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Hack the Planet Archives: April 1999

Friday, April 30, 1999

Risks Digest: The Bloatware Debate. I'd like to see Kernighan write a GUI Web browser in 100K that passes any kind of usability testing.

The Uninvited are in town tonight. "I talked to God and God said... nothing special. / I talked to God and God said... nothing that we shouldn't already know."

I had fun at last year's USENIX (although I almost failed EE because of it) and this year looks to be equally interesting. There are papers on compressed swapping (one from UT), fast Web servers, scalable mail and news systems, and event-based I/O. I wish I could go...

"You've heard the expression 'damning with faint praise' before? Consider propaganda applications of the reverse in the context of any newsgroup where praise looks politically incorrect." -- David McCusker, netscape.public.mozilla.mail-news

Does anybody out there know if javac is smart enough to convert (i % 2) into (i & 0x01)? For some reason I'm curious about that...

Thursday, April 29, 1999

MOSR has more non-rumors today; the PRISM chipset is from Harris Semiconductor.

Alexa's Brewser Kahle built an experimental wireless community network called SFLan. "Welcome to the neighborhood: You are on the net."

Normally I hate ad banners, but I'm willing to make an exception if it contains a game.

If you're tired of waiting for Teledesic, Tachyon is coming this year.

BurstWare is a streaming media system written in Java.

The Web Rush conference sounds interesting; I wish I could go. Actually, I just wish I had a reason to leave my apartment...

Wednesday, April 28, 1999

VST has released their cool-looking FireWire hard drives, but aren't they a little expensive? They're 4 times the price of equivalent IDE drives!

VA Research is now VA Linux Systems, now that they have the labs doing their research. Here's what I don't understand: Several companies claim to be porting Linux to IA-64, but it doesn't look like they're cooperating. Months ago, Intel announced that Linux was already running on its IA-64 simulators, but some other companies seem to be starting their own ports. When Merced is announced, are we going to see five different flavors of Linux running on it?

LBNL is installing a 3-teraflops IBM supercomputer with the cool new Power3 processors.

Tuesday, April 27, 1999

Version 1.0 of Jonathan Shapiro's Extremely Reliable Operating System has been released. His dissertation is pretty interesting as well.

The long-awaited Java HotSpot VM has finally been released. Somehow I also missed the announcement of JavaHelp 1.0 a while back.

I found a list of upcoming changes to the Java APIs from the Java Community Process. According to Elliot Rusty Harold, it seems like large companies can propose any change they want, with little outside input.

NILO is a project bringing netbooting to Intel PCs running Linux; it works with Intel's netbooting spec.

Speaking of Intel, their new 810 chipset looks a little too much like a Winboard to me.

Thanks to the magic of an ncftp batch job, I downloaded the entire Red Hat 6 last night. Hopefully I'll get a chance to install it soon.

Monday, April 26, 1999

Lawrence Lee pointed out that MetaCreations has finally released the MetaStream spec. One step closer to the Metaverse...

You've probably already heard that Red Hat 6.0 is here. I'll be pounding the mirrors later tonight.

In the really-not-getting-it department, James Coates has a rebellious reaction to the Linux revolution. Remember, don't feed the trolls.

But Tog gets it right when he rips apart Linux's various user interfaces.

Arepa lets you run software without downloading it. Uh huh.

Sunday, April 25, 1999

My DNS finally updated! If you've been wondering where Hack The Planet has been for the last week, scroll down to April 17th's update.

Tim Berners-Lee: Cool URIs don't change. "It is the duty of a Webmaster to allocate URIs which you will be able to stand by in 2 years, in 20 years, in 200 years."

Yesterday afternoon I discovered that all Starbucks are not created equal; I have a 5.9 CD, but the latest version on Red Hat's FTP site is 5.9.7. After upgrading to the latest version of pump, networking finally works on my Linux system. I then spent the rest of the night downloading themes and RPMs. GnoRPM and rpmfind make a killer combination; just type in the name of the program you want and you can have it installed 20 seconds later.

