November 30, 2003
Nigerian government to fight "Nigerian letter" scams

It almost sounds like a joke, but apparently "Nigerian letters" are considered a public relations disaster by the Nigerian government, so a crack down is planned.

Posted by Claus at 03:39 AM
Chicks unite to increase parent-pestering

Parents succumbing to excessive christmas present shopping: Don't feel bad, you're just letting nature take its course.

Posted by Claus at 03:30 AM
November 29, 2003
Aspirin is the debugger of hangovers.

If you work right you don't need a debugger says Uncle Bob. He wants us to do uncompromising test driven development and Get It Right The First Time.
That's like saying that Aspirin is bad for you, since if you don't drink, do exercise, don't work too hard, do get your sleep and do eat healthy foods all the time you will never have a headache. Aspirin is the debugger of hangovers.

I am hung over. I happen to like the conversational style of development that relies on the debugger, and as I have written before I think it is the way of the future, buf of course he has a valid point: When you make things simpler you make it easier for people to accomplish their work mindlessly. You should not let idiotic programmers work mindlessly.

Via Sam Ruby

Posted by Claus at 10:41 PM
Broadcast without broadcasters ?

Following on a question by Tim Bray, Raph Levien considers whether or not BitTorrent is a game changer:

There's another impact BT is poised to make. Now, all of a sudden, digital video is on the computer technology curve, not the video technology curve. HDTV has been the video technology of the future for about 20 years now. I still don't have any HDTV gear, but I've watched some movie trailers in 720p, downloaded using BitTorrent, of course. HD isn't widespread yet, but all you need is 3 GHz computers instead of 1 GHz, nice monitors, and fast DSL like they have in Korea. Does anyone seriously doubt that this will happen, and soon?
Now that everybody who's online is so thorougly disenchanted with the stupidity of broadcast television, and now that the size of this digital elite is a sizable double digit percentage of (some) industrialized countries [TODO: Insert link to other persons blog post mentioning some high percentage] should we expect to start seeing things like independent news broadcasting that never really originated on television Should we expect another online media first for next years presidential election?

Infrequently Asked Question
Q: Why are you interested in broadcast at all. Isn' t P2P (that's Point To Point) supposed to be The Right Thing To Do?
A: Massivily parallel reception of the same message is not necessariliy evil. It can be a powerful coherence builder. And coherence can be good.

Posted by Claus at 10:25 PM
Weblogging will explode or die

This note by Tom Mangan comments on the notion that a particular subset of the political environment have taken blogs to be 'their' technology - grassrotsy by definition:

...anything perceived good guy Howard Dean can do with technology can be replicated by his enemies (it's possible I glazed over this part, it's long article). Team Bush has $200 million and six months to play catch-up. It also has talk radio, the Fox Network and all the warbloggers on its side, plus the population's inherent tendency to side with the current prez during wartime. The Web knows no politics, it just offers politicians another way to get people to the polls.

(link via Doc Searls)

I think that underlines a point I tried to make recently (in Danish) : If there is a coherent "Blogging universe" with a shared culture, then that is a temporary phenomenon caused by the fact that technology early adopters tend be more alike than people in general. The format will either explode (as it gets adopted and co-opted into thousands of contexts) or die (because of the decreasing signal/noise ratio as everybody starts posting).

The comment reminds me of Douglas Rushkoff's much publicised joke about "Return of The Jedi": What if Darth Vader hat gotten to the gullible Ewoks first and tricked them into believing that his was the good cause.

Posted by Claus at 07:16 PM
More language logging

There's Language Log and there's Lambda the Ultimate for natural and artificial languages respectively...

Posted by Claus at 06:10 PM
Undersized iframes

I think this page uses iframes very nicely. They do something like this:

Sample material for the article is included in iframes that are sized to the flow of the text. The content inside the frames is available for scrolling and further examination, but the flow of the article isn't broken.
Frames as part of page compositing (those ugly "homepage" menus) are just ugly and non functional, but here it's really just a visual resource that just happens to be a website. That's much better,

Posted by Claus at 02:14 PM is about "Unstructured Information Management", and has a tutorial on what that means (roughly "search, data mining, text analysis"). It's maybe a too business oriented (i.e. non technical), but still sounds just like knowledge I would like. Bookmarked.

Posted by Claus at 01:57 PM
November 28, 2003
Endelig var den der : Hellywood

Jeg har spekuleret meget på hvilket gadenavn man kunne give min mand Bo Helleskov. Det er ikke let, dér - "Bo" er ret lidt materiale at køre på. Har prøvet mig frem med BoSD (Bo kører NetBSD), eller Hell'steren - i analogi til Justeren. Men pludselig slog det mig at man da skal bruge hele efternavnet, så derfor så er det fra i dag af


der er det officielle gadenavn på Hell'steren.

Posted by Claus at 04:19 PM
November 27, 2003
To tomler op for Tveskov

Jeg må lige sende en dosis Vesterbrorespekt:

til Bjarne Tveskov for BlogAmok. To tomler op Tveskov. Tak fordi du mindede mig om hvorfor det var jeg ikke skal til blogforum - udover de andre aftaler:

Jeg får nervøse trækninger i mundvigene når jeg hører ordene “weblog community”. Blot fordi nogen har brugt ti minutter på at sætte en Blogger account op, ønsker de ikke nødvendigvis permanent medlemsskab i Landsforeningen Af Folk Med Hang Til Omvendt Kronologisk Ordnede Tekstbidder. Jeg er ikke del af noget blogging community mere end jeg er en del af det globale e-mail/PowerPoint/Messenger community eller verdenssammenslutningen af mennesker der er online.

Så sandt, så sandt. + på det meste af teksten i det hele taget. Hvis du gerne vil lave det til en brochure til på fredag vil jeg godt være med til at betale trykkeren.

