inessential by Brent Simmons

April 2000


The move went well. Small glitches, simple fixes.

Except for this one -- the hard drive on a DNS server in Seattle died. It just sits there clicking; the machine won't boot. It will be replaced Tuesday. Luckily, this doesn't affect things much, it just means we're down one DNS server for a couple days. Also luckily, this was the only service that machine was providing, so restoring the service won't be too difficult.

I did have the interesting experience of taking the cover off the machine, calling support, then holding the phone up to the hard drive so the support guy could hear the problem. He immediately told me that a technician would be out to replace it, he didn't ask me to try X or Y or Z.


10:48 p.m. -- Servers are coming back on-line. So far so good.

8:22 p.m. -- The move is in progress. We just updated DNS. The servers that are moving are off-line.

7:50 p.m. -- the move is about to start.

It's moving day -- many UserLand servers are moving tonight to Exodus. More details on Scripting News.

A few servers will not be moving: Scripting News is already at Exodus, for instance. In addition, email and mailing list servers and sites hosted in Seattle -- Frontier, DocServer, Dan Gillmor's site, this site, Sheila's web site, some others -- will remain up during the move.


Apple releases iMovie for G4 Macs as free download. It's about time.

Thomas Creedon points out that it works for other Macs, too. Of course, I'm a little selfish, I just care that I'll finally have an editor that runs on my G4.


LinuxNewbies: Your Zip Drive and Linux.

Sheila reports on the Indians game. Mariners lose 5-3, but it sounds like a good game anyway. (I missed it.)

SOAP is out!

Dave has started a SOAP weblog.

Frontier 6.2b9 Kernel Change Notes: "The PowerPC Mac version has a new TCP layer, rewritten from scratch in Open Transport native code. We are no longer relying on the GUSI socket library or the ancient MacTCP APIs."


Seattle MPFUG Meeting April 25. "April's Seattle Manila/Pike/Frontier Users Group meeting will be held on Tuesday the 25th, at 7pm." I'll be there -- I hope to see you there!

MacOSX.Weblogs.Com is a new site for Mac OS X evangelism. Me, I'll probably install Mac OS X on one of my Macs. The others are either already running LinuxPPC or will be (eventually).


From Scripting News, news of our most recent outage: "Our PacBell T1 line has been down since 10:45 AM Pacific, an outage of well over three hours (so far). The discussion group, EditThisPage.Com, and Weblogs.Com are down. We are in touch with Conxion, it's not just UserLand that's out. No estimated time to be back on the air."

Mariners start a three-game series at home tonight against the Cleveland Indians.

Greatest Engineering Achievements of the Twentieth Century: "How many of the 20th century's greatest engineering achievements will you use today? A car? Computer? Telephone? Explore our list of the top 20 achievements, and learn how engineering shaped a century and changed the world."

Two new Manila RPC handlers. One gets the contents of the home page; the second returns a siteName, given the URL of a site.


It was horrible. I not only got my first blue-screen NT 2000 crash, but on restart I got the message: "Cannot find the Operating System" in stark white letters on a black background. I re-started again, and it found the OS the second time. But imagine the fear. Sheesh.

John Olerud's three-run home run in the bottom of the 9th wins the game -- and the Mariners complete a three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals.

Sheila's got cool baseball pictures from a late spring training game against the Phillies.

I asked earlier about support for script libraries in PHP -- apparently there is such support, and it appears pretty easy to use. I just didn't find it when I went looking: I'll look some more. Thanks to artboy of for sending me email.


Where can I find fonts for Linux? The default set (on my Red Hat 6.0 machine) are completely awful. Any recommendations?

Garret posted a link to Using TrueType Fonts with Red Hat Linux. Perhaps this will help.

BBC News: Dutch police guide to sex and drugs: "'Pay particular attention to the places you enter,' the guide says. 'Lots of tourists are taken by surprise when the lady they are visiting turns out to be a gent.'"

The Mariners play the Royals in Seattle tonight at 7:05. The Royals are on a six-game losing streak -- we're looking to extend that.

Two big new Manila features coming: localization and News Items.

I'm going to stop teasing about new features: though fun for me, the message I'm hearing is it's not fair to developers.


You might cry -- big fat tears of joy -- when you see what we're working on now.

New Frontier verb: tcp.getMail. Gets mail from a POP server.