I also tried Mozilla M4. It looks to have a lot of potential, but boy is it slow. I know I'm probably in the minority, but I found myself wishing that it just used a plain Gtk+ interface instead of XUL.

Miguel laments the lack of a truly professional mail client for Linux. Jim Gettys points out Pachyderm, but unfortunately there are no screenshots. And of course I have to mention Intertwingle again.

Saturday, April 24, 1999

David Weekly has a comparison of various audio codecs. Now I'm curious to see how the video codecs stack up (especially Sorenson 2.0 vs. MS's "MPEG-4").

And if you want to make your Sorenson encode really fast and turn your computer into a geek shrine at the same time, ICE it.

Apple has posted the WWDC '99 program. IPv6, the keychain, multiprocessing... yum!

KDE gets a mascot and themes in the same day.

NY Times: Pirate-proof music does not compute.

Friday, April 23, 1999

I was just looking at the IconFactory, and I thought, "Wouldn't it be great if those icons worked with GNOME?" So if any readers out there know of any icon-to-PNG utilities, let me know...

FEED interviews Robyn Miller.

Apple notebooks get skinny. drool, drool...

Stewart Brand: The Clock of the Long Now.

Murray Gell-Man: Quality of Information.

A Novice's Guide to the IETF.

XMLNews could be interesting.

Thursday, April 22, 1999

The new UCC 2B is "such a powerful unilateral contract tool in shrink-wraps that the public has virtually no opportunity to negotiate more favorable software licensing terms."

InfoWorld looks at JBuilder 3.

PC Magazine: Image Compression: The Next Wave(let). Will the extension for JPEG 2000 be .j2k?

If your browser has Java, check out this example of JPEG 2000. (more demos)

JPEG 2000 and IIP could be useful for globally progressive interactive Web delivery (PDF).

Linux FreeS/WAN 1.0 has been released, but I won't be interested until it can autoconfigure itself.

My CheapBytes CDs arrived today, so I installed Starbuck. For some reason, the installer couldn't install the bootloader, but I could boot it using the floppy. Just like Yellow Dog, DHCP doesn't work. Interestingly, everything in GNOME works except logging out...

Wednesday, April 21, 1999

Finally! Someone has made a sensible Web interface for mailing lists! I'm glad they got rid of the frames, too.

Borland's new JBuilder 3 looks interesting.

There's one thing I don't understand, however: Why are there a zillion companies selling Java table and tree widgets? Haven't they heard that Swing is free?

Now that we have JDBC, it's only natural that people start writing pure Java relational databases. Besides the one in JBuilder, I've found InstantDB so far.

Monday, April 19, 1999

TechWeb: The Lure of VAIO Gets Lost in Windows.

Today Apple announced QuickTime 4, including the Open Source Darwin Streaming Server. The quality of the demo movie trailers is impressive, but I don't know why they're serving them from an FTP server. I expect that the trademark stuff will start a flame war on the mailing lists, but hopefully somebody will learn from it.

Apple has also released an RTSP proxy so that QuickTime Streaming can work through firewalls.

Sun has a new book about (and called) Java Look and Feel Design Guidelines.

Caldera announced the easy-to-install OpenLinux 2.2 today, but it looks like you need the CD-ROM to install it. I also tried Red Hat's rawhide installer today, but it has the same problem as the Starbuck installer.

Saturday, April 17, 1999

The outage you may have seen is due to this site being censored by my ISP. I'd like to thank Brent Simmons and Ranchero Software for helping to keep Hack The Planet running.

Friday, April 16, 1999

Get a Cable Modem... Go to Jail!

The pay-as-we-go Internet is coming, thanks to 3Com. The people who are complaining seem to believe that they have some choice about how much they'll pay for Net access...

