inessential by Brent Simmons

October 2000


I live in one of those neighborhoods where kids still actually go door-to-door seeking candy. I bought candy. I'm ready for them. Hello, little kiddies.


Got Manila running on OS X! I was testing on an old copy of a backup of this weblog. Here's a large-ish {pictureLink ("screen shot", "largeOsXShot.gif")}.

Here's something else I tried, just for jazz. Can you write AppleScript scripts in Frontier on OS X? Yes. It worked the first time. I chose AppleScript from the language menu, wrote a one line script, ran it, it worked. Just another indication that lots of things are working, in both Frontier and in OS X itself.

OS X tip: I discovered you can get a Restart command if you hold down option -- Shut Down becomes Restart. Useful if you're in my shoes, having to switch between OS X and OS 9.

Another tip -- there's a chess app. I played a game. The computer whipped me. I totally suck at chess, though I enjoy it. (Spatial intelligence is pretty low on the human side of my keyboard.)

I'm starting to like some things about Aqua. I've got lots of complaints, for sure, and more all the time. (It's beta software, what do you expect?) But one thing I've learned to like is the NeXT-style file system browser. It's a time saver, a screen real estate saver.

OS X Talk calls itself "Your source for Mac OS X News." (Hopefully you already know about MacOSX.Weblogs.Com.)



Manila bug fixes listed on today's Frontier News.

I spent the weekend in software installation hell. If you're a Mac user, and you were here, you'd'a been rooting for me. (Believe me, I thought about you, and at times that was the only thing keeping me going.) It was still hell, though.

On the bright side, it wasn't like I had to install NT or anything.

Here's the story. I couldn't get debugging to work on OS X. Without debugging, no progress on the OS X version can be made. On the advice of Tim Paustian, I wiped my hard drive and set up two partitions, one for OS X and one for OS 9. Then I re-installed both OSes, re-installed CodeWarrior, set up the source code -- and re-installed other apps I use on this machine. (It's my desktop machine.)

At the end of it, after much struggling, I built an OS X version that runs. And debugging works. (For some reason I can get it to work with DebugNubController only, or whatever it's called -- but that's better than nothing.) The server is working -- with .wsf sites, anyway. I haven't set up Manila yet.

For a while I was seeing red -- I was on the verge of doing whatever it took to get both an Apple and a Metrowerks employee here at the same time. But late last night I got things working.


New Radio UserLand feature: Manila Editors node. Here's a screen shot.

Discussion Group Themes and other new features and bug fixes are listed on today's Frontier News.

I have often wished that the three words I'm about to utter would spark a popular uprising, a revolt of the people, by the people, for the people, across this entire land. I know it not to be so. Yet my conscience can't rest; these words must be spoken, though fall they will on the deaf ears of a jaded populace.

"I hate velcro."


mainResponder and Manila bug fixes -- see today's Frontier News.

Here's what actual motorcycle riders think about Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.


Bunch of Manila changes -- see today's Frontier News.

Do you use CodeWarrior 6? Maybe you can help me.

It broke me terribly. It used to be that, when I wanted to jump to a function, I could command-double-click on the reference and the function would open. (Like in Frontier.)

Now it doesn't.

Is there some setting somewhere I can set to get this back? Or is there another way to do this?

(There's other breakage, too. So far I'm disappointed with this release. It runs on OS X, which I like. But the debugger apparently doesn't work out-of-the-box, which I hate.)

Hi, we're the New York Yankees, and we're buying another World Series.

When will major league baseball wise up and do what the other major sports do? Yes, we need some sort of salary cap and some form of profit sharing.

Bit of trivia you may or may not recall: the original tagline for this site was "You don't need to be here." In keeping with that contrary attitude, I was considering doing a series of Quotes You Don't Agree With.

It's easy to find quotes that make everyone go -- yeah, that's cool, right on, you go Einstein. (Or Lincoln or Picasso or Woolf or whatever.)

Finding quotes I like but most people won't is a bit more challenging.

So it's too much work and I'm not going to do it.

