This is BrainLog, a blog by Dan Sanderson. Older entries, from October 1999 through September 2010, are preserved for posterity, but are no longer maintained. See the front page and newer entries.

March 2000 Archives

March 31, 2000

I'll remind you to set your clocks forward this weekend now, 'cuz you wouldn't believe me if I said it tomorrow. Woulda been funny, though.

Netscape 6 to Debut April 5.

The Art of Information Architecture, at least with regard to web site design. (Thanks Fresh Hell.)

Blurb at DVDFile on delays with the American Beauty DVD:

At the recent IRMA conference earlier this month, DreamWorks chief of Worldwide Operations Sandy Friedman was quoted as saying that BEAUTY director Sam Mendes is "steadfastly opposed" to the idea of including multiple endings, saying it would "alter the film's hard-won integrity." Ouch! But, you know, I'm surprised we haven't heard more publicly from filmmakers on this topic sooner. While I'm sure privately many filmmakers have vetoed certain supplemental features (many directors, for example, eschew audio commentary tracks) I'm surprised we see as much alternate footage, extended cuts and outtakes as we do on DVD.

With apologies to Styx fans (I know at least one of you reads my blog): While I'm not necessarily recommending Sack[!], I enjoyed this old article on arcade games, if only for the parenthetical reference to the band:

Ultimately, the arcade offered that grand illusion (I suppose it's fitting that whilst talking about the Eighties, I should make an allusion to Styx, arguably the quintessential '80s crap band. Think about it -- could any other decade have produced "Mr. Roboto"? All pretense and stupid lyrics that you knew sucked even as you were jamming away to them, and then the Eighties were over, "Come Sail Away" ended, thank the heavens, and it left nothing but a bad taste in your mouth. . .) that all the other counterculture institutions of other generations had offered....
Styx FAQ!

And speaking of...

The Official REO Speedwagon Web Site (REO SpeedwagonRN)
Category: Arts > Music > Styles > 1980s Pop > Bands > REO Speedwagon
www.speedwagon.com/ - 2k - GoogleScout

Take the REO Speedwagon Lyrics Challenge! Or study up first. Can't Fight This Feeling has to be my all-time terrible song I like because it's so bad. (Again, with apologies. I know people that like them, too. Well, I don't, but I want to keep my bases covered.)

March 30, 2000

Thanks Lisa for linking Fresh Air's old Sondheim interview. (I gave up looking for it as it wasn't up the day it aired, nor was the original interview in their archives.) Despite my fandom, I didn't realize Sondheim thought his lyrics for West Side Story were "embarrassing". Also interesting is the unrelated radio essay on "sarcasm" and "irony" later in this show.


On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences. (Thanks Lark Farm.)

I've rated 753 movies at MovieCritic to date, and I think I've exhausted its library of good films. It seems to think that My Dog Skip will be one of my all-time favorite films, with their highest confidence rating. But I haven't seen it, so maybe... If you wanna try the "Movies for Two" with my set, my login is "dsanders". (In case you don't know: MovieCritic uses a gigantic database of everyone else's ratings of movies to determine what movies you might like, based on your own set of ratings. The more ratings you enter, the more accurate it supposedly gets. At least it reminds me I still haven't seen Tokyo Story. See the MovieCritic FAQ.)


Drew Carey
stars as the title character in Gepetto, a new made-for-TV musical of
Pinocchio. I think it's great that he can get that kind of work given
his limited acting range, but decent singing voice. (Though I thought
they did get to explore his range a little
on his show. A little.) Also at the href="http://www.ohio.com/justgo/drew/front.html">fan site, read
fan stories about
Drew
. Nothing fascinating, just people from Cleveland and people
who went to high school with him.


The href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00001U0DR/brainlog/">A
Bug's Life: Collector's Edition DVD is truly cool. The
straight-digital transfer is beautiful. The absolute coolest thing:
the demonstration of "how the film was recomposed from its original
widescreen presentation to a full-frame presentation for home video
release". Not your typical pan-and-scan, but an actual
restaging of the entire film to suit the TV aspect ratio. As
in, they moved characters closer together, and even extended the
height of some shots
(as opposed to cropping). For the first time
ever, the full-screen video actually has more material in some
places than the theatrical release. (Good thing both versions are on
the first disc. ;)


" href="http://www.dvdfile.com/news/special_report/spotlight/3_2_pulldown.htm">What
the Heck Is 3:2 Pulldown?" is a question you're probably asking
right now, having just read that. When you're done with that, check
out href="http://www.dvdfile.com/hardware/editorial/archive/2000/february.htm#2/23/2000">some
supplementary notes. For DVD tech geeks only.

Perfect.co.uk. A URL a day, plus a handy reference menu!

March 29, 2000

CBS will air their remake of Fail Safe live on April 9. (I can't seem to find any good articles on it to link to; here's another story from January.) Quoth this blurb: "The TV play will mark the first live broadcast of a full-length drama on network television since the live 'Playhouse 90' productions that aired on CBS from 1956 until 1960, a CBS spokesman said Wednesday." The new version stars George Clooney, Hank Azaria, Brian Dennehy, Richard Dreyfuss, Harvey Keitel, and Noah Wyle. The 1964 original (not a live production) starred Walter Matthau and Henry Fonda.

