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2001 History



September 13, 2001

Words Fail.

On the TV last night... A news-being stops a fireman to ask him to describe what he'd seen. The fireman said: "Words Fail."

I don't ever want to speak a language that has words for what he saw.

Forward to normal.

Fresh air. Walking. For a few moments the Atlas weight of rage left behind on the sidewalk. Back to Normal? No. We can't go back. We mustn't go back.

Forward. What does the normal future look like? What should it look like? What should we do different?

On the news last night, one guest noted that the networks spent the summer talking about a Congressman and a missing intern. Just doesn't seem so important anymore, does it? With 24 hours a day to fill, it was a simple story. No complicated facts, more time spent in makeup than in reseach.


OJ, Monica, Jonbenet, Elian. These stories don't really "Resonate with the public", these stories resonate with the 24 hour news media. A story gets amplified, and fed back, and amplified, louder and louder, until it drowns everything else out.

...untill something real comes along.


September 11, 2001

The Events of Today

I'm listening to the radio. The borders with Canada and Mexico have been closed. Every Airline flight has been grounded. Schools and public offices all over the country have been closed. Southern Manhattan is being evacuated.

I can't imagine that today anyone is really interested in reading fanfiction, or making paper airplanes, but I'm not going to shut down this web page today. Today I don't know how to put it into words.

I will pick that day.


September 5, 2001

Even More Fanfic Backlinks:

Ashfae's Fanfiction Links Looks like Ashfae's been doing some redecorating! (Very Nice! Oh, and umm... thanks [Blush])


September 2, 2001

More Fanfic Backlinks:

Fanfic Links from Fanfiction.cl (That's Chile!)
Other FanFics -- Recommended Stories
Lady Solarys' Ranma 1/2 Links


September 1, 2001

The essence of the government's antitrust beef with Microsoft is that the company limits competition by leveraging its dominant position in the marketplace (it's important to remember that monopolies are not illegal--abusing them is). To prove its case, the government focused on the browser wars and the harm done to Netscape by Microsoft's inclusion of a free web browser in the operating system.

In my opinion, the browser issue pales in comparison to the egregiousness of the bootloader situation.

Scot Hacker -- Byte.com

If you have any doubts about the Microsoft case, please read Mr. Hacker's article.

Lately I've been thinking that Microsoft should simply be forbidden to sell Windows. I'm not saying that Windows must be withdrawn from the market, or that it be taken away from them, what I suggest is that since the nexus of Microsoft's illegal behavior has historically been in the OEM contracts, we (the people vs. Microsoft) demand that they must simply stop making contracts.

I'd suggest that as either part of a settlement, or as part of a remedy, Microsoft (In recognition that the Windows OS is well and truly a monopoly) must produce a single, public contract by which all copies of the OS are sold. This contract must not contain the sort of language that prevents OEMs from installing OS alternatives (As documented in the Byte article, above), or from installing alternate browsers or media players, or if the OEM chooses, even alternate ham sandwiches.

Microsoft would ship the Golden Masters off to licensed distributors, who would make copies available to one and all under the terms of that public contract. Microsoft itself would be forbidden from making any other private contracts with any OEM who purchases the Windows OS.

Further, I suggest that officers of Microsoft be forbidden to make private contact with any OS customer. Feedback from OEMs should be in public forums, not in smoke filled rooms.

So, where does this leave us? Microsoft still gets paid for their wares. The PC industry gets their OS, and the consumers see a little crack in the monopoly.

P.S. Recently the press has been reporting the pricing for Windows XP, and guess what? It's more expensive.

Today you can find a Gig of RAM, or a Gigahertz processor, or a 40 Gigabyte hard drive, each for comfortably under $100. How can it be that the OS is the only part of the computer that gets more expensive over time? After all, A Gig of RAM is... well... 8 billion transistors. ALL of which must be manufactured for each and every copy sold, and ALL of which must work. The same holds true for the processors, except that it costs more to develop a new processor than it does to write a new OS. Hard Drives? They contain motors, and high precision bearings, and each and every one must be assembled to tolerances that would make a Formula 1 engine maker hang their heads in shame.

