December 29, 2003

With all this Atom talk going on, I made a button for the Atom feed.

Posted by michael at 11:32 PM
The future of Style

At work, one of the things I'm working on is a better way for information to flow to people. Since the one thing I know they will have always running is their email client, we've developed a solution that uses RSS feeds and an aggregator that runs inside the email client.

This seems to work well and I'm pushing for more advancement in this area.

I was playing around with the new Atom feed and started wondering why it displayed the way it did. I talked with Yoshi at work and he and I looked at the XML a bit. I asked why the stylesheet wasn't referenced. After thinking a bit, he explained that the style information was an attribute of just one type of content that could be syndicated via Atom. To call it out specifically was wrong since it didn't apply to all types of content. He said there must be a way to point at the CSS in another way, but he hadn't looked at the Atom spec much.

We looked at the Joi Ito post about including CSS info in a RSS feed. We weren't sure if this was a 'good thing'.

A bit later Yoshi emailed me the following:

After some research, it appears that this approach is invalid. I quote:

"This element defines a link. Unlike A, it may only appear in the HEAD section of a document, although it may appear any number of times. Although LINK has no content, it conveys relationship information that may be rendered by user agents in a variety of ways (e.g., a tool-bar with a drop-down menu of links)."

When I got home, I logged onto #joiito and started asking a few questions. I was soundly beaten up for suggesting that CSS and syndication even belonged in the same sentence. I argued that the layout and design of information was important. Mark Pilgrim, who's opinion I respect, pointed me to his thoughts about Styles in syndication. He's against it. I understand his reasoning, but I think the need remains. He suggested that style attributes be used instead of full CSS.

After putting the kids to bed, talking to the wife, and watching and episode of Angels in America with her, I headed back online.

In the mean time, Joi's post went white hot with comments on the topic and Mamamusings made a great post about the topic. Anil Dash, always one step ahead, was mentioning this a year ago.

It appears that I stumbled onto the issue just as it is 'being revisited'.

People on both sides make valid points. It's good to be surrounded byt smart people.

My take is simple. For syndication to be truly successful, there must be a good way for style information to travel with the syndicated content.

The need for style info is more than wanting blue text instead of black text. For Atom to be more than a weblog tool and really shine as an information transfer platform, it needs to be capable of fufilling a range of needs beyond text & links. IMHO, Jason Shellen has a good proposal.

Posted by michael at 10:30 PM
Let's get this straight

Proper usage rules about weblog and blogging terms:

A weblog is the online, regularly updated presence of a person or group. Do not use 'blog'.

A blogger is a person who authors the weblog. Do not use 'webblogger'.

Blogging is what a blogger does when actively authoring for their weblog. Do not use 'webblogging'.

The totality of weblogs and weblogs as a community is known as the Blogosphere.

Ignore this information at your own peril.

Posted by michael at 03:04 PM
December 25, 2003
Merry Christmas

A merry Christmas to all loyal Cruft readers!

Santa visited our house last night! It must be the girls are on the nice list.

Posted by michael at 09:45 AM
December 23, 2003
Why bloggers blog

Several people have been talking about why they blog and what they need to reveal or hide. Both Joi and Casey have been discussing it.

After a bit of thought, blogging is really about one thing and one thing only. Getting recognition. To those of us down with Transactional Analysis, it's all about the warm fuzzies.

People crave attention and praise more than anything else in life. More than money or possessions.

Bloggers love comments. Bloggers love getting side emails. Bloggers love Trackbacks and links to their weblogs.

Sure, there are some people (like me) that have the secondary goal of spreading some information or knowledge around, but the primary goal remains getting attention.

Let's be honest here folks. Bloggers will change their weblog in the direction that gets them more eyeballs, clicks, links, and comments.

The difficulty is riding the line between what people want to know and what will cause you more trouble in life.

Feel free to disagree, I love the comments. :)

Posted by michael at 01:46 PM

Testing the upgrade to MT 2.65

Cruftbox now has Atom 0.3 support.

Posted by michael at 07:45 AM
December 20, 2003

Today, my inbox recieved a strange email.

The email was identified as a virus, W32.Mimail.M@mm to be exact.

I looked at the text of the message and it began with, "No one in bed is better than you Gollum."

Wowsa. A combo virus attack and LotR slash fiction all in one. A true sign of the apocalypse.

Posted by michael at 08:31 AM
December 19, 2003
Interesting Poll

The American Family Association is taking a poll on whether gay people should be allowed to marry. (via MeFi)

Let's make sure they get a wide sample of citizens viewpoints.

Posted by michael at 12:13 AM
December 16, 2003

Last week I finished Quicksilver and it has taken me a week to decide what I thought about the book.

The book is not science fiction, it is historical fiction taking place in the period after the English Civil War up until the start of the 18th century, encompassing the European Wars and scientific innovation of the time.

On one level the book is good historical fiction with great characters and good story telling. But what I was looking for was the deeper ideas of the novel. In Stephenson's other novels, there is an underlying idea (or ideas) that is being presented. In the Diamond Age, the importance of education is stressed. In Cryptonomicon, the importance of secrecy is stressed.

