Entries for January 2000 (February 2000 »    March 2000 »    April 2000 »    Archives)


When you look at yourselfJAN 31

When you look at yourself in a mirror, everything is reversed from left to right and from right to left. Why aren't you upside down as well?

Derek Powazek gets interviewed byJAN 31

Derek Powazek gets interviewed by the guys at NetSlaves for a (new?) feature over at Wired News called The Real Web. Best soundbite: most Web designers want to be rock stars.

Watched the Super Bowl thisJAN 30

Watched the Super Bowl this evening. I basically ignored the first three quarters...the fourth quarter was pretty interesting though. The commercials were, for the most part, disappointing. The Pets.com musical was pretty lame....I expected better. Building on success is hard, I guess; it's easier to get all full of yourself and slip into parody & self-referential dribble. Speaking of self-referential....

New 0sil8! Sort of. I'veJAN 30

New 0sil8! Sort of. I've brought back last year's successful Valentine's Day e-card. So send that special someone a li'l lovin' today. Do you have a secret crush on someone? Send a card anonymously...or be bold and include your email address.

It seems my ideal celebrityJAN 29

It seems my ideal celebrity mate is Britney Spears. Too...many....jokes. Brain....overloading.....

The DoubleClick opt-out is notJAN 29

The DoubleClick opt-out is not currently working. They apologize for the inconvenience, but could they just be waiting for the firestorm to blow over before turning it back on?

Three parts of communication:

  1. What is said.
  2. What is heard.
  3. What is intended to be heard.

In most online communication, intentions are masked by the lack of physical presence. Misunderstandings and flame wars arise when what is said & what is heard are different and intentions are assumed. Next time someone's email or mailing list post makes you angry, step back and don't assume you know what they were intending you to hear.

Hey, kids! Metababy, everyone's favoriteJAN 29

Hey, kids! Metababy, everyone's favorite collaborative playground, is back. So go play.

Also on Metababy: /an/open/letter/to/dave/winer/.

Anyone can change any page they want on Metababy, but I've discovered one way of saving information: put it in the URL. People can edit the page as much as they want, but the info in the URL is forever. Unless, of course, you edit the page and post nothing.

Mailing lists and Web sitesJAN 28

Mailing lists and Web sites are ablaze these days with discussion of the recent disclosure that DoubleClick is now tracking users around the Web by name. Some are crying "Big Brother" while others are saying that they will welcome the improved manner in which businesses can target them and that privacy isn't all that important to them. Both valid points, but ultimately, what DoubleClick is doing is not good for me:

   - I visit probably 100-500 individual Web pages each day, maybe more. That is an incredible amount of information that they are gathering on me each day, much more than anyone could gather on me as I perform my offline day-to-day tasks. And it's more diverse information as well, which makes it more interesting to a wider variety of companies. This increased exposure of my information can do nothing but subject me to more junk mail, phone calls, and spam...that I don't need.

   - Not that the junk mail and spam won't be more closely targeted at me, but DoubleClick does not have my best interest at heart. They aren't thinking: "this is great for consumers!" They're thinking, "we can sell this valuable list of data for big bucks to anyone that wants to sell something!" We're data points to them, not people. The possible benefits of better junk mail (i.e. getting a coupon for a Palm V in the mail because they noticed that you were researching them online) is just a side effect of their business.

   - As an individual, I have the right to my personal privacy. It is the stance of DoubleClick (and many other businesses) that I do not have that right. It is in fact quite the reverse: they have the right to gather as much information as they can on me and then use that information to their best advantage, even if it means inconveniencing me personally (sometimes to an extreme). This is very similar to being presumed guilty until proven innocent.

If you want my advice, opt out of the DoubleClick cookie, which disallows them to follow you around the Web by name. Maybe even talk to your ISP about blocking their cookies at their level. Complain to the companies who are selling *your* information to DoubleClick...especially if they told you that they would never do any such thing. Protect your rights or you will lose them.

I'm listening to a littleJAN 27

I'm listening to a little happy hardcore today. This style of electronica can best be described as what Richard Simmons after about 10 cups of coffee would sound like as music. I just love the term "happy hardcore".

