Webskins for InfoWorld

InfoWorld's new design is driving me nuts.  Despite being old, it still has stories I want to read, but the new design bothers the heck out me like I am staring at some health insurance brochure.  I want to be able to view websites the way I want to and not be forced into web designer's latest whim.  I want to use webskins to view webpages.  Webskins can be general or site/page/fragment specific.  Whenever I am viewing a site, I should be able to click on a bookmarklet like Jon Udell's LibraryLookup to find a selection of webskins I can use for a particular website or webpage I was looking at.  I hope I don't have to build this myself.  I got more distractions than I can deal with at the moment.

Update: I found a commercial ASP.NET component called Xheo.WebSkin that can be used to build skinnable websites.  This is a server-side solution for those who have control over the website.  Webskins I have in mind morph web content on the receiving end, clients and proxies, and at not the website.  Legal rammifications are there but I think 'reasonable use' of web content applies here.  If I listen to Madonna's songs underwater, am I violating some law?

Come to think of it, maybe I should call this WebLens or WebLenz (weblens.com is not available but weblenz.com is).

F-22 Attacking

A picture of F-22 Falcon firing a Sidewinder (AIM-9M).  AIM-9M was used in Desert Storm with 13 confirmed kills using it.  Makes me wanna have some steak for dinner.  Personally, I prefer ASRAAM over Sidewinders.  More on F-22 attack capabilities can be found here.

F-22 firing an AIM-9M from the left side bay

A living example of P2P Journalism

OhMyNews.com is an online Korean newspaper whose motto is Every Citizen is a Reporter.  They classify themselves as a News Guerilla Organization.  Their reporters are average Korean citizens who sign-up as ohmynews members to write articles for the newspaper.  Members post articles and images for OhMyNews editorial staff to examine and edit before publishing.  This happens four times a day.

OhMyNews is so successful that most Korean Internet users are aware of it.  Even Koreans living oversea like me read it daily.  All the politicians are aware of it.  To say OhMyNews is influential in Korea is to underestimate its power.  Recent candlelight vigil in the honor of two Korean girls overran by American tanks were started by an OhMyNews member.  The vigil turned into a major anti-American and anti-conservative movement that, almost everyone in Korea admits, contributed to Mr. Roh Moo-hyun winning the presidential election over his conservative rival Lee Hwae-chang.  Is that powerful or what?

OhMyNews articles tend to be biased toward liberal views and each article drips with emotions and subjective judgements.  Still, they usually reveal details not reported by major newspapers.  These details were collected face to face by members themselves or by a friend of a friend.  You can tell that they took the time and care to sit down with people involved in the story and talked with them heart to heart without concerns for deadlines nor news worthyness.

Are they journalists?  Probably not in the traditional sense.  What one cannot dispute is that what they write are worth spending some of my time to read.  Isn't that enough?  I wish we had something like OhMyNews in America that can broadcast American citizen's voice unfiltered instead of out of context soundbytes, twisted and arranged to fit around professional reporters' objective news article, and millions of individual thoughts grounded down into a poll artificially spiked to make it interesting.

Interesting case of cyberlaw jurisdiction

US has its share of greedy opportunists and so does Korea.  This is a case of some greedy Koreans registering domain names as soon as they get a whiff of merger news.  They shame me.  The interesting part is the jurisdiction conflict between Virginia and Korean courts.  Localized trademarks and related domain names will be fountain of trouble in the future also.

Text of GLOBALSANTAFE.COM In Rem Domain Name Decision. Thanks to a Blog Reader at Skadden for forwarding a copy of the GLOBALSANTAFE.COM decision, in which the District Court in Viriginia exercised in rem jursidiction over a domain name, and ordered Verisign, the .com registry operation (located in Virginia) to cancel a domain name, despite a stay issued by a Korean court. [The Trademark Blog]

I remember Koreans getting upset a few years ago over foreigners registering popular Korean words as domain names.  If you can't grok, imagine some enterprising Iraqi registering unclesam.com.  A lot of emotions are packed into words and domain names are no different.

