December 1999 Archives

December 31

A portable CD player that plays CDRs with mp3s burned on them. I want one of these *now*! It looks like outpost.com is taking preorders for it, and the price isn't that bad.
posted by mathowie at 6:11 PM PST - 1 comments

Apple is apparently tidying up their corporate image even more while riding the wave of Jobs. They'll be eliminating the 'computer' part of the company name and will standardize on a series of 3D-ish solid color logos. The logos themselves, look as if they were stamped out of jello if you ask me. The next question is, of course, how long until Apple gets feeling retro about their identity, and starts using the old rainbow logo again. Anyone remember their 70's corporate typeface? Motter Tektura
posted by grant at 10:10 AM PST - 1 comments

With all this preoccupation with Y2K and the march of time lately, this doesn't seem to be too out of place. British Prime Minister Tony Blair figures it's time for the UK to start capitalizing on GMT as the standard timestamp of worldwide e-commerce. Personally, as goofy as it is, I'm starting to warm up to Swatch's internet time concept. By the way, this was posted @ 831.
posted by grant at 10:01 AM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

This is a good sign, as of 5am New Zealand time, there are *no* reported Y2K problems with any public utility. So what are people going to do with all their bottled water and extra food when nothing happens tomorrow?
posted by mathowie at 9:49 AM PST - 1 comments

December 30

I'm trying to find some live web cams in New Zealand, since they're going to pretty much be the first people to experience Y2K. The only things I've found so far are this guys cam, this busy intersection cam, and this freeway cam. If there's any widespread panic or rioting, somehow I don't think I'll be able to see any of it on those cams (unless of course, someone is looting that guy's home). Actually, if the power goes out, I guess they'll all be unreachable. Something to watch for around 3am PST.
posted by mathowie at 9:16 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

Holy crap, George Harrison has been stabbed! I'm amazed that the attacker got in, considering the level of security George has on that estate. They say the attacker wasn't robbing the place, so maybe he was trying to get the beatles back together?
posted by mathowie at 11:32 AM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

December 29

Thumb.com presents Thumb Wars. I can't connect to these movies, but this site looks pretty funny. I hope the videos are good (if I can ever download them).
posted by mathowie at 9:58 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

Thank god, a judge was smart enough to throw out an injunction against all the web site owners that posted the DeCSS source code. This suit was completely pointless because DeCSS is used for *playback* of DVDs, not copying (which can be done bit-for-bit digitally). The people who should be punished for this are the dorks that came up with the weak encryption in the first place.
posted by mathowie at 7:25 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

Oakland, CA has a pretty cool application of GIS on the web. You can look up crime statistics and analyze the data by overlaying it with community information (where police districts are, where liquor stores are located). It only runs in Netscape for windows, so here's a screenshot.
posted by mathowie at 4:06 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment


Well, the eToys/ETOY fiasco may be over. Although, I don't like it when their lawyers say they're not pushing the case any longer, and specifically saying they're not dropping the case. As if the threat will always be there or something.
posted by mathowie at 2:01 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

December 28

Want to learn WAP (wireless application protocol) without buying a $300 PCS phone and paying for airtime? WinWAP is a free WAP-capable browser that runs on win9x/NT and allows you to see pages built for cell phones.
posted by mathowie at 11:49 PM PST - 3 comments

Tonight, I was thinking of replacing my old North Face fleece jacket, so I went to their site to shop for a new one. Instead of a product catalog or online store, I learned that their copy of Apache worked! Wow, that helps me out.
posted by mathowie at 11:42 PM PST - 1 comments

Microsoft recently put up their own page on the history of Microsoft.com. They were even cool enough to include screenshots and approximate traffic loads for each iteration of the site.
posted by mathowie at 11:31 AM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

Speaking of retrotech, the latest group of space shuttle jockies just upgraded the Hubble to a rockin' Intel 486 chip, replacing the apparently inadequate 386 that previously provided the brains to the wobbly eye in the sky.
posted by grant at 10:41 AM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

The Netscape Time Capsule is an amazing site that brings back lots of memories. I distinctly remember firing up the Mosaic versions that used this splash screen, and I remember seeing the original mcom.com site that featured these graphics and these tutorials. If you're having trouble reaching the original site, I also setup a mirror.
posted by mathowie at 12:04 AM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

December 27

I stumbled across this interesting site, covering the old Simpsons House giveaway from a couple years ago. Here's what the house looks like, I wonder if the neighborhood allowed the owners to keep it looking that way.
posted by mathowie at 11:11 AM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

