if ( knowledge ) {

A place for thought, progress, and dissent.

Monday, November 28, 2005


Quote of the day, via Katie B., who was editing some HTML

haha, i definitely added <center> to the beginning

and at the end instead of </center> i accidentally put </weird>

too bad ending weirdness isn't that easy

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Evening at Adler

On October 21st in the year of '05, ten top Mac developers (primarily indies) from around the USA were invited to the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, IL for an evening of conversation around a broad range of topics...

I was there, and it was a fantastic night. A lot of very smart folks talking about some very interesting things.

DB has posted video and audio from the evening, and if you're interesting in the Mac development world, I suggest you check it out. I'm also providing a mirror, so you can grab it from me.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Recent Launches

A while ago, I talked about working with The Image Group on some projects. A few weeks ago, we launched the portfolio section of their website.

We wrote a custom application for managing their portfolio that gives them unlimited room to grow. New projects can be added at any time, and you can access case studies from a variety of entry points. We even set it up for full-text searching, which will probably be added before too long.

The app is written with Ruby on Rails, with a MySQL backend. I am using ImageMagick behind the scenes to manipulate most of the graphics, and using Rails' impressively-simple caching routines to make the process quick and low-impact. There are a few server-configuration issues that we will continue to tweak, as well as updates to the interface and content, but it's a fun site already.

Other than that, I don't have much publicly available work to share, though the folks at Dance Marathon are beginning to experience their new management system. It's a lot of fun.

In other news, our friends at Elevator Up launched a new site design. My corporate side received a nice plug over there, so I'll plug them back.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

US Health care sucks. (duh!)

I always run into people who think that our heath care system is great, and that any kind of nationalized health care is doomed to fail. A new survey finds that the US is actually in pretty bad shape (surprise!).

I'd link directly to the survey or the article, but Kevin Drum sums it up nicely.

Additionally, I always think of all the costs associated with processing insurance, from employees to paperwork, there is a lot of money being wasted (and going to big insurance companies) that could be spent on actual care.

Printing Google

If anyone is following the Google Print story, you probably know 2 things:
  1. Google is trying to index a whole lot of books (eventually all of them)
  2. (some) publishers are pissed.

Larry Lessig gives the best argument I've heard yet for why the publishers are being stupid.

Google isn't copying books, they're indexing them. This is no different from what they do to web pages (which are all copyrighted), its simply a new medium. Producing an excerpt of a book from a search is no different from writing a book review and inserting a passage. Fair use. Not copyright infringement.

Finally Google has to (and can) store a copy of the book for indexing purposes. When you search for web sites in Google, they don't spend hours crawling every page for your results. Instead, they have to store a local copy to make the search useful. Same with books. They can't send armies of readers off to run through libraries every time you search. Instead they have to store a copy. They aren't giving you a copy (which would be infringement), just giving you pointers. It is up to you to get the book, and once you know about it, you are infinitely more likely to buy it.

Update: 12:00
I got lost in my initial rant that I forgot my main point. (this is why I have many posts that remain unpublished...)

The important thing to note is that nothing is stopping any other company from duplicating Google's efforts. Google only has a monopoly on print searching because they are the only ones doing it (Microsoft is doing some print work, but at a much smaller scale). Google is raising the bar, but there is room for imitators (see Yahoo Maps beta). This is a good thing as it makes information more available to everyone. The complaining publishers need to realize that Google is merely filling a void that the publishers have ignored.