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0sil8 is 4 years oldMAY 31

0sil8 is 4 years old today, which as it happens is same birthday as Zeldman.com. I want to say more here, but I just don't have the energy right now.

Meg's post about her favorite episode of 0sil8 got me thinking about what my favorites are. Here are a few 0sil8 episodes I like the best, for one reason or another:

   Silkscreen - Silkscreen isn't anything new, but I was frustrated by the lack of small free fonts out there, so I made this one. As time goes by, I see it used in more and more places, and it makes me feel good that people are finding it useful.

   The Great Mother's Day Car-be-que of 1999 - This is just a flat-out kooky story, almost too good to be true. With the great pictures that Nichol took, it was really easy to craft a story around it.

   Remember a Movie - So many great stories from people about movie-going experiences.

   Web98: A Fantastic Voyage - The story part of this episode is nothing special, but the splash page where the frames spell out 0sil8 gives me a good feeling each time I look at it because I'm pretty sure no one had ever used frames like that before that point in time. Being able to do something for the first time ever, even if it is something small and frivolous like that, is pretty neat, especially on the Web where absolutely everything has been done somewhere else...and better than you did it to boot.

   Top Ten Secrets of a Successful Web Site - The only reason I like this one is because I still occasionally get email from people thinking that this list is serious and thanking me profusely for showing them the way. Hee hee.

   I Love This Game - One of my earlier and funnier episodes. At least I laugh pretty hard when I read it...your mileage may vary.

   God.com - This one is pretty funny as well, and I like what I did with the layout, for the most part. It's interesting to look back on these older episodes because they were done so long ago that I really don't remember writing them and can approach them impartially and objectively, laughing and cringing because the writing is at times both good or awful.

The rest of 0sil8 I could really take or leave. There are some interesting bits here and there, but a lot of it doesn't stand the test of time. Some episodes in particular are pretty shallow and ill-conceived, done for the moment, looking as out-of-place now as Crockett's attire in old reruns of Miami Vice. Part of me wants to scrap it all and start over, while most of the rest of me wants to scrap the whole thing and not do anything with it ever again. However, a very small part of me wants to leave it just the way it is and add to it when I've got the time. That small part will probably win out in the end...old habits die hard.

Today is a day ofMAY 30

Today is a day of small offerings. Right now, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is playing in my headphones....it's one of my favorite musical selections.

ATB's Movin' Melodies, while different from the ol' Ludwig Van, is also good, albeit for different reasons. Mad props (is that how the kids are saying it these days?) to Bryan for turning me onto them.

Mission Impossible 2 has lots of good action and very little else that's interesting. I was entertained.

Overhead in the office aMAY 30

Overhead in the office a couple of weeks ago: "The client isn't being very cooperative. Can we courier over a spanking?"

The sky is falling! TheMAY 30

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

My brain is free ofMAY 30

My brain is free of all thought this morning. This is no different than any other day, except that it seems much calmer than usual.

A correction on an earlierMAY 27

A correction on an earlier item: Arial was not designed for the screen, it was designed for print. Additionally, TrueType fonts work better than PostScript fonts for screen display...both the iMac at work and my computer both have Helvetica installed as a PostScript font and that's why it looks so crappy (I'm assuming). And lastly, the amount of manual hinting that is done when constructing a font is what makes it look good on screen. Thanks to Andy and Chris for their comments.

More from the UK (andMAY 26

More from the UK (and elsewhere) on the phenomenon (yes, it's a phenomenon, dammit!) of seemingly wrong combinations of food. The chip roll from yesterday's entry is also called a "chip butty" and is apparently quite good...or bad, depending on who you ask. The UK is also responsible for deep-fried steak and kidney pie. Thanks to Caroline and Nick for completely grossing me out...I'm going to go back to my processed meat (is it meat or is it Memorex?) sandwich now.

On that same topic, Chuck makes a case for American dominance in the "slathered" food group with the original po-boy:

"Po-boys come in myriad varieties today, but the original was invented around 1905. It was a huge amount of fried potatoes, piled high on French bread (8-12" long), slathered with roast beef gravy and 'dressed' with lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, pickles, with ketchup and hot sauce optional. It cost a nickel in those days, and gave the poor working man a huge carbo rush to help get him through his day of labor."

