Scripting News for 9/16/2006

Where we’re at with mobile-friendly news. Matt Mullenweg and James Snell have made two different recommendations for linking a mobile-friendly rendering of stories into an RSS item. Imho either approach is workable. No spec text yet. The next question is what is a mobile-friendly rendering? 

And they say all the good domain names are taken. 🙂 

Tom Morris says that the innovative magnetic power adaptor for his new MacBook is already falling apart. I didn’t want to say anything, but I noticed that it is pretty fragile, and suspected it wouldn’t hold up well over time. I’m beginning to get the picture about Apple hardware, they make an import, like a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, they spend a lot of time in the shop, but they’re fun to drive. Me, I’ve always gone for Toyotas or Datsuns, they also are fun to drive, not necessarily very fast (but I don’t like fast) and they require almost no maintenence, which is good for me, because I’m really baaaad at maintenence. 🙂 

Gotta love President Bush. He says the Geneva Convention is too vague. He says a lot of Americans are confused, because it’s complicated. It’s not actually that complicated. We take care of the other country’s soldiers, our enemy, because we want them to take care of our soldiers. That’s why two Republican soldiers, McCain and Powell say Bush is wrong, and the US must continue to support the Geneva Convention. To do otherwise would be grossly unkind to our own soldiers. So many Republicans are coming out against this, you gotta wonder if this isn’t some kind of trap for Democrats, who are saying nothing. Didn’t Bush check with the Senate before going on this campaign? Is he running against his own party now? Hard to believe.  

Next Apple question. I’ve got a cool little Airport Express at the new house. Scoble is coming over today, and I’m sure he’s going to want to use the wifi, but he uses a ThinkPad, and I have a WEP password. I know how to enter the password on my Mac, I just type the damned thing in and it takes care of the rest. But it’s not so simple on Windows. Suppose my password is ohyomama or something like that, what does Scoble have to type into his ThinkPad to get on my network? I used to know this, but I always forget. 

To Daring Fireball, maybe he does but he ain’t here yet. 🙂 

The last house was called The Internet Hut (among other names). The new house doesn’t have a name yet. It’s tall, so maybe The Internet Tower? Hmmm. Not sure yet. 

A book I’d like to read — Deadwood, the Rest of the Story. Assume the character development of the HBO series. Take the screenplay for the season they didn’t produce and add some narrative. It’d be a best-seller.  

19 responses to this post.

  1. Dave you need to get what is called the equivalent network password for Scoble to use your Airport Express. You can find it in the Airport Admin Utility. After you connect to your Airport Express you it will be available under the Base Station menu.


  2. The WEP should be easy. Click wireless net in the task bar, find the net on the list, click it. If it’s WEP, it’ll ask for the key.

    I’m writing this wireless WEP on an Ubuntu laptop, where it’s also easy to do.


  3. Re: Deadwood unproduced scripts: animate them.


  4. What’s worse about the Apple situation is that whenever anything breaks they have to send the replacement from Amsterdam. I prefer the MagSafe adapter – there’s one less way for it to break compared to the old type of adapter – but the same thing happened with my old one. This is something that Apple have acknowledged but haven’t actually bothered fixing.


  5. Dave — if you use a 13-character alphanumeric WEP password, it’ll work on any device as ASCII. So, rather than ohyomama, use whoayomamasan, and it’ll work easily for Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.


  6. The password you use depends on which kind of encryption you have.

    With WEP, you need to use the 13 or 26 character hexadecimal password for maximum compatibility. This is accessible in the airport admin utility.

    For WPA, you just use the plaintext password on both the Mac and PC.

    The reason for this is that the WEP password->key hashing algorithm was never standardized, but the WPA one is a standard.

    You should be using WPA anyway, as it’s much more secure than WEP (which is hackable using freely available tools in under 15 minutes).


