Shady character

I think David Caruso signed on for “CSI: Miami” simply because he can wear sunglasses in every episode. If the show were “CSI: Seattle”, he wouldn’t have even considered it.

Free when free

I play more freely when I know I’m not getting paid for a gig. I figure that since we aren’t being paid in return for a specific thing, I can play however the hell I want. Sadly, as many musicians know, the gigs that often pay the best (weddings, banquets) are those that restrict you to playing in the background. You can’t open up and stretch out. As much as I like getting $$, there is something to be said for having the chance to play with abandon.

GNOME Storage

A recent Slashdot headline described a new filesystem/UI concept by Seth Nickell, GNOME Storage. Having looked at the screenshots and read the PDF describing the reasoning behind the project, I am very hopeful that such a system will be embraced by the GNOME community and other operating systems (ahem, OS X).

As more and more information moves online, particularly media, organizing and locating this information becomes almost linearly more difficult. Many users forget where they save and what they name their files. Most people can remember what was in a file they are looking for – this is most applicable to text documents. For either audio or video, most people can remember at least a few facts about a given item: an actor’s name, the year it came out, who the bass player was, a lyric or snippet of dialogue, etc. This information is meta-data. This would make a system like Storage useful.

The problem: how does the meta-data get there? At some point along the road, someone somewhere has to input this information.

For certain types of media it could be input once into a world-accessible database such as FreeDB.org or IMDB.com. While most people realize the utility of this information, they do not want to have to enter it manually. This puts the burden of meta-data input/creation on the content providers. This is fair and logical, as the customer/consumer is (in a law-abiding world) providing money in exchange for a product. This data is also useful to content providers, so there is no reason not to expect them to add it.

For the content of individuals, meta-data entry is a bit more problematic. How do you get a person to add valuable contextual information to a document, every time they create one? Ideally, the information that would be added to this individually generated content could be automatically drawn from data stores on their computer. Access by programs to this information should be tightly controlled BY THE USER, preventing spyware from transmitting your social security number to some shady character.

In a perfect world, I should be able to use a Storage like interface to instantly display all image files sent to me by Joe Smith in December of last year. The system would use the catalog of meta-data to locate all images that were attached to emails from joe@smith.com dated December 1 to December 31, 2002.

Red light on?

Should the 1.0 version (or later) of iChat AV include the ability to record voice and video chats? There are privacy issues, but at least by using a built-in solution, they could be accommodated. Apple could simply allow users to specify if a particular buddy could always, with authorization per instance, or never record their exchanges. Being able to apply different settings to voice and video would be nice.

As far as I know, there is a law requiring that parties be notified when telephone conversations are recorded – would this apply to VoIP?

Done!

Sort of.

I am happy to say that we have posted my friend Brian’s updated site. Brian is a very talented pianist/songwriter/singer (that is the order I encountered his talents in) who has been a good friend and musical collaborator of mine. If you are into piano-based indie rock, you’ll probably enjoy his music. I play drums on a few tracks.

While it isn’t going to win a place at the CSS Zen Garden, it is a 100% XHTML 1.0 Strict/CSS site. I will attempt to get it to render properly in IE6, but that browser is such a broken piece of shit compared to browsers such as Mozilla, Opera, and Safari. CSS-D, here I come . . .

Grass rooting

I came across something I’ve never seen before: a web badge (of the sort used for indicating W3C standard compliance) for a political candidate.

As far as I know, this is a new approach to grassroots, personal political advocacy. I don’t recall having seen this during Indecision 2000.

Sooper dooper!

The current rumor around Mac sites is that Viginia Tech has ordered 1,100 Dual 2.0Ghz G5 machines with gobs of RAM for a supercomputing cluster. Interesting.

This may well be tied to the recently announced delay in the shipping of those machines – Apple recognizes the value of quickly filling this order, for reasons both financial and otherwise.

First, this would obviously amount to a large chunk of change for Apple. While they have not been in as sorry a state as many computer manufacturers, they could definitely use this to improve their financial standings come the end of the quarter.

Second, if this would indeed rank in the top five for supercomputers, it would be a good marketing opportunity for Apple. To my knowledge, their systems have never been used in a supercomputer that ranked anywhere near that high. This might also help Apple with corporate customers, showing scalability and ease of deployment.

Personally, I am somewhat surprised that VT would use these systems rather than waiting for the (to my mind) inevitable announcement of PPC970-based Xserves.