October 30, 2003
Read all 4590 reviews...

...was the helpful hint from Amazon when I looked up the sales rank for the latest Harry Potter book. 4590 revies is an impressive number. You have to imagine that only a little percentage of readers bother to chime in with opinion number 4239 with a verdict of G*R*E*A*T.
Oddly enough the book was only at no 39 in sales on com and no 44 on co.uk - is it a commercial failure, or does the sale just happen so very quickly that they already sold all the books?

Another book with a ton of reviews was Al Franken's "Lies and the lying liars who tell them". The book is rated down from 5 stars to 4 stars because of a largish amount of one-star righ twing dissent along the lines of "Al Franken, you commie bastard, who don't you just move to Cuba". The dissent takes two basic forms: Outright rejection, with almost no comment but 'avoid this' and a 1 star rating, and clever rejection, where the 1-star rating is kept, but the comment is more along the lines of "Isn't it ironic, this vitriliic liar is accusing OUR guys of namecalling and lying".
Along the way, Franken and Michael Moore are also accused of being 'ferries'. They look more like tugboats to me.

Posted by Claus at 02:55 AM
October 29, 2003
Windows Longhorn press blitz

Microsoft knows how to generate press. Longhorn has been a stable on all the MS drone blogs for a while now, and they are currently releasing betas for review even though the OS won't ship until 2006, and that goes into every tech newsmedia of course. The 2006 ship date is not to be criticized. I much prefer what appears to be actual news, but rare releases, to the recent microscopic updates to Windows.
The new filesystem sounds interesting, and the ambition to structure the filesystem namespace with levels of granularity between that of byte and file reminds me of some of the ambitions expressed by Hans Reiser for the ultimate file system. We'll have to wait and see how intuitive it is before we can tell whether it's just "Every OS ships with an SQL engine" or an actual integrated system for accessing data inside files.
Palladium is still there to dread, no matter how many times MS renames it. This is IP rights darkness at the hardware level and really not a good idea - at least not if you consider all the monopolistic plays that can be made in not sharing API's to access the functionality and enable it in free OS'es. If you thought Winmodems were evil by blurring the layering of device driver layer and OS layer, then this really places us at the very lowest circle of hell.
The look and feel seems a bit less annoying than XP, although the system still uses up screen real estate like the actual work we want to do didn't matter at all (UPDATE: There will be a new look, it's just not there yet), and finally there's the telling 88% CPU usage on a reasonable 900Mhz laptop with 256 MB RAM from running just the 'clock' application. How very Microsoft.

Posted by Claus at 09:37 PM
Stil dig foran Frederiksberg Behandlingscenter

Just har været ude for en absurd oplevelse. Han er blevet fysisk forulempet af en yogainstruktør fordi han stod på fortovet foran en biks på Frederiksberg. Moralen kan der ikke være tvivl om. Hvis du læser det her - og kommer forbi Frederiksberg Behandlingscenter, så stil dig lige 5-10 minutter foran og slap helt af. Lad dig ikke narre af den fredfyldte new age musik på stedets hjemmeside. Ejeren kan eksplodere nårsomhelst.

Posted by Claus at 06:33 PM
Neptunes saturation

The 'Neptunes sound' is reaching a point of saturation. The recently released Britney Spears (with Madonna) single "Me against the music" sounds exactly like a Neptunes track, with the relatively light fast beat and prominent rhythm guitar throughout - and it's not produced by The Neptunes. Probably the beginning of the end of that sound's massive popularity.

Posted by Claus at 06:04 PM
Amazon book search rocks

Even if they won't accept my (perfectly valid) credit card data, Amazon search inside is positively cool and bound to be indispensable. Really good coverage on the feature on Wired News - once again by Gary Wolf. (link found via his blog, so there). It is hard not to be impressed, even if I cant get the actual pages to work. Just this new way to find books is worth it.

Posted by Claus at 12:45 AM
I'm not evil enough to dream up these schemes

An online anti-spam service, Sneakemail, has reportedly been subject to a devious Googlehack: The Google user agent has been fed Sneakemail defamation, while everyone else has been seeing a product plug for competing company X. Or so the story goes. I have not been able to verify the claim, since the offending page no longer lists any defamation (nor does Google). How devious! Build your street cred, and then give Google and only Google some solid bait words to draw unrelated traffic to your site.

Posted by Claus at 12:40 AM
October 28, 2003
MS, DRM and the DMCA

If this is a precursor to this then we should really all stop publishing MS formats anywhere.

Posted by Claus at 12:08 AM
Yippee - CSS is now an ugly drawing tool!

She's a BRICK house - she's mighty, mighty, letting it all hang out. Funky CSS can now render ugly buildings of houses too. Wonderful. Add those table free round boxes and we have full separation of content and graphical disaster.
The house renders OK in Explorer - the round cornered boxes don't.

Posted by Claus at 12:03 AM
October 27, 2003
Ballmer spins

When Steve Ballmer has to compare Windows Server 2003 (MS's current offering) to Red Hat 6 (Red Hat is shipping or about to ship version 10) to score points in a Cert Security Advisory Shootout, you can just smell the fuzzy math a mile away. If he could make the claim stick against more recent Red Hat's (maybe the versions Red Hat is actually shipping today) wouldn't he have? Also he says "4 to 5 times" the number of vulnerabilities for Red Hat compared to Windows. We'll assume it's 4 since he doesn't just give out a number, and that's not all that bad compared to Windows 2000's 17.

Ballmer may be referring to reports like this from the Aberdeen group (full version requires free registration. If that's the case, then the number for open source is 16 not, "4 to 5 times Windows Server 2003" but exactly 4 times. And that's all open source. I doubt very much if Windows Server 2003 cen keep the number down to 4 with every conceivable windows product installed. The Aberdeen report does quote a total number of 7 advisories affecting MS products for the same period.