It took me a week to figure out what Stephenson was getting at in the book. I read several reviews, including a good one from Slashdot, and tried to find someone else I knew that had read it.

Key to the story are two main concepts, the role of religious fundamentalism and the role of scientific innovation. Much of the English Civil War was based on the concepts of gathered churches vs. established churches. The debate over the 'Purity' of the Church left the realm of discussion and lead to open warfare.

The second concept of scientific innovation or as it known in the book as Natural Philosophy. At this point in history, science and the scientific method was finally taking hold and groups like the Royal Society were forming to combine individual efforts into greater projects. Change was occurring rapidly and causing change in the marketplace and the battlefield. The world was changing faster than it had in hundreds of years and the it appeared to have no end in sight.

Now consider the world of the early 21st century. Religious disagreement and fundamentalist thought has broken out into worldwide violence after a period of relative calm since WWII. Science and the daily use of technology is ramping up logarithmically. There appears to be no end in sight for new innovations pouring out of the scientific minds in the world. From genetics to computers to aerospace to media, what we take for granted today was almost unimaginable 30 years ago.

I think this is the point Stephenson is trying to make. I believe that he is trying to compare the world of today to what happened in the late 1600s in Europe. Religion and traditional thought in conflict with science, technology and the general idea of change.

A few specific associations. Half Cocked Jack can represent the hard working third world that may not be literate, but is bright, resourceful, and steadfast. The Newton/Leibniz rivalry can represent the struggle between competing technologies for marketplace dominance.

This first book in the Baroque Cycle (trilogy) is setting the stage for what happens in the next two novels. Looking forward to the release of the next book, I can only hope that I am correct and that there is more to Quicksilver than simply a good adventure yarn.

Of course, I could be full of crap and totally missing the point...

Posted by michael at 10:30 PM
December 15, 2003
Widening circles

One of the online areas I lurk in is the Joi Ito IRC channel. I was told that AKMA was coming to Pasadena and asked if I could help him out. AKMA is A. K. M. Adams, he's just called AKMA by everyone. I had heard of AKMA before but had never really chatted with him or even really read his weblog.

We chatted briefly on Sunday night and on Monday morning decided to grab breakfast together. I wasn't sure what to expect. AKMA is a theologian and a priest. I'm an Engineer. Faith & Science. Can the two mix?

Happily, they can. We had a great chat and it was wonderful to expand the circle of my friends. He had eggs and pancakes, I had French Toast, and we both had coffee.

I am not a religious man. I prefer logic, reason, and method over faith and belief. Why? No real reason. I've come to see it simply as the way my mind works and accepts things. The conversation suprised me at the depth of topics within the world of philosphy.

I was content to categorize theology as a simple science of debate over a minutae and other trivial matters while the big picture things were agreed upon. That is not the case. I was interested to see that AKMA had to deal with many of the same issues I deal with in business, that he deals with in religion. Ego, power, control, even branding.

We agreed on that the connectivity of the internet is changing some of the base assumptions about what a community is, how it works, and what a friend is.

Next time, I hope to meet over beers and get an even more lively discussion going.

Posted by michael at 11:34 PM
December 14, 2003
Early Christmas - My wife kicks ass!

Last night I prepared some ribs and some beef jerky (my father's recipe) to smoke today. I had planned to use my homemade smoker.

After reading the paper and eating breakfast, Michele started asking me questions about my plans for the day. I explained how I would have to smoke the meat in two batches. A few minutes later, she told me she wanted to go out to the garage and show me some things she wanted cleaned up.

When we got outside, she acted strange and wandered around the garage a bit rambling about cleaning. Finally she stopped, said "Merry Christmas" and unveiled my present, a smoker.

Eagerly, I opened the box and assembled the unit. It is perfect. The multiple shelves and the easy mehtod of changing the wood chips super. My wife totally rocks for getting this for me. Even better, she gave it to me when I could use it!

Ribs on the top two racks, jerky on the next two.

I wasn't the only one happy with the gift. The girls got the best gift of all, the empty box! It's even better than TV!

Posted by michael at 04:10 PM
December 10, 2003
For the record

For the record, I wanna be Tony Pierce

Not forever, just a couple days to remember the life before I was called 'Dad'.

Tony writes about life like birds fly, effortlessly, leaving the rest of us to simply envy their gift.

If I ever meet Tony in real life, I'm buying him a drink. Check that, I'm gunna buy him lots of drinks.

Posted by michael at 09:26 AM
December 09, 2003

In the past I have enjoyed flipping through the Cyberguys catalog, but now they have outdone themselves. Yesterday I got a catalog in the mail called X-treme Geek. As you might imagine, the catalog is full of truly appealing items. Here are a few items that give you the flavor of the catalog.

