For the Future Reading list

I don’t really have a future reading list yet, but if I did these two books, edited by fellow UVA grads (and married couple) Cathi Hanauer and Daniel Jones, would definitely be on it. The Bitch in the House, billed as a collection of women writing candidly about the challenges of managing careers and families, has been followed by The Bastard on the Couch, which deals with men’s views on their roles in the families.

From what I can glean from the write-ups (and an interview with the writers in the online mag for the University of Virginia’s College of Arts and Sciences), the Bastard’s response to the issues in the first book is essentially a “dunno, I’m just incompetent about a lot of household husbandly things and I acknowledge it.” I hope that after reading it I’ll have a more informed critique.

Clarifications around Yahoo’s ping service

Jeremy Zawodny at Yahoo! responded to my post from yesterday (and to Dave’s comments about it) with a note that has started a dialog around ping services in general. I appreciate his position. It’s true that strictly speaking you don’t have to ping Yahoo’s web service. But I still think there are some customer experience issues (both from the point of view of My Yahoo! customers and RSS feed producers) with the way this whole ball of wax is shaping up. See my comment on Jeremy’s post for more.

(By the way, this appears to be my week for having posts into which I didn’t put a lot of thought picked up and widely disseminated. A bunch of Mac sites are now linking to my gripe about AirPort error messages.)

YAPS (yet another ping service…)

George has discovered the hidden cost of Yahoo’s embrace of RSS. It only refreshes the RSS feeds it allows you to put on your My Yahoo! page if the source of the feed pings Yahoo’s ping server. (Details in George’s post, from Yahoo! tech support, or on their page for publishers.)

For those of you playing along, that’s now 12 services that accept various kinds of pings as notification that your blog has updated. It’s a good thing that the Ping-O-Matic guys make a central interface (and API) so that you only have to make one ping call.

Annoying AirPort error message #1

I just spent far too long resolving a problem with a Linksys wireless base station that wasn’t broadcasting its name (SSID) and was using 128-bit WEP. When I tried to connect my laptop to it, running Mac OS X 10.3.4, the laptop threw up its proverbial hands and gave me the error message: “There was an error trying to connect to the selected AirPort network.”

The solution turns out to be bone simple. SSIDs (network names) are case sensitive. My friend’s base station had the SSID set to all uppercase. I was entering it in lowercase and occasionally initial caps.

I didn’t discover the solution until after several fruitless Google searches and looking through the Apple discussions. A helpful thread on the MacOSXHints forums finally gave me the key.

Unsolicited feedback to Apple: Please, if you’re going to throw an error message this useless, log more detailed information to the Console or wherever so I can figure out what the hell is going on without wasting two hours on a nice holiday afternoon.

Happy Fourth

So what’s it all about?

In the spirit of Linus, let’s let the words of Thomas Jefferson speak for the day:

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. –Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Getting back

Lisa and the dogs are spending some time in New Jersey with her family, and I’m on my way back to Seattle. Along the way, I’ve landed in Arizona—a personal first. Phoenix from the air looks like an absolutely flat tabletop cut with a careful grid of roads, onto which some giant has dropped big stiff dark peaks of mountains. Otherwise straight roads are interrupted by enormous stiff-edged chunks of brown dirt. Oh yeah, and it’s hot as hell.

Thanks, Mr. Kerry. I think

Boston Globe: Kerry pushes for Pops concert: Would punctuate convention week. Heh. “Punctuate” indeed. As in, “@#$!@##!!(!@#$!!!!!”

I love the Globe because it doesn’t even pretend to be impartial when it thinks an idea is stupid. Quoth the article, “The Wednesday evening concert would feature the Pops, James Taylor, and a fireworks bonanza. And potentially hundreds of thousands more people on top of those already in town for the convention… the gift hasn’t exactly been welcomed by some city officials and Back Bay residents, who said the impact of crowds of concertgoers on an already burdened city that week could be more of a curse than blessing.”

SENT finally going live

Back last winter, I wrote about submitting some photos to the SENT camera-phone exhibition. The exhibition, which combines works by invited artists and celebrities as well as thousands of submissions by the public, is finally going to happen, starting July 10 in Los Angeles. You can even look at some of the public submissions online, though with the random one-image-at-a-time loader, I still haven’t seen any of my images. (Boing-Boing, SmartMobs)

Inside scoop about Safari RSS and more

I figured that Dave Hyatt, ex-Mozillan in charge of Safari and one of the only Apple employees blogging, would be all over Monday’s announcements about RSS and Dashboards in Mac OS X 10.4. I was right:

  • Dashboard, in which Dave explains that Dashboard panels are HTML + CSS + JavaScript
  • Dashboard II, in which Dave traces the lineage of the Dashboard concept back to Mozilla and browser sidebar panels
  • The Search Field, in which Dave writes about the extension of the Input element that makes the new Search field omnipresent
  • Safari RSS, in which Dave talks about version numbering and product naming
  • Dashboard III, in which Dave talks more about the architecture (including security measures to prevent execution of malicious embedded code) and Safari 2.0’s new support for WinIE’s drag events
  • Plugin Scriptability, in which Dave makes clear the connection between the new plug-in formats coming down the wire and Dashboard widgets

I wasn’t all that excited about the Dashboard on Monday, but I am now. I get excited any time a rich new programming platform gets born.


Apologies for the post outage. We flew with the dogs to Lisa’s folks in New Jersey yesterday, which is always a long day without blogging. Lisa’s folks picked us up from the airport and fed us some fantastic pulled pork barbecue, which more than made up for the trip (four and a half hours in coach with two dogs that don’t want to go to sleep is always a joy).

Today I hooked up our wireless base station to her mom’s computer and am happily blogging away from the kitchen counter. WiFi is one of those inexhaustable reservoirs of delight. Every time I set up a wireless network in a new place I get that giddy feeling of freedom all over again.