“Nihilism is best done by professionals.”
“Nihilism is best done by professionals.”
“Nihilism is best done by professionals.”
The server hosting my various domains, including this one has had major issues over the last few weeks, often losing its electronic consciousness for long periods at a time. Hopefully those days are past, as the entire machine has been replaced except for the hard drive, which is only a few weeks old. So, if you have sent me something and I haven’t responded, please write me back. If you have had problems with an account I set up for you on one of my domains, you should be good to go.
I should start posting to the site more frequently, now that the problem has been resolved. Hopefully I can distract you from the work you should be doing every so often.
This is one of those days that I almost wish I had hair, just so I could pull it out in frustration.
No, my beard doesn’t count.
As reported by CNN Francis Crick, who co-discovered the structure of DNA died today. “British-born Crick won the Nobel Prize for his work on DNA’s structure, which he studied in 1953 along with Watson at Cambridge University.” The BBC provides a write-up as well: Man who helped unlock DNA dies.
His work with partner James Watson is directly responsible for a vast array of advances in science and medicine. All too often, people like professor Crick are forgotten, if ever even recognized by the public, who spend far too much time adoring actors, musicians and athletes.
Sarah Sweeney posted a tip to the eVolt list which I have found very helpful. One of the few annoyances I have had with Mozilla Thunderbird, my e-mail client of choice, is the fact that it doesn’t include the date of the original message when replying. So, when I replied to people, it would place the text “John Doe wrote:” before their message instead of “John Doe wrote on July 28, 2004:”. Sarah’s tip describes how to easily modify that reply header to list whatever you so desire, all you need to do is add the following code to your user.js:
// Change the reply header // 0 - No Reply-Text // 1 - "[Author] wrote:" // 2 - "On [date] [author] wrote:" // 3 - User-defined reply header. Use the prefs below in conjuction // with this: user_pref("mailnews.reply_header_type", 3); // If you set 3 for the pref above then you may set the following // prefs. user_pref("mailnews.reply_header_authorwrote", "%s wrote"); user_pref("mailnews.reply_header_separator", " "); user_pref("mailnews.reply_header_ondate", "on %s"); user_pref("mailnews.reply_header_colon", ":"); // The end result will be [authorwrote][separator][ondate][colon]
Make sure that you are not running Thunderbird while making these changes. One note, if you don’t have a user.js file in your profile folder, create one as a blank text file and place this code in it.
Wired has a good story covering the fight against the FCC’s broadcast flag mandate [PDF] which would limit future video technology and put the rights of the television watcher (us) thoroughly in the control of the media industry: Group Warns DVRs Endangered. Read my previous post for more information about the DTV Liberation Front.
Anne van Kesteren provides a great CSS positioning resource on his (yes, his) site, simply titled Fixed positioning. If you are a Web designer/developer working with, or learning CSS, I highly recommend you look at his examples, as they may open your eyes to some layout possibilities that you may not be aware of.
Sarah’s Mac recently decided that it wasn’t going to allow her to drag icons around her desktop or use the cursor to move objects within Adobe Illustrator. After a good bit of searching via Google, and browsing through Mac OS X Hints, I determined that the problem was due to the fact that coreservicesd, the process responsible for dragging and dropping, wasn’t starting when the computer booted up. So, after I tried a ton of different possible solutions, none of which worked, I finally came across the article OS X Odyssey 431 – More Nickling And Diming From Apple and Checking Out XDock Dock Utility which provided these instructions from MacFixIt reader Kevin Grant that actually solved the problem:
I have discovered the cause in my case: ‘coreservicesd’ never starts, and this might happen if the file /var/run/StartupItems/coreserviced.run already exists. This is an empty placeholder file, which apparently (if coreservicesd crashes) never gets removed.
After deleting the placeholder file, we rebooted the Mac and were pleased to find that drag and drop works again. An easy solution that was hard to find.
“I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way.”
Franklin P. Adams
When getting frustrated by code that should work, remember to look at the error log, it may help you avoid losing an hour and a half (or more) of your life to a simple problem.
Trust me on this.
“Red meat is not bad for you. Now blue-green meat, that’s bad for you!”
TheyWorkForYou.com asks the question “Is your MP working for you in the UK’s Parliament?” An important question for every representative democracy. While, we the people elect our representatives, how do we know that they are actually looking out for our rights? How do we ensure that we as constituents are not lost amongst the demands of big donors? Well, these folks have found an answer:
> Everything MPs say in the House of Commons is recorded in a document called Hansard.
> TheyWorkForYou.com helps make sense of this vital democratic resource and, crucially, allows you to add your own comments and links to the official transcripts of Parliament.
Beyond providing this amazing amount of access, the folks at TheyWorkForYou.com have opened up their source code and data feeds to make Parliament even more accessible to other wanting to expand upon the project.
Now we just need to find a way to do this for the U.S. Congress.
Update: See Screenscraping the Senate for information who is doing this in the U.S.
Via Boing Boing
Well, sadly I don’t have the time to comment on Ernest Miller’s latest batch of Hit List items at the moment, but I want to ensure everyone is at least aware of the articles. I will try to add commentary when/if time allows.
