing list for the local (Orange County, California) Republican Party. Looking for some way to make a positive difference. Mailings from the Party offer:

    • Opportunities to meet and donate money to current and recently serving politicians. More money is better. Wear a suit.
    • Opportunities to work ...
    read more
  179. Programming for the web - Javascript

    If you are going to write web applications, you are going to learn Javascript.

    In the early web browsers, Javascript was a bit underdone, and caused some problems with security. Entire organizations chose to disallow the use of Javascript in web browsers - and for good reason. In that time frame ...

    read more
  180. Either a comedy or a tragedy

    This is a bad joke, in more than one sense.

    The folk that founded this country were pretty smart, but by no means all-knowing. I have tremendous respect for the thought that went into the founding of this country. Seems somehow between founding and the present day, something fairly fundamental ...

    read more
  181. Spreadsheets and Javascript

    Another obvious observation...

    I'm in the middle of exercise the aim of which is expression of an OLAP hypercube into a web page, using HTML/CSS/Javascript (no applets, or Flash, or ...). The presentation is very much like a spreadsheet, but the data and UI manipulation models are very ...

    read more
  182. Point of view and W3C HTML

    There is a W3C group working on the next standard for HTML. In tracking the current discussion, things started to make more sense when the roles and points of view of some participants became clear (or at least clearer). Seems only fair (and perhaps necessary) to make my own motivations ...

    read more
  183. On Selling Music

    ongoing · On Selling Music
    Finally, I remain astonished that the subscription model hasn’t caught on; it seems like awfully low-hanging fruit. There are any number of artists I’d subscribe to for ten or twenty bucks a year in exchange for an irregular flow of new material; live cuts ...

    read more
  184. ACM is sooo twenty years ago ...

    From: acmhelp@hq.acm.org
    To: preston@bannister.us
    Subject: An Invitation to Join ACM
    Dear Preston Lee Bannister,
    Thank you for registering with the ACM Digital Library, ACM's vast collection 
    of more than 40 publications and archives, representing over 1.4 million 
    pages of text.

    Since that 1 ...

    read more
  185. REST should not be "uniform"

    There is one mistake I have seen repeated over and over (and over...) in applications that work across the network - from the 1980's up through the present. The symptom is an application that works fine in testing, but performs very poorly when deployed. The cause is developers who fail ...

    read more
  186. Spinning a story

    Another slightly dizzy story from CATO.

    Respecting Property Rights
    This dramatic photo appears on the front page of today’s New York Times.

    Chinese authorities are respecting the legal rights of a landowner who does not wish to sell her parcel. Maybe this incident will have a Sputnik-like effect on ...

    read more
  187. Fuzzy worlds

    This following is pure/idle/random speculation, and rather old from my personal point of view.

    Many years ago ran across the "grandfather paradox" in science fiction. The stories always seemed to revolve around an effectively immutable past. At the time, this struck me as wrong - given time-travel (a rather ...

    read more
  188. Sudoku

    Last week was helping my 10 year old daughter with her math homework. The assignment was to solve a Sudoku puzzle. In fact, I was there more for moral support as she did not need any help. I had shown her in previous assignments how to solve a Sudoku puzzle ...

    read more
  189. Power failure

    Late last night, we had a power failure. All the UPS units chirped (which makes the dog a nervous shadow), until I went around and shut them all off. Left the laptop running on the chance that power would come back before the battery ran out.

    This morning the laptop ...

    read more
  190. Publish or Perish

    Twenty-odd years ago I held subscriptions to perhaps a dozen ACM and IEEE publications. (SIGPLAN, SIGARCH, SIGOPS, SIGGRAPH, SIGCHI, IEEE Software, Communications of the ACM, and an irregular Pascal/Modula-2 publication come to mind ... there were probably others.) Those publications were at that time, the only source of high-quality high-volume ...

    read more
  191. Why buy new server versions of Windows?

    Just as businesses are starting to discover the benefits of virtualization, Microsoft is changing the license terms for new versions of Windows.

    VMTN Blog
    The goal from Microsoft seems to be to slow down the market and downplay features they can't match, so that they have a chance to ...

    read more
  192. Structured documents, DITA, DocBook, and Wikis

    Dived into reading about DocBook and DITA this week.

    This all started with my long-standing annoyance with MS Word (or OpenOffice at present) when editing documents with structure. Back in the early 1990's, I was at a small outfit writing both software and documentation. The documentation was somewhat long ...

    read more
  193. OpenID is a big win

    So if you are a developer the notion of single sign-on via OpenID sounds like a good idea, but since it lacks authentication, you might not be entirely convinced. Well, this story is going to sound familiar.

    I wanted to check my plan with Verizon. Not sure how many minutes ...

    read more
  194. "Groundswell" means what?

    Admittedly I am no expert on paid political organizations, but I have to wonder: What is their motivation?

    Lately the CATO folk(s) are writing about differing tax rates for corporations and wealthy individuals, as though there was some sort of competition between counties. Maybe there is - but I tend ...

    read more
  195. Frustrated with WYSIWYG document editors

    Much recent time has gone to writing design documents (fun). As usual, this is sucking up more time than I would like, in part because I find the available tools so poorly suited.

    Lets set some requirements. (Oh goody, more requirements to write down...)

    • Documents should be readable by anyone ...
    read more
  196. microformats revisited

    Microformats as generally described - a small chunk of data embedded in an HTML in one of a small number of recognizable formats - makes a lot of sense to me. Yesterday I actually visited the microformats website, read the details of the current proposal ... and found myself uncomfortable with the proposed ...

    read more
  197. Other reasons cost overrun

    Unsurprising News from the Pentagon
    The Washington Post reports yesterday on cost overruns for weapons procurement. “It is not unusual for weapons programs to go 20 to 50 percent over budget, the Government Accountability Office found.”
    The same pattern occurs in federal highway projects, energy projects, and many other government ...

    read more
  198. Buildix alternate download

    Playing with Buildix from ThoughtWorks. For some reason both direct downloads and the Bittorrent download is extremely slow. Are these folks on dial-up? If your company is on a limited-bandwidth connection, better to place downloads on a webhost where bandwidth is cheap and plentiful. A simple/cheap web-hosting account is ...

    read more
  199. Wikipedia gets it wrong (badly)

    Published: Thu 25 January 2007
    By preston

    In Web.

    With Wikipedia the hope is that folk with bits of knowledge will contribute to common pool. With enough eyeballs any bad additions should get cleaned up or filtered out. The end goal is to have the highest quality material on each subject.

    Only the end result matters.

    Folk at Microsoft ...

    read more
  200. First impressions - Visual Studio 2005

    Up to the present, I have been using Visual C++ 6.0 for a collection C++ source code that dates back to 1998. There is really no pressing need to update to a new version of Visual Studio, though I do have a company license for the current version. Still ...

    read more
  201. "Net Neutrality" put simply

    After reading some excessively convoluted arguments both for and against "net neutrality", I realized there is a simple analogy, with - oddly enough - Ted Stevens for inspiration.

    The internet carries bits between consumers (you and me) and services (Google, Yahoo, MySpace, etc.). When traveling across the internet, bits are bits. To ...

    read more
  202. Near an inflection point - solid state disk

    Solid state disk is one of those technologies that never seemed to quite arrive. Smaller in storage and (much) more expensive than hard disks, solid state storage has never proved practical outside niche applications. This may be about to change. After spotting an 8GB flash card under \$100, we may ...

    read more
  203. 2007 and ending needless repetition

    The year now is 2007. Time for a bit of a reasoned rant.

    Every time I start up Windows, Eclipse, Firefox, or an applet JVM (and wait) - I am struck by the same absurdity. In each case we are repeating the same exact computation as the last startup. The result ...

    read more
  204. Asymmetric warfare and how to boil a frog

    My son just called up. His cell phone died. The phone is only a few months old.

    Seems like more and more gadgets are dying prematurely these days. Of course, this could just be a side effect of the fact that we own more electronic gadgets. This could also be ...

    read more
  205. Reading your mail

    W pushes envelope on U.S. spying
    President Bush has quietly claimed sweeping new powers to open Americans' mail without a judge's warrant, ... The President asserted his new authority when he signed a postal reform bill into law on Dec. 20. Bush then issued a "signing statement" that declared ...

    read more
  206. How not to introduce your project

    The nuXle.us Project
    The nuXleus Project has the specific intent to become a User-Centric/Specific Application and XML messaging virtualization-based appliance in which a primary, user-specific/centric host machine can use as a secured proxy for all web-based communications. During the early development and testing phase we will be ...

    read more
  207. WHATWG - What for?

    Another acronym I had not looked at previously - WHATWG. A specification for web applications? Sounds unlikely. Between changing practices and adequate existing function, what value is there in freezing current thought into a specification? What is the real added value here?

    Reading through the WHATWG draft, I kept wondering if ...

    read more
  208. Another FastCGI install script

    Wrote yet another script to install an ISAPI extension. Been through this before, for a work project, and for a personal project.

    Ran across the announcement of an FastCGI extension for IIS from Microsoft. This is good news as I happen to believe FastCGI is an excellent way of decoupling ...

    read more
  209. Revisiting server-side Javascript

    Over the past couple years a large chunk of my time has gone into writing a web application to replace a desktop application. The application requires some clever interactivity, a bit beyond what you can do in HTML/Javascript, and so contains a small Java applet. On the back-end some ...

    read more
  210. HYDRAULIC CLUTCH - Google Patents

    One of my father's stories is of an uncle who patented an automatic transmission (or something similar) for automobiles, then bankrupted a series of wealthy backers in battles with Detroit car makers. We have an old newspaper article with photos, but up until now were not able to find ...

    read more
  211. What Are XForms?

    I am totally not getting the purpose for XForms. This smells like another out-of-control "standard" that promises the world, and ends up delivering mostly bloat.

