PS... A Column

on Things

By Paul E. Schindler Jr.
Vol. 4 No. 17

Some things are impossible to know, but it is impossible to know these things.

May 7, 2001

Hey! How About My J Movies Page!

I have a day job, so I need to make it clear to anyone who comes here that the opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent those of my employer, my family, or your great-aunt Mathilda. Offer not valid in Wisconsin. You must enter to win.

Some Material in this column comes from anonymous incoming e-mail; such material is usually reproduced in the Arial (Sans Serif) type font to distinguish it from the original material

Table of Contents:

General News:

  • Shameless Self Promotion
  • Cute Hack

Computer Industry News:

  • Questions for Microsoft

Web Site of the Week:

  • Fascinating Flash


  • Cats and Dogs


  • Not As Such


  • Interesting Stuff: Articles from Dan Grobstein, Good Writing from Kevin Sullivan.

Special top of the column note: I'll be out of town next week and may not be able to put together a column. Please stand by. The following week, I'm on vacation since Marlow will be home before starting summer school. Could be a long drought, Paul fans, or I could get obsessive and write both columns anyway.

General News

Shameless Self-Promotion

It doesn't seem like it, but it's been more than five years since I posted my journalism movie page, my pride and joy, the heart of my favorite hobby, collecting journalism movies. This last week I did the largest format revision in years. The content is mostly the same, but I've made it much easier to read by narrowing the columns, and while I was at it, I cleaned up the pictures by resizing them with Adobe Photoshop, rather than allowing your browser to do the sizing. It makes them look better, I think. Pop over there if you want to learn the name of the best journalism movie of all times, or to see the best speech in Deadline USA, -30-, or Broadcast News. Judging from the amount of--how shall we say this, borrowing? Plagiarism?--I found all over the net when I was looking for pictures, my descriptions of these films and my transcriptions of these speeches have become quite popular. A link back now and then would be nice, but some people just don't seem to get nettiquette.

As long as we're on the subject of shameless self-promotion, you can see my appearances on Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy and Scrabble if you have the Real Player. You'll enjoy them more on a high-speed link. Coming soon: Win Ben Stein's Money.

Cute Hack

This is from the Poynter Institute's site:
Tricksters must have been operating at the New York Post yesterday, new editor in chief Col Allan's advertised first day at the helm. A man identified as a Manhattan real estate agent was quoted in the lead story of the paper's "Pulse" section. When spoken phonetically, the man's name turns out to be a randy invitation. Asked about it, Post publisher Ken Chandler replied: "The Daily News should be ashamed of themselves for having such a prurient mind."
(The fictitious name was Haywood Jablowmee)

Computer Industry News

Questions for Microsoft

Craig Reynolds highlighted these stories:

Microsoft Is Set to Be Top Foe of Free Code

Microsoft Declares War on 'Free Software' Model

But I knew the story was coming, thanks to Eric Raymond, an open-source guru who maintains a web site and sends out regular e-mail alerts. I'm not going to print his whole alert, The perfect followup to "Beware the Microsoft shell game! I'll bet he'll send it to you, or put you on his mailing list if you ask nicely. To whet your appetite, here are four questions he thinks should be put to Microsoft. I'm not going to put them to Microsoft, but I hope someone does.

1. Should Microsoft's record on security inspire confidence in customers considering entrusting their digital identities to Microsoft's Hailstorm system and their critical business data to .NET?
2. Even the most cursory inspection of sites that specialize in tracking security bugs (such as ERT and BugTraq) suggests that open-source operating systems such as Linux and the BSDs have a far better security record than Microsoft Windows, both in having fewer vulnerabilities and in more rapid deployment of fixes. How does Microsoft propose to close the technology gap and catch up to the quality level of these systems?
3. How can potential operating-system customers with millions (perhaps billions) of dollars riding on the security of their computer systems form a rational estimate of their exposure if they cannot inspect the source code of those systems?
4. If the answer to question 3 is "You can see the source code if you're a big enough company to pay us for the privilege", then why should customers have to pay for the privilege of doing the job Microsoft's own QA teams so frequently bungle?
5. How would you respond to the following statement: "Any engineer or executive who, disregarding best practices, entrusts security-critical functions to closed-source software is committing an actionable breach of their responsibility to their employer?"

