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Cox Crow

Asking the Stupid Questions Since 1971
 Wednesday, August 07, 2002


Jon Udell on moving Radio to InfoWorld's server:
- If you change the main template and regenerate your old site with a message pointing to the new site, remember to change it back when you regenerate the new site.

- I wish I could insert into UserLand's Apache the one mod_rewrite directive that would redirect everything to the new site :-)

- I seem to have screwed up the old RSS file along the way. I really wish there were a way to replace its contents with:

[sample removed because Userland hasn't fixed a Very Important Bug]

As it stands, this might be the most disruptive part of the whole operation. Subscribers to the feed (evidently there are a goodly number) will need to resubscribe at the new address (standard version with short descriptions, alternate version with long ones). Come to think of it, there might be a way to make Radio upload an RSS file containing the redirect. But I can't face doing the experiment at 2:30AM...

He has three desires:

  1. notify readers of the change
  2. maintain continuity in readership, by redirection
  3. update subscriptions

For the first, a simple blurb on his site suffices. For the second, he needs the minimal cooperation of Userland. The third requires a standard behavior. There was some small discussion of using a newElement. Now it appears that Kevin Burton has specified a new module for RDF, mod_subscription, which could help.

The second desire, continuity, can be provided very simply by Userland. Radio does not upload files which begin with a dot (.), for Security Reasons. Therefore an .htaccess file, which could modify the Apache configuration on radio.weblogs.com to include user-specific directives, can not be used. This is, however, what is needed to maintain continuity. So,

  1. Let Userland add the line

    AccessFileName somethingThatDoesNotBeginWithADot

    to the Apache configuration file, httpd.conf, and let Userland add

    AllowOverride FileInfo

    to the appropriate Directory section of said configuration file.

  2. Let Userland inform the users that this feature is available.
  3. Let the user create a file, somethingThatDoesNotBeginWithADot, and let the user fill the file with this line
    Redirect temp /0100887 http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell 
  4. And if that is satisfactory, let the user change said line
    Redirect permanent /0100887 http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell 

3:33:44 PM # Google It!
categories: Writing Online

Hydraulic Despotism

Dan Rosenbaum points to John Ellis's "The Internet Power Grab" in Fast Company. Mr. Ellis makes some very good points.

This trend, from free to fee, is emblematic of a more ominous development in the Internet arena. ... [M]ature companies in mature categories striking back at Silicon Valley technology and the pricing-power collapse that it implies. They are doing so in Washington, DC and in state capitols, where the technology crowd is weakest and most clueless.


[Silicon Valley] had no use for politics, no use for government, no use for the old rules. But it was more than that. They were openly disdainful of government regulation of any kind, and they didn't bother to hide their contempt.

So, instead of finding legislators who were willing to do nothing, they abstained from the system. DOJ v. Microsoft changed that for at least one company.

Just as their technology raised security concerns, it also threatened two established businesses in particular. The first was old-fashioned telephony -- the telephone business was the choke point of Internet technology. ... The problem was the so-called last mile: the wire into your home. Most homes were equipped with three wires: electric, telephone, and cable television. Most people connected to the Web over a standard phone line. Converting that line into a high-speed-access line was crucial to the success of all of the other Internet technologies that the Valley had to offer. [emphasis mine]

But there was a problem. Regional Bell Operating Companies made their money on local and long-distance telephony. The Valley was proclaiming that the days of such services being fee-based were numbered; in the future ( through Internet-Protocol telephony ), all voice calls would be free. And it was true. If every last mile was connected by fiber-optic wire or high-speed cable, every voice call could be free.

The RBOCs, of course, did not see such a future as beneficial to their financial health. So they went to work at the state and federal level to forestall the implementation of this technology until they could control it. RBOCs have state and federal political relationships that are the envy of every industry, with the possible exception of the electric utilities.

And instead of working with the companies that controlled the chokepoint, they said, "The Internet will be the Death of you." Is it any wonder that we have over-capacity in the backbone and puny 56K links at home?

3:19:49 PM # Google It!
categories: Industry

Kosher Politics

The problem with holding a minimalist position in government is that it's not often that the electorate agrees that by doing nothing, or by being a keen filibusterer, you are doing a good deed.

Well, folks, in just this session of Congress alone I blocked several hundred bills from coming to the floor. These bills would have destroyed our Way of Life!


I passed the prescription drug coverage that you fine folks so desperately need! (I also extended the term for patent coverage, but that's neither here nor there.)

Does the Kosher politician abstain from porking the citizenry?

3:17:53 PM # Google It!
categories: Law

Jon Udell's blog has moved from radio.weblogs.com to weblogs.infoworld.com. In the process, he's listed the caveats that I ran into during my moves. But he lists them in a more coherent fashion.

9:30:02 AM #
categories: Writing Online