Quick Comments and One Liners

Flutterby will be updateless and adminless 'til Monday. Have a great New Year's celebration, and I'll catch y'all in '99.

Now stop playing the stupid Prince song.

I want one: Cloneshop 1.0 :

Not just cloning, Digital Cloning - and soon you'll be able to clone right out of your PC or Mac, just the like the pros. As soon as Dr. Seed successfully clones himself, he and Adobe will make home cloning available for the low price of $699.99.
It's User Friendly. With Our Typical Drop Down Box Format, You Can Alter Your Clone Any Way You Like

My Anal Retentive's Guide to Burning Man Survival is, at long last, up. I need to size the images, but at least the stuff is finally up.

Cameron Barrett talks about The Great Unethical Advertising Beast , the encroachment of ads into what was formerly time for previews in videos and movies. Those don't bother me nearly as much as all of those ads in the movies, all the product placement that can get at least as annoying, and is much harder to fast forward over. I don't get to the movies much, but the Pepsi plugs in Antz were really jarring.

No My Word's Worth this morning, but you can check out Marylaine's column at Fox news instead.

A Mini Need To Know for the holiday season.

In Salon, the worst books of the year .

Good Afternoon!

(Catherine says "Merry Christmas!")

In the 390s, the Christians decided that despite evidence that Jesus' birth didn't happen in the middle of winter they needed to coopt the celebration of the return of light, whence Christmas. However you celebrate the lengthening of the days, have a good one.

News.com has a postmortem on Network Associate's recent publicity stunt regarding the MCI WorldCom virus.

Watch what you do and where you do it: a group of people at a private party were arrested because "the state has an interest in maintaining morals and standards of decency." http://www.detnews.com/1998/metro/9812/23/12230100.htm

So I'm reading Jane Healy's Failure to Connect. So far I'm disappointed, although the damage done to young children by replacing reality with some computer generated attempt at facsimile during their formative years is obvious, Healy intersperses her critique, which at times is pretty darned vague, with suggestions for parents who still feel that they absolutely must integrate "edutainment", which in the next chapter she'll link to autistic-like behavior, into their child's upbringing. So I'm disappointed. Except that /. points to an article by Martin Vermeer in Linux Today which proposes that Unix is a critical part of computer literacy, and perhaps the problem we've had is that Windows makes it a little too easy to be illiterate and still make pretty pictures.

Yes! It's been a good year. Credit in a blockbuster movie , a growing readership for Flutterby (Thanks, Cameron , I feel like I've gotten a boost from your references), and, now, Philip Greenspun , web god, has quoted me in his new book, Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing in the Learn to Program HTML in 21 Minutes chapter:

It has been four years since I wrote my "Shame and War" paper. Has there been any progress since then? Yes and no. The Extensible Markup Language (XML) is being standardized by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Described by Dan Lyke as "the subset of SGML that Microsoft's developers could understand", XML addresses the need for semantic markup but not the requirement that publishers agree on a common set of classes for semantic markup to be useful.

Cam's Technology Predictions for 1999

Surprise, surprise... In this world of cynical advertising and gullible consumers it's not like this doesn't happen all the time, but Techweb reports that Divx fan sites are apparently inside jobs . Which isn't really that surprising, I mean after all how many consumers who like Divx actually have the mental competence to brush their own teeth let alone put together a web site?

My Word's Worth this morning is a slightly disturbing Christmas card.

There's a long awaited new set of Helen, Sweetheart of the Internet strips, Helen is torn between Spencer and... Unix. And, of course, the saga of Sluggy Freelance continues.

Need To Know strikes again. And as usual, they say it better than I could:

"Software expands to fill the space available. If it didn't, it wouldn't be designed properly."
- NATHAN MYHRVOLD explains Microsoft's design philosophy
...within 4 hours we estimate NT will have consumed much of Washington State: after 16 hours, the entire Western seaboard. It'll reach New York by 3am tomorrow morning...

January 18th is hereby pronounced A World Day o' Goofiness .

On Monday, January 18th (the birthdate of Oliver Hardy and Danny Kaye), take part in a Day of Goofiness. an attempt to get everyone to stop taking themselves seriously for a day. Turn your every move into performance art. Put a "Get Goofy" banner on your website. Come and tell us all about what you're doing to make this world a little bit Goofier.

