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False Positives Adventures in Technology, SciFi and Culture from Toronto

Saturday, May 31, 2003

Daikon Odori

I kid you not :The Raddish Dance

More backyard flowers




Japanese Peony, after tennis before the rain

Tim Bray ongoing

Tim (can I call you that?) has a response (Browsers and CSS, Again)to his early Not Rocket Science essay. Several quick observations :

1) Tim's frustration with how poorly IE implements the CSS spec's is understandable.

"The problem isn't that CSS is too hard. The problem isn't browser incompatibilities in general. The problem is specifically that Microsoft Internet Explorer is a mouldering, out-of-date, amateurish, out-of-date pile of dung. Did I say it's out-of-date? As in past its sell-by, seen better days, mutton dressed as lamb, superannuated, time-worn. It's so, like, you know, so twentieth-century."
The lack of progress with IE borders on criminal, and there doesn't seem to be any hint comming out of MS that that will change that. If anything the news that IE SP1 will be the last standalone version confirms the gloomy view. I wish more and more that the anti-trust had taken the browser from the rest of MS.


2) Browser still matter and the lack of good standard implementation will hinder how the internet is used in public and within companies. Thin clients have great advantages. Although richer pugs have promise (data driven Flash apps, Xforms or .net), we need a working standard based thin client platform or accept the costs of non-innovation like the Fatal html bug. Again from Tim Bray :
"They Just Don't Get It. Every ambitious web designer in the world is investing their customers' and employers' money in arcane, complexified, kludged-up hacks to work around IE's broken box model and pixel-font weirdness and sub-one-em microscopism. Failing that, they're doing like me and sizing in pixels, with adverse effects on accessibility."
3) On a more personal note :Even with all the documenting and proposal writing I've been doing over the last little while, I've got a long way to improve (I'm not even talking about spelling!). Tim's essay (both the technological and personal) are a pleasure to read. I want this to be more than a list of links. I've going to keep trying, those who know me know I'm prone to tangents, but I'll try it keep things here (at least) polished, focused and powerful. (I hear my inner Yoda saying : Do not Try, Do! ...Yes, Master Yoda)


4)Following the Technoratia link I stumbbled apoun Gimle. Great Layout!! another list to the hoard.

Friday, May 30, 2003

Project Management checklists and templates

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Did you ever play with a magnifying glass and an ant hill?

Useful links and examples about CSS


  • Simon Willison's Weblog :CSS ain't Rocket Science

  • A List Apart on taming lists with css

  • CSS Zen Garden, demo of the power of CSS

  • Eric Meyer's CSS design

  • Stop Design blog

  • Table-less design

  • Let the torture begin...

    Husband's and Son's everywhere vindicated

    Video games more than just fun. Excuse while I improve my visual and motor skills, while conducting User Interface testing, Dear...

    Wednesday, May 28, 2003

    Geeks Ahoy

    Rocky Oliver,big time Lotus Notes Pointy Head at a (dead) company call Synergetics, and sales force automation product (Prevail), has started up a Blog called LotusGeek. Welcome Rocky!

    Pictures at Eleven!

    Bought a new toy serious business tool, Palm Zire 71, the one with the built in camera (low-res). Here's a view of our backyard flowers (larger image if you "show picture").


    Tuesday, May 27, 2003

    the things you find on the net

    browsing for something else I can across this (something I know about) and a familar name from before (and during) boom blow up

    More unwanted advise, for free!

    12 Recommendations for the New CS Graduate. also sound words for those of us employed, and under-employed.

    new and practical phrases for me to learn

    How to swear, insult, cuss and curse in Cantonese!. Many of which I don't know.

    More CSS buttons

    The best way to do buttons! No graphic guys need apply for simple (and not so simple) buttons Link

    PS2 Supercomputer

    100 PS2 machines (30 of which are in reserve) ranked plugged together with a high-speed Hewlett-Packard network switch, ~ $50K price, capable of a half trillion operations a second! Full Story Here.

    2 thoughs : Does it play Doom/Quake? (Not that it would help me from getting fragged). And : how soon till Google runs with it?

    Monday, May 26, 2003

    What's a Blog, Daddy?

    You wash your month out now young lady!!! If that's not your first reaction, and maybe if it is, here's Deep thinking about weblogs, attempts to answers the question : What are weblogs? What's the big deal? Why should we pay attention?

    Notes on Building Attractive Web Pages


    Building Attractive Web Pages
    Most of this I've seen before but I'll do a once over for anything new. lots of good stuff

    Five Rules for new Grads, and the rest of Us


    #1. Don't think about your future, especially right now.

    #2. Don't buy Furniture, or anything else you'll regret.

    #3. Don't let yourself be intimidated by professionals or their uniforms.

    #4: If you're going to fail, fail big. If you don't, you're never going to make a difference. Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

    #5: Don't overuse the word "love."

    from Commencement address of Jerry Zucker via Krzysztof Kowalczyk's Weblog

    Sunday, May 25, 2003

    Lastest Find

    Compiere, a J2EE-based ERP/CRM solution... one of the top 10 most active projects on the open source development Web site SourceForge. via Infoworld

    Thursday, May 22, 2003

    How Google does it

    I came across this :The Google Cluster Architecture and hope to use it later in secert plan to rule the world.

