Archive for February 2005

Classic cartoon themes as MP3s

7 +- 2 Urban Legend

One thing that always triggers off a mini-rant in my mind is misuse of 7 +- 2 urban legend… via [Cook Computing]

Me too. The part that drives me crazy is that people think it has something to do with menu design. Not even close.

Annotating the planet

Jon Udell’s walking tour / GPS / Google maps screencast is absolutely stunning. I have GPS / photo montages locked up in proprietary software (DeLorme mapping software), but this is incredibly inspiring.  I haven’t read his links on how he actually built it — I can’t wait to start doing something similar for the Big Island of Hawaii.

Good movie for Larry Summers

Tina and I saw “Aliens of the Deep” when we were in San Francisco. We liked it more than Greenspun, but his description of the climax as “big-eyed snails who’ve built themselves an Indian casino” is perfect:

James Cameron, director of the movie Titanic, goes 3000′ to 10,000′ down into the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to film the unusual forms of life living next to thermal vents.  Precious few details are offered about the animals in question…. no math is done and you never learn anything about the phenomenon studied except “this is really cool” or “this is really beautiful”. Via [Philip Greenspun Weblog]

Comparing Collaboration Technologies

 This site is a candy store. OpenSourceCMS gathers together a large number of CMS-ish apps (classic CMS, Wikis, Blogs, Forums and more) into one testable site. The server gets rebuilt every two hours, but in that time, you can try out a number of apps, including such fan favourites as phpBB, WordPress, php-Nuke and many others. Via [Visual ActiveKent Sharkey .NET SE 3.11]

This could be handy if I ever get around to updating all my sites, like I’ve been trying to do for five months.

How to Sell Your Book, CD, or DVD on Amazon

 This link does a good job of detailing the steps necessary to sell on Amazon, which basically boils down to “get a UPC and a barcode: [Cool Tools]

IronPython Resurfacing?

 [T]he PyCon 2005 keynote session Python on the .NET Platform on Wednesday March 23rd will hopefully coincide with the release a much more complete implementation.  Via [Cook Computing]

Jim Hugunin has been MIA for months. I talked to John Montgomery a few weeks back, who swore that Hugunin was still alive and active. (I got so worked up in the discussion with Montgomery that I said “If you don’t put a Python syntax shell together for Monad, I will!” and he responded “Promise?” Yeah, that’ll teach me. On the other hand, I have to say that writing a shell is terribly appealing to me – it’s about the most pragmatic thing a language geek can do.)

Referral Spamming

I was just looking through my server logs to try to see what kind of searches were bringing people on the site. Instead, I saw a whole bunch of inbound links from a particular high-level domain that apparently teaches people how to play poker. Doesn’t make sense; I like poker, but there’s no way this blog should be a poker-player’s destination. It turns out that I am being “referral spammed.” Some blogs automatically publish lists of referrers (that is, inbound links that have been followed). If I were to be do so, I would be publishing links to this particular poker playing site and thus driving up its PageRank.

I find it interesting that I haven’t yet been discovered by the comment spammers, and my referral spam appears to be limited to just this one high-level domain. I imagine that once you get on a “vulnerable” list, it’s all over… If so, this would argue for the efficacy of “nofollow.” Presumably, if you managed to implement “nofollow” before getting on a list, you might not be marked as vulnerable.

Easy way to draw traffic

Engadget columnist Ross Rubin declares the death of pen computing.

The premise of the column is that pen computing doesn’t add enough value. There is value the article claims in diagramming and forms–but this just isn’t enough to justify the expensive of providing one. Just use a separate digitizing pad if you must …. reminds me of a comment Howard Elias made last night at the DEMO Innovation dinner. He was being recognized for his contributions in introducing the first multimedia PC in 1991 at DEMO. At the time he was challenged: Why does a computer need sound? It was a good question at the time. Never much of a gamer myself, that’s what I thought at the time too. But ten plus years later it seems out of place….I was still a laggard in terms of having a microphone equipped computer. At the time, I made the mistake of correlating the value of a microphone with speech recognition–which didn’t work for me well enough to be useful. But now with VoIP and apps like Skype my view has changed. I want a microphone with all my computers so I can talk with people. No speech recognition required. I wouldn’t buy a notebook or Tablet without a microphone–or better yet a microphone array–today…. Via  [Incremental Blogger]

Additional insights in the original post, but the point about the microphone is so spot on that it’s worth highlighting. The delay between early adopters and majority, the difference between the expected use (by the early adopters) and the killer app, the critical mass necessary before the killer app could be created, and even the way that the implementation evolves (the first mike on a computer I ever used was something that came from a Radio Shak tape recorder, then came the era of the cheap plastic mike, and now we’re in the era of the noise-cancelling headset and array mike).

At this point, I think we know that writing per se won’t be the killer app of the Tablet PC (I’ve written entire columns on the Tablet and even I mostly write using a keyboard). I’m going to say the same thing is true for drawing, even though I am vastly less competent to talk about what appeals to professional graphics people. I still think that the day Word supports standard proofing marks (not just ink comments, but “Yank this…reverse this order…insert text here”) is the day the Tablet becomes mainstream. (A day that will almost certainly coincide with the day that one can create an Excel formula in ink!)

On the other hand, I also feel that the real killer app of the Tablet is something that we early adopters haven’t anticipated. My current suspicion is that we’re too focused on static aspects of “pen and ink,” that the things we think about today are too focused on X and Y coordinates, when the great advantage of the stylus over the mouse may very well be that it provides a much richer data stream — not just X, Y, and time, but pressure and tilt.

TabletPC Wiki Article Up

My latest for DevX, on developing an ink-based Wiki, is now available.

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