August 2004 Archives

Republicans Are Big Pervs

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I wonder how many google hits the title alone will pull. Anyway, the title of this link pretty much says it all: Hot Girls, Frisky Delegates: RNC Diary of a Strip-Club Waitress.

From our good friends at the Village Voice.

No, I’m not saying that going to a strip club makes one a perv. But going into a private room and trying “wack-ass shit” with a girl, on the other hand…


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The Red Sox fan contingent of my readership might want to check out The Red Seat for baseball shirts that are just a little smarter than average.

By the way—3.5 back at the beginning of September? Not bad, eh?

Maggie May


Time to bring back the monthly title contest: pick a quote with the word “September” in it, punch it into the comments, and winner gets their website perma-linked at the top of the rotating link list for the entire month.

Any questions?



One of the side-effects of a classroom full of laptop-using law students is when the professor says something interesting, the clatter of a thousand keyboards rises in unison…

First full day of class on Monday.

Day 0


Day one was lunch and a boat trip.

The real work starts tomorrow—time to go down the rabbit hole.

[Expletive Deleted]

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Quentin Tarantino is now a blogger.

Update: As my ungentle reader points out, he’s not.



This one’s for the music mavens out there:

AC/DC: Hard rock or heavy metal?

Bunkering Down

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Gonna be stuck in New York during the convention (like me)?


Well, say it loud and say it proud with a “I survived the RNC in NYC” t-shirt!

Fun With Google!

Type “bush’s foreign friends” into Google and click “I’m Feeling Lucky”.

From Metafilter.

...Either Way, You'll End Up Screwed

Old David Bowie Songs


Some minor formatting changes around here. Try hitting “reload” a couple of times to load the new .css file.

Update: Well, it looks like everything works fine. Lemme know if anything seems more borked than normal…

This Could Be The Plot of a Sofia Coppola Movie

From an article about Microsoft’s troubles with internationalization:

A Spanish-language version of Windows XP, destined for Latin American markets, asked users to select their gender between “not specified,” “male” or “bitch,” because of an unfortunate error in translation.



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From One Thousand Reasons:

George Bush has made a thousand mistakes. They began his first day in office, and they have continued, nonstop, until today. We expect more tomorrow.

Read the full list.

Thanks to Bruner for pointing it out to me.

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One Who Rides a Tiger Will Find It Hard To Dismount


Or, how Apple will revolutionize blogging (maybe).

Warning: Heavier doses than normal of geekery ahead.

When Safari was first introduced waaaaaaaaaaaay back in January of 2003, one of the biggest questions that was asked (other than “why do we need another browser?”) was “Why is Safari built on top of KHTML and why isn’t it based on Mozilla?”

The answer given at the time was that the KHTML engine, while perhaps somewhat immature compared to the Mozilla engine, was just as fast, but more importantly, much smaller and easier to work with.

This was true as far as it went, but it left out why being smaller and relatively cruft-free was really important: Safari’s rendering engine, called WebCore, was eventually going to be rolled into Mac OS X itself. In fact, you can actually consider Safari, the application, to simply be a wrapper around WebCore, an OS-level HTML rendering engine (this is oversimplification, but it works for our purposes).

Obviously, if you’re going to be rolling code into the OS proper, it helps if the code is as small and as cruft-free as possible. But why does Mac OS X really need an OS-level HTML renderer (other than the fact that Windows has one)? I mean, it makes some things, like improving the HTML rendering in HelpViewer and, much simpler.

But that’s fairly trivial.

What if HTML was used in a really out-of-the-box way? Say, what if HTML (with a few minor extensions) was used as a lightweight way to build front ends for programs? That’s definitely an application that would require an OS-level HTML rendering engine.

Smells like Dashboard, doesn’t it?

Since Dashboard’s HTML extensions are part of WebCore, incorporating them (and thus virtually all of Dashboard’s functionality) into Safari (or any other application that uses WebCore) is already a fait accompli; all you have to do is make the specs for the Dashboard extensions public and all of a sudden, you’ve got Browser Wars II: Electric Boogaloo!

And who woulda thunk that all this would have happened all the way back in January of 2003, when all anyone wanted to know was “Why didn’t they use Mozilla?”

Now the past is prologue.

