Thursday, October 30, 2003

Idea pooling

Today's New York times ran a story, "Ideas Unlimited. Built to Order.", in which they asked a variety of people (including Scott Adams, Donald Trump, and Martina Navratilova) for ideas for new inventions. I haven't actually read the article yet, but it's an interesting idea.

Not only is it an interesting idea, it's not new. The story was posted to slashdot and readers offered websites that solicit ideas from anybody. ShouldExist doesn't seem to have a lot. Why Not? has much more, but I could only see the list by way of Google's cache (if that link doesn't work search google for "whynot" and then click on the "Cached" link on the first result).

Finally, more outrageous ideas seem to migrate to Half Bakery. Start with the ten highest rated suggestions for a sampling. "Film Noir Home" is my favorite of those.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Groklaw - SCO Scoop

Another useful site for keeping up with the SCO lawsuits is the Groklaw weblog written by a paralegal. She says "IANAL. I am a paralegal, so if you have a legal problem and want advice, this isn't the place. Hire an attorney instead. Research is, however, what paras do, so here I am sharing things I have found in my research."

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

90.9 FM KSLU

My new favorite online radio station is KSLU. Reasons to like it:
  • It's a public radio station (i.e. no commercials).
  • It plays adult album alternative music.
  • It has an mp3 stream, so that I can use xmms (or winamp) rather than RealPlayer or Windows Media Player (which is difficult under linux).
  • I can get the news I was missing from Southeastern Louisiana.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Frank & Ernest

Today's Frank & Ernest comic reinforces the pervasiveness of Google. As a wise man told me, "Google makes me look a lot smarter than I actually am".

(I've learned that the above link will create a lot of popups if you're using the world's most popular browser. Fight the power, install and use a browser which can block popups such as Mozilla Firebird (win, linux, mac), MyIE2 (win), Opera (win, linux, mac), konqueror (linux). Mac users can also use the standard Safari browser. Even the new google toolbar can help you block popups.)

Catching up on the SCO mess

Until today, most of what I've known about the SCO lawsuits has come from the headlines on slashdot and that's never a good place to get the whole story. I bounced around a bit and eventually found the SCO Controversy Timeline at Full of information and external links, this is a great starting point. My only complaint is that to catch up on what has happened so far, you need to start at the bottom and read up. Following one link lead me to a hysterical bit I might've found if I'd read some of the comments on slashdot.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Info for programmers about character sets

I had been thinking about writing a nice introductory article for programmers about the history of character sets and unicode but Joel, of Joel On Software, has done the dirty work for me in his latest article The Absolute Minimum Every Software Developer Absolutely, Positively Must Know About Unicode and Character Sets (No Excuses!). A site I work on is currently available in more than 12 languages with some more coming up soon. We'll soon support Georgian, which leaves the two bytes per character realm of unicode and jumps to four bytes per character. The article covers well much of what I've learned in the past two years about getting characters to look correctly in web browsers.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Switching from Linux to Windows

Slashdot editor Robin 'Roblimo' Miller writes A Week of Windows describing the rude surprise in store for somebody who tries Windows XP after five years of Linux.
All I can say to people in the process of moving from Windows to Linux and struggling to change their near-instinctive finger motion patterns is, "At least you're going from Windows to Linux, not the other way around."

A Linux Distro for Barbie?

From cow-orkers... A Linux Distro for Barbie? "targeted specifically at toddler through preteen girls who are currently Windows users but may be seeking alternatives, possibly due to increasing licensing fees or out of a desire to break free of vendor lock-in." "If Barbie were a career-focused woman working in the IT industry in 2003, she would support open standards.... [She] would also be tired of Microsoft's licensing bullshit."

And from a link on that site, Windows vs. Linux on the Server and the Desktop. It's not your standard comparison.