I think that I would love and marry that sandwich. Anything that can combine gravy, potatoes, *and* mayonnaise in one fantastic package has my heart.

Some feedback from Joy aboutMAY 25

Some feedback from Joy about my "what if companies were people" question (more to follow). My comments in italics:

- Companies would have sex. (AOL/Time Warner merger?)

- Companies would graduate from high school and go to college. (going IPO?)

- Companies would get married and have babies. (AT&T splitting up into the Baby Bells?)

- Companies would go on vacation. (corporate retreats?)

- Companies would get drunk. (Coca-Cola introducing New Coke?)

- Companies would get a DUI. (Big Tobacco getting sued and fined?)

- Companies would get in car accidents. (eToys stock going into the sewer over the Etoy.com flap?)

- Companies would die of old age. (little Mom 'n Pop stores that get run out of business by the likes of Wal-Mart and Barnes & Noble?)

Speaking of strange, word comesMAY 25

Speaking of strange, word comes from the UK that in addition to battered chocolate (which is said to be delicious), they also have deep-fried pizza and something called a chip roll, which is "a greasy french fry sandwich"....neither of which are thought to be much good. And here I thought the US had cornered the market on deep-fried foodstuffs.

Found on the street: theseMAY 25

Found on the street: these strange Australian New Zealand dog food ads, which I'm told were actually run in magazines. Sample copy: "I'm as guilty as the next girl of licking the odd bone. But believe me, there's no substitute for being stuffed full of meat."

Holy freaking hand grenades! GregMAY 24

Holy freaking hand grenades! Greg Knauss is back publishing funny stuff on the Web. Stop reading right now and go visit his site. If you're still here (what are you still doing here?...go away!), you should know that I claim full responsibility for unleashing Greg on the Web again.

BTW, I promise never again to use the phrase "holy freaking hand grenades". Promise.

I'm currently developing a fully-automaticMAY 24

I'm currently developing a fully-automatic kottke.org content generation script. Here's pretty much how it's going to work:

- cull a couple of the most recent links from Metafilter, /., and Camworld

- throw in a couple links to people that I know (i.e. Bryan had a good point on his site today...and then Brent said...)

- add some exceedingly Obvious[tm] "commentary" about some current Internet or technology issue

- put in a link to Deepleap, Blogger, or Epinions every few days

- links to recently released movies and DVDs, along some generic commentary: "I saw [blank] today [on DVD/at the theatre]. It was pretty [good/bad]."

- choose a current event at random and generate a comment: "I think [current issue] sucks!"

- promise that a new episode of 0sil8 is going to be up soon

- apologize a few days later when said episode isn't posted

Am I missing anything? I hope to have it up and running in the next couple of weeks, so that I won't even need to touch this site to keep it running smoothly.

Oh look! Someone who isMAY 23

Oh look! Someone who is actually happy with the absolutely free tool they are using. Imagine that!

I got an email fromMAY 23

I got an email from someone the other day who signed it: "Joe Developer, MCSD". I don't know if being a Microsoft Certified Solution Developer is up there with being an M.D. or Ph.D.

I've had this reminder toMAY 23

I've had this reminder to myself sitting here for the last 4 or 5 months to write about "what if companies were people". I'm sure that when I thought of this back then, I had something insightful and witty (yeah, right) to say about this topic. Now? I got nothing. So, someone else write about it, post it on your site, and I'll link to it. Let me know.

Galaxy Quest was pretty goodMAY 23

Galaxy Quest was pretty good for a movie starring Tim Allen...who I hate. I never understood the appeal of Home Improvement. Or even home improvement. I live in a rundown shack.

I also saw Gladiator again...in a better theatre. You can't underestimate the impact of a bigger screen, better seats, and loud fucking sound when seeing a movie like this. Again, Gladiator is not a good movie - it's not going to win any Oscars - but it is damn good entertainment.

There's a new, simpler versionMAY 22

There's a new, simpler version of the Test Pilot Collective Web site up, now with free fonts. Well, they could have had free fonts before, but the last iteration of their site was a little difficult to navigate through. I'm glad they changed it because they do some really good stuff, and it's nice to be able to find it. I still can't read the small print though....Helvetica looks like ass on the PC (as well as some Macintoshes) because it's a print font. They should use a typeface designed specifically for screen display like Arial, Geneva, Verdana, or Georgia. Oh, and they're moving to SF. Of course. Another defection from Mpls. The pond gets a little smaller.

