Entries for May 2001 (June 2001 »    July 2001 »    August 2001 »    Archives)


Headline of the day: OralMAY 31

Headline of the day: Oral Nicotine Solution May Help Smokers Quit. Oral nicotine solution? That wouldn't by any chance be cigarettes, would it?

0sil8, my other Web site,MAY 31

0sil8, my other Web site, is 5 years old today. In celebration, there will be a new episode appearing either today or tomorrow sometime (Mark willing).

If you've ever wanted toMAY 31

If you've ever wanted to see Dave Winer, Justin Hall, Douglas Rushkoff, and Mark Hurst naked, now's your chance.

Two excellent articles in theMAY 31

Two excellent articles in the recent New Yorker:

lollipops for everyone!

- Absolute PowerPoint is about Microsoft PowerPoint and the way in which it has corrupted affected how people communicate in the corporate (and, apparently, grade school) world. Oddly enough, the article is very similar to this USA Today article from May 1999...I hope there's no plagiarism involved here. Also, I would be remiss in my duties by not pimping my ideal PowerPoint slide from a few months ago.

- Pimps and Dragons is a look at Ultima Online, an online multi-player role playing game that mirrors the real world surprisingly well. I had no idea. Fascinating stuff. In a related story, a major league baseball player named Doug Glanville hit two home runs off of Curt Schilling in one game because Schilling led to the demise of Glanville's character in an online game called EverQuest. Said Glanville: "Curt Schilling assassinated my lovable Dwarf Paladin in EverQuest, happily smiling as his character stood in the safety of the town guards. That can create serious internal friction." I swear I'm not making this up.

P.S. The New Yorker site Sucks (with a capital S, as you can see). It's almost impossible to navigate, you don't know what the hell is going on at any point, and there's no search function. Bad, bad, bad.

Jason Fried was recently inMAY 30

Jason Fried was recently in Europe as well and took lots of pictures which are currently featured in Jason's Europe Tour 2001.

Separated at birth: Energyman andMAY 30

Separated at birth: Energyman and this guy getting his testicles bored out by a bull.

Attention liquid designers: take aMAY 30

Attention liquid designers: take a gander at this portion of an ancient Egyptian parchment on papyrus from the Louvre. Even the ancient Egyptians knew not to make columns of text too wide.

Per an earlier discussion onMAY 30

Per an earlier discussion on Amazon, a company called Anaconda has a commercial product called Foundation Amazon that allows you to put their top seller lists on your Web site (and more). It's not an ideal solution, but it's something. Thanks to Oliver for the tip.

The Tetris gameshow I mentionedMAY 30

The Tetris gameshow I mentioned yesterday is called Blokken. Thanks to Patrik for the info.

Just after checking inMAY 29

Just after checking into our hotel in Antwerp (it was actually a bed and breakfast called Charles Rogier XI...very highly recommended), I flipped on the television to check out Flemish television. On one of the stations, I encountered an unusual game show involving Tetris. A man was asking a woman trivia questions. When she answered correctly, she was allowed to position one Tetris piece, scoring points for completing rows. It was one of the weirdest things I'd ever seen.

Pictures from the Charles Rogier XI:

- A view of our room, including the small deer head on the wall.

- Detail of dressmakers dummy that was in our room. I love the texture on this thing.

- The bathtub in our bathroom. The bathroom was as large again as the rest of the room.

- The staircase leading down from our room. The door on the landing led to our bathroom.

It's got bad acting, aMAY 29

It's got bad acting, a shaky plot, bad dialogue, bad sci-fi, bad action, and Kirstie Alley, but damn is Wrath of Khan a good movie.

Finally travelled south of theMAY 28

Finally travelled south of the SF airport this weekend with a day trip to Santa Cruz. The boardwalk was crawling with people on holiday, but for some reason the skyride wasn't running.