But here's what would have been the first quote. Oscar Wilde, in a letter: "It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible."

Here's my theory as to why the presidential race is so close.

1. Americans vote for the taller candidate.

2. Americans vote for the anti-intellectual candidate.

Gore is taller; W. is anti-intellectual.

W.'s father beat Dukakis because he was both taller and anti-intellectual. Slam-dunk. Clinton beat Dole because Clinton was taller -- and Dole wasn't actually anti-intellectual.

There isn't always an anti-intellectual candidate. But when there is, and he's the shorter guy, you've got confusion.

Me, I'm writing in Martin Sheen.

After re-reading today's weblog it occurs to me that I'm a crank.


New Radio UserLand feature: Styled HTML Text.

Dave's been talking about Roger Clemens batting. This reminds me of the one time I actually recall Clemens batting. Under certain circumstances the pitcher will bat in the AL. (It's rare.) This was several years ago, when Clemens was still with the Red Sox. A regular season game against the Mariners. Clemens pitched a thing of beauty -- I don't remember the details, but the Mariners offense was completely shut down.

To top it all off, he batted at the end of the game. He hadn't been throwing at our batters, so we didn't throw at him.

Clemens, who probably hadn't batted in years, hit a single. Bastard.


News from Tim on the Carbon port of Frontier: "The good news is, I am finally able to debug on OS X PB with CodeWarrior. There are a few new problems that cropped up during the transition to OS X PB, but I hope to have those ironed out quickly."

Translated -- the Carbon port was running pretty well on OS 9, but it crashed on OS X right after the splash screen. Tim finally got the debugger working on OS X -- so progress can be made.


The new dual-view discussion group interface has been released through the updates process.


Pitchers and catchers report to spring training in less than four months.

I'm old-fashioned in some ways. I always thought chiropractors were a species of witch doctor. (Despite having a chiropractor in the family.)

But yesterday I had lower-back pain so intense I could barely move, let alone walk. Somehow I managed to hobble the two blocks from my house to the local chiropractor. So much for thinking they're witch doctors -- the first time in my life I had serious back pain, I went straight there.

It helped. Whew.

Turned out it's nothing very serious, just a sacral-iliac inflammation. (Something like that, anyway.) I'm not fixed, but I can walk around much better.

It's weird, though -- getting up from my chair, or trying to tie my shoes, my motions -- slow, with some grimacing -- remind me of my great-grandfather.


Stat of the day: 4-0. Four wins, zero losses.

When facing post-season elimination versus the Yankees, the Mariners are 4-0. They have never lost.

To clarify:

In 1995, they faced a do-or-die situation three games in a row -- and won each game, thereby winning the series. Down 0-2 in a five-game series, they beat the Yankees in each of the next three to move on to the ALCS. (Where they lost to the Indians.)

Yesterday's game was the fourth do-or-die win in a row versus the Yankees.

John Lewis has his own stat of the day -- "ten pounds of fluid ride in the hump of a camel."

This has not passed the fact-checking team. (Those poor underpaid bastards, working on their novels late at night, wondering if they'll ever meet a city gal as nice as the phillies back home in Kansas.)

I keep wondering if the design of this site can get more minimal. I think it can.


My oh my!

Mariners win 6-2! One of the most tense games of my life as a Mariners fan. Now back to the Bronx for game 6... and another do-or-die game. Tuesday. Tomorrow's a day off, thank goodness.


New Manila feature: Home Page Template. You can create a template for use on your home page only, since for some sites the home page is a special page with features that shouldn't appear on every page in the site.


Delicate work. We've got the tree guys here trimming back a silver leaf maple -- that hangs right over the T1 line. If a branch falls the wrong way... They're being careful. I'm being paranoid.

Update -- the tree guys are finished. The T1 line is still connected. Whew.

Here's a bug I'm not sure if I'm going to report.

If I'm doing a build on Mac OS X with CW Pro 6, and I'm wearing my black slippers, the mouse pointer disappears and I have keyboard control only.

100% reproducable.


