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Journal Journal: FCC Ends Cable Monopolies for Apartments

The FCC plans to end single-provider cable contracts for apartment buildings. They're doing this to increase competition and lower prices for consumers.

It's a nice gesture, but pretty useless from my point of view. What good does it do to allow competition when the city the apartment is in only has one cable provider? How about ending the practice of cable monopolies for entire cities?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Eschew obfuscation 1

Someone twittered about the version of Firefox with an "orthographic corrector." I wondered why this was so great, and whether this was something I needed. So I went to the page they linked to and still didn't get information about this feature beyond the fact that it existed. So I looked up "orthographic" on Google: Of or pertaining to orthography, or right spelling.

That's right, orthographic corrector = spellcheck.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The new XServe is here!

Our new XServe is up and running. It has many pretty blinkenlights, making it more attractive as well as a zillion times faster than our old stack o' Dells.

Now the only question is, what do we do with the old servers? They're not really fit for reuse, so it's been suggested that we destroy them interestingly and post the video on YouTube.


Journal Journal: Local artists face international copyright issues 2

Normally I think about technology and copyright as it applies to music or movies, not fine art. This article in the Post and Courier describes problems Charleston's local artists are having with their pantings being copied for profit without permission. Technology makes it easy for their images to be copied and placed on mugs, t-shirts, etc. This often happens outside the U.S., making it hard for the artists to follow up and prosecute copyright violations.

Artists and those copying them have different views on the morality of copying the art:

Anthony Pompa owns a Montreal company that makes canvas prints from the images on Carter's posters. "I love Eva Carter's work. I really do," he said. "And this is such a proper way of displaying her work. We're just doing her a favor. We're making her look great."

Carter, who operates a gallery on East Bay Street, views the works as a clear infringement on her copyrights and a threat to her livelihood. But the practice continues just the same.


Journal Journal: Taking a moment to brag

I had a page where I needed to swap images and image maps using javascript. This caused IE to crash. Apparently, others have also struggled with this issue.

But I managed to persevere! Instead of just changing attribute values, I used replaceChild() to replace the entire image element with a new one. I then set the attributes of the new element to be whatever I need them to be.

It works, IE no longer crashes, and our site is just about ready to go live.

User Journal

Journal Journal: locations of criminals

It's been a while since I've posted things I've found in our web site server logs, but this was one search term I just had to comment on.

Can't you just picture some guy saying, "There's too much crime around here! Why aren't the police doing anything about it? They need to round up all the criminals and put them in jail." And he's going to help them do it, by using Google to find the "locations of criminals".

Sorry, but our web site isn't going to be much help in that endeavor.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Wish I could have a drink

I just built a 9-page web site from scratch in two days for very demanding clients. That includes graphics, QA, etc. The site went live 5 minutes ago, 15 minutes ahead of deadline.

And now, I am done with work and going to the beach. If I could drink, I would have a margarita. I've been hiding out in academia for the last 5 years and this is the first site for regular business clients I've built in all that time (i.e. not government or university). I had forgotten how stressful Fridays could be.

It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal Journal: Here, fishy fishy!

What's kind of scary about this cartoon is that I've actually had that conversation about the fish at work, only we were serious. One of the things we've been talking about doing is working with state agencies and commercial fisheries to get better data to monitor the fish populations off the coast of NC and SC. In a meeting where we were talking about this someone brought up the issue that this could cause overfishing.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Rolling Back to a Previous Version in CVS

I'm making a note of this so I'll remember how to do it next time:
  1. Select the file you want to roll back. Right-click, select "Graph selection" (or hit Ctrl+G)
  2. Right-click on revision you want to remove. Select "Admin options > Delete revisions"
  3. Click around to get out of graph view. You'll notice the file is still at the wrong version. Right-click on the file, select "Update," check "Get the clean copy," and it will revert back to the correct version.