How can it be that Microsoft can demand more for the OS, while each and every every other part of the computer becomes less expensive?


August 30, 2001



August 29, 2001

The Failure of Tech Journalism by Steve Gilliard

I only wish that it was only Tech Journalism. Take averything he says here and apply it to ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and Faux.

The fact is, Bush has turned his administration over to people who actually think to memorialize a 145-acre heap of rotting garbage as a notable part of our heritage. And it's not just the deed, which might be a minor lapse except it occurs when Americans of both parties wonder how an administration can be so utterly tone-deaf to concerns about stewardship and a clean environment.
John Balzar -- LA Times

This story could have been right off the front page of The Onion.

Sometimes irony is pretty ironic.


August 28, 2001

G.L. Sandborn's The Great American 'Outback' Fiction Page has landed at http://home.kc.rr.com/sandborn/

Now that you've got the new address, go have a look at "Nabiki-New Horizons", or if you're a Robotech fan, "The Fox Squadron. I got sucked into the Fox Squadron well before seeing any "Robotech". Now that I've seen a few episodes, I can tell you the Fox Squadron outshines the original.


August 26, 2001

The missile defense planned by the Bush administration may be least able to destroy warheads from countries that are thought to pose the biggest threat, federal and private experts say.
The trouble is that so-called rogue nations, like North Korea, Iran and Iraq, would fire wobbling, rudimentary warheads during an attack, and those turn out to be among the hardest to hit.
WILLIAM J. BROAD in the New York Times

It's like football I guess, if you want accuracy, you put spin on the ball. But, if you really rather have the receiver miss the ball, you tumble it. Think back to the very first time you threw a football. Was it a perfect "spiral"? Do you really think that a rogue nation, launching their first intercontinental warhead will get a perfect spiral? That's really, really hard to do. What if you wanted to induce a tumble? That's really, really easy.


August 22-25, 2001

Recent Back Links

Rakhal.com , the home of The Penultimate Ranma Fanfic Index has updated the Fanfiction Index to include My Colors Story, Manila. Thanks Rakal, I've seen a sudden rise in the number of hits!

Meeka-chan's Links to cool places
Quick & Dirty FFML Author Links
Down with Microsoft Smart Tags!
Akane Miata's Links To Other Ranma 1/2 Fanfic Sites


August 15, 2001


From the Ranma Fanfiction awards:

Best of Ranma

Congrats! Your story has been voted into the top stories for the month of July 2001! This is a great acheivement, since many stories are written throughout the course of the year, but very few have the distinguished honor of being remembered for more than just a couple of weeks.

Your story was eligible in the category MINISERIES.

The story chosen was:

 (rank)     (title)
 3.         Colors: Yellow

The contest covered Chaper 9 of Yellow.


August 13, 2001

Fanfiction - Colors - Manila

Manila is a brand new, complete Colors story!


August 8, 2001

Surplus? What Surplus?

Thanks to Congress' insistence on hurry-up tax cuts and an inability to restrain spending, coupled with the economic slowdown, the $5 trillion, 10-year surplus predictions from January have melted like a snowman in August.
USA Today Editorial

Ooops--there it is.


August 2, 2001


O R D E R Upon consideration of appellees' motion for immediate issuance of the mandate, the response thereto, appellant's petition for rehearing, and the response thereto, it is
ORDERED that the motion for immediate issuance of the mandate be denied. It is
FURTHER ORDERED that the petition for rehearing be denied. Nothing in the Court's opinion is intended to preclude the District Court's consideration of remedy issues.
United States Court of Appeals, For the District of Columbia Circuit, Re: No. 00-5212, Microsoft's request for a hearing on the "integration" the browser into the OS.

Transaltion: No, Microsoft, the findings of Judge Jackson stand: "You 'integrated' the browser into the OS in order to protect your monopoly."


