Thursday, January 27, 2005
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
it's a cover-up.
back when i was a kid in the early 80's, i had this friend whose mom kept all her living room furniture covered in this thick crinkly clear plastic. because it was the good furniture, and she wouldn't have wanted to ruin it by, you know, touching it. that she couldn't see it, enjoy it, or use it as it was meant to be used &mdash well, you can't have everything.
think about that the next time you slip on that ipod cover.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
don't let the door smack you in the ass on the way out.
i know the armitage quote from this article is already anywhere and everywhere in the global echo chamber, but i'm tacking it to the wall here, too, as a reminder to myself as much as anything else. i can't think of a better one-paragraph summation of what's gone wrong:
Then, after a minute's pause, he adds a third regret: "The biggest regret is that we didn't stop 9/11. And then in the wake of 9/11, instead of redoubling what is our traditional export of hope and optimism we exported our fear and our anger. And presented a very intense and angry face to the world. I regret that a lot."
Sunday, January 23, 2005
the more i think about it, the less sense it makes.
while in tokyo, you must stop in at zoff , a branch of which you'll find around pretty much every street corner. they sell eyeglasses, but cheap, oh so cheap: i picked up a terrific pair for $50, and that included frames, lenses, and examination (fortunately, i didn't have to try to identify blurry kanji.) the most expensive pair clocked in at around $100, slightly more if you want the supah-thin lenses, still around $300 less than i've spent on every other pair i've ever bought here at home . half an hour after the exam, i stroll out with a new pair of rectangular, gray/green, vaguely japanese looking specs. and every clerk in the place made sure to swing by and thank us as we stepped out the door. what could be better?
 note that zoff, practically, labels its home page as a "web site for consumer information." handy, that. and there are links for both "about us" and "company" in the main navigation, the difference between which i am not clear about at all. and speaking of, the navigation for the site is in english even though everything else is in japanese; apparently, english navigation is "trendy." you can try to understand, but sometimes it's easier to just give up.
 very little about the pricing system in japan made sense to me. how is it that i can spend the same amount on two glasses of cheap-but-very-expensive california wine as i do on a new pair of eyeglasses? a little research reveals that it doesn't make much sense to the japanese, either; "kakaku hakai" is the phrase for it, meaning price destruction, a situation in which various niche japanese market competitors drive each other's costs down to the barest of minimums. except, apparently, the wine importers.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
i'm usually optimistic, so when i'm cynical i'm usually right.
for all the things i used to imagine the web could be, back in the day — "the new punk rock" was always a favorite, but "revolutionary medium for remote interpersonal communication" took second place — the only thing the web has consistently proved to be over the years is, alas, highly distracting from the task at hand. that's capitalism for you. history just wasn't on our side.
which reminds me — i've been wanting to reread rob mcchesney for a while now. he knew we were screwed all the way back in 1993. oh, well. guess we'll wait to see what comes along next.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
the post-rockstar internet.
AIM IM with Ben Brown
xxxbenbrown: BLOG ME
just a typical sf weekend.
[leaving the bar.]
e: "oh, hey, friday night we're going to go throw pies at ballerinas."
l: "yeah, all right."
e: "it's for charity."
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
sadly, my experiment with gmail as my universal outbox was not to be. turns out that gmail transforms the "from:" address of every message sent through its smtp server to "[account]@gmail.com," regardless of what's been specified as the correct "from:" address by my mail client. ineffective for my business email, so that's that. the setup's still valuable for incoming mail; i'm just abandoning it for outgoing.
i can understand why google does it, but it's still bad form.
Monday, January 10, 2005
news flash: american news media sucks.
i'm here in tokyo, watching cnnj (cnn japan), which magically has an english language track, when i'm surprised to see that there's an advertisement for cnn's havana bureau. "wait, what?" i ask, "cnn has a havana bureau?" it's followed by a lengthy advertisement for the experience and trustworthiness of the cnn head of news for africa. "wait, what?" i ask, "cnn covers african news?"
that's right. cnn, an american organization headquartered in atlanta, georgia, that most american of states, reports on all sorts of news about other countries, to other countries. just not to the country it's headquartered in. oh, no. they get a havana bureau; we're not even allowed to acknowledge that havana exists. here, they get news; at home, we get "crossfire" (well, until recently.)
and don't even get me started on bbc world, where they do things like report on weather conditions in the middle east. somehow, i suspect if we were told more often it was 44c in that part of the world, we'd be much less inclined to go a-bombing all the time. there's a level of connectedness that results from knowing it's fucking hot in kabul that reminds you real people live over there, too.
Saturday, January 01, 2005
yo, g, what up, g?
here's something incredibly boring that i nonetheless spend a fair amount of time on: spam. my main email address has been out on the web for so very long that it gets somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000 spam messages a day, which is just sad. still, i refuse to give it up , so i find myself forced to apply ever-increasing layers of filtering technology to keep the cialis offers at bay. up until very recently, that meant 1) spamassassin, deleting every message with a score of 8 or greater, and tagging every one between 5 and 8 as spam; 2) procmail, deleting the most obvious forms of spam as well as all the bounced mail i get from people spoofing @monstro.com as the "from:" address for spam they're sending out; and 3) mail.app's spam filter on mac os x, filtering most of the rest of what gets through into the spam folder, for me to browse through every couple of days to make sure nothing fell in by accident.
no surprises there, right? because i just did just what i read about on every other boring spam-related post out there on the internet. problem is, about a week ago it stopped working as well as it used to, for whatever reason, so i am forced to add another layer. the latest move has been to forward all my mail to gmail — ever since google added the ability to pop into your account, i've been meaning to do this anyway, because i love the way gmail threads up my messages into conversations, and i love the search . then the spam issue tipped my hand and i actually did it, and with gmail's distributed spam filtering added to the mix after procmail but before mail.app, things seem to have settled back down. very pleasant.
meanwhile, there are three other excellent reasons i would recommended this setup with gmail and your favorite pop client besides the global spam filter, and they are:
- archival record of all my email. this has been just amazing, even in just the few days i've been doing this. once you pop in and check mail, gmail marks the message as read and archived, which removes it from the inbox (if you check on the web beforehand, it doesn't stop gmail from popping that message out to you if you check it with your mail client later). and since the search is so powerful, there's no need to organize anything into folders — it's all archive and search as necessary. total paradigm shift, as the kids would say, and this version suits my style all the better &mdash messy and after the fact. who needs stupid folders?
- all my sent mail on the web. i've set up my mail.app client to use smtp.gmail.com to send mail, and gmail brilliantly archives that mail as well. so i've basically got a record of all the mail that goes in and out, minus all the spam, sitting out there on google's servers, that i can access and search anytime i need without taking anything away from my local client setup.
- best webmail client ever. clean, simple, whizzy dhtml fun. i love a well thought-through web app. go google! mozilla-based browser client with email integration next! and cut a deal with apple, while you're at it; you kids should really be working together better.
thanks for indulging the geek. back to more interesting topics (sex, decadence, high design, and proper grooming, in more or less than order of importance) soon, promise.
 because then the terrorists will have won.
 who doesn't love the search?