Monthly Archives: July 2004

Blogging Client

I’m posting this with a demo copy BlogJet.  BlogJet is a blogging client that supports a variety of weblog systems (including MovableType).  It is commercial software with a price tag in the $20-30 range.

I installed it because I am looking to dramatically streamline the effort of posting images in my blog.  As it is, I haven’t bothered posting any images because I’m lazy.

I was hoping that BlogJet would do the job.  It doesn’t.

First off, if you simply drag a photo off your local disk into the browser window, it gives an error because it is a local file.  This is strange,  because it has a button for inserting a picture that lets you pick a picture from the local filesystem which it will presumably upload to the server when you make the post.

The second annoyance is that it doesn’t seem to do much with the photo.  I can resize it, but its just modifies the size tag, it doesn’t resize the image, so anyone who views the page ends up downloading the full=sized file, which the browser then does a crappy job of resizing.

This is what I think BlogJet and every other rich blogging client should do.

  1. Support drag and drop of images from the local filesystem.
  2. Automatically resize the image into a preselected thumbnail size using a high quality resizing algorithm.
  3. Allow the optional but automatic creation of a larger image linked from the thumbnail.
  4. Allow customization of the JPEG quality settings.
  5. Allow very basic image editing.  I think cropping should be enough, though one could also make the the case that adjusting levels should be added.  Anything more though should really be the domain of an image editing tool
  6. Only generate the resized images when the entry is posted so you can tweak things without degrading things.
  7. Automatically upload the images when the entry is posted.

I’ve looked at Zempt, MTClient, Bloggar, BlogJet and Ecto.  None of them really come close.  Most don’t support any image operations beyond embedding and uploading it to the server.  Ecto has a little file-upload tool that creates thumbnails, but it doesn’t have a what-you-see-is-roughly-what-you-get editor for the HTML (in fact, the editor doesn’t even try to do a nice job of formatting the HTML source).

Other than that, BlogJet seems pretty slick. I’d buy it if it just had improved image support.  I think it would appeal to far more people than the “Attach Voice” functionality.


I’ve written before about Oil and our military policy. This article on Slate touches on some of the same points in much more detail.

Namely that both the US economy and the US military feed on a diet heavy in oil, that our policy for securing that oil is in serious trouble, first from the islamic revolution in Iran, and now due to Osama’s attempts to destabilize Saudi Arabia’s government and due to our own success in destabilizing Iraq.

If our oil supply is seriously curtailed both our economy and our military start to falter, one undermining the other in a sort of “death spiral,” further reducing our ability to project influence in the world.

It would seem prudent in these circumstances to pursue means of acheiving greater energy independence. I’m not against approaching this problem on a number of fronts, but drilling in ANWAR is of such minor consequence, energy supply-wise, that it isn’t worth all the distraction and effort. The same goes for nuclear power. We have enough trouble figuring out what to do with the waste that we’ve accumulated over the past 6 decades of nuclear energy, is it really worth the pain to try and actually build more plants, especially when Oil is primarily a transporation fuel these days?

Meanwhile, investments in alternative energy and fuel efficiency are largely ignored, which is a shame, because these are exactly the sorts of things that could do well for american companies as a couple of billion people in China and India are already rushing up the economic ladder, with all the energy demands that brings.

Goldman Sachs getting into the carbon business?

Mid-December last year, Goldman Sachs donated 680,000 of rainforest on Tierra Del Fuego to a charitable foundation. The basic facts of the story got picked up and repeated by a lot of environmental news outlets, but I haven’t been able to find any deeper analysis.

I find the whole thing to be very interesting. Goldman Sachs is an investment bank, and a very successful one at that. They make a lot of money off of brokering very big transactions and taking a nice juicy slice off the top. This seems to have little to do with establishing big nature reserves in the southern hemisphere.

Perhaps it makes more sense in light of the fact that they donated this land to their own charitable foundation. Of course, reading the charter of the foundation shows that it is long on talk about their work to help global youth acheive their potential. Completely absent is any sort of talk about ecological issues. In fact, the establishment of the nature reserve isn’t even mentioned on their news page.

So, what are they up to? It appears that they ended with the forest land after buying up the bad debt of a US forestry products company called Trillian. Trillian had planned to establish a big pulp operation serviced by the forest, but ran into resistance from environemental groups.

It’s unclear the value assigned to the land, but the entire project around it was once expected to draw $200M in investment.

Other financial clues of interest: The GS Foundation had $195.8M in assets at the end of 2003 from which they paid out $15.5M (a total of $54M in grants since inception in 1999).

My theory is that this donation has some hedge value for them. As managers of the foundations assets, GS can theoretically charge a fees for both the management of the assets, as well as any transactions involving the assets. What if a carbon market emerged that allowed people to trade pollution credits. Polluters could buy or rent the carbon sequestration power of a forest.

This is often talked about as a good thing for the developing world, because they tend to have more forest land than the developed world, who also happen to be the polluters. Unfortunately, in this case, the forest in question is owned by a non-profit foundation and would only benifit Chile to the degree that that foundation makes grants in the country. Unless, of course, the transaction is taxable in the contry of sequestration.

Joykiller of the year.

Harajuku, Tokyo | Metafilter

In the comments of of a metafilter post about the elaborate costumes some Japaneese teens create for themselves, my new nominee for the biggest joykiller in the world writes:

Sorry, I know, I should appreciate everything Japanese, but what we see as unique, is really just kids overreacting to freedom. Those same kids wear the usual school uniforms the other 6 days of the week.

“Just kids overreacting to freedom.” Jeesh. Someone needs to unwind a bit.