    First off XForms are supported by approximately 0% of the world's web browsers - a percentage that will not change anytime soon (if ever). That ...

    read more
  212. Weddings

    Scripting News: 12/9/2006
    Weddings are womens' affairs. We men are at best props or spectators. The prize is a woman. The judges are women. I look forward to male-bashing from the usual feminazis.

    Heh :)

    read more
  213. Prelude to internal passports?

    There are folk who seem to be trying to turn this country into a police state. In the past several years our country has acquired more of the unpleasant features - more like the old USSR rather than the old USA.

    Travel by airline is now heavily monitored. Travel by car ...

    read more
  214. A small item

    This is another instance of trying to buy things that work well, and last.

    Months ago the comb in my back pocket started falling apart. Looks pretty ratty with chunks of teeth missing. On the other hand I take out the comb maybe once a day (if that), so once ...

    read more
  215. Traces

    While driving away from the airport near Green River, Utah, spotted some odd shapes embedded in the apron. Not sure what those shapes represented - could this be remnants of an old ICBM site? None of the odd shapes visible on the ground are visible in the satellite photos accessible via ...

    read more
  216. Insecurity on 9/11 no surprise

    After 9/11 we heard "who could imagine such an attack" from quite a lot of public figures. In fact there were quite a lot of folks who could imagine exactly such a threat, and were trying to guard against just such an occurrence. Perhaps if we had spent the ...

    read more
  217. More about how votes are collected

    While I can account for how votes are collected at my polling place, I really do not know anything about the upstream process. After I turn in the votes collected in my precinct(s), how secure is the process from that point on? At the end of the election day ...

    read more
  218. Making politics more local?

    Like many other American citizens I am not satisfied with much of our political process. How do we end up with so much junk in politics? Each major election we are asked to vote for folk we don't know into positions of power. We try and make value judgments ...

    read more
  219. Bush in Vietnam

    Heard on NPR this morning that Bush was giving a speech in Vietnam. Considering what the war in Iraq just cost the Republican Party in the just-past election, this struck me as somewhat amusing. For the full measure:

    Bush finally makes it to The Nam
    " Back in the mid-1960s, George ...

    read more
  220. Get out of Washington - use the Internet

    Was thinking this morning about how a Congressman had to maintain two residences - one in their home district and one in Washington DC. Seems that long-term congress-critters get to be more of DC than of the region they nominally represent. The culture of DC is much centered around political power ...

    read more
  221. Missing absentee ballots - error or malice?

    This last election there were are fair number of folk who came into my polling place who were marked on the roster as "AV" (meaning "absentee voter"), but who claimed not to have received their absentee ballot.

    Now I have not thought anything odd of this before. Perhaps the RoV ...

    read more
  222. Diet and Nutrition

    Listening to an older NPR program - a couple of doctors trying to sell diet books - served as a reminder of why precisely my respect for the "nutritional community" seems to drop a notch every year. In part as over time I have gotten better at picking out a sharp (or ...

    read more
  223. Server-side parsing of HTML to DOM

    Ran into an unexpected problem.

    Had this bit of inspiration for what I thought would be an optimally performant wiki/weblog, and started putting together a prototype. The client-side Javascript went together pretty easily. The server-side is presenting more of a problem.

    The basic notion is I want to send ...

    read more
  224. Election day - lots on the ballot

    This time around I have two precincts at my polling places, a bit more than 2000 voters, a long ballot, and (fortunately) a full complement of poll workers (4 besides myself). Much busier this morning than the last few elections. Number of folk voting here was 151 between 7am and ...

    read more
  225. Wrong and Right fats - over-thinking the problem?

    Cooking is a minor hobby of mine, and you end up working with different sorts of fats - olive oil, butter, fat from meats (chicken, beef, pork). Both in cooking and in the later cleanup, each is different.

    Could it be that the kinds of fat that are "good" or "bad ...

    read more
  226. Slightly broken weblog ... and inspiration

    Oh boy. The WordPress 2.0.5 update came out, and my hosting provider (DreamHost) offered an auto-update from the then installed 2.0.4 version. The prior updates were only slightly bumpy, but this time Something Broke.

    Was the fault in WordPress, DreamHost, or mine? Cannot muster any enthusiasm ...

    read more
  227. Pity the "average" user

    Of late I had noticed a general "slowness" on my laptop, and spikes in CPU use when none should occur. The first thought was that perhaps I'd picked up some bit of malware. I do not run any sort of virus scanner on my machines (my kids, yes, but ...

    read more
  228. If Drugs Were Legal - Google Video

    [If Drugs Were Legal - Google Video](http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2908621023073531157)

    For the record - drug use screwed up a large part of my little brother's too short life. Even worse, I grew up in the 1970's - even had a friend who sold drugs on the side ...

    read more
  229. I hate cell phone companies.

    Was looking for a new cell phone service for my son.

    Naturally cell phone services just love teenage customers - especially when attached to their parent's service plan. Teenagers have a tendency to talk ... which translates into occasional (very) expensive overages, or requires their parents to buy plans that are ...

    read more
  230. Dreams, and other nonsense

    I had a dream last night (when I wrote this) - probably nothing unusual in that. What was unusual was remembering much of the rather vivid dream in the morning.
    The first segment was in the amber light of late afternoon, near sunset. What folk were left (humankind was scarce) lived ...

    read more
  231. What is next?

    Ever reach a point where you settled, but not enthusiastic?

    Professionally, I have enough experience (or ego - take your pick) to think I am pretty damn good at what I do. At the same time, I am finding it rather hard to stay motivated.

    On the one side, of all ...

    read more
  232. Avocados - Proof of Atlantis

    Avocados are a curious fruit. Aside from tasting good and being good for you, avocados have some odd properties.

    • Avocados only ripen after picking.
    • Fruit can be stored on the tree for long periods.
    • The evolutionary model - why avocados evolved - does not seem to make sense.

    The odd bit about ...

    read more
  233. Is T-Mobile "To Go" ripping off customers?

    Got my son a pre-paid T-Mobile "To Go" phone. For the first several months he did a good job, and only burned through about 200 minutes a month.

    Lately it seemed like his minutes were dropping a bit fast, so we started paying closer attention. Odd since I have not ...

    read more
  234. Ten states in eight days

    Left California for my nephew's wedding in Milwaukee. I-15 through Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. I-70 across Utah into Colorado. I-76 up to Nebraska. I-80 across Iowa into Illinois, then shorter segments into Wisconsin. Coming back will jog south to Flagstaff, crossing a bit of New Mexico. Final score - ten ...

    read more
  235. Why bother?

    High-priority media apps

    For most people, most of the time, a faster computer won't make much of a difference. There's nothing CPU-intensive about reading and writing email, surfing the web, or using most other applications. The notable exception to the rule, of course, is audio and video processing ...

    read more
  236. Giant Little Girl

    From The Sultan's Elephant event in London.

    [Giant Girl Doll](http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1522158746296131750&q=type%3Agpick)

    One of an entire collection of videos... [Sultan's Elephant](http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-40569225333424244)

    [The Sultan's Elephant](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSwIFNJpxZQ)

    Wonderful ...

    read more
  237. New Friendster Message from Shawnna - 07/16/06 05:20 PM

    I feel so special!

    From: Shawnna
    Date: Sunday, July 16, 2006 5:20 PM
    Subject: hey
    Message: hey cutie, saw you online.. wanna kill some time together?
    hit up herearepages.com/shawnna for some more pics and my cam


    I am sure that Shawnna and I have much ...

    read more
  238. What makes a good "Databox"?

    What is a good, reliable way to store and preserve your personal data? A topic I have had reason to chew on, of late. Yes, I got bit.

    A week or so back (when dealing with some other hardware problems), I heard a dwindling screech from my home file server ...

    read more
  239. 27B Stroke 6

    Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) explained his understanding (not) on how the internet works.

    27B Stroke 6
    I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why?

    Yes, this guy is voting ...

    read more
  240. New Ubuntu and VMware Server install

    So ... a machine dies in Virginia - the one hosting a wiki and a Notes server for our development group at work. Bit of irony here - seems it is the RAID card that died. The hardware is an old desktop box with a collection of 9GB disks in a RAID 5 ...

    read more
  241. Say what?

    Doubtless I have been guilty of just such an obscurity...

    Jon Udell: Say what?
    "By syndicating metadata, I'm inviting others to more richly contextualize their aggregations of our stuff."

    Sounds like something you might say after a reading of Vogon poetry. Come to think of it, I am not ...

    read more
  242. Kind of annoying, actually

    About a decade ago I was working on an application that used strings quite a lot - enough to be a major factor in performance. At the time I came up with a simple, lightweight C++ string class that took full advantage of the most optimal code - at the time - and ...

    read more
  243. REST notes

    REST Web Services
    Create a URL to each resource. The resources should be nouns, not verbs. For example, do not use this:


    Note the verb, getPart. Instead, use a noun:


    To this I would add the ...

    read more
  244. Impressed with Ubuntu Upgrade

    I have Ubuntu running on two machines - one with 4GB memory on which I run VMware-hosted versions of Windows (for testing), and one with 2GB used as an alternate desktop. Ubuntu offered the nicest initial-installation experience for Linux (so far). Both were setup about a year ago with Ubuntu 5 ...

    read more
  245. Java and Gnome

    JDK on Linux
    It has been disturbing watching Mono .Net applications making inroads within the Gnome community (Beagle, F-Spot, and Tomboy). Having Sun's high-quality JVM implemenation included on all Gnome-based distributions could lead to viable market for Java based apps on the desktop.

    read more
  246. Javascript on the server

    This is all - at least in part - a bit premature.

    Since the amount of time I have spent writing web applications is relatively limited, in the past I have largely stayed away from offering value judgements as to which techniques are most useful. As far as new technologies and techniques ...

    read more
  247. Understanding RAID-Z

    A good, clear explanation of the difference between RAID-Z and prior RAID implementations.