August 1, 2001


I got this message in my Paper Airplane Guestbook this morning:

Hi Joseph. Your homepage was introduced by the radio program in Japan today. I decided to attempt to see immediately because the interest was very deep. I thought that PL-3 is a very odd -shaped paper airplane. This weekend, I give off PL-3 which I made in the sky!
Taisuke -- Hokkaido Japan



July 26, 2001

Tax and Steal

Of the Americans who hold these funds, these (US Treasury) bonds, the famous top one percent [own] forty-three percent.
Daniels repeatedly characterizes paying down the debt as essentially giving money to bondholders, and other Republicans have started to echo the line. What he neglects to mention is that this is money the government owes them, and until it's paid back, the government--and that means we taxpayers--has to pay interest on it.
JONATHAN CHAIT, in The New Republic


July 24, 2001

The Expected Response

Microsoft has pulled the add from their Swiss site. (I wonder why...) The good news is that it's been picked up by Ad Critic.

Why did it dissapear? Did the Taliban ban it?


July 23, 2001

The Unexpected experience

A visit to Microsoft's Swiss website has an unexpected surprise. Click on the picture to download the mpeg movie. (I'd judge it PG-13 in the USA, but okay for broadcast TV in Switzerland. Go figure.)

Thanks to The Register


July 11, 2001

So yes, it is crude and naïve to picture Mr. Bush stealing money from the piggy bank and giving it to his rich friends. Refined, sophisticated analysts know that what he has actually done is to undermine America's fiscal integrity in order to provide big tax breaks to his rich friends.
By Paul Krugman, New York Times


July 10, 2001

More Yellow

Chapter 9 is up.

Update: Danger is this wireless firm's real name (2)

USA Today


July 9, 2001

Update: Danger is this wireless firm's real name

An article in USA Today.


July 8, 2001

The Nuclear Option Revisited

The (California Power) system that had rolling blackouts at a 28-gigawatt load last winter is the same one that comfortably delivered 53 gigawatts two summers ago. Half its power plants didn't suddenly evaporate. Rather, there's apparently been adequate generating capacity--if power plants ran as reliably as they did before utilities sold them.
-- Amory B. and L. Hunter Lovins, Co-ceos of Rocky Mountain Institute in The LA Times

As an engineer, I am convinced that Nuclear Power plants could be built and operated safely, but I am unconvinced that we have an answer -- either practical or ethical, for the long term disposition of the highly radioactive waste.

That's not even the issue here, the problem with nuclear is that it's simply not cost effective. Even without the taxpayer subsidies that nuclear depends upon, the newest natural gas power plants deliver lower cost power. That's not to say that burning fossil fuel (in the form of natural gas) is a long-term solution either, both because of its limited supply, and because of the pollution emitted while extracting the stored energy.

In the foreseeable future, we will have pumped all of the easy oil and natural gas, and it will become so expensive and rare as to be used only as a raw material for plastics and such. We have less than a hand of centuries of fossil fuels remaining, but that's the not really a long time at all. (I've slept in rooms that are centuries old -- great for perspective).

We will turn to solar, wind and other renewable sources of energy. Hydrogen will replace hydrocarbons as the storage medium for energy.

We will use more efficient means to heat and light our homes, and to transport goods and deliver services. The only question is when. The only responsible and moral answer is as soon as we can.

I sometimes despair in this age of television, because it seems the more frequently a falsehood is spoken, the more legitimacy it gains, and the more often that a simple truth is spoken, the weaker and fainter it becomes. Truth is that we all must, today, in 2001, begin to trod more softly upon this Earth. There is little point in worrying about the half-life of nuclear waste if our actions have otherwise by then made our only Earth uninhabitable.

Conservation is not just a personal virtue, as our (newly bionic) Vice-President opined; it is the singular responsibility of the human race -- to conserve for future generations so that they too may live well upon this Earth.


