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Mozilla, baby!

antville.org
 Wednesday, 21. March 2001 

I guess the messages coming from me the last two days were a bit confusing, even more so with the funny images strewn in. Here's a bit of context and background information.

First, after three months of very intense (and rewarding) Hop development, I find I've neglected everything else I should have been doing, from paying my taxes to minding professional relationships outside the inner Hop circle to leading a private life. So instead of getting back into routine mode, I've been thinking about this and talking about it with friends for the last few days.

My current view on it is that there's three roots for this problem: an organizational one, a technical one, and a personal one.

The organizational side has a lot to do with the history of the Hop, which started as a personal skunkworks project. Later on it was picked up by the folks at ORF ON when their prior app server vendor decided to call it quits, but the real background of the decision were the confidence and enthusiasm to build something cool and useful. Related to this is the decision to open source the Hop very early before people higher up would "start to care" about it. So the Hop still is (and will be for a long time) on that road from a skunkworks project to an official one, and that's not always a smooth road. The current bump in the way will hopefully lead to some organizational improvements which should get administrative stuff off me and add manpower to the project. Nothing spectacular, and the details still need to be worked out.

On the technical side, the Hop still ain't good enough for me. See, the Hop's one and only purpose is to make web development easy for me and everybody else who wants to use it. But time and again, when I start to build a Hop application, I find something that I could fix or add inside the Hop to make that task as easy as I think it should be. Of course, that's a highly personal experience, because I don't want to spend more than 2% of my time writing Hop applications (while others do it as their main job), and I'm in a position to actually fix stuff inside the Hop. The good thing is that the gap between my requirements and Hop reality has been closing consistently, and we did some brainstorming yesterday that promises to close it even further.

The personal side of the problem is that I happen to be somewhere on the border between persistent and obsessive, but I won't talk too much about that here and now -- you know, it's personal. :-)

lnk + 3 cmt (chris, mkt, hns)
 Tuesday, 20. March 2001 

Auch in Berlin war Claudia Klinger, allerdings nicht wie ich zum ersten mal.

Reorg reorg reorg! So geht's nicht weiter. Mehr dazu wenn klar ist, was passiert.

Update: Ich und ORF on sind uns einig über die grundlegende Richtung, in die wir die Situation verbessern können. Heute nachmittag besprechen wir die Details.

To all interested and waiting parties: I'm sorry that I'm not answering emails and phone calls, paying taxes, giving you interviews and press material, releasing the newest version of XML-RPC or Hop etc. I hope this will soon change. Thanks for your patience.

Primzahl entschlüsselt DVDs: "Schreibt man sie [die Primzahl] in hexadezimaler Form (also zur Basis 16) und schickt diese Zeichenkette durch den Entpacker gunzip, erscheint der C-Code der DVD-Entschlüsselungsroutinen DeCSS." Die Sache hat einen kleinen Schönheitsfehler: die Tatsache, dass es sich um eine Primzahl handelt, ist völlig nebensächlich. Jede Zahl mit den selben 563 leading bytes (inklusive der ersten 563 bytes themselves) enthält die selbe "Botschaft". Und die Existenz vieler illegaler Zahlen ist für mich erstaunlicher als die Tatsache, dass manche davon Primzahlen sind. Ich weiss, ich hab Primzahlen nie ganz durchschaut, aber dieses Phänomen beruht lediglich auf der mittlerweile wohlbekannten Tatsache, dass Computer Informationen als Zahlen darstellen. Aber was tut man nicht alles für den what-the-fuck-factor und den guten Zweck.

Warum scheinen manche Leute ein befriedigendes Sozial- und Liebesleben zu führen? It seems so unfair, wie Morrisey zu singen pflegte. Vielleicht liegt der Schlüssel in diesen komischen Textdekorationen.

