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Subscribing to the LazyWeb search engine

Richard Soderberg came up with a great idea today for the LazyWeb search engine - why not offer an RSS feed for each search, so that subscribers can monitor the results over time?

Why not indeed? It was a bit of genius that turned out to be easy to implement. Now every search query on LazyWeb gives you a li…


Live from the Superbowl

I watched the Superbowl tonight, for the first time since I was a kid. Not out of snobbishness, it's just that I didn't grow up in a football house. My mother, who has little patience for the English language, could never get past the name or the incessant time-outs. "They don't kick it with their foot, so why is it called 'foot' 'ball'? And what are they doing, hitting that man like that? …


Umberto Eco on Computers

Umberto Eco sounds off (years ago) on the Mac / PC schism:

I am firmly of the opinion that the Macintosh is Catholic and that DOS is Protestant. Indeed, the Macintosh is counter-reformist and has been influenced by the 'ratio studiorum' of the Jesuits. It is cheerful, friendly, conciliatory, it tells the faithful how…


Down The Yangzi

Our boat trip started from Chongqing after nightfall. The day-long tour of the city I described earlier ended in mild pandemonium on an embankment some two hundred yards from the river, a steep descent down a gravelly path to where a variety of riverboats floated off of a large pier. Our bus pulled up at the top of the slope and disgorged us all into the inevitable crowd of hawkers selling …


International Blogs

Thank you to all the people who have sent me their Movable Type blog files so far. I have received a lot of data, exactly what I asked for, and as soon as I have something useful to share, I will make sure to let you know. Like always in these kinds of projects, eighty percent of the work is hacking out a workable installer and update script. Luckily the twenty percent that is the hard part…



I have spent this Sunday sleeping and basking in the heat of our woodstove, trying to erase yesterday's furnace trauma from my mind. Reading my way through the Internet, I found 0format, land of a hundred updates, and spent the next hour devouring the site archive. Go forth and read that si…


Three Gorges

For all my recent posts about China, I never actually wrote about the Three Gorges. Regular readers will remember that the Chinese government has built a gargantuan dam on the Chang Jiang river, which means that the spectacular gorges behind it will soon be mostly underwater. You're still not out of luck if you fancy a river cruise - it will take a good ten years to raise the water level b…


Venezuelan Blog

Alex Grants writes to suggest an English-language Venezuelan weblog, the Caracas chronicles, for the foreign section. Francisco Toro had to choose between writing for the New York Times and writing his weblog, and he made a brave choice. It's in English, the reporting is excellent, and it's a story…


Deep Freeze

It is five degrees below zero this morning, but according to the weather site it "feels like -13". I don't want to know what -13 feels like (I have a strong suspicion it doesn't feel good), but I have to go start the car. The car is of a certain age and takes almost as long as I do to get ready for work.

Out the window I can see huge billows of white steam coming out of my wallet - I m…


Permalinks Aren't

I've been working with some of the many Movable Type weblogs I got this week, seeing how my search code works and scarfing down the content. I purposefully picked weblogs that had been running for years, and left the dates out of the search display. I'd heard people go on and on about the chains and shackles of reverse chronological order, and I thought I'd experiment with just reading thing…


Angus King Tours The Country

If you run a weblog using Movable Type, I have a small favor to ask of you.


This is the worst time of year for a lot of people in New England; even though the days are getting fractionally longer, for some reason it's in mid-January that the seasonal blues kick in the hardest. Part of it is having to drive home from work well after dark, with the…



Because part of my plan for financial independence hinges on getting a windfall of $300,000, I made sure to get a ticket for the PowerBall drawing on my way to Maine over Christmas. I'm not usually a gambling sort of guy, but the jackpot was nearly $300 million, comfortably over the amount I require, and the drawing was to be held on Christmas Day. It sounded like the right present for me. …


The Rural Life

It snowed all last night, a good six inches of beautiful light powder, and because I am a lazy bum, I did not get out to shovel my walk until after dark, when it was time to go fetch dinner at the grocery store. Usually when the snow falls before dawn, the sun has all day to press it down into a sodden white slab, and the shoveling is hard. Tonight, though, the shoveling was effortless. It w…


I Like Ike

A new look for the New Year. One of my resolutions was to be standards-compliant.


I've been poring through old books since Christmas. The house my mother recently bought is full of them. The former owners were a physics professor and his wife, who were avid members of the Book of the Month club, and had a pretty keen interest in current events. That was back before their cur…

Greatest Hits

The Alameda-Weehawken Burrito Tunnel
The story of America's most awesome infrastructure project.

Argentina on Two Steaks A Day
Eating the happiest cows in the world

Scott and Scurvy
Why did 19th century explorers forget the simple cure for scurvy?

No Evidence of Disease
A cancer story with an unfortunate complication.

Controlled Tango Into Terrain
Trying to learn how to dance in Argentina

Dabblers and Blowhards
Calling out Paul Graham for a silly essay about painting

Attacked By Thugs
Warsaw police hijinks

Dating Without Kundera
Practical alternatives to the Slavic Dave Matthews

A Rocket To Nowhere
A Space Shuttle rant

Best Practices For Time Travelers
The story of John Titor, visitor from the future

100 Years Of Turbulence
The Wright Brothers and the harmful effects of patent law

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Every Damn Thing

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