Baby, It’s Hot Outside

Yeah, it’s not even 10am and it’s almost 80 degrees out there.

We are in the midst of one of the hottest summers in recent memory, and one of the driest since the Dust Bowl years. Hope the rain promised for today materializes – the plants we put in this year (and other years) would certainly appreciate it.

Unlimited Bandwidth

Bee Balm

Taken today

I remember buying my first computer and having the wrenching decision of whether to get it with base 10M hard drive, or dropping some serious cash (for me, at the time) for the 20M version.

No, those are not typos. Megabytes, not Gigabytes.

Today, I have 250G raid on my main box (two 250G disks, one of which is solely a mirror of the other).

This increased storage space has changed things. You don’t purge/defrag as often – just don’t need to. Enormous file attachments don’t matter and so on.

Faster processors and increased RAM work in a similar manner. I currently have six SSH sessions open, two Firefox browsers with a total of about 20 tabs open, Outlook, an IE session (testing code), a music player and other misc programs.

And that does not count the services I have running on the box: Multiple DBMS, Web server, application servers and so on.

This RAM/CPU bump has allowed me – over the years – to change my work habits. I don’t have to close one pig of a program before opening another pig. Just open them both. No biggie.

I’m certain the shift to almost unlimited bandwidth for almost everyone will have similar effects, changing the behavior of individuals and anyone/anything that touches or is affected by unlimited bandwidth.

By unlimited bandwidth, I mean when bandwidth for (almost) everyone is an always-on connection almost everywhere (maybe faster at home/office over Ethernet, but damn fast in the subway via WiMax or whatever) that is robust enough to support stuff we can only dream of today.

So what happens when pipes get really fat? And trust me, they will.

Some prognostications:

  • Always On as the killer app– I’ve long posited that the primary benefit of broadband is not the broad, it’s the always-on effect. This is huge. You can just surf the web without the dial-up/log-in delay. This impacts a lot of other things. No need to turn on the news at 5:20 to catch the sports to see if the Cubs lost again – just surf over to this or that page and find out. TV news in general will be hurt, as will be newspapers. We’re already seeing this; imagine when unlimited bandwidth comes along with video clips and so on ( finally got this, and now offers at least a handful of videos for free).
  • Goodbye Desktop apps/storage– I’ve always maintained that Google is betting its future not on ad revenue, but on being an application company. Sure, I could be wrong about this, but considering the tremendous success of Gmail and all that it portends, it makes you think. If Google could offer, for example, a network word processor (possibly with an off-line component), why would we need to pay for MS Word? Keep expanding on this theme, and it’s no wonder Redmond is getting a little nervous about the Google guys.
  • Personal computers will need to change– An always-on connection is really only worthwhile if you can keep your computer running indefinitely. Right now, only Linux (or any *nix) works well this way, with Windoze boxes – while vastly improved with Win2000 and XP – still needing a reboot now and then. I really don’t know where Macs fall in the capability, but with BSD underpinnings, I’d guess you could keep it running a long time. This is vital, so the virus/OS patches can run at night, e-mail can keep downloading while you sleep so those big honkin’ attachments come in one at a time, instead of when you first fire up the computer. In addition, computers are going to need more RAM, to hold the network apps in memory, and better synchronization software to make network backups idiot-proof. Right now, this is still a job for serious geeks, for the most part.
  • Internet consolidation will increase– With more and more action – apps, storage, shopping, information gathering and so on – moving to the Web, consolidation is inevitable. While niche sites/companies will flourish, some big guns will have to join forces to make a mighty gun to survive.
  • Government will intervene– This is inevitable because consumers will push for it. Doubt it? How about the recent decision to finally approve a XXX top-level domain? The public clamored for it, who is going to oppose it and it’ll do little if any good. There will be more acts like this, such as taxes and privacy requirements and so on. But it’s almost too late – you can’t reverse engineer a decade-long explosion quickly. And – more to the point – the web is a world-wide-web. And how does it work? I live in Portugal, my servers live in Belize, my company is owned by a dummy company in Aruba and I sell Chinese-made stuff to both European countries and the US. What regulations do I have to follow? This is almost a UN issue. Uber-government. And the UN is soooo effective, especially in nuanced areas such as this. How can any country make rules for something like the web that is owned by both no one and everyone? It’s like China insisting Taiwan is part of the mainland country. OK, they can say that all they want, but Taiwan is not following China’s wishes, that’s for sure.
  • Rise of non-computer appliances– The much bally-hooed (sp?) internet home may inch closer to reality with unlimited bandwidth. What this all will mean I really don’t much care (I really don’t need to start a roast cooking before I leave work via TCP/IP), but it’ll be interesting.
  • Security woes– Always on means always vulnerable to attack, unlimited bandwidth means black hats can hit more folks more quickly and cover tracks more easily. I foresee some all HTTPS sites, home computers with built-in firewalls, more live patching of systems as vulnerabilities are discovered and fixed, instead of weekly updates.

