inessential by Brent Simmons

January 2000


UnInstall Site Bug Fix. Manila is now smarter about removing entries from user.databases, members.root, and discuss.root when removing sites.

Editing form bug fix: the edit form for a page could get messed up if the HTML in the page you're editing included certain tags. The fix was to convert ampersands, quotes, and left carets to HTML entities inside the textarea.

The server running EditThisPage.Com and WebLogs.UserLand.Com will be down for an upgrade tonight between 7 and 8 p.m. We're doubling the RAM, so the performance of this server should be much improved, less prone to glitches.

Update: Upgrade accomplished. EditThisPage.Com is back on-line. So far so good; the server appears happier.

HTML bug fixed in the Search Page sample script. The closing </form> tag was missing, preventing the Edit this Page button from working on certain browsers.

Competing Indexers Bug Fixed. Manila and mainResponder were duking it out for the right to index pages. Now the mainResponder indexer is Manila aware. It knows when to ignore a request and when to handle it.

Wired: The Penguin Has Landed. The title of this piece is a little over-blown. The gist is that Andover.Net is adding services for enterprise users. And they're releasing and supporting the code that runs Slashdot.

Here's my experience and my thoughts on "Setting up a Dell Linux Box" with Red Hat Linux pre-installed. It worked!

The next story I plan to write is about getting Frontier set up on WINE, so you can duplicate my set-up. It's pretty easy, but there are a few gotchas. I'm not sure when I'll get to writing this. This week, I hope.

I collected links people submitted yesterday and created a "Linux C Programming Links" page. It's in the navigation as Linux C, so you can't lose it. If you have links to add, just send email to or reply to this message in the discussion group.

I'm seriously considering buying CodeWarrior for Linux. I've used CodeWarrior alot on Macintosh, and like the Mac version very much. I prefer it to Visual C++ on Windows. But maybe I should get comfortable with the command line tools first.

Luke Tymowski suggests using something other than CodeWarrior.

Sheila figured out how to get images from our digital video camera into a computer. Here's a spaceman.

News.Com: Alpha version of Mozilla makes debut.

Two of Us. Puke me out.

My dad was here for a few days, but now he's left. It was great seeing him! There's something so American and perfect about getting to watch the Super Bowl with one's Dad, something I haven't done in 15 years or more. And it was even a rare good game. But now, back to a regular work schedule...


I'm going to watch the Super Bowl today. I've missed it the last few years. I'm hoping for a good game. I don't really care who wins. It ain't baseball.

Update 12:30 p.m.: I learned that Dick Vermeil is the coach of the Rams. Vermeil was the coach of the Eagles when I was young. I was a big Eagles fan, back in the days of Ron Jaworski. So I'm rooting for the Rams.

My dad's been staying with me for the last few days. He lives back East. I forgot to ask him to bring TastyKakes. We've been doing dad-things -- including going downtown and going bookstore-hopping. I picked up Teach Yourself Linux Programming in 24 Hours and the latest copy of Linux Magazine. (I already subscribe to Linux Journal, which is published just about 10 blocks from here in sunny Ballard, WA.)

Question: for someone who wants to learn more about Linux programming in C, what resources -- both print and on the web -- are best? Send me email, to, or reply to this message in the discussion group. Thanks!

Dad digs Manila, by the way. He works for _____, a large Eastern corporation, and has a need to communicate with people in the field, and sees the potential of Manila to make that easy. He bought a copy of Web Design in a Nutshell, a book I refer to often.

Wired: Web Changing Politics? Not.

Qube Quorner: the week in review.

Dan Gillmor has been updating his weblog from Davos. Very cool. Dan's weblog and the DavosNewbies site are hosted on the same server. Not that it makes a difference to the world -- just to me. What does make a difference is that they're both Manila sites, that Dan, no matter where he is -- Switzerland, Hong Kong, California -- can easily update his site.

I re-installed IE 5.01. It seems to have fixed the problem I was having. Every time I closed a browser window, the app would crash. Nuts.

Update 12:45 p.m.: It just happened again. Re-installing didn't fix the problem. I guess I just won't close browser windows anymore. This is double-plus-ungood. I've a mind to drive over to the Microsoft campus and knock on the first door I come to until I get some service here. Let me hear ya -- can I get a witness?

CNN: U.S. intelligence computer crashes for nearly 3 days.

Philly Future: Types of Weblogs.

Here's a site I'm very excited about, a Spanish newbies site on EditThisPage.Com. I've been trying to learn Spanish for a year, but I never make enough time. I realized that if I could learn it on the web, it would be much easier for me. And now there's a site.

The three pillars of education are mathematics, history, and languages. If I had to grade myself, I'm failing math and getting a D-minus in each of history and languages. Nuts. I'd like to fix that.


DaveNet: Two Days at Davos.

Now, when creating a new Manila site, the home page gets a Flip Home Page button without having to wait until midnight.

New Manila feature: Discussion Group Stats On Demand.

CNNSI: Reds still interested in Griffey deal.

ZDNet: Portal power? didn't get it. " didn't stand for anything."

Karl Martino: How I Got a Career.

