On Not | Mo Chit

June 30, 2004

JabberCon Doc is asking for another JabberCon. That would be great.

Wes and I were coding in the room the night before the last conference -- we won't be doing that again. At the time, we were starving students and after some pleading, Jabber Inc graciously allowed us to showcase for free. That was the first time that we demoed Gush (it wasn't called that back then). People seemed really interested and keen to touch, but Gush was pretty finicky so we handled the controls exclusively. Anyway, there's more to our sad little story, but I'll spare you the details.

I vote for NYC as the next location for JabberCon.
Posted by Dudley at 03:32 AM

June 29, 2004

Miso Soup
misosoup.jpg The last post about strange Japanese ice cream reminded me of miso soup. The best description of miso soup: Dirty dishwater with toenail clippings.

Posted by Dudley at 05:20 PM
Japanese ice cream japanese_icecream.jpg Andy pointed me to the Mainichi Daily News' Photo Special about The Wacky World of Japanese Ice Cream and The WACKIER World of Japanese Ice Cream. I've seen some strange things in Japan, but this has got to take the cake. Yummy flavors include octopus, ox tongue, goat's milk, shark fin noodle, oyster, seaweed, deep sea water, wasabi, spinach, garlic, tomato, lettuce and potato, wheat, curdled bean, silk, tulip, cherry blossom, chicken, and many more. The worst of the worst has to be the Basashi Aisu which is raw horseflesh ice cream. The whale blubber-chunks ice cream comes in at a close second place.
Posted by Dudley at 02:14 PM

June 28, 2004

Japanese rush hour traffic
trainpusher.jpg I saw People Packer off of HotLinks. It's pretty funny unless you're the poor sap trying to get onto the train. I was that poor sap for a while.

I used to take the Toyoko line to work which runs from Yokohama into Shibuya. My stop, Yutenji, was a mere two stops from Shibuya which means that there were already a ton of people on the train coming from Yokohama in the morning.

Tokyo is also a really muggy city during the summer so when those trains pull up, the windows can be wet with the moisture from the people breathing in the subway car. Unlike in NY, most of the trains in Tokyo have very good air conditioners but they can't keep up with the load.

A rational but naive person would take one look at the train, and just decide that they'd wait for the next train which is bound to be there in about 2 minutes. Unfortunately, the next train will be just as packed. I've been the dumb foreigner who tried waiting for the next train (even the packed Japanese people were laughing at me for my foolish attempt to out smart the inevitable.)

Since Yutenji is a pretty small station, there aren't any train station personnel to push people into the train. My favorite technique for getting on the train was to turn my back to the open door, grab at the inside of the door, and then just push back the people with my body.

Good times.
Posted by Dudley at 11:18 PM
Google Public Service Ads Going Nowhere has had Google Ads for the past couple of months. We haven't made a lot of money on Google Ads because our readership is at best 60 or so people, and our ads are so well integrated with the site you may not notice them. Once in a while our traffic spikes like when Scoble linked to my anti-aliasing challenge. Given that, most people don't click on the Google Ads.

Recently, Google has been putting a ton of public service ads on our page instead of Jabber vendors or some of the photography related products which appear sometimes. I didn't really think much of it at first, but then today I realized why we're getting so many of public service ads.

It basically boils down to how the Google's AdWords program works. In AdWords, you have advertising campaigns with keywords. For each keyword, Google keeps track of the number of impressions and the click-through rate. They take the percentage of the click-through rate and the number of impressions to rate how well that keyword is performing. If the keyword performs very poorly, it will eventually become disabled.

What does this have to do with the Public Service Ads? Well, if Google can tell that putting the ad on my website has a really low probability of being clicked on by our readers, then that hurts the advertisers click-through / impressions ratio. Instead, Google just throws up a Public Service Ad which guards against a wasted impression. All this time I thought they're putting up public service ads just to be nice.

So even though the page may relate to the advertisement, this type of selective advertising helps out the advertising campaign's statistics. Unfortunately, it means that a lot of the ads placed by Google on Going Nowhere aren't going to produce revenue for us because Public Service Ads aren't relevant to our content.

The implication of this is that Google ad campaigns may not be as successful as Google would like you to believe. For example, if the relevant ad campaigns aren't close to losing keywords, why would Google be concerned with protecting the click / impression ratio? This is speculative, by the way, and it may be just a reflection of individual ad campaigns instead of the Google Ads as a whole.

