Max Romantschuk's weblog – November 2003 archive
Censorship of Our Time
An Inquirer reader wrote this letter about a few things he found while comparing Google and MSN's search. Suffice it to say that MSN is... um... heavily biased.
Spam, spam, spam.
This morning I discovered I'd been spammed through my HTTP referrer logs. I wrote and submitted a story about it to Slashdot, now I'm waiting to see if it gets published. My track record indicates a 12 percent chance of that happening. If it doesn't I'll just post the story here. If my story does get published I'd like to greet all visitors who reached me through Slashdot. Do come again some time!
Tom's hardware is running a rather excellent review of recent inkjet printers. I've been planning on getting a new printer ever since we got our digital camera (a Canon Digital Ixus 400), and it seems like the Canon i860 featured in the review would be a good choice. I currently have a Canon inkjet, and I really like the fact that the print head is separate from the ink cartridges, as well as the colors being separated in their own containers. Via the Inquirer.
I spy with my little eye...
When in need of some digital photography reviews I usually go do... Waait for it... Digital Photography Review. I've found their reviews very comprehensive and professonally done. Despite of this I must say that the Canon EOS 300D (Digital Rebel) review at Tom's Hardware Guide was everything but a disappointment. An excellent piece, worth at least skimming through. They cover not only the camera in question, but also several issues relating to digital cameras and photography in general. Finally, for reference, here you can find Digital Photography Review's review of the Canon EOS 300D.
What do you mean, "Map of the Internet"?
My Slashdot story (see previous entry) amounted to some interresting comments, despite of not being featured on the front page. It also brought quite a flood (by my standards) of visitors, around 70 so far. I encourage each and every one to visit again, maybe a few percent even will?
Sounds and Noises
Antti/Geek Savant wrote a nice piece on some aural issues yesterday, and buried a little fame in there for me as well. Check it out. Relating to synesthesia, I tend to think about the texture of taste while cooking, and I definetly associate sounds and music with attributes like soft, sharp, warm and cold... not forgetting fuzzy either.
The Skeleton in the Closet
I never found the time to update yesterday, finally got around to it now.... You can find my latest Slashdot story here. It was published in the Your Rights Online section. So if someone searched the front page in vain yesterday, you know why you didn't find it. Now then... back to work!
The story I submitted to Slashdot was accepted! Unfortunately I won't be able to take part in the discussion until a whole lot later today, as I'm just about to leave for the gym. I'll add the link to the story as soon as possible, it hasn't gone live yet. Interrested regular readers should be able to find it on Slashdot shortly.
Misinterpret me as Intended.
Slashdot is currently running a rather lively discussion on the fact that The County of Los Angeles has requested that equipment vendors avoid using the industry term "Master/Slave" in product descriptions and labelling.. There truly seems to be no bounds to to the stupidity that can be harnessed by bureaucrats. I will refrain from speaking my mind on my personal thoughts on language use and abuse, some things are better left unsaid... Anyhoo, the Slashdot discussion has some very funny and/or insigtful comments, my picks below:
- Offence through mathematic terminology
- Offence through eating habits
- Pronoun usage proposal
- Offence through... well... anything.
There are alligators in the sewers, I tell you!
More urban legends for your amusement and/or irritation...
Mondays... what can I say? Mondays are... well... Mondays. I actually started this entry on Friday, but didn't have time to finish it. The weekend flew by just as it always does, and here we are, Monday...
I feel sorry for you, Mr. Jackson.
I feel sorry for Michael Jackson. As some of you may have noticed he's been arrested on suspicion of child molestation. So why feel sorry for him?
There are two options, either he's done something wrong, or he's not. If he has, I feel sorry for him because he is a very sick man, and in need of help. Naturally he should stand for his crimes, that's not in question. If he hasn't done anything I feel sorry for him because people just won't leave him alone. The desire to spend time with children might be just as innocent as with anyone else. After all, children won't behave wierd just because he happens to be famous. Adults will.
In any case, I can't say I'd ever want to be as huge a celebrity as Michael Jackson. He may have money, but I don't think any amount of money can buy him freedom anymore.
There's nothing like a little nausea to make your day, right? May I present the collective works of Wulff & Morgenthaler. Click the link, feel abused, keep clicking the "previous" links and go home laughing manically while feeling like someone raped your brain. You like it, don't you? Don't try to deny it! Via K10k.
