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False Positives Adventures in Technology, SciFi and Culture from Toronto

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Now this is a 404 error [link]

I'm going to pay for this, no doutb, but here goes.. A Software Engineer, a Hardware Engineer and a Departmental Manager

The Rudy Giuliani of Toronto?

Toronto finds a hero in Dr. Basrur. wonderful story from the Toronto Globe and Mail:
"I have such faith in Dr. Basrur," she said, referring to the city's diminutive, 46-year-old, single-mother medical officer of health, who had followed the mayor's performance with a lucid and persuasive, fact-by-fact deconstruction of the WHO analysis.

"She is so honest and you know she has such integrity," Lori said, hesitating slightly before plunging forward. "Please don't let Mayor Mel represent us on CNN!"

Toronto needs a Rudy Giuliani? Just look down. There she is, "five feet and shrinking," she allows when pressed, a woman of colour with the physique of a Cornish hen, large expressive eyes shining behind her glasses and the unmistakable ways of a born leader.

Sheela Basrur is a leader who came to prominence the old-fashioned way, much to her own surprise, as a down-and-dirty fighter in the infection-control trenches. Working in isolation, her department was almost overwhelmed trying to track down and gather up the far-flung cases that exploded out of Scarborough Grace Hospital last month. As the crisis widened to engulf the entire regional health-care system, however, it was her talents as a communicator that came to dominate.

Fearsomely articulate, logical and frank in her assessments of the epidemic, Dr. Basrur worked steadily to allay fears about rampant contagion in Toronto. Although little heeded at the height of the alarm, she emerged as the steadiest, most credible public spokesperson on SARS. By the time WHO hit, nobody was prepared to hit back harder.

Where do I start the Dr. Basrur for Mayor Campaign?

Monday, April 28, 2003

Will Plain-Text Ads Continue to Rule?

Text-only advertisements work far better than banners, but is this only due to their novelty? Search engine text ads will retain their superiority over time, but text ads on other sites will work only if they focus on directly meeting users' needs.

From Jakob Nielsen (making web site suck less since 1995). Actually supportive for the start-up that will not die.

JS form validate to re-cycle

function validateForm() {
var f = document.forms[0]
var ErrorFields = ""
var ccError = ""

// For development Only

selectedbypassLoc = f.bypass.selectedIndex
selectedbypassValue = f.bypass.options[selectedbypassLoc].text

if ( selectedbypassValue != "Test" )
alert ("For development Only Validation ByPass!!!!")

var i = 0, temp = 0;
var allEmptyFields = "";
var Empty = false;
var emptyFields = new Array();

if ( f.FirstName.value == "" )
emptyFields[i] = "First Name";
Empty = true;
if ( f.LastName.value == "" )
emptyFields[i] = "Last Name";
Empty = true;
if ( f.Address1.value == "" )
emptyFields[i] = "Address";
Empty = true;
if ( f.AddressCity.value == "" )
emptyFields[i] = "City";
Empty = true;
selectedProvLoc = f.AddressProvince.selectedIndex
selectedProvValue = f.AddressProvince.options[selectedProvLoc].text
if ( selectedProvValue == "" )
emptyFields[i] = "Province";
Empty = true;

if ( f.AddressPostalCode.value == "" )
emptyFields[i] = "Postal Code";
Empty = true;
if ( f.PhoneBusiness.value =="" && f.PhoneHome.value =="" )
if ( f.PhoneBusiness.value =="" )
emptyFields[i] = "Business Phone Number";
Empty = true;
emptyFields[i] = "Home Phone Number";
Empty = true;
if ( f.PhoneHome.value !="" && f.PhoneHomeAreaCode.value == "" )
emptyFields[i] = "Home Phone Number Area Code";
Empty = true;
if ( f.PhoneBusiness.value !="" && f.PhoneBusinessAreaCode.value == "" )
emptyFields[i] = "Business Phone Number Area Code";
Empty = true;
if ( f.EMail.value == "" )
emptyFields[i] = "Email Address";
Empty = true;
selectedCCTLoc = f.CreditCardType.selectedIndex
selectedCCTValue = f.CreditCardType.options[selectedCCTLoc].text
if ( f.selectedCCTValue == "" )
emptyFields[i] = "Credit Card Type";
Empty = true;
if ( f.CreditCardName.value == "" )
emptyFields[i] = "Credit Card Name";
Empty = true;

