Archive for June, 2003


Why I am fair share.

Imagine this job interview:

Interviewer: So tell me about what qualifications and skills you can bring to this job.
Applicant: None, really.
Interviewer: I see. Why should we hire you?
Applicant: I’ve been working a long time.
Interviewer: Sounds good to me, welcome aboard!

We’ve been going through some layoffs at work. Because all non-management jobs in Minnesota state government are union-represented, and because the unions respect seniority above all else — certainly above competence — this means that people with seniority get to “bump” people out of their jobs, regardless of whether the more senior employees are qualified. Pisses me off.


OpenOffice 1.0 Final for Mac OS X.

At long last, a final build of OpenOffice 1.0 is available for Mac OS X. This requires XWindows; Apple’s X11 works just great. I ran the installer with absolutely no problem and was up and running in a few minutes. Even the warnings that I might need to do some manual editing of a config file to get the Start OpenOffice script to work turned out to be unfounded: it asked me which X server I preferred to use and proceeded to just work.

I haven’t used it extensively, just played around a bit, but my impression so far is that it might be usable on my iBook. A bit sluggish to be sure, and I miss Jaguar’s font smoothing, but if I ever need an office suite, this will do nicely. No, it doesn’t feel like a Mac app, but that’s okay for now. At least I can use splat-S (or open-apple S if you prefer) to save instead of control-S.

I’m still keeping my eye on NeoOffice, which is working on an OS X-native version of OpenOffice. I just noticed NeoOffice/J, which is focusing on making OpenOffice work without X11. Using Java, it seems. Hm.

If you haven’t tried OpenOffice, give it a shot, especially if you’re on Windows and are used to Microsoft Office. OpenOffice 1.1 beta is very nice indeed. (Of course, I say this as someone who hardly even uses a word processor anymore, much less a spreadsheet or presentation software. And I have to say that MS Office 2003 looks spectacular.)


Kung-Log test

Just testing updates with Kung-Log.


Digest Authentication w/ Apache and IE?

Cool, A patch has been submitted for Apache to work around the broken Digest Authentication in Internet Explorer. Huzzah.


Windows Isn’t Ready

On PHP Complete: Windows Isn’t Ready for the Desktop. Tee hee.

I love that the first few comments are along the lines of “hmm, hasn’t happened to me,” and “here’s how you fix it.” Much as happens when someone complains that they can’t get something to “just work” in Linux. Which is of course his point: “just because someone has a problem with something doesn’t mean the OS is crap.”


Revealing Access Keys

I’m not all that fond of accesskeys in web pages. It’s a great idea that I feel pretty much falls down on implementation: the possibility of clobbering the user’s own access key preferences is just too great, and the idea of every web site having its own set of accesskeys just makes my teeth hurt.

Still, if you’re going to use them, you might be interested in using style sheets to reveal accesskeys, as described by Stuart Robertson, author of the recent ALA accesskeys article that garnered so much buzz. Rather clever, really, but unfortunately doesn’t work in IE. You could go the route of Stuart Langridge’s nice titles if that matters to you.


Giving Revisionists a Bad Name.

In a tightly-written essay in the Washington Post, historian Alexander Keyssar takes issue with Bush’s dismissing as “revision historians” those who question the administration’s rationale for invading Iraq. That’s what historians do, he argues: revise accounts of the past based on new evidence.

The first histories of war and of major political conflicts are almost always told by the winners; the first sources of information tend to be men (and occasionally women) who hold the reins of power. But those official histories are always flawed and incomplete, precisely because the sources are partial and self-serving. Sooner or later, revisionist challenges emerge, provoking debates that are uncomfortable for political leaders, although salutary for the society those leaders are supposed to serve.


Family Reunion.

I’m on my way to my wife’s family reunion today. I don’t expect that it will be much fun, but I’m not dreading it, either. For some reason my family doesn’t really go in for these events so much, although there was one a number of years back. I’m glad for that.

Back later…


Mark Newhouse Interview

Craig Saila interviews Mark Newhouse about CSS in design and layout. Mark has such a sane approach that I don’t want to lose track of that link.

More things that I don’t want to lose track of because I might refer to them soon:


Happy Birthday, Chris

I’m sure that my brother Chris would be proud to know that his birthday is the day that the Unisys LZW algorithm patent expires in the US. GIF is almost free.

OK. He probably doesn’t care a whit, except that reading it here will make him chuckle.

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