CamWorld: Thinking Outside the Box
 Last Updated: 05/09/2000 at 11:43 AM EDT Choose Color:
 May 2000 


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Tuesday, May 9, 2000

Pork Meat Quotation? I get some of the weirdest email.

You want to do what with beef? [Mature readers only]

I hadn't seen this site,, before seeing a blurb about it over at GoodExperience. After about two minutes of using the site, I realized it was the nightmare all over again. Why do companies insist on creating such hard-to-use, technology-laden, and bandwidth-heavy commerce sites? It boggles the mind. It may be a pretty site, but it sure is damn hard to use.

Blither, blather, blah, blah, blah....

Fool: How are stock prices "set"?

Tim O'Reilly: Lessons From the Layoffs at Linuxcare [must-read!]

Monday, May 8, 2000

Here's an email exchange with one of the people who felt they needed to flame me last week regarding my opinions about Microsoft. What's funny is this person sent the email through a Hotmail account, assuming that they would be anonymous. It took me all of five minutes to trace the originating IP number and figure out who was behind the email.

Taylor sent me an email saying that most of the email I've received recently has probably been from people trying to defend their browser and/or OS choice. For what it's worth, I don't care what browser or OS you're using. What I do care about is that when you are using them (or developing for them) that you take into consideration people who are using a different browser or OS. This goes two ways, too. Feigning ignorance about HTML-based email is not an excuse. Developing web sites and software that strengthen an existing monopoly is also not very cool. Yes, IE 5.x on Windows is a pretty slick application, but only after you understand Microsoft's hidden agenda(s) do you realize what it's all really about. "Innovation," my ass. It's about hanging onto a monopoly, folks, and nothing more.

Statmarket reports that Microsoft currently has a 82% share of the browser market with IE 4.x and 5.x. Websnapshot reports that Microsoft currently has a 75% share of the browser market. How high do you think those numbers would be if Microsoft hadn't shipped a tightly-integrated web browser with their OS? Probably not very high at all. This is what they mean when they say Microsoft is leveraging one monopoly (in the OS market) to gain a competitive advantage in another (the browser market).

Responses to the email-to-web query:

Thanks go out to Aaron, Colin, Chris, Bill and Pete for sending in some very valuable links.

Like the webapps site, Browserware seeks to compile news and links about browser-based web applications.

O'Reilly Network: Interview with Keith Bostic is a lot like Epinions.

Steven Champeon on Microsoft's responsiblity. gets a cease and desist from Mattel. While that's just plain silly, I think Matt's changeable caption thing on the home page is pretty cool.

Sunday, May 7, 2000

This is such bullshit. A Washington Post article reports that XML was invented by two Microsoft technologists. Simon St. Laurent, author of "XML Elements of Style" and "XML: A Primer, 2nd Edition" sets the record straight on xmlhack. What pisses me off is that this journalist simply believed Ballmer's claims without doing his research. While Microsoft was involved in the later stages of the development of XML, it is certainly not a "Micrososft invention." It's ridiculous mis-reporting like this that makes Microsoft look incredibly stupid. But it's also Ballmer's fault for leading the reporter to believe such tripe.

Friday, May 5, 2000

Please note: CamWorld is a place for me to share my opinions with the world regarding my interests, hobbies, and work-related issues. It has never pretended to be anything else, nor should it be interpreted as anything more than one web geek's opinions about a bunch of stuff. If you happen to have a different opinion than me, please don't hesitiate to let me know. I'm a friendly guy and enjoy debating this stuff. The sheer amount of flames and email I get from people using temporary Hotmail accounts who feel they need to hide behind an alias in order to communicate with me is mindboggling.

My office is on 22nd Street in NYC and looks north towards the Empire State Building and Central Park. There have been three helicopters hovering over the park for about 10-15 minutes. What's going on? One of them has a huge TV camera sticking out its side. [I think it might be TV news coverage for the public viewing of Cardinal O'Connor.]

With software like ARDI Executor and Mac-on-Linux, I expect to see more and more people switching from Microsoft Windows, given the uncertainty of Microsoft's future. Companies like Eazel are currently building Linux GUIs that look and feel like the Mac OS interface and operating system, but safely get around all the problems and instability of Microsoft's operating systems and the aging filesystem (file manager) the Mac OS is built upon (which accounts for some of its slowness). It's entirely possible that Linux-based computers may outnumber all others within a few years. They've got a lot of work to do, but the preliminary direction they've established is looking very promising.

Hmmm, it's nice to see I have some "mature" readers. I think the HTTP_USER_AGENT speaks volumes, don't you?

The Phonefree TV commercial I asked about the other day? Chris Dove wrote in that it was the song "God Yu Takem Laef Blong Mi" from The Thin Red Line soundtrack by Hans Zimmer. I found the MP3 and downloaded it. It's very similar but not the same. Mark Roedel wrote in and said that customer service told him that the music was composed specifically for their use. Bummer.