    Doors Open Toronto


    See Torontoís architectural gems from the inside out. This weekend is Doors Open. Iím personally looking forward to visiting the Distillery District, and the wonderful Carlu (newly open) and many points between.

    An Idots Guide to Selling your Soul

    Is there any other kind?

    Via VentureBLog here's Venture Capital financing terms defined.

    and if any one's in the market to buy, I've got a deal on one, light used, ony a few previous owners, fexible terms. See Elicia, current bond holder, I think shes looking to cut her losses.

    Wednesday, May 21, 2003

    'Cause riding a sled over a cliff just isn't enough fun!

    eXtreme Project Management

    Tuesday, May 20, 2003

    Buffy's Last Stake



    Loved the final Buffy episode. Not sure about the cookie dough analogy. (Eat me?? ok!!) Anya faced the killer bunny rabbits. Andrew the DM? The Sunnydale Crater. Spike saw the light. Loved Buffy's/Joss's solution. This is Buffy's legacy: Women who are Chosen, not victims. It's a world I chose. And the final line as a question to all those sad Buffy fans, to which William Shatner had the best answer. I'll miss Miss Summers, but it's been a great run. (Now can we get FireFly back on air?)

    Ok, I've had my 2 cents. Now I can read the Spoilers and stuff from people with even less of a Life!

    Friday, May 16, 2003

    >A Canadian apology

    found on michaelw.net from "This hour has 22 minutes"

    On behalf of Canadians everywhere I'd like to offer an apology to the United States of America. We haven't been getting along very well recently and for that, I am truly sorry.

    I'm sorry we called George Bush a moron. He is a moron but, it wasn't nice of us to point it out. If it's any consolation, the fact that he's a moron shouldn't reflect poorly on the people of America. After all, it's not like you actually elected him.

    I'm sorry about our softwood lumber. Just because we have more trees than you doesn't give us the right to sell you lumber that's cheaper and better than your own.

    I'm sorry we beat you in Olympic hockey. In our defence, I guess our excuse would be that our team was much, much, much, much better than yours.

    I'm sorry we burnt down your white house during the war of 1812. I notice you've rebuilt it! It's Very Nice.

    I'm sorry about your beer. I know we had nothing to do with your beer but, We Feel Your Pain.

    I'm sorry about our waffling on Iraq. I mean, when you're going up against a crazed dictator, you wanna have your friends by your side. I realize it took more than two years before you guys pitched in against Hitler, but that was different. Everyone knew he had weapons.

    And finally on behalf of all Canadians, I'm sorry that we're constantly apologizing for things in a passive aggressive way which is really a thinly veiled criticism.

    I sincerely hope that you're not upset over this. We've seen what you do to countries you get upset with.

    Wednesday, May 14, 2003

    After working on this uber (ab)User Guide I might need one

    In a newpaper story found via /. seems researcher have made a mathematical model of a memory store called the hippocampus, and programmed it on to a silicon chip. My first reaction (and second, third, ....,forty-eth) was this was some right out Charlies Stross's short story (and the start of a wonder cycle of stories) called Lobsters.

    Great read (time to re-read it!), Future Shock technology. Weclome to the 21 Century. I feel like a dimwitted Manfred or maybe one of the lobsters? probley one of the slower lobsters.

    Monday, May 12, 2003

    At the turn of the century

    reading this story on Boing Boing I read this phrase and imaged something that happened a hundred years ago. The "Turn of the Century" at what it used to be!

    Sunday, May 11, 2003

    Bit humour

    Favourite Web Comics
  • PvP oneline
  • User Friendly
  • Rudy Park
  • Helen, sweetheart of the Internet
  • Penny Arcade
  • FoxTrot
  • Doonesbury
    More later...

  • This must be why I feel like yeast

    This must be why I feel like yeast

    Tim Bray, one of the developers of XML, comments in Language Fermentation on other postings bouncing around the Blogoshpere such as Strong Typing vs. Strong Testing from Bruce Eckel (of "Thinking in Java" fame).

    One conculsion : Strong Typing is a kind of testing, which I'll concur with based on my experiences with pascal, c and lotusScript: enforcing type catches sloppy coding mistakes.
    Also : Test Driven Development (of which unit test is part of) may be one of the more useful concepts to come out of extreme programming practices, and that TDD may also lead to a resurgence of dynamical typed (or loosely type) languages, which can be more flexible and quickly written.

    (Tim concludes with a neat Java Exceptions trick.)

    The irony is not lost on him. The strong type-ness of Java was in part a response to loosely type-ness C bugs. My experience again: bad mixed typing (and bad casting), and pointers were the biggest causes of easily fixable runtime errors; both absent in Java. A strong testing mindset (testing before not after coding) may allow for the power and speed of C without the headaches that came with-it.

