February 28, 2004
Long - time away - Horn
Looks like the next version of Window may only arrive sometime in 2007. In the mean time an interim release is planned. Dubbed "Windows XP Reloaded", you can probably expect the XP equivalent of what Windows ME was to 98. According to Microsoft-watch
the release may be ready sometime June to coincide with the release of service pack 2. Let's hope that XP Reloaded doesn't follow the same disappointing path that the Matrix trilogy did.
Posted by Wes at 05:18 PM
February 24, 2004
We've lived in Rhode Island for almost a year now. Here are a couple of observations:
- Every winter is colder than the last, and the locals always claim its out of the ordinary.
- Every store in Rhode Island claims its "The Best in Rhode Island." There's no truth in advertising here.
- The local news stations keep on advertising "News Chopper 12" like the helicopter was invented yesterday, as well as "Pin-Point Doppler Radar" which, of course, is the most accurate meteorological tool in Southern Rhode Island.
- Providence, the main hub of civilization in RI, has some of the highest parking meters rates in the country. I used to think that only NY and Tokyo had parking this expensive, but apparently Providence wants to play with the big boys.
- People in Rhode Island don't know how to drive at all. Its extremely common for people to make a left turn at an intersection like they have a protected turn even when they don't and there's on-coming traffic.
- Oh yeah, the last mayor of Providence is now in jail.
Well, I guess all of that adds to the quaintness to the smallest state in the Union. However, then I saw Aces Full of Links' article
on proposed legislation to make it illegal o “speak, utter, or print” statements in support of anarchy or government overthrow.
Well, The Family Guy
, an Rhode Island native, would not stand for this kind of abuse, and neither are we. As soon as we have enough money, we're moving right back to California.
I guess Governor Don Carcieri wanted to make it up to Rhode Island after beating-up
on local Native Americans.
Posted by Dudley at 03:02 PM
There ACM Queue
, which happens to have a RSS feed
, has a great interview
founder, Will Harvey. I took a look at There before, but I was supposed to be doing work so I never downloaded it. All I'm really interested in is shooting paintballs at other There participants. Hmm, doesn't sounds like the kind of community that would have me as a member for long.
Posted by Dudley at 02:27 AM
Time to refill your monitor's ink DaveZilla
has a hilarious anecdote
on people with stupid computer questions. This reminds me of the story about a customer calling tech support because they couldn't mouse to certain parts of their desktop. Reason being that if they moved the mouse any further to the left that it would go off the mouse pad.
Posted by Wes at 02:02 AM
Tim Bray concludes from an Economist article
that "coding makes you dumb."
Well, that could explain why Wes is drooling on his keyboard. I never wanted to be an accountant because I didn't want to be relegated to a mundane, pencil-pushing existence, but apparently it's too uh... late.
Posted by Dudley at 12:59 AM
February 23, 2004
Dan Gilmore points
to a really infuriating article
in the Scientific American about how universities are laughing all the way to the bank with their patents. Even while at college I got the sense that universities are ran more like businesses than centers of education. Well, if they're going to be reaping the benefits of patents then maybe they should be taxed like corporations.
However, I'm sure they'll just add that as another one in their Rolodex of excuses for hiking tuition every year. Let's not even start about all the federal funding, courtesy of the US tax payers, that they use for obscure research, and of course the construction of school buildings that they couldn't manage to fit into their already bloated budgets.
Posted by Dudley at 10:59 PM
New Tivo features
Tivo has survey
about possibly introducing the ability to burn and store recorded Tivo content on your computer. Fill it it out and tell'em you wanna burn.
Posted by Wes at 03:09 PM
Can you feel the Voltage? Stowe Boyd
has a quick blurb
releasing a plug-in for MSN Messenger so that they can make use of Identity Based Encryption
. I've thought for a while now that this would be a much better E2E solution than what's currently proposed by the and of course the . Maybe it's time that I actually apply
for their SDK and have a crack at it.
Posted by Dudley at 02:22 PM
Inside "The Apprentice"
Deborah Young, a news reporter, was recently and unknowingly on the addictive hit, "The Apprentice". In her article
she shares what happens behind the scenes, namely that much of the drama is fabricated. She mentions how they made a deal off camera and that the time deadlines for the challenge were basically made up. I guess it's no secret that all these shows are scripted, but interesting never the less. If you don't watch the show, you're really missing out. There's nothing more gratifying than watching another moron get dumped from the show. Now if only they could fire two at a time.
Posted by Wes at 02:20 PM
Corporate IM InfoWorld
has an article
about Instant Messaging choices in the corporate environment. Jabber is mentioned but its kind of pushed to the back despite tying for the highest overall score. Apparently, the only Jabber server ready for the corporate environment is Jabber.com's XCP server
. To be fair, it's probably the most adept of at integrating into the corporate environment, but let's not forget about the fledgling Jabber 2 server
which shows so much promise. My favorite line from the whole article has to be this:
The most important realization is that organizations really do have choices — practically any organization can deploy Jabber, for example.
