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July 2003 Archives


July 31, 2003 4:33 AM


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July 30, 2003 10:11 AM


At the iTunes Music store (the only music service I have ever considered 'acceptable' in terms of technology and fair use) there are several records from New Order. If you are a techie gen-x'er like myself, you likely wore out a cassette or two containing the music from New Order. Imagine my nostalgic disappointment when the iTunes Store has only seven of the ten tracks from Technique.

Which brings up an important point. I want it ALL. Not one track (such as blue Monday) but the entire record. It's a body of work, and almost all of it was good (I recall not liking one track) and should be bought as a full grouping of music. That's what quality does, it makes you collect.

If I was a pop music, KISS listening, ultra low rise wearing, teeny bopper, I would very likely want to buy the one offs for 99 cents. Instead, I'm a 30 something, t-shirt wearing, dark blue 'back-to-school' jeans wearing father with a penchant for 80's music. When it comes to my records, I want it all, but I don't want to go down to Tower to get it.

July 24, 2003 9:33 AM


It's been a busy week so far (between baby, work and other events) so the postings have been meagre; sorry about that. I had to post something about this thing though...

Microsoft may have unwittingly started a revolt against its Internet Explorer (IE) browser by discontinuing it as a standalone product and blurring the future of the current version, IE 6.
And here's on example of the fallout...
Say explained that First Direct is due to update the security certificate on its secure servers and unless users had upgraded to the latest version of IE, they would receive "odd messages" questioning the authenticity of their connection. Four weeks after asking Microsoft for advice on the subject, he is still waiting for a response.

"This is a tricky one for us because we have no control or influence that we can exert,"
Notice the lack of control there. If there's one thing a business can't stand it's uncertainty, and a lack of control breeds that feeling rabbits on Carrot Island. Losing control over your application, and the method of making money, to another corporation that is known to be horribly predatory, can only be bad. How do you go about mitigating that risk? Adopt standards, support Mozilla and Safari, and avoid MSFT specific code.

July 18, 2003 9:18 AM


For most of my adult life I have been drooling over the idea of having a fast internet connection at my home. The lust is really on the order of that zoot suit wolf in the Warner Brothers cartoons who hits himself over the head when a hot chick walks by. When I see rumors of broadband in my area and I start to drool.

Recently I became aware of a wireless possibility after years of being lied to by Adelphia. They used to say "2 to 3 months" every time I called them, for the past three years. I've bitched about the situation before, but now there's a new twist. I signed a one year contract for the wireless connection, and now, 4 days later, Adelphia says they are going to rollout the cable modem in my area next month.

Really, what's most psychotic about the whole situation is that the wirless connection is pricey, and Adelphia's proposed price is definitely lower. However, even if they do rollout, will it be fast enough or reliable enough? Will the wireless connection live up to its promise of being 1meg down and 128up? Who knows... I'll probably just be stuck with the expensive zoot suit.



July 17, 2003 10:16 AM


I went to Great Falls, VA over the weekend, and managed to snap of one good picture of the falls (see below). Most of the drops you see are like ten feet, and the water is pretty high right now. If you can belive it, people kayak down this set of falls. I've made a few versions of the image available suitable for use on your desktop... great_falls_640_480.jpg


July 17, 2003 9:37 AM


Internal beta testing of AOL Journals opened up yesterday, and I have dutifully started an AOL Journals blog and posted my suggestions and comments to the appropriate forums. It's no secret that AOL is doing this, but I didn't know any real details until yesterday. Also, I re-read the note about not leaking details, so this post is pretty restrained.

Here's a few tidbits that I think are not embargoed, but aren't really that juicy...

  • The set up was stupid easy. I mean, my daughter could do it, and she's 9 weeks old.
  • NetNewsWire can read my Journal's RSS file.
  • The instant messaging conduit works pretty well, and I think IM blogging is a good thing.
  • There's one thing about commenting that I like and hate at the same time. I'll rant and rave about this when the product goes public.
It's a good start, and it's not a "premium" service (as in, I don't have to pay extra dollars to have an AOL Journal) so I'm pretty hopeful that this thing will take off. The basics are there and it's pretty solid.

