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sunday, july, 30

fray day news: There is a good possibility that there may be a fray day event taking place on the same night as the San Francisco event, but in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Are you in that area? Would you go to such an event? Please lemme know asap. Thanks!   + 11:51 PM

See? I had it all backwards. Jeffrey Zeldman is just a regular guy. It's Brad Graham who's famous....   + 11:04 PM

One of the things I find annoyingly absent from the Napster debate is that mp3 files don't sound as good as cd audio files. Even Lance missed it in his latest screed. Maybe I'm just a music snob and nobody else cares, but I think it's an important distinction. Stick a cd in your computer and see for yourself – cd audio files are usually over 10mb. If mp3 files are so much smaller, it's because you're losing quality in the conversion ... just like when you tape a cd. I can hear the difference, can't you? I'm not saying this justifies wholesale copyright piracy, I just think it's an important fact that keeps getting overlooked.   + 4:48 PM


saturday, july, 29

It was early August, one year ago, that I quit my job in Amsterdam, bought a Eurail pass and a backpack, and headed off in search of stories. It was my first time in Europe, traveling alone, and it changed me more than I ever thought possible. It was the best thing I've ever done.

When I came back, I made a decision. The next time I took a flight over an ocean, it was going to be to Italy. I've always wanted to go there, I hadn't made it there during my trip, and, well, it just seemed like a good goal.

But then the realities of life set in. There was rent to be paid and work to be done. And, after a while, the dream began to fade.

It was less than a month ago that I got an email from a man named Emanuele. He was organizing a web awards show and wanted to see if I'd be interested in speaking at it. It was coming up in August. It was taking place in an ancient monastery by a medieval castle. In Bardi.

Bardi, Italy.

I replied immediately. Yes, I would. And I'd like to bring a friend.

So today Heather and I scoured San Francisco for Italy books, maps, and travel supplies. And I unearthed that backpack I bought in Amsterdam a year ago and dusted it off. It's time for another adventure, I told it.

We leave on Wednesday.   + 8:46 PM

Today I entered fray and kvetch into the NewMedia Invision Awards. Wish them luck!   + 8:24 PM


friday, july, 28

I'm much less worried about the possibility of Napster getting shut down now that I've found a macintosh gnutella client.   + 3:59 PM

My favorite new bookmark.   + 3:04 PM


thursday, july, 27

I've always believed that a story could save your life.   + 5:06 PM

Of course, Webzine 2000 was also like this....   + 11:13 AM

Deja.com is now adding links from product names found in their usenet discussions to their product pages. They call this "additional service." I call it perverting other people's content with advertising. Of course, since Deja thinks that adding links doesn't change the nature of content, they won't mind me linking their name someplace appropriate. Say it with me now: Deja!   + 1:44 AM

Reminder: We're currently seeking interactive art exhibits for fray day four. Get involved!   + 1:04 AM


wednesday, july, 26

It's good to stop.   + 11:49 PM

Heh. Those k10k guys have class. Still, I'm glad I don't have to dance in the nude when I miss a {fray} deadline....   + 11:48 PM

If you missed Webzine 2000 and were wondering what it was like, check this out.   + 6:10 PM


tuesday, july, 25

Check out Blogger's new Discuss section. We've been working on this for months. Web-based discussion is trickier than it looks. I'm just so happy it's finally up.   + 5:44 PM


monday, july, 24

Can't ... concentrate.... Too ... many ... dirty jokes.... Brain ... shutting ... down.... [thanks to caterina for the link]   + 7:20 PM

Ha! How can Jakob Nielsen talk about the end of web design when he obviously hasn't even found the beginning of it?

Okay, so that was snarky. Excuse me. But come on. The idea of a web where everything looks and acts the same ("same" meaning "like Jakob") is small-minded and horribly arrogant. But, then, what do you expect from someone who names "laws" after himself?

Oops, snarky again. I'm sorry. I'm sure Jakob is a nice guy. I bet he's a blast at parties. But how can he call himself a usability expert when his own site is so ugly and confusing?

Oh, drat. Still snarky. I'd better quit while I'm ahead. Just go read the obvious take on this instead. Fucking Nielsen.