CNN: Amazon cuts 150 workers. And if you go to the Amazon site, you'll see that they've changed their logo. Making it look like a smiley doesn't make me feel any better about this company.

1/28/2000 RBL Without a Clue. "I wouldn't know a properly configured SMTP host if it bit me in the ass - which, as far as I know, a properly configured SMTP host is capable of doing."

mainResponder bug fix: mainResponder Resources. The icons for folder and table directory listings were missing from Frontier 6.1: they've been restored.

Microsoft fudges Win2K speed trials. Apparently, Windows 2000 may not be faster than Windows NT 4.

QubeQuorner: Great links, as always, but also this: "I work with about a dozen programmers, and some of the best ones learned to program on their own. Only about four of the lot have CompSci backgrounds." Here at UserLand we have a mix, from people with lots of college computer science education to people with none. Everyone's good. (Much better than good.)

Me, I learned programming as a boy; I didn't study it in college. But neither did I learn it on my own. My parents, who were both programmers at the time, would lecture me at the dinner table on modular design. "Don't use GOTO, use GOSUB." I think, in the future, lots of kids will learn programming this way; I was one of the first.

Speaking of modular programming: I remember my first great lesson. The Apple II Plus stored its video in user-accessible memory. A large enough program, or enough data, would cause the screen to display complete garbage, as the program or its data ran into video memory. I had written a huge adventure type game -- I was a fan of the classic Colossal Caves adventure -- where each room was a separate routine with its own input loop, its own hard-coded data, its own command handlers. No subroutines, no factoring, no central event loop, no design -- just a sprawling huge app. The program ate up all the available memory, went right up into video memory, and started drawing garbage on the screen. Time to re-architect! I was 12 or 13 at the time. So I learned that lesson early, the hard way.

I thought the computer was busted, but Dad knew what the problem was.

Karl Martino pops in with a link: Motley Fool on DVD.

Garret writes: "official internet outfit ... i thought it was black. black jeans, black t, the darkest glasses possible ... because you can't take too much real or artificial light unless it's a glow limned from a crt ... "

I almost started laughing, because as I'm reading this I'm wearing black jeans and a black T-shirt, as I do pretty damn often. But no glasses. And, far from being unable to take sunlight, I'm one of its most enthusiastic, though infrequent, consumers. (Infrequent because this is Seattle.)


DavosNewbies: "The doors are open, and participants are flooding in."

PR: Davos Newbies Get Help from "Manila".

Dave has updated Scripting News from Davos.

Clinton to Attend Davos Forum.

I've heard that Umberto Eco will be at Davos. Of all the participants, he's the one I'd most like to meet.

Now it's super-easy to create a search page on a search engine server. Just use this new sample script, a safe macro you can use in a Manila site that's on a search engine.

Manila bug fix: the Confirm box is now getting the colors specified by the Editor on the Appearance page.

Array: The PowerPoint Effect and Manila.

Can anyone explain to me why glass glasses dry in the dishwasher so much faster than plastic glasses?

André writes: "My guess is that since a glass glass probably has a greater heat capacity than a plastic glass, the remaining water is heated (somewhat) and it dries faster." Okay, I'll buy that.

Matt Neuburg writes about mainResponder's ObjectNotFoundHandler.

Source code release: you can download the source for the DLLs that connect IIS to Frontier via COM.

News.Com: Corel hurries to fix Linux security hole. "Corel is working to patch a bug with its version of Linux that could let unauthorized users gain access to machines running Corel Linux."

I took the dog test. Turns out I'm a German Shepherd. But I thought the test was kind of bogus -- for half the questions, none of the above would have been the better answer than what I chose. Still, if I had to be a dog, I'd rather be a German Shepherd than any other breed. So maybe the test is accurate after all.

If it turned out I was a Cocker Spaniel I wouldn't have admitted to taking the test.

If a German Shepherd were a man, he'd work hard, but when he wants to relax he'd cook up a steak -- rare -- and eat it while watching Star Trek on TV. Okay, that's my life.


DavosNewbies is the place to be!

Sheila reports on Griffey trade rumors.

New Manila feature: Editors only access. You can have private Manila sites without having to go in Frontier and write a security script yourself.

ZopeNewbies posts more reports and pictures from the Python conference. Highlights: Eric S. Raymond, Jon Udell, and Guido van Rossum speak; Paul Everitt introduces the Portal Toolkit.

Andrew Wooldridge: Is this a competitor to XML-RPC?

Emmanuel Décarie: XHTML now a W3C Recommendation.

The EditThisPage.Com server will be down for a few minutes tonight for scheduled maintenance.

BirdBrain's Nest: I hate

Wired: RealNetworks Feels the Surge. "The stock was trading at around 175 at midday."

LinuxNewbies: The Problem with Open Source. "The greatest challenge that Linux faces is documentation." This is a great [expletive-deleted] essay. Required reading.

Is Linux like Ikea -- some assembly required?

Wired: Campus porn imperiled. It never stops with porn. Never. A bill before the Arizona legislature would require "state universities to restrict Internet access to educational purposes."

