Full Speed

[ December 30, 2003 ]

Tunnel SSH over HTTP

A while back, I was looking around for a way to tunnel an SSH connection over an HTTP proxy. This seemed like something that would be easy enough to accomplish, but I had a very difficult time finding a solution. I had given up on the whole idea until yesterday, when I found a link to the home page for Corkscrew. Corkscrew does just what I wanted: it allows an SSH connection to be established through an HTTP proxy. And from what I’ve seen so far, it will easily run on any popular OS. This is one I’ll be adding to my travel toolbox.

Easy, Open MPEG-4

Today I stumbled upon some missed episodes of a certain TV show that I like to watch. Once I finished downloading them, I realized that they wouldn’t play on my PC. It turns out that they were encoded with XviD, an open source MPEG-4 codec. As it took me a while to find the resources for playing these files on my computer, I thought that I’d pass along some important links. Doom9 has an XviD guide. And Koepi was gracious enough to offer XviD binaries for your downloading pleasure. After installing the standalone DirectShow filter from Koepi’s site, my videos played flawlessly.

[ December 16, 2003 ]


Simon pointed out an excellent essay on the differences in the cultures of the Windows and Unix programming camps. If you’ve ever been involved with software development, this is a good read.

[ December 14, 2003 ]

Table Grouping

Simon pointed out a new method for grouping tables. He states that there are problems in IE, but it looks very slick in Firebird. This builds on the sortable tables technique mentioned here previously.

[ December 12, 2003 ]

New Link

Thanks to Jon’s 2003 Linkdump, I’ve got a new link for the blogroll: EXP. EXP is a well-designed blog with a picture to accompany each post. I haven’t read many of the posting yet because the pictures are so good.

[ December 11, 2003 ]

Shrike Doesn’t Like Apache

Today I upgraded four Red Hat 7.3 machines to 9.0 (Shrike). Everything was going fine until it came time to rebuild Apache. Every time I typed make, the compile bombed. I was very fortunate to find a quick solution over at Fixing things. If it weren’t for Randall Lucas and Matthias Saou, I’d have a serious migraine right now. Thanks guys!

[ December 9, 2003 ]

BitTorrent Sites

For your downloading pleasure, here’s a BitTorrent site directory. On the sites featured in this directory, you will find thousands of torrent files for downloading just about anything. Enjoy!

Latest on Safari

Dave Hyatt published a Safari progress report yesterday. He mentioned many fixes and additions to the latest version of Safari’s WebCore. Of the many features, I’m particularly excited to see that they are already adopting some of the new CSS 2.1 features. This makes the next release of Safari look like a winner!

Predictions for 2004

Jeremy gives us a look into his crystal ball to see what’s going on next year. The list seems fairly complete, featuring innovations in search, widespread RSS adoption, social networks, and ‘net reputation systems. The only thing missing is the inevitable WiFi craze that’s certain to explode next year.

[ December 1, 2003 ]

TiVo CacheCard

I must confess: I don’t have a TiVo. But I’ve been wanting one for a while, but several complaints with the technology have kept me away. Most of those have been resolved by third-party upgrades, such as larger hard drives. However, I believe that my final complaint, the slow access to the database, has finally been resolved properly.

From what I’ve grasped from the forums, when you have a large database of recordings, it takes quite a while to access this database at times, especially when you are trying to view one of those recordings at the same time. We’re dealing with IDE drives after all. The solution to this problem for many has been to solder on additional RAM. With this additional memory, the database is cached, and access becomes much faster. I’ve never quite liked that idea, though, because it seems like the fastest way to either kill your TiVo our just completely void your warranty.

The TiVo CacheCard from 9th Tee makes this fix much simpler. This card is plugged into the internal expansion slot on the TiVo. The card provides one ethernet interface and one DIMM slot. The user provides, say, a 512MB DIMM, and the TiVo CacheCard drivers go to work caching the database in that memory.

The ethernet is there because that’s what people normally use the expansion slot for. This upgrade wouldn’t be practical to most without also including that. And I see this as an added feature as well, since this would be combining two upgrade steps into one.

Anyhow, you can preorder these babies right now. They are said to be shipping mid-December. [via PVRblog.]

[ November 29, 2003 ]


There’s an HDTV TiVo on the horizon. What I’m wondering here is whether TiVo will ever figure out that these things need to ship with bigger drives. In my opinion, the current boxes for standard TV don’t have large enough drives. The mass proliferation of upgrades on the net is proof that others feel the same. If this continues to the HDTV versions, TiVo will have some serious problems. [via PVRblog]

[ November 11, 2003 ]

Nice Design

I just happened upon the blog at 1976design.com. Not only does this site have an excellent design, but it also uses some advanced CSS techniques that I’ve not seen used elsewhere. Check out the article on site updates for more info.

Video Orbits

I thought that I’d lost the link to this site a few days ago. While planning for my upcoming trip to Europe, I realized that it would be nice to have software on hand to make some image composites. This software is probably the best that I’ve seen for what I wish to accomplish. But I had no idea what it was called or who wrote it. Now I do, however: Comparametric by Professor Steve Man of the University of Toronto. Google is a wonderful tool when the brain forgets.

Required Reading

Simon Willison pointed me to some excellent articles on CSS layouts. With these and another article on the same site, I think I finally have everything I need to solve the problems that have been causing my new design to remain unfinished. Just remember, Position is Everything.

[ November 10, 2003 ]

Ending Comment Spam

Adam Kalsey is fed up with the spam that his website receives on a daily basis. How can a website receive spam, you ask? Well it’s simple—people leave comments for the sole purpose of getting their link out there. His site, like this site and many others, allows a readers to post a link to his own site along with his comments.

