July 31, 2004
Microsoft vil skabe BlogBot

Microsoft har planer:

The company has also announced plans for blog search, to be called BlogBot, and a natural language search engine, called AnswerBot.
Men sådan en har vi jo allerede. Flere gange endda: .com, .de, .net, og .org f.eks.
Ingen af disse peger på samme service eller ejer såvidt man lige kan se.

Posted by Claus at 11:42 AM
July 30, 2004
Yet another clueless linking policy

We knew they cared about their IP, but the linking policy of the Frauenhofer Institute (of mp3 fame) is particularly lame:

The contracting party shall inform the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft that the link has been inserted, or that the target page has been installed on a webserver, by sending an e-mail message to info@fraunhofer.de within 24 hours of setting the link. This message must contain the path (URL) via which the webpage containing the link can be accessed.

You must be joking. If course, they're not exactly the only ones joking. In Denmark the courts are famously joking along.

Some time real soon this idea that you have any right to define how others link to your websites must be stopped.

Posted by Claus at 12:56 AM
July 29, 2004
Don't be evil, Apple

If it's true that Apple is considering suing RealNetworks for making an iPod compatible online music service as reported here then I'm so not getting an iPod. It's ironic and disheartening that the open source dependent, monopoly squeezed PC maker Apple is using this kind of heavyhanded IP-rights tactic in the digital player market.

Posted by Claus at 06:55 PM
Selvf?lgelig skal han straffes, det skal bare helst ikke have nogen konsekvenser

Peter Gemælke kan godt se at landets største grisefarmer har overproduceret, men han kan ikke forstå at det skal bringes til ophør bare fordi det er blevet opdaget.
Godt princip. Lad os bruge det også overfor spritbilister (promillegrænsen er 20% under det du havde), hastighedsgrænser (man kan kun køre 20 km for stærkt ligemeget hvor hurtigt det går) og sidst, men ikke mindst, skatteregnskabet (du skal kun betale 70% tilbage af det du skylder).

Posted by Claus at 12:19 PM
July 25, 2004
I går var det sommer i Danmark

Posted by Claus at 10:38 PM

This is one you learn early if you work for a smallish company:

If you're staffing a project, make sure you have enough people who are adaptable to several types of work.

From Johanna Rothman

This is extremely true. In a small organisation there are quite simply more kinds of tasks than there are people to do it, so everybody (absolutely everybody) needs adaptability and flexibility as a basic skill.
People who think of specialization as their professional quality and take pride in their single minded focus on their core competences to the point of saying no to go outside that core might be suited to a bigger organization, but in a small group, when problems change all the time, they're just baggage.

The difficulty comes when you want to migrate that small, adaptable organization to a big, efficient organization. Then all of a sudden the skillset you needed in the little organization becomes a liability and the proud specialists are needed exactly because of the uncompromising attitude that made them unfit for the little team.

Posted by Claus at 07:34 PM
My apologies to msnbot.

A couple of days ago I wrote that I thought that the msnbot was the dumbest bot in town, since it was the only bot fooled by my ilizer service. But I was wrong. The msnbot is no dumber than the rest of the robots. Have a look at this google search. It is the world as seen through the eyes of the Bobby accessibility checker, and the googlebot really went for this one. I have no idea why Bobby checker actually process URLs in hyperlinks so they also filter through Bobby though - I don't really see the use (comic or otherwise).

Next question: What would be a useful heuristic to identify bots like this? I'm doubting there really is one. Most likely a filter would just be a long list of known cases, and probably there are just too many filters around to make that worthwhile. Presumably most serious filters implement the robot exclusion standard to save bandwidth and clock cycles.

Posted by Claus at 02:45 PM
July 24, 2004
Sudan opfordre FN til at blande sig fucking udenom

Den kan endnu, den gode gamle styrelizer, se bare her:

Den dersens amerikanske kongres har psykomeget vedtaget en resolution, øh, der fastslår, øh, at folkdrab finder sted i Sudan, dér. Nu igen! USA lægger op til sanktioner gennem FN, øh, men, fuck, da rulers i Sudan råder det svedigste internationale hood til at blande sig fucking uden om.

Posted by Claus at 01:49 AM
July 23, 2004
The scary story of the failed 9/11 hijacking

The main interest in the 9/11 commision report (downloads here) is whether or not it will help John Kerry beat Bush in the upcoming elections, but it's no wonder that CNN isn't leading with the political story but with the real life drama of the passengers who fought back.
It's a dramatic story and shows what an absolute nightmare september 11 was on board that plane. Once the passengers attacked the hijackers, the hijackers started to roll the plane first and when that proved inefficent abruptly diving and climbing. The cabin must have been a complete mess. Furthermore - the pilots actually received a warning before the hijackers attacked the cockpit, it was just such an unexpected warning that the pilots asked for confirmation. A lot could have been different with locked, steel reinforced cockpit doors and with the warning being taken seriously. But at the time, the content of the warning was just too unimaginable to be accepted at face value without double checking.

