May 21st, 2004

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Waiting for the news.

I went with Kirsten to the emergency room this afternoon, as she was having a lot of abdominal pain and a real problem holding any food or liquid down.

They thought it was a gall bladder issue, and have done a few tests on her, but we're still waiting on the results. I was there with her until about 10:30 tonight, when it became clear that it would be awhile -- probably tomorrow -- until we really know what's up.

It's probably not too serious, but right now I'm missing her and want her home healthy... as soon as possible. She was supposed to go out tomorrow, but I think we need some "stay at home and cuddle" time -- ideally for the entire weekend.

***Update - Just heard a bit more. Sounds like Kirsten has some kind of abdominal infection. They're admitting her to the hospital for the night (and possibly for tomorrow night as well) and giving her antibiotics to fight it off. Still not entirely sure what caused it, but hopefully their course-of-treatment will help get her back to normal soon.***
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Ah, the dirtier dirt.

The article from the Washington Post that I mentioned the other day with some rather ugly descriptions of prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib turned out to be the Washington Post reprinting a Reuters report about another article that WaPo did the same day... How messed up is that?!

If you want the grittier dirt, it's in the original article located here.

Now with extra pedophilia... and anally-installed lighting fixtures!
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Yay for Eric Idle!

Thanks to Eric Idle and Pythonline.com, you can download an .mp3 of Eric Idle's scathing new ditty "The FCC Song". Lyrics are available here.

Absolute wit at an absolutely appropriate time.

The truth of the matter is that the neo-cons in charge of this country are completely out of touch with not only political reality, but also with our culture. Why? Because they have no creativity, no sense of humor, no sense of a common humanity... and no vision for our future either. For them, the idea that we all have to find a way to live in this world together is positively communistic.

They've cowed and bullied creative people long enough with their message of fear and censorship. They literally cannot take a joke, because they are the most obvious joke around.

I think we're looking at the onset of a massive cultural backlash against Bush and his ilk over the period of the next few months, followed by a new president and a new sense of freedom that we haven't had in a long time. It will be like a great burden has been lifted from all of our shoulders. With any luck, it will stay that way for awhile too.
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Bill Gates talks blogging *AND* syndication.

Ick. I always thought this kind of thing was inevitable, though.

Here's what Gates said at Microsoft's CEO summit.

"Another new phenomenon that connects into this is one that started outside of the business space, more in the corporate or technical enthusiast space, a thing called blogging. And a standard around that that notifies you that something has changed called RSS.

This is a very interesting thing, because whenever you want to send e-mail you always have to sit there and think who do I copy on this. There might be people who might be interested in it or might feel like if it gets forwarded to them they'll wonder why I didn't put their name on it. But, then again, I don't want to interrupt them or make them think this is some deeply profound thing that I'm saying, but they might want to know. And so, you have a tough time deciding how broadly to send it out.

Then again, if you just put information on a Web site, then people don't know to come visit that Web site, and it's very painful to keep visiting somebody's Web site and it never changes. It's very typical that a lot of the Web sites you go to that are personal in nature just eventually go completely stale and you waste time looking at it.

And so, what blogging and these notifications are about is that you make it very easy to write something that you can think of, like an e-mail, but it goes up onto a Web site. And then people who care about that get a little notification. And so, for example, if you care about dozens of people whenever they write about a certain topic, you can have that notification come into your Inbox and it will be in a different folder and so only when you're interested in browsing about that topic do you go in and follow those, and it doesn't interfere with your normal Inbox.

And so if I do a trip report, say, and put that in a blog format, then all the employees at Microsoft who really want to look at that and who have keywords that connect to it or even people outside, they can find the information.

And so, getting away from the drawbacks of e-mail -- that it's too imposing -- and yet the drawbacks of the Web site -- that you don't know if there's something new and interesting there -- this is about solving that.

The ultimate idea is that you should get the information you want when you want it, and we're progressively getting better and better at that by watching your behavior, ranking things in different ways."


And here's what Gates' meant...

"Blogging is interesting for the problems it solves, but it's not easy for us to control, so we'd rather find a way to subvert it somehow. RSS is also interesting. Not as interesting as SOAP, mind you, because SOAP is our bitch, but we're hopeful that we can find ways to make RSS our bitch too... probably by using our software to generate invalid RSS. Oh, and we won't mention ATOM because Google likes it... and, therefore, we do not.

We've got spyware installed on your computers and will use that information to deliver solutions that attempt to fulfill the basic needs of bloggers everywhere, while still being uniquely evil, buggy, and proprietary in nature."


That said, I'd like to send out a big F.U. to Ev Williams, whose new tack is saying that ATOM and RSS are the same thing.

Except, of course, that they're also incompatible. Three years from now, I bet you that Microsoft is saying the same thing about their RSS too.
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Back from the hospital...

Was there much of the day, visiting Kirsten. She had some kind of major infection going on, but they've been pumping her full of antibiotics and she is doing much better... She now able to have fruit juices and strawberry jello, and will probably be released sometime tomorrow.

Been pretty busy myself, on minimal sleep. Looking forward to a restful weekend, though. Thanks for all the wellwishing and kind thoughts. -m.