Here's the latest from Carl,MAY 22

Here's the latest from Carl, doing what he does best, blurring reality and make-believe to come up with something that's sometimes intriguing, sometimes funny, and always interesting. Actually, I don't know if that's what Carl does best....I just really liked the sound of that phrase.

Google is featuring the GoogleMAY 20

Google is featuring the Google Quiz, a test of how well you can use their search engine to find information. The results of the quiz are somewhat lame; it just shows you the number you got right or wrong. It should show you how many searches it took you, how many pages you clicked on to find the answer, how long it took you, and how you fared against other contestants.

Mmmm....battered chocolate: "'I'll never forgetMAY 20

Mmmm....battered chocolate: "'I'll never forget the first time I tried one,' said one convert. 'As soon as I tasted that unique fusion of melted chocolate and pure fat I was completely hooked. In many ways it was better than sex.'" I always knew that combination would be a good idea. Heh.

Epinions is providing some veryMAY 20

Epinions is providing some very valuable content, not only for consumers looking to purchase goods and services, but for product manufacturers and service providers as well. If someone were so inclined, they could mine the Epinions directory of reviews, write extremely detailed reports on what actual people like and dislike about products and services, and sell them to the product manufacturers and service providers. I'd wager that the results would be better than those achieved through traditional polling and survey methods. Or the manufacturers and service providers could devote staff and do it themselves. Or Epinions could offer it as a B2B service...the B2B is all the rage with the kids today, you know.

Magnolia has been slated forMAY 20

Magnolia has been slated for release on DVD on August 29. Some details: two discs, feature length "making-of", deleted scenes, and trailers. It does not appear to have director's commentary...which blows.

How long can I endureMAY 19

How long can I endure this donutless Hell that is Minneapolis? Looks like it's just a little bit longer....Krispy Kreme is coming to town. Now all we need is an Ikea and we'll be able to hang with the rest of the hipster Joneses, eating our Krispy Kreme donuts whilst sitting in our Aeron chairs in front of our tangerine iMacs, clad in jeans and tees from the Gap, just waiting for the moment when we can bolt for the exits and hop in our Volkswagens for the trip home to read our Wallpaper* magazines under the light of our lamps purchased from Ikea. It's a little slice of heaven, ain't it?

Think what you will aboutMAY 19

Think what you will about their paradoxically unintelligent geek community, Slashdot has some interviews with some really high-profile folks, including Richard Stallman (GNU dude), Phil Greenspun (author & MIT professor), Jakob Nielsen (usability "guru"), Jeffrey Zeldman (Web Standards heavy), Bjarne Stroustrup (inventor of C++), Dr. Leon Lederman (Nobel Prize-winning physicist), Steve Wozniak (Apple Computer co-founder) and upcoming interviews with Douglas Adams (author, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) and Metallica (former "hair band"). The questions may not always be the best in the world, but it's nice to see interviews conducted with minimal journalistic spin or considerations.

Uh oh. Looks like I'veMAY 18

Uh oh. Looks like I've been caught. An alert reader pointed out that I ripped off the design for kottke.org from The Fan Files at Hansonet. Oh, the shame. The horror. Please, take the time to email these guys with my most sincere apologies; I know I will.

Things heard 'round the officeMAY 18

Things heard 'round the office lately: "we're waiting on approval from Graceland" (from one of our project managers, who really is waiting for approval from Graceland for a site we're doing) and "I've been readin' that kottke.org and getting a little attitude" (from one of our clients).

This is an oldish articleMAY 18

This is an oldish article from New York Magazine on Jim Romenesko, proprietor of the excellent Obscure Store & Reading Room and MediaNews.org. Call me crazy, but described within is pretty much my dream job: work from home and get paid to do a site you were doing in your spare time anyway. Anyone want to pay me to update this site? Hmmm? Anyone?

Speaking of Jim, his Webby was having some self-esteem issues on my cam the other day. Then Flat Eric arrived and cheered it up. I think it's feeling better now.

