Recently, in the Technology category…

Angelika Theater filled with programmers On Wednesday we went down to Dallas to attend the OnAIR Bus Tour. We were on something of a tour ourselves, having first driven to Graham, TX for a meeting with a potential client, then to Dallas, then home, all in the same day.

Adobe puts on quite a show. They rented out a movie theater for the day, much to the dismay of all the people who came by wanting to watch a movie. They had plenty of free food, drink, games, etc. It’s pretty cool to walk up to a movie concession counter and have your choice of anything you want, for free.

The sessions were good, too. They walked us through what the Adobe Integrated Runtime is, what you can do with it, and how to get started using it. It’s a pretty interesting runtime. Nobody’s going to decide to build an AIR app instead of a web app, but I can see two scenarios where it would be the way to go:

  1. For web developers/designers who want to use their existing skills to build desktop apps.

  2. For creating widgets to supplement the functionality of an existing site.

And in fact, I’ve already got a few ideas that fall squarely in the second category. I think I’ll play with it and see what I can come up with. Maybe AIR will be useful, maybe it won’t. Regardless, we had a fun (albeit exhausting) evening with the OnAIR folks.

This is a test of the Google Toolbar AutoLink System. This test is meant to calm down web designers who have become hysterical over the thought of their precious content being modified and displayed by your web browser — which is exactly what a web browser is supposed to do.

This is only a test.
Unlinked ISBN: 0066214122
Linked ISBN: 0066214122
Unlinked Address: 5801 N May Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73112
Linked Address: 5801 N May Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73112

Now, install the silly toolbar, come back here, and find out for yourself.

My results: AutoLinks are visually different from regular links. Unless, of course, you just happened to have highlighted your links with the exact same soft blue color Google does. Which, naturally, they should have expected. You also get a large tooltip pop up when you hover over the links.

In the FireFox version, the linked ISBN was changed to look like an AutoLink, but the link itself was not altered in any way and my affiliate ID was passed to Amazon intact. The highlighting of the regular link must be a bug, because the same thing does not happen in Internet Explorer. In IE, already-linked ISBNs and addresses are not changed to AutoLinks.

I did this because the furor over the Google Toolbar had once again erupted on a mailing list I’m on. The two main complaints were that the Toolbar changes links you already have on your page and there is no way to tell the difference between links and AutoLinks. I was pretty sure neither of those were true, but it seemed like a good idea to try the silly thing before making any statements about it. I’m fairly certain I’m the first person on a mailing list to ever do that.

The next time someone starts going on about what the Google Toolbar does or does not do, please kindly direct them here. You might also suggest that they refrain from knocking something until such time as they have tried it.

Smart Goat is now a card-carrying member of the EFF.

And we will continue to be for as long as it takes.

This week, the Supreme Court ruled in the MGM vs. Grokster case. SCOTUS decided that P2P file sharing networks could be held responsible for the copyright violations of their users if the networks were found, “… promoting its use to infringe copyright…”

We keep it real, hold steel, grab ya sword and ya shield
Terrorist and 9th Prince it’s either kill or be killed
9th Prince, Kill or be Killed

This puts a huge burden on all technology companies. Basically, they either have to comply with the demands of the major media conglomerates or risk their every action being interpreted as inducing and get buried by lawsuits.

If your thing is gone and you wanna ride on; cocaine.
Don’t forget this fact, you can’t get it back; cocaine.
She don’t lie, she don’t lie, she don’t lie; cocaine.
Eric Clapton, Cocaine

Perhaps I missed something, but when did we promise the recording industry a rose garden? Who decided that maintaining their business model was more important than innovation? When did we agree to stop moving forward so that media companies wouldn’t have to change with the times? And, to whoever did agree to all this, I have to ask — What are you, an idiot?

If not from the records, from jackin the crops
Just like burglary, the definition is ‘jackin’
And when illegally armed it’s called ‘packin’
N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton

Some say this ruling could have been a lot worse, and they’re right. SCOTUS didn’t make file sharing illegal. Instead, they decided that file sharing companies could be held accountable for inducing their customers to break the law. I don’t agree with it, but I suppose it’s fair. After all, we wouldn’t let any other industry get away with encouraging illegal acts, would we?

I’ve been caught stealing;
Once when i was 5…
I enjoy stealing.
It’s just as simple as that.
Well, it’s just a simple fact.
When i want something,
I don’t want to pay for it.
Jane’s Addiction, Been Caught Stealing

My land line is dead today. Here are the sequence of events that have led to this:

  1. I called Cox Communications about two weeks ago to switch my land line to their service. They said ok, and scheduled a technician to come out and install it in about a week.
  2. A couple of days after that, my phone goes dead. Fearing SBC had gotten the order to turn off my service with them too soon, I called them. SBC sent out a technician, who found the line was bad and strung a new one. Unfortunately, he connected it to my neighbor’s line, so for a few hours I had their phone number. Another technician came out and fixed that, and said someone would be out in a few days to bury the line.
  3. As scheduled, a Cox technician came and installed my new phone service through them. He showed me exactly what he did, and was able to fix a problem that was caused by our inside wiring. He also had to run a new wire, and scheduled someone to come bury it in a couple of weeks.
  4. Today, two guys from SBC show up to bury their line. When they finished, I had no dial tone. One of them specifically asked, “Your phone is with Cox, isn’t it?” To which I responded yes, it is. They couldn’t fix it, so they said a SBC technician would be coming to fix it.

After they left, I went out to take a look. It took me about ten seconds to see what the problem was: Not only had they buried the SBC line, but they had wired it back into my home phone system, thus disconnecting me from my Cox phone connection.

This is not the first time we’ve had problems with SBC. I used to have to pay them to screw up my phone service, now they do it for free.

Once this is fixed, if SBC ever knocks on my door again, I’m releasing the hounds.