Not MySQL, says Boston judge

I’m delighted to see that Judge Patti B. Saris in my home town of Boston, a town not normally renowned for avoiding confrontation, is ducking the question of whether the GPL can be enforced. She does appear to be practicing good jujitsu on the negotiators, though, by turning around the injunction issue:

Before pushing the parties toward a settlement, the judge previewed a likely outcome of the preliminary injunction if a settlement is not reached. For a preliminary injunction to be granted, she said, the plaintiff must show that it is being done irreparable harm.

On the GPL issue, Saris told MySQL that “I haven’t seen the irreparable harm to you and I have seen it to Progress,” if its business were shut down.


More Manila stuff: sitePref.set funkiness

So I’m having problems setting site prefs from my application. I was going to add a quick feature to allow managing editors to change the tagline of their site from within Manila Envelope, but I can’t get sitePref.set to work–it either complains about something not being a valid address or responds “true” without doing anything. I’ve put a detailed description on the XMLRPC discussion site.

An explanation for the diagram

I fell down when I posted this diagram. I should really have written a brief explanation. I’ll restrict myself to describing the main loops. Of course you can substitute whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing instead of blogging for “schoolwork effort” in the diagram:

  • B1: “Oh crap” As schoolwork effort decreases, guilt increases, leading eventually to more schoolwork effort.
  • B2: “Burnout” As schoolwork effort increases, boredom increases, which decreases schoolwork effort.
  • B3: “Waste time” As boredom increases, web surfing increases, which leads to an increase in blogging effort, decreasing schoolwork effort.
  • R1: “Show off” As schoolwork effort increases, intellectual curiosity increases, spawning original ideas and increasing blogging effort… this gets eyeballs and leads to more blogging. (This may be either a balancing or reinforcing loop, I’m not sure.)
  • R2: “Addiction” This is the simplest closed loop. As you put more effort into your blog, you eventually get eyeballs. This feels like a reward and encourages you to put in more effort.

The last loop is the most vicious. It’s why I had to stop looking at my referer logs; I wasn’t doing much schoolwork any more, I was blogging so much.

Written on the wall

Saw this on a wall outside the Big Dig this morning: “Torquemen: Fortitude, Guts, Persistence.” I don’t know what the hell it means, but “Fortitude, Guts, Persistence” just became my tagline.

Dave, meet Blogdex… and MS Research

Dave wants a tool that can show you how connected two weblogs are to each other, and indicates what the traffic looks like between them. I think he’s right that the second is impossible for a centralized search engine… but what about a distributed referral collection app?

As for the first, the Netscan project at Microsoft Research does something similar for newsgroups by tracing cross-postings and provides visualization. Blogdex traces links from blog to blog. It should be possible to apply the visualization and connectability capabilities from Netscan to the data that Blogdex collects.

If someone does this, I want credit on the thesis. 🙂

Cease-and-desist meets organized resistance

CNET: Site reads Web surfers their rights. This sounds a bit like the “Your Rights On-Line” section of Slashdot writ large: serves as an educational hub where Internet surfers can learn about their legal rights related to cease-and-desists letters….

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and law school clinics at Stanford University, Harvard University, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of San Francisco said they created the Web site as part of a project called Chilling Effects, referring to the way legal threats can freeze out free expression. The coalition said the project aims to provide basic legal information about ongoing issues related to copyright, trademark and domain names, defamation, anonymous speech, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).


BOFH: SQL For Retards

SQL for Retards. Hysterical. You can only imagine how often I dreamed of this conversation:

“But I’m not responsible for the which of the volumes he puts his tablespace on.”

“Uh?” The Boss responds, reverting to subhuman IQ as a defence.

“OK, an analogy. Let’s say I was the building owner and I rent you 30 offices.”


“And you have 30 staff.”


“And you put them all in one office because then you won’t have to go all around the floor to see what people are up to.”


“And then you complain to me about the air-conditioning because that one office is stinking hot, humid and smelly.”

Nice Boston weekend

I just noticed–though I managed to blog every day this weekend, I didn’t write much about anything going on with me. This is called either “healthy” or “avoidance,” depending on your perspective.

Well, Lisa got a lateral move within her employer that puts her in a more geographically independent job, which frees us up for our move when I graduate. We celebrated with a dinner with friends on Friday night preceded by the customary tasting at the Wine Bottega in the North End. In the middle of dinner, my friend Bransby got a phone call with a job offer–so we had a double celebration.

Saturday we went to Lala Rokh, a Persian restaurant in the middle of Beacon Hill. I haven’t spent much time on Beacon Hill; after the bustle of the North End its silence was either refreshing or tomblike (see, there’s that perspective thing again!). The restaurant was great–I’ve had kebabs and such before, but the inventiveness with ingredients turned everything up a notch.

On Sunday I worked all day when I wasn’t blogging. I’m having some thoughts about the dynamics of that. After I finish my system dynamics homework (or before, if present practice of procrastination continues), I’ll post the causal loop diagram that explains most of my blogging recently.

CSS from both sides of the fence

I’ve tried to stay out of the blogwar over using CSS vs. tables for web site design that has been brewing at Scripting News and other places, but I think it’s time to jump in. I’ll be working on a CSS-based redesign of this site over the next few weeks. I’ve noticed how slowly this page renders in Netscape 4.x (because of all the nested tables), and hopefully moving to CSS will either make things easier or convince the 4.x readers to move to more modern browsers (hi, Dad!).

Two quick resources to get started: Microsoft’s CSS node in the MSDN library, and Apple’s series on CSS in its developers’ site.