Monthly Archives: November 2003

Breaking the Mold

Leonard does things different:

Hey, it looks like I’m the ‘Feed of the Day’ over at Feedster. Just goes to show that you don’t need things like ‘regular updates’ or ‘finished templates’ or ‘permalinks’ and ‘date stamps.’

I would link to the post, if I could. (Poor man’s permalink: scroll down on his homepage to just above the pictures of the Treo 600 and the Sidekick.)

The Coffee Guy

I write this from the comfort of a tall stool in the brand new Coffee Guy store at I-10 and Highway 6/Addicks. Some of you may know the Coffee Guy as that cute little place at Richmond and Sage that mostly caters to a drive-thru crowd. They’ve decided to expand their business and have moved out to this swank new shop they built and designed from the ground up. The old place was so small it wasn’t really conducive to lounging the way most coffee shops are, plus it didn’t have any internet access, a requisite feature these days. I can’t speak for the coffee, because I’m not a coffee guy myself, but I can safely say that they have the best hot chocolate I’ve had anywhere—think multiple layers of whipped cream, caramel syrup, and chocolate syrup. However I have heard from people who do know coffee that The Coffee Guy at their previous location was quite good and I don’t see why this one should be any different.

With the new design they obviously had high-tech coffee lovers in mind, with power outlets everywhere, wi-fi and wired internet access, a big plasma TV, and lots of seats and tables. I can’t vouch for the coffee, but what I can vouch for is their internet connection, which has speeds consistent with a high-end cable connection. Connect to SSID TheCoffeeGuy and you’re good to go. I’ll have to tell my friends in the Houston Wireless Users Group about this. Here’s a few pictures I snapped:

Laptop counter, my laptop, and the plasma TV

I was going to end this on a bright note and recommend you try the Coffee Guy out, but Elissa (who works here) just tricked me into eating what’s called an “espresso pancake” by disguising it as a cookie, so I’m going to say whatever you do, do not visit or patronize The Coffee Guy. Unless of course you like good drinks and free internet.

How could Elissa do such a thing? Look at how evil she is! (She’s even evil looking with real cookies.) Anyway if you do decide to visit, I can tell you when Elissa isn’t working so it’ll be safe. Here’s their address:

14725 Katy Freeway
Houston, Texas 77079

Some Progress

More and more people are searching for an answer to typing problems and finding Dvorak. My Dvorak keyboard layout post continues to get interesting comments every couple of days, including this latest one from someone who apparently has a keyboard that is designed to switch between QWERTY and Dvorak, something I assumed existed somewhere but I’ve never come across. Maybe that’s the keyboard I should give away as the prize? The prize no one has claimed yet, by the way.

New Furnishings

With all the serious talk around here lately of hacks and writing and markup, I think I’ve been neglecting some different but still important things like lunch with Elaine and the crazy birds there, the new haircut, and such.

But what I’m really excited about is my room. Comments, questions, and advice welcome.

I’m going for something comfortable yet stylish in a functional way, if you drift my catch.

On Blogrolling Hack

I think the importance of this issue cannot be understated. My thoughts from the WordPress Dev blog: Blogrolling Hack Illustrates Need for Decentralization.

This morning it seems that sites who manage their blogrolls using blogrolling.com’s service had their links hijacked, every link being replaced by one to “Laura’s Blog,” which predictably redirects to a porn site. As painful and unfortunate as this is, I think it illustrates an important point that as a weblogging community we should be heading away from centralization as a rule, not flocking to every free or low-cost centralized service that pops up.

To me one of the greatest things about weblogs is that they shift power and control away from monolithic organizations and into the hands of users, where it is ultimately more secure. I have a friend who lost three years of her writing when a free online journal service decided to fold and delete everyone’s entries. I know people who hardly use email because their hotmail or yahoo addresses are flooded with so much spam as to make them useless. People who don’t host their own comments have their discussion at the mercy of some third party provider of varying reliability. Many of you reading this had your blogrolls hijacked this morning. In the weblog world blogroll links represent a web of trust — you freely giving a piece of your credibility to another site as a gift to that site and your audience. Today that trust was betrayed for many people.