Procreate: to beget or bring forth offspring - Merriam-Webster. I am going to be a dad! Our first children (yes we're having twins) are going to be born around the beginning of April. I've very excited and happy about the whole thing.
The size of my family is not the only thing associated with growth lately. I've been looking at my logs of the last month, and during the last few days I've had quite an increase in visits following the inclusion of my blog in weblogs.se's index. Despite the rather depressing progression of my blog's stats on Pinseri's toplist it seems that my readership is in a steady, although slow, increase.
I'd like to encourage all visitors to visit more than once. I cover a wide variety of subjects, and it's pretty much guaranteed my chosen subjects of the day won't interrest my entire readership at the same time.
Internet on Rikki *
What Should I Do If The Internet Goes Down? Advice for the lost. Via Blogdex.
* Finninsh for the phrase The Internet is Broken. A chosen few of my readers will know why this phrase has a special significance, and a permanent place in our hearts. Look for hints in my CV...
Do you like MC Escher?
It's all about power
On October 15th I wrote about Via introducing a low power GigaHertz class chip. I predicted that this kind of technology will become central in desktop computing during the near future. It seems the very same principles are gaining ground in supercomputing applications as well. The piece on the subject is quite technical, so skimming through instead of reading it all might be a wise choice.
Scientific discoveries of our time
The google search "Airspeed Velocity of an Unladen Swallow" returns around 600 results. I used quotes in the query so Google returnes only matches to that exact phrase. If all this rings a bell you will be happy to know we now have an answer... Check out Estimating the Airspeed Velocity of an Unladen Swallow. For those of you who think this makes no sense at all, here's a hint. Via Slashdot.
What do you mean, in LEGO?
While looking up my hint, I stumbled on this... Amazing.
Isn't it just plain and simple weird that the same industry which is suing people for swapping music have found their most accurate measure of song popularity to date in the very people they are suing? The world is strange, indeed. Via Slashdot.
I realize not all my readers are into Web Design, but I found a little something for those who are. A List Apart has reopened after a site redesign, and there's an excellent article on making tabbed navigation with lists using a technique called the sliding doors approach. If you like it, here's a link to part II of the same article.
Redesign struggles of my own
I've been working on several approaches to redesign this site as well. My site suffers from a lot of problems, most notably the lack of a proper content management system. It is said that the shoemaker's children go barefoot, which seems to be very true in my case. Working on web applications for a living doesn't exactly leave a lot of energy to do spend your free time coding.
I've thought about starting to use an existing system for managing this site, but I've found nothing which would fit the bill, as it were. What I want is a content management system with weblogging support, based on open standards and open source code. I want a system which won't lock me into a predefined way of structuring my content, and will allow me to control the presentation of the site at will... Such a beast seems hard to find.
The mom coefficient
Peter/Ntkreatur brought this very amusing Onion piece to my attention. Entitled Mom Finds Out About Blog it contains some interesting insight, despite being satire. Blogger even has a page called What to do if your Mom discovers your blog... to add to the confusion. Good stuff. I know for a fact that my parents, coworkers and friends read my blog on occation, and I do admit to limiting my publishing accordingly...
Blog added to weblogs.se
I've added my blogs to a Nordic weblog index, weblogs.se. Greetings to all readers who came that way, not forgetting my regular readership!
Information sickness, anyone?
Wendy M. Grossman's net.wars column in the Inquirer discusses the sheer volume of information we're dealing with these days. She links the How Much Information? 2003 survey done by faculty and students of the University of California at Berkeley. The summary of findings in the study contains some quite eye opening figures...
Until now I thought managing my around 200 GigaBytes of mass storage here at home was hard enough, but the global levels of produced information every year is really rising at a crazy rate. The challenge to keep everything intact is going to get harder and harder as time goes by. Interesting, and scary at the same time.
Attention search engine users
I bounced last month's stuff over into the archive, so if you arrived via Google or a comparible contraption looking at last month's archive page may reveal something you thought you'd find on this page.
Why Personal Websites Matter
Maybe you read my blurb Democratic Publishing a week ago? (November 7th) It seems by views are shared by others in this universe as well. The approach is different, but the core idea is very much alike. Good stuff.
