Entries for December 2001 (January 2002 »    February 2002 »    March 2002 »    Archives)


Now I'm getting spam aboutDEC 31

Now I'm getting spam about spam protection services:

Dear Email user,

Your email address jason@kottke.org was harvested by a SPAM robot. It got your address from the webpage http://www.kottke.org

For mor information about SPAM Robots and how you can protect yourself, Click Here

Champ Mitchell
Anti-Spam Services

Jackasses. The funny bit is that the spam protection they are offering (for $8.95, no less) is just a bit of JavaScript that garbles email addresses so they cannot be harvested. Here's the same thing for free:

<script language="JavaScript">
document.write('<a href="mailto:' + 'name@' + 'youremail.com' + '">' + 'name@' + 'youremail.com' + '</a>');

Just replace "name" and "youremail.com" with your information and you're good to go.

P2P journalism not picked up?DEC 30

I'm really surprised that this first-hand account of last week's attempted shoe bombing didn't get picked up by more weblogs and news outlets. I'm mentioning it again because I think it's a great example of a type of journalism that just didn't happen before the Internet.

Hello? Feed?DEC 30

Does anyone know what happened to Feed? I know they ran out of money, stopped publishing, etc., but does anyone know if there are plans to bring the archives back online at some point? (We'll have to make due with the WayBack Machine in the meantime, I guess.)

Nice photosDEC 30

A nice collection of photography. This is a favorite.

Art and the human genomeDEC 30

Genomic Art: "Visualists and Artists Interpreting the Human Genome".

Dean has a bad dog.DEC 30

Dean has a bad dog.

The extent to which TitanDEC 28

The extent to which Titan A.E. sucked cannot be adequately expressed with my limited vocabulary.

Global village idiotsDEC 28

"The problem with the global village is all the global village idiots." -Paul Ginsparg

Weblog account of shoe bombingDEC 28

A first-hand account of the attempted shoe bombing earlier this week: "The staff get his shoes off (we wonder why?), his bag, his passport, maybe some drugs. Strong men are chosen to restrain him (they are relieved later on). The captain announces that we will be landing at Boston instead of Miami and that we'll be escorted by fighter pilots." via bb.

I've been enjoying a CDDEC 27

I've been enjoying a CD filled with Aaron's favorite music of 2001 that he was nice enough to send along to me, specifically a couple of songs by Plaid and Marumari. The smartest, grooviest electronica I've heard in quite some time.

A short guide to doingDEC 27

A short guide to doing JavaScript pop-up windows properly: specify your pop-up function in the href attribute instead of the onclick attribute. If you must use the onclick attribute, specify "javascript://" in the href attribute, not "#" because that will take you to the top of the page, a behavior which is not intended or appreciated by the Web user.

Preferred**: <a href="foo.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">
Good: <a href="javascript:PopUp()">link</a>
Good: <a href="javascript://" onclick="PopUp()">link</a>
Bad bad: <a href="#" onclick="PopUp()">link</a>

** Milo writes in with an even better method of doing pop-ups: <a href="foo.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">. Benefits include non-JS browser compatibility and shift/right click compatibility.

2001: a disappointment? talks aboutDEC 26

2001: a disappointment? talks about the current status of computer evolution as compared with that demonstrated in Kubrick and Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey. It's a good review of the progress of AI, but contains this curious passage:

"This year, we can now say at the safety of its end, did not bring us a Hal, or anything like it. Computers can play a pretty good game of chess, transliterate speech and recognise handwriting and faces. But their intelligence does not touch our own, and the prevailing scientific wisdom seems to be that it never will."

Never? Never is a very long time. I'm betting that the mechanics of evolution will eventually win out over "prevailing scientific wisdom".

The best of 2001DEC 24

All of the "best of" and other such end-of-the-year lists for 2001 are starting to ooze out of various content-generating entities, both online and off. I'm a total sucker for such lists, can't get enough of them. Even bad lists stimulate good conversation ("those choices sucked; these would have been much better: ...").

Here are some lists I've located so far: The Year in Ideas (NY Times); 2001 Person of the Year (Time); four Top 10 Movies lists from the NY Times: 01, 02, 03, 04; Coolest Space Science Images of 2001 (space.com); Science News of the Year (Science News); Best of the Web 2001 (PC World); 2001: The Year in Recordings (Rolling Stone); The Year in Sports (CNNSI.com); Most Censored Press Releases of 2001 (McSweeney's); 2001 Inventions of the Year (Time); and Books of the Year (The Economist).

