April - May 02
Sept. - Oct 01
Ran into Andrew outside my office building this morning. I bet before the we met at the CHIxLM Chicago Web summit awhile ago, we crossed paths many times without realizing it. He works around the corner. Small world. I also almost got squished this morning, by a SUV, which apparently are exempt from STOP signs.
House on the Rock
I went to Wisconsin this weekend and discovered the food in the Dells sucks (unless you like pizza served by a clown, cowboy or pirate). There wasn't one meal that I could finish.
I made my second trip to The House on the Rock. Their Web site just doesn't do it justice. Here's a better review of the House Tour and lots of photos here. This is the best Roadside Attraction in America hands down. And I've been to alot of Roadside Attractions. 2.5 indoor miles of bizzare and weird collections. If you like stuff (any kind of stuff) you'll walk out of the place overwhelmed. I know this place isn't for everybody. I noticed a man in a panic trying to find a way out of the Dollhouse section, crying "get me out of here! This isn't my thing, please help me!" I think he found one of the exits. Too bad because I bet he would have been calmed by the hall of guns, about a quarter mile farther. On my first visit, I was astounded at the collection. This time, I heard rumors that some of the items were replicas and wondered how much of it was made by the eccentric sculptor and creator of the place, Alex Jordan Jr. I Haven't found any info on this yet.
Mars Image Gallery
More than 20,000 images of the planet Mars taken by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft are online - the single largest one-time release of images for any planet in the history of solar system exploration... Many of the pictures have such high resolution that objects on the surface the size of a school bus can be seen.The image album is hard to navigate and most of the images are black and white slivers but it's still pretty cool. Really cool color stuff can be found at this list of captioned images. To the right is an image showing erosion on the South Polar ice cap.
Mountian climbing is hard. Italian Simone Moro's gear was stolen out his tent at base camp, he lost two tents on the mountain, both buried by fresh snow, he sprained an ankle ogling a beautiful girl from Colorado, but he finally made it to the summit of Everest yesterday. But only after borrowing some oxygen from another team. His attempt to traverse over to Lhotse was thwarted by heavy snow.
Matt Rossi, the prolifically imaginative author of
Once I realized I was on fire.. introduces us to some important blogs with his version of a review/metablog page. In other Weblog news, I joined the redhead blog ring, which is the only ring I belong to. Its an exclusive club. No you can't join, wash that henna outa your hair. prismatic dragoness is in the club and gets extra points for being a Chicago blog too.
Sherpa Babu Chiri climbs Everest in record time - just under 16 hours. "You shouldn't have worried about me. I had beer waiting for me down here. I had to get back..." Meanwhile Chicago businessman Al Hanna 69, stops at the south summit, (28,700) giving up on his attempt to be the oldest man to make it to the summit.
Back to my favorite subject. Here's a very detailed article on British pubs. This is serious research. What is a pub, and how to act in them. Subjects like how to queue up to the bar, how to get the barman's attention, why you don't tip in a real pub (I was stearnly admonished when I made this error in Ireland), the sacred ritual of round-buying and much more on the culture of drinking in public. There's lots more on other stuff here at the Social Issues Research Center.
I realized that I came too close to metablogging yesterday. If that's what you're looking for there's plenty of blogs doing that. Mike's metalog and Metacubed being the most intelligent about it. I don't have opinions on what a blog should be, but I do have an opinion on what mine should be. I assume my audience doesn't know anything about the blog world. I try to assume that my audience is coming from a search engine looking for a piece of knowledge on or about the Web. They should know about the explosion of personal expression that is the world of blogs, because its an amazing resource. Find out what smart people are thinking, reading, doing. That's vital to acquiring knowledge. Unfortunately alot of it is what people are wearing or saying about each other.
That said I do have to point to a few more blogs that are definetely worth your time but aren't on everyone's list of blogs.
Anyone who reads KIPlog knows I don't comment much about the "Weblog community". But since I can't do any work today (I could use a back-up AOL email account but things aren't that bad) I have a few minutes to give my thoughts. Virulent Memes, a very good Australian blog has a Kill your Blog test which will make sense only to other bloggers. It judges your blogging style, and decides if your blog should exist or not. Contrary to what I admitted on the test, I'm blogging the link, my result (62%), and in a semi-covert way, a backlink to VM for linking me regarding a comment about Stephen Jay Gould. Obviously VM has crafted a masterful promotion to increase his hits since he got me to link to him. But I kinda agree with his "cull useless blogs" philosophy. Not that everyone shouldn't have a voice on the web, I just think we need to separate the journalers from the bloggers from the Webitors. Yup. I just made up a term to describe what I'm attempting to do here. Journalers write about themselves, bloggers seem to write about everything, but with a focus on themselves as a group, and Webitors edit the Web. I'll ramble more about this over the weekend.
I'm completely crippled today. My ISP's Mail Server is down. And I need to get a domain registered today. I might as well go home. Maybe its got something to do with NewLove.VBS a new worm which not only sneaks onto your machine with a random subject line, but can destroy everything. The NewLove.VBS variant uses the filename of a file that a user has recently been working on, and places that filename in the subject line of the email The recipient may think that they have been forwarded a file from a known associate. quote from the National Infrastructure Protection Center Information System Alert.