How to unshrink a wool sweaterJAN 27

Like an idiot, I threw my brand new wool sweater in the wash and then in the dryer, shrinking it down about three sizes, rendering it unwearable. When I asked my roommate if there was a way to unshrink a wool sweater, he started laughing even before I could finish my question. Well my friends, I have mastered the black art of wool unshrinking and am here to share it with you.

When wool gets wet and warm, the fibers in the wool lock themselves together and don't want to let go, resulting in shrinkage (you can get wool warm or wet, but not both). To unshrink the wool, soak the garment in warm water with a mild soap for about 10 minutes. This unlocks the fibers in the wool. Then lay the garment out on some towels in a cool place. Stretch the garment out to its original dimensions. The stretching pulls the unlocked wool fibers away from each other. Allow it to dry. The absence of heat from the drying process allows the wool fibers to set in place without locking together and shrinking the garment again.

Long story short: I have a brand new, fully functional sweater again. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Brian.

Hmmmm....another site shuttered. The WebJAN 26

Hmmmm....another site shuttered. The Web is full of remember-whens and if-onlys.

Oh, neat! The author ofJAN 26

Oh, neat! The author of The Man Who Loved Only Numbers maintains a Paul Erdös Web site. Especially interesting are the alternative names that Erdös gave to people, things, and phrases. The book on which the Web site is based is excellent, and I would highly recommend it. What's not to love about a book with chapters numbered e, pi, and infinity?

That Foop guy is atJAN 25

That Foop guy is at it again. While I'm not sure ScamWorld is a parody, Wendell serves up some of the most random stuff out there. Random is good.

Can someone please tell meJAN 25

Can someone please tell me why the cow skull leads to the discussion area on a Manila site like Scripting News? I mean, come on...could you possibly make it any harder for your visitors to use one of the more important features of the site...besides, of course, making it and invisible GIF? That's just dumb, dumb, dumb.

Also from Matt: what ifJAN 25

Also from Matt: what if Jakob Nielsen designed a skin for WinAmp? Beautiful.

Metafilter, a collaborative weblog, hasJAN 25

Metafilter, a collaborative weblog, has become one of my favorite sites lately. And from what I hear, it's been getting more popular with other folks as well....more people have been posting there and leaving comments and such. This is both good and bad, I suppose. Diversity of opinion and discussion is good, but as with most collaborative communities like this, it's only as good as the worst participant.

A possible solution for Matt as he moves the site forward is allowing only approved posters to post stories on the front page, but anyone can post comments.....just like Slashdot. I mean, could you imagine Slashdot if *anyone* could post a story? Chaos. There'd be 400 stories a day and they'd all be crap.

Did anyone use this headlineJAN 25

Did anyone use this headline in conjunction with Patrick Naughton's conviction: "Infoseek.con"? If Bill G. and company ever catch it from the Justice Dept., it would work for them too: "Microsoft.con". OK, so my brain is a little fried today....Photoshop for 6 straight hours will do that to you.

Amazon has themselves a newJAN 25

Amazon has themselves a new logo. Although it's a little cheesy (smile!), I don't mind it too much. The "A-to-Z" bit harkens back to a simpler era when they just sold books. Someday, people will date themselves based on if they remember Amazon selling only books:

   "Oh yeah? Well I remember when Amazon only sold books."

   "Amazon Petrochemical Conglomerated, Inc. sold books?"

According to Wired News, nudityJAN 24

According to Wired News, nudity in Mississippi might have a new definition. If Republican state Senator Tom King has his way, nudity would henceforth include "the showing of covered male genitals in a discernibly turgid state." And you thought nudity meant "being without clothing." Apparently, this type of thing is not without precedence. All I can say is that there are going to be a lot of teenaged boys in the slammer.

I noodled around with JavaScriptJAN 24

I noodled around with JavaScript last night and came up with some bookmarklets (what are bookmarklets?) for my webcam and other stuff as well. You can test a particular bookmarklet on this page by clicking it, or take it with you by bookmarking it (that way, you won't even have to come to the site to popup my cam window...neat, huh?). So here they are:

  • kottke.org webcam
  • kottke.org "Play with Jason" webcam (IE4+ on PC only)
  • the nubbin webcam
  • CamWorld weblogs
  • MouserCam
  • vitavision
  • Derek Powazek's sutrocam
  • mollycam!

