Entries for October 1999 (November 1999 »    December 1999 »    January 2000 »    Archives)


Hey, let's steal Amazon's lookOCT 31

Hey, let's steal Amazon's look and feel....but change it a little.

Another Amazon ripoff.

Is Barnes & Noble ripping off Amazon as well?

David Hudson has a pieceOCT 30

David Hudson has a piece about Epinions on Spiegel Online; I'm quoted about halfway down. It's in German, so I ran it through Babelfish:

"It neither excessively costs much time nor trouble to write 75 words over something which I do not know at all. In the college I made that constantly. 300 Epinions, presupposed them are well platziert, could bring a welcome revitalization of my petty cash for few expenditure with itself, completely apart from the value of the experiment."

I guess that's more or less what I said. Here's the readable English version over at PeterMe.

Speaking of Epinions, I watched The Mummy this afternoon. Boy, did that ever suck.

An Epinion of one of my favorite childhood books: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

Come play with Jason's newOCT 30

Come play with Jason's new voicemail toy. Call 1.877.218.0260 x358 (that's toll-free, kids) to listen to my goofy voice telling you to leave a message. So call in and leave me a message...naughty messages are encouraged. ;) Free voicemail account courtesy of uReach.com.

Coming soon: sippey.com, an experimentOCT 30

Coming soon: sippey.com, an experiment in ordinary household technology.

Looks like IDG is onOCT 29

Looks like IDG is on the warpath. They've sent an almost identical letter to the proprietor of a Linux user's mailing list about the use of the "...for Dummies" phrase in an email. An email. Sheesh.

Ass-kissing! ;) Uh-oh, Jason's inOCT 28

Ass-kissing! ;)

Uh-oh, Jason's in trouble again. It seems that the folks at IDG Books have finally found Suck for Dummies, a parody I did three years ago about Suck and the ...for Dummies® book series. They sent me a very nice letter asking me to "remove the trademarked material from your web site". I buckled on Simply Porn....I don't think I'm going to let that happen again.

Perhaps I should mix memes and do "Porn for Dummies". Now that's something worth writing a letter about.

How to buy DVDs online.OCT 27

How to buy DVDs online.

OK, this is the officialOCT 27

OK, this is the official Web site for Being John Malkovich, but this appears to be somewhat related as well.

Matthew McConaughey gets arrested whilstOCT 27

Matthew McConaughey gets arrested whilst nude, drunk, high, playing the bongos, and in the company of a clapping, dancing man. I can't make this stuff up, folks.

New Epinion: a story aboutOCT 27

New Epinion: a story about how my Palm V saved my life....or at least 5 or 6 minutes of it.

I just unsubscribed from aOCT 27

I just unsubscribed from a mailing list I've been on for quite a while. It isn't a Web design list or just anything like that....it's a list full of friends, people I am close to, share stories with, and have lots in common with. I feel strange having done it, even though I am no less of a friend to each individual as I was before. It just feels like I broke up with someone.

Familiarity and the Old Days™OCT 26

Familiarity and the Old Days™ have been on my mind lately. I've got lots more to say on this subject, but for now, here's my Epinion of Surrender, the new Chemical Brothers album. The music on this album sounded so familiar the first time I heard it...moreso than any other new music I've heard. Weird.

Concerning HTML smudging: there's noOCT 25

Concerning HTML smudging: there's no excuse for crappy coding, but I'm thinking that code shortcuts could help matters rather than hinder. One of the things people try to do when delivering media over a network is to minimize the amount of media being sent (to minimize overall network traffic) by compressing it and then using the computing power of the client to render or decompress it (examples: Flash, Zip files, GIFs, JPEGs, etc.). In the same way, you could leave the quotes off of your tag attributes and not close your tables, resulting in a page that would download faster but take a little longer for the client machine to render.

Tip of the day: ifOCT 25

Tip of the day: if you think you know how to spell a word that is not in the dictionary (like "Spielberg" or "Tschischold") but aren't sure, do a Google search for it. If you initially misspelled it, you can usually hit the correct spelling in a jiffy with a little trial and error.

A couple of gents engagingOCT 25

A couple of gents engaging in a contest to see who can get a bit o' the nookie first.

Oh great day in theOCT 25

Oh great day in the morning. Keith Dawson of TBTF has started weblogging. Sweet!

Neat sidebar linking system here.OCT 24

Neat sidebar linking system here.

Another new Epinion: this oneOCT 24

Another new Epinion: this one is about my chair at work (one of those Herman Miller Aerons). And the Herman Miller site is one of the few corporate sites that don't make me want to retch. Bravo.

