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Learning by imitation 1999

Edmond is a cleaning whirlwind! Whoooshh!

I'm working on the computer. I guess I can virtually clean out this backlog of links for all y'all (insert clever backlog/weblog pun here).

Dave McKean is as cool on the web as in print - just wait for those purty images to download. The Dreamline site is very well designed by Scotch [comments pertain to no longer extant site at vivisect.org] and is the most beautiful piece of web work I've seen in a long time. I am shamelessly stealing some of the techniques used there beginning with the elegant use of the status bar to indicate the destination of a link. This is a much less intrusive way for me to tell you if a link goes off the MetaGrrrl site than using this icon: leavemg.gif. It's a cute icon, but I'll be phasing it out now; just look down at the status bar in the bottom of your browser window as you mouse over a link and I'll tell you where I'm sending you. [Except I since (sometime between May 1999 and now, August 2003) learned that that means you can't see the real URL the link goes to and that's even worse. The advent of the title attribute for links makes this all obsolete.]

I have so many books I want to buy. *sigh*

MetaGrrrl's Bigass Book List

The Art of Human-Computer Interface Design edited by Brenda Laurel

more Donald Norman

Building Dynamic HTML GUIs by Steve Champeon
(and check out his bibliography)

A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander

Death & Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud

How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand

The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding

[Of course, this list seems like nothing now in comparison to my Amazon wish list]

Ok, time for me to jump on the cleaning bandwagon with Edmond.

Posted on May 31, 1999 at 11:55 AM in The Web | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Moving. linking, learning, laughing 1999

Well, Nick has a supplemental question to the QPSAT below [previous post]:
How many times has diplomacy worked?
I don't know. Send me your answers [add comments below].

So, it's been great having my own place where I can eat what I want, put my stuff where I want, listen to whatever I want and all that, but I like living with other people. Particularly people as easy to be around as Edmond. So I'm moving in with The Magnificent Bald One. If you loved my apartment and want to move to Sunnyvale, let me know and I'll give you the landlord's number. I'll probably have a house-cooling & stuff sale at some point this month, but if you particularly covet something of mine, ask me if I'm takin' it, storin' it or ditchin' it.

Thanks for all the good advice, Beej. A year was what I needed, but I am a social beast.

With his finger ever on the pulse of the secret masters, Joe alerted me to THE TRUTH!

Webmonkey has the lowdown on learning HTML:
HTML Basics
Teaching Tool
The Basic, Basic Table
The WYSIWYG Editor Shoot-Out

Good quote courtesy of my uncle Larry:
The mind is a barren soil - a soil which is soon exhausted, and will produce no crop ... unless it be continually fertilized and enriched with foreign matter.
--Joshua Reynolds
Yeah, that's me, just providing "foreign matter" to enrich your mind...

The MetaGrrrl Blog
- Higher & Deeper Semi-Regularly!

Cool! Nina Paley has a website. Yay, Nina! Now, this URL could come in handy...

Did I tell you about this comparison of fake Dr. Peppers? A must read for all prune cola fans.

Uh-oh, gotta get offline and let Edmond use the phone. What? You think I'm immediately going to start playing Alpha Centauri? The nerve. I would never do such a thing. Nor would I tell you that if you liked Civilization, you'll want Alpha Centauri too. Nope, not me.

Posted on May 30, 1999 at 08:20 PM in linky goodness | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ain't likely to suddenly start working... 1999

(Chez Meinfelder)

Librarians rule.

Forwarded from Aaron Engelhart via my Uncle Larry:
The QPSAT (Quick Political Scholastic Aptitude Test)
This test consists of one (1) multiple-choice question (so you better get it right!)

Here's a list of the countries that the U.S. has bombed since the end of World War II, compiled by historian William Blum:
China 1945-46
Korea 1950-53
China 1950-53
Guatemala 1954
Indonesia 1958
Cuba 1959-60
Guatemala 1960
Congo 1964
Peru 1965
Laos 1964-73
Vietnam 1961-73
Cambodia 1969-70
Guatemala 1967-69
Grenada 1983
Libya 1986
El Salvador 1980s
Nicaragua 1980s
Panama 1989
Iraq 1991-99
Sudan 1998
Afghanistan 1998
Yugoslavia 1999

In how many of these instances did a democratic government, respectful of human rights, occur as a direct result? Choose one of the following:
(a) 0
(b) zero
(c) none
(d) not a one
(e) zip
(f) a whole number between -1 and +1
(g) zilch


I haven't perused these yet, but here are some alternate news sources posted to the Library school mailing list at San Jose State:
Webactive
Znet
The Nation
National Public Radio

And if the news doesn't depress you enough, consider your own mortality.