What is a little harder to estimate is the political dynamite. Danish newspapers carried a list of some 10 early indications that something was afoot where the same names cropped up again and again, but I have to say that I believe very much that this is one of thoses cases with 20/20 hindsight. I have no idea how many names and people the CIA, FBI, and NSA combined are trying to keep taps on, but it must be thousands.
It's no simple task to make sure that all the information about any specific person or name gets collated and accumulated in one place, and once it does you have to recognize what level of threat there is.
Secondly, let's assume the engineering effort of large scale monitoring of intelligence targets can be solved, then there is the matter of public oversight. It's not a very pleasing alternative to have >100K staff controlloing the whereabouts of millions of people on a daily basis. There has to be balance as well.

Posted by Claus at 01:28 PM
Note to RSS feed reader implementers: Randomize your refresh times

According to a Netcraft news story, RSS traffic is causing traffic spikes every hour on the hour because newsreaders have hourly feed refresh built in and everybody is just doing it at the top of the hour.
The solution to the problem is really, really simple: Randomize the timing of the update to an odd minute count.

Posted by Claus at 12:46 PM
July 22, 2004
More allmusic links

The outcry after the allmusic.com redesign was completely wild. Waxy.org has a good summary. Along with all the "internet views Thing X as damage and routes around it" comments is one remarkable development: The allmusic corrector is a Mozilla Firefox plugin that undoes a lot of the bad design decisions on allmusic.com. Among the truly wonderful things it does is a wall to wall replacement of ugly and dysfunctional javascript links with good standard hyperlinks (the link targets were always there, it's just that allmusic was designed to take away their value. So now for the first time in history, allmusic has permalinks all over the place, and tabbed browsing works!
That completely reverses my opinion of the redesign. We probably wouldn't have the good links without it, meaning that the redesign was a good thing since it made Adrian Holovaty write the plugin.

Posted by Claus at 02:11 AM
July 21, 2004
Search engine referral of the month

Must be "how long will you be banned from returning to the eu after living ther illegally"

Poor soul.

Posted by Claus at 08:28 PM
The Bill Gates Marshall Plan

Microsoft plans to pay out $75 Billion to shareholders over a 4 year period in the form of dividends and stock buy backs. That is a staggering amount of money for one company to sit on. Its comparable to the entire public sector budget of Denmark for a year. While Denmark is a small country, it is also a rich country and we have an enormous public sector.
To get another, non-inflation adjusted, perspective on that figure: The Marshall Plan paid out $15 Billion to resurrect Europe after the damages of WW2.
15 $Billion is also approximately the US foreign aid budget by the way, and speaking of aid - Bill Gates has announced that his portion of the dividend payouts, some $3 Billion, will go into his foundation.

Posted by Claus at 11:46 AM
July 20, 2004
Now using the Sage feed reader

I am switching to the Sage feed reading plugin for Mozilla Firefox from my previous feedreader Syndirella. The reason to switch was that Sage does even better what Syndirella also tried to do: Integrate feed reading with web browsing.
Its even better for the following reasons:

  • Combines wonderfully with Mozilla's tabbed browsing (Great feed summary pages and excellent integration with the URL space of the origination website)
  • No annoying involuntary context switching bugs (Syndirella has a terrible habit of switching you browsing context randomly to another place after updating a feed)
  • Sage understands the new Atom feeds (Syndirella is unmaintained and does not read atom feeds)
The only problem with Sage is that the OPML feed import facility doesn't work (it's not just me, Tim Bray couldn't make it work either). To solve that issue, I've created an online "OPML to Mozilla bookmarks" converter, located here. Export the OPML from your previous newsreader (most readers support OPML) and follow the instructions and you'll be good to go. The script worked with the OPML file I needed to import. Your mileage may vary.
The conversion script source is here if you want to improve it.

Posted by Claus at 10:40 PM
44% of large american corporations have no respect for their employees

That's my conlusion on this finding that 44% of large american corporations eavesdrop on outgoing mail. No wonder they're so eager to outsource if they see no more value in the loyalty of their own employees. I like to think this percentage is lower in Scandinavia, and not because Scandinavian managers live in the stone age but because of the quality of the workforce.