Quoth IMDb on the original: "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) has a remarkably similar premise, and was being made by Stanley Kubrick at the same time. Kubrick threatened legal action, claiming plagiarism. The issue was settled when Columbia Pictures agreed to push Kubrick's film at the expense of Fail-Safe (1964), which subsequently bombed at the box office."

Many thanks Mermaniac for linking Jim Hill's synopsis of the story of Disney's Aida. I'd link his story on Roger Rabbit II, but then it'd look like I'm just stealing your links.

From a TV news story: Thanks to US West's charge-per-use three-way-calling service, people are finding extra charges on their phone bills. This happens because three-way-calling--a service that needs no activation--works by simply by sending a pulse, waiting for a dial tone and dialing a new number. A pulse = hanging up and picking up again quickly, which means most of us end up making a three-way call if we end one call and immediately make another one. The charge? 75 cents, each time. US West's advice is to wait three seconds before picking up again. I'd say wait as much as 10 seconds, since there's no way to determine if you're initiating a new call or adding a third party.

Along similar lines: I like how AT&T is advertising their "0-0 Info" service as so all-purpose that you can make all your calls with just the 0 digit. Despite the fact that you need to be an AT&T customer to do this, it'll still cost you 99 cents a call.

CandyDiscounters.com has cheap candy in bulk. "No need to buy a whole case; We sell as little as 5 pounds of most items."

March 28, 2000

BeOS 5, Personal Edition will be available free to download today (Tuesday, March 28), in a handy no-partitioning installation package.

Salon interviews Peter Becker from the Criterion Collection. (Many thanks Bird on a Wire.) Of many cool things in this long article, Peter intelligently defends in the inclusion of Armageddon in the collection:

...You'd be silly to overlook blockbusters as a genre and leave them out of a film library. They drive so much. They drive tastes and shooting styles and visual references that appear all over the world in commercials and on TV as well as on movie screens. They're part of a huge cultural cross-pollination. And special effects are one of the most important aspects of a certain kind of contemporary filmmaking.

The opportunity we had to explore the effects in "Armageddon" was extraordinary. These guys dug a 400-foot hole in the middle of a Hollywood sound stage. It was a mammoth project and a great thing to be able to chronicle. One may choose to say, "What an enormous amount of money to spend on so frivolous an enterprise." But it occupies an important position on the spectrum of contemporary films.

The article also contains the first mention I've heard of Criterion taking on Seven. I can't wait!

The author of that article is Michael Sragow, who's done a weekly column on filmmakers for Salon since May 1999. Check their archives: 1999, 2000. For example, a February interview with Eric Mendelsohn on "Judy Berlin", a January interview with David O. Russell on "Three Kings", or a November interview with Pixar's Joe Ranft on "Toy Story 2" (before its December release). And because I'm in a quotin' mood:

"The great thing about Pixar," [Ranft] told me four years ago, "is that everybody is in on the story. Dozens of people here have read screenwriting books and gone to screenwriting conferences, and we collaborate in a form of oral storytelling, with people trying to top each other, acting out parts. I imagine it's what it must have been like in the Mack Sennett silent clown days, with a bunch of guys selling ideas, then going off and making the movie."

The UW Home Page has layered submenus now! I never thought they'd go that far out, web tech-wise. (Sorry, of interest to UW students only, I know, and I'm not even one of those any more...)

Hmm... KCTS seems to have cancelled showing Red Dwarf re-runs. I can understand cancelling it in favor of something new, as Red Dwarf hasn't had a new episode in a long time and won't until they're done making the movie. But Good Neighbors?

British Comedy on American TV has tons of good organized info on the subject.

March 27, 2000

populous is an adjective, populace is a noun... *whack* *whack* *whack*... populous is an adjective, populace is a noun... *whack* *whack* *whack*... (Thanks Dad.)

With the release of Internet Explorer 5 for Mac, I've had to make a couple of fixes to get BrainLog to display properly. And no, it doesn't seem to be rendering "at least as well as Internet Explorer for Windows". Just a reminder that if you can, check your designs, you may be surprised. Now we need an IE 5 bug list... (How's the supposed PNG support?)

You were always able to see everything someone posted to Usenet via a Deja search. Now, Deja has extended that functionality so that all of your profile information, including your favorite newsgroups, everything you've ever posted, and other personal information, is all available on a publicly viewable profile page. You can hide some information by clicking on a bunch of checkboxes (everything is public by default), but you can't hide your list of Usenet postings.

"You can't take something out of the Internet. It's like taking pee out of a swimming pool..." -- Joe, NewsRadio

Didn't the populace of this town realize that by changing their name to "Half.com" they were automatically affiliating themselves with an actual web site? They should really check whois records before doing something like that...

Now TVs are translucent. Just making the plastic see-through isn't enough to fit into the trend, you know.

Someone's gone and transcribed South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut.

Addendum to my anti-DVDWave rant, 'cuz I'm mad: They've sent me bulk email promoting their Spring Sale six times in one day, the same damn message. I emailed them about it, which no doubt will get ignored along with my many others. I may try to call them on Monday, just because I'm curious what the hell is going on with them...