Posted by Dudley at 02:06 PM
February 22, 2004
Bill Burnham has an well thought out article entitled RSS: A Big Success In Danger of Failure
. Bill talks about why RSS has won out over other push technologies such as PointCast and what not. After that he talks about the supposed dangers for RSS and the solutions he sees. First, the supposed dangers and failures are over hyped. Like most journalists, he's exaggerating the magnitude of the problem in order to juice up the story. For me RSS is like billion dollar companies, they don't just disappear (except if you company's name is Enron).
The article does have some good ideas regarding improvements to address scalability issues such as having the Yahoo! type categories. Of course, Technorati
and others are already working on the same problem.
Anyway, The Weekly Read
does have a really nice website, and with RSS to boot. (via Don Park's Daily Habit
Posted by Dudley at 11:53 AM
February 21, 2004
I knew milk
was for suckers. According to the BBC
, the amylin
hormone could prevent bone loss. Great! Hopefully, Coca-Cola can start putting this stuff in every can of Coke. Unless, of course, we've got the usual "Patent Pending" business.
Posted by Dudley at 09:38 PM
Stick it to them
It seems that our bud, Tony Blair, feeling high and mighty from his stance on WMD in Iraq, thought it would be a good idea to stick it to people a little closer to home. According to this BBC article
, Tony wants random drug tests for students in the UK. Wow, what a great idea!
However, I don't think it should stop there. I think random drug tests should be administered for all public officials including Tony himself. Of course it's a terrible thing if a student wastes his/her life by getting involved with drugs, but it's ten fold worse when a politician does so since it adversely
affects their decision making. Also what would all the doped-up UK kids think if their very own politicians failed drug tests?
Posted by Dudley at 09:23 PM
Scoble's unsubscribe policy
feeds that only have titles and no content. We couldn't agree more. When you do something like that, you're pretty much just wasting bandwidth. I really wish mozillaZine
would put some content in their feed and I don't particularly care for Slashdot and others, who don't put the full post in their feeds. As we mentioned earlier
, John Udell has some good points
on why you should leave post summaries up to news readers.
Posted by Wes at 09:15 PM
When good birds go bad
Apparently a gang of birds has been robbing a car wash in Virginia. The owner complained that they were losing a good junk of change each week, and setup a video trap. This is what they found,
The car wash ended up finding a little over $4,000 on the roof of their building and in nearby trees. I say we throw the book at them. (via Ari
Posted by Wes at 08:14 PM
RSS: Readers, Users and Organization
John Udell has an interesting article
discussing how RSS Readers display feeds and the viewing preferences of users. He makes some recommendations to allow the choice of scannable summaries and a way to aggregate on full-blown posts, which include:
- Nobody needs to truncate feeds in order to enable front-page views (although some will still want to in order to drive traffic to websites).
- Authors should think of the first HTML element (normally a paragraph, but could be a list or a block quote or something else) as special: the lead, or deck, that will appear in a front-page view.
- Feed readers should then offer a front-page view (e.g., just the first HTML element found in each item) as well as a full-content view.
Many aggregators treat RSS feeds like e-mail which really encumbers users, because you have to click on each item you want to read, instead of being able to scan through them quickly. This is synonymous to a webpage just having links off the front page to their content, which is quite annoying and cumbersome to use. Most aggregators also don't have any options for how many items to display at one time, instead of allowing you to page through 30 or 40 items at a time.
When writing the Gush News Reader
, we thought long and hard about these issues, and realized that the big problem is the lack of control over feed organization and aggregation. We came up with a tree structure organization of feeds, allowing users to create groups, and groups within groups. This gives the flexibility to see the news items for a particular feed or group(s) of feeds. Imagine having 15 or 20 new items across a group of feeds. Being able to aggregate on a group level with new items sorted to the top is a huge time saver compared to visting each feed individually.
Posted by Wes at 04:30 PM
Right on the Mark Mark Pilgrim
has an excellent article
about determining the character set used within a feed. Gush
complies mostly with the outlined steps. We have a last resort step which uses the Mozilla's Univerisal Charset Detector
for recognizing feeds that use encodings such as SHIFT_JS, EUC_KR, etc. The results for using UCD are mixed, but it's better than just giving up when the encoding isn't us-ascii or UTF-8, and the information isn't present in the XML declaration or the HTTP header.
Posted by Dudley at 03:10 PM
See your site in Safari
iCapture is a very cool idea that let's you enter the URL of a website, and then within 30 seconds get a screenshot of how it looks in the Safari browser. Could have used this when 2entwine's site was still having problems, before we bought our PowerMac G4. It's also a nice free way to advertise yourself too, since they have a history of the last 30 entries on the main page. (via Nick Bradbury)
Posted by Wes at 02:01 PM
The borrow version of eBay
Mediachest allows you to share your CD's, DVD's, Books, and Music with others. Only problem is, you have to physically meet up with them to let them borrow your stuff, and Mediachest, I'm guessing, will probably take no responsibility if someone just walks off with it. I doubt whether I would drive an hour to Boston for a DVD when Blockbuster is 5 minutes away and only 3 bucks. (via Boing Boing)
Posted by Wes at 01:50 PM
February 12, 2004
No photos in the photoblog feed?
