Archive for June, 2004

Kerry Fundraiser in San Jose

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2004

Louisa and I attended a John Kerry fundraising event in San Jose tonight. There were about 2000 people, and it was pretty fun.

The warmup acts were Rob Reiner and Carole King, and they were short and sweet. Kerry spoke for about 45 mins, and I was surprised at how much of his platform I agreed with. I’m not sure about his ideas around universal healthcare, and he played the veteran card pretty hard, but otherwise I like what he says.

When he finished talking he worked the crowd, signing autographs and shaking hands. I went for a handshake from 4 rows back, but just brushed his hand as he shook the guy in front of me. I’ll never wash my hand again as long as I live :-).

The evening gave me some comfort that Kerry can be a decent President in his own right, and isn’t just Anyone But Bush.


Cory Doctorow on DRM

Friday, June 18th, 2004

I love Cory Doctorow. I like his books, and I like his style. This speech is vintage Cory – funny, insightful, and wickedly smart. And, it makes a bunch of coherent points on why DRM is bad, with excellent examples.

Microsoft DRM speech

Web Photo Galleries

Tuesday, June 15th, 2004

I have been in search of the perfect web photo gallery program for quite some time. I think what I want is pretty simple, but I haven’t found anything that is quite right. Here are the criteria:

  • Open source, so I can install it on my server and hack the code to make it do what I want
  • Free – okay, I’m cheap
  • Supports photo printing services like Shutterfly – this is a killer, I’ve only found a couple that do this
  • Constructs albums from the directory structure – no special upload program required
  • Allows permission-based viewing on a per-album basis
  • Does basic image manipulation – rotation, maybe even crop and exposure control
  • Reads image metadata from the EXIF or IPTC
  • Allows editing of captions, and user-defined fields of metadata, and writes them back to the original JPG – nobody does this at all, I’ll have to write it

So far, I’ve looked at lots of possibilities, and gone so far as to install Gallery,, and My Photo Gallery. The one I’m keeping so far is My Photo Gallery.

Here’s the thesis: all of this software is going to become obsolete, especially any programs use to manage image metadata, like captions and photographer name. But, the various image programs will always be able to read JPG files and EXIF data. Therefore, I want an image management system where all the metatadata is contained in the JPG itself. Then I can copy JPGs around, sync between my laptop and desktop, and wherever I happen to be I can add captions, comments, ratings, etc and make sure they go with the image, and get displayed on the web.

Anyway, the first step is to get a decent image program up, so at least my family and friends can see the images, and print them. Then I’ll start worrying about the metadata problem again.

Another good wiki example

Monday, June 14th, 2004

I have been playing with wikis lately, and installed MediaWiki (the one that runs WikiPedia) to get started. Unfortunately, I’m not particularly good at the visually creative part – I liked the web better when you just had <h1> and <strong> to do formatting. Once I get it looking reasonable, I’ll link to it here. In the meantime, here’s another new wiki that has a decent setup.

Main Page – Grokdoc

Software “engineering” as a game

Thursday, June 3rd, 2004

A pretty interesting re-casting of the software development process as an economic cooperative resource-limited goal-directed game.

Alistair Cockburn

Living a long time

Thursday, June 3rd, 2004

Aubrey de Grey has devoted his life to curing the “disesase” of aging. He argues, somewhat convincingly, that breakthroughs could occur in our lifetime. Time to re-think the life insurance policy?

Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS): A practical way to cure human aging

Other resources:
The Longevity Meme
The Methuselah Foundation

Hacking the Linksys Wireless-G router

Tuesday, June 1st, 2004

Cringely goes over the top once again, but it’s always entertaining. I have a WRT56G, so I guess I’ll have to try one of these open source firmware distros at some point.

PBS | I, Cringely . Archived Column