July 6, 2001

Court Ruling Was No Victory For Microsoft

For no discernible reason, much of the press has unquestioningly accepted Microsoft's jubilation that the Court of Appeals vacated the trial court's order that Microsoft be broken into two independent companies. Nobody, including the government's lawyers, expected that order to stand up. Microsoft was denied even the most rudimentary hearing on the appropriate remedy. Now there is to be a hearing, and there are compelling reasons to take divestiture seriously.
in Opinion Journal

This is a tough one folks, see, it's "News" when Gates proclaims victory, and that the case was about the "Freedom to innovate", but having read the findings of fact, the findings of law, and the ruling of the appeals court, I (And in the opinion of couple of folks here who I will probably never be invited to lunch with) agree that it was about something else altogether.

That said, I'm not so sure that splitting up Microsoft is the right remedy. The facts are that the most of the illegal behavior has a nexis in the 'secret' contracts that Microsoft makes. Not that we don't know that these contracts exist, it's the terms that are secret. Perhaps piercing that secrecy is the correct way to go.

Pay attention.

I guess I was right, It was a slow news week, what with no Cuban boys to getting 24-7 coverage. (I remember seeing one particularly poignient film clip of Elian throwing a paper airplane, which promptly nosed into the ground. My first thoughts were "Dear God! Will no one show him how to make a proper paper airplane?)

Anyway I suppose the summer lull in the news has caused the editors to fret a bit about all that blank paper. I can see them now, sitting around thier offices:

   "What do you think? Would the pillage of the US treasury be a good lead story?" asks one.

   "Naw, too many numbers. All that fuzzy math." Replies another.

Oh, how they miss the Bill and Elian show.

But lo, in this dark age of journalism, do I see a light?

None of this should come as a surprise. Anyone who was paying attention knew that to sell the tax cut Mr. Bush's people deliberately underestimated the cut's impact on revenues; deliberately underestimated the cost of delivering on the administration's promises on defense, education and prescription drugs; and deliberately swept under the rug other budget issues, like the need to fix the alternative minimum tax, that will inevitably subtract hundreds of billions from the surplus. In short, the claim that the tax cut was easily affordable given other priorities was what is technically known as a "lie."
--PAUL KRUGMAN in the New York Times

It's happening again.


July 5, 2001

Slow news week

Here in the states we celebrated our independance yesterday, and since the fourth fell on a Wednesday, it seems that a lot of folks made it short week. (Page Mill Road is usually stop and go for a mile or so, this morning it was near empty.)


June 29, 2001

Is Windows XP the Hacker's deam come true?

Steve Gibson has been looking into the nitty gritty details of XP, and has come to the startling conclusion that the design of the network stack in Windows XP will allow hackers to mount sophisticated denial of service attacks from what is destined to be Microsoft's consumer OS, installed on tens of millions of machines.

And you thought California was having power problems. Just you wait...


June 29, 2001

Mircosoft Coverage

The best coverage of yesterday's ruling (PDF courtesy CNN) can be found at The Register.

The bottom line as regards the law is that Microsoft is still guilty of antitrust violations, and that these will require remedies. These will however be considered by the district court and a new judge; they might be as draconian as Jackson's remedies (perhaps more so, if a simple split in two can't be demonstrated as an adequate measure to restore OS competition), but don't count on it.
The Register


June 28, 2001

Mircosoft Ruling

The US court of appeals has issued their findings in the case of US vs Microsoft. The short of it is that the breakup order (Which was not Judge Jackson's Idea, it came from the states) has been vacated, BUT the entire findings of fact have been upheld.

The entire ruling can be found on the CNN website. Forget the press accounts for a day or two, it's take that long to really get through the whole ruling.

BTW,a most telling entry about Judge Jackson is on page 124:

Thus, although Microsoft alleged only appearance of bias, not actual bias, we have reviewed the record with painstaking care and have discerned no evidence of actual bias.

I've read Judge Jackson's findings, and I have one word for the man: cluefull.