    Jeff Bonwick's Weblog
    "RAID-Z is a data/parity scheme like RAID-5, but it uses dynamic stripe width. Every block is its own RAID-Z stripe, regardless of blocksize. This means that every RAID-Z write is a full-stripe ...

    read more
  248. Bob Hoover flying aerobatics with a stopped engine

    Saw Bob Hoover perform this routine at Oshkosh in 1973(?). At that time Hoover flew for Rockwell, the manufacturer for the Aero Commander (the airplane in the video). [YouTube - Stopped engine aerobatics](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZBcapxGHjE)

    read more
  249. Paul Cornish

    A personal bookmark of sorts.

    Spent a lot of time cycling during college. At one point a group from OCW (Orange County Wheelmen) was doing regular Wednesday evening training rides (during the summer, so it was still light). The group naturally tended to sort out by ability level, and I ...

    read more
  250. Algorithm - Find Greatest Sequence

    Someone posted a weblog entry (do not remember where) with a puzzle:

    How to efficiently find a subsequence of values with the greatest sum within a larger sequence.

    The simplest algorithm is to try all subsequences. This runs in time O(N\^3), so is not useful except for very ...

    read more
  251. Improbable

    Bird on cactus

    This variety of bird is one I have seen before, but seldom and never this close. He flew over, landed on the cactus, then sat there looking at me long enough to get out the camera. Pretty unusual to land so close and hang around after seeing ...

    read more
  252. Sound familiar?

    "Imagine a world
    where people fear that their opinion cannot be expressed freely,
    where leaders are not held accountable for their deceptions,
    where perpetual war is waged against an unseen enemy" ...

    That last part sounds kind'a like today.

    read more
  253. Ubuntu, Debian, and Java

    I have to admit to being considerably annoyed.

    On my Ubuntu box spent time getting Eclipse and Java setup. For ideological reasons, Ubuntu comes with a third-rate Java JVM, so I followed the twisty paths to get the current Sun Java JRE and JDK installed. After a bit more magic ...

    read more
  254. Catapult!

    [VW GTi Commercial (Catapult) - Google Video](http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=70722051211331357) Someone had way too much fun building that catapult. Too big for the [contest](http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/jag?entry=t_shirt_hurling_contest_questions)?

    read more
  255. Misplaced concern over Google book scans

    Why is there such a furor - within some circles - over Google scanning books? Frankly the entire thing seems just a little bit silly. By scanning out-of-copyright works and putting them on the web, a vast resource suddenly becomes infinitely more available. Any kid (or adult) anywhere suddenly has access to ...

    read more
  256. Argh - Windows (re-)installation woes

    It is that time again - time for the annual re-install of Windows. Seems like I need to re-install Windows on my PC pretty much once a year, every year. As a developer I occasionally have to do rude things to my machine, and eventually something goes wobbly, and it's ...

    read more
  257. If the quote fits...

    The new garage doors were installed this week. The old slab-wood doors originally installed by the builder were not in the best of shape - in fact one was starting to crack. Could not quite justify replacing them before. After all ... doors - if they open and close ... (shrug).

    Looked up the ...

    read more
  258. The Normal Family

    The Normal Family

    Sung to the tune of "The Adams Family" theme song.
    " ... it's the Normal Family ..."

    This Art (if you can call it that) was put up for potential buyers of new homes in Foothill Ranch. Just their way of letting you know this was a classy family-oriented ...

    read more
  259. A reminder

    Arthur, my little brother died at 8 AM on February 10, 1999.

    He was riding his motorcycle to work when a car slowed,
    he didn't,
    and a few minutes later he was dead.

    Someone once asked, if you could go back in time, what would you do?
    Only one ...

    read more
  260. Where'd it go?

    Published: Thu 09 February 2006
    By preston

    In Web.

    Checking through the site's logs, it belatedly sunk in the I wasn't getting any incoming requests from Google searches (aside from image search). Before I was getting perhaps one or two per day(?), and found my postings generally in the first page of Google results obtained by the ...

    read more
  261. We are not at war

    Let's put this threat in scope. The size of the "terrorist threat" is about the size of a (well funded) gang - not the size of an army. A gang of thugs can be a problem, but are not the same sort of problem as an attacking army. Declaring war ...

    read more
  262. Google "Ads" hit a home run?

    Published: Fri 27 January 2006
    By preston

    In Web.

    In GMail pulled up the message "[xmlc] XMLC 2.2.8 is out", and happened to glance over at the ads placed by Google:

    Related Pages

    Stylus Studio Queries XQuery Co-Inventor
    PR.com (press release) - Jan 24, 2006
    A One on One Interview with XQuery Guru and Co-inventor Jonathan ...

    Jon ...

    read more
  263. IIS Troubleshooting and VMware

    When you are having trouble getting IIS to do what you need, David Wang offers some advice for IIS6 Troubleshooting. Unfortunately in one respect, David's advice is impractical. The developer faced with an IIS problem in the first instance needs to try and resolve the problem ASAP, and cannot ...

    read more
  264. Economics of MySpace

    Published: Thu 19 January 2006
    By preston

    In Web.

    Let's just talk about "is" for a moment. We will get to "can" and "should" later.

    Teenagers are tremendously motivated by anything that might make them more interesting to the opposite sex. It's pretty simple really. Nature has turned on (big time!) their sex drive - the need to ...

    read more
  265. Chills

    Lady of the house: chills
    Those last few days plenty of temperature records have been broken in Iceland, its been very cold for the time of year. Temperatures dropped down to -30C at Lake Myvatn last night and here they have been at around -15C for a few days. An ...

    read more
  266. Non-working security tags

    Bought three (rather pricey) shirts from a large retailer at the mall. A few days later at home pulled one out of the bag - and found that the anti-theft device was still attached. Checked the other shirts, and found that only one had the security tag removed. So I walked ...

    read more
  267. [u'', u'Lawyers, guns and money']

    Google Sued for \$5B
    Rates Technology, a little-known patent-holding company with a history of filing suits against large technology companies, said it will seek \$5 billion in damages from Google based on unpaid royalties from a patent infringement lawsuit RTI filed against Google in New York.

    Would it be more ...

    read more
  268. Cookies are not scary

    Published: Sat 31 December 2005
    By preston

    In Web.

    NSA Web Site Spies On You
    Since the NSA has been caught illegally spying on people recently. I hardly believe that the cookies are inadvertant.

    This is so wrong on so many levels...

    First, web browser cookies are not scary. In fact they are about as scary as ... cookies (the ...

    read more
  269. Weblogs and Journalism

    from UserFriendly

    Yes, I do believe weblogs have forced those who practice "Journalism" (the profession) to work a little harder, and to not be as sloppy as often.

    As an aside - the word "Journalism" is dervied from journal for which one of the offered definitions is "a daily written record ...

    read more
  270. Java Applets that "just work"

    Summing up the results from prior post, getting Java Applets to "Just Work" in the browser boils down to a "to-do" list on the part of multiple parties.

    1. Sun must offer a consistent API for downloading the appropriate JRE for the user's machine. This API should look like...

      http ...

    read more
  271. jsp:plugin grief (cont'd)

    Updated the applet tests referred to in the prior post both to summarize the pass/fail result for each variety of applet invocation in each IE/Firefox Java/no-java environment, and for each test to include the applet exercising the Javascript-to-Java bridge.

    Perhaps there are other incantations I could use ...

    read more
  272. jsp:plugin grief

    My current work project - a web application - calls for use of a small Java applet to present a critical and slightly tricky portion of the user interface. The web application is aimed at replacing a Windows desktop application (from a third party), and meant to provide a better user interface ...

    read more
  273. The (nearly) perfect camera?

    I'm back to using my old Canon S110 (2-megapixel) camera until my Sony DSC-P200/R (7.2 megapixel) comes back from warranty service in Texas (hopefully without the blob on the image). The Sony is in fact a very nice camera.

    • Fast startup.
    • Compact and easy to carry (144g ...
    read more
  274. Watching the Highways

    Not to detract from Schneier's take, let us roughly guess the relative frequency of "terrorist" events compared to ordinary everyday problems a motorist (including truckers) might encounter.

    Looking at the real-time traffic information posted by the web, my guess would be there are more than 20 hazard events per ...

    read more
  275. Snake-Oil Research

    Published: Wed 07 December 2005
    By preston

    In Web.

    Has research in computer science at Colleges and Universities become less meaningful?

    In Snake-Oil Research in Nature we have a case where Bruce Schneier (who knows something about cryptography) finds a bit of research done in an academic setting that is a little short on relevant expertise.

    As an odd ...

    read more
  276. Secret ID Law

    Wired News: Secret ID Law to Get Hearing
    So far, the government has refused to show Gilmore the order compelling airlines to ask for identification, saying that the rule is "sensitive security information," a security designation that was greatly expanded by Congress in 2002, allowing the Transportation Security Administration wide ...

    read more
  277. Open source, and when not

    ongoing · OSI
    In the future though, I think pretty well all software innovation will be either open-source or inside a big server, because the business model for shipping closed-source software as a product is just too twisted and weird.

    In fact I disagree pretty much completely, as there is a ...

    read more
  278. Candid Cactus


    J.L.B. says:
    this is an excellent shot! they look like a group of people you've caught off guard, which makes my next question (can you eat them?) seem a bit odd.

    Interesting how she sees people in plants. I do worry a bit about the comment...

    read more
  279. Two points worth repeating

    Jonathan Schwartz's Weblog
    ... no Fortune 2000 customer on earth is going to run the heart of their enterprise with products that don't have someone's home number on the other end.
    ... no developer or developing nation, presented with an equivalent or better free and open source product, is ...

    read more
  280. Roomba (robot vacuum) died AGAIN

    Well, I guess that settles it - my third replacement Roomba just died. We are headed into the Xmas shopping season, and unless the Roomba got a redesign (apparently not) then I really cannot recommend the Roomba product. I like what it does - when it works - but three dead units in ...

    read more
  281. What is she thinking (or is she)?

    OK, I have to admit I don't quite "get" this picture.

