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False Positives Adventures in Technology, SciFi and Culture from Toronto

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Enthusiasts Call Web Feed Next Big Thing

Yahoo! News - Enthusiasts Call Web Feed Next Big Thing via Slashdot, and a bunch of other places.

One of the important points made by CmdrTaco and a few other places is that calling it RSS Feed seems unfriendly and very uber-techie, especially when it may not be RSS but RDF or Atom. Perhaps we should refer to them as News Feeds (cause they tell us that there is something new) or Web Feed, or Speed Feeds (CmdrTaco suggestion). This might be important for the ordinary user, whether for personal use or business use.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Global reality: TimeZones+ Daylight Saving Time, is hard

One sure sign that people are getting into real-world web services projects is when you start to see timezone awareness ...

[Via Loosely Coupled weblog]

coordinating TimeZones are hard, then add in Daylight Saving Time, when or if it takes effect, and except to go completely insane! I've donate a few handfuls of hair to this.

here's a couple of reference links :
World Time Server : (Time Zone Database by subscription for ~ $400 year)
This site Daylight Saving Time is one of the best I've seen explaining the history and "Why". Plus a chart of DST around the world with links to some explaining to the how it gets decided for each country.

After looking over this you 1) go out and get really really drunk, 2) try to talk for boss (and or the customer) out of it 3) decide that 400 dollar is not that much to pay to keep track of this all 4) go out for more drinking cause you still have to find a good way to implement this.

again from Loosely Coupled weblog:
Why is timezone awareness such a big deal? Because it only becomes a problem in a highly distributed, decentralized environment. So long as there's a single, central point of control, then it's easy to wriggle around timezone issues by pretending they don't exist. You can always decide that, since the data center is in Colorado, all transactions will logged using Mountain Time. Or if the company headquarters is in New York, you can decree that everything happens according to Eastern Time. Tags: ; Technorati Tags:

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Behavior versus Context

A article [Via A VC] on "Behavior versus Context". Can you say Permission Marketing

I think the Internet is slowly becoming the medium of choice for almost all marketers.


Because it has the reach, the frequency, the measurability, and the ability to target like no other medium. And its incredibly easy to buy. More reach. More frequency. More accountability. More efficiency. Easier to buy. How can you beat that? You can't.

what's in an IPO?

Wired has a good article in their latest issue: The complete guide to google, which actually starts by talking about the challenges any company goes through when pre-, in- and post-IPO. Just the first section alone makes it worth reading. Oh, yes. It talks about Google too. :)

[Via d2r]

Explaining RSS to your Boss

Via Scripting New: Forbes comments on The Coming RSS Revolution and does a reasonable job explaining what RSS is (in terms non-tech people can understand), as well as sources for Feeds Yahoo! has separate RSS feeds for national, international and politics news sections, to name a few. (Yahoo! is very well done, see this link, available on their main news page, currently bottom left. )

The answer to the "Why RSS news feeds" question is: control. Rather than what for email newsletter to come to me (push) I can poll a larger number of sites an at a glance see if there's anything interesting to read. A good feed has a title which lets me know if care about the topic. My News, My Way, on My Timing. (There are news readers for Outlook, to make it intergrate with your email program, and any corporate site (intranet) can easy have a RSS feed(s) added.)

The article also mentions several RSS New Readers, (good lists are here or here ) and RSS Aggregator sites such as (with more than 500,000 RSS feeds) which lets you search RSS feeds to get new and opinion much faster than the mainstream media sites can.

More on Feeds :
Get IT news in RSS form from InfoWorld,
IBM developer info from IBM developerWorks RSS feeds,
A R R A S @ o n l i n e is maintaining a list of Lotus Notes/ Domino Blogs and their news feeds,
and Sun's Java net has a list of Java related feeds here
and BlogStreet is a directory of Blogs (and notes their feeds) with a few interesting slices and dices on the Blog ecosphere.

Much more under the Category:

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Memorable Quotes from Life of Brian (1979)

Memorable Quotes from Life of Brian (1979), because " No one expects The Spanish Inquisition!'"

Monday, February 23, 2004

MySQL Profits From Open Source

Another MySQL database server article :Wired News: MySQL Profits From Open Source as the mainstream discovers that you can get what you need for $500 a server rather that thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. Also mentioned are other alternatives DB's such as PostgreSQL, Berkeley DB, and Firebird. These may not yet be ready for running your ERP systems today but they will be in a couple of years (which is why SAP has invested in the company behind MySQL AB)

What's up with blogging, and why should you care?

