Posts from September 2002

Intranet Fun

There's a great article on Boxes and Arrows about Microsoft's intranet. (The article was written by the authors of Information Architecture for the WWW.) Microsoft has over 3 million intranet pages, content created by over 50,000 employees, and over 8,000 separate intranet sites. Aggregating all of that data into a useful whole is an interesting problem. (Not unlike trying to aggregate information across thousands of weblogs.) They're using a single metadata schema (borrowed from the Dublin Core) to facilitate searching and browsing across the intranet. Applying some of these methods to weblogs could increase their usefulness as a whole. [via Information Nation]

Part 2 of Microsoft's intranet series is worth reading as well. It has some good advice from one of their knowledge management analysts about how to develop a system that will be adopted: "...Improving information systems affects people, process and technologies. To not recognize that will spell doom...Another key is to have a multi-disciplinary team. Just one discipline does not have the answer."

Naomi Klein on Washington protests

Tonight on the NewsHour, Naomi Klein did an excellent job of articulating why people are protesting the IMF in Washington today (and around the world). They don't have a transcript up yet, but you can listen to the audio of the debate. I think the protesters are most often portrayed as a loose collection of trouble-makers without any defined agenda, but there are substantive issues behind their efforts.

Update: Here's the transcript.

Stealing Affiliate Fees

New Software Quietly Diverts Sales Commissions (NYT): "The amounts involved are estimated by those in the industry to have mounted into the hundreds of thousands of dollars and are likely to continue to grow — in part because most users are unaware that the software is operating on their computers."

Weblog Punk

speaking of things being absorbed into mass culture—MSNBC Weblog Central.

Matt's Photo Site Idea

great idea. (of any day.)

Someone recently asked for the first time if I sell enlargements of my photos. I don't have a process in place to do that, so it would be nice if a service took care of that (and site integration) for me. Why would I send people to a site like ofoto when they make all of the money from selling the print?

24 Hour Party People

24 Hour Party People was good. Like Dogtown and Z-Boys, it's an interesting look at a subculture that eventually became absorbed into mass culture. (Though this film is not a documentary like Dogtown.) It's interesting to see what choices people make when big interests move in to take advantage of a new cultural movement. Tony Wilson (early promoter of bands like Joy Division/New Order and Happy Mondays) solved this big business dilemma for himself by never signing contracts with his bands. To paraphrase from the film, he prevented himself from ever facing having "sold out" by never having anything. The film is a bit confused and hard to follow at times, but it seems like Manchester in those days was as well. The style was fun, though, and it was constantly breaking the 4th wall as the character Tony narrates the action from within the film.

And now I can't get this out of my head.

Step away from the keyboard

What I really need my computer to do is monitor my emotional level and then enable/disable features as appropriate. I'd like to see this dialog box: "I'm sorry, you can't post to your weblog right now because you're at emotion level 6. Please try again later once you have successfully chilled out. Contact your system administrator if you feel you've reached this message in error."

"Warning: You're now at level 7. Breathe."

Or, "I'm sorry, you're much too happy to open Excel. Try back later."


seed delivery vehicle

seed delivery vehicle
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Yosemite in summer

skp and I made a quick trip to Yosemite this weekend and I was amazed at what a difference a few months makes. I was just there in June, and it feels like a completely different park; different colors, different smells, and a different enjoyment. The waterfalls have almost completely dried up. There is no Yosemite Falls right now, and the Merced River has slowed from a raging torrent to a glassy calm.

Lower Yosemite Falls
Lower Yosemite Falls in Spring

Lower Yosemite Falls
Lower Yosemite "Falls" in Summer

The grasses are all long with lots of yellow, orange, and brown. The air is dusty and dry. It's a complete change from the springtime park that is practically bursting at the seams with water and life. This summertime Yosemite is less fantastic, but more peaceful.

Yosemite Flower

We spent all day today walking around the giant sequoias of Mariposa Grove. They are simply incredible—not only for their size, but their time. They live for thousands of years. Being around them forces me to think about time and the environment in a different way.

Mariposa Grove Museum
Mariposa Grove Museum

I have a camping trip planned there in a month or so, and I hope it'll be enough time from now that I'll get to see yet another side of Yosemite.

found: Japanese Photolog

found in the referrer grab bag.

Familiar Faces

Hey, I know those people. (photo by Teddy—don't believe his lies.)

Pepper Status Report

Remember the pepper plant I posted about a while ago? Most of the peppers are now bright red. One is drying nicely, and the others should follow soon. (for those keeping score at home.)

red cayenne pepper

Random Photo

I added a random photo to the side of this weblog under also. Click the photo to see a larger version. If it belongs to a gallery, it points to that photo within the gallery. If not, it shows the larger file. The photo changes every so often.


This last weekend was a big decision-making weekend filled with planning and strategery. It feels good to make progress.

snapGallery article

The Wiltshire News wrote a very nice article about snapGallery called Snappy way to share photos.

The one criticism the article mentions is that snapGallery won't create thumbnails of photos. That's true, and I haven't found a way to do it without completely changing what snapGallery is. I could write it as a Visual Basic application and include the thumbnail option, but that would take away its simplicity. The fact that it is a script written in text rather than compiled code means that it's very flexible and customizable. Plus there's nothing to install. (It also means people who aren't hard core programmers can send in their modified versions to share with others.) If there's a way to resize images via WSH, I haven't found it yet. I hope I can find the answer because I agree with the article and everyone who has written in suggesting it, that would be a great feature.