[Disclaimer: I do not work on the Journals product. It should be assumed that any product still under development will change, so don't expect anything I say here to be true when this thing goes live. Be sure to read around for a lot more info that I can provide.]

July 16, 2003 9:13 AM


Recently I speculated about the demise of Netscape, and more to the point, that Netscape would not meet an untimely end. Apparently, I was wrong, and it's pretty depressing to see it happen.

The point I made about the MSFT/AOL deal was that AOL would still prefer to NOT place control of its business into the hands of its competitors. That's definitely true, but I carried that into a hope that Netscape wouldn't be scuttled. At least Mozilla will carry on with active funding from the likes of AOL, IBM and Sun.

July 15, 2003 2:27 AM


AOL and TiVo have a new service/feature available to those who are AOL subscribers and have a network enabled Series 2 TiVo. If you have that, then when you surf thru the TV listings at Keyword: Television, you can click on shows and have them be scheduled on your TiVo. In my opinion, that's pretty cool, but I can't figure out why AOL or TiVo thinks this is a great way to boost subscribers (or even if they do think that).

TiVo already has the Home Media Option which allows for remote scheduling and other media tom foolery. The remote scheduling is the only thing that makes me salivate, and they charge $100 for that privilege. If I'm an AOL subscriber, and I only want the remote scheduling, then this is a great deal, because I don't have to shell out an extra $100. If I wasn't already a subscriber, would this feature really lure me? And, since there are so few network enabled Series 2 TiVo's, how big can this market be? Why is TiVo willing to give away its best networking feature away to a potential audience of 30+ million people?

Business logic aside, I think this a great customer focused hack, even if it took me a while to find the feature (which, by the way, isn't vapor. It works right now). None of the news articles about this had any direction on where to use the feature, and I finally had the idea to read the original press release. It mentioned Keyword: Television, which when entered resulted in a search results page, which had a link to the actual Keyword: Television, which at the bottom of the page, said it was Keyword: TV.

After a few futile minutes of scanning that page, I finally thought of going thru the actual TV listings. I selected my provider and type of service and got a page with a listing of what's on TV right now. Since it's in a grid format, I assume AOL is paying royalties to Gemstar. Regardless, when you click on a specific show, you will see an item that says "Record on my TiVo DVR."

Doesn't that seem like a pretty convoluted process?

July 11, 2003 10:55 AM


The ADA is the Americans with Disabilities Act, and many of your questions about it can be answer at the DOJ website. One question I never thought of is "does this apply to my website?"

The answer may be yes...

Many authorities, including those that are opposed to the view that the ADA should apply to e-commerce, are cited and discussed. But based on all the authorities, the paper reaches the conclusion that the law does clearly contemplate the coverage of the Internet by Title III of the ADA.
I assume it's going to take a lawsuit to bear this out.

[via the Webdesign List]

July 11, 2003 10:00 AM


Here's the good idea...

A serious national broadband policy -- designed to bring 10 to 100 megabits of information per second to every home -- would be as crucial an economic-development and infrastructure tool as the roads of the previous century, Reed Hundt said at the Supernova technology conference in suburban Washington on Tuesday. Hundt served as FCC chairman during the first Clinton administration and is currently a senior adviser to consulting firm McKinsey & Co
Here's where it goes horribly wrong...
Hundt is arguing that broadband should be subsidized by federal taxpayers to the tune of $20 a month per household for as long as it takes to build the system.
I mean, puhleeze. I can't imagine that the Republicans would want to keep this money in the coffers it's supposed to be in (and instead move it into war machine funding or tax breaks for my bosses) and I know the Democrats would be salivating over the opportunity to spend this money on healthcare for my grandparents (who vote).