March 26, 2000

Kingdome go boom!

March 24, 2000

Music and Numbers and other mathematical web art (some Java) from Bewitched.com. (Thanks /usr/bin/girl.)

Tons of funky interactive web art at I.AM/BALD. (Thanks Metafilter; good luck with the move!)

I really should be reading Ben Brown more. See "Tuesday", at the very least.

Found this old US News article on the New York Times. Not that it's worth reading, I just thought the concept amusing.

Everyone knows of Scott McCloud's web site, but I'm gonna link it anyway: Scott McCloud's Carl, available in original recipe (for Understanding Comics) or a newer Choose Your Own Carl version. And while we're at it: Scott McCloud's My Obsession With Chess. ("It's another big one -- time to get that cup of coffee while it's loading -- but at over two thousand words and close to a hundred panels, I'm squeezing plenty of content into every pixel!")


Old but new to me: href="http://members.aol.com/manitsas/cantina.html">The Star Wars
Cantina, sung to the tune of Barry Manilow's "Copacabana". Stuck
in my head, can't get it out:


Her name was Leia, she was a princess,

With a danish on each ear, and Darth Vader drawing near.

So Artoo Detoo, found Ben Kenobi.

He'd have to put the Death Star plans, into the Rebellion's hands.

So Luke and Obi-Wan, had to get to Alderaan,

So they stopped into Mos Eisley, to have a drink with Han...



At the Star Wars, [Star Wars!], Star Wars Cantina, [Star Wars Cantina]...

March 23, 2000

Perl 5.6.0 has been released.

BTW, those using Weblogs.com's XML files will notice that the format has changed to include a feature I requested (sorta; you get the email address of the blog maintainer, though I bet the ability to host multiple blogs is on Dave's to-do list). Note the data format version number. Anyone using real XML libraries shouldn't be affected, but pretty much all of us are hacking at the data file with raw Perl. :)

The Weblogs.com XML outage has been resolved, the SubHonker Filter is working again. Check out the news page for notes. Thanks, Dave!

From Silver to Gold, Kodak profiles Oscar-nominated cinematographers. (Many thanks Bird on a Wire.)

Charlie Victor Romeo, "a highly acclaimed theatrical documentary where the audience becomes observers to the tension filled cockpit of real in-flight emergencies." The highly acclaimed stage production from Collective: Unconscious (New York City; runs through April 1st) uses actual cockpit voice recorder (CVR) transcripts. I've seen footage of the show on TV, looks scary as hell. Check out All Things Considered RealAudio, including interview and excerpts, as well as a New York Times review.


Onion infographic: href="http://www.theonion.com/onion3610/infograph_3610.html">Census
2000.

And now: BrainLog's Uninformed Oscar Picks! 'cuz I got no links today.

Best Picture...
Who Will Win: American Beauty. It's a sweep.
Who Should Win: American Beauty. I actually think there were a couple of better films (Magnolia, Election; both controversial picks, I realize, esp. over AB), but they weren't nominated.

Best Actor...

Who Will Win: Kevin Spacey. I'm actually not sure. Seems like the AB
sweep will include Kevin Spacey, but The Hurricane seems like it'd
otherwise be an Oscar fav. And yet, Denzel was already recognized at the
Globes, which tends to influence voters. (The Hurricane didn't get a BP
nomination, so the GG recognition was probably plenty.)

Who Should Win: I can't say; I haven't seen four of the five. Spacey
was my favorite part of American Beauty, though.

Best Supporting Actor...

Who Will Win: Michael Clarke Duncan.

Who Should Win: Haley Joel Osment.

Best Actress...

Who Will Win: Hilary Swank.

Who Should Win: Hilary Swank. I haven't seen Boys Don't Cry yet, but
she's from the Seattle area (Issaquah?), so I'm pulling for her. And the Best Actress category is always a crap shoot; Annette Bening was great, but not Oscar
worthy, and I've heard mediocre things about the others when those movies
came out.

Best Supporting Actress...

Who Will Win: Angelina Jolie. Or so I've heard.

Who Should Win: I dunno.

Art Direction...

I haven't seen any of these by Talented Mr. Ripley, and it's not going to
win. Topsy-Turvy looked pretty from the trailers, so I'll guess that.

Cinematography...

Haven't seen The Insider (hey, I said "uninformed", didn't I?), but the trailers look like it got the full Dante Spinotti treatment, so I'll put my vote there. American Beauty had some nice stuff, but
the director having a stage history took it's toll, I thought.

Costume Design...

No clue. They're all period pieces. It might be Titus, but I think
people would feel better about voting for Topsy-Turvy.

Directing...

Who Will Win: American Beauty.

Who Should Win: Michael Mann deserves some recognition, though I haven't
seen The Insider yet. On the other hand, Being John Malkovich was awfully clever,
visually, and it may even have a shot, so I'll throw my "should win" that
way. (It's far more likely that BJM will get the usual token Oscar, however. See below.)

Documentary Feature...

Docuwhatary?

Original Score...

