On Not | Mo Chit

July 28, 2004

Great hackers Paul Graham has a good essay on what he thinks are some of the components to great hackers.

There's a nice jab at Microsoft which is always entertaining:
A couple years ago a venture capitalist friend told me about a new startup he was involved with. It sounded promising. But the next time I talked to him, he said they'd decided to build their software on Windows NT, and had just hired a very experienced NT developer to be their chief technical officer. When I heard this, I thought, these guys are doomed. One, the CTO couldn't be a first rate hacker, because to become an eminent NT developer he would have had to use NT voluntarily, multiple times, and I couldn't imagine a great hacker doing that; and two, even if he was good, he'd have a hard time hiring anyone good to work for him if the project had to be built on NT.
Paul discusses the importance of having a good working environment. I couldn't agree more. At my last job I worked in space where two walk ways between rows of cubicles intersected. On top of that, I sat right next to a set of people who could easily land in a Dilbert cartoon on a daily basis for incompetence and annoyance. Needless to say, I was absolutely unproductive except when I used my headphones which was heavily frowned upon.

The obvious question is why did I move to another location? Well, that's a good question, Johnson. Unfortunately, I was a pawn at the forefront of the war for territorial expansion. My desk was the first desk annexed inside of enemy territory, and the general wasn't about to give way after having fought for so long to acquire the space. My productivity was simply an acceptable casualty in the on going war of headcount and extra desk space.

Anyway, Paul's wording on the matter is right on the mark.
After software, the most important tool to a hacker is probably his office. Big companies think the function of office space is to express rank. But hackers use their offices for more than that: they use their office as a place to think in. And if you're a technology company, their thoughts are your product. So making hackers work in a noisy, distracting environment is like having a paint factory where the air is full of soot.
Posted by Dudley at 11:19 PM

July 26, 2004

Vivid imagination or hilarious true story? The Jews vs. The Drug Dealer.
Posted by Dudley at 07:48 PM
Penmanship In a Scribbler's World, the Fountain Pen's Flourish Gets Some Glory. David Northrup's handwriting is amazing, and I'm sure the prize is well deserved.

Somehow the same article degenerates to talking about penmanship and Viagra in the same article, but it's not what you think.
She [ Ms. Gladstone ] insisted that Viagra's introduction actually indirectly increased her business because doctors found themselves writing more prescriptions than ever before and decided to tackle their own problem — penmanship. "Unfortunately there's no pill you can take to make your handwriting sit up and sparkle," she said.
Posted by Dudley at 04:17 PM

July 23, 2004

3 Flavors
Posted by Dudley at 04:20 PM
Blog posting via Jabber Roberto in Posting via Jabber, explained details the small Python script he hacked together to listen for commands via messages to publish blog posts to Pyblosxom. It builds on the Jabberpy module, and so without much Jabber related programming, he was good to go. This is certainly not the first utility for posting via Jabber, but it does show how well Python and Jabber work together.

Since the XMPP protocol is XML-based, you'd certainly need a good toolkit for generating XML stanzas. Jabberpy would take care of some of that, but a good option for Python is effbot's elementtree.

It would be nice to see a Jabber component that is capable of posting to not just PyBlosxom, but also to Typepad, MovableType, Blogger, etc. There must be a Python library that handles posting to all of these systems, I just haven't found it.
Posted by Dudley at 03:07 PM

July 22, 2004

You've got Pictures! Occasionally I get spammed with job openings. I found this gem filtered to my junk mail this morning. It's interesting in that it gives a tiny insight into where AOL is putting their development efforts. Apparently AOL doesn't want to let Google have all of the fun when it comes to photo management.
Innovation is Difficult ~ Come be Challenged!!!
Company: AOL

Location: Mt. View, CA

Position: UI Designer
Individual Contributor Roles

Job duration: Full Time

You’ve Got Pictures!
Come help push the new wave of digital imaging at AOL!

The AOL Product Design group has a need to fill a UI design position in our California Development office located in Mountain View California. This designer will be working directly on photo based applications and environments following industry standards. This designer will also be working with a co-located team and should be comfortable communicating through different avenues and also require about 20% travel to the Los Angeles area.

  • This individual is responsible for working with other UI Designers on designing the user interface for a powerful, yet easy-to-use and tightly-integrated suite of next generation products for the desktop and the web.
  • Scope of work ranges includes specific features and feature sets across multiple applications.
  • Design work consists of high and low-level flow diagrams, wireframes, and detailed interaction specifications for use by Engineering and Quality Assurance.
Posted by Dudley at 07:21 PM

July 20, 2004

Flash. What's it good for? Bigger and better things have been done in Flash, but this is entertaining nonetheless: The Incredibly Evil Machine.
Posted by Dudley at 11:46 PM
Bottle Cap Tripod Those crazy guys in Japan have come up with a . I love how they're using the nasty green tea bottle that you can find in any combini in Japan. I could have used that today while I was lugging around my camera in one hand and my 20oz Coke bottle in the other. (via HotLinks).
Posted by Dudley at 11:32 PM

July 18, 2004

Take five
Posted by Dudley at 03:27 AM

July 17, 2004

Shinjuku Andy recently posted his pictures of Shinjuku at Night and Shonan. My two favorites from the new collections have to be the black and white Shinjuku and the beached boat pictures.

