February 2


[winning kick]
Unbelievable! For the second time, Adam Vinatieri kicks the Super Bowl winning field goal. Yay, Pats!
Photo by Richard Carson/Reuters

posted @ 06:57 PM EST

February 3

Version 1.0.8 of NetNewsWire

Version 1.0.8 of NetNewsWire and NetNewsWire Lite fixes a couple small but important bugs and adds a bunch of feeds to the Sites Drawer. NetNewsWire Lite is a freeware, easy-to-use RSS Web news reader for Mac OS X.

Note that as of version 1.0.7, when a feed URL is passed to NetNewsWire by a web browser, as is done by Safari and Mozilla, it subscribes or selects that subscription if already subscribed. The [XML] in this blog’s sidebar now has a feed link.

posted @ 03:01 AM EST

February 4

Nothing Is Perfect, but Blog Is Valid RSS

According to Dave’s validator, this blog is valid RSS. RSS

posted @ 12:08 AM EST

February 6

Feed Validator

Mark Pilgrim has a good web page about his RSS feed validator, which is the one used by NewNewsWire when “Validate this Feed” is selected from the pop-up menu on a subscription.

posted @ 03:28 AM EST

Valid XHTML 1.0

Valid XHTML 1.0! According to the W3C markup validation service, the main page of this site is valid XHTML™ 1.0 Strict. It is unfortunate that in order to make the whole blog comply with the standard I would have to edit, and fudge the modification date, of almost every entry file because the entries themselves contain HTML, e.g., links and images. Oh well, nothing is perfect.

posted @ 10:42 PM EST

February 7

Valid CSS Level 2

Valid CSS! Likewise, according to the CSS validation service, the main page of this site is valid CSS level 2.

posted @ 03:00 AM EST

Solar Power Satellites

In my rant against the use of space colonization as an escape from environmental stewardship, I referred to The High Frontier by the late Gerard O'Neill. To be fair, I should point out that one of the justifications for colonization of space that O'Neill provided was the amelioration of humanity’s impact on Earth’s fragile ecosystems, most significantly by the use of Solar Power Satellites (SPS) which, by converting solar energy collected in space to microwave energy beamed to the surface of the Earth, have the potential of supplying huge amounts of renewable energy with only the impact of microwave receiver antennas on the ground and the allocation of some airspace to microwave beams. Even more important to the overall plan is that the economic benefit of manufacturing SPSs in space provides an incentive to the investment required for building orbiting space habitats. Analysis showed that it is much cheaper to mine materials from the moon and build manufacturing facilities in space than to manufacture the parts for an SPS on Earth and lift them into geosynchronous orbit for assembly.

The problem, which is not overlooked, but underestimated by O'Neill, is that before private capital could be induced to support SPS construction, the technical feasibility of the complete system, from mining and manufacturing to power generation and transmission, will have to be demonstrated in space. Environmental considerations alone should be enough to get some government to fund such a program, if only there were the long term vision and political will. Again, there’s the rub. Over the last thirty years, there has been very little public support for a program to develop SPSs, even though it would give NASA a concrete purpose. Private support, through the Space Studies Institute, founded by O'Neill, has been small though enthusiastic.

The idea is by no means dead. There is still time to do it before environmental catastrophe makes any large investment untenable. It won’t cure all the ills of the biosphere wreaked by the infestation of man, but it could help an enormous amount. (O'Neill’s environmental naïveté is revealed in his contention that ecosystems on Earth could be restored when space colonization reduced the terrestrial human population. Well, something would grow in to replace the destroyed, unique ecosystems. Likewise, he writes of saving endangered species by providing habitat in space, as if we could create ecosystems we were unable to preserve.) Clearly the project would be larger than the practically useless International Space Station, but probably close in size to the pointless exercise of putting a man on Mars.

posted @ 03:23 PM EST

February 8

Yahoo! Is Cool

Over time I find myself using Yahoo! for more and more things.

Yahoo! pages are lean and clean and useful. In short, they’re cool.

posted @ 06:35 PM EST

February 11

My PMC Profile

I’ve constructed my PMC profile, in case someone is looking for me through the Pan-Mass Challenge web site.

posted @ 03:14 PM EST

February 12

"Subscribe" Has the "Feed" Link

Reconsidering what I had done ten days ago, I decided to link [XML] in the conventional way to the XML, and link the word Subscribe in the sidebar to the feed, for which there is as yet no commonly accepted graphic.

posted @ 02:03 PM EST

The Word of the Day

The Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the day is “blog”. (Thanks, Dave.)

posted @ 11:04 PM EST

February 13

IETF Approves XMPP IM as Proposed Standard

Instant Messaging doesn’t have to be a space owned by disjoint protocols and megalithic servers. Now the open protocol efforts of Jabber have been approved by the Internet priests, freeing us, in principle, from AOL, Yahoo!, MSN, etc. In practice, will the millions of users ever make the transition to standards based IM, or will the big IM service providers ever convert their servers to use standard protocols? Will ISPs routinely provide Jabber IM servers as they now provide email servers?

