September 30, 2004
To secure IE, remove it from your system

Microsoft will no longer security update Internet Explorer for anyone who does not upgarde to Win XP service pack 2. I can't imagine they won't have to change that policy. They're abandoning maintenance, of what is probably the single most used application on most systems (the one they claimed in court was an integral part of the operating system), on 50% of their installed base with that move.
It seems what they're really saying is

Don't use Internet Explorer
Demand of you e-bank and all the other web applications you use, that they work properly in standards compliant browsers.

If IE is an integral part of Windows, as Microsoft claims, then they just said "we're no longer supporting Windows 2000". Microsoft's advice could also be seen as another statement: "Don't use Windows".

I think on the other hand that this article is right. It's not malice - just incompetence. Or, incompetence is probably too harsh - I know I wouldn't want my software to be given the scrutiny of 10000 security experts and evil hackers. So let's say "inability to retroactively deal with the lack of designed-in security"
I think this also fits into Joel's continuing story of a change in Microsoft's way of thinking from a customer focus to more of a tech focus.

Posted by Claus at 10:26 AM
Too bad I'm not in San Fransisco on November 9th

I would have loved to hear about The building of Basecamp (not the Copenhagen restaurant space but the project management web application). Meanwhile, basecamp - the web app - does have a Copenhagen angle, since the lead developer lives here. Lets check his score: Still mid-twenties, check. Lead architect for web development platform in hot scripting language, check. Maker of world known web application, check. Works on a first name basis with the best web design companies, check.
Nice going.

Posted by Claus at 02:03 AM
Det uudtømmelige marked for "noget for ingenting"

Holger har fat i noget: Folk elsker at bestille - men der er ikke rigtig nogen der kan lide at betale. Deraf det uudtømmelige marked for "Something for nothing". Selv om alle ved at man ikke kan klippe håret af en skaldet og ikke koge suppe på en sten, så skal der ikke mere til end at nogen siger at man måske kunne få det på den måde, og så er alle fyr og flamme.
I software er den omvendte suppesten ligefrem en anerkendt udviklingsmetode. Det kaldes Extreme Programming.

Posted by Claus at 01:41 AM
September 29, 2004
Fastest computer once again American

The amazing Blue Gene project from IBM has yielded another reward, by reclaiming the supercomputing throne from NEC's Earth Simulator.
The Blue Gene architecture is still developing and is supposed to be 10 times as powerful as today as soon as 2005. The Earth Simulator was able to hold on to the throne for 2 years at a multiple over previous systems of only 3-4 so the final Blue Gene machine could have a very long life as the fastest on earth.

Posted by Claus at 10:55 PM
No news is sometimes good news

I'm entirely with Jon Udell on the issue of old tech not getting replaced. I think the urge to reinvent instead of repurposing is sad. So much could be done by simply extending the way we use the workhorse protocols of the internet: The email protocol suite, http and various XML transports over http.
What we need, and don't have, is an email client that is as conducive to innovation as the browser is - but we don't have that and it's an open question whether or not the good hackers could beat the bad hackers in a war to control such a client.

Posted by Claus at 10:50 PM
It's censorship, any way you cut it

Google will go along with broad censorship if big enough guys start pushing them around. That's not not being evil but rather it's censorship, no matter how much you try to spin it differently. It's also a pretty obvious problem with the "Don't be evil" motto in the first place. As reported elsewhere that's just not very easy to do.
The pragmatism of "They would have blocked us completely if we didn't" is really quite difficult to deal with. Is "most of the news" news at all? I don't think Google's computation of a 2% loss of information means anything if those 2" are the worst 2% to be without.

Posted by Claus at 10:43 PM
When Usability when?

I have to take issue with Joel's statement that,

I'll go out on a limb and say that there is not a single content-based website online that would gain even one dollar in revenue by improving usability, because content-based websites (by which I mean, websites that are not also applications) are already so damn usable.

This is quite simply wrong.
A recent case of a pure content site suffering terribly is the redesigned Allmusic. Even here on some changes in typeface, data displayed on the front sheet and letter size dramatically altered the use of this weblog.

Posted by Claus at 08:38 PM
September 28, 2004
En samtale på Linie H

Jeg faldt lige over en gammel håndskreven note som jeg mener er fra 1996. Datoen er d. 6. Juli. Det er et så præcist referat som jeg kunne lave det af en situation og en samtale jeg netop havde overværet ombord på S-toget. Jeg havde ikke noget at skrive med på mig i toget, så jeg lyttede blot - og skyndte mig derefter hjem for at skrive samtalen ned så præcist jeg kunne huske den.
Scenen: En beruset, subsistensløs mand var kommet ind i kupeen, i hvilken der ellers kun sad mig og én anden mand. Beruseren henvendte sig til den anden.

Beruser Undskyld, kan du ikke åbne min øl?

Mand Nej.

Beruser Nå!

Han går hen til det næste vindue i S-toget og forsøger at åbne sin øl - en bjørnebryg - mod vinduets metalkant.

Beruser Det var ellers pænt af dig dit skide røvhul.

Mand Jamen jeg har ikke nogen åbner...

Beruser Dit skide røvhul ... vil du have nogen bank?

Mand Jeg vil ikke slås.

Beruser Jeg kan sagtens give dig nogen bank!

