Monthly Archives: June 2005

Computer Science Funding

Here we have the very interesting testimony of William Wulf, President of the National Academy of Engineering, on the subject of Computer Science Research in the United States. Fortunately, Dr. Wulf takes advantage of the opportunity to sound the alarm regarding decreases in funding to all areas of science and engineering.

He also makes some important points about the complexity of the interaction between basic research, applied research, and development, and the important role that the federal government plays in funding basic research. And he talks about the more “intangible” benefits of federal research funding – for instance the fact that it provides us with a stable of engineers and scientists ready to do World War II style emergency development if and when the need arises and promotes long term economic stability and military superiority.

Wulf is almost always a good read.

Talking Sense

I have mostly limited my political posting to linking lately, and I plan to continue that trend. (I haven’t been posting that much at all. And I’m sorry about that. But I basically post when I feel inspired to post. And that’s just the way it is around these parts.)

But John Danforth, former Senator from Missouri, is talking some serious sense in this Op-Ed piece from today’s New York Times. Bless you, Senator Danforth.

Lazy Web Request…

My readership is so small that these requests usually don’t get much of a response… But, anyway…

Does anyone have any recommendations on a powerful, easy to use HTML editor? I want to keep my professional website up to date, but having to actually dive into the HTML every time I need to update takes more energy than I have available for updating my website. (This, friends, is the beauty of weblog software… And the reason that the great Mackenab redesign hasn’t moved any further.)

Here are my basic requirements.

  • Must produce readable, standards-compliant code. This is why I don’t use Word to generate HTML documents and why I stopped using FrontPage to build websites. (That was years ago. Maybe it’s better now. If so, let me know.) Ideally, I should be able to actually choose which standards with which to comply (e.g. HTML or XHTML).

  • Must be more-or-less a client-side tool. I toyed with the idea of setting up a weblog for my professional site. I think that I could have made it work. But on the server I have access to PHP and that’s it. I could request MySql support, but I’m just as happy building things locally. After all, with our new web hosting system, I can actually mount my website as if it were a network drive. Pretty cool.

  • Generated designs should be CSS based. There are lots of good reasons for marking up your content in HTML and putting your design in CSS. I won’t try to name them here.

  • The main tool for editting content should probably be WYSIWYG. I’m not looking for just a pretty HTML editor. I already have one of those, thanks.

  • I am currently platform agnostic. I’ll look at tools on either Mac or Windows. I have access to both and expect to continue to have access to both for the foreseeable future. Something that’s available for both would be even better, though.

For the moment, you may assume (within reason) that cost is no object. That’s because we have site licenses to a pretty wide range of software that allows me to purchase licenses for many things at insanely low prices. (This applies mostly to software from major publishers, though.)

While I’m open to ideas in general, I would be specifically interested in hearing about experiences with Dreamweaver, as that seems to be the tool that our faculty developers are currently pushing.

I’ll try to leave comments open for a few days; otherwise, send me email.

Update: Mmmmm…. Looks like Dreamweaver has a free 30 day trial.

Cringely on Apple and Intel

Robert X. Cringely has been asking some of the same questions that I have been asking about the Apple/Intel announcement. (Some of the questions I asked were in private email, actually, and Cringely asks them more elloquently than I. But the fact is that the Apple/Intel announcement still doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Especially now that I’m safely outside of the RDF.)

Now, I think Cringely’s actual theory is looney tunes. BUT, I think he’s onto something with regards to Microsoft. This all has something to do with Microsoft. It’ll be interesting to see what…

More On Apple

There’s really nothing like the Steve Jobs’s reality distortion field to make you a believer. Go watch his keynote address from the Apple WWDC. It’s an hour long, but it will change your perception of Apple’s transition to Intel.

I still can’t say that I’m completely sold. I still think that Power architecture is a better architecture, even as it seems that IBM was not delivering the goods. And it is a lot easier to make a product work on stage than in the real world. (The fact that Microsoft has had so many on-stage screw-ups with Windows over the years should really give one pause, Murphy’s Law notwithstanding.) There are still significant risks, a fact which is driven home by Apple’s own 8-K filing. But Apple has done much more work to lay the foundation for the transition than I had really realized from reading the news reports.

As for my personal Mac transition, I still haven’t really decided on a course of action. In any case, though, it should be fun to watch.

The Nail in the Coffin

I’ve been following New York City’s bid for the 2012 Olympics for some time. (I thought I had even written about it here before, but Google doesn’t seem to think so, and I don’t have time to search more exhaustively.) Well, it looks like the idiots in Albany pretty much killed the NYC Olympic bid yesterday. I don’t completely understand all of the objections to the stadium, and it sounds like the Olympic boosters had been warned by many people that their chances for success would be improved by building the stadium elsewhere. But a sensible compromise would have been to provisionally approve the stadium in the event that the Olympic bid was won; instead they completely killed the measure.

It makes me sad: I think that a NYC Olympic Games would be great for the city, the international image of the U.S.A., and the reputation of the Olympics.

Anyone who has ever lived in New York State knows that the tensions between the State and the City usually lurk just below the surface of almost any political conflict in the state. And Albany is rarely a model of good governance, with a state legislature that is extremely dysfunctional. Alas.

Update: An editorial opinion supporting the stadium’s defeat.