Emacs Beginner's HOWTO. Via ZopeNewbies. I'm an emacs user, but I need to go through this HowTo, I'm using emacs in only the most primitive of ways.

Joel on the zone.

Today's a travel day for the Mariners. Next game: tomorrow at home versus Kansas City, a much-improved team.

Shockwave gem, with music.


White Sox beat Mariners 5-2. Nuts.

Scripting News survey: Which blogging tool do you prefer? (UserLand.Com membership required.)

Misnomer: Writing in Electronic Text: Links.

The Mariners are playing game two against the White Sox today. After this game they come home to face the Royals.


The Seattle Manila/Pike/Frontier Users Group will be meeting Tuesday April 25 on Capitol Hill. "We will be discussing Pike and Manila, with an emphasis on the user's point of view. We invite users and those who want to be users to come and check it out." I hope to see you there!

Sox rock M's, 18-11. Nuts!

The Mariners play the Chicago White Sox at 5:05 Pacific today. Will the offense continue? The Mariners broke a team record for most runs scored in three games in their series versus the Blue Jays.

Aaron Sele pitches for the M's tonight. His last start was a complete game shutout against the Tigers.

Here's why I think squirrels are tough. At least in my neighborhood, they're the only untamed mammal -- apart from humans -- that runs around doing their things in plain sight during the day.

Keola points out another similarity between squirrels and people.


Somehow I missed the sad news of Ian Dury's passing March 27.

Today's game against the Chicago White Sox has been postponed due to cold weather.

This is the first use -- that I know of -- to use the new Gems feature to embed a movie in a page.


Custom icons for bookmarks. Here's how, using the Gems feature, you can have a custom icon when someone makes your site a favorite.

Zeldman: "Several friends and readers have pointed out that our icons are used extensively at Dave Winer's Actually, Dave has been doing this for a while, now. But does he call? Does he write?"

Manila's new Gems feature allows you to "upload files of any type -- movies, sound files, zip files, spreadsheets, etc. -- to your Manila website."

Mariners beat the Blue Jays 19-7. Grand slam by A-Rod -- one of three home runs for the shortstop today. This completes a three-game sweep in Toronto. I'm glad to see the Mariners leave that ball park -- these football-style scores are scary, even though we were on the winning end.

We've got DomeChunks!


Ode to the Dome...

WiredFool.Com: Local Bridge makes SI.


I named the plant Chief after Freddy Garcia, Mariners starting pitcher. Chief was 17-8 last year, a great year for a rookie.

Jason Levine has released a DeapLeap Manila plug-in.

Mariners beat the Blue Jays 17-6. Highlight: Edgar Martinez hits a grand slam -- his 200th career home run.


Uh-oh, the missionaries finally found us.

Final: 11-9, Mariners win. An ugly game. But -- you gotta win the ugly ones, they're still wins.

7th inning -- 9-6. Ooops. Here comes the Blue Jays.

5th inning -- Carlos Delgado's home run in the 3rd brings the Blue Jays a run. It's 9-1.

2nd inning -- Wells is outta there, we're into the Toronto bullpen. Now it's 9-0 Mariners. This feels good after getting shut out yesterday.

1st inning -- Mariners score 6, on three-run home runs by Edgar Martinez and Dan Wilson.

Today the Mariners go up against the Toronto Blue Jays, the first in a three-game series.

Note to M's: please cut Mesa. Please.


You asked and asked and asked and asked and asked -- and now it's coming. Soon.

We're experiencing intermittent outages, again, on our main California LAN. Sheila has pictorial commentary.

José Mesa, the Mariners' one bad pitcher, blew it.

Gil Meche, 2.08 ERA, starts for the Mariners today in the rubber game of the three-game set against the Tigers in Comerica Park. He goes up against Hideo Nomo. Nomo's been tough this year so far -- in two starts his ERA is 1.93.

Mariners team ERA is down to 2.79, fully a point better than the second-best AL pitching staff (Cleveland Indians, 3.99) -- and better than the NL's best (Arizona Diamondbacks, 2.86).

Looks like the Rainiers (AAA Tacoma) lost yesterday -- but Ryan Anderson went 6 innings, giving up two earned runs, two walks, one home run -- the only hit he gave up. He struck out 10.


New Manila feature: if you edit your template in such a way that you can't use your site, you can go to the emergency restore template to default page.

Aaron Sele pitched a 3-hit complete game shutout. M's beat the Tigers 4-0.

