Entries for December 2002 (January 2003 »    February 2003 »    March 2003 »    Archives)


I love kottke.orgDEC 30

I love kottke.org. Now if only someone will do this for real...

RIAA add press release form screenshotDEC 30

RIAA add press release form screenshot. and no, I didn't actually add or modify any press releases.

RIAA hacked screenshot #2DEC 30

RIAA hacked screenshot #2.

RIAA hacked screenshot #1DEC 30

RIAA hacked screenshot #1.

Hacking the RIAADEC 30

Hacking the RIAA.

What makes IE so fast?DEC 30

What makes IE so fast?.

Top 10 seriously flawed games of all timeDEC 30

Top 10 seriously flawed games of all time. #1 features a naked General George Custer

Handbag piracyDEC 30

An article in the Boston Globe talks about handbag piracy. A senior VP at Coach says that they seize about $50 million worth of counterfeits each year, about 3% of the total amount produced.

As with music, movies, and software, handbag piracy isn't the huge problem that the manufacturers would have us believe. Here's why:

- Very few of the people purchasing the knockoffs for $25 would purchase the originals at upwards of $300 apiece. Different audiences.

- Fake bags can function as free advertising for the real thing. If you're seeing that cute Kate Spade bag everywhere, you might want to pop into Barney's and get one.

- Knockoffs act as "gateway handbags". Young women who buy fake Louis Vuitton bags on their just-out-of-college budget might be more inclined to buy the real thing as their income increases. As with many expensive goods and services, once you get a taste of luxury, the habit is difficult to break.

Related reading: Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution by Tim O'Reilly.

Guvf grkg vf uvtuyl rapelcgrqDEC 29

Guvf grkg vf uvtuyl rapelcgrq.

Create a Venn diagramDEC 29

Create a Venn diagram.

public access TV over TCP/IPDEC 29

public access TV over TCP/IP. didn't the camgirls and camboys invent realtime vlogging several years ago?

Affirmative action at work: George W. BushDEC 29

Affirmative action at work: George W. Bush.

Networks and It's a Wonderful LifeDEC 28

Networks and It's a Wonderful Life.

Cigars 101DEC 27

Cigars 101.

iPod handbagDEC 27

iPod handbag.

Darwin's Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of SocietyDEC 27

Darwin's Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society. by David Sloan Wilson

Religion is a product of group selectionDEC 27

Religion is a product of group selection.

Pomohawk, the newest in trendy hairDEC 27

Pomohawk, the newest in trendy hair.

First human clone born?DEC 27

First human clone born?.

Slashdot interviews William ShatnerDEC 27

Slashdot interviews William Shatner.

Midtown Manhattan under 400 feet of waterDEC 26

Midtown Manhattan under 400 feet of water.

Steven Johnson on blogs and short blocksDEC 26

Steven Johnson on blogs and short blocks.

I wanna be an astronautDEC 25

Adam Greenfield takes astronaut lessons:

"Flying out of Incheon today, on our way back to Tokyo, our flight hit an unexpected void just as I climbed out of my seat to let Nurri into the aisle, and dropped what must have been hundreds, if not thousands, of feet of altitude in seconds. For a brief but endless interval, we - alone among the passengers - found ourselves free of the grip of gravity, Nurri actually floating all the way up to the cabin ceiling before the (auto?)pilot found a layer of clear air and we settled back to the deck."

The Journalist's ToolboxDEC 25

The Journalist's Toolbox.

Trilingual weblogDEC 25

Trilingual weblog. simultaneous postings in Dutch, English, and Portuguese

Pickle symmetryDEC 25

Pickle symmetry.

Spammers harvesting RSS feedsDEC 25

Spammers harvesting RSS feeds.

These photos of Paris make me homesick for itDEC 25

These photos of Paris make me homesick for it. that reminds me, must post my own Paris pix soon

the best way to delete codeDEC 24

the best way to delete code.

Crossword puzzles for nerdsDEC 24

Crossword puzzles for nerds. and to think I forgot what "1 if A>B, 0 if A=B, -1 if A<B" is

Dow 36,000DEC 24

Dow 36,000.