There's a smallish interview ofMAY 17

There's a smallish interview of me up at Waferbaby. That's Waferbaby, not to be confused with Metababy, Netbaby, or even BabyCenter.

Who needs Kozmo when you'veMAY 17

Who needs Kozmo when you've got friends like Nichol? She read on my site that I was a house-bound invalid yesterday and stopped by with a movie while she was out running errands. Very cool. The movie, The Straight Story, was good too, if a tad bit slow.

When thinking about, discussing, orMAY 17

When thinking about, discussing, or selecting operating systems, programming languages, personal computers, software applications, or other such things, do you:

evaluate the possible choices in a fair manner, noting the relative strengths and weaknesses of each choice?
stumble blindly forward, fanatically defending your platform of choice (be it Microsoft, Macintosh, Netscape, or open source software) as if it were a religious choice while denouncing the other choices as wrong, evil, or stupid?
run screaming for the hills?

Or you can view the results without voting.

I wrote a short wrap-upMAY 17

I wrote a short wrap-up of the 2000 Webbys experience for Stating the Obvious. To pique your interest, it features the phrase, "mattress time with Tom Cruise". Ooh, saucy!

The sickness has overtaken me.MAY 16

The sickness has overtaken me. Crappy crap crap crap. Back to bed.

Oh! Oh! I almost forgot...IMAY 15

Oh! Oh! I almost forgot...I got to meet Auriea Harvey while I was in SF. Her site, Entropy8 (now Entropy8Zuper), was a huge influence to me when I was learning the Web design ropes. Huge. Lance introduced us, I shook her hand, and was too frightened/stupid to say much else. Besides, she had just gotten some $30,000 endowment to make art on the Web (I need to get me some of that action) and probably had zillions of other people to talk to.

What my five word WebbyMAY 15

What my five word Webby speech would have been, if I would have won:

Me: Knock knock
Audience: Who's there?
Me: Boo.
Audience: Boo who?
Me: Don't cry.

In choosing this speech, the goal was interactivity, not humor. I also considered trying to get the audience to sing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat", but I don't think they would have followed through with the next line.

Web apps suck. There. IMAY 15

Web apps suck. There. I said it. Now we can move on to a discussion of the pros and cons of Web apps like Blogger, Deepleap and the like, instead of just whining about it.

Pros: Web apps are (usually) free. What part of free don't you like? Well? You can use a Web app wherever you have a Web connection and browser...no special programs needed. The information that you store with a Web app is available wherever you go. Folks running Web app-based companies are a little more "with it" in terms of realizing the potential of the Web; that's good for the user. No-wait upgrades...you don't have to go out to the store to buy Deepleap 2.0, it's just there.

Cons: Guess what? The Internet is unstable as hell sometimes. Are you always able to get to your email? No. Why? Because some schmoe at your ISP stepped on a cable and unplugged the router that the mail server is connected to. Web apps are only up when your connection to the Internet is up. Web apps are almost always in beta, even when they say they aren't. That's because they are free....you get a free tool and the company gets a bunch of beta testers. That's how it works. Upgrades often happen on the fly...which can mean downtime. Web apps are free; you sometimes get what you pay for. Web apps are often vulnerable to all sorts of mischief - the Web, by design, is pretty open and often fosters that sort of thing. Much of this mischief is out of the control of the Web app makers because the apps are built on top of many platforms (HTTP, TCP/IP, Web browsers, JavaScript, Java, ActiveX, etc.), some of which are pretty iffy as far as security from attack goes.

Do the pros outweigh the cons? You bet they do, depending on your needs. It's a definite trade-off though...price and platform independence vs. stability and reliability. As usual, you just have to ask yourself if you're willing to sacrifice some stuff in order to take advantage of some other stuff. That's deep, huh?

I'm back, but tired, soMAY 14

I'm back, but tired, so this will be quick. My trip to SF was really great. Really. Very. And lots more unimaginative adverbs. And you'd think that I'd be all upset about not winning a Webby, but I'm not since John enjoyed the experience of it so much more so than I would have. Besides, I snuck up on stage to accept Jim's award for MediaNews. A full video of the Awards show is available, in case you're interested....my brief 5 seconds on stage is at about the 3:30 mark or so.

