Hixie's Natural Log

2003-05-30 08:41 UTC AOL Agrees to Get Under Microsoft's Desk

So recently, Microsoft and AOL settled their pending antitrust lawsuit.

Let's recap what the deal was. To do this, I'm going to use AOL's own word, so this is going to be heavily biased in AOL's favour, thus making it look like AOL got a better deal than it did.

First, let's examine what Microsoft got out of the deal:

  1. Microsoