May 30, 2000

You know what's really great about personal sites? (and by extension what's really great about weblogs with a personal voice)

It's connecting with people. I post something about a program not working or my DSL line acting up and three or four people email me with similar tales and how they solved it. I post news of my engagement and 20 people post their well wishes and many more email with tips on how to plan for the big day. Last week, Meg posted something we joked about at lunch one day: combining the music of rapper Emenem and the new age stylings of Enya. Then someone reads it, makes the dream come true and sends her an incredibly funny song.

The power of the internet never ceases to amaze me.
[10:42 AM]


May 29, 2000

I loved my DSL when I got it, but now it's really pissing me off. The installation went smoothly, but I'm getting these small reoccurring outages that are driving me crazy. Every 15 minutes or so, I lose all http (web) and pop3 (email) traffic for about 60-90 seconds. ICQ, IM, ftp, and hotline still work, but no web pages load and no email gets sent or received while I wait for the digital hiccup to finish. After some delay, everything suddenly starts working again, and then 10-15 minutes later, the whole process repeats. If you're trying to work, or surfing a bunch of sites, it drives you batty because there doesn't seem to be anything you can do until a minute or two of non-activity passes.

The most annoying part is that PacBell made me sign up for a year of service, with a $325 early cancellation fine.

I should have stuck with a trusty cable modem.
[7:25 PM]



Man, I am tiiiiiiired.

I worked on a kitchen all weekend, tearing out the old cupboards, appliances, tile, and drywall until there was nothing but a bare house frame. Then we started replacing everything; new drywall, new flooring, new cabinets, new dishwasher. It's fun to work on something that has some permanence, something that could outlast me. In the digital world, I can write one line of code to wipe out this entire server, so I'm used to everything being temporary. I also learned that I use very few arm, back, and shoulder muscles while computing, but you really get them moving (and straining) when you're hammering nails overhead or ripping out drywall.
[7:16 PM]


May 25, 2000

It sounds like jack should be showing up in SF tonight. The travel weblog was a great idea, and jack and Jessica pulled it off with style. Jessica's entries are especially moving, I'll be interested in seeing her closing thoughts on the trip.

Jack will probably mention this soon, but if you're planning a road trip, extended journey, or circling the globe, and you want a temporary travel blog at http://whatever_your_destination_is.orbust.org/, let me know and we'll set it up for ya.
[8:22 PM]



Guilty purchase of the day: a Rio 500 mp3 player. There were two guys behind me on the train this morning talking baseball strategy and statistics the whole trip, and I couldn't concentrate enough to read a single page of a good book I just started. Never again though. From now on I'll read while bathed in jazz instead of annoying voices.
[8:08 PM]


May 24, 2000

XML and XSL are amazing technologies and both are Good Things. For the first time ever, I'm actually building web pages with content and presentation completely separate. It's one of the original visions of the web, and it's finally possible. Another great benefit of building pages in XML & XSL is that they're easily read and interpreted by other computers, which leads to a true semantic web. A semantic web is one where search engines work and data is easily shared and interchanged between servers. It reminds me of Tim Berners-Lee's visions for the web, if you haven't read this book, drop everything and pick up a copy.

Learning a new technology also reminds of the first time I programmed HTML. It's like 1995 all over again, I'm learning new tags, debugging my bad code, and being amazed when pages actually work in a browser. And like learning HTML in 1995, there's not a lot of information in print or on the web about it. I've got a growning bookmark list, but there's little beginning information out there. Webmonkey has a good intro to XML and one on XSLT, but where are the plethora of tutorials like Justin's and Dr. Web's? It's unbelievable that there are no books available at Amazon on XSL.
[3:13 PM]



The new Salon redesign is a lot easier to read when a perl hacker cleans it up.
[11:15 AM]



I'm so jealous of Meg's new toy, that I'm getting one myself.
[10:39 AM]



Nothing starts the day quite like Black Sabbath's Paranoid.
[10:15 AM]


May 23, 2000

Maybe it's the influence of my employers, but I'm really starting to get annoyed with client-side apps and craving more server-side solutions. I just formated the hard drive on my home computer and am trying to rebuild it, but restoring all my settings and history from IE, icq, AOL IM, and Eudora is a pain in the ass. Why can't profiles, nicknames, address book lists, and settings be stored on servers somewhere? Why on earth are all my icq and IM friends stored on the client, and not on AOL's servers? At least my bookmarks are back.
[9:40 PM]



I can't put into words how happy I am to see Greg has resurrected eod.com. For classic Knauss humor, check out the entry from yesterday about his Tivo. His post from May 18th is the funniest thing I've read in weeks.
[5:06 PM]


May 22, 2000

What a week, what a weekend. I'm about half done writing a wrap up of the past few day's events, hopefully I'll finish it tomorrow and post it in the More section of the site. For now, enjoy photos from this weekend.