(via CamWorld )

In its first article this week of any interest, Salon points out how Microsoft is using its position as a publisher to rewrite history.

Another toy gives it's life in the pursuit of science! http://www.phobe.com/furby/

Salon points out that yesterday's bombing of Iraq was a great chance to test what happens when various news organizations' web servers get high volume. If one keeps track of which places run which operating systems, the results should be obvious.

The saga of the Bastard Operator From Hell continues, but let's face it: The spark is gone, the writing isn't what it once was. Sure, it's fun to read about bastards wailing on (l)users, but it didn't used to be so science-fictiony and yet somehow so mundane. Anyway, it's there.

CNN reports that a bug in Microsoft's Exchange server delays impeachment. Perhaps Bill's a Democrat?

A new mouthorgan , recommending books on sex for Christmas giving. A good follow up to their complaints about book reviewing.

The U.S. (and apparently at least the U.K. too) has attacked Iraq

Help User Friendly's Dust Puppy beat Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf at Time's Man of the Year poll .

The LA TImes reports:

He mocked the sanctimony of all who "sermonized about how terrible lying is."
Granted, lies were told, he said, but it hardly makes sense to "label every untruth and every deception an outrage."
He also condemned the "disconcerting and distasteful whiff of moralism and institutional self-righteousness" that led Congress to conduct hearings on the deceptions coming from the White House and he denounced the result as "a witch hunt."
So said the House Republican who led the defense of the Reagan administration during the Iran-Contra hearings, the same Rep. Henry J. Hyde of Illinois who is leading the impeachment inquiry against President Clinton.

Cameron Barret has a simple request to movie producers and directors who use computers and technology in their movies.

A summary of an Interim Study, An Appraisal of the Technology of Political Control , as a coworker said: "Orwell was an optimist."

Okay, I'm pissed off at all of these cheesey marketing slogans. Sun's "We're the dot in .com", whoever the lamers are who are claiming to be "the dot com people". Well, in keeping with our laidback meditative sort of stance here at Flutterby, I here by proclaim us "the 'Om' in .cOm". Any compiler writers out there wanna (mis)appropriate the ".c" part?

SFGate raises an eyebrow at Berkeley City Councilwoman Maudelle Shirek's recent vote against a law that would have outlawed lying or sitting on Telegraph Avenue contrasted with her comments on her recent trip to Cuba where she commented that it was nice that nobody was "sleeping on the streets there."

Pat Califia has a new Topping the News in Spectator Magazine , but maybe an update on the sorry state of the world isn't what I need right now 'cause it just depressed me.

I was listening to the radio and they reported that Jewel is being dissed by assorted anti-abortion group because she supports the Zero Population Growth organization. So I went to their web page and decided I'm gonna send them a few bucks.

43 Reasons Why Wired Sucks

2. You can read it! Conde Nast cleaned up the florescent overkill and stopped reversing out the type so that readers over 18 can now actually read the magazine and guess what? There's nothing to read.

Despite agreeing with the article, I do, however, propose one reason that Upside sucks: They use those lousy Microsoft products that insert illegal characters into their HTML.

Okay, here's a link to the LA FILM CRITICS AWARDS , but if you don't want to read it, the important part is that A Bug's Life won out over every other full-length animated feature of 1998, including Antz and Prince of Egypt (which will be released at the end of this week), so rather than going and seeing one of those, why not go back and see A Bug's Life again, especially now that the new bloopers and outtakes will be released soon.

A 3d scanner built with a Lego Mindstorms kit: http://www.pobox.com/~benw/lego/probe/

Just in case you've been living in a cave and have missed this puppy, it's the South African flamethrower vehicle car anti-theft device as reported by CNN .

A new My Word's Worth this morning, bemoaning the loss of general interest magazines, with their photoessays, poetry and cartooning.

To keep us all from withdrawal symptoms now that Helen, Sweetheart of the Internet is so irregular, some other cartoon seriers: If you follow Sluggy Freelance , that whacky serial about a web designer, an alien and a switchblade toting rabbit, now would be a good chance to catch up on last week. And the saga at User Friendly continues.

Sorry, but these hearings are just rife with material: Can we prosecute any of these bozos for lying when they refer to their political opponents as "my dear colleagues" or even worse "my dear friends from across the aisle"?