"It isn't usually MOSR's domain to debunk the persistent and inaccurate, oversensationalized story of the day..." Yeah, it's their domain to make them up.

Today's 'Eclectic: Baz Luhrman explains the origin of his smash hit "Everybody's Free (to Wear Sunscreen)".

Thursday, April 15, 1999

Ooh, MacOS Anthology. I'd buy this if it was available to student members.

The University of Michigan has started the Linux/Unix Independent Group for Usability Information.

These PlayStation 2 movies are amazing. Now if only there were some really good games, like SimCity or Riven.

Tonight I'm watching Gigabit Ethernet, ATM and the Death of the Phone Companies.

Wednesday, April 14, 1999

After many battles with LinuxPPC, I decided to try Yellow Dog Linux last night; it installed after only 4 or 5 tries. However, DHCP doesn't work and X didn't want to start. We're getting closer, but still not there...

Microsoft announces Windows Media, with sophisticated rights management technology: "With the current level of protection, a sufficiently dedicated hacker could discover the way to divert unencrypted content to another file on that machine." At least they're honest!

Grendel has some cool new icons.

A while back I posted some notes on using Intertwingle to determine mail client capabilities; apprently the IMC is working on a protocol to do this called Rescap.

Slashdot looks really screwed up today. Two words: staging server.

Today's 'Eclectic: Wes Cunningham. I don't think this performance is as good as the album, but it's interesting nevertheless.

Tuesday, April 13, 1999

Uh oh, I'm over the 10-connection limit again.

iCab 1.4 is out; I haven't had a chance to look at it yet.

Central Reservation coverAnother result of my latest music-buying spree is Central Reservation from Beth Orton. Besides the title track (which appears in two versions), the single "Stolen Car" is pretty good; take a look at the video if you get MTV.

Debian gets a registry.

Today's 'Eclectic: Jude. Check out the frantic version of "Rick James" at about 8:45.

Monday, April 12, 1999

OpenPortal has some slick mockups.

The fastest Java VM for Intel CPUs is from... IBM?

Wired News: The View from AboveNet.

Industry Standard: SDMI continues to fragment.

Breathing Tornados coverI used some of my birthday gift certificates to pick up Ben Lee's latest album, Breathing Tornados. He's a great songwriter, and his lyrics fit the slow, almost lazy, pace of the acoustic guitar. I can especially reccomend "Nothing Much Happens", and "Cigarettes Will Kill You". Lee's girlfriend Claire Danes turns 20 today; you can hear "Birthday Song" on her fan site.

"Don't you know that nothing happens / But a lot goes on"

A while back I pointed to Rare on Air, an excellent collection of recordings from KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic; now I finally found Web archives from the show.

Sunday, April 11, 1999

Cluetrain: The Internet is about... people! That's probably not an unfamiliar concept to readers of this site.

I have updated the felter.org DNS, so you should start seeing the new server this week.

Friday, April 09, 1999

I spent 2 hours trying to install Red Hat last night, but neither the 5.2 nor the 5.9 boot disk works. Of course, I don't get anything resembling a specific error message. The responses that I've gotten so far overwhelmingly suggest that Unix should be destroyed.

I'll be out of town tomorrow celebrating my 21st birthday, so Hack The Planet won't be updated.

I got myself a bad-ass new ACM SIGLinux shirt at the Fajita Fest today. I love America, where you can sell shirts depicting a penguin beating the richest man in the world to death.

Kernel Traffic is a summarization of interesting threads on the linux-kernel mailing list.

I don't think I'll be signing up for it, but CollegeDates.com looks interesting. I wondered what their business model was until I saw that it's apparently registered to a Purdue student. Clever...

Radiohead fans might like fitterhappier.nu.

Thursday, April 08, 1999

You may notice problems while Hack The Planet moves to its new server.

Sony has been doing a lot of things right in the last year (as noted on this site), but now they're screwing it up. At least the next VAIO will have Ethernet...