What cool toys did you get for Christmas? Besides the neon orange Slinky, I got one of these. On the packaging, it's called an 'ultralight survival tool.' It must be true, because it apparently saved at least one life. I guess I'm all set for Y2K now. Bring it on.
posted by grant at 10:49 AM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

Turkey with all the trimmings... just like mother used to make. No wonder I needed to lie down on the couch after supper.
posted by grant at 10:43 AM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

December 26

Summer Adventures will certainly give you some idea's on how to or how not to spend your time this coming summer.
posted by canuck at 9:16 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

Just in case you never did figure out 'What is the Matrix,' someone has written a handy FAQ all about the great geek movie of 1999.
posted by mathowie at 7:26 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

Set your VCRs, tomorrow is a Mystery Science Theater 3000 mini-marathon on the Sci Fi channel. Also note, while you're on the Sci Fi channel website, that William Gibson is doing a Y2K chat there on Tuesday night.
posted by mathowie at 1:25 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

December 25

Here's a gross mis-use of the web: 800-357-7766.com. This mail order company is spamming the airwaves with commercials for their goofy 'tap lights,' and at the end of each commerical, they advertise their website with this unwieldy address. For less than $50, the company could have bought 'taplights.com' and directed customers there, but instead they force people to write down an address that goes against all the reasons why we have the domain registry in the first place. Why don't they just give our their IP address instead? It's about as useful as their phone number domain name.
posted by mathowie at 11:12 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

December 24

Red Envelope.com claimed that if you ordered your gifts before midnight last night (Dec. 23), they'd have the package to you by noon today. I was listening to an NPR radio program where they tested this and it failed miserably, with nothing showing up as of 5pm today. Looks like e-commerce's weakest link is still the final, but most important, step in the fullfillment chain.
posted by mathowie at 11:08 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

December 23

This site has more great quotes from Albert Einstein than I've ever seen in one place.
posted by mathowie at 11:01 AM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

Here's the lawsuit that launched a thousand denial-of-service attacks. The eToys.com vs. etoy.com lawsuit is set to resume on Dec. 27th.
posted by mathowie at 10:37 AM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

December 22

The Space Shuttle team is having problems getting their email. They wouldn't happen to be using Outlook, would they? :) (I didn't intend it, but today is looking to be 'Bash Microsoft Day' here at MetaFilter)
posted by mathowie at 2:01 PM PST - 2 comments

Here's the homepage of the guy that wrote the song "Bill Gates Must Die" which prompted Microsoft's legal team to send him a cease-and-desist letter
posted by mathowie at 11:34 AM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

I don't think anyone would ever actually do this, but MS has released instructions on how to uninstall Linux and install WindowsNT/2000 over it.
posted by mathowie at 10:00 AM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

December 21


Here's something interesting, some real-world user interface guidelines for the web, without the pompousness of that other guy
posted by mathowie at 8:26 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

December 20

a good reason to dump telnet for ssh: The main goal of the HUNT project is to develop tool for exploiting well known weaknesses in the TCP/IP protocol suite. I tried to implement some 'new' features which I didn't see in any free product. (connection synchronization after attack, ARP relayer, ...)
posted by greyscale at 8:25 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

December 19

I've liked most of the things Douglas Coupland has written and although this interview at amazon about his upcoming book sounds like he's giving most of the book's plot away, I'll still pick up a copy. I wish amazon would put warnings up saying 'spoilers ahead' on links such as that interview.
posted by mathowie at 9:42 PM PST - 1 comments

Just in time for xmas? I hadn't seen this yet, but the 'I Kiss You' guy is featured prominently on some merchandise. Love that mousepad.
posted by mathowie at 7:30 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

Frank may have not updated Cacophony.com in ages, but it's still very funny stuff if you haven't seen it before. Some of my favorite entries include this one, this one, this one, and this one.
posted by mathowie at 1:24 AM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

December 18

What to get the 4-8 year old Linux hacker that has everything? How about this book?
posted by mathowie at 11:59 AM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

In a startling piece of cross-media usefulness WebMonkey has just published a reasonably deep article on using cheap cameras, film cross-processing, and Polaroid transfer techniques to squeeze some hipper images out of your repressed creative side. Time to quit Photoshop for a while and get your hand dirty. And I foolishly went through four years of art college to learn this stuff... But then, where was WebMonkey in the late eighties?
posted by grant at 9:20 AM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