Have you run across any good best-of/end-of-the-year lists?

Gibe/jibe/jive: "[Jibe] is often confusedDEC 23

Gibe/jibe/jive: "[Jibe] is often confused with "jive," which derives from slang which originally meant to treat in a jazzy manner." However, a quick look on Google reveals that "doesn't jive" is actually more commonly used than "doesn't jibe" (for whatever that's worth).

Meg has a new articleDEC 23

Meg has a new article running over at O'Reilly called Using JavaScript to Create a Powerful GUI. She shows you how to use a little bit of JavaScript and CSS to create interfaces that look and act like desktop interfaces that people are already familiar with.

Also on O'Reilly: Five Steps to Adding Physics-Based Realism to Your Games by the author of Physics for Game Developers, a book I mentioned last week.

There are still lots ofDEC 23

There are still lots of Megway THs available for your holiday shopping needs. Order now!

Lots of (good?) stuff todayDEC 23

Lots of (good?) stuff today because it's the holidays and I've no other place to go.

In response to yesterday's post regarding programming my TiVo via the Web, Matt sends along his TiVo page. He's got his TiVo hooked up to a Linux box which allows him to access and modify data on the TiVo via the Web. He's also dumping his To Do and Now Showing lists to his Web site. See the TiVo Hacking FAQ, the TiVo Web Project, and PPPD Over the Serial Cable for info on how to do all this and more.

I want to be ableDEC 22

I want to be able to program my TiVo via the Web.

On the Internet, Nobody KnowsDEC 22

On the Internet, Nobody Knows You're a Dog When You're Kidding.

Cinnamon Challenge 2001: "In oneDEC 22

Cinnamon Challenge 2001: "In one mouthful, consume a tablespoon of McCormick Brand Ground Cinnamon without spitting it out or vomitting. Mike presented the challenge, Erik accepted. Game on!" The pictures are great.

The January 2002 issueDEC 21

The January 2002 issue of Yahoo! Internet Life dubs weblogs "[the] Trend of the Year" for 2001. And later in the same issue, guess what they pick as the best weblog to watch in 2002?

Oh, you got it, baby. That's all me...kottke.org sitting upon the top of the weblog world, looking down upon everyone else. There's what, 200,000 weblogs out there, and I'm all alone at the top. Me, me, me. 2001 was the Year of the Weblog, kottke.org is the best weblog to watch in 2002, so that practically makes 2002 the Year of Kottke. Are you listening over there in UserNewsScriptingLand? Your silly Awards have no meaning; it's already been decided. Bow down before the might of Kottke!

Salon ran a conversation withDEC 20

Salon ran a conversation with Steven Johnson regarding his recent book, Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software, a recent favorite of mine. In the interview, Johnson relates the subject matter of the book with the Current Situation:

"...you get to the point where smaller clusters of people can have disproportionately large effects. For example, look at epidemic weapons. We could have a smallpox attack, where you just need a dense population base and suddenly a million people can be taken out by one guy with a backpack. That's the bad news."

Johnson's thoughts reminded me of something I wrote in an essay for 0sil8 long ago (which I'm not going to point to because most of it is *horrible* and embarrassing):

"Already, the expansion of humanity's universe is threatened by the gravity of man's ingenuity and inventiveness; we currently have the capability to collapse our universe. And in our case, unlike that of the real universe, our gravity is constantly increasing while our rate of physical expansion has crawled to a halt. Man setting foot on the moon did much more for the expansion of [his] mind than it did for the expansion of his territory."

"For all the talk about encryption and the universe, the matter comes down to the two basic characteristics that define humanity: our ability to think and our mortality. The former is evolving too quickly for humanity to stop it from bringing about the ultimate result of the latter. Our little human universe can't outrun the gravity of ourselves."

A map of Springfield fromDEC 20

A map of Springfield from the Simpsons. The detail here is amazing and scary. The world would be a much less interesting place without motivated individuals with time on their hands. via bb.

Which of the following doDEC 19

Which of the following do you think is correct? (i.e. which one do you use? No peeking in the dictionary, please.)