if ( f.DSEXPMTH.value == "" || f.DSEXPYEAR.value == "" )
emptyFields[i] = "Credit Card Expriy Date";
Empty = true;

if ( f.DSCARD1.value == "" || f.DSCARD2.value == "" || f.DSCARD3.value == "" || f.DSCARD4.value == "" )
emptyFields[i] = "Credit Card Number";
Empty = true;
ccError = validateCard();
if (Empty)
for(var count = 0; count < i; count++)
temp = emptyFields[count].length;
allEmptyFields +=emptyFields[count];
if (count % 2 != 0)
allEmptyFields += "\n";
if (temp > 38)
allEmptyFields += "\t";
if (temp <=38 && temp >29)
allEmptyFields += "\t\t";
if (temp <= 29 && temp >17)
allEmptyFields += "\t\t\t";
if (temp <= 17 && temp > 8)
allEmptyFields += "\t\t\t\t";
if (temp<=8)
allEmptyFields += "\t\t\t\t\t";
EmptyFieldsAlert = "\nThe following field(s) must be filled in before the form can be submitted:\n\n" + allEmptyFields + "\n"
if ( ccError != "" )
EmptyFieldsAlert = EmptyFieldsAlert + "\n\n" + ccError
if ( EmptyFieldsAlert != "" )
alert(EmptyFieldsAlert )

Not pretty but it works!.

This is how Jake got started, must be very careful.

HTML Tag of the Day :

The No Break (nobr) tag, so your "Brand Name" is always on the same line for those picky marketing people at Giant Uber Corporation with the really long name Inc.

Miss use of brain power: Magnetic Poetry on a web page!

Friday, April 25, 2003

SARS: The Lullabye from BWG

Twinkle, twinkle, little SARS

How I wonder what you are!

Up inside my lungs so high

Now I can't breathe deep or sigh

Twinkle, twinkle, little SARS

How I wonder what you are.

Twinkle, twinkle, little SARS

How I wonder where you are!

To Hong Kong the virus came

From China, they are to blame

Twinkle, twinkle, little SARS

How I wonder where you are.

Twinkle, twinkle, little SARS

How I wonder why you are!

Did you come from animals?

Chickens, ducks, sheep, cows or bulls?

Twinkle, twinkle, little SARS

How I wonder why you are.

reminds me of something I learned in the Globe and Mail Editoral last week, that the Nursery Rhymes "Ring around the rosey" refred to the plague :

"Ring around the rosey!" If you had the plague, you had a red ring around rashes on your body

"Pocket full of poseys" I these were popular funural flowers.

"Ashes! Ashes!" buring the bodies was common.

"We all fall down!" DEAD! From the PLAGUE!!

Have a Nice Day!

Mark Twain: "Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper."

Hey Guys (Chuck, Bob, Marty & Sue) maybe we can use this in our next pitch?
Via Adam Curry

Death to version 4's

Piece over on Tim Bray's Ongoing about them deciding to stop support Version 4 Browsers (Netscape, and MS IE), why and what this means.

As it happens I've been asked to try and "fix" a major format breakage for Netscape 4.x on the Content Management web app I built for my current contract client. It's Find on IE 5+ and Netscape 6+. Major Hair pulling sure to follow

Thursday, April 24, 2003

SARS : China's Chernobyl?

Excellent opinion piece in the Economist on the affects of China's handling of the SARS crisis.
Were SARS, instead of being a natural virus, a man-made weapon of mass destruction, there would be a framework for dealing with it.
Nuclear and chemical weapons are subject to stringent inspection regimes. Despite the extra difficulties, there is a good case for beefing up rules for tracking diseases. Air travel links any city on earth with every other city in 24 hours or so, so there are clear global interests at stake. Had it acted more responsibly, China could perhaps have nipped SARS in the bud, running the risk of some economic pain in the short term, but saving itself from far greater damage later on. Membership of the WHO ought to carry duties as well as benefits. Members could perhaps be required to pledge that WHO scientists be given an absolute right of access to their hospitals and health ministries at the first sign of trouble.