Thanks to Steve Ivy for the link to GWBushSucks.Com.

Note to Steve (who is not the anti-me): I'd probably vote Republican too, if Republican leaders actually believed in the same things you do. They don't. Two words: corporate welfare.

It turns out there's a! "Before you consider lobbying for corporate welfare, have you: Lowered workers wages as your profits have shot up?"

I've heard that the Mac OS X developer tools are now available for download to on-line ADC members. (As I recall, being an on-line member is free.) I wonder if, were I starting a project from scratch, would I use Project Builder/Interface Builder or CW Pro 6?

Actually, because I'm a freak, I'd probably use neither, I'd write command line apps. Why? Because they're restful -- so much of my work is UI work. The command line is a vacation. It's like going without shaving, drinking a six-pack of beer, sleeping past noon.

Plus, there's something delightfully perverse about writing command line apps for Macs.

Luckily, for me and the rest of the world, I'm not starting a project from scratch.

Boy am I ever tired of spam advertising printer supplies. Hello, I don't even own a printer. And if I did, I'd trade it for a dog. Then I'd give the dog to a good home.

While I do think it's easier to write negative than celebratory prose, I take some measure of inspiration from The Flangy News. Consider this day, with two gems: "My car tried to kill me when I got in it after work..." and "HTML is a harsh master. And a cruel mistress. And I don't mean the good kind of cruel mistress..."


Yankees win 7-1. Nuts! The series record is 1-1, the M's coming away with a split in Yankee Stadium before returning to Safeco field for three games.

The Yanks were getting shut out until the 8th, then they scored big. They say even God believed in Yankee-style baseball. Genesis: "In the big inning..."

(That joke was old when Abner Doubleday was young.)

Radio UserLand stories: Manila Stories Node and Upgrading Icons.

CNNSI: Steady Freddy. "'There's no secret: We got shut down,' said Paul O'Neill, who feebly went 0-for-3 and even got pinch hit for."


Mariners win game one!

Warning: the below is unfair. Do not read any further if you can't stand being curious and not having your curiosity satisfied. I mean it. I will not satisfy your curiosity; nor will I run a survey. I'm telling you to click the Back button in your browser right now. No joke.

They say if you live long enough you'll meet your double. I don't know if that's true -- but I've met my anti-double, my exact opposite, the anti-me. Or, I should say, I've met the weblog that is the exact opposite of mine.

It would be impolitic to point to it -- but don't worry, no, it's not your weblog, definitely not. Relax! In fact, I highly doubt the author of the weblog I'm talking about reads mine.

But it's amazing. Every time I read it -- I tend to avoid it, actually -- I'm stunned. I disagree with every single sentence. There isn't a sentiment expressed I don't take immediate issue with.

It gets my blood boiling, every time, without fail.

The site I'm talking about is well-regarded, is rather popular. The author is very opinionated. It seems like just about everyone else in the world digs it.

At times there's a deafening chorus of me-toos. It's not just that people enjoy the site -- they agree with it.

And yet... this weblog is 100% completely and perfectly wrong about every single thing. In my opinion.

To me it reads like: "Pure evil is good." And people say: "Right on! You hit the nail on the head with that pure evil thing! So insightful!"

I guess I'm lucky that there's just the one weblog out of thousands that drives me nuts.

My point isn't really about the specific case of me and this weblog. Which is partly why I'll never reveal which one it is. I'm interested in the experience itself.

Is there a weblog that is the exact opposite of yours? Or is it just me, is this a unique experience?

I'm not talking about weblogs you don't like -- surely there are a few, out of the thousands, you don't care for -- I'm talking about a weblog that to you is wrong in every way possible on every level.

Paul Victor Novarese knows what I'm talking about -- he has two opposites. So I'm not alone in this. Paul writes: "For some reason I continue to read both of them occasionally (about once a week). I suppose my masochistic side is afraid it might miss something."

Why did I name this weblog Because I'm a contrary bastard. From the start I set myself up to be the opposite of something.

Two people have guessed camworld. While not my favorite weblog, that's not it.