Posted by Claus at 03:17 AM
November 26, 2003
Ballmer debunked

Groklaw - the SCO lawsuit debunking site - is expanding its debunking business. In the linked article Steve Ballmer's recent claims on Windows versus Linux security are debunked with vigor. Groklaw is great.

I'm not going to this friday and saturday (Yes I really should - but it's the last business day of the month, and in the evening I'm going to the annual reunion of alumni of "Regensen" and saturday I will be hung over from friday's reunion) but gladly concede the point that GrokLaw probably woulnd't exist without the recent easy access to community software like blogs.

Posted by Claus at 08:49 PM
Browser market share around here

Tim Bray has other figures but a recent survey of some of the sites close to Classy shows a consistent Mozilla market share of approx 10% for surfers visiting these sites. That's not too shabby. For it is in fact a little bit higher than 10% (approx 14%) but traffic is pretty minimal also. The most interesting one among them is since that has by far the biggest traffic of the surveyed sites. This indicates that Mozilla has made it at least some way outside the pure geek demographic.

Posted by Claus at 07:12 PM
Meta styrelize

Sleeper hittet nåede endelig mainstream medier:
Idag har Politiken historien. Så nu man man styrelize styrelizeren - politikenized!

Rygter taler om snarlig dækning på Københavns Radio.

What a difference a link makes: Styrelizeren tiltede fuldstændig efter linket. Efter frokost steg trafikken til > 1 hit i sekundet, sårn lidt mere end den havde haft før på en dag, dér.
Til sidst blev vi nødt til at lynreimplementere styrelizeren så den kunne køre på en anden server (ASP/Win32 -> Perl/Linux) med bedre performance. Nu skulle 'lizeren være bedre til at klare mosten.
Andre sites har mere trafik men jeg er glad for jeg hørte på Justeren da han sagde man ikke kunne køre 'lizeren hjemme på køkkenserveren, som var blevet stegt af belastningen.

[Memo til arbejdsgiver : Den forbrugte tid er så rigeligt proppet tilbage i kageskuffen senere på dagen]

Posted by Claus at 02:19 PM
November 24, 2003
IBM delivers on Blue Gene promises

The previously specified compression and power efficiency of the IBM Blue Gene project (previous mention here, here, and here) has now been realised albeit in a small scale system. Of particular interest is the fact that the new IBM prototype is as fast as the fastest machine in Denmark. The IBM fills up half a rack. The Danish Linux cluster consists of 500 PC's. Truly a remarkable difference, and evidence that the age of custom high performance hardware is not nearly over yet.

Posted by Claus at 07:46 PM
Fra Styrelizeren skal man høre sandheden

Styrelizeren har en fantastisk even til at sige sandheden om det danske samfund:

Danske politifolk er sgu nada racistiske, øh, men, fuck, de dér diskriminere mellem hvide danskerer og folk med en stylet Subaru og en anden hudfarve, dér.

Tror jeg nok på! - Læs selv videre på Det svedigste levende net.

Posted by Claus at 06:53 PM
"Italien har flest svindlere og pensionister"

Det er ikke mig der siger det. Det er en overskrift i dagens udgave af Børsen. Jeg glæder mig til de gennemgår nogen andre lande: "Finnen har let til kniven", "Danskerne drikker øl og spiser gris" osv.
Bag overskriften ligger en tilforladelig artikel om risici for eksportører til Italien.

Posted by Claus at 03:01 PM
November 22, 2003
Two Towers extended edition: The Ents still not what they seem (to me, that is)

I just saw the extended edition of The Two Towers - the second part of The Lord of the Rings. It really works. It doesn't seem long and adds some useful additional storytelling. It does not however correct the poor treatment given to the subject of the Ents.
One of the sad things about a film of a book with as much potential for self-imagining as The Lord of the Rings is that one's own visual memories of the story are being supplanted by the now canonical imagery of the film. In this film that particularly affects the Ents. The treatment of the Ents was the only major disappointment when LOTR-TTT (no that's too geeky) The Two Towers came out. They were too smal and looked too much like people in the film. According to my imagination, they were not supposed to have legs, they just mysteriously moved about. The film does justice to the descriptions in the book, but not - in this particular case - to my imagination.
One of the problems with making a film of The Lord of The Rings is that a lot of the action is only described after the fact in rather distant third person narrative. An example of that is the capture of Isengard. In the book only the results are described. The Ents come off not so much as big tree-like men who can fight, but as some kind of sentient natural force that, once awakened, is irresistible. In the film it is just a fight between some very big guys and some slightly smaller guys, which takes away a lot of the Entish mystery. Finally, the Ents are not tricked by the hobbits into taking on Saruman, but decide so on their own. Again the film version reduces the impact of the Ents. Instead of being a race of powerful secretive beings, they are somewhat ridiculous tree-herders who can be tricked.

Posted by Claus at 11:26 PM
BPEL resource center

At work I am part of a team that develops a process engine, so this BPEL resource center is of immediate interest to me. BPEL is promising, and also - having a solid theoretical base (PDF) - interesting.
It is however - and this seems to be a big-iron XML theme - gunky. Check out the sample scripts for examples of this. E.g. this representation of "output=4/2".
I'm all for metadata and machinable information, but there are costs. A painfully obvious one is that it will take a high level of tooling to make this healthy for programmers to consume and produce.

Posted by Claus at 04:46 AM
Classy i MS bashing fælde

Hmmm, måske var jeg lidt langt ude i Microsoft-bashing hampen, da jeg mukkede over MS office schema publiceringen Ihvertfald er det ugens absolutte IT nyhed i blogland. Alle har historien, komplet med factsene om Danmark om IT foregangsland. Scor et point for Sander, Videnskabsministeriet og OIO. Der gøres hæderligt arbejde i gode sagers tjeneste.