Several people have asked if I was serious when I said that I use Pine as my primary email client. It's true. I keep it open all day at work, and when I get home I download all my email to Eudora 3.1 (Yikes!). For my work email, I use Outlook Express 5.02 (Macintosh Edition), which thankfully is not vulnerable to the many virii that plague Outlook users on Windows. Pine is awesome because you can access it from any computer anywhere that has a telnet client on it. Now, if I could only figure out the peculiarities of procmail...

It's also true that I save almost all my email, even the spam. I'm nearing about 100,000 messages at home since approx. 1996 and about 10,000 or so at work since February. And this was after I deleted some huge mailing list archives I had laying around from 1995-1997.

One of the things I want to figure out is how to get all of my email into a MySQL database so that I can put a web front-end on it. That way I can have access to all of my email archives from any web browser in the world. For all I know, someone has already figured this out. Send me links!

Thursday, May 4, 2000

This is why I use a Mac as my primary machine and a shell account (pine) for email. Microsoft's software is just too damn easy to abuse. I 've received about 15 copies of the ILOVEYOU virus since last night. Here's the Visual Basic script that's causing all the trouble. BTW, you can always tell the Outlook Express users by their awfully-formatted email with all that crappy colored text and funky HTML text formatting. Sometimes I just want to smack those MS Outlook programmers upside the head and ask them, "What so wrong with ASCII-based text formatting that you felt you needed to unleash this type of usability/readability software abuse on the world?"

Is this a joke?

A harsh [but honest] opinion about what should happen to Microsoft. I still think the market will take care of Microsoft regardless of what happens. What's important is that people are being educated about Microsoft's tactics and business style. And most people tend to shop elsewhere when they learn of a company's dishonest/illegal actions. That's what I do.

A sample chapter from O'Reilly's upcoming book XML and Java, which is really more about Content Management Systems. I really need to look closer at Cocoon, but at first glance it looks pretty robust.

Evolt: Content Management Systems

Wednesday, May 3, 2000

USA Today: "When you have open standards, you don't fear one vendor," says Ken Wasch, president of the Software and Information Industry Association in Washington. "You don't have to buy all of your products from one company."

Voices From a Slashmouth.

Bob Young from Red Hat explains the open source nature of Linux OS's:

The best analogy that illustrates this benefit is with the way we buy cars. Just ask the question, "Would you buy a car with the hood welded shut?" and we all answer an emphatic "No." So ask the follow-up question, "What do you know about modern internal-combustion engines?" and the answer for most of us is, "Not much."

Frank Hecker: Setting Up Shop: The Business of Open-Source Software Oh boy, I can see the journalists misinterpreting this one. [via]

Ohmigod! We're all going to die! [Heh.]

What would happen if...? This reminds me of the time a few years back when Borders Books & Music bought about 20,000 copies of Bill Gates' The Road Ahead at an extreme discount. (The buyer simply couldn't pass up such a deal.) This led to the problem of what Borders was going to do all these books nobody wanted. Someone in management decided they'd unload them on the online group. The executive management at decided they'd give a copy away with every purchase. From an executive's point of view, this was an a great solution. Not only would they get rid of these useless excess books, but they'd be giving their customers a free gift. At the time, I was working for Borders Online and several of us immediately recognized that this was an extremely bad idea. Not only would be be accused of being in bed with Microsoft for giving away copies of Bill Gates' book, but we'd also subject our overworked customer service department with loads of hate mail. We voiced our concerns several times, but the promotion proceeded anyway. About a week later, the promotion was suddenly canceled with no explanation and the books were shipped elsewhere and sold as remainders. What's interesting is that the customer service department at was reporting that a surprisingly high percentage of people were actually shipping the books back to the fulfillment center with notes asking not to send them such bad free gifts.

The guinea pig "virus" in The Sims computer game is a stroke of genius. [via Tim O'Reilly]

It's about damn if only we could get Spielberg to listen. [Waving fistfuls of money.]

Request: You know that TV commercial for where people are standing on their rooftops holding their burning long-distance phone bills up in the air? What song is playing in the background? And can someone send me the MP3?

Tuesday, May 2, 2000

Lots of news about Microsoft lately, especially about Microsoft's public response to the DOJ. Everyone seems to think that Microsoft is being very arrogant, but now I wonder if they're maybe "putting on a show" in the hopes of getting exactly what they want. Maybe Microsoft realized a while back that they are going to lose the legal case no matter what they do to defend themselves. Then maybe they decided that a broken up Microsoft might actually good for them. And now maybe they're all playing us (the public, the government, and the media) for fools, spouting their nonsense "innovations" defense. Hmmm....

I mean, maybe Microsoft has realized that two Microsofts would mean twice the growth, twice the income, and twice the "innovation." [Shrug.]

Gwen's Trailer Trash Housewife Page.

Monday, May 1, 2000

Blast From the Past: Unix Convention Dweebs. [Check out the date on the email header!]

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