Mand Javel.

Beruser Se her, min næse har været brækket to, ..., to gange.

Mand Så er du vel ikke så skrap til at slås, hvis du har fået brækket næsen to gange?

Beruser Årh. dit skide røvhul... Du sku' fan'me ha en finger op i røven sku' du!!


Beruser Nu skal jeg sige dig een ting. Nu skal jeg sige dig en ting: Hvis du sku' møde Mike Tyson, så var du nok heller ikke så god til at slås!

Mand Hvad er du så sur over?

Beruser Det skal jeg fortælle dig. Nu skal jeg sige dig en ting. Jeg har lige været oppe nordpå. Min lille Marie... Jeg var oppe nordpå...

Mand Nordpå?

Beruser Nu skal jeg sige dig en ting: Min datter. Hun er ti år. Og hun er lige druknet, og nu har jeg været til begravelse. Og jeg kan godt sige dig, at hvis jeg så hendes mor, så sku' hun få nogen tæsk med denher.
Han fægtede med en trækæp, så høj som ham selv.

Beruser Det er finsk ... finsk ... birke ... birkebark ....... Det er sådan en en birkekæp. Jeg er fra Finland

Mand Finland?

Beruser Ja, jeg er født der. Min mor er dansk.

Mand Men din far er finsk?

Beruser Nej han er tysk for satan! Det er ... han hedder Albert Speer. Min mor hedder Anne.

Mand Anne Speer?

Beruser Nej for fanden... Dit skide røvhul... hun hedder Anne Jensen.

Vi sad lidt. Han så en Coca-Cola reklame på baneterrænet som vi kørte mellem Vanløse og Valby.

Beruser Jeg hader amerikanere. De sku' fan'me ha' en finger i røvhullet sku' de. Jeg er kommunist, ikke. Jeg hader dem.

Mand Javel

Beruser Og hvis du var amerikaner, så sku' du få nogen tæsk med denher.
Han pegede på kæppen.

Toget standsede. Og så stod han af.

Posted by Claus at 11:25 PM
Overblik på

På Politikens hjemmeside kan man i dag både lære at krisen kradser i it-sektoren og desuden sker det, at It-beskæftigelsen falder fortsat. To artikler - men det samme Ritzau telegram. Gad vide om historien også kommer til at stå to gange i avisen i morgen?

Posted by Claus at 09:55 PM
September 27, 2004

There's a new UserAgent in my web server logs:
"Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +"
This is not the regular Google crawl - that is done by UserAgent
"Googlebot/2.1 (+"
The requesting IP for the Mozilla faking UA is assigned to Google, so it's not just somebody else using Google's name. Is this a test whether more servers are willing to serve content when you force the UserAgent to something browser-like or could it be (conspiracy theory drumroll building) the Google browser?
The former is more likely, but since I don't discriminate bots in any way, why am I being crawled by both bots?
Incidentally, the Mozilla impersonating bot is not as smart as its older brother - along with msnbot it has fallen inti thi Intirnit.
Even more incidentally, the big brother Googlebot was either fixed so it no longer crawls accessibility world or accessibility world closed its doors on the Googlebot. Oh, wait - it was accessibilty world that got fixed by having a robots.txt file.

Posted by Claus at 11:17 PM
Far out business ideas - and Amazon's big secret

Dan Sherman is a "self professed remarkable entrepeneur". He is also the author of the zaniest business proposals I have ever seen. It's as if Ned Flanders had suddenly been born into the real world and started a weblog.
Before I tell you about them I need to make sure you're clear about the rules: Dan gets a kickback when you make it big off his hard earned ideas. That's only fair. With that off my chest I give you Dan's house of horror business proposals:

  • Reality TV live from the grave! You hire a terminally ill person (preferably someone good looking - which terminally ill person isn't?) to star in a reality TV show. You film everything - their daily life, their final struggle, their mourning relatives at the deathbed, their funeral. And then the kicker: You install a battery operated camera right in their coffin and film the rotting corpse! Now that's a reality show people would kill to watch!
  • Discount tombstone vendor! Grave markers from real stone are so expensive. Why don't you set up a business where you make real cheap fake stones out of Hydrostone,
  • Curb side instant ice cream - cooled with liquid nitrogen! How cool is that!
  • Your own county fair video stalker. You get a videocamera and go to the local county fair. You find a nice unsuspecting family and start filming them, get some good private moments on tape. Then you approach the famiy to see if they would maybe like to buy the tape as a nice memory.
  • Outdoor Cat Bathrooms. I'm sorry - I can't do Dan's description justice - just read it already complete with the need to know details on cat urine acidity.
  • Dirt Suckers! The full time hit-and-run vacuum cleaner guy!
  • Get paid to piss people off!Don't you often feel like just pissing people off, because they pissed you off? How about a professional service that did that for you!
  • Beg! If poor people can do it, so can you!


When he's not making up business ideas, Dan has the skinny on Amazon's next great move: Underground shipping tunnels under the entire continental USA - built with nanotechnology! The possibilities in a nationwide underground high speed shipping tunneling system covering all of North America is just staggering!
I haste to add Dan's disclaimer: Please don't invest in Amazon because of this golden nugget of information.

