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Home > Weblog w/e 25.8.2001

Saturday 25 August 2001, 22:55 BST
From the home of the Karma Ghosts, we now bring you the Darwin Bug. [Via CoffeeToGo]
Did you hate Wesley Crusher? If so, you're like about 95% of people who ever saw an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. However, please don't let your loathing for the character colour your appreciation of actor Wil Wheaton's personal web site. He actually seems like a reasonably cool guy. And the FAQ is definitely worth a read:
[On Star Trek: The Next Generation]
I hated Wesley!
Really? He always had such nice things to say about you.

Is it true that you were really Ashley Judd's first onscreen kiss, and you ruined her for the rest of her life?
Yep. It is 100% true. Ashley Judd played Robin Lefler, in the episode "The Game", and Uncle Willie went to bootytown.

[On Stand By Me]
How was it working with River Phoenix?
River was really, really cool. At the time, I looked up to him because he was such a cool guy.

He was a wonderful actor, and a wonderful person, and it really fucking sucks that nobody tried to stop him from becoming a complete junkie.

When I see the bullshit hacks who are passing for young, hot actors these days, I really miss River. Because he was a REAL actor, not a pre-packaged bunch of hype and marketing.
Overall, it's nothing at all like the average celebrity's web site. Recommended. [Via feeling listless]
The Alderaan Home Page. [Via Ben Hammersley.com]
Captured 'vampire' hogs TV limelight. I don't think you'd been to be a Slayer to kick this vampire's ass. [Via lgf]
Friday 24 August 2001, 22:50 BST
"You can't even tell if it's a bloke or a woman!" This article from TV Cream brings back fond memories of the glory days of Top of the Pops, back when I was young and impressionable. Ron Mael. Boney M. Howard Jones' pal the mime/dancer. John Peel somehow managing to hang on to his dignity despite it all. What other TV pop show could possibly compare? [Via I Love Everything]
Windows RG. Make sure you try to use the Start menu and the various icons. [Via spitfire!]
No More Boobys For You! Anonymous Company Guy's world comes crashing down around him. [Via skomsvold.com]
Thursday 23 August 2001, 21:40 BST
Ten Tips for a Firmer, Slimmer, Sexier Weblog! [Via MetaFilter]
Worst. Date. Ever. [Via clever little Minx!]
Wednesday 22 August 2001, 22:15 BST
Bad Tattoo of the Week. Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh deary me. [Via CamWorld]
Sir Fred Hoyle, maverick astronomer and part-time science fiction writer, RIP. [Via MetaFilter]
What a wonderful name for a SETI@home team. [Via Bifurcated Rivets]
Patrick Houston reminds us that a significant factor in the success of the IBM PC was how open IBM were about the details of how their new "personal computer" worked, thereby allowing just about any geek with the relevant skills to build on what they'd done. They weren't the first to take this approach - they were learning from the success of the Apple ][ - but for old-fashioned mainframe giant International Business Machines this was a major volte-face.

The irony, of course, is that Microsoft rode to dominance of the desktop PC world on the back of an open system. [Via Dan Bricklin]
Beware the Karma Ghosts. Sheer genius. [Via MetaFilter]
What are they doing in that toilet cubicle? [Via Goatee Style]
Talking of cubicles, here's another misuse of cubicle space. [Via style over substance]
Tuesday 21 August 2001, 22:05 BST
Hell's Bells! Take a look at the tongue on that! [Via 3 Bruces]
In the driving seat. A worthwhile interview with Sigourney Weaver. I can't believe she's 51. [Via linkmachinego]
Yet another gorgeous Astronomy Picture of the Day.
Following the story I noted the other day of the city of Largo's shift to using Linux, here's a complementary piece by Joe Barr claiming that Microsoft are using the presence of pirated copies of their software to encourage towns to sign up for big, expensive enterprise-level software licenses.

I think Barr is coming at this topic all wrong. He claims that the Enterprise Agreement the city of Austin is likely to sign up for excludes non-Microsoft software, but in a very confusing way:
While the Enterprise Agreement doesn't specifically prohibit the use of other products, effectively it does. It's logical to assume that if you're paying for MS Exchange for three years why allow a department to consider an alternative. (Microsoft makes hay of this point in a Word-formatted white paper extolling the Enterprise Agreement.)
In other words, if you're paying Microsoft for the ability to use their software to provide a particular service you'll tend to discourage efforts to duplicate that functionality if you've already paid for it once. That's hardly an attitude peculiar to users of Microsoft products.

In a similar vein, Barr is critical of one of Austin's IS managers for saying that if he found that someone was using Linux on the desktop he'd tell them to stop, because having a standard desktop system reduces Total Cost of Ownership. It may well be the case that TCO calculations are less than scientific, but it's difficult to deny that all other things being equal supporting two desktop OSs is going to be more expensive and complicated than supporting one, particularly if your system administrators are Windows specialists. Even if you can't quantify the savings accruing from a single OS/vendor strategy to the Nth percentage point, you can see that a decision to roll out two desktop operating systems requires some justification. Readers who check out the article about Largo, which was the subject of the posting last week, will find that that city doesn't split its desktops between Linux and Windows either. Having chosen Linux, they only use a Windows server at all because that's the only way they can run Excel, and from the tone of the article it appears that as soon as they find an acceptable Linux-based alternative they'll move over to 100% Linux servers and desktops.

There's no doubt that Microsoft would like to sign enterprises up to lucrative license deals, and it's certainly open to debate whether these deals are really in the best interests of organisations in the long term. However, sniping at details like this without demonstrating why your proposed solution is better isn't the way to win converts. Perhaps I'm being unfair, and it's just that Barr is preaching to the converted and doesn't feel the need to reiterate points he may have made elsewhere. It does rather undermine his argument though to present such a biased reading of the situation. [Via CamWorld]
Head Rush. Damn, that's funny.
Monday 20 August 2001, 21:05 BST
Michael Swanwick's Periodic Table of Science Fiction reaches Magnesium, as he recounts the story of Under's Game.
The Mewphonium. Not the easiest instrument to tune. [Via 3 Bruces]
That Loving Felon. Chrissy Iley talks to Ray Liotta. [Via linkmachinego]
Plans are afoot to create what would in effect be an "inner space" equivalent of the Hubble telescope. This is an extremely cool idea. The fact that NASA hope to use the project to try out technology they hope to use to explore Europa, one of Neptune's moons which it's thought has ice-covered oceans, just adds even more bang for the buck. How can this not be a terrific idea? [Via lgf]
David Weinberger on the abuser interface. [Via Tomalak's Realm]
Sunday 19 August 2001, 21:20 BST
The Road To Springfield. Did anyone really doubt that it would end this way? It was closer than I'd expected, but the man who stole the Sun wasn't going to lose to Ralph Wiggum.
I'm a little teapot... Be careful when you're taking pictures of shiny objects to put online. [Via harrumph!]
dead dreamer has some exquisite wallpaper files to download. [Via bump]
How not to advertise your car show: accuse people of accessing internet porn. [Via Found]
Microsoft just happens to disable a competitor's software from running properly under Windows, this time by issuing a service pack. Consider this a preview of what using Windows will be like when many of us are using .NET and Microsoft are upgrading our software for us.

The real issue here isn't that Microsoft have changed the behaviour of Internet Explorer. It's that they've slipped this out in a service pack. Apple can survive Windows users being unable to view Quicktime movies in IE for a few days or weeks until a solution is found, but what about a small company that relies upon putting its design work up for prospective clients to view using Quicktime? [Via Plastic]
Let's say a guy named Roger is attracted to a woman named Elaine. A tale of two genders. [Via world of jill matrix]

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