Archive for December 2000

2000/12/02 02 Dec

Until yesterday, the FogBUGZ license said that you couldn't reverse engineer the program, attempt to look at the source code, or modify it in any way. Various honest people have asked how much we charge for a source license, so that they could customize a few things.

Hmmm. Why does the license say you can't change the source code? I couldn't think of a single reason. In fact I thought of a lot of counter-reasons, and immediately changed the license agreement. So now you're going to have to sit through one of those old-fuddy-duddy stories from my past.

Up the tata without a tutu

2000/12/05 05 Dec

Flat Screens

If you're a flat-screen fetishist like me, you'll be glad to know that SGI's excellent 1600x1024 flatscreen is now on sale - at $1500, it's ridiculously cheap (used to be $2995). This is it, the ne plus ultra. Once you have one of these, you can just drop dead on the spot, because it can only go downhill from there. (Another great monitor is the widely available Samsung SyncMaster 770TFT).

Click Clack

Babak found a really old Smith-Corona typewriter in the closet here (circa 1940) and he's typing away. Click click clack. Not only doesn't this thing have Windows, but there's not even a decent web browser that runs on it.

Moving

We're in the process of moving Fog Creek into a new office. It's especially a nuisance because there is a two week period when we won't have any office and will be working from home. (It coincides with the holidays, and we'll all be on vacation most of the time anyway, so it's not worth getting temporary office space). Meanwhile I'm figuring out all the tricks you need to do to move a "live" web server, mail server, and (this is the hard part) Mailman installation to a new machine with a different IP address without downtime.

2000/12/06 06 Dec

A couple of weeks after I complained about searching for Linux on Dell's home page, it looks like Dell has actually fixed their search engine. Bravo. So why is Starbucks still using their damned grease pencils?

2000/12/07 07 Dec

OK, I don't normally post random links, but Simple DJ is way cool!

Today is system administration day. And tomorrow. I'd like to think that I'm learning things, but really I'm just spending a lot of time trying different command-line arguments to ./configure. Isn't that a howl!

On my agenda: moving our FogBUGZ demo to a new machine with a huge hard drive; moving all our email to a new machine so that when we move offices, it can continue uninterrupted; getting the various mailing lists moved; and trying to get closer to that happy day when we can toss the [expletive] Qube out the [expletive] window.

UI For Programmers, The Book, is now in the publisher's hands (and those of the tech reviewer). Ah! It's like when you turn in your senior thesis. I have nothing to do this weekend!

2000/12/09 09 Dec

This month's Wired magazine finally admits what everyone has known for three months: Digital Convergence's completely moronic ":CueCat" is simply the most expensive, most meritless idea since Ishtar. (I wrote about this three months ago.) There is no longer a single CueCat barcode to be seen anywhere. Surprise, surprise.

This company now has 265 employees, all for a product that nobody wants. Since I posted my flame three months ago, not a single reader has written in defense of the CueCat. (Quite a lot of people pointed out that it has been hacked and makes a nice cheap barcode reader). Which makes me wonder how not one of those 265 geniuses in Dallas noticed that their company was working on a product which not a single person wants.

265 people, assuming a conservative cost of, say, $50,000 each, costs over $13m a year just in salary. Not to mention the cost of building and mailing out the millions of barcodes that are choking landfills from coast to coast.

Somebody is footing the bill. The rumors are that the company raised $190,000,000 in VC on this little boondoggle. I think a few investors are going to be very, very pissed when the whole thing goes up in smoke.

2000/12/19 19 Dec

The cover for my new book came back from the publisher today. Very exciting! Soon, I will be a famous author and people will stop me on the subway for an autograph and stuff. Now I just have to go through about 10 chapters of copy edits and change everything back to the way I originally wrote it :)

What's so depressing about customer "service" these days is that when you read something like this,  it sort of seems like par for the course.

2000/12/20 20 Dec

My Revenge Against Clueless Internet Providers

We're getting a T1 installed in our new office, which has made me the target of an awful lot of marketing calls by very aggressive salespeople from Internet providers. They usually want to fax me a quote.

Fax? Hello, people, you're Internet providers. Why not email me a quote?

I asked Qwest if they could just email it to me. This didn't seem to be within their capability. They insisted on faxing it.

So, Qwest, been nice to know ya. I don't know why I would want to buy T1 access from an Internet company that doesn't know how to send an email. We're probably going to go with SAVVIS.

New Toy

Oh boy oh boy oh boy, I just got a new toy via FedEx. It's a wireless 128kbps modem from Ricochet and Juno. Full report here.

Ooo, this is fun. I'm actually posting this from a cafe on 70th and Broadway. Nice!

2000/12/21 21 Dec

Dave Winer wrote a beautiful foreword for my book.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I couldn't have dreamed of a better foreword. This hits the nail right on the head, Dave!

picture-commas:

The symbol above is representative of what I'm doing today. My copy editor keeps deleting my commas. I keep putting them back. That's the theme of the day!

[PS the picture shows what it looks like in Word with revision marks on, when one person deletes a comma and another person adds it back.]

2000/12/26 26 Dec

My publisher is looking for someone to write a book about programming for accessibility. If you are interested and qualified, or know someone who is, please email me and I'll put you in touch.

2000/12/30 30 Dec

picture-snow:

It's snowing today in New York City. I took a few pictures .

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