I think the thing that I like about the warchalking meme is that it has legs. More and more of us will be creating open networks out of EFF like zeal or plain ignorance, and the fallout will be interesting to watch. When the day comes that wireless phone network operators, like Sprint PCS wake up and put WiFi access points on all their towers, we'll see the real fun begin. Be happy OSX users that you have IPSec support. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, IPSec.
At the Apple store.
August 25, 2002 5:05 AM
I'm at the apple store after the Jaguar buying orgy from the other night. there must have been about 600+ people in line to buy Jaguar, and makes me believe that there must have been a few switchers in the crowd.
But who cares, all I want now is this huge 22" inch display I'm looking at tight now.
Adelphia says 'construction never stopped.'
August 22, 2002 10:27 AM
Ok, so I had to go down to the Adelphia office to pick up a digital cable box. Part of the HBO upgrade I mentioned yesterday is getting the new box (which they wanted to 'install' for $20, which is nuts, so I went to their office). Anyway, I couldn't resist asking the guy behind the counter when cable modem access was coming to my area.
The portly, middle aged, nerd behind me in line made the obligatory comment about 'financial troubles' that I decided was super lame after my conversation with the lady on the phone. The guy behind the counter masked his contempt for the comment he has likely heard zillions of times and told me '6 weeks' and told the Fraggle behind me that 'construction [had] never stopped.'
And I mean it, I feel really bad for anyone working at Adelphia right now because none of the bad press is any of their fault, but they take nasty comments from losers like me all the time. If their service sucks when it does arrive though, serious insanity will ensue.
A Haxie idea.
August 22, 2002 10:17 AM
Unsanity makes these things called 'haxies' for Mac OSX. They are certainly more than a hack in most cases, but not full applications either, so I suppose haxie is cute name to call them. Well, I have an idea for them, an idea that if implemented, I would gladly throw down a Jackson.
I'm a tiBook user, and run most of my life off of that machine, and usually do that in multi-head mode. AOL put this huge ass 22" ViewSonic on my desk and I just plug that into the VGA port, and blammo, there's massive amounts of desktop space, and I use all of it. The tiBook alone is 1152 x 786 and I run the ViewSonic at 1280 x 1024 (I know, I could boost the res, but I like to read from the screen without straining).
The tiBook screen gets reserved for applications that I keep open all day and provide ongoing, and somewhat static, service. This includes Audion (music), Adium (instant massaging), and Terminal which is not really static, but I like having it up at all times. Up at all times you ask? Aren't they like that all the time? Well, no.
ASM is an application switching menu, and I use it for one specific bit of functionality, hiding applications on switch. So, if I have the previously mentioned apps running, and let's say Internet Explorer, Photoshop and BBedit as well, I like to hide other applications when a new one comes to the foreground. It keeps the window clutter to a minimum, which is important, because I usually have about 10 apps open.
Now, here's where it gets good, I exclude Audion, Adium and Terminal (and the Finder) from the hiding-on-switching function. So they remain ever present and visible, and the dock behavior falls in line with the hiding behavior (which you set in ASM). I want to hide the dock when an app comes forward and hides other apps.
I don't want any of the other functionality of ASM, and I don't like the start up bug it has had in every version that I have used. Keyboard Maestro has some of this functionality, but it isn't a PreferencesPane, and runs as an application that installs a daemon, and then you quit the app (bleh). So, Unsanity please step in here, and make a small, OS integrated, targeted hack like you always do. There's $20 in it for you.
The price-performance ratio of blogware can be good enough.
August 21, 2002 11:11 AM
Oh man, this is priceless...
The head Sales Guy started grilling my client: how many pages did the site have (in the thousands!), how many users updated it (almost ten!). You could hear the Sales Guy's mental cash register ringing up dollars signs as he went straight for the close: "And what are your editors using to update all those pages: Dreamweaver or Frontpage? Or maybe you built your own homegrown CMS?"It's funny that most articles about weblogs are positive about the pricing and democratic structures. I mean the backlash has already begun IMHO due to lots of folks being too cool for weblogs. But, whatever, I like the idea of saving money by using something that fills your needs that isn't forced down your throat by your company due to a 'strategic partnership.'
My faithful client didn't miss a beat. "Actually, have you heard of weblogs?" he asked the Sales Guy. You shoulda seen this guy's face fall - it was like he'd been hit by a truck. "Yeah," he admitted, "So you use blogging software?"
I've recommended using blog technology to run a site at my current employ and will do it again in heart beat, because, as the article continues...