Posted by Claus at 08:53 PM
Staggering depth of change

Gary Wolf is preparing a story on the Dean campaign for Wired, focusing on the online Dean campaign. As part of this he is interviewing the usual suspects of the Wired/Cluetrain/Well set - Weinberger, Rheingold, Kelly asking them all what's so special about the Dean online momentum. They give various interesting forms of the same answer: give up control. By providing means to let people do the organizing themselves, and more importantly by not controlling the grassroots very carefully, the campaign has been able to grow very quickly, and with an completely different feel from your usual grassrots campaign. So say the pundits, anyway - being 'not there' and 'not American' it is extremely difficult to tell to what extent the claims are true.
What's really interesting so far is that none of the pundits frame their answer in quite the same way, nor do they give the same example of the defining liberating quality. This indicates to me the true difference to any standard way of organising several hundred thousands of people. It's not just about finding some technique to grow the organisation, its a completely different idea about what it means to be organized at all.

Posted by Claus at 08:22 PM
An (imperfect) rule to live by

From Clay Shirky's In Praise of Evolvable Systems

Only solutions that produce partial results when partially implemented can succeed.

Sometimes you have to make up the partial results, but producing them is essential. They have to be real goals, not just "Ok, I did this now" milestones. The space program of the 1960s is a good example. The diversity of and number of systems built to accomplish the very indivisible goal of "man on moon" was enormous.

Posted by Claus at 07:52 PM
Web ready structured objects

Interesting study on how to adapt OO language syntax to make a language support something similar to XML Schema natively in this paper by Erik Meijer et al of Microsoft Research. Work is extremely concrete, being a suggestion for an actual extension of the C# language. Included is funky native query syntax. This is at least a nice idea, even if it turns out not to be the silver bullet it feels like the authors intended it to be.

TODO : Write the perl source filter that supports these extensions for perl class definitions.

via Sam Ruby

Posted by Claus at 07:35 PM
"You think you're slick but you could stand a lot of greasin'"

..."The things you do ain't ever really pleasin'". From the Nina Simone song "Funkier than a mosquito's tweeter", as heard on WeFunk show 262.

Posted by Claus at 11:10 AM
Rumsfeld doing hard thinking

I must not be reading my newspapers properly, because I missed the story of Donald Rumsfeld's leaked memo of doubt. Good coverage here. I remember exactly one TV debate where somebody admitted doubt as to what was the right thing to do aginst the threat of militant islam, but that was just a Danish media pundit, and it was pre-Iraq. It's long gone now. So it is refreshing to see any kind of doubt or questioning of standard operating procedure - even if the thinking is mainly about how to organize the military and not whether to organize the military. Of course hardliners do have point in that you cannot really succeed through diplomacy against terrorism. Who do you talk to?

Posted by Claus at 01:10 AM
October 26, 2003
Language drift and cultural volatility

It's a shame I don't keep a tagline archive here on classy.dk But I don't. I was unhappy with the self important 'Claus and Effect' joke, and decided that a better (and now self deprecating) tagline for this particular pollution of url space was the new one "The tragedy of the commons". The idea of the reference is both to point to an important problem that is on my mind (in a strange reverted way, since the main threat to the commons these days is the false claims of the Intellectual Property Mafia) and to say that a world where everyone gets to speak all the time has its own problems in drowning out any central focus of discussion. The benefits outweigh the disadvantages, but the problems are real.
The inspiration for adopting the phrase was a notice of a search engine referral for my site for the term 'Crackulating', that I learned of from a youth ministry teen lingo resource. There is however also the much richer urbandictionary.com. Much richer in that they also found room for my new tagline The tragedy of the commons. Which hardly qualifies as particularly urban. The dictionary is user edited which explains why the reach is broader. The user editing also helps as an illustration on the lameness of average knowledge of net users, and how this breeds urban legends like there was no tomorrow. Take for example the term All your base - a reference to the particularly bad english language texts in an old computer game. The correct explanation of the term is given - along side an impressive list of incorrect explanations. You get to vote on the quality of explanations, so the right one floats to the top, but the range of explanation gives one an idea of the enourmous drift there is in colloquial English, and of course the same thing applies to all other languages.
When it comes to definitions of amusing terms, that is less of a problem, but one tends to feel that this complete lack of historical sensibility goes deeper than langugae drift and cultural drift. I don't think I'm being "older, hence slower" or turning my beck on the future in any way, when I say that it is a weakness of online culture that nothing is ever fixed or corrected or allowed to stay true, or condensed and solidified and accepted as The Best Current Opinion on some matter.
It's as if the online culture never turns off to dream and reconsider. That makes for a volatile culture and the volatility and incessant storytelling going on is easily abused by those that actually have an agenda or idea they need to sell for some period of time. It's been said better by others, notably in a brilliant talk by Douglas Rushkoff at reboot.

Posted by Claus at 06:43 PM
Speed posting

Tænk engang. De første 76 posts på Justblog blev foretaget indenfor en uge, fra 11 april 2002 til 17 april 2002. Truly mindboggling. Den højeste PPU (Postings Per Uge) her på classy.dk er til sammenligning 26, mens gennemsnittet er 8.
Uhyggligt at jeg orkede at bruge tid på at regne det ud...

Posted by Claus at 05:41 PM
October 25, 2003
Listining to: Outkast - Speakerboxxx

I am listening to Outkast's new outstanding album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. Both in packaging and in content it is really rather a 2-disc album collection rather than a double album. I'm not really up to date on the inner workings of Outkast, but it appears the Outkasters just produced one album each in their own style, instead of trying to make two rather different styles meet. The end result is one contemporary sounding (more electronic) hip-hop album with solid funk roots, and another album which is more easily described simply as modern funk.

Posted by Claus at 06:16 PM
October 24, 2003
Tegneren forstår det!

Forhistorie: For en uge siden havde jeg en forbløffende lang og underholdende samtale med firmaets tegner fletter ([UPDATE] Jeg er blevet informeret om at han ikke så meget er tegner, som han er brevfletter) om matematik. Vitsen var at vi over overordentlig lang tid og et par bajere kogte det ned til at handle om at i altid står for et heltal, hvorimod r står for reelle tal og p og q for rationelle tal. Til gengæld er f og g funktioner, og så videre og så videre...

