Stephen’s Statements A little bit of everything from Stephen Duncan Jr, a Software Developer in Portland, Oregon

Monday, February 28, 2005

Auto-Link Fuss

Scoble says AutoLink is evil. For the record, I fully accept that this is Scoble's heart-felt opinion on right and wrong for the web. I just think he's misguided.

How different is this than the right-click functionality in Firefox ("Web Search for..."), or other extensions. For instance, a Map extension that lets you highlight an address, right-click and search for it in your choice of map program?

I see two differences. The first, is the availability of options. The MapIt extension let's you pick your map provider. I see this argument. But that's an argument about monopoly and a specific implementation of this feature by Google. That's not argument about an inherently evil feature.

The other problem is if the functionality blurs the line between client-created links and content-producer provided links. That's where Scoble's problems seem to come in. Scoble feels that this features "changes" his content, and modifies his editorial stance by creating new links he didn't put it. But I only see this as a problem if the difference between Google-created links and Scoble-produced links aren't obvious to the user. So again, this isn't about an inherently evil feature, but a problem with the specific implementation from Google.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Why doesn’t TiVo help me resolve conflicts?

This is my current biggest complaint with the TiVo interface. If I have a show I want to record, and there are multiple showings, why do I have to manually check each to determine if they conflict with stuff I already have scheduled to record? How hard could it possibly be to check for the conflicts against my current schedule before showing me the available showings? This is a pretty major deficiency in my mind.

Saturday, February 12, 2005 Site Redesign has a new site design. It may look suspiciously familiar. Permalink pages aren't styled because it's creating them as .htm files, not .shtml, so the included page for the header that defines the style-sheets isn't being included. This isn't a problem on my blog, but I can't find the option that changes this in Blogger. Is this an option that was removed (but saved for those of us who set it when the option was available)?

Wedding Ring

I just received my wedding ring. Yes, I know I've been married over 18 months. Hey, there's something to be said for getting your wedding bands in time for your second Valentine's day. Uh, really!

Say Cheez!

I'm so funny...

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Official Yahoo! Toolbar for Firefox

I've written before about the unofficial toolbar before. Now Yahoo! has released an official Firefox toolbar. Gervase Markham points out some interesting notes.

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Online Map Programs

Google just gave us a new one. And boy is it good. First, it gives us what Google does best: a simple search. You can simply type the whole search in the single simple input field and get your results. Second, it gives a very slick interface that allows us to interact with the map without getting a full page refresh (I assume it's based on the same concepts as their Gmail interface). The last feature, and this is under-appreciated one, is that the maps they give us are big and clear. A search for a particular address will give you a zoom level where streets have width (rather than lines). The maps are the easiest to read of any of the map services I've used.

Another cool map service is Map 24. It does give us a lot of Google does, and has an even slicker interface. It does this by loading an applet, instead of Google's javascript magic. This also makes it a bit slower to get started, however. I think Google's going to get most of my usage, though I plan to keep Map 24 in mind for times when I want to explore around an address more.

Yahoo! Maps, Mapquest, and Microsoft MapPoint: they aren't even in the same ballpark.

Thursday, February 3, 2005

SAT Essays?

Scorers of New SAT Get Ready for Essays

Reading this article felt remarkably similar to watching a horror movie. Revulsion and helplessness top the list of emotions that hit me as the writer banged home the subjectivity of the scores for these essays. I'm glad this came after my time for the SATs, and I pity those high schoolers now taking them.

I won't be suprised, however, if the scores on the essays do end up being so poor an indicator of the students' abilities that this could eventually be the end of the SATs. They are only useful so long as they are a reasonable predictor of success in college, after all.

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Democratic Leadership?

"How can you call yourself a political party?". Ann Althouse provides an excerpt from last night's Hardball.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, that's why you're losing. Why you're losing. now is, you can't even point to your leaders.

At least George Bush is the leader of the Republican Party.

GOODMAN: It's not about my leaders. It's about...

To be fair, reading the whole thing, it's more about Goodman's silly desire to appear on a show like Hardball and try to stay on their talking points than necessarily an inability for anyone to name Democratic leadership. (A lot of political people do this while going on show's like Hardball, the O'Reilly Factor, etc. It makes them look like automatons instead of people with ideas to me.) I think the lack of leadership and the lack of positive positions (rather than just negative reactions to Republican positions) are intertwined; I'm not sure if you could say which caused the other...