I sometimes get lunch atMAY 28

I sometimes get lunch at this little Greek place near my office. It's a tiny establishment with signs covering the walls detailing their many specials: "Popular Pepperoni With Mushrooms Pizza", "Cheesy Lasagne With Meat", and "Here's An Idea! Ordering A Baked Potato Or Gyros Sandwich? How About One Of Our Fine Greek Salads For Only $1.95". The food is good and cheap; I usually get a gyro or a slice of sausage pizza with an IBC Root Beer. And the guys that work there are *so* nice and they work so hard and prepare the food so fast and are super conscientious about their jobs and just generally rule. It makes me want to give them all the money in my wallet rather than just the $4.86 that my meal costs.

I went to see SavingMAY 26

I went to see Saving Private Titanageddon Day yesterday. I can't say that it was good, but it wasn't bad either. The battle scene in the middle of the movie was amazing...it's worth it just to see that if you can stomach the movie's 3+ hour running time.

Wow! Look at this littleMAY 24

Wow! Look at this little bitty mammal, barely bigger than a paper clip. I didn't know there were mammals that small....but apparently there were 195 million years ago.

I guess the best adjectiveMAY 24

I guess the best adjective for this photo would be "arresting". via the excellent Textism.

Which brand of snack cakeMAY 24

Which brand of snack cake do you prefer?

If you prefer not to vote, you may view the results or discuss the poll.

In case you're wondering, Megnut,MAY 24

In case you're wondering, Megnut, MetaFilter, Onfocus, and A Whole Lotta Nothing (among others) should be back online later today, as will all their associated email addresses. The wheels are in motion.

I've had this ideaMAY 23

I've had this idea for a long while about how Amazon could help people better utilize their Associates Program. Basically, Amazon would provide some JavaScript code that would automatically include the NYTimes Bestseller list, the Hot DVD list, the Music Top Sellers list, or the Video Games New Releases list on an Associate's site. Because the code would reside on the Amazon site, the contents of these lists would update automatically and consistently...equivalent to putting a Moreover webfeed on your site. I was even toying with the idea of scraping the Amazon site for content and setting up something like this myself...it would have been pretty easy to do and seemed like a no-brainer that people would love to put those kinds of lists on their sites.

Amazon's just-announced Amazon Recommends service is just that...and a little bit more. Instead of including the lists I mentioned above (which I still think they should do), they analyze the purchasing patterns of the people buying things using your Associates code and then use the JavaScript code to push recommendations based on those buying patterns (you can see my Amazon Recommends list to the right). It's clever...and a good start.

Some drawbacks of AmRec:

- They overbranded it. These people are already making them money for God sakes. Come on.

- The look and feel is not flexible at all. They could have put the links and titles into a JS array and left it up to the interested JavaScript coder (that's me!) to code the HTML output however they wished.

- Again, they should provide more than the one list. The recommended stuff is great, but some may want the canned lists of popular items.

Peripherally related to the KayceeMAY 22

Peripherally related to the Kaycee Nicole thing** is a post I made almost a year ago about coding a kottke.org bot to take over the updating of this site. Even though it may seem as though a boring, lifeless computer is updating the site, I never got around to coding anything.

** If you don't know what I'm talking about, start with the FAQ and then here, here, here and here for lots and lots of details. And you'll probably hear about this on TV and on the magazine stands in the next few days as well.

It's an odd experience goingMAY 22

It's an odd experience going to see a movie you've never seen before and knowing how it's going to end. That's what happened when I went to see Startup.com the other day. It was like watching a train wreck that lasted for an hour and a half...a train wreck that I and lots of people I know have experienced first hand. I left the theatre feeling drained, even more disenchanted with the business side of the Internet than I was before, and a little weirded out at the movie's parallels to the goings-on at another company we all know and love.

I was more than aMAY 22

I was more than a little sick yesterday (and still a little sick today, although I'm planning on going in to work), but after 7 hours (!!) of dealing with insurance, doctors, and the pharmacist, the battle between the bacteria and the antibiotics is fully joined, and I'm on the road to recovery. I hope.

Bryan's photos of Halifax areMAY 20

Bryan's photos of Halifax are very cool; this one of the Canadian flag is my favorite.

Someone (or a pair ofMAY 20

Someone (or a pair of someones) ordered two copies of the Catholic Youth Bible using my Amazon Associates code. Weird.