"Yeah pretty much," came the answer. "It pretty does most of what I need. There are a couple things you described that I could use, but I can't justify that sort of outlay when blogware hits most of my specs."[via ia slash]
The agreement announced Wednesday calls for AOL Time Warner to assume full ownership of TWE's content assets, including Warner Bros. and Home Box Office, as well as TWE's interests in the WB Network, Comedy Central and Court TV.The part about the cable assets is the part that interests me. AOL Time Warner (TW) already has about 4 million cable modem subscribers, but hasn't been very public or aggressive about increasing that number, and I think the resolution of this deal will help remedy that problem. To wit...
All of AOL Time Warner's cable assets, including those now owned by TWE, will be owned by a new subsidiary of AOL Time Warner called Time Warner Cable Inc.
In another part of the deal, AT&T agreed to give 's Internet service access to its cable networks. AT&T Broadband and Comcast, which have agreed to merge to form AT&T Comcast, will make AOL High Speed Broadband available on the new entity's systems passing about 10 million homes within two years, and another nine million homes in the future.I'd be in love if AOL bought out Adelphia's Northern Virginia operation. But I'm not very hopeful about that since Adelphia is carrying massive amounts of debt, and an IPO of this new cable entity will not be able to raise the kind of cash they would need to mitigate that debt risk (the Moody's rating would be in the shitter).
For those new to this blog, you should know that I am obsessed with the lack of broadband in the techno-burb that I live in, and stress over how to rectify that situation. So, I asked the nice lady on the phone (as nicely as a jonesing bit pipe addict could) about when I could get the crack, and she said 'not yet' in a cool, friendly way.
I made a smart ass crack about Chapter 11. Her response was that they were 'moving ahead with plans' and kept her friendly tone. Cable tease.
Flash search engine shows relationships.
August 20, 2002 9:27 AM
Kartoo showed up in my server logs yesterday, and being the curious sort, I followed the URL, did a search for "in my experience" and was shown a bunch of links to pr0n. In spite of that, it's still an interesting way to show search results. And even though it shows relationships between the results I don't exactly know what that relationship is based on.
You can't win.
August 20, 2002 2:32 AM
About 4 years ago I was a 3-Coke-a-day kind of guy. Then, two things occured to me; there is diabetes in my family, and I was over 180 lbs (which is heavy for me). I didn't change any of my eating habits, but removed Coke from my diet and replaced it with Diet Sprite (another Coke property, so what do they care?). Well, it dawned on me today that I'm 165 lbs for a reason. Who knows though, the substitution of sugar for aspartame will prolly give my cancer instead of diabetes.
Uncoupling Info Tech from Info Arch.
August 20, 2002 1:29 AM
Louis Rosenfeld has made an interesting post over at his site...
Not that I'm planning on it, but if I was going to start Argus II, our motto would be "We put the 'I' in 'IT'!" Whether bundled with IT or not, that should be the goal of information architects in the marketplace. And maybe it's time to seriously consider unbundling IA from IT.What I'm wondering is how this would play out in companies like Sapient where the whole IA part of the project is just that, a part of the project (not a review phase or initial design phase). How would those employing Xtreme Programming be impacted (assuming they bothered to get IA into the project as a priority)?
Back at my last job, IA came in the form of robust discovery sessions and application prototypes occurring in short time frame iterations. How would a decoupling impact the speed at which an application could be prototyped, developed, and CHANGED?
How would a decoupled IA go about getting a user centric feature change implemented in a half-developed system? How and why does Lou's perspective, skills and experience lead him to this idea? I can't help but think I am misunderstanding something.
Creative Writing makes the web livable.
August 18, 2002 11:52 AM
Anyone visiting this site likely knows kottke.org and prolly knows A List Apart as well. So, I'll take a quick moment and point to Kottke's entry about living in someone else's space and say that it's a good example of what this article at A List Apart is trying to say.
Some site maintenance.
August 16, 2002 11:48 AM
August 16, 2002 11:39 AM
Got a few/many minutes? If so, go listen to Lawrence Lessig's talk about Free Culture and then have a read thru these articles...
An XML Data Loader which employs the SAX parsing technology, provides an extendible architecture to generate SQL for each type of XML document to be loaded, and leverages multithreading and decoupling of processes to parse an XML file and to update a database. By using object-oriented programming methodologies, the system and method create new instances of the XML data loader for each XML file to be loaded into a database. Thus, many XML data files may be processed and loaded simultaneously, which minimizes system memory requirements, improves system reliability and memory management, and reduces processing time required from the start of processing an XML file to completing its loading into a database. The invention is applicable to other types of markup language documents, as well.