Personally, I don't really care, because I know our posting style is pretty much stream of consciousness. It could be possible that if our readership increased that Google would undo our Public Service Ads detention. If not, I may as well get any-old advertisement program running on our site.
Posted by Dudley at 03:36 PM
Cape Cod Sunday was another great day in he US Northeast. A friend of mine and I took a trip to Cape Cod to see what's out there. The beeches were very nice, the water was straight from arctic, and all the towns were some darn quaint. By the way, I don't know what it is about Cape Cod, but there's a ton of fudge and taffy stores. More pictures in the Cape Cod Gallery.

capecod_lifeguards.jpg capecod_windmill.jpg
Posted by Dudley at 01:54 PM

June 26, 2004

Pocket Bikes
pocketbike.jpg All I have to say is: WTF?! I read the Unfazed by the Law, Pocket-Bikers Roll On article on the NYTimes, and I could hardly believe what I was seeing. This may be a cool toy for a 10 year old kid, but what's a grown man doing on a 10hp minibike? I wonder if the bike has a holder for their Pokemon cards.

Posted by Dudley at 02:30 AM

June 25, 2004

Natural Fit
Posted by Dudley at 06:15 PM
Dick's Foul Mouth Apparently, Dick Cheney, probably hocked up on heart medication, felt the need to start swearing at Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy on the Senate floor. I just want to know if CSPAN aired this, would the FCC fine Dick Cheney? I don't know how other people feel about this, but I take great personal offense to Dick's language and his name.
Posted by Dudley at 05:22 PM
Yahoo! and Jeremy Z. The last two days I've been quietly cursing at Yahoo! for screwing around with their IM system and locking out all third party clients. There's really nothing we can do about it until the clever people at Trillian and Gaim figure out how to fix the problem. Of course, they've managed to do it again, and hopefully the Jabber Yahoo! gateway will be updated soon.

My knee jerk response was to say "those people at Yahoo! are idiots," but then I read what Jeremy Zawodny had to say about the recent Yahoo! Messenger changes. The man clearly has his head screwed on right, and that's because he's saying it like everyone outside Yahoo! is seeing it.

Jeremy's adaptation of Cory Doctorow's recent arguments against DRM is insightful and makes a whole lot of sense to me. I personally have a problem with proprietary, public IM networks on an ideological level, but on a purely practical level their exclusion of 3rd party clients doesn't make a lot of sense. The people who use 3rd party clients to connect to the Yahoo! network typically talk to people using Yahoo!'s Messenger. By excluding these 3rd party clients you're pissing off the 3rd party client users, and the other Yahoo! Messenger users who all of a sudden can't talk to those people.

This is how Jeremy summed it up:
Screwing with the messenger protocol...
  1. doesn't work. (Witness the rapid adaption of 3rd party clients.)
  2. is bad for society. (Because it cuts friends off from each other.)
  3. is bad for business. (Because it ends up giving users a good reason to hate Yahoo.)
  4. is bad for artists. (Okay, this one does not apply.)
  5. is a bad business move for Yahoo. (Because IM networks need to figure out how to interoperate not keep each other out. Isn't communication the whole point?! Or is it segregation?)
Every time Yahoo!, MSN, and AOL cuts off 3rd party clients, it smacks of what AT&T did in the late 60s when they monopolized the phone network and didn't want people connecting any device to the phone network not approved by AT&T.

If Yahoo! has every thought about cloning any of it's employees, they'd be wise to start with Jeremy.
Posted by Dudley at 02:44 AM

June 24, 2004

Orange Residual
late_afernoon_statue_shadow.jpg church_dome.jpg
Posted by Dudley at 09:25 PM

June 23, 2004

Posted by Dudley at 06:13 PM
Your rights as a photographer BoingBoing's Photographers' bust card" post links to a The Photographer's Rights PDF document describing everything from the legal rights of a photographer to how to handle security guards trying to confiscate your film. I've been wondering about this recently, and this certainly cleared up a thing or two.
Posted by Dudley at 03:26 PM
Mark it zero
RIAA Claims Music On Car Radios Meant Only For Original Vehicle Owner!!!!

