Tough Choices?

A wild thought out of the blue: if you had to decide between the survival of the last family of Bushmen or the last wild herd of elephants in Africa, which would you choose?

Attention Landscape

Read this:

So imagine a flat X-Y plane – any floor will do – that's a map of topics in two space.

To illustrate a little, let's stand on the map at 'environmentalism'. Somewhere near we can see 'Lomborg', 'ANWR' and 'Kyoto'. A little further off in the direction of the latter two is 'fuel cell' and in the mid-distance behind is 'Saudi Arabia.' 'Anime' and 'Reality TV' are lost in the haze, in an unknown direction.

Now, up off the ground, and let's add a Z (vertical) axis. This axis is attention.

Let's give every reader / viewer in the audience for our medium 100 poker chips, and ask them to put the chips on the map areas representing how they would ideally like to spend some time and attention this month, available content permitting.

Cue the special effects, and pour in the water.

Now let that water represent the fixed costs of entry in the print medium, restated as the amount of attention you need to monetize to survive. You'll notice most of the landscape is now underwater. So are the business models of those on the small peaks.

Now, back to the blogscape again. Drain most of the water – fixed costs are way down. Even many of the smaller hills are dry – making money – if only indirectly as a form of virtual advertising. The diarists are still underwater, but the snorkel is pretty cheap. There's also a lot of life on the lower slopes of the big peaks, more microclimates and ecologies to exploit.

No, it's not me talking but Tim Oren ranting on the naivety of the Power Law (warning: over-simplified).  He is doing a Don Park as in Don't Park and Think but Drive Right Into The Damn Picture thing.  I really enjoyed this post, particularly the pouring and draining of water.  Tim forgot to add the part about zooming way out to reveal the map as the skin on a drum on which the Hands of Time beats on constantly.  Heh.

Lazy Photography

Digital camera and photo editing software encourage lazy photography.  Before, it was more like hunting, carefully planning and working for the perfect shot.  Now, its like drive-by shooting to collect images for further work.  Reading digital camera reviews reveals that considerable number of people buy high-resolution digital cameras just so they can use just parts of images.  This is sad in a way.

Update #1 – 11:34PM PST

Wow.  I like this kind of photography (warning: very wide picture).  I wonder how one takes pictures like that.

Eclipse 3.0 M4

I am very happy with Eclipse 2.1.1, but Eclipse 3.0 M4 has interesting new features including a new browser plugin, so I tried it today.  Well, I didn't get very far into it.  IDE itself feels pretty solid but plugins I use were not quite up to the challenge.

Several plugins I use require EMF and XSD plugins, but those plugins are hardwired to Eclipse 2.1.1 for some unknown reasons and were causing configuration problems.  Patching the offending dependence tags in EMF and XSD features.xml files didn't fix the problem.  Since I need those plugins and don't have time to fix the problem myself, I can't use 3.0 M4.

BTW, Eclipse 2.1.2 will be released end of this month with at least 54 bug fixes.  EMF and XSD will still cause problems, but I expect them to be updated fairly soon for Eclipse 2.1.2.  Eclipse 3.0, on the other hand, won't be released until well into next year.

Back to the Future: Visual Studio 6

I use Visual Studio .NET 2003 (VS.NET) for Win32 projects and .NET tinkering.  Unfortunately, my clients are still using Visual Studio 6 (VS6) which uses different project file format from the VS.NET series.  VS.NET will convert VS6 projects into VS.NET projects but not in the opposite direction.  This is a common problem for Windows developers who want to use the latest tools like me.

I use Stephane Rodriguez's open source tool to convert VS.NET projects to to VS6 projects.  It used to work only with VS.NET 2002 projects but the most recent version works with VS.NET 2003 projects as well.  Problem solved.

Voluntary ID for Faster Boarding?

I like the idea behind the Verifiable ID venture by Steven Brill (news, press release, website).  It is an echo of my Trusted E-mail Network (TEN) idea: workable alternative for the needy.  But I don't see why security has anything to do with the ID when the real problem is the long line.  Having the ID doesn't excuse you from being searched before boarding.  It also doesn't offer any value beyond what passport provides.  Also, international travellers will get only half of the questionable benefit.

