Imx Fix in my experience
 
June 2002 Archives


June 28, 2002 8:40 AM


...complains David Weinberger who writes a cranky article about the W3C's (or more to the point Tim Berners-Lee's) vision of a Semantic Web. I won't waste time here tracing thru his comments, but will dovetail off the final (and perhaps only) point about getting the whole thing going...
Google ought to come up with a handful of [metadata tags] -- the Dublin Core offers a starting point -- and just do it.
Now, in a way, isn't that Tim's goal? Isn't that how things actually get done? Sure it is. IMHO, that's how the W3C is often used, as a future indicator of web technology, and then market forces take over. Meanwhile Weinberger seems to be complaining that no one is doing anything about this thing called the Semantic Web. I'd point to the RSS Taxonomy Module and the BackTrack routines in MovableType as leading indicators in the move towards a more semantic Web.

In fact, I'd prefer to see these sorts of experiments flesh themselves out, so the likes of Google can learn some valuable lessons before laying down their own version of Dublin Core (and possibly setting poor implementations into stone). In other words, you gotta crawl before you can walk, and I think we're crawlin' pretty well right now.

(One other point Mr. Weinberger, please include more links to the things you reference, like Dublin Core)

June 27, 2002 9:06 AM


I made a not so intelligent decision to buy Morrowind for the Xbox. Don't get me wrong, it's a great game that is eating up lots of my time. It's like gamer crack, but playing it via a console controller is not the way to go. Especially when I have a PC sitting a few feet away with the best game interface ever conceived, the keyboard and mouse.

For racing games, and simple games like Gauntlet, a console controller is fine. Even more complex platformers like Banjo & Kazooie play just fine with a controller. Unfortunately I have found myself getting mauled by any random monster while I hold down the X button on my Xbox controller while frantically pulling the left trigger, going from item to item, until I find the object need to help stomp the monster. I currently have about 30 items in my inventory that all go by when I x-trigger my way thru. On a keyboard, I could (coulda shoulda woulda) program each number key to a specific item.

In certain situations, you need two or three items to kill something (eg, paralyze it with the Dwemer Jinxsword, sap it's willpower with an enchanted ring, and then hack the thing to death with an axe). Man that sounds dorky. Well, it's even dorkier when you have to fumble thru it with a console controller. :^/

June 26, 2002 10:23 AM


There's a new rev of MovableType available, and their site has gotten a redesign. Besides the rest of the changes, the TrackBack stuff looks really cool, not to mention the MySQL support. Time to upgrade...

June 26, 2002 9:59 AM


I've made the switch back to Microsoft Entourage from Apple Mail.app for all of my emailing needs. Why? Because Mail.app has a really weak filter system, and no anti-spam features. The rumor is that the next rev of Mail.app will come out with the next rev of MacOSX, but even then, I won't be switching back to Mail.app.

Back in the day I used Eudora Lite on my MacOS 7 machine (a 16 mhz LCII with 4 megs!) while SLIP'ing my way onto the Internet. I stuck with Eudora for years, until the Mac version of Outlook was robust enough to pass as a real Macintosh application. I like the three pane view over Eudora's method of individual windows for mail boxes (the usefulness of the single window interface is proven imho). Then Entourage came around and had a calendar, notes, kickass filtering, and so I went for it.

Mail.app is for two types of users, those who buy Macintoshes because they are easier to use and that person needs that kind of help, and power users who are procmail'ing their mail and just using Mail.app as the interface (which is a pretty cool way to go about it actually). But I don't know procmail (I'm a UI guy, and I've picked my battles) and need something more robust than Mail.app, so hello again Entourage, I hardly knew ye.

June 24, 2002 4:19 AM


I have nothing to say today, so I thought I'd share my server logs that cover most of the year to date (as reported on by Analog). Enjoy it, and no teasing me on the average request per day stat (read: it's low!)

Sorry about the broken link, and the fixed but still broken link. It's really fixed this time.

June 21, 2002 9:19 AM


There's a great thread on Slashdot about Project Manager's and the decisions they make based on their experiences. I've lived thru a lot of what is described by the people posting to that thread, and the value of a clueful PM can't be over stated.