Seems like I can never tell who will win, and I haven't heard them all.
It seems like this is one of few categories that remains uninfluenced by
how the films do in other categories. The score for The Talented Mr.
Ripley really struck a chord (so to speak) with me, so I'll pull for that.
Never saw The Red Violin.

Original Song...

Who Will Win: "You'll Be In My Heart", Phil Collins, Tarzan

Who Should Win: "Save Me", Aimee Mann, Magnolia. Almost any song could've been nominated (the music being so integral to the movie), but this is the one the studio was pushing (with the mu
sic video
and all).

Best Screenplay, Adaptation...

Who Will Win: Election, only because I've heard enough critics rave
about it that it'll get this kind of token recognition.

Who Should Win: Election.

Best Screenplay, Original...

Who Will Win: This is a tough call. The Best Original
Screenplay award always seems to be the token award for creative films
that don't use enough conventional filmmaking to get a Best Picture
nomination. As such, I'd say Being John Malkovich has a good chance
of winning this category (and only this category of the ones listed
here). On the other hand, the sweep potential of American Beauty is
pretty script-heavy. I think my vote for "who will win" is going to
the latter.

Who Should Win: Hmmm... The Sixth Sense. Why not.

March 22, 2000

They changed the recipe for Nilla Wafers. There is no God.

Robin Williams to sing "Blame Canada" at the Oscars. (I didn't realize newswires use words like "fuck".)

MPAA investigates the Apex! Heck! "Apex officials said the next version of the Apex DVD player will have the hidden menu disabled." Crap! And I won't have the cash to get one for at least a month! Crap! The Apex fan resources site has a page describing how to get to the secret menu, with amusing screen shots.


Bat Boy: The Musical
is winning awards! Yes, the new musical based on href="http://www.weeklyworldnews.com/batboy/batboy.html">the Weekly
World News character is getting all kinds of accolades, including
the Richard Rodgers Development Award--twice! Don't believe such a
musical could be that good? href="http://www.slumdance.com/batboy/songs.html">Listen for
yourself. (Thanks href="http://www.geocities.com/~bjennings/blogger.html">Mermaniac.)


The DVD of href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/6305609691/brainlog/">Apocalypse
Now includes scenes from the destruction of the Kurtz Compound,
with commentary by Francis Ford Coppola. As in, they blew up the set
and filmed it. The footage is available elsewhere, I believe, but I
haven't seen it yet. I think a real collector's edition DVD would
include the full Hearts of Darkness behind-the-scenes documentary, by
Eleanor Coppola. At the moment the documentary is only available
separately on VHS. Perhaps a Criterion edition is in order (though I
wonder if they're specifically doing films that aren't getting enough
restoration efforts, and I'm sure Zoetrope is taking good care of
their masterpieces)...


Can anyone find a link to the Sondheim feature in the New York Times Weekend Magazine? I'd especially like to find Sondheim's personal "songs I wish I wrote" list, but I don't have my own copy. Found it in Supercuts, I think it was recent.

March 21, 2000

Gah! Out of the loop when I need it most: The Northwest High Tech Career Expo is today and tomorrow at the Exhibition Hall in the Seattle Center. Today from 11am-2pm (drat!), tomorrow from 4pm-8pm (yay!). The web site lets you pre-print your registration form to attach to your resume so you don't have to wait in line while people do it by hand. The event appears to be hosted by 1-Jobs, which provides other job search functions on-line.

I am indeed looking for a job. Professional experience in Perl, C++, Java; Informix, MySQL, MS Access; XML; web design and programming skills, HTML, CSS, JavaScript; Adobe Photoshop, ImageReady, Illustrator; professional system administration experience with Linux (RedHat, also some Debian experience), including Apache, Sendmail, MySQL, BIND. I'm looking for web-related programming in a Unix/Linux environment, and I'd like to stay in the Seattle area and commute by public transportation. I've just started my job hunt, and am currently assembling my resume for web distribution; I'll be sure to link to it from here when I do, and I'll gladly oblige requests to have it emailed. You can best reach me at dsanders@u.washington.edu.

So today I'll be rushing to complete my web resume and maybe a personal web site, in time to attend the expo tomorrow. I only found out about the expo on the early news this morning. *sigh*

So, a photo on a professional personal website, good idea? I've seen some good ones, but I've also seen some not so good ones. Someday I'd like to put together a site like Matt's, but I don't know if I'll ever be that cool.

Craig Charles of Red Dwarf mentioned on his recent Seattle visit that he's the host of the new British "game" show Robot Wars. It was speculated during pledge breaks that Robot Wars will probably be brought over the pond via direct import via PBS, though I can't imagine too many stations snatching it up.

Want more Craig Charles? Check out his fan-acclaimed Red Dwarf novel, The Log and No Irish, No Niggers, his tell-all autobiography (not to mention his personal site, linked above).

Reminder: Blog chat on Wednesday. irc.skunkworks.cx, #blogirc.

Amiga Back From the Dead Again.

Make-Your-Own-Opoly lets you use your computer to print out your own Monopoly variant. Also comes in a pen-and-paper version.