Photoshop fun : rgby

This is what happens when insomnia meets photoshop:

rgby bus (click for more)
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Book: Asian Grocery Store Demystified

The Asian Grocery Store Demystified by Bladholm, Eismann

I know this book would help our sushi-making adventures. I bet it could even tell me which mysterious item in the market is eel. via emv.

Update: I heard this book is better for Chinese food than Japanese. And Guide to Food Buying in Japan would be a better choice for Sushi. Thanks again, emv!

Rolling our own sushi

skp and I are having fun teaching ourselves how to make sushi. We started tonight with some simple vegetable rolls (or maki to use the lingo), and they were very tasty. The seaweed was a little tough though, so we need to figure out which kind to get.

skp rolling her own sushi

cucumber rolls

My favorite sushi rolls are rock-n-rolls with cooked eel, and I'd like to try that next. I have no idea where to get eel or how to cook it. It should be fun to learn.

Another BookWatch feature

I added another quick feature to BookWatch. If you click on a mention page, you can now click "more books" under any weblog. This will give you all of the books that have recently been mentioned on that weblog. Here's the more books entry for my weblog. You can also see the date that entry was added, and the date it was last verified. (That can be handy for finding the mention if it has scrolled off the front page.)

Under Attack?

Overview of Changes to Legal Rights compiled by the Associated Press. [via Tom Tomorrow] Hopefully we can change this. Maybe we can convince the people who are supposed to be representing our interests to repeal the "Patriot" Act.


common housefrog

Once in a great while one of these cute frogs gets in the house. (Like tonight around 1am.) Luckily we have a special trap to deal with these situations and release them back into their native habitat. They're not easy to catch though, they can hop.

New BookWatch feature

Erik Benson has been very generous in citing Weblog Bookwatch as an inspiration for his All Consuming, but it has definitely taken on a life and identity of its own. He's put an amazing amount of work into his site, and has built some great features like integrated TrackBacks, XML output of all data, and friends lists. shew!

His work has inspired me to think about different ways I could share the Weblog Bookwatch data, and I implemented a small new feature tonight. On the mentions page for a book, there's now something called Books in common across these weblogs. The BookWatch analyzes the given set of weblogs and finds the book mentions they share in common. It's sort of a "people who mentioned this book, also mentioned these..."

sudden oak death

The last time I was at Armstrong Woods there were signs up asking people to wash their boots and cars before visiting another park. Now I know why. Sudden oak death has infected redwoods and douglas firs in Armstrong and some of my favorite local hiking spots (including Jack London State Park). If it's found that this kills redwoods it could be devastating to the entire California coast.

Tim O'Reilly on perception

Tim O'Reilly has a great post about reality on his weblog. I love the quote he mentions, "The map is not the territory." True, but hard to remember because maps are handy. Another way to describe what he's discussing is the Zen concept of Beginner's Mind that Shunryu Suzuki talks about. Suzuki says we loose our ability to see things the same way as when they were new to us, and that it's a constant struggle to keep our perceptions ready. One of my favorite Suzuki quotes: "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few."

Magritte Puzzle -- Solved!

Magritte puzzle...solved!

Last week my folks sent me this little puzzle for my birthday. I was completely obsessed with it until I solved it. I spent every spare moment shuffling tiles or trying to figure out strategies for shuffling tiles. I got fairly close quickly, but when it got down to 2 or 3 tiles out of place it became maddening. Part of it was not knowing the final picture...and this painting made it confusing. I'm not sure if my folks sent it because they thought I would enjoy it, or knew it would torture me. I'm still not sure which happened, but I'm glad it's over. Thanks though, folks! (I wanted to get this snapshot before I scramble it and give it to someone else so they can have the "fun" of solving it. :) Here's a better image of the painting.

Pictures from Bodega Bay

Happy Labor Day! skp and I took advantage of the extra day and went out to Bodega Bay. The weather was perfect (which is very odd for Bodega Bay) so we walked along the beach, soaked up sun, and watched the surfers. I've never seen so many people out there, but there was still plenty of room for everyone. Of course I took my camera along.

wet feet (click for more)

waiting for a wave (click for more)
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Overheard around the house

skp: "These three-day weekends are hell on our relationship."

Atanarjuat -- The Fast Runner

The Fast Runner is one of the most powerful films I've seen in a long time. It's easily the best film I've seen this year. The photography is beautiful and the story engaging. If it's playing near you, see it while you can because it's worth experiencing the cinematography on a big screen. The film was shot with digital cameras, so I was a little distracted by the quality at points. But it was filmed in such a harsh environment, that I don't think this movie would have been possible with standard film cameras. Beyond making sci-fi DVDs look crisp, this film shows that digital technology has opened up filmmaking to a wider group of people in more environments. They also showed a few behind-the-scenes clips during the credits, and I can't wait to find out more about how they filmed it. Hopefully the DVD release will include a making-of feature.

Some 35mm photos from Alaska to see more photos
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