Will any/some/all of this happen?

I dunno. The thoughts just occured to me, and I’m sharing..

Computers Sux

For the most part, I view computers as I do cars: They are tools to help you get to your [computational/geographic] destination. A little luxury is always a good thing, but I don’t get religious about it – “Must have radial tires!” “Must be a Mac” or whatever.

I have my biases, but – overall – I don’t care. I just want the thing (car/computer) to work, to do what it is meant to do, in whatever fashion.

The issue for me is when the car/computer fails: Auuggghhh!

Yesterday, Microsoft released a series of patches that were good things – security and all that. I installed same late at night, after full night of coding, as I knew it would (probably) take a restart to make them take effect.

Did so, and my damn mouse died. (Logitech MX700) It was too late to rummage around to find the driver disk for the mouse (others sleeping…), so I Googled it and found only a driver for an older (500 MX) model. Given the Net, I probably could have found the correct driver, but it was late…

Installed, restarted and the mouse awoke, except for the page forward/page back buttons – that I’ve grown to love.


This evening, I dug out the driver disk and installed, and all is good.

Except it wiped out my MusicMatch (MP3 player).

[bleep X 2!!]

Reinstalled MusicMatch from the Dell recovery discs, slew of weird errors; did various updates and several reboots…and now all is good.

It’s good that all is good, but…

I’m fairly savvy with computers; if it took me this long, what about others. Hey, I just installed MS upgrades and now the mouse doesn’t work? Would an average user even know what the hell to do? Or what had happened?

Cars good.

Computers good.

Unless they be busted…and then it’s evil…

Happy Bloomsday!

Yes, it’s Bloomsday.

Wish I had more time to write about such, but I’m in the midst of a code crunch.

Joyce rulz.

…and all the queer little streets and pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geramiums and catuses and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountian yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

Ulysses, last words

Cringley On Crack

AppleI was going to blog about the recent Disturbance in the Force, the Apple->Intel shift, but I didn’t, for a a number of reasons:

  • Whatta I know? I mean, what kind of light could I possibly shine on this controversial event?
  • There are plenty of other opinions on the event, from blogs through magazine articles to threads on sites such as Slashdot. As you can imagine, this event filled up hard drives on servers all over the Net.

But the most over-the-top (to me) view of the event was by long-time Silicon Valley insider (and one-time Apple pseudo-employee) Robert Cringley.

His analysis? This is the first step that will culminate in Intel merging with Apple to help both companies crush Microsoft.

What?! Can I have whatever he’s smoking?

While the argument he puts forth has some merit – and he does have a much better persective on the industry than me, he misses (to me) the most obvious flaw in his report: Steve Jobs, controller of the Reality Distortion Field, he of the brilliant marketing smarts that is always overshadowed by his massive ego, will never let go of Apple.

Hell, he got pushed out once.

And came back to lead Apple back to glory (small installed base, sure, but iPod, iTunes…).

(Or maybe Steve will convince Intel to change its name to iNtel.)

‘Tain’t gunna happen.

But I’m the same loser who dismissed the WSJ story about Intel/Apple talks about a week before the announcement that made it a reality, saying it was a recurring rumor that had no legs.

Oops. My bad.

But still. Steve losing control of Apple? I just don’t see it.

Happy B-Day PHP

I noticed – earlier this week – that it was the 10th Anniversary of the first release of PHP. OK! On to the second decade of this, my current favorite language.

Version 5 looks interesting, but I really haven’t gotten into it that much. No writing v5 code, just reviewing code and reading articles. Some day…

The XXX Domain Debacle

OK, ICANN has finally approved the “porn friendly” (CNET’s phrase) .xxx TLD (top-level domain, such as .com, .net and so on).

Wow, that’ll do nothing except line the coffers of domain registrars.

This decision – which does not require porn purveyors to move to this domain – is essentially meaningless.

Here’s why:

  • There is no rule for porn purveyors to move to this TLD. So concerned parents who set up (whatever currently non-exisitent) tools to block this domain will not block, only, for example.
  • There is no rule for porn purveyors to move to this TLD. So concerned parents who (try to) teach their kids to avoid .xxx domains will still not prevent those kids from visting, for example,, only
  • There is no rule for porn purveyors to move to this TLD. So what are those porn purveyors going to do? Yeah, register [my porn site].xxx in addition to [my porn site].com, [my port site].net, [my porn site].tv and so on.
  • There is no rule that says you can’t have a NON-porn site that’s with a .xxx TLD. Why is this bad? Why would someone want to pick this TLD for a non-porn site? You really think someone is NOT goning to try to register or Come on, it’ll happen. OK, what about big sites without deep pockets (CNN and Google will destroy you….)? I like the site by Jason Kottke, He’s a single person, only known for his blog, really. Think if some offshore company registered it would be hard to get back? Probably, and expensive. While there is the whole (slowww…..ineffectual….) ICANN process to combat such attempts, they happen and it can be painful for the affected party.