    And for good measure:

  • JenniCAM remote
  • Anacam remote

    These should work on any browser with JavaScript enabled; if they don't, let me know.

  • I think I've mentioned theJAN 23

    I think I've mentioned the SXSW 2000 Interactive Festival here before, but I'm mentioning it again because they actually have information on what's going on up on the site now. I'll be speaking there on a couple of different panels, Cease and Desist and Weblogs (scroll down to March 14th). It should be fun...I'm looking forward to meeting some new folks, seeing old friends again, and listening to people talk about the Web for about three days straight. If you plan on attending, stop by and say "hey".

    The only downside to the whole deal is that I'm going to have a hard time deciding which panels to attend....they all look so interesting. Of course, that's what all the after-parties and such are for: people getting together and sharing notes about the different panels they went to.

    Speaking of Cam, I'm inJAN 22

    Speaking of Cam, I'm in the process of adding some new features to the "Play with Jason" cam.

    A couple days ago, IJAN 22

    A couple days ago, I mentioned the story of a window, a kitten, and two business partners. For reference, here is the other side of that story from Srini of Unamerican Activities. Thanks to Cam for posting it...I was too lazy to do it.

    I kiss Christine! She foundJAN 22

    I kiss Christine! She found me a Pets.com sock puppet. I don't think I want to pay upwards of $3500 for it, though. (see yesterday's entry for context)

    I just spent 2 solidJAN 22

    I just spent 2 solid hours writing email. Ugh. Anyone out there want to be my secretary?

    Screw the t-shirts and watches,JAN 21

    Screw the t-shirts and watches, I want an actual Pets.com sock puppet. If you could find me one....well, "I kiss you."

    For those folks familiar withJAN 21

    For those folks familiar with one of the better indie bookstores in the US, Hungry Minds - having sold their name to one of them Internet companies - is now named Ruminator Books. They said on the local news here that one of the rejected names was "Dave's Books, Bait, and Tackle." I would have named it that for sure.

    I guess this is theJAN 21

    I guess this is the Internet equivalent to leaving a note on the door of someone's high school locker. I am, of course, dying to know who is writing all these nice things about me. It would probably crush (pardon the pun) her to learn that I'm actually not in any of the photos on my site (stunt double), a software program writes and designs the site, and that I think Ewan MacGregor is the spawn of Satan. I am surprised that John hasn't made it on there yet. I mean, there's naked pictures of the guy all over the Web.

    Today on the webcam: myJAN 20

    Today on the webcam: my new t-shirt, featuring the Kodama character from Princess Mononoke.

    Priceless:    "The thing is, theJAN 20


       "The thing is, the kitsch wears off shortly after the second hole. And then you're really playing minigolf, and there's not a whole hell of a lot you can do about it."

    A few of you mightJAN 20

    A few of you might know of Unamerican Activities. They sell t-shirts, mugs, stickers, and whatnot. They also claim to be bringing about a new world order....a revolution of sorts. I've always found that to be a little silly...there's nothing revolutionary about "fuck work" or "bomb the mall". Amusing sure, but revolutionary? I mean, it's the mall...who doesn't want to blow up the mall every once and a while. Anyway, it seems that Srini, the founder of Unamerican, threw his business partner's kitten out of a window, almost killing it. The kitten has since died, James left Unamerican, and the company is left with no one to really fulfill orders or anything because Srini is too busy being a rockstar. Weird stuff.

    Phrase of the day: theJAN 19

    Phrase of the day: the vowels should smell like peppermint. You'd love to have the context on that, wouldn't you?

    Johnny alerted me to theJAN 19

    Johnny alerted me to the latest Word redesign. The art director's comments on why the site now looks like Yahoo! sound genuine, but I have a feeling it's a tongue-in-cheek thing...with a point. Yahoo is pretty boring, which is great for Yahoo. On the flipside, some sites go overboard on Photoshop and the attitude, design becomes art (although people misleadingly call it design), and people are overwhelmed. Small fonts, huge 3D type, dashed lines, and faux dialog boxes do not always equal good information, Web or graphic design. God damn, am I in a pissy mood today or what?

    Also at Word, Closeted Hetero tells the story of a self-made lesbian that ends up coming out of the closet when she figures out she's actually hetero. A good read. It's interesting to note that GBL people can be as bigoted and close-minded as anyone when it comes to sexuality choices.