When I first sawMAY 20

one light two light red light green light

When I first saw the walk/don't walk people used on Antwerp's traffic lights, they reminded me of the Atari 2600. Later, I figured out that they reminded me specifically of the killer robots in Berzerk. When I was a kid, I used to go over to my friend's house and we would play Berzerk, Choplifter, and Stampede on his Atari for hours on end.

One final update on yesterday'sMAY 19

One final update on yesterday's Yahoo! photo shenanigans: the photo never got to #1 on the "most viewed" list (topping out at #4), unless it happened sometime after I went to bed last night. This morning (as of 8:40am PDT), the photo is nowhere to be seen on either list, meaning that Yahoo! caught on to our little game, the rankings somehow got reset in the middle of the night, or that people have simply lost interest in the game. I'm just surprised that the whole thing actually worked.

One more final final update: a slow Saturday and a post of the photo to MeFi combined to push the photo to #1 on both lists. Congratulations?

It's Friday. Let's have someMAY 18

It's Friday. Let's have some fun. Our mission? To elevate the status of this otherwise unremarkable photograph to the #1 spot on Yahoo's most viewed content list. Click on the link two or three times. Post the link to your Web site and urge others to do the same. If you've got a mailing list, mail it out to everybody. Why? Because we can, I guess.

Update: the photo has made it onto the "most emailed" list. Keep clicking.

Update #2: the photo is now halfway up both the "most emailed" and "most viewed" lists. Click on!

Update #3: the photo is #1 on the "most emailed" list and #4 on the "most viewed" list. Almost there....

Goodie goodie gumdrops! As partMAY 17

Goodie goodie gumdrops! As part of their fall schedule, Fox will be airing 22 new episodes of The Family Guy, one of TV's most underrated comedies. The only real problem with the show is that in order to follow it at all, you need to have grown up in the 70s or 80s watching ridiculous amounts of television (check and check).

American Psycho was neither goodMAY 17

American Psycho was neither good nor bad; it was just weird (but in a good way...I think). The whole business card thing had me on the floor though.

An ad for Jimmy John'sMAY 17

An ad for Jimmy John's Sandwich Shops: "Before you take your child to the Arches remember this: Clowns Scare Kids."

Whenever I go somewhereMAY 17

Tour Eiffel

Whenever I go somewhere and see something famous, I'm often surprised at how that something is deserving of its reputation. The Eiffel Tower is one such something. I've seen the ET thousands of times before in various depictions of Paris and France (try and find a postcard from Paris without the ET on it), but nothing quite compares with seeing it in person. It really is that impressive.

L'Institut du Monde ArabeMAY 16

L'Institut du Monde Arabe

L'Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris is an astounding building. Covering the entire south side of the building is a wall of adjustable irises (detail to right, more photos here) designed to let varying amounts of light in depending on available sunlight. Inside the building, everything is exposed...polished stainless steel (or aluminum?) beams & poles everywhere. I wanted to spend all day in there, poking around, but there were other things to see as well.

More photos (not mine): photos of London, mostly public signage.

Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-GorskiiMAY 15

These color photographs of circa-1915 Tsarist Russia by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii are amazing (particularly these two).

While I was away onMAY 15

While I was away on vacation, I put up a forum where people could amuse themselves in my absence. Having experimented in this way with openlog in the past, I pretty much knew what was going to happen: not a whole lot. But that's ok (no really, it is).

Neil Gaiman has a touchingMAY 14

Neil Gaiman has a touching entry (May 12th, 2nd item) on his weblog about the passing of his friend Douglas Adams.

I realized the other dayMAY 14

I realized the other day that my ATM PIN has some sorta mathematical consecutive perfect squares thing going on. Weird.

Hi kids, I'm back fromMAY 14

Hi kids, I'm back from vacation. More soon/later/never.

It only took 22 minutes for work to break my "vacation spirit". Very disconcerting.

Billy Elliot = "Billy!!" + "Ballet!?!!" + "Billy!!" + "Ballet!?!!" + "Billy!!" + "Ballet!?!!" + "Whar'n'tha fuck d'you think yer goin'?" + some dancing.

Stupidly, I always wait to send out postcards until right before I leave because I want to find the perfect postcards for the people I'm sending them to. From now on, the perfect postcard is the early postcard.

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