Thursday, 18 December 2003
If you've been in the web world for any length of time, you have to know who Nick Bradbury is. He's one of the gods of usable and useful software design.

I've been running a in-development new product of his, called FeedDemon, for some time now, and I have to tell you , it's awesome. It's a RSS reader and it does it so well, I have dumped every other RSS reader out there. It's not even for sale yet and I already bought a copy. :)

The official version will be available soon, but for now, take a look at Nick's FeedDemon product site and you can grab the pre-release copy and see what I mean.

RSS is the way of the future, people. Get on board now before everyone else does, and before it gets renamed to something goofy. If you are one of those who wishes you could (honestly) say you were doing work on ARPANET, but can't - here's you chance to get in early enough to say you found it before everyone knew about it.

- g

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RSS Stuff | Tech
Thursday, 18 December 2003 00:14:39 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, 17 December 2003
Man-o-Man, been a while since I posted. I got lazy, or busy, or tired, or something. Probably all of the above. Anyhow, here comes Christmas and I am way behind, things are crazy everywhere I turn and I think the only good decision I have made recently was to hire a cleaning lady to come in and clean my house for me every few weeks. Seem like if I am home, I am worn out, so this was a good decision. Besides, I suck at cleaning for the most part. Not that I can't do it - I just don't really enjoy it. :)

But anyway, lots of technology stuff going on these days. That anti-spam bill I blogged about eons ago just got signed into law. That should (still) be interesting. Where I work we have rolled out the Office 2003 system now, and it's sometimes frustrating, other times rewarding to be putting all this work into this project. I can honestly say I will be glad when we can say we are done. At least the end is in sight!

So, I have been thinking that I should just up and leave for some random period of time and go some random place I have never been just to get a brain break. I have been thinking about Alaska, but the time required to do that is kind of daunting. I have been to New Your City a few times before, but it's been awhile, and the last time I was there I was at the World Trade Center, so things have definitely changed and I would like to go back possibly. Or, hey, there's always Vegas or Reno, right??? ;)

Oh. You gotta check this out. Right when you think you've seen it all, here comes a couple things that make you stop, roll your eyes, and exclaim, "WTF???" I'm not going to explain the first one. It's freakin hilarious though. And then we have the Washington State Patrol's new campaign. If it wasn't for the fact that it's for REAL, I'd stop shaking my head and start laughing...

I'll try to post here a little more often. Try. Operative word. :)

- g

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Wednesday, 17 December 2003 21:23:06 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Saturday, 25 October 2003
"Finally," I think to myself, "a possible move in the right direction in the War Against Spam." A California court has fined a couple US$2,000,000 for civil violations of the state's anti-spamming law. In addition, ten years of injunctions against the people and their company should keep at least one spam house out of our hair. California is posed to unleash a new anti-spam law on the first of the year, which "prohibits unsolicited e-mail advertisements sent to or from any California e-mail address, unless the recipient gives prior permission (under current law the recipient has to opt out), or has an existing business relationship with the sender. It also permits private individuals to sue spammers and collect actual damages, plus $1,000 per e-mail and up to $1 million per incident."

I'm tempted to say, "It's about time." On second thought, it makes me wonder if we might be trying to solve a technology problem by enacting new laws.

Spam sucks, and it costs money - real money. Anyone who pays for internet services is subsidizing the volumes of spam emails that are transported over the backbone every second. While California claims 40%, most agree that fully 75% of all email that traverses the Internet is spam - Pure, unadulterated junk marketing mail. Do you know anyone who likes spam email? I know I don't, and while I am not a big fan of legislating change, this is one area I have to think about. It might be one area where I can support some kind of restriction.

But what's the best route to take in solving the spam problem? Is this really a problem that's best resolved by passing laws prohibiting mass emailing? Or is this situation an indicator of a technology that needs to improve? It mean, email is inherently open and pretty insecure. I, for one, am a big advocate of keeping the Internet free from legislation and legal action whenever possible. That said, is it time to take a look at email technology and maybe find a better way to communicate, or is it time to place legal restrictions on how and when it's done? My fear is that these new laws will kill email as we know it, and that the protections we put in place today will eventually make this useful (albeit fairly insecure) tool a thing of the past.

There are already arguments about California's new law, and it's questionable as to whether or not it goes too far. In fact, chances are it will be fought out in the courts there before too long. I don't buy the first-amendment-violation argument myself, but I would not be surprised to see some pretty heated legal battles.

And now the U.S. Senate comes along with an anti-spam bill, with probably more problems than the California version. And it would render any state anti-spam law defunct. Great, you gotta love that. It includes penalties of up to (get this) five years in jail, and a possible do-not-spam list controlled by the FTC, and "companies sending e-mail would have to provide their lists to the FTC so they could be checked and the coverage would be far broader than the FTC's telemarketer 'do not call' list, which only covers sales calls to consumers. The spam-blocking list would also cover business-to-business e-mails and companies could put their entire domain on the registry."

We're all looking at this problem from the same perspective: We hate spam, and want to do something about it. The question now is, what and how?

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Saturday, 25 October 2003 14:29:25 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Sunday, 19 October 2003
I have always enjoyed reading Chris Sells' site, mostly because he has lots of cool info on it and he's a friggin genius, but also because he's got a great sense of humor.

And every time I go to his site and start poking around in there, I find something really cool. He made mention of someone who took his bare-bones IM code and ran with it, which sounded cool to me, so I went to check it out. Hey, I thought, pretty nifty stuff. Download code, try it tout. But wait - I looked over in the navigation list of projects, and was (pleasantly) surprised to see something that jumped right off the page at me: SharePoint Syndication. Dude, perfect! Creates RSS feeds from SharePoint lists - syndication for the corporate masses. :)

- g

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Sunday, 19 October 2003 21:40:03 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Saturday, 18 October 2003
The South Park movie has to be one of the funniest damn things I've ever seen. I saw it when it first came out, and I still laugh when I watch it now. What the hell is it about South Park that makes it so damn funny?

A little late on the review here, and not much detail, but: I saw Kill Bill Volume One last weekend. OMG - Talk about bizarre. Violent, for sure - I don't think I have ever seen a movie more violent. But it's a sort of slapstick-sarcastic-unreal-yet-real violence. It's hard to explain. Heads and arms are graphically chopped off throughout the movie, in front of little girls and whatnot, but the *way* it happens is so unrealistic. It's sick, yet it was pretty darn good. QUENTIN TARANTINO is a freak, that's for sure, but he's a talented freak. Heck, Roger Ebert called it "brilliant." Wow. What the hell is happening to this world? :)

I want one of these. And this looks really cool, too.

I'll be traveling over the next few weeks a few times to speak at these big events. Kind of looking forward to it, kind of not too excited, kind of nervous. But I think once it gets started I will enjoy it.

- g

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Saturday, 18 October 2003 19:34:20 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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News.com has a little article on their site commenting about Microsoft's new once-a-month patch plan. Basically, the third Wednesday of the month is patch day (critical patches don't get held onto, but others do). Amusing, but really - if a company actually relies on just one guy to do all the patching, he's never going on vacation anyhow.

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Saturday, 18 October 2003 14:23:23 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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