Oops! Sorry again....   + 3:10 PM

Wowee.   + 10:38 AM


saturday, july, 22

Looks like I'll be doing a five or ten minute rant at tonight at Webzine 2000. If you're in San Francisco, come on by! And if not, check out the webcast. See you there.   + 2:04 PM

Remember Bitbet, my teensy tiny gif font? It looks like Anders took me one step further. Check out his bitmap table generator, which creates the Bitbet font using html tables. Cool!   + 1:39 PM

Almost a year ago I found myself in Germany, traveling alone. I met Vicky and Patrick there, and they told me about this video interview project they were working on, and invited me to participate. So we got together in Patrick's apartment in Mitte, a camera came out, and I found myself saying things I hadn't planned on. It was a very emotional experience for me, and now, of course, it's online. It's called NET-150, and I'm very honored to be included in its launch. Visually stunning and emotionally fascinating, the site is the culmination of two people's obvious passions.   + 1:32 PM


friday, july, 21

And just like that, she was naked.   + 5:23 PM

Very very busy with work. Exciting things coming soon. Must drink more coffee....   + 10:58 AM


wednesday, july, 19

Can't ... stop ... drooling....   + 10:01 PM


monday, july, 17

strange synchronicities

The new {fray} story is all about siblings, abuse, and forgiveness. And it's gotten me thinking about my little sister, off on her own in New York, and how I wasn't always the nicest big brother on the planet.

(Yes, Jenny, I know. Not even close. But I got better, right?)

And now, today, I got my monthly Center for Digital Storytelling update email from Joe Lambert, one of the founders of storycenter.org and an all-around nice guy. Joe had this to say:

    "I lost my brother Maury Maverick Lambert three weeks ago back in Texas. He was 45 years old. He passed away in his sleep without a warning.... I share this passing with you through the medium of our organizational email to just to ask you to give a bit of pause, think about those you love best, think about the stories they bring to your life, and when you see them next, tell them how much you love and cherish them. Life can be full of surprises."

Joe's tribute to his brother is available online. Tread lightly.

(And Jenny? I love you, sis.)   + 6:25 PM

Hey San Franciscans! What are you doing Saturday?   + 3:19 PM


sunday, july, 16

New in {fray}: "My happy memories of my brother are, I suspect, not really my memories at all." Amanda Erickson's big brother (featuring illustrations by Sam Brown).   + 9:25 PM

New in sfstories: We sat there, together, in an unusual heat.   + 1:47 PM


saturday, july, 15

Remember last month when everyone got all atwitter about voluntary micropayments via PayPal? I still think it's a great idea. I'd never want to see mandatory payments for content online (which is one of the reasons I think Contentville is so wanky – see yesterday), but if I want to say thank you to a web writer for making me smile or moving me to think, and it's totally voluntary, well, I think that's just groovy. I very much appreciated the mini-donations that people sent me. They helped me pay for the batch of fray day fliers I just ordered. Right on.

But the process was a little rough a month ago. You'd have to dig around and find the person's email address, go to paypal.com, and fill out a buncha forms. Bleah. What we needed to make the voluntary micropayment idea stick was a quick and easy way to click and make a donation lickety split.

Now we've got it.

You've gotta upgrade to their "premier" program, which shaves off a 1.9% per transaction fee, but that's a hell of a lot cheaper than a credit card backend system. And then you get to proudly display a button like this:

donate a quarter to powazek productions

Go on. Click it. You know you want to.   + 1:00 PM


friday, july, 14

Contentville is yet another big web store, brought to you by Steven Brill (of Brill's Content among other things). For a place called Contentville, it's pretty boring, content-wise. It seems like you have to pay for anything remotely interesting. And there's something about it that sends my browser off into spinny-lala-land for about 25 seconds on every page. Very annoying.

But I'll say one thing for it – it's the first place I've seen online where you can search and buy college dissertations. I did a search out of curiosity, and there, straight out of 1974, twenty years before the web, written on a manual typewriter, was my dad's psych dissertation for sale. Staggering.   + 6:51 PM

"After the dream of falling
and calling your name out,
these are the roots of rhythm
and the roots of rhythm remain."
Paul Simon   + 10:28 AM


thursday, july, 13

Yesterday I began to get annoyed with the poor image quality on the sutrocam, so I stuck my head outside my window and took a look at it. (Yes, it really is outside, stuck on the wall with pushpins.) The lens was covered in some sorta black grime, which explained a lot. So I gave it a good cleaning and the image quality improved. However, I also gave it a good bump, which put it a little off from where it'd been, revealing a giant sutro tower ghost, just to the left of the original, where the image had been burned into the camera over the last few months. Lesson: when a webcam is that cheap, there's probably a reason.   + 10:07 AM


wednesday, july, 12

Tonight I created a blog for fray day 4 (of course, you could also just call it a news page) where I'll post all the details and info around the event as it happens. First up, the date! It's September 22, baby. Mark your calendar. And don't forget, fray day is a participatory event. Please get involved!   + 10:16 PM

Oh kill me now.