The dependance on the 'www' prefix can lead to a certain problem I've seen at many sites. That is that the non-www version of the domain has no DNS record for the web site. So, if you hit the www version of the domain name with a browser, everything is cool, trash that prefix tho, and often, you'll get nothing. Pair.com (my host) is great for the simple reason that they anticipate the user's/customer's needs by adding records for the www and non-www version of your domain name (and they do a bunch of other cool stuff too).
August 14, 2002 9:26 AM
Real finally came out with a Real Player for Mac OSX, but do I really care? Sort of. This (incredible) music video by Royksopp is only available online as a Real Media One file, and of course, there's no way to download the file and keep it locally for network free (read: smooth) play. I wanted to show the video to my wife, at home, but had to attempt a stream thru my modem, which was a disaster (read: choppy playback and many dropped frames). IMHO, the Real Player user experience is weak.
Re: your mail to Cam, Re: wireless AP's and liability, you wrote...
> When you provide bandwidth to others (provided you do so within the AUP of
> your ISP), you are an ISP under the law.
I'm assuming AUP = Acceptable Use Policy, and I think it's dangerous to assume any ISP's acceptable use includes sharing bandwidth/connectivity (you know about the Time Warner crackdown). Are the rest of your comments are based on a 'sharing is cool' policy?
Even is sharing is cool with your ISP, and even if "the Communications Decency Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act indemnify you from liability" this doesn't mean you are protected from being targeted by a 'victim' of someone that might have been using your network to "utter death threats, traffick in child-porn, or illegally trade copyrighted works."
"Targeted" could be as simple as an email, or a cease and desist letter, or any other form of "you are guilty, now prove yourself innocent" situation. I think your vision of a connected humanity ignores the fact that there are a lot of assholes out there and the law is way behind technology.
My advice for normal average joe's with a new Linksys AP? At least turn on the WEP, even if it is weak. It forces people to *try* to get themselves on to your network which does two things; pushes those who want to use an open access point elsewhere (which is probably everyone/anyone) and makes them clearly in the wrong for using your network.
My wireless network at home has been closed and password-protected from Day 1. Not because I don't want my neighbors to use it, but because I don't want my information stolen and my privacy invaded. How soon before spammers park themselves on a street corner and start using your wireless network to relay spam?Based on what I found (note the WEP status) by war walking thru my neighborhood last night, I'd say "soon Cam, soon."
Now, infrastructure is a huge issue in any distributed and 'many to many' environment. Technology adoption and standardization are other concerns, and is why I don't have great hopes that I'll have more fine tuned semantic grouping of news/blog feeds. Fine tuned you ask? What I mean by that is grouping a bunch of feeds together in NetNewsWire does create some sort of semantic connection. But it's on a macro-semantic scale with sorting based on scale of a website, not the subjects of the containing content. Don't get me wrong, the groups idea is outstanding, but I want more.
What needs ("needs" = "what I want") to happen is to apply standard Dublin Core (DC) meta data to ALL news and blog entries, which means every content/document management software package needs to be updated, and people need to apply the DC elements to their content. The resulting feeds in RSS (preferably full RDF) would include this info and allow applications like NetNewsWire and AmphetaDesk to parse that data and allow the user to sort the info as they see fit.
Nice and easy, right?
meme -r "blog" | /dev/paper/Wired
August 11, 2002 8:33 AM
The new issue of Wired (got it in the mail yesterday) has a ton of Blog related content in it. There's coverage of the corporate blogs like the one found at MSNBC, as well as a side bar about warchalking which they call a meme, but the blog theme of the mag is pretty meme'y too. AOL What I want to know is when Blogger is going to get gobbled up by AOL (and be popularized) or Newscorp (and be exploited) or Vivendi (and be scuttled) or MSFT (and be insecure somehow).
PTI is IA on TV.
August 8, 2002 10:03 AM
I don't know if Info Architects are sports fans. In fact, I'd be willing to guess not, but if there's any sports show to make the IA feel at home, it's Pardon The Interruption, better known as PTI. Take a look at the interface when the show comes on and you will have a basic idea about what they will be talking about, what they did talk about and how long they are talking about the current subject.
On top of all this, or serving as a foundation is a simple idea of two guys (complete sports junkies) talking about sports, but in a Sportscenter++ kind of way. And if you take time to compare PTI to Sportscenter you will see a concrete example of Nathan's Venn-like diagram in his Field Theory showing data becoming information and information becoming knowledge and knowledge becoming Wisdom.
