Entries for September 2001 (October 2001 »    November 2001 »    December 2001 »    Archives)


The learning process continues. Having

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 30, 2001

The learning process continues. Having mastered Linux well enough to boot my machine up and erase all the data on it, I'm muddling around with XML and Perl. Because both Perl and XML are so flexible, it's hard to get a handle on exactly how to approach the problem. Do I write my own parser? If not, which of the dozens of Perl modules should I be using to manipulate my XML files. Why does there seem to be so little information out there on Perl and XML (the PerlXML site seems to have been down for more than 2 years now)? Is XSL templating far enough along that I can use it effectively? Should I really be messing around with this stuff when I don't even know my way around regular expressions yet? So many questions and so much reading to do.

Ah, screw all that. It's so nice out today, I'm going to head down to the park to read. Perl and XML can wait for a foggy day.

I attended a BBQ last

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 28, 2001

I attended a BBQ last weekend. Now where I come from, BBQ means meat...lots of meat. In SF, BBQ typically means lots of vegetables, tofu, and various other soy-derived foods. Meat eaters are looked upon with disdain as unhealthy, uncivilized, and as contaminating the unmeatlessness of the grilling area. For some reason, this particular SF BBQ had very few veggie items but meat-o-plenty, more than enough steaks, sausages, and hot dogs to go around. If it wasn't for the hills and the fog on the drive home, I might have thought I was once again nestled in meaty bosom of the Midwest.

MeatBot loves you.

Fun facts about the number

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 27, 2001

Fun facts about the number 28:

- 28 is a perfect number.

- There are 28 digits in one cubit.

- It takes the Moon a little less than 28 Earth days to orbit around the Earth. The lunar day is also a little less than 28 Earth days.

- A 28-sided polygon is called an icosikaioctagon.

- February usually has 28 days.

- 28 is a triangle number.

- The string 28 was found at position 33 counting from the first digit after the decimal point in pi.

- XXVIII, 11100, 34, and 1C are all different ways of expressing the number 28.

- The color corresponding to the hexadecimal value of #282828 is          . The color corresponding to the hexadecimal value of #1C1C1C (hex for RGB values of 28,28,28) is          .

- Also, some funny-lookin' cranky dork is 28 years old today.

I've never really appreciated my birthday all that much...just any other day really. This year it seems to mean a bit more. I'm glad to hear from friends and family, appreciate their thoughts, and happy that they are alive and well.

New book: Beautiful Evidence

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 26, 2001

Edward Tufte (author of three excellent books on information design) is working on a new book on cognitive art entitled "Beautiful Evidence". Here are some copious notes from one of Tufte's one day courses (upcoming schedule). There's a really good bit at the end on his "principles for making presentations"...I'll need that advice right around 8:30 this morning.

Hello Seybold attendees. While this

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 26, 2001

Hello Seybold attendees. While this morning's panel is going on, Robert Scoble will be in the audience documenting it in real-time on the Seybold Live page. A full transcript of the panel will be available for both attendees and non-attendees after the panel is finished.

Michael Jordan is back in

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 25, 2001

Michael Jordan is back in the NBA. I am both disappointed and intrigued.

I've compiled a list of

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 25, 2001

I've compiled a list of links of the coverage and analysis of the online coverage of the Current Situation.

Paul turned me on to

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 25, 2001

Paul turned me on to the music of Moog Cookbook, a band that does song covers using Moog synthesizers. The result is something like listening to rock music on an Atari 2600. Basket Case, a Green Day tune, is one of my favorites...the Moog version is so upbeat and reminds me vaguely of the Greatest American hero theme song. See also: Dictionaraoke.

I'm going to be speaking

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 24, 2001

I'm going to be speaking on a panel at Seybold this Wednesday entitled Target America: How Publishers & Their Production Teams Fared in Covering the Tragedies in New York and Washington (more info here). I'll be talking about my experience covering the tragedy for kottke.org, the small independent media angle if you will. If you're in the Bay Area and would like to come, it starts at 8:30 am on Wed, will last about an hour and a half, and it's free with this pass.