I was debugging some cascading style sheet code tonight and ran across this: the most comprehensive essay I've ever seen on relative font sizing in CSS. Todd Fahrner has completely covered a topic that seems to surface once every couple months on the web lists I read. Great stuff.
posted by mathowie at 1:45 AM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

December 17

Boy George Nearly Killed by Glitter Ball There is just something so strangely ironic about this, that made me laugh and spew coffee all over my monitor this morning. Apparently witnesses at the scene said the ball missed landing directly on singer's head by just two inches. Darn!
posted by grant at 9:08 AM PST - 2 comments

December 16


There have been minor scuffles over the past year at UCLA that balloon into 'riots,' which then get covered in the local news. I work at UCLA and I can tell you that the local/UC police have overreacted before. This past June, students got together to drink champagne by one of the big fountains. It's an tradition going back at least 15 years, but for some reason last year, there were about 20 police in riot gear standing near the fountain at night, and at least one officer stationed there 24hrs. a day for the entire finals week. A couple students were arrested for protesting the police presence, but everyone else there was just plain perplexed as to why they showed up in the first place. Yesterday's event at UCLA looks to be the same thing again. Local residents complaining about an old tradition, in which the police overreact. The sad thing is this is happening everywhere.
posted by mathowie at 1:53 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

T-3 connections over a satellite are already possible accroding to Tachyon. Wow, as soon as a global broadband wireless network is in place, you'll see civilization undergo *major* changes.
posted by mathowie at 12:06 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

I stumbled upon the EV world today, a site dedicated to electric car news. They have some good articles, like this one on Nissan's new electric station wagon, and of course they have the requisite Ed Begley Jr. photo on their main page.
posted by mathowie at 8:08 AM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

After answering a few questions here, a presidential candidate with the traits closest to what you specified will appear as your best choice. My choice came up as Bill Bradley, which seemed funny to me. Thanks to Ronald Reagan, I ignore former actors, musicians, and sports stars in political races. I had no idea Bradley stood for the things I support. Looks like I'll have to break the rules and watch this guy.
posted by mathowie at 1:08 AM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

I just noticed the great tag line on the More Like This weblog: "Axial tilt is the reason for the season." I love it, I'm going to use that on all my holiday cards this year.
posted by mathowie at 1:03 AM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

December 15

Network Solutions has pulled etoy.com's domain record and email sent to any etoy.com address is bouncing. Since when did a judge in Southern California and a domain registrar in Virginia ever get the idea that they control the internet and can make these decisions that affect the world? In response to this, one of the protestors bought fuck-you.com, which is currently pointing at etoys.com.
posted by mathowie at 7:33 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

Oh god. According to this weblog (scroll down to the bottom), the 'I kiss you' guy is going to be in San Francisco tonight.
posted by mathowie at 11:35 AM PST - 2 comments

December 14

Stirring up the chum again, Slashdot has posted their Top 10 Hacks of All Time. Covering everything from Edison's lightbulbs to the AK47 to the Apollo 13 mission, the post-article commentary is lucid as always.
posted by grant at 9:32 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

This Wired News article has one of the funniest Y2K-related quotes I've read lately. According to Jon Arnold, the CIO at the Edison Electric Institute... ''Every New Year's, there's an outage somewhere, and it's usually because a truck hit a utility pole, a squirrel crawled into a transformer, or there's a winter storm. The bottom line is that stuff breaks all the time.''
posted by grant at 9:19 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

This is kind of funny: WinLinux 'the linux that runs like an application inside windows.'
posted by mathowie at 1:34 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

I was looking through my old bookmarks today and I stumbled across TheCorporation.com. I'm glad to see they're still online, they have lots of goofy things like their kitty porn site, the carpal tunnel workshop, and some delightful icons you've probably seen before. This is vintage 1996 humor, folks.
posted by mathowie at 10:24 AM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

December 13

According to this system requirements page, all of Microsoft's fancy-shmancy new cordless-intelli-wheely-eye-mouse products need 30 MB of available hard disk space! For installing a mouse driver? Is this just code bloat, or another nefarious scheme to infiltrate our personal data? Cleverly disguised mouse drivers that secretly send password files and system configurations to Redmond. On the up side, the Mac version of the software only requires 15 MB of disk space.
posted by grant at 6:12 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