The spammers know that if their links appear on popular sites, they will get bonus PageRank points from Google. They take advantage of this by posting comments to discussion pages. These comments are quite often nothing more than a 2-5 word affirmation of the post–if they’re even that relevant. Often the spam is sent by programmatic robots. In this case, the comments are completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

In response to the growing problem of “comment spam” or “blog spam”, Kalsey has written a Comment Spam Manifesto. This is sort of an open letter to all would be comment spammers out there. He sums it all up quite nicely:

“Our sites belong to us and we intend to keep it that way. It will no longer be profitable to advertise through comment spam.”

No site with open commenting is immune. As evidence, this site, oddly, has experienced a bit of comment spam beginning mere weeks after the site opened its doors.

If you run a site that is plagued by comment spammers, be sure to show your support for the effort against them.

Read more about the problems with Google here: PageRank is Dead.

Pioneer TiVo DVD Recorder Reviewed

Mark Evanier bought a new Pioneer TiVo DVD Recorder and shared his experiences in a brief review. [via PVRblog]

[ November 9, 2003 ]

New SmartyPants

There’s a new version of SmartyPants out. SmartyPants is, in my opinion, one of the most seamless and useful plugins for Movable Type. It transforms mere dashes into em- and en-dashes (— and –). It transforms quotes into their proper form (“”). It transforms dots into elipses (…). If your Movable Type site doesn’t use this, it should.

Surfin’ Safari

Surfin’ Safari is home to Dave Hyatt, one of the developers of Safari. His site gives many insights into the future direction of Safari. And there’s always the occasional ambiguously funny link.

[ November 7, 2003 ]

Latest SOHO Images

SOHO is producing some fantastic imagery of the sun lately. The animations featured on this page are very impressive. And just for fun, here’s SOHO’s view of current space weather at a glance.

Update: I left out a link: Space Weather Now.

IE Times Three

It’s true! Internet Explorer isn’t really the inseparable component of Windows that Microsoft claimed it was. This has now been proven. You can run older versions of Internet Explorer alongside the latest version. No virtual machines; No emulation! This is real!

[ November 5, 2003 ]

Sortable Tables

Simon Willison, always an expert at finding juicy JavaScript nuggets, has done it again. This time we’re treated to Stuart Langridge’s sorttable. This technique makes any table sortable by clicking on a header. All that’s needed is to include a javascript library, give the table a unique id and make it a member of the “sortable” class. Very slick.

XP Wireless Update

Microsoft has just released a large bundle of wireless patches for XP. The patches fix a lot of bugs (no surprise there) and also add support for WPA. If you’re a wireless XP user, you’ll certainly want to download the patches.

[ November 3, 2003 ]

Panther All Around

It seems that Mac users all over are upgrading en masse to Panther, the latest incarnation of OS X. John Gruber noted a significant number of visitors to his site upgraded within 24 hours of Panther’s release. I haven’t upgraded yet, but the fresh new CDs are sitting right next to my Mac just waiting to be installed.

[ October 30, 2003 ]

Lindows to Develop Web Editor

Simon Willison drew my attention to Nvu today. It seems that Lindows is taking the Mozilla Composer and adding new features with a focus on ease of use.

[ October 28, 2003 ]

TiVo DVD Recorders

PVRblog noted a couple of new Pioneer DVD Recorders that have TiVo functionality built in. The pricing needs work, but they’ll come down eventually. Check them out at Pioneer’s site.

[ October 15, 2003 ]

New Mozilla

The new Mozilla wares are out today: Mozilla, Firebird, and Thunderbird. And to go along with this release, Dave Shea put out a beautiful redesign of mozilla.org.

[ October 12, 2003 ]

Directors Label

Matt Haughey says he’s buying all three of these DVDs the day they come out. After seeing the trailer for each video, I’ll probably do the same. Preorder them today. If you don’t want them for yourself, you could always just buy them for me.

[ October 10, 2003 ]

PageRank vs. Spammers

Jeremy put it best when he said:

“Low Price, Fast Delivery, PRIVACY! FDA Approved Medications online. SOMA, ADIPEX, Viagra, and MUCH MORE. Go Online. Fill out your Prescription Request. Your request will be reviewed by a Licensed US Physician. If Approved, your medication will be dispensed by a Licensed US Pharmacy. Requests received by 2:00 PM EST will arrive the very next business day.”

Well, anyway, this entry is part of “PageRank Abuse Day”.
“Attend a Free Online Product Sales and Acquisition Conference. To make money on eBay and the Internet you need to get the source product at deep discounts. In this free online conference you will learn how to acquire thousands of products directly from the manufacturers – (cut the middlemen and buying clubs) at wholesale or less - including overstocks and discontinued items for pennies on the dollar.”

[ October 9, 2003 ]

Ultimate Video Machine

PVRblog mentioned a sweet new piece of hardware today, the KiSS DivX Player. Not only will this play everything under the sun on your CDs or DVDs (“Full DVD/MPEG-4/DivX®/XviD/CD/MP3/Ogg Vorbis/CD-RW/DVD+-RW compatibility”), but it’s got an ethernet port for streaming all that content in from your PC as well. And as if that weren’t enough, it’s got an 80GB hard drive for recording TV shows, too. This will make a very nice addition to my home.

[ October 8, 2003 ]

New York Changing

New York Changing is a nice collection of rephotographs showing the evolution of New York City over 65 years..


I finally got around to installing some stats analysis software on this site yesterday, and the results have been interesting. What has intrigued me the most, however, is Localfeeds. I was pleasantly surprised to find, via my web server’s logfiles, that my entries from this site are featured on the Localfeeds front page for my area. Much like GeoURL, they geographically group websites. But unlike GeoURL, they also will give you an RSS feed of these groups. I’m adding my area to my newsreader right now.