And a very special thanks to everyone that called, wrote email, or posted to my sites about the engagement - there's far too much mail to respond to, but I did get everyone's messages and I thank you for sending me good wishes. Actually, I can't believe the sheer numbers of people that have contacted me, it's really been amazing, I had forgotten that I knew so many warm and wonderful people. Thanks again.
[12:33 AM]


May 20, 2000

Time: 4pm, Saturday
Place: at the top of Mt. Tamalpais, overlooking San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean
Who was there: Me and my girlfriend Kay
What was said:

Me: "Close your eyes, I have a surprise for you"
Kay: "Ok..."
M: "Keep them closed....just another second....ok open them"
K: <gasps>
M: "Will you marry me?"
K: "Yes! Yes! Of course, yes!"

Details to follow tomorrow, for now, check out today's pic.
[10:41 PM]


May 19, 2000

I almost forgot to update my daily photo today. It's a shot of my brother's baby, Max. He's a great kid.

(You know you're getting old when suddenly kids are cool and fun)
[5:49 PM]



I've never heard of these guys until the other Pyrates mentioned them in Austin. And I hadn't gave them a listen until I found their mp3s on our music drive. I can't believe how good the band Gomez is. Check them out if you want to hear something that's kind of mellow, but really good.
[3:12 PM]


May 18, 2000

I got this email a few minutes ago and it's worth passing on...

Hello, I feel this is important and I think it needs to be followed up on. I called Mattel company to complain about their practices, specifically the mattl vs. mattel dispute ((310) 252-2000) and they immediately transfered me to some person in customer service (after I refused their initial request to talk to their legal department) who informed me that to the best of their knowledge, they've received a grand total of ONE complaint over this issue.

Now, perhaps they were just playing games with me, but I actually believed her. If this is the case, then the above number needs to be published, and people need to be urged to call it to complain - make sure they ask for customer service, and not the legal department.

Thanks,
Steve Calabrese

So if you're contacting Mattel to register your disgust at their business practices, be sure to contact customer service. I found this email form, and thought a lot of people used it, strange that Mattel is saying that they haven't heard of this problem.
[3:19 PM]



There was a lot of good (and funny) things that were said on the weblog NPR radio show. I think I most enjoyed hearing the host say "And what would one find on megnut dot com?" I also liked hearing about the caller that mentioned narcissism.
[10:32 AM]


May 17, 2000

Ev, Rebecca, and Brad are going to be on national public radio tomorrow, doing an hour long show on weblogs. This is cool and exciting, but I wonder how on earth anyone will be able to explain a weblog over a radio, with no hand waving or screenshots allowed. I'm sure the show's host will have to relate them to things the audience would understand, but I wonder what they will choose. Will they say "they're like journals and diaries, but about the people and things around them?"

I wonder what the call-in segment will be like too. I can't wait to hear it.
[7:04 PM]



An internet life is all about convenience. I'm wearing my new subscription underwear, which was delivered yesterday, kozmo delivered my lunch and something to listen to at work (and something to watch tonight at home), and I just paid some bills at paymybills.

Though, now that I can do so many things from the comfort of my desk, I wonder just how fat I will become by the time I'm 30.
[1:38 PM]


May 16, 2000

Right on Adam! I talked about this before. The movie industry only needs to look at the recording industry to see what happens when you confuse piracy with potential customers. If they want to use lawyers to help them try to close the pandora's box that's already wide open, they'll lose a lot, and maybe more, potential revenue than if they embraced technology and offered downloadable movies.

I'd pay $5-10 for the luxury of downloading a movie to watch on my PC, and I'd probably do it once a week or so. That's $250-500 that I'd personally be willing to spend annually for these movies, and I'm sure many others would too.

Alternatively, the movie industry can keep doing what it normally does, and get the army of lawyers out after the college kids...

Which seems like the best option?
[4:19 PM]



Last night's concert was great, even though we didn't have very good seats. I found it amusing to find out that three of us (including me) independently thought Michael Penn looked like Lane Becker.

Oh, and a big happy birthday to Derek!
[12:16 PM]


May 15, 2000

And then, there were 7...

