October 1999 Archives
The Bellingham Radio Museum is a neat find. Inside its sound archives are Real Audio recordings of some of the highlighs in radio history, including the Abdication of Edward VIII and .
Pursuitwatch.com is a typical American piece of fecal matter. It's a news service dealing totally in high speed chases. And now, one can get chase news sent directly to one's alphanumeric pager. It's a symbol of the general rise of 'dumbth'. If you don't know what dumbth is, I cover it a little in my column for the thirtieth of October. The article is really about some crazy stuff going on in Britain, but it's a good read. MattDabrowski.com is better than Pursuitwatch.com any day.
Today is Friday, the day I get paid, which also happens to be impulse buying day! A few minutes ago, I bought a couple cool things for my palm pilot. Concept Kitchen has a rubber bumper-type case for the palm, which should be arriving next week. The other impulse buy was SimCity for the Palm. Thanks to Atelier's cool downloadable distribution, I'm playing SimCity right now.
If you haven't heard of Napster yet, check it out. This is a killer tool, a combination mp3 player and file transfer client/server. While you play mp3s, other users can download songs from your library, while you do the same from their libraries. This is a great idea but must be a nightmare for the recording industry. This could be a really cool community tool, if everyone is generous with their music.
Has someone gotten you so mad you'd like to insult them? Are you the non-confrontational type? Well then, give a try. It's a totally anonymous way to get back at someone. Too bad U.S. Government officials don't like it...
Gomez.com looks like they're doing the same thing that Bizrate is doing: rating the dotcommerce companies. It seems like a lot of companies have been copying the Amazon interface, now I see why. In the 'Ease of Use' category, Amazon is number one in books, toys, and music (they would have swept all their categories but Borders won for Video).
/. has a link to a contest to find the slowest booting NT server. That's one of the things that really bugs me about NT. My workstation takes about 15 minutes and this very server (MetaFilter) takes at least 10 minutes to reboot.
Get inspiration for your next web project... Coolhomepages.com is a gem of a site. It presents 'cool' sites based on different categories, like 'ultra hip' or 'clean' and displays the sites with thumnail images so you can scan for a site of your liking. I find it very useful in jumpstarting the creative juices when you are re-designing your own site for the 100th time :)
Desktop.com now has competition. OpenDesk.com is another in a series of new websites that offer 'weblications' - or web-based applications, using a desktop metaphor. Try out also http://www.maxam-outdoors.com
Laura Lemay, Author of several popular HTML books has a pretty cool personal site that features stories, rants, and musings on the industry. My favorite piece is her story entitled 'Exit Strategy.' Sadly, I bet a lot of Silicon Valley programmers can relate to that story.
Salon is running a piece on how the internet has ruined San Francisco. I have to say I agree 100%. I've lived in Southern California all my life and S.F. has historically been a much cooler, mellower place that I looked forward to visiting. But over the past couple of years, I've found myself travelling up there once every couple months, and every time I go it's busier, more crowded, and everyone is in a bigger hurry. For me, the mystique of S.F. is totally gone. The dotcom riches have ruined the place. [found at Camworld]
Responsive Face 'The eventual goal of this research is to give computer/human interfaces the ability to represent the subtleties we take for granted in face to face communication, so that they can function as agents for an emotional point of view.' Addictive and fascinating.
Tired of killing those processes the old fashioned way? Get this Doom GUI, and never do a kill -9 without your BFG again.
This is one of the most amazing new flash sites I've seen in a while. Very cool anime illustrations in a movie preview-style clip.
Marc Andreesen announced his new startup, LoudCloud yesterday. The first thing I heard from everyone was 'What in the hell is LoudCloud supposed to mean?' Well, if you take a look at Marc Andreesen's domain ownership record at NSI, you can see that LoudCloud was only one of a dozen bizarre names he bought.
Wow, I want a Kodak Digital Camera now! Porting arcade emulation to a digital camera is one of the coolest programming projects I've seen in quite a while.
This is some comedic marketing. To advertise their new service, Qpass.com has built a parody site that poses as a grassroots organization against the use of forms on ecommerce sites.
The Hamster Dance may be fun, but I like the Jesus Dance. The background sound is amusing, 'My Plastic Jesus'.
