Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Announcing My Other Blog

I recently started another blog for ontology and information management topics. Please check it out here.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Thunderbird vs. Yahoo Groups

There are two styles for replying to an email message: respond-below and respond-above. Yahoo Groups makes the respond-below impossible without what I figured out today.

Since at least the 80's people have replied to emails by responding directly below every point they want to address. I'll call this the respond-below style. Thunderbird, the email client that I use, supports this well, as does Gmail. I still think this is the best way to communicate because everything you type can be in the context of something very specific from another person's email message. It has always been considered proper etiquette to trim out everything you're not addressing from a prior email.

When Microsoft released their Outlook mail client, all of a sudden people started replying to email above the original message, and every other message that came before that, in its entirety. I'll call this the respond-above style. I have never been able to convince Outlook to allow me to use the respond-below style. I've seen many people try to emulate the respond-below style by inserting their text in a different color or preceded by [MyName], but that only works for one level of reply and quickly turns into a mess. Why Microsoft won't support the reply-below style is beyond me.

Yahoo Groups works well for the respond-above style, but it doesn't work at all for the respond-below style. They add extra links to the bottom and a side-bar on the right of every email anyone sends, assuming you view your messages in HTML. The problem is that they use a CSS style element that causes anything you intersperse with the original message to show up in the right-hand margin!

For some reason, Thunderbird does not allow you to edit the HTML when you are composing a message, so I've never been able to figure out what the problem was. I would select everything, paste it as plain text, and then insert my reply, but that didn't work very well when the original text was more than a short sentence. When I pasted a longer paragraph as text, only the first word would have a '> ' quotation indicator.

With the help of a Thunderbird add-on called Stationery, I was able to view the source of a message I was replying to and play with the HTML until I figured out the culprit. It turns out there is a "div" element that uses a "float: left;" style. It looks like this:

<div id="ygrp-msg" style="margin: 0pt; padding: 0pt 25px 0pt 0pt; width: 470px; float: left; z-index: 1;">

That's what makes everything I type move to the right!

Now that I know what to look for, I can go into the HTML editor to zap that style and restore the respond-below style of replying to working order!

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Saturday, July 11, 2009


Painful Integration

I'm not sure I like Simplaris. It doesn't post to my wall as I thought it would. It does allow me to post to my wall manually, but it's a pain. I have to manually "blogcast", then go to Facebook to click on an orange icon beneath the "What's on your mind?" sharing doodad. I think it's easier to use a "share on facebook" bookmarklet.

I'm disappointed...

Does anyone know of something better?

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Blog to Facebook Integration

I just found a way to integrate my blog with Facebook. Now I can share links and thoughts with more than just my friends on Facebook!

The name of the application is Simplaris Blogcast. What it does is read an ATOM feed from my blog and post entries from it to Facebook. Not only will it post to my Facebook wall, it will also post to a box on my info and / or profile pages. I can configure it so it will automatically post, or so I can select which blog entries to post. For now I've chosen the latter.

You could use someone else's blog feed if you want, but if people don't like the blog you choose, you might get blocked from your friends' walls!

or RSS feed for people who don't know any better--but now you do!

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009


FirefoxOS Redux

Woohoo! What I predicted back in July 2006 may be coming true! My original blog entry says:

I think Firefox is well positioned to provide this functionality, and that it may very well become a next-generation operating system.

Think about it. Firefox provides access to your keyboard, screen, files, network connections, and high-level Web content through an abstraction layer on top of heterogeneous operating systems (i.e., Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux). I want to use that abstraction layer from programs!

The article I just read says:

some inside Redmond's walls argue that the Web browser needs to start acting more like an operating system

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007


The Education Cartel

I was reflecting on my last blog entry when I realized that oligopoly isn't quite the right word to use. There are probably thousands of colleges and universities in the United States.

So what is the word representing the concept in my mind? I did a search on "education cartel" and found a lot of web pages! That was kind of exhilarating. Other people in the world have had similar thoughts! I'm not alone!

I just read through one that I thought looked interesting, called The Coming Breakdown of the Academic Cartel. Here's a quote:

In higher education, government-enforced accreditation restricts the spread of new ideas, new methodologies, and above all, new technologies that enable producers to lower prices. This is how higher education has become uniformly secular, liberal, and mediocre: raising the cost of entry.

I have a lot of reading to do!

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007



[I wrote this for another purpose and didn't want to lose it. I think this version is a little more readable.]

I have a theory that the desire of business (especially government-related business) and government (especially the military) to have an undifferentiated commodity of cheaper, plug-and-play people who do as they're told fuel much of the higher-education system.

Creating such a commodity gives employers an advantage over employees. It allows employers to carve out roles, responsibilities, qualifications, and salaries to their liking and create replaceable cogs in their machines, as it were. (Although, when a company needs innovative advantage over its competition, replaceable cogs work poorly.)

Creating such a commodity also causes tuition rates to skyrocket. The (sometimes artificial) qualification requirements create an overwhelming demand for an inefficient education oligopoly. With parents having to pay out-of-control tuition rates and with information so much more accessible than ever before in history, I'm surprised they are not demanding an alternative.

Having an alternative would give more kids a chance at a good career, which would be better for society overall and would provide companies with more access to smart, creative, and hard-working people who can contribute much-needed innovation.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


6 Days of Routeful Bliss!

As I explained in an earlier blog entry, I installed DD-WRT on Linksys wireless router hardware.

I just wanted to say that I have not had a single problem with this setup in 6 days! I cannot recommend this setup enough.

I think I will make a PayPal donation to the guy that keeps DD-WRT going, but the PayPal site he links to is in German. Does anyone know how to donate in US Dollars?

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