June 19, 2002 3:31 AM


(AS I wrote this, I realized how fragmented and incomplete my initial hunches and conclusions were. Not so ironically, this article is as meandering and lost in the dark as the subject it explores, so read with caution and please bear with me. Thanks)

So, why require broadband for console gaming, User Experience is the answer, plain and simple. UI designers (UID's), Info Architects (IA), Usability Engineers and Product Managers all know that user experience is a significant key to product/project success. One of the first things the UID or IA asks, is "who is the audience?" The answer to that question will direct the development one way or another, towards simplicity (37 signals), or design-y sophistication (k10k, adobe exchange). The same thing goes for the console market, but it's probably less clear how to proceed in that market than it is in the Web App market (after all there's many UI and web dev blogs and self proclaimed experts out there, but how many broadband gaming blogs do you see?).

There have been online gaming announcements by Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo for their respective systems.. What they all have in common is this broadband requirement for connectivity, which has puzzled me for a while now. I'm a PC gamer (ie, I play networked video games on my Windows computer) and have been for several years now. The Myth and Tribes series of games have been my favorites, and I have always managed to be competitive using a 56k modem. So, it has confused me that console games would require the fat pipe, until I accepted console gamers are different than PC gamers (even if Microsoft is trying to bridge that gap).

EA Games, a video game publisher, knows the console gamer well, and knows that broadband is coming. Console gamers play games without network lag, which is a huge difference in expectations for game performance. Quite often I hear players in Tribes2 saying things like 'this map causes lag' and 'user x is causing lag on this server.' Both of those comments reveal a huge misunderstanding of a network game and what is causing a compromised user experience.

The facts are that a certain map causing lag is really a massive polygon count and their machine is choking on the massive amount of work to do and their frame rate is dropping. for the most part, you don't see that on older console game systems where developers know the systems limits. In the PC environment, everyone's hardware config is different, so someone out there is going to have frame rates over 80fps, and someone else will see 12fps. This dynamic doesn't exist in the console market (Halo will perform the same on all Xbox systems, period). This consistency is a corner stone of the console gaming experience.

The belief that a certain user is causing lag (with the thought that their slow connection is somehow affecting the server) is pure ignorance. Game servers send out UDP packets, not TCP, so error correction is not done, so re-sending of packets to slow clients doesn't happen, thus a given client will not effect the performance of another, period.

A console game played on a console with a broadband connection will make these problems go away. Developers will make games that run smoothly on the machine, and the broadband connection will make the game run smoothly online. Console gamers, who are not necessarily PC owners will see abetter online experience. Ironically, those with broadband connectivity are those who will be most educated on network dynamics and would be most tolerant of UDP economics.

So, I guess I'm back to my original problem of not understanding why a broadband connection is required for the Playstation2 and the Gamecube. The Xbox has ethernet built in, and forcing a consumer to buy a modem adapter would be an arm twisting experience, so that platform is sort of locked into broadband. Sony still has the opportunity to a make broadband and modem adapter combo available to users, and instantly widen this nascent market (eg, the online console market) for 30 million users. Nintendo already has both planned but doesn't have 30 million users, so we'll see what happens there.

What's most concerning about this movement (within the context of being a share holder of one of these three companies, which directly, I am not) is that broadband adoption is not universal. The market is kind of narrow, and then owners of consoles who also have broadband is narrower still. Now consider that those who have the fat pipe have that connection going into their PC's. In my humble opinion, no one is going to get a $50/month bill just to get their game console online. I think those who have a broadband connection, own a console, and want to play console games online will need to set up home networks. By now, the potential market has been trimmed down to gaming junkies who understand networks to some degree. Knowing that Microsoft is going to spend millions of dollars on their Xbox Live initiative makes me happy because I'm the sort of geek who likes to get a home network running to support a console, my PC and Mac multiple Macintoshes, all behind a Linksys access point. How many others like me are out there that enjoy the 'figuring it out' experience as much as the gaming experience?

June 18, 2002 9:52 AM


ScottAndrew wonders what he really feels about JavaScript crutch libraries. I don't. I like them, welcome them and hope people learn from them. Personally, I find myself in a fire drill environment where a solution to a problem has to come as quickly as possible (sound familiar?). I keep a directory of old JavaScripts on my machine as reusable code libraries, but of course, as time goes by, they go stale, and Murphy's Law says I'll need the most stale script on a moments' notice. If I can get that working with minimal effort and deliver reliabel, functioning code, then I've put out the fire. When I have time, I go back to make the code clean, elegant and proper. I'll call this being resourceful.

