· Naughties
· · 2005
· · · October
· · · · 14 (6 entries)

Airplane Power · Some airlines have these weird little special sockets that you can use to power your laptop, if you have the right adapter cord. They work OK. Twice in the last couple of weeks I’ve got on an Air Canada flight, both Airbuses (a 319 and a 321) and found an ordinary 110-volt 3-prong plug in the seat-back in front of me. All airplanes should have these.
Co-eds · This week I paid a visit to the University of Guelph, from which I graduated over twenty years ago. They’re fine people and it’s a fine school, and I’ll have more to say about that, but I learned some some shocking numbers. First, of Guelph’s 18,000-or-so students, around 70% are female. At the Veterinary College, it’s around 90%. And in this year’s graduating class of 50 Computer Science students, 4 are female. The visual effect is not subtle: everywhere you look there are swarms of bright, healthy, eager-looking young women. And in the CS building, the usual geekboys. Guelph’s population, they tell me, is not untypical for modern universities. What does this mean, a couple of decades from now?
Rick Jelliffe · He’s been working on XML since before it was invented, he knows approximately everything about XML and publishing technology, he invented Schematron (which you should be using if you need to validate XML in a complex or subtle way), he’s a nice guy, and he’s looking for a job. Go get him.
Splogs · I suspect most people never see spamblogs, but let me tell you, there are a lot of them out there and they get weirder and weirder and weirder. I’m actually baffled as to why they exist. The evidence suggests that if you can get emails in front of lots of people offering penis enlargement, cheap mortgages, fake Rolexes, and stolen-money bank transfers, enough will bite that it’s worth doing so. But, as I said, most people never see a spamblog. When you see them, many have no ads at all. Of the ones you see that do have ads, the ads are totally generic, blah, uninteresting. Where’s the money? I suppose they’re violating the ongoing terms of use, but who cares, nobody’s seeing it... I think. [Update: James Robertson points out that in fact these things seem to be highly targeted at PubSub and Feedster users. Yep, that’s where I see ’em. Still, it’s hard to imagine anyone actually reading them, still less clicking on an ad. John Clingan emailed to suggest that these spamblogs are good places to plant malware, with the intent of infecting unpatched visitors via their browsers.] [Update: Toivo Lainevool, who runs fightsplog.com, thinks that splogs are trying to link to sites to boost PageRank, working around link-farm detection.]
Ultra and Wildlife · When I got back from Ontario, there was a message that my Ultra 20 had showed up at the Sun office; since I was too jetlagged and burned-out to think very much, I drove the half-hour to the burbs to pick it up. Back home, I was horsing the box—it ain’t light—up the back stairs, and sometime during the last week, a really major spider had built a really major web across them, which I knocked down with my face; the big fat hairy brown arachnid landed on my shoulder and seemed to think that this was a good place to sit and reel in the remnants; I swear I could feel him tugging at the shreds stuck to my nose. I, uh, have issues with spiders. I’m happy to report that both workstation and spider survived. Then I stepped on the dead rat my darling little cat had left on the back porch as a coming-home present. I’ll write some about this computer, but it’s all gotta be uphill from here.
XML 2005 · I just spent some quality time with NXML-mode and a DocBook-derived tag-set (if the whole world would learn Emacs, the problems around XML editing would dry right up), pulling together my paper, On Language Creation, for the XML 2005 conference, next month in Atlanta. Can’t wait to hang with my tribe; be there or be ❏.
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