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Crockford on Fixing HTML

Douglas Crockford has a plan for Fixing HTML. I think it makes sense. His proposal is a static document, but comments are collected on his related blog post.

In the comments you’ll see a few issues pop up (empties, quotes, get-bys), but after further reflection I think they are without merit.

Leopard 10.5.1 Update Breaks Cisco VPN, with Fix

I updated my Mac to Leopard a few weeks ago. All good.

Yesterday I ran the update to 10.5.1. Not so good: It knocked out my Cisco VPN client. Permanently. Rebooting did not help. Reinstalling did not help. (I rely on VPN non-stop, even to retrieve my office email.)

So today I poked around for a while and after some deep searching found the fix. It’s easy, and worked for me on the first try. The solution was on Anders Brownworth’s site (thanks Anders!), and I’m reprinting an excerpt here in the hopes that it will make it easier to find for somebody else.

If you are running Cisco’s VPNClient on Mac OSX, you might be familiar with (or tormented by) “Error 51: Unable to communicate with the VPN subsystem”. The simple fix is to quit VPNClient, open a Terminal window, (Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal) and type the following:

sudo /System/Library/StartupItems/CiscoVPN/CiscoVPN restart

and give your password when it asks. This will stop and start the “VPN Subsystem”, or in other words restart the CiscoVPN.kext extension.

Our Dumb World: The Onion’s Atlas of the Planet Earth

The Onion’s newest project has just hit the stores. It’s a hardcover book titled "Our Dumb World: The Onion’s Atlas of the Planet Earth." It’s hilarious.

I’ll admit a bias because my brother worked on the book as editorial manager and as one of the writers. But Newsweek loves it too; the book is so funny that even Newsweek’s glowing review made me laugh.

"Like any regular atlas, it profiles every country in the world and includes lots of facts, or "facts." Wales, the "land of consonant sorrow," is the birthplace of the "oldest, longest, least pronounceable language in the world. When spoken, it sounds like a beautiful song, but when written, it looks like the alphabet just vomited."

"Fearless, which is to say, they don’t care who they offend, the Onion’s cartographers and geographers also boldly tackle more controversial countries. In the section devoted to Iraq, for example, you learn that "Iraq-U.S. relations became strained in 1963 when Iraq leader Saddam Hussein assassinated John F. Kennedy." The Iraq map shows such sites as "family burning effigy to stay warm," "U.S. soldiers arguing over whose turn it is to wear armor" and "father threatening to turn this car bomb right around if kids don’t be quiet." The section on Iraqi history is titled, "From the Cradle to the Grave of Civilization." Equal opportunity offenders, this atlas’s authors do not spare their own country ("Tennessee: Like ‘Hee Haw’ but a State"). And no joke is too silly or too lame to merit inclusion. Taste, obviously, was never an issue."

My brother was in town a few weeks ago for my wedding, and he had a preview copy from the printer that I was able to flip through. My favorite line so far was "Chile: Preventing Argentina from enjoying the Pacific Ocean since 1818."

Our Dumb World: Argentina (page from new Onion book)

Go order a copy for yourself. Makes a great gift, too.

"Control" or "Why is interactive design different from print design?" (Khoi Vinh presentation)

The Web is not Print. I’ve said it a million times.

But it took the master, Khoi Vinh, to express why. He doesn’t have all the answers yet, but he states the problem space more clearly than I’ve heard elsewhere. And that’s half the battle.

Here is his presentation posted on Slideshare. If you’re involved in web design or web development, do yourself a favor and click through it. It’s called "Control".

He is, of course, a great storyteller, so while I’ll post a few quotes here you’re much better off reading his slides directly.

If narrative is the guiding principle of traditional design, then control is its most important tool. But the guiding principle of interactive media is not narrative — it’s behavior. Designing for behavior means transferring some measure of control from author to user.

What are we designing? Digital media is as different from print as a speech is different from a conversation. They’re both exchanges of information between people. But one is a controlled environment and the other is uncontrolled. In fact, what we’re talking about here is the difference between documents and conversations. Digital media looks like writing, but it’s actually conversation. This push and pull is essential to media evolution. Documents and conversations are not mutually exclusive. They are inherently dependent upon one another.

Carbon Neutral Purple

I know there’s a bit of a backlash against Green because its so trendy lately, but I can easily put that aside and be happy that things are changing. That takes on special meaning today because I just saw that Yahoo! is quickly following promises with real action, and making what seem to be excellent, well-researched green choices.

When Yahoo! committed to going carbon neutral in April, we knew it would be a global initiative. … After much due diligence, Yahoo! has decided to offset its 250 thousand metric ton carbon footprint from 2006 through hydropower in rural Brazil and wind turbines in India. We’ve partnered with EcoSecurities and CantorCO2e, who helped us source, vet, and execute these projects.

(Some are still skeptical about carbon offsets, but I see any step as a great early step.)

Down to 22,490…22,491

Spent a bunch of time in the past few days pruning and organizing my feeds, and catching up on some blog reading. When I started, my feed inbox was at about 65,000 unread items. I’ve got it down to a much less daunting 22,491 unread items now.

I read about 400 feeds (well, the 65k unreads number tells you that I don’t *read* them all). If you’re interested in my reading list, and you don’t mind how dated, ugly, and messy it is, then by all means take a look. (Im working on improving it, and will post as update when it’s better.)



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