And just so I can find them easily again in a few months, here are two Webbys articles with thoughts from me: one from the SJMerc and one from the SF Chronicle.

In addition to the Webbys, I did lots of other stuff in SF, including lunch with the Pyra gang, attending a party at Jeff Veen's place (featuring a coked-up woman manning the CD player: "Let's listen to the Beastie Boys!" "Umm, it's already in there."), skipped rocks at the beach, ate some good food (including brunch with Derek, Heather, and Meg), and generally had a really good vacation.

I also went to the Exploratorium, which basically turned me into a little kid...blowing huge bubbles, chasing beach balls, making crazy shadows, etc. We also crawled through the Tactile Dome a couple times...it's interesting to crawl along, relying on nought but your sense of touch to get you around. Surprisingly, it wasn't the least bit scary either. If you're ever in SF, I recommend a trip through the Dome...although to do it up right, read the Touch chapter of Ackerman's excellent A Natural History of the Senses first.

And, of course, it turned out to be not so quick, as I promised above.

I made the mistake ofMAY 10

I made the mistake of stepping into an Abercrombie & Fitch store yesterday (at the Mall of America, no less). As I crossed the threshold of the store, I started repeating "I am entering Hell, I am entering Hell" over and over again to myself. And I was so right...after no more than 20 seconds in the store, I did the ole 180 and high-tailed it out of there.

Just in time for Mother'sMAY 10

Just in time for Mother's Day: The Great Mother's Day Car-be-que of 1999, plucked from the 0sil8 archives. Yes, this really happened. Yes, it really sucked at the time. Yes, it now seems pretty damn funny to me.

I'm off to San FranciscoMAY 10

I'm off to San Francisco today, for the Webbys, friends, and fun. Updates to kottke.org will be infrequent while I'm there, but hopefully I'll be able to post something here and there. If you're interested, the Webby Awards ceremony will be webcast on Broadcast.com May 11, starting at about 8:30 PST. Details are here.

Thanks to all those folksMAY 09

Thanks to all those folks that sent in suggestions on Radiohead-related music. When I get some time to hunt down some new music, I'll definitely give some of that stuff a whirl.

For the second time thisMAY 09

For the second time this week, I actually remembered my dream. Normally, I don't remember them. In fact, I can't recall the last time I did; it was probably more than a year ago.

Anyway, back to the dream. The dream began with Elian Gonzalez and that fisherman guy on the top of a 20-story building. A crowd had gathered at the bottom of the building because it looked like Elian was going to jump. Which he did. But the fisherman had tied some fishing line to the boy and began reeling him in using a vacuum cleaner (one of those thin canister ones with the flat cleaning head). The fisherman reeled with all his might and the line grew taut and caught Elian just feet before he hit the ground. He then let out some slack and the boy was lowered slowly to the ground, when the crowd unhooked him.

Just then, out of nowhere, a car plowed into the crowd of people at full tilt, scattering the crowd and killing Elian. The car flipped and ejected its driver, a short, balding, fat man onto the pavement, bruised, but not dead. Just then, a team of black suit and tie-clad G-men appeared out of nowhere, took out their handguns, and plugged the fat man's body full of bullets, lots of heart and head shots.

And that was it...the last image in the dream was this fat, bald man lying on the pavement, hanging out of his car, with blood gushing out of several gunshots to the head and chest. My interpretation of all this is that Elian represents, well, Elian, the fat man is the media, politician, and American public who are killing Elian by stealing his childhood, and the G-men represent me because I'm sick and tired of hearing about the whole thing.

Christ died for our DunkinMAY 08

Christ died for our Dunkin Donuts. There are a couple of billboards in Minneapolis with a similar juxtaposition which I want to get a photograph of and post here at some point.

Uh oh. According to StuartMAY 08

Uh oh. According to Stuart Wade over at Newcity, kottke.org is a "stone-cold lock" to win the Webby in the personal category. I don't know if I agree with that; I think my chances are actually pretty slim. Either way, it's an excuse to go to SF, get all duded up, and hang out with a bunch of folks I know. Compared to that, winning isn't a huge deal at all (not that it would be in comparison to anything else, either).

If you're interested in seeing a bunch of Web geeks looking uncomfortable in fancy outfits, Yahoo! is webcasting the Webbys (live, I would assume).