Samtalen følges i dag op med en ligeså spændede fortsættelse om at i software, hvor i bekvemt stadig er en tællevariabel, er det ofte fordi man tænker increment mere end det er fordi man tænker integer. Virkelige spændende stuff, kan man forstå. Så tager samtalen en drejning, som BSD hackeren(dødt link - han gider ikke det pis) og jeg begge fandt smukt - nærmest rørende:

Tegneren Fletteren: Så i er slet ikke fordi det er et helt tal, det er bare fordi man tæller den op.
BoSD: Det er rigtigt nok, men det er stadigvæk næsten altid et heltal.
Classy: I C++ bruger man også i om iteratorer.
Tegneren Fletteren: Iteratorer?
Classy: Ja, i C++ bruger man nogen klasser til at løbe igennem strukturer med istedet for et heltal. På den måde kan man løbe igennem en masse ting, som ikke lige kan løbes igennem med et heltal.
Tegneren Fletteren: Hvad? Hvordan virker det?
Classy: Man kalder stadig iteratoren for i, og så bruger man bare klassen istedet for et tal i løkken.
Tegneren Fletteren: Hvordan? Hvordan kan man det?
Classy: Man bruger bare ++ ligesom med tallene. I C++ kan man lave sproget om så man kan bruge + og - på klasser også og ikke bare på tallene.
Tegneren Fletteren: Det er sguda fleksibelt!

That's right Just! C++ er sguda fleksibelt!

Nogen gange lidt for fleksibelt.

[UPDATE] Og så er det så at historien jo mister lidt af sin magi - for hvis man kan brevflette. I Word. Så kan man da også forstå iteratorer.

Posted by Claus at 03:14 PM
Torsdagskoncert, Radiohuset

Absurd koncertprogram til aftenens torsdagskoncert. Værket er Berlioz' Romeo og Julie (han fylder 200 i år). En ting er de ting der skal absurde, som denne beskrivelse af indholdet i værkets 7ende sats: Romeo i Capulet familiens gravhvælving. Påkaldelse. Julies opvågnen. Vanvittig glæde. Fortvivlelse. Dødsangst og de to elskendes død. Hvilket sammendrag! Noget andet er at oversættelsen af den franske tekst er endog meget fri. Jeg kan ikke et ord fransk, og alligevel kan jeg se at der ikke er nogen egentlig sammenhæng mellem den oplistede danske tekst og den franske original.
Gode elementer i musikken, og gode sangere (navling mezzosopranen med det fantastiske navn Iris Vermillion), men alt i alt har jeg hørt orkestret spille bedre, og navnlig har jeg hørt dem spille bedre musik.

Posted by Claus at 02:10 AM
Bæredygtig hedonisme

Er navnet jeg lige for en time siden har opfundet til den moderne livsstil for de der er blevet 40, måske endda 45, som ikke vil være gamle under nogen omstændigheder. Fordi de er blevet lidt ældre kan de ikke kaste sig 100% ud i livsnydelsen - der er jo også pligter - så de praktiserer bæredygtig hedonisme: De arbejder meget, og har succes med det. Så fyrer de den af. Ikke ligeså tit som i gamle dage, men til gengæld fuldt ud når de gør det. Og endelig så holder de sig i form sådan at de kan holde ti ldobbetlivet som midaldrende familiemennesker og unge gå i byen typer.

Posted by Claus at 01:46 AM
October 23, 2003
ucmag.dk genopstået

Min brors og min enlige svale af et magasin - ucmag - står desværre indtil videre alene. Forsigtige som vi var, var udgivelsespolitikken at bladet "udkommer en gang imellem", men indtil videre er det end ikke lykkedes at lave nr 2. Det tager tid at designe og skrive og finde på, og den har manglet. Men for at komme et mulgit nr 2 i møde har jeg nu genåbnet ucmag websitet som også har været nede. Det er på dansk og vil rumme andre ting af andre årsager end min weblog.

Posted by Claus at 12:35 AM
October 22, 2003
With PageRank there's no such thing as bad publicity

The late danish travel tycoon Simon Spies is famous (in Denmark) for having said that there is no such thing as bad publicity. He had a pretty scandalous lifestyle (lots of women, even more alcohol) but according to him the value in the increased name recognition all the scandals got him by far exceeded whatever contempt or dislike toward shis person they generated. Google makes Spies remark absolutely true. There's simply no difference between link in favour and links against a given site. Any mention, any hyperlink can only raise the awareness of the site by increasing the PageRank standings of the offending site.

Posted by Claus at 03:38 PM
"Pope accepts resignation of Cardinal Sin"

This is an actual news headline - too good to pass up as proven by the tons of newsmedia that picked the story up (the headline was from an Associated Press telegram).
What's even better is how I arrived at the story: I started out reading this off-topic post to the tech-industry community site AlwaysOn. According to the post, a group of french chefs are actively trying to have gluttony removed from the list of cardinal sins. That sounded too good to be true, så I googled for confirmation, and lo and behold, found exactly one story in the news (actually google news) about the pope and cardinal sin. But that was just a reference to the tongue in cheek AP news story that can be found in a ton of places, one of them here.
What did the pope accept? The resignation of Phillipino church leader, Cardinal Jaime Sin. To think he has had an entire career in the church with that name is awe inspiring in itself.
I found no further evidence about the French chefs, so that is probably not a credible story.

Posted by Claus at 12:24 PM
October 21, 2003
Living nightmare

The DMCA (and supposedly its European equivalent) is a living nightmare. While they apparantly thought better of it, a company with a deeply flawed copy protection product was considering legal action against a report proving how inept their technology was, instead of doing something worthwhile like fixing or pulling the product, as reported by Dan Gillmor. It is hard to come up with a better fictional example why the DMCA (and European equivalents) should be repealed.
Imagine if DMCA-like powers were given to pharmaceitical companies. They would then have actual legal power to discourage research on the effectiveness of their medicine. Does that really sound like a good idea to you? Do you consider recording companies more or less important to society than pharmaceutical companies? Wouldn't you expect the more important property to be better protected that the less important? So what's the conclusion: Blanket licences to produce snake oil, or an end to the DMCA? It is completely absurd that democracies are enforcing more and more legislation like the DMCA. It is in the direct counter-interest of the people, i.e us.

