Tuesday 28 October 2003

unrest in the wilds of the web

Tim Berners-Lee sent off a letter today to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, imploring the good folks there to re-examine U.S. Patent No. 5,838,906, aka the Eolas patent. Berners-Lee writes that “A patent whose validity is demonstrably in doubt ought not be allowed to undo the years of work that have gone into building the Web.”

Other head-turning news for web developers is the announcement of Microsoft’s impending new OS Longhorn and what Microsoft’s browser strategy will be. Are we facing a future in which Microsoft dominates the web? And some people wonder why I see open standards in an almost religious light.

Lots of insightful pieces are popping up on this issue, I personally think it’s far too early in the game to make predictions. I found Eric Meyer’s Corralled a dark but worthy read, and Dave Shea’s commentary on XAML and IE provides a nice overview of the situation.

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Posted by:   site admin | 11:09 | Comments (8)

Sunday 26 October 2003

revealing all online: an experiment in authentic living

People often ask me why I’m so willing to discuss personal, uncomfortable, irreverent or otherwise not-professional issues right here on my home page. It’s a good question, and one that has challenged me over time. Would I do better professionally if I were less “raw” in my writings? Is it appropriate for me to be living life so openly? Is it safe?

At some point I’m going to have the time to write up a more organized bit on this topic, but I do have some key points on this issue today.

  • My circle of friends gets broader, deeper, and more beautiful every day. This is of course true from way back in the days of BBSs. The best friends and colleagues I have today have come from contact born of this site, or via extended relationships from earlier times that might never have survived in an unwired world.
  • Authenticity in content weeds out potentially difficult clients. If I can’t be myself with a client, then I will be unhappy and unproductive, which in turn will make the client unhappy and mad at me. One of the most valuable aspects of having a personal slant to my weblog and web sites is that if I’ve offended you here, it’s likely I’ll offend you in person. So we get that out of the way before any contracts are signed!
  • For me, privacy is dead. Now, I’m not a parent, so I cannot address this from a protective sense. But in my experience, the only way I’ve been able to deal with fear is to be as completely vulnerable and real in its face as I can. While it doesn’t make fear go away, it is an exercise in freedom to look your fears right in the eye.

I imagine some of my perspectives would change if I were in a situation where I had to protect other people. But in my life I have the unexpected luxury of experimenting in the online medium. And so I must.

After over 10 years of working on the web, and nearly 4 years of keeping a weblog, I maintain that this process has been an extraordinary experience that nourishes and expands me in profound ways. What do you think?

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Posted by:   site admin | 04:19 | Comments (20)

Wednesday 22 October 2003

my generation

Yesterday, I spoke to a Web design class at the University of Arizona School of Art. Now, I’ve done teaching over the past years within the academic realm, but always at night, and mostly to a more mature group.

It was rather daunting to see just how impossibly young today’s college student is. Out of about 25 kids maybe 4 of them were truly there to learn something. The rest were sleeping off lunch or talking to friends while I was giving my presentation.

Was I that young in college? Were you? Were you that silly? That disrespectful? Have we just crossed the line into old? Or maybe you’re a college student now and have a different perspective.

Despite a light-hearted nature, I don’t think I was ever like that, least not by the time I got to college. College for me was always a privilege, something that was in fact a privilege for kids in my generation. Sure, I was encouraged by my family to seek out education, but judging by my experience yesterday, today’s student in general seems to think that college is just an extension of high school.

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Sunday 19 October 2003

milwaukee: a nice surprise

I’m here in downtown Milwaukee for the League for Innovation conference. It’s my first visit to Wisconsin, and I have to say that Milwaukee has turned out to be a very nice surprise.

From a traveler’s perspective, the airport is easy in, easy out (and you all know how I like easy). It’s a quick trip to downtown, which sports a great layout in terms of the city center, with most all of the hotels in the area offering skyways to the conference center, making it an easy trek, especially for those of us hauling around a lot of equipment. The conference center itself is one of the most esthetic as well as practical I’ve ever worked in. The design is exceptional, with enormous windows providing ample natural lighting, comfortable conference rooms, and terrific architectural touches including wood paneled entryways into the conference rooms, each with a literary inscription. A very inspired and inspirational work environment!