I love seeing nice photos
, especially in my news reader. However, the majority of photoblogs out there don't include the whole article in the RSS description tag or they strip out all the HTML so finally there is no included image tag. AntiPixel
is one of the few photoblogs that does it right, and I think it's really paid off for him in terms of his site's popularity.
But hey, I'm probably wrong about this. Maybe I've been stuck in this basement for way too long and expect unreasonable things like being able to see the photos for a photoblog in my RSS reader.
Posted by Dudley at 02:58 AM
Clarification: Broadband sucks in the U.S.
I don't know what the excuses are but people in Japan sure have it a lot better
than us. When I was still lucky enough to be living in Japan I had an 8Mbit ADSL connection for about $30 per month, and I could download pages faster over there than on my cable modem
in Rhode Island. Now, NTT
, and I'm sure others, offer 40Mbit ADSL for under 5000yen or about $50. Something is screwed
up over here.
Posted by Dudley at 02:45 AM
February 09, 2004
Ivana Jurcic was kind enough to do a write-up
users in Yugosalvia / Serbia and Montenegro. There are some very nice screenshots as well. Thanks!
Posted by Dudley at 12:20 AM
February 06, 2004
some excellent screenshots and explanations about Gush
in Chinese. Thanks!
From what I can tell from our referrer logs, a lot of people outside of the US have taken an interest in Gush
. I've seen a good number of links from Japan, China, Germany, and France.
Hopefully, in the not so distant future, we'll be able to provide proper translations/localizations for all those languages and more. For now, the currently supported character sets should allow most people outside the US to use Gush
If you're having internationalization problems with Gush
, please contact us
Posted by Dudley at 04:11 AM
February 05, 2004
Jabber Transports. Do you really want them?
*Note: I use the term gateway and transport interchangeably.
A good number of people, including Stowe Boyd, have asked me about the support for transports in Gush. I'll just come out with it and say that I'm personally against support for transports. However, this doesn't mean that Gush won't support them at some point.
Here are my reasons for hesitating:
- First and foremost, Yahoo!, AOL, and MSN all don't want you to do this. What does this mean? Well, they at times block the IPs of servers that they can identify as Jabber gateways. They're pretty easy to spot since a ton of people usually have the same originating IP when connecting to the foreign network. I'm sure you could devise all kinds of clever schemes to out do them, but the fact remains it's a battle, if not a losing battle.
- Second, since Yahoo! and AOL's IM protocols aren't open, interoptability can only be accomplished through reverse engineering. However, there's a scalability limit when relying on reverse engineering. If AOL or Yahoo! happen to change their protocol, which they've done several times, it results in an upgrade over and over again for non-authorized clients/transports. For a large install-base, this in a huge headache.
- Third, the features that are available for use with buddies on other IM systems is always the common denominator. In the case of AOL, Yahoo!, MSN, and Jabber, it's the ability to see others online and to be able to send a plain text message. Anything fancier than that is out of the question. We don't want to do this because it essentially makes Gush appear broken even though the deficiencies are as a result of the transport or the foreign IM system.
- Fourth, transports cripple even Gush to Gush messaging. Imagine you and I both have AOL accounts (I know, it's pretty far out there). We both sign-up with the transport, and since we have each other on our respective Buddy Lists in AIM, you and I will be sending each other messages from one Gush client to another Gush client via the AOL network. This immediately breaks both Split Chat and Announcements because the AOL network has no way of encapsulating the extra information Gush needs in order to make those features possible.
- Fifth, on a practical level, 2Entwine has limited resources. We'd rather focus on getting file sharing, group chat, and a slew of other features out the door instead of worrying about transports. We want to help XMPP push the IM envelope, but introducing legacy systems into the mix only slows us down.
If you still think we should support transports, we'd like to hear
about it :)
Posted by Dudley at 01:56 AM
February 03, 2004
The results are in...
It's official, everyone loves Gush's Split Chat
. There are the naysayers, but have they really used it yet? I think not. To all those people out there who think their old, crusty Instant Messenger is good enough, I say: Come On!
Our statistics* have shown that 9 out of 10 Instant Messaging professionals prefer Split Chat over normal chat. You can't argue with that kind of herd mentality.
* = Population sample was too small to draw any meaningful statistical conclusion.
Posted by Dudley at 02:05 AM
February 02, 2004
Wes and I can finally look our friends and family in the eye and tell them that we're done. For the past couple of months we've unsuccessfully tried to dodge the question: When are you going to be done? Even though we firmly believe in the Enlightenment
moto of "It's done when it's done", we invariably tell people that it'll be done in two weeks, in two days, or in 2 hours, and that was back in September.
For the past month, we've been squashing bugs day after day, and each day thinking tomorrow is going to be the release date. All in all, it's been a very tiring experience. For us, we'd equate the first release of piece of software to giving birth. So there, men can know the pain of giving birth. Here's our baby.
Posted by Dudley at 05:37 PM