Oh, there's also a discussion list for this panel at Yahoo! Groups. If you have any ideas or experiences you'd like to share with the panelists or fellow list members, that's the place to go.

This is interesting. The folks

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 23, 2001

This is interesting. The folks over at UnBlinking have been using the Web (online phone books, Google cache, &c.) to track down information about the companies that had offices in the World Trade Center. They've come up with a more complete list than any of the mainstream media outlets. It's a bit sobering to scroll through the entire list and realize that entire companies, along with many people working at those companies, are completely gone.

Here's an updated version of

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 22, 2001

Here's an updated version of the article I pointed to yesterday about the Arab-American men getting kicked off of a NWA flight out of Minneapolis. Word is now there was a security concern on the part of the NWA employees on the plane...not necessarily a passenger uprising (as the men claimed). Hopefully the Strib will stay with this story and get it right.

Why is it so hard

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 22, 2001

Why is it so hard for me to subscribe to a Yahoo! Groups group with my own personal email address? It *really* shouldn't be this hard. So annoying.

Remember that report of the

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 21, 2001

Remember that report of the 8 (or 13, depending on what report you read) people being detained in NY soon after flights resumed due of a variety of suspicious activities? Turned out the whole thing was a load of crap, blown out of proportion by both the federal authorities and the media. Here's a selection of an email from a relative of one of the "two men and a woman [removed] for questioning" from a JFK flight describing the situation (here's the entire description, including an email from one of the 3 detainees):

But three of the others were:

- My son, VP and CFO of a $3 Billion company on the west coast

- An American female employee on this business trip with him (as WASP as you can get)

- An Indian National who had just flown in from Hong Kong and immediately fell asleep on the plane.

After they boarded the plane and sat in their seats a swat team stormed the plane with guns and took the three off the plane very roughly after handcuffing them. They were then put in separate detention cells and submitted to intensive interrogation before being released. Their crime: The business executive has an Arab name (he has been in the US since the age of 8 and has gone through the US education system from elementary to grad school) His only problem was his Arabic name. The lady: just because she was traveling with him. The Indian, probably because he is dark skinned and woke up in a panic when seeing the guns and stated screaming at the top of his voice, probably thinking he was being high jacked. He was slapped in the face and treated more roughly than the others because of his reaction.

My son was interviewed by the Today show and they promised to air it. It was suppressed and only the story of detaining "suspicious individual" was aired.

Except for a small article here and there, there has been no further mention or investigation about this matter...everyone seems to have just forgotten about it. What worries me about this is that the media is supposed to be following up on stuff like this. They need to be asking the gov't questions on behalf of the American public about why this happened. But most of all, they need to apologize loudly for allowing the coverage of it to get so out of hand. If the gov't is allowed to wildly accuse people of things they didn't do in the name of heightened security and the media isn't going to call them on it (and instead do pretty much the opposite and participate willingly), we might as well all grab our ankles and kiss our personal freedoms goodbye because the terrorists have already won.

This is also somewhat sickening: Arab-Americans kicked off NWA flight. The passengers on that plane should be ashamed of themselves. I hope they look back on that day with a lot of sadness and regret at having made asses out of themselves and caused their fellow citizens pain and discomfort. Not America's finest moment, to be sure.

"OK Computer" and "1984" Comparison

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 20, 2001

"OK Computer" and "1984" Comparison Thesis: "The whole of [Karma Police] could be a conversation describing the turning-in of a citizen by a spy to the Thought Police for behavior that is a little out of the ordinary. i.e. The first two phrases are the spy speaking. Then an agent of the Thought Police speaks 'This is what you get when you mess with us...'. The victim is tortured when passivity is forced into them and cries out 'I've given all I can it's not enough'. The T.P speak again, then the victim is 'cured' and says 'Phew, for a minute there I lost myself'".

Stim was a Suck.com-esque site

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 20, 2001

Stim was a Suck.com-esque site that shut down almost 3 or 4 years ago now. It appears that the site is back...somehow.