    Yes, clearly this girl is advertising all her "assets", and hopes to use sex to "buy" her place in the world. I get that part.
    What I don't "get" is what sort of thought goes through her ...

    read more
  282. No respect

    A few years back a friend replaced his battered old Jeep with a shiny new model. Almost immediately he noticed that on the road he got a lot less respect. Folks were generally careful about getting too near to his old disreputable-looking vehicle, but apparently felt no such qualms about ...

    read more
  283. Is bandwidth still too costly?

    Published: Thu 10 November 2005
    By preston

    In Web.

    Image captured from Yahoo News ... (which might go away someday)

    This is the "big" image from a news article, and really does not do justice to the subject.

    Now I can understand the need to keep image sizes down, in the days when bandwidth was expensive and most users were ...

    read more
  284. ACT & Boston ODF Day

    ongoing · Boston ODF Day
    ... there is this guy in the room from ACT who was pushing back pretty hard against the new Massachusetts policy. His arguments are lifted pretty well word for word from the Microsoft talking points ...

    Another amusing bit:
    The guy from ACT claimed to be representing lots ...

    read more
  285. Prejudice & spammers

    As usual I was loading up tabs in Firefox with pages and was reading through each in turn. Get enough queued up, and you tend to forget why you loaded the page.

    So when I got to this guy's page, instead of thinking about CMT, my first thought was ...

    read more
  286. Population of Europe

    Simple what-if question:
    What would be the population of Europe, without World War I or II?
    A lot of young men were killed in each war, but relatively few women. How does that effect population growth?

    read more
  287. California Spring

    In the past couple weeks we got a fair dose of rain. Fall it may be by the calendar. Spring in this portion of southern California is any time it rains - which is generally around Spring or Fall, and occasionally in the middle of Winter. Spring is defined by the ...

    read more
  288. Passwords on the web as a security risk

    A simple observation about another risk involving plaintext passwords sent across the network...

    This has nothing to do with whether the channel in encrypted (typically HTTPS - HTTP over SSL). Rather this has to do with whether the remote server is receiving plaintext passwords.

    If you use applications on the web ...

    read more
  289. Fading history


    Old airship hangers at the former military base in Tustin - soon to be destroyed by developers - as seen in the distance from the hills in the Whiting Ranch Wilderness. Unusual lighting courtesy of a rare thunderstorm cloud to ...

    read more
  290. Is Microsoft becoming Burroughs?

    In the early 1980's I worked at Burroughs. At the time Burroughs was the second largest computer company in the world (behind only IBM in size) and growing strongly. I lucked into one of the most interesting projects in the company - working on a programmer's workbench for mainframe ...

    read more
  291. Medieval Times

    Took my son Cedric and guests to the 6pm show on October 8th in Buena Park - at his request - for his 13th birthday. (I now officially have two teenagers.)

    You can order your tickets online from their website (a nice touch). When ordering they hit you up for an add-on ...

    read more
  292. Election day - replacing Chris Cox

    Checking out the supplies and paperwork (fun) before Tuesday's election. Noticed the roster is a bit longer In fact there are 1885 voters listed - almost twice last year. They delivered 8 voting machines (versus 5 last year). I will have 3 other poll workers versus 4 workers last year ...

    read more
  293. Jetex - random memory

    For no obvious reason an old memory - a vivid image and smell - came to mind along with a name "Jetex".

    As a kid I had acquired an interest in model airplanes from my father.

    Now this wasn't a very fulfilling hobby in dense-suburban southern California. Lack of nearby open ...

    read more
  294. mouse test

    Been working on a web application that tries to present a relatively rich user interface. As a target I am aiming at the current and near/mid future population of browsers. That means IE 6 (and later), Mozilla/Firefox, and trying to stick as much as possible with the W3C ...

    read more
  295. Inequality and Risk

    Inequality and Risk

    Other spins ...

    Instead of "confiscate", use "cost of doing business". Set the baseline (minimum standards for available education, housing, health, retirement), and tax only above the baseline. Taxes are (or should be) simply a "fair share" of the costs of running the country, instead of a seemingly ...

    read more
  296. Which "everybody"?

    On why the current Bush reversed his father's(!) decision and turned wetlands over to developers - wetlands that could have reduced the impact of a hurricane on New Orleans.

    Katrina comes home to roost
    The chairman of the White House's council on environmental quality dismissed the study as "highly ...

    read more
  297. LRF replacements

    Today I found the you can use the glue from a small hot glue gun to make LRF replacements.

    In fact I was trying to re-attach the two remaining LRF's (two are lost) but they would not stick to the glue - when I realised the glue by itself was ...

    read more
  298. Turing test

    Did she (or it) pass the test?

    pbannister (9/3/2005 9:24:14 PM): Hello ... do I know you?
    lilyno501 (9/3/2005 9:24:35 PM): difinately
    pbannister (9/3/2005 9:24:57 PM): lol - oh, ok
    lilyno501 (9/3/2005 9:25:52 PM): so how ...

    read more
  299. Domino theory - Microsoft and standard document formats

    Published: Sat 03 September 2005
    By preston

    In Web.

    This is all so painfully predictable...

    The state's point of view is perfectly reasonable. Long-lived public documents should not be in proprietary formats. There now exists a functional, clearly defined standard for the most common office documents. There is one excellent implementation (OpenOffice/StarOffice). Pragmatically this is an excellent ...

    read more
  300. Setting up a new/old car

    Bought a 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan LXi (leaving about \$20K more in my bank account over buying a new car). Having a mechanic you trust changes the equation wonderfully. Took the newly acquired vehicle into his shop, asked him to do whatever he thought it needed, and call me when ...

    read more
  301. Credit where due - to Microsoft

    This announcement is notable in that Microsoft's active contribution was key to the arrests. This is a good thing. Doubtless (and predictably) Microsoft will be criticised for taking so long to become proactive. Delayed or not, this does not by any means take away from the significance of this ...

    read more
  302. The Kutztown 13

    The Kutztown 13

    So a bunch of high school kids were given "free" laptops by there school. Predictably, (very predictably if you are familiar with high school age kids) the kids used the computers for ways other than what the school wanted. The kids are by no means innocent here ...

    read more
  303. The "AOL of broadband"

    Published: Sat 20 August 2005
    By preston

    In Web.

    A bit of a flashback...

    My first individual Internet access account was through CERF.net. Access was through a 14.4 dial-up, and the monthly bills were not exactly cheap. Later access became successively faster and cheaper through kaiwan.com, speed.net, and PacBell. I got rid of dial-up in ...

    read more
  304. UK Border Security

    UK Border Security
    A terror suspect appears to have fled the country by the simple expedient of walking past an empty desk, and the Government's reaction is not to put somebody at the desk, or to find out why, during one of the biggest manhunts London has ever seen ...

    read more
  305. A four-star scapegoat?

    We have the lingering unresolved problem of some truly evil acts by a small number of folks in the military. The low-level folks are getting punished, but there is a curious lack of official interest in chasing the chain of responsibility up the chain of command.

    So what do we ...

    read more
  306. Brooke Ramel

    Walked over the local food court for lunch a bit after noon on one day last week. Weather was hot, humid and oppressive - the quote about "mad dogs and Englishmen" came to mind (not that the dog minded the weather in the least).

    Entering the outdoor eating area, walked past ...

    read more
  307. Roundabouts

    "RoundaboutsUSA can assist you with your roundabout project by: conducting a feasibility study, CAD design, and peer review of current designs. Contact Bill if you need assistance by email or at the phone numbers listed below."

    The site referenced above presents some excellent and very sensible (and common-sense) arguments ...

    read more
  308. Santa Claus, Arizona

    More whimsy...

    Passing an endless chain of food franchises on the road between California and Colorado, I remembered Heinlein mentioned a place to eat that sounded wonderful. Just ran across the story Cliff and the Calories (1950) in the Heinlein collection Expanded Universe. The story is fiction but the place ...

    read more
  309. Mail Filtering

    A good tutorial on Mail Filtering from Jef Poskanzer.

    Now - how can I find a web hosting/email providor that supports IMAP and email filtering as throughly done as Jef describes?

    read more
  310. Rove under suspicion

    the Parks Department
    Wednesday, Jul. 16, 2003 Has the Bush Administration declared war on a former ambassador who conducted a fact-finding mission to probe possible Iraqi interest in African uranium? Former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson raised the Administration's ire with an op-ed piece in The New York Times on ...

    read more
  311. 3D star maps

    3D star maps by Stellarium
    It began in 1975 as an effort to create a three dimensional map of our sun and its nearest neighbors in space. Not just beads on strings - something that really looked like stars. There was no thought of a business. It was an amateur project ...

    read more
  312. Iraq as flypaper

    Arianna Huffington
    So let me get this straight: we invaded them to liberate them... and to use them as bait to attract terrorists who we could fight on the streets of Baghdad rather than the streets of London and New York?

    read more
  313. Slow radio?

    Over and out
    "Marconi's first transmission is still out there, about 10% of the way to the closest visible star. Granted it is pretty attenuated by now>"
    Bob Lucky, technology consultant, formerly of Bell Labs and Telcordia
    EDN: Voice of the Electronics Engineer - May 12, 2005 - page 17

    Somebody ...

    read more
  314. Reminder


    With the focus on the ordinary day-to-day, too easy to forget that our speck of dust floats amid wonders.

    read more
  315. Attempted identity theft?

    Today I got a call from Equifax. For some unspecified (?) reason they were suspicious of the fact that someone had ordered my credit report on March 22. Since I did not recall ordering a credit report, she offered to put an "alert" on my "file" with all three (?) credit reporting ...

    read more
  316. Overheated Honda


    This is the road that did in my Honda. You cannot tell from the picture but this road is steep. Coming up the road required driving in first gear, which after a mile or so proved too much, and my car overheated. Guess long periods of heavy throttle in first ...

    read more
  317. Apple going to Intel - yet another speculation

    Musing on the Apple-to-Intel transition, there are a couple points that come to mind.

