Quick Comments and One Liners

Oh yeah, my U.S. centrism once again intruded, but Need To Know marches on.

I'll write y'all on Thursday. I'm off to Seattle.

Just in case you didn't know what's worn under a kilt: http://www.io.com/~furrball/kilt.gif

Marylaine proclaims that The Customer is Sometimes Wrong this morning, and there's a new set of Helen, Sweetheart of the Internet strips this morning.

WARNING: I'm gone again 'til Thursday


CNN has a report previewing Literary Review's upcoming "Bad Sex Prize", "to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it."

Oh yeah, there's this movie opening tonight. "A Bug's Life" or something like that. See it or I'll break your kneecaps. And look for my name just after the out-takes.

Flutterby™! will be unpersoned over Thanksgiving. Any notes are gonna have to come from those of you who kow the key.

A few days ago Larry Ellison of Oracle said he'd give a million dollars to anyone showing that Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 came within a factor of 100 of Oracle. Details here: http://www.oracle.com/challenge/

On /. , Skud (a regular denizen of the Scary Devil Monastery) talks about her experiences as a woman in computing .

Tom passes on this startling news:

BALTIMORE (CNN): Inspired by recent images of super-distant galaxies, which according to astronomers provide a glimpse deep into the universe's past, scientists on the Hubble Deep Field Project rotated the oribiting telescope 180 degrees, allowing them to peer far into the future.
Early results are promising. "I got them to aim it at my house, and was relieved to discover that I will find my car keys by the end of the week," explains NASA Chief Astronomer William Trell. "But then I apparently lose my wallet. I'm not looking forward to that."
Hubble scientists also report seeing themselves receiving increased funding in the near future.
-- Tom Lokovic

The supreme court has (finally) overtuned Georgia's anti-sodomy law, but CNN reports that this may not last . Where do they dig up these people?

"I think there needs to be a law of some sort on the books," said Lt. Gov.-elect Mark Taylor, who will preside over the Senate when the Legislature convenes in January. "I think, Republican or Democrat, it's an issue the Legislature would rather not deal with. But we don't have that option."

Pat Califia keeps us up to date with the politics of sex in the latest Topping the News

Salon Magazine reports on a working brain implant that lets a victim of a cerebral hemmorrhage "manipulate icons on a computer screen."

More gratuitous A Bug's Life promotion, a People Magazine review . "Bottom Line: Make a beeline for it"

Marylaine has a new My Word's Worth titled "CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY AMARETTO TRUFFLE".

Marylaine has a new My Word's Worth titled "CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY AMARETTO TRUFFLE".

If you're a regular user of Flutterby, you may have noticed that all of the pages are uglier than usual. Please ready why Flutterby's pages are ugly , and give me your feedback. I'd like a compromise, but I've had enough trouble trying to reduce eyestrain on other pages all over the web that I think it's time I took a stand.

Live near the San Francisco Bay? You're always welcome at Scotch Night, 5:30 for an hour or two depending on how interesting the conversation is going. Buuuuuut... Attendance was low last night, and the wackiest ideas always come out of that, so if you'd be interested in a real party, we'd try to get a wide variety of industry folks there without the usual hangers-on, sometime in January or February, drop me an e-mail. Let's scheme.

A Bug's Life as seen by CNN

A Bug's Life as seen by the LA Times

A Bug's Life_ as seen _by USA Today

Read Need To Know , join the dark side!

The clips on the Net show it all - the wide-eyed child looking on helpless: dragged away from everything that he knows, transported to the byzantine world of the court, where familiar, powerful figures debate whether he is yet too powerful and must be... destroyed. Yes, we sense much fear in BILL GATES.

Frank passes on a note that the United States Postal Service has announced that in April of 1999 it will issue a 33 cent stamp commemorating Ayn Rand.

Okay, the cartoon isn't that funny, but A Bug's Life has made it into the popular culture . It's really weird to see how this stuff propagates.

Kiddie porn on the 'net? It's taken this long to see the first person convicted and sentenced for selling child pornography on the 'net .

If you haven't dropped in on the erotica and commentary in CleanSheets for a while, now might be a good time to check again.

A new mouthorgan on the evils of popular "advice" outlets and their treatment of sex.

RIP: Helen Herrick Malsed, inventor of the Slinky Dog and many other popular toys, died Firday at 88 years old.

So I was walking by the office of some finance guys, heard laughter, and wandered in to investigate. Apparently AOL's stock had just split, to 72 or some such, and PointCast was reporting it "Down 68". Bet there's been some soiled undergarments this morning...

A week and a half ago Pat Califia had a new Topping the News in Spectator Magazine

Cameron Barrett's Camworld points us to an article in the San Jose Mercury News about a blind man suing the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission on the basis that their web site, by being overly graphical and having a paucity of text, violates the ADA by making it inaccessible to him and other handicapped users. Now, as a Libertarian I'm no great fan of the ADA, but as a user of the web I'd like to offer Randy Tamez up for sainthood. You go, dude! And if you need a donation to your legal fund, I'm there! There are, of course, dissenting opinions , apparently from people with the attention span of a gnat who don't understand information imparted without pretty colors. Funny that these people should be journalists, huh?