The current state of Blog-dom (Bloger-hood? Blog-osphere?), both out side and within (or from) the corporate world (which is a more recent event). Via What's up with blogging, and why should you care? - TechUpdate - ZDNet

What's all the fuss about blogging? It looks and smells mostly like writing, self-expression conveyed in a chronological format that invites comments and the inclusion of a variety of media types and links, similar to a Web page or e-newsletter. In fact, blogs (weB LOG) provide a way for non-programmers or HTML jockeys to present their writings, ramblings, diaries, rants, marketing spiel, political advocacy, research or whatever online communication with simple, yet increasingly powerful tools.

It also notes the development of RSS new readers, and RSS search engines:
The combination of blogs, RSS and intelligent searching--and future generations of those technologies and concepts-may not be the 21st century equivalent of the Gutenburg printing press, but they will play an increasing important role in forming the opinions that lead to decisions big and small across personal and professional spheres.

All in all a good article from Dan Farber.

Friday, February 20, 2004

I am A Fact Of Life

Via Techdirt False Positives Are A Fact Of Life In Spam Filtering.

So there!

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Integrating Google's Web API service in Domino applications | Integrating Google's Web API service in Domino applications

Web Developer Toolbar for Firefox & Mozilla

Via we have the Web Developer Toolbar. Lots of handy things there, althought most of these I've seen done in Favlet's or Bookmarklets.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Struts with Hibernate Java Example Java Example #1: Struts with Hibernate Java Example

VentureBlog: Practical Networking: Make Your Own Luck

VentureBlog: Practical Networking: Make Your Own Luck

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

"Big Broadband"

Via Slashdork Former FCC Chief Touts "Big Broadband" : Here or on Interesting-People :

access to the Web at 10 to 100 megabits per telephone (VOIP) and HDTV over it....Big Broadband provides universal service...customers would still have to pay for cable channels, advanced communications services, and internet applications over the big Broadband network, but that is what we want: value added services...

Hundt also has 3 suggests on how to implement it. Could the CRTC get behind something like this? or PM Martin

Local Ad Revenue

Via Emergic the NYTIMES asks E-Commerce Report: New Source of Online Ad Revenue: "Can small businesses be persuaded to pay for online advertising even if they do not sell their products or services on the Web?"

...25 percent of their searches were for merchants located near their homes or search advertising revenues in the United States will reach $2.5 billion this year and $3 billion next, and local search advertising will capture at least 15 percent of that market.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

digital CMOS radio: A Chip That Changes Everything?

Om Malik on Broadband: A Chip That Changes Everything?

Friday, February 13, 2004

Looking For Local Search

via Techdirt:Looking For Local Search

A new study has found that when people are searching online for a place to buy something, approximately one out of every four is looking for a local retailer they can go to buy the product, rather than just looking for an online retailer. With that high a percentage, you can understand why the search companies are all starting to invest in local search offerings. What will be interesting is how this percentage changes over time. Will people become more internet focused (location doesn't matter) or will they continue to search out local stores (which may depend on the strength of local search options)?

Far be it for me to stand against the tide of the death of distance...

of course, if you can figure out an internet users location, there may be a business in providing local merchants.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Slice and Dice in Antarctica, Tim Bray gets a nod.

Tim Bray and his firm Antarctica get's a nod in The Globe and Mail: Visual software helps dissect data

Sharing information in the Magic Kingdom

2 pieces on the use of new IT technology at Disney, based on a presention at ETech, focus on project communication:

Just don't call them weblogs and Disney Enterprise Weblogs and Wikis

key points : use the same interface they were used to dealing with, focus on blogging for project communication, call them something they know, Leverage people's existing habits.

Locate me physically based on my IP address

In the process of downloading the alpha release of MySQL Administrator (which looks quite solid and useful) I noticed on the download page (for Win binaries) a reference to MaxMind GeoIP.

MaxMind offers a product to Obtain the Country, Region, City, Latitude, and Longitude of any IP address., the GeoIP City Edition claims to drill down to World Region Code, City Name, Postal Code, Latitude nad Longitude, DMA Code (Designated Market Area, US only), and Area Code.