Posted by Claus at 10:09 PM
A commercial reason why open source isn't evil

He said it on the Gillmor Gang, in a very listenable way. And he has written it down as well. Jonathan Schwarz has a hardware makers approach to open source. Free software is good since it drives the adoption of open standards (there is no incentive in free software to not follow standards as there is on closed source) and since standardization enables even more widespread adoption of technology, meaning a need for more hardware that's good business for Sun.

The software makers part of the equation is that when platform costs dwindle you can spend more time doing the business specific stuff for client X, meaning again more tech adoption meaning more business - if you have a service approach to software.

There's another reason its good: When all the stuff we're used to becomes a commodity software makers will finally have to go elsewhere and innovate instead of just living off the fat that is The Standard Office Desktop.

Posted by Claus at 09:07 PM
Command line pizza ordering

From the Pizza Party man page:


pizza_party [-o|--onions] [-g|--green-peppers] [-m|--mushrooms] [-v|--olives] [-t|--tomatoes] [-h|--pineapple] [-x|--extra-cheese] [-d|--cheddar-cheese] [-p|--pepperoni] [-s|--sausage] [-w|--ham] [-b|--bacon] [-e|--ground-beef] [-c|--grilled-chicken] [-z|--anchovies] [-u|--extra-sauce] [-U|--user= username] [-P|--password= pasword] [-I|--input-file= input-file] [-V|--verbose] [-Q|--quiet] [-F|--force] [QUANTITY] [SIZE] [CRUST]

The pizza_party program provides a text only command line interface for ordering DOMINOS pizza from the terminal. This program is intended to aid in the throwing of PIZZA PARTIES which are also sometimes known as ZA PARTIES

pizza_party -pmx 2 medium regular
Orders 2 medium regular crust pizzas with pepperoni, mushrooms, and extra-cheese.

Posted by Claus at 08:45 PM
Note to front-end developers

Your HTML comments are propagated to the browser client.

Case in point, esselte.com:


P.S. Your staging area is showing.

Posted by Claus at 08:25 PM
Classy's cool weblog award of July 20th goes to...

...angermann2. The collage-like CSS styling with -label lookalike titles. The wild font sizes. The huge images. It looks like ... something else. It's cool in a cool way, not in the all too common "Look at me I'm imitating cool guy #5" way. Add to that high quality content and the sense to go away on a real summer holiday. Bookmarked.

Bonus feature: No content about blogging.

Posted by Claus at 08:19 PM
When all data is available

Order an ACLU Pizza for that Total Information Awareness experience (turn on your speakers).

a) Tim O'Reilly's data collection experience:

Heck, just recently, I was shopping in Bath, England, and made a large purchase in an antiquarian bookshop. Fifteen minutes later, I was four buildings down the street in a second bookshop, tried to make another purchase, and had my card rejected. Meanwhile, back in California, my wife was receiving a call, wondering if the card had been stolen. "Why would someone halfway around the world be spending so much on books?" they wanted to know.

b) "I'm sorry Sir, you just lost your world privileges"

Posted by Claus at 08:02 PM
msnbot - The dumbest bot in town [UPDATE: Not actually dumbest...]

or: How a search engine in beta transformed the internet as we know it!

[UPDATE: The other bots are equally stupid]

In June a rather stupid service here on classy.dk was a surprise hit, and I have Microsoft to thank for the experience.
Some time ago I made a web page transformation engine that converted the text on pages ti lingiige liki this - i.e. replacing all vowels with the vowel i instead. This is inspired by a danish childrens song where you repeat the same verse once for each vowel using first only a's then only e's and so on. As a nice (but fatal) touch the service also rewrites hyperlinks so they are also redirected through the service, si yii cin livi iiir intiri lifi briwsing inli thi wirld widi wib.

All of a sudden this service had 34,000 hits - all from msnbot
All of a sudden this service had 34,000 hits in a month - by far the most popular link on classy.dk. So I wondered how that came about and looked at my log files. Great was my surprise when I found out that almost all the hits (99%) were from msnbot, Microsoft's google-killer to be. The MSN bot is the only bot that does not figure out that the URLs of the classylizer are automated dead ends. (The turnitin.com bot was also briefly blindsided but ceased crawling thi wirld widi wib a long time ago)

It is still going on. As of this writing msnbot has crawled some 65,000 URLs transformed through my service. And boy, has it gone far! The Wayback Machine, MIT, even competitor Giigli got a visit.
Naturally I had to check if Thi Intirnit had made it into MSN search's sandbox index. It had. A lot. And then some.

Posted by Claus at 01:18 AM
July 19, 2004
...and MS buys search chops

Google/MS battle round X: Microsoft buys Lookout a "search your desktop" application that integrates with Outlook and - to emphasize the Google fight - quirky, bouncing, colored double O's in the company logo.
This seems to try to be (half of) the required personal search space - searching files and email fast. I wonder what ranking system they have in place though. As mentioned, search is not enough.