Heute gibt's ein paar mehr oder weniger zufällig ausgewählte selbsreferentielle Bilder. Da haben wir mal die roten Pensionistenschuhe, die ich in Berlin gekauft habe, den Fernseher, den ich vor ein paar Wochen auf der Strasse gefunden habe (henso-Leser der ersten Stunde erinnern sich), und schließlich den Blick aus meinem Fenster mit und ohne Sonne.

For great justice! Me made a psychadelic picture!

lnk + 3 cmt (p3k, hns)
 Monday, 19. March 2001 

"Tiipical!"

Crossed paths with Vilém Flusser again in a bookstore in Berlin Kreuzberg. Flusser lived in Meran for a few months while I was a little baby there. He died in a car accident near the czech-german border in 1991.

If you feel not at ease with the Internet world you're living in (as I often do), you should probably read Flusser. He's got it all explained. It's the world's fault, not yours, and understanding that will make you feel better. (That's just the first step of course.)

I'll post some pictures from Praha and Berlin as soon as I find a slot for my memory schtick. OK, I've got the schtick adapter now, but I'm brutally reminded that the henso.com app still lacks a feature to upload images. So I'll just manually post the ... err ... most disturbing one. This is a semi-naked waitress in an otherwise normal (or so we thought) czech pub near Palac Akropolis, where both the Low and the Melvins concerts took place (a beautiful location, by the way). We thought we were in some hidden camera scam or that maybe she had lost a bet, but nobody except us seemed to suffer culture shock or even take notice. The food was very good, however. A note to the Euroranch travel group: This is the same place where we tried to get something to eat after the Low concert but were kicked out because it was too late or whatever.

OK, while I'm at it I'll post some more pics to re-establish the reputation of Prague among Henso reading population. First, there's Kavarna Slavia, the nicest cafe I've ever been to. If you visit Prague you must check out the Slavia (sorry Euroranchers, I discovered this only after your departure). It's a few meters above street level, very spacy and bright, and features ultracool 1900 style hardware and huge windows with great views on the river. (I guess the picture sucks, because it doesn't really convey any of this. It just shows people. Here's another one with a different set of people.) According to some travel guides, Franz Kafka, Max Brod and Vaclav Havel hung out at the Slavia to write, plot the fall of the government, or woo their future wife Olga. In fact they would have been stupid if they hadn't. We used it for breakfast and general purpose slacking. Finally, check out this beautiful TV tower they have, glowing in the evening sun. Here's a random street shot and some Praha subway impressions to round it off. Well, looks like I didn't need the picture upload facility after all :-)

What's up in Hop-Land? Nothing. Not even a Posting to the mailing list since last sunday. Wossup? Is everybody dead or on vacation or just plain happy with the way it is? Chris writes it's the latter: "wenn du mehr traffic willst, bau mehr probleme in den hop ein." Can't argue with that :-)

Still, things are not all that rosy. I feel there's no way I can go back to the old routine of leading the whole project without loosing my health. So there's a real need for somebody to step up and take over some of the responsability and work. If that won't happen, I'll be happy to go back to leading a "normal" life - it's not that bad, as I found out last week. This is not a threat, it's just an option that I didn't see (or accept) until now.

Phil Greenspun has left ArsDigita. Via Langreiter.com.

Fuzo: Selbstmorde nach Mobbing bei der Telekom

lnk + 3 cmt (chris, katatonik, chronistin)
 Monday, 12. March 2001 

Hey you shitty gift, get off my leg! (Just one of the good things coming in via Boing Boing.)

All Your Brand Are Belong to Us (This page looks funny in Netscape 4, but I like it!)

Marlene Streeruwitz: Feminismus als Krücke?

Naja, Kante. Perfekter Sound, aber nicht wirklich mitreissend. Die Lichtshow fand ich aber ok.

Wie das Konzert gestern anfing fiel mir ein, dass sie damals vor Jahren die Bühne fluchtartig und ohne Zugabe verlassen haben, weil entweder mit dem Publikum oder dem Sound (oder beidem) was nicht gestimmt hatte. Das hat mir damals gefallen. Heute sind sie meilenweit von solchen Unprofessionalitäten entfernt. Schade, aber was will man machen.