Hvis det her var et hvilketsomhelst andet firma end Microsoft så havde man sagt. "OK, godt gået. Det er det rigtige at gøre og det er fedt at I også er med på at gøre det rigtige". Man har vænnet sig til den slags åben adfærd fra de fleste store leverandører.

Posted by Claus at 04:26 AM
November 20, 2003
A Classy Dilemma

I'm caught in a bit of a problem here at I recently updated the style of my main index for better readability (with the help of Justeren 500)). But the update means that less text fits on the screen, which means that my style of having decently sized entries on the front page really kills the site: Usually only one story is visible - and since I try to maintain a strange mix between two languages and between the non technical and the technical, that means that I'll alienate most of my readers most of my time.
Essentially I am in need of several blogs - not one. I think at some point in the near future the main page will just be an index to those streams - with some lead stories of general interest.

Posted by Claus at 10:46 AM
RESTing is easy

I don't understand comments like REST is hard to understand. As far as I can understand people like Tim Bray, all they are saying is "Why invent an abstraction that convolutes requests for information when HTTP already has all the API you really need". What's hard about that?
Dave Winer has invented this meme that REST is hazy philosphy while all he is being is a practical programmer with code to ship. HTTP and xml parsers hazy philosophy? In perl you can get a long way with LWP and XML::Simple.
People have different programming styles, but I have a feeling that this craving for toolkits is caused by the dizzyness caused by realizing that there really isn't more to it than that. It feels like cheating.
Obviously when the simplicity breaks - i.e. when a resource referenced by a uri isn't static enough for the uri to be useful in repeated GET requests for example - then you want to do something else.

Posted by Claus at 03:12 AM
Blacklisting is no good II

Like I said just a little while ago, blacklist are evil no matter what reason you had for having them. Here's a case in point: Censorware generally censors blogs. That's a lot to miss to stay porn free. In fact I think you could argue that censoring technology this broad shouldn't even be legal - certainly not for any public system. That smacks a little too much of government censorship to be acceptable. Of course the tendency is to go the other way - since public systems (e.g. school computer rooms) need to fight complaint from a varied group of conservatives and the generally anxious.

Posted by Claus at 02:44 AM
City Alert! Television of the future

I just saw a Swedish documentary on Brazilian crime TV show Cidade Alerta and it was truly an eye opening experience.
The show is the realization of every classic nightmare about invasive, meaningless, live TV turning reality into entertainment while millions watch. The show features live crime TV, but really, really up close in a way that is just not possible in Europe:

  • TV helicopters are airborne for the duration of the show. This is not so spectacular since it is common elsewhere also.
  • Reporters follow police on the ground during calls. They ride along as part of police chases.
  • Suspects are interviewed by reporters at the same time as they are taken into police custody. The rights of the suspects are clearly not so important, since the police officers at the scene seem to happily allow this
  • While the show is on the air we see the producers wrestling with tough questions like this "I have a helicopter circling over the corrupt mayor. Can I stop that to prioritize a child run over by a car?"
  • The tough looking anchor puts on an outrageous show. His finest moment: After reporting the story of a murderer who has just killed his second wife after being released from jail on a sentence for killing his first wife, he launches into an amazing diatribe "You swine! You bastard! You shouldn't be free! You shouldn't live. You deserve a truly ugly wife"
  • (Yes he did say the line with the wife according to the subtitles).
  • While shouting these insults at the camera the anchor 'chops' the palm of one hand in the air with the edge of the other hand - karate style. And - and I am not making this up - as his hands meet, the producers augment the effect of his rage by adding a gunshot sound as one hand impacts on the other.

    This is the realization of classic media nightmares, from 1984 to Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Running Man". I guess it was to be expected that this lowest of all lowest common denominators would come from South America, where poverty is extreme and desires correspondingly elementary

    Posted by Claus at 01:27 AM
  • November 19, 2003
    Bedre Busck Boghandel

    Arnold Buscks elektroniske boghandel er blevet kraftigt forbedret. Den bruger ikke længere frames, så nu virker produktlinks (som de bør) som adgang til hele siden - og så er den meget mere clean og overskuelig at se på end den var før. Det eneste der decideret ikke er godt nok er desværre også ret vigtigt. Det er praktisk taget umuligt at få noget ud af søgning i butikken, hvis altså ikke man kan den titel man søger helt præcist.
    Alt det fandt jeg ud af da jeg rettede produktlinket til en CD med Prins Gustav Ensemblet.

    Posted by Claus at 01:31 PM
    Still not into flash

    While I'm still working on the "There are way too many Jakob Nielsen bashers" rant, here a list of the things not to like about flash as observed on danish moblogging upstart

    • Links don't work like they should I right click something that looks like a URL and get a stinking Flash player control menu. I want to 'copy link' or 'open in new window'.

    • GUI animation sucks Yes, graphical user interfaces occasionally beat the command line (well, most of the time tehy do - it's just that when they don't they are so very annoying) - but slow show-off information free GUI animations are never what makies GUIs great
    • . In fact I would like to proposa a temporal version of the Data/Ink ratio: The Use/Wait ratio: How much of the time the user spends in front of the site is spent with the information the user is interested in. A low Use/Wait ratio is indicative of bad design. GUI animation decreases the u/w.
    • Copy-paste bites OK, this looks intentional - but even 'non link' text on this site is animation hell. I just want to copy-paste.

    • Don't steal the bloody keyboard They have permalinks for individial moblog entries. Manually added to compensate for flash-suck, but still - they remembered to add them. The implementation is broken however: Clicking doesn't jump it selects. This is so counterintuitive they had to add text to explain it. Once I've copypasted the URL to the clip board I wan't to 'Alt-d' to the address bar. But I can't. The flash player has stolen the keyboard actions from the browser.