Scott's point is not lost on me though, and I agree that correct, modern, validated, tolerant and gracefully degrading code is a best practice. Sometimes you just have to fill in the cracks and repave later (time and budget permitting).

June 18, 2002 2:23 AM


The Z-car is the coolest toy, ever. But the website set up by the manufacturer is absolutely horrible and violates pretty much every usability and visual design rule known by man.

Do your self a favor, and get $20, run down to the nearest Zany Brainy (if there isn't one near you, I have no recommendation on where to go) and buy this tiny, fully functional, remote controlled car (your cat will love it). The actual product requires a little assembly, but is a 100% winner in terms of integrated design and ease of use, which makes the website look that much more inadequate.

June 17, 2002 8:59 AM


Chances are you already know what OmniGraffle is, and perhaps you know about the wireframe oriented palette already available for it (from the guy who runs IAslash). I like that palette, but I don't use OmniGraffle that much, but maybe I'll use it a bit more because a new UI palette is available.

The advantage of this one is more GUI widgets, which makes serious prototyping and visualization a bit more robust without taking the time to do full UI prototyping with actual HTML (which in my experience, is a great way to get a good sense of what you are building, but is also expensive to do). Between these two palettes, you have a pretty robust set of elements for prototyping.

June 14, 2002 1:59 AM


The folks who wrote MoveableType (the blogging software running this blog) have written up a guide on installing SpamAssasin on OSX. But, this guide isn't for folks who have never started up Terminal before. You'll be doing CPAN installs, crontabbing and some light editing (probably in vi).

June 13, 2002 1:20 AM


Sometimes people argue against using MacOS(X) using a lack of software as their corner stone argument. While this may be true (there is, as a side effect, much less crap software for MacOS(X) than their is for Windows) it isn't true when it comes to web browsers. I have seven different browsers installed on my machine...

Chimera...
...is based on Mozilla, but endeavors to be a web browser, not a catch all Internet client that reads email, edits pages, dice onions and walk your dog. It rips out the XUL interface and replaces it with native Aqua widget calls. Version 0.3 was released last week and has been far more stab;e than the 0.2 series (imho). The view-source-in-a-tab thing is awesome.
Mozilla...
...is where the good display engine is coming from. Too bad it wants to do too much and slows way down compared to Chimera. (Anecdotal evidence only, real numbers would be cool).
Internet Explorer...
...starts up in about three seconds, doesn't crash (too much), supports standards pretty well, and often hangs when one window opens another. It's a workhorse browser, but I can't wait to replace it.
Opera...
...is one step behind on MacOSX in terms of the version. Windows users get version 6.0 while we're back in the 5's (and just barely). I rarely use this browser.
Omniweb...
...looks great, and is fat, but doesn't really adhere to the standards. People pay for it though, so it must have something going for it, and the Omni Group is completely dedicated to Mac based development.
Netscape 6.x...
...was a disaster. A commercial product based on Mozilla 0.9.4 (read: beta) code was not a good idea, so I'm not going to provide a link to it in fear that any more people will download it. On the other hand, Netscape 7 will be a good thing, someday soon.
iCab...
...has a following due to it's small size. But I NEVER use it, and never see it in my server logs.
I sincerely believe that integrated solutions are a great thing, and that bloatware is like a shadow in the morning; faint at first, and inevitable as time goes by. Applications need to keep focused on the solutions they present without causing new problems to be solved, which is what Chimera intends to do.

The Web Standards Project has a breakdown of these browsers' compliance with standards. Their conclusions should weigh heavily with users, but they won't, so it's up to us.

June 12, 2002 10:44 AM


I've mentioned a certain distaste for Verisign in the past (even though a few of my friends work there) but this story is just keeps getting better. I'm simply posting this here to help googlebomb the issue. Thanks to peterme for the idea.

June 11, 2002 4:27 AM


There are many miniature fonts out there in the world, but you probably won't ever need any more than the following...