It might be worth a look. The only other alternates I'm aware of are CountryHawk and GeoBytes.

MaMind also provides some standard list such as :
ISO 3166 Country Codes,
Region Codes: For US/Canada, ISO-3166-2 code for the state/province name. Outside of the US and Canada, FIPS 10-4 codes.
Designated Market Area (DMA) codes (US only) contains metro regions in the US based on TV demographics. Designated Market Area (DMA) is a Nielsen Media Research term better defined here.


Wednesday, February 11, 2004

More RSS Newsreaders for Notes and Domino

Via vowe dot net : Collaborative RSS Newsreader for Notes and Domino comes news of Madicon RSS reader, a R6 product, not freeware, (it starts at 25 Euro per user) but you get a fully functional free trial for 30 days. Looks very slick passed on the OSX screen shot Vowe posted.

Also looks like another RSS/Blog reader, Studio Blog Reade, is due out next Monday, with lots of functionality (after having dealt with LotusXSL.jar and XML4J.jar files problems.

AskTog: Top 10 Reasons to Not Shop On Line

Via Tomalak's Realm comes AskTog: Top 10 Reasons to Not Shop On Line a dave letterman top ten list with a (horror) story for each one.

Here's my interpretation :

  • Waiting for the pages to load: Don't assume they have a high speed connection; Never use a graphic for text; Every graphic must add real value (to the customer not the VP).

  • Stupid promotional efforts make the company appear dim witted: Don't deceive or lie (ever or even a little) in order to bring customers to your site/company.

  • Insufficient, unintelligible, or just plain wrong information for making a buying decision.

  • Search can't find: be forgiving for Misspellings; "OR" searches instead of "AND" by default.

  • Do you what my money: Sites that don't work on my browser/OS; Click the button to buy , only to be directed to call instead.

  • Temporary shopping carts: sites that forget want I asked for or timeout because "I'm" to slow to respond / make up my mind / confirm with my friend.

  • Sites that can't ship in-stock items in a timely fashion.

  • One size fits none; entering credit card numbers and dates in in-fexible manners. Badly designed defaults.

  • After the sale service: confirmation emails that no one has ever printed out.

  • Buyer Protection guarantees that don't.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Travel to 17th century Holland this weekend, Girl with a Pearl Earring

We saw Girl with a Pearl Earring this weekend. The acting, setting and clothing were wonderful. It felt like a glimpse of 17th century Holland. It show how much times have changed and how much they haven't. More information about the painting is here. (the time line of Vermeer's life is fascinating)Looks like I shall have to read the book now, which apparently provides more back story and such. A wonderful and lush movie. Go see it. Now...

VC Finance, or testing the water

Via Scott Loftesness: a personal weblog: Model Venture Financing Documents

These templates are a sample set legal documents (put together by a group of leading venture capital attorneys) consisting of:

Term Sheet, Stock Purchase Agreement, Certificate of Incorporation, Investor Rights Agreement, Voting Agreement, Right of First Refusal and Co-Sale Agreement, Management Rights Letter, Model Opinion Letter, Model Indemnification Agreement

The model documents aim to:

* reflect industry norms
* be fair, biased toward neither the VC nor the entrepreneur, consistent with industry norms
* present a range of “typically seen” options (again, consistent with industry norms)
* include explanatory commentary where necessary or helpful

Also Tim Bray discussesss Bouncing Termsheets, an introduction to the VC Process and terminology.

Two valuable resources in understanding what the norm is and when to walk away. 'Cause when you are very thirsty any liquid can look tempting, even the toxic ones!

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Corel sells XmetaL to Blast Radius

The Globe and Mail: "Corel sells XmetaL to Blast Radius"

Feb. 6 2004 - Blast Radius and Corel have signed an agreement whereby Blast Radius will acquire all assets of Corel's XMetaL division. The deal is expected to close within the next several days. XMetaL is an XML authoring product that Blast Radius says will complement its existing content collaboration product offerings, also based on XML standards.

XMetaL simplifies the creation of valid XML content, and streamlines the process of distributing information to the Web, print and other media. XMetaL customers include Nike Timing, CIBC World Markets, KBC Bank and Insurance, Texas Instruments, ICP Europe Publishing, Mercury Marine, and Continental Airlines.