This sort of intrusion would doubtless be difficult for a government as secretive as China's to accept. But learning to live with that kind of affront is part and parcel of what being a full and responsible member of the international community entails. In its belated and still only partial acceptance of its responsibilities, perhaps China is
starting to understand this, and to become a more normal country.

From Flying chair

Confessions of a blogger

  • Think before while posting
  • Write for tomorrow yourself
  • Google is a means not an end god! All hail Mighty Google!
  • Traffic isn't everything [good one]
  • Write clean, valid markup Don't forget blogging is supposed to be fun
  • Add value insight, not just links
  • Memes don't need your help but what the hell!

  • Stolen Borrowed from Russell

    And 2 I'll add :

  • Steal Copy Borrow from the best, just give credit.
  • don't worroy worry, to much, about speling spelling, cause nobody is reading your blog anyway! Same goes for grammar.

  • Tags: ; Technorati Tags:

    No Rows returned

    Edgar Codd, database theorist, dies at 79. The
    mathematician laid the theoretical foundation for the standard method
    by which information is organized in and retrieved from computers.

    Using Mozilla in Testing and Debugging Web Sites, again

    Now on Netscape DevEdge, this useful piece on using Moziila as an Web Dev test enviroment ( since trying to iron out all the wrinkles in a Web site or Web application can be an enormous time sink). Same as my earlier link, but maybe Netscape has more weight with your PHB!

    Supertots And Frankenkids

    I post any comments, once I've finished reading and thinking about this.

    Tuesday, April 22, 2003

    What sound Does that animal make?

    Not as a start forward question as it would seem.

    Elicia tried to tell me that cats go "Mao Mao" (as in Chiarman) not "Meow Meow". And now that's how I hear them! (It must be love, or at least brainwashing).

    Look at Sounds of the World's Animals under Chinese.

    Monday, April 21, 2003

    Making the Perfect Pitch to VCs

    And now for something completly different...

    What Monty Python Character are you?
    Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who!
    from Flying Chair: Beat You Death Like Chicken

    Thursday, April 17, 2003

    Twisted English Lessons

    Wednesday, April 16, 2003

    Ok, I survived the first day. Good People, whom I've work with before. I still hate to wear a tie. What happened to the good old days where they were grateful for a (large) fig leaf? You know before the boom turn to bomb…

    Tuesday, April 15, 2003

    Starting a new contract tomorrow. Shirt and Tie attire, Crap!

    I'm Steve, i'm a super villian (flash) and other UberGeek tv stuff

    Saturday, April 12, 2003

    On 12 April, 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first man to leave this planet.

    I'm still waiting for my turn!

    Thursday, April 10, 2003

    Project Weblog

    Mike Golding, of, also comments on the John Udel project management piece.

    The Children of Dune EP:1

    The Sequel to the award winning and highly rated Frank Herbert's Dune continues the saga of the Atreides dynasty. Julie Cox, Alec Newman, Susan Sarandon.
    April 13 (sunday) at 9pm ET on Space.

    Wednesday, April 09, 2003

    The Tesseract : A look into 4-dimensional space

    I loved reading, and thinking about hypercubers as a teenager. (Warning uses embeded java app.)
    [from Silicon Valley]

    Tuesday, April 08, 2003

    Using Mozilla in testing and debugging web sites
    Great little piece on how and why to use the Mozilla browser in your development, even if you only code for IE!

    JavaScript Console, JavaScript strict warnings, Cookie Control, View Source with Color Highlight, View Selection Source, Page Info, JavaScript Debugger, HTTP Headers, DOM Inspector, Cache Manager

    [Link via Slashdot]

    Project Blogging

    John Udell takes a quick look at how to re-configure Radio Userland and MovableType for project blogging.  John's original thoughts about project blogging are also worth a look.