    • Useless uses of flash just break everything There is nothing about the content of this site that makes flash essential. It is just a list of pictures. The sum of the above is a lot of breakage.

    I'll stop being cranky now.

    Posted by Claus at 02:56 AM
    Er der blevet grinet tiltrækkeligt af den nye formand for danmarks største rederi, Mærsk, hedder Pram?

    Posted by Claus at 02:14 AM
    November 18, 2003
    Pludselig hænger min verden sammen

    ...når Per Nørgaard er på Google's top ti for søgeordet ostemad.

    Posted by Claus at 03:18 AM
    E. Goldstein

    Not only is Emanuel Goldstein the famous 'enemy of the people' from 1984 - there's an an actual Emanuel Goldstein. And I'm not talking about the editor of 2600 - named after the Orwell character. No, the real Emanual Goldstein was a writer in Copenhagen. I'm sure though that if I looked a little harder I would find others. I wonder if your luck if worse when you're Emanuel Goldstein than when you're David Nelson.

    Posted by Claus at 02:38 AM
    Other laws used beyond (what should be) their intention

    The DMCA is not the only law put forward recently that is too broad and is being misused because of that. John Allen Muhammad 'The Washington Sniper' has been found guilty of 'terrorism'. While his crime was terrible and he did, in a broad sense, terrorize the public, I think terrorism has to be understood as something saner (hence more dangerous), more organized and more 'intentful'. A lone gunman is hardly ever a terrorist, and to qualify he would have to fit into a broader picture of threats than this outrageous series of murders.
    Muhammad may end up being convicted of the crimes feared while he was still on the loose (namely organized domestic terrorism) instead of the crimes he committed (a series of meaningless murders).

    Posted by Claus at 01:24 AM
    November 17, 2003
    Helge Sander i Microsoft PR fælde

    Fantastisk nyhed i Politiken idag. Helge Sander (eller Politikens journalist) må have overset at en af de nye features i Office 2003 er at dokumenter nu er i XML format, så det er en meget lille indrømmelse fra Microsoft nu at "åbne formaterne" - tværtimod er det smart for MS, for man er nødt til at opgradere sin Office til den nye (noget det ellers kan være svært at finde en grund til) for at informationerne er nyttige. I Politiken er det blevet "Helge Sander har talt et alvorsord med Bill Gates". As if.
    Der er en flig nyttig information i historien, nemlig den at MS faktisk har offentliggjort skemaerne for words XML format - men det var jo blevet reverse-engineeret indenfor nogle uger eller måneder alligevel.

    [UPDATE] MS giver faktisk også regeringen positivt spin for samarbejdet, så måske er jeg for kynisk. Jeg tror nu på at det er et tilfælde at Danmark lige kom først - det må have været et planlagt træk fra starten af.

    Det betyder dog måske at denneher MS bashing historie er en skrøne.

    Posted by Claus at 03:20 PM
    Life during the prohibition

    I still hope that we will one day remember the last few years as "The Prohibition". This time it is ideas and knowledge sharing that is outlawed and not alcolhol - which of course makes this prohibition a lot nastier than the last one. But there are so many similarities. The law is patently absurd (pun intended) completely out of step with reality and everybody is violating the law all the time.

    Here's a round up of reasons the DMCA should be repealed

    1. The DMCA makes it simpler to rig elections...

    2. attacking free speech

    3. It is being applied in attempts to hinder innovation,

    4. and increase market inefficencies by removing information

    5. to the detriment of consumers

    Posted by Claus at 01:18 AM
    November 15, 2003
    Why blacklisting is a bad idea

    Burningbird is moving because the previous hosting service unfortunately ended up on a spam blacklist. Blacklists are no good. Running blacklists to fight spam is the internet geek equivalent of joining the NRA to protect yourself agains burglary. This is the general observation. There are nice blacklists, open relay blockers with automated and fast 'test and remove' services. Those are good ideas.

    Posted by Claus at 03:27 AM
    Influenza-epidemi kan bremses med en stylet Subaru og stoffet selen

    Der er ingen ende på Styrelizeren:

    En influenza-epidemi er på vej til da DK, dér. 3.000 hjemmedrenge risikere at miste en Puch Maxi og livet af sygdommen, dér. F**k. Nu anbefaler læger, øh, at danskerne spiser stoffet selen, øh, som hvaddenu, gør vira i kroppen f**king micro farlige, dér. Årets epidemi vil især ramme børn og unge. :o) *LOL*

    Læs videre på det svedigste levende net:

    Posted by Claus at 12:00 AM
    November 14, 2003

    Jeg bryder mig ikke om at være udhacket af Justeren - og han var først med Styrelizeren. Nu har jeg imidlertid optaget forfølgelsen. Min teknologiplatform er klar til utallige transformatorer. Men til en start kan jeg anbefale Røversprogilizeren. Dodenon ovoverorsosætottoteror JoJusostot-BoBlologog fofinontot.
    HVis man ikke er til den kan man prøve med Kinisirilizirin.

    Posted by Claus at 06:00 AM
    Lille Daddy Claus "Vanilla Dogg" og storer Claus, dér
    Der varer i en By to Mænd, øh, som hvaddenu, begge havde selv samme Navn, øh, begge to hed de dér Claus, øh, men, fuck, den dersens ene eiede firer Heste og den dersens anden kun en eneste Hest; for nu at kunne skille dem directly fra hinanden, øh, kaldte man ham, øh, som hvaddenu, havde firer Heste, øh, den dersens storer Claus, øh, og ham, øh, som hvaddenu, kun havde den dersens ene Hest, øh, fucking micro Claus, dér. Fuck. Nu skulle vi hører, øh, hvorledes de dér to havde det, øh, for det svedigste er sygt meget en virkelig Historie!
    H.C. Andersen - Styrelized. Læs videre her.
    Posted by Claus at 01:33 AM
    November 13, 2003
    Browser menu smartness

    My friends know me as the undesigner. I can make anything look ugly. But even I was impressed with the simplicity of these super clean CSS menus. The menu content renders like "just a list" so the semantics - and the lynx display of this example looks perfect and well organized (see for yourself). That's exactly the point of CSS. It is such a pity that MS XAML appears to have dropped the content/styling separation.
    The menus drop some of their styling when transitioning from item to item, when I view them in IE, but that is probably fixable.