Jetzt bin ich bald dahin. Ich hasse wegfahren! Zum Beispiel das vorher-alle-Rechnungen-Zahlen, obwohl ich die meisten sowieso nicht zahlen würde, wenn ich die Woche hier bliebe. Naja, bis auf die eine von der Sozialversicherung, wo irgendwas von einer Exekution draufsteht vielleicht 8-/

lnk + 2 cmt (chronistin, chra)
 Sunday, 11. March 2001 

Piercing, a cartoon by David Gaddis. Wicked!

R&S Erections is a nice design site. R&S stands for Ralph and Sarah, we soon learn. Hey, they also have a few of those powered-by-Blogger pages! Well worth checking out.

Another "Hey!": Sulake, the finnish company that makes Mobiles Disco and Habbo Hotel, is giving away the multiuser chat server behind it all as free GNU software. It's thought as a replacement for Macromedia's proprietary Shockwave server.

This reminds me that I have the skeleton for a pretty scalable chat server sitting around on my hard disk, catching dust. It uses the Non-blocking I/O library written by Matt Welsh at UC Berkeley and scales well to thousands of busy connections on an average PC running Linux (around 10 times more than current commercial products costing #0.000 $), and it can be integrated in the Hop seamlessly. Now what to do with it? Open source it? Search venture capital? Or just let it rot? Serious advice is welcome.

lnk + 2 cmt (chris, olex)
 Saturday, 10. March 2001 

The Register: "We were interested to learn that Apple's original patent application [covering desktop themes] was made a mere eight days after well-established UI enhancements-oriented Web site Themes.org was launched, on 25 April 1998."

Kante brings spring. A few years ago I saw Kante at TU-Club, and I've been sold on them ever since. I don't know their new album yet except for a few tracks, but their music used to be very sober and intimate at the same time. That combination first struck my adolescent rowdy south-tyrolean self when listening to Suzanne Vega's first album at age 14 or 15. Plus, with Kante it's Rockmusik - real drums and stuff. Now I heard that a friend of ours already got us tickets for the Kante show in Berlin, but I think I'll have to check them out tomorrow here in Vienna already. (No, seriously, this time I mean it!)

Clay Shirky: View Source... Lessons from the Web's massively parallel development

A more recent article by Shirky that gets me thinking. Once I said that P2P had been invented primarilly as a copyright prevention scheme. I now think that I was wrong, and that the big motivator behind P2P is IT department prevention. IT department prevention really means the same as decentralization, but it's a much better term, because it explains what's really going on: "You Hate the IT department, and They Hate You Right Back." Maybe the reason I didn't get this until now is that I used to be my own IT department for so long.

*LOL* (seen somewhere at AmIAllYourBaseOrNot)

lnk ~ cmt
 Friday, 9. March 2001 

1 2 3 testing. Sometimes you're allowed to write stuff like that when you not only write the text, but also the text that handles the text.

Another day of bug fixes. It's strange to work on braindead code that you wrote 2 years ago.

The funny thing about software is that you never ever stop finding bugs. So, to some extent, it's true that old software usually means better software. That's what Joel Spolsky meant when he wrote that throwing away its old Netscape code and starting from scratch was the biggest mistake the Mozilla project could have made. Joel's writing is required reading if you even have the slightest interest in how software and software development work.

On the other hand, Mozilla is itself coming of age, and the recent snapshots have brought huge improvements. They're now three releases away from 1.0, which should equal to roughly 3 months. I'm using the current 0.8 snapshot a lot on my Macintosh at home, and I find it very usable already, especially compared to the not so glorious other browsing options on Mac.

In other news, Robert and me today agreed to set the release date for Hop to April 1. If everything goes well we'll "officially" announce this next week.

lnk + 3 cmt (olex, hns, grob)

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