TypePad Launches

It’s Official! Six Apart launched TypePad yesterday. Be sure to check out Ben and Mena’s Headline News appearance.

[ October 6, 2003 ]

Cocoa Tech Open Source

Brent Simmons recently posted a link to a CocoaTech open source release. Included in the release are the frameworks used to develop CocoaTech’s award-winning Path Finder, source for several Path Finder plugins, and a bit of code which will allow you to insert a working terminal into a plain NSView in 5 minutes. CocoaTech is leading the way with great products and now this excellent contribution to the Cocoa development community.

Better Date Entry

Simon Willison is amazing the world with his skills once again. This time, he presents a better way of entering dates in HTML forms. This JavaScript solution is elegant and user friendly. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of this.

[ October 1, 2003 ]

Wireless VPN Appliance from Linksys

Linksys has shipped a wireless router that has VPN functionality built in. Only L2TP over IPSec is supported, but this looks like a sweet deal for anyone needing a semi-permanent VPN connection from the home to the office.

[ September 29, 2003 ]


Ben Trott, co-founder and CTO of Six Apart, announced XML::Atom yesterday. This module implements most of the Atom API. The goal for this project is “to provide an implementation of the syndication feed format, the API, and the archiving format planned for Atom.” Ben also states that this code will form the basis of Atom support for Movable Type and TypePad.

[ September 26, 2003 ]

Quick Links

CSS Supremacists Beware

Paul Hammond says all the right things about redisigning other people’s sites.

One point he makes in this excellent rant is that some sites already have a new design in the works but just haven’t quite gotten all of the kinks out of it yet. That’s certainly the case here.

[ September 25, 2003 ]


Stopdesign led me to a strangely unique font called FRISCO_REMIX yesterday. Of particular note is the letter “Y”.

Mozilla Backup

For those of you who, like me, have all kinds of passwords in your encrypted Mozilla password store, along with a rather large file of bookmarks, Mozilla Backup finally provides an easy way to save your Mozilla profile in a single archive file which can be readily backed up.

[ September 24, 2003 ]

Auto-Complete Meets JavaScript

Simon Willison made note of this recent find. I think it would be nice to have a list of keywords auto-completing the search box on this site.

Secure Email

Does anybody use secure, encrypted email? I know that there are several services out there that are hosting this sort of thing, but it seems to me that they don’t get a lot of use. I have never personally received an encrypted message.

I’m sure that there are a lot of businesses that could benefit from such technology, however. Brokers should probably use encryption to keep that hot stock tip a secret. If I were an attorney, I’d be afraid of violating my clients’ rights by using unencrypted email to discuss a case. And do doctors email patient records in plain text?

Security is a hot topic lately in the IT industry. Yet email is one of the least secure internet applications out there. Hopefully this will all change soon.

[ September 23, 2003 ]

Athlon 64 is Finally Here

The announcement came as no surprise today. We’ve been anticipating this one for many months now. The Athlon 64 processor family, including the beefy 64FX, is finally here, along with a beta release of 64-bit Windows. And news coverage abounds.

ThinkPad X31

Having been a ThinkPad user for about two years now, I’ve recently been eyeing the newest ultraportable ThinkPad, the X31. Finally, thanks to Gizmodo, I got to read a review of the laptop today. The review gave it five stars. I guess I know what my next upgrade will be.

Fight for Number Portability

As the deadline for phone number portability nears in the US, many phone companies are still fighting to prevent it. They are afraid of number portability because it will force them to provide better service and better prices. Don’t let them win! Join the fight to help make number portability happen. Escape Cell Hell, from the publishers of Consumer Reports, makes it easy to send a letter to your Congresspeople. With their site, you can voice your opinion in under 30 seconds.

Web Hosting and MT

I’ve been hosting my own websites for quite some time now. Probably the last 7-8 years. Whether they were run on the servers of companies that I worked for or my own servers, I always had full control of the server. But it seems that many in the weblog world use web hosting companies for their blogs. I’ve read about horror stories getting Movable Type installed. It was simple for me, having root access to all of my servers. In fact, I set up a fully-redundant, distributed architecture for this site in under an hour. I suppose I’m out of touch with those who use the standard web hosting services. Perhaps I should host other people’s blogs on my servers for a nominal fee since it’s so easy for me to setup. Would anyone be interested in something like that?

Quote of the Day

“Whenever someone thinks that they can replace SSL/SSH with something much better that they designed this morning over coffee, their computer speakers should generate some sort of penis-shaped sound wave and plunge it repeatedly into their skulls until they achieve enlightenment.” –Peter Gutmann

[ September 22, 2003 ]

Roll your CSS

redmelon.net has a demo of the best CSS-based image rollovers I’ve seen to date. These rollovers need no Javascript, no image trickery–just plain CSS. And as a bonus, they preload! I believe that this is the ultimate CSS image rollover solution.

The Internet vs. VeriSign

So we have a workaround for VeriSign’s nasty DNS changes, but that’s not enough. Popular Enterprises, LLC, sued VeriSign over the new Site Finder “service”.

Next, ICANN announced that they have called upon VeriSign to voluntarily suspend the service. Clicking on a fake url shows that VeriSign has not complied. Will this ordeal ever end?

[ September 20, 2003 ]


The latest in web-based social software, Upcoming looks very promising. It joins people, places, and events. And you can get RSS feeds for your agregator as well.


Not to be confused with Listamatic, List-o-matic generates CSS styled lists for you.

Nice Try, VeriSign

In response to “high demand” from users, ISC, the organization that develops and maintains BIND, has issued a delegation-only patch that prevents VeriSign’s hostile takeover of the .com and .net domains. In order for this effort to be successful, we must all update our nameservers with this patch and add a few lines to the name server configuration. Will this kill the “Site Finder”? Only time will tell.