Whenever I hear of weirdness in Arizona, I hear Public Enemy's By the Time I Get to Arizona in my head.

Red Herring: Sun tries to eclipse Linux. They've declared that Solaris 8 is open. "When pressed for a clear definition of whether anyone could get the code, tweak it, and resell it without paying a licensing fee to Sun, a company spokesman said no."

Again Aqua is likened to New Coke.

Motley Fool: Layoffs Planned at Coca-Cola. Silence is Golden. "One by one they come to the well, prepare to sip, and carefully zip their lips."

Pete Rose receives living legend award from Philadelphia sports writers. Rose was part of the 1980 Phillies World Series championship. But I'm not sure how I feel about Charlie Hustle. Good and bad.


Andrea starts a weblog! "I live in Bonn, Germany, where I share a nice little flat with André Radke, my boyfriend."

I discovered that my high school in Cecil County, MD has a website. So does my elementary school and my middle school. Amazingly, some of the same teachers are still there, even in my elementary school. They've been there for decades.

I'm reading the Cecil County police blotter to see if it mentions any of my old friends.

Here's where I had my first job: Schaefer's Canal House. I was 16, a busboy.

Press release: Davos Newbies Get Help from "Manila".

Sheila reports that Mariner third baseman Russ Davis is going to the San Francisco Giants.

I'll be at tonight's meeting of the Seattle Frontier Users Group.

Philly Future points to this page today. Karl writes: "I could just copy his pointers, but they are not about Philly, and it's just not right in my book." To Karl and everyone else: links are not original, commentary is. Feel free always to link to something I've linked to. You don't have to give me credit. Now, of course, the Philly-ness of my links is another subject. I've already written about TastyKakes. I could recount my intense joy at watching the Phillies beat the Royals in the World Series in 1980.

Larry Bowa, shortstop for the magical 1980 Phillies team, is the new third base coach for the Mariners. For me this is a reunion, seeing one of my boyhood heroes again.

DrinkBoy recommends the Zig Zag Café on Western Ave. "While not over loaded with rare and exotic spirits, they did have a very good selection of spirits that aren't normally carried in Seattle bars. Cachaca, Pisco, and 15 year Laphroig among many others."

Salon: David Bowie. "'Glam rock' depended on several post-Wildean propositions: among them, that aesthetics are more important than politics; that a performer should put on a performance, not just show up stoned in a macramé vest and sandals; that earnestness equals lack of imagination; that art is artificiality."

When I was a teenager, me and my friends, we called David Bowie "God." Teenagers are silly -- but we had a point.

Curmudgeon: Why I Love Java.

Media Design in*Progress has an XML-RPC client for their Interaction Web Server Companion.

LinuxNewbies: From User to Superuser: The su command.

ZopeNewbies: Pictures from the Python conference.


I just wrote a new Frontier TechNote which explains how pages get sent via XML-RPC from a Manila site to a search engine server for indexing. If you're interested in Manila internals, or are having trouble getting your Manila site indexed, check it out. Game Theory. "When Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? became a ratings smash in its first two mini-series mountings, the sitcom and cop-show crowd (and their coke dealers and call-girl suppliers) got paranoid, my source claims."

DaveNet: Killer Patents. "Anyone who tries to own the Internet, as Amazon and Geoworks have, will be routed around."

Steve Ivy: XML-RPC in COM. "The idea behind the architecture is flexibility."

LinuxNewbies: User and Group Rights. "Today's Daily Newbie Tip explores the system of rights as they apply to users and groups on a Linux system."

David Theige is back from his cruise. Welcome back to sunny North Dakota!

I got my Dell Linux machine set up. I'm used to KDE, but I'm giving GNOME another try. GNOME was the default.

A story on the setup process is coming. Getting a machine with Linux pre-installed is a joy. The hardest thing to do is set up networking -- which had me stumped for a while until I double-checked that the ethernet cable was plugged in all the way. It wasn't. Once I fixed that, everything worked.

I've got WINE installed now too -- and Frontier is running, serving a Manila site.


André: WAP: Status Update. "We have a script that renders the most recent news page in WML."

Qube Quorner: Web in Review reviews the news of the last week.

Linux Newbies: a new Sunday BrainDrain Quiz.

NY Times: The Magic Mountain contrasts Davos Man and Seattle Man. I may live in Seattle, but I'm a Davos man to the core. Seattle man is "passionately committed to a simpler view, without any ambiguities." From my point of view, there's nothing but ambiguities, except for this one: globalization is on balance a force for good.

I think a term better than Seattle Man would be Eugene Oregon Man or Olympia Washington Man. Most Seattle-ites I know watched the WTO protests on TV, horrified.

ZDNet/UK: An app server free-for-all talks about how open source projects like Zope and Midgard are competing with Vignette, IBM, and Netscape. "This time the battle is not over operating systems, but free versus priced Web application servers."

CNN: Time Warner and EMI set for music mega-merger. Pretty soon there's gonna be just one corporation, and we'll all work for it, and we'll all own shares in it. And when we want entertainment, the corporation will supply it.

W.H. Auden: The Unknown Citizen. "Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd..."