    Ignorance Is Bliss:    "People whoJAN 19

    Ignorance Is Bliss:

       "People who do things badly...are usually supremely confident of their abilities -- more confident, in fact, than people who do things well."

       "...the skills required for competence often are the same skills necessary to recognize competence."

    I know, I know. IJAN 19

    I know, I know. I owe all of you email. I'm getting to it. Hundreds of emails a day is a real hindrance sometimes.

    You'd think that martinlutherking.org wouldJAN 16

    You'd think that martinlutherking.org would take you to a site with info about and resources pertaining to MLK to inform and educate people about the man and the holiday. Instead, visitors are treated to some weird Communist/white power bullshit propaganda. Sometimes, I have very little faith in humanity.

    For those that wrote inJAN 16

    For those that wrote in regarding my comments on the OS X interface, Bruce Tognazzini, noted GUI designer, has a nicely written essay (mirror) that echoes a lot of what I was thinking about the UI. Good stuff. And said much better than my rambling rant. Link courtesy of Cam.

    Saw Magnolia again yesterday. ItJAN 16

    Saw Magnolia again yesterday. It was just as good the second time...if not better.

    I know it's badJAN 16

    I know it's bad to toot your own horn, but my new cam feature is pretty damn cool. Just click on "Play with Jason" and you can place draggable elements on my cam picture (selecting a menu item again toggles it off). Fun for those that have always wanted to kiss me with sunglasses on. If you come up with something good, be sure to screencap it and send me a copy. NOTE: this feature only works on IE4+ on the PC.

    I threw this together over the course of a few hours, so it's not the most polished thing in the world. Hopefully I'll make the time (yeah, right) to tweak it, add some new features, and generally make it look better. (orange? yucky.)

    Slashdot has an interview withJAN 14

    Slashdot has an interview with Dr. Leon Lederman, Nobel Prize winning physicist. Interesting stuff if you're into science or physics at all.

    People have been asking aboutJAN 14

    People have been asking about my new headphones that I'm so taken with, so I figured I'd point you to some information about them.

    Today was weird webcam-related picturesJAN 14

    Today was weird webcam-related pictures day. A friend sent me a link to the "pork the one you love" billboard, which I'm sure you've all seen. I sent the link around to my office mates, who took the opportunity to fire up Photoshop and supply the world with this bit of art. Then Matt sent me this crazy webcam pic of me exorcising some of my demons.

    An interview with David Carson,JAN 14

    An interview with David Carson, the people's designer. Thanks to our friends at velvitaflo for passing this along.

    Homesite 4.5 (arguably the bestJAN 14

    Homesite 4.5 (arguably the best HTML editor for the PC) is out and has at least one notable new feature: the code collapse tool. You highlight the tag you want to collapse, and it condenses all the text between that tag and its closing tag into a little bit of text which you can expand again at your discretion. Very nice for visually keeping track of structure while editing long documents.

    I went rock climbing (indoor)JAN 14

    I went rock climbing (indoor) for the first time yesterday. It was fun....and hard at first. I got the hang of it though and did a couple routes to the top. For your amusement, here is a typical exchange between the climber and the person spotting them:

       "On belay?"

       "Belay on."


       "Climb on."

    Party on, Wayne. Party on, Garth. Excellent!

    I saw a lot ofJAN 12

    I saw a lot of movies last year...and I'd be wasting my money if I didn't bore you folks with Jason's Favorite Films of 1999. Among my favorites were Run Lola Run (my #1), Magnolia, Iron Giant, and Princess Mononoke.

    Also included are links to Best of 1999 lists by other people and organizations. If you have a list of your favorite movies from last year, send me the URL and I'll post it. And as always, feedback is welcome.

    The best domain name I'veJAN 11

    The best domain name I've seen in a while: Trouser Arousal.

    I don't care if thisJAN 11

    I don't care if this guy is a mathematician; he's still wrong. The first decade A.D. did not include the year 1 B.C. What a knob.

    Matt has gotten himself intoJAN 11

    Matt has gotten himself into an interesting predicament. He posted to his Web site a fellow student's English paper that pretty much rips him apart. His school is fixin' to suspend him for taking the paper (he returned it promptly) and posting it in a public place. I imagine that the school is well within its rights to do so, but hopefully they will exercise a little restraint and not suspend him for too long.