Lost in all of the noise, there's a new NETFUTURE out.

There's been an update to the Political Hearings Drinking Game, I'll check any suggestions mailed to me at home and incorporate them later when I get home.

Need To Know is out this week, starting with a Doug Englebart quote that got me thinking:

"The real question I've been working these past 50 years on is how to augment the human intellect through collective thinking"

It seems indicative of something that the mouse, as used in point-n-drool interfaces, hasn't really augmented the high end of "the human intellect", it's brought the low end into a world and set of discussions they really don't understand. Couldn't we have just left them with TV? Sorry for the cynicism, the background of politicians talking has that effect.

Quote of the day from the proceedings: "This is not an indictment, this is an impeachment", used to justify a lower standard of proof than an indictment. As damning an admission that this is a politically motivated action if ever there were one.

In SFGate, there's an AP report that an anti-drug campaign backfired . Specifically, pencils with "Too Cool to Do Drugs" on them had the "Drugs" side towards the eraser, so the obvious phrases appeared as they were used. But, you know, that original phrase isn't exactly unambiguous, because, well, it might imply that doing drugs is just too cool. What, do these anti-drug people leave their brains at... wait, don't answer that.

For you IF fanatics: Andrew 'Zarf' Plotkin's home page has moved to http://www.eblong.com/zarf/home.html

Yay! Susie Bright's back in Salon , this time asking "what's wrong with strippers at teenager's parties?"

The use of children in political speech making, much like the trite use of fawns or cute dogs in movie making, should be banned.

So my office-mate has been inflicting the House Judicial Committee proceedings on me. My first reaction is that we shouldn't limit ourselves to the D.C., we should nuke both Maryland and Virginia, it's the only way to be truly sure. Does Mr. Shipper's (sp?) standard of truthfulness apply to himself? Then what about all those mistruths he told about the consequences of postponing the Paula Jones case? And the "we've got lots of stuff I can't show you" intimations? Not that I'm siding with the Democrats, I've just been subjected to several hours of intimations and innuendo claiming to be a case. But really it's a fruitless waste of time, everyone on that committee has known for weeks (if not months) how they'll be voting.

The Declaration of Independence is mirrored at Flutterby because it's an important document to have easy to find.

A new mouthorgan , bemoaning the lack of good reviews of sexuality books in the mainstream.

In Salon this morning, there's a reprint of a David Steinberg article that's already scrolled off of Flutterby. It's good that Steinberg's getting paid, bad that the mainstream press (which Salon is most emphatically a part of) is so far behind the real world. But Salon's been particularly lame recently anyway.

On Upside there's an article by Sam Williams about mentoring homeless kids, and trying to make people conform, that's well worth reading:

"The discussion wasn't about career paths anymore. This was personal. This was Joe vs. the Beehive, and the Beehive was buzzing for retribution."

For the Pointy Haired Bosses in your life, here's Six Lies about Linux

Gulp, /. points to this gem from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation . Be afraid, be very very afraid:

The FDIC is proposing to issue a regulation requiring insured nonmember banks to develop and maintain ``Know Your Customer'' programs. As proposed, the regulation would require each nonmember bank to develop a program designed to determine the identity of its customers; determine its customers' sources of funds; determine the normal and expected transactions of its customers; monitor account activity for transactions that are inconsistent with those normal and expected transactions; and report any transactions of its customers that are determined to be suspicious, in accordance with the FDIC's existing suspicious activity reporting regulation.

More ego gratification from DejaNews , this time a simple C implementation of the Animals game from "back when AI was cool."

Ego gratification: An old post of mine to rec.arts.int-fiction about why abstraction is necessary in computer game design.

CNN tells us that Madam Tussaud's wax museum in Sydney Australia has a problem . The exhibitor's general manager Vicky Brown reports that "The figures are very accessible and people tend to get up close to get their photographs taken. We were finding that every time we went past Bill Clinton the zipper was undone."

Relatedly, my office-mate and I have been listening to the House Judiciary proceedings. Boy, what a bunch of posturing windbags. There's no fact discovery here, just a crowd of losers trying to trip each other up so they can say "nya nya nya". Like watching kids squabble in the sandbox, voting only encourages them. I guess at least in Washington they can't do any real damage.