The XMetaL 4 Platform is Composed of Four Components:

XMetaL Author, a customizable XML editing environment; XMetaL for ActiveX, an editing interface; XMetaL Developer, a centralized development environment for creating XMetaL customizations and applications and XMetaL Central, a server-based XML environment management tool.

Hopefully they know what to do with it. Corel bought Softquad severall years ago (2000 or 2001?), and likely paid top dollar (in other words too much). I would expect it will help Blast Radius sell more services into current Xmetal customers. But what else can they do with it, even as hot as all things xml are? Any comments VM...

Keeping sane in an insane world >Running a business on OS X and Linux

Via something on infoworld comes : Nicest of the Damned: Running a business on OS X and Linux.

A well written piece form a past and current CTO. Interesting points on building technology paltforms and the real microsoft tax. And I love the Blog name. Yet another entry on my Tech Blog watch list. (Now, can we get "our" C level people on OSX)

Friday, February 06, 2004

PR professionals short circuited > Dell Linux Blog

via Boing Boing: : "Dell's Linux Blog

Genuine, honest-to-blog corporate weblogging from a Fortune 500? Dell Linux engineers speak freely in this collaborative online journal, which consists mostly of software update news, patch pointers, and other deeply geeky stuff..Also available in tasty, low-carb RSS.

And the Low carb RSS (rss version="0.91"). Nice touch, Cory. An atkins diet for your web browsing?

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Things We Will Never See On Star Trek

Things We Will Never See On Star Trek, but we can hope especially if the rumors come true.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Mary Poppins - corrupter of youth

Metaphilm - Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins Practical Citizenship for Toddlers : How Mary Poppins corrupts the minds of our good capitalist youth.

Who knew! Where's Senator Mccarthy to save the day?

A few new things to Read and/or Gift.

via Slashdork : Locus magazine has published its 2003 Recommended Reading List of science fiction, fantasy, and related titles.

Hubble finds oxygen, carbon in faraway planet's atmosphere

Hubble finds oxygen, carbon in faraway planet's atmosphere

The planet, nicknamed Osiris and known as HD 209458b, is a gas giant 150 lightyears from Earth. It orbits a star similar to the sun.

This happen WAY faster than I expected.

Monday, February 02, 2004

The Orkut Identity system

Dave (aka Scripting News): writes about Orkut being their identity system. jeremy.zawodny speculates along similar lines as well. (actually jeremy was there first)

They should not forget August 2009: How Google beat Amazon and Ebay to the Semantic Web on Ftrain, which I noted on July 22, 2003. They seem to be right on schedule for "Google Verification Service".

The Orkut Identity system is part of the "Semantic Web, it is also the a proto Whuffie.

of course I could be just bitter that "I" haven't been invited in.....

Fire up your Windows Update, Microsoft Patches Serious IE Flaw

Microsoft finally released a patch for a dangerous vulnerability that lets attackers trick Internet users into visiting malicious sites. The flaw has been public knowledge for some time, but Microsoft (Security is Job None) failed to include a fix for it with January's scheduled patch releases.

2004 Super Bowl Ads

IFILM Super Bowl Ads Everything but Janet Jackson.

Pretty disappointing this year. I liked : MasterCard, Homer Gets His Errands Done; FedEx : Alien Shipping ("All you need to Know") (although Elicia loves their MBA commercial); the 7UP, Delivery Truck and Frito-Lay, Fight to the Death were so cruel they were funny; and Staples, Randy the Supply Supervisors was to good an offer to miss; and of course Visa USA, Kerri & Misty Play Snow Volleyball (haven't they heard of North Beach?).

On a related note : I discovered that FedEx has a spot on their web site to view their Ad's! Great Stuff! Why Don't other clueless organizations do this? Oh right, they're clueless. (or just embarrassed about their ads?) Anyway, the FedEx ad's are here. Print and TV. QuickTime or Windows Media player. A couple I hadn't seen before. (Yes Elicia, "MBA" is there too!).

More MySQL Crash Course

Nice piece : MySQL Crash Course, Part 3 , basic selects and joins. (a review is always nice).

And I saw something new : The "LIMIT" clause

mysql> SELECT * FROM authors LIMIT 1;

LIMIT (not part of SQL92, DB2 has a FETCH FIRST n ROWS ONLY CLAUSE) would be very useful when you what to find the top 3 Employee salaries (order by Salary Limit 3 ) or the bottom 3 Sales people (order by revenue generate Desending Limit 3 )