The Infinite Jest Vocabulary Glossary,

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 20, 2001

The Infinite Jest Vocabulary Glossary, found via a Google search for "howling fantods".

Harold and Maude and The

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 20, 2001

Harold and Maude and The Dish are both worth checking out, especially The Dish.

Two notes regarding the 2002

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 19, 2001

Two notes regarding the 2002 SXSW Interactive Festival:

- The deadline for early registration is September 21. The price is only $150 for an Interactive Festival Badge, entitling you to three full days of speakers, roundtables, and keynotes about interactive media. There is no better value in Conference Land.

- Submissions are being accepted for the 2002 SXSW Website Competition. If you or your company built or redesigned a site in 2001, you should consider entering. It's only $10/site for individuals/freelancers/non-profits/educationals and $20/site for businesses.

Phoons put a smile on

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 19, 2001

Phoons put a smile on my face this morning. Just a bunch of people posing for pictures as though caught in mid-sprint. This Father Serra one is a favorite.

Not finding a lot to

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 18, 2001

Not finding a lot to write about these days. The enormity of the Current Situation (a term I borrowed from Cory Doctorow that I really like...it's concise and doesn't involve terms like "attack" and "war") is starting to weigh on my ability to sort through things in order to write down sentences and paragraphs that actually make sense without having to say, "well, you know what I mean". Because you probably won't.

Getting away from the Current

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 16, 2001

Getting away from the Current Situation and just trying to return to some sort of normalcy is difficult these days. Flight cancellations, plans postponed, television still dominated by the news coverage, events cancelled, newspapers and Web sites (including this one) still full of news/commentary, &c. Yesterday, in an attempt to escape from all that, I went to 2001 Extreme: An Arcade Odyssey. $25 for all the vintage arcade and pinball games I could play. Dig Dug, Burgertime, Defender, Asteroids, Star Wars, Donkey Kong, they were all there. They even had a Bubble Bobble machine, one of my all-time favorites. Good, clean, dorky fun.

Luke alerted me to an

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 16, 2001

Luke alerted me to an extremely relevant Suck.com article called Them Against Fire written by Chris Bray after last year's bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. Here's a snippet:

"If you're looking for the clear act of cowardice around the bombing of the Cole, then, look to the effort to describe it to the countrymen of the murdered sailors. To suggest that an organized attack, brought off skillfully by members of what must be an extraordinarily cohesive organization, represents nothing more than some simpering spasm of pathetic hatred is to carefully miss the very large, very unpleasant point: People who destroy human life in this precise manner are not alone, and not disorganized, and very much not finished."

Do yourself a favor and read the rest of it.

If you're in the Bay

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 14, 2001

If you're in the Bay Area this evening, a group of people are planning to meet up for some remembrance in the AIDS Grove in Golden Gate Park at 5:30 pm. Here's a map of Golden Gate Park detailing the location of the AIDS Grove.

A variety of articles related to the Current Situation that are worth reading, for one reason or another:

- Make it green by Roger Ebert
- Education of a Holy Warrior, NY Times Magazine 6/2000
- Hunting Bin Laden, Frontline report
- World War III, NY Times
- When will we learn by Harry Browne
- ...not even in the USA can you have your cake and eat it too... by Sean Hartigan
- They can't see why they are hated, Guardian Unlimited
- Death, Downtown by Michael Moore
- Life Going On by Dan Gillmor
- The Blame Game, The Economist
- Osama Bin Laden documents from The Smoking Gun
- America's Place in the World, The Economist
- Terror in America by Robert Fisk
- The lesson of history: Afghanistan always beats its invaders by Robert Fisk
- *DO* worry about us. And, more to the point, U.S. by John Perry Barlow

I'm not necessarily endorsing any of the viewpoints expressed in the above articles, but - along with all of the coverage on TV and in the newspapers - they are definitely part of our collective education about this situation we find ourselves in.