    Careful viewers of the SimpsonsJAN 11

    Careful viewers of the Simpsons will notice that Maude Flanders (Ned's wife) sounds a little goofy. It seems the actress that voiced Maude and most of the other female characters on the show left a while ago and the producers replaced her with someone else. Rumor has it that Maude will be killed off later this season (!) and the rest of the female characters won't be written into any more episodes. To me, this seems a little farfetched....I really don't think the show can do much without any regular female characters (excepting Marge, Lisa, and Maggie). Update: more evidence of Maude Flanders' untimely departure (scroll down). Thanks JJG.

    "Writing and directing are forJAN 11

    "Writing and directing are for free. That part is free. You'd do that no matter what. You get paid to deal with idiots who don't care about movies." - Paul Thomas Anderson

    "Writing, design, and programming are for free. That part is free. You'd do that no matter what. You get paid to deal with clients that don't care about the Web." - Jason Kottke

    Magnolia is becoming a betterJAN 11

    Magnolia is becoming a better movie every time I think about it. Did you notice the coiled rope on the roof that read "82"? Did you know that's only one of over *100* references to the number 82 in the film? Do you know why it was called Magnolia?

    I got a piece ofJAN 10

    I got a piece of employment spam today. It read, in part:

       "[We need] a pharmacologist to work as part of an animal modeling team that is focusing on the therapeutic area of pain. Prior training and experience in measuring hyperalgesia, allodynia, analyzing rodent behavior, necropsy and surgical skills is mandatory."

    Yeah, that sounds a lot like me. I could really get into "the therapeutic area of pain", couldn't you?

    The Web is abuzz todayJAN 10

    The Web is abuzz today with the AOL buyout of Time Warner. While I'd like to say that this is just business (just American media business to boot) and won't affect much of anyone, that's not the case. This deal is a touchstone, a turning point. Some consequences:

       - The Internet is no longer a buzzword or a toy or something regular people "don't get". It's an integral part of our society. The Internet is not the punchline of Leno's jokes anymore...well, that's not true, as Jay likes to run things into the ground and then some....but no one is laughing.

       - People will stop talking about "dot coms" and "brick and mortar" companies as if they are two separate things. Companies are companies. Business is business. The "Internet way of doing business" is an oxymoron. Having a ".com" suffix on the end of your company name will make you look foolish. As usual, it will take the large consulting companies awhile to figure this out.

       - There will be no special media coverage of people buying stuff off of the Internet next holiday season. Just another place to shop.

       - Right now, all the business and media stuff that's happening applies mainly to the US. As the changes occuring in the American business arena spread to other parts of the globe (via the Internet, wouldn't you know), American companies with huge market caps will be buying up international media & technology companies. You too will be watching 500 channels of bad interactive television.

    Anyway. It'll be fun to see how much of this is dead wrong in a year or so.

    I did indeed go seeJAN 09

    I did indeed go see Magnolia yesterday...for the bargain price of $3.00. It's a huge movie; over three hours long and packed with good acting, engaging stories, and Tom Cruise using sexually explicit profanity. Lots to talk about afterwards as well; what have you lost and do you regret it?

    Hoping to go see MagnoliaJAN 08

    Hoping to go see Magnolia today, but I'm not holding my breath.

    Matt Groening lists his 10JAN 08

    Matt Groening lists his 10 favorite Simspons episodes. None of the ones he lists would be on my top 10 list.

    Look Ma, I'm in aJAN 07

    Look Ma, I'm in a book. I received my complementary copy of Web Design Essentials in the mail yesterday. They put three of my Web design tips in the book: Creating Static Motion, Simulating HTML Text in a Graphic, and Creating a Quick 3D Text Effect. Actually, the first and last of these tips are actually more like tricks: potentially interesting, but not really fundamentally useful. The second tip is actually useful...to me at least; I use it all the time.

    As for the rest of the book, I have no idea if it's any good or not. When I get some time to read it, I'll let you know. With designers like Amy Franceschini, Jeremy Abbett, Florian Fangohr, and Frank Kolodziej, it certainly looks promising.

