Monthly Archives: May 2006

The Web on my Terms

It’s amazing how many websites try to insist that you’ve accepted their terms of use just by browsing to a page on their site. Actually, “amazing,” is the wrong word, “ridiculous” is better.

How can you know what their terms are without first viewing a page on their site and clicking through on a link to them? Of course, by then, you’ve already agreed to their terms, or at least that’s their dubious assertion. How can you agree to terms you haven’t even reviewed?

I figured that turn about is fair play, so I downloaded an extension that lets me “add headers to every HTTP request”: my browser makes. I then created my own terms:

X-user-terms: By answering this HTTP request, you agree that I am not bound by any ridiculous terms of use that you try to impose on me for merely viewing your site.

My terms are much more reasonable than theirs since they have a chance to review them before serving a page to me.

What’s up with Newsvine?

Did someone forget to water “Newsvine”:  It launched a few months back, promising to be some sort of revolutionary community driven local news hybrid, or something like that (I’m not so good at remembering or inventing marketing speak). I was intrigued, but didn’t get around to looking at it until now, so a few days ago, I made their “Seattle page”: my homepage. Near as I can tell, its showing exactly the same stories in exactly the same order as it did the first time I viewed it.

I’m pretty sure this is not how it is supposed to work, but hell if I know what’s supposed to be happening. It’s a Seattle based company, so I’d think that the employees, and some of their friends and family would be semi-active users and help seed it with stories to show. Appearantly not.

Too Good to Be True?

The Mosquito is an ultrasonic device that emits a sound only audible to teenagers that is designed to drive teens away from areas they congregate.

…techno-savvy pupils have recorded the ultra-high sound – audible only to under-20s- onto their cell phones, and are now receiving calls and text messages in class – without teachers having the faintest idea of what is going on.

The kids call it Teen Buzz, and it’s spreading it from phone to phone via text messages and Bluetooth. Teenager repellent “Mosquito” turned into ringtone

Sounds too good to be true.

10 Short Lies About Windows

Dave Winer is enjoying some of the frustrations of his new mac and writes:

I wonder why Microsoft doesn’t respond to Apple’s ads. Apple is just regurgitating the (mistaken) conventional wisdom. They’re kind of doing Microsoft a favor, because they’re marketing against where Windows was ten years ago. (And actually Windows NT had already solved many of the problems they’re talking about.) A Microsoft ad with a spinning color cursor would be pretty interesting. Love that user-friendly Mac. Sitting there waiting. And waiting. Hello Mac. Fair is fair.

I commented in his wordpress blog, but it’s worth putting my thoughts here as well:

Apple has perceived, probably correctly, that they have a window of opportunity to snipe against Microsoft while MS tries (and tries) to get Vista out the door. The snipes are going to have resonance because most computer users have used Windows and have doubtless been frustrated by at least one of its shortcomings. Some of those people might actually decide to give this Mac thing a try, and for some of those that are considering it, the fact that BootCamp means that they can go back to Windows if it doesn’t work out with MacOS will probably grease the skids.

Microsoft is free to snipe against the Mac, but what’s the point? The only people whose emotions are going to be provoked by a spinning colored cursor are recent Mac users, and many or most of them are quite fond of MacOS X, thank you very much. Even if they have doubts, they probably have suffered enough Windows annoyances at work, or heard about them from family members, to know that it’s probably not worth the trouble switching.