Archive for August, 2001


Dave Winer: Microsoft’s Scripting Strategy.

Dave Winer: Microsoft’s Scripting Strategy. It scares me, but I think he’s right on. What scares me more is that there are lots of people whose response will be, “Yeah? So?”

When we were looking to pick a WYSIWYG HTML editor at work, it came down to a choice between Microsoft FrontPage and Macromedia Dreamweaver. There were a few strong voices who insisted that we go with FrontPage because it integrates so well with other Microsoft products. True, and that’s something mighty powerful. What bothers me is that FrontPage integrates with MS products to the exclusion of other companies’ products and of open standards. That’s one of the things that I like about Dreamweaver: its deliberate and focused commitment to open standards.

The not-so-hidden subtext to the demand that we use FrontPage was the desire to move toward a solely Microsoft-based environment, because they make everything so easy and interoperable. Again, pretty much true, and that’s what frightens me: because that interoperability comes at the expense of being able to cooperate with other environments and open, non-proprietary standards. Not unlike the situation that Winer describes.



W3C‘s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, working draft. Good stuff, some nice improvements over version 1.


XML Accessibility guidelines

W3C’s XML Accessibility Guidelines.



I turn my back and MySQL is building in useful things like transaction support, in a new version they call MySQL Max.


Scot Hacker on He

Scot Hacker on He Who Controls the Bootloader. Yeah, he starts out talking about BeOS, which may or may not be of interest to you. But keep on, because he eventually makes a point that’s bugged me for a long time.

It’s always bothered me how the antitrust lawsuit seemed to focus on the browser wars. I believe that integration of the browser with the OS (or really, I guess, with the file manager) is a competitive advantage. Hell, I love it in KDE.

No, the real problem is Microsoft’s abusing their monopoly on the desktop by strong-arming OEMs with license agreements that forbid offering a choice between a Microsoft OS and another OS as a boot option. And the DOJ dropped the ball.



Oh yeah. Farscape, quite possibly the best show on television, is being played in its entirety on the Sci-Fi channel weekday evenings, at least in the US. It’s got everything: good science fiction, smart writing, sharp acting, amazing puppetry, interspecies sexual tension… You really should check it out.


More on collaboration: blogging and IRC

Edd Dumbill on WebReview: Running a Weblog from IRC.


IE6 draws fire

Internet Explorer 6 under fire for not supporting rivals.

“Microsoft decided to drop support for the plug-ins — additional software that lets users play music, watch videos or perform other tasks — in favor of Microsoft technology called ActiveX. Microsoft spokesman Jim Cullinan said the move was for increased security.”

Uh, yeah. ‘cuz ActiveX is so secure.



A few days ago we got an email at work asking about what had happened to an ePortfolio RFP. We knew nothing and responded accordingly.

Today, I walked into work and saw something posted on the wall pointing to the conference room where an meeting about ePortfolios was taking place. I asked a guy leaving the room what ePortfolios were all about, and he invited me to join the meeting! And bam! I’m on another task force. But it’s a really cool project, something that ISEEK is doing. Students, faculty, and job-seekers (in Minnesota and the immediate area) will all be able to create a web-based portfolio. In some respects it’s little more than a fancy resume, but then the ability to post or link to files that make up your portfolio makes it something tremendously more interesting.

A couple years ago I saw a presentation on this sort of thing by a faculty member at the University of Minnesota, Duluth who had created an ePortfolio system for the U. UMD faculty were beginning to work it into their curriculum and advising, so that through a student’s academic career, s/he would slowly build a portfolio that they could make available to potential employers or grad schools as they neared graduation. Very cool.

And now ISEEK’s doing it with a bit of a broader focus. Right on! I’m glad that I asked.



One of the things that I love about most of the areas of focus in my academic study — be it French historical linguistics or Ancient Near Eastern religion — is careful, painstakingly detailed study of manuscripts. Spending hours poring over minute, often spare or seemingly insignficant details; noticing patterns and drawing connections where they may not be obvious; slowly building a larger picture of what’s going on … I love it.

This is what I’m going through right now as I wrestle with LDAP. Frustratingly little documentation — bits here, bits there — but slowly I’m figuring it out. LDAP is not a tricky concept at all, it’s just the command line tools are not immediately obvious if I have little idea what’s in the database. It’s been fun.

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