D.T.P. by Lee -- Daily Tales and Punditry

Friday, January 31, 2003

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

So let’s review. This blog is now just a week old. During that time, 22 entries (including this one) have been posted; the site underwent a pretty major facelift and, based on feedback from friends and colleagues, will probably get adjusted again soon (it seems my translucent effect isn’t ideal to all computers or eyes); and finally, with immense appreciation to my friend, Jeff, I have now officially migrated from Blosxom to Movable Type.

No, Blosxom wasn’t awful. It’s quite simple to use. But the flexibility of Movable Type is just light years ahead. Besides, you can now comment back to my entries with your own punditry!

Important notice: if you subscribed to my RSS feed, you’ll need to change your subscription link to http://www.dtpbylee.com/blog/index.rdf

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Goodbye Spam?

I think the service that sites like GoodbyeSpam provide is, ultimately, just the ticket for never having to deal with junk mail again. So, why am I typing this in the rant category instead of punditry? I’m glad you asked.

First, what does GoodbyeSpam do? All of your mail goes to the service first. I don’t know for sure, but I imagine you configure it to check your POP, IMAP, Yahoo, Hotmail, MSN, or Juno account, and then you create an account in your e-mail software to pull mail down from GoodbyeSpam and no longer from your normal e-mail service. Once GoodbyeSpam has retrieved your messages, it checks to see if the sender is included in either your ‘accept’ or ‘reject’ lists. If the sender is found, the appropriate action is taken. If not, the message is sent to quarantine and the sender is automatically replied to and asked to click a link in the e-mail to confirm that he or she is a real person. Upon doing so, they are added to the ‘accept’ list, the message is passed on to you, and the sender shouldn’t ever have to deal with the validation again. And, of course, you can manually add addresses to either list. The concept is wonderful.

However, I’m not busting a nut to sign up…yet. Two reasons. The first may exist elsewhere. I haven’t seen it yet. The validation needs to be a little more substantial. I assure you, spammer technology is well beyond the simple ability to automatically detect validation messages and click a link. What’s needed is for the validation to not have a link to click, rather an embedded graphic file of a word, and the word should have some sort of graphic treatment to deter optical character recognition. The sender would need to read the word, reply to the message, and type that word in a specified location. This is an almost sure-fire way to be sure a human being is doing the validating.

The second reason is the price. GoodbyeSpam.com costs $3.22 per month. Forgive me (or not) if I sound cheap, but $40 per year is steep. Consider that dialup access can be had for next to nothing and that domain registration is $35 or less per year. A couple years worth of this anti-spam service, and you’re really soaking some cash.

GoodbyeSpam has an alternative to the simple link validation. It’s possible to have the validation message also include a name and the sender must also provide the e-mail address that matches to get validated. Spammers are not likely to plow through their huge address database to match your name with an address. They often only have an address with no name, anyway. I think, though, that even this is not beyond the possibility of being automated. But the point is, to get this feature, you have to upgrade to GoodbyeSpam’s professional service and, ta-da, you’re now paying $5.32 per month ($64 annually).

ISPs and e-mail providers need to start implementing this type of thing on their own for their customers. I don’t see that it would be any huge drain of system resources for them. Your e-mail account is going to be sent the mail (spam or otherwise) regardless whether you have the validation service, so there’s no difference in mail storage space. You can rest assured that as soon as XYZ service provider (a respectable/known provider, of course) finally bites the bullet and offers this as part of their standard service, they’re going to see significant customer growth until such time that other ISPs hop on the bandwagon.

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Thursday, January 30, 2003

Loving Osama

Little Melissa comes home from first grade and tells her father that they learned about the history of Valentine’s Day.

“Since Valentine’s Day is for a Christian saint and we’re Jewish,” she asks, “will God get mad at me for giving someone a valentine?”

Melissa’s father thinks a bit, then says “No, I don’t think God would get mad. Who do you want to give a valentine to?”

“Osama Bin Laden,” she says.

“Why Osama Bin Laden,” her father asks in shock.

“Well,” she says, “I thought that if a little American Jewish girl could have enough love to give Osama a valentine, he might start to think that maybe we’re not all bad, and maybe start loving people a little bit.

“And if other kids saw what I did and sent valentines to Osama, he’d love everyone a lot. And then he’d start going all over the place to tell everyone how much he loved them and how he didn’t hate anyone any more.”