How would you feel about an Athlon 64 motherboard with integrated surround sound, Gigabit LAN, serial ATA and god knows what else? If I had a bunch of (extra) money right now, I'd probably get myself an Abit KV8-MAX3 right about now (the funk soul brother...) Anandtech didn't give it all praise, but that's usually a good sign. Stability was apparently good, and that's what I mainly care about.
Picking locks is not as complicated as one might think. Howstuffworks has a nice piece on the subject. Nice reading for a friday night, don't you think?
The Inquirer ran an article/review on The ineffable whoredom of technical reviews. Read the first half, some very good points in there about how biased tech reviews are today.
This reminded me of a piece a read a while back on Mikhailtech, called Computer Hardware Websites Today, which discusses how much of today's amateur tech "journalism" really works. There's a Follow-up as well, which really puts things into perspective. The lesson to be learned? Always take everything you read or hear with a grain (or a bucket) of salt, and you'll be fine.
A little something for everyone?
I noticed a sudden rise in readers subscribed to my blog through Pinseri's top list for Finnish blogs. Readership went from 6 to 10, which is quite an increase. I guess I've found stuff of interest to a larger demographic than usually during the last few days. I promise not to keep up my recent high standard of writing, but I also promise to try keeping up my recent high standard of writing . Now then... Having messed up the heads of my readership, let's continue with the catch of the day.
Hot wheel you got there, man
Forbes is running a story on a seriously cool concept vehicle, something I guess one could call a monobike. The associated Slashdot story is busy deciding if it's dangerous cool, just cool, or a stupid idea in the first place.
On Portable Power... um... OK then... batteries.
ExtremeTech is running a monster article called Batteries: History, Present, and Future of Battery Technology. Also via Slashdot. If you find yourself liking the ExtremeTech article, you might well like www.howstuffworks.com too.
There's a little Web Designer in all of us
If you're jilted like I am you tend to find yourself liking stuff like hand crafting your HTML 'til it's just right. I should get help, I know. Anyhow, I read this rather good XForms article yesterday. XForms is still not anywhere near being used on web pages yet, but it can't hurt being prepared, right?
New, cool... stuff.
Yesterday Slashdot ran a story on Popular Science's article Best of What's New 2003. This piece is so full of cool new stuff I just had to link it myself. My favorite is a bike rear suspension which makes sense even on a road bike. Until now full-suspended bikes have suffered from the problem that the suspension wastes part of your pedaling power... Not anymore.
Of course, most of the stuff in the article won't be mainstream for years, but who would have thought that elementary school kids would have their own mobile phones these days? (Well, at least here in Finland many do.)
I don't have an awful lot to say today, maybe if I'd slept more (than five hours, three less than my optimal of eight) I'd be more creative. Then again, less is more, right? ... Silence is golden? ... Anyone?
Regarding my early morning greetings to the readers of the Inquirer: I ran into this rather upsetting article a few days back, and thought I had to comment. The article linked an article by Dylan Evans, called Smash the Windows. Dylan argued that people should know more about computers to use them, rather than less. I figured I'd ran into the article on the Inquirer, and the best way to reach other Inquirer readers was through, um... The Inquirer. So I mailed them and after a few hours a new article appeared, featuring (among others) a message by me. Feel free to take a look.
Anyhow, a whole bunch of people seems to have found my blog through the Inquirer during to weekend, so greetings to you all!
Novell, Ximian and Suse
Last week I hinted at Linux being destined for the Desktop. About a week ago Novell anounched that they're aquiring Suse. Earlier this year Novell aquired Ximian. So why is all this significant?
I believe Microsoft's grip on the corporate market is largely dependent on the huge user base of installed Windows desktop computers. Many companies use Windows on their servers as well, it's just convenient that way.
Novell has long had a decent foothold in the server market. Microsoft's Active Directory is largely based on ideas implemented by Novell at least half a decade earlier. But even though Novell might have had superior server technology they haven't had a desktop offering, and they'we been losing ground as a result... until now.
I believe Novell will pitch their Linux technology against Windows. They need Suse for the operating system itself, and Ximian for the desktop and Windows/Linux heterogenous network integration bits. Novell's server technology has long been available for a number of platforms, not much new stuff needed there.