[ September 19, 2003 ]

Veen on Web Standards

We’ve all known for quite some time that designing our websites according to the standards is a good thing. It makes for lighter, faster sites that are typically more accessible. Jeff Veen has given a clear, concise business case on the value of web standards. If you’re trying to convince a client to take a standards-based approach, this article is a must read.

[ September 17, 2003 ]

959 At Last!

More than ten years after the limited production of the Porsche 959 supercar, laws have finally been passed that allow an emissions modified version of the car to roam the streets of the US. Read more at AutoWeek.

[ September 13, 2003 ]

Hiding From Browsers

A large subset of web designers are drawing attention to the accessibility of websites these days. In simple terms, web accessibility means that anyone can access a site with any browser. This means that an accessible site supports not only the latest versions of IE or Mozilla, but it works in older, less feature-packed browsers as well.

There is a certain type of browser that seems to be creating a niche for itself as the most troublesome when creating accessible sites. This browser is known as a “screen reader”. And it’s probably not that screen readers are difficult to design for but rather that they’re just not all that available.

You see, screen readers are typically found only on the computers of those who have visual disabilities. As the name implies, a screen reader reads the contents of the screen to the user. A blind or visually impaired user would not be able to use a computer without such software.

And the companies that make the screen readers aren’t helping matters. JAWS, the most popular screen reader, is priced rather prohibitively. Sure, if a screen reader was the only means by which I could “view” a website, I wouldn’t mind paying $1000. But for those of us who simply want to make our sites accessible to users of the screen reading software, this price is exorbitant. Heck, even the 60-day trial version costs $40.

A while back, a petition was started online to get lower-priced versions of JAWS for web designers. This petition drew all kinds of criticism, from the constructive to the outright negative. But it seemed that most agreed that this petition was not the right solution. Coding a site to the quirks of one particular piece of software would be a step backwards.

So what should we do now? Well, I think that we, as web designers, should continue to build sites with semantic markup. Producing valid code is certainly a step in the right direction. The screen readers should be able to read a standards-based markup. And if they can’t, the market will force them to acquire the capability soon.

But if you can’t afford to have a single user turned away from your site, there is still a decent recourse–hiding text from visual browsers. Jon Hicks posted a nice snippet of CSS today that will allow you to position a DIV outside of the browser window. This makes it invisible to the browsers but not to screen readers. The top three screen readers took a DIV hidden with this method and read it perfectly.

In the end, I think that sticking to the WCAG will be the ultimate solution for creating fully accessible sites. If both the designers and the browser developers can stick to this standard, the web will be forever accessible.

After Life

Jonathan Clark has produced a very impressive photo essay in his After Life series. The sounds that accompany these photos really set the mood. And the subtle animations add a good deal to the already excellent photographs.

Color Schemes

While working on a decent design for my site, I have come across many great tools to aid in graphic design. Of particular interest are the tools which lend creativity to the otherwise colorblind. Pixy’s color schemes picker and EasyRGB’s Color Harmonies are my favorite tools for choosing colors that will look good together in my work. I’m still not too sure about the color, though. I typically want to stick with gray on gray. Who knows, though–maybe one of these tools will inspire me.

[ September 11, 2003 ]

New Mozilla Coming Soon

The word on the next major release of Mozilla was released today. We should be using version 1.5 on September 29. I know I can’t wait.

[ September 6, 2003 ]

Listamatic: CSS Lists

Lists styled with CSS have been an attractive mechanism for site navigation to me ever since I first saw them. But I always had trouble remembering where I saw them or remembering to bookmark them when I did see them. This post should take care of that. Listamatic is a collection of various techniques for producing both vertical and horizontal lists.

[ August 27, 2003 ]


With the advent of cheaper, purer diamonds, the semiconductor industry is on the heels of a revolution. And NTT is leading the way. Sure, we’re still years away from an Athlon Diamond XP, but this is the first step on that long path.

CSS Mini Tabs

I found Dan Cederholm’s mini tabs a while back but lost track of them somehow. It was probably one of those days when my browser was crashing frequently due to the java-based rss aggregator that was running in my browser. But thanks to Adam Polselli, I now know where to find the Minis again. And Dan has improved them as well. This is a simple styling that is very extensible and flexible. If you need some tab-based navigation for your site, be sure to check this out.

Movable Photos

Adam Polselli must have been reading my mind when he was working up his new photo album. It’s 100% pure Movable Type. And it is pleasing to the eye as well. Have a look. Expect to see something similar in this space soon.

[ August 26, 2003 ]

4GB Microdrive Confirmed!

It’s been confirmed! As mentioned yesterday, Hitachi is breaking out the big guns this year. Now it’s official! The new giant Microdrives will be out just in time for the holidays. Hopefully I’ll be shooting 8 or more megapixels by then.

[ August 25, 2003 ]


Don’t forget to check out Mars this week. You’ll never see it quite like this again.

More on the F-828

It looks like I’m not the only one who is excited about Sony’s new camera. Now when can I test-drive one?

Serious Storage for Digital Cameras

Hitachi’s 4GB Microdrive is coming soon! Priced far below the equivalent flash-based CF card, this is sure to spark some good CF competition.

[ August 20, 2003 ]


I ran across another great photoblog today: shutterbug. There is a stark contrast between this site and the site that I mentioned earlier today. They’re both great in their own unique ways, though. I suggest that you block of a good part of the day and review the history of photos on each site.

Sensitive Light

Phil Ringnalda linked to a long chain of sites that led him to Sensitive Light. And he’s right–it is indeed “absolutely stunning”. I really need to start taking more photos and get some of them up on this site.