Posted by Claus at 01:06 AM
September 26, 2004
Loose browser integration via new protocols

The addition of new protocols to your system and binding of new apps to these protocols is so cool. It makes things like Feed Your Reader really simple to do - which is great.
Note to English speakers: FYR is a good name, being also one of the truly great words in the Danish language with a good number of unrelated and loosely related meanings:

  1. Fyr means pine (the tree).
  2. Fyr means guy (as in "Who's that guy?").
  3. Fyr means lighthouse
  4. Fyr means furnace (obviously related to the meaning above)
  5. Fyr! means "Fire!" (actually both in the senses "Fire that gun" or "Feed that fire").

I guess meanings 3 through 5 are compatible with the intent of FYR.

Posted by Claus at 11:56 PM
How to be creative

Did I link to gapingvoid's fantastic How to be creative series already? If so, no harm done - it's great. It is something as rare and self contradictory as a compassionate reality check for creative people.
I'm definitely buying the book even if it won't have the lively dialogue of the blog comments.

Posted by Claus at 08:22 PM
Diagrams of absolutely everything

Here's something for would be Edward Tufte-alikes: An archive of diagrams of all kinds of things.
I found the site via a link to the punctuation diagram.
The site is organized as a webzine - but it seems it is also published as a regular magazine. Issues published bimonthly since 2000 I think.


Posted by Claus at 08:10 PM
Frasechecker til Word

Holger synes at vi har brug for et teknologisk fix til d?rligt sprog. En anti-ordbog; en blokliste simpelthen. Mit problem er at jeg ogs? vil have den integreret i grammatikchecket. Men Holger, jeg skal nok lave ordblokkeren til dig.

Posted by Claus at 07:12 PM
Support the Wikipedia fund drive

Donate to the Wikipedia fund drive. The wikipedia is a wonderful achievement of the kind you thought couldn't happen anymore. An open collaborative society that hasn't splintered or fragmented. No mass exodus of 20000 contributors who would rather go start their own thing has happened (I do know that looked like it could happen at one point but at this point I think Wikipedia has established itself as the place for this kind of thing).

On the outskirts of the project the usual threats do exist: Tacky me-too operations whose only skill is search engine optimisation sometimes manage to make their pages of ripped-off Wikipedia content hide the actual Wikipedia. If this was loyal open mirrroring that would be great, but it's not - it's just another ad-serving platform. Old media people disregard the fact that a lot of smart people do most of their work connected to the internet, so they (the old media people) take it as self evident that an open system on that crazy internet can't possibly produce information of value. Finally, there is of course a problem with vandalism and partisan crackpotism - but the amazing thing is that none of this stuff matters.


Posted by Claus at 12:22 PM
All bad all the time

It's the Amazon Kne-Jerk Contrarian Game. Waxy has the right idea, the bad reviews are the most interesting, being written either out of sheer malice or by people who just don't get it. Here's a good batch on John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme"

* "Coltrane's A Love Supreme is the most overhyped jazz album in history. It is music? Maybe. But I find it to be unlistenable, despite several efforts to find something good in it."
* "The first number is torture if you like melodic music. There's no connection between the phasing and the rhythm. Again, is this supposed to be clever?"
* "Nobody will care about the technical achievements of these guys in 100 years."
* "I think about Kenny G., for instance. His rythmic session is much more regular, whereas Coltrane's session seems sometimes to loose the beat."

Posted by Claus at 12:39 AM
September 25, 2004
The failure of audioblogging

I can only say amen to this audioblogging manifesto which basically says "Don't believe the hype".

Consider also this - the average person speaks at one hundred, perhaps
one hundred fifty words per minute. Meanwhile, an accomplished reader
can read ten times faster - up to a thousand words a minute, and that's
straight-up reading, not even skimming. You're forcing people to listen
to you at a speed that's barely faster than the speed at which they can
type. Why are you wasting their time? Is your voice really that
Dave Winers audio message that he was going to stop hosting radio weblogs, running ten minutes but communicable in 1 through reading exemplifies all the problems. Connecting via speech usually takes conversation. Good public speakers are rare, and audio blogging is public speaking. To me, there no additional information in spoken half sentences interspersed with coughs, uhs, uhhums and coughing. That wouldn't be so bad if speech helped the emotive connection. But that only happens in conversation - unless the speaker has rare natural talent.

The only real promise of audio blogging is good availability of speech for mashups.

By the way: Maciej, the author of the manifesto, not only likes the written language. The written language likes him back. Bookmarked.

Posted by Claus at 09:12 PM
Ten Mistakes Writers Don't See (But Can Easily Fix When They Do)

This style guide is good stuff.

What's particularly good about it? It uses only examples of what not to do from published works, which gives the aspiring writer some hope. Just do the work, and worry about being a genious later.

Posted by Claus at 01:49 PM

Tilsyneladende er der ingen af de mange bloggere der blogger om bloggere der blogger om at blogge bloggers blogs der l?ser avis, for ihvertfald er der tilsyneladende endnu ikke nogen p? blogbot der har haft lyst til at sige noget i anledning af at Berlingeren nu har fundet blogs vigtige nok til en kronikplads. Dagens kronik starter stadigv?k med lige at forklare hvad ordet overhovedet betyder, men alligevel.
Kronikken er den gode gamle "We the media" historie: Blogging skaber et enormt rum for samtale om nyhederne og deciderede fejl i massemedierne undg?r sj?ldent bloggernes opm?rksomhed i s?rlig lang tid ad gangen - hvilket skaber en helt ny super aggresiv demokratisk kontrol med massemedierne.
Det er l?serbreve, telefonstorme og Aktive Lyttere og Seere p? steroider.