Gratuitous chance not to link to Amazon: I just started reading The Death of Artemio Cruz by Carlos Fuentes.

LinuxNewbies: More On Installing Software. Third in a three-part series.

LinuxNewbies: The Other Side of the Coin. "It's not my job to know that."

Ryan Anderson is pitching today for the Rainiers. He's amazing. Sheila and I saw him play in a spring training game against the Phillies. You'll be hearing his name more and more.

Sheila's got pictures of our trip last month to San Juan Battista, the day after ManilaPalooza.

Qube Quorner now has a static version, using Manila's static rendering feature.

Well -- the Mariners lost yesterday. They'll make it up today. Aaron Sele is the starting pitcher.

A story I've been planning to write: Why I Like Linux. I haven't written it yet. But here's the gist: Linux is like Frontier in that it's a large system with lots of text, hierarchies, and rules. The important thing is that it may take work to learn it, but it's knowable. The more you learn the more it makes sense, you start to be able to predict things. There's even a kind of beauty that reveals itself. Windows is much less knowable. I've been a Windows user longer than I've been a Linux user (and a Mac user longer still) -- but on Windows I quickly get to a point where there is only the unknowable. I'm not talking about the kernel here -- I've never looked at the Linux kernel source code -- I'm talking about all the layers above it. I'm talking about configuring Apache vs. configuring IIS, I'm talking about the day-to-day of admin and script-writing and so on. Windows hides, Linux reveals.

But -- it depends on temperament. The same virtues that Frontier has are the virtues that attract me to Linux. Not everyone shares my temperament. (Thank goodness.)

On the other hand, I very much appreciate UIs that are easy-to-use. I'm not a command-line snob. I remain a Mac user, too. Manila could be much harder to use than it is -- it could also be easier. We're working on it.

What drives me crazy is the middle ground occupied by Windows. It appears to give you the control of Linux, but doesn't. It appears to give you the ease-of-use of the Mac, but doesn't.

Finally, to close out this rant -- the irony is that most of the time I'm in front of a Windows machine. It's not universally horrible in all ways. I could honestly write a story about why I like Windows. Perhaps tomorrow. (And I'll give the Linux desktop a sound thrashing while I'm at it.)

The point is, everything's kind of half good.


Mariners are playing the Tigers in an early game today. The M's are on a road trip -- versus a bunch of sub-.500 teams. It's a chance to pad their lead in the AL West, and build their confidence, before coming home to face the Indians.


Thanks to everyone who helped test -- and now, it's hashed cookies time... The upshot is that there's a new cookie format that uses string.hashMD5 to encrypt the contents of the cookie. It's more secure.

Happy Birthday Wes!

Manila Newbies: Email Responses: "On April 10, 2000 we released a new feature: the ability for members to receive, via email, direct responses to a discussion group message."

The subscription box looks like this:

The Mariners are travelling today -- next game is tomorrow at Detroit. The M's have the best team ERA in the American League at 2.83, second only to the NL's Arizona Diamondbacks. If you're not a Mariners fan, you have no idea how good it feels to be able to say this, how long we've waited to be able to say this.

Note to the M's: cut Mesa, keep Halama in the bullpen, bring up Brett Tomko or Ryan Anderson from AAA Tacoma.


Manila's news archive link feature has been released. Previously available only to EditThisPage.Com and Weblogs.UserLand.Com users, it's now a standard feature of Manila.

New Manila feature: you can turn off title display on archived home pages, just as you can for the home page itself.

Mariners win 9-3. They took the Red Sox 2 out of 3 games -- then took the Yankees 2 out of 3 games. Nice.

PikeBeta: International character fixes. When one uses a Mac workstation with a Windows server, and vice versa, international characters will be properly converted.

Static rendering bug fixes. New sites get properly initialized now; the unwanted compile-changes-on-saving dialog that appeared on Macs is gone.

Samuel Reynolds: 3rd Party Plugins. It's a place for distributing and talking about Manila plug-ins by Frontier developers.


A-Rod hits 150th career HR: "Rodriguez tied Mickey Mantle at 24 years, 254 days as the fourth-youngest player to reach 150 homers."


Mariners beat Yankees 7-5. Kazuhiro Sasaki, the all-time saves leader in Japan, gets his second American save. Center fielder Mike Cameron robs Derek Jeter of a home run, gets multiple standing ovations. Here's the recap. Baseball: The Latin Passion to air on NBC April 8.