[ August 18, 2003 ]

Cybershot 8 MegaPixel Marvel

Sony recently announced their new flagship digital camera, the DSC-F828. DPReview published a preview of a pre-production model on the same day. This looks like a promising camera for the “prosumer” market. It certainly bridges the gap between the current pro and consumer models. It’s the first Sony camera that I know of to offer a compact flash slot. The new black, slightly thicker casing seems to be a bonus as well–while it will add a bit of weight, it will certainly take away the fragile feeling that the prior models gave. I can’t wait to try out this model.

[ August 15, 2003 ]

XSLT for your Movable Type

Kevin Davis has written a series of articles on using XML and XSLT templates with Movable Type. (Thanks Simon!) In the initial sample, Kevin had some problems with the HTML inside an entry body being rendered in Mozilla. That problem has since been solved. Check out this great sample!

JavaScript for Long Forms

Andy Arikawa first wrote about a new multipart form concept for making those longer web forms appear as short as possible. Simon Willison has expanded on this concept to make the same form more accessible. If you have ever dealt with a web form that was too long, you’ll certainly appreciate Simon’s example.

Wired Diamonds

I just got the Semtember issue of Wired in the mail a couple of days ago. She cover features a woman adorned in nothing but diamonds. The story behind this photo is called “The New Diamond Age”. This is a very interesting read.

We all know that De Beers is the only reason that diamonds cost so much. Any many of us know of the evil practices that this company engages in. After reading these articles on diamonds, you may find yourself reconsidering the idea of spending such a large sum of money on such a worthless rock.

Remember, De Beers recommends that you spend 16.67% of your annual salary on an engagement ring. For many of us, that amount would feed quite a few hungry people for a year. I think I’ll wait for these cheaper, lab-grown stones.

[ August 14, 2003 ]

Image Rollovers with CSS

Jon Hicks recently posted an excellent article on image rollovers with CSS. This eliminates the need for complicated JavaScript code in your site design while still allowing those rollovers that many have come to love. This is certainly a bookmark that should be in the toolchest of all CSS designers.

Calendar Fix

I’m not a big fan of Movable Type’s default calendar setup. With individual archiving enabled, the links for each day on the calendar take you to the last entry from that day. I think that it makes much more sense for that link to send you to a daily archive for that day. So now my calendar does just that.

Here’s how it works. First, I installed Brad Choate’s MT Regex Plugin. Next, I added a regex line at the top of my main index template:


This regular expression removes everything after the final slash in the url for the calendar links. This works for my site’s setup because my daily archive is the index for the directory that contains that day’s articles. Different configurations might need some tweaking. For reference, here’s how I have my archiving configured:

Individual<$MTArchiveDate format="%Y/%m/%d/"$><$MTEntryTitle dirify="1"$>.fs
Daily<$MTArchiveDate format="%Y/%m/%d/"$>index.fs
Monthly<$MTArchiveDate format="%Y/%m/index.fs"$>
Category<$MTArchiveCategory dirify="1"$>/index.fs

I apply the regular expression to the calendar links by changing the MTEntryLink tag in the calendar to the following:

<$MTEntryLink regex="1"$>

Save, rebuild, and you now have a calendar that links to daily archives.

Blogrolling with Movable Type

Dylan Tweney wrote an interesting article about using PHP to spiff up your MT blogroll. I’ve already incorporated this partially into my site. The gist of the article is that you create an additional blog which contains one blogroll link for each entry. The index page for that blog is then pulled into your main blog’s index with a PHP-based include. Very slick!

Guide to Manhattan

I just stumbled upon the Manhattan User’s Guide yesterday. This site seems full of tips and recommendations that should be useful for that next visit to the Big Apple. The daily articles are informative and well-written. I know that I’ll be consulting this site before my next trip to Manhattan.

[ August 13, 2003 ]

Faster Downloads with BitTorrent

I’m typically an early adopter when it comes to hardware, but with software, there are always far too many new projects for me to jump on the bandwagon of each one. Yesterday I decided that there had been enough buzz around BitTorrent that I should give it a shot. To my surprise, getting it up and running was incredibly simple. The NSIS-based installer required minimal interaction. Within minutes, I was downloading a CD image from a site that had been slashdotted. But this wasn’t the normal kind of slashdotted download. Instead of 1Kbps, I was getting about 150Kbps. That was sweet. BitTorrent works by forcing users to upload chunks as they download chunks. That way, all users form a web amongst each other and the downloads just scream. Once your download is finished, you can give back to the downloading community by leaving your BT “seed” running so that others can continue to download from you.

While I was waiting for my downloads to finish last night, I was reading up on all that has been going on in the BT community recently. One interesting discovery was the BT Experimental Client. This new client offers some great improvements over the stock client. In particular, I like all of the extra stats that it lets me monitor. Whether you are a new or experienced BT user, this client is definitely worth a look.

[ August 8, 2003 ]

xda II Pocket PC Phone

I think I’ve found the phone for me. It’s the xda II Pocket PC phone. No external antenna. Interchangable battery. Built-in camera! See the link for a ton of great photos.

[ August 6, 2003 ]

Zeldman’s Accessibility Lecture

Jeffrey Zeldman posted a link to his notes from a recent lecture titled “Accessibility and Section 508”. Not only is this an excellent presentation on accessibility, but it’s beautifully designed with XHTML and CSS.

[ August 3, 2003 ]

Free World Dialup

I just found out about Free World Dialup today. It looks like an interesting free VoIP service. I signed on using a version of Xten’s X-Lite that was customized for FWD. I’ve only made one call to a time service thus far, but the quality was great. They also have a number you can dial for an echo service. This seems like a good idea for those curious about the delays that such networks have. I’ll certainly have to try this out next.

A strange thing happened tonight, though. Soon after I made a couple of test calls, someone by the name of “Rodrigo Rodrigues” called me. This is strange because I requested that me number be unlisted. I’m guessing that I may have just been a victim of random dialing, but I guess I’ll never know.