The Perpetual War PortfolioDEC 24

"The Perpetual War Portfolio is an evenly weighted basket of five stocks poised to succeed in the age of perpetual war. The stocks were selected on the basis of popular product lines, strong political connections and lobbying efforts, and paid-for access to key Congressional decision makers."

The PWP is up 3.25% since its inception on 12/2/02, compared to a 4.68% drop in the S&P 500. The five companies included in the index are Boeing, Northrup Grumman, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and Alliant Techsystems.

donation ideas for the holidaysDEC 24

donation ideas for the holidays.

Segways selling well @ AmazonDEC 24

Segways selling well @ Amazon. but no specific sales rank listed at Amazon

coming soon: Cory Doctorow's Down and OutDEC 24

coming soon: Cory Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. I read a preview copy several months ago...good stuff

The photos Kissinger doesn't want you to seeDEC 24

The photos Kissinger doesn't want you to see.

Blogs topple Lott? Hmmm.DEC 24

Blogs topple Lott? Hmmm.. doesn't really matter if they did or not, it will go down into history as having happened that way. maybe those bloggers should do some of that "journalism" to see if it really happened that way.

Take-out standardsDEC 24

New York has take-out down to a science. When you purchase food to take with you for immediate consumption, you can be sure of three things when it is handed to you:

- your food will be placed in a paper or plastic bag
- plenty of napkins
- and if you purchase a cold, non-alcoholic beverage, a straw

In other parts of the country, straws are seldom distributed, napkins might be the customer's responsibility, and you might get stuck with an unwieldy styrofoam container. In NYC, you get all three, all the time, no matter where you go.

Geek Christmas carolDEC 24

Geek Christmas carol.

Read the book the Bells don't want you to readDEC 24

Read the book the Bells don't want you to read.

US strategy: divert attention of citizenry withDEC 23

US strategy: divert attention of citizenry with petty political squabbling (Lott), leaving them free to start Muslim concentration camps in So. Cal.. let's round up all the Texans instead...

Microsoft to buy Macromedia?DEC 23

Microsoft to buy Macromedia?.

Prada is paralyzed by the WebDEC 23

Prada is paralyzed by the Web. they have no idea what to do with their site

Blogger Pro never quite paid for itselfDEC 23

Blogger Pro never quite paid for itself.

Peyton Randolph, first ruler of these United StatesDEC 23

Peyton Randolph, first ruler of these United States. sorta

Apple IIe emulator for OS XDEC 23

Apple IIe emulator for OS X. 10 PRINT "holy crap!";

LOTR: "full side nudity"DEC 23

LOTR: "full side nudity".

Prep star scores 61 to honor grandfatherDEC 23

Prep star scores 61 to honor grandfather. one point for each year he was alive

Lance loves his fucking shoesDEC 22

Lance loves his fucking shoes.

what i did on my summer vacationDEC 22

what i did on my summer vacation.

Gawker stats promisingDEC 22

Gawker stats promising.

Katinka Matson's scanned flowersDEC 22

Katinka Matson's scanned flowers.

The world according to Heather ChampDEC 22

The world according to Heather Champ.

Aaron Swartz has a SegwayDEC 22

Aaron Swartz has a Segway.

Dan Gillmor switches to MTDEC 22

Dan Gillmor switches to MT. silence so far from Mr. Gillmor's former software provider

Short blocksDEC 22

Walking around NYC the last three weeks, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (Jane Jacobs) has been on my mind. In it, Jacobs describes what makes cities either vital & happening or dead & boring.

short blocksA key feature of some vital neighborhoods is short blocks. People utilize short blocks more frequently, all the restaurants, bars, & stores are located there (as well as some residences), and they just feel more alive. Really interesting things happen when blocks are very short and intersect in ungrid-like ways (like Broadway & 7th meeting at Times Square or all the odd angles in the West Village). Long blocks, at least in NYC, seem to be largely residential and unhappening, frequently feeling dead or even unsafe from a lack of pedestrian traffic.