If you don't know about the iPic server, you should. And if you do, you should check out the site again. The iPic server is the world's smallest Web server. It contains a few files on a chip the size of a nickel. If this isn't sassy, I don't know what is.
When I got started on the web in '94-95, most pages were somehow related to Star Trek and recognizing William Shatner as the god that he is. It's funny, but the old stuff like the Mosaic's , Jerry Yang's homepage, and the machine he used to house his search engine on are all still online. Even good old Mosaic Communications' URL: mcom.com points to Netscape. Who says the web is temporary?
My god, does the new Altavista look butt-ugly. Can you find anything anymore? I could barely see the search box when I first loaded it. And that new logo? Yawn..... And what's up with the new slogan? Smart is beautiful? What's next: 'Altavista: Check out the size of our brains'?
note to geeks: having a pair of Yahoo! boxers will probably not impress any women. Just another product available from the Yahoo store site. But wait, there's more! Apparently one store isn't enough for Yahoo, there's also a store specializing in Yahoo! branded backpacks and messenger bags, as if you'll get more street cred at the San Jose International Airport with one of those over your shoulder.
So much for paying for voice mail. FoneICQ is an awesome service. You just call their number, 1-800-FONEICQ, punch in the UIN of your message's recipient, and they get a Real Audio sound clip in their e-mail within 10 minutes.
Weeno is another new site meant to share information between readers and anyone who feels like writing an article. The current articles tend towards the slightly wacky, with my favorite being this article on how to buy movie tickets over the phone cheaply.
I'm saying this from experience: avoid Interland.com's web hosting at all costs. These guys are one of the nation's largest web hosting operations and every minute I've had to deal with them has been painful. Their uptime is terrible, their NT servers are so unreliable that your site may be down more than it is up on an average day, and when I asked their tech support staff about it, they basically said 'if you want better uptime, upgrade to a higher account.' That type of arrogance and customer disservice shouldn't be rewarded by new customers. Avoid these people at all costs.
Do you *really* want to ask Tech Support a stupid question? I've heard my fair share of silly, stupid questions, and most of the tech support questions I've been asked could have been answered by the user reading the manual. Apparently this tech support guy couldn't take it anymore and stabbed his coworker for asking a question, then was shot by police. Nuts.
This is kind of funny... the new Cinnamon Altoids site looks so much like porn site...but it isn't. I have to admit, that's some strange marketing. I bet a lot of people don't enter the site for fear of the flesh.
Proof that you can find *anything* for sale on the web. If you ever need human bones, and your local human bone dealer is too far away, or closes early, use the internet to buy your bones!
here just to remind myself to go there each week. I've been enjoying this single-paneled 'comic' for over a year. It's always good for a laugh.
A few months ago, I told a friend I discovered a band called Moxy Fruvous through some mp3s on a hotline server. I'd never heard them on the radio in this country and was suprised to find out they had 6 recent albums. Well this week my friend said 'hey remember that obscure band you like? They're playing he Troubador next week.' To which I replied: 'They're not obscure, they're Canadian!'
I've heard a lot of good buzz about Being John Malkovich, and I wasn't sure it could live up to the hype. After seeing the trailer, I want to see this NOW. It looks like the first original story I've seen all year, appearing to be a mix between Alice in Wonderland and Naked Lunch.
PIXELTIME is neat, albeit hard to understand quickly. Basically, it's a gallery of icon art, i.e. art made from those very small images of Windows fame. There are some neat things up here.
I like Mark Rosenfelder's Metaverse. This site is cool. He has a few neat things up there.
I get lost for hours in the wealth of information on Judaism 101. It's a great way for a goy to spend a Sabbath.
Wow, never pay more than necessary for anything! This is a nutty little app, it automatically queries dozens of ecommerce sites while you surf. The downside is someone might be convinced to buy a book after reading several reviews at Amazon, but their RUSure app would tell them that it's 2 bucks cheaper at Buy.com, so they'd get it there. Before a shopper had to do this deliberately, now it's done automatically. This app could be as big as ICQ, since the founders of both companies are family.
Oh. My. Gawd. These are pretty funny, drawings of various pulp fiction scenes by the Simpsons animators.
Todd at Tremble.com has a few neurosises. I was laughing pretty hard after reading these, mostly because I share quite a bit of them myself...mostly...