Her father’s heart swells and he looks at his daughter with newfound pride.

“Melissa, that’s the most wonderful thing I’ve ever heard.”

“I know,” Melissa says, “and once that gets him out in the open, the Marines could blow the crap out of him.”

Thanks, Chris.

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Ever Feel Like a Pawn?

I felt the urge to share this Rumination of the Day which is included at the bottom of the Top5 List I subscribe to.

“The other day, I walked into a pawn shop and found that I couldn’t turn around until I had advanced all the way to the other end of the store and promoted myself to queen.” —Chris Lipe
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Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Celestia

Hey astronomy fans (lookin’ at you, Andy), go download Celestia. It’s available for both Classic and OS X. Best of all, it’s free! This is a must-have for any school science teacher.

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AOL Loses Ted Turner and $99 Billion

Who saw this coming?

“Ted Turner is resigning as vice chairman of AOL Time Warner, capping a tumultuous year for the beleaguered media giant.”

This news comes after a reported net loss of $98.7 billion as well as an earlier announcement that AOL founder Steve Case was stepping down as chairman.

Full story.

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It’s Nice to be Appreciated

Every once in a while, those little things happen which most people perceive as passé when they happen to someone else. Yet when they happen to you, the reminder that you’re not just another automaton in the system is a great feeling.

Where am I going with this one? Two groups of sixth-graders (one group yesterday and another today) from Orlando Junior Academy visited the communication department where I work since their class has them learning some subjects relating to the field. Tasks that I do regularly and can seem mundane were rather exciting to these students—things like creating a mock newsletter cover with a full page photo of their respective groups posed outside the TV station they toured prior to visiting us and each of them receiving a color copy of the finished layout; seeing how I use Adobe Photoshop to perform curves adjustment, color correction, and retouching to that photo; or how I put a video together in Adobe Premiere. They were even impressed by the fact that I not only have a 21" CRT display on my Macintosh G4, but also a 15" Studio Display sitting next to it and could effortlessly move items back and forth from one screen to the other.

See what I mean? Rather mundane things to me and probably you. Gradeschoolers are really cool!

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Looky, Looky!

Wow. The blog is only 3 days plus a few hours old and it’s already undergone a massive facelift! I guess that’s not the most fair thing to say—this look was the intention from the get-go. I just chose to get the mechanics working first and, with that part now done, tonight I finished on the “icing.” So what do you think? Love it? Hate it? Indifferent? E-mail me with your punditry. (Comments that reference the near-4 a.m. time stamp on this entry will be summarily ignored.)

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Tuesday, January 28, 2003

New Apple Hardware

Today, Apple Computer announced the 1.42GHz dual-processor G4. A moderate bump in speed, but the new machines now include (or support) Firewire 800, AirPort Extreme, and Bluetooth.

In addition, as if new 20-inch Cinema Display for $1,299 isn’t enough, Apple dropped the price of the 17-inch Studio Display from $999 to $699, and the 23-inch Cinema HD Display is now just $1,999—down from $3,499. This monster of a display is now actually something a “prosumer” can actually consider buying thanks to this huge price cut.

Finally, in a continuing effort to phase out OS 9, Apple now has a completely separate page in the online Apple Store that lists the machines for sale that can boot OS 9. The 1.42GHz model is conspicuously absent! And we, of course, know this separate page wouldn’t even exist if Quark XPress fanatics hadn’t bellyached that their offices wouldn’t buy any new CPUs this year if they can’t boot in OS 9. For anyone who isn’t in the know, Quark is only just recently talking about Quark XPress 6 which will include (drum roll) native OS X support.

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Posted by Lee Bennett -- February 2, 2003 10:56 PM

Maybe no one cares, but I post for completeness. I failed to mention that the new Power Macs also include a faster DVD-R SuperDrive—bumped from 2X to 4X.

There. Now I feel better!

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License Plate Loonies

On my way home from work this evening, a vehicle’s license plate sort of caught me off guard. I’ve seen some funny ones, some creative ones, some strange ones, and some I had to ponder for a moment. Tonight, however, the meaning of the 1I1I1I1 plate I noticed is still eluding me. Perhaps if it had been I1I1I1I1, I might have understood it—as in yelling, “I won! I won! I won!” But I took care to notice that the order was the other way around.

FWIW - on the topic of license plates, those of you who prefer the Macintosh platform might appreciate that my plate reads MAC-USER.

