knowledge is power Last updated - Aug 21

 A Weblog exploring the repository of all human knowledge

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 Archive - August 2001



Another Blatant Attempt...
IE6 abandoning Netscape style Plug-ins "Microsoft Internet Explorer for Windows, versions 5.5 SP2 and 6.0 (soon to be released) no longer support Netscape-style plug-ins, such as the plug-in installed as part of QuickTime 5.0.2 and earlier versions. Consequently, Windows customers using these versions of Explorer who visit your site may be unable to view QuickTime content in the browser. To mitigate this problem and to ensure a positive experience for your Web site visitors, you should add to your site the HTML code that makes available the new ActiveX control for QuickTime"

The Quicktime thing doesn't affect the Mac, but it will affect any other Netscape-type plug-in. I don't know too much about this sort of thing, but I know Mac IE's support of ActiveX is shaky at best. What happens to future plug-in development for the Mac side?

Abandoned Places
This is certainly one of the best abandoned place galleries I've seen, artfully photographed by an extremely accomplished European urban explorer. His link page led me to the equally excellent movies at Zone Tour.

I'm trying to finish my own project on the subject - an abandoned WWII gun battery on the New Jersey Shore. Here's a few teasers.

Some stuff
  • An Apple store is opening in Chicagoland, in the Woodfield Mall this weekend.
  • The Industry Standard is suspending publication. When I first went to that link, I got a pop-up trying to sell me a subscription.
  • The Net Effect: The Undefended Airwaves Security and wireless devices "A small network of Pentium computers that can search a billion keys a second can crack a 40-bit encryption key in 18 minutes. Double the key length to 80 bits and that network would have to gnaw away at it for quite a while longer-about 38 million years. "
  • Another article on Wireless Security at Hotwired, covers the release of AirSnort "a tool that can surreptitiously grab and analyze data moving across just about every major wireless network." If I see anyone parked within 150 feet of my place in a van with a penguin bumber sticker and a license plate that says l33t, I'll change my AirPort password.
  • Your Home, Business DSL Options in Chicago Excellent resource for those shopping for DSl around here.
  • I'm providing a picture of a frog and a toad just because I can. Yea, it's just a picture of a frog and a toad, they're not levitating or anything.

KIP sees Kup
Probably of no interest to those of you outside Chicago, but I spotted Irv Kupcinet at the Drake Hotel having lunch over the weekend with a few other Chicago news dinosaurs that I probably should have recognized. They talked of Paul Simon, Bill Daley and some other items, all of which was included is his Sunday column. I managed to get this shot of him on the sly.

Highways and Byways
The Federal Highway Administration's Byways site contains a list of America's greatest roads, along with heaps of information, maps, photos and other resources for each road. "America's Byways are a two-tiered designation consisting of the All-American Roads and the National Scenic Byways. All-American Roads are our country's finest byways: the best of the best. They are destinations unto themselves and an exciting adventure for all ages. National Scenic Byways possess outstanding qualities that exemplify the regional characteristics of our nation." Some great excuses to get off the interstate.

While on the subject of interstates, did you know that hiding under most overpasses during tornadoes is a bad idea? "Seeking shelter under a highway overpass is to become a stationary target for flying debris, with a substantial risk of being blown out and carried by the tornado winds. Safety in such a location is merely an illusion."

The History of the Knowledge Society
The Age of Social Transformation, by Peter F. Drucker, the man who coined the term "knowledge worker". This essay explains how social structure has changed towards the end of the recent century, and how becoming a knowledge-based society has transformed modern workers, managers, societies, governments and even our concept of knowledge. "...the shift from knowledge to knowledges offers tremendous opportunities to the individual. It makes possible a career as a knowledge worker. But it also presents a great many new problems and challenges. It demands for the first time in history that people with knowledge take responsibility for making themselves understood by people who do not have the same knowledge base." via CamWorld
Weblog news
Chicago's tech jobs top nation Chicago has more tech jobs than anywhere in the country including Silicon Valley. "The reason for Chicago's high ranking, according to the study, is that established urban areas have both old and new industries using high tech. It is a rich and mature mix that, for sheer power and diversity, swamps the narrower computer-making centers around San Jose, Phoenix, Austin or other new economy cities." As the saying goes, "if you can't make it here, you can't make it anywhere".
Catching up on some Web stuff
  • Microsoft wants to own TCP/IP too? Robert Cringely: The Death of TCP/IP Why the Age of Internet Innocence is Over "The wonder of all these Internet security problems is that they are continually labeled as "e-mail viruses" or "Internet worms," rather than the more correct designation of "Windows viruses" or "Microsoft Outlook viruses." It is to the credit of the Microsoft public relations team that Redmond has somehow escaped blame, because nearly all the data security problems of recent years have been Windows-specific, taking advantage of the glaring security loopholes that exist in these Microsoft products." But now Cringley reports that "XP is the first home version of Windows to allow complete access to TCP/IP sockets, which can be exploited by viruses to do all sorts of damage."
  • Making Sure Usability 'Fitts' Flash To paraphrase Fitts' law: the larger and closer the target, the easier it is to hit. How to apply this to Flash. "Chris' First Law of Usability: Usability makes everything easier except for the job of the Designer" It should include the job of the interface designer trying to explain it to the "look and feel" designer. Via elegant hack, who reminds us to rewrite our noframes messages so we don't look useless in the search engines.
  • I hate it when I agree with Jakob. First Rule of Usability? Don't Listen to Users "Too frequently, I hear about companies basing their designs on user input obtained through misguided methods. A typical example? Create a few alternative designs, show them to a group of users, and ask which one they prefer. Wrong." I've said this before, too many designers are used to showing boards to their clients, and holding focus groups, so that's how they test their users. A focus group measures preferences, not performance. I've heard "Oh I love the little cute pictures" and then watch as the user becomes stumped because they don't realize they're navigational buttons. After the test, somebody, either the client or the designer will insist on leaving the icons as they are, because the user "loved them".

Playground safety report
Junkscience has a take on the recent CPC report on Playground safety which has spawned many "DEADLY PLAYGROUND" TV news features. "Is denying our kids the opportunity to develop their risk assessment skills in a reasonably "safe" environment any lesser ill than scrapes, contusions, the odd broken bone and exceedingly rare play equipment fatality?" The CPC isn't trying to ban playing, the report only suggests some reasonable safety measures. However the report is extremely lacking - the data isn't broken down, but it looks like most of the 90 deaths in the last ten years were children under 5, strangling on the equipment, most likely unsupervised. I'd like to see a trend or two broken down as well - how have these injuries subsided since the seventies and eighties, when the playground equipment I fell off of was concrete and steel?

Whatever your opinions are on globalization, or the actions of protestors during G8 conferences, the beating of photojournalists and the supression of news is not something that can be permitted in a democracy. "Gamma photographer Yannis Kontos recalls: "I saw many many cameramen beaten by police without reason. The photographers are doing their job. At that moment, there was no freedom of press. It was a dictatorship. [The police] could do whatever they wanted." He says the police struck out against journalists after the protester was killed. "[The police] were really pissed off with what happened to the dead man," he says. "They were afraid of the press and they wanted to destroy any evidence of the murder." " link via photdude
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