"Everybody gets a share." If you don't recognize that quote, read Catch-22.

The link above is to a page on This is an Amazon-free site. I wish I had a cool-looking button that said "This is an Amazon-free site" and that linked to a better page than the RMS page. Consider this a challenge. This boycott needs a GIF and a good page to link to.

It's not just a boycott, it's sort of like shunning. Link-shunning? What's the word for it when you won't link to a site?

Nuts! I didn't get my Linux machine set up yesterday. Ran out of time. Today, I hope. I'm totally looking forward to it.

Novell's anti-Windows website. Sometimes when you go on about how Microsoft is lame and you're cool, you come across as lame.

ApacheWeek.Com: Apache 2.0 Preview. Looks like the focus is on threading and performance. It appears there will be some sacrifices, unfortunately: "Modules written for 1.3 will not work with 2.0 without modification." However, I'd bet that there will be 2.0-compatible versions of the major modules when Apache 2.0 ships.

WebReference.Com: Unix Daemons in Perl. Makes me wonder if Frontier should run as a daemon on Linux, like Apache. Update 7:34 p.m.: for some reason the tutorial disappeared today, some time after I linked to it. Strange.

Another article on WebReference.Com, Using RSS News Feeds, mentions Frontier and My.UserLand.Com. It's a tutorial on using Perl's XML::RSS module. "In this Mother of Perl tutorial, we will write a short Perl script (less than 100 lines) that retrieves an XML RSS file from the Web or local file system and converts it to HTML."


News flash! Sheila blows the whistle on Sea Monkeys. They "do not walk upright and wear cute outfits."

Some time today I'm going to set up the Dell Linux box I got Thursday. I'll write about that experience -- I'll also do a HowTo for setting up Frontier to run under WINE.

André's getting into WAP for Manila: watch SpicyNoodles.Com for progress.

I really wish Bob Bierman, Susan Victor, and Matt Neuburg would each start a weblog. (I've made their names bold because it'll draw their attention as they scan this page.)


André's new weblog: SpicyNoodles.Com.

I need your help. I've got a digital video camera, a Canon Ultura, and I'd like to be able to import still pictures and movies to my computer, then edit them. I've got a G4 with FireWire, so I know the connection can be made. Of course I need a cable. But what software do I need? I don't want to spend a grand on this. Still pictures have the priority over movies, so if there's a solution that works only for pictures, for now that's okay. Send me email or reply to this message.

Working on Pike today.

Brad Pettit: "Crunch mode eats at you as you gnaw away at whatever piece of the project is on your plate. What happens after is pretty cool, though. It's called shipping."

LinuxNewbies: Safe Shutdown: The halt and telinit Commands. "Like Windows and Mac OS, Linux needs to be shut down properly before the system is powered down."

My fair city is a haven for weblogs:

Anita's LOL
Absolute Piffle
Bird on a Wire
Sheila's Web Site
rebecca's pocket

If you're a Seattle-ite, and I missed your weblog, let me know: send email to or reply to this message in the discussion group.

I like the design of the The Aperture, a new EditThisPage.Com site. I like the bold use of orange. It's another newbies site, this time for amateur photographers.

I have no confidence in iPlanet Web Server. It costs $1,495, and it's based on Netscape FastTrack, which hasn't been revised in two years. Hello? Apache is free, Apache is easy to use, Apache performs pretty well, Apache's probably already installed on your box. There are lots of websites and O'Reilly books on Apache. Lots of software has been written for Apache. If I want something to do what Apache does, I'll use Apache. I can't imagine that iPlanet has some special gotta-have-it capability that Apache lacks. If I'm wrong, let me know.

I would, of course, run a server other than Apache on Linux if that server hosts Manila sites!

Joshua Lucas of BaristaLog wrote me about iPlanet: "It isn't a 'modern' web server right now. Doesn't support servlets without some serious config file hacking which to me is just plain silly."


Working on Pike today.

Jaguar to eat moon tonight.

If you don't like tomatoes, you're probably mentally ill. "qbullet.sidesmiley"

I turbo-charged the graphics on Sheila's site last night. If you're a Frontier server manager, you can do the same for your Manila sites using the Copy Pictures to Static Server sample script. Now pages like the Garden photos page load much faster.

It's here! I received shipment of a Linux machine from Dell today. Yes, you read that right. It's a Dell box with Red Hat Linux pre-installed. I'll write a story about what it's like to set up such a machine once I have time to actually set it up. Dell shipping Linux boxes is a sure sign that this is the year 2000.

My sister, a former econ professor, works for a cool startup in Seattle, Apex Learning. If you've got RealPlayer G2, you can get a demo of one of their tutorials. That's my sister talking.

I've been trying to use Northern Light as my search engine, but I keep getting bugged when I click on a link and I'm expected to pay for the document. Forget it. I'll try using Google instead. I used to always use HotBot, and AltaVista before that, and Lycos before that, and Yahoo before that, but it seems like search engines always eventually hit a point where they start sucking. It's usually at the point where they add a Yahoo-like category scheme and call themselves a portal.

Garret Vreeland of array suggests as a search engine. It does appear to be quite fast.