We, the developers of the Web...DEC 20

In her newest column at O'Reilly, Meg discusses her online usage patterns while we were in Paris last month. For companies that value their customer relationships, what follows from this article is an easy plan for Web development: focus on serving the customer and everything else will take care of itself.

This is like a Declaration of Independence for Web developers. All the difficult decisions concerning Web development are made for you. Use CSS and XHTML to make your pages clean and fast-loading. Use a database or XML to store your data so that it can be easily output into multiple formats for different devices & programs. Put the most-used tasks right on the front page of your Web site. Make sure your server is up most of the time. Think about what you have to offer to people and give it to them in the most useful way. Make it easy for people to contact your company in a variety of ways.

Developers, you're free. Go forth and build great Web sites for us all to use.

Heading in the wrong directionDEC 20

I know consumer recycling is like bailing the Titanic with a bucket, but I am still in shock that NYC doesn't have a proper recycling program (just paper and some metal, no glass or plastic). I just tossed an empty wine bottle in the garbage, and I feel so guilty about it. Three weeks into living here and we've thrown away so many potentially reusable things. Such a waste.

The Two TowersDEC 19

I feel like the only person in America that was disappointed by The Two Towers. Not completely disappointed, but only slightly. Most of it has to do with deviations from the book. It's not that I care that the movie differs from the book -- fairly significantly in some cases -- but I found myself caught up in watching for the differences and wondering what Jackson's motivations were for changing things around instead of just enjoying the movie. I was also a little bored at the very beginning and in the middle; the movie just lost me for a bit. I'm sure the inevitable 6 additional viewings at the theatre and on DVD (regular and extended) will clear all that up for me.

InterviewDEC 19

I did a quick interview @ kiruba.com. The only reason to read it is for the comparison of weblogs to the McDonald's Dollar Menu (and even then...).

Free (as in beer) pressDEC 18

Just went to MetaFilter today after not reading it for a month and a half. "There have been 1495 links and 41191 comments posted since your last visit." By my extremely rough calculations**, the members of MeFi produce the equivalent of one and a half 150-page books each day.

That sound you just heard was me clicking the window close button on my browser as fast as I could. If I'm going to be reading a book and a half a day, I'm thinking something from my bookshelf would be more worth my while.

** 250 words/page X 150 pages/book = 37,500 words/book
22,661 posts/month X 80 words/post / 31 days/month = approx. 58,500 words/day

Mefi stats source: waxy.org Mefi stats (Oct 2002) and a little Perl magic by Andy to get the words/post number.

GawkerDEC 18

A project I've been working on for the past couple of months went live today. Gawker is a weblog focused on NYC media gossip, a snarkier, fluffier version of Romenesko's Media News. I designed the logo, did a bit of MT heavy lifting, and contributed most of the layout.

The best Gawkerism so far is "real estate porn": that's when folks get all excited in their bathing suit areas about cool architecture and such; think the SoHo Prada store designed by Koolhaas.

Your feedback is appreciated.

Concerning HobbitsDEC 18

We** recently watched the extended version of the Fellowship of the Ring, all 208 minutes of it. The 30 minutes of additional footage was not wasted; it fleshed out several aspects of the story that the shorter version didn't have time for, such as Boromir's story, the relationship between Arwen and Aragorn, and more about the Hobbits, all things that will be important in the next two installments. The more I watch this movie, the more I'm impressed with what Peter Jackson has accomplished; he's done a magnificent job. Tolkien would be quite pleased, I think.

Meanwhile, I'm almost irrationally excited to see The Two Towers tonight. The show isn't until 10:30pm, but I feel like getting in line right now, just to be closer to the event. Man, I'm excited.

** I realize I use the word "we" a lot on this site. I'm not using it in the royal sense to refer to myself (that would be annoying). "We" usually means "Meg and I". So there.

Cooper Hewitt National Design MuseumDEC 17

When I was in Washington D.C. a few years ago, I was all jazzed up to visit the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, part of the Smithsonian Institution. Imagine my disappointment when I learned the Cooper Hewitt was in NYC, not in DC.