I saw Bringing Out theOCT 24

I saw Bringing Out the Dead last night. This film has little or no plot, but is still pretty good. If you need structure in your movie, don't go, but otherwise you should check it out at some point.

My stupid ISP's mail serverOCT 23

My stupid ISP's mail server has been a little flaky the last couple of days, so if you sent me any mail during that period, I might or might not have received it.

Another online IQ test. IOCT 23

Another online IQ test. I scored a 147 this time, down from the previous test. Not bad, considering one of the sections was in Czech.

I still really like thisOCT 22

I still really like this picture: Nerdspotting. I'm Sickboy, second from the right.

I know no one caresOCT 22

I know no one cares anymore, but what is up with Cool Site of the Day? It just gets uglier and uglier and uglier and....

A really nifty Java appletOCT 22

A really nifty Java applet dealing with facial features. If you're on IE, try this one instead.

An interview of Chank andOCT 22

An interview of Chank and Spunk that was aired on the local Mpls. PBS station.

I am now more trustedOCT 22

I am now more trusted over at Epinions than Po Bronson, someone who actually get paid for writing books and magazine articles. Odd.

Ariana posts an Epinions parody:OCT 21

Ariana posts an Epinions parody: Top > People > Teachers > 2nd Grade > Mrs. Allen. Nice.

Interesting article on how theOCT 21

Interesting article on how the inventor of the original Palm Pilot did his own preliminary usablity studies on handheld computing using a block of wood. "If I wanted to check the calendar I'd take it out and press the wooden button."

New issue of the FrayOCT 21

New issue of the Fray is up. One of the very best issues I've read.

Webloggers + Epinions = anOCT 21

Webloggers + Epinions = an article entitled "A Penny for Your 'pinion" on the Atlantic Monthly Web site. Kottke.org is mentioned, and I have a small quote at the end. "Look Ma, I'm a professional writer." Heh.

What if Slashdot (or otherOCT 20

What if Slashdot (or other online communities...Usenet for example) instituted something like Epinions Web of Trust system? Instead of having to read through everything, a user could just read stuff posted by people they trust...and by people that those people trust. A Six Degreed, Epinioned Slashdot. Actually, if Deja were to implement something similar, Usenet might become almost, well, Usable(net).

I am Jack's sense ofOCT 20

I am Jack's sense of burning rage. Elizabeth Dole has dropped out of the 2000 Presidental race, citing a lack of funds in comparison to George W. Bush. This follows a similar announcement by Dan Qualye a couple of weeks ago. And Pat Buchanan is going to jump to the Reform Party, not because he believes in what the party stands for, but because he stands a much better chance of being on the ballot (and hence, winning) come November. It's all about the money and winning, packaged in an eggshell-thin concern for the well-being of America and her constituents. Politics make me want to puke.

Watched The Shining over theOCT 19

Watched The Shining over the weekend. I love the scenes where they are following the kid around on his Big Wheel. I wish they made an adult Big Wheel.

OK, this is greatOCT 19

Mmmm....Big Kahuna Burger

OK, this is great stuff. Drop what you're doing and go check out these Pulp Fiction drawings done by The Simpsons animators. I laughed until I cried. And then I laughed some more. (from Metafilter)

Is it just me, orOCT 18

Is it just me, or are the .com companies starting to sound like the sound effects from the old Batman series? Oingo! Google! Yahoo! Gazooba! Ask Jeeves! Well, maybe not that last one.

Turns out I wasn't seeingOCT 18

Turns out I wasn't seeing things. Several other people reported seeing subliminal images cut into Fight Club...most likely Tyler Durton. Tim wrote with actual confirmation from someone that worked on the movie that there were five or six subliminal interstitials thrown into the film.

Numbers are neat...where you mayOCT 17

Numbers are neat...where you may see God, I see mathematics and physics. Whilst reading Fermat's Last Theorem : Unlocking the Secret of an Ancient Mathematical Problem this weekend, I came across my old friend, the Fibonacci sequence. The sequence begins thusly: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34,... and so on, ad infinitum. Each number in the sequence is the sum of the previous two numbers.

But while they may not look special, the Fibonacci numbers have some really unique properties. For instance, as the sequence progresses, the ratio of two successive numbers in the Fibonacci sequence moves towards a special number in mathematics called the Golden Section. Exercise: divide one by the the Golden Section (approximately equal to 1.6180339887) on your computer's calculator and see what you get. Neat, huh?