    While Microsoft Project has become ubiquitous in corporate IT, it is more and more designed to make pretty Gant charts for upper management
    and is falling behind other tools in the actual management of collaborative software projects.  I just found an RSS add-on for Joel's excellent FogBUGZ system (a feature already in Jira, and recently added to Source Forge).  It seems that it would be fairly easy to implement an RSS output template for BugZilla

    This stuff is doable now, the only question is how much time you're willing to invest to customize tools in order to implement features that are sure to be common place in development tool suites in the near future. 

    The other question is "what are your project management tools
    designed for?" - managing source code, managing project resources, managing requirement, enabling team communication, or drawing pretty pictures.

    [From AMATEUR HOUR: the "me" in media]

    MS-Project is the de facto place for planning the project time line based on tasks, resources and effort (display it as Gnat chart or otherwise), however the effort of keeping it in sync with actual versus budget quickly becomes a fulltime job for any moderately complex project. And even then it only displays reported actuals (on maybe a weekly or monthly schedule). Ms-project Gnat charts are useful in making a case for resources (bodies/money) during the early project stages, and b) measuring progress/lateness for upper management.

    A major failure of MS-Project is tracking versioning of requirements and detailing of tasks in useful manner. (Or is this buried in it somewhere? Should I RTFM?)

    What tool(s) would allow tracking requirements, decomposing requirements into tasks, estimating effort of tasks, assigning of tasks, tracking (degree) of task competition. Also useful would be the ablity to automating the summation or snapshot of current requirements into a document (as opposed to decomposing a document into requirements/tasks), and report current task completion into MS-Project, for offline (and upline) reporting. Those needs reflect my needs to track requirements to tacks to code, and reduce administrative efforts.

    Weblogs as a tool of team communication should be a no brainier. At minimum a repository of current and past project documents, via the browser, not the file system. The bigger question is how informal it is. Is everyone on the team allowed to post their silly ass brain farts or only the safe (clean and polite) person. And do you allow your boss to see it and risk the unvarnished truth being known, or keep only the official version of the truth on display.

    I've always kept personal (Lotus Notes/Domino based) logs, if only to document and store my own unvarnished truths. And I've built a few Notes based Task tracking tools, mostly for myself, keeping things straight (or hopefully less curved?)

    Further thinking: The Project Management tool set is very different and separate from a code/junit testing/ant build/editing tool set. The PM tool set is orientated on Requirements up the food chain to project and company resource/performance and (indeed) RoI (Return on Investment) issues. A Coder may only care about Requirements down the food chain to quality code (Requirements fulfilled Reliably: RfR?). But both and task effort estimation and actuals are the minimum responsibility and accountability of that coder. That trickle up is needed to keep estimates and actuals honest. The Requirements/Task tool is the common starting point for both.

    Monday, April 07, 2003

    Things over heard from Klingon programmers.

    1. Perhaps it is a good day to die! I say we ship it.
    2. Specifications are for the weak and timid!
    3. This machine is a piece of GAGH! I need dual Pentium processors if I am to do battle with this code!
    4. Indentation?! - I will show you how to indent when I indent your skull!
    5. What is this talk of 'release'? Klingons do not make software 'releases'. Our software 'escapes' leaving a bloody trail of designers and quality assurance people in its wake.
    6. Klingon function calls do not have 'parameters' - they have 'arguments' - and they ALWAYS WIN THEM.
    7. Debugging? Klingons do not debug. Our software does not coddle the weak.
    8. I have challenged the entire quality assurance team to a Bat-Leth contest. They will not concern us again.
    9. A TRUE Klingon Warrior does not comment his code!
    10.By filing this bug report you have challenged the honor of my family. Prepare to die!
    11. You question the worthiness of my code? I should kill you where you stand!
    12. Our users will know fear and cower before our software! Ship it! Ship it and let them flee like the dogs they are!
    [from Roberts Blog]

    Pooled cars latest twist in condo marketing

    Property developer in Vancouver to use a car-sharing plan to attract buyers to a $110-million condominium tower he is planning for downtown core. [Globe and Mail]

    I remember when living downtown how frequently the car was parked for weeks without use. (One winter it actually got frozen to the street and I had to wait a couple of weeks for it to thaw!) Costs for car sharing are much are much cheaper than Car Rental if you just need one for a couple of hours and no worst for multi day trips.