    I wonder how a strong testing and the TDD mindset will effect the gathering of requirements?

    One of the senior, very sharp, guys during my brief stay at the now defunct Orlan Karigan once made some comments about getting numerical data as part of the requirements for certain type of project. Part of signing off on requirements was agreeing that if the program gave output X for Input Y then it passed acceptance testing. This allowed the developers to code to the test data. Defacto test driven development. Only I could never figure out how to apply that sort of process to the sort of web work it did.


    Phil Wiindley has also post comments on Tim's bit. No doubt there is more such over in the Java.blog community, such as ::Manageability::

    The Strong Testing tool set seems inmature, but rapidly improving. Lee mentioned Mock Object as one way to go beyond the trivial sort of unit testing that need to be done in the real world. I wonder if it would be possible to generate some unit tests beyond the stubs using Java Reflection? Something allong those lines bubbled to the surface recently on Slashdot: FindBugs - A Bug Pattern Detector for Java.

    I guess my point is : Learn the TDD mindset now. Non trivial systems need non trivial verification of completeness and robustness. This is at least a start.

    Anyone for an Japanese Lit Blog?

    From Scripting News : Starting weblogs at universities .
    First, know that universities thrive on having their experts visible outside the university... So how do you get your professors on the radar, as acknowledged experts who can communicate to everyday people?

    Some High Profile University blogs : Clay Shirky, the Weblogs At Harvard Law experiment, Stanford Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig

    And I found this interesting post on Weblogg-ed. So the Professor-torial type bloging seems biggest in the Technology and Law crowd, which makes sense cause they are more likely to be aware of and comfortable with the tools of bloging, and Law and Technology is a heavy churning, rapidly mutating arena.

    So why would you blog, if so what would you blog?

    Why's: As a resource to others (students and peers) on your subject area. To become an acknowledged expert, as the adage states 'publish or perish', both with and outside your institution.

    What's: Professional Bio and list of past and happening publications. Events in your subject area (even if only of the "I'm not able to go, but..." sort). Class outline and Reading list. New material published by others that relate. Opinons either too initial, too short or too hard to get posted in other media. Gain profile, in order to sell your skill set in settings where you can charge for.

    Same reasons and things most of us blog.

    Wish I could get my brother-law, distinguished gray beard at University of York,to it give It a go. But given the inertial Conservatism of the tenured, it will likely be his students that try to figure it out and take advantage of the new tool(s). You of the quotes from the Weblogg-ed piece " Did telephones change Harvard? Yeah. Did TV change Harvard? Yeah--probably." but how long did it take before it really changes and how many phone and tv's do they have in the Divinity department (and not the one's under lock and key!).

    As I've allways said "The Technology part is not that difficult, It's the Culture part that's tough!"

    Nope he didn't take the bait Hint.

    Saturday, May 10, 2003

    I knew Ian before...

    "I knew Ian before..."

    It's happen! The Google gods have smiled. Where's my Sally Fields acceptance speech?

    please ignore the posting problems before. It looks like I'm stuttering.

    [Update May 11th]and Yahoo! too! ,based on my logs.

    Wednesday, May 07, 2003

    Web site of the day

    Word Spy is a site I find myself visting once a week to see what's new in world of worlds. Most of the time I've already see it or can figure it out, but every now and then I learn something (either about language, other peoples perceptions of the world, or just how geeky I truly am). Viewing by Subject is fun too!

    Google Glossary (would that be Googlary?) is almost in that category of fun / useful.

    Tuesday, May 06, 2003

    Is Jakob Nielsen trying to become an on-line Ad guru?


    Making Web Advertisements Work
    Web users are highly goal-driven, and ads that interfere with their goals will be ignored. To succeed, ads must work with the medium, as well as with the user's aims and mindset.

    Secret plan to take over the world still guru compilant!

    Another Paul Graham essay

    Hackers and Painters Deep thoughts to follow. (just not here..)

    More Tools for Web Development


    All in All : Cleaner, Tighter, more readable HTML/XHTML and CSS, less likely to surprise you; hopefully a few less gray hairs and more smiles!

    Monday, May 05, 2003

    Fame, Fortune (and an even larger ego!) sure to follow.

    Submitting your URL to Google : http://www.google.com/addurl.html

    Prepare to memorize the phase "I knew Ian before..."

    archive collection of Browsers

    every version of every type of browers every run by more the 2 people. Heck, even I've never heard (or ran) some of these. @ http://browsers.evolt.org/

    Very useful for torture testing web sites, and annoying Managers! (or should that be torture testing Managers, and annoying web sites?)

    Saturday, May 03, 2003

    Topical Comic of the Day

    SARS, Toronto, Tech. Truly the stars are in alignment (We are so doomed!)
    [Link] from Joy of Tech :

    Friday, May 02, 2003

    What connects Imperial Rome with Space Shuttle Design?

    I'd heard this before, but this it's been a while since I've see a link to the story. If true it shows you just how conservative engineering is. [Form Flying Chair]