Justin's Journal

Justin's Journal

homo sum; humani nihil a me alienum puto

Things I Think About Things I See.

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Friday, January 31, 2003

Working from home.

I use to get in my truck and drive to my office. The traffic was horrible and I'd arrive at work grumpy in the morning and arrive home grumpy in the afternoon. Well, that office got closed and I was out of work for a few hours until I decided to throw in with a fellow ex-employee of that office and go after the work that was out there for ourselves.

Mostly I'm working from home now. I walk down the hall from my bedroom to my office at 7:30 each morning, arriving at work in a good mood with a fresh brewed cup of coffee and start organizing my day. Around 10:00 I stop for a break, grab a snack (usually carrot sticks or fruit and another cup of coffee) and then go back into my office to work a little more and make a few phone calls. I eat lunch around noon, take another break around 2:30 and then work until 4:30. At 4:30 my son arrives home from school so I shut down what I'm doing and walk out of my office and declare myself "home".

Yes there are times that I need to work late so I do that and I make a note of it on my timesheet. There are times when I need to be at a customers site at 8:00 or 8:30 so I go into my office early. My routine changes fairly often but if there is nothing required out of the ordinary then I ordinarily stick to my above schedule. If one doesn't do this then one is going to find themselves screaming, "I can't do this anymore!"

Posted by Justin Thyme 09:09:08 AM | Permalink for Entry 90258904.
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France plays the bad guy!?!

The Ivory Coast has been having its problems lately and the French, in their sense of responsibility to a former colony, have stepped in to help broker a peace accord between the rebels and the civilian government there. Not everyone is happy with the deal. In a turn on things:

Anti-French demonstrations in Ivory Coast calling on "President Bush and the American people for help to confront Jacques Chirac's France, which is seeking to murder Ivorian democracy," the paper argues, "is a reflection of the deep feelings of the majority of Ivorians who want to sever the umbilical cord that ties them to France."

With the current political disagreements going on between Washington D.C. and Paris over the handling of Iraq, I imagine that President Bush may be fantasizing over granting this request.

Posted by Justin Thyme 08:45:24 AM | Permalink for Entry 90258808.
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Thursday, January 30, 2003

Where have I gone?

I apologize for the lack of updates. I've been busy trying to get a business off the ground. I've had time to write but my mind has been elsewhere. It seems like by the time I get my thoughts together on current events they've already been commented to death elsewhere. I'll try to put some things down about what I'm doing a little later but for now just please bear with me.

Posted by Justin Thyme 11:08:05 AM | Permalink for Entry 90254593.
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Monday, January 20, 2003

So derivative.

There has been much discussion over copyright around the web here lately. What with the Eldred v. Ashcroft decision and Aaron Swartz's Tips for Book Authors where he equates holding onto a copyright for longer than it takes to recoup the cost of writing the book with piracy the discussion has gone all over the board.

I want to discuss derivative works. I'm sure y'all have heard of The Wind Done Gone by Alice Randall. The lady wrote a book about Scarlet O'Hara's mulatto half sister. No, that character was never in Gone With The Wind but the character was derived from Gone With The Wind, in fact the whole book is derived from Gone With The Wind. Margaret Mitchell's estate didn't want the book published and sued over copyright infringement. I won't go into the legal wranglings of all this. That isn't what I want to dwell on.

What I want to dwell on is the fact that everytime I read a book that I thorougly enjoy little subplots spin off in my imagination. Now, I don't have the patience or discipline to turn those subplots and stories into anything I'd care to publish but I know if this process happens in my mind it must happen in other peoples minds, people who do have the patience and discipline to create new works. By keeping these potential works trapped in the minds of their various authors with copyrights that prohibit derivative works I think we are all a little poorer.

Just an opinion.

Posted by Justin Thyme 01:51:25 PM | Permalink for Entry 90209708.
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Woman Receives Mistaken Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Linda McDougal was told she had breast cancer. Linda McDougal was told that her best chance at survival was to have a double masectomey, followed by radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Linda McDougal had the surgery. Oops!

I woke up to this report this morning on GMA. I heard it again on Fox News just a few minutes ago. What Ms McDougal went through was horrific and my heart goes out to her. I believe she should be awarded a huge settlement of at least a couple of million dollars just for this being done to her and in saying that I'm bringing up the rest of the story.

President Bush has proposed limiting judgements in cases like this to $250,000 for pain and suffering. This point was brought up on both GMA and Fox News. I'm going to do a little fence straddling on this issue. I agree that there needs to be a way to keep emotions out of these types of settlements and to find an objective method to limit pain and suffering awards to reasonable amounts. I reject the idea that there should be a set dollar amount figure for these types of judgements. I don't see a way to do it and keep the system just. I especially disagree with the $250,000 amount. That is a way low figure. $250,000,000 is also way too large for anyone for any reason for a pain and suffering judgement.

With that said and out of the way let me finally get to my point. I'm troubled with the way that news programs are being used so blatantly for lobbying efforts these days.

Posted by Justin Thyme 12:36:27 PM | Permalink for Entry 90209404.
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Tuesday, January 14, 2003

This is becoming amusing.