    Posted by Claus at 11:58 PM
    Det Psdseae Selt Ikke

    De mgnae hsrtiieor om at baotsgvpooiistn ikke slplier en rlloe var niglarutivs en sønkre. Den er nu bveelt erftfkroest.
    Hvis der var noget i historien havde NY Times givetvis ikke i årevis haft et bogstavpuslepil i stil med detteher

    Her står noget mere præcist om i hvilken grad det passer.

    Posted by Claus at 11:36 PM
    Data/Ink Ratio

    I was unfamiliar with the notion of the Data/Ink ratio of a piece of infographics. It's exactly what is says: How much information is presented compared to how much ink you put on the page to present it. When the d/i is low the page is overdecorated and you're not really communicating the data as much as presenting the ink.
    I read about it on ongoing. Which even has a very clear illustration of the kind of thinking that accompanies the concept.
    Must find the time to buy the book of "The Jakob Nielsen of quantitative visuals".

    Meanwhile [shifts into danish] hvis du vil vide noget mere om hvordan det er med det der form og det der indhold så kan jeg varmt anbefale Holgers fremragende artikel om brugsgrafik fra UCMag #1 (pdf 3MB). Det er historien om Betydning, Organisation og Skønhed.

    Posted by Claus at 10:27 PM
    November 12, 2003
    Geriatric disco

    You may remember the doped out Finnish digimon characters. Now the Finn's are doing the same thing to disco (Windows Media). Beatiful instructions for the not so young on how to disco properly.

    Posted by Claus at 04:25 PM
    Mixed mode source and XML

    Not only am I now slightly underwhelmed by the XAML "Hello world", I am also mystified why anobdy would care about it in the face of the coolness of hassle free C# source embedded XML. That makes sense - and looks good on screen, and is conceivable as handwritten too. Easily the best syntax for rich embedded data since ... the perl heterogenous hash and array.
    I've blogged about this syntax proposal before.

    Posted by Claus at 04:16 AM
    Mechanize it!

    And here I've been using homespun perl scripts using LWP, HTTP::Request and HTML::Form to automate web interactions when I could have just used WWW::Mechanize which nicely combines the above modules into one convenient package for walking through websites.
    It doesn't really do anything that isn't in the synopsis of the other three modules, but facades are nice.

    Posted by Claus at 03:32 AM
    November 11, 2003
    "Scan. Jump. Learn"

    I couldn't agree more with David Weinberger - these notes on what it is we want from the semantic web are great. There's a human thought mode that just clicks with The Web's organization (unsurprising, since The Web was made for it) - one is tempted to paraphrase the Apple slogan to characterize the way it works : "Scan. Jump. Learn".

    Burningbirds objection to the Semantic Web Vision is related to the Personalized vs Customized distinction. The usual Semantic Web dream is one of "smart environments" - and that's just not what we want. We want to be smarter ourselves. We want to preserve the notion that we are the ones acting on our environment. We do not want the environment to act on our behalf.

    Posted by Claus at 08:10 PM
    Styrelizeren er gået i beta

    Nu kan du læse dine yndlingsnyhedsmedier på et moderne mundret SMS dansk, med hjælp fra Styrelizeren som netop er gået i beta. Prøv f.eks. hvordan Berlingeren sygt meget kører efter helt andre rulez, dér, som STYRE!!!

    Posted by Claus at 12:11 PM
    Berlingske Stiftstidende

    Nu har jeg ikke lige et eksemplar af Stiften ved hånden, men sådan som jeg husker den så minder Berlingerens nye layout mig meget om Århus Stiftstidende for sådan en 5 år siden. Er det fedt, husker jeg fuldstændig skævt eller hvad er forklaringen?

    Posted by Claus at 04:08 AM
    Danse, løbe, skrive, tegne, elske, onanere

    Regeringen og Dansk Folkeparti er blevet enige om at lukke den næstsidste bastion for 70er levnet projektkultur som kører under banneret "Projektet er alt, og indholdet intet". Der er mange pæne ting at sige om dynamisk projektkultur - bl.a. det at det er vigtigt at udrette noget, og at det i stor udstrækning lykkes for dynamiske projektkulturer. Og slagtningen virker ganske overordentlig politisk, uddannelsens minimale bevilling taget i betragtning.
    Men det er også helt utrolig overordentlig let at se hvad det er ved uddannelsen der pisser Pia Kjærsgaard af. Her er f.eks. et interview med Uffe Elbæk fra DR's P1. Hvis man ikke vidste bedre skulle man tro der var tale om en radiosatire om de overvintrede socialister og deres kulturpolitiske kødben. Check det selv på denne afkrydsningsliste for rigtige og 'stærke' holdninger:

    Hvad kan du bedst lide at foretage dig?
    Danse, løbe, skrive, tegne, elske, onanere
    Dine yndlingsforfattere?
    Inge Eriksen…jeg nøjes med en!
    Dine yndlingslyrikere?
    Allan Ginsburg
    Dine helte i det virkelige liv?
    På det store plan: Aung San Suu kyi, nobelprisvinder og folkets præsident i Burma…igen, igen. Og det samme hvad gælder Nelson Mandella og den måske kommende præsident i Brasilien Lula.
    På det hjemmelige DK-plan: Inge Eriksen
    Dine heltinder i historien?
    Rosa Luxemborg,
    Hvad afskyr du mest af alt?
    Racistisk vold!
    Hvilke historiske personer foragter du mest?
    Hitler, Stalin, Franco, Pinochet… name all the bastards!
    Hvilken militær bedrift beundrer du mest?
    Den spanske bogerkrig….selvom den endte forkert!

