Feeling overwhelmed today, and I’m not sure why. Would take tomorrow off, and attempt to mentally regroup, but have several meetings that I can’t get out of. Did get my manuscript back out to the publisher today, and hopefully it will go in without trouble, so that means there’s only the thesis between me and getting out of here.
You’re going to hear about this in quite a few places, but on the off chance this is the only ‘blog you read: DoubleClick, a company that runs the banner ads on many, many websites, is setting themselves up to be able to track your online movements with an accuracy and completeness that’s never really been possible before, online or off. If you find this at all alarming (and you should), check out this Dan Gillmor article for one approach towards fighting back, or this more militant tactic, from the Privacy Digest (scroll down a bit).
This rant about the poorness of user interfaces in Open Source projects is entertaining, but nothing that hasn’t been said before. There are some efforts to address this that I’ve noticed on the Gnome mailing lists, but nothing I’ve seen addresses the most important aspect: the economics. All the user testing is expensive; how do you pay for it, when you’re giving the end product away? More significantly, people are willing to put up with quite a lot of crap when they think they’re getting something for free — this might be an effective way to convert people into the “loudmouthed power-users” required to get effective but inexpensive feedback on interfaces. (Via both Cam and Wes.)
(Mental note to self: The scripts that generate the Daily Dose pages should also set up appropriate Genpage glossary entries, so as to make crediting common link sources trivial.)
Wow. Joe Clark calls GeneHack a “cute, clever URL”. Probably one of the better things that happened to me today (you’re have to scroll down quite a bit to find the relevant section…)
Does anybody know who the APMA is? Or, more importantly, why some password-protected URL on their site is ending up in my referrer logs?
Is 2000 going to be remembered as the year that Open Source was co-opted? I certainly hope not, but I agree that we’re going to see some nasty patent-based court battles, maybe even some that make the DeCSS brouhaha look tame.
To go along with the Ars Technica hardware buyer’s guide from earlier in the week, here’s an Ars Technica system assembly guide.
New box status: Mobo, CPU, disk, and RAM ordered. Got case, CD-ROM, video card, mouse and modem today. Will be picking up floppy drive, sound card, and Debian on Saturday. I hope all the parts get here by Saturday, but I’m not all that hopeful. Speaking of Debian, does anyone have any comments on Learning Debian GNU/Linux (the O’Reilly Debian book)? Good or bad reviews welcomed; that’s what I’m planning to pick up on Saturday.
Speaking of CD-ROM’s, three GeneHack readers contributed basically the same answer to Wednesday’s “why are the buttons where they are” question. Paraphrasing all (any errors, of course, are mine): Since the laser and the motor have to be under the disk, putting all the circuitry there (including the parts that open the tray) saves both material (because otherwise you’d need a breadboard above the tray too) and vertical height on the bezel. So, a big thanks to Dan “Apathy” Fitch, Adam Mayer, Steve “Health ‘n Hacks” Pribut. Bonus points to Adam for noting that the problem can be easily solved by mounting the drive upside down.
I played around with the Mozilla M13/alpha release tonight. It’s actually fast enough that it’s almost usable! And since this is a pretty slow system, on a more modern machine it should be fine for day to day use. I tweaked the GeneHack layout a bit when I saw how it was rendering in Mozilla, so please let me know if that causes problems on other platforms. If I can’t build the new system this weekend, I’ll probably do some more work on this site, trying to clean up all the little non-conforming errors that have crept in over the last few months.
Anyway, hope all of you have a good weekend, and I’ll see you back here on Monday.