A bunch of folks sentMAY 07

A bunch of folks sent in alternative emoticons that I hadn't thought of (yeah, go figure) for my poll:

   the reverse smiley   (:

   Japanese-style smileys   (^.^) (-.-) (*.*) (^_^) \(^_^)/

   the reverse big-nosed smiley   (c:

   the equal sign eyes smiley   =)

Also, here are the current results of the emoticons poll. Most people (57%) use the nose-less smiley ":)", while a surprising number (19%) don't use emoticons at all.

Why o' why can't IMAY 06

Why o' why can't I find Wallpaper* magazine anywhere? Oh, that's right, it's because I live in Minneapolis.

Flat Eric, meet Flat Jason.MAY 06

Flat Eric, meet Flat Jason.

Second surprise of the day:MAY 06

Second surprise of the day: I can't believe how comfortable my new shoes are. Damn.

I didn't have high hopesMAY 06

I didn't have high hopes as I headed into the theatre to see The Gladiator, expecting the typical Hollywood tough guy action movie, complete with a hasta la vista, baby or yippee ki-yay, motherfucker. I was glad to be wrong. The acting was solid, the music was good, the cinematography was very good - frequently outstanding - and to my surprise, the storyline was one of the better aspects of the movie. Go for the action, stay for the...umm...rest of it.

Two recent movie viewings: U-571MAY 04

Two recent movie viewings: U-571 and Pi. The former was OK...a theatre with good sound helped it along nicely. Pi I saw on DVD with extra goodies...the movie was excellent. The soundtrack was even better....but does not seem to be available for sale online anywhere but here (and even then it's backordered).

I'm stuck in <form>s hell.MAY 04

I'm stuck in <form>s hell. Does someone want to bring me a sandwich and a cold drink? I'm frightened.

The winners of the 5KMAY 04

The winners of the 5K Award have been announced. Interestingly, an ecommerce site won top honors. My favorite entry, The Logical Fallacy of Being, did not make the cut in any of the categories.

What makes people use differentMAY 03

What makes people use different smiley constructions? In the group of people with which I regularly correspond, the compact and faster-to-type ":)" is used, but ":-)" seems to be a popular choice for other folks. Is ":-)" Laurel to ":)"'s Hardy? Does the nose serve a purpose that warrants the extra two keystrokes (shift-colon-right parenthesis versus shift-colon-dash-shift-right parenthesis)? Here's a simpler question:

Which emoticonic style do you use?

:-)   (with nose)
:)   (without nose)
I don't use emoticons.

Or you can view the results without voting.

So, why didn't anyone tellMAY 03

So, why didn't anyone tell me that Radiohead's OK Computer was simply fabulous? Well, people did tell me, and the critics seemed to like it, but why didn't someone sit me down and force me to listen to it? I hadn't heard the album at all until about three days ago because I'd pretty much given up on rock music entirely. Now I'm not so sure.

fitter happier reminds me of the Cluetrain Manifesto and the opening monologue by Renton in Trainspotting. Same style, similar message.

You can make yourself lookMAY 02

You can make yourself look like Bender from Futurama while you are playing Quake 3. I'm definitely going to try this one out...it says it even has custom sounds. Now, if there were only a Dr. Zoidberg skin....

A very interesting article inMAY 02

A very interesting article in the Science Times section of the NY Times about The Human Family Tree. Using DNA from various sources and some assumptions (some of which are better than others), scientists have been able to genetically trace the migration of homo sapiens from Africa to pretty much everywhere else in the world. Interestingly, their hypothesis includes one woman and one man from whence all humanity sprang....perhaps there's hope for the Bible's account of things after all.

One odd phrase near the end of the article had me puzzled though: "fearsome Neanderthals". I don't know that scientists have much of an idea how Neanderthals behaved...they may have looked scary and strange to modern eyes, but who's to say they didn't have love in their hearts?

The thought is that byMAY 01

The thought is that by talking about my (potential) Webbys' acceptance speech so much, I've jinxed myself out of winning. It's all part of my plan to spirit Metababy to victory.

Today is off to aMAY 01

Today is off to a good start. I noticed that the lilac bushes in my backyard are starting to bloom.

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