Ever do a search on Google and some of the results weren’t in English? Notice that little “Translate this Page” next to the link? Yeah, that’s an inducement. Google is practically begging you to create a derivative work.
Take for example Lego Mosaics, which would be derivative works of the original image. Lego will let you upload a picture file and then, using their Brick-o-Lizer, let you create a custom Lego mosaic from the photo. The next step is for Lego to ship you the custom kit, after you pay them $29.95 (aka commercial viablity).
Inevitably, some of these developing and interesting uses for VoIP are going to lead to copyright infringement. Why is the attached .wav file necessarily a phone call? VoIP is so cheap in many cases, why not use it as a streaming radio station (which might merely be a form of conference call)? All these interesting and innovative uses will likely make our telephones even more useful than before. However, how much innovation will Hollywood permit in the development of unique VoIP applications if the INDUCE Act passes?
Worth1000 is “a daily image manipulation contest site.” Basically, it is a website for competitive photoshopping. Everyday, there are new photoshopping contests such as Unsung Vending Machines 2 and If Dogs Ruled. The contest entries are frequently hilarious and often brilliant work. Additionally, W1K is not only a contest site, but a community where people share their knowledge and love of this new art form. Too bad that the INDUCE Act will make the site lawsuit-bait.
The Reuters story, European Copyright Clock Ticking on Elvis Hits points out that the European copyright for the song “That’s All Right”, often considered to be the beginning of rock and roll, will lapse on January 1, 2005. Elvis’ tune will enter the public domain, free for all to use without the need to pay royalties.
As expected, the European music industry is scrambling to modify their copyright laws to more closely resemble those of the United States: 70 years after the death of the artist. While I consider myself an ardent capitalist, I really find this idea deplorable. Frankly, U.S. copyright laws should revert to the shorter 50 year timespan. Culture thrives on adapting works from the past. The vast stable of Disney’s movies are a testament to the value of creative works plucked from our shared creative pool. Music is no different. Fifty years of ownership are more than enough for an artist or company to reap a fair amount of compensation for the work they created. The fact that media giants like BMG will lose income as classic rock and roll songs are opened for cultural adoption and adaptation should only spur them to find the next major sensation to provide income for the next fifty years.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to hear what individual artists and those supported by major labels could do with seminal works by Elvis and The Beatles? New frontiers of music may well be opened for all of us, just as Disney did when adapting the stories of the Brothers Grimm (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White…) and Hans Christian Anderson (The Little Mermaid) for example. Oh, and let us not forget, as Lawrence Lessig notes in his Keynote from OSCON 2002:
>1928, my hero, Walt Disney, created this extraordinary work, the birth of Mickey Mouse in the form of Steamboat Willie. But what you probably don’t recognize about Steamboat Willie and his emergence into Mickey Mouse is that in 1928, Walt Disney, to use the language of the Disney Corporation today, “stole” Willie from Buster Keaton’s “Steamboat Bill.”
>It was a parody, a take-off; it was built upon Steamboat Bill. Steamboat Bill was produced in 1928, no [waiting] 14 years–just take it, rip, mix, and burn, as he did to produce the Disney empire. This was his character. Walt always parroted feature-length mainstream films to produce the Disney empire, and we see the product of this. This is the Disney Corporation: taking works in the public domain, and not even in the public domain, and turning them into vastly greater, new creativity. They took the works of this guy, these guys, the Brothers Grimm, who you think are probably great authors on their own. They produce these horrible stories, these fairy tales, which anybody should keep their children far from because they’re utterly bloody and moralistic stories, and are not the sort of thing that children should see, but they were retold for us by the Disney Corporation. Now the Disney Corporation could do this because that culture lived in a commons, an intellectual commons, a cultural commons, where people could freely take and build. It was a lawyer-free zone.
So, at this point we risk losing future innovation in the worlds of entertainment, art and even technology. We risk losing the creation of new companies and untold profits (companies outside the U.S. will be more than happy to step in to reap those rewards). We risk losing our shared soul.
Ernest Miller has picked up on this story too, providing his thoughts in his post Rock and Roll Scheduled to Enter Public Domain in Europe Soon
“If scientific reasoning were limited to the logical processes of arithmetic, we should not get very far in our understanding of the physical world. One might as well attempt to grasp the game of poker entirely by the use of the mathematics of probability.”
May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven
half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.
Great News. Pamela has announced that she and Dale are expecting a new addition to their family come January!
Image from Resolution 4 Architecture’s Web Site
MoCoLoco has posted word of The Dwell Home, an amazing contest to produce really cool pre-fabricated homes (no double-wides here) that are at least 2,000 square feet, and priced at or under $200,000, including the cost of the land and taxes. The winner (pictured above), produced by Resolution 4 Architecture, comes with three bedrooms, two and a half baths, an office, a media room and three outdoor decks spread across 2,042 square feet of space, spread across several levels.
Wired brings news of a newly released NASA study showing that plankton can create clouds to protect themselves from UV rays.
> “A recent study funded by NASA’s Earth Science Department shows that the tiny sea plants release high quantities of cloud-forming compounds on days when the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays are especially strong. The compounds evaporate into the air through a series of chemical processes that result in especially reflective clouds. This, in turn, blocks the radiation from bothering the phytoplankton.”
Talk about an amazing discovery!