[UPDATE: MS decided to keep making Lookout available: Here it is. That makes Microsoft an open source distributor - well sort of. Lucene.Net is (as mentioned in comments) on an apache style license so you can legally embed it in other apps)]

Posted by Claus at 12:14 PM
Rådhuspladsen, lidt over 12

Følgende scene udspandt sig for et godt stykke tid siden over midnat, ved en pølsevogn på Rådhuspladsen, på en god gå i byen aften. En beruset mand træder hen til pølsevognen og bestiller en pølse med brød:

Pølsemand: Skal der noget på?
Kunden: Der skal fart på!

Jeg lover at historien er autentisk. Tak Kresten, for at du fortalte den.

Posted by Claus at 01:23 AM
July 18, 2004
Google buys desktop chops

Re the previous post:
The Microsoft/Google fight is so on. Google has bought some more desktop development muscle and keeps on organizing our personal infospace - now including our personal photos.

Posted by Claus at 08:18 PM
Personal information assistant

As previously mentioned, our personal information space is a shambles compared to the published information space of the web. A good reason for this is the thousands and thousands of people working to augment the public information space with searches, meta-searches, meta*-searches etc etc etc. Another good reason is that you're all alone in metadata linking your personal data, whereas you have the help of millions in making sense of the public space. That means quite simply that the search engine companies have a lot more to go on when it comes to indexing public space than they do when indexing personal space.
Everybody wants that to change and averybody is waiting for the personal information killer app. Maybe MS Longhorn will be it, but personally I have to say I doubt that very much, since I think the latter problem is much larger than the former. The metadata quality is low.

By combining a local install of Apache, the slogger firefox extension, the Swish-E indexer and a little homespun perl I've been running a "Search my browsing history" on my desktop for about a month, and I'm already drowning in data. Difficulty ranking and poor quality of metadata (or just the difficulty of using the metadata there is) rapidly degrades the content of the index.
To be fair, I spent very little time on this version 0 of the utility, and with only a a few enhancements I could solve the problem so the index would work properly for much more browsing than it does currently but there's no way it would nicely handle e.g. my > 1GB email collection without a major upgrade.
Probably the key enhancer would be linking all metadata situationally by keeping an accurate record of time with all recorded information (as also suggested by Jon Udell in references above) but my experience suggests that you will have much more limited situational recall than you expect. What you'll need is a situational equivalent of PageRank some kind of indicator that a piece of information is actually among the <1% of the stuff you have read that stuck in your mind.

Posted by Claus at 07:37 PM
Straight outta Springfield

This local news report, on the tabloid super scoop of a young blonde female teacher having sex with a teenage student, looks exactly like it would in Springfield - home of the Simpson family.
Sensationalist of course, it manages to mix into that an amazing montage of a Smoothie King outlet, street signs of State Road 200, Iinterstate 75 as well a local Best Buy outlet.

Posted by Claus at 02:24 PM
Separated at birth?

Are George W. Bush and Jamie Lee Curtis siblings?

Posted by Claus at 01:15 AM

Justeren made me aware of the super cool map24 java mapping applet. Enter any street name in Europe and a map will load with a host of interesting features:

  • Infinite zoom, in as well as out, means you have a live continuous view of the world from a scale of "all of Europe" down to "My block"
  • Continuous mapping. This is not a collection of maps but one large map of Europe
  • Distance finder. Lets you plot a route on the map and calculates distance between any two points.
  • Sleek look. Zooms are animated. The distance finder plots a radius from your last way point while you're picking the next way point

The distance measure correctly computes that my favourite walk north of Copenhagen is 12 km

Posted by Claus at 01:00 AM
July 15, 2004
Brilliant invention: Bugmenot.com

A community backlash against (free) required registration schemes: bugmenot is a database of working logins for websites that require you to register to view content. With convenient plugins (that pop up some usable credentials) available for Mozilla and Internet Explorer I have registered as user Cheddar Cheese from Osteby, a 93 year old albanian female CEO in the $20.000 to $25.000 income bracket for the very last time.

Obviously we need to do just a little better: The plugins should actually load the login form itself automatically, just like Password Manager does in Mozilla if you ask it to. The "submit this login to bugmenot" phase is poorly supported by the plugins. Hmm, maybe it's time to tinker.

Posted by Claus at 07:09 PM
I also want to link to bitoogle

Everybody is linking to the recently created torrent search engine and I want to do that too, so here goes.