[ July 30, 2003 ]

Is the Nicotini the answer?

Many cities and states already have the legislation. Here in Austin, it’s scheduled to take effect in September. I’m talking about the smoking ban.

Austin has had a ban on smoking in restaurants since I moved here about five and a half years ago. Bear in mind that it’s not all restaurants, however–there are loopholes. So my smoking friends typically only patronize the loophole-conscious restaurants.

Bars are the main concern with the new ordinance. Many bar owners complain that their business will be gone when their customers aren’t allowed to smoke. This complaint holds some truth, as several popular bars have outdoor patios or balconies. These are the loopholes of the new ordinance.

But the clever bar owners in Miami might be leading the way in fighting the antismoking laws. Enter the Nicotini.

“Call it a liquid cigarette because this drink comes complete with the nicotine rush and tobacco aftertaste found in a pack of Camels.”

Not being a smoker, I don’t quite understand what these people go through without their precious Nicotine, but I do know that when most smokers drink, their Nicotine craving increases. Without being allowed to smoke in bars, most would opt to simply walk outside for a quick smoke whenever necessary. But with this type of hassle, why wouldn’t they just opt instead for a bar with a patio?

I can easily see where the Nicotini might appear golden in the eyes of local bartenders and bar owners. Will this become a nationwide trend?

Infiniti FX45

A few weeks ago, I discovered the new Infiniti FX and was admittedly a bit intrigued. Car and Driver recently gave rave reviews on the FX35. Typically, I don’t like SUVs at all. I’m more of a sports car kind of guy. But this is one SUV that’s just sporty enough to grab my interest. And by the time I left the Infiniti showroom, I was in love with this mean SUV.

“Whatever it’s called, it’s pretty good.”

The Infiniti FX shares its platform with the G35 Coupe and the Nissan 350Z. Those are typically not the type of vehicle that one would think of as cousins of an SUV. And it shows in the way the FX grips the road on a fast curve.

The 45 comes standard with 20" rims. As far as I know, that’s a first on an SUV. And being a firm believer that stock wheels almost always are better suited to a vehicle, this is a nice touch. Any other SUV would require me to ditch the stock rims for such an upgrade.

But this isn’t just any SUV. Even for a “crossover”, this is an oddball. When the FX drives past you on the road for the first time, you can’t help but stare at it’s sleek, low-slung design.

And the 315 HP 4.5-liter V8 certainly lives up to the visual styling. While it’s not quite as quick as the cars that I typically drive, it’s certainly the quickest SUV that I’ve ever driven. The more powerful (and heavier) Cadillac Escalade certainly won’t keep up. And unlike its competition, the FX inspires confidence at higher speeds.

The interior of the vehicle is luxurious. The brick leather is particularly nice. The stereo is excellent. There are more electronics on this car that most any other. Take for example the rear-view camera that automatically takes over the LCD screen on the center of the dash when the FX is placed in reverse.

Overall, the FX just can’t be beaten. Even if you’re not in the market for a sub-$55k SUV, it’s certainly worth the time to stop by your local Infiniti dealer for a test drive. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Simplifying the Web

Kalsey is trying to simplify the web, one step at a time. This is certainly a long overdue step in the right direction for form design.

“Some things in Web design are too complex.”

With the first article on Simplified, a simple PHP script is introduced that provides highly usable form errors. Having dealt with many websites with brain dead forms, I’m eagerly anticipating the adoption of such techniques.


I just discovered Zempt this past weekend. In short, it’s totally changing the way I post to my site.

First off, since it runs on my PC instead of on my web server, it’s a lot faster than Movable Type’s web interface. Sure, there are other tools that have similar functionality, but I haven’t been happy with them.

Second, it’s got spell check! Hopefully this will take care of the inevitable typos that plague my postings.

And my favorite feature of this tool is the Preview functionality. The preview isn’t anything special–it’s just showing my simple markup in a basic HTML control. But it’s far faster than MT’s web interface. This is a major plus for me.

And lastly, Zempt will be a multi-platform app as soon as the next release is available–Linux support is due in version 0.4. Mac support is also supposed to show up in 0.5. I can’t wait!

If you’re looking for a better tool for posting to Movable Type, be sure to check out Zempt.

[ July 27, 2003 ]

Lindows WebStation

Add in a wireless card and a decent LCD monitor, and the Lindows WebStation will make a very nice computer for browsing in places where browsing is all that you need.

And with built-in support for connecting to an SMB server, it instantly has access to my home FreeBSD server running Samba. For anyone who has a wireless network and an SMB server at home, this is a very cheap way to add another PC to the family.

I particularly like the version offered by iDOT.computers. Based on the VIA C3 processor, it’s likely to be quieter, cooler, and more energy-efficient. Plus, it’s case looks much less like the “beige box” PC – much more sleek.

[ July 26, 2003 ]

Almost There!

Found on Brighthand, Sandisk is about to release a new SD Wi-Fi Card!

This thing might get me one step closer to finding a small device that addresses all of my connectivity needs when I’m on the go.

[ July 25, 2003 ]

Serious CSS

Steve Champeon wrote up a great article on some of his recent css work.

“ … a comprehensive approach to Web document design that both embraced the future and drew heavily upon the past.”

“ … restored markup to its rightful place, showed how presentation could be requested only by those browsers that wanted it, and demonstrated how much money and time could be saved by expanding your audience and embracing the medium.”

I’m thoroughly impressed with Steve’s presentation on web design that he gave at this year’s SXSW. The entire content of the presentation is one HTML file. The design and navigation aspects of the presentation are contained in various CSS and JS files. Now, if one were to take this concept and extend it a bit, an entire presentation could easily be included in one HTML file. I relize that this digresses from the ideal separation of content and design, but for a presentation that needs to be sent to colleagues or potential clients, I find that having everything in a single file is very convenient.