Put down the Smart Tag, and back away from the hole.

Microsoft has decided to drop Smart Tags, at least for now.

I installed the newest Explorer, with smart tags, and did some testing. The first thing I noticed is that very few words were tagged in my own website--just a reference to "Radio Shack" in the Theremin pages, and, of course every mention of Microsoft on my home page.

That's right. Every dagnabitdagburn instance of "Microsoft" was tagged. Not just the first, not just the last, but every stanfifflin' instance on the page. And that's just one of the fatal flaws of "Smart" tags. As an author/publisher, I would probably choosen to have only the first, or only the last reference tagged, (Or, with a nod to Hypercard, I'd have even prefered that all tags remain hidden untill an option key was pressed.)

The set of Smart tags that I downloaded was, well... anemic. I went to the CNN site and prowled around a bit. In one artical on an impending strike at "American Airlines", that term was left untagged, but a mention of "Northwest Airlines" was tagged. Looking to other pages, I did find "AMR" (the parent company of American Airlines) tagged. That's another fatal flaw. Certain words like Sony, 3Com or Xerox (Or Microsoft) are company names, and company names only. Beyond those lucky few are names that alias to all sorts of things. But even then, will every artical about the '49's playing at 3Com (AKA Candlestick) tag to 3Com Corp? (Well, maybe that's why 3Com blew the bucks on renaming.

In the end, Smart Tags are like "Smart Poetry", technically possible, but lacking the essential context that makes it valuable. Simple term match code could never be as good as a human author at deciding what words should be tagged to where, and how often.

On the other hand, if Smart Tags became part of the writing tool, then I think you might have something. If I were writing about Sharks, I could guide the tool to imbed the correct tags (make mine mako, not hockey,or tacos, please) I could select which instance was tagged, and I could select which tags make sense to include. (Neither Mako nor the San Jose Sharks are lised on NASDQ)

And... If I chose, I could even have no Smart Tags.


June 25, 2001

The Russians are coming!

Danger Coverage


June 25, 2001

Now, where do I send the bill, Bill?

After adding this tag, any Smart Tags that the author has added to the page will continue to work, but Internet Explorer will not dynamically add new tags when users view the page.
Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 Public Preview
The tag is:

<meta name="MSSmartTagsPreventParsing" content="TRUE">


Thanks, Bill. I estimate it will take me just over an hour to edit and test my web pages to keep you from inserting advertizing into them. Where do I send the bill?

One more thing: MSSmartTagsPreventParsing is a bit spooky. Does this mean that I have to have a seperate meta tag to disable other smart tags? Like:

<meta name="VirusLinksSmartTagsPreventParsing" content="TRUE">

<meta name="HateSpeechSmartTagsPreventParsing" content="TRUE">


June 22, 2001

Much Ado About Smart Tags

With smart tags, Microsoft is able to insert their ads right into competitors' sites.
Chris Kaminski -- A list Apart

Okay, Okay, Microsoft, You win. I hereby grant you the right to insert ads into my website under the following terms and conditions:

  1. Each smart tag shall counted as one ad.
  2. Each ad impression counted by the following formula: (Hits x number of tags per page)
  3. Ad impressions shall be be charged at a rate of $25,000 USD per impression.
  4. Each click-through shall be charged at a rate of $1,000,000 USD
  5. Providing ad insertion technology to end users signifies your agreement to these terms.

Any Questions?

Check out the article on Smart Tags at A List Apart

You need to come out in the real world and see what the other end of the Microsoft gun looks like.
Robert Scoble



June 21, 2001

More and more on Smart Tags

In effect, Microsoft will be able, through the browser, to re-edit anybody's site, without the owner's knowledge or permission, in a way that tempts users to leave and go to a Microsoft-chosen site -- whether or not that site offers better information.