I want to expand slightly on my statement of three days ago that "this is a human issue, not an American, democracy, or a freedom issue". It's not that America is the center of the world and, by extension, any problem that America has, the rest of the world has too. Certainly not. These terrorist actions are part of something larger than an "Attack on America"...that's just too simplistic.

As a planet, we're trying to deal with the consequences of the Cold War, living in a single superpower world, and the dramatically increased power of the small group & individual, as well as the age old problems of wealth, poverty, oppression, freedom, religious differences, and just plain getting enough food to eat for the people of your tribe without ruining things for the generation to come.

the good earthWhen you look closely at the various peoples of the world, we have many more similarities to each other than differences. We're all dealing with the same problems, just from different perspectives. I just keep coming back to this photo of the earth rising over the moon taken by the Apollo 11 astronauts. Looking at that photo, the earth seems so small and fragile, like a soap bubble in the empty black of space, and I can't help thinking that we're all in this together, Americans, Afghanis, Saudi Arabians, New Yorkers, Australians, Israelis, blacks, whites, Asians, men, women, Moslems, Christians, atheists, Jews, etc., etc., etc.

Paul Nixon is collecting information

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 13, 2001

Paul Nixon is collecting information graphics related to the bombings to help people visually understand what happened. This one by Time and this one by ABCNews, both showing the flight plans of the planes, are particularly helpful.

A good starter guide to Arabs and Arab Americans. It's simplistic and doesn't dig too deep, but tries to dispell several stereotypes that Americans tend to have about those of Middle Eastern decent. A good platform for further research.

I wonder if The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson episode of The Simpsons will still be as funny as it used to be.

I'm very apprehensive about what the US response will be to the bombings, given that responses made in haste, without thinking, under duress, and with much nationalistic/religious/morally-righteous fervor are not always the best responses. After being stung by a hornet, you might want to go smack the nest with a big stick, but all that gets you is more hornet stings. Whatever we do, I sincerely hope we do not cause more innocent civilians to be killed unnecessarily as this grossly irresponsible "journalist" has suggested we do.

Some of the very best coverage of the WTC disaster is on the World New York site. Top shelf stuff, as good as any of the professional TV and newspaper coverage.

If you have the means,

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 12, 2001

If you have the means, you might consider donating to the Red Cross or Salvation Army, which you may do online by several methods: via Amazon, via PayPal, via the Red Cross site, via the Salvation Army site, via Yahoo PayDirect.

And don't forget to donate blood in the next few days if you can, even if you don't live on the east coast.

I'm still updating the links I posted yesterday (scroll down to yesterday's entry). Most of them are eyewitness accounts of people who were present at the sites of the terrorist actions, many include photos. This is the stuff you're not seeing on the news, thoughts and images from real people from the scenes as it happened, a more human take than all the analysis and politics on the television. Even though the News Web Sites Could Not Compete With TV, the Personal Web certainly shined. If you've got a personal site or if you're a reporter at a network or newspaper, consider using these links in your coverage rather than more analysis from talking heads.

Satellite photos of Manhattan: before the attack & after the attack. (Ground level before and after)

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE people, think before you speak. Don't frighten your fellow men and women even more than they already are...what about if someone said that kind of crap to you? Jish, you're welcome to come over to my house and have something to eat (we've got brownies!).

A news/information include has been set up...you can see it in action at the top right corner of this page. You can include this mini news feed on your site by following the directions on this page.

An excellent multimedia display of what exactly happened with the planes and such. Wow.

September 11th photos and eyewitness accounts of the WTC and Pentagon bombings

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 11, 2001

Note: Many of these links are broken. One of these days, I'm going to clean them up as much as I can. -jkottke, 5/27/02

Some reports from the scene, in NY:

- eyewitness video of 2nd plane crashing into WTC
(fast mirror @ apple, mirror01, mirror02, mirror03, mirror04 (de))

- First-hand photos of someone fleeing the WTC and the aftermath. Amazing stuff.