  • Sevenet is a good little 7 pixel font with a semi-serif version that's kinda cool if you are looking for a change from pure tiny pixelisms.
  • Mini7 is a font that you have to pay for, which, in today's world, means you probably won't be using it, but I think it's still a great little font that includes a monotype version.
  • Silkscreen is free and is an 8 pixel size bitmap font that is pretty well rounded (in terms of size, clarity, width, etc).
  • The 04 fonts are pretty small, but not necessarily tiny. They range from the 8 to 12 pixel range and are pretty stylized compared to Silkscreen.
  • Tiny is probably the least readable of the bunch, but is equally the least tall. It's only 4 pixels tall.

Remember, that tiny fonts are just that, tiny, and they usually don't help the usability quotient of a site.

Edit: this post was updated on June 23, 2011 to fix some out of date URLs and to add one entry. Enjoy.



June 10, 2002 12:01 PM


After reading this article at C|Net about broadband and new business models, I had the distinct feeling I had said the same thing a couple of months ago. So, what I want to know is, how do I get C|Net to pay me for visionary articles? ;)

June 10, 2002 8:58 AM


Quite a few site have caught on to the idea that a printer friendly version of a given page is a nice, user-centric thing to provide. After all, it helps/enables the consumer to enjoy content in a nice, eye friendly, familiar and random access format (paper!). However, I think deep linking (the act of linking directly to a page behind a welcome screen on a given site) to these printer pages might be a bad idea. MacNN did this recently by linking to a Forbes article.

It was established two years ago that deep linking is legal (beyond the fact that it the very basis of this thing we call the web). The original argument against deep linking was that one company could be hurting another by leading a user directly to some content or service without the user going thru the advertising laden pages between the home page and the payoff page. I thought that was b.s. when I first heard it because most/all pages from commercial web sites are drowning in adverts anyway.

The advent of printer pages directly linked to by a third party completely denies the host of the content of any possible revenue from that page view. If that practice becomes truly systemic, one of two things will happen; another law suit will arise (not likely due to a precedent) or, more likely, printer friendly pages will eventually contain more adverts.

June 7, 2002 7:41 AM


MusizBrainz is sort of like the CDDB, but in a W3C sort of way (instead of a, sue the pants off of the competitors, sort of way). Here's an overview of the service and what it can do for you, and what it means to the Semantic Web. I think the part about the RDF based Metadata Initiative is what's going to make it interesting.

June 5, 2002 11:39 AM


It's amazing that these tiny icons can actually convey their meaning within a 10 by 10 pixel square. I've been working on a set of 20 plus icons for a web app, and have been struggling with how to use 25 pixels square effectively. I have more than twice the space and probably do a less effective job at conveying the meanings I need to iconify. But, I'm trying to keep my lines anti-aliased in my set, which puts me at a huge disadvantage, so what are ya gunna do?

June 4, 2002 8:51 AM


Yesterday, C|Net carried a story that an MIT student managed to hack the Xbox. Well, that really isn't news, at all, not one bit really. Nope, not news.

What really matters is the following comment from the aforementioned C|Net article...

Computer enthusiasts have been excited about the possibility of using the $199 Xbox, which is technologically similar to a PC, as a stand-alone computer running operating systems like Linux.
To think that a loss leader business plan would have no follow on revenue in terms of software sales makes that business plan look even worse than it already does.

June 3, 2002 9:49 AM


Even MacOSX users can install and run mod_mp3 (which is an MP3 server mod that piggy backs on the Apache server). The maintainers even make OSX specific downloads available, but they are, of course, several versions behind (and are pre-compiled). So, when trying to compile the current version for OSX (with better ID3 support), I ran into this error...
/usr/bin/ld: /usr/lib/libSystem.dylib load command 6 unknown cmd field
That error is suggested to be a problem with my DevTools installation, and more to the point, old DevTools on an up to date OSX installation. Now, why would I have old DevTools on top of the latest version of the OS? Well, I bought OSX 10.0 which came with the 10.0 (zero!) DevTools. System upgrades do NOT include the tools update. You have to download it separately from Apple, which can be done pretty simply...
  • Go to http://connect.apple.com
  • Register for the free account
  • click "Download Software" (on the left)
  • click "Mac OS X" (on the left)
  • click the appropriate Download button
The file I need is over 200 megs in size, and I don't even know if it's going help me successfully compile mod_mp3 version 0.37. The things we do to get software installed can be pretty damn silly. And configuring it can be even worse.
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