Posted by Claus at 01:08 AM
October 20, 2003
MT extensibility

Playing around with Moveable Type templatating and customization for a joint project with Just. It's mostly nice and easy to use, if a little underdocumented (but when you have source that's not a problem). Two annoyances:
The CMS is not really a moveable type application. It uses a different templating system than the weblogs for reasons that aren't clear to me. It is also difficult to extend/modify the CMS, since it uses some huge subs to generate the pages in what looks to me like a very circumstantial (if code line efficient) way. A bit of a shame. MT could be even more interesting if the CMS could be modified easily also. The problem I was trying to work was adding more fields to entry posts, and changing the wa one specifies categories.

Posted by Claus at 03:42 AM
October 19, 2003
Can a government run a reputation network?

The question of the title is a remark by Esther Dyson in an interview at Foo Camp. To understand the question: There's a lot of talk about new reputation based networks, socalled social software, that is supposed to help us establish the various layers of acquiantance in virtual space, that we are accustomed to in our own physical space. Everybody is saying that social software will provide a new coherence to the digital lifestyle - and tons of money for the new top brands in this new software category. Dyson's answer to the question is 'no'. The reasoning, which I think is correct, is that governments work from some basic fairness principle that assume the initial anonymity and innocense of the citizens. This is firmly embedded in (western) ideas of a fair society. Social networks in general and reputation networks in particular apply the direct opposite logic. Youi have to prove yourself to enter into the network.
In my opinion, Dyson's point is exactly why ideas of minimal government are bad ideas. You have to give people a fighting chance and that requires a certain openness of society. It's one thing to have a legal system that is based on these fairness principles, but freedom means very little if welfare and opportunities for a livelihood and education aren't available to citizens in general.
It is important to note though, that in practice governments often run lots of reputation networks, and civil society provide plenty of fair and open opportunities (e.g. free markets), which is why the politics of equality always has to remain a fight. No institution can provide fairness and equality by it's existence alone.

Posted by Claus at 04:18 AM
October 18, 2003
Applications or resources

Jon Udell has a post on rich GUI's versus the browser, and while there is much to be said for the point that rich GUI's provide more efficient responsive work interfaces, Udell's final comment is for me the signal that the rich application model may be Just Wrong:

Trying to sort out a permissions problem with IIS 6, I clicked a Help button and landed on a Web page. The page could only describe the tree-navigation procedure required to find the tabbed dialog box where I could address the problem. It could not link to that dialog box. This is nuts when you stop and think about it. Documentation of GUI software needs pages of screenshots and text to describe procedures that, on the Web, are encapsulated in links that can be published, bookmarked, and e-mailed. A GUI that doesn't embrace linking can never be truly rich.
That is so very true. At my job we opted for a rich GUI as the centerpiece of the workflow system we have built. That was a good idea because of the responsiveness, and also because the GUI builder tools available on the desktop by far exceed the tools available to build browser based applications. The complexity you can accomplish with very few days of work using an efficient GUI builder (at work that's Delphi - but I'm sure Visual Studio .NET would also prove the point) can not be matched with browser based development.
After a while our application has, however, developed browser envy in the spirit of Udell's example. The inability to reference particular vies in the application and send these vies in email is annoying for example. You end up talking to people on the phone while they are also using the application, and the only way you can point them to the desired information is by walking them through the GUI.
Further, the nature of our workflow application is that it integrates information in a number of formats from disparate sources, whois servers, web sites, email etc. It would be preferable if all of these resources were linkable and the application was simple an open resource assembler for these resources, each of which could then be viewed and edited through an application specialized for that purpose. That is just not a reality with todays GUI applications, and the closedness of applications is not an accident but rather a lock-in enhancing strategy, as previously discussed. We're not going to have our cake amd eat it too.

Udell's post is in reference to comments by a number of microsoftees, notable Robert Scoble, and after Udells post on rich GUI's versus the browser (and the discussion is subsequently continued by among others Tim Bray). People like Bray believe that the irony of this sad state of affairs is that people are getting so used to the open resource linking that they.
My feelings are mixed. Resource centric, linkable apps are essential, but my personal counterpoint to this story is that I started editing this post using Moveable Types 'Blog This' browser popup, but mid edit I switched the text to w.bloggar - my go to rich GUI blog post editor, which has faster and more response preview capability, and a ton of shortcut keys to simplify editing.

Posted by Claus at 08:58 PM
Do not attempt to adjust your radio - there is nothing wrong

It's way to late to be hacking. Thank God I have the good company of WeFunk - a funk and hip-hop radio broadcasting out of Montreal - and also on shoutcast. The shows I'm listening to now are taped recordings of old shows. Sofar they have a great attitude on funk. P-funk features heavily, and there's no boring west coast funk.
The name of the show, and the title of this post are both P-Funk references if you were wondering. The guy writing this blog wasn't.

Posted by Claus at 04:45 AM
A fairer use based settlement

Ideas are malleable and may be transformed into almost anything when seen in the proper light. That's why, when intellectual property rights advocates argue for copyright extensions, they think of their intellectual property as property: Even though they have been selling it to customers for years it is still their property. When they think of copyright violations the situation is reversed: Even though they still have the use of their material, they argue that you've stolen it from them. The metaphor of ownership and property simply doesn't work very well for ideas.

In general I think IP rights owners are in favour of use based pricing (material is provided on a time limited rental basis), whereas consumer advocates favour a notion of transfer of ownership via some 'physical act'. A token of ownership - either a unique physical copy of the material, or maybe a transfer of some unique digital token - gives you unlimited usage rights for the file. The reasoning behind the two positions is easily understood: For rights owners use based pricing preserves control of the copyrighted material, and adds repeated revenue from later reuse of the material. For consumer advocates transfer of a physical token of ownership does the exact opposite.

When evaluating the RIAA lawsuit campaign (Previous mentions here and here) I think it is actually in the consumer interest to turn the tables and argue for use based pricing when figuring out a reasonable settlement amount.
Lets suppose the entire revenue of the music industry came from use based pricing, and lets just suppose that the growth streak of the '90s had continued so that annual revenue of shipments when sold at suggested retail price was $20 billion (actual figure for 2002 is $12.6 billion down from a record high of $14.6 billion in 1999). That's $100 per adult american. Lets figure in a very uneven distribution of use, and only count the americans between 15 and 35 as music consumers.That's on the order of 75 mio people so we say $260 per consumer instead. That's like buying a CD or two every month - not too unreasonable an assumption. So if the way we paid for music was by use, a reasonable assumption on the loss of income from one consumer spending absolutely no money on music would be in the range of $250, say $1000 at the very high end of consumption. Instead we're hearing about $12000 settlements. The unsurprising conclusion: The settling file sharers are being railroaded.