There is more on the link. I’d love to hear some feedback and assist people in moving away from centralized services, even if it isn’t to WordPress. What are the other alternatives? If you want to move away but you’re having trouble with code somewhere just let me know and I’ll try to help you out.

Dennis Dotson Big Band Gig

Tonight at 7:30 PM I’ll be performing with the Dennis Dotson big band on lead alto. Our entire program is going to be exclusively music from the highly talented composer and pianist Joe LoCascio, who will also be playing with us. It is the first night of what they’re calling JazzFest 2003 and there are more details, including directions and a map, at JazzHouston. They say they’re charging for tickets but I don’t think they have in the past so I’m not sure about that. I’ve been looking forward to this gig and I think it’s going to be great, so if you’d like to hear some exciting jazz tonight, try to check it out.

The gig has been cancelled due to rain! Sorry to any who were planning on going. It will most likely be rescheduled and I’ll post an update when it is.

A Cite To See

If you notice this sort of thing, the last post and one several days ago about Charles Platt now have visible attribution as part of the inset quote, which is marked up using the HTML <blockquote element. Each of these block quotes has a cite attribute, which is invisible to the user but which I sometimes add when I feel like having million dollar markup. Honestly I had slacked off doing lately because I wonder: if you add an attribute to an element, and no one sees or uses it, does it make a sound? It does now.

Thanks to an ingenious script from Dunstan which he describes in this post my cite attributes are now clear for the world to see. Can you hear me now?

The validationists in the audience will notice that am I not using the cite attribute in the strict sense because the value “Albert Einstein” it isn’t a URI. They would be right: it is technically in violation of the spec. However it is correct in spirit if not implementation. The URI RFC says “Not all resources are network ‘retrievable’; e.g., human beings” and “An identifier is an object that can act as a reference to something that has identity.” We’ve got the “resource” and “identifier” part down, what about “universal”? To be fully in line with specification what we need is a protocol to indicate individual people. I propose something like the following:

person://Albert Einstein

Thoughts? Now I just need to work up the javascript chops to hack around with the script, or if I’m lucky Dunstan will get an itch and beat me to it. The cite attribute checking should probably allow for protocols such as ftp:// and irc:// as well, not just http://.

More Writing

So how is the experiment going? Pretty well I would say, except that I didn’t realize that some words are much harder to write than others. Some words flow while others trickle. Sometimes some words flow where there kshould be no words. A “quota” encourages writing more than editing. So I’m not tracking word counts anymore, though the part of me that wants to quantify everything than can be quantified really wants to.

Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.

Robert said that “don’t worry about writing or minimum quotas. Lousy way to learn to write. Just keep blogging, write a web article or two and when you find a good thing to write about for a school assignment, run with it. ” He was right and wrong. Explicit quotas are lousy, but the musician inside me knows that discipline is necessary to excel, and daily practice makes perfect. (To which Kel often counters “But nobody’s perfect, why practice?” I suppose it’s the thought that counts.)

A Thousand Resolutions

For the next two weeks I’m going to try to write at least a thousand words a day, every day. Some of these words will be here, others may be other places, and some might not even be destined online. (Gasp!) When I met Tyler Cowen he told me that writing every morning is just about the best thing you can do to improve. We’ll see how this goes. I’ve always thought lots of reading was crucial to good writing as well, however my reading time is currently monopolized by John Locke. And thus if I start to write like him, it is within your rights to slap me upside the head.

One thing that’s making it nicer is WordPress has an option to make your posting <textarea> as big as you want and I already know all the quicktag shortcuts by heart so posting is as easy and pleasant as using a good editor like Dreamweaver or Topstyle. My textarea is currently 50 rows high, which is growing on me.

I would like to have more links in entries.