Ben CNN is my

Ben CNN is my shepherd, I shall not question: “CNN is doing a bang up job. As Dan Hon investigates, their online transcript of Hans Blix’s report to the UN is missing 866 words. The bits Blix said about Iraq complying with the UN resolution, and the bit where he refutes Colin Powell’s evidence from the week before. Nice and subtle, boys.
Meanwhile, guess the headline from their report on the worldwide anti-war marches…World antiwar rallies delight Iraq.” Arg.

Since living here, I have been rally impressed with the one sideness and sensationalism of American media. I didn’t realize it was this bad.

Scripting News: “Last year on

Scripting News: “Last year on this day I asked if tables are really evil. Now one year later, I long for the simplicity of tables, as I long for the balmy spring weather of February in California. Sometimes things are so confusing you can’t tell if something new will complicate or simplify. I’m going to remember this famous homily, no matter how great the pressure, in the future — If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Using tables for layout (and not just for laying out tabular information) is completely acceptable and in line with the spirit of HTML. At least, I remember reading and believing that but I can’t find the reference. Anyone?

How does this work? I

How does this work? I can’t figure it out. At first I thought doing the math always gives the same number, but it doesn’t.

It’s scary. No matter how many times you try it, it really does seem to read your mind. Anyone has the solution?

Adam interviews some of the

Adam interviews some of the founders of AIFIA and asks some hard questions: “The usual manifest of highly dramatic and important events happened in the world in 2002 – you know, wars, rumors of wars, Dee Dee Ramone so soon after Joey, stuff like that – so I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if you had never heard tell of it. But for a working information architect, the message that an organisation calling itself the Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture had decloaked and announced its existence to the world came as nothing short of a grenade in the Inbox.” :Tony Blair and George :Tony Blair and George Bush are encountering an unexpected obstacle in their campaign for war against Iraq – their own intelligence agencies.
Britain and America’s spies believe that they are being politicised: that the intelligence they provide is being selectively applied to lead to the opposite conclusion from the one they have drawn, which is that Iraq is much less of a threat than their political masters claim. Worse, when the intelligence agencies fail to do the job, the politicians will not stop at plagiarism to make their case, even “tweaking” the plagiarised material to ensure a better fit.
“You cannot just cherry-pick evidence that suits your case and ignore the rest. It is a cardinal rule of intelligence,” said one aggrieved officer.”

Lost lessons from the newspapers. Online News Space Shuttle Columbia Crash Coverage: interesting lesson from the newspapers: “Several chose layouts they rarely use, to create additional dramatic impact.” A lot of web work assumes there is one best homepage for a news site. Having a number of alternative layouts available may be really valuable, this is a lesson from the newspaper world that is lost on a lot of sites. If you have a news site, people will visit it often. Designing a variety of homepages feels like the right thing to do. Interesting.

Jared Spool: User Interface Engineering

Jared Spool: User Interface Engineering — “The Customer Sieve” Article: “Users can easily search uniquely identified content because they know what they are looking for.” Wherein Jared concludes that search engines are useful only for known item searching (when you know what you’re looking for).

I don’t agree with his conclusion (don’t use search when your users don’t look for known items) though. Instead, look at search as an interface. If you have a known item, the results page should just show the items. If people are looking for categories and such (unknown items), the search results page should use controlled vocabularies and present itself as a browsing environment (which supports unknown item searching) instead of a list of items.

Tales of Drudgery and Boredom:

Tales of Drudgery and Boredom: (in Dutch) “Yow! Stijn! Iets voor u: XFML, eXchangeable Faceted Metadata Language. Enfin, denk ik toch. Korte introductie tot het dinges te vinden op”

Lutin’s blog: (in French) “Ah ben voilà un truc qui me plait, mais je ne sais pas quoi en faire. Ou plutôt, j’ai tellement d’usages en tête que je ne saurais pas par où commencer si j’en avais les moyens. Je vais vous confier un secret: j’adore classer les informations. C’est pour ça que la référence de A frog in the valley me fait froncer les sourcils.” (He’s saying he doesn’t know what to do with XFML because there are too many things you can do with it. I sympathize :)

David Galbraith: “I am less sure about XFML led by Peter Van Dijk, where the serialization of topics and facets seems to only allow 2 levels of hierarchy i.e. don’t see how you can have subfacets of facets or subtopics of topics. Now it is true that you don’t stricly need hierarchy beyond facet -> topics, but you get bloat, rather like flat file databases. Someone correct me if I am wrong.” (he is wrong – XFML allows for unlimied depth in the hierarchies)

Wired News: The U.S. Military

Wired News: The U.S. Military Needs Its Speed: (ues – the drug) “The Air Force claims amphetamine use is strictly voluntary. To substantiate this, Air Force spokespeople note that the “informed consent” form signed by pilots who receive Dexedrine mentions the voluntary nature of the program no fewer than seven times. However, the form also notes that the pilot can be grounded for exercising his right not to imbibe.”

Amazon Tries Word of Mouth

Amazon Tries Word of Mouth (NYT, password): “Now Amazon has turned its quantitative prowess on one of the most vexing questions in marketing: Is television advertising worth the expense? Amazon’s answer is no. And it has canceled plans for any television or general-purpose print advertising this year. The company is so sure of its decision that it has dismantled its five-member advertising department, assigning the employees to other roles.
Mr. Bezos said canceling all advertising is much more efficient than scaling it back. “By eliminating the whole activity of doing broad-scale television advertising it simplifies things,” Mr. Bezos said. “We don’t need anyone to figure out what type of TV campaign to do.”

Jeremy Shantz: An Introduction to

Jeremy Shantz: An Introduction to the Cardinal XFML Parser: “Although it is possible to create and process XFML documents using standard XML parsers, Cardinal XFML Parser provides a convenient abstraction that simplifies working with XFML. It models the XFML specification and its concepts and provides built-in ways to traverse a document’s network cloud, import occurrences, and work with occurrence strength. For example, the XFMLDocument’s ImportOccurrences method downloads the remote XFML files indicated by each element’s children, selects and processes all occurrences from connected topics, and adds them to the output. It can traverse the XFML document’s entire network cloud by doing this for each relevant element in all of the downloaded XFML files. All of this in one line of code. That kind of ease of use makes creating XFML Tools faster by enabling you to work directly with a model of the XFML language, without the need to write helper code. We hope that this leads to increased development of XFML.”

Not sure if this is supposed to be released yet, but brilliant.