    Saturday, April 05, 2003

    The Bumpus Principle

    Novell’s Winston Bumpus promotes a simple sniff test for determining the relevance of an emerging standard: It saves you money, it makes you money, or it’s mandated by the government. Short and sweet, perfectly distilled, that phrase should be the standard. If the Bumpus Principle or a comparably simple equivalent were applied to every technology in place at every company, IT infrastructures would become much stronger. [via InfoWorld's Tom Yager]

    Friday, April 04, 2003

    HK fashion or pretension?

    What would Hong Kong be without the obligatory Hello Kitty and Ultraman masks? [link via BWG]

    Thursday, April 03, 2003

    An amusing list of responses to software bugs by programmers

    20. "That's weird..."
    19. "It's never done that before."
    18. "It worked yesterday."
    17. "How is that possible?"
    16. "It must be a hardware problem."
    15. "What did you type in wrong to get it to crash?"
    14. "There is something funky in your data."
    13. "I haven't touched that module in weeks!"
    12. "You must have the wrong version."
    11. "It's just some unlucky coincidence."
    10. "I can't test everything!"
    9. "THIS can't be the source of THAT."
    8. "It works, but it hasn't been tested."
    7. "Somebody must have changed my code."
    6. "Did you check for a virus on your system?"
    5. "Even though it doesn't work, how does it feel?"
    4. "You can't use that version on your system."
    3. "Why do you want to do it that way?"
    2. "Where were you when the program blew up?"
    1. "It works on my machine."

    Wednesday, April 02, 2003

    Taming Lists

    Excellent article on A List apart on use of CSS to Tame HTML Lists. Useful examples about building top, left side, and bread crumb navigation bars. Stuff I’ve done before but it’s always painful to get the little details right.

    Internet Explorer 7.0 Will Be Based on Mozilla/Gecko!

    It's a day late, but cute

    Tuesday, April 01, 2003

    Hong Kong, SAR

    Hong Hong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China.

    Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

    what's going on here?

    SARS House Arrest in HK

    Hong Kong looks to be on the edge of panic, trying to cope with this bug.

    Hope that people obey the quarantines, and we can properly id this thing in the next couple of weeks. If we can contain it, stop the number of cases from ballooning over the next couple of weeks then the Medical Community can do their thing. Otherwise, Mask and gloves are going to be the fashion accessory of 2003!

    Meanwhile Allergy season is starting up. The only good thing out of this is Elicia finds it easier to get a seat after sneezing!

    One of the best uses of Flash I've seen in a long time.

    Be sure to watch to the end. Alexis Trépanier's web site

    Toronto Stuff

    AccordionGuy mentions the family haunt in Chinatown, Rol San, otherwise known as fish lips. I'll have to keep my eye peeled for accordions.

    Street traffic was quiet, only 40% busy, on Sunday.

    Walking around Queen West (Queen & Eclid) we saw Glynis's new Response storefront, She thought we were brave to going to eat. Me, I wanted my Char Siu Bo.

    Microwave tunnels?

    The March 15th Economist (as I work my way though the backlog created by the weeks in Calgary) had a piece on the using of microwaves in the mineral extraction process, and the work of Sam Kingman of Nottingham University, rather that using grinding to breakup chucks of rock before separation of minerals/metal. A quick google search turned up more references, such as this : Microwaves in Mining, Engineering & Mining Journal.

    Brain Fart: Could this technique be used to make mining and tunneling cheaper/faster? I envision beaming the microwaves ahead of the gouging machine, adjusting for the take of material being dug in. That made me think of tunneling for Horta’s ala classic Star Trek's “Devil in the Dark”


    Cory Doctorow has put up a hit from his latest usr/bin/god.
    Looks tastily so far.

    Heard from my Brother yesterday that he surived another round of purges at Nortel yesterday. althought they lost five (2 new jobs elsewhere in the company, and
    three layoffs) people out of 18. For another quarter at least.