    Posted by Claus at 12:43 AM
    November 10, 2003
    Robot bands

    (Download 1.2 MB jpg version of image)
    It turns out that the Japanese robotic band, Maywa Denki's Tsukuba series of instruments that I saw in concert this summer at Ars Electronica is not alone on the robotic music front. There is also Captured! By Robots - and they have videos.

    Posted by Claus at 06:52 PM
    Shorting the singularity in 2015

    OK, so the attempt to establish a virtual exchange for current events futures was widely ridiculed and the ability to bet on presidential assasinations consequently taken down, you can in fact bet in the same fashion on new technology courtesy of Technology Review. Current futures traded cover the mundane "Will Oracle acquire Peoplesoft?" as well as the more long range questions "When will there be a commercially available electronic device using ultrawideband technology?".

    Posted by Claus at 02:27 AM
    November 09, 2003
    Shirky: Semantic Web DOA

    A new piece by Clay Shirky on the semantic web is making the log rounds.
    His basic point: The notion of inference at the core of the semantic web effort is just plain wrong. I couldn't agree more, and in fact if you're an ardent follower you should know this already from this, this or this post.
    [UPDATED] ...see full text for details

    The basic problem may be summarized
    Knowledge is bottom-up not top-down,
    - meaning that knowledge is assembled from our sensory data by inferencing.
    That in turn has as a consequence the following important observation:

    Any interpretation of the information/knowledge that hits us is cool as
    long as it is useful. As an important example, consistency is an
    artifact of usefulness not the other way around
    , and consistency is not
    a NECESSARY artefact in any way. Consistency is one of the ways we use
    to reduce the search space of useful ideas we have to examine before
    emitting information into the world again.

    The inferencing part of the semantic web assumes that usefulness comes from consistency, and that is just wrong. It is also a throwback to the 'old AI' of expert systems and knowledge bases.

    The quote above are from some unpublished personal notes of mine, so the blockquote is really just there for emphasis, not attribution.

    Useful collection of commentary on intertwingly. As highlighted by people criticizing Shirky's essay it is a stretch to equate teh attempt at rule engine formalisms and the semantic web. There is no specific agenda as to how the semantic web data is to be constructed or queried, it's just that some of the backers are working on rule engine formalisms.

    Posted by Claus at 03:34 AM
    XAML roundup

    Apart from the discussion on whether or not XAML is evil, there is the other question of what the point is exactly and there's a good thread on that on Intertwingly.
    It seems the basic conclusion is that it is a format for specifying (i.e. serializing) CLR composites. Allowing for class definition, property setting, object instantiation and event registration (but 'event' is a datatype, so that's just special property setting) this is about as flexible as you would like. It's not new - it's just new for .NET.
    On reading Don Box' "Hello World" sample in XAML it seems that this generalized perception of XAML as an XML language for CLR composites also is a good starting point for sneaking intentional programming into .NET. Through the structure of XML one gets for free the ability to mix new meanings into the source code format and/or compositing the source from a repository of fragments.

    The only sad thing is the gunkiness of Box' example. It's even worse than the generic Java "Hello World". Code in this format will not be generally consumabe as text - only through some rich development environment.

    Posted by Claus at 03:00 AM
    Blogging vil ikke længere ligne blogging

    David Weinberger skriver om fremtiden for blogging, og det gør Dave Winer også. Det basale pitch er: Web enabled diskussion - afstanden fra email til blogs vil aftage efterhånden som flere og flere blogger. Flere og flere blogs vil være private. Og endelig noterer Weinberger hvad jeg opfatter som indlysende at mange blogs slet ikke vil blive opfattet sådan fordi de pga deres cirkulation fungerer helt anderledes end en "person til person" blog med begrænset cirkulation. (f.eks. vil deres kommentar links ligne Amazon book recommendation mere end threaded samtale).
    Jeg synes begge indlæg understreger min tidligere pointe.

    Posted by Claus at 02:31 AM
    November 08, 2003
    On 7 November is expected the warm weather

    I can only recommend the Babelfished version of Pravda. For starters, the link to the 'current news' page is titled in slacker fashion "Main thing". As if that wasn't cool enough, check out this weather report

    Tomorrow, on 7 November, during the day of agreement and reconciliation weather will enhance by the fact, who will decide to conduct day in fresh air. According to the forecasts of synoptic meteorologists this day can become the warmest day in the year. On Friday in the daytime of synoptics they promise to 11 degrees of heat, in the Moscow area - plus 6-11, predominantly without the sediments.

    The comic potential of the various Babelfish translations varies a great deal, with some of them just being very confusing and otheres like the above story on "synoptic meteorology" being automated works of art.

    Posted by Claus at 02:17 PM
    Ultimate power tool list (but where's the grep?)

    Yes, every conceivable problem has made someone write "a little tool" and, yes there are people who use all of them. Impressive collection of tools for tweaking windows and other stuff - especially useful if you're a windows developer.

    Of course some of us just use perl.

    Posted by Claus at 02:08 PM
    November 06, 2003
    RSS : Statsanerkendt standard

    Jeg skal lige huske at udstede lidt Vesterbro respekt til John Gøtze for at smugle RSS ind i regeringens strategi for offentlig IT. Jeg glæder mig vildt meget til at abonnere på Statstidende feedet. Hvis det findes allerede kunne jeg iøvrigt ikke finde det.