The RIAA and MPAA lawyers must be very happy: At last there's someone to sue over BitTorrent. Now there's a new torrent search engine at bitoogle.com and yes, it does link to torrents of what just *might* be copyrighted materials.

There - that's my bitoogle link.

Posted by Claus at 11:55 AM
July 14, 2004
Corny product names

English is the international language and all over the world companies like to add a little English to product names to enhance the international flavour and freshness of their brand. Here we have a few German examples:

A snack bar

Yes. It really is quite... corny. The image is slightly out of focus, but there's a blurb on the bar that says (in german) "NEW! With genuine USA peanuts!"

Toilet paper

Germany is one of those countries where every one is on a first name basis with each part of their entire digestive system (I just flew back from Germany and the yoghurt they served proudly claimed "Keeps both your stomach and your intestines in excellent condition! Enhances your intestinal function!") so I guess it is only natural that they consider toilets cosy.

Posted by Claus at 08:57 AM
July 13, 2004
Goodbye Allmusic [UPDATE: And welcome back!]

[UPDATE 20040715: The blog feedback was fierce. AMG already fixed it so there's no longer a stupid warning and the site works in Mozilla now. Thanks god for that. It's still slow as molasses though, and less good than the old site.]

The web's best resource on music - allmusic.com - just took a major step back through a major "upgrade". It's one thing that allmusic decided to start registering users to access some of the content, but the new site only works in IE 5.5. or higher. It seems like a strange time to do IE only websites, now that IE's browser market share is actually dropping. They must not care about the growing base of Mozilla users or Safari users.

Furthermore the quality of the HTML is extremely low (The w3c validator reports over 200 errors on the front page) and the site is slower and dumbed down. Much less information is immediately available and you need to click more now to get the information you want.
This is simply a disaster of a remake, and it's sad because there is no comparable source of information.

Only good thing: Enhanced music previews.

Posted by Claus at 04:37 PM
July 06, 2004
Gigantisk dankort selvm

Dit nye chip-dankort kan ikke anvendes p? internettet. Grunden er den enkle og virkelig dumme at l?betiden nu er 8 ?r, s?dan at standard kreditkortindtastnings formularerne p? mange netbutikker (f.eks. alle dem jeg lige bruger), der antager max 2 ?rs l?betid p? et visakort, ikke vil acceptere de nye kort.
I en virkelig dum udtalelse i Computerworld foresl?s det at man da bare lige kan f? alle netbutikkerne til at indrette sig efter de nye danske regler. That'll happen.

Det nye kort (som man skal finde sig i) er som bekendt prim?rt indf?rt for at bankerne kan tjene nogen flere penge p? transaktionerne. Det hedder sig at det ogs? bek?mper kortsnyd - men det er kun i butikker beskyttelsen stiger. Online betalinger er stadig bare beskyttet ved at man stoler p? dem man handler med, og s? alts? nu ved simpelthen ikke at kunne lade sig g?re.

Posted by Claus at 04:37 PM
July 05, 2004
Mono has gone 1.0

The open source .NET project Mono has gone 1.0 which presumably means that Mono now has full copies of all the major API's included in the first .NET release or equivalents. I wonder if the Novell acquisition of Ximian sped things along in a dramatic fashion or not.
It looks (from choice of screenshot samples) as if the GUI libraries for mono aren't really cross platform. I hope that's just me not paying attention.

Posted by Claus at 02:13 AM
Ernest Hemingway lives! In St. Clair County - takes nude photos of teenage girls

See for yourself.

(Another spin off of my obsession with Area Man)

Posted by Claus at 01:38 AM
July 04, 2004
Roskilde lørdag

Igen kom vejret i vejen - med indtil flere regnbyer og en ny portion jordsovs under fødderne. De store oplevelser først:


Naturligvis er det et souvenirshow mere end en rockkoncert, men hvilken souvenir! Den efterhånden 57 år gamle (!) Iggy Pop er barbrystet og iklædt jeans af samme model som dem Britney Spears bruger - med umuligt lav talje - som hvert øjeblik truer med at falde af og blotte Iggys balder. Men bandet er hard rocking og Ron Asheton er forsynet med rigelige mængder af total guitar power, så jeg var en utrolig smuk sourvenir rigere efter koncerten. Skal man sammenligne lidt med Pixies så er der en kompromisløs energi i kontakten med publikum til forskel.

Louis Vega's Elements of Life

Jeg havde ikke Vegas orkester på min oprindelige spilleplan, men kiggede forbi for lige at checke, og det var umligt at gå igen. Helt fantastisk lækre og råswingende latinrytmer krydret med lidt livespillede housedisco numre kørte gennem Ballroom afleveret uden stop af et 9 mands orkester - et overvældet publikum tog taknemmeligt imod. Der var simpelthen en kodylt god stemning og det var swingende i en grad man stort set aldrig oplever - sidste jeg havde en ligeså oprivende dansabel koncertaften var en mindeværdig koncert med George Clinton i Vega for en 7-8 år siden.