Begin DVDWave Rant
DVDWave is under new management, but they still have yet to address my multiple complaints I have issued since January. They are starting to fix their web site in ways I've complained about, but I think the full story is still worth telling: I ordered an item on January 2 because they had the cheapest price (according to DVD Price Search). Problem #1: When I placed the order, my credit card number was taken over an insecure connection. (Always look for the little lock or key on your browser before entering your credit card number! Yes, I actually violated this rule to place the order anyway, I don't know why.) Problem #2: While they never charged my credit card, they never shipped the item. A month later I wrote them asking what's up, I got no response. By the end of February I ordered the item from Amazon.com and got it within a week, so there are no supply problems (and the item isn't rare or backordered or out of print). I wrote yet another letter to DVDWave to cancel the order, and still got no response. I went ahead and trashed 'em on BizRate.

Early this month, I received a bulk email from DVDWave announcing they were now under new management, and attached was a $5 gift certificate. In the last couple of weeks their site got some minor redesign, including appropriate use of secure connections. I still have not received any response to my queries, and according to their order tracking system, my Jan 2 order does not seem to either have shipped or have been cancelled. Today I received another bulk email regarding a St. Patrick's Day promotion ($5 off anything ordered over this weekend with a promotion code), so I sent another request for customer service to acknowledge my existence, cancel my Jan 2 order and make amends. By the power of the amateur journalist's hammer, I strike thee down, DVDWave! ...unless you get back to me and make good, of course, in which case I'll be sure to mention it here and praise the "new management". We shall see.

To be fair: Their web site has always been relatively nice with decent database integration and order tracking and whatnot. Their selection is about on par with BigStar, maybe a little less, and similarly decent prices. While I'm being fair I guess I should admit that I bought something else from them recently with the $5 gift certificate, and it was shipped and received expediently. (Who knows why I actually placed another order there; it's not like I really need another DVD store.)

Given recent changes under "new management" I'm hoping they'll get better, but given very negative customer service experiences so far, I might as well recommend avoiding them entirely. And down goes the hammer. Phbt!
End DVDWave Rant

March 20, 2000

Check out this excellent FAQ on Carmina Burana. Everyone likes Carmina Burana. (Can't remember? Listen to audio samples at Amazon.com.)

The Grand List of Overused Science Fiction Clichés. (Thanks Fark.)

Many thanks Pith and Vinegar for linking to Super-Toys Last All Summer Long by Brian Aldiss, the short story that was to inspire Kubrick's next film, AI, which Spielberg has taken on as his next project.

Pith and Vinegar's blog list is now in haiku!

Goodbye, Bovine Inversus.

In case you were wondering but were too lazy to check, Katey Sagal, who plays Leela from Futurama, played Peggy Bundy on Married... With Children. Hence the extended reference in last week's episode. In case you didn't know.

Can anyone at all connect to that episode of Future Tense everyone linked to last week, supposed featuring our very own JJG? I haven't been able to hear anything ever since it appeared, and I've tried daily and at various times of day...

March 17, 2000

Atom Films has Oscar-nominated shorts online, including the full-length version of "Humdrum," a wonderfully cute animation about a couple of shadow puppets, which I highly recommend. (Stick to their low-bandwidth versions, they seem to be more reliable.) Kleingeld is also very good. (Many thanks twernt.)

Article at The Games Cafe on the MIT Mystery Hunt 2000, including sample puzzles and solutions. "By agreement with the authors of the article and the puzzles, they will remain online for one month and will not be archived." (Posted March 1, so read it now.) (Thanks memepool for the link to The Games Cafe.)

Rabid east-coasters are linking to the Kids in the Hall live tour page. I notice they have a couple of short behind-the-scenes tour clips on-line. I also notice I can get that tour shirt I couldn't get when I went. They've added shows on the east coast through April, check it out.

While the Pine Team is realistic about the market trends and the needs of the University, they remind me (in response to my inquiry) that 2/3 of the 70,000 email users here at the University are still using Pine, counter to the expectations that we would flock to POP/IMAP clients when support for them was rolled out. While it is expected that web mail will be popular, if enough of us still use Pine, it will continue to get support, and there are no plans to halt development. It's surprising what you can learn if you ask. :)

Alan W. Pollack's 'Notes On' Series has detailed supplementary information on every Beatles song. Heavy on the music theory. See, for example, Hey Jude.

The Internet Beatles Album (getback.org) is an excellent resource for Beatles information on the Internet.

Beatles study site isn't, but has some good stuff.

I can't get enough of that UPS commercial with the small e-commerce start-up launching their website, then nervously waiting for orders to roll in. They cheer when they get their first order, then 35, then a few hundred and they cheer. Then a thousand, then tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands and they go silent. I laugh every time.

March 16, 2000

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00004R7CK/026-9799384-7370061. (Thanks http://www.unpopular.com/is/canceled/.)

http://shellyeah.org/ offers FREE shell accounts, including email, IRC and whatnot. UltraShell also offers shell account hosting (wtih greater capability than ShellYeah, including compilers) for $8/mo. (Thanks Unpopular.)

