Archive for the 'Internet' Category

Failure is Success

Nov 20, 2005 in Internet

Wil Shipley

Failing is to be strived for! If you aren’t failing, you aren’t at the edge of the envelope of your abilities, and if you aren’t at the edge, you aren’t stretching yourself, so you aren’t learning, so you’re just wasting time. Failing is how nature succeeds. Evolution works through failure of the poorest (they get et) more than survival of the fittest. Muscles grow because you work them to failure, and they then respond by getting stronger. Your spinal cord learns not to touch fire by getting burnt. Failure is not just handled gracefully by nature, it is critical.

Sometimes, we (I) just need a reminder.

Dreamhost Deal

Oct 10, 2004 in Internet

DreamHost is running another birthday special. This year, you can get Crazy Domain Insane! package $0.77 a month. This offer is limited to the first 777 people who take advantage of this offer.

Also, the Code Monster plan is currently available at half price for a limited time — it’s currently going for the same price as Sweet Dreams deal.

I’ve been pretty happy with DreamHost. Unlike Jon Gales, I haven’t had to deal with cusomter support all that much, so I don’t know how that stacks up. Then again, my needs are much more modest that Jon’s.

Full disclosure time — if you signup for Dreamhost through any of these links, I get a referral bonus.

Apple Store Permalinks

Sep 27, 2004 in Internet

Michael beat me to the punch on posting this, but it could come in handy: creating Apple Store Permalinks

Markdown 1.0b4 and Me

Mar 31, 2004 in Internet

I’m sure a large number of the folks reading this have already heard about John Gruber’s Markdown, but I felt like adding my own 2 cents.

My usual writing process is to open my weblog entry stationary in BBEdit, add the new content as XHTML, sanity-check the syntax and the content, and copy the content over to the MovableType interface.

The first few posts I wrote in Markdown used a similar workflow — the only difference was that I formatted the content as Markdown instead of XHTML. Before posting, I ran as a Unix filter inside of BBEdit, converting my content to XHTML.

I composed this way for two reasons. First, I wanted to keep copies of my postings on my hard drive. Second, I wanted to validate the syntax before I posted to the web.

Tonight’s postings are the first time I’ve composed solely in Markdown and posted directly to MT, selecting “Markdown with SmartyPants” as my Text Formatting option.

Before using Markdown, I didn’t even use MT’s Convert Line Break option — I felt like it only replaced about 5% of the XHTML tags in my postings, so it really wasn’t worth it. Markdown, on the other hand, replaces almost all of tags in my postings with syntax that mirrors the way I write emails. At this time, the only XHTML tagx I’ve needed to hand-code are the <acronym> and the <blockquote> tags (the latter so I could include the cite attribute). One of the benefits of using a plain-text email client, I guess.

I’m still writing in BBEdit and saving my entries to my hard drive, but now I can easily read them in BBEdit (or emacs or whatever) instead of firing up Safari.

If you’re interested in Markdown and it’s development path (it’s still beta, after all), check out the Markdown mailing list. There are some very good discussions over there about proposed changes and additions to the Markdown syntax. Granted, the list was announced less than a month ago, but the discussions tend to be well thought out and respectful of differing opinions. Actually, some of the discussions on the list echo John’s story about changing his mind.

Thus, Point No. 1: When I end up changing my mind on a matter of opinion, it usually is not because I had the facts wrong; it’s because I was looking at the wrong facts.

Funny how that works sometimes, no?

Return of Cousin Jason

Sep 17, 2003 in Internet

Peter King:

New Millenium publisher Michael Viner called Blair “one of the best writers in the country today.” Fiction writer, perhaps. Then Viner made the lamebrained statement of the year. He called Blair “very honest.”

So Cousin Jason has a book deal. Is it going to be fiction or… sorry, stupid question.

I’m not the least bit surprised by this. I also completely agree with King that anybody who buys this book is a “fool.”

If you’re looking for the relevant section in the King article, it’s about 1/3 of the way down.

MIT OpenCourseWare

Sep 02, 2003 in Internet

Chris Hanson:

However, for self-education, MIT OpenCourseWare is going to be really, really useful.

I’ve been looking at OpenCourseWare for about a week now and there are definitely some interesting courses available. I’m leaning towards doing the work for 6.046J Introduction to Algorithms.

6.046J sounds a bit like Data Structures and Algorithms at RPI. When I took the class, it was essentially in the middle of a redesign around STL and I’d just transferred from the University of Miami, where they did not teach STL. The muddled syllabus, combined with my general confusion for the first quarter of the class, didn’t make for the best learning experience. Hopefully, 6.046J will help me brush up these areas and move onto some of the more advanced materials.

If You’re Gonna SPEWS…

Aug 27, 2003 in Internet

…and people ask why I don’t like RBL-type system…

I’ve always been from the school of thought that a false positive is far worse than a false negative, so I don’t want to run any sort of system that eats an email before I’m at least given the option of reviewing what’s being declared spam.

Currently, I’m downloading my email and running it through SpamSieve (yes, I’ve raved about it before and I’ll probably rave about it again…). Every so often, I’ll check the sender and subject lists for anything that looks like it was misfiled. Thus far, I’ve not found anything important misfiled — it’s usually stuff that looks like spam, but that actually interests me (no, not male enhancement products; I’m talking about offers from companies I’ve allowed to email me).

Another advantage of SpamSieve is that it’s produced by somebody I actually trust. RBLs like SPEWS seem to have a history of letting petty differences get in the way of blocking spam. In some ways, they’re no better than web filtering companies who have their products filter any site critical of them.

If anybody lost email to the SPEWS outage, sorry to hear that. However, I’m won’t be crying any tears over their apparent demise.

s/rant/rave/, or something like that.

Aug 26, 2003 in Internet

I just want to say the iStockphoto rocks!

I was working on a pamphlet for a charity golf tournament and needed a golf picture for the front cover. I did a Google search for stock photography and came up with sites like Index Stock Photography, Getty Images, and Comstock Images. They all had some decent images, but they were way out of my price range, considering I’m not getting paid for this endeavor.

Sitting at the bottom of the Google search page was Instead of images starting at $50 and very up, the images cost $0.50 a pop. The images are user-contributed and royalty-free. The artists who contribute the photos get $0.10 each time their images are downloaded.

When I dug through the selection of golf images, it was hit or miss with some of the images. However, I quickly found an image that met my needs.

If you’re on a tight budget and designing for print or the web, you should check out


Aug 26, 2003 in Internet

Garrett Rooney:

the really weird part is that of all the feeds i subscribe to (about 60 at last count), the one that seems to edit their entries after posting them the most is the feed from the new york times, kindly provided via userland software.

There’s a lot of nice stuff in NetNewsWire 1.0.4 and the show differences feature is one of those. However, it is somewhat disturbing exactly how much the New York Times feed changes…

Here’s one of the more interesting blurbs from today’s RSS feed:

New York Times RSS Feed with Changes


Jul 23, 2003 in Internet

Netscape DevEdge:, the online sister of the ESPN cable networks, serves up more than half a billion page views every month, so when the home page of the site dropped all layout tables in favor of structural markup and CSS-driven layout, the Web design community took notice.

This is an older article that I just found tonight, but it’s still interesting none the less. Definitely something I’ll have to keep around for explaining to people the benefits of structural markup and CSS layout.