LinuxNewbies: Moving And Renaming Files: The mv Command.

WebLog for Godot. Waiting for Godot is one of my favorite plays. The tale of Didi and Gogo, who are hanging out, waiting. They can't go anywhere, as they're expecting Godot to show up. If it were a movie, it would be a buddy pic starring Bruce Willis and Jeff Goldblum. I can picture them now:

Goldblum: What about hanging ourselves?
Willis: Hmmmm. It'd give us an erection.
Goldblum: (highly excited) An erection!

Modern audiences might wonder what's Godot's cell phone number. Call his sorry ass up and let him know he can't jerk people around like this.

Of course, if Didi or Gogo had checked their email before heading out, they'd know that Godot had to reschedule. "Boys, I'm going to need to make this happen next week. Same bat time, same bat channel. See you then. -Godot." (The previous joke is so old it wears suspenders.)

I saw Waiting for Godot at Seattle's Bathhouse Theatre in 1988. Sadly, the Bathhouse closed last year. Nothing to be done.


Sheila put up a picture of us from our wedding reception, September 1997. What a great day!

Hot Stove League is on the radio tonight. Two hours of Mariners news and interviews. At long last.

I've bookmarked the LinuxNewbies Daily Tip Archives.

A jaguar's gonna eat the moon tomorrow night.

Senator John McCain has gaydar.

The text of Pierre Menard, author of Don Quixote is on the web. This is one of my favorite stories. Pierre Menard, a 20th century writer, has composed fragments of Don Quixote which match Cervantes' original word-for-word. But how different the two versions are! In the story, two identical passages are compared: "Equally vivid is the contrast in styles. The archaic style of Menard - in the last analysis, a foreigner - suffers from a certain affectation. Not so that of his precursor, who handles easily the ordinary Spanish of his time."


More Pike work today.

The XML-RPC interface for Manila is an essential part of the server-side support for Pike.

Free BeOS to be released later this quarter. "No repartitioning will be necessary, and launching BeOS 5 will be as simple as double-clicking an icon on the desktop."

There's a new Be Newbies site on EditThisPage.Com.

MacHack: Eric S. Raymond to keynote.

Yesterday I switched to Eudora 4.2 for Windows. I'm now doing email and web browsing on the same machine. The long national nightmare is over. What's interesting to me is that my choice of desktop isn't dictated by my preferred OS, or the quality of apps in general, it's the quality of the web browser. And even with the speed boost my Mac browsers got on Sunday, IE 5 for Windows was still superior. What that says about the state of web browsers isn't good. What that says about the relative importance of web browsers is, however, good.

I considered Pine and Lynx. No joke. I didn't consider them for long, but I did think about what life would be like. Text-only interfaces have, for me, an undeniable allure. On the practical side, I do wish IE 5 and Lynx shared the same keyboard shortcuts.

Jay R. Ashworth of the Baylink weblog suggests mutt over Pine.

Here's a table of Windows shortcuts. Is there a shortcut that minimizes just the frontmost window?

Jim Roepcke supplies the answer. Thanks, Jim!


Working on Pike today.

Happy Martin Luther King Day! CNN: Americans urged to go a step further to honor King.

Behind the 6.2a4 speed bump.

It's the Bierman Millenium.

John Lam just signed a book contract to write Essential XML: Protocols and Component Software. John has an ETP site: eweb. "BTW I love this technology..."

Check out Matt's new page on The Search Engine.

LinuxNewbies: The Editor Speaks: Quizzes describes how the Sunday BrainDrain Quiz is implemented. It's done in JavaScript. "For interested parties, I would definitely be willing to share the script code."

Mason Hale, who did lots of work on Frontier's CGI Framework years ago, started a Manila site on EditThisPage.Com.

David Theige updated Carpe Diem while on a Carribean cruise.

It's pretty empty so far, but it looks like there's now a newbies site for Cold Fusion users: ColdFusion101.

Clothing Optional. "Nudity preferred."

It's blue skies in Seattle, the air is still. For January it's beautiful. Yesterday's storm has passed.

In life, if there's one thing I've learned, it's this: sometimes you have to take time to read a big fat science fiction thriller where the Earth has been invaded by ruthless aliens linked together into one giant hive mind and just when it looks like all is lost the hero comes up with the answer. And then you think, I already read this in H.G. Wells's War of the Worlds and Robert Heinlein's The Puppet Masters, but you don't care. Hands off my planet!


I'm working on Pike.

Qube Quorner today pointed to a page on Macintouch about speeding up Mac browser performance. I tried the advice for both Netscape and IE 4.5. What a difference! It's most dramatic in IE, which was completely unusable on my machine. Now it feels much like IE 5 on Windows, which is the fastest browser I've used. I'm actually looking forward to IE 5 for Macintosh. I was very skeptical, but now I think there's hope.

For me, the problem's been this: I do email on my Mac and web-browsing on my Windows machine. This is because nothing compares to Eudora/Mac on Windows (not even Eudora for Windows). But there's no Mac browser as good as IE 5 for Windows. I don't care which I use more often, Mac or Windows, I just want to do web browsing and email on the same machine.