Speaking of shell access: Pine may be in danger. As many of you know, Pine is one of the world's most popular terminal-based email readers, developed here at the University of Washington. I have recently been informed that web-based email for the UW is now in the testing phase. There has been a general trend toward phasing out support for terminal access at the UW: online course catalogs have been web based for over a year, UWIN has been abandoned in favor of a thorough web site (though this move makes some sense, given the web's suitability for providing access to documents), and access to common staff applications is currently in transition to a web interface. This leaves no commonplace use for terminal/shell access here at the U (beyond web programming and general scientific computing), and this may mean funding for the development of Pine may be cut.

Pine is used heavily all over the world as the only mail reader that provides both great power, speed and ease of use. I've decided not to rant about the practical and philosophical reasons for continuing to support telnet access--if anyone has a link to a proper --> --diatribe, please let me know, and I'll gladly include it here.

I should mention that this is merely a rumor I am starting; I have seen no internal communication regarding the death of Pine. But like UWIN, Pine is merely developed for use by the UW, despite wide-spread use. The UW is clearly moving toward web-based email access and web-based computing in general, and if support for shell access is to be cut, you can expect further development of Pine end as well. Given Pine's usage statistics, I would hope that at the very least the UW would turn further development of Pine over to the community (via GPL). But who knows.

The X-Files will not return for an eighth season, according to Gillian Anderson. (Thanks Tiara.

The Skeptic's Annotated Bible, the definitive resource for those who want to torment their religious friends. (Thanks monde of MemePool.)

March 15, 2000

Apologies are in order to all Seattlites: The Red Dwarf marathon is tonight. Lasts until 11pm. I wrote today's entry last night and mistakenly wrote "tomorrow" when I meant to say today. I apologies to anyone who found that information useful. (Esp. you Jim, since you thanked me and all; I can't seem to get your email address to work right now, so I hope this reaches you in time to watch a few episodes. :-)

Now you can blow up the Kingdome yourself! (I'm actually having a hard time getting it all down with just five packs of explosives...) Come back on March 26 to watch the actual implosion on a live webcam.

Woohoo! UPN 11 is showing two NewsRadios a night again! That letter writing campaign did the trick, you betcha.

"The Jon Report with Bob" premieres on KIRO 7 on April 1, 10pm. That's right folks, KING 5's Almost Live revived by KIRO 7, with Jon Keister and Bob Nelson.

Note to self: Red Dwarf Marathon tomorrow, 7pm on KCTS. I dunno what they're gonna show, but Craig Charles will be there.

Important note! A TV show you don't care about is going to be shown on a television station you can't watch in a city you're not in! Write it down!

Forget The Weird Al Home Page (maintained by drummer Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz), check out The Weird Al Information Source. It actually has information. About Weird Al.

Whois.net now has domain name searching by keyword. You can also search deleted domains! For example: domains containing the word "brain".

The Complete Friends Script Index. "The first and best place to find every script for every episode of Friends." Hey neat! "And the largest collection of fanfic on the web." Oh. (Thanks Pop Culture Junk Mail.)

The Television Transcript Project currently has a small and eclectic selection, but this ambitious project is growing. Hercules, Seinfeld, Ellen, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, and more. Interviews and commercials, too.

March 14, 2000

Excellent summary of the patent plague from New York Times magazine.

Culture Jammer's Encyclopaedia.

Atari commercial archive. Actually a little before my time (!), but I love consuming that stuff. Was delightful to find a "Pac-Man Fever" MP3 the other day. (Thanks Pop Culture Junk Mail.)

Die Video Die, "THE site on the web dedicated to horror and exploitation titles on DVD and laserdisc."

Legos Microfigure-Scale Star Wars Models. The cool thing here is not that they're Star Wars related, nor that they are Legos, but rather how few Legos are used in their construction. (Thanks Ooine.)

March 13, 2000

I greatly enjoyed Greg Knauss's writing at length about his days as an 8-bit game author--including full articles and program listings for two of his publications. I was a C64/Amiga guy, not an Atari guy, but it still takes me back. Maybe someday I'll tell you about getting published in Enter. Yes! Enter! Teehee! (Oh yeah, this is the same Greg Knauss that's taking over kottke.org during SXSW.)


I can't wait to see href="http://www.salon.com/ent/log/2000/03/10/mars_reviews/index.html">Mission
to Mars! It looks spectacular!

Time suck is right: Acrophobia is a creativity word game, where you make up phrases to sets of letters. You vote on other player's submissions at the end of the round (not yours), and the winner scores points. Yet another very well balanced (and thoroughly play-tested) networked game design, and slickly implemented (music and verbal instructions ala You Don't Know Jack). Alas, the client is PC only. Part of Won.net, who are responsible for my last major networked game addiction, Wordox. (Many thanks Zannah.)

Wait wait wait wait wait... This is a sweepstakes from Internet giant Amazon.com, but it can only be entered by sending a postcard by mail? Whassup with that?

Greed contestant tells his tale to TV Barn. (Many thanks Lisa.)

filmfodder, a new movie weblog after my own heart, informs us that the new Mission: Impossible 2 trailer is now available from Apple.com. filmfodder just opened, let's see what happens.

March 10, 2000

Something tells me I'm not going to solve the Edgar A. Poe Unsolved Crypto Contest without doing more research on Poe and his other cryptos. Even without the $2,500 prize money, it's still fun to look at.