Notebook or Handheld PC?

So I was reading PC Magazine a few days ago (free subscribtion–I’d never pay for that one), and I stubmled across an ad for the most recent addition to the NEC MobilePro series of Handheld PCs. This one is listed at $899. The form factor of this PDA on steroids is certainly impressive. And while I like the wide-format display, 640x240 isn’t much real estate, especially when I’m stuggling to see a passive matrix screen.

So why would anybody want to buy this when you can get a Lindows Mobile PC for only $799? This thing has a 1024x768 TFT display. That’s much more usable to me.

[ July 24, 2003 ]

I won’t BuyMusic.com!

Jeffrey Zeldman beat me to the punch with his bit about Buy.com’s new music site:

The Web Standards Project says everything we would have said about this foolishness.

Updated July 27, 2003:

Apple's iTunes Music Store certainly does it right. They sold a very large amount of music in the first few weeks, and I don't see any sign of that slowing down. And with the ability to play that music on the ultimate personal music player, the momentum is certainly powerful.

But BuyMusic.com music won't play on my iPod. In fact, I can't even download it on my Mac. It's not only restricted to windows, but it's also restricted to Internet Explorer and WMA audio. The will certainly be competitors that will challenge Apple in this market, but BuyMusic.com is not one of them.

[ July 23, 2003 ]

I want this bike!

I was reading nothing this afternoon and found a really cool bike. BiGHA, inc. seems to make only one model, but it looks like it would be the perfect bike for commuting.

There’s a guy that rides the most bizarre looking recumbent bike around the streets of Austin all the time. I see him everywhere. Ever since I first saw him, I realized that recumbent bikes are certainly the way to go for the longer rides around town.

But BiGHA has made some true innovations. The bike’s headlights automatically turn on when it gets dark. The brake lights automatically light up when you are slowing down, glowing brighter with greater deceleration rates. It’s got turn signals! The LCD display on the handlebards not only acts as a speedometer and a tach, but it gives all sorts of other data, such as wind speed, elevation, compass heading, trip distance, and humity level. Oh, and it’s got dual disc brakes for those times when you just can’t stop fast enough.

But the price is a bit high, starting at $3,000. Fortunately, though, if I decide I want to get one, I won’t be worried about it at all: BiGHA offers a “no questions asked” 60-day return policy. If you don’t like it, they’ll arrange to pick it up at their expense. This sounds like a very consumer-friendly company.

And they blog, too. :)

Need a Low-Power Server?

I’ve been very interested in low-power computing for quite some time now. All of my computers, whether servers, desktops, or laptops, are power-hungry heat monsters. My desktop has about eight fans in it. The house server has seven fans and five drives that spin non-stop. My development server, which runs FreeBSD, only has five fans in it, but it manages to be the loudest box in the house. My Thinkpad often gets so hot that it becomes very uncomfortable to use it as a laptop. I’m often forced to place it on the floor for a while to let it cool down, but it’s definitely silent in comparison with the others. With those four boxes all in the same room, it’s very hot and very loud. (And that’s just half of the computers in the house!)

Enter Iron Systems. They have a sweet little 1U server that’s powered by a 933 MHz VIA C3. While many C3 boxes are completely fanless, that’s not the case with the server. In fact, I’ve heard rumor that they are even overcooled. While this won’t solve my noise problems, it’s certainly going to lower my energy bill each month. And it certainly won’t generate as much heat as the incumbent Athlons.

So I’m inclined to ask: For my meager processing needs at the house, why would I want to keep the Athlons around? (Except for the desktop, of course. ;-)

[ July 21, 2003 ]

Sony’s New Ultralight

Sony’s latest entry in the ultralight subnotebook category is being called a 12” Powerbook Killer.

I’m not a big fan of Sony hardware. I once purchased one of their tiny notebooks rom CompUSA and had to take it back because the touchpad just didn’t work at all. In all, they gave me four different notebooks before I just gave up and decided that I wanted my money back.

Then I bought a Sony CLIE. The NR-70. This was one of their first to include and MP3 player in a clamshell form factor. But the problem: the thing didn’t recognize my memory sticks. I had about 5 different sticks which worked quite well in my Sony camera, voice recorder, and TV. These sticks also worked just fine on my Mac and PCs via USB and PCMCIA adapters. But the CLIE said that the stick was improperly formatted. I even tried formatting the stick on the CLIE, but that didn’t even help. I eventually unloaded the PDA on eBay.

Sony definitely knows how to pack the features into a small device. They know what the market wants. They know how to make it look good. But they just don’t hold up. Whenever I finally get around to buying a tiny notebook for myself, I think I’ll stick to the good old IBM Thinkpad line. I’m using a very heavy Thinkpad right now, and it’s withstood some horrific falls. I don’t think any Sony notebook owner can say the same.

I think I missed out on refinancing my house

OK, so I was thinking about refinancing my house a while back. I bought it in 2001, just before the tech bubble bursted. A couple of months ago, I had my girlfriend (a REALTOR®) contact the president of a mortgage company that she had been working with. This guy promised that he could have our house refinanced within two weeks and that he would call us by the end of the following day. Well, first off, he never called back. We had to call him. And when we did, his responses to our questions were rather curt. He made promise after promise but never came through with anything. And so I didn’t get the great rate cut that I was hoping for.

Now, three months later, MSNBC seems to be saying that I’ve waited too long. The recent media coverage along with my GF’s local market research confirm that the mortgage rates are skyrocketing.

Now I won’t lie: I got a pretty good rate on the loan in 2001. But earlier this year, mortgage rates hit 40-year lows. Let’s just say that I could have easily shaved about two and a half points off of my rate if the re-fi came through.

Nothing has happened since the initial failed attempt at getting my house refinanced. Did I miss out on some huge savings?