Jeg tror nok det var en fantastisk koncert. Koncerten blev indledt med at der - med alt lys slukket - blev reciteret navnene på en hel masse britiske fænomener egnede til at gøre Morrissey deprimeret (alt fra børnemorderen Myra Hindley til Thatchers finansminister Leon Brittan). Morissey har et stort katalog af fantastiske sange og hans specielle poetiske foredrag virkede denne aften. Bandet spillede som de skulle, hvilket for en stor dels vedkommende vil sige "sådan at man ikke lægger mærke til dem" og Morrissey berigede os endog med lidt Smiths. Det kræver nok sin publikummer, men jeg var glad for at have været der.

Og ellers...

Jeg ankom lidt halvsent og startede med at høre Beenie Mans opvarmingstoastere og derefter Beenie selv. Det var en lidt halvsløj affære med et par gode elementer, herunder nogen underholdende hyldester til den magiske Ganja komplet med en "Bevar Christiania" kampagne med flag og T-shirts kastet i grams fra scenen. Koncertens højdepunkt uden tvivl da Beenie Man i endnu en ganja -hyldest fortalte os, hvad der givetvis er rigtigt, at hvis Osama Bin Laden røg den fede, så var World Trade Center aldrig blevet angrebet. Herefter straks over for at finde en god plads (= et sted med træflis og ikke mudder under fødderne) til Stooges koncerten. Derefter i hurtig rækkefølge forbi Luke Vibert som lavede lækker elektronisk lyd og Kira and the Kindred Spirits der lød godt, omend lidt for mainstream til at blive hængende mere end en halv time. I modsætning til så mange andre danske bands lyder de som om de bare lyder præcist som de gør. Der er ikke noget påtaget ved sounden. Kira lyder lidt som Janis Joplin, men passer bedre i et par læderbukser. Så Vega, så forbi Basement Jaxx, der passede fint ind på Orange scene og lød som de nu gør. Deres livespillede dj-musik fungerer fremragende også foran mange mennesker og i regnvejr. Men jeg skulle videre over til Morrissey, og da han var færdig var jeg det også og tog hjem fra Roskilde for sidste gang i denne omgang.
Posted by Claus at 04:00 AM
July 03, 2004
Carbon Memory Nirvana

Fast, cheap, permanent, dense, energy-lean - those are the five requirements we have for the memory devices in our PC's and there's an upstart promising to do all five with carbon nanotubes. I have absolutely no clue if this story is vapor or in fact solid carbon news, but the dream is a nice one.

Posted by Claus at 03:53 PM
The context rich future of UIs

Jon Udell thinks about a Google OS - what automated metadata generation and filtering can do for our data drowning desktops. His thinking is interesting, and relates to the famous "metadata is crap" slogan. We need to accumulate metadata as a transparent, tacit activity, not a chore. It's unclear if Longhorn and WinFS is Microsoft getting this message or missing this message.

Posted by Claus at 03:46 PM
How to run your business in India

Good find by David Weinberger - a new CMP magazine called Managing Offshore devoted entirely to speeding along your outsourcing and/or offshoring to India and other places.
With product news of new contractors for call centers, software development or business processing as well as helpful tips on multicultural management, legal problems of accountability and security and also we learn some good biz speak, namely "captive operations", meaning those you have to actually run yourself and cannot or will not outsource. As one of Weinberger's commenters points out:

Ah, pleased to know I'm known in the trade as a captive worker because I work directly for my employer... I'd only just recently got used to being referred to as "a resource" rather than "a person".

Posted by Claus at 03:28 PM
More problems should be solved like this

Here's an example of the kind of thinking required to do software well as opposed to just doing it. As it turns out this particular example is also becoming quite fashionable as the XML backlash (aka the "XML as programming language" backlash) continues and terms like domain specific languages and little languages get thrown around more often.
The problem at hand is that of word stemming and the solution to the problem is the Snowball language. Stemming is the act of truncating search words to a root for use in search queries (e.g. "words" -> "word"), which is useful in searches. More than 20 years ago Martin Porter created the common standard algorithm in english language stemming, now known simply as The Porter Stemmer. Over the next many years a number of implementations appeared and most of them were in fact faulty. People simply weren't capable of implementing the stemming algorithm correctly. To solve this problem once and for all, Porter designed a little language specifically suited to the definition of stemming algorithms. Along with the language he designed a Snowball to C compiler so that the snowball stemmers would be useful in common programming environments. This story is found in Porter's account of the creation of Snowball.
After the appearance of Snowball, stemmers have been submitted to the project for 11 additional languages. The brevity of the snowball stemming algorithms is testament to the usefulness of this particular little language, and the page describing the snowball implementation of the Porter stemmer from the original algorithm is good evidence as well.