Company Claims New Streaming DVD Standard.

Stupid show. I thought I heard a laugh track in the teasers (no in cartoons! I don't care which famous cartoons have laugh tracks), but I didn't hear one during the show. French Stewart, James Garner, Laurie Metcalf (who kicks all kinds of ass, credits include Roseanne, Scream 2, Norm), Nancy Cartwright (voice of Bart Simpson)... oh well. That's the last time I give a new mid-season replacement a chance. (Or was mid-season January? *sigh* I don't know my TV industry.)

I don't mind laugh tracks that much, but it needs to at least be plausable that there could be a live audience (for at least part of the show) for it to be convincing. Thank goodness the SportsNight producers got a clue.

Nancy Cartwright's home page.

Laurie Metcalf's Illinois State University alumni bio page.

Woohoo! KCTS has started their Red Dwarf reruns from ep 1 season 1! I should be taping these...

TV TV blah blah blah.

March 9, 2000

Mike Scully, executive producer of The Simpsons, will be chatting at 7pm EST tonight on AT&T WorldNet. You'll have to create an account to view or participate. He will supposedly be in the "Special Events" room when the time comes.

What's this? Dave is building SHF functionality into Weblogs.Com? Hooray! Well, it's coming along, at least. I'll certainly leave the SHF up for a while, but it would be nice if people started to use his when the time comes. I love supporting a useful application, but it's just so inefficient for me to use Dave's data like I am. I'd rather his gets used, commented on and improved to meet your needs.

The Jon Stewart Estrogen Brigade is perhaps the biggest Jon Stewart fan club, and certainly one of the best fan sites. Apparently the term "SAA" ("Sexy Ass Anchor") originated within this club. See also the Yahoo club.

Red Dward Plot Inconsistencies Project. As the maintainers of this project are fully aware, the project is fruitless, silly, and purely for fun. Part of the charm of the show is the blatant disregard for the integrity of the Red Dwarf "universe".

Red Dwarf Space Corp directive list:

Space Corps Directive #997:
Work done by an officer's doppleganger in a parallel universe cannot be claimed as overtime.

Esperanto.net.

Wanna play interactive fiction on a Palm Pilot? These links will help.

March 8, 2000

I picked up The Library of Congress: Eyes of the Nation DVD-ROM for $5 at the University Bookstore today. (There was still a copy or two left on the discount table, if it interests anyone.) 4.45GB on the disc, though there's lots of throw-away multimedia. Many of the "exhibits" seem like merely a small sampler of historical documents, but perhaps that's because there are dozens of such collections. Includes text from the book (with which I'm not familiar). 4,000 images of reasonable quality, with a nice high-res zoom feature. The web integration doesn't seem to work, but you can hunt down the links (or browse for yourself) to LOC web sites and other resources. Printed 1998 by SouthPeak Interactive. Worth $5, anyway.


Go
Simpsonic
, the follow-up album to "Songs in the Key of
Springfield," contains music from The Simpsons. Kelsey Grammar
singing from The H.M.S. Pinafore, the theme from Cletus the
Slack-Jawed Yokel, Krusty and his father (Jackie Mason) singing "Oh,
My Papa," "Can I Borrow a Feeling?" and even stuff that didn't make
the final cut, such as Patty and Selma singing "We Love to Smoke"
(originally to appear in the Mary Poppins parody).


(Are there still plans to release a follow-up to "The Simpsons Sing
the Blues"? As weird as it is hearing the vocal actors try to sing
real songs, I'll probably buy the sequel if there is one.)


And speaking of Rhino Records, href="http://www.rhino.com/specials/demento/">Dr. Demento's 30th
Anniversary Collection is available. Like all of his
compilations, it's just a bunch of stuff that's popular on his show,
but every collection has different stuff. I'd like a CD with "Polka
Dot Undies", "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport", and pretty much anything
by The Frantics.

Megnut wonders about "blog depression". All I can say is No kidding! Some days I feel like trashing all my files (no, not the SubHonker Filter) and never even reading another weblog again.

Archive of air crash videos. (Thanks Ooine.)

Sweepstakes for a Replay TV unit. The quiz answer is 18.

March 7, 2000

The California Proposition Song! Vote is today, Californians. (Thanks mathowie of MetaFilter.)

Ebert apparently has a Movie Answer-Man column in the Chicago Sun-Times. (Pardon me, Sun-Times, for linking into an Apache directory listing. :) I like how his answer to "What happened to Robert Powell?" (who played Jesus in Jesus of Nazareth) is simply, "The Internet Movie Database lists 24 credits for Powell since he played Jesus in 1977." Which I guess is as good an answer as any.

The AV Club interviews Robert A. Harris, the film preservationist responsible for Spartacus, Vertigo, and the recent release of Rear Window. (Thanks the love of my life, Bird on a Wire.)

Brunching Shuttlecocks rate Piggies.

The, uh, director's diary of Judy Berlin:

I must get away! I can't be party to this debacle! It all started this morning when I realized that not only had I woken up a bit late but I had also forgotten to hire the actors. My god, how they come down on you for a thing like that!