I'm pretty certain that it's un-guessable.


In 1972 the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional. In 1976 they reversed that ruling.

Don't think things change? Sure they do.

It's fashionable this election season, as it often is, to say there are no differences between the two major parties, that they're both in the pockets of big business.

Somewhat true. Rather true. But not true enough to be true.

Here's an issue where it's not true: abortion. There is a difference between the two parties here -- and the opportunity for the next president to make major changes.

Do you care about this issue? I hope you do. Remember: things change. (That may be heartening or dis-heartening to you when applied to the abortion issue.)

People often say they don't have litmus tests. I do. I'll vote or not vote for a candidate based on their position on abortion.

Luckily, one party has a stand on abortion that I agree with, so I vote for candidates from that party.

The other day I saw part of the infamous Kennedy-Nixon presidential debate of 1960. (Yes, Nixon looked awful -- apparently he was getting over a cold. Kennedy had just returned from campaigning in California. He was tan and attractive. Both were good speakers. Kennedy won the TV version of the debate -- Nixon won the radio version. Same debate, but TV beat radio. History.)

Kennedy said something that struck me. He said that one had to choose which person and which party was the right one to lead the country. He said he was from the party that had produced Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Harry Truman. He didn't try to downplay his partisanship -- he sounded proud.

Nixon could have said the same thing -- and mentioned Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower. (And perhaps he did; I didn't hear the entire debate.)

What struck me was that it didn't used to be a bad thing to say: I'm the xxxxx candidate, and here are the guys that came before me, and I'm going to try and be like them.



Last night we released a new beta version of Frontier. Here's the updated kernel change notes page.


It's now easier than before to flip your home page via Radio UserLand.

I just installed a few new themes on UserLand Servers. Two are by Bryan Bell, one is by Mat Wrigley, a new Themes designer.

Sheila, the rebuttal.

Eric Soroos has released RU Remote Player (alpha).

I'm pretty sure the volume of sales calls I'm getting is going up. If this continues, it will be completely out of hand by the end of this year. I do not have the luxury of being able to turn off my phone during working hours. I do not have the luxury of being able to get away with murder, either, however satisfying. Plus it would take too long to track down all the callers, and more spring up by the minute. I'd be a full-time killing machine. That's not what I signed up for when I signed up for a phone.

For a long time it seemed like the number of sales calls was pretty static. Annoying but not terrifically bad. It's possible that this could change -- there's no reason to assume it would stay static. It could explode. You heard it here first.

I got email from Greg Hanek with his recipe for good sandwiches. It sounds really, really, good. No, I mean, really, excellently good.

Here's Greg's email:

***Greg Hanek: "More Philly style sammies"

I'm SO with you on the sandwich issues. Quality ingredients make a huge difference. The bread es muy importanto!

Few US citizens have an idea what _real_ bread is. Something that comes in a plastic bag is NOT real bread. Real bread _would_ allow you to survive for some time on 'just' bread and water. Real bread is still warm when they hand it to you in a paper bag. Real bread is so darn hard to find around here, too. <Homer voice> Mmmmmmm. Reeaal Bread...

Anyway, I wanted to share a recipe I got from Emeril Lagasse, when he did his Live from Philly special on FoodTV (still drool when I think of that show).

He made a 'standard' philly cheese steak sammie, using sliced ribeye steak. I get mine sliced like a deck of cards, just under an eighth of inch. I usually get about 3 lbs sliced this way, and freeze it -- deli paper placed between the slices, and enough slices for a few sammies per freezer bag. A quality meat is important, since this is a 'simple' sandwich.

I love a traditional cheese steak, with just browned onions and provolone cheese. I brown my onions in a little olive oil in a large cast iron skillet, then add Worchestershistershire sauce to them to deglase the pan (make all those browned goodness flavorings come off the bottom of the pan and mingle happily with the onions.) and give a little flavor. I use about one medium sized yellow onion per sammie -- sloppy, yes, but this is a sammie to make you settle down in a comfy chair and enjoy some sporting event (and maybe a nap).... I scrape the onions to the edge of the pan, to keep them warm and happy happy, and pan-fry the ribeye slices in the same pan, so the juices all nicely co-mingle. :-)

Season your ribeye as desired. I like fresh ground pepper and a little cajun seasoning on mine.