Posted on May 25, 1999 at 08:45 AM in politics & philosophy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Origin of the Term 'Blog' 1999

You know you're a real web geek when your mother gives you a hard time for not keeping your web journal up to date. (Message to Mum: Just you wait until all that construction is over and I get you a site. I'll be expecting daily news, the bird tally, the garden update, the frog log, and a weekly column about world affairs and human nature). Actually, I welcomed the nudge. I had been neglecting this site terribly and have ever so much to tell you about.

Once again Peter Merholz is giving me ideas. He'll be happy to give you ideas too. Just visit peterme.com. According to Peter, this sort of meandering commentary with links attached is properly pronounced "we-blog" .

OK, yes, I saw it . (Thanks, Nathan!). It was astounding. The best, most seamless effects I've ever seen. BUT it's been 22 years and Lucas still can't manage more than three female characters (window-dressing and a token silent Jedi don't count). And how hard would it have been to give a little more depth to that villain? He was a cardboard cutout, albeit gorgeous to watch in motion. My biggest complaint, though, is that escapee from a minstrel show, Jar Jar Binks.
So, great, Mr. Lucas. The future does have beautiful cities that look like Maxfield Parrish fantasies and kind-hearted folk who fight the good fight, but must we also expect that racism will change to species-ism and that any culture which remains in close harmony with nature will be treated as clowns? [I am reminded by the ever-observant Paul FitzPablo McKimoto that, according to that famous crawling text, this all takes place in the past. Oh, well that's all right then. Never mind.]

Posted on May 24, 1999 at 03:46 PM in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Status: PacBell DSL still crap 1999

(at Edmond's place)

Figured out how to set up Dreamweaver here, so this log may get a few more updates, but this is hardly an ergonomic setup for lil' ol' me, so I'll be brief.

Had a great dinner visit with Lisa. She was very impressed with Chez Meinfelder. (Bonus points for style and neatness). The cow was admired, we dined on the patio and new fridge poetry was written. A successful evening. Next time we'd like to try it with men. Edmond and Fred leap to mind.

After dinner we went to my place. It's rather overloaded with stuff. I was going to do some work there. but my fucking DSL line was acting stupid and flaking out every 10 seconds or so. I will call PacBell tomorrow. I will tell PacBell that they have not provided the service which they advertised and that I want a full refund. I want the DSL line turned off. I want them to take the hardware away. Screw them. I will go back to Kentucky Fried Unix which costs me $5/month and is run by some cool guy (Hello Nick!) on FreeBSD and Apache.

Friends don't let friends order PacBell DSL.

I really ought to get up early and get lots done which means I really ought to go to bed right now.

Yes, yes, I ought.

Um, yes, I am going to play Alpha Centauri. I'm a bad little grrrl.

Posted on May 12, 1999 at 10:15 PM in warnings & kvetches | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A good life 1999

Well, I've called my biological mother (answering machine), my stepmother (no answer), my ex-partner's mother (answering machine) and my ex-mother-in-law (answering machine). Very thorough, if ineffective. I'll email 'em.

Spent much of the day taking digital pictures of various old stuff - little porcelain animals, interesting knick knacks, toys, 20-40 year old Mad magazines, etc. - from various closets in my family's former and soon to be former homes. I'll be going hogwild on eBay this week and hope to rake in a bundle of cash to ease the hassle of my grandparents' move from the central valley to the north coast.

The picture-taking was courtesy of Jeff Anderson's loan of a digital camera. Thanks, Jeff! Now that I think of it, I may spend the first chunk of cash from all these sales on getting a digital camera of my own. It sure would come in handy as these are by far not the last things which we need to sell on eBay.