More from Qube Quorner: the Web in Review covers the last week of news. It was a big week!

I just took the LinuxNewbies Sunday BrainDrain Quiz. I got them all right! (Yes, I'm proud.) But here's my question -- how'd he do that? Looks like client-side scripting. I bet other Manila editors would like a HowTo on setting up quizzes. The LinuxNewbies site has not stopped delighting me.

Seattle, normally on the blurry line between habitable and inhabitable, is today firmly across that border. Wind gusts up to 60 mph are expected -- I think we're seeing them already. Lights are flickering. I've got UPS units, but they won't stand up to a longer power outage.

The 520 floating bridge has been closed. Here's the bridge cam. Look ma, no traffic.

There have been power outages in the Puget Sound area.


News flash! Sheila reports that Quicken 5 is not Y2K compliant.

Yellow Dog Linux has created two new lists for users of Linux on Macintosh hardware.

Connectivity problems today: my ISP's upstream provider appears to have a router problem. So my ISP switched my routing to go through another network. It's better, but I'm still seeing 15-30% packet loss most places. Some places I can't get to at all. Hell.

Update 3:45 p.m.: It was a problem with a router at UUNET, which appears to be fixed now. I'm getting 0% packet loss to

Speaking of hell -- before the Simpsons, Matt Groening did the Life in Hell comics. They were a huge hit when I was in college. Barnes and Noble doesn't seem to carry them, I can't get through to Borders right now, and I won't go to Amazon. If you see these books, buy them -- they may be out of print.

For people my age, 30-ish, all you have to do is mention Akbar and Jeff.

I went to the same college as Matt Groening, Evergreen State College, a liberal arts school in dormant Olympia, WA. He was there a few years before me. Another great cartoonist, Lynda Barry, also went to Evergreen.

When I was at Evergreen music was the thing. The biggest band was probably nomeansno, which came in second in some indie video contest on MTV (if I recall correctly). Nirvana played in dorm rooms, at keg parties, on the soccer field. The Screaming Trees were popular. My personal favorite was DangerMouse, named for the greatest secret agent in the world. Two of my roommates were in the short-lived lansdatblister, pseudo-German for "lance that blister" (which no one got).

College was hell, btw. Evergreen's raison d'etre was to provide a safe, woodsy setting for trust-fund hippies to smoke lots of pot. I was poor, more a New Wave kid than a hippie, and I'm one of the unfortunates who react badly to pot: I get cranky and paranoid, then I throw up. Nuts. It's a physical thing. I can't drink milk, either, pretty much the same thing happens.

Popular Evergreen joke in the '80s: Q: "Why did the 'greener cross the road?" A: "To get 15 credits."


From Kip DeGraaf, a page on that may help in my quest to get symbols from WINE.

LinuxNewbies: The Linux Kernel: An OS In a Nutshell. This is the best Linux site in the world, a site I admire and enjoy without reservation. Don't miss the FAQ.

Because I get email, my email address is at the bottom of thousands of pages on UserLand.Com sites. Perhaps some of my readers are in similar situations -- you get the webmaster email for a large, popular site. Do you get a certain percentage of random email? I'm not going to reprint any, but I get stuff like, "For my doctor's dissertation I'm writing about JavaScript and object-oriented scripting. What are your thoughts on JavaScript syntax?" (This one's made up, but it's similar to actual emails.) Or: "I'm on _____ and I can't figure out how get email from _____?" Or: "I had a hard drive crash. What can I do to get my spreadsheets back?" (These are all made up, but similar to the actual emails I receive. You get the gist.) I don't reply, I just marvel at the syndrome itself. In a way, it's cool, people are expecting other people on the net to be helpful. But, golly.

1/13/2000 "The fine voters of Washington State have sent a message to the state legislature, they are willing to cut off their nose to spite their face." This new site's by my friend John Lewis, who (among other things) taught me how to use a Mac back in 1989. Also see OscarWeb for pictures of John's son Oscar.

Now that Wesley Felter has a Manila site at EditThisPage.Com, will he ever go back to the old way of working on Hack-the-Planet?

I haven't been able to get symbol names from WINE running Frontier yet, but now that I'm fresh I'm going at it again. As I mentioned previously, it looks like the problems are in the outliner -- but we don't know where more precisely yet. Frontier's outliner has come to the front in several of our projects. Not sure if it's synchronicity, or perhaps it's just when it's time to work on the outliner, it's time to work on the outliner.

I just installed an early version of Turbo Frontier on this machine, which also serves sites such as Frontier, Frontier News, About Manila, DocServer, have browser, will travel, and of course Sheila's site.

With the recent addition of Aaron Sele, and the earlier addition of former Mets star John Olerud, it looks like the Mariners may actually have a competitive team this year.

How's this for a starting rotation: Jamia Moyer, Aaron Sele, Freddy Garcia (aka the Chief), John Halama, and Paul Abbot. And here's a possible batting order: Mark McLemore, Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, John Olerud, Jay Buhner, David Bell, Dan Wilson, and Carlos Guillen (who was batting very well early last year before injury sidelined him for the rest of the season). Fierce.