Earth from space
NASA's astounding dataset of astronaut collected imagery of Earth, with captions. The NASA Space Shuttle Earth Observations Photography database of over 250,000 images is a national treasure. It sure is. Searchable, hi-res lo-res and a friendly Use Policy. That's the shuttle over Chicago.
Via Dan's Web tips, I learned the importance of using a trailing slash in my URLS (read Dan's explanation for total understanding). Dan's ideas (as well as some of his pages and links) are slightly out of date, but they certainly cover stuff I should have known before. Like Why attribute values should always be quoted in HTML. Actually I knew these two tidbits, I just didn't know why. He also links to Big Nose Bird, a Web tutorial, reference material, etc resource which I've never seen before.
Some more HTML stuff - Real World Cross-Browser HTML Development. How to fix common MSIE vs. Netscape problems like margins, strechy pages, input field sizes, broken images, empty table cells, and the look of radio buttons on colored backgrounds. If you haven't solved these problems before, this page will save you a couple of hours.
Mushrooms truely are the food of the Gods. I love 'em. The 1998-99 mushroom crop in the U. S. totaled a record high $867 million. (from the American Mushroom Institute, quoted from the Department of Agriculture). Mushrooms are fat free, sodium free, have no cholesterol and are low in calories. They're even low in carbs and high in protein if your on the new fad-Atkinson diet. If you're into mushrooms, check out the very nice looking site from the Mushroom Council for mushroom handling and preparing tips, and some good looking recipes like Danish Creamy Morel Soup.
Eyetracking and the Web
Want to know what your Web visitors are looking at? The Stanford Poynter Project tries to find out how visitors look at news Web sites. Jakob Nielsen discusses what they found, pointing out a few weaknesses but generally saying "I told you so" Editor and Publisher covers the findings from a online news industry perspective.
UPI bought by Rev. Sun Myung Moon
Seriously,UNIFICATION CHURCH BUYS UPI
National Review Endorses the Simpsons
America's Conservative magazine - National Review - Actually praises the Simpsons in its May Issue. Homer Never Nods The importance of The Simpsons. "To alcohol, the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems." Homer. Thanx to abuddhas memes
I was able to go to Vernissage '00 last night, the glamorous opening celebration of Art Chicago. The mayor was there. I met Tony Fitzpatrick, Chicago artist and critic, who said this morning on Fox TV that Art Chicago is "the best exposition in the world". If you get the chance you shouldn't miss this thing. And I'm not just saying that because I did their Web site. The show is huge, and a lot of the stuff is really cool and/or beautiful. Some of the photgraphy was incredible (notably the back lit photos of Gallery Gan, Paul Morris Gallery and the beautiful chromogenic dye coupler prints at the Robert Mann Gallery.) You know sometimes when you see a piece of art and you start laughing cause its just a box, or bunch of soda straws glued together? Well, there was very little of that. A few pieces did make me crack up, but because they were supposed to.
Serving the Web Client
No, not that kind of client. The real world client. The one with changes. Zeldman has some great advice on dealing with them to do the job so both client and designer achieve what that planned to do when they first met. Don't assume you are dealing with the real authority figure simply because he/she acts like one... Above all, question the dates for deliverables. And hold the client to these dates... Throughout the process, take every opportunity to educate your client on the realities and values of the Web. The key is good client communication. I've learned that all parties on both client and vendor sides must understand and comply with the process, scope and objectives planned for the project. In my experience, the majority of expensive, late-stage, large scale changes happen not because of fickle clients but because a key decision maker or influencer only finds out what they really want when they see something they don't want. Unfortunately by then it is already built. That key decision maker or influencer could be a client, designer, or most important of all, the user.
If you're in Chicago this weekend, check out Art Chicago, at Navy Pier from May 12 to 15. Its a huge exhibition of galleries with over 3,000 artists from all over the world. If you're not in Chicago this weekend, too bad.
I love you
Ooh no, another email virus/trojan that attacks MS Outlook (soon to be called LookOut!) this time with Visual Basic. This one's nasty because it could replace all files with the following file extensions: vbs, vbe, js, jse, css, wsh, sct, hta, jpg, jpeg, mp3, mp2. And people ask me why I'm still running Claris Emailer 1.1. I'd laugh like every other Mac or Unix user when this happens but the "don't open an email that says ILOVEYOU" emails are getting annoying. Here's the list of recent virus hoaxes so we don't all freak out over everthing else we get now.
A feed article reveals the livestyle of the Web's most revered blogger.
Looking for something big? Like the World's largest otter, container of yogurt or ball of twine? The World's Largest Roadside Attractions page is the place to find it. Looking for something larger than that? The Center for Land Use Interpretation's land Use Database, a catalog of unusual and exemplary land uses. There you can do a search and find places like the 200 miles of the National Helium Reserve Amarillo TX (and Kansas) It's 1.6 billion dollars worth of gas stored underground.