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

Being a fan of TheDEC 19

Being a fan of The Lord of the Rings book trilogy, I approached the first installment of Hollywood's version with both excitement and a bit whole hell of a lot of skepticism. Color me pleasantly surprised. While it's not going to win any Oscars, it kept me entertained for 3 hours and was a pretty faithful adaptation of the book (faithful meaning they knew what to keep, what to cut out, and what to explain a little more). If you're looking for some holiday fantasy fun, skip Potter and see this instead.

Taking a look back atDEC 18

Taking a look back at Dave Pell's predictions for 2001, we can see that a lot of them missed. This is to be expected. Most long-term predictions are wrong; I don't care how smart you are. But a closer look reveals that Dave didn't miss the mark by all that much. Most of the items on the list are happening, just not as fast as predicted. The tech sector will rebound in a less crazy incarnation, fueled by a return to simple plans and fundamentals, the Web still does work and matter, and that email (and IM, email's faster, more casual cousin) still rules the Internet. (BTW, if you're looking for a good daily newsletter, Dave's Nextdraft is quite well done.)

Casting possibilities for a femaleDEC 16

Casting possibilities for a female Boba Fett include Carrie Anne Moss, Angie Harmon, and Lucy Lawless.

An absolutely exhaustive list ofDEC 16

An absolutely exhaustive list of articles on social criticism. The very last section on the page is called "Achieving goodness in a complex world".

And for the third straightDEC 15

And for the third straight year, a Shockwave snowball fight game. (I'm just going to keep posting this, year after year, until the link disappears.)

An MPEG movie showing whatDEC 15

An MPEG movie showing what happens When Galaxies Collide! (soon to be a Fox television special). Here's what a collision of the Milky Way galaxy and the Andromeda galaxy (our nearest neighbor) might look like. Don't worry though, this collision won't occur for another 3 billion years or so, by which time we'll all be long dead, having killed ourselves by much more mundane methods such as biological weapons or global thermonuclear war.

Threat brings us this funDEC 14

Threat brings us this fun holiday treat, which allows you to design your own snowman. My favorites are the celebrity snowmen, led by one of the Fat Albert kids and Darth Maul.

Monson Snowboards redesigns their siteDEC 14

Monson Snowboards redesigns their site and announces their 2nd Annual Monson Snowboard Design Contest. I was too busy to participate last year, but I might take a crack at it this time 'round. (One minor quibble about the contest: it's a little strange to be able to view the contest entries before the contest is closed to new entries...doesn't seem fair/impartial somehow. The judges could play favorites based on who the designers are...in an ideal situation, they should be blinded from that info. (oops, I was wrong about that last bit, thanks Heather))

Sorry if you've been unableDEC 13

Sorry if you've been unable to reach kottke.org over the past 24-36 hours. The Megway thing got a little out of hand and pushed the server beyond its usual slow walk. A public "shout out" to Andy, Anil, Mouser, and Andre for helping out with the bandwidth issue by mirroring files for me...thanks guys.

Secret Santa giftee, your giftDEC 13

Secret Santa giftee, your gift is on its way: "We thought you'd like to know that we shipped your items today, and that this completes your order."

A current map of theDEC 13

A current map of the inner solar system, including the estimated positions of all known asteroids. This movie shows the movement of the planets and asteroids over a 400 day time period.

Things observed on my twentyDEC 12

Things observed on my twenty block walk down Irving today:

- Approx. number of American flags observed: 174. Approx. number of those flags used by merchants for business purposes: 133. Estimated number of American flags observed on hypothetical walk down the same street 3 1/2 months ago: 8. America seems to be suffering a kind of patriotism inflation.

- San Francisco drivers are jerks. Anything more than a 1/2 second's hesitation at a stop sign or for a crossing pedestrian resulted in the most unmannered horn honking I've ever witnessed. One guy honked his horn for 20 seconds straight at a woman simply waiting to pull into a parking space. Deep breaths, people, deep breaths.

- Elementary school students are now using rolling suitcases to haul their schoolbooks around. Are elementary schools becoming training grounds for flight attendants and frequent fliers?

- Starbucks makes a surprisingly good chai tea latte. It's hard to hate big, crappy companies when they produce good products.