I finally got the chance to check it out today, and I was again disappointed. They didn't have their permanent collection on display, only an exhibit on global hotels which wasn't all that impressive. Maybe I missed something....

Matchbox PCDEC 17

Uncle, uncle! I give, I give! Several people have sent in links to matchbox-sized PCs:

The Matchbox PC from Stanford Wearable Computing Laboratory
The Matchbox PC II

I should have saved everyone the trouble and Googled "matchbox PC" before my last post.

Lunchbox PCDEC 16

Sean scoffed at my previous post about the briefcase PC and sends word of the lunchbox PC. I imagine I'll get an email about a matchbox PC tomorrow.

Briefcase PCDEC 15

I have enough trouble putting hard drives in normal drive bays, but these guys made a working PC in a briefcase.

Rising Up and Rising Down by William T. VollmannDEC 15

I went to a Dave Eggers reading/signing a few weeks back and he told us about a forthcoming book from McSweeney's by William T. Vollmann called Rising Up and Rising Down. The book clocks in at a daunting 3,500 pages spread out over 6 volumes and chronicles the history of human violence. The length of the book guarantees I'll never read it, but I love that meticulous labors of love like this are able to get published. The completeness offered (I would assume) by a book like Rising Up and Rising Down is rarely seen these days.

() by Sigur RosDEC 13

Sigur Ros' new album is untitled (the title is generally denoted as ()...a reviewer on Amazon called it "Two Sausages Kissing") and so are all the songs on it. I adored Agaetis Byrjun, their last album, but I'm still warming up to this new one. And since everything about the album, save for the music, is untitled or non-existent, the group invites you to their Web site to upload your own song lyrics and cover art.

Things that are fastDEC 10

Dancing, cupstacking, Tetris, and Rubik's Cube. I'm amazed by people who can move effortlessly quick, almost with elegance. There's something robotic about it -- a human doing a machine's job of precise, repetitive movements -- but there's also some human pride there, that people have the discipline and ability to do such things. (via overstated and vitaflo)

A slight twist of eventsDEC 10

I missed out on observing World AIDS Day on December 1st because I was traveling. Better late than never. While catching up on some of my favorite sites, I read the following on Melanie's site about her stepbrother:

"Although he was considered part of a high-risk group, HIV is host agnostic. With just a slight twist of events, the virus could have first found its way into the straight communities of North America."

One of the pivotal events in the spread of AIDS, at least in the US, was the activity of "Patient Zero"**, Gaetan Dugas. Dugas was a Canadian flight attendant who was among the first few people to bring AIDS to the US. What made him significant was his international travel and the large number of sexual encounters he had, about 250 per year according to his own accounts. Several early cases of AIDS were attributed to him, either directly or indirectly. It also happened that Dugas was homosexual, and due to the way that networks function, the gay men that he had sex with had sex with other gay men and so on until many people were infected. If Dugas had been straight and promiscuous, it might have been a "straight disease" instead.***

** After doing a little digging, there's some contention as to whether there was a Patient Zero. Hmm....

*** It's a little more complicated than this since the spread of diseases depend on many factors. For example, it would be interesting to know if there is any difference in the promiscuity of the partners of promiscuous homosexuals compared to that of promiscuous straight heterosexuals. That is, are the people that promiscuous heterosexuals sleep with more or less likely to spread the disease through their own promiscuity than the partners of promiscuous homosexuals?

Also, since Dugas was a homosexual, he probably got it from another homosexual who got it from another homosexual, etc. By the time it got to Dugas, AIDS was probably already established in the gay community; he just accelerated its progress.

Being William ShatnerDEC 10

Admit it, you've always wanted to watch William Shatner play paintball (mpg sample). On pay-per-view and DVD. I can't figure out if this is completely non-ironic or the most ironic thing ever. He knows that we know that he knows that we know that he knows we're on to him, doesn't he?