    Posted by Claus at 12:20 PM
    Classys kunstnyt

    Tillykke til Cathrine med kunstprisen. Og husk at t?nde for din netradio idag kl 13 n?r Michael Thouber debuterer som fast v?rt p? et nyt P2 kunstmagasin. Og ja, det er ham der ser farlig ud (eller hans h?jre ?je g?r) i bannergrafikken.

    "?rets kunstner i Horsens" er s?dan en overskrift der engang ville have passet ind i en radiosatire. En meget bevidst kulturpolitik f?rt gennem mange ?r g?r at det ikke l?ngere er s?dan. Horsens Kunstmusemums website understreger at "kunsten skal ud til borgerne" bev?gelsen der har bragt DR's orkestre p? turne og s?gar har form?et at flytte det kongelige kapel v?k fra r?dhuspladsen i ny og n? ogs? k?rer for fuld kraft p? det regionale kunstmuseer - m?ske endda mere p? museerne end andre steder.
    Jeg har stadig ikke rigtig bestemt mig til om demokratiseringen af kulturinstitutionerne egentlig er en god id?. Under den overskrift er det sv?rt at sige nej, men p? en anden m?de er udnivelleringen af kulturen problematisk b?de for by og for land. Uden at ville g?re provinsen til frilandsmusem, s? er der en pointe i at der er steder i landet hvor man kan have lov til at s?tte moderniteten lidt p? stand by hvis nu der er en anden kultur at s?tte i stedet. Det triste ved provinsen er ikke dens ikke-storbyhed men snarere at den netop er blevet moderniseret fra at v?re noget der gav mening til noget kulturforladt meningsl?st noget. De n?re samfund lider under at de der bor i dem lever flygtige liv spredt over store afstande.

    Posted by Claus at 11:11 AM
    Email (lad os droppe bindestregen)

    Just synes at man skal gøre som sprognævnet siger og skrive e-mail. Det er grimt, og får email til at lyde som et eller andet ækelt it-boble marketingfænomen. Jeg stemmer derfor for at vi gør som Don Knuth siger, og dropper bindestregen - hvis da ikke også e'et fordi mail er dansk for email, og ikke bare for post. Jeg gør iøvrigt endnu en gang opmærksom på Knuth utrolig dejlige citat om email:

    Email is a wonderful thing for people whose role in life is to be on top of things. But not for me; my role is to be on the bottom of things. What I do takes long hours of studying and uninterruptible concentration.

    Og gør iøvrigt også opmærksom på at William Gibson har sagt det samme om blogs.

    Posted by Claus at 01:23 AM
    Min ur-blog

    Re, så fandt jeg for nylig ud af at min stanggrimme, sjældent opdaterede blogger-blog stadig er oppe. Datoerne er ikke forfalskede. Min blog predater Reboot 4 og Commonme bloggen med adskillige måneder. Tag dén!
    Vi er tilbage i de dage hvor de der ellers kan huske det husker at blogs (dvs Blogger) faktisk blev introduceret til den danske medieverden af Steven Snedker i noget så fremme på beatet som Alt om Data i "Netop nu i Netland" klummen. Og kom så ikke og sig at jeg ikke er nede med det der hypernostalgi.

    Posted by Claus at 01:06 AM
    November 05, 2003
    Fra hjemmesider til bullshit-bingo

    Hvorfor er det s? n?dvendigt for akt?rer i den digitale kultur at omg?re alt der sker online til endnu en runde Bullshit Bingo?
    Ja, tilstedekomsten af letv?gts-CMS'er har f?rt til at der er mange flere mennesker der publicerer dynamisk p? nettet, og jeps, newsreaders er pissesmarte, men jeg m? indr?mme at jeg personligt f?r et akut tilf?lde af teknologi-teori-tr?thed n?r jeg ser p? setuppet for - "et kig p? weblog f?nomenets potentiale indenfor organisationer, personlig kommunikation, uddannelse, politik og medier; et kig p? weblog'ens filosofier, historie, teknologier, v?rdis?t og format...". S? har den vist ogs? f?et hvad den kan tr?kke. Hvorfor skal der partout udvikles en id? om der skal v?re "et forum, en historie, en filosofi, en vision, et netv?rk" for at vi kan tro p? relevansen af at udtrykke sig?

    Jeg har udtrykt min mistillid til 'instant tradition' tidligere, og den er ikke aftaget siden. Det minder mig om den evindelige spaltning i subgenrer der i ?revis har pr?get den popul?re musikkultur. Der er snart ikke et band, eller en DJ, som ikke egenh?ndigt har splittet en ny subgenre ud, som trofaste l?sere af blade som NME vil vide.

    Hvis man endelig skulle se lidt konkret p? hvad ?get personlig og mikro-publicering byder p?, s? udm?rker mikro-publicering sig lige pr?cis ved ikke at v?re et f?nomen.
    Entusiasmen for blogging er den seneste b?lge af entusiasme for den decentrering af mediebilledet som der har v?ret fablet om siden de allerf?rste websites s? dagens lys, men som det har knebet s? meget med faktisk at realisere.
    Ideen om at blogs udtrykker noget bestemt, p? en bestemt m?de er et udtryk for mikro-publicerings umodenhed og intet andet. B?de form og indhold vil udd? eller eksplodere efterh?nden som det viser sig om det store udbud af stemmer i l?ngden er efterstr?belsesv?rdigt.

    Posted by Claus at 06:38 PM

    As far as I can tell from the description of AdaptiveMetricsContext (from the new Longhorn XAML specs) that formatting engine misses one of the qualites of HTML/CSS, namely that the styling information can be kept almost completely separate from the content. When the logical model of a page is established (via e.g. nested div tags) no other styling information goes into a page. Only content.
    This is a good separation of concerns, and seems to be missing from the new MS format. Since the new MS formats are all XML the separation may be implemented anyway using e.g. xslt's but it is not built in to the format as far as I can tell.