Posted by Claus at 01:14 PM
Software never dies

That sloppy piece of code you wrote today could well be used by someone in 50 years, so maybe you should think twice about the sloppiness.
That's my take on Tim Bray's observation that each year over 5 Billion lines of COBOL gets written and added to the 200 Billion lines of code in production.
Reimplementation is a very costly affair - and it's not just the cost. It's risky too.

We've been told for ages that COBOL was dead. Few schools teach it. Nobody learns about it until they get hired into a team that still uses it. In 1999 we were told about the armies of retired COBOL-slingers that got hired back for one last shoot-out at the Y2K Corral because there weren't any active developers to take on the job.
But if the figure of 5 Billion lines is right, then we might try some math. Let's assume an average developer can produce 100 lines of code per day and works 250 days a year (COBOL developers just don't DO holidays - they're too mission critical) then we arrive at a figure of 200000 active COBOL developers. Since I think we were flattering the COBOL developers with both the 100 and the 250 it could easily be a million instead.
That's maybe not as many as there are Java developers but is not exactly a population size that one would consider threatened by extinction.

Posted by Claus at 12:57 PM
September 24, 2004
Det var godt nok en kort liste

Som andre frihedssindede mennesker gik jeg og var mildt utilfreds med det på papiret lettere reaktionære projekt Den Litterære Kanon. Bliv mig fra livet med oversigter over statsautoriseret kvalitet som er finere end den ikke-statsautoriserede.
Nu er listen så udkommet - og så viser det sig at de slet ikke mente det så slemt endda. Den omtalte Kanon udgøres nemlig af kun af 15 helt obligatoriske, 13 ret obligatoriske og endelig 12 nogenlunde obligatoriske forfattere. Det er jo absolut ingenting. Væk er al mistanke om egentlig meningscensur - det er bare nogen ganske få pejlemærker som man bør have set på sammen med alle de andre ting man også kan nå at læse, når nu listen er så kort.
Kanonudvalgets, efter min mening ganske udemærkede, påholdenhed med at hælde forfattere på listen bør økeblikkeligt lukke munden på den forventelige kritik: "Hvor er Hanne Vibeke Holst, Ib Michael, Dan Turell, Frk. Smilla og Kaptajn Haddock dog blevet af!". Man kan høre svaret for sig: "De er der ikke fordi listen skulle være kort. Vi har kun taget det allervigtigste. Vi har kun taget dem som vi ikke er sikre på I husker når I er nede i boghandlen for at købe Hanne Vibeke Holst, Ib Michael, Dan Turell, Frk. Smilla og Kaptajn Haddock."
Hvis nu bøgerne var seværdigheder i det danske landskab så er den rigtige sammenligning at Kanonudvalget ikke er Danmarks Turistråd, men derimod Slots og Ejendomsstyrelsen. Her passer man på det helt centrale, som vi ville ærgre os over forsvandt, også os der er ligeglade. Vi ville ærgre os når vi opdagede hvad vi havde mistet.
Resten af det litterære landskab behøver ikke noget Kanonudvalg eller anden statslig regulering, det klarer sig nok endda.

Posted by Claus at 01:44 AM
Fantastisk Torsdagskoncert

Dagens koncert i Radiohuset var helt fantastisk - enten den bedste eller den næstbedste jeg har hørt i Radiohuset. Radiosymfoniorkestrets latterlige website har desværre ikke URL's til enkelt koncerter - kun koncertmåneder (hvor lamt er det?) - men det var altså den øverst listede af dem her, med Lars Ulrik Mortensen (direktion, orgel), Andreas Scholl(kontratenor) og Camilla Tilling(sopran) som lavede Händel, Händel og Pergolesi. Under normale omstændigheder musik lidt ældre end jeg synes er rigtig fedt, men hvilken performance. Lars Ulrik Mortensen er en ikke alt for stor mand med et enorm hoved og en akavet kropsholdning - en slags musikkens Holger Bech Nielsen. Men ligesom med Holger Bech så er det ligemeget når først musikken spiller. Han musicerer på kraft, leder ivrigt orkestret, spiller fantastisk og når der virkelig skal knald på rejser han sig fra bænken, pacer orkestret frem og spiller videre stående. Det er power og karakter i musikken når han laver den. Og så sang både Scholl (som er en superstar) og Tilling (som jeg aldrig har hørt om) helt fantastisk - og deres stemmer klædte hinanden.
Barokfans siger at barokmusik er mere levende, farverigt og energisk end senere musik. Jeg har aldrig rigtigt kunnet høre andet end smuk, til tider næsten matematisk, musik hvor man kan høre at de ikke har fået alle ideerne endnu. Igår, i Lars Ulrik Mortensens hænder var der imidlertid ingen tvivl om at det er rigtigt. Sikke et drøn, navnlig Händelværkerne. Jeg kan ikke huske at jeg nogensinde har hørt noget lignende.