I went to Catholic high school for two years, and being the incredibly geeky type, I wondered, given the Pope is the Bishop of Rome, how he ran the whole church and his provincial diocese. This site is a good snippet that answers the question, for those people like me who have academic interests in theology.
Recently, MTV had a special on 'hackers' (scroll down to last weeks show), but apparently the people they contacted for background info didn't give them an interesting enough story. So the guys made one up. The guy behind it all says he was just trying to make MTV's journalists look bad, but that's restating the obvious. Of course MTV is clueless and goes to any length to create a story. The worst part is that MTV isn't alone in this, every news outlet does this. The nightly news looks the way it does for the same reasons, it's all about entertainment.
Derek put some photos from the Fray Day online, and is working on getting the audio together. In the meantime, enjoy a picture of me at the festivities (I'm the guy walking towards the left in between the two people looking at the small house). My favorite image and memory from the Fray Day is this, the caption says it all.
This is pretty cool, a map based on frequency of people saying they felt the recent earthquake in Southern California. It's clearly non-scientific, but interesting that the USGS is collecting 'community data.'
The CAUS has a page with their predictions on popular colors for 1999. I don't know about you, but I'd say there's far too many pastels in the mix, and the dark-gray/greenish-gray has been played out by Martha Stewart/Pottery Barn/Crate&Barrel crowd already.
It looks like maybe this eBooks thing is going to be for real. Microsoft is jumping on the bandwagon for eBooks including the release of a reader that utilizes the ClearType technology. Personally, I've converted a few novels from the Gutenburg project over to the Palm format and read them on my pilot. It's ok, but gets tiresome after a while (only 4 or 5 words fit in a single line of the palm text readers)
I noticed today that isn't working as well as it used to. Now that Register.com is a registrar, the zipper dictionary database isn't picking up names registered at Register.com. I also noticed that anything remotely cool or useful on the zipper list has already been bought by domain speculators (squatters).
Although this is dated, it is still interesting. The long-story-short is someone left some spam out on a plate to see if would ever decompose. This person also left out other items for comparison. Check out the archived experiments for past projects and notes.
Jeez, these people need to get a clue. Children should be encouraged to read anything they want, and as much as they please. So what if Harry Potter books have wizards and witches in them? Even kids can tell fact from fiction...when are the adults going to figure that out?
If one wants to register a domain, one should go to Joker. No, that price, twenty bucks a year, isn't a joke, nor are their any more catches than with InterNIC. And you thought ICANN and de-regulation wouldn't do anything good.
The Annals of Improbable Research always has fun stuff.
Metafilter, Dialectized. Slaop muh fro!
Ah, Peeps, those resilient little birds. This is a neat site on basic Peep science.
This is weird. Today, I accidentally typed 'Addidas.com' in my browser and ended up at Yahoo. I looked up the domain's owner, but it wasn't Yahoo. Adidas.com is what I was really looking for.
Find the distance between two American telephone exchanges with the Interoffice Mileage Calculator. Find the distance between any two cities in the world with How Far Is It?. The latter also has a full database of American and Canadian towns, so I know that my hometown is 4864 miles from Athens, Greece, and 768 miles from Athens, Georgia.
The world's oldest corporation, the , has a great introduction to its three-hundred seventy years of history on the site. Once hailed as the largest colonial power other than Russia, England, and the U.S., the Bay has generally left furs and is now the Sears of Canada.
Guido van Rossum's Computer Programming for Everyone scheme is what we should be doing in our schools.
The Science Behind The X-Files is an awesome site. Rarely updated, but still awesome.
Any red-blooded American who has taken high school chemistry in the last fifteen years or so, or any red-blooded American who watchs public television, has heard of the august Professor Roald Hoffmann and his World of Chemistry television series. Professor Hoffmann does theoretical chemistry at Cornell, and is a damn cool guy.
People who want sex don't have any obstacles. All men know women's bra sizes from outside their dresses. All black guys are extremely well hung. Those are just a few of The Top XXX Clichés of alt.sex.stories.
The Shmaltz Brewing Company out of San Francisco is the brewer of He'brew, the Chosen Beer. Be sure to try the Sammy Davis, Jr., which is a cocktail of Guinness floating atop He'brew Genesis Ale. L'Chaim!
Justin Paola's collection of Roman Emperors is the best online resource on Roman emperors, especially as far as images go. Also good is The Imperial Index.