Andy is promising to do more work on "the website," but he first has to take a 2 week vacation to visit Fry's Electronics.
Posted by Dudley at 10:13 PM

July 13, 2004

It's all going to pot
Posted by Dudley at 02:01 AM

July 10, 2004

Rock, Paper, Saddam. Rock, Paper, Saddam! is pretty funny. Someone has too much spare time. (via HotLinks).
Posted by Dudley at 09:41 PM
Brown University Stadium
Posted by Dudley at 09:09 PM

July 09, 2004

Summer in a 10ft radius
Posted by Dudley at 11:00 PM
Get your stimulant
Posted by Dudley at 01:00 AM

July 01, 2004

NIN Colors
Posted by Dudley at 01:55 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

June 28, 2004

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

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

June 17, 2004

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

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 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

May 29, 2004

Shame on you! It seems that Google's AdWords thinks that people reading this blog are a bunch of criminals.
I don't know what tipped them off, but I've got a couple of leads.
  • Going Nowhere (that's pretty accurate if you're in jail).
  • Python (it sounds gang related).
  • My negative impression of the RIAA.
  • My negative impression of lobbyists.
  • Talk about pirating MP3s.
  • Using TiVo.
  • Mentioning the VMWare key generator.
  • The Creative Commons license.
So clearly if you're interested what's written here, you're more than likely a criminal. I suggest you click on the ad.
Posted by Dudley at 02:44 AM

May 18, 2004

Money well spent
Picture gallery of Seattle's new public library. (via HotLinks)
Posted by Dudley at 02:37 PM

April 26, 2004

The movie poster for intermission.Some people live and breathe code, but Wes and I take it like medicine. So, we decided that the beta is out and we could take a slight break. We headed down to Cable Car to catch a showing of inter'mission. Wow, talk about finally seeing a good movie after just loads of Hollywood crap. After spending the first 5 minutes, deciphering the dialog of what barely seems English, we enjoyed the story of mixed up lives in Ireland. Heck, we even forgot about the dude playing his guitar at the beginning of the show (not half bad), and the old, beat-up coach seating (pretty comfy, actually).
Posted by Dudley at 12:15 AM

April 18, 2004

Blogger Con II - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly First of all, you'll notice that this entry doesn't come while bloggercon is actually happening, but the day after. Thanks to their choice of using an adhoc wireless network, there were plenty who couldn't get on the network all day, including us. Adhoc mode is for military vehicles out in the desert, not this!

The first session we attended was Lisa Williams' "Visions from Users," where the audience discussed what features they wanted in the next generation of blogging tools. It seemed that most of the bloggers there were writing their own tools and few had heard of or use the more popular tools, since many of the features suggested are already features! One poor soul wondered aloud if the browser was coming to an end, failing to realize, among other things, that almost all news readers out there use embedded browsers.

Next it was off to "Blogging in Business" headed by David Weinberger. Most of the discussion was centered around who would be blogging at companies and how long would it take before corporate blogging became mainstream. Most thought it would be a number of years before it really catches on. Stowe Boyd made a good point, saying that companies need to read and understand blogs before they can start doing it themselves. Most of the corporate blogging today is done by CEO's or by company employees with there skin deep, "these are my own views" disclaimers. Then there's the question of whether this kind of censored or monitored blogging is really blogging at all? I say, if you're blogging between 9 and 5, it's not a blog, unless your boss doesn't want you to do it.

Right after the session we noticed that we had missed Dan Gillmor's discussion on Presidential Blogging, which I hear was quite interesting. After lunch it was off to Shirky's Power Law with Philip Greenspun. Arguments of which metrics are best to rate blogs and of how to make the A-list ensued, but probably the most useful observation is that there are many A-lists, with bloggers being popular amongst their niche without being generally popular. For example, Going Nohwere is no doubt on the A-list of unread blogs. I can say with confidence that more people do not read us than do. Frankly I don't see why bloggers are so concerned with their blog rank. I would hope that most people start blogging for reasons other than popularity.

We ended up leaving early, opting not to attend the last session on religion, but all in all the topics and comments were interesting with a few entertaining attendees thrown in the mix.
Posted by Wes at 03:21 PM

April 09, 2004

ALA: relative font sizes Something I've been meaning to add to the blog. Bojan Mihelac has a short and sweet article on how to make your site more accessible by including relative font sizes. The article also has all the css, html, javascript you need to get the job done.
Posted by Wes at 04:55 PM
Tell her like it is!
ShitBitchBear.jpg A little late for valentines, but still a great gift for that special someone.
The Shit Bitch Bear™ has been proven to increase response and lower inhibitions of recipients
Now who couldn't use some of that.
Posted by Wes at 04:26 PM

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