(Yes, Dan is in a pissy insulting mood this morning.)

Unless you've been living in a cave, you know that yesterday a judge ordered Microsoft to stop misusing the Java trademark and claiming Java compatibility until its Java implementation complied with the standard. PC Week reports :

Surprisingly, some independent software developers whose products were not directly affected said the ruling could have a long-term positive affect in establishing Java standards.

Salon this morning questions the treatment by the press of historians who were clearly wrong about the Jefferson "affair" (sorry), how the same scholarly "experts" being called upon now to interpret the results of the recent DNA testing are the ones who insisted for years that the affair couldn't happen, where the historians relegated to the fringe for their views that Sally Hemings did have children by Thomas Jefferson are still being ignored. Once again it has proven better to have a good agent than be right, especially in academia.

What happens when you fill teddy bears with cement and place them in an unsuspecting big chain store? Cement Cuddlers

Fans of photorealistic rendering techniques will thrill to the hair on Bunny , the new short from Blue Sky Studios.

In the "Damn, sorry I missed this one" department: Pippi Longstocking was one of my heroes when I was young. CNN reports that Interview magazine will pay the Astrid Lindgren, author of the Pippi Longstocking stories, "a sum inline with "American Levels"" for a depiction of Pippi naked with erotic undertones in a bed. Oh yeah, like none of us young boys who read the books ever considered that...

The quote from that Greenspun note below that caught my attention:

If you still feel that physical communities must always be superior to electronically linked communities, let me ask you to ponder three words: junior high school.

So Philip Greenspun is putting the final touches on Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing before it goes off to the printer. The complete text of the book has been on the web while he's been writing it, but just recently I ran across his chapter on Scalable Systems for Online Communities , his comments on "why we want online communities" are the best reasons we shouldn't lose faith in the 'net that I've read in quite a while.

Bud Uglly web design service. Implied (sic) around all misspellings...

In todays higly competative market, only a Bud Uglly webpage design can keep your company afloat like a bloating dead corpse in a sea of webpages.

Marylaine this morning with My Word's Worth didn't catch like she normally does, perhaps because I've been considering the issues of what computers can and can't do for quite some time, I've actually been thinking about the application she uses as her primary example for just over a decade (ever since my first English teacher who'd accept assignments on disk, and the first attempt at a grammar checker). The oft-neglected articles on Fox news might be an appropriate antidote.

Next time some Eurotrash wannabe gives you the spiel about how culture is better on the other side of the pond, you might wanna point out that this is the second time in a row that MTV Europe viewers have picked the Spice Girls as "best group of the year".

And stereotyping fails again as a long-time tire slasher caught near Haight/Ashbury turns out to be not "gutterpunks from Haight Street, with rings from every part of their bodies" but a well dressed old man.

Columbine throws an opening chapter out there in Alewife Bayou.

A new Need To Know

Use PowerPoint or Word to create your web pages, but want to conform to HTML standards or just hide the embarassing fact that you're using Microsoft products? Enter the demoronizer , a perl script to undo the horribleness that those products do to web pages.

Shocking debaucherie at http://telephonesex.net/

A clued client responds to FUD from a consultant when asking for Linux.

A new mouthorgan today, on fashion and shape.

Salon this morning has a neat editorial pointing out that if you are or plan to be a college student and are convicted for smoking marijuana you could lose all access to financial aid for the rest of your life. Knock over a liquor store, however, and you're still fine.

The Internet Engineering Task Force, the group that comes up with most of the protocols used on the 'net, has a mailing list. And on that mailing list the topic of the Halloween memos came up. It's good to read some non-Linux fanatics who are suddenly waking up. The thread starts here

The New York Times reports that Amazon is being very careful about e-mail.

After a long hiatus, Helen, Sweetheart of the Internet returns.

Something's wrong with Flutterby's e-mail link, and it requires cooperation from another timezone. I'll try to get things running tomorrow morning. Till then, hang loose.

Eric Raymond vents about the Halloween documents .

And on the Scripting News discussion group I ask some questions to help me understand What Dave Winer wants from the open source world and how I can turn Newwwsboy (/software/newwwsboy/) into part of those tools.

CNN pans the iMac . All of my readers know better, so I don't know why I'm pointing this out, but...

To see whether Apple would make believers out of us, we pitted the iMac against two Intel-based PCs: a pricier Pentium II-400 system and a Celeron-based machine that costs about $300 less than the iMac. The results: In its base $1299 configuration, the iMac finished last in each of our application tests. The system was nearly as easy to use as the company claims, but its poor performance means Apple failed in its core mission.

In My Word's Worth this morning, Marylaine talks about her trip to Monterey (and we missed her 'cause of other engagements and a miscommunication about AM versus PM, damn) and our fascination with having lots of stuff.

Microsoft's official response to the Halloween documents . They forgot to add "war is peace, freedom is slavery..."