Has anybody argued for a use based settlement point of view in court? If so, what happened? If it failed, why?

This, inspired by a longish post by David Weinberger covering Larry Lessig's pro-freedom copyright talk at Pop!Tech. As usual it is really good stuff. It is a blessing that someone keeps saying these completely obvious things about copyright and the way it is enforced today.

Posted by Claus at 01:07 AM
October 16, 2003
Ka' buddhist munke sætte weblogs op?

ka.nelgiffel.dk. The Grue meister, manden med de ildevarslende kommentarer på genstart .dk er nu i luften med sin blog, og kan derfor føjes til listen af kollegabloggere. Velkommen i klubben.

p.s. kollegablogger.dk er stadig ledigt. Køb, køb, køb.

Posted by Claus at 03:03 AM
October 15, 2003
Have you signed up for the Code Jam?

Today is your last chance to sign up for Google Code Jam. The company setting up this contest, Topcoder, holds plenty of these contests, but since I haven't heard of them before now you can tell the effect on their business of the Google name. Clearly Google's technical street cred is hard to beat, so a Google branded test of your skills is just what you need to motivate yourself.

My goodness, one forgets easily. The C++ part of my brain has atrophied. The C# part has not yet been built. The VB.Net part I cut out my self using a teaspoon, and the Java part is this bulbuous appendage to the back of my head doing very little and generally being in the way when it does so. Must study or fail miserably...

Posted by Claus at 12:23 PM
Classy.dk will never be the same again....

The kitchen server has received its most significant hardware upgrade to date. The result is highly improved load times on the wonderful kitchen server, so thank you Jakob!

The best thing about the upgrade is the upgrading HOWTO:

  1. Beg, borrow or steal new box with better specs from acquaintances

  2. Shutdown old box

  3. Move harddisk

  4. Let kudzu figure out that the disk has a new housing during bootup. Answer obvious questions on new hardware as you go along

  5. Login and check everything is now a lot faster

That's it! No reinstall necessary - just simple config updates. Total time expenditure maybe 30 minutes to check everything twice and put the new box in the cupboard where its supposed to stay.

Posted by Claus at 02:13 AM
October 14, 2003
Forfatterens anmeldersynder

Jeg har ikke læst Jette Kaarsbøls debutroman "Den lukkede bog" og baseret på de uddrag der har været trykt i aviserne er jeg heller ikke sikker på jeg skal læse den, men derfor kan man jo godt undre sig over de negative anmeldelser, og i særdeleshed Lars Bukdahls angreb om "kokette og klodsede klumper af malplaceret alvidende kommentar". Det må være det klodsede alene der piner Bukdahl for det kokette, klumper af alvidende kommentar, og evindelig sætten sig selv foran stoffet disker Bukdahl op med hver fredag i hver anmeldelse. Naturligvis skal en roman helst ikke have form som en anmeldelse, men alligevel. Bo Bjørnvig har fat i misforholdet mellem anmeldernes kritik af den litterærlige blomstrethed og den gænge anmelderpraksis, når han skriver i den opsamlende kommentar at "når en så ambitiøs roman om så litterært et emne som det moderne gennembrud skal anmeldes, plejer det at kalde på store ord og opstyltede dybsindigheder."

Posted by Claus at 09:50 PM
Lower price (and power consumption) for supercomputing

Over a year ago I posted a few comments about the pricing and power consumption of supercomputers and later I compared that to the power of and power use of the brain.
Now Wired News reports on a new chip providing 25 gflops at 3W power consumption. That translates into an ultralow 0.12MW consumption per petaflop. That figure is misleading since the power consumption of memory systems etc. is not included, but it is still impressive, since e.g. the IBM Blue Gene machine is expected to consume 2MW (which is a comparatively low rate of power consumption as supercomputers go). I don't really know how the power consumption of the usual supercomputer is distributed between the computational core and the memory system.
In terms of number of processors it also represents about a tenfold increace in the power per CPU compared to a regular PC of about a year ago, as that expressed itself in the theoretical computational speed of clusters like The Horseshoe.

We're still a while away from brain level efficiency.

Posted by Claus at 07:01 PM
Comment spam blocker

Jay Allen has been away during the weekend on a deep hacking expedition, working out an Moveable Type comment spam fighter plugin, MT-Blacklist. After 40 hours of coding he has now gone to sleep after releasing a beta version, but sadly the plugin won't run out of the box on my machine. It seems Allen has been a bit careless in assuming that the MoveableType installation is in general using the CGI module. I use mod_perl, which basically breaks the plug in as is. With a little hacking I can make the plugin display work, but not yet the functionality....More work to do tomorrow - but it's about time I get into MT plugin creation anyways.

Posted by Claus at 04:14 AM
October 13, 2003
New subtitle for Classy's Kitchen

I occasionally update the subtitle for my blog and the previous one - 'Ideas don't pervert people. People pervert ideas' - a comment about the disconnect between what the Bush administration says and what it does - which according to Paul Krugman is not a disconnect but a carefully designed plan - had outlived it's usefullness.
Furthermore, it wasn't strictly true. Clearly the 20th century is one big history lesson on how actual hunger and hunger for power can feed ideological rage which in turn leads to actions that aren't really rational in terms of the original hunger (for food, income or power). In the age of spin, it is interesting however how ideological rage can be used simply as a hollow power strategy also. I don't know whether real rage or hollow rage is the more dangerous.
The new subtitle is simple rand lighter weight, being a joke on my name suggested to me by Just.

Posted by Claus at 07:08 PM
Sucky Search Engine Referrals

The referral URL's in my access log tell me that I either have to little good content or too much bad content. In order of frequency, here are the top 20 search engine queries for the kitchen in October.