Those are the practical reasons.

The others are philosophical.

I don’t disagree with porn. In the biggest-picture-possible type of way, why not? I don’t like much modern art either, should that be banned? If an adult voluntarily wants to see porn without affecting others [don’t play it on your car TV in traffic you f***ing idiot…], uh, so what?

And what is porn? Since no one – even the Supreme Court pretty much left it as “I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it” – can define it, how you ban it?

What is porn?

  • Showing actual sex?
  • Showing fully naked and exposed whatevers and simulated or “almost” sex (no penetration, for example)?
  • Showing naughty bits?
  • What are “naughty bits”? Are the nudes of Georgia O’Keeffe by her husband, Afred Steiglitz, obscene because you can see nipples and pubic hair?

OK, I get at drawing the line at involving porn with kids or showing porn to kids (gee, how generous of me. I didn’t mean it that way), and if – for whatever reason – the porn was of adults who were not fully agreeable with such events (i.e. crack heads, forced prostitution etc), that should be a bad thing.

But it’s drawing that line and enforcing same that’s incredibly difficult. That’s why the .xxx TLD is a joke: Too late, dude! If things had been set up earlier to put porn (whatever porn is) in a .xxx TLD earlier, things would have been easier. Sure, some sites (Georgia O’Keeffe photos) may have been forced there, but the ICANN process should have then allowed for a “.com” address for same after petition and so on.

That might have helped, but … not totally.

Let’s take this blog. I’ve written it for four years. Let’s say I posted a picture of something pornish/randy during that time.

Does the whole blog have to move to “.xxx”?

Does my whole domain (the blog is just part of have to move to “.xxx”?

Porn is not easy, but – here’s just my take – the “.xxx” TLD is not really going to help much to corrale the Internet porn issue. I can see it helping if there are (whatever) incentives for clearly “we let you view naked chicks or folks having sex” site to move to this domain – and begin advertising same (so it’s a cache thing that begins to make sense: you will type in “” instead of “” for the first try if you’re porn-diving).

Beyond that – and that is really feeble – “.xxx” means squat.

But I could be wrong. And that happens a lot.

Rain, Rain Go Away…

We’ll, it’s been an eventful day for only being 2pm.

Got up early (well, regular time for a work day, but it’s Saturday) and took the cats into the vet for the annual checkup. They just don’t like that, but they are all vaccinated up and so on.

Then took in the annual Arlington Height (IL) art fair. We’ve gone the last three or so years; it’s usually a good fair.

I dunno – maybe it’s just because we just got back from Santa Fe (where the whole town is somewhat like an art fair), but this year’s event as pretty much “so what?”

Sure, there were some things worth looking at, some good, some bad, some just plain butt ugly – but nothing that grabbed us like the in the past few years. Oh well, that’s how art fairs seem to run: hit or miss. Maybe we were just cranky today.

Came home and – since it was supposed to rain – I thought it would be a good idea to cut the lawn. Got the front and our slivers of a side done, but it was getting black as I began the back. Did the edging, and a couple of large cracks of thunder later, I thought it would be a good idea to head in.

Just as I turned the corner out the backyard – dump city! Just poured like someone turned on a faucet.

So, I still have the most of the backyard to do. Oh well, maybe tomorrow. And we do need the rain.

Update: 5:10: After about 45 minutes of torrential rain, the sun came out and there’s not a cloud in the sky. A nice breeze is even keeping climbing humidity at bay. Gotta love (why??) the vague structre of Chicago weather.

Consider the Following

Inspired by Bill Mon, a collection of quotations:

President Bush called a human rights report “absurd” for criticizing the United States’ detention of terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and said Tuesday the allegations were made by “people who hate America.”

“It’s absurd. It’s an absurd allegation. The United States is a country that promotes freedom around the world,” Bush said of the Amnesty International report that compared Guantanamo to a Soviet-era gulag.
  Bush: Amnesty report ‘absurd’

On another foreign policy issue, Bush said he expressed concerns with Russian President Vladimir Putin about legal proceedings against former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Once the richest man in Russia, Khodorkovsky was convicted Tuesday of fraud and tax evasion and sentenced to nine years in prison following a trial widely denounced as politically motivated.

Bush did not comment directly on the verdict, but said, “it looked like he had been judged guilty prior to having a fair trial.”
  Bush: Amnesty report ‘absurd’

“All the rules in the United States and in the world, the person is innocent until you prove he is guilty, not innocent. But here, with Americans, the detainees are guilty until proven innocent, one [Guantanamo] detainee complained.
  Tales of abuse in Guantanamo testimony