    • Jobs and company recognized the need for a bet-the-company transition if Apple's desktop and laptop computers are to remain relevant. Better to make the bet now rather than wait through a long painful decline.
    • Apple ...
    read more
  318. Splendid isolation


    These are very nicely-built houses, but note the blank "face" presented to the street. Windows few, small and always shuttered. Neighbors can go months or years without interacting.

    When streets are our public spaces, and our houses face the public space with closed garage doors, it is easy to stay ...

    read more
  319. Wonderful twisty scenic roads

    Took part of a day off from helping my dad unpack to go for a drive. Headed south toward Ouray. When you reach Ouray you are fairly well up into the mountains, and the scenery is getting rather nice. From Ouray heading south the "Million Dollar Highway" climbs into and ...

    read more
  320. Every once and a while...

    ... things do not seem to happen just by chance.

    Drove to Colorado on Saturday. Picked a random CD, and listened to Elvis Costello for the first few hours.

    Drove back from Colorado Tuesday. Picked a random CD at a rest stop in Utah, and listened to New Order for the ...

    read more
  321. Threads and Whimsy

    Making coffee this morning in my Dad's new house in Colorado. Helping him to get settled - stacks of full boxes turned into stacks of empty boxes. The "someday" boxes sorted and put out of sight. The boxes with his office papers (cannot do these for him) are spread out ...

    read more
  322. Another beautiful thing

    An airplane meant for a single purpose.

    Once you have air superiority then you need an effective way to attack ground targets. Missiles are expensive. Fighters are only lightly armored, vulnerable to ground fire and very expensive to replace. Also to hit ground targets accurately you need an airplane that ...

    read more
  323. Memorial bench

    On January 8, 2004 a cyclist who lived in Foothill Ranch was killed by a mountain lion while riding through the Whiting Ranch wilderness area. This bench was put up afterwards as a memorial. The houses in the near distance are in Foothill Ranch.

    read more
  324. Bogus filtering

    Ran across this missive today -- The internet is shit. I have noticed this bogus meme going around lately. The assumption is that other sources of information outside the Internet are somehow in some sense generally better.

    Silly nonsense!

    By the age of ten I had read through all the science ...

    read more
  325. Excluding a robot

    Today I found a new set of entries in the "recent visitors" log for my site from the turnitin.com crawler.

    Today I added the first entry to the robots.txt file for my site.

    The internet is all about sharing. I am happy to pay for the for bandwidth ...

    read more
  326. Dog Days Criterium

    In the late-1970's the Beverly Hills Savings and Loan sponsored the annual "Dog Days Criterium" (a non-USCF amateur race). Held on a Sunday in the Irvine Industrial area (near Jeffery and Walnut?).

    We won! Orange County Wheelmen (bike club) - left to right in last picture - ??, Terry Vincent, Allan?, Me ...

    read more
  327. fishing

    From 1967(?) - first time fishing, and the only time I caught anything. We had fried catfish later, which tasted wonderful.

    read more
  328. Motor trends?

    There seems to be a marked change occuring in the population of cars I see in taking my kids to the local elementary school. Last year may well have marked the peak of the SUV-craze. Today there seemed to be noticably fewer mega-vehicles in the drop-off line than you would ...

    read more
  329. Intelligent Design

    Life on Earth was created by Space Aliens!! Proved by advocacy groups with funding from rich religious zealots!

    Heh. If the so-called Intelligent Design folks are not just selling a slightly warmed-over version of creationism, then what is the alternative?

    Actually I would entertain the notion that visitors from elsewhere ...

    read more
  330. Java Harmony

    Somehow we need to get Jonathon to talk to James about syndication.

    First, well-run open source projects never allow "random" people commit access. Commits generally get some level of review from trusted committers. Do you really think that all the people outside Sun who might be interested in contributing are ...

    read more
  331. Caseless critic

    The New Yorker has a fairly vacuous piece by a "critic" trashing the current Star Wars movie.

    Now for context - I view the opinions of "critics" with a huge amount of skepticism after recently going to see two different movies ("Sideways" and "Adaptation") about which the critics positively raved - both ...

    read more
  332. Web versus desktop - a personal example

    My dad has sold his house in California and is preparing to move out to Colorado. Since he will be losing his current ISP, as preparation I wanted to switch his email from @adelphia.net to something more portable. So I setup both @gmail.com and @bannister.us email accounts ...

    read more
  333. An unfortunate graphic

    When checking flight information, came across this graphic.
    US Airways Airbus

    This bears a resemblence to a airline crash test.
    Airline crash

    Note to designers - always depict airliners elevated above any sort of horizontal graphic.

    read more
  334. zarathustra

    Zarathustra never imagined praising a God who is a bribe taker. The one, who is bribed by worship and then he rewards his worshiper with a part of paradise. The Almighty God is not a dealer, he is neither a buyer nor a seller, and does not need also ...

    read more
  335. Computer Chaos

    What happens when a new flat panel arrives and a (not-so) old computer dies in the middle of a project.
    Computer Chaos
    Before this I had two computers on a KVM switch sharing a single monitor and keyboard, with all the wires tucked away, and (relatively) neatly routed. When the nice/new ...

    read more
  336. The Prince

    Niccolo Machiavelli, "The Prince"
    The rulers of republics or kingdoms must therefore seek to preserve the principles of their religion. Having done this, they will find it an easy matter to keep the state devout, obedient, and united. They should seek to favor and strengthen every circumstance that tends to ...

    read more
  337. real or not?

    Bought some shirts off eBay in my brand and style (though unfortunately not my favorite color - red being a bit hard to come by). The prices on eBay are radically lower than prices from the store - even when on sale. This naturally leads to the question - are these the real ...

    read more
  338. Google Doom

    When is the last time you saw a really interesting new desktop application?

    In the Windows application space, things have pretty much settled down to more of the same. Office applications - word processing and spreadsheets - have changed very little in the past decade. General use of email and web browsers ...

    read more
  339. Auburn Hills, Michigan

    Was staying north of Detroit for a few days last week. The "free" Internet access in the hotel (Courtyard by Marriott: Auburn Hills) worked - sometimes, or just enough to drive me slightly nuts.

    On the other hand, I can recommend the Big Buck brewery for decent food and beer (if ...

    read more
  340. CDDL - Sun's license for Solaris

    Just to point out the obvious - despite the micro-storm - maybe the folks talking are the one's with a point to prove.

    Sun's CDDL looks reasonable at the least for their purpose, and I have an appalling lack of interest in "discussing" the license.

    read more
  341. Take this airplane - please

    My dad has a bit of a problem. He is getting ready to sell his house in California, retire, and move out to Colorado (where he bought a house a few years ago). The problem is that is the remains of an old Stinson Voyager are sitting in the backyard ...

    read more
  342. Ubuntu - seems to be it

    Given I only have limited amounts of "free" time, there are a number of things I expect to work out of the box with a Linux distribution.

    • Network support (vanilla DHCP in my case).
    • Video support (recent but not bleeding edge - ATI Radeon 9200, 1600x1200x32 screen).
    • Multiple disk support (partitions ...
    read more
  343. Roomba (robot vacuum) died again

    After perhaps a month with the replacement Roomba, I noticed an odd screeching noise, no dog hair in the vacuum's bin, and increasingly hairy carpets - despite regular runs with the robot. Not good - looks like the brushes stopped turning.

    Called iRobot Customer Support and got connected immediately (a surprise ...

    read more
  344. Playing with Linux/Solaris again

    The blank Taiyo Yuden DVDs arrived.

    Burnt Fedora core 4 test1, Solaris 10, and SUSE 9.2 DVDs - also with no errors reported by the Nero verify pass.

    Booted the Fedora DVD successfully on the test box (already an improvement). Ran linux mediacheck which claimed there were errors on the ...

    read more
  345. Toyota sludge

    Visiting the Parts department at the local Toyota dealer made me wary of the brand many years ago. The Parts departments at the local Honda dealers I had cause to visit were always well-run and some of the folks were exceptionally helpful. By comparison going to the dealer to get ...

    read more
  346. Google Search: movie showtimes

    The good folks at Google slipped another new feature in without my noticing. I am accustomed to using Yahoo to get local movie showtimes. Remembering the number of clever features the Google folks have slipped in lately, tried searching on "movie showtimes". Got a match set back, and almost missed ...

    read more
  347. Knocking on the door?

    Since posting about the last exercise installing Debian, Solaris, and Fedora there are more of the following sort of log entries from the gateway.

    Apr/03/2005 02:20:02
     TearDrop Attack Detect src: dst: Packet Dropped
    Apr/03/2005 ...
    read more
  348. What happened to Yahoo!?

    What happened to Yahoo? They started out with all these interesting features ... then apparently bogged down.

    Yahoo Mail is probably the bright spot in all this. After a couple years buried in spam and unusable, the filters in Yahoo Mail seem to be finally reducing the incoming spam down to ...

    read more
  349. Drug WarRant

    Drug WarRant ... what he said.

    For reference - drug use messed up a good chunk of my younger brother's life, so I am anything but an advocate for drug use. At the same time, I do not think the current/unending/futile "War on Drugs" makes sense as pursued over ...

    read more
  350. Dubious DVDs

    After a tedious bit of experimentation (burning at different speeds, stopping other activity on the box, and burning on a different box), I seem to have discovered what others already know. Using blank DVDs labeled "DVD-R 4x UI-Tran" that have on the disk the manufacturer ID "ONIDTECH" -- all the burned ...

    read more
  351. Fedora core

    Downloaded and burned installation DVDs for Fedora core 3 (heidelberg) and Fedora core 4 test1. The Fedora core 3 installation started, then started getting disk read errors. The Fedora core 4 installation offered to scan the DVD for errors, and promptly complained about errors on the disk.

    Could be the ...

    read more
  352. Solaris 10 attempt

    Perhaps influenced by Jonathan, downloaded and burned a Solaris 10 x86 installation DVD. Hit reboot (what should have marked the end of the just-prior Debian installation) and got...

    Cannot find boot.bin

    Not an encouraging start...