So what has this got to do with how software should be done as opposed to how it is done? Simply this: Even relatively small self contained problems like word stemming take an enormous effort to do correctly. And note: By "correctly" I don't even mean "perfectly", since that is certainly not true of algorithmic word stemmers, I just mean "as intended by design". Only a very limited part of all software is written with that level of attention to detail or that amount of upfront design to guarantee a decent chance of success.
It also demonstrates quite exactly the promise of dynamic extensible languages: Good extensible languages afford the construction of little languages for specific tasks within their own programming environment, and little languages afford a clarity of implementation you can't get without domain specific languages.

Posted by Claus at 02:45 PM
Roskilde fredag


Som forventet var den mere poppede opblødning af N*E*R*D sounden man finder på bandets anden plade som blæst væk til livebrug og tilbage stod noget det er forkert at karakterise som funkrock. Man kommer tættere når man siger noget i stil med direkte energirock spillet af funky hiphoppere og deres hvide punknaboer. Energien, støjende rock feeling, lejlighedsvist funky grooves og hele vejen igennem de fabelagtige sange kombinerede her med amerikansk showmanship og et totalt overfyldt telt der entusiastisk tog imod en totalt overbevisende koncert og udgjorde den første helfede oplevelse på årets Roskilde. Jeg har absolut intet at klage over. Jo forresten, hvor var Chad Hugo?

The Pixies

De spillede godt. De sang godt. Kim Deal stod og så oversej ud på bas med en smøg i kæften. Deres bagkatalog er out of this world, sådan at The Pixies ikke er nødt til at gribe til så meget som én halvgod sang, men kan nøjes med at spille helt fantastiske numre (alt det fede fra Surfer Rosa og Doolittle udgjorde kroppen i koncerten - med fokus på de velskrevne "store" sange og ikke de støjrockende elementer). For den norske mand foran mig der var på festival med tre drenge var det mere end rigeligt. Han skiftevis hoppede og sang med, sendte koncerten til nogen på sin mobilos og simpelthen græd af glæde over at stå og faktisk høre The Pixies faktisk spille alle deres fantastiske sange. Det var fedt at høre alle disse fantastiske sanges spillet godt, men skal man dryppe lidt malurt i bægeret skal det være at alle numrene blev spillet præcis som de er på pladerne. Koncerten var totalt befriet for improvisation og svinkeærinder, og det er jo i høj grad svinkeærinderne man går til koncert for. Af den grund var den ikke helt oppe at ringe.

Og resten...

Meget, meget bedre end torsdag. Udover at musikken var bedre så udmærkede dagen sig ved to ting: Dels regnede det ikke og dyrskuepladsen var i det store hele tørret op. De steder der stadig var mudrede havde skiftet konsistens fra tyk jordsovs til fugtigt ler. Dels fik jeg købt nogen ørepropper til at tage toppen af støjen (det piver nu stadig lidt idag, men det gjorde lytningen meget behageligere). Kom en halv time for sent ud på festivallen, så jeg fangede kun lige det sidste kvarter af Bugge Wesseltoft - norsk electro jazz funk - som var funky og udmærkede sig ved groovy livespillede elementer. Som min sidemand (Justeren) bemærkede tenderede det mod Mezzoforte sine steder, men det var bedre end det og lød mere som den fusionsjazz Mezzoforte skamferer end som Mezzoforte selv. Derefter videre til den første halvdel af Jesse Sykes. Hun ligned en direkte mellemproportional af Pocahontas og Nicole Kidman, spillede akustisk guitar akkompagneret kun af en elektrisk ditto og musikken var meget sympatisk amerikansk roots/country. Stilmæssigt i nærheden af stille Neil Young numre. Så meget faktisk at man uvilkårligt stod og tænkte at det vile have klædt musikken med en stemme der var en anelse mere mod det inderlige istedet for det luftige. Muddersurfede over til DJ Krush som lød cool, beats med mekanisk moderne elektropræg snarere end de mere hiphoppede breaks på samme scene dagen før. Det var altsammen lækkert, og oven i pladerne fik musikken så lige et overordentlig effektiv men diskret Krush touch af forskellige tempo og beat variationer og scratching. Her var scratchen dog tydeligt underordnet beatsene - den stik modsatte prioritet ift den Scratch Perverts havde igår. Efter Krush var det Graham Coxon's tur til at vise hvordan ex-Blur lyder. Og svaret på det spørgsmål er at det lyder som ex-Blur. Melodisk meget Blursk, men spillet som utrolig energisk og til tider overordentlig støjende kvartet-rock, tenderende i punket retning. Jeg kan godt lide den sound, så det var fint med mig, men der manglede lige det sidste for at kunne sige man havde været til en fed koncert. Numrene blev for ens i længden. Nu havde jeg et hul i programmet før aftenens hovednavne og det fyldte jeg ud med Silveiro Pessoa, der spillede brasiliansk partymusik krydret med lidt elektroniske elementer. Det swingede eminent godt og hvis jeg ikke havde haft andet at se var jeg blevet til denne glimrende havefest. Men jeg skulle videre til den første af aftenens to main events, N*E*R*D og Pixies - den gode ting ved at Bowie aflyste var at N*E*R*D ikke længere lå overfor Pixies, så jeg kunne få begge dele med. Downsiden var at det kunne alle andre så også. Der var infamt mange mennesker. Pga menneskemassen nåede jeg ikke andet mellem N*E*R*D og Pixes end at gå over til Orange og købe en øl, men bagefter Pixies nåede jeg lige at tjekke Vive la Féte, som spillede festegnet elektrorock, nogenlunde som en festlig udgave af Gary Numan. I front en blonderet, sølvklædt, dansende dynamo af en sangerinde, og bag hende fire stilbevidste cool fyre i sort, med halvlangt hår og solbriller. Helt fin attitude med mig.

