Monthly Archives: February 2004

Bumper tests have nothing to do with safety

I’ve never understood why the media makes such a big deal about the Insurance Industry’s perennial bumper tests. The tests happen at 5mph, and have absolutely nothing to do with auto safety, but with how much insurance companies have to pay out after a fender bender. The legal bumper requirement is 2.5mph. You might as well publish the prices from the parts catalog…

Is there a right to re-edit?

Billy Crystal opened tonight’s Academy Awards with his traditional spoof of the past year’s movies. For those who haven’t seen it before, a talented team of motion graphics pros and film editors splice together a mock movie preview, pasting his face onto the bodies of known characters, and editing him into certain scenes. I couldn’t help but wonder — if he was on his own, could he have done the same thing without incurring the wrath of the movie industry?

Authenticated RSS?

With all the hoopla about RSS, I’m surprised no one has come up with a standard (that I know of) for password-protected RSS feeds. We’d love to support it in QuickBase — I’d love to read our issues list from my newsreader, for example — but until it can be protected, it’s a nonstarter…

How to revive flashmobs

When I first saw Joi’s post about a flashmob supercomputer, I assumed it was referring to something completely different. Instead of using current flashmobs to create a computer, why not actually generate use a computer to generate the flashmob itself? The most interesting thing about flashmobs was the sense of randomness; that a group of people who had never before met were connected by some unseen force, would come together to do something, and then immediately disperse.

The problem, of course, was that they weren’t all that random. As with any phenomenon largely controlled by a central source on the net, it was easy to find them on the net (want to find the flash mobs in North Dakota?), the press got involved, and they were over before they even started.

So, what’s the best way to make them more random? The answer is obvious: Control them with computer, of course. The computer should pick the time, the attendees, and the action to be performed. No other invitations would be allowed.

Somehow, the idea of humans gathering and manifesting in public for no real purpose other than to satisfy the capricious whims of a computer sitting in a closet is so very appealing…

(via Joi)

Teflon inside

A DuPont chemical used to make Teflon has apparently made it into the bloodstream of up to 96% of the people in the US:

“DuPont has said it does not know why the chemical has become so pervasive, acknowledging C-8 has been found in the blood of the general population at a level five times the maximum the company strives to achieve in the air and water around its factories where C-8 is made or used. DuPont said, however, the C-8 levels pose no threat.”

(Link (via Nova Spivack)

Second post from NetNewsWire

I finally upgraded to the full version of NetNewsWire last night, and I’m quite pleased. I’ve used the lite version every day for months; it’s hard to compete with a free version of your own product, but I’ve found that the full version is worth every penny. The weblog editor in particular is really well-designed. Great stuff, Brent.

Things to improve:

  1. Integrate with the image publishing capability in Movable Type
  2. Make it faster. It’s gotten better recently, but I still find it slower than I’d like.