--Walter S. Mossberg in the Wall Street Journal

Here's my problem. www.josephpalmer.com is a 'leaf' site. Most visitors come here to learn how to make paper airplanes, or to read romatic fanfiction. Most of the visitors to my paper airplanes pages are kids, and those pages are writen to be specifically "kid-safe". I specifically do not have advertising. (And I pay for this site out of my own pocket.) The trouble with these so called "Smart Links" is that since they link to commercial web properties-- they become 'Advertizing links'.

ONE MICROSOFT OFFICIAL says the feature will spare users from "under-linked" sites.

As for the stories, I choose my words carefully, and I pace my scenes with great care, and I even format the stories to provide the most transparent book-like appearence. It's not up to Microsoft to decide if my prose is "underlinked", and fix it with links to Microsoft commercial properties. Those stories are meant to be read as linear narrative, without detours into commercial space.

Mark Hurst has said it far better than I could.

The more I think about this the angrier I get.


June 20, 2001

Smart Tags? Just say .Nyet

I've been following with some interest the reporting on Microsofts' "Smart Tag" technology.

Sorry Bill, but I didn't spend all my time to come up with a Prose Stylesheet Format so that you could come along and place squiggly links totaly unrelated to my work into my web pages.

No, it's not okay to require me to place meta-tags into my HTML to prevent your linking graffiti. My pages are NON-COMMERCIAL, and that means YOU TOO BILL. What's next? automatic Microsoft banner add added to each page? I have an idea, how about "Smart Copyright Claims" which add a Microsoft copyright notice to every page viewed?

Bill, get it together, or I may feel compelled to place my works under scripts that will prevent them from being accesed by Internet Explorer.


June 19, 2001

Russian Light Bulb Joke

Q: How many Russian Cosmonauts does it take to change a light bulb?

          (Please to be reading answer in fake Russian accent!)

A: Just one, but why change? Is not broke bad...can fix!


May 30, 2001

But suppose that Lott is right and Senate elections are referendums on which party should control the Senate. In that case "the moral authority of a mandate from the voters" belongs to the Democrats, who got 38.38 million votes for senator last November, compared with 37.83 million for the Republicans.
-- Michael Kinsley, in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune

So, Trent... That's 550,000 more for the Democrats in the Senate. Get over it.


May 30, 2001

I'm worried.

Five years ago California was promised cheap, abundant electricity, if only we would deregulate.

This year, the White House is promising a growing, vibrant economy if only we would cut taxes for the top one percent.


May 29, 2001

Got Gas?

Supplies of fuel in California are so high that refiners could run out of room to store gasoline in 10 days to two weeks,
-- Will Woods, executive director of the Automotive Trade Association of California.

Check it out, even the conservative Orange County Register can't ignore it when markets are being manipulated. Oh my.


May 20, 2001

Lies, Damn lies, and Tax plans.

The tax cut's $1.35 trillion price tag is a deception. The figure was calculated with an array of artificial devices that disguise the true cost.
New York Times, May 20, 2000.

Okay, what's the big hurry? Why is there such a big rush to pass a ten year(!) tax cut in record time? After all, the bulk of the proposed cuts don't kick in for years.

The "S" word.

Have you noticed something in the papers? Or, more to the point, something missing in the papers? Have you noticed that the top topic last year - "S", has seen scant coverage this year?

Well, it's time to bring "S" back into the discussion. Soft landing There. I've said it. I'm sorry, but it needed to be said. In case you haven't read it in the papers, we're not in a recession. Economic growth has slowed, but it has not met the definition of recession.

Don't you suppose this is what a soft landing looks like?


May 18, 2001

Well, duh.

State investigators have uncovered evidence that a "cartel" of power companies shut down plants for unnecessary maintenance to ratchet up prices....
Read more in the LA Times

There's a lot of shoes left to drop. The next really big one will be the pipline companies that have manipulated the price of natural gas.


May 18, 2001

A Perfect Storm?

Personally, if I have to choose, I prefer people who cheat on their wives to people who cheat on our kids.
-- THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN comparing Clinton and Bush in a New York Times article

The New York Times requires you to register to read their stories online. It's free, and it's well worth the time to register.