    This box has fairly recent/generic hardware -- ECS K7S5A Pro motherboard, 2.4Ghz Athlon ...

    read more
  353. Debian install - sort'a

    Installed Debian 3.0r4 on a spare machine, mostly out of curiousity. There are a enough folks fond of Debian thought it might be worth another try.

    First, I made a horrible mistake. Downloaded, burned and installed from 9 ISO images (7 installation, 2 updates). Trying to be a good ...

    read more
  354. Military visitors

    Seems that some of the visitors to this entry are coming from military sites, from obvious search queries. Good to know I am contributing to military, er, readiness :).

    Too bad I don't have any pictures, for which I suspect they are hoping...

    read more
  355. Butterflies

    Guess it must be spring...

    Went to the ACP Swap Meet this morning for no obvious reason. Looks like this institution is pretty much on it's last legs. The number of vendors is perhaps a third or less from the peak, and the number of customers probably even less ...

    read more
  356. Designing a better cell phone user interface

    Given that the cell phones on the market seem to be so often badly designed - at least in terms of usability - it seems that the industry could use some sort of design reference. Cell phones have been on the mass-market for rather a while. Surely by now someone would have ...

    read more
  357. No small fonts, please

    A few years back I needed new glasses (due to wear and tear) and went to get my eyes checked. The end result was no change to the prescription, but went away with words from the examiner "your eyes should get worse from here on out". Apparently the human eye ...

    read more
  358. AOL at 14.4Kb

    Received the new/old Kyocera 6035 pda/phone and activated with Verizon easily (just a non-cell phone call), and played with it a bit over the past week. Good and bad points to this phone.

    • This fat/wide phone fits in a shirt pocket, but takes up a lot of ...
    read more
  359. Upcoming.com

    Another site I had not previously heard of.

    Jon Udell: Upcoming events in Keene, NH

    The failure of upcoming is two-fold. First, they have (practically) no content. Second, they cannot succeed as an independent site.

    Remember why email originally took off (LONG ago) on Unix, and took much longer on ...

    read more
  360. Full moon out tonight

    Drove home in no hurry from dinner in Orange, zig-zagging through surface streets. Saw typical semi-older/mixed southern California suburbia in Santa Ana / Orange / Tustin. Travelled what used to be the north edge of Irvine on Irvine road. A rather large stretch of open space is gone, swallowed by development ...

    read more
  361. New/old cell phone

    Lost my cell phone on a change between airliners in the Houston airport. Was not much upset by this loss as I was not especially fond of the phone (an Audiovox CDM-8900). Since this provides an excuse for buying a replacement, the loss was not all bad :).

    My two year ...

    read more
  362. The assumption behind mail-in rebates

    The assumption behind mail-in rebates is that most folks attracted to the with-rebate price will not actually bother going through all the hassle of collecting a mail-in rebate.

    Staples with their "easy-rebates" breaks this model. With "easy-rebates" the hassle the customer has to go through to collect a rebate is ...

    read more
  363. Time to leave?

    My parents moved to southern California in the early 1960's as a part of the aerospace boom. At the time most of our neighbors were from ... everywhere. Up until recently very few Californians were actually from California. In a sense we lived on an edge. Orange County was outside ...

    read more
  364. Cramped airline seating

    Several years back, I flew a number of coast-to-coast flights on American Airlines. The trips were in fact rather pleasant. I could doze off comfortably and arrive feeling relaxed and refreshed.

    The more recent flights have been rather unpleasant. Probably for reasons of economy, some(?) airlines have resorted to seats ...

    read more
  365. Displaced Californian

    Near Detroit, Michigan for a few days. High here was 25° (Fahrenheit) today. On the way to the hotel there was fluffy frozen water falling out of the sky (pretty cool -- well, cold). At home I run the heater a few times every winter, and generally keep windows open pretty ...

    read more
  366. Carly's Way

    An engineer's perspective on HP and Carly.

    Carly's Way

    About the only thing I can add to this is my complete lack of surprise. This same meme is often repeated at tech companies. Something in the process by which company leaders is chosen can be deadly to high ...

    read more
  367. Wikipedia database download

    Wikipedia database download
    Raw database dumps

    Last dump made: 2005-02-09 (21 days ago)
    Total size 12720MB (564MB for just current revisions)

    Contributed Wikipedia content including old revisions - heavily compressed with bzip2 - is headed towards 13GB. Wonder how much that would be without the old revisions.

    How long before the Wikipedia ...

    read more
  368. Website redesign at Staples.com

    Published: Sat 26 February 2005
    By preston

    In Web.

    The Staples folks just launched their redesigned website.

    Previously I had been mildly impressed by the folks working on their website and web applications. We are not talking about revolutionary/whizbang/insanely anything, rather just a cleanly put together site where things just worked very well. The quality of the ...

    read more
  369. It's alive!

    After the last episode, the iRobot folks sent out an entirely new Roomba unit. That did the trick. The problem was not with the charger or the battery.

    Now I have rather a lot of spare parts ... an extra charger and battery, the carcass of the dead Roomba (minus the ...

    read more

    Received in the mail.


    Ken Mehlman
    RNC Chairman

    Senator Bill Prist
    Majority Leader

    Congressman Dennis Hastert

    Congressman Tom Delay
    Majority Leader

    Dear Fellow Republican,

    You are among a select group of Republicans who have been chosen to take part in the official CENSUS OF THE REPUBLICAN ...

    read more
  371. Smiling and blinking

    This item gives me the creeps...

    Wired News
    Egyptian doctors said they removed a second head from a 10-month-old girl [...] the second twin had developed no body. The head that was removed from Manar had been capable of smiling and blinking but not independent life, doctors said.

    Wonder how the ...

    read more
  372. How to shoot yourself in the foot

    Published: Fri 18 February 2005
    By preston

    In Web.

    There are folks who recommend the use of XHTML over HTML, in the interest of promoting web standards. While this idea has some merit, I have chosen to use HTML 4.01 (strict) as the basis for my work for the simple reason that IE6 does not actually know anything ...

    read more
  373. Travel to Cuba by US Citizens

    In some sense Cuba is a time-capsule. As long as Castro is in charge Cuba will not change (much). After Castro dies, likely Cuba will change quite a lot.

    It would be interesting to see Cuba before Castro dies. It would be interesting to see one of the last "Communist ...

    read more
  374. A thing of beauty

    To my eye the things I find beautiful are bound up with purpose and execution. The C-130 cargo plane is one example. The original design was made before I was born, yet descendants of the design are still in service. This all makes perfect sense. Propellers are more efficient than ...

    read more
  375. Navigating among Elephants

    Both boys had a "late start" day at school today, so we took the extra time to go out and eat breakfast together. Headed over to my daughter's school after dropping off both boys. Coming up the hill there was a line of about twenty SUVs (mostly) and Minivans ...

    read more
  376. Groupware?

    Saw the announcement for Hula -- apparently Novell is open-sourcing their email+whatever NetMail software. Guess I'm interested because of the calendar piece, in some combination with email, but less than compelled. There are so many uninspiring calendar applications. Will have to take a look at Hula later to see ...

    read more
  377. Bandwidth

    Used to feel a bit silly when I checked statistics on my website and found I was using far less than 1% of my paid-for bandwidth. All of a sudden the numbers are a lot bigger. A few more months along this trend, and I might have to change my ...

    read more
  378. Strong Typing vs. Strong Testing

    A few months back I saw (via the web - do not remember where) Bruce Eckel speaking to a group. In the middle of the talk he posed a question (paraphrased below).

    Do we need strong typing if we have unit tests?

    The question gave me pause as clearly he had ...

    read more
  379. Global warming and herd behavior

    It seems to me that we skipped a step.

    On the topic of "global warming" I somehow missed the transition from speculations based on a limited set of observations, to apparent iron-clad certainty about cause and effect.

    We humans have only made direct, accurate measurements of world-wide temperates and CO2 ...

    read more
  380. A rule of thumb

    [ Fair warning - there is nothing "nice" in what follows. ]

    Long ago my father offered a rule of thumb from his work on engineering projects in the defense industry -- If someone insists on using "Dr." in their name, they probably are not very good.

    You meet all sorts of people on ...

    read more
  381. Hidden brilliance

    Wired News: Photographer Seeks Resolution
    The gigapixel camera lenses were custom-designed and cut by a specialist he knew from his defense contracting days, who is more accustomed to making optics for military systems.

    "They're essentially perfect," Flint said of the lenses. "They're spectacular."

    I hope that we can ...

    read more
  382. iRobot still dead :(

    The iRobot folks sent out a replacement charger and battery. Tried charging overnight ... the new battery only lasted a few minutes before expiring. Tried "reseting" the charging system as recommended on the iRobot website (taking out the battery, disconnecting the charger, wait a few minutes). Another overnight charge ... and nothing ...

    read more
  383. Welcome to Solaris?

    Interested by Jonathan's words, walked through the Solaris 10 download pages, and got this warm and friendly email from Sun.

    Geez -- now I'm afraid to download the thing :).

    Hey Jonathon! How about a couple of short paragraphs for non-lawyers, and a link to the full license for the ...

    read more
  384. Building a better string class

    To sum up - the aim of the preceding exercise was to check my past assumptions. Rather than use the standard C++ string classes, I have for a number of years chosen to use a very thin wrapper class, with buffer allocation off a free-list. At the end the measurements show ...

    read more
  385. Building a better string class - sentinels and wrap up


    One final addition to the ZString class - sentinels. One common programming error is buffer over-run, writing past the end of an allocated array, and possibly overwriting a following item. We can catch this common programming error by allocating an extra byte on both ends of the string buffer and ...

    read more
  386. No Bugs?

    One of the critters starting to make a comeback after the rains.

    Spent the day (and likely the remainder of the night) getting a prototype web application working, Well, it worked already in the same sense as a car works when it's motor is running in the garage. Want ...

    read more
  387. Speed versus complexity in User Interface interaction

    Reflecting on user interface design and programming, there is a cluster of notions I would like to get across.