- Video of the second plane crash (if you look carefully, you can see the plane approaching from the left)

- eerie time lapse of both towers burning and collapsing

- photo of plane just before it hit WTC #2

- amazing photo of second plane crash taken by an amateur photographer
- some photos on Ultradio (almost artistic)
- Blogger search for "World Trade"
- Sara Schwittek (pix)
- Poignant cartoon by Tom Tomorrow
- Super Hyper Demon Child (scroll for pix)
- MetaFilter thread (w/pix)
- some pictures of tower collapsing
- Planet Kevin (pix)
- Animus Rex (pix)
- John C. Glass (pix, especially this and this)
- The Fine Line (text and pix)
- Like an orb (pix)
- Steve Riskus (pix in DC seconds after the Pentagon crash)
- Lackadaisical (pix)
- Lightning Field (w/pix)
- toothpickgirl (w/pix)
- guns media (pix)
- wireless NY (pix)
- Place Name Here (pix)
- Before pictures of the WTC by Dale Sorenson (pix)
- Missing Pieces @ {fray}.
- Lots of first-hand accounts on this Slashdot thread
- lots of stories from stinky.com
- potkettleblack in DC
- Brian Bernstein (in-building acct.)
- The Tin Man
- Netwert IdeaPad
- Exegesis
- Dirt Dirt
- Broadwaystars.com
- primenumber.com in DC
- CamWorld
- pic on momus
- Michelle in DC
- allenplummer.com
- Saranwarp
- Mr. Barrett
- Q Daily News
- World New York
- bgirl

Misc. Stuff

- Some links about talking to children about crisis and trauma
- lots of video from the day (very fast and high bandwidth connection)
- Check to see if people are OK in NY
- A chronology of what happened from CNN
- a design piece from testpilotcollective
- Tara has a resource page up at Research Buzz

Some personal thoughts (I want to get these down to read later):

- I have no context for this. Challenger times 1000. Comparable to Pearl Harbor, but I didn't live thru that.

- All this talk of America vs. the world by our politicians is making me sick and uneasy. This is a human issue, not an American, democracy, or a freedom issue. Someone attacked us all, all of us on the Good Earth.

- I'm so scared right now. I don't want to hear any reports of Americans grabbing the nearest Arab and beating the crap out of him or her. Don't do it. Please.

- Some people cope by hearing and distributing information in a crisis. I'm one of those people, I guess. Makes me feel like I'm doing something useful for those that can't do anything. Or something.

- I'm planning on travelling by air twice in the next month, one flight overseas. I'm not so sure now.

A trail of two cities:

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 10, 2001

A trail of two cities: Tokyo, San Francisco and the naming of places echoes some thoughts I've been hearing about San Francisco lately, mostly through conversations with locals and visitors. Also somewhat related is a conversation I had with Bryan about his recent trip to Tokyo. He said (and I'm paraphrasing badly here) that Tokyo was constantly but consistently reinventing itself.

The Prime Numbers Appreciation Association

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 10, 2001

The Prime Numbers Appreciation Association meets monthly on the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 11th, 13th, 17th, 19th, 23rd, 29th, and the 31st.

While photographica.org sleeps, there's always

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 10, 2001

While photographica.org sleeps, there's always PixelPile for your community photo weblog needs.

The following is a snippet

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 07, 2001

The following is a snippet from a new short story that Greg Knauss is writing entitled "Bees!!!: Linking Behavior on the World Wide Web" (excerpted with permission from the author, links and italics mine):

[Polite applause.]

"Hello, America! I'm Greg Knauss—"

[Wild applause, much throwing of panties.]

"—and welcome to another episode of 'Make Dave Link'! Our contestants

today are Jason Kottke and whoever he made a drunken wager with. Hello,


"Hello, Greg."

"And hello Jason's unsavory drinking companion!"

"Fuck off."

"You all know the rules. You name the minimum number of Dave Winer bugaboos

that you think you can get him to link to you with. If he links, you win

the round. If he doesn't, your opponent gets the point. Everybody ready?

Let's play... 'Make Dave Link'!

"You first, Jason!"