May 14, 2001

My lips are sealed.

Red Herring


May 15, 2001

Got a problem? Solve it with a tax cut.

Talk about an interesting approach to income redistribution: The government gives people back some money so they can pass it on to Exxon or Shell.

--E.J. Dionne Jr. in a Washington Post article


May 14, 2001

Again, no comment.

New York Times


May 13, 2001

No comment.



May 10, 2001

More politics

It merely demonstrated that Bush's tax cut is not that heavily tilted to the wealthy if you ignore the portions of it that are most heavily tilted toward the wealthy.
--Jonathan Chait on the Congressional Joint Tax Committee's report on the Bush tax cut.

Read the artical from The New Republic Online


May 2, 2001


In a bit of a blast from the past, some of the BeatCraft team came by the office this week.

BeatCraft does BeOS development out of Akihabura, Japan, and two of the folks who visited were proud owners of BeBoxen, and had even been at the Thanks BeBox event. (See picture links here)


April 11, 2001

Welcome Cuba!

I've found a hit in my logs from Cuba! -- Welcome! Maybe it won't be too long until we start to see hits from North Korea...

BTW, I'm still waiting for Greenland and Antarctica.


April 4, 2001

New Link

I came across a new link in my logs this morning: The stories: Jan's Anime Pages has a Fanfic links page. {blush}


April 2, 2001


Fanime Button

By the way, here's the graphic for the buttons I gave out at the fanfic Panel.

A Fan's View has coverage of this year's Fanimecon Fanfic Panel.

I probably made an ass of myself up there*, but I did have a really good time, and for my tastes, 60 minutes were simply not enough. I did try to not talk a lot about my own stories, (Two reasons, I'm actually pretty shy, and I'd rather they speak for themselves)

There were some really great questions, and even better answers from the audience. I hope that more time next year would would allow for more of that

*I pretty much bashed the entire [DARK] genre, and it would have been better to have someone on the other side of that issue to balance my position. (Even if I am right! ^_^)


March 16, 2001

The Ranma Fanfic Awards


I received an email this morning from The Ranma Fanfic Awards It looks like a form letter, so I hope they won't mind if I quote it:

Your story has been voted into the top stories for the month of February 2001! This is a great acheivement, since many stories are written throughout the course of the year, but very few have the distinguished honor of being remembered for more than just a couple of weeks.
Your story was eligible in the category MINISERIES.
The story chosen was:
(rank) (title)
3. Colors: Yellow

Thanks everyone! (Okay, Okay, I'll get working on part 9.)


March 15, 2001

BeBox mention in THE REGISTER

One of may favorite tech news outlets is the cheeky REGISTER website. Today, the BeBox got a mention in this article.

$3000 on Ebay? Woah.


March 12, 2001

Sony has a beautiful new laptop. I wonder when we'll see these here....

March 11, 2001

The Butterfly President

The Palm Beach post has an extensive article on the goings on of the Florida election. Read it quick, this paper seems to use a URL structure that will cause the article to evaporate by next Saturday

The evidence is growing that the wrong person (and party) is in the Whitehouse. Don't get me wrong, W is the President of the United States, but the news out of Florida, along with the 500,000 more votes that Gore got nationwide should offer some guidance as to what policies the Whitehouse should support.

There's lies, damn lies, statistics, and tax plans. This week the GOP leadership crammed a tax cut through the house with less debate than is usually reserved for deciding say, the national tuber. The media is doing about a c+ job of covering this story, I mean there are just so many stories that are more important than a budget that is sure to plunge this country deeper into debt.

The case for paying off the debt.

Go ahead, take a look that the US Treasury Public Debt website.