The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia gives detailed information on all the planets scientists have found outside the solar system. Nerd chic.
Those who have read Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon may know about Counterpane They're the company that Neal consulted about the crypto in the book, including the now famous solitaire code.
Mini-Golf Review tells us where to find the best windminds and clowns' heads on the East Coast. Also kinda neat is the British Minigolf Association.
Eric Schulman from the Annals of Improbable Research asks, Can Fame Be Measured Quantitatively?.
Here are a few neat links. V.I.S. Services is the press releases site for the Vatican. ZapZone is really cool. The gimmick is that a Webmaster sets up ZapZone to look like his site, and ZapZone offers free e-mail to the Webmaster's users. Lastly, I really enjoyed Final Fantasy VII, especially the music. has a great MIDI colleciton.
This new inforrmational site actually looks like an interesting place to read about all sorts of topics, BUT they told me about through multiple copies of spam. When are companies going to get it? Spam is worse than a telemarketer waking you up at 6am on a Saturday! Oh yeah, they're also destined to fail because they are charging for their information (*cough* Slate.com *cough*). Good luck infostry!
Affinia seems like a cool dot-com. They're making money setting up storefronts from other people, and matching vendors with affiliate sites.
The Phone Losers of America have recently been floating a bunch of interesting telephony links. First, there's a great tutorial on How Telephones Work. LincMad Telephone Area Codes & Splits covers the Balkanization of American area codes. And of course, there's the ever-present Pay Phone Directory and the Telephone Prefix Location List. Lastly, those ten codes (e.g. 10-10-220, 10-10-321) are covered at The Ten Project.
I like the concept of the FYI Image Depository. It's kinda neat to just waste an hour sifting through what people have uploaded. The contents range from fingerpainting to softcore porn.
This is funny. The Government of Zaire-In-Exile.
I suppose it was only a matter of time until someone built the Internet Adult Film Database. It's actually pretty funny, you can search by title (sadly, they didn't have an entry for 'Jurassic Pork') or you can search for any specific person. The db will even tell you how many tatoos and piercings each performer has. Wacky stuff.
Finally, someone sat and wrote down the rules to yelling Shotgun! When I was in high school, only one of my friends had a car and we developed our own intricate set of rules of when you can or can't legally yell Shotgun! and expect to get the front seat. The shotgunrules.com site is more in depth than anything we ever came up with though.
For those who like to build things, I enjoyed Build Your Own Boba Fett and Build Your Own Tom Servo, especially the Servo. I have most of the parts, so I'll probably have my very own Servo by Christmas.
The Borland Community Museum is jumping on the vintage software bandwagon, releasing some old versions of their compilers.
Slate did a neat survey of beers, in attempt to get the best beer for one's buck. This should be required material in every American high school. ;)
BetaNews is an interesting resource. It keeps track of beta releases.
I love the beta testing. I wear my Dr. Solomon's shirt all the time. :)
I love the beta testing. I wear my Dr. Solomon's shirt all the time. :)
NASA scientists are successfully growing heart tissue in bioreactors. Need a kidney? No prob, need a heart? Got one. With tech like this, I should probably take up smoking!
I guess that is a gun in your pants and you're not glad to see me...
Due to the recent truce between the ICANN and NSI, new suffixes may be prevented from ever being allowed or at least delayed. It's a shame, because good URLs are running out fast and domain squatters are making a killing.
APB Online is also interesting if one's into that kind of think. When I'm feeling blue, I just stop here, and think of how lucky I am to live in a middle class town.
The 404 Research Lab is kinda neat. It's always cool to stumble across a really interesting 404. They have an archive.
Holy crap! Check out Adobe's new redesign. I love the dhtml, it looks a lot like a flash-based site, but without requiring a plugin. Although their sloppy coding creates a sideways scrollbar when they don't really need one. I like the navigation and love how selected areas "pop out" of the nav bar to indicate where you are in the site.
A new site launched today, called worldwall. It's a site that features downloadable wallpaper from around the world, and visitors can contribute wallpaper. Cool stuff.
Today, I was searching for some stock art photos at photodisc. I needed an image of someone programming a computer, and in that search I found this picture. The words associated with it were all variations of 'hacker' but I was surprised that I didn't see 'leather and flashlight fetish' in the keywords. And by the way, don't you think a hacker would know how to type correctly?