January 18, 2003

The SSA Sold Me Out?

I recent joined the Soaring Society of America (SSA) now that I'm flying again.

Today I got an "offer" in the mail from Aviation Week and Space Technology (no link, for obvious reason). They'd like me to subscribe at a supposedly discounted rate.

Coincidence? Unlikely.

Posted by jzawodn at 07:55 PM

MySQL Upgrade

I'm at work right now, helping to upgrade the MySQL master in Finance from 3.23.xx to 4.0.9. All the slaves have been running 4.0.x for a while (currently 4.0.8) so it's about time we got the master updated.

This should be interesting...

Update: So far, so good. We're actually running 4.0.8 now on the master and all slaves.

Posted by jzawodn at 02:37 PM

January 17, 2003

The Simpsons: 2 more years!

This is excellent news:

Homer, Bart and the rest of The Simpsons gang will be sticking around the tube for a while as Fox announced Friday it has reupped the classic cartoon series for two more years. Dismissing talk that the show, now in its 14th season, has been played out, Fox's move guarantees the 'toon will run through an eye-popping 16th season and rack up at least 360 episodes.

I'm sure that my Tivo will take care of the rest. :-)

Posted by jzawodn at 05:53 PM

January 16, 2003

api.google.com acting up

I'm having trobule posting blog entries. It seems that api.google.com has been having troubles for much of the night. So I'll just queue things up and try later. Grr.

I'd take the Google related stuff out of my templates, but the moment I do Google will fix the problem anyway.

Damn you, Murphy.

Posted by jzawodn at 11:48 PM

Innovation and how not to.

I'm not sure what the magic formula for innovation is. I've read books about it. Thought about it. Kept track of companies that seem to be good at it.

In an effort to assist everyone else who's been trying to figure out the secret, I offer tips for helping your employees to stay clear of innovation:

1. Explain to your employees that times are tough so innovation must go on the back burner.

2. Further explain that there's no reason to despair--a high-level executive will be spending a lot of his time working on an innovation plan for the company (whatever that means).

3. Let a lot of time pass and say nothing about it. Pretend that things are just fine.

4. In the meantime, do nothing to alter the company's fundamental cultural and organizational problems--you know, the ones that have been in the way of an open an innovative busniess the whole time.

5. When asked about the mysterious "innovation plan" at an all-company meeting, explain that the executive is still working on it. Really! He is! Divulge no more.

There you have it. Five easy steps to sucking the innovative life out of employees who used to care about that sort of thing.

Posted by jzawodn at 11:22 PM

You can check out but you can never leave...

This is just too damned funny. Maybe it's because I've known Derek for a while, or maybe because of how pathetic it makes AOL look. You really must read it.

I'm still laughing several minutes later. I'd have just hung up and called my credit card company.

Posted by jzawodn at 09:56 PM

January 14, 2003

Switched to NetNewsWire

Well, it's official. Last Friday I switched to NetNewsWire Lite even after I managed to break it. I've found that AmpehtaDesk is a memory hog and I simply don't have the time to deal with upgrading, making sure that AmphetaOutlines works on it, and the various other things I'd like done.

Don't get me wrong, AmphetaDesk is great. I've written about it before and even patched it. It's good stuff. Really. I'll probably tinker with it again after the book is done.

Two good things have happened as a result of the switch. First, I don't read blogs at work anymore. That means I get more work done. Secondly, when I do read blogs I spend less time doing it. NNW, as a desktop app, is simply way faster than AmphetaDesk running on one of my co-located servers. It's the age-old fat client vs. thin client argument.

I just saw Brent's NetNewsWire Pro 1.0b9 announcement and read thru the changelog. He fixed my bug. Woohoo! Thanks Brent. (I actually spent an hour of Friday manually "importing" all 155 RSS feeds from my old subscriptions file.)

I'll be a paying customer for the release vesrsion of NNW Pro when it's out. It's a great product. In the meantime, I'll be sure to exercise the latest NNW Pro beta.

Sometime soon I'll have to describe the blog organization I'm using in NNW.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:03 PM

My iPod Review

So I've had a 20GB Apple iPod for a couple weeks now. I've been using it on and off enough that I feel like I can offer my thoughts on the device.

On the plus side:

  • The size and weight are very good. It's a little heavier than my Walkman but almost identical in size.
  • Synchronization with the TiBook is great. FireWire is sooo much faster than USB.
  • Using iSync I have a good backup of my contacts, schedule, and todo list.
  • Battery life seems quite good so far.
  • It has a switch to disable all the controls for those times when you don't want to accidentally turn it on/of/whatever. Even the "remote" has one. That blew me away.
  • The sound quality is excellent.
  • It's very easy to use. It Just Works.

On the negative side:

  • You cannot change the volume without using the supplied remote. Apple really needs to add software volume control. The remote is cool, but it's really not necessary otherwise (most of the time). (See comments.)
  • The touch-based scroll wheel control works in the opposite direction from what I'd expect. I'd like an option to reverse the direction of it. (This is probably related to be being partly left-handed.)