Today I was talking to a friend about how much I miss seeing Mr. Show on HBO. They haven't had a new episode in months, so I went to their official site and they're talking about making a movie soon! I couldn't find mention of it anywhere else, not even at the IMDB. I did find some interesting fan sites like this one. I also noticed they're selling bowling shirts among other goodies at the HBO store site.
posted by mathowie at 3:31 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

Jim Clark, former head of Netscape is launching Shutterfly.com today. They're specializing in printing photos and shipping them to you for $2-$5 each, depending on size. What I don't see is an explanation of how they're going to take my 72dpi digital photo jpegs and turn those into high quality 300dpi+ photo prints. Good luck guys.
posted by mathowie at 1:21 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

December 12

Dan Bricklin of VisiCalc fame, has had a weblog for some time. Recently, he picked up a stowaway keyboard for his palm and has been keeping another log of his thoughts on using it.
posted by mathowie at 9:24 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

December 10

Who says there's no money in Linux? With VA Linux's recent IPO, Eric Raymond just made a cool 35-40 million dollars.
posted by mathowie at 8:51 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment



December 9

Wow, The Fray is being featured on Adobe's site, congrats to Derek. I find this quote from the review kind of funny: 'Literary ability may not be crucial to getting a story published on the Fray, but honesty is.' I've always thought the stories were very well written, guess I'm worse of a writer than I thought.
posted by mathowie at 10:35 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

A group of folks from the evolt.org mailing list decided to do something to protest etoys's recent actions. One person purchased a domain, another setup web space, a couple people wrote some articles and I designed the site. Keep that boycott going.
posted by mathowie at 10:16 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

Alexey Pajitnov , the creator of Tetris has had a remarkable life. He developed one of the world's most recoginizable (and mind-numbingly addictive) games - and in the process, managed to survive through all sorts of incredible bureaucratic and corporate nonesense. Speaking of corporate nonesense, he's currently an employee of Microsoft.
posted by grant at 8:59 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

Ever noticed that the also-rans who have yet to be acquired by one of their peers seem to glom together like cornmeal in water? Take a look at who Be is partnering with for their Stinger internet appliance software: Bitstream - clearly a runner-up to Adobe in the typeface technology department; and Opera - who are trying desperately to be the alternative browser of choice. Who's next? Corel, and their latest BeOS port of WordPerfect?
posted by grant at 8:44 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

Qualcomm has announced that the next version of Eudora Pro will be free. This is my favorite email client and I'm glad to see them opening it up to everyone. I just hope the ad-free version is cheap, I don't know where they plan to fit two banner ads into the interface, it's already pretty cluttered.
posted by mathowie at 10:11 AM PST - 1 comments

December 8

Even though the movie 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas' doesn't come out until a year from now, they've already got a flash teaser up at their site.
posted by mathowie at 9:24 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

Adobe is extending into Microsoft's waters. They're making a beta extension available that ties Active Server Pages and ODBC compliant databases together within GoLive's rockin' page-o-rific design environment. GoLive already does some skanky things with WebObjects, so why not get down with the ASP crowd too? Can ColdFusion be far behind kids? Or would that be too edgy for the big red A?
posted by grant at 8:33 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

Powderlog, the snowboarder's weblog looks like the first specialized weblog I'm really going to like. It seems more portal-esque than a weblog, but that's ok. I wish it were customizable though, I'd love to be able to have the links to my local resorts in the sidebar. Oh yeah, that reminds me, I'm going to code the ability to customize the floating link thing this week.
posted by mathowie at 3:47 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

December 7

The Mars Polar Lander was located - briefly on eBay anyway... For a starting bid of a cool ten million, you could have owned a piece of American space ephemera. As of tonight, it still appears in the search results. You gotta love how eBay is fast becoming the place for current event-based consumerism. Vintage virus containers anyone?
posted by grant at 8:04 PM PST - 1 comments

If you've seen Patrick Naughton's (former Infoseek Exec) FBI affidavit before, you can see that when he was arrested, he turned over his laptop, admitting to having numerous kiddie porn images on it, and he knew the person he chatted with was a woman (since they spoke to each other on the phone several times). In the chats, he also stated on several occasions that he messed around with several other young girls before. So now that his trial is beginning in LA, and he's facing up to 40 years in prision, his lawyers are claiming that the chats were pure fantasy and he never thought he'd actually meet a young girl. His lawyers are also claiming that the kiddie porn on his hard drive was unsolicited and he hadn't gotten around to deleting the unwanted images. Yeah, riiiiiight. I hate to say it, but this guy is so far beyond a doubt guilty that his defense sounds like a last-gasp effort to avoid the inevitable.
posted by mathowie at 6:59 PM PST - 1 comments