Sportscenter is based on Data and Information while PTI is based on Knowledge and Wisdom, and makes it the best sports show on TV.
AOL and broadband, the wait continues.
August 7, 2002 10:17 AM
<rant style="eyebrow: furrowed;">
The new AOL CEO (of the online unit, not the entire company) was interviewed by C|net (ZDnet?) and had a few promising things to say, but I find this part familiar and disappointing...
Part of my frustration is based on the fact that I live 4 miles from the mother ship, and I can't get a broadband connection. Not from AOL or Verizon or Adelphia or anyone (unless I want a $500/month T1 thru Atlantec, but I'm not a business). Who ever gets me the fat bit pipe first, wins. Will it be you ? Or will it be the bankrupt and seemingly corrupt Adelphia who has been laying fiber in my neighborhood recently?
August 6, 2002 1:06 AM
A third party search interface for MovableType blogs was updated yesterday. Like the author says, let's hope this search code makes its way into the official distribution, but I'm guessing that might (?) be one of those value-added bits of functionality that may be a premium (read: pay for) service.
Anyway, this will help out on the usability front at this site. Google referrers have been finding monthly/category archive pages on this site instead of the individual archives, and I think has lead users astray. Who wants to scroll all the way thru an entire category of posts to find the one they were interested in? No one.
3rd party Blog services starting to proliferate.
August 5, 2002 11:49 AM
Blogs are gaining momentum enough to be uncool to the likes of the WebDesign list (I'd link to a thread bashing blogs if I could). But for those who don't wear sun glasses at night, there's a couple new blog services available out there...
Overall performance is much improved. Quartz Extreme is the marketing term for unloading the video tasks to the video card. Most of us are used to the concept in gaming where newer faster video cards are a way of life for making the games playable. What Nvidia does for gaming, Jaguar does for exverything else. Of course, the card you actually have in your machine makes a difference, but I'm delighted to report that a 500mhz tiBook, with its 16 meg card sees a marked improvement, system wide, in performance.
Sherlock is not the 'find' interface anymore. You might think this is a bad thing, but I deplore having to open an application to simply find a file. Command-f (at least in the build I'm using) maps to a simple Finder window with a search interface. Key strokes are not lost as the window opens like they are when Sherlock is opening. So, command-f, start typing and hit return makes for a super fast way to find a file.
Sherlock 3 is pretty cool. But so is Watson, which deserves credit for being ahead of the curve.
The Sharing control panel includes a firewall interface. I consider myself to be a Mac power user who is comfortable with a command line. But, having an ultra simple and straight forward Firewall interface is awesome.
Command-tab is more of a toggle now. It used to be that command-tab'ing would always step you thru the open applications in a linear fashion. BBEdit munkies like myself would have to command-tab-tab-tab, etc until you go to the browser, and do it again to get back to BBEdit. Now, if you command-tab, it selects the app you were in last before stepping forward. This means fewer keystrokes.
When prototyping, go for broke.
August 1, 2002 4:27 AM
In Chris Farnum's article What an IA Should Know About Prototypes for User Testing, the issue of the 'degree of fidelity' is addressed...
Usability practitioners like Barbara Datz-Kauffold and Shawn Lawton Henry are champions for low fidelity --the sketchier the better! Meanwhile, Jack Hakim and Tom Spitzer advocate a medium- to high-fidelity approach that gives users a closer approximation of a finished version. You'll want to make a decision about the right approach for you based on the needs of your project.
I'll add in my two cents and say that the higher the fidelity the better, within the constraint of the cost of the prototype. As in, the more you can make the user forget about the medium of the prototype, and thus the more you can make them focus on what's important, the better. In my experience, clients, customers and users (often, all the same person/people) have a hard time getting around anything in the prototype that doesn't make sense. I have often had to fully immerse the user in the prototype by including relevant and current data in a prototype.
Again, when the user/client was able to 'suspend their disbelief' (a term often used within the scope of watching a movie) due to a high fidelity prototype, they were more apt to comment on the interaction design and usability of the prototype. This point is made is made in Farnum's article, and I'm offering a concrete example.
Unfortunately, the higher the 'fidelity' of the prototype, the more it is going to cost, in terms of time and money (and time is money).
To go thru the effort of creating a prototype that is very similar to the envisioned finished product means you need to get real data, real information, real design and real effort involved. None of that is cheap, and will often dictate how realistic the prototype can be made. I my opinion, prototyping is like buying a computer. Figure out how much cash[time] you have to spend and buy the best thing you can afford.