Jeg har haft koncertabonnement til Radiosymfoniorkestrets Torsdagskoncerter i 5-6 år, og går derfor til koncert i Radiohuset en 8-10 gange hver sæson, men jeg skriver sjældent om det her.

Det er noget med at der er en meget stærk klassisk "musikboglig" kultur jeg ikke er del af - jeg ved nogenlunde præcis det om musik man kan lære ved at være i familie med folk der ved noget, og så ved selv at lytte til plader og koncerter. Det har været en stor ting at gå til torsdagskoncert. Plader er ikke engang en dårlig erstatning for koncertoplevelsen. Det er slet ingen erstatning, men istedet en anden (og fattigere) oplevelse. Man opfatter musikkens struktur meget tydeligere til en koncert. Jeg plejer at sige at alt hvad jeg ved om musik har jeg lært i Radiohuset

Posted by Claus at 01:12 AM
Web design 102: Thou shalt not publish a "Delete this site" link

Found this wiki clone homepage and read a while down until I got to the following diary entry:

Rollback mystery solved: The search engines did it!
6. June, 2004
Apparently random rollbacks have been occurring for some time now, but with the IP logging in place, it was easy to assign the blame. Search engines have traversed the site and have been “clicking” all the rollback links. So now the rollback link is done in javascript to keep those pesky engines at bay. This fix will be part of 0.9.2 and is already in effect on instiki dot org.

So they had a "Delete this site" link that worked via HTTP GET, and the search engines gradually removed the entire website!. That has to be the funniest side effect of not being in control (no one is on the web) I have seen in a long time.

[UPDATE and sidenote: The correct answer to this problem is not the one chosen. Just use HTTP in proper RESTian fashion, by not doing mutations with GET but only with POST. Search engines use HTTP properly and don't follow post links]

Posted by Claus at 12:20 AM
September 23, 2004
Tabbed channelsurfing

I just searched (without any luck) for the Ctrl button on my TV remote. That's how addictive Mozilla Firefox tabbed browsing is.
I really need tabbed TV surfing too. My TV does not have teletext/videotext memory, so I loose videotext browsing state on each channel change. That's really annoying, since videotext updates are so slow that I always switch to image while waiting for the weatherreport or the latest scores. I only have channels with nothing good on, så I always change the channel having forgotten about the videotext loading and am left informationless.

Posted by Claus at 08:02 PM
Verdens mest pr?tenti?se dr?m

Torben Sangild virker fra sin blog som en helt igennem rimelig fyr, og jeg er sikker p? at det nok skal passe n?r han skriver det, men at dr?mme at PJ Harvey synger digte af Adorno m? klassificere til konkurrencen om verdens mest pr?tenti?se dr?m.
Som jeg siger, Torben - jeg brokker mig ikke. Jeg m?tte bare lige kommentere....

Posted by Claus at 06:42 PM
Quality issues at Google?

Is Google's legendary server park overstretched? My GMail has gone very unresponsive lately - and my Google news alerts have been missing from Sep 16 until today.

[UPDATE: Justeren was under the impression that I had turned into some kind of Google basher. I haven't. I'm just wondering if there's a newsstory I haven't picked up]

Posted by Claus at 11:02 AM
The wonders of the wonderchicken

Without blogging would I have known about Stavros The Wonderchicken, one of the most consistent (if infrequent) quality bloggers out there.

Posted by Claus at 12:07 AM
September 22, 2004
Dansk design og Mau-Mau effekten

Der er opstået en ny weblog her i nærheden af I min familie kan vi godt lide et frisk slag i bolledejen, som læsere af muligvis vil have gættet allerede.
Min ene storebror stikker tæsk ud her og her og nu er en af mine andre brødre begyndt at stikke tæsk ud her.. Holger - det hedder ham den sidste - har en tegnestue og var udgiver på det blad som han og jeg i fælleskab redigerede det hidtil eneste nummer af for alt for længe siden. Man kan åbenbart kun have et vist antal aktive sideprojekter kørende samtidig.
Holger lægger hårdt for med en kæberyster til de noget navlebeskuende globale ideer på Dansk Arkitektur Centers RE-THINK:

Og så til udstillingen: Hvad har vi her af fordomssplintrende originalitet? Man står efter at have drejet sig 180° lidt måbende: En grimt opbygget udstilling lavet af flamingoklodser, hvor teksterne allerede efter en dags åbning er ved at falde ned. (Jeg brækker mig over al den æstetik, er Arne Jacobsen citeret for at sige på en af plancherne – men er der ikke en mellemvej??) En serie “utopier” af typen “hvad nu hvis Danmark var en stor hoppepude?? Eller “Hvad nu hvis grise kunne flyve??” Alt sammen formidlet på alenlange serier af plancher på et temmelig globaliseret engelsk (The Danish boarders betyder “de danske pensionærer “ og ikke “de danske grænser" som det vist er meningen). Og over det hele hører og læser man konstant: “Denmark, Denmark, Denmark, Denmark – hvor er globaliseringen blevet af i flamingohelvedet - for helvede??

Læs endelig hele historien.

Posted by Claus at 11:57 PM

Upstreaming apparently means moving up the food chain. Make yourself more valuable, specialize even further. Extend. Grow. It's not quite the same thing as an old school career track - it's more like a creative world analogou of old school career planning.

