Steve's No Direction Home Page :
If he needs a third eye, he just grows it.
Updated: 10/23/2004; 11:54:16 AM.


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Wednesday, January 01, 2003

Scott Lawton: "PreFab Software, Inc. is pleased to announce UI Browser, a utility to help scripters write user interface scripts using Apple's new "GUI Scripting" technology for Mac OS X version 10.2.3. PreFab has unrivaled experience in scripting the GUI, shipping PreFab Player since 1994. For this OS X product, PreFab joined forces with well-known AppleScript and Cocoa guru Bill Cheeseman to bring you a utility that makes GUI Scripting easy."
10:03:41 PM  Permalink  comment []

What's the difference between crime and protest? Don't ask Martin Scorsese. [OpinionJournal]
10:01:28 PM  Permalink  comment []

M.I.T. Studies Accusations of Lies and Cover-Up of Flaws in Antimissile System. The university is looking into accusations that its premier laboratory covered up problems with the technology at the heart of the administration's proposed antimissile defense system. By William J. Broad. [New York Times: Science]
9:59:16 PM  Permalink  comment []

The 700 Club -- the Fourth Actor in the Axis of Evil?. According to a new report by European counter-terrorism authorities, Pat Robertson's diamonds n' gold investment buddy and brutal Liberian dictator Charles Taylor harbored key al-Qaeda operatives for months after September 11 in exchange for a payment of $1 million. The report also states that Taylor has been hiding al-Qaeda assets in diamonds and precious gems since 1998, an arrangement that... [No War Blog]
8:01:55 PM  Permalink  comment []

Pepy's Diary

Pepys' diary as blog. Phil Gyford's taken the Project Gutenberg edition of Samuel Pepy's diary, and converted it into a blog - new entries every day from Jan 1st. It comes complete with space for annotations, and trackbacks, and has an RSS Feed with the complete entry inside. [Boing Boing] 

Now this is cool, and I've subscribed to the RSS feed. I read some chunks of Pepy's diary in school, but not a lot of it. There's been a lot of press about Pepys lately because of the new biography of him that's out. I hope this blog is unexpurgaated. I'

7:53:33 PM  Permalink  comment []

Agile Databases

Evolutionary Database Design.
Martin Fowler: Evolutionary Database Design. "Over the last few years we've developed a number of techniques that allow a database design to evolve as an application develops. This is a very important capability for agile methodologies. The techniques rely on applying continuous integration and automated refactoring to database development, together with a close collaboration between DBAs and application developers. The techniques work in both pre-production and released systems." * [Archipelago]
Very interesting piece, though it's a little abstract. I'd like to see some more concrete discussion of how the different database instances are maintained. Also, he pretty much punts on the issue of production databases that can't be brought down to have changes integrated into them. Still, a really good piece that points a way.
7:39:19 PM  Permalink  comment []

Bring Back the Draft. I believe that if we are going to send our children to war, the governing principle must be that of shared sacrifice. By Charles B. Rangel. [New York Times: Opinion]

I agree. Though I have kids of draft age, it's best for society that the military is composed of as wide a sampling of society as possible. Of course, the privileged will always find a way to get out of it. But at a time when the privileged are talking again about sending the underprivileged across the world to fight, we need to spread the responsibility around.

4:32:07 PM  Permalink  comment []

2002: The year in space and astronomy [New Scientist]
4:24:50 PM  Permalink  comment []

A new book from J.R.R. Tolkien [The Vanguard Science Fiction Report]

It's a translation of Beowulf and commentary on it.

4:19:48 PM  Permalink  comment []

More Than Good Intentions: Holding Fast to Faith in Free Will. From the author of "Rational Mysticism," a look at the notion of free will and whether it, as well as the concept of self, is a myth. By John Horgan. [New York Times: Science]
4:18:14 PM  Permalink  comment []

Morons in the News: Top 10 Most Moronic Stories of 2002. As we bid good-riddance to 2002, we look back on the 10 stupidest stories of one of the stupidest years yet... [Morons Dot Org]

We'll save you the suspense:

By far the stupidest thing to happen in 2002, as voted by our readers by their comments and votes, was the arrest and expulsion of students who peacefully protested Bush's speech at their graduation. Former president Bill Clinton had also spoken at Ohio State University's commencement, and endured what most of us would expect at a college graduation attended by a president- heckling and/or protest. And that's a healthy thing. Our leaders ought to expect to be criticized and opposed. That's what free societies are about. But now there's a "war on terror" and everyone has to be "patriotic." In other words, don't express any criticism of the president. At the commencement in question, a small group of students quietly turned their backs on the president. For their act of terrorism, these students were escorted away from their graduation by the Secret Service and threatened with expulsion by the school.

4:06:36 PM  Permalink  comment []

On Talk of the Nation, Bruce Sterling just commented that our attitude towards the new year should be one of "cheerful fortitude: be prepared to suffer but keep your chin up." Interesting, and a pretty hopeful statement. It's easy to be alarmed, and to dwell on the things that are going wrong. But there are a lot of good people working to make things right, and I need to remember that. I need to remember to get out this weekend and pick up Sterling's new book, too.

11:42:04 AM  Permalink  comment []

"2002 media follies: The most overhyped and underreported stories of the year". [Adam Curry: Adam Curry's Weblog]
10:37:26 AM  Permalink  comment []

Number of Uninsured US Children Falls. Yahoo Headlines - The number of children without health insurance continued to fall in the first half of 2002, the government reported Tuesday, although 7.2 million children remain uninsured.
Number of uninsured kids declines MSNBC
United Healthcare to make Medicare PPO available here St. Louis Business Journal
WCVB-TV - WCCO - News 8 Austin - WHAG-TV - and 64 related » [Google Health News]

Now there's some good news, though you really have to look closely in the story to see the good news. "Only" 7.2 million children are uninsured! But at least it's trending down. Why has it gone down?

 Among all races, the number of uninsured children has dropped significantly since 1997, when the State Children's Health Insurance Program was created. The program is aimed at families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to buy insurance on their own.

Enrollment in the program, known as CHIP, reached 3.8 million early this year, an increase of 22 percent over 2001.... CHIP was created during the Clinton administration with bipartisan support in Congress.

But, if the current regime has its way, it's not going to get much better:

 The Bush administration has not supported proposals to expand the program to cover more children or to add parents. Rather, the administration has proposed tax breaks to help people buy insurance in the private market.

Now a tax break is not going to do someone without an income much good!


10:36:00 AM  Permalink  comment []

Temperatures Are Likely to Go From Warm to Warmer: "Climate experts say global temperatures in 2003 could match or beat the modern record set in 1998, when temperatures were raised sharply by El Niño, a periodic disturbance of Pacific Ocean currents that warms the atmosphere."
10:27:00 AM  Permalink  comment []

It's Hard to Make Predictions, Especially About the Future

As I write, Paul Saffo is talking on KQED radio, saying, among other things, that we're entering an age of a "sensor revolution," when cheap sensors, that can announce their presence to radios, will be implanted in lots of things. Fascinating stuff.

In  a very different but related vein, here's an amusing piece about the so-called predictions from the tabloid press about what would happen in 2002.

10:20:26 AM  Permalink  comment []

I'll Never Get Out of this World Alive

50 years ago today, the incomparable Hank Williams died for our sins.
9:53:08 AM  Permalink  comment []

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