Giving the gift of equity this holiday seasonDEC 09

Oneshare.com sells single shares of stock as novelties and gifts, taking a fat commission ($39/share) in the process. Some popular shares are Krispy Kreme, Apple, and McDonald's. If you'd rather buy stock that's worth nothing, there's always dot com stock certificates (eToys, WebVan, go.com, collect them all!).

Nudist in aisle 6DEC 09

While at Amazon just now, I noticed this curious recommendation related to one of their products:

Customers who wear clothes also shop for:
· Clean Underwear from Amazon's Target Store
· Ladybug Rain Boots from Amazon's Nordstrom Store
· Arm Warmers from Amazon's Urban Outfitters Store
· Cheetah Print Slippers from Amazon's Old Navy Store

No word on what naked customers shop for.

Starstruck by Gary BoasDEC 09

I ran across a great book in Paris called Starstruck (buy @ Amazon):

In 1999, on a visit to Boas's home in Lancaster, the editors of Dilettante Press discovered rows of meticulously assembled scrapbooks lining the sagging bookshelves of Boas's bedroom. The albums revealed a vast personal archive of over 50,000 images of famous people. This discovery resulted in an internationally acclaimed photo exhibition and the book, Starstruck: Photographs from a Fan.

The photos in the book are mesmerizing, especially the older ones that offer a look at celebrity that you just don't see much of anymore. I literally could not put it down.

Gel Conference 2003DEC 06

Put on by the Good Experience folks (aka Mark Hurst), Good Experience Live looks like a fun one-day conference in NYC, featuring a host of good speakers like Stewart Butterfield, Sam Brown, and Richard Saul Wurman. The early bird rate is only $395 through Dec 12th. They also have a generous referral program.

Pie-eating contestDEC 06

As a follow-up to my post about the incomprehensibility of the game of cricket, several readers pointed me to Kevin Guilfoile's excellent How to Explain the Rules of Cricket. It begins:

"You know the big tent at the east end of the county fairgrounds? Next to the show barn? Imagine it's an oval filled with 90,000 Pakistanis who love to watch pie-eating -- who love pie-eating more than soccer -- even though it seems to the rest of us that eating pie would be a fairly unpleasant reminder of British Colonialism."

And it goes from there. If you're into reading, the above is also available as part of The Manual.

Racism alive and well in the UnionDEC 05

In the past two days, in dealings with a cab driver and the cable guy, both non-Caucasian (and non-black), I've heard a diatribe beginning with "those niggers, man..." and accusations of a wrong cable in the kit because "those blacks" aren't doing their jobs.

Snow!DEC 05

It's snowing in NYC. This is the first time since spring of 2000 in Minneapolis that I've woken up to snow. Despite the cold weather, it's nice. I've always felt if I could have winter with only snow and no cold, that would be a pleasant winter indeed.

iBook all betterDEC 04

A trip to the SoHo Apple store, a visit to the Genius Bar, and my once-ailing iBook is all better (new battery). Lots of people seemed to be in there with power problems (2 iPods and a TiBook). I've heard rumblings of problems with Apple's batteries...not a good thing for me (or them).

Wanted: temporary Manhattan office spaceDEC 03

Thanks to everyone who wrote in with offers of help. I'm currently occupying a lovely bit of desk courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press. Thanks Kevin. :)

As of this writing, due to a bit of bad timing on the part of our moving company and bad luck on our part, everything we own (hereafter referred to as "our stuff") is still in San Francisco. As such, for the next two weeks I'm left with work to do and no desk on which to do it. What I'm looking for is some generous soul who works somewhere in Mahattan (the closer to the West Village the better) with a bit of desk space, a chair, a power outlet, and Internet access (either wireless or an Ethernet jack) for the next two weeks. You won't even know I'm there...unless you need some witty banter at the lunchtable, in which case I will try to oblige. Email me at jason@kottke.org if you can help.

ps. If this office comes with a job doing Web development, even better. I'd point you to my portfolio but, as bad luck would have it, the files I need to complete it are still in SF. Blech.

Dear resident of the West Village,DEC 02

Thank you for the free wireless access that is streaming in through our bedroom window. It is very helpful while we wait for our cable modem.



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