To anyone paying attention, it’s no secret that Apple is (perhaps belatedly) embracing blogging in a big way in OS X 10.4, aka Tiger. RSS support is being built into the next version of Safari and Tiger Server featuring a turnkey blogging server. The blogging server is built around blojsam, a blogging system that was inspired by blosxom.

Blosxom is famous for being a full-featured yet extremely lightweight blogging system—it consists of about 150 lines of perl code. One of the ways that it achieves such simplicity is that it uses the file system as the database—in other words, each entry is saved as a separate text file.

Blojsom picks up where Bloxsom leaves off—it’s written in Java, not Perl, and it adds a number of extra—useful—features. But, crucially, it still uses the file system as the database.

And now I want to talk about yet another feature of Tiger: Spotlight (don’t worry, this is actually going somewhere).

Spotlight is really two things: the first is very powerful tool in the Finder for finding files—using a combination of metadata and full-content searches to return its results—and the second is a set of programming interfaces to the searching technology behind Spotlight. It’s similar to the way that Safari is both a web browser (“Safari”) and the system-level HTML rendering code (“WebCore”).

Before I lose you with too many buzzwords, let’s look at what metadata is. As the name implies, it’s data about data. It’s really simpler than it sounds. It’s information abut an object, but not the object itself. Metadata associated with a generic file might include the date it was created, the kind of file it is (application or data), what applications can open it, the icon that should be used to represent the file, and so on. But metadata can also apply to things other than files: for example, the metadata for an email would include things like the date, the sender, the recipient, the subject, if it’s been read, if it’s been replied to, and so on.

It’s worth repeating here that much of the metadata for an email and a blog post are the same.

One of the interesting things about Spotlight is that it’s extremely focused on searching and finding files. In fact, in order to take full advantage of the new technology, the next version of will change the way it stores mail messages.

At the moment, saves email using mbox format: each folder is saved as a file; individual messages are aggregated together inside each file. The version of that will ship with 10.4 changes that: now, each email will be saved as a separate file. In other words, they’re letting the file system be the database.

Hm. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

I think that one of the key reasons why Apple picked blojsom as the turnkey blogging server for Tiger Server is precisely because the file-oriented nature of it’s storage mechanism fits perfectly with the way that Spotlight is designed.

So now the question is how exactly will Spotlight be integrated into the blogging server? The obvious answer is that it can be used as an ultra-fast site search function. But it could also easily automate finding similarly related posts—kind of an automated category-building feature. Something like that might go a long way towards solving some of the problems I talk about here.

Other uses? I’m not entirely sure, to be honest. But the combination of such a powerful search tool and blogging is sure to generate new and innovative applications—the sort of thing that’ll be blindingly obvious, but only after someone invents it. Anyone have any ideas?

Julie on Julia

Julie Powell, she of the legendary Julie/Julia Project, pens an amazing eulogy for Julia Child.

Go read it.

There Is Just So Much Ickiness In This Story...

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I guess the title says it all: 480-Pound Woman Dies After Six Years On Couch

The money graf:

Unable to separate the skin of the 39-year-old woman from her sofa, 12 Martin County Fire-Rescue workers slid both onto a trailer and hauled her behind a pickup to Martin Memorial Hospital South.

Weather God

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In this hospital yesterday, visiting the Wolfman, as lightning flashed outside:

PF: Gee, it’s a good thing you’re not plugged into anything.
MW: Well, I’m sure they have generators.

Less than two minutes later, all the lights went out for about three seconds. When the lights returned:

PF: Damn.
PF & MW, in unison: I wonder if Ken was in the elevator?

That's Bunk!

Am spending the next week or so in my Dad’s apartment. Nearly got out of bed this morning on the wrong side of the bed, which would have been painful, as the wrong side of the bed is up against a wall…

A Higher Class of Person

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Or at least a higher class of perv: I’ve been getting hits for “hamlet horatio slash”.

And if you don’t know what slash is, well, let’s just say that the genre started with fan fiction exploring the, uh, alternative side of the Kirk/Spock relationship.

Makes me wonder what that community thinks of the new Priceline commericials…

Coffee, Tea, or Me?

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Was digging through some pictures of Hong Kong and found this picture of a coffee shop in Macau that I had somehow missed the first time around…


BTW, would anyone be interested if I released the originals of my Hong Kong pictures under a creative commons license?