Food-wise, I expected what one expects from Milwaukee: Lots of beer, sausage, corned beef, and there’s all of that in abundance. I tried a beer and cheddar soup that was really delish, too. But what I didn’t expect to find was exceptional dining. I had a very memorable dinner with friend and fellow blogger/standards supporter Phil Ledgerwood at the Milwaukee Chop House. Great steaks (Phil lives in Kansas City so he knows steaks), and a very good Cabernet which is made locally with California Central Coast grapes. We finished dinner with a piece of carrot cake as big as a house, and an amazing porto recommended by our excellent waiter, Matt, who bears a rather uncanny resemblance to E from The Eels. Whoever was choosing the music gets big points, too, really high quality ambient and world beat choices.

I think the nicest surprise about Milwaukee has to be how friendly folks are here. After Boston, which is a great city but not one I’ve found to be very warm, I was wonderfully refreshed by genuine greetings from everyone I’ve met.

So thanks for the nice surprise, Milwaukee! I’ve enjoyed my stay here and while I’m extremely happy to be on my way home tomorrow, I intend on visiting again.

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Friday 17 October 2003

of red sox and bad fashion choices

While standing in a really, really long security line at Boston’s Logan Airport this morning on my way to Milwaukee, I overheard a lot of lamenting over the sox’s loss. Suddenly, a guy walks into the main area after deplaning. A BIG guy. In a BIG jacket. With “Yankees” splashed across it in BIG letters.

There’s fashion choices, and then there’s fashion choices. All I can say is had it been any other environment than one crawling with police and security, this guy would have been serious dog food.

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Wednesday 15 October 2003

public sex acts

Last night, walking out of a suite at the conference hotel at 3:00 a.m. or so, a few friends and I were surprised to find two men on the floor in the public hallway having sex.

I thought this little tale falls under the “just wrong” category. Sexuality aside, this went a bit over the top when it comes to the concept of public displays of affection.

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Posted by:   site admin | 06:08 | Comments (25)

woe is my vaio

On Monday, during a presentation with Eric Meyer here at the fabulous UI Conference, my one and a half year old vaio locked up. I was able to reboot it a few times, but then it started failing to initialize the hard drive. On those instances that I could get it to boot up, I was able to work for only a few minutes before another freeze up.

A word of advice: Get the extended coverage. If it’s the motherboard, it’s gonna cost 700 bucks to replace, if it’s the hard drive it’ll be easier on the pocket but bye bye data.

Fortunately, we were using two computers and were able to not cause a disruption in our class, which went great. However, I feel so out of touch without all my STUFF. It’s amazing how dependent I’ve become on computers to get through life.

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Tuesday 7 October 2003

come fly with me

Today I’m on my way to Monterey, California and to get there I fly to LAX and then hop on a turboprop. I haven’t flown in one of those for a long time, they can be terrific fun.

While the complexity of travel these days is uncomfortable, and despite the tragic way planes have been misused as horrible, deadly weapons, I have always loved to fly, love the idea of flight, love many of its sensations. I know I have several pilots as regular readers of this weblog, and lots of people who fly a great deal visit as well.

What are your thoughts on flight? Do you hate it, love it, do it? Like the little planes? The big jets? What’s the scariest thing that ever happened to you on a plane? The most memorable?

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Posted by:   site admin | 05:43 | Comments (25)

Friday 3 October 2003

i have a crush on vincent d’onofrio

Someone just emailed me with a “favorite actor” question. I’m a person who doesn’t have too many “favorites” mostly because I crave variety. But I do have to confess a hardcore crush on actor Vincent D’Onofrio.

Okay, so what if the guy is being nominated as a GQ “man of the year”? He’s not your typical GQ kind of guy. He’s been described as “a real character, not an actor pretending to be one.” I have a thing for quirky people and D’Onofrio is definitely quirky, not to mention brilliant and talented and tall and hunky and handsome. Oh, and he’s a Brooklyn boy, to boot.

So there you have it, I’ve confessed my crush. They say confession is good for the soul, so confess your own, c’mon, you want to, you know you do!

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Posted by:   site admin | 06:09 | Comments (855)

bloggerCon kickoff

Well, tonight there will be bloggers blogging from Harvard, kicking off bloggerCon. Looks like it’s going to be an interesting event. I can’t attend. Any readers out there going?

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Wednesday 1 October 2003

moses on the mountain

I remember a story shared by a Yeshiva instructor with my class when I was very young. She told me that Moses, prior to receiving the Ten Commandments, raised his arms and threw back his head praising God.

Then he let the birds feast upon the flesh of his exposed arms.

I’m not a Jewish scholar. Right now it is the High Holidays. I am thinking of this image. If someone could verify this remembrance, I’d be grateful.

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Posted by:   site admin | 05:09 | Comments (19)

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