In Salon Magazine, Keith Knight's The K Chronicles addresses being a part of that oppressed minority: a lefty.

Gratuitous Ayn Rand quote:

A living entity that regarded its means of survival as evil, would not survive. A plant that struggled to mangle its roots, a bird that fought to break its wings would not remain for long in the existence they affronted. But the history of man has been a struggle to deny and destroy his mind.

As soon as I heard about how Microsoft's "new" ClearType system works I thought "Hey, that's how hi-res mode on the Apple ][ worked!" Apparently PC Week agrees with me .

Marylaine suggests that 'tis the season to buy fruitcake this morning in My Word's Worth .

An article entitled Microsoft and 3D Graphics: A Case Study in Suppressing Innovation and Competition talks about Microsoft's attacks on OpenGL. I don't need to recount my tales of FUD at that "Microsoft Professional Developer's Conference" where the alleged technical presenter doing the Direct3D dog and pony show didn't know why you'd want a separate normal at each triangle vertex.

So I got to the list that tom pointed to, and my first impression is that for a bunch of so-called libertarians (whatinthehell is a "libertarian-socialist" anyway?) they sure are a life-hating unhappy bunch. Or at least the write-ups portray them that way.


Richmond, Ca, Friday December 4.
In perhaps the most desperate stroke of their recent box office battle, SKG principal Jeffery Katzenberg called in a favor from God to try and literally wipe Pixar Animation Studios off the map. Apparently pleased with the free marketing he's receiving from the forthcoming SKG animated release, "Price of Egypt," God obliged and unleashed a magnitude 4.1 earthquake on the unexpecting city of Richmond, Ca.
Sources close to Katzenberg say that he was expecting more from the Creator. Local geologists estimated that at least a 6.0 would have been necessary to disrupt business at the Richmond-based studio responsible for the record-breaking new film, "A Bug's Life" ($46.5 million last weekend), the only percieved box office threat to SKG's "Prince." However, they also estimate that anything greater than 6.7 could have threatened operations at the home office of SKG partner Pacific Data Images in nearby Palo Alto, Ca. A local priest who follows God closely said, "God's pretty savvy, especially when it comes to his own media representation. Good advertising is hard to come by, and 'Prince of Egypt' may be the only taste of the Bible the kids today will get. God's been losing the world's attention to the likes of Disney and Pixar in recent years, you know. I think he just wanted to remind everyone who's the boss."

A new Need To Know today which, among other observations, points to this report that David Siegel has recanted on his awful web "design". Well, on reading the article, not completely. On other fronts, I've run across at least one page today that gave me only a black browser window with JavaScript turned off. Needless to say they get no link here.

Microsoft hater? Here's the O'Reilly book for you.

At Clean Sheets is a review of I Am My Lover: Women Pleasure Themselves which is well worth reading, and which I'm going to have to browse next time I'm in Good Vibrations

If you haven't checked back in at Clean Sheets recently, it might be worth a look. A few more book reviews, erotic stories, and another exhibit of photographs. Along those lines, on Good Vibrations Pat Califia has written a new Quickies .

A modest proposal for revamping the AOL software , including a tool bar with "Me2", "Spam" and "Flame" icons. Apologies to my readers who are AOL users, and yes, there are a few of you, but AOL is such an easy target.

Hokay, back from Seattle, some random notes:

On Seattle: The New York Wall Street yuppiedom of the 80's and the Reagan years was fueled by cocaine. The boom of the '90s is obviously driven by caffeine, you can't turn around with your arms outstretched without hitting at least two people serving mochas. Didn't get to spend much time outside, most of it was in meetings, but I did see the mountains once, and it looks like Boeing might be a cool place to visit.

Did walk by the original Starbuck's, and there's no way that original logo would play in the midwest or Chattanooga...

Quote of the day: In an on-line Pixar stock discussion group, someone asked about the possibility of Disney buying Pixar. Here's the best answer he got:

Disney just flies by every Fall and picks up a Movie off of the offering rock.

A new mouthorgan on our responses to public d/s relationships. Got me thinking about seeing the *fnord*s.

An AP report on CNN says that underage drinking saved two lives. Cool.

Archives of neat sites posted to Flutterby , notes to webmaster@flutterby.com