  1. google doesn't work

  2. siegfried and roy accident

  3. roy tiger accident

  4. prince frederik of denmark

  5. kitchen fair

  6. prince frederik

  7. siegfried roy accident

  8. prince frederik denmark

  9. siegfried and roy

  10. emanuel goldstein

  11. kitchen software

  12. mary donaldson denmark

  13. regensen

  14. siegfried

  15. siegfried and roy tiger accident

  16. roys tiger attack

  17. sacking of rome

  18. siegfried and roy cancelled

  19. siegfried n roy

  20. kitchen computer

A sad collection of Danish trash searching (the upcoming royal marriage) or American trash searching (Roy Horn's tiger accident). The top search annoys me in particular. I'm Google hit no 1 for that search and I don't even think that Google doesn't work. The kitchen searches are there every month, because of my blog title.

Posted by Claus at 02:45 PM
October 12, 2003
Viruses go seriously viral

Further evidence that computer viruses have gone seriously commercial. Wired News reports on a Polish group of crackers who claim to control more than 450.000 trojaned computers that they use to route spam through routes so temporary and cloaked that it is impossible to find the source of the spam.
This is similar to the theory of the SoBig mail relays - viruses are no longer 'just' malicious but carry commercial payloads. Ironically, that would probably make them less obvious to the owners of infected machines, since machines are mostly more powerful than needed, and a little mail relaying isn't necessarily that taxing on a system.
More and more applications stealthily access the internet as any user of a personal firewall will gladly attest. When installing ZoneAlarm for example, the first few weeks after installation every working hour is interrupted by warnings that "Application X is trying to connect to service Y using privilege Z". The difficulty lies in determining which of the many hard to understand internet access attempts are legitimate and which are malicious. Too few of the access attempts are immediately understandable.
I'm sure an ineffective but monopoly enhancing "Microsoft safe socket" add-on to Windows isn't far off, where applications trying to acquire remote sockets have to sign their attempts to do so and register them somehow with an authoritative socket request registry.

Posted by Claus at 03:24 PM
October 11, 2003
Escaping from Hotmail

If you use Microsoft's free Hotmail email service, you have no real rights som complain - it's free after all.
That however does not make the "If you use our product we own you" attitude any less annoying. In Hotmail that is expressed by the obnoxious Hotmail topframe that's loaded whenever you click a link in an email you've received on your hotmail account. They use topframes like that in other places as well. Usually the frame contains a helpful "Loose the topframe" link (e.g. About.com's 'Featured Link' pages). On Hotmail, they just carry the ludicrous message You are visiting a site outside of Hotmail. To return to Hotmail, close this browser window.. As if Hotmail was somehow 'the real world' or my 'home' that I would want to return to. It's not just obnoxious, it's anti-web, it's old-school closed networks thinking, it's AOL, it's ridiculous - but like I say, I have no right to complain.
Thankfully a remedy is easy to come by. This link: Escape from Hotmail contains a javascriptlet that turns off the top frame. You can drag it to your links toolbar in MSIE. I don't know if it works from Mozilla.
The words of warning on blindly dragging javascriptlets to your MSIE toolbar I have previously mentioned apply. Even the one about this particular scriptlet being harmless.

Posted by Claus at 10:09 PM
Fooling all of the people all of the time?

An alarming graph:

Created from numbers in a report on public knowledge of Iraq involvement with terrorist activity. The report uses the term 'misperception of Iraq' - a politically charged term - so one has to be careful in reviewing these findings: The questions asked are available and they seem reasonable as do the classification into right or wrong for the answers. On the other hand the graph above indicates an incorrect answer on any of the questions on Iraq that were asked, and that clearly increases the numbers, which may or may not be politically motivated. The variation in knowledge among viewers of the different networks is scary no matter how they scored the quiz though.

Link via isen.blog.

Posted by Claus at 01:09 PM
The joys of the server side

When you don't actually distribute the software you write, platform choice becomes that much simpler. A new Tucows blogging tool is written in Ruby and uses PostgreSQL as its database. Paul Graham wrote (parts of) Yahoo Store in Lisp. Neither Ruby, nor Lisp can claim to be "the established thing", but as everybody has been saying for a while, it just doesn't matter as long as you don't need to distribute the software. What a great chance to make things interesting.

Posted by Claus at 12:46 PM
October 10, 2003
Guy steals belated blog scoop from other guy

UPDATE : I have been accused of unfair ranting, and rightfully so. Just, for helvede - du er okay! Det er mig der ikke er okay. Ka' vi stadig starte lodret.dk. Kan vi snakke om det? Just? Just?. What happened was that it is absolutely true that Just did not provide first finder credit. But I am not in a position to criticize that, since only 2 posts ago I failed to do the exact same thing. I wow to change that policy right now. Thanks Just for the flash porn link.
Just's descent into the Adsense netherworld continues. I hardly had time to tip him on Reverend Dan's amazing mash-ups before he steals the link for his own blog. Credit? Only to Just's AdSense account...

From some light websurfing it seems clear that the mash up phenomenon has already gone seriously overground and therefore died. Wired covered the phenomenon over a year ago, as did Salon - and Mash-Ups.co.uk take it further telling visitors "Hey!! you're too late ... the party's over dude!!"
Luckily, no culture spawns subcultures quite at the same speed as DJ culture, so there already a 'mash-up remixes culture', so that this guy is doing Glitch-Ups of Reverend Dan's mash-ups.

Don't miss this mashed up live performance of 'Lady in Red' by one Chris de Burger.
Or this technically brilliant butchering of President Bush's state of the union address

As an aside on subgenres, check out this hip-hop subgenre overview. That's just the major subgenres, and leaves out a lot of detail.

Posted by Claus at 12:03 AM
October 09, 2003
My vehicle of the pneumatic shock absorber is full with Aalen

We all know the fun of feeding a phrase into Babelfish repeatedly, to see it slowly transform into nonsense. Now the process has been automated. I tried with the Month Python classic "My hovercraft is full of eels" and ended with the beautiful gibberish of the title.

Posted by Claus at 12:49 AM
October 08, 2003
Awesome Geourl application

Some beautiful flash porn has been added to the Geourl universe. A map of the world checks the weblogs.com pings and then positions all geourl locatable feed updates on the map so you can see where in the world people are blogging.

Very elegant stuff...

Posted by Claus at 11:59 PM
Old school blaster doing new tricks

Meet The Bass-Station - an Old Skool ghetto blaster tricked out with Wifi and a hardrive. This makes it possible for this device to double as a portable ghetto file server while blasting out your mp3 collection of Run DMC 12" mash-ups.

