Does anyone know the reason why the new Apple iPod update doesn’t enable support for the new compression format on first-generation iPods? It seems that Apple is slowly telling the people that made the iPod successful to get lost…

This might be the best comment posted here in a long while — using QDN to help try to figure out which of your sons fathered the baby born to the slutty girl who slept with them both! (I’m just glad I can help those in need.)

I’m a huge fan of Mozilla Firefox, but I have to say that one totally maddening feature/bug is close to making me stop using it altogether. I find that, after around four or five days, most of my cookies completely expire. It means that, if I don’t log into my online banking website every five days, I lose my stored bank card number (meaning I have to get up, find my wallet, and type it back in). If I don’t log into my Movable Type site every five days, and then I click on one of the links in MT-Blacklist’s automated emails, I have to log back into MT, then close the MT-Blacklist page I’m redirected to and reclick on the email link. If I click on a New York Times link and haven’t been to their site in the past five days, I have to log back in. It’s totally annoying, and apparently, it’s something that other people have noticed (although it’s not entirely clear that it affects everyone, and it might have to to with a suggested 300 cookie limit).

Wait, here’s the scoop: there is a hard-coded 300-cookie limit in all Mozilla-based browsers, and that limit is based on an incredibly poor reading of the cookie specification (see section 5.3). To me, the most important part of that section isn’t the 300-cookie minimum, but rather, the lines that read:

In general, user agents’ cookie support should have no fixed limits. They should strive to store as many frequently-used cookies as possible.

This is way more realistic, given that most people probably use a few web-based applications daily for work, a few more web-based applications daily to weekly for personal things (email, searching, travel planning, and the like), and then regularly visit a dozens and dozens of other websites that use cookies. But this realism doesn’t appear to have affected the Mozilla programming community, at least in response to two years of bug reports and forum posts.

The door is done! Shannon painted the hall side while I washed the car today; I painted the study side when she was off knitting this evening. After little new doorknob hardware, it was another DYI project completed!

new door, done  new door, also done

Something cool I learned in this — the french door’s windowpanes came shrinkwrapped in plastic, so that we didn’t have to do any taping off. (You can see the shrinkwrapping by comparing the original pictures to the ones in this post.) After the painting was done, I just ran a utility knife around the edges of each pane and peeled off the plastic; it’s looks completely professional, and was so damn easy. If you’re looking to buy an unfinished door for your project, I’d highly recommend choosing one with any glass in it pre-wrapped.

This is damn cool — it’s an open-source web application that searches, and otherwise completely interacts with, the iTunes Music Store as if you’re using iTunes itself. You can even download the script behind the app and use it on your own machine. Wonder how long before Apple cries foul…

(I promise that this will be the last Gmail-related post before I get to my review of the service…)

Over at Slate, Paul Boutin suggests that Google offer some sort of option for users that don’t want to see ads next to their email, and I agree entirely. At the end of the account signup process, Google should pose the question, “Do you agree to have contextual ads placed on the same page as email messages?” And when users choose “No,” then the next screen should say, “We’re sorry, but you’re asking us to provide you with a free service, but not allowing us to serve the ads that make the service free. That kind of thinking is what fueled all those idiotic ideas that you mocked during the dot-com boom. Might we recommend an account over at Hotmail or Yahoo!? Because we’re not going to give you one here at Gmail. Sure, the ads over at Hotmail and Yahoo! may be larger, have little to no chance to be of interest to you, use Flash, and ask you to punch monkeys, and sure, those services may even insert ads at the bottom of your outgoing messages, and better yet, sure, those services offer you a fraction of the storage space and nothing close to the power of Google’s searching abilities, but… well, there’s no but. Hope you enjoy your experience there!”

That would be perfect.

Seriously, the real-time blogging of President Bush’s press conference that’s going on over at Pandagon and Washington Monthly is just awesome. I know I’m partisan, and thus more than likely to apprecate both authors’ views of the spectacle, but if it’s going even half as badly for Bush as they make it out to be then I say it’s about time Americans understand who it was that they elected. Nearly half a minute trying to figure out the worst mistake he’s made since 9/11, and finally spitting out, “I can’t come up with something under the pressure of the press conference”?!? Wow.