    When writing a GUI framework to run on the original 4.77Mhz Intel 8088 based PCs, after writing the initial set of primitives I found performance unsatisfactory. I am a big ...

    read more
  388. Nice weather

    Images from (not so) smoggy southern California. We had in series - cold (lows in the 30's), rainy, and then warm weather. The warm weather came on a mild desert wind, clearing the skies.

    Deer enjoying the new green stuff too much to be bothered by my approach.

    A mudslide ...

    read more
  389. Jonathan and IBM

    To be honest, I found some of Jonathan's past words about IBM to be just a bit over the top. This time he is playing nice.

    Today's message on the other hand, is perfectly reasonable and hits IBM dead-center. I can imagine IBM customers bringing this letter to ...

    read more
  390. Sparkle Cleaning Service

    One morning while working I heard someone come to the front door. Through the window I saw a woman (blonde hair, sunglasses) pick up and inspect something small and white (a card?), put something down, and walk away. Later I checked outside and found only a lime green letter-size sheet ...

    read more
  391. Structure editors, IDEs, and another Lisp flashback

    Tree structure editors were once all the rage in the Lisp community (and elsewhere). The idea is compelling - work directly on the structure of your code, rather than a text representation. In practice tree structure editors turned out to be rather tedious to use. This of course was back in ...

    read more
  392. My iRobot died :(

    After about 50 uses (and a cleaner house with less work - always a good deal) my Roomba died. After the last run the battery would not charge. After trying all the obvious alternatives (re-seating the battery, connecting the charger directly, and giving the unit a moderate shake) the problem stayed ...

    read more
  393. Warlords

    To really understand both local and world events, you need to identify all of the significant players. Some players are quite easily identifiable. Others are not always so easy to find or understand.

    One group of actors present in every scene but not always plainly visible I refer to as ...

    read more
  394. Legacy of Dhrystone

    Back in the 1980's the Dhrystone benchmark provided motivation for compiler vendors to improve their optimized code and standard libraries. To some extent this benefit is applies today, if you know how to take advantage.

    In particular on the functions in both \<stdio.h> and \<string.h> received particular ...

    read more
  395. HP Tech Support

    Bought and setup an HP Photosmart 8450 printer. The printer comes with a ethernet port, so I can use it from any computer on my home network, without requiring another machine to be powered on. The installation instructions require that you install the supplied software on any PC that will ...

    read more
  396. Screwed by Microsoft

    My two boys got HP notebooks for Xmas (not from me). The notebooks came with Windows XP Home. My older boy remembered by advice, and declined to hook up the notebook to the Internet until I had a chance to look at it. When the boys came here I scanned ...

    read more
  397. Battling the antibodies

    For the record, I completely agree Jon Udell, both in regarding Monad (aka MSH) as a brilliant piece of work, and as having spent a fair amount of time battling antibodies myself. Episodes I remember:

    • "You have to write in assembly for efficiency, not Pascal!" When writing an application in ...
    read more
  398. Robot Vacuum

    Bought new toy -- a "Roomba" robot vacuum. It is bumping it's way around the downstairs now on it's first run. It is a little noisy, though certainly not as noisy a regular vacuum. Will have to see if it can find the way back to the charging station ...

    read more
  399. The Tyranny of Resturant Cooking

    Why is it that recipes always call for the same set of oven temperatures? Why does the 350° (Fahrenheit) temperature (plus or minus 25°) show up in so many recipes?

    Cooking is a minor hobby, and lately I have been trying various approaches to cooking meat -- of late specifically roasting ...

    read more
  400. Comments off

    Published: Tue 28 December 2004
    By preston

    In Web.

    Turned off comments today. The WordPress built-in checks for too many links in one comment, or certain common "spam" words worked well for a while. More recently Kitten's Spaminator did an excellent job of suppressing the last wave of automated comment spammers.

    Today a couple comments appeared with one ...

    read more
  401. isapi_reward restart

    Restarted work on the isapi_reward ISAPI filter/extension mentioned earlier.

    The trick seems to be to handle outgoing connections (for forwarded requests) in an efficient and scalable manner. Started out using non-blocking sockets and events, but the WaitForMultipleEvents() call puts a hard upper limit of 64 on the number of ...

    read more
  402. Can LEDs emit polarized light?

    Read an article back in the 1970's that proposed the use of polarized light filters on automobile headlights combined with polarized filters lights on windshields. The notion was to block glare from the headlights of oncoming cars, while allowing through light reflected from your own headlights.

    If you have ...

    read more
  403. Shallow Bush

    Guess my opinion of Bush the current President dropped yet another notch. The bit about putting social security money into the stock market was pretty much the final straw.

    Now at the most superficial level, putting retirement money into the stock market seems to make sense, as the average return ...

    read more
  404. Optimal code

    Read another posting recently which could be summarized as "You'd be crazy to write code in C++". While I generally agree with many of the usual points, there are simply times when it is necessary to write optimal code.

    Take today's task as an example.

    The "publisher" portion ...

    read more
  405. Persimmons

    Did a bit of vacating Friday. Was on vacation all last week, but somehow work kept interfering...

    Drove down to Julian to do a bit of walking around, and pick up a couple apple pies. To be perfectly honest, the apple pies were pretty good, but not fantastic. What makes ...

    read more
  406. Secret Law


    If this doesn't give you the creeps - it should.

    Remember the American Revolution some 200-odd years ago? The Founding Fathers of this country believed in individual rights, freedom, liberty, due process, and in limiting the power of the government. Hopefully this all sounds very ...

    read more
  407. Thanksgiving

    Just me and the kids this Thanksgiving.

    We decided on yams (with butter, cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, and topped with melted marshmellows), corn bread (using the excellent sweet canned corn from Trader Joe's), and a roast turkey. Got a 20lb turkey (why not?) and marinated overnight. Made the marinade out ...

    read more
  408. After the rain

    We had a bit a of rain in the last few weeks. In fact, for southern California we got quite a lot of rain. A bit of before and after...

    September 12 - lunch?

    September 25 - Small brush fire off Santiago Canyon Road.
    Small fire

    November 1st - even the trail is turning green ...

    read more
  409. Good stuff - Kitten's Spaminator

    Lately the scum-of-the-earth spammers have been attempting to attach bogus (spam) comments to my weblog entries. WordPress has options for requiring comment moderation sufficient to keep the comments from appearing in public, but chew up my time zapping the bogus entries.

    Since the spammers use web robots, this became bothersome ...

    read more
  410. Islands in the distance

    Google bought another web/software outfit - Keyhole. Once again the Google folks have made a very smart acquisition. Keyhole is an amazingly well done application that works exactly the way I had always hoped a geographic/map application would.

    Contrast Delorme's map application, while it may have more topographic ...

    read more
  411. Puzzled

    On election day the Orange County (California) Registrar of Voters had a number of roving people out with the title "Election Day Coordinator" (or something similar). The notion was to help out the local voting places if the ran out of supplies or had some other sort of trouble - a ...

    read more
  412. Working the polls

    Opened the polls at 7am. We have about 960 people listed in this precinct. From 7am to 9:15am we were busy with all the voting machines occupied, and 100 people voting. Busier than I remember from previous years, though it seems they expanded my precinct somewhat. With 4 other ...

    read more
  413. Mobility and dancing bears

    Published: Thu 28 October 2004
    By preston

    In Web.

    I am with Tim and Jeremy here ... and while Russell has a point, he is just about completely wrong :).

    Size is the problem.

    Cell phones are small. In fact with the current generation of phones they are too small - at least in the keyboard. Unless you are a kid or ...

    read more
  414. This still bothers me...

    Back when the Republican Convention was in New York, there were a number of arrests that I find ... disturbing.

    First there was the guy with a bike that wrote messages on the sidewalk in washable chalk. You could send messages to be written by the bike from his website. Overall ...

    read more
  415. Wildfire

    By John McColgan of the BLM Alaska Fire Service. [large image]

    The image was captured in the late afternoon of Sunday, August 6, from a bridge over the East Fork of the Bitterroot River just north of Sula, Montana. The elk sought refuge in the river bottom during what may ...

    read more
  416. Web criminals & Whack-a-mole

    Published: Sat 16 October 2004
    By preston

    In Web.

    Tim Bray writes about Crooks in Plain Sight and asks "What am I missing?". Why do we have web criminals when the sources are so easy to identify?

    In fact the lack of sense it is much worse (or better - depending on your point of view).

    It is easy to ...

    read more
  417. Oil wars?

    The chaos in the world oil markets and the resulting record high prices must be extremely profitable for some. If you are an oil producer and your production is unaffected, you are now accumulating an enormous extra pool of cash. Clearly it is in your interest for prices to stay ...

    read more
  418. Server-side Java performance

    Admittedly I am something of a performance freak. I have a knack for understanding the potential performance of an application. This has meant picking up existing software and radically improving performance. This means writing new software that performs at the limits of the hardware and out-performing the contemporaries.

    Working with ...

    read more
  419. My Politics

    I have removed most of the political posts from the weblog. While I have some rather strong feelings on the subject, in the end I would rather do something constructive, and surfing along the edge of current politics isn't. The quote that brought this into focus:

    "Without the objective ...

    read more
  420. Apple - iMac G5

    Apple sure makes beautiful hardware. I have always admired Apple's hardware, even though the last Apple product I spent any real time with was the Lisa. On the other hand, I have had the opportunity to take apart a few Apple products over the years :).

    Apple - iMac G5

    Too ...

    read more
  421. No bull?

    As an American with German and British ancestors, the following makes an odd sort of sense :).

    Stolen from: Incogblogo.net - comments on cheer bear

    You have two cows.
    You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on ...

    read more
  422. Litmus tests for Java

    After reading Gosling's posts on Java and whether open-source makes sense when applied to the Java platform, I have to admit that my interest in open-source Java is a means not an end. I do think Sun's control over Java in the present form is a problem, but ...

    read more
  423. Sun was cool

    Tim Bray asks an interesting question in The Back Door.