Mark Pilgram: It appears that I am trapped like a velvet, paisley-covered Chesterfield in a hallway: unable to go either forwards or backwards.
from Eddies in the Spacetime Continuum.

Posted by Justin Thyme 12:23:32 PM | Permalink for Entry 90183052.
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Just a misunderstanding

Shelley points to a post on the W3C forum that tells us that Marks little tirade over the cite element being dropped from XHTML 2.0 working draft of 11 December 2002 was a little premature. Yeah, that appears to have been a mistake by the XHTML 2.0 working group and it will be back in the next revision of their working draft.

I liked the phrase Jonathon Delacour used for Mark's tirade, spat the dummy, with a dummy being what Australians call pacifiers. Anyway the whole episode is for the best. It made people aware of what is going on with XHTML 2.0 and Simon St.Laurent has written an article telling us how we can become more involved in the goings on of the W3C. It's been very educational for me.

Posted by Justin Thyme 11:29:49 AM | Permalink for Entry 90182771.
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Apple Lashes Out at Microsoft Settlement

I'm not a bit surprised that Apple doesn't think Microsoft is doing enough to settle it's anti-trust problems. What I can't understand is why it would matter what Apple thinks in this case. The only way Apple would be satisfied is if Microsoft turned over everything it has to Apple. Then Sun wouldn't be satisfied.

Now that doesn't mean that I believe that Microsoft has done all it should, I really don't have an opinion one way or another on that topic anymore, it just means that I get tired of these news stories being protrayed as news stories.

Posted by Justin Thyme 10:57:41 AM | Permalink for Entry 90182612.
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All this referencing is making my head hurt.

Let me see, first we had Movable Type's Trackback, then Pingback came on the scene. Mark Pilgrim instituted a Further Readings system on his web log and now Sam Ruby is doing something like that using the link element referring to the sites RSS file. Since he's also implemented Trackback into his system I'm wondering how those two will coexist? I wonder what cool name he'll give it.

Posted by Justin Thyme 08:37:46 AM | Permalink for Entry 90182082.
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Monday, January 13, 2003

Standards are bullshit. XHTML is a crock. The W3C is irrelevant.

Mark Pilgram is on a tear over discovering that the acronym, cite and q tags have been removed by the W3C from the XHTMLtm 2.0 working draft of 11 December 2002. Specifically he says:

More specifically, the acronym, cite, and q tags are all gone, leaving us, respectively, with abbr, nothing, and nothing. The acronym/abbr thing just means a global search and replace, but the lack of cite and q make my posts by citation and posts by quotation semantically obsolete.

As Bugs Bunny would say, Unlax, Doc. As you pointed out the lack of the acronym tag can be handled with a simple search and replace. Now instead of having two tags that have essentially the same meaning we only have one. The q tag isn't gone either, its just been replaced with the quote tag so another simple search and replace takes care of that. Now we come to the cite tag which really makes sense to drop, even though you have created a cute tool that takes advantage of its use. Which would you rather have, a cite tag or a cite attribute? Why is there a need for both of them other than to add to confusion?

Still want to revert back to HTML 4.0? Have at it. It's still a valid standard and one can have semantic markup using it.

After giving this some thought and reading through that latest draft from the W3C I'm convinced that they are going the right way with the specification. Heck, that cite tag can easily be replaced with a <span class="cite"> tag and everything else they appear to be doing is only more of cleaning up a mess that was in HTML from the get—go. I am a little concerned that a suggestion was made to deprecate the h1 through h6 tags but the note said that was only a suggestion that was made and that the working group hadn't addressed that yet. I suggest that people let the the working group know about how they feel about this..

One more thing:
The cite attribute's value is a URI, not a URL. There is a difference. In order to abstract the idea of a generic object, the web needs the concepts of the universal set of objects, and of the universal set of names or addresses of objects. A Universal Resource Identifier (URI) is a member of this universal set of names in registered name spaces and addresses referring to registered protocols or name spaces. A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is a form of URI which expresses an address which maps onto an access algorithm using network protocols. So while a URL is going to take you to a resource residing on a computer network a URI could take you anywhere, including a stack in a library to a specific shelf in that stack and point toward a specific book on that shelf telling you a specific paragraph on a specific page. It could also be used to point to a name in a phone book or a university directory to indicate a specific person.

Now that still doesn't mean that the cite attribute can fully replace the cite tag or element. It won't but I have suggested a way to acheive the same thing by using something like this: <span class="cite">Source being cited<span>. The span and div elements and the class attribute have more uses than just presentation. Just the fact that something is being presented in a certain way has semantical ramifications. People tend to forget that.

Posted by Justin Thyme 01:16:48 PM | Permalink for Entry 90178411.
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N. Korea claims it never admitted to developing nuclear weapons.

Well, now the thing I want to know is, did they or didn't they?

Yesterday North Korea insisted that it never admitted having a secret nuclear programme. The claim that we admitted developing nuclear weapons is an invention fabricated by the US with sinister intentions, Rodong Sinmun said.