    Anyway, here are some scans I made of my tips as they appear in the book: [1] [2] [3] [4].

    New site design over atJAN 06

    New site design over at Aberro....or as Ben likes to call it, CamWorld II. From the looks of it, could also be GlassWorld or CamDog. I like the content over there though....it's nice to read someone getting more charged up over stuff than me.

    Aaron Coleman comes to hisJAN 06

    Aaron Coleman comes to his senses.

    And while I'm ranting aJAN 06

    And while I'm ranting a little, Scripting News has turned into an EditThisPage portal. EditThisPage is a great free service, but most, if not all, of the things that people are doing with it have been done better elsewhere. Of course, Scripting will remain a daily read for me because I like the rest of the content.

    As I look at theJAN 06

    As I look at the new UI for Apple's OS X, why do I get the feeling I'm looking at an over-blown

    Flash or DHTML site? Did the kid from Gabocorp do this? Specifically:

       - All this 3D shading, clear plastic shit drives me nuts. It works IRL...it looks seriously cheesy onscreen.

       - Is there a reason for the transparent pulldowns and dialogue boxes? I do

    believe there's room for transparency in an OS, but if there's no functionality, it could potentially be distracting. Do I need to be looking at the image underneath the pulldown menu? Shouldn't I be focusing on the text?

       - Are those "icons" at the bottom of the screen part of the wallpaper or are they functional? Spread them out a bit and your ordered little desktop starts looking like Joe's Cool WWW Page and is equally as useless and confusing.

    p.s. Love the new clear plastic tabs on Apple's site too, by the way. It's like iAmazon! Apple is losing some serious design cred with me, all the way around. iWannaThrowUp.

    It's difficult to convince theJAN 04

    It's difficult to convince the unconscious self that it's a good idea to wake up at 6:30 in the morning on 3 hours sleep.

    Saw The Cider House RulesJAN 04

    Saw The Cider House Rules the other day. Pretty good. I really like Tobey Maguire as an actor.

    Metababy is closed for remodeling.JAN 04

    Metababy is closed for remodeling. I have an inkling of what Greg is going to do with v2, but will be anxious to see what actually happens. Another point of suspense: will he actually meet his deadline of January 28, 2000.

    Some sites, you just don'tJAN 04

    Some sites, you just don't know what it is about them that grab you, but they just do. Sarasvati is one of those sites for me. The design is nice, the writing is even nicer, and the kicker is that the creator is still a junior in high school. I hate to play the age card here, but when I was a junior in high school, was I that talented and intelligent? I don't think so...I mainly recall coming home from school and watching Scooby Doo reruns whilst eating Nutty Bars. Come to think of it, that pretty much describes my current existence as well.

    When I saw the NewJAN 03

    When I saw the New Years Eiffel Tower fireworks on TV, I was immediately extremely jealous of Ariana. Normally she's a pretty nice girl, but she just had to go rub salt in my wound about it when she got home. She writes on her Web site**:

       "Jason, Paris was amazing....too bad you weren't there, ha ha! The whole Eiffel-Tower-turned-sparkler thing was incredible, Jason. That's too bad you weren't there like I was. I saw the whole thing and you didn't."

       "[I] had one of the best meals of my life. Yummo. Too bad you had to stay in America and eat suckball macaroni and cheese all week, Jason. You suck!"

    **Note: certain details of these quoted passages may or may not have been modified. I make no guarantees as to the overall validity of these statements, or indeed of anything on this site. One caveat: I probably do, indeed, suck.

    I got brand-spanking new headphones.JAN 03

    I got brand-spanking new headphones. Love 'em.

    My abuse of free voicemailJAN 03

    My abuse of free voicemail continues into its third month. Call 877.218.0260 ext.358 to leave me a message. Need a topic? A reader suggested I do an "Ask Jason" on my site...so, ask me something and I'll eventually post the replies to all the questions I get. And remember kids, the only stupid question is the one you don't ask. (update: the voicemail is full already. sorry.)

    Local time: 12:06 am. MuchJAN 01

    Local time: 12:06 am. Much ado about nothing, as predicted.

    So, what I was doing when the clock stuck midnight? Recovering from an unexpected nap. Loser? Yes.

    Archives    December 1999 »    November 1999 »    October 1999 »

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