QotD: Tragic Death
Wednesday, Apr 23, 2003
(from NSlog())

If you had to die in one of history's disasters, which would you pick?

Pittsburgh for Life?
Wednesday, Apr 23, 2003
164 CMU students were asked: "Would you stay in Pittsburgh for the rest of your life if I gave you $10 million?"

44% said no.

Personally, I like the one who said he'd spend half the money to rename his future town of residence "Pittsburgh."

Future Blogquisition
Wednesday, Apr 23, 2003
March 2003: Google buys Pyra (Blogger)
April 2003: Six Apart (Movable Type) unveils TypePad
August 2003: Yahoo buys Six Apart

Just you wait...

Floppy RAID
Wednesday, Apr 23, 2003
Bored at your job, checking returned USB floppy drive? Make a Floppy Disk Drive RAID. This one really puts the 'I' in redundant array of inexpensive disks.

He made a 'stripe' array, which increases speed (but not too much, sunce he's still running it over USB. I'd like to see someone make a 'mirror' array, where you could, at any time, pop out one of the floppies and still have all the data intact, then pop a blank disk in, wait a few seconds, and pop another disk out at random, until all the original disks were gone. It'd make a great classroom demonstration.

Dirtworld Hacking
Wednesday, Apr 23, 2003
Businesses go through all kinds of trouble to make sure their webservers aren't hacked, but they'll use marquees in front of their establishments that any dweeb with a suction cup on a stick can turn to their own (very funny) ends.
TV Turnoff Week
Tuesday, Apr 22, 2003
Is it any wonder that 'TV Turnoff Week' is the week before sweeps, when it's mostly reruns? It's like refusing to eat meat when there's none to be had.

On that note, am I observing TV turnoff week if I don't watch TV, but let TiVo store it for next week? What if I only watch TiVo'ed shows that were harvested last week?

Terrorism as a Tool
Tuesday, Apr 22, 2003
This NYT story scares the shit out of me.

On the surface, it's only mildly disturbing: The Re-elect Bush campaign has worked it so the GOP nominations are held in New York, starting on September 2nd, 2004 (the latest nomination in GOP history). They freely admit that they hope to use the memorial services occurring in NY a few days later to counterpoint Bush's platform of anti-terrorism and national security. From the article:

The back-to-back events would complete the framework for a general election campaign that is being built around national security and Mr. Bush's role in combatting terrorism, Republicans said. Not incidentally, they said they hoped it would deprive the Democratic nominee of critical news coverage during the opening weeks of the general election campaign.

So the original tactic of using 9/11 as a bridge between the parties has failed now that it's time to run for re-election, and that bridge might be used to let Republican voters walk the chasm to the Democratic camp for different ideas on foreign policy and civil rights.

Sure, that's scary, but I wouldn't expect anything less. What really worries me is this excerpt, which seems right on the ball:

The strategy of starting so late and building the campaign around the events in New York is not without risks. Mr. Bush's advisers said they were wary of being portrayed as exploiting the trauma of Sept. 11, a perception that might be particularly difficult to rebut as Mr. Bush shuttles between political events at Madison Square Garden and memorial services at ground zero.

In addition, Mr. Bush's advisers said they remained worried by the economy's persistent weakness, an issue that could trump national security if the threat from terrorism appeared to recede.

So Bush aides are worried that their re-election campaign could fail if the economy gets worse or if the war on terrorism is successful.

Suddenly FDR's quote, "We have nothing to fear, but fear itself" blends worryingly with Alan Sorkin's quote from The American President, "Bob Rumsen is not the least bit interested in solving [the problems of this country]. He is interested in two things, and two things only: Making you afraid of it, and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections."

It troubles me that the Bush administration is making plans 18 months in advance for its own survival that are contingent upon it not achieving the goals it has stated are its primary objective for the remainder of the administration.

Rube Goldberg and Honda: Cog
Tuesday, Apr 22, 2003
I've watched this at least once a day for the last week. I just can't help it.

And the most amazing part is that they actually did it. No trick photography was used, and it was one clean take. It took four months to set up, and 606 tries over 4 days to get everything working just once on film, but it makes such a nice little video...

Poke it again, Bob!
Tuesday, Apr 22, 2003
Do you ever click the 'get mail' button a couple times, just to make sure you got all the email, and there's not another, overlooked letter, maybe sitting in the bottom of the virtual mailbag?

In user testing, time and time again reserchers will see a user try to do something with a new interface, and if the system doesn't react, they'll click again, and click harder again until they can't click any harder. Then they give up and try another tactic.

I wonder how interfaces could be designed to use these behaviors. First, we'd need a pressure-sensitive mouse button, then we'd need to reinvent interactive metaphors to better map to the way we work as people.

Going Through the Motions
Tuesday, Apr 22, 2003
Walked out of my house a few minutes ago, popped in my iPod's headphones, started the random shuffle (someone should name their band 'random shuffle'... Or their blog...) and strode through the cemetery to the bus stop on the other side.

'Going through the motions' from Buffy OMWF came on as I walked through the grass between century-old tombstones. It was as perfect as a month ago when 'Rest in Peace' came on while I walked home through 2am moonlight.

Last night I decided today would be a creative rebirth, and this was a good start. I feel goth on the outside and plur on the inside. Scary.

Joining the spirit of unfettered writing, my iPod has apparently decided to do away with friction. Now my little jog dial will spin and spin until I deliberately stop it.

After kvetching to Benjy last night about how the latest firmware update fixed my iPod's battery problems, now I may have a replacement reason to take a closer look at the new iPods to be announced next Monday.

Mmmmm... Commerce...

[blogged from the sidekick, on the bus to school]


Hi, I'm Kevin Fox.
I've been blogging at since 1998.
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