Sunday morning links, no pancakes.

Sunday, March 21st, 2004

Good morning…oh, wait, it’s afternoon already on the east coast. Darn! Well, here’s a soupçon of linkage for your weekend. Oh, no, please, don’t thank me.

  • How Offshore Outsourcing Failed Us (a PDF download)
    This is from an October 2003 magazine article, but I’m only coming across it now. It’s of note, I think, if only because the debate over outsourcing is beoming a real part of the 2004 presidential campaign. Sam and I spent some time last night watching Thomas Friedman talk (and perform) to Tim Russert last night on the greater subject of offshore job-shift, and, as much of a globalist as I am, I don’t see exactly what we’re supposed to tell people in Buffalo or Weirton, West Virginia to do for a living. We all can’t be web site designers, right? There ought to be something we can make in these former manufacturing places that the world wants enough to pay a living wage for. Food, maybe?
  • Dude, Get Out of My Namespace
    (New York Times, registration required.) In the future, the fight for the intellectual property that is, well, us will become more difficult than ever. James Gleick, one of my favorite writers, talks about the world running out of names…or at least distingushable names. When The House of Tata goes to court, you know it’s serious.
  • Little Toy Robot: The Passion of the Robochrist
    Actually, this links to an almost-as-tiny article from Ananova, but ‘Little Toy Robot’ is apparently my neighbor, so it seems the neighborly thing to do. It refers to the use of, well, a robot in that big, annoying movie.
  • I’m blogging this fried chicken
    One last link to another apparent neighbor. It’s a strange feeling reading posts about stuff that, y’know, we do as well in real life. “Hey, that’s where we had chicken!” “That’s our Whole Foods.”


Thursday, March 18th, 2004

Just got in from the back yard, where the healthy first bloom of spring is also the not-so-welcome first bloom of kudzu in the back yard, and this year I’ve re-developed the gumption to exert a chemical hand over this scourge of the south–at least as far as its domain extends into our property. I bought some Roundup and welcomed the kudzu back from its long winter’s nap. Actually, as nervous as I am about the use of chemicals at all, I just kinda hit the worst of it and will carefully inspect the damage in a couple of days. What are the consequences of this stuff? Well, there’s some interesting web reading out there, but by en large I think we’re OK as long as I don’t go nuts with the stuff or try planting tomatoes or other edible stuff 24 hours after its use.
Once back inside, though, a quick look at the blog edit screen showed that the weeds that have been plaguing our little Peachtree Hills server have floresced again in the form of (yes, even more) comment spam, mostly on Nancy’s blog, recognized everywhere as a home to comments of all races, creeds, and pharmaceutical orientations. The past few days (hey, it’s spring) have been particularly bad for this stuff…it tends to take root in the predawn hours, and the Roundup in this case is the MT-Blacklist filter created by a nice guy (and photographer) named Jay Allen. It works by doing those Perl-y kinds of searches of the content and URLs of comments and where it finds stuff that matches with a huge (800-plus) collection of entries and expressions, it kills that spam dead, dead, dead.
If only the back yard would work with Perl regular expressions:


Homophily run rampant.

Tuesday, March 16th, 2004

I’m surprised Bush hasn’t directed the Supreme Court to outlaw this practice yet:

homophily:individuals with like interests associate with one another.

I found this tidbit in a PDF Sammy sent me (she’s doing research for her writing, of course)–this very academic paper called Information Flow in Social Groups (PDF download), which, as she says, looks at social connections–that Kevin Bacon six-degrees thing–using the emailing of attachments and links as a test medium.

This paper does some interesting things with how people share information in this email-connected age. I know that I can count on my sister for a certain number and certain style of links, often related to politics and the general idiocy of Folks Out There. There are other dear friends who send me (and the 80 other people in their address book) pictures they’re excited about–only to discover later that they’re hoaxes. This study concludes, among many other things, “most URLs and attachments are not passed on more than once or twice. The ones that do reach a significant fraction of recipients are passed on involuntarily by the sender (advertisements embedded in email messages sent from free email accounts) [or] passed top-down through the organizational hierarchy (an effective way to disseminate information that we do not account for here).” Ah, science explaining social patterns. In the future, our evolution will be algorithm-ized. (Why does this remind me of the Asimov social scientists in The Foundation Trilogy?)

* * * * *

This started out to be one of those rainy day entries, but the sun come out and brother James and I went out for a nice stroll today, where he got to talk out his frustrations with making our sister’s site look nice on evil Microsoft Windows browsers…among other things…and I got to talk about my attempts to understand the powers and mysteries of Cocoa. Mmmm…Cocoa goodness everywhere.

85 percent busier.

Thursday, March 11th, 2004

i’m going through one of those periods where I think I’ve started and accomplished 85% of many, many tasks…but it seems harder to take just one of those up to one hundered percent. I’ve:

  • Loaded tons of video onto my machine and have been editing content
  • Composed 85% of a fine piece of music with my keyboard and some fine software
  • Squashed comment spam moments after Nancy points it out on her site
  • Organized 85% of my photos, tapes, CDs, and DVDs in my office
  • Finished a goodly part of the jcbd site
  • Planted grass seed in most of where it needs to be in the back yard
  • Put together the majority of a new demo tape (or ‘showreel’ as some call it.)

…and, well, you get the idea. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll post this, and be 100% done with…well, this entry.

And we pass the value on to you.

Monday, March 1st, 2004

One of those quick price/value comparisons that makes me happy that I’ve moved up to a G5, but started with a lowly 128.

Macintosh 128 Power Macintosh G5
8 MHz 68000 2 GHz PowerPC 970 (two)
400KB floppy 700MB/4.3GB optical
No hard disk 160GB hard disk
9-inch black and white display (512×342) 17-inch LCD color display (1280×1024)
No dedicated graphics hardware 64MB graphics accelerator
230.4Kbps LocalTalk 1Gbps Ethernet
One mouse button (it’s all you need) One mouse button (it’s all you need)
$2495 (1984 dollars) $2533 (1984 dollars)