We've turbo-charged the DavosNewbies site. Images are now being served by Apache running on a Qube.

Kip DeGraaf: WINE debug info solved. If this works as it should, that will help tremendously. Otherwise, going through the map file by hand is slow going.


We're trying to get better debugging info from WINE: see "Wine debugging and function names". Can you help?

I got Frontier running under WINE on Linux on a Windows-free Linux machine! Here's the story chronicling the steps I took to get this configured. I'll be writing a more coherent HowTo so other people can try this out easily. Thanks to everyone who's helped so far. I'll have more questions soon.

Frontier launches, I get the MDI and About windows (but no menus) -- and the HTTP server now works! It's able to serve a Manila site!

All the current crashes so far appear to be related to outline rendering: we're working on figuring out what's going on there.

Other news

Sheila's now using the Manila navigation graphics feature on her site. Don't miss the Garden Photos!

I'm trying to get some of my co-workers to start weblogs. They say the same things I said before I started this one. The standard reasons: I'm too busy and I have nothing to say. I thought the same things -- but I've found that running a weblog is a great way to be engaged with the web and the people who make it fun. I'm sure this is a topic I'll return to, soon.

LinuxNewbies has an introduction to navigating the file system via the command line. This site rules.

I'm trying Outlook Express for Windows today. I'm normally a Eudora/Mac user. As soon as I find something to praise about it I'll let you know.

I changed my contact lenses this morning, as I do every week or two. Early man paid attention to the growing season, the phases of the moon -- I pay attention to the phases of my eyesight, from sharp to blurry and the gradations in between.


I recently had reason to buy airplane tickets. I was pleasantly surprised, when I went to the Alaska Air website, that they'd made it easier than it used to be. From the home page you used to be a few clicks from the form page -- now the form is on their home page. Very smart! They know why I'm there.

Indulging in nostalgia -- I still sometimes get email about this article I wrote in 1997 about VirtualPC. By the way, that story was posted to the site via ContentServer, software that lets you post to a website via email. It would be cool to connect ContentServer and Manila.

AOL, Time Warner to merge. Makes me feel like a mammal.


New Manila features: you can turn off the title on the home page -- as on this site -- and you can include the title in your news day template. (Which I'm not doing on this site.) Here's a demo.

I posted as a sample the script that displays the list of links on the left and gives me an Edit button.

Seahawks lost. It was a good game, but... Oh well, it's just football, not like it was actually important, like say a Mariners game. is a cool service -- you can rent a movie via the web, they deliver within an hour. Last night was the first time I'd used their service. No complaints, very smooth.

Also ordered dinner via, which I'd done before. What's interesting is that it appears they've switched from Vignette StoryServer to Apple WebObjects. They've still got issues with performance -- while it's faster than when they used StoryServer, it's still slow. And there are lots of UI issues, it's more difficult than it should be to order food, I kept getting confused. Nevertheless, I expect I'll continue to use their service -- unless a competitor comes along.

My favorite web service (outside UserLand, of course) is HomeGrocer.Com. Easy to use site, on-time delivery, excellent meat and produce, friendly drivers. I've probably had groceries delivered 30 times by now. My wife wondered if they'd let their most regular customers in on their IPO. Okay, so we're dreaming. But I think they're going to make a million trillion dollars.

Phil Suh posted comments on the above. "They [Kozmo] delivered a movie for me at 11pm on Christmas eve."

The Seahawks have made it to the playoffs for the first time since 1988. No matter the outcome, this is the last game of any kind in the Kingdome, ever. Go Hawks!

array: "Manila could be a big, big solution for print designers."

Philly Future is a cool weblog. But it's not the same as being there. I grew up just outside Newark, Delaware, in the Philadelphia sphere of influence. Most of my family lives in Pennsylvania, south Jersey, and Maryland. They send me TastyKakes. I wish I could buy TastyKakes in Seattle (or on the web). And that's not all -- Philadelphia has an unrecognized culture of excellent junk food, the best there is. I wish I could get Herr's cheese puffs, good pretzels, Frank's Black Cherry Wishniak. In Seattle you literally can't get the right kind of bread to make hoagies and cheesesteaks. It's a scandal! Even something simple like non-processed sliced American cheese is very rare. I wish I could go to Friendly's for a sundae.

My personal heaven is Casapulla's, a deli in Hockessin, Delaware with the best subs in the world and the full range of Philly-area snacks.

Karl Martino suggests I try PhillyPretzels.Com, which will FedEx the food I crave right to my door.

Here's another Philly food deliverer: Philadelphia Favorite Foods.

Anita Rowland of Anita's LOL reminded me about Philadephia Fevre, a Seattle deli that apparently serves cheese steaks and TastyKakes. I knew about them, but for some reason I thought they closed years ago.


Apache will ship with Mac OS X as a personal webserver. I wonder what this will be like. Will Perl and Python also be installed? Will there be many differences between this version of Apache and a more standard installation? I edit my httpd.conf files in emacs. Will emacs be installed? What about Apple events -- would it be possible to write a module to connect the built-in Apache to Frontier via Apple events? Better still, I hope Apache on Mac OS X will support the Mac CGI standard as implemented by WebSTAR, WebTen, and so on.

