The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Friday, February 04, 2000

A silly variation

“Welcome to the Bridge of Death. You must answer me these questions three 'ere the other side you see. What is your name?”

“Arthur, King of the Brittons.”

“And what is your quest?”

“I seek the Holy Grail.”

“What year was DOS 3.3 released?”

“What? What do you mean? DOS 3.3 for the IBM PC or Apple ][?”

“Uh, er … I don't know. Aiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…”

Rebuilding Blues

My roomate Rob is rebuilding his workstation that was hacked the other day. He could repair it by rebuilding the damaged directories but he feels it's easier to resintall and I probably would do the same myself. There is stuff he wants to save but since Tom's RootBoot disk doesn't have drivers for his network card he came in asking if I had a spare IDE drive he could borrow.

Possibly, but let's see if there is something easier first. Could he just install without formatting the disks? No, there are some configuration files he wants to save. Hmmmm … he's got this swap partition that's big enough to hold what he wants. fdisk to change it to Linux native, then mke2fs to format it. Copy the files he wants, reinstall, then afterwards, copy the files off, and turn it back to swap space.

It's what I did when I installed Linux on my laptop.

This is EMAIL, not FTP …

The consensus on the mailing list from yesturday about Reply-To: munging is that Reply-To: is The Right Thing. The list is back to the old behavior and everyone has stopped complaining.

The topic now (very light traffic on this) is the removal of HTML in email. Or rather, HTML and attachments altogether, which I am in full agreement with. Attachments are evil (heck, MIME is eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil but that's another rant); the worst I saw (when I worked at an ISP) was some guy who blew his disk quota by sending not only the files he was working on, but the application as well, so he could work on them from home.

The ISP allows 10M of disk space, which is quite generous for email (for the record, I currently have 14M of email saved (everything I write gets saved just in case) and it works out to 3,457 messages (or an average of 4k per message and yes, a lot of those can be deleted).

Anyway, one of the requests, from Peter Turnbull, was:

My request-for-enhancement is:

“do something” about HTML, or better still, “do something” about any “multipart/alternative” posting (which would include M$ richtext, with those application/ms-tnef attachments).

Options I can think of:

a) silently discard any such postings (probably not a good idea)
b) bounce them back to the author, with an explanation of why bounced
c) remove the non-text part
d) combination of (b) and (c)
e) accept, but warn the author (who may not realise (s)he's sent HTML)

Can't argue with those.

Under Construction

Yes, the links for other entries here are broken. I'm still working on how I want to actually store and serve all these entries up so until that is done, links for other entries will be broken.

External entries however, are fine.

The status quo must surely hate this

Normally, I just tollerate Dave Wiener and what he says and his Scripting News site comes across as one extended advertising for his software, but maybe what he has to say is worth listening to at times.

Then I realized that such an externally defined vision had already been forced on the technology industry. The standards of the Internet, HTTP, HTML and URLs; and perhaps XML, which is a simple formalization of HTML. To go to the next step the leaders of technology merely have to agree to stop struggling against these standards, and to share the knowledge they have developed around them. The web is ready-made for a shared vision.

First, you should know that there are organizations whose sole purpose is to define and patent new business processes that build on the Internet. Jay Walker, the founder of Priceline.Com, has 60 full-time people working in teams to do nothing more than generate patents. No engineering, no scaling issues, no customer satisfaction requirements (although Walker's company appears to be good at this too), they just a file a claim at various patent offices, and wait for the engineering of the Internet to catch up. A land-grab business.

If you define success in terms of continuing to do the same old thing, you will lose. This is the message that causes so much dissonance at Davos and at Seybold. The people who had a good thing going before the Internet are angry. If they draw a line in the sand, as Sumner Redstone of Viacom did so insistently, sorry it's off to glue factory. But if you're willing to risk it all on your intelligence, experience *and* your enthusiasm for the Internet, you will win. But you have to be willing to change.

Obligatory Picture

[The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades]

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Obligatory Feeds

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Obligatory Miscellaneous

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