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Permanent link to archive for Sunday, November 25, 2001. Sunday, November 25, 2001

Survey: "Are you smarter than me?" 

The early results are in, and it appears that, according to the readers, they are not smarter than me. 

Tim O'Reilly: "GPL is just as much an expression of power over users as any proprietary license." 

Hey Tim is partly right. In commercial software users run the show. I gotta sell some software to make payroll every damned month. In this stinking economy you can really feel that. That means the users have a lot of power. My company dies if they don't like what we do. It's probably a lot like selling books and conferences.  

Hey if people want to sort out where SOAP is going, check this out. The thing that's so cool about HTTP is that it added network programming to every programmer's toolkit. Right? Why didn't it happen before that? What is it about HTTP that made it work, when AppleTalk and various Microsoft-3COM-Novell-IBM, etc networking APIs didn't catch on? Here's the deal. HTTP had to be graspable by a single mind, because it was designed by a single mind. We all know that design-by-committee doesn't work, right? Did you ever read the Mythical Man-Month? If not, stop everything and read it right now. Why anyone expects committees to come up with something revolutionary is a total mystery to me. They only produce stuff that's incomprehensible. It's always the lone guy working in left field (actually under the bleachers) that creates the stuff that rocks the world, it's never a BigCo that does it, for good reasons -- they're total committees (and don't imagine that creating a committee of BigCo people solves any problems, it doesn't). You'd think people would have figured that out by now. 

BTW, there are people who want me to stop using the term BigCo. No way. It works. And it's catching on. I heard a guy at a BigCo complaining about how he worked at a BigCo. It's real. There really is a BigCo mentality. It even creeps into SmallCo's. Gotta love it, but be cursed if you live it. Not a good lifestyle if you want to do cool shit.  

Kevin Altis: "The cool thing about HTTP is that the protocol itself is printable ASCII so you can actually type it yourself with a telnet session and pretend to be a client or server and easily debug the contents of any headers without special tools." Amen. 

A personal note that only Frontier programmers will truly understand. I've been doing a lot of programming and writing in the last week, doing the Hypercard + MORE thing, and I'm liking it as much as I hoped I would. Now, when I get something nice working, or when the software does something nice that I wasn't expecting (it just happened) I exclaim something, it's uncontrollable, it just comes out of my mouth. The sound is this -- P'tahhhh (sounds like ta-dahhh, songlike). I didn't know where it came from, it just comes out of my mouth. Last night I figured it out while driving. Here's what it means. At the top of every script I write is this line. 

local (pta = html.getpagetableaddress ()) 

There it is. Pta. 

Mexican Slang 101: "Puta -- short for prostituta, this word means whore, but is more extensively used. This is what a Mexican would say if he hammered his finger." 

MSNBC has an article on the FBI's Magic Lantern project. In the middle of the night your computer checks with the FBI to find out if you're a terrorist, a web service, perhaps called fbi.amITerrorist (ipAddress). If it returns true then every keystroke you type on your computer is transmitted to the FBI including your encryption key. Voila. All of a sudden Carnivore works. 

John Robb thinks this capability will be pre-installed with Microsoft's OS. I think so too. How do I know? Well I don't know for sure, I don't have sources, but it must have been tempting for MS, too tempting. They get out of the antitrust conviction and in return they give the Feds the keys to all our computers. Not just in the US, of course, MS is a big seller in the international market. The workaround for terrorists (and independent developers) is to use an older or non-Microsoft OS, and get good antivirus software, not McAfee's -- to keep the Feds from going places they aren't supposed to be. 

It's so interesting. I get emails telling me to stop writing about this, stop writing about that, if I listened to all the emails I would have to just stop writing. Hey if you want me to stop writing, have a nice day and get a life. 

Yet another dotcom-is-dead article from the NY Times. This time it's really dead. I'm sure there will be another and another proclaiming that it's really really dead, and then for sure really really dead. 


Last update: Sunday, November 25, 2001 at 5:35 PM Eastern.

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