    "This fall, Fox will release a new sci-fi series called Fearsum. In this show from producers of The Blair Witch Project, Ethan will play the lead character of Derek, a young website designer who ventures into the paranormal occurances that happen on the internet, including the discovery that his dead twin brother may actually be alive."

[Thanks, Lance ... I think.]   + 11:43 AM


tuesday, july, 11

Always the booster rocket, never the shuttle....   + 2:53 PM

That Sam Brown dude is so cool. His drawings delight me on a daily basis. This one is my current desktop background. Go check out his interview at Gusset and then go buy his t-shirt. (Mine's in the mail – it was a gift. Joy!)   + 11:04 AM

Victory! Shaheen says that the folks at Emirates have unblocked fray.com. Thanks to everyone who sent letters of support.

Of course, after all this, my buddy Jon suggests another way to look at it:

    Do you have an awards page? I would think it a badge of honor to be chosen as such a bastion of free speech and personal expression as to be seen as a threat.

    Congratulations friend, I'm proud of you.

Shucks.   + 10:33 AM


monday, july, 10

If only....   + 3:06 PM

Boy is that depressing. Sigh.   + 2:38 PM


sunday, july, 9

Oh well. I was done with it anyway....   + 2:14 PM

"Do you still feel that way about the Web?"   + 1:33 PM

Oy! According to Shaheen, the one and only ISP in the United Arab Emirates has blocked fray.com from all their users. An outrageous denial of free speech? Absolutely. But it reminds me to be thankful I'm lucky enough to live in a place that protects such freedoms. Speaking of, if you'd like to give them a taste of a little free speech, you can write to watch@emirates.net.ae and say "I want my fray!"   + 12:57 PM


friday, july, 7

New in sfstories: Send someone you love a postcard from San Francisco. The new postcards section features over 50 photos I took of the city I love. Enjoy!   + 7:24 PM

The Cityscape Project is seeking to assemble a giant archive of people's photos of their city's skyline. The My contribution is a photo I took out the window of my car on the Bay Bridge at 60 mph. Amazingly, nobody got hurt. (Savvy readers may notice that the photo looks strangely familiar.)   + 10:33 AM

Thanks to everyone who wrote in with advice and similar sob stories about my mac/ie problem. After receiving some especially sage advice, I finally got the problem licked. But it took nothing less than doing a total reinstall of my entire operating system. It's kinda like using a hand grenade as a flyswatter, but at least I get that lovely Microsoft finger again!   + 12:07 AM


thursday, july, 6

technically speaking

Attention fellow Macintosh + Explorer people. I've been having major IE5 weirdness. I've checked the usenet groups, I've asked Apple, I've bugged my friends, I've pleaded with the universe ... and I'm still plagued by this strange bug. So I'm turning to you. Anyone else out there having this problem?

The bug, in a nutshell:

I'm running OS 9 on a beige G3 266. IE5 has worked like a charm for months. But a couple weeks ago, IE5 started exhibiting this strange bug.

I start it up and it quits immediately, right after the appearance of the splash screen. Usually the finder reports an error type 1.

If I start it up again, it launches and runs just fine with one caveat: when I mouse over a link, the arrow just disappears (instead of turning into the pointer). Mouseover javascripts and hover css stuff all still work, oddly enough. There's just no little finger! And, even more confusingly, about 25 percent of the time, it does work correctly. Then, mysteriously, it doesn't again. Sometimes on the same link on the same page. Agh!

I've tried deleting all my Microsoft extensions and internet preferences and it still happens. I tried reinstalling IE5 from scratch and running Norton on my Mac and still no dice. I'm barely running any non-Apple extensions (certainly no new ones since it used to work correctly), and I don't have Suitcase installed.

Frankly, I'm totally stumped.

So. Anyone ever heard of this before? Any advice for me? (Besides going back to the dark days of Netscape, that is.) If you can think of anything that would help, please let me know.

Thanks very much!   + 2:31 PM

Canadians love {fray}!   + 9:22 AM

Woohoo! It's the return of damp pants! When Greg first published this in 1996, it prompted me to write him fan mail for the first time. It wasn't long after that he became a {fray} contributor, a friend, and now a dad! (Though that last one is probably unrelated to my email ... and his damp pants.)   + 4:41 AM

Time offline is good for the soul. On the way back to the city, after hiking and beach combing and hot tubbing for days, we wrote "LOG OFF!" in the dust on the back of my car. (Which was pretty ironic if you noticed all the stickers with urls on the bumper. But still....)   + 4:35 AM

 © 2000 derek m. powazek ^top