[ July 20, 2003 ]

Cheap IBM PPC Servers Coming

eWEEK has an article that talks about IBM’s plans for some “ultra-low-end” servers based on the PowerPC 970. It looks like we can expect to start seeing these sometime next year. And the best part is that they’re planning to put out a 4U, 4-way server at around $3500. These servers will run either Linux or AIX. I’ve been drooling over their POWER4-based servers for quite some time now, but they are WAY out of my price range. These new offerings make me really happy.

Sony CLIE UX50

Sony finally announced their hot new PDA that I mentioned a few days ago.

Slashdot gave a a bit of coverage yesterday. I found several interesting viewpoints there.

I’m still waiting on these guys to deliver one that adds in GSM/GPRS support, too. My previous experience with Sony CLIEs has been very bad, though, so even when they get the features that I need, I’m going to have to make sure I purchase from a store that has a very customer-friendly return policy.

[ July 18, 2003 ]

Linksys Linux (maybe?)

Rob Flickenger reported today on some serious hacking that he and some Seattle Wireless buddies have been doing on the Linksys WRT54G wireless router. This router already runs Linux out of the box, but these guys are trying to get their own firmware into it so that they can extend it to run some of the NoCat projects, tunnelling, monitoring, better firewalling, and anything else that one might expect from a good, secure WLAN node.

[ July 17, 2003 ]

The Ultimate PDA?

Sony is supposed to announce a new PDA tomorrow. Brighthand seems to have an early scoop on it (via Ars Technica). WiFi, Bluetooth, QWERTY keyboard, .3 megapixel camera. Also, the ARM-based processor is made by Sony and is supposedly tweaked for maximum battery life. Very sweet. For me, there are only two things missing: a GSM phone and a CF slot. Perhaps the followup model will get those added in.

Update: Gizmodo and infoSync World seem to have discovered this, too.

The Buzz on Yahoo

Jeremy pointed out some great RSS feeds today. Now if only we could get the Zeitgeist in RSS.

[ July 16, 2003 ]

Chill Out

In these days of constant chaos, I think that all of the Viagra spam its misdirected. These spammers would be doing a much greater service to the world if they would simply recommend Xanax or Valium. I think the world would be a better place if people would take some chill pills. Can you imagine a world filled with people who are just that much more relaxed?

AdSense Changes?

I know I’m not the first to notice this, but it seems like AdSense isn’t paying anywhere near as much per click today as it has been over the past couple of weeks. What gives?

Shorter URLs

Go here if you are needing to shorten that long URL and want to see a comparison of the various services do this for you. (via Boing Boing)

Fun with MovableType

Until my first MT install last week, I had always thought that it was just a simple tool for blogging. I’m been learning rather quickly, however, that it’s for more than that. Brad Choate runs his whole site on MT. Matt Haughey has done the same on many sites. In fact, I’m find references of this type of thing happening all over the place. I know that my site is currently missing some important info. Right now it’s just a blog needing some personalization. These new tips will certainly make life easier when I finally getting around to fixing things up.

[ July 15, 2003 ]

Tomahawk Might Make it to Production

According to this site, the Dodge Tomahawk might actually see the light of day. If you haven’t seen this thing yet, you’ve got to check it out. It’s basically a motorcycle with the Viper’s V10 engine. If it does actually go golden, there won’t be very many of them, and I know I certainly won’t be able to afford one.


Claudette, now a hurricane, is slowly making her way towards the Texas coast. I’m glad that I live far enough inland as to avoid most of the misery. I suppose that my grass will finally get a well-deserved watering. I’d kill to see the hurricane up close. It’s too bad that I have to work tomorrow.

[ July 13, 2003 ]

Karl on Bob

Karl, I couldn’t have possibly written a better description of “Bob”. When the corp that I worked for began laying off Bobs left and right, I decided that it was time to free myself from their slavery. I’m happily an independent consultant now. When will the Bobs die off? I know of several. They are just waiting for that next Bob Job to fall out of the sky. And it’s not going to happen in today’s economy.

[ July 11, 2003 ]

Browser Fun

So while checking out some blogs seeking inspiration today, I found a neat trick.

I’m sure I’ll find a good use for this before long. It’s too bad, though, that IE can’t do the sweet 24-bit PNG shadows, though. Those look really nice in mozilla.

[ July 10, 2003 ]

Wi-Fi Detector

I hate it when I pick the wrong chair at an unfamiliar Starbuck’s. It’s the chair with the dead spot. The chair where I can’t get my T-Mobile connection.

But this gadget (introduced to me by Boing Boing) will solve all of my problems.

[ July 9, 2003 ]

Bookmarklets Rock!

Simon gave a great writeup about Jesse’s Bookmarklets about a month ago. I just managed to find it today, but I am very impressed.

You’ll need mozilla to use some of them; if you aren’t using mozilla already anyway, it’s probably a good idea to at least have it installed as a secondary browser. Unfortunately, there are still a ton of brain-dead sites out there that won’t work with it.

Canada Becomes First to Choose Medical Marijuana

It’s been talked about for quite some time now. Many US states have approved it. Many municipalities have also followed suit. But today, Canada officially became the first country to dispense the wacky weed to its ill.

[ July 8, 2003 ]

New Features in MySQL

Jeremy posted a nice summary of the new features in the recent MySQL releases.

Update: I’m really looking forward to the stored procedures that are coming in 5.0.

Stop Calling Me!

I hate telemarketers. I signed up for the National Do Not Call List and Texas No Call List today. Hopefully the phone spam will end.

[ July 6, 2003 ]

Hello, world!

I’ve finally gotten around to setting up my own blog. The madness has begun. And I have no idea where it’s going to take me.

© 2014 Scott Johnson (info)
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