  7. Thanks for the help everybody, I was able to connect my Windows XP laptop through the Airport, so I know this method works. I’ll try not to forget how to do it! 🙂


  8. Posted by Andrew Lacey on September 16, 2006 at 11:57 am

    “you gotta wonder if this isn’t some kind of trap for Democrats, who are saying nothing. ”

    I keep hearing this from the pussified dems! It’s not some brillant plot by Karl Rove. It’s just one more Bush disaster. Everything he touches turns to shit. We’re in two losing wars. The constitution is in gitmo. Debt and deficit are sky high. The prescription drug plan costs way more than advertised. Social security reform was a bust. And tearing up the Geneva Conventions is just another bad idea that will go badly for him. The only question for me is WHO THE HECK ARE THE 40% WHO STILL APPROVE OF THIS PRESIDENT.


  9. “We take care of the other country’s soldiers, our enemy, because we want them to take care of our soldiers.”

    What country are we talking about Dave? The people we are fighting don’t wear the uniform of any nation in the U.N. Nor are these people bound by the Geneva Convention. When our enemies in terror get their hands on American soldiers only two things happen. They are tortured in a way you can’t understand and then they are killed. Almost forgot about the third thing. They are humiliated by having their mutilated bodies broadcast on Al Jazeera. Sometimes they even reserve that type of treatment for civilians like Nick Berg. Does that kind of treatment compare to the three hot meals and a cot, eight full hours sleep per night and full medical care that the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are getting? Our soldiers in the field don’t even have most of these luxuries.

    And if you think the only reason that Islamic terrorists torture and murder American soldiers is because of Guantanamo Bay then think again. Leon Klinghoffer, a wheelchair bound American, was thrown off a ship in the Mediterranean long before the detainees got to Cuba. And Robert Stethem, a U.S. Navy diver was tortured and killed during a plane hijacking in Egypt long before the first Gulf War. I know you dislike President Bush and that’s your prerogative but please don’t elevate Islamic terrorists to the level of potentially reasonable or decent people towards Americans.

    Powell and McCain are going against Bush because they are playing politics ahead of the November elections. They see that sentiment is shifting towards leniency for the terrorists and they’re doing the yeomans work to keep the party in power after November. For once Bush is standing strong but then again he’s got nothing to lose personally since it’s his second term.

    I hate to break the flow of tech love here, but when you make political statements you get political responses. For the record, I volunteered and served in the U.S. Army under President Clinton from 1993-1998.


  10. Robert, no problem with a political response, and thanks for keeping it to the topic, and not making it about character.

    The Geneva Convention isn’t just about this war, it’s about the next one too. Even if we’re fighting an enemy who doesn’t observe it, our soldiers care if we observe it, that’s why the President is getting so much pushback from Republicans who have served, like Powell and McCain.

    If we want to have the support and respect of the rest of the world, not just our current enemy, we have to take the longterm view, that’s what the GC is about. It’s not just about today’s conflict and not just about the current enemy.



  11. I’m not the first to say this, but if we managed to fight the Nazis and the Japanese fascists without resorting to torture, then why do we need to resort to torture to fight this enemy? The Nazis and the Japanese posed a very real threat to this country’s continued existence. Terrorists pose a threat to individual citizens, not to the existence of the nation.

    Excusing or justifying our use of torture because our enemies use it is to sink to the lowest common denominator of behavior. It is morally unacceptable to defeat an evil by becoming evil.


  12. if we managed to fight the Nazis and the Japanese fascists without resorting to torture, then why do we need to resort to torture to fight this enemy?



  13. Posted by Al Willis on September 16, 2006 at 11:56 pm

    Dave, just wanted to reiterate that you should use WPA and not WEP for creating a secure wireless network. Someone sitting outside your house can break your WEP key in less than 15 minutes with software that’s widely available from the net.

    WPA works great with current versions of Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger” and XP service pack 2.

    — Al


  14. Posted by Al Willis on September 17, 2006 at 12:32 am

    I’m beginning to get the picture about Apple hardware, they make an import, like a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, they spend a lot of time in the shop, but they’re fun to drive.