And, most importantly, will it be easy to turn Apache off and run Frontier (or other webserver)?

I wonder if Mac OS X will include Samba. That would be cool by me, it's still too much of a pain to do file-sharing between Mac and Windows.

The fundamental question I have is this: Since Mac OS X is UNIX and Mac OS sort of blended together, do we get the best of both worlds, or do we get crippled versions of each, a hybrid that teases but doesn't satisfy? The former excites me, but I fear the latter.

To confuse the world a little bit more, there's a Tenon product for Mac OS X named iTools. And there's Apple's iTools. Here's a HotBot search for iTools. It's a fairly common name.

Other news

SuSE for PowerPC!

After a hiatus of several weeks and a job change, Jim Roepcke is again updating have browser, will travel.

GardenLife is an attractive Manila site in New Zealand.

I added a bunch of links on the left side of the page. They're my bookmarks, essentially. For me there's an Edit button below the bookmarks so I don't have to edit the template -- that section of the page is stored in a dg message.


Here are your groceries, Mr. Orwell.

New Manila feature: Navigation and Pictures. This one's totally fun -- I hope to have time to use it this weekend on this site.

Is Manila the VisiCalc of the web?

Bob rules! Details on today's Scripting News. EditThisPage.Com is faster.

I haven't eaten regular breakfasts since I was a kid. Today's the second day of my new life as a breakfast eater. (Granny smith apple, plain bagel, coffee.) RealAge.Com told me I was about a year and a half older than the calendar says. They said to eat breakfast. Eating breakfasts makes me younger. Eating I can do. The way I eat, I'll be younger in no time.


Last night I watched Steve Jobs' Macworld keynote.

I went into it already knowing what my dream workstation is. It's a Linux machine with a great desktop. As much as I like KDE -- and would prefer it to Windows in a heartbeat if it had a web browser as good as IE 5 -- neither KDE nor GNOME are great desktops.

Mac OS X is BSD, not Linux, but that works for me, it's close enough.

But is it a great desktop? I don't know, not having used it. It might be, it might not be. I liked the non-modal Save dialogs; the dock; the use of color and transparency (I'm an unapologetic sucker for great eye candy); large and resizable icons; the display of a window's contents while moving it; the new Finder.

Perhaps the new Finder is what I liked best -- the ability to browse in place, without opening lots of windows, is something I want, a feature I've liked in other desktops but felt was poorly implemented. (I used to use Greg's Browser on my Mac years ago, a Next-ish style browser, which was pretty nice.)

The thing I liked least was the Apple logo centered at the top of the screen. The first thing I thought -- no joke -- was that it was like when you get a pimple on your nose, right between your eyes. It hurts. Could I learn to look at it without feeling phantom acne pain? If not, it's a deal-stopper.

Switching gears... iTools sucks. It's all about lock-in and control. At best, I'm neutral about it, because I wouldn't use it by choice anyway. But really, no, it sucks, and I wish Apple would drop it. I also wish Microsoft didn't do this kind of stuff.

My wife, who watched the keynote with me, had this to say about iTools: "Well, none of it's cool like Manila anyway."

Other news

Mark Cidade writes about typos: "I wish I was managing editor of the whole Web (which would all run on Manila-based technologies) and just press the Edit This Page button on any page I go to, to fix it up. That would be nice."

Here's my favorite WebLog ad:

Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker to undergo psychiatric testing, as ordered by major league baseball. Look -- this makes political correctness a health issue. How very Brave New World of baseball. You want to give him a test, give him an IQ test.

Manila editors can now make their members list private by clicking a radio button.


Jean-Paul Sartre: "Hell is other people."

Me: "Hell is other people's servers."

One of the servers we rely on is run by someone else -- and suddenly last night it started behaving very badly. Nuts.

Update: Problem solved. Our systems improve as a result. Instant evolution.

I'm reading Strange Pilgrims, a collection of stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The stories are about Latin Americans in Europe.

In "The Saint," the main characters visit the Villa Borghese zoo to see the lion:

"He seemed to roar at all of us without distinction, yet the keeper knew right away that he roared only for Margarito. It was true: Wherever he moved the lion moved, and as soon was he was out of sight the lion stopped roaring."


Frontier 6.1.1 has been released! Lots of new Manila features and bug fixes.

I watched Wim Wenders' Until the End of the World again, one of my favorite movies, a modern Casablanca. Its themes of engagement and the disease of images energize me as much as they did the first time.

Of course, at the time the movie was made it was set in the future -- now much of it is set in the past. Which doesn't make the movie different, but me watching the movie, I'm different. Still, the centerpiece of the movie, the moment that sticks with me, is when the power is cut on the small airplane, it's suddenly gliding over the Australian desert, and Claire and Sam wonder if there's a world below.

I just finished reading Italo Calvino's The Road to San Giovanni. More about that later, time permitting.

Update on installing Caldera OpenLinux -- it didn't work. It didn't recognize my hard drive. Nuts. So I gave the box away.