Posts from May 2001

Tuesday, 29 May 2001

Published 22 years, 11 months past

Memorial Day came and went without any real incident, and that includes going to see Pearl Harbor, which we didn’t do on purpose.  Neither Kat nor I has any real interest in the movie, although I expect that I’ll rent it (or better yet: borrow it from the library up the street!) when it comes out on disc, skip to chapter before the battle sequence starts, watch the attack, and then hit the eject button.  Well, okay, maybe I’ll watch the sequence twice before I eject it.

I have to say that living within a block of a library which has DVDs for checkout is really darned cool.  I’ve at long last seen Casablanca and the entirety of His Girl Friday, for example, and also caught up with some of Ken Burns’ Jazz, U-571, and Topsy-Turvy, to name some recent titles.  All free!  Publicly supported libraries: an idea whose time should never go.  Bruce Sterling agrees, so you know it must be true.  If I’m going to be taxed by the government, and of course I am, libraries and public schools are kind of thing which I want my money to buy.  Wouldn’t it be cool if we could check boxes on our tax returns indicating where we want our tax money to be spent?  Especially if the converse were true: anyone getting a refund should check boxes indicating the programs which should have to pay for the refund.  I’m not suggesting that these choices be binding, at least not at the start, but it would be a fascinating snapshot of what Americans consider to be important.

Geek moment: DSL arrived in the Manor Meyer last week, and my home networking hardware came in today.  Next up: wiring the house, setting up a Linux box to run the show, and migrating Web and mail services onto it.  By the time it’s all done, hopefully before the week is out, Kat might actually be able to send e-mail again…

Wednesday, 23 May 2001

Published 23 years, 4 days past

After a long and tortuous battle, the package containing The Emperor’s New Groove and the official Iron Chef book arrived on our doorstep.  It took so long because Amazon’s system thought our credit card had been denied when, in fact, the issuing bank had approved the transaction.  After a week of trying, I still haven’t gotten an explanation of what went wrong, or even a guess at what might have gone wrong.  All I get from them is “the card was denied” when I know it wasn’t; I got the transaction’s approval code from Chase myself, and in about ten  minutes, including hold time.  Don’t even get me started on the length of time it took Amazon to straighten out the situation.  As usual, the folks at Penny Arcade summed it up quite nicely, albeit ever so slightly obscenely.  (Hey, it’s the Web, what do you expect?)  As a result of all this, I’m pretty much abandoning Amazon for the forseeable future.

Friday, 18 May 2001

Published 23 years, 1 week past

Now it can be told… I’ve resigned from The OPAL Group, effective the end of May.  I do this not because there were any problems; actually it’s a fine place to work and a great group of guys.  The decision to leave them actually caused me a good deal of stress and a certain measure of guilt.  However, it’s all in a good cause:  I’m taking a position with Netscape Communications as a “standards evangelist.”  This move will definitely give me a chance to have a bigger impact on the shape and direction of Web browser development, both now and in the future.  Even better, the position does not require me to relocate.  This has been more than two months in coming, between the time Netscape contacted me and today.  The long delay should help explain some of the stress reflected in my posts here on

So that’s the news for now.  It’s scary and exciting all at once, as most major life changes tend to be—but at the very least, I will have followed up all my talk about the importance of standards with a commitment to work towards improving support, and that’s worth a lot to me.

Tuesday, 15 May 2001

Published 23 years, 1 week past

Beware the Ides of May!  Beware!

Today did not go at all well.  I had to argue with two major corporations, did a good deal of legwork with two more just to find out if the previous two were smoking crack or not (apparently they were), didn’t receive confirmation of certain actions, and consequently didn’t get some very important stuff done by the end of the business day.  There’s always tomorrow, I suppose, but time’s a-wastin’ and deadlines are beginning to loom.  Add to all of that a failure of will, and it was definitely not a good day.  At all.

On the other hand, I thought there was at least one very interesting potential development in the online realm today.  Slashdot picked up the story, of course, and I realized that Slashdotters were in serious trouble.  The Playstation 2 becomes an access point for what’s been called the lowest-common-denomintor crowd, and in the Slashdot community the X-Box might as well have “Serial Baby Killer” written across its face.  No Slashdotter worth his street cred will be able to admit to owning either console.  So how are they going to play cool games next year?

Tuesday, 8 May 2001

Published 23 years, 2 weeks past

Ah, three days in New York City.  Concrete and skyscrapers as far as the eye can see, the bustle and energy of several million people, the constant hum and the honking of taxis, blasts of pungent bus exhaust.  Isn’t it funny how the same things I find abhorrent, my wife can find so wonderful?  I could probably try stretching that observation into other areas of our life together, but that would be grossly unfair and (more importantly) not very funny.

The trip to NYC (which ended on Sunday) was undertaken so that I could speak at a conference along with Jeff Veen, Jeffrey Zeldman, and Eric Costello.  Unfortunately the conference was cancelled at the last minute, so no panel for us.  We got together anyway, along with Jeff’s wife Leslie (previously quoted on this very page), and spent a pleasant evening schmoozing and eating at The Noho Star.  I always like to hang with industry veterans in a social setting, because the conversation always takes interesting swings from shop talk to politics to gossip and back, wending a path through anything which takes the collective fancy.  These are smart people leading interesting lives.  What could be more compelling?

Kat and I also took the chance to visit with her parents, naturally, and to see some of Kat’s friends in the NYC area.  For the weekend, we drove up to Hartford, CT to see Peter and Celeste for the first time since their wedding last summer, and to admire their new house.  It’s funny how being fellow homeowners can provide all kinds of material for conversation, most of it the kind of thing we would have been horrified by not five years previously.  Yet there we all were chatting gaily about boring grown-up stuff like wall paint and hardwood floors.  I can only imagine what it will be like when we have children.

As for last week’s update… there is much to say, but not now.

Tuesday, 1 May 2001

Published 23 years, 3 weeks past

Some dreams are at the last minute reborn; some die before they’ve had a chance to be born at all.

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