    In my experience this isn’t true. I’ve been pretty rough on Mac laptops over the years (I’ve had a 5300c, WallStreet, Pismo, a TiBook and now an Aluminum PowerBook G4) and they just keep on running–I never had to any of them in the shop just because they broke down.
    The MagSafe connector is a little bleeding edge to be sure; ironically, I badly damaged the Titanium PowerBook G4 by tripping over the power cord and jerking it to the ground–exactly what the MagSafe connector is designed to prevent. (This cracked the screen and did some other damage, but by plugging in an external display, it was still usable.)

    The worse case scenario is that you go to your local Apple store (if you’re in the US and some other countries) and you get another power adapter at no charge if you have AppleCare, which no laptop owner should be without. It’s not like getting a new Ferrari transmission or something.

    — Al


  15. _what is a mobile-friendly rendering?_

    I think that the response should be not (only) a technical one but it should take into account also the “news presentation style”.

    What I look for on a mobile news article page is that it easily adapts to screens with low resolution and narrow space, that it doesn’t lose (much) meaning if i read it without its images or with page scripting disabled, that it doesn’t weights so much (or better that the markup to content ratio is as low as possible).

    This results may be reached with a wide range of technologies: mobile dedicated css can work if the page is marked up properly, using mobile xhtml is another way to go as is having a “printable” page (we should not constrain the author or editor, just give them suggestions to reach more readers).


  16. Posted by Bret Carroll on September 17, 2006 at 12:15 pm

    I don’t think that there is any doubt in anybody’s mind about whether the Geneva Conventions should be followed when dealing with enemy soldiers, a term clearly define in the conventions. The question is whether we should go above and beyond the requirements and apply the same treatment to those captured in the war we are currently fighting. A war in which the enemy is not comprised of a group that would be considered soldiers under the conventions. I think that it would be easy to classify them as war criminals under the Geneva Conventions simply for not wearing uniforms, but even that assumes that they have a state sponsor who is a party to the Geneva Conventions.

    We as Americans need to uphold the Geneva Conventions in all cases as an example to the world that we are trying to do the right thing. This may not play well to the, “Nuke ’em all. Let God sort ’em out.” crowd, but it is simply the right policy for any civilized society.

    We do this knowing full well that we are not doing everything possible to extract information from the enemy that may be useful to our war effort. We do this knowing full well that the same treatment can not be expected from our enemy. We do this knowing full well that the enemy has done nothing to merit this treatment.

    We don’t do it for them.

    We do it for ourselves.


  17. Posted by Bret Carroll on September 17, 2006 at 12:21 pm

    Just to cover the bases here, I actually had one of my kids walk past the dining room table where my MacBook was set up and yank the magsafe connector out as it caught on his legs.

    Result: “Oops.” “That’s OK. No problem at all.”

    I actually didn’t think much of this feature as I hadn’t actually had a powerbook destroyed in this manner since my room mate’s PB 180. Definitely a time where it was good to be proved wrong.

    Also, thanks for providing yet another reminder to switch over to WPA.


  18. Posted by Chris on September 18, 2006 at 5:28 pm

    Everyone discussing Bush/Cheney’s torture legalization bill needs to understand that the alternative being offered by McCain might be slightly less evil, but it would still suspend habeas corpus. Google for why that’s bad. Nutshell, it means Bush/Cheney can hold you indefinitely in jail forever, for no reason at all, on Bush or Cheney’s say-so alone.

    I sometimes suspect that this whole dance between the White House and the GOP senators is a shtick meant to serve McCain — who is actually a dishonest power-hungry, hard-right conservative, not the straight-talking moderate he presents himself as — look at his voting record, and observe his abrupt about faces on just about any given issue — the 2008 presidential ticket on a silver platter. But I also don’t think any of these people are really that smart.

    (Did you notice that Bush signed away via ‘signing statement’ McCain’s previously much touted anti-torture amendment? Where was McCain’s outrage then? You’re telling me he didn’t notice?)

    These are bad, bad people in charge of our country at the moment. Hopefully the Democratic wave in November will bring with it a hard look at exactly what’s been happening in the White House for the past five years.


  19. President Bush says the Geneva Convention is too vague and hard to comprehend. Huh? he goes to church and must’ve heard that Jesus taught “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.” That may help the president appreciate how to love and care for the inmates of Guantanamo Bay – including that Australian in there!


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