My website, docuverse.com, was down for a while for unknown reasons.  Thankfully, Kattare.com admin fixed it in a few minutes.  I appologize if you missed me.  😉

Freaking Cool Three Degrees

Three Degrees is way cool.  Its website is also cool.  Its so cool, its creeping me out.  Why?  Because its a Microsoft product.  I am used to Microsoft putting out a shitty product and then polish it into a monster product while everyone is laughing at the first release.  I am not used to Microsoft putting out really creative product like Three Degree.  Its freaking scary!

threedegrees So here I go – anxiously downloading the beta version of Microsoft's new Three Degrees product – and OOOooops – it only works with XP.  This is what I've been trying to tell people – Microsoft has no intention of supporting anything before XP. [Marc's Voice]

Marc seems upset that Three Degrees works only on XP.  Why not?  New machines and new platforms are where the money is flowing fastest.  Those outdated 800 million PCs out there are owned by folks who are either happy with what they have or can't afford to buy latest machines.  Neither group are likely to buy new software.  Sure its a Swiss Cheese of an argument, but I have been a consultant for 20 years and I know where consulting dollars are being readily spent: at the bleeding edge.

Subway Fire Tragedy Update

The death toll in recent Korean subway fire tragedy is expected to be over 200.  Most of the dead were on train 1080, not on train 1079 where the fire started.  Unbelievably, train 1080 pulled into the station while train 1079 was visibly engulfed in flame and stopped right next to it as you can see below.

After parking train 1080 next to train 1079, the driver talked with subway headquarter and was told to shutdown the train and leave.  The driver was repeated told to take the key used to activate the train.  No mention was made of the passengers.  Tragically, the train doors were closed when he took the key out and left, leaving the passengers inside.  While train doors can be opened manually in a few minutes, tests have shown that untrained person can take as much as 30 minutes to open a door.  Result is what you see below.

Knowing Korean society well, I think it is almost certain that at least one more person will die, if not suicide then by homicide.  Can anyone live with so much guilt?

GuideLog = MobLog+AudioLog+Location

When I travel, I avoid travel guides like the flu.  Still, I miss not learning about the history and details only locals and fellow exploreres might know.  Here is a fun application of moblog and audiolog that could solve that problem.

With location service-enabled cellphones, post audiologs about the location and its surroundings for other mobloggers to listen to when they are in the area.  Now mobloggers will not have to follow travel guides around when they visit tourist spots.  Imagine standing in some remote spot and listening to a GuideLog post that turns out to be a suicide audiolog.  Hmm.  Are those bones or what?

Synchrony in Blogspace

I wrote about bloggers being ants without realizing that Joi Ito and others were having similar thoughts almost at the same time: synchrony in blogspace.  Individual thoughts, shared in the past over blogs, combine to become the environment itself like the sky and the weather over ants, gently coaxing all of us to have same thoughts at the same time.  Come to think of it, intellects may be as vain as people who feel compelled to follow the latest fashion.

Online games are changing Korea

Online games are so popular in Korea that its having a major impact on the young generation.  Online game items sells at as much as $10K although most good items are in the more affordable hundreds to thousands of dollars.  Also, items for sex is not unheard of.

I couldn't find any fantasy and science fiction books in Korea few years ago, but they are now commonplace thanks to online games.  Most of the popular fantasy and science fiction books are written by Korean kids and young adults who learned English words like 'item', 'inventory', 'fireball', and 'levitate', not from the English dictionary, but from the games they played.

'Avatar', another online game word, is also well known in Korea.  The word now means 'a manga-style character representing a person online'.  You can get a free generic one or buy a custom drawn one to use on your cellphones, in online chatrooms, or online games itself as textures.  Many well-known Korean figures, from politicians to CEOs, now have their own avatar as part of their publicity.  This is just one of newly elected Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun's avatar.

Books, mangas, animations, clothes, songs, and hairstyles in Korea are all affected by online games.  Its just mind boggling.  I haven't figured out whether its some peculiar trait in Korean culture that made this happen or some duplicatable factors.  Spread of 'PC-Bang' (Korean style Internet Cafe) in China and LA suggests that it can be duplicated, although those places haven't gone as crazy as Korea.