In other news, the RIAA is in merger talks with SCO. In a recent discussion, the head of the RIAA commented to Darl McBride, "I like your style, dude."
Posted by Dudley at 01:51 PM
Flower Sampling
back_of_daisy.jpg red_flow_with_blurred_kitty.jpg
Posted by Dudley at 01:45 AM

June 22, 2004

Photogenic cat Frankly, I like dogs better than cats. However, our adopted cat is pretty likable, and she's often willing to indulge me while I'm taking pictures. Here's the cat relaxing outside, but still keeping an eye on me.
Cat lying down and keeping an eye on the camera
Posted by Dudley at 04:34 PM

June 20, 2004

Sunday Walk Today was another beautiful day in Providence, Rhode Island. I took the trusty camera out for a spin. The sky was just as blue as can be with nice fluffy, white clouds everywhere.
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Posted by Dudley at 09:22 PM
Yellow Sign
Posted by Dudley at 02:02 AM
Faking Lomo I was browsing around yesterday for good photoblogs when I came across Tracey's photoblog, Shutterbug. I think a good chunk of her images are amazing.

I noticed she took her earlier pictures with the same camera that I use, the Sony DSC-F505V. She has a really cool effect on some of her images that resembles pictures taken with a Lomo. Tracey was kind enough to point me to the following tutorial for producing the effect.

I took some ordinary photos that I had laying around and applied the effect. I'm pretty happy with the results.

Posted by Dudley at 01:58 AM

June 18, 2004

FeedDemon Crack
nickbradbury.jpg Just reading Nick Bradbury's latest post about how people pirating FeedDemon have the gall to actually complain to Nick about the upgrade crashing their cracked version of FeedDemon 1.0. Where do these people get their sense of entitlement?

Wes and I thankfully have steered clear of those kinds of users up until now. We've certainly had our fare share of demands. However, our core Gush users are great, and they have been very patient with our continual "refinements."
Posted by Dudley at 11:57 PM
Mark Shuttle and Tuttle SVC Our fellow Rhode Islander, Tom Hoffman, landed himself a gig working as the project lead for the SchoolTool project. From what Tom has told me in the past, SchoolTool is a pretty ambitious effort sponsored by Mark Shuttleworth to develop an Open Source administration system that could be used by schools around the world. Congratulations to Tom, and to SchoolTool for bringing him on board.
Posted by Dudley at 11:03 PM

June 17, 2004

Jabber Client Certification
jabbericon.jpg Rachel Blackman raised the issue of client certification on the Jabber Development mailing list. On the surface it sounds like a really good idea, but then Justin Karneges pointed out some problems with the proposed solution. (I'd point to the actual conversation but the Jabber Dev archive isn't up to date, and gmane isn't responsive.)

The problem is that the certified clients proposal would be slam dunk if it weren't for the state of some of the JEPs that are considered essential for a standard Jabber client. Since we're working on a Jabber client full-time, having a certification would be a great badge to set easily set our client apart from the hordes of other clients that haven't been maintained in quite some time. It's also a good way for people to gage the reliability and compatibility with Jabber/XMPP.

My personal gut feeling is that the timing isn't right for certification. Getting to the point of certifying clients is a process not a decision. The first step would be to invest in tools so that clients developers can verify their compliance -- it shouldn't be left to some board member to eyeball compliance. The second step is for everyone to knuckle down and spend some effort getting the essential JEPs standardized before moving on. With those two things out of the way, the Jabber community could easily setup a process for certification.
Posted by Dudley at 11:07 PM
Boycotting NBC's Last Comic Standing boycott_last_comic_standing.jpg We were watching the second round of the Las Vegas finals for Last Comic Standing, and it was absolutely infuriating. Despite the elimination of some of the best comics early on, like Pablo Francisco, other promising comics like Dan Naturman and John Heffron made it through to Vegas.

At the Vegas show, everything fell apart. Last night's competition was being judged by four comics including Anthony Clark, Drew Carey, and Brett Butler. Actually, the show briefly mentions that the comics selected would be determined by the judges, the audience, and by producers of the show.

It turns out that Dan Naturman, arguably the best comic on stage last night, didn't make the cut despite the judges voting for him and the audience giving him a standing ovation. That was really disappointing. What makes things even worse is that a good chunk of the comics making it all the way through weren't exactly good.