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Adobe Photoshop 7.0.x AltiVecCore Update

Something to take note of if you are a Photoshop 7 user running a Macintosh G4. This is a plug-in that enhances reliability (read: supposedly prevents crashes) with the AltiVec engine.

In spite of user comments on VersionTracker, speed increase is not what this update is about.

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Where Do Pets Come From?

(I realize this is probably old. Sue me.)

A newly discovered chapter in the Book of Genesis has provided the answer to “Where do pets come from?”

Adam and Eve said, “Lord, when we were in the garden, you walked with us every day. Now we do not see you any more. We are lonesome here, and it is difficult for us to remember how much you love us.”

And God said, “No problem! I will create a companion for you that will be with you forever and who will be a reflection of my love for you, so that you will love me even when you cannot see me. Regardless of how selfish or childish or unlovable you may be, this new companion will accept you as you are and will love you as I do, in spite of yourselves.”

And God created a new animal to be a companion for Adam and Eve.

And it was a good animal.

And God was pleased.

And the new animal was pleased to be with Adam and Eve and he wagged his tail.

And Adam said, “Lord, I have already named all the animals in the Kingdom and I cannot think of a name for this new animal.”

And God said, “No problem. Because I have created this new animal to be a reflection of my love for you, his name will be a reflection of my own name, and you will call him DOG.”

And Dog lived with Adam and Eve and was a companion to them and loved them.

And they were comforted.

And God was pleased.

And Dog was content and wagged his tail.

After a while, it came to pass that an angel came to the Lord and said, “Lord, Adam and Eve have become filled with pride. They strut and preen like peacocks and they believe they are worthy of adoration. Dog has indeed taught them that they are loved, but perhaps too well.”

And God said, “No problem! I will create for them a companion who will be with them forever and who will see them as they are. The companion will remind them of their limitations so they will know that they are not always worthy of adoration.”

And God created CAT to be a companion to Adam and Eve.

And Cat would not obey them. And when Adam and Eve gazed into Cat’s eyes, they were reminded that they were not the supreme beings.

And Adam and Eve learned humility.

And they were greatly improved.

And God was pleased.

And Dog was happy.

And Cat doesn’t care one way or the other.

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You’ve Got Spam

Sorry, Bryan (my brother and, like me, a newbie blogger), I truly must quote your entry:

“When is the government going to get off of their collective asses and pass some decent anti-spam laws? It’s nice and all that most ISPs will delete accounts used by spammers, but, in the end, it is doing absolutely no good. We need to go after the companies that enlist these spammers.
“Spam is on the rise with estimates of 36% of e-mail traffic being SPAM. Let’s put this in perspective. Your ISP has costs associated with storing e-mail, computers to handle the internet traffic, and per-byte costs for sending and receiving internet traffic. Somewhere in the range of 1/3 of these costs are being forced on the ISP by spammers. You know the ISPs are not going to eat these costs. Many ISPs have already started charging more. That’s right. You, the consumer, will end up paying.”
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Best Headlines of 2002

  • Crack Found on Governor’s Daughter.
  • Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says.
  • Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers.
  • Iraqi Head Seeks Arms.
  • Is There a Ring of Debris around Uranus?
  • Prostitutes Appeal to Pope.
  • Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over.
  • Teacher Strikes Idle Kids.
  • Miners Refuse to Work after Death.
  • Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant.
  • War Dims Hope for Peace.
  • If Strike Isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile.
  • Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures.
  • Enfield (London) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide.
  • Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges.
  • Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead.
  • Man Struck By Lightning Faces Battery Charge.
  • New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group.
  • Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft.
  • Kids Make Nutritious Snacks.
  • Chef Throws His Heart into Helping Feed Needy.
  • Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half.
  • Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors.
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Does This Even Qualify as Creativity?

Someone had WAY too much time on their hands. Unfortunately, I can tell you first-hand that this works better if you properly synchronize the characters.

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A Taste of Their Own Medicine

Is turnabout truly fair play? A News.com story reports:

“Sharman Networks, owner of the popular Kazaa file-swapping software, has launched a legal counterstrike against the major record labels and Hollywood studios, asserting they have ‘obscenely’ abused their copyright powers.”

The article points out that “a federal judge ruled that record companies and movie studios can proceed with their lawsuit against Sharman.”

