:Archive Of October 2000:

Tuesday, October 31, 2000

- 12:10 PM

Oh bloody heck.

Our law enforcement agencies require extensive and exceptional powers to do the work we've assigned them. That's just a fact of life. But I've never noticed any such agency having the glimmer of awareness that if it doesn't use these powers without such abuse and/or just stupidity, the public will be unwilling to grant them these powers.

I'm trying to figure out what it is in that culture that prevents this awareness.

ie, It's fairly obvious our cops on the beat get weird after a while simply because they're dealing with weird every single day. We don't think to rotate their duties. We need to pay 'em to coach little league six months of the year, or anything that lets them remember what normal is. It's just not reasonable to expect that we can get sufficient people who can withstand that work psychologically day after day for years.

We're clearly building our agencies wrong. Flaming isn't the answer here. What should we do differently so our agencies don't go barking up the wrong tree like that?

- 7:57 AM

Democracy and Interface Design Manifesto, take 1 from Antenna, one of the real usability experts I listen to.

Sunday, October 29, 2000

- 3:15 PM

Wait a minute.

"Making the technology invisible" is an oft repeated goal of web designers and software developers. It's one of those key phrases that show you "get it."

Suddenly, I'm not sure I get it.

Is print design about making the technology invisible? What is the technology again? (Discuss for 15 points.)

Saturday, October 28, 2000

- 10:13 PM

Tonight's stupid coffee-addled thought:

So how come there's no Biologist Calendar? You know, like that Fireman Calendar. Twelve glossies of her and him hunks posed in the field, the cover inscribed in Latin: It's All About Sex, because, you know, that IS what biology is about.

Tuesday, October 24, 2000

- 11:04 AM

Dreaming in 216 colours.

It's not unusual to dream at night. It's not unusual to edit and direct your dreams. It's getting a little weird when you do it in Photoshop layers, right down to the short cut keys.

Monday, October 23, 2000

- 7:07 PM

Or Windows could suffer a registry corrupting crash which shortens the 30 day demo of a rather complex bit of software to only 5 days.

I'm not pleased.

Saturday, October 21, 2000

- 8:37 PM

How to spend your weekend: Dig into the demo of the latest version of a great piece of software. I did, quite admittedly, have only basic skills in the previous version, but the advice of a highly skilled professional was that it took her two weeks to get fully comfortable with the new version, so I'd better jump in now. ...I'm starting to see why. Although I'm certain each and every one of the changes is necessary and greatly expands the ability of the program, documentation would be a nice thing. You know, a "What's New" section that isn't a marketing shill. Or a good Help Index so I can find out what to do when the old commands don't work. This product has neither. I can see I'm going to go through a lot of coffee tonight.

Thursday, October 19, 2000

- 8:33 PM

I have corrupted a youth. I told him his keyboard sucks and gave him a couple of my old ones to try. Now he's hooked. Now he understands why some people are so finicky about things they touch.

I still dream of a computer keyboard with the IBM Selectric's keys. Favorites are favorite. The Selectric was so light and so crisp and soooo sexy precise. A hushed ticaticatica of my lightning fingers. Like rigid pop-less soap bubbles they seemed to feel your descending touch and then move down on their own. Remarkable action.

Imagine if one of the world's largest organizations decided to engineer the best typewriter. Ever. Anywhere. That's pretty much what happened.

My MS Natural is like stomping on wood levers by comparison.

- 7:57 PM

Oh just go read the whole Archive.

Wednesday, October 18, 2000

- 11:38 AM

Okay, now I'm fully back online. Email is up. FTP is up after going back down yesterday. Any mails between the 13th and 17th were never recieved, but hopefully they bounced back to you anyways.

Tuesday, October 17, 2000

- 12:33 PM

Correction. I'm almost back online. Email is still down. Working on it.

- 12:23 PM

Cool. I'm back online. I bet most of you didn't even know I was gone.

Friday, October 13, 2000

- 3:39 PM

That was fun: I've made a new toy.

Friday, October 06, 2000

- 7:33 AM

News item from Slashdot this morning.

"According to The New York Times, a prominent judge recently wrote an article saying that the delete key should actually delete things, not just hide them away where lawyers and skilled computer geeks can get at them years later. Specifically, he proposes that a statute of limitations be imposed upon electronic messages--that, for example, an obnoxious email you send today could be held against you for six months and six months only." This is an astonishingly insightful idea - since electronic communication has changed the lifespan of casual conversations from ephemeral to permanent, it's possible for the law to change its standards to restore that ephemerality.

Well, that's encouraging. It's only one judge, but it is, in fact, a judge for a change. Harder to ignore as a 'libertarian lunatic'.

Both Canada and America are experiencing campaigns for federal elections. In neither country is privacy being discussed at this level. That worries me. Interestingly there's some similarity in the campaigns. Both have an installed middleroad government that could use some shaking up, but the options are either a much more right-wing party, or a very small left-wing party pushing green issues. In both countries it's feared that supporting the small third party will risk letting the right-wing party in. The similarities in campaign and structure of government end there, but it's unusual that both are that much in sync.

Meanwhile Hotmail still sometimes helpfully writes in my password when I login. That's when I have no cookies on my machine, Hotmail is toggled to not remember my password, user persistence is turned off, and I've just started a fresh session of Explorer. Where on earth is Bill hiding that information now? Anyone know? Is this a new breach?


Other monopoly issues: my main mail is still erratic. If I haven't replied, presume I didn't get it. Sorry about that.

Wednesday, October 04, 2000

- 12:54 PM

It's fall. The air has been nippy for days, and now the trees are going orange. In this part of the country, most trees are softwoods that don't turn or shed, but the view past my monitor is oaks and dogwoods and maples. Where I grew up autumn caused a jangling riot of colour all the way to the horizon. It's nice to get the hint of that here. Makes you want to fill your lungs and beam.

- 11:52 AM

Sigh.. My ISP has been having email trouble since 5:30 this morning. So for those who've emailed me since I logged off last night, I'll probably get back to you later rather than sooner. I just hope they don't lose my messages.

Monday, October 02, 2000

- 8:33 PM

Good lad, Nick. After 15 hours at the monitor today I can't judge quality but I love the URL: www.wastedyouth.org/tutorials/.

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