Posted by Claus at 11:09 PM
Hands free word blogging

I was considering augmenting the previously mentioned MS Word blogging add-in with hands-free operation using speec recognition. A simple first test has changed my mind. The following sample was not quite the drunken nonsense when I said it as it was when the computer interpreted it

I'm currently using dictation to ensure a word document without typing. It almost works. Not everyone is picked up correctly and speeches prefer right now quash the words on misunderstood but maybe that is to be effective from Microsoft product. Contra Asian is not the job by the technician on the action expected to be

I saw Susan

Because the previous one simply had too many errors this one doesn't appear to be doing much better stuff all we needed to run some more training tests before I use the system full series rising on the other hand the results are entering text line is fine choir from .

I don't know who Susan is.

Posted by Claus at 06:48 PM
Send VeriSign packing

Dan Gillmor reports that VeriSign do indeed intend to reopen SiteFinder, and are completely nonrepentant wrt to their DNS hijacking. They will try to open this service again. They argue that there's nothing ICANN can do - under the current agreement - to stop them. That may or may not be the case. There is however one thing ICANN can and should do, and do today: Make an early decision that VeriSign's com/net franchise will not be renewed if we ever hear of SiteFinder again. What responsible management will decide on a plan to go out of business in 2007?

Posted by Claus at 06:19 PM
Just money

I once knew a happy, bright eyed, book reading guy named Just. He published his weblog, with rants and questions and ideas, in his native tongue Danish, and in English if the language fit the subject matter. Much like we do here at classy.dk. Lately things have changed. Just has been busy counting pennies from his AdSense account. It is beginning to affect his lifestyle. Now his blog posts are supposedly funny stories on how he tries to con his coworkers into paying his soft drinks and his Messenger ID - which used to be a statement of character - now simply tells you how much money he has made. How sad is that....

Posted by Claus at 12:34 PM
Start growing...NOW!

You can still make it to the World Beard and Moustache Championships

Posted by Claus at 10:06 AM
Is this the end for democracy, or the beginning?

A short, well concerted and well funded media campaign by a wealthy and popular media person was all it took to make Arnold Schwarzenegger governor of California. While fixed four year terms for governors are not a natural law or essential for the democratic process, some degree of consistency is. As some commentators say; now that the recall has been established as doable (its been tried 32 times in California after various elections) one has to expect more aggresive attempts to repeat the success in the future which will take away time and energy from real politics. The only good news - and some will argue it is enough good news, is that election turnout was high and the position of voters clear on both recall and preferred candidate. But there is no way to know if Schwarzenegger could have put together support like this in a regular election - the drama of the campaign goes well with his character. Nor is there any way to know if election turnout would have been as high for a regular election, so the recally may mean nothing for the political consciousness of californians at all. And finally one has to wonder what would have happened with an alternate democratic strategy of "Just say no", instead of the chosen "If you do say yes to recall,vote for a democrat". That plan just seems so wishy washy. Especially in a pure character election like this one, that is very dangerous.

Posted by Claus at 09:47 AM
October 07, 2003
Interesting calendar blunder

Jon Udell finds an interesting blunder in the calendaring of times. Calendars rarely allow for the possibility that an event happens in another time zone than the one in which it is recorded. I.e. I might like to publish some event that will occur on my next trip to New York, in New York local time, but that will look positively crazy in my Danish time zone calendar.
The initial thought on how to fix it would be "publish in ISO format, using the time zone offset of the place where the event occurs" - and wait for a better client to be smart about it.
Udell's observation may seem plain to Americans, but we Danes live in a country bound to one time zone and don't experience this kind of problem much. I am reminded of somebody's observation on some other blog on how the term syndication (as in RSS) has no intuition attached to it in many European countries, since many of them are so small (or so old world/big government) that all the major media aren't really served by networks, but just single companies with total regional reach.

Posted by Claus at 09:45 AM
Gibson goes gestating

One of the Corante bloggers lists William Gibson's cease from blogging as some kind of defeat. "It broke his train of thought". As previously reported it is more an observation about 'several modes of writing', blogging being a casual one. The good quote is that blogging is easy and risk free, but for serious writing you need serious risk.
A serious train breaker on the other hand was 911 as Gibson reflects in this Salon interview. We can all see it at work in Gibsons latest novel. In my opinion it is not really that succesful as a novel, being slightly superficial in some of its 'contemporanisms' (breaking the previous record for the use of the word Google in a novel), and storywise too much to formula. As everybody else I am grateful for having met the brand allergic cool hunter Cayce though.

(mental note: I like 'contemporanism' - I think I just coined that word. Must register the domain name NOW)

Posted by Claus at 09:05 AM
Google goes Evil?

I'm a "Google basher"-basher in general, but if it is true that You can't talk about AdSense if you're enrolled in the program, then I think Joi Ito is right. Google has gone evil. Which underlines the danger and/or power of adopting the "Don't be evil" mantra in the first place. What do you say Just? Is it true. Do you care? Am I wrong?. Extensive linkage on Kottke.
I think Google is basically forgetting that many AdSense'rs see themselves more as Google users than as Google business partners. No wonder they do, since AdSense is clearly marketd at small, hardly commercial, sites. Holding this astounding network of people linking to Google and Google's paying customers to the same kind of business agreements that you would hold corporations to just makes no sense. The outrage on the new Terms of Service clearly underlines the point: The people complaining are all independent, individual web publishers, who care little about profit and much about content.

The entiry story also underlines why you shouldn't mix your personal opinions with advertising in the first place.

