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October

Image Recognition
This review of Pornsweeper trys to answer the question: Can a computer tell a dirty picture from a clean one? P0rnsweeper is a software product that analyzes email attachments, and determines whether its p0rn or not. The review tells us how it works (or almost works) and has a pretty good description of some of the problems complex neural network recognition systems run into.
Netscape 6
I tried to get NN6 work on a Mac G3 (hangs on start-up) but just didn't have the time to move extensions, previous Netscape versions or whatever might have been screwing things up. It seems like its a wide spread problem. It looks like Andrew and lots of others have the same problem or worse. See the discussion at evolt.org or the Maxfixit forum. I need to install it somewhere to check how it renders our pages, but I guess if it doesn't work on anybody's Mac, it won't matter.
Blogging
An article on Irish blogging. Via Mersualt Thinking who has some comments and links to comments on the article.

In other cross-Atlantic blogging news, the English Dutch Prolific has revoked our independence. Fortunately dan.e.lope has imposed "trade sanctions upon your member nations until you develop a cuisine that doesn't involve cold, gray, gelatinous substances and any sort of pudding (sponge, blood, etc.) that has not been endorsed by Bill Cosby."

[Postscript: I made the horrible mistake of calling Prolific English. No one deserves to be called English. Except the English of course.]

Political Maps
The county by county map showing Bush dominating the country. GWBushsucks.com has countered by superimposing a census map over it with a fade effect to add a different context. Its another way to graphically interpret whatever we want to interpret.

Web stats
100 Numbers You Need to Know: Number of Web pages: 2.7 billion. Growth rate: 5 million pages per day. New domain names registered each week: 368,200
Cereal
The Ultimate Cereal Guide for Geeks tells us that Cap'n Crunch is the ultimate cereal for geeks. We all knew that. It also tells us that Mueslix "carries a higher percentage of fat than most of its hallucinogenic-cartoon, mascot-sporting brethren". I looked it up at Cyberdiet's Nutritional Information database, it was right - for .75 of a cup: Just thought everybody should know.
Knowledge Databases
An open source encyclopedia - nupedia.com. Our goal is to grow Nupedia indefinitely, to set a new standard for breadth, depth, timeliness, and lack of bias, and in the fullness of time to become the most comprehensive encyclopedia in the history of humankind.. Its got aways to go, but its ambitious.

Random links
Most of these have no relation to each other. Or do they?
Buzzwords and Web terms
The boston.com article: When buzzwords become meaningless droning talks of buzzwords that are no longer used because they became buzzwords. Ever notice that the way the title "webmaster" is no longer used by serious "developers"? By the way if you ever need to explain the difference between coding, programming, authoring, and developing to a project manager send them to this WebReview article: All About Web Coding Part I and its companion piece Don't Giggle When I Say Backend which covers the very basics of server-side code.

Weblogging
I don't know what the hell I was rambling on about in yesterday's post. I really don't. Lets move on with some real blogging.
Weblogging
Here we go again, Joe Clark deconstructs 'You've Got Blog' About the 2000.11.13 New Yorker article. A story about weblog incest, popularity and publicity. Plasticbag.org's 12.11.00 (11.12.00 for us americans) entry has a few comments about Clark's comments, calling it a "steaming pile of crap".

Back when there was around a thousand of us, the 'blog community' encouraged people to get blogging. Now with 60,000 of us and growing exponentially, there's alot less popularity to go around. The A-list of Webloggers are those who gained their popularity before the Blogger flood and will keep surfacing to the top of the lists, and will continue to be the ones mentioned when the media does a feature story on the phenomenon. The new blogs will need to offer something worthwhile on a continuing basis in order to gain that kind of attention. I don't feel that any blog who's sole purpose is to become popular will ever do so. Riothero may have started that way, but his site evolved into Mark's constant need to express himself, which isn't the same as a constant need for attention. He also does what a weblog should do - log what one sees on the web.

Blogging is publishing, whatever some people might say, and if you aren't providing something more than constant posts about how tired you are, you'll never get noticed. Which is fine if all you want to do is post how you feel. The real world thing about blogging is the fact that when you do comment on something worth your opinion, people do notice. When you share a piece of knowledge you found with your readers, and your readers find it valuable, not only does your readership go up, but so does your interaction with them. Since most blog readers are bloggers, they'll share that knowledge with their readers, and they'll share their opinion of it. Sometimes it'll be an expert opinion. This is when the Web's information explosion becomes a knowledge flow. Controlled and focused through a few hundred really good blogs.

I am amazed at the quality of design seen in the new blogs. Every day, I try to check out at least ten blogs I haven't seen before, and while I admit most new ones are rambling journals, almost all of them are light years ahead in style and design of the average non-blog home page.

A lot of bloggers are complaining about the quality and content of the flood of blogs, but are missing the point that the Web is becoming a more amazing place every day. While some are afraid that the kids are ruining everything, others are noticing the improving trend. Read wetlog's interview with Zeldman for one opinion. Zeldman says: "More and more sites are better written, better structured, better programmed - better focused. Sites are crisper and more purposeful."

Politics
Getting tired of all this American election news? Go to Canada and read NuBlogs Political "interactivity", a review of a newspapers review of Canadian Political sites. Nublog offers two obvious things to do on a political Web site.
Ballot Usability
Here's a few good articles on the 'ballot interface' issue.
  • Why Usability Testing Matters --Florida County Ballot Design Raises Questions about Election 2000. Ballot designer, a Democrat, wonders why nobody told her about the problems in advance -- the answer is that she simply showed a sample to voters, she did not ask them to use the samples.
  • Good Experience talks about voter experience and comments on the above article.
  • Dan Bricklin on Ballot Usability Great analysis of the problem and some good links.
  • lake effect, who supplied the above link as has some comments and links on punch-card error due to 'hanging chad'.

Dewey Defeats Truman!

Election Day
I don't know about the rest of the states, but here in Chicago and Evanston, the polls have really long lines. I waited about an hour this morning. So don't try to slip in after work just before they close. A women with two toddlers waiting for husband outside my polling place was doing an informal exit poll - Gore by a landslide.


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