Learning who is telling the truth here is very important to me. Not from the standpoint of how to proceed with N. Korea and their nuclear weapons program but from the standpoint of whether or not the US government is lying about how this problem began in the first place. If someone in my government lied and that lie put us in the prediciment we are now then that person and anyone who directed that person in the lie needs to be removed from government and placed in a prison. If that person acted alone then whoever hired that person needs to be removed from their position and never allowed to hire government employees again.

I suspect, however, that this may be a way for N. Korea to open the way to put things back as they were prior to the world being told that N. Korea stated, of course we are developing nuclear weapons. Do you think we are stupid? It is a point that could turn around the whole manner in which we are addressing N. Korea and their nuclear program, regardless of whether they actually ever admitted to a nuclear weapons program or not.

All we need to do is just think of this as their asking for a "do over" and let them believe we are asking for a "do over", them let the inspectors back in, rejoin the nuclear proliferation treaty and put their reactor back in mothballs and then we deliver immediately on the oil we promised them and put their clean reactor program back in place.

Sounds simple, doesn't it. That's because it is. I know a dozen people are going to be able to tell me a dozen different reasons why this can't work and won't work and probably every one of them is going to be right on the money with their assessment because no one involved ever wants things to be this simple.

The biggest reason that would be given is that Kim Jong-il can not be trusted. I have no doubt that this is true. Trust can only come through verification and I doubt we will ever feel that safe guards put in place can ever fully be verified or that we would ever be allowed the access in that country to fully verify anything.

I'm not sure how all of this is going to play out. I really don't believe that N. Korea, as a nation, would launch a nuclear attack against its neighbors but I'm not so sure that someone in N. Korea might not just push a button just because that person thinks the button ought to be pushed.

Posted by Justin Thyme 10:21:44 AM | Permalink for Entry 90177516.
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Sunday, January 12, 2003

Phone Prank Pulled on Hugo Chavez

As if things for him weren't already bad enough a couple of DeeJays on a Miami spanish-speaking radio show managed to get through the Venezuelan presidential palace switchboard to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez by pretending to be Cuba's President Fidel Castro. The transcript of the call is really quite humorous, though not much insight into anything going on with President Chavez was gained by the call.

Posted by Justin Thyme 10:09:51 AM | Permalink for Entry 90173991.
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Governor Assails System's Errors as He Empties Illinois Death Row

Illinois Govenor George Ryan commuted the sentance of all death row inmates yesterday to life in prison and, for a few, less. This comes after Illinois found itself in the position of conducting 12 executions while exonerated 13 death row inmates, one of whom came within 48 hours of the electric chair. Reform was needed but wasn't happening. I don't see where Govenor Ryan had much choice but to do as he did.

While I'm sure that a number of those whose sentances were commuted really deserved death coming to them given the record I'm certain that at least one or two of them were at most innocent of the crimes they were charged with and at least not deserving of the death penalty. Blaming the commutation of sentances of the bad ones on Gov. Ryan alone is inappropriate. Reform was called for and reform didn't come. The blame has to be placed squarly on the shoulders of those who blocked the reform.

Posted by Justin Thyme 09:40:11 AM | Permalink for Entry 90173914.
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Saturday, January 11, 2003

Using Trackback to power directories.

Scott Andrew has some ideas about using Trackback and Movable Type Categories for building directories. I'm intrigued by the possibilities here and want to make sure I've got a link back to his entry to think about this more when I'm not so absorbed in other things.

Posted by Justin Thyme 11:58:34 AM | Permalink for Entry 90171329.
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Friday, January 10, 2003


I had a meeting today with the nice folks at AutomationDirect . Joan and Paul showed me what their company had been up to lately and I was thoroughly impressed with their line. I'm especially impressed with their eagerness to embrace open standards. Their prices are also very likable.

After the meeting we headed off for lunch for them to pick mine and my partner's brains about what they could do to make themselves more attractive to system integrators. Weblogs came up in the conversation, not by name but that's essentially what I was suggesting to them. They seemed impressed. Perhaps we may see their website updated with some personal insights from their president on a regular basis before too long.

Posted by Justin Thyme 03:40:20 PM | Permalink for Entry 90168741.
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Tuesday, January 7, 2003

Kangaroo Scrotum Bottle Opener

Gary sent me a link to a unique gift , a Kangaroo Scrotum Bottle Opener.

Posted by Justin Thyme 04:02:09 PM | Permalink for Entry 90154552.
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A little common sense for a change.

PCWorld is reporting that Jon Johansen has been acquitted of charges over his development and distribution of DeCSS. The report tells us that the court found that Johansen was entitled to access information on a DVD that he had purchased and was entitled to huse his program to break the code.

It all boils down to motive, which is something that I've argued all along. If you are making an illegal copy of a DVD in order to prevent the owner of the material from making money they have coming to them then you deserve to find yourself at odds with their lawyers. If, however, you are copying the material from the DVD to an area on your harddrive in order to playback that material, the usage you paid the owner of the copyright for the priviledge of, then it shouldn't matter who wrote the software to do that.

This appears to be a Norwegian court that made this ruling and will not have standing in US courts but perhaps the argument will be considered by US courts now that there is a precident for the argument in civilized european country.

Posted by Justin Thyme 12:11:53 PM | Permalink for Entry 90153292.
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