Got a windows box? Think your machine is secure? You're probably not. This is a nice free port scanner utility for wintel boxes, give it a test and make sure you don't have any weird services running.
posted by mathowie at 12:04 AM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

December 6

iCraveTV is streaming free, live network television feeds using RealNetworks software, and the big guys are steamed. The broadcasters are citing copyright infringement, but the guy running iCraveTV, William Craig, says he's perfectly legal. I think it's pretty ballsy, but legal? Apparently, since he's 'casting from Toronto, Canadian cable laws allow the retransmission of broadcast signals sans the licensing fees, as long as the signal doesn't get altered.
posted by grant at 9:51 PM PST - 3 comments

I have to agree with 'The Wrong Approach' by OSAll staff writer Brian Martin. Martin postulates that nearly every system on the planet could be secured with one simple step: making default installations totally locked down as opposed to the status quo of totally systems. 'I say it could be done in one month. In reality, most unix vendors could sit down and change their default settings in a matter of days.'
posted by tdecius at 6:57 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

December 5

It's nice to see something on the web living up to it's name. Raremusic.com is a rare instance of truth in advertising. In a world where pablum like Bush and Limp Bizkit qualify as 'alternative' (whatever the hell that means) this site is a godsend. It hasn't been updated in a dogs age but there's plenty of sounds here to keep you busy, some great, some funny, some just weird. For instance, If you wondered where that flute in the Beasties 'Sure Shot' came from, they've got the source. Also, theres a Moog version of 'What's New Pussycat?' that must be heard to be believed. Requires the latest Shockwave plugins.
posted by jonmc at 10:55 AM PST - 1 comments

December 4

If you've been following the etoy/etoys fiasco, you should find this link to etoys' customer feedback useful. Let etoys have it. I'm voting with my dollars, by boycotting etoys and buying my toys from Amazon.
posted by mathowie at 7:48 PM PST - 1 comments

For the life of me, I can't figure out why anyone would name their software this. Oh, it's a Hotline client... now it all makes sense.
posted by grant at 9:10 AM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment


December 3

I've pointed to fark.com before, because I find it one of the more amusing weblogs. While I was searching for pointers to MetaFilter today, I noticed they have their referer logs in a public folder. What's great about it is seeing the search terms used on AOL's search engine. There's a few gems like "pokemon porn," "catholic girls playing in the mud," and "how to fake your own death." I see similar AOL searches in MetaFilter's logs. AOL is used by some freaky people.
posted by mathowie at 4:09 PM PST - 2 comments

Here's the direct link to live video from the Mars Lander which should be broadcasting images from the Mars surface later today. You can find more info and perhaps higher quality archived feeds at the main Mars Lander site.
posted by mathowie at 12:36 PM PST - 2 comments

December 2

I've always liked webmonkey, it's been one of the finest resources available, but with their recent redesign I can't seem to find things as quickly as I used to. Plus I can't find a link anywhere on the site to their Webmonkey Radio feature. Once a month or so, I remember it exists, and I have to physically type "/radio" after webmonkey.com to see it. I missed a couple episodes, so now I've got some webmonkey-radio-catching-up to do.
posted by mathowie at 11:29 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

Down on Mickey D's? Spending way too many sweaty, sleepless nights trying to get the image of a mad clown out of your head? Try McSpotlight - a behemoth mass of anti-burgerflogging data, legal issues, rumors, and other juicy McInformation. Be sure to test your McDIQ with the The McSpotlight Quiz.
posted by grant at 6:42 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment

I'm adding new functionality to MetaFilter. I'm testing out a floating, draggable menu for links. The links are static for now, but will be customizable by users. It should work in IE4+ and NS4+, post a comment with your OS/browser if you find any problems. I'm also playing with the stylesheet for this page, since I just noticed the spacing between posts looks awful in IE4.5 on the Mac.
posted by mathowie at 4:34 PM PST - 3 comments

When I opened up my new copy of the Industry Standard today, I was happy to see a new last page column by CarlTM. It's been a couple months since CarlTM wrote a column, and it just wasn't the same without him. Micheal Parsons is a competent writer and all, but he's no CarlTM.
posted by mathowie at 1:41 PM PST - 0 comments - Post a Comment