Danza/WHAT is revealed at longDEC 12

Danza/WHAT is revealed at long last. Introducing the Megway TH (Transporting Human), a revolutionary new form of human transportation from 0sil8 Heavy Industries. Megway goes anywhere you can go, runs on water, will alter the urban landscape, and looks good in black. Check it out.

O'Reilly's Physics for Game DevelopersDEC 11

O'Reilly's Physics for Game Developers looks very interesting, even for non-game developers (such as those who create those enticing little Flash widgets I so love). I hope O'Reilly's next book on the subject is Biology for Game Developers.

Danza is coming....DEC 11

Danza is coming....

So, Vegas. I enjoyed VegasDEC 10

So, Vegas. I enjoyed Vegas more than I thought I would, and not in a kitschy sort of way either. I enjoyed Vegas straight up...for the most part (exceptions were the Celine Dion-accompanied Fountains of Bellagio display and a Ferrari painted by Christian Riese Lassen...both so horribly wrong and amusing at the same time).

The only bad thing about the trip was forgetting to bring my camera (stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid...). I missed so many great photos, especially at The Valley of Fire State Park, one of the most picturesque places I've ever been to. Next time for sure...I just had my camera surgically grafted to my right hand, so I'll never never never never forget the damn thing again.

I'm not particularly interested in motorcycles, but The Art of the Motorcycle exhibition at the Guggenheim in Las Vegas was quite good, displaying steam-powered bicycles on up to the modern day crotch rockets.

I just purchased my SecretDEC 10

I just purchased my Secret Santa gift for my gift givee.

The wait is over. Danza/WHATDEC 10

The wait is over. Danza/WHAT will be revealed to the world approximately 24 hours from now on 0sil8.

All the hysteria over thisDEC 06

All the hysteria over this Danza stuff (see yesterday's "post") is getting to be too much, all the emails and reporters calling (John Stossel will not leave me alone). So, I'm off to Las Vegas for a few days. Rest, relaxation, and really big steaks, all under an assumed name. Ahhhh....

Neither I nor 0sil8 HeavyDEC 05

Neither I nor 0sil8 Heavy Industries has any comment related to the WHAT/Danza issue, despite the massive amount of hype and speculation surrounding it. Aside to the Times: you can stop calling every 20 minutes...I'm not going to tell you anything more than I did 2 weeks ago.

KPMG is a big companyDEC 03

KPMG is a big company that doesn't like anyone linking to them. KPMG! KPMG! KPMG! KPMG! KPMG! (If you've got a weblog, spread the link. It's fun!)

Ginger/IT unveiled, with picture. ADEC 03

Ginger/IT unveiled, with picture. A more detailed picture from Time Magazine. Version 1.0 is going to be a little disappointing (as are many first versions of products), but once they can improve the technology, 2.0 should kick ass (2.0 should have a top speed of 30-40 miles per hour, I would think, as well as other improvements). Everyone I've heard from seems really dissappointed, but I'm quite optimistic about Ginger.

Amazon has not updated their Ginger page yet (but they let me add it to my wishlist).

I just watched the demonstration of the Segway HT (nee Ginger) on Good Morning America and I *so* want one.

In related news, look for misspellings of the word "segue" to skyrocket.

Two new Radiohead-related works ofDEC 02

Two new Radiohead-related works of the music: I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings, a live album by Radiohead (including recordings of some songs from the Oxford show) and Strung Out On OK Computer: The String Quartet Tribute To Radiohead, which is pretty much what it says.

The sex chart (a mapDEC 02

The sex chart (a map of the sexual activity of a group of computer folks) is a nifty bit of information design using only ASCII. I can't imagine how long that took to do.

Tombstone was one of myDEC 01

Tombstone was one of my favorite movies in college, but I was surprised when Meg took a shine to it. That Doc Holliday, he's a charmer. Here's a little etymology of Doc's trademark phrase from the film, "I'm your huckleberry" (as well as "you're no daisy").

Disused Stations on the LondonDEC 01

Disused Stations on the London Underground:

"...look through the window as you travel between Tottenham Court Road and Holborn on the Central Line and you'll see a station - where no passengers have alighted since 1932. This used to be British Museum station."

The captions blog is aDEC 01

The captions blog is a good use for the weblog format.

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