I can't begin to describe how happy I am about working with Derek on a daily basis. It's going to be very cool.
[5:46 PM]


May 12, 2000

The Webbys were a blast. I was impressed with the size of the event and how smoothly it went off. The whole thing is online, and I took some quick screenshots from the video and posted them here.
[1:20 PM]


May 11, 2000

I'm going to the webbys tonight (thanks jason), and I noticed a funny quote in this article about it:

"Winners don't receive compensation -- just a trophy that looks a bit like an oversize corkscrew. But the recognition 'puts them on the map,' said Tiffany Shlain, the event's founder and director. 'Some get funding the day afterward.''

I can't wait to see the VCs stepping over themselves to fund kottke.org. Yeah, it could happen. :)
[10:28 AM]


May 10, 2000

There was a noticeable tension in the air, nail biting, and fidgeting. He showed up much earlier than I expected, and I immediately thought it was a bad sign: it must mean he'd need more time to go in and fix the problems. "What's the prognosis?" I asked the man as I paced nervously back and forth across the room. He was knee deep in wires and surrounded by measuring devices. After some checking and double checking, calls back to the main office, a small smile cracked his lips, and a glimmer of hope lit up my heart.

"The line is good. Real good. You'll get about 1.5 megabit per sec on this line, and according to this instrument, you could actually sustain 7.5 megabits if the phone company someday enables it."

I plugged the ethernet cable into my 3com card that's been empty for over a month, the green lights came on, and once again, I felt alive.

I <heart> PacBell DSL.
[11:11 AM]


May 9, 2000

My open letter to headhunters:
Dear Recruiters,

Please stop calling me. When it was once or twice a week, it wasn't invasive, and actually fun to know I was wanted in the work world, but now that it's happening daily, I want it to stop. Seriously, I'm not interested in a new position, and probably won't be anytime soon. And be sure to tell all the resume grabbing sites you use to de-list me. I've removed my resume from the internet as much as I can, but the calls keep coming. Let's see if we can make them end, and soon.

Sincerely,
Matt
[12:25 PM]


May 8, 2000

The most ridiculous thing I've heard in a while: my friend Matt Lavallee gets slapped with a cease and desist order from the Mattel Toy Company for his personal domain, mattl.com.

Since when are we not allowed to buy domains with our names in them that also happen to be mispellings for other companies!!!!

Corporations do not own the web.
[4:45 PM]



Ack! Winamp and AOL Instant Messenger aren't getting along on my win2k system. When winamp's on, I lose all http, ftp, and email networking (icq and IM still work for some reason), and I can't kill winamp, because my tasklist in windows comes up blank. ugh.
[4:42 PM]


May 6, 2000

Since Derek started The About Page revolution, I finally got around to filling mine with something to read.

Strange thing I found while searching for my first html book: the Barnes and Noble page for the updated version. Check out the reader comment, it's baffling. Why did he post it on this book, of all books? Did he post it to every book he could find? Has he ever gotten a call for handyman services as a result? Does he realize the slim chances that most people reading the page live no where near his area?
[8:28 PM]


May 5, 2000

I just bought PayLarsToShutUp.com. If I hook in a credit card processor on the site, I wonder if I'd get more money donated to my site than PayLars.com?
[7:44 PM]



In light of all the recent virus news, I've come across two email .sigs that were just too funny not to pass along:

"Buy a Macintosh and leave 47,000+ Windows viruses behind. That is my constructive suggestion."

"One World, One Web, One Program" - Microsoft Promotional Ad
"Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuhrer" - Adolf Hitler

I use windows, but not Outlook or Outlook Express. All hail Eudora and non-clueless users!
[11:56 AM]


May 4, 2000

I finally got the photo of the day scripts working ->
(click on the picture for a full sized image)
[8:55 PM]



Happiness is working briskly, while a simpsons episode is playing in a small realvideo window at the corner of your desktop.
[8:23 PM]


May 3, 2000

And now, your moment of zen.
[6:12 PM]



God I hate Metallica now.
[5:58 PM]



Frustration is the word of the week.

I'm brimming with ideas, bursting with creativity, and at the same time dealing with the exact opposite - frustrated users, pissed off writers, too-soon deadlines.

I spend about an hour and a half on a quiet train each day, reading voraciously, and my head is exploding with ideas. I get home, and lacking a high speed connection, or in fact any connection to my personal computer, I can't write down and share any of these ideas and thoughts.

I've been fairly quiet since I started in San Francisco, but soon I'll be unleashing the product of my recently hyperactive imagination. There will be new sites, new urls, new community projects, new features, new writing - the writing especially.

DSL comes in a week, and everything will be better after that, but for now, nothing but frustration.
[11:03 AM]


May 2, 2000

"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity" - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
[9:49 AM]


May 1, 2000

New blood! Jack's in the house.
[9:59 AM]




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