As of Feb 28, 2001, the National debt held by the public is $3,402,738,000,000. That debt is in the form of bills, notes, and bonds. Now, here's the rub. That 3.4 trillion dollars is not being invested in private industry. Were the national debt paid, we would both save hundreds of billions ($361,997,734,302.36 in 2000, to the penny) on interest service on the debt, and that roughly 3.4 trillion in principal? Well it's not going to go into mattresses, or into tin cans buried in the back yard. That money would be invested in the private sector. That would lead to greater productivity, even lower unemployment, and gasp even higher budget surpluses.

I'm just a simple country engineer, but it just makes plain sense to pay down the debt while we can. We can't predict the economy (or anything else) 10 years* into the future, and we shouldn't commit to a long term economic plan based on crystal ball projections.

*Not quite true. We do know that George W. Bush will be out of office in ten years.


February 28, 2001

Bad Seamonkey!

I've been using Mozilla 0.7 for a few weeks now, and have just discovered an interesting behavior.

My prose style sheets specify the column width by using the width attribute of the <div> tag. Seamonkey (Mozilla 0.7) sets the width of the <div> based on the font size selected by the user in the preferences panel, but unlike IE and older versions of Navigator, it does not change the <div> width if the user then selects a larger or smaller font from the view menu.

I don't know if this is a bug, but it did throw me for a loop last night. I suppose it hasn't blown my format though, since the prose is still formatted to the user's font and font size preferences, even if it may look odd if they then magnify or shrink the text thereafter. Oh well.


February 25, 2001

More Yellow!

I've added a new chapter to Yellow Is anyone still reading? -- Let me know.


February 16, 2001

Radio Silence

Sorry about the recent blackout, but the good news is that my time is going back into "Yellow" So expect a new chapter in the next week or two.

It's been a busy time, both at work and at home. Due to the "Energy Crisis" I've elected to put my money in the pockets of Lights of America instaid of the out-of-state owners of the power plants. Every commonly used lamp in our house is now the Compact Fluorescent type.

I'm pretty cross about this 'crisis' since it's only partly real, (Yes, California does need to build more power plants) and partly due to a stunningly stupid law passed a while back which says that 'everyone gets paid she same as the supplier with the highest accepted bid'. Now let me get this straight -- If you happened to own enough of the power plants in California, you could shut some of them down in order to place the state into the position of having to pay huge premiums (Like 10 times the going rate) for your power. Literally, you could generate higher profits by producing less power. I'm hard pressed to understand where the incentive is to build more power plants when there is more profit in keeping the state in 'crisis' mode.

I wonder what Ayn Rand would make of this mess. I just recently read "Atlas Shrugged" for the first time, and found it both compelling, and shallow. I suppose things looked different in 1957, but very little comment was made about the inevitable pollution that steel mills (Even Reardon Steel Mills) produce. There was one scene that took place on a slag heap, but our hero didn't have an opportunity to notice his surroundings.

I also really really wonder what she would make of Microsoft.

I also wonder if John Ashcroft has bothered to read the findings of FACT. It's just an observation, but having read those findings, all I can truly say that Judge Jackson was "Clueful". Unlike the pabulum that passes for news coverage, I could not identify any factual errors anywhere in the document.

On another note, I've cancelled my cable and switched to DirecTV and Broadcast Digital TV. Broadcast DTV is the best-kept secret today. The picture is great (not perfect) but for my viewing I'll trade the occasional compression artifact against the crumby analog signal that AT&T was delivering, and it's "Free" for the taking. Now that the FCC has finally decided on a modulation scheme, it's safe to go out and buy a DTV receiver. The scheme they chose was not as robust as the other option, but with it a compressed HDTV signal fit comfortably into one of the 6 MHz channels that has been used for over half a century. The alternative would have fit three channels into the space now allocated for four. I don't think that the analog stations would have been happy about changing their channel numbers to make room...


January 3, 2001


Anime Web Turnpike

Yay!! The Anipike has updated its link. It took a while though, I suspect they have been really, really, busy.

Thanks, Trixie!


January 1, 2001

01.01.01 01:01:01

Did you know that 61 minutes and one second after midnight it was exactly 01.01.01 01:01:01? (that's so cool.)


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