Archive | March 17, 2006

End of an era

On July 15, 1992, I signed up with a CompuServe account. $22.95 a month plus connection charges, if I recall correctly. TapCIS and WinCIM to connect, DOS and Windows. CIS has been my backup service once I got broadband, a dial-up connection when I’m on the road, and finally a spam collector after all my legitimate correspondents had moved along. With the prevalence of wireless and broadband, it was a relic. 13 years and 8 months is a long time to have an email address. I closed it yesterday.

Buzzterm alert! OPML Browsers in the red!

Over at Scripting News, Dave Winer points to an post: Dan MacTough: “The buzz-o-meter on OPML browsers is off the charts right now.”

There is a geometric buzz building that will die off in a day or week or month or two, but there is a there there: a simple, standard way to express in XML a one-to-many relationship has been implicitly built in since the beginning. But the OPML 2.0 format proposes a couple of deceptively simple and powerful standard tags that could open up some cool innovation ala RSS: author (with a URL for a contact-me page, not an email in this spam-drowned world), a type (where you extend the content innovatively), and more. Read the spec at and listen to Dave’s March 1 Audiocast (MP3) for more insights.

As database developers, we’ve been thinking one-to-many relationships for a long time. “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Hierarchical database designers were a generation ahead of us. Dick Bard showed how to browse a database by pivoting the point of reference around the table of interest and browsing in a hierarchical fashion from there — in DOS! It will be interesting if the maturation of OPML leads to new ways of visualizing and communication data.

Tests find DRM shortens player battery life by up to ~25%

Doc Searls points to a posting “…one feature that has a drastic affect [sic] on battery life is the infamous DRM.” Their link to a ZDNet review is broken, but it’s no surprise that asking a poor little battery-operated thing to decrypt sound as well as decompress it is going to be more costly in terms of power. So, DRM supports the energy cartel. No surprise there, eh?

Send the message with your wallet. Buy unencrypted music and rip it for yourself in your choice of formats and your choice of sampling rates for your choice of playback devices: home, car, player, whatever. It’s about choice.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.