"I can make Dave link with four references."

"Unsavory drinking companion?"

"I said 'Fuck off.'"

"Your number of references, UDC?"

"Eh. Three. And fuck off."


"I can make Dave link with two references!"

"Unsavory dr—"

"_Fuck_ off."

"OK! Jason: Make... Dave... Link!"

[And he did.]

The Executive Office of the

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 06, 2001

The Executive Office of the President of the United States, aka The White House, maintains a publicly available database of street terms for drugs because "the ability to understand current drug-related street terms is an invaluable tool for law enforcement, public health, and other criminal justice professionals who work with the public."

Isn't this the type of thing uptight parents get, well, uptight about, thinking what if little Johnny happens to stumble across this page and learns what the kids (i.e. "Candy Ravers" or "E-Tards") are calling GHB/The Date Rape Drug these days ("Fantasy", "Georgia home boy", "Liquid X", "Somatomax", among others) and then proceeds to ask for these drugs by name at some party in an effort to get him some? Where's the outrage? The protesting? The letter writing campaign aimed at passing various statutes that limit the governmental dissemination of such inflammatory information and put people like me in jail for even linking to it?

As an aside, the drug slang term "water" means variously "Blunts; methamphetamine; PCP; a mixture of marijuana and other substances within a cigar; Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB)". I couldn't find the slang term for regular old dihydrogen oxide.

The Brunching Shuttlecocks, God bless their souls, have a Web page translator based on the drug database. Here's kottke.org with all the drug terms translated.

Before I stepped into the

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 05, 2001

Before I stepped into the shower yesterday morning, I read an email mentioning something about XML-RPC. It must have stuck weirdly into my head because as I was washing my hair, I began singing Aretha Franklin's Respect with some alternate lyrics: "X-M-L-R-P-C, find out what it means to me..."

Another oldie: pork the Jason

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 04, 2001

Another oldie: pork the Jason you love.

The Dot Eaters: Classic Video

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 04, 2001

The Dot Eaters: Classic Video Game History. Interesting stuff and quite a bit more in-depth than I've seen before on this topic. I'm still waiting on Supercade with bated breath.

And hopping in the way-back machine, Silkscreen turned two years old last week. I've got the intern cranking on a new version of Silkscreen (Flash compatible! Letters with dots and accents above them!), so stay tuned.

I suck at Linux. Update:

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 04, 2001

I suck at Linux. Update: Retracting my earlier statement. I don't suck at Linux, I suck at networking. Everything is okey dokey now though...Samba is sharing, Apache is serving, Perl is running, and mySQL, OpenSSH, SCP, CVS, and mod_perl are on the way.

Last Friday, the folks at

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 04, 2001

Last Friday, the folks at Carbon IQ had a brown bag lunch discussion about their AtomFilms/Shockwave.com project. An hour and a half, eat some lunch, learn a bit, get some discussion going, meet some smart folks (although I skipped that part because I had to leave at the conclusion due to some pressing afternoon errands), &c. I'd like to see more companies doing this sort of thing, getting people together, sharing their knowledge and experience freely. Nice going.

The dedication for the Windows

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 03, 2001

The dedication for the Windows LAN server HOW-TO reads (in part):

"This document is dedicated firstly to Jesus Christ, my Lord and Saviour, thanks to Him I have the ability to do this."

I wonder if this guy uses Jesux?

I had no idea compiling took so long. Come on!

Slashdot: What's A Good Starter

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 02, 2001

Slashdot: What's A Good Starter Linux distro?, Red Hat Mirror sites, Red Hat Linux 7.1 Install CDROM's - 2 CD set, Google Search ether16 linux, Linux Networking HOWTO, Installing Red Hat Linux 6.2, DHCP Client Setup for users of LinuxConf, Linux in A Nutshell, Fry's Electronics, FA311/FA312 linux driver for Redhat 7.1, Red Hat Linux Installation from the CD-ROM Network Configuration Using Red Hat netcfg, etc.

You'll never guess what I've been doing...

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