With this technology I believe Novell might actually have a change competing against Microsoft. Longhorn is a long way away, and if they give sensible licensing options to firms many may be inclined to switch. If Novell can provide a drop-in replacement for Windows there is bound to be interrest. I might be horribly wrong here, but it's fun to speculate...
Shop 'til you drop... Your pants?
There was an article in this morning's Helsingin Sanomat about a newfound publicity stunt pulled by the French department store Galeries Lafayette, so weird, in fact I just had to dig up the equivalent article on the net... " Store offers striptease lessons" at news.com.au. Should bring your Monday off to a nice start. And don't worry, there aren't any dirty pictures...
Also greetings to all Inquirer readers. More on that later.
It's interesting that when Tim Berners-Lee originally invented the web he envisioned a media where all web users would create, publish and comsume information as peers. Unfortunately web sites were much too complex to create for the average Joe, and as a result we ended up with a model derived from traditional publishing institutions like magazines, radio and TV. A model where the average Joe passively consumes media, advertising-funded media which is often quite biased to be exact.
Fortunately all was not lost. I believe that the weblogging community will serve as a catalyst towards a new kind of web media, a media where the power of publishing is at anyone's disposal. In the future I hope to see much more than the weblogs of today, I hope to see all sorts of sites run by grassroots efforts instead of being funded and controlled by a large media institution. I hope I'm right.
What's with the sudden strike of playing prophet you say? I guess that the whole community thing is getting at me. An old friend from school, Niklas Salmi, just started his own blog (in Swedish). I guess I feel like I'm part of something on the verge of getting much bigger than one might think. The short term effects of technological innovations are always overstated, but the long term effects are always understated... we'll see.
All stories eventually come true
Remember what I said about the N-Gage on Monday? (November 3rd.) Take a look at what the Register dug up.
According to what I've heard, Linus Torwalds has stated that Linux servers are boring, yesterdays news (or something to that effect). Linus is a desktop user, and that's where he wants his operating system. Linux might not be king of the desktop yet, but it's getting there. I have more reason to believe this than pure technological advances. Unfortunately, I'm running out of time here, so I'll just save that for another day.
Politics, politics, politics
The Political Compass determines I'm Liberitarian (-5) Left (-6), which is not surprising to me at all. My views seem to be very, very close to those of Nelson Mandela. Also, not surprisingly, George W. Bush is on the opposite side of the compass from me. Via /var/log/orava.
Other stuff... Did you know there is a whole bunch of cool stuff you can do with LEGOs? Partially via Ntkreatur.
Final blurb: fun/awful Matrix joke, no Revolutions spoiling.
PS. Glad svenska dagen till samtliga finlandssvenskar.
A few days back I ran into this little piece on detecting drugs in closed envelopes and the like. Cool, and frightening at the same time. Via Slashdot. Time's out, back to work!
Mondays are always Mondays
There doesn't seem to be much to write about today, or maybe it's just the fact that it's Monday. Tom's Hardware has an N-Gage review up, but I find it strangely lacking. For one, there no mention of the completely counter-intuitive way that the N-Gage is used as a phone. I wonder who paid for the review...
My guess is that the biggest thing about the N-Gage is the possibility to find random gaming opponents using Bluetooth. But I don't think Nokia is going to find great success with the N-Gage. I'd say Sony/Ericsson has a better chance, combine PlayStation technology with phones and off we go...
In other news it seems like the rumored Yamhill project is still on at Intel, check out Ed's take over at Overclockers.com. What makes this interesting is the fact that Intel has been denying the whole thing existed since day one, but numerous reports by the Inquirer, Overclockers.com and common sense seems to indicate otherwise. Following the IT industry is soo much more interesting than those fictive soap operas... Yes I know, I should get help.
Six Degrees of Separation
My quest for fame has taken a new turn. My blog has been referenced on another blog, to my knowledge for the first time so far. See October 30th on Ntkreatur (in Swedish.) I again find myself excited, as it seems some people read what I write despite the level of feedback being comparable to the rain levels of perpetual drought.
This whole social networking aspect of blogs is quite facinating. I predict that future historians will find blogs to be a great resource. The democratic publishing model that the web makes possible (as originally envisioned by Tim Berners-Lee) creates a research base quite different from published books. Natural language processing hints towards even more exciting possibilities. Time will tell.