If anyone believes for one second that every American in the country should be paying a tax that only goes to service those who have computers, then you are an idiot. We already have plenty of those types of taxes, and many of them are for more socially responsible or benevolent.

Now, don't get me wrong, if there were 10 megabits flowing to any household that wanted it, the national infrastructure would be stronger, smarter and more capable. I've argued before that there are potential business plans out there that can only thrive on widespread broadband penetration. Economic development would accelerate with 10 megabits going to every home.

I don't trust a bureaucracy to do this right, it has to come from the business community, and I think wireless access is the answer.

July 7, 2003 10:22 AM


Apparently, AOL is doing a weblog product, and I'm guessing NDAs have been violated(?) I have only heard the rumors and know nothing more than what I read out there on the net. However, if any sort of internal beta testing is made available, you can bet I will check it out. In the meantime, some people already seem to have opinions...

Jeff Jarvis: AOL Blogs
Yesterday, I was one of a privileged council of blogging elders -- Meg Hourihan, Nick Denton, Anil Dash, Clay Shirky -- invited to see AOL's new blogging tools, which will be released later this year. They've done a good job.
Dave Winer: On AOL's entry into weblogs
Now their strategy is coming out, and there are some surprises. Today I'm going to discuss, briefly, just one, the Instant Messaging connection with weblog tools, and how it leads into the quagmire that the weblog world is caught up in (and a plea to swallow our respective prides and compromise now).
Kevin Lawver: Super Secret Agent Revealed!
The top secret meeting is now something I can talk about. I went to New York with the AOL Journals team to talk about the new AOL Journals product with some influential folks in the blogging world.


July 3, 2003 1:19 AM


Rueters reports that "the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Metallica are refusing to make their music available as individual downloads on Apple's iTunes Music Store." And here's the reason...
"Our artists would rather not contribute to the demise of the album format"
IMHO, this should probably read, 'our artists are only able to write one or two good songs, and then produce some other filler tracks, and then want to sell the whole thing as a bundled batch that costs way too much.' I mean, if I were an artist, and thought that only one or two of my tracks were worth buying, and that sales of those two tracks would necessarily result in lower net revenue, then I would resist Apple's method (of allowing album and single tracks sales for all music available on the iTunes music service).

[And, for the record, I listen to all of my music on my iPod as a full album, from beginning to end.]

The only point they make that I agree with is that "[They] can't let a distributor dictate the way our artists sell their music." Control is definitely an issue, and I can totally respect that. However, the snarky comments like the one above exemplifies the fact that the Chili Peppers and Metallica can't write a full albums worth of material for which I would pay $17.99. Commercial radio certainly agrees, because they don't play albums. If you want to blame someone for the demise of the album, blame pop stars, radio and MTV, not a distribution channel that offers you another outlet to make some extra cash.

Diametrically opposed to this is the Fischerspooner record on the iTunes service (entitled "#1") that is so good that you are penalizing yourself if you don't buy the whole record.

The bottom line is this: Apple probably needs to be more flexible, everyone wants control, and most bands can't write an hour's worth of good music. Market forces will sort this all out one way or another. Until then, I like to go direct to the artist.

[via MacMinute.com]

July 2, 2003 9:42 AM


moz_14_icon.gifI have been working on a reformation of Kalsey's CSS tabs code to NOT use unordered lists and list items in favor of divs and spans. I'm also adding some JavaScript to change the className on mouseover to change the menus without having to click and get a new page (something I am sure Mr. Kalsey has thought of before).

One striking fact that has come out of the work, is that Mozilla 1.4 on Mac OSX is extremely fast (download). It renders the code I have way faster and cleaner than Safari. Perhaps I haven't been paying attention recently, or maybe I'm in a Safari induced haze, but this new release is just awesome and might become my default browser. Oh yeah, and it has a nice new icon.

Anyone else have any thoughts?

July 2, 2003 1:52 AM


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