I've had a very good weekend. Edmond & I read and watched tv Friday night after work. He tapes various shows during the week so we saw Voyager (eh, ok) and a really great episode of Deep Space Nine - there are some excellent performers on that show and the characters and scripting are wonderful. Also caught a bit of Home Movies (or something like that), another animated show a bit in the style of Dr. Katz on Comedy Central - very peculiar, but quite funny. At some point this weekend we also saw Family Guy (or That Family Guy or something similar) which didn't really grab me at all and King of the Hill which does for trailer trash what Garrison Keillior did for Lutherans. Oh and I think it was Friday night that we had dinner out on Edmond's balcony or patio or whatever you want to call it. ("I used to have a deck, then I started going out with her and now I have a veranda.") We used some of the fresh herbs I planted in the pasta sauce. It was very nice out there, but still too chilly. We're both looking forward to eating out there more once the weather gets hot.

I could find links for all the above, but my computer is being very cranky. Netscape has been a bit flaky ever since I installed the "new version" when I got my DSL line and ISP service through PacBell. As near as I can tell the only thing special about it is that the logo in the corner changed from the Netscape logo to the PacBell logo. Not worth a huge download even at DSL speeds. (Actually, considering the lousy throughput I'm getting tonight, I think PacBell DSL wasn't worth it).

Yesterday Edmond and I were very relaxed yet also strangely productive. After a nice breakfast, we cleaned our respective apartments. He actually mopped & dusted & vacuumed. I just picked up and put things away and took out trash & recycling. Edmond is a tidier person than I. Then we went erranding. We sold books at Bookbuyers, dropped off donations at Goodwill, bought a summer-weight comforter, dropped off the winter-weight comforter at the drycleaner's, bought groceries & stamps, ate a late lunch in the park and dropped off the unsold books with the Friends of the Library. Wow. And then we went around for the rest of the evening feeling great because we'd gotten so much off our to-do lists. A wonderful feeling.

Today was very different from last Sunday, instead of feeling a step behind, we both felt relaxed and happy. After a lazy morning, Edmond went off to the gym and thence to work where he planned to putter around with some code, just a little stock ticker application he's doing for fun. I took pictures of stuff. I took a lot of pictures of stuff. Tomorrow night I'll have to get them ready for eBay posting. I'll probably be writing eBay item descriptions all week! I've also made more progress wading through the records from my parents' collection. I have quite a lot I don't want to keep, so I'll probably try to sell them at Rasputin's. I find they have the best used CDs, so I'll just go get trade credit and turn these into some music I do want. Oh and I made some soup stock.

And I updated my web journal.

Not a bad weekend at all.

9:15pm
Shaking out the mailbag for some loose links I've meant to mention.

David Weinberger has a great piece in his Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization (JOHO) called "THE LONGING: The Web and the Return of Voice".

Timothy McSweeney's Internet Tendency is really quite difficult to describe, but the writing is excellent.

Well, I'm getting Out of Memory errors, so I'm going to call it a night. That's the problem with running Windows, you have to reinstall the whole damn operating system every 6 months or things start acting goofy. Time to build a Linux machine.

Posted on May 9, 1999 at 08:53 PM in worry vs. clarity | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Rat Race 1999

I'm still around, just busy busy. Today I find myself getting a sort of tunnel vision that makes my letters come out in short disconnected bursts; rather than fight it, I'll just write it:

It's only Wednesday and I've already worked 34.5 hours since Sunday. It is becoming obvious that we will miss our intended deadline for this revision of the site (internal Hewlett-Packard sales tool) by at least two weeks. We just bit off way more than we could chew, even with the addition of many new team members. Lesson: re-doing the entire database requires re-doing the entire website that uses it.

Despite this, I'm still pretty relaxed. Edmond has some responsibility for that. Besides his soothing personality, he feeds me well and makes sure I get enough sleep. And he changes the cedar shavings in my cage every 4 days. Ok, I made that last part up.

My class starts in less than a month. Tonight I made the course outline and overview. Assignments, homework, grades! Ha ha! The worm turns! Unfortunately, it looks as though the worm will be spending her birthday weekend grading midterms. Ha ha hrm?

I was not offered a job by HP. Their reorganization has put them into a hiring freeze. One possibility still exists to stay with this project, but otherwise I'll be working on my resume. I make about 75% of what I should make and about 60% of what I could make, according to the salary surveys I've seen.

Well, having already spent almost 11 hours in front of computers, I'm going to abandon this device to become blissfully horizontal and unconscious.

Posted on May 5, 1999 at 08:45 PM in work | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Blog (noun) A weblog or similar brief journal usually containing links and commentary thereon. Term coined by Peter Merholz.

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