    I remember a time where a Sun workstation was possibly the coolest thing to have on a programmer's desk. Much of the most interesting new software and research was done on Sun boxes. Techies loved Sun and pulled Sun ...

    read more
  424. Upgraded my wireless network

    Setup a Linksys 802.11b router and notebook and a bit over a year ago (a bit before 802.11g was quite standard). Worked pretty well - could use the notebook anywhere in the house, and both in the front and back yard.

    Over the last several months the range and ...

    read more
  425. IBM and Linux

    Interesting take on IBM and Linux in IBM is in a Pickle (Again). Given this is a significant Sun guy talking, this might even be mistaken as Sun's point of view (don't take that last literally).

    I do think Jonathon has a point - but I suspect he is ...

    read more
  426. Backyard needs work...

    Hired a gardener to cut the grass a bit over a year ago. Have to admit that since I have not paid a lot of attention to the state of the backyard. A few weeks ago I noticied the north side of the house was getting soggy*, and there seemed ...

    read more
  427. Compilers - back to basics

    C++ is growing, and I am a bit disappointed.

    I heard recently that the working group is considering how to add garbage collection to the C++ standard. This is a bad idea. The C language was all about writing low-level code, and did this job well. The C++ language should ...

    read more
  428. Klunky user interfaces

    Several months back I switched to Verizon and bought an Audiovox CDM8900 cellphone with built-in 640x480 camera, and support for BREW. Verizon's service has been decent - certainly better than Sprint whose coverage became useless both at home and at the office.

    The cellphone camera is ... passable. I did not ...

    read more
  429. iChat AV

    Ever tried to video or voice conversations over the web with a PC? I have never seen this work well, at least outside commercials.

    Hangups include:

    • Standards for video conferencing require a swath of open ports with direct connections between all machines involved. This is a really bad idea as ...
    read more
  430. isapi_reward preview

    Something I started working on some time back with the aim of meeting a particular goal.

    • Allow easy deployment of pure-Java web applications in a Windows environment.

    Easy deployment of Java applications means bundling a pure-Java web server (like Jetty, Tomcat, or Geronimo) so the web application is immediately able ...

    read more
  431. A Voltaire(ish) quote

    I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

    The story behind a phrase oft-assigned to Voltaire (and one of my favorite memes). From SBF Glossary: VJ to VQT:

    The phrase is widely attributed to Voltaire, but cannot be found in ...

    read more
  432. Picture off a cellphone camera

    Picture taken at sunset, on the east side of a hill, with a cell phone camera. Not too bad considering.


    The picture is about two weeks old (the Verizon message is dated Jun 18, 2004 10:34:00 PM).
    Should I admit this is the first picture I have successfully ...

    read more
  433. User Registration Required

    Had wondered about the effect on sites that require user registration to view articles.

    I probably have registered at most of the main sites that want registration, but often forget the usename or password under which I had registered. Add to this fact most sites seem to "forget" who I ...

    read more
  434. NPR - National Jewish Public Radio?

    First, let me be very clear that NPR has since the 1980's been and remains one of my favorite sources of news (at least when driving). One of the first things I do after buying a new car is preset the radio for KCRW (the local radio station that ...

    read more
  435. Social engineering

    Slightly amusing.

    An example of a "social engineering" attack. I received the following with decoration from MailScanner that (naturally) tagged the message as containing a virus. Note that "The Bannister.us team" would be me :).

    Dear user, the management of Bannister.us mailing system wants to let you know that ...

    read more
  436. ACDK

    ACDK is an interesting bit of work that does not seem to have attracted a lot of notice.

    Since I do a fair amount of cross-language coding, am looking to build in support for scripting (for a Windows-based product), and am aiming to migrate the product from Windows-only to something ...

    read more
  437. Lisp and blurring the line between code and data.

    Seems Keith found my prior reference too obscure. I was assuming that a someone fluent would Lisp could draw the analogy without help, and folks unfamiliar with Lisp probably could not follow the analogy without way more writing than I have time to do.

    On reflection, that left out the ...

    read more
  438. Tax and spend ... er, Republicans?

    When I first started paying attention to politics the Democrats had control of Congress, and had the Presidency at least half the time. I heard Republicans blame the rising deficit and rising taxes on those nasty "tax and spend" Democrats. Now I somehow doubted that Republicans were entirely blameless, but ...

    read more
  439. Databases, object "prevalence", and OODBMS flavors

    I am currently faced with a set of tasks that calls for the batch manipulation of potentially tens of millions of records (more in future) over a total pool of data that could approach or even exceed the total addressable memory on a 32-bit machine. Clearly I want to do ...

    read more
  440. Massively scalable wikis

    While out hiking yesterday had another inspiration as to how to make a Wiki site extremely efficient.

    The basic idea boils down to the web server returning three files for a wiki page:


    The first file and the rationale behind it is pretty standard ...

    read more
  441. Hackers and Painters

    Great quote from Hackers and Painters:

    I've never liked the term "computer science." The main reason I don't like it is that there's no such thing. Computer science is a grab bag of tenuously related areas thrown together by an accident of history, like Yugoslavia.

    read more
  442. ActiveCVS

    Some small progress with the ActiveCVS code (an implementation of the Microsoft SCC API). I took a run at getting this to work quite a while ago, but was never able to get the interaction with MSVC to work reliably.

    With a small bit of inspiration and another rewrite (this ...

    read more
  443. Movement to better web browsers

    A interesting bit of dialog with which I happen to agree:

    ongoing: The Door Is Ajar

    What really got my attention was "the proportion of IE users here at ongoing recently crossed the 60% line, heading down". Given the Tim Bray's readers are largely early adopters of new technology ...

    read more
  444. Weblogs, Wikis and too many constraints

    As this page is evidence, I chose WordPress for my weblog a little ways back. In truth I was really looking for more of a wiki/weblog combination. I'd really like to find something suitable, and add to it, but it seems I am trying to apply too many ...

    read more
  445. Doug Engelbart 1968 Demo

    A bit of computer history I'd run across some time ago, but forgotten the link.

    Doug Engelbart 1968 Demo

    First, this is interesting as history - the bare beginnings in the 1960's of technologies that only became widely used in the 1990's. No point in elaborating this oft-visited ...

    read more
  446. Genx - portable XML generation in "C"

    An open-source XML generation library from Tim Bray - will have a need for this a bit later.

    Genx Status

    Small dissappointment - it is written in "C" rather than "C++". I suspect a carefully written C++ class could give better performance (we are talking about mashing a lot of bytes around ...

    read more
  447. OpenOffice and XML

    Tim Bray talks about the use of XML and XSLT in OpenOffice. Of particular interest is the notion of editing weblogs using OpenOffice and some sort of XML transform.

    Tim Bray on OpenOffice

    Seems there are three sets of similar tasks that should all admit to similar solutions.

    1. Editing weblog ...
    read more
  448. Hiking, again

    Went hiking through Whiting Ranch this evening. I hurt my knee over a year ago, and am just starting to feel I might be up for some limited hiking. Will see if I can walk tomorrow.

    Ran into the Astronic "Express" on the way in. Have seen this group many ...

    read more
  449. Memorial Day ... and beer?

    Kids went back to their mother's yesterday, so the house is quiet if something of a disaster.

    Today started warm and sunny. Thought about heading down to Laguna Beach for a walk in the morning, but good weather and a holiday weekend means too many people. Spent the morning ...

    read more
  450. Yahoo commits suicide!

    Someone has got to find a way to get feedback to Yahoo. For the past few weeks Yahoo has become nearly unusable. Yahoo runs a lot of their links through rd.yahoo.com or us.rd.yahoo.com, and almost every single time the link (redirection?) fails. I might have ...

    read more
  451. "Vintage" software?

    Got email a few days ago from Eric Smith who was trying to find something out about the old Western Digital Microengine. My first job out of college was working at WD on the Microengine (1981-1982).

    One of my tasks while there was to write software for the new hard ...

    read more
  452. Finding Lisp

    Back in college (in the late 1970's) I signed up for a couple of undergraduate research projects. One was to build a small (?) natural language interpreter. The second was to build a prototype Ada programming environment (remember when Ada was a hot/new language?).

    Both were written using UCI ...

    read more
  453. Santa Barbara

    Took the kids up to Santa Barbara for a couple days. Left a little too late Friday afternoon and got caught in traffic going through Los Angeles (not fun).

    Spent a few hours at the Santa Barbara Zoo on Saturday. The Zoo is just off the main beach area (you ...

    read more
  454. Universal Calendars and Scheduling?

    How can you get Internet-based universal calendars/scheduling as good as the Microsoft Exchange/Outlook combination or better?

    I have been puzzling at this question for a while. Let’s start with the basics:

    1. Most of the application logic (and extensions) should be on the server.
    2. Clients should require no ...
    read more
  455. Talk at UCI

    Went to another "distinguished speaker" talk at UCI on Friday. Just finding a place to park was a bit of an adventure (they changed things - again).

    Testing and Analysis of Next Generation Software

    Have to admit I was a bit underwhelmed with the talk. Nothing really brain-stretching here, rather a ...

    read more
  456. Web protocol library

    Lately started looking for a good C/C++ web protocol library. It would be extremely useful for my C++ code to have easy access to web/internet protocols as can be had from Java (or Perl for that matter).

    Found libwww at w3.org (at rather suitable place). On the ...

    read more
  457. Rain!

    Started raining this evening! Should be enough for the hills to start turning green again. Will make for a nice change when out hiking.

    read more
  458. Driving

    Drove to Montrose, Colorado to meet Dad. Started at 1:30 AM and arrived 13 hours later. At about 840 miles this is the furthest I've driven in a single day. The drive was much easier than I'd expected.

    read more
  459. Unexpected

    Mom died of a heart attack today. This was completely unexpected. She and Dad were on a trip in Colorado to buy their vacation/retirement home.

    read more
  460. Saddleback (cooler)

    Went up Saddleback Peak from the Holy Jim trailhead this last Sunday. Rather a pleasant hike. What a difference a couple mon