The occasional scrivener

Being the thoughts and writings of one Gustaf Erikson; father, homeowner, technologist.

Wednesday, 2024-03-31

dilbert newsletter goes html

The Dilbert newsletter has gone HTML. I guess that's so they can sell more adverts. I wouldn't know, because I read my mail in gnus. So this just means I have to resize my ssh window so that the text doesn't wrap.

But the really bad thing about it is it isn't funny.

Tuesday, 2024-03-30


Kasei: The Importance of Fudgability is an interesting "common sense" view on how to design an application.

"precision bombing"

The Bomber War: Arthur Harris and the Allied Bomber Offensive 1939-1945 by Robin Niellands

A "fair and balanced" history of the Allied bombing campaigns during World War 2. A book similar to The Most Dangerous Enemy: A History of the Battle of Britain by Stephen Bungay.

Niellands doesn't make any excuses for the Allied bombing. As he writes, there was a war on. And it is worth remembering that area bombing of civilians was initiated by the Germans, in Guernica, Warzaw, Coventry, and London. But the futility and horror of the bombing still remains. The point is not that area bombing was immoral. The war was immoral. But it still had to be fought.

Arthur Harris and his Command fought and died for the right of others to vilify their memory.

Thursday, 2024-03-25

heroes and villians

I'm pretty new to weblogging. I guess what I did in 1997 was weblogging, but that was what everything was doing then.

"Returning" to personal publishing, then, is entering a world where people feel strongly about things. Issues that outsiders such as I find arcane, like syndication formats, escalate quite quickly into religious wars.

In these wars, two protagonists stand out. They are Dave Winer, the grand old man of weblogging, and Mark Pilgrim. I haven't really found out what they stand for, weblog-politically. But they are antagonists.

When I enter a community, I instinctively choose sides. I don't know why I've chosen the side of Mark. Maybe he represents the young Turk side of the debate. Maybe Dave's ego is just that much bigger. But there it is.

Wednesday, 2024-03-24

adding links to category archives in entries

Thanks to Gadget17 I've got links to the category to which the entry belongs working. See below, to the right of the permalink.

The vodoo code needed is this: <a href="<MTEntryCategories glue=","><$MTCategoryArchiveLink$></MTEntryCategories>"><$MTEntryCategory$></a>

The first triplet of MT tags (within the HREF attribute) construct a hyperlink to the relevant category archive. The <$MTEntryCategory$> tag shows the name of the category to which the entry belongs.

a global market for TV broadcasts

Funny how things come together. Today, I was discussing the following things IRL and on IRC:

Bottom line: there is a market for TV on both sides of the Atlantic. Who will exploit it? Or will this fill the gap?

Rightsholders in TV space are accustomed to wholesale marketing. They sell programming to networks, and the networks are in the mass market. To enable the scenarios above would entail retail marketing and pricing. Where are the new business models coming from? Or is everyone in the music, TV, and movie business more interested in protecting their profit margins than giving people what they want, and what they are prepared to pay for?

HTML typography

Learn about the fifteen spaces defined in Unicode at this page.

Tuesday, 2024-03-23

Microsoft and mobile phones

I think MS is making a strategic mistake in focusing on "corporate" phones. They bet that if you use a MS phone to sync to Exchange at work you'll do that at home too. The strong focus that Microsoft has on mobile developers is part of this too -- it's going to be easy to create vertical applications and enterprise-specific solutions.

So corporate users of phones will influence other buyers, and MS smartphones will slowly but surely infiltrate the mobile space.

But I'm not sure that the average phone customer has quite the good picture of Microsoft's products that MS seems to think.

Having a monopoly on desktops doesn't mean that your users like you. In fact, Microsoft is shielded from normal market pressures in the desktop space.

In the phone space, there is still competition. Nokia has a very strong brand and a product line that spans from simple black-and-white phones to communicators. This is true for Sony Ericsson, Motorola, and Samsung too.

Microsoft phones have a minimum spec -- there has to be enough oomph in the phone to run Pocket Explorer etc. Soon enough Moore's Law will ensure that every phone will be able to do just that (but the power supplies may not follow the same development). The question is: do people want a PC in their phone?

I don't think so.

how not to panhandle

Generally, I appreciate that people who want my money in the subway do something for it. Selling the Stockholm version of "The Big Issue" is the best, I usually buy that.

Music is a distant second in my wish for something to reward.

Outright begging is at the bottom.

However, I've had to build a cellar. Playing the accordion and singing on the subway will never ever be rewarded by me.

Monday, 2024-03-22


So now I'm on a Moveable Type weblog, just like everybody else on the planet...

I'm running around looking at all the options, and I'm really happy I didn't do that before I decided to write my own home-grown blog. I wouldn't even have started.

When I first started writing my old blog, I rediscovered the feeling that I had when I first made a homepage back in 1997. The wonderful feeling of seeing your words out there for anyone to read. That feeling was behind many people's websites. Then the web got really big, and the small people got lost.

Now we have Google and easy-to-use publishing software. So now there's less of a barrier to just write something, and your words will perhaps be noticed.

We'll see if mine are.

Monday, 2024-03-15

the phone as a business tool

The taco earned it's stripes today as a business phone. When I answered a job call at home (for the first, and I hope the last, time), I needed to login to the firewall. No probs, I used the handsfree set. Until Viking decided he wanted to play with that.

Hmm. The taco is impossible to hold between the cheek and the shoulder like a normal phone. But it does have a loudspeaker. Presto, I could check logs, talk, and hang out in IRC at the same time.

The only thing left to use is the games in a boring meeting.

Thursday, 2024-03-11

wizard prang

Piece of Cake by Derek Robinson.

A brilliant book about fighter pilots in France and England in the beginning of World War 2.

the great war

The First World War by John Keegan

A history of WWI.

The opening and closing chapters are eloquent in their condemnation of this horrible conflict, the defining event of the twentieth century. But the intervening ones are dry history, failing to convey the horror of the fighting.

For a novelist's view of the war, read Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks.

Wednesday, 2024-03-03

the litany of hate

In the interest of my co-worker's sanity, I have resolved to concentrate my hatred and loathing of Microsoft products to a five-minute period each morning.

This way, they will not be upset by my outbursts of anger at the crappiness of MS products, business practices, advertising, or general view of computing.

The actual litany is not finished, but I find the following to be restful:

We hates them, hates them forever!!!

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