I don't own The Sims (yet--no money), so I have to ask: what does the adult Sims patch do? Clearly, this is merely unlocking behavior built into the game; the "patch" is only a handful of bytes, and not a skin or anything. Did they implement animated sex after all?

March 6, 2000

"Thank God I'm a fake journalist." Sam Donaldson interviews Jon Stewart on that weird-ass Internet-only ABC News broadcast. They discuss the awful talk show appearances of our fine presidential candidates, show clips from the recent Ellen Degeneres interview, Stewart's book ("Naked Pictures of Famous People") and otherwise show Jon being intelligent and charming for 10 or 15 straight minutes. If only Sam weren't there... *sigh*

Beyond the Mat, a new documentary behind the scenes of Professional Wrestling. From Harry Knowles' review: "When you see the Mick Foley/Rock match... from the perspective of the wife and children... It may very well change the way you watch wrestling for all time." See also Film.com review, IMDb entry.

GameSpot's Game Guide for The Sims.

Article on that featureful low-cost Apex DVD player. Also, DVDResource.com has notes on the player with regards to its quality (scroll down, Feb 25th entry below the Eyes Wide Shut material). Keep in mind that these DVD hardware reviewers are super-nit-picky--and God bless 'em for that--and it seems to me that $170 DVD players are fine for typical consumer use, no matter how they compare to a $700 Sony player.

StanLee.net is open! OK, I'm only mildly interested, but I've already mentioned it several times on this blog, so I might as well announce this, too. (Thanks Pith and Vinegar.)

March 4, 2000

A certain Simpsons web site made the weblog rounds this week, and I'm glad it seemed to get only mild distribution. Apparently this site has been up for quite a while (at least several months) and continues to last only because of a public understanding to not be too loud about the URL (by request of its maintainer). I'm sure we're fine--despite the infectious nature of the weblogging community, we seem to have muted this one. It's just interesting that there seems to be an understanding, a quiet revolt against the web-hating television network known as Fox (and, I guess, intellectual property in general).

I'm not sure how long it's been running, but The Simpsons Archive (snpp.com, not the aforementioned site) has a moderated mailing list. (They're always doing good stuff, I just never go back often enough.)

March 3, 2000

Web gateway to a crappy speech synthesizer, outputs an .au file. Like this one!

Web gateway to a much better speech synthesizer from Bell Labs. It does different languages (English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and more), different voices and a high-powered text processing engine ("Lumber will cost $3.95 for 7 ft. on Sat.").

The Mozart Project, the life, times and music of W. A. Mozart. Includes a bio, complete list of compositions, and selected essays.

Windows people, all hail RegEdit.com, the ultimate resource on the Windows Registry. (Thanks mpc of MemePool.)

Wowza. Decent big-picture broadband video streaming. You'll need a PC with IE and a DSL-or-better connection. Mostly original content right now, with a collection of movie trailers. Plug-in can even go full screen. (Thanks mathowie of MetaFilter.)

March 2, 2000

FTC restricts firm's sale of personal data.

Domains would push social agendas. Nader-backed consumer group proposes ‘.sucks,’ ‘.unions’.

Microsoft invents the symbolic link (geeks only). [All three of these via Slashdot.]

Hot damn! My copy of Brazil, Criterion edition arrived today! It was on backorder for two months, I thought I'd never get it. Now I really need a good DVD player. Three full days of entertainment for $42 (and all with the gift certificate I got from my uncle, too). Hot damn! I say.

Students are leaving their studies behind in favor of Internet start-ups. Boston U hopes to allieviate the burden of class by connecting students with investor capital.

I've been seeing some great interactive banner ads on Wired lately. The Shockwave golf game had my attention for five minutes. And made me wish I owned Macromedia Director, to boot!

Checkboxes for separators? Why didn't I think of that? 'cuz I'm cursed with creative impotence, that's why. (BTW, I think twernt deserves a job in a respectable ad agency for the Strange Brew slogan.)

Backwards clock, $19.95. "Put simply, this clock turns backwards. You can TOTALLY mess with your co-workers and boss with this classic office novelty clock."

March 1, 2000

New feature for the SubHonker Filter: Internet Explorer users can now use this bookmarklet, "SHF Pane", to open a special SHF in the Search pane! Drag it to your Links bar for extra convenience. (Many thanks Anil Dash for suggesting this.)

Wow, neat! Internet Explorer TEXTAREA fields have Ctrl-Z undo. I did not know that! (Almost makes up for Backspace == Back button. Almost.)

Neale, for the love of God, please continue to have too much time on your hands.

The Echelon Demo Room lets you control actual appliances and watch them over a web cam. Just a few lights and an electric window shade. TV coming soon!

Net4music, finally operational, hopes to be the world's resource for downloadable sheet music and MIDI files. Most of the stuff you would expect, like pretty much all sheet music, requires payment, such as Bach's Invention 1, BWV 772 for $3 US. This pre-release Wired story (from Dec 1) has more info. (The Wired article has an old link that Net4music was using for their pre-release; use this one instead.)

towelette.com points to... huh? And with this whois record... I don't get it. (Oh, duh, NT server default page. Right?)

The Credit Card Alarm makes noise when you take your credit card out of your wallet, and won't stop until you return it.