I tried the command-line options I found via a Google search, but that just generated weird syntax errors in CVS. This way actually worked.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Raking in the Buck 2

Have you seen the stories about bloggers making piles of money with Google AdSense? Back in March, I decided to see what would happen if I put text ads on my blog, which nobody reads and which is rarely updated. Today I am happy to report that my ad revenue has finally passed the $1 mark! W00t!


Journal Journal: Blogging Software Syndication Formats

I don't like to blog about blogging on my blog, so I'm putting this information here for my own reference.

I want to start a podcast. I have the idea and the content all lined up, but originally I was going to wait to get started until Odeo came out. From everything I've heard and seen, Odeo will make podcasting much easier than it is now. But the beta testers told me two months ago that it would only be about two weeks. I've now decided to stop waiting and just use regular blogging software jury-rigged for podcasting plus a bunch of helper apps like everyone else seems to do.

The essential thing that makes a podcast a podcast is the enclosure tag in the RSS 2.0 feed. So I took a look at the most popular blogging software to see what kinds of feeds they offer. This information was surprisingly hard to find out, so this may not all be 100% correct, but it's the best I could do:

  • Blogger - Atom
  • Blosxom - RSS 1.0
  • Moveable Type - Atom, RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0
  • Radio Userland - RSS 2.0
  • TypePad - Atom, RSS 1.0
  • WordPress - RSS 2.0

Of course, any feed can be converted to any other feed format using feedburner. But I think it might be nice to have an RSS 2.0 feed automatically - I'm going to have to jump through enough hoops as it is to set up this podcast.

So far, I'm not sure whose software to use: Moveable Type (too complicated & expensive), Radio Userland (not customizeable enough), or WordPress (generates incorrectly formatted RSS 2.0). I've used Blogger for my other blogs, and like the fact that it's simple, customizeable, and doesn't require me to install crap on my server. But am I willing to go through the hassle of generating then hand-editing an RSS feed every time I post?

I'm going to finish getting my content organized, and should have a software decision within a week.


Journal Journal: Adobe + Macromedia = :( 2

I am not happy to hear that Adobe is buying Macromedia. Over the last several years I have used more and more Macromedia software and less and less Adobe.

Macromedia's software is better-suited to the purposes for which I use it. Fireworks was made to create web graphics; inside it, raster and vector formats work side by side in harmony. Photoshop is bloated and has tacked-on web and vector features that are really hard to understand and use.

But most importantly, Macromedia wants my business. I can skip every other upgrade cycle and still get an upgrade discount on their products. Lately, though, I've bought both Studio MX upgrades because the price was so reasonable.

Adobe acts like I should be grateful they let me buy their precious software. If I skip one of the yearly Photoshop upgrades, I have to pay full price. And there was no discount for people who owned older Adobe products who wanted to upgrade to Creative Studio. So Adobe CS would cost me $1000 while Studio MX cost me $400 with Macromedia's generous upgrade policy. This is why I'm still using Photoshop 6.0.

I really wish this were happening the other way around. Macromedia buying Adobe could only be a good thing. I'm afraid Adobe is going to take away all the software I like best and replace it with expensive bloatware.


Journal Journal: One ERP to Rule Them All 2

The University where I work has just announced a major IT initiative. It sounds like the plan is to buy a commercial ERP system to replace all the software from various vendors and homegrown systems the University has been using to manage its information so far.

I've helped create some of those homegrown systems, so I may be a little biased, but this sounds like a disaster in the making. Wouldn't it make more sense to just have a couple of consultants determine which of the software we're already using people like best and then make that the standard? I'm a little concerned about how well a top-down mega-system implementation is going to go over.

Information sharing is important, and it sounds like that's a major consideration in the ERP plan. But it's been my experience that information can be shared between disparate systems if people are willing to share it (the politics of info sharing is more difficult than the technology).

Maybe I've heard too many news stories of major software implementations gone wrong. Anyone have any stories of something like this going well and saving the company/university thousands of dollars?

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