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July 31, 2002 Kilt Solidarity!


Leave it to TSS to go over the top in bringing back the kilt. The fan community is celebrating! For those of you who haven't watched the show for very long, Patrick started wearing a Utilikilt occasionally on the show about a year ago. A Utilikilt is kilt built with several pockets, useful for storing tech gadgets like PDAs, cell phones, and MP3 players. Earlier this year, Patrick was wearing a utilikilt about every other week, when suddenly, he stopped wearing them at all after March. It took a while for the fans to find out that the kilt had been banned by someone high up in the TechTV management. About a month ago, the fan community organized the Kilt Kampaign to get the ban lifted. Fans sent email, added banners to their web sites, and even changed their Leoville avatars and signatures to let the management know that they wanted Patrick to be allowed to wear his kilt. Today's show was the payoff.

Why was this issue so important? Not just because the female fans like to see Patrick's legs. The kilt is a statement of non-conformity, and no one embraces non-conformity like the tech geek community. TSS is non-conformist in that it presents subject matter that no other show does, to intelligent viewers which the rest of the networks seem to ignore.

Hopefully this is step back in the right direction for TechTV. In the last year there have been too many signs that the management had been trying to remove all uniqueness from its programming. Still missing in action are the magnetic fridge letters and Megan's alter egos, like Grandma Morrone and Super Morrone. Hopefully the management will reconsider their stance on these as well. No TV channel was ever successful by trying blend in and look like any other programming. Stuff like the kilt and Grandma Morrone causes channel surfers to say "WTF?" and flip back to TechTV to see what's going on.


Posted by Christy at 08:00 PM

July 30, 2002 Editing Martin

I watched today's live broadcast, and then clicked over to the repeat just in time to see Martin's List. Looks like they edited the last part of Martin's list segement between the live broadcast and the repeat. I don't disagree with it, I'm just interested in seeing what their threshold is for doing an edit.

For some reason, edits seem to happen most often during Martin's segments. ;)

For those who didn't see it, Martin featured the top most disturbing sites (this should have been a cue for a director to check Martin's chosen clips before airtime). The #1 site had a mumblety-peg animation game showing severed finger if you missed. Fortunately, this part was removed in the repeat.

This isn't the first time that Martin has made me a bit nauseated on air. Eating spam gel last year had the same effect. I'm thinking of starting a business selling Martin barf bags.

Posted by Christy at 08:56 PM

July 28, 2002 Mac Switch Campaign Parody

On Friday's show, Leo mentioned a flash parody of Apple's Switch campaign. In the show notes, they provided a link to a very funny one featuring a Bill Gates cartoon. There is another funny live action parody relating to gaming on the Mac: Drunk Gamers

Posted by Christy at 12:44 AM

July 26, 2002 Exposing Yourself in Public

Yesterday's question of the day was "Is Google too good?" This was in response to a New York Times article about a woman working as a computer tutor. Her client showed her how he found personal information about her just by entering her name into a search engine. As usual, the mainstream press has overesimplified issues relating to technology. When will people learn that the Internet is a public place. Posting information on the web is no different than having it published in a newspaper. Most of the items that were found on this woman were posted on her own family web site, and therefore, under her own control. I fail to see how a person with computer training would be so ignorant about Internet technology.

The article was misleading on several other points. If you don't want search engines to index your web site, or even just certain pages, you can create a file on the site to keep them out. It is a text file called "robots.txt" and there are tutorials on the web about how to properly create one. A search engine that is about to index your site will first request this file. If the file specifies that a page is not to be indexed, it will ignore it. One note: obeying this file is voluntary. You have to trust that the search engine will comply with it, but all the major search engines do.

The author made it sound as though the archived copies of web pages on Google are permanent. This is not true. The cached page only lasts until the next time Google indexes a site, which occurs about every two months. If the Google search robot finds a robots.txt file excluding it from indexing the site, the cached files will be deleted.

The article failed to mention a search engine that caches web pages far longer than any of the major search engines: The Internet Archive. This site caches web pages for historical purposes. Although it is not yet searchable, it has stored web pages as far back as 1996. It's fun to see what Yahoo looked like six years ago, and see how far things have come. But anything stored there, stays there. Fortunately, if you are the owner of a site, they will remove the information if you request it. But it can still be a little scary for web site owners like me, who, back in my days of relative obscurity, may have made some overly fawning remarks about a certain talk show host which might prove embarrasing. My site has been stored there three times, but I checked, and all of them were cached after the remarks were removed. Whew!

Posted by Christy at 09:48 PM