It will be a lot simpler and more effective to just sell private line passes for a frequent travellers.  It works just like those privately-operated freeways.  Companies can partner with airports and transport authorities to install and operate private lines wherever there are long lines.  With private and voluntary membership, they can be much through without ACLU screaming at them.

Besides, wouldn't you pay a little extra to get frisked by a sexy bombshell carrying an Uzi?


Nothing much to post about except that I am busy.  Here are some pictures of persimmons and tomatos we harvested recently.  While tomatos are gone now, persimmons are starting to ripe.

Squirrels ate parts of the left one.  Ever seen constipated squirrels?

I love eating tomatos with salt.  Yummy!

Searching for CryptUI.h

I am looking for a copy of CryptUI.h file which used to be in Win32 Platform SDK, but was replaced with CryptUIAPI.h.  I need it to call CryptUIDlgViewCertificate which is undocumented.  The function displays a dialoging showing details about certificates.  Microsoft recommends CryptUIDlgViewContext but it's available only on XP and Windows Server 2003.  There is another recently documented fuction CertViewProperties, but that works only on XP, Windows 2000 Pro adn Server.  CryptUIDlgViewCertificate works on all of these platforms as well as Windows 98+.  I could use CAPICOM but that will add 450K to the footprint just to display a cert.  I could also write my own cert display dialog, but that involves more work than I am willing to put into this.


If you don't understand what I wrote above, don't feel bad.  This stuff is so geeky that not even Google can find enough material to fill a page.

Update – 2003/10/21 01:36PM PST

Michel Gallant came to my rescue with his open source KeyPal utility which has the necessary declarations – Gallant indeed!  Declartations are in C# so I'll translate it to C and post it here for future reference.  I might even wrap all this into a DLL for others.  I still haven't figured out how to coax these APIs to display a cert chain like the way Acrobat 6 does it.

BVRDE Source

Bjarke Viksoe released source code for BVRDE, Win32 IDE for developing UNIX/Linux software which I mentioned before.  Thanks Bjarke.  BVRDE is basically a full GUI front-end to command-line oriented tools running on remote UNIX/Linux boxes.  BVRDE source is a great starting point for Windows IDE projects.  It's written in WTL so your IDE can be lean and fast.


Via Dave, I ran into a recent accusation of anti-Semitism against Gregg Easterbrook by Roger L Simon that resulted in Gregg getting fired by ESPN.  Here is the paragraph from Gregg's post to his blog that caused all this:

Set aside what it says about Hollywood that today even Disney thinks what the public needs is ever-more-graphic depictions of killing the innocent as cool amusement. Disney's CEO, Michael Eisner, is Jewish; the chief of Miramax, Harvey Weinstein, is Jewish. Yes, there are plenty of Christian and other Hollywood executives who worship money above all else, promoting for profit the adulation of violence. Does that make it right for Jewish executives to worship money above all else, by promoting for profit the adulation of violence? Recent European history alone ought to cause Jewish executives to experience second thoughts about glorifying the killing of the helpless as a fun lifestyle choice. But history is hardly the only concern. Films made in Hollywood are now shown all over the world, to audiences that may not understand the dialogue or even look at the subtitles, but can't possibly miss the message–now Disney's message–that hearing the screams of the innocent is a really fun way to express yourself.Gregg Easterbrook

In response, Roger L. Simon posted this:

Thanks (but no thanks) to Meryl Yourish and Instapundit for pointing out the astonishing and hugely depressing example of anti-Semitism by Gregg Easterbrook in The New Republic (of all places). Mr. Easterbrook holds two Jewish movie executives, Michael Eisner of Disney and Harvey Weinstein of Miramax, responsible for the violent oeuvre of Quentin Tarantino, singling them out as Jews and making reference to the Holocaust in the defense of his argument.Roger L. Simon

What I don't quite understand is exactly what constitutes anti-Semitism?  Does it work like Jihad in that any Jewish person can accuse someone of anti-Semitism?  Or does it work like the N word which can be used liberally by black people but not by anyone else?

In a way, I feel jealous because Semitism seems to have a very powerful forcefield that protects it where most other minorities don't.  I mean accusations of anti-Kimchee or anti-Korean just doesn't have the oomph anti-Semitism have.  Even worse, anti-Islamic sentiments are seemingly cheered on rather than frowned upon in America today.

Anyway, I would appreciate more education on this subject.