Posted by Claus at 11:42 PM
September 21, 2004
Why broadcast needs to die

Here's an example of the kind of material you can do in a webcast that's hard to do in broadcast television.
In this interview Nassim Taleb talks about risk and about how most investors underestimate the importance of rare events. A point along the same lines as those made by Benoit Mandelbrot in his recent book.
What's interesting about the interview is that it is long and I would say quite technical really, even if Taleb does not actually throw equations around.

Since distribution cost dominates production cost, that kind of limited audience interviews make little sense for broadcast.
As we immerse ourselves deeper and deeper in a knowledge society, where value comes from specialization, i.e. limited knowledge, we should find most of our interests have this quality: They're much more suited for the world of ends than for anything else. What's disconcerting for broadcasters is that this kind of specialization is even true for entertainment. I read somewhere recently that kids simply aren't watching television anymore, they're playing networked games.

Posted by Claus at 08:49 PM
Platform wars continued

Kottke speculates on the possibility of Google building a more deeply google-integrated Mozilla.
Amazon has A9, Microsoft is building up MSN as the brand for this kind of server integrated utilities, Yahoo is building who knows what.
Lots of guesses going around.

[UPDATE: A new Google UserAgent is currently crawling the web]

Posted by Claus at 12:36 PM
Listening to Bjørn Svin: Mer' Strøm

Some times you need to listen to something a couple of times to appreciate it. Inspired by its use in a commercial I recently borrowed the copy of Bjørn Svin's greatest hit Mer Strøm that I gave my sister as a present back in 1998 when it came out. I remember buying it because of of the amazing title of artist and album and because of the uncompromising sound but not really as music.
Turns out on second contact that the minimalist title track absolutely rocks, with fresh appealing touch tone sounds that gradually, and surprisingly, builds in complexity through the track. The remainder of the album is less inspiring, if occasionally interesting.

Posted by Claus at 12:10 AM
September 20, 2004

I hadn't looked at the Moveable Type website for a while, since I long ago decided I would never upgrade MT again. But I just got there via various links.Talk about taking the grassroots out of a website!
The MT site used to look like the website of a small company, that wasn't really a company at all. They had this software you could download without any hassles, use is you didn't exactly make a living out of it, and pay for if you appreciated the convenience of the software.
Now it's all product, and you're nothing but a consumer.
I don't really know if that's a sad thing or just an inevitable consequence of growth. In many respects I'm sure the service of the new MT is better for non-hobbyists - it's just that bloggers used to all be hobbyists.

[UPDATE: I should probably have sent some credit for the observation this way]

Posted by Claus at 11:50 PM
Lakoff on election rhetoric

We hurry up to reference the George Lakoff video in which he explains some basic facts of how the republican political rhetoric (or any other rhetoric for that matter) works. It's a little slow going if you know your way around words, but it's interesting.

Via David Weinberger.

Posted by Claus at 10:55 PM
Discover the recipes you are using and abandon them

This was the oblique strategy I picked today. Not to sound too mysterious, but I really, really like the timing of this particular advice.

Posted by Claus at 01:12 AM
September 19, 2004
Foreningen af Underkendte Genier
Jeg tror faktisk at 90% af alle webloggere blogger fordi de ikke har fundet frem til Foreningen af Underkendte Genier
?1 - NAVN Foreningens navn er "Foreningen af Underkendte Genier" forkortet FUG.

?2 - FORM?L
Foreningens form?l er f?lles ynk og rygklapperi.

?3 - LOGO
Foreningens logo er den dybe tallerken med det varme vand.

Posted by Claus at 04:17 PM

Morten Frederiksen har en cool feature p? sin "hvem er jeg"-side, nemlig et foto af ham selv fra 2004 + en lille dropbox s? man kan skifte til istedet at vise et ?ldre billede. En slags personlige ?rringe.
Fundet via en smule blog-idling ud fra emnet "Dan Gillmor blogger's dinner". Gad nok vide hvor n?r det bliver lige s? uh?fligt som at tale i mobiltelefon i biografen at l?gge billeder ud p? nettet af folk man ikke en gang ved hvad hedder. Indtil videre kan vi andre jo s? bare more os med at v?re steder vi slet ikke har v?ret. F.eks. tror jeg nok at jeg engang arbejdede med at s?lge avisabonnementer p? Information p? samme tidspunkt som ham her - men hans navn kunne jeg alts? ikke huske.
[UPDATE: Knut var tilsyneladende meget ivrig efter at deltage. Observation via Just]

I?vrigt stank jeg helt utroligt meget som avisabonnementss?lger.

Posted by Claus at 03:58 PM
GMails igen

Jeg har fundet nogen flere GMail invitationer p? min GMail. N?r jeg siger fundet, s? er det fordi de hele tiden flytter "Du har x invitationer til GMail!" teksten rundt p? siden s? man hele tiden tror de er forsvundet. Anyways, hvis du mangler en gmail og har fortjent at f? en s? send en mail til mig.
Jeg har stadig kommentarer sl?et fra, s? s?dan kan du ikke bede om en.

Posted by Claus at 03:43 PM

Finally, spam has a use with the invention of the spamshirt.