For now, users of multiple services are stuck with either an application that supports various protocols, or using Jabber and a cumbersome process of registering proxies for other services, in either case having to have accounts with all of the services used by the people with whom they wish to communicate.

posted @ 01:07 PM EST

Benjamin Franklin on Political Corruption

As quoted by Walter Isaacson in his biography Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, Franklin had the following to say at the Constitutional Convention on the corrupting influence of money in government.

There are two passions which have a powerful influence in the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice; the love of power and the love of money. Separately, each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but, when united in view of the same object, they have in many minds the most violent effects … And of what kind are the men that will strive for this profitable preeminence, through all the bustle of cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite mutual abuse of parties, tearing to pieces the best of characters? It will not be the wise and moderate, the lovers of peace and good order, the men fittest for the trust. It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits.

He was arguing for volunteer representatives, i.e., government service without pay, but sounds to my ear as though he is speaking of practically all politicians of our day.

posted @ 01:20 PM EST

February 17

The Price of Loyalty

Ron Suskind’s The Price of Loyalty, an insider’s view of the workings of the Bush White House, is first on The New York Times nonfiction hardcover bestseller list again. A review by Fritz Lanham, published by the Houston Chronicle Jan. 16, and others indicate that reading the book won’t add much to reading a review.

posted @ 04:04 PM EST

February 21

Up to the Past - Mac OS 9.1

That’s as opposed to “Back to the Future.”

We got a new printer, one of those all-in-one deals, basically for two reasons: to have a copier, and to have a networked printer, which our old one wasn’t. The Apple store’s information claimed that the HP model we got is compatible with Mac OS 8.6 and above, even though HP’s web site states that Mac OS 9.1 is required. We have an aged (around seven years old) Mac in our network that was running Mac OS 9.0, so there was some risk that the new printer wouldn’t work with it. Of course, we didn’t buy the printer from Apple, but from a retailer that had it on sale.

As you might expect, it turned out that HP was right. Their printer software installer refused to proceed once it found out that the Mac OS version wasn’t at least 9.1. I searched the Apple support site and, to my amazement and relief, found a downloadable update from 9.0 to 9.1. Note that the update document was created 2001 Jan. 5, but was last modified 2003 Dec. 3. After installing the update, the printer software installation proceeded successfully. Printing works as much as I’ve tried so far, even background printing, once I used the “desktop” facilities.

My compliments and appreciation go to Apple for keeping available an update, over three years old, for an operating system they don’t sell anymore.

Though there are further updates available, from 9.1 to 9.2.1, and from 9.2.1 to 9.2.2, I didn’t push my luck.

posted @ 01:43 PM EST

February 22

Does Nader Want Bush for President?

Ralph Nader is doing it again, entering the presidential race and improving Bush’s chances of reelection. Will the disaffected and undecided be pragmatic enough to refrain from casting a “protest” vote for Nader this time around? Or, since he’s running as an independent, will they vote for the Green Party candidate? We’ll just have to wait and see what has happened when the chads have settled.

posted @ 05:21 PM EST

Lance Armstrong Finishes Behind Teammate Floyd Landis in Season Premier

In his first race of the year, the Volta ao Algarve, Lance Armstrong finished fifth after winning the individual time trial on a new machine, while his USPS teammate Floyd Landis took the final stage and the overall victory.

posted @ 06:30 PM EST

February 27

"Nothing Is Perfect" Will Be Moving

I’m planning to move this blog to dolben.org, hosted by PagesGarden, probably sometime in the next week.

One motivation to use a more capable web hosting service is to be able to have PHP generate genealogical web pages from a database via PhpGedView. I’m not very interested in deep ancestry, except to the extent that it personalizes history, but would like my children to be able to have a picture of the family tree beyond first cousins, at least including second cousins and their children. I’m hoping that having the information online will encourage some of my relatives to fill in details missing from my own sketchy knowledge.

Stay tuned.

posted @ 08:59 PM EST

February 28

dolben.org Exists

The Internet domain name system (at least as far as my access) now has dolben.org. At the moment, there’s only a PHP test page on its web site.

posted @ 04:02 PM EST