Så tog jeg toget hjem, og missede derfor desværre The Hives - som ifølge førnævnte Juster havde ustoppelig energi og hold masser af vand - men sårn er der så meget.

Posted by Claus at 11:26 AM
July 02, 2004
Roskilde torsdag

Stort set spild af tid.
Blonde Redhead (dagens første band bosat i NYC med et "sjovt" umuligt navn i genren "rund firkant"), der ikke rigtig ville os noget. Sounden var til tider let mudret (undskyld meteorologiske ordspil) støjende triorock i den eftertænksomme genre - her og der krydret med automatiske loops og lidt electronica klingenede synth (altså ikke lyd som en pianist, men mere noget med klangflader). Det var ofte svært at høre nogen egentlig melodi og den kvindelige japanske sangerinde lå på irriterende vis hele tiden lige oven i synth og klangbund, så man ikke rigtig kunne høre hende. Den mandlige sanger lå bedre i lydbilledet og havde en god insisterende vokal. I den midterste halve time af koncerten var lyden mere forenklet og vistnok fra bandets nyeste plade og det var så afgjort den bedste del af koncerten med flere glimrende numre.
Gik forbi Diefenbach og hørte 2-3 numre. De lød som britisk firserrock med smiths, cure, echo & the bunnymen elementer. Altså bare forskellige stilelementer fra britisk 80errock. Men de lød ikke rigtig som noget man kunne kalde "sig selv" og jeg gik videre.
Kort besøg hos Dropkick Murphys. Direkte, halvstøjende rock med singalong egnede folkagtige melodier. Ikke min kop te.
Dagens mest direkte underholdende begivenhed var Scratch Perverts der spillede en hel masse hip hop og kåttede den åp så det var en lyst foran et publikum der var fuldstændig fortrolig med de all-star hip hop hits de spillede og naturligvis overfornøjede over de ekvilibristiske scratchparader der krydrede hitsene. De var seje.
Før jeg tog hjem så jeg så den første halvdel af TV on the Radio (dagens andet band bosat i NYC med et "sjovt" umuligt navn i genren "rund firkant"). De var desværre virkelig kedelige at høre på til trods for avishypen. Støjende, men også ret glansløs, sound med en rent ud sagt irriterende sanger i front. Han indledte alle numrene med at stå og råbenynne "ååuuhuwhøøøviiaaaarrrjjj" i et minut i mikrofonen før han begyndte sådan at synge rigtigt (det gik det heldigvis bedre med). Så var der som bedste stilelement en for genren sjælden korsanger. Men det druknede i monotoni og ligegyldighed trods alt.
Og så tog jeg hjem.

Posted by Claus at 11:07 AM
July 01, 2004
Photo remake

While I'm waiting to go to Roskilde I can prepare myself by enjoying this muddy remake

of Cartier Bresson's classic photo

Remake from rockphoto. HCB from photology.

Posted by Claus at 02:14 AM
gapingvoid comics

If you can hit it this well just one time:

then you're OK by me. Bookmarked.

Deep linking complaints by (c) holder in blog comments, thank you.

Posted by Claus at 01:31 AM