Apparently feeling it has sharp enough teeth to attempt to bite back, “Sharman is asking the judge to declare the copyright holders guilty of antitrust and related violations, and to bar them from enforcing any of their copyrights.”

I don’t think this nonsense is ever going to end—not until the recording industry adopts a completely new model for licensing. The model we’ve all come to know and love is going to be their undoing.

On a related topic, the Kazaa news section posted an L.A. Times article that reports Microsoft uses Kazaa as a marketing portal. It seems “Microsoft started showing off Windows Media 9 to an audience reviled by the entertainment industry: the Kazaa file-sharing network, where users routinely copy digital songs, films and software free.”

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Monday, January 27, 2003

Magic Number

Apparently, the number 27 is pretty significant for the Buccaneers. Tampa’s ABC affiliate, WTSP, Channel 10, posted a very interesting observation.

“It has taken the Bucs 27 years to get to the Super Bowl. The Bucs won last week with 27 points. Bucs return from the Super Bowl on the 27th. Bucs were the 27th team that entered the NFL.” —Mike Deeson
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Sunday, January 26, 2003

The Defense Rests!

OOOHHHH YEAAAHHHH!!! Not IF we win, but WHEN we win!

Unbelievable. Total shut out. My home team, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has just CREAMED the Raiders with a well deserved final score of 48-21. Sure, there was a bit of worrying toward the end. My friend, Andy McConnell, asked me, “What are the Raiders doing?” I replied, “Catching up, it seems.”

Well, they didn’t. Cue “We Are the Champions … of the World!”

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Celine Who!?

My ATPM friend Chris Turner makes a really good point. He asks why Celine Dion was chosen to sing God Bless America during the SuperBowl pregame.

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Keynote (the event, not the software)

I’m aware that I’m a bit late to be making any comments about the MacWorld Expo, but since I only tonight got my blog up and running, I still wanted to jot down some thoughts.

Can I just say, uhm, “WOW!” I don’t care if people disagree with me but that was quite a presentation. The new PowerBooks look superb, though I admit I’m not terribly interested in a laptop as small as the 12" or as big as the 17" models. My 15" TiBook barely fits in my computer bag as it is. AirPort Extreme, which adopts the 802.11g protocol, I think is a good move, too, though I’m not racing to upgrade because 99% of my wireless use is for typical internet functions and 802.11b is more than fast enough. The times I’m transferring large files between computers on a LAN, I’m generally tethered with an ethernet cable.

What I am drooling over is that keyboard! My Kensington FlyLight suffices, but having a backlit keyboard that automatically lights up when ambient light reduces would just take the cake.

Yes, I’m going to purchase iLife when it’s available. Planned to do so on my way back to Orlando on Monday, but you’ve probably heard by now that its release has been delayed. Sigh. I guess waiting a bit longer won’t kill me. I’m pretty anxious, though, for the feature to set markers in iMovie and have them automatically become chapter indexes in iDVD.

I’ve been using Safari and it is just plain fantastic! If you’re running OS X 10.2 and you’re hesitating on trying out Safari, don’t wait any longer!

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SuperBowl Semantics

I’m really not a sports fan. However, when my home team which has been long known for poor performance plows through the playoffs as they have done and then actually creams the Eagles to secure a spot at SuperBowl XXXVII, I take notice!

Statistically, the Raiders are probably going to beat the Buccaneers, but then the Eagles were supposed to win last week, too. So, I can hope and be proud that they made it this far.

So I’m here at my parents’ house in Tampa for a long weekend. I’ve got a video projector set up and we’ll be watching the equivalent of a 72” screen with about 12 people coming over. There’ll be plenty of food and even more noise, I suspect. Should be fun.

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The new D.T.P. by Lee is under way!

Say goodbye to Desktop Publishing by Lee. I’m now joining the ranks of all those who have discovered the addictive hobby of writing a diary/journal and letting the world (or maybe just you) read it!

The software I’m starting with for getting my blog up and going is, to be honest, cheap. So cheap, it’s free. The pages are boring, functionality is limited, and only a definable number of posts are visible on one page. Any more, and the oldest are no longer visible, nor can they be called up unless you happened to have saved the direct URL to them while they were still visible. Needless to say, I’ll be upgrading to a better blogging package as soon as I can teach myself how to do so!

By the way—mostly for my own needs, the old site is still online. Peruse at your own discretion.

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© 2003-2004
A. Lee Bennett, Jr.
http://www.dtpbylee.com/blog/