Via Netsummary

Posted by Claus at 03:29 PM
September 17, 2004
Gad vide...

...hvor mange der fik den falske Prins Joachim profil som fredagsmail idag. 100.000? Flere?
Jeg har indtil videre n?et at f? den fra 4 forskellige kilder og dagen er stadig ung.


Posted by Claus at 03:48 PM
September 14, 2004
A long story on short letters

Executive summary: The story of a famous quote by Blaise Pascal

One of the world's favourite quotations is the one that goes something like

I apologize that this letter is so long. I did not have the time to make it short
I had erroneously remembered the source as Marcel Proust, possibly because of his well known tendency to write rather long texts. Today an acquaintance wrote to me, citing this reference, where the quote is given to Mark Twain, and altered somewhat. I immediately fired back with my opinion on the matter, and only then thought to check that fact on Google.

Google didn't help.

Google did however puzzle and amuse. It turns out that various forms of this line has been attributed to quite a number of people. A good discussion quickly turned up on Ward Cunningham's ur-wiki. The discussion there attributed the quote in a number of forms claimed to be "the original" to H.D. Thoreau, Voltaire, Augustin, Mark Twain and most prominently to Blaise Pascal. Elsewhere it is also attributed to Albert Einstein, Oscar Wilde and Thomas Jefferson among others.

The best reference was to this delightful thread, First Excuse For A Long Letter, which adds Lord Chesterfield and Mme de Stael as sources for the quotation.
The first post is the best one though. In it, a librarian tracks the quote back to classical times. He first establishes the basic facts, and recognizes Blaise Pascal as the direct source:

"Je N'ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parceque je n'ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.
--I have only made this letter rather long because I have not had time to make it shorter."
Pascal. Lettres provinciales, 16, Dec.14,1656. Cassell's Book of Quotations, London,1912. P.718.

It turns out the joke is much older, dating back maybe even to Cicero. The oldest quote of interest uncovered is a slight moderation by Augustin:
"In regard to the questions which you have asked me, I would like to have known what your own answers would have been; for thus I might have made my reply in fewer words, and might most easily confirm or correct your opinions, by approving or amending the answers which you had given. This I would have greatly preferred. But desiring to answer you at once, I think it better to write a long letter than incur loss of time....."

About the executive summary: This post is found about once a day on Google by people looking for the source of the quote, just as I was back when I wrote it. Recently I came across a guy who had bookmarked this very blog post on tagged "quotations mark-twain". I just couldn't stand the fact that people were still getting this fact wrong because I chose to indulge myself, tell a story and bury the facts, so I added a short statement of the facts at the top. - Claus 20061114

Posted by Claus at 01:30 AM
September 13, 2004
The anti-Hemingway

A french novelist has finally produced the inevitable novel without verbs. As far as I'm concerned he cheats. The articly linked quotes a passage like

". . . Those women there, probably mothers, bearers of ideas far too voluminous for their brains of modest capacity."

Clearly, bearers carries verb sense in that quote, it's just a passive form of a sentence.
The entire notion that verbs are suspect and adjectives the true flowers of a language would make Michel Thaler, the author, something like an anti-Hemingway.
The Hemingwayesque notion of economy involves cutting out all but the dialogue and "objective" descriptions. I'm sure he would agree that his own prose was not flowery though. That was the entire point.

Posted by Claus at 04:38 PM
Email er ikke et telefonsystem

Det forslag til en slags "email aflytning" i EU der omtales i Politiken er ikke alene skidt for retssikkerheden, men ogs? fuldst?ndig umuligt at gennemf?re (ligesom lignende lovgivning om IP telefoni forresten).
Hvis man tager sin brevhemmelighed alvorligt har man da for l?ngst

  • Flyttet sin posth?ndtering til en eller anden ur?rlig server i et m?rkeligt udland - eller hjem for enden af en ADSL forbindelse.

  • Krypteret det hele.

Det er komplet absurd at lovgiverne tror at email virker ligesom telefoni - at de store ISPer har internettets postservere st?ende p? nogen centraler - s?dan at man kunne forlange en udskrift af mist?nktes email.
Af en eller anden grund har bureaukrater bare uoverstigelige vanskeligheder ved at forst? at netv?rket er The World of Ends.

Posted by Claus at 02:42 PM
K?re socialdemokrater: Det var ikke det vi mente med generationsskifte

P? Socialdemokratiets kongres i weekenden er der nogen der har misforst?et et eller andet, og misforst?elsen har bragt et forslag om at neds?tte valgretsalderen til 15 ?r p? banen. K?re kongresdeltagere:

Det er ikke v?lgermassen, men jeres politiske ledelse der er blevet for gammel.