After one side is done (lots of the juices coming thru the top), flip it over and smother it in onions after about fifteen seconds, and then put the sliced provolone on this sizzling mass to melt, and make this one juicy lump of goodness.

Here's the *wild* touch that Emeril added, that's make this a KILLER sammie -- he spread garlic mashed potatoes on the sammie bun! No, seriously.

I thought this was too weird until I tried it. It gives the sammie just the right amount of moisture, so you don't have to add anything else to it (I've seen heretics add mayo or other condiments to a cheese steak -- <shiver>). Emeril used baby red potatoes, but I'm usually in too much of a hurry. I confess that I do use instant mashed potatoes usually, but fresh garlic is key here. So is adding a little butter and milk to make the potatoes very creamy. ;-)

So there ya go. After the bun is mashed potato-prepped, and the ribeye slice is done to your preference, lay that ribeye slice on that bun, and smother it in a little more onion. YUM! (Did I mention I like a lot of onions on my sammies?)

Be careful, since this is a very rich sammie, and can easily cause food-coma to settle in. But then again, on a crisp, Fall weekend afternoon, that's a good thing!


M's win game two in Chicago, lead series 2-0. Next game is Friday in Seattle. Go Marys!

How to make a good sandwich in Seattle

First of all -- if you were raised on the West Coast, just make a regular sandwich. You don't know what a good sandwich is, so it doesn't matter. Ignorance is bliss.

For anyone raised in the Philadelphia area, here's what you do. Note -- these instructions won't make you an excellent sandwich, or even a very good sandwich, but you'll end up with a good sandwich.

The biggest problem is getting the right kind of bread. Face it, it's not do-able. (If you know better, send me email, I beg you.)

What I do is get Gai's French Sandwich Rolls from the QFC. It's okay as a substitute. From QFC also get salami and provolone. Get it from the deli, don't get pre-packaged. Please.

If you don't already have olive oil, red wine vinegar, and oregano, get whatever of those you need. Get tomato and lettuce. Optionally you can get onions and red peppers. (And salt and pepper, duh.)

The second biggest problem after bread is capocolla. They don't have it at QFC. If you must, you can make do with proscuitto, which they do have at QFC, but really, it's not the same. Capocolla makes the difference. In Ballard you can go to the Other Coast café in old Ballard. I'm not sure where else you can get capocolla, but I'd try DeLaurenti's in the Pike Place Market or Roxy's Deli in Crown Hill.

Capocolla is expensive. (So is proscuitto.) So you don't get to have a good sandwich every meal of every day, as utopian as the thought is.

Making the sandwich is pretty straightforward. Cut the bread, lay down the cold cuts -- be generous with the capocolla, it should be sliced thin, so it takes a bit of it. Then add whatever vegetables go on next. Add oregano and salt and pepper, then oil and vinegar. The oil is more important than the vinegar.

To go with, I like the jalapeno-flavored Tim's Cascade Chips. I'd rather have Herr's chips, but they're not available.

If you've managed to run across Dr. Brown's cherry soda, that's a good drink, otherwise I recommend root beer. Any old brand is fine, no need to be a snob. Don't drink YooHoo, it's for children.

You're totally fucked when it comes to dessert. No TastyKakes. Sorry.


Tools and File Menu Callbacks.

M's win in Chicago, lead series 1-0 -- thanks to Edgar Martinez's 2-run home run in the 10th. Go M's!

Manila Managing Editors can now choose which browser-based editing tool gets used on their site.


Tools -- Radio UserLand plug-ins.

A new Theme from Bryan Bell -- Wunderkind 1.0 -- has been installed on UserLand servers.


It came down to the last game of the regular season -- but the Mariners made it to the playoffs. Sheila has the scoop.

Happy Birthday to Jake!