Q: The first document talked about extending standard protocols as a way to "deny OSS projects entry into the market." What does this mean?
A: To better serve customers, Microsoft needs to innovate above standard protocols. By innovating above the base protocol, we are able to deliver advanced functionality to users. An example of this is adding transactional support for DTC over HTTP. This would be a value-add and would in no way break the standard or undermine the concept of standards, of which Microsoft is a significant supporter. Yet it would allow us to solve a class of problems in value chain integration for our Web-based customers that are not solved by any public standard today. Microsoft recognizes that customers are not served by implementations that are different without adding value; we therefore support standards as the foundation on which further innovation can be based.

Shipping anything which might be interpreted erotically? David Steinberg reports on the problems with shipping via UPS and DHL and the successes of shipping with FedEx in Comes Naturally #77 . Some things to think about next time you're choosing a shipper and want to support the good guys, or at least the guys who won't open up your packages and make judgements on them.

Redeeming itself enough to make me at least post the URL, Rumor Mill has Bill Gates singing "I am the very model of a Microsoft Executive".


NTK rocks! Opening with more Microsoft FUD:

"I'm not prepared to talk about specifics but we have seen organized criminal groups using the proceeds from software counterfeiting to pay for terrorist operations overseas." - BRAD SMITH, Microsoft general counsel
air strikes on Norwegian warez sites to follow

Microsoft is attempting a FUD response to the Halloween documents . And I'm afraid Robert Cringely doesn't get it either. What scares the world about these documents is that while we've long laughingly suggested that Microsoft deliberately breaks standards in order to coopt them, we've wanted to believe that this was just incompetence on Microsoft's part (See the broken CHAP stuff in Microsoft's attempts at PPP authentification, for instance). This is Microsoft saying "No, we're truly evil, and we will deliberately try to foil all of your efforts."

In Salon this morning, another article on academia insulated from the real world , this one from one with a PhD in English who's just now realizing that studying English for the sake of studying English is kind of fruitless, that applying knowledge is not only what pays the bills but keeps our lives rewarding.

While we're leaking Microsoft memos, there's a follow-up to the other memo Eric Raymond leaked at http://www.opensource.org/halloween2.html

Concerned about the liberal media? Don't be. Variety reports that CBS and ABC are quite disappointed that Republicans didn't make their 15-20 member predicted gain in the house, and this could stop the efforts to rescind current limits on station ownership. Words like "the network's future is in jeopardy".

I don't know whether to laugh or cry: Mindsong has a patent for devices which try to read the effect user's intent on processes with normally random outcomes .

Mindsong intends to develop, produce, sell and license proprietary microelectronics and chips which are responsive to the inner states and intentions of users. Mindsong's patented microelectronics and E-chip detect and amplify outputs exceeding random expectations, with the resulting analog and/or digital signals correlating to the intention and/or state of the user being used to control devices.

I guess I'm mainly surprised that it happened in Minnesota, not Marin.

Plutonium 240 , $5.45 per milligram. Quantity discounts may be available. Call for current discounted price.

The current trend of the Demoplicans and Republocrats to push through censorship legislation, and the recent Gauntlet magazine , have got me thinking about thought crimes. In today's Salon Magazine, Sallie Tisdale reports on the case of James LaVine , expelled from high school in Blaine Washington because of a poem he wrote.

Tim O'Reilly sends an open letter to Microsoft responding to the halloween memo :

At bottom, the Open Source movement is an expression of the Western academic tradition, innovation and discovery through the free exchange of ideas. You rig that system at your peril. You have only to look at the stagnation of Soviet science and industry under a centralized autocratic system, versus the innovation that happened in our free markets, to see what fate you have in store for yourselves if you succeed.

Dave Winer claims to know how a Windows developer thinks . I'm not sure I understand how he views the open source world, which, I suppose, is part of it.

If you're into game development,here's an interesting article about the demise of crack.com: http://loonygames.com/content/1.10/guest/

Willing to bet your company on Microsoft "standards"? Might want to think again .

It's not too late to vote, even if you just drop an empty ballot in the box as a protest against a system gone haywire.

If you're lucky enough to be reading this before election day, ABC News has already posted the results of tomorrow's voting. Isn't it nice to know we're making ia difference? Save this and compare it to the results reported on Wednesday. http://www.abcnews.com/sections/us/elections98/elections98_returns_state.html

D'oh: It just occurred to me what the weird link in the Fashionable Nonsense entry below comes from. Guess I've gotta do one more update to newwwsboy .

At Good Vibrations , Pat Califia has a new Quickies column and Carol Queen a new Queen On-Line .

Alan Sokal is the physicist who, two years ago, wrote a parody of postmodernism and got it published in the journal Social Text_. The publishers of Social Text weren't smart enough to recognize it as a parody, but that makes sense because postmodernism tends to do that to itself anyway. The english version of his book, Fashionable Nonsense, is coming to the U.S. soon, and _Salon magazine has a review of it . I wait with bated breath and high hopes.

Marylaine's in Monterey this week, so no update to My Word's Worth.

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