Posted by Claus at 01:46 AM
The death of email

According to some reports the SoBig worm is wearing down the Internet. The level of spamming due to SoBig is so intense according to these reports that basic infracturtuce components are breaking. All of this via Ray Ozzie's weblog. I don't know that I'm on the outskirts of the web, living in one of the most connected countries in the world and working at an "Internet company" (The domain name registrar Ascio). But out here, mail still works fine. The traffic problem is real. I think we block 60% of all email we receive during business hours (and a much higher percentage in off hours), but I find it hard to believe that email will cease to function. It is still the killer app. Bigger than the web. It's what convinced my mother to get on the Internet.
Then there's the friction from unwanted and only partially relevant email. The mail you can't filter, since it might be important. This is the equivalent of 'friendly fire' in the spam wars. I'm sure many people receive enough mail, that it has ceased to be a person to person communications system for them, functioning instead like a statistical 'contact meter'.
Ozzie wants us to use Groove instead, and asks rhetorically There is NO possibility of sustainable constraints on email - a fundamentally unaccountable medium. Are we surprised when we can't do productive work in an uncontrollable medium?. Well, yes. What does not surprise me is how I fail to do productive work in controlled media. Open, many authored, heterogenous media rock. Closed, single authored, homogenous media aren't media at all. They are documents no matter how distributed they look. And that immediately takes away value.
Obviously, for many tasks a level of control is exactly what we need, but for general purpose writing and communication I'll take the most open, anarchistic medium I can get.

Posted by Claus at 01:27 AM
Lynx does IDN

When preparing my danish language site Håndtegnsguiden I found out that many browsers aren't ready for Internationalized Domain Names. Internet Explorer mostly is set up for Race encoded names, which is not the proposed standard everybody is adopting, and if your Mozilla is a little old (like half a year or so) then that too fails to handle IDN names properly. To help people debug the problem I set up an error page that will load if they have the wrong (version of their) browser. I was sad to be unable to give suggestions on how to handle IDN's for Lynx - the worlds favourite text only browser. My colleague Bo was of the same mind, and unlike me he still hacks C (I miss it in a twisted masochistic way. Simplicity is so cool). So this is a preannouncement of Bo's IDN hack for Lynx. See the screenshots of håndtegn.classy.dk loaded in lynx! A patch will be made available on classy.dk once it's a little more stable.

Posted by Claus at 12:41 AM
October 05, 2003
Siegfried and Roy cancelled. after attack

Apparantly The Mirage has cancelled Siegfried and Roy's animal act after Roy's Siberian tiger accident. While hoping Roy makes it out of hospital OK, one wonders what will happen next. Will David Copperfield actually disappear?

Posted by Claus at 11:24 PM
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Blogging is a type of publishing that allows, at the same time and equalized by the blogging format itself, both a) nice summations on how we read, with some clever notes of common metaphors for interpretation and b) this blog (in Danish, but just looking at the layout and coloring gives you an idea on the content) with personal stuff, an almost diary. There's a nice (and selfconscious/selfmocking) subtitle on the second blog: "Information or Narcissism?".

That's quite a span of information. I can't think of another medium that succesfully covers that much ground. The interesting thing is that this still works as a medium, and still stays one medium. Both sites are clearly weblogs, and both sites work as expression.

Posted by Claus at 03:21 AM
October 04, 2003
SiteFinder goes to sleep

VeriSigns abominable SiteFinder service will be suspended after ICANN pressure to do so.
No news yet on whether this is for good though. I still think the campaign to oust VeriSign as the keeper of .com and .net should begin...

Posted by Claus at 06:58 PM
October 02, 2003
Og Norge erkender at det 20ende ?rhundrede har fundet sted...

Kun 3 ?r for sent tr?der Norge ind i det 20ende ?rhundrede idet voksencensuren for film afskaffes. Det var da p? tide.

Posted by Claus at 09:53 PM
Ordrupgaard f?r en spand havre

Om 4 dage starter det eksklusive nybyggeri p? Ordrupgaard, tegnet af en af arkitekturens virkelige stars, Zaha Hadid. En kolossal befrielse med en bygning der ikke er af Henning Larsen.

Posted by Claus at 09:49 PM
Nobelpriser og intellektuel dovenskab

Hvert eneste ?r, n?r modtagern af ?rets Nobelpris i litteratur annonceres, lyder nyhedsd?kningen p? at 'ham er det nok de f?rreste der kender'. Det er bare ren myte at nobelkomiteen er snobbet, og det er irriterende og altfor dansk hvert ?r at sige det.
I virkeligheden har nobelpriskomiteen ihvertfald 6 af de sidste 10 ?r udpeget anerkendte og forholdsvis bredt l?ste, allerede til dansk oversatte, forfattere (Coetzee, Naipaul, Grass, Saramago, Fo, Heaney). Hvor snobbet er det?

Myten er muligvis baseret p? de 10 ?r f?r disse, hvor en politisk satsning p? litteratur fra 'nye lande' var i centrum for nobeltildelingerne, men det ti?r er i virkeligheden en enlig svale. Kigger man l?ngere tilbage i tiden i nobelprislisten s? er det sv?rt at finde d?kning for p?standen om snobberi. M?ngder af usnobbede forfattere, element?rt dygtige fort?llere, har f?et prisen. De navne man ikke kan genkende understreger pointen: Det er ikke en selvf?lge, ej heller for en nobelpristager, at man ikke g?r i glemmebogen. Alligevel er listen fyldt godt op med kendte og l?ste navne.

Posted by Claus at 09:37 PM
While you are waiting for my Ars E. coverage

You can read a piece about Software Art on kopenhagen.dk aka k?benhavn.nu.

Posted by Claus at 04:26 PM

'Vesterbro respekt' er et populært håndtegn i et af Københavns såkaldte 'brokvarterer'. Det kastes ved at højrehånd foldes til 'V-tegn' altså:

  1. Stræk pege- og langefinger idet man holder fingrene adskilt med mellem 10 og 20 graders vinkel.

  2. Fold ring- og lillefinger ind over håndfladen. Tommelen foldes med over de andre foldede fingre.

  3. Højrehånden anbringes, så de foldede fingre hviler på brystkassen lige der hvor hjertet slår.

  4. Tegnet afsluttes ved at højrehånden føres fra hjertet i en pegende bevægelse ud mod den person som Vesterbrorespekten tildeles idet man siger "Vesterbro respekt!"

Yderligere håndtegn vil om kort tid kunne findes på Håndtegnsguiden.

Posted by Claus at 10:32 AM
Broken safety instructions

You really prefer your airplane safety instruction card to be simple and impossible to misread. I.e. nothing like these Norwegian safety instructions:

'Please steal life jacket from seat in front of you' or 'Throw suitcase over shoulder while folding table', or ...

Via Good Experience

Posted by Claus at 12:42 AM