The show tried to save face by actually showing footage of the clearly pissed off Brett Butler, Drew Carey, and Dan Naturman back stage, and then of course finishing with their spin of the selection process. It's interesting to note, that in the first season of Last Comic Standing the byline for the show was "The Search For The Funniest Person in America." Well, they've completely dropped that slogan for the second season.

Good luck to some of the funny comics that made it through to the house in LA, but I'm not watching the show anymore. I want to see good comedians and NBC wants to give me a house full of "interesting" personalities.

I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, it's "Reality TV" after all, and we all know that in reality good people get screwed over all the time.
Posted by Dudley at 03:10 PM

June 15, 2004

PubSub and Jabber's Network Topolgy pubsub_image.png The about the PubSub service is really exciting both for us and the rest of the Jabber community. We've been saying all along that IM and syndication belong together, and the PubSub service is the server side extension to that vision. The most exciting part for me about a PubSub like service, is the possibility to subscribe to a topic, and then get notified within in seconds of the actual post. It's basically like subscribing to Google results and being instantly notified when Google discovers a new webpage matching your query. Very exciting.

By the way, anyone reading the Jabber mailing lists could have put two and two together and realized that PubSub.com derived their names from Jabber's pubsub proposal which PubSub.com uses to expose their database to the outside world. Two months back I thought that this was just one big coincidence. [ Update: Turns out it was just a coincidence. Bob Wyman says they started using the name even before JEP-60 was first drafted. ]

Bob Wyman, PubSub's CTO, recently about PubSub's usage of Jabber on the Jabber Standard's mailing list, and asked for some feedback. I the obvious things that I thought would be needed to make PubSub's service behave like a first-class Jabber citizen. Justin Karneges also on the most relevant point that exposing PubSub's service to the rest of the Jabber network is essential to exploiting the full potential of PubSub's service. Bob raised some valid concerns regarding server karma which is used to regulate bandwidth so that other rogue servers/clients don't monopolize the available bandwidth.

After thinking about PubSub's potential problems with pushing a lot of updates to clients via various servers, I thought of a nice work around. Jabber has a really elegant 3 part protocol scheme for initiating file transfers. The first step, , is rather generic and is intended for use outside of just file transfers. Stream Initiation relies on "profiles" to fill in the implementation details for the service i.e. there's a . My idea is to have a stream initiation profile for initiating a direct end-to-end XMPP session.

Slightly strange, but not without merit. Ignoring the details for the moment, the end result is that I'll have a direct XMPP session ( direct TCP/IP connection) with the Jabber entity on the other end. The big advantage of this is that a service like PubSub can push as many updates as they like in my direction. My server will be really happy because it's not involved with routing each of the PubSub's Atom IQ packets.

Having clients support direct end-to-end XMPP sessions extends the Jabber topology. The current Jabber topology is for clients to connect to a server, and the servers talk among themselves to relay messages for clients on different servers. The technical terms for this is type of topology is federated. However, with direct e2e the Jabber topology would be more of a mesh network where the current Jabber topology is responsible for what could be consider the first tier for XMPP traffic, and the direct e2e would be the second tier for high bandwidth/low-latency traffic.

Another area aside from a Publish-Subscribe service that would benefit from direct e2e is . File sharing could require a good amount of data to be exchange especially if the directory-file structures being shared are very large.

These ideas need to be flushed out, but I think there's a lot of potential here.
Posted by Dudley at 03:39 PM
Jabber News jabbericon.jpg Peter Saint-Andre has posted the latest rounding up most of the Jabber developments for the past couple of months. Our favorite client, Gush, gets mentioned among others. Reading over all the news, it's clear that there is a lot of exciting developments in terms of clients and Jabber services.

Posted by Dudley at 02:46 PM

June 11, 2004

XIFF 2.0 Public Beta Out Sean Voisen has just released the latest version of the XIFF components. For those of you unfamiliar with XIFF,
XIFF (XMPP Implementation For Flash) allows Flash developers to rapidly build applications that leverage the power of XMPP, the world’s most prominent real-time XML messaging protocol. XMPP is the same protocol used by the Jabber™ instant messaging system.
XIFF 2.0 is now wrriten in Actionsript2, makes it easy to implement protocol extensions, and comes with a number of new features including IM (w/ XHTML support), MUC, and service browsing. Congrats to Sean, looks like things are starting to come together.
Posted by Wes at 02:22 PM
FavIcons From Pics
generated_gush_fav_icon.jpg I just found the "FavIcons from Pics" utility on Del.icio.us. FavIcons From Pics does a remarkably good job generating a FavIcon from an image. There's absolutely no reason why a website shouldn't have a favicon with a utility like this lying around.

