I found the cure for hope

The Pessimist's Mug from Despair Inc. Avital laughed at my coffee mug yesterday at breakfast. Although familiar with the genre of “inspirational posters” from the SkyMall catalog, she had never come across the parodies of them. Obviously she had never seen Derek‘s cube.

Back in 1999 when Yahoo! was still a relatively small company, we did a deal with Despair, Inc. In exchange for free stuff (T-shirts, mugs, posters, calendars) we gave them some free advertising in the form of a BooHoo! web portal. They came by and took some photos in our cubes of us wearing their “I found the cure for hope” T-shirts.

The photos they took got heavily Photoshopped. Compare the expression on my face in the photo at the bottom of the phony press release with the original. They turned my smile into a frown!

American Airlines allows cell phones during taxi-in

AmericanAirlines.gif A couple of weeks ago, American Airlines began allowing the use of cell phones during taxi-in (after landing but before reaching the gate).

It’s a very smart move (and one that will be sure to make John Dvorak happy). As a business traveller for the past 3 years, it’s always driven me crazy that the airlines wouldn’t let you use your phone or Crackberry after touching down. On the flights I’ve taken, many folks simply ignored the rule and just spoke quietly enough so the flight attendants wouldn’t hear them or simply listened to voicemail without calling people back.

I hope Southwest follows suit.

The Cathedral, The Bazaar, and Apache

The Cathedral and the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary A couple of weeks ago I read Eric Raymond’s The Cathedral and The Bazaar, a collection of essays about Open Source software. Raymond writes quite well for a techie (either that or he has a superb editor), and the book is coherent. I didn’t agree with most of the book, but I think it’s important to keep abreast of what other folks are writing about the space.

Despite my general disappointment in the book, Homesteading the Noosphere was quite good. In an essay describing how “ownership” of Open Source projects works, Raymond accurately states the previously unwritten code of behavior. Projects have owners. Contributions are welcome, especially when they’re written well. Project ownership can be transferred. Forking is strongly discouraged, although sometimes necessary as a last resort when the owner won’t accept changes and refuses to relinquish control of the project.

apache-feather.gif The Homesteading the Noosphere essay has actually prompted me to think a little bit about what’s going to happen with the Apache HTTP Server. The Apache Software Foundation is currently maintaining two separate versions of this product, 1.3.x and 2.0.x (and is also is working on 2.1.x). Although the 2.0 server has been stable and “recommended” for over a year now, there are lots of organizations that are still using the 1.3 platform. The ASF would like folks to move to 2.0, but the fact that they’re still making 1.3.x releases indicates that they recognize that migrating to 2.0 is no small undertaking. When there are security problems (and sometimes features) these changes are always made in 2.0 first, but need to get “backported” to 1.3.

But what if maintaining two separate products became too cumbersome and the ASF decided to stop making 1.3.x releases? I’ve wondered privately if any of the organizations that have a substantial investment in Apache/1.3 would want to take over the codebase (i.e. fork it). What would happen to the Apache community if someone decided to make an Apache/1.4 release? If the development was split across two projects, would both lose momentum (and therefore market share)? Would the vast majority of folks stand by the ASF and swallow the complexity of the 2.x server, while a “rogue” bunch of hackers simply caused social turmoil with 1.4 but never really made it successfully as a project? Or vice-versa?

Regardless of technical or social reasons, something called “Apache/1.4” couldn’t really happen without the ASF’s blessing. Although the code is Open Source so you could re-use it for another project, the Apache License is written in such a way that derivative products aren’t allowed to use the name “Apache”. But maybe there could be a Hopi/1.4 or a Mohican/1.4 HTTP server…

As Raymond writes in Homesteading the Noosphere, the natural motivation is to avoid forking unless absolutely necessary. In the case of Apache HTTP Server, there are decent technical and social alternatives to this last resort. So I’d hazard to guess that we’ll never see Apache/1.4.

Instead, we’ll probably see at most two more Apache/1.3 releases before the code is officially declared deprecated (which will probably happen right around the time that Apache/2.1 is released). Folks who have put off the 1.3-to-2.0 migration effort will take a serious look at a 1.3-to-2.1 jump, and the vast majority of them will make the move over the next two years. Sure, there will always be some laggards who are stuck using Apache/1.3.31, but by the end of 2005 their numbers will be so small that they’re not worth mentioning.

More headhunter email

I got pinged by a headhunter again today. This happened last month for the first time in a couple of years, but I guess the job market is heating up again.

Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2003 08:48:51 -0400

From: Krista B... <krista@...>

To: Michael Radwin <michael@...>

Subject: Confidential to Michael Radwin

Dear Michael:

I apologize for dropping into your inbox unannounced.