The picture above is looking down at the top of my G4. Not shown is a short stack of quarters, a green plastic army man, and the coiled-up end of a FireWire cord.

New Manila feature: RSS syndication format support.

Meerkat is O'Reilly's wire service -- it supports RSS, though I don't see a way to register.

Mariners beat the Red Sox (again) 5-2. Tonight's game is against the Yankees: Halama vs. Pettite.

The Mariners are tied with the A's for best team ERA in all of major league baseball. Sure, it's super-early in the season -- but this is still encouraging!

Though the SPEEA strike ended, my Mom's leaving Boeing for AdvanceOnline.Com. There's a thread here: both my Mom and sister work for companies that do web-based education. And, of course, part of my job is writing HowTos and docs for people who are learning Frontier, Manila, and Pike. Are we all teachers at heart? Looking back to previous generations -- it appears to run in the family.


Sheila reports on the big sad fire in our neighborhood last night.

Revenge of the Mariners. Beat Red Sox 9-3 last night. Tonight: Aaron Sele vs. former Mariner Jeff Fassero. If Fassero pitches like he did for the Mariners, expect the M's to hit half-a-dozen home runs tonight.

Loving the Command Line: "I am often both amused and distressed watching a user familiar only with the WIMP interface struggle and fumble through multiple dialogue boxes to perform a task that I could do in seconds at the command line." Via array.


The Chief, Freddy Garcia -- see his TV ad -- pitches tonight versus Ramon Martinez.

New Manila Callbacks: "Three new Manila callbacks allow you to add scripts that run when messages are new or changed and when the home page is updated."

John wants to be Lou Reed. Me too.

OndaMac: "The MacCentric Weblog served from the Barrio."


Chuck Shotton: NetEvents Going Public: "NetEvents is going public. Well, it's actually going to become open source if there's sufficient interest."

Noting Seattle's tendency toward rainy days, Sheila proposes building a baseball stadium that's entirely enclosed.

Manila change: instead of sending email notification when the home page has been flipped -- when the home page is still blank -- Manila waits until content has been added, then sends email notification. Read all about it.

PacBell-Conxion Outage Whiteboard.


Better Pike debugging: "If you encounter an error saving a document with Pike, and received an 'error communicating with server' message, you can get a more specific error message this way."

Manila Express bug fixed: "If the URL, title, or selected text of a page contained a ?, then the ? and everything after it was cut off." Now fixed.

Manila Newbies: Time Zone Preference: "On April 4, 2000 we released a new Manila feature, the ability to set the time zone for your site via the Appearance page."

Wide Open News: Microsoft Guilty: "Microsoft denied all the charges, characterizing the government's case as 'specious,' 'fiction,' 'fantasy,' 'silly' and 'pure baloney.'"

LinuxPapers.Org: First Steps With GNU/Linux. "If you have just installed GNU/Linux and don't know quite what to do next, then this article is for you. Some fundamental UNIX concepts are explained in this paper."

Anderson leads Mariners to victory. "Anderson pitched the final four innings of the spring contest giving up two hits, no runs and striking out six Philly batters." Opening day for the Mariners is tomorrow. Pedro Martinez is scheduled to pitch for the Red Sox, Jamie Moyer for the Mariners. Should be an old-fashioned pitcher's duel.

Vaclav Havel on Lou Reed. Here's Lou Reed at the White House. The Czechs didn't call it the Velvet Revolution for no reason.


Major outages continue on our Conxion LAN -- though I suspect the problems are still with PacBell, not Conxion.

Update 5:00 p.m.: Mariners win 3-2. Young pitcher Ryan Anderson was amazing. Sheila will have pictures of the game, once they're developed, including a shot of A-Rod as he's about to take his home run swing in the first inning.

I'm off to the ball game -- Mariners vs. Phillies. The Phillie Phanatic will be there. It's like a dream come true!

Phanatic to Blast-off for Mars to Save Opening Day.

The Seattle Times wrote on Friday: "You might not want to party too late tomorrow night; the weekend is an hour shorter than usual." Of course, I ended up completely disregarding this advice. I'm so glad it's Daylight Savings Time -- but I always hate missing that hour of sleep. Oh well, a small price to pay.


Be Inc. to buy Apple Computer. Still looking for a story on this here.