Stewart Alsop seems to agree that copy protection is ultimately futile.

I'm confused; I got my package from buy.com today (right on time), even though they told me it was backordered. These guys really need to get their act together.

Even more amazing, today's edition of MacOS Rumors actually has useful (and correct) information!

Apple has posted a huge amount of information on the blue box. However, "An API for using AppleEvents outside of AppleScript in Mac OS X Server applications has not been provided in this release."

More Mozilla chrome info. This is getting complicated.

Intel and Microsoft are working on thin servers between $1,500 and $2,000; I can't imagine how they'll compete with Cobalt with that strategy.

Wednesday, April 07, 1999

Cygnus has finally released the remaining components in their Java-to-native compiler, GCJ.

Accompany looks like a great idea. I especially like the simple design of their site.

I'd like to see a comparison of UPnP's SSDP to SLP; hopefully someone in my networks class can put this in their paper.

Wow, a few high school kids built a wearable Webcam from commodity parts and instructions available on the Net. What's the big deal? The fact that they were able to scrape together $5800? Hey, let's flaunt our wealth in front of all the other high schoolers in the nation who are lucky to be able to wait in line to use a 486!

At WinHEC, Microsoft is revealing the direction in which it will herd hardware vendors over the next year. Check out the future of digital music in Windows.

Tuesday, April 06, 1999

I'm pissed off; I ordered a hard drive from buy.com yesterday (which was listed as being in stock) and today I got email saying that it isn't in stock. Either someone else ordered the last one in between the time I got to their Web site and when I finished filling out their forms or they're lying.

MacInTouch has some cool information on PGPnet IPsec software for MacOS and Windows. Interestingly, I couldn't find any information about it on NAI's site.

Monday, April 05, 1999

Bob Metcalfe: "I continue to think that, in time, advertising and Wall Street alone won't be able to finance Internet growth." But for now he points out that the only way to make money is to sell your company to someone else, giving up control. If anybody figures out a way to make money without selling your soul, let me know.

Not content with taking over the computer industry, Microsoft begins to suck the life out of academia.

Swing 1.1.1b2 came out today, fixiing a zillion obscure bugs.

The Uniform Driver Interface 0.9 spec is available.

Sunday, April 04, 1999

The goal of the freemware project is to create an extensible open source PC virtualization software program which will allow PC and workstation users to run multiple operating systems concurrently on the same machine.

For Mac users, Mac-on-Linux serves the same purpose.

Saturday, April 03, 1999

Nick Petreley is a few days late with his April Fool's conspiracy theory.

"Lots of companies have tried to protect their sales model by not manufacturing products that would break that model. Inevitably, their competitors manufactured those products and the sales model became broken anyway." -- Bruce Perens

Mozilla at One.

Dave's going on a vacation.

Friday, April 02, 1999

Visio goes component with eVisio. You only pay for the components that you want.

More jwz coverage in DaveNet.

Thanks to the benevolent dictatorship of Leader Kibo's HappyWeb regime, you'll not only help make the Web a better place, you'll learn to like it!

Hey, vBay is auctioning former Netscape employees!

I wonder if it's harmful to leave an AppleVision 1710 monitor on continuously for four months; it's starting to look a little wavy...

The IETF has started a working group to design an instant messaging protocol.

"Unfortunately, NT isn't like an operating system, let alone a Un*x like one." -- Dan Lyke

Thursday, April 01, 1999

Jamie Zawinski leaves Netscape. I hope that's an April Fool's joke. Other coverage: NEWS.COM

Dan Lyke went looking for bandwidth, but it was going the wrong way.

Bruce Schneier's Crypto-Gram newsletter includes a great description of snake oil that applies to nearly all of the so-called "secure" music systems that I keep reading about.

Integer loves Mozilla.

Uh oh, I discovered a beginning-of-the-month bug in my scripts today. I need to do some Y2K changes as well, so maybe I'll fix it all at once.


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