    Posted by Claus at 11:29 AM
    November 04, 2003
    Regensen på nettet

    Mit "andet barndomshjem", Regensen, er kommet på nettet - desværre på en side der bruger en masse ækle flashknapper, som alle mine browsere brækker sig over.

    Posted by Claus at 06:52 PM
    Connectivity glitches on

    Since Classy's kitchen got its hardware upgrade we have been experiencing strange connectivity glitches. Strange because every bit of hardware is functioning when tested; the web server is running, the interface from router to web server is functional, the router is functional. I have yet to find a cure and in the meantime, will suffer temporary connection difficulties (usually <10 mins duration). Check back later when you can't connect.

    I think I have found and eliminated the conflict causing this problem. Need to test the next couple of days to make sure.

    Posted by Claus at 03:20 PM
    Are they at it again?

    So while we were all thinking Microsoft had quietly decided that the browser is good enough as it is, and now that the other browsers are all getting to be so much better than Microsoft's, they were in fact secretly at their old monopolistic tricks again according to Jon Udell. MS is introducing new 'standards' for rendering of text and vector graphics, potentially breaking CSS and SVG - and XML Schema. Is Longhorn going to send us back to the sad world of "vendor backed standards" instead of real standards?

    Innovation is perfectly legitimate, and in fact I think Udell is not entirely fair when he suggests that XML Schema is somehow the final word on structured metadata representation, but it's good to be on the alert from the very beginning.

    Additional commentary may be found on ongoing.

    Udell's post has prompted plenty of reactions from microsoftees, some of them recorded here. My take on the responses: As to a new schema language, I think the points made are valid, particularly the notion that is is better to define a new schema format to fit than to imply semantics for an existing format that aren't part of the standard in the first place. As to an SVG replacement, the arguments seem completely gratuitious and mainly a question of ownership. I suspect arguments in favor of Microsoft's CSS replacement will be equally vacuous. More fun can be had reading an excerpt of an interview on Mozilla XUL versus MS XAML.

    While it is debateable whether XUL is anything resembling a standard, the arguments given to answer the questions of why MS is rolling its own version of the same idea are completely gratuitous and amount to nothing more than "XUL is not owned by Microsoft": I quote:

    Q. What s the difference between XUL and XAML?
    A. XAML is designed to map Avalon objects directly into XML tags; XAML is rendered directly by the Windows Longhorn operating system; with XAML, developers interleave XAML tags with procedural languages such as C#, VB, J#, COBOL, Jscript, and so on. XUL is designed to map Mozilla widgets into XML tags; XUL is rendered by the Mozilla browser; with XUL, developers interleave XUL tags with JavaScript.
    (i.e. "XAML is the exact same thing, but made by us, and since we own the platform we can make it work for more applications than the Mozilla project could for XUL")

    Q. Why did you create XAML instead of using XUL?
    A. XAML gives developers richer control over the Longhorn user interface: its tags map directly into objects in the Avalon engine, and developers get a choice of programming language. In short, they re going to be able to build very rich Avalon UI with their existing programming language skills.
    (i.e. "Because we will own XAML. Since we own the platform we can make it work for more applications than the Mozilla project could for XUL")

    Better description of differences here - Obviously leveraging .NET gives advantages including bytecode compilation with much improved GUI performance as a consequence. Can't wait for the mono implementation.

    Posted by Claus at 12:13 AM
    November 03, 2003
    Most annoying newspaper signup yet

    While looking for a usable reference for the classic joke "Now that's a face for the radio", I came upon the Charleston Post and Courier, and it turns out this newspaper has the most annoying site registration implementation I have ever seen.
    Links to the archived stories work - and they are indexed by Google. BUT stories contain a redirect header (or maybe it's script enabled - I didn't bother to look) so that after a few seconds (just enough to read the headline) you're redirected to the registration page. That is actually more annoying than pages that are just not available. It is really, really easy to get and read the pages without running into the registration page, so they are not protecting their content, just alienating surfers.

    Not that you care to read this newspaper - but it is done through javascript and can be turned off by disabling javascript

    Posted by Claus at 11:41 PM
    "The money shot"

    Dave Weinberger goes looking for presidential moments of post-Iraq glory. Many photos are called but few are chosen.

    Posted by Claus at 11:26 PM
    Personalized vs customized

    A good quote on what blogging is good for may be found on BuzzMachine:

    Perhaps it's as simple as that. Media was institutional. Now it is personal.
    By personalizing media, I don't mean customizing it (My Yahoo, Your Yahoo, All God's Children Got Yahoos).
    I mean humanizing it, taking on the personalities of people, not of institutions.
    (found via Doc Searls' weblog)

    That's a good point on blogging. It riffs with my recent reading of Cyborg - where Steve Mann explains the reasoning behind his quest for the ultimate wearable computer. I've covered Steve Mann's concept of humanistic computing before - but mainly from a practical perspective. On reading his book, it becomes clear that Mann (one suspects retroactively) is actually on a political, moral mission as well. His key observation is that so much technology works remotely from us but connected to some big evil database somewhere. The technology is offered to us as smart technology, but the real point of it often becomes stupidifying us instead. If the surroundings are smart we don't have to be and soon we forget how to be. On the surface our lives are made easier, but the main thing technology does when applied like that is make us more controllable and docile and less independent. Mann sees the wearable computer as a radical attack on this way of applying technology. By enhancing our sensory apparatus with technology Mann wants to upgrade us so we can fight back and respond to the technology of control.

    The same reasoning applies to the custumized vs personalized distinction. There's no comparison between collaborative filtering and personal free speech. "My CommercialPortalUserProfile" gives us the former, while blogging provides the latter.

    Posted by Claus at 11:15 PM
    Coke Light Lemon

    This is - bar none - the worst beverage I have had in the last year or two. Milk that has gone stale is less disgusting.

    Posted by Claus at 07:41 PM