The bottom line: It's a great device. I'll be giving my old Diamond Nomad Jukebox (6GB) to Kasia when she visits California next week. To paraphrase Ferris Beuller: if you have the means, I highly recommend it.

Posted by jzawodn at 06:00 PM

Search Engine Watch Awards


The Search Engine Watch Awards recognize outstanding achievements in web searching. The voting period for the 2002 awards has now opened, and we encourage you to cast your votes.

I wonder who's gonna win and who will not.

Oh, wait. No I don't.

Posted by jzawodn at 02:34 PM

January 13, 2003

Sun could get a clue from PHP

Browsing Java documentation on Sun's Java site is incredibly frustrating because the site doesn't seem to support a basic operation I want: search.

Consider this example. I performed a Google search for java.util.Map.Entry and eneded up on this page. It has a lot of useful information on it. But now that I'm there, I was to search for something. I guess I have to go back to Google and start over. There's no search box on the page. WTF?!

Contrast this with any reference page on php.net, like this one (chosen at random). It's far more search friendly. There's a box right at the top of the page and a drop down box that helps me crontrol what I'm searching.

php.net docs: good.
Sun Java Docs: less good.

Oh, it's not just PHP. The MySQL folks get it too. Here's a randomly selected example from their docs. Notice the search box.

Posted by jzawodn at 05:34 PM

Hyperthreading Benchmarks

There's an excellent article on IBM DeveloperWorks that presents a performance analysis of the 2.4 and 2.5 kernel's hyperthreading support.

Good stuff. I look forward to the enhanced scheduler in 2.5. Perhaps it's one of the few reasons we need to consider using Linux rather than FreeBSD for MySQL at work. MySQL, of course, is heavily multi-threaded.


Posted by jzawodn at 12:04 AM

January 12, 2003

Drink frist, write second.

I've just made a strange discovery.

Apparently, it's a lot easier for me to write drafts for the book after I've had a drink or two. I wrote more in the last hour than I did on all of Saturday.

Perhaps this has something to do with the way alcohol affects the mind's inhibitions? After a few drinks it's often easier to talk to people because you're not as worried about how they'll react. You're not censoring yourself.

One of the things that slows me down most when writing (other than trying to get started at all) is the constant nagging in my mind about whether I'm saying what I really need to say, if I'm covering things in enough depth and so on.

Hmm. I wonder how this will all play out.

Posted by jzawodn at 09:22 PM

Apple Responds. Wow.

I'm terribly impressed with some of the folks at Apple. They get the power of weblogs in a very important way. Over in Dave Hyatt's weblog, he's been responding to various other weblog entries about their new Safari browser. For example, here he responds to one of Mark's complaints.

As a member of the Safari team, he introduced himself a few days ago on his weblog and has done an excellent job of responding and keeping the community informed.

I hope that other tech companies understand how important and revolutionary this is. Imagine, product team members actually communicating directly with the public rather than filtered thru the typical PR organizations and layers of administrative crapy.

I've been hesitant to do much of this in my weblog, not being sure how my employer would react. In the few cases I have, the response has been immensely positive. I'm sure that Dave has found this to be the case too.

John has noticed this too it seems. Yeah, he gets it.

I really hope this spreads. The world needs more of this.

Posted by jzawodn at 08:42 PM

Unplanned Naps

I seem to have relapsed.

A few years ago, I had a habit of laying down "for a few minutes" only to wake up many hours later. While it felt very good, the experience was quite disruptive to a normal sleep/work cycle. Until recently, it hasn't been much of a problem.

But yesterday I managed to screw up a little. And today... Well, let's just say that I didn't go to bed until 3:30am. I woke up around 11am and had breakfast. Then I decided to brush up on some reading (FAA airspace regulations) while laying on my bed (mistake). I probably read for 30 minutes or so before I fell back asleep--and woke up at 4pm.


Getting back on track is going to be a challenge. If past experience is any guide, I can either do so gracefully over the course of 4-6 days, or I can sacrifice one day and do it a bit more abruptly.

You think I'd have learned by now. Don't lay back down when you've only been awake for a few hours. It almost always leads to something like this.

Posted by jzawodn at 08:25 PM

Sunday morning link brunch...

Dan Gilmore:

For several days last week, the cavernous convention halls here became battlefields in the copyright wars. On balance, the entertainment cartel didn't seem to be doing very well.

The iTrip is a cool iPod add-on.

I should have attended the bloggers dinner in SF last night. I didn't do nearly as much as I expected. That would have been more fun, I suspect.

Ben Hammersley says:

In what must be the fastest, most in-depth, distributed product review in history, Apple's new browser, Safari is being bashed about all over the blogosphere.

I think Apple has done a good job with Safari. It's a first public beta and I've only seen two big complaints: (1) the lack of tabs, and (2) the various CSS bugs that Mark has been finding. Let's give Apple some credit. They're building a cool iBrowser.

Posted by jzawodn at 11:47 AM