The Fibonacci numbers also show up in nature. Leaves on branches are separated by distances that correspond to the numbers in the Fibonacci sequence. In many flowers, the number of petals are Fibonacci numbers (black-eyed susans have 21 petals). Why does nature follow the sequence so precisely? It's that pesky Golden Section again and how it relates to the packing of seeds in plants.

Most of the links above go to the excellent Fibonacci Numbers and the Golden Section Web site. Wow, talk about comprehensive. Warning...if you are at all interested in mathematics, you'll be lost at this site *for hours*.

Also, for the more adventurous folks out there, here's all the nasty mathematics of the Fibonacci sequence.

Note to Mouser, if you're listening...isn't 1/the Golden Section ((sqrt of 5 - 1)/2) equal to the packing fraction for spheres (or circles?) that we used when working with glasses? Weird.

I am not a prettyOCT 17

I am not a pretty boy.

My computer at home isOCT 16

My computer at home is a 200 MHz Pentium Pro with 128 Megs of RAM. It's almost three years old. Time to upgrade, right? Not really. It's still chugging along, doing what I want it to do. Sure, it's a bit slower than my 550 MHz PIII at work, but it's not that much slower. Photoshop runs just fine and I can use multiple apps at the same time without a problem. The reason I don't have to upgrade is that the requirements of today's software (excluding games) has not kept pace with the hardware....why do I need today's speed and power when yesterday's cheaper speed and power is more than sufficient.

I saw Fight Club (myOCT 16

I saw Fight Club (my Epinion) last night. To those that have seen it: you of course noticed the last frame of the movie....very nice. But, did you notice the same thing happen earlier in the movie? I can't say for sure, but I swear I saw it about 20 minutes into the film. Anyone?

More new Epinions...all music: Daft Punk's Homework, The Orb's Orblivion, and mu-ziq's new Royal Astronomy. All three are really good. The latter is a recent purchase (from Amazon) and while experimental, is quite good.

New Epinion: album review ofOCT 15

New Epinion: album review of Orblivion by the Orb (more info at Amazon). Gist: one of my favorite albums.

Is it useful to useOCT 15

Is it useful to use large, obscure words when smaller, more well-known words will do? I agree that we can all use a little vocabulary workout from time to time, but when does one cross the line between creative a vocabulary and just plain showing off? If the meaning of your communication is hidden from the user (unless they have a dictionary handy), then why bother saying anything at all? Consider the user's needs.

Be like the cool designOCT 14

Be like the cool design kids with the lorem ipsum text.

A story on GettingIt aboutOCT 14

A story on GettingIt about hacking polls. Contrary to what the article says, Time is not checking for multiple votes on their poll. And I'm happy to report that despite the fact that my cheater scripts aren't running, I'm still beating Bill Gates.

A new look for Webmonkey.OCT 14

A new look for Webmonkey. It's nice and simple...but the old Hotwired design aesthetic appears to be dead. Is that good or bad?

Remember, you can modify howOCT 14

Remember, you can modify how this site looks. Fun for the entire family!

Take a walk in theOCT 14

Take a walk in the Interface Hall of Shame. I couldn't agree more with their comments about Quicktime 4. Gah.

Like Slashdot, only not. TheOCT 14

Like Slashdot, only not. The design is a little cleaner, though.

"Between July 1997-February 1998, 40OCT 14

"Between July 1997-February 1998, 40 disposable cameras were given to homeless people in Budapest. Each participant was asked to take pictures of whatever they felt to be interesting or important in their everyday experience and later interviewed about the results.

A Little Czech Primer. LearnOCT 12

A Little Czech Primer. Learn Czech, one picture at a time. Nifty!

Trekkies is coming out onOCT 12

Trekkies is coming out on DVD November 9th. I'd write a review of the film for Epinions, but they don't have it listed. One of the big faults with Epinions is the lack of diversity in items to review. Eventually, this will have to change as they saturate the broader market and look to niche items to expand their influence.

More MN.web: Inkblot.OCT 12

More MN.web: Inkblot.

kottke.org is redesigned. Love it?OCT 11

kottke.org is redesigned. Love it? Hate it? Feedback! A few thoughts:

You can now modify the look and feel of this site. Currently, there are three interfaces to choose from (the default one you are seeing right now, a text-only one, and the original kottke.org interface) with more to come.

I took out the "fun meter". Nobody knew what it was, and I was tired of updating it anyway.

There really isn't any new content per se, but I added a few sections to the main nav and organized things a little bit.