I prefer a proper introduction as I am a consultant based

in Westport, CT and wonder whether you might entertain

a role as a development lead on Microsoft's new next-gen

search engine team. Of course, this would involve a move

to Redmond . . .(Are you based in Santa Monica?)

If you are interested in learning more, simply forward an

updated resume and detail a window or two of availability

for a brief phone conference.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Krista B...

Wesport, CT


PS -Should you like to learn more about our practice,

I invite you to check our credentials at our website at


Another well-written cold call message (aside from the “Westport” typo in the signature). I’m not really interested in relocating to Seattle, but it’s sure interesting to hear about our competitor’s strategy, however. :-)


Guster: Keep It Together I was just introduced to Guster, a 3-piece band from Boston. I like their sound.

Ariella’s family came to visit this past weekend. On Sunday after brunch we gathered around my laptop to watch streaming videos from Yahoo! Launch. At 300Kbps, it’s an on-demand (albeit lower-quality) MTV experience.

Avital, an undergrad at BU said, “Hey, that’s a Guster video I’ve never seen before,” so we clicked and watched. Not bad. “Who’s Guster?” I asked. “They’re from Boston,” she replied.

I later logged onto KaZaaLite and grabbed 6 tracks and synced them to my iPod (the Apple Music Store isn’t available for PCs yet). My favorite so far is Two Points for Honesty. That song reminds me a little bit of The Waltons, a Canadian band I saw at the Filmore in 1998.

Rhinospray® to the rescue!

We spent last weekend in the Bay Area for Gil and Becky’s wedding. On Sunday, I started coming down with a cold and was feeling miserable. It was late at night and I didn’t feel like going out to the drugstore to get a decongestant.

My mom remembered that during a trip to Europe last year she started getting a cold and picked up a nasal spray in the airport just before her flight home. The medicine had probably expired, but I was welcome to try it:

Rhinospray sensitiv bei Schnupfen

I tried to read the label, but everything was in German. Rhinospray sensitiv bei Schnupfen. Wirkstoff: Tramazolinhydrochlorid… I needed to know: how many times should I spray? How often? Are there any dangerous side-effects?

Alas, I don’t speak German, yet I really needed to clear my nose. So I gave it a shot. And viola! Like magic, I was breathing clear again. I no longer cared what the active ingredient was; it could’ve been arsenic and I’d still use it again.

Today, I learned from netdoktor.de that the Wirksamer Bestandteil (active ingredient?) is Tramazolin.

Whatever that is.

Wesley K. Clark for President

So I’ve been granted the lovely honor of being a guest author on my brother-in-law Michael’s blog. I’m so excited, and there are so very many things that I could talk about. But I think I’m going to talk about what was on my mind this morning at work (I work at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, which is just boring enough to provide me with plenty of opportunity for thought problems…).

Draft Wesley K. Clark for President in 2004!!

Why? OK, well, the Democrats don’t really have anyone. Let’s be honest. We’ve got Dennis Kucinich, who looks like a character actor from a terrible B movie. We’ve got John Edwards–TV psychic or South Carolinian Senator? John Kerry–looks like a bloodhound. Carol Moseley Braun–let’s get serious. Howard Dean–flash in the pan, soup du jour, flavor of the month. He won’t last. Joe Lieberman–right, because everyone wants a President who puts them to sleep with the very sound of his voice. Anyway, you get the point. It’s been belabored by others, so I don’t really need to elaborate any more…

And then you have Wesley Clark. Let’s see…Rhodes Scholar, graduated number one in his class at West Point, winner of the Purple Heart and the Medal of Freedom, Supreme Commander of NATO forces Europe, serious about national security, pro-choice, pro-environment, distinguished, brilliant, an Ike for the aughts. But truth be told, he’s got no money, no name recognition, and no organization, so in all likelihood Clark on the ballot will be as VP (Dean and Clark? ugh. Kerry and Clark? has a nice ring to it…).

But he’s my man for ’04. He can give to the Democratic Party the moral vision and clarity of purpose to raise the party out of its ideological quagmire. He isn’t a dove, and isn’t a hawk. He wasn’t opposed to the war in Iraq, but was opposed to our brazen hegemonic stupidity in acting outside of NATO and the UN(Check out his article in the Washington Monthly from September 2002).

Sadly, he could run in ’08, but Hillary’s got that one all sewn up…though Bill Frist will spank her in a general election. She’s the kind of candidate for whom the party faithful will love to vote. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Anyway, that’s my thought for the morning.

Oh, one other, actually. This is a book recommendation: Bystanders to Genocide: Why the United States Let the Rwandan Tragedy Happen by Samantha Power. She’s brilliant, insightful, thoughtful, and brazen. Witness one of my favorite quotes from the book…”We have a foreign policy based on our amoral economic interests run by amateurs who want to stand for something