Jeg tror faktisk at jeg ?rligt kan sige at jeg ikke engang syntes det var unfair jeg ikke kunne stemme da jeg var 17. Jeg var bestemt ikke ligeglad med verdens rette sammenh?ng, men p? den anden side var jeg indforst?et med, at jeg kun var if?rd med at s?tte mig ind i de sammenh?nge, man m? have en forst?else for, hvis man skal deltage i den politiske samtale. Og uden at skryde for meget tror jeg godt jeg t?r p?st? at jeg l? i den p?ne ende af forst?elsesskalaen.
P? den anden side s? er der jo noget om snakken: Folketinget, og da navnlig den socialdemokratiske folketingsgruppe (og s? skatteministeren), minder mere og mere om et elevr?d - ligesom den politiske dagsorden minder om elevr?dets: Det er s?dan noget med at sl? sig selv kammeratligt p? ryggen, mens man bevilger en ekstrafridag med en gratis dagsration vingummi - eller nye gardiner nede i Playstation 2 stuen p? fritidshjemmet.
Og s? krig i Irak selvf?lgelig. Hvordan skal en 15 ?rig dog have en fornuftig mening om den krigs verdenshistoriske berettigelse? Det er sv?rt nok for os andre, der ikke brugte ble under Golfkrig 1.

Posted by Claus at 09:59 AM
September 11, 2004
If Kerry fails... will be because he had absolutely no concept of a "high ground" and was unable to stay on actual political issues. It is disturbing that the worlds largest democracy has degraded to this kind of complete non-election. Bill Clinton was right on the money on The Daily Show: Democrats win when people think. They're not nearly as confident with fear and emotion as the republicans are. Even the great connector Clinton won on a campaign of issues.
And his response to the obvious (and predictable) attack that only republicans can protect the safety of America was ridiculously shrill. The right response would be to stay on the issues, not to shout "CHARACTER ATTACK!!! FEAR MONGERING!!!". That's exactly the lack of composure that plays to Cheney's fear mongering. A solid "Frankly Mr Vice President, you're doing a TERRIBLE job keeping us safe" would have been much better. There's enough terror to go around.

But there's still time to hope of course, that the darkness will end and Kerry will win.

Posted by Claus at 03:43 PM
Den endegyldige Uri Geller videoafsløring

Da vi jo desværre plages i disse år af en paranormal bølge er det også igen blevet tid at hive 70er-fupmageren Uri Geller op af posen, og det gjorde man så naturligvis på DR for en uges tid siden i de latterlige nyheder efter de rigtige nyheder - det program der kaldes Nyhedsmagasinet. Da det jo er bedre TV hvis grise kan flyve end hvis de ikke kan, var TV journalisterne omhyggelige med at lade en kattelem stå åben så man med sindsro kunne blive i troen efter udsendelsen. Men heldigvis har vi jo de ikke-monopoliserede nyheder på internettet og her er en fremragende videoanalyse af Gellers tryllenummer, som omhyggeligt viser tryllekunstneren på arbejde.
Det har i lang tid undret mig at man kan finde masse af skriftlige vidnesbyrd fra tryllekunstnere på nettet som siger at det er nemt at gøre, men ingen film af nogen der gør det. Men nu kan man altså i det mindste se Geller snyde foran kameraet.

Posted by Claus at 02:59 PM
Password hack

This password hack is just brilliant. Keep one secret password. Never use it in public, but use an MD5 hashed version of the master and the current site instead. With a little help from software it's as easy as using the password directly and you're not grossly vulnerable to attacks on website17 that you registered at 3 years ago.
A translucent response to the "Registration required" password hell around us.

Posted by Claus at 01:49 AM
September 10, 2004
Math Rock?

It seems for every band there's a subgenre all their own. Everybody wants to break new ground and the thing music is really made of, tradition, is in ill repute.
As a mathematician I was delighted to learn that there's actually something somebody calls Math Rock. [Note to readers: Although there's a nice pun on the danish word "klamphuggeri" (meaning shoddy, poor quality work) I am not C-Clamp]. Delighted, and slightly apprehensive, since frankly speaking my math department didn't exactly epitomize rock'n roll.
Turns out it's just slightly angular, brainy, American alt-rock with occasional noise elements.

The site epitonic makes it a joy to explore the music by the way. Audio genre guides and streams of genre samples. Bookmarked.

Thanks for the tip Just

Posted by Claus at 11:55 AM
Oh, and I am still blogging

Thanks to those of you who got in touch to hear if I'd given completely up on blogging. I haven't. It's just that I've been ill, catching up at work after my summer vacation (more on that later), reading Benoit Mandelbrots new book on fractal finance and writing about that here (in danish).
In a few short days comments will be reenabled in a comment-spam secure fashion.

Posted by Claus at 11:04 AM
Don't buy that TiVo yet

TiVohas agreed to media use restrictions dictated by broadcasters. So don't but that TiVo yet. The notion that I would want broadcasters to control my use of a device I specifically purchased to take personal control of when and how I consume broadcast media is absurd.
Thank god for the DIY or no-brand Taiwanese/Chinese alternatives to this kind of commercial control.

Max Ochoa, associate general counsel of San Jose-based TiVo, said consumers won't be ambushed by the copy restrictions.

That's just spin. Of course this is an ambush on your freedom to act in any way you want with products you have purchased and put in the privacy of your home.
It is also a reminder why we shouldn't trust the new model of purchasing everything on a service basis. Unless "Don't be evil" becomes law for companies offering such services, we're much better of by moving intelligence and storage to the edges where it can't be controlled.
This by the way is the point of Steve Mann's book Cyborg and the ideology behind his wearable computing and sousveillance projects. Wearable tech is the ultimate edge network. Mann's book quite brilliantly explains how fairer, democracy minded, technology depends on the edge.

Posted by Claus at 10:55 AM