California’s draft anti-Gmail law is, quite possibly, the dumbest proposed tech industry legislation I’ve seen in a while. Has the Honorable Senator Figueroa ever seen what Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, or any of the other free mail products look like? Does she understand how it is that all of the services exist at no cost to their users?

In a similar vein, has anyone demonstrated that the other big free mail providers don’t target ads to the email that a user is reading? I haven’t used Hotmail or Yahoo! Mail in a while, so I can’t say that I know either way, but it seems to be a no-brainer idea that would have crossed someone’s desk over the past year or two; if they don’t, I’d be willing to wager that it’s as a result of lack of innovation, not because Microsoft and Yahoo! have some stronger notion of the privacy of email users.

(Oh, and who’s forcing people to use the free mail sites? There are literally hundreds of companies who would be happy to let people pay them to host their email; if people don’t want to subject themselves to the terms of service for a free provider, they can let their wallets do the talking…)

The thing that jumped out at me the quickest after doing a few reloads on the compilation page of the most recent images posted to LiveJournal is the sheer number of people who take online “which [Friends/Buffy/Angel/Smallville/whatever] character are you” tests and then post the little thumbnail result. Who knew those little quizzes still existed!

Am I the only one who feels that, between the Cheney recusal refusal and the Hattiesburg marshal mishap, there might be some evidence that Justice Antonin Scalia feels he’s above the rules and laws of the country that appointed him to the Supreme Court? At least he’s trying to apologize for the more recent incident through the press, rather than issuing 21-page, fully-annotated justifications of his actions.

For the past eight months, I’ve been jonesing to replace the door to my study with a french door that will let the light from the front of the house through to the hallway and the rest of our apartment. I wasn’t anxious to do everything that that entailed, though — chiseling out hinge mounts, drilling doorknob holes, and aligning all the mechanical workings wasn’t something that I thought I could handle. After succeeding at replacing a few mortise-type doorknobs in other doors last weekend, though, I started to think that this weekend was the time to try starting the Great Door Replacement Project, and in the aisles of Home Depot yesterday morning, Shannon reassured me that I could pull it off.

We bought the door, and this morning I trimmed it down to the dimensions of the frame. I then learned that the frame isn’t exactly square — houses built in 1900 seem to settle a bit, leaving angles that are a bit off of right. After that, I picked up the small fact that my 7.2 volt cordless drill isn’t powerful enough to bore the doorknob hole through 1-3/4 inches of solid pine. And last (but not least), I learned that a standard doorknob hole is slightly too big for the decorative knobs that we bought to match the rest of the hardware in our apartment. But in the end, I managed to get the door sized to the frame, and get it all hung and aligned.

new french door

Next week, we’ll prime and paint it, and then get all the plastic off of the windows; I can hardly wait to see it all finished!

On call, Monday: eight year-old with newly-presenting leukemia.
On call, Tuesday: nine month-old with new 11 centimeter mass in his abdomen.
On call, tonight: three year-old with newly-presenting transient erythroblastopenia of childhood and 11 month-old with newly-presenting leukemia.

What could tomorrow night possibly have in store?

Methinks I need to spend a little more time browsing around Brewster Kahle’s Live Music Archive, which achieved 10,000+ freely-available concert recordings without me knowing one thing about it. (Of course, that speaks way, way more about my unawareness than it does about the site!)

I’m sorry, but this and this are just crap. Voters in Boston and New York City should remember the elected officials who brought the conventions and traffic disasters to town when they go to the polls this November.

In the past week or two, I’ve spent a bunch of time trying to wrangle the configuration of my two Linux boxes, getting them to be good, cooperative members of my home email and file backup network. Nothing about configuring Linux is straightforward — something that goes fifteenfold for servers when compared to desktops — so that’s why I’m less amused by Eric Raymond’s rant about open source usability problems than I am by John Gruber’s note about the irony of Eric Raymond’s rant. The fact that one of the largest proponents of the open source movement, and someone who has quite a bit of technical and systems administration skill, dropped 3,500 words on the horrors of open source usability should raise a few eyebrows (but, of course, it won’t).