0sil8 is new as well, but it just points right back here. However, I think it's worth the trip just to play with the neat little JavaScript flippy thing.

New Epinion: my review ofOCT 09

New Epinion: my review of the 2000 VW Jetta. Short version: this car is smart and sexy.

I reviewed The Sixth Sense as well.

Bump: "No single computer platformOCT 08

Bump: "No single computer platform is well developed and robust enough at this point that I would be proud to defend it with the emotional vigor that I see on the net every day." Amen, brother.

Like Cam, I'm going toOCT 08

Like Cam, I'm going to start writing more Epinions. However, I'm going to try to make them as short as I can so that: a) people can quickly digest the epinion without having read a novel-length tome; and b) I don't have to spend every waking hour writing reviews of stuff.

I saw Three Kings last night. Read my review on Epinions (short version: I liked it).

Except for a couple ofOCT 08

Except for a couple of gaps, casting for The Fellowship of the Ring is done.

The first Web site.OCT 07

The first Web site.

What would happen to theOCT 07

What would happen to the Internet economy (e-conomy?) if San Francisco were hit by a major earthquake? Last time a biggie struck (in 88 or 89, I think), the phone system there was all goofed up for days, the power was out, the whole magilla. I would assume that all the big kids (Yahoo!, eBay, etc.) have mirror sites around the globe and would not be affected too much, but what about all the smaller sites...not to mention the purchasing power of the Bay Area being offline for a few days?

A new(-ish) weblog by Leonard,OCT 07

A new(-ish) weblog by Leonard, just the way I like them: not too deep, but not too shallow.

I'm once again cheating onOCT 06

I'm once again cheating on the Time Digital 50 Poll. #2 and climbing.

New issue of Tasty BitsOCT 06

New issue of Tasty Bits from the Technology Front.

Forbes has a nice featureOCT 05

Forbes has a nice feature on Google. Fluffy, but nice.

More cheatingOCT 05

Through hard work, patience, and a lot of cheating (thanks Jesse), I've worked my way up to #1 on the Time Digital 50 Poll. Two questions: how much longer is Time Digital going to let this foolishness go on, and how long is it going to be before Slashdot gets ahold of this and propels Linus (or CmdrTaco) to the top of the list?

Well, it looks like someone over at Time Digital finally looked at the results of their poll and is trying to do something about it. They've reset it and fixed the HTML posting problem, but they haven't fixed the multiple votes per person problem. So, vote away! As many times as you want!

Some reader feedback: "Your siteOCT 04

Some reader feedback: "Your site sucks. You're the dumbest fuckin' poser I've ever heard of. Go kill yourself." Ahhh...that makes it all worthwhile, doesn't it?

Phil Greenspun visits Minnesota. OtherOCT 04

Phil Greenspun visits Minnesota. Other travelogues are also available on his Web site.

I'm now the proud ownerOCT 04

I'm now the proud owner (at least for 3 years) of a 1900 Volkswagen Jetta...if you believe the temporary license stuck to the back window. A bit of a Y2K problem at the dealership. But I absolutely love the car....it's black and even has a six-disc CD changer in the trunk. Happiness is good music on demand. According to my roommate, I'm now offically backslash dot com all day long.

Coming soon from the FoxOCT 04

Coming soon from the Fox Network: a retrospective of World Wars 1 and 2 called "When Germans Attack".

I'm normally not a bigOCT 04

I'm normally not a big fan of the whole birthday/Christmas/holiday gift giving process (precisely because it is a process), but I got one of the neatest gifts ever from my Mom. She found my old copy of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (one of my favorite books as a kid) in a box in the garage, wrapped it up, and gave it to me. It was just what I wanted.

Tons of stuff going on,OCT 04

Tons of stuff going on, sorry for the lack of updates.

Time Digital 50 cheatingOCT 02

OK people, the time for swift action has come. Lance Arthur is #1 on Time Digital's Digital 50 Poll. Jason Kottke is stuck at 8th. You need to vote for me. Vote more than once if you'd like. That is all.

And remember, a vote for Jason is a vote for yourself.

openlog now looks like theOCT 01

openlog now looks like the Microsoft site. For those who don't know, openlog is a collaborative weblog dealie that anyone can edit.

A listing of the 100OCT 01

A listing of the 100 bottom films on Internet Movie Database. Space Mutiny, a movie I've never heard of, tops the list. The trivia notes for this movie say that "all space-battle footage [in the movie] is from the TV series 'Battlestar Galactica'". Hee hee. Surprisingly, I've not seen any of the "films" on this list.

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