Web Site of the Week

Fascinating Flash

A friend of Marlow's at Columbia found this web site. I think it shows just how far you can go with Flash animation. The homage to The Matrix in the middle was particularly spectacular I though. Craig?

Also, Solardyne's Solar Power Pack. Thank you Daniel Dern, for forwarding Bobbi's find.


Cats and Dogs

Cats do what they want.
They rarely listen to you.
They're totally unpredictable.
When you want to play, they want to be alone.
When you want to be alone, they want to play.
They expect you to cater to their every whim.
They're moody.
They leave hair everywhere.

CONCLUSION: Cats are tiny women in little fur coats.

Dogs spend all day sprawled on the most comfortable piece of furniture in the house.
They can hear a package of food opening half a block away, but don't hear you when you're in the same room.
They can look dumb and lovable all at the same time.
They growl when they are not happy.
When you want to play, they want to play.
When you want to be alone, they want to play.
They leave their toys everywhere.
They do disgusting things with their mouths and then try to give you a kiss.
They go right to your crotch as soon as they meet you.

CONCLUSION: Dogs are tiny men in little fur coats.


Not As Such

You want the facts? Go to the Internet Movie Database



Interesting Stuff

Three from my well-read friend Dan Grobstein:

Radio's big bully
Dirty tricks and crappy programming: Welcome to the world of Clear Channel, the biggest station owner in America.
Political Science
By Richard Cohen

Trofim Denisovich Lysenko (1898-1976) was a Soviet-era agronomist whose name became synonymous with the subordination of science to ideology. As a scientist, he was something of a fraud. His experiments were shoddy and often unverifiable, but he did have his champions. After one speech, a certain listener was prompted to exclaim, "Bravo, Comrade Lysenko, bravo!" His name was Josef Stalin.
Perfect Model: Gorgeous, No Complaints, Made of Pixels

Aki is the most realistic of a new generation of computer-generated bombshells turning up in films, fashion and advertising.
Check out Ananova and Aki.

Another in my continuing series of "that's good writing" entries comes from my college buddy Kevin Sullivan, now a father in Massachusetts, who wrote more than this, all of it equally good:

What's the most important thing to know? My 10-year-old girl's team tied Wellesley 0-0 last Saturday. I coach, they play. When the soccer girls show their spirit and heart I cry inside, and love them.
We went to visit the 4H camp where Rhyan and then Amanda will each go for a week this summer. Its an hour and a half away on Cape Cod. There were cabins in the woods. I like to think that you would like it. They have an amphitheater carved into the side of the hill, with wooden bench seats and a wooden stage floor. There's an archery range. The girls were excited with the idea of being able to shoot something (someone, I think) with an arrow. They're drawn to power! They so much have the need to equalize the equation with the bigs in the world. There is a rabbit hutch. They got mad when I suggested that they raised the rabbits for targets. There is a place to train dogs, and there is riding, and a pen for miscellaneous animaleous.
Amanda was taciturn (her word -- "Dad, I'm taciturn" until she heard that there was a climbing tower and a zip line. My cure for the taciturns is to turn the tacky-turner upside down, and tickle until done. Afterwards we went to the beach.
The Cape has a lot of beach. It's a beach that I tried to beach a 50-foot sloop on, 30 years ago. I missed, and instead sailed the boat to Washington DC. [Check it out on a chart (map, lubbers)] Beach is a noun and a verb.
We interviewed a lot of people last week for a job we're trying to fill. It's like a lot of really difficult blind dates with a group. Occasionally you get lucky, but no one gets naked.
I proof read and read and read a friend's first draft of a book she's publishing about her only child and his learning disabilities. Proofing a friend's first draft is an act of tough love. Proof is a noun and a verb, so is love. When you write you expose yourself, naked to the world, on a beach where you can't see either end. I'm looking forward to next Saturday, because the girls will play again. They'll stand on their field and it will be their day and we'll all share it, and the love won't be tough.

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