ERGOBEADS, EYE PILLOW, BLACK - Relentlessly crushing those foolish enough to oppose your will can lead to tired and puffy eyes. The endless targeting, the blinding flashes of exploding ordnance, the pitiful screaming...can give you a headache. The ergoBeads(tm) Eye Pillow blocks out light, spreading a gentle, soothing weight around your eyes. It can relieve sinus headaches and rejuvenate tired eyes. You'll look and feel refreshed, ready for many more grueling hours of alien destruction, insurgent crushing and general LAN party mayhem.

ELITEMAX ETERNALIGHT, BLUE - eternaLight, the world's first microprocessor controlled LED flashlight, features bright LEDs, encased in a durable and impact resistant case. This flashlight can provide continuous light for over 30 days without charging or replacing batteries. The built-in microprocessor offers a variety of light-effect modes and manages power usage for extended run-time.

DEATH RAIN POTATO CHIPS - Set your tongue and mucous membranes aflame with the hot snack that challenges even the most toughest of palates. Laced with Red Savina Habanero Pepper, these savory and spicy potato chips are big on flavor and are rated at temperatures from 'Medium' to 'XXX hot'.

Who can resist such items?

Posted by michael at 07:58 AM
December 07, 2003
The BeerNeck

Several weeks about, I was watching the Daily Show and on the screen came Curt "The BeerNeck Guy" Silbert talking about his new invention, the BeerNeck.

The BeerNeck is of course, irresistable to me. I am always setting my beer down and forgetting where I put it. I needed the Ultimate Drinking Tool.

I ordered the BeerNeck and forgot about it. Several weeks later, when I was out of town, the BeerNeck arrived in the mail. The same day, Curt Silbert, Chief of, actually called my home to make sure the package had arrived. Michele took the call and said, "He was very, very enthusiastic." Now that's what I call customer service.

Here is the BeerNeck. Note the neoprene case is for insulation.

The cap has an embedded opener for opening the bottle. Ingenious!

The bottle fit in perfectly and it was easy to zip up.

The cap then fits on top of the bottle to prevent spillage while I walked around.

The elastic lanyard is soft and the beer felt comfortable hanging there.
I did a few normal tasks around the house like cooking, taking out the trash, and sitting at the computer.
The BeerNeck never got in the way.

With a quick flip of my thumb to open the top, I was able to partake of cold, tasty beer.

The BeerNeck gets two thumbs up from me. At $10-$12 depending on style, it's worth the money. The style points alone you'll receive at your next BBQ are worth the price.

Posted by michael at 05:30 PM
Ha Ha Ha! USC Sucks!

A happy day around here since USC does not get to go to the Sugar Bowl.

Now if only Michigan smacks USC around in the Rose Bowl, things will be even better.

I just couldn't take a month of SC fans gloating over going to the Sugar Bowl.

In other news, we made gingerbread cookies today.

Posted by michael at 04:58 PM
December 06, 2003
What's with all this then...

Back at the family homestead.

The last night I was in Orlando, I got to ride Mission:Space. We grove up behind the park and walked on stage right at the ride. The ride was amazing. You actually pull 3 Gs when the simulated launch happens. Simply amazing ride.

Today, Michele is off at some Paul Frank clearance sale and I'm with the girls. In a few minutes Mira goes to a birthday party and Zoe and I go shopping.

We've agreed that a Roomba is in order here at Chez Pusateri. They are on sale and I've got a 20% off coupon. Obviously, I'll post about it once the robot is in use.


When I arrived home there was a stack of packages from Amazon on the table. My copy of Golden Transendence has arrived. The end of the trilogy is at hand but I am in the middle of Quicksilver. I'm on page 673 of 916. There ar worst things than be surrounded by good books.

OK, time to go. More later.

Posted by michael at 10:33 AM
December 04, 2003
Working in paradise

Currently, I'm in Orlando for a series of meetings about dry IT topics. We just so happen to also be at Walt Disney World.

As a break in the day, we took a trip to see underneath Disney. After a quick trip on the monorail, we were soon walking down into the Utilidoor beneath the Magic Kingdom. The Utlidoor is the beneath ground aspect of the themepark that allows the cast members to prepare for work out of sight of the guests.

The complex underneath the Magic Kingdom is huge, based on a ring that is around two miles long. Places for people to get costumes, change, eat, rest, and do anything else are all in place. Seeing the rubberheads half out of costume was strange. I don't recommened ever letting a child see it. :)

After the tour, we were back at work pouring over some spreadsheet. One of the guys, Paul, had a Treo 600 and I got to play with it while not paying attention. Here's a selfportrait I took of us sitting around the table.

That's my first camera phone picture. I don't know if I want a Treo 600. It's cool and all, but all I wanted to do was take a picture and make phone calls. The Treo 600 seems like a bit of overkill.

Time for me to get ready to head out to continue work on 'business process mapping' and 'optimization opportunity'. I'm living in Dilbert land.

Posted by michael at 05:02 AM
December 01, 2003

A new group weblog in Los Angeles has been launched today.

Go check out, they are good folks and this should be a good place. Events, news, gossip! Who knows what else is in store?

There seems to have been a lot of prep involved in the launch and I hope they find it rewarding.

Go forth now my LA brethren and link to on your site.

Posted by michael at 10:15 AM