Del.icio.us continues to be a source for lots of random goodies.
Posted by Dudley at 01:16 AM

June 09, 2004

Gush on the Big Sreen
Thanks to James Ench for including Gush in his presentation at VON Europe 2004 and to Jeff Pulver for the lovely picture.
Posted by Wes at 04:05 PM

June 08, 2004

Movies and the FCC CNET is running an article about getting rid of the FCC. After reading Lawrence Lessig's The Future of Ideas, I'm inclined to agree. Of course, I'm not aware what positive things the FCC is doing for both me and Clear Channel, but I think they've screwed up enough times for there to be some serious revamping. Go, go smaller government! That's my constrained Republican outburst for the day.

thecorporation_logo.jpg My flaming liberal plug for the day has to be for the movie, The Corporation (trailer). It looks awesome. Anything that makes the white collar scumbags sleep a little less at night brings a smile to my face. Well, only temporarily until I realize that they all sleep very well on their mattresses made of cash. (via JWZ)

napoleon_dynamite_dude.jpg On a completely non-partisan note, the movie Napoleon Dynamite (trailer) looks very promising. I'm not holding my breath, but it would be nice to have another classic movie that can share the self with The Big Lebowski and Office Space.

By the way, is it possible in this day and age to dislike large corporations and big government while at the same time not be one of those militia people in Ohio that talk day and night about "those anti-gun nuts"? I think it's time to form my political party of one for one.
Posted by Dudley at 01:31 AM
What are you looking at? The kitty cat joined me on our sunny porch this afternoon while I was fiddling around with the camera. I've always interested in knowing what the kitty is staring at so intensely.
kitty_side_profile.jpg kitty_view.jpg
Then there's me, bored with all the subject matter within 10 feet of my house.
Posted by Dudley at 12:38 AM

June 05, 2004

CSS: Defeat the focus rect in Mozilla Normally in Mozilla, when you click on a link, you get that nasty focus rectangle around it (see image).
Well thankfully there is easy fix. Just wrap everything inside the link in an empty tag and you're all done. The only downside is that you introduce non-semantic markup, but it's there if you need it. The technique also works in Safari.

Update: The original post was incorrect stating that the link needed to be wrapped by a span tag. This will not work, the link must wrap the span tag. How about an example to clarify:

  Going Nowhere
Posted by Wes at 07:17 PM
Jun 5th Morning
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morn_gravel_dirt_small.jpg morn_smoke_stack_small.jpg morn_cvs_back_small.jpg
Posted by Dudley at 05:16 PM
Flash: Great use
muchthesame.jpg Recently, a good friend of mine joined a new band and so I went to their website to check out some sample tracks, which are hosted on purevolume.com. And lo and behold, they have a small flash mp3 player to preview the songs (separate downloads available as well).

So you might say big deal, I've seen that. Well, I have as well but it's few and far between. I know it's a small detail, but one that in my opinion matters a good deal. I hate when sites try to use Media Player, or Real Player, or even Quicktime. It's annoying an unnecessary bulk for playing a song. Flash is not great for everything, but this is one area in which it shines. Everyone already has the player, so use it!

As for the flash mp3 player itself, it's pretty well done. It doesn't do anything you don't tell it to do, like start to play automatically for example. There is no volume control, but that's livable. Some of the play controls do not have the expected behavior, but again, far better than the hassle of external players. You can also open the player as a popup to listen to the tracks while browsing elsewhere.

Now if only we can get sites to start using Flash and flvs for movie trailers, but that's another post.

* On a side note, good music and good luck to Jevin and MuchTheSame.
Posted by Wes at 04:22 PM

June 02, 2004

Pretty, pretty good

larry_small.jpgHBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm is easily one of the funniest shows on TV. Just looking at Larry David's face is enough to induce a fit of laughter. Well, it seems that Larry & Co. have also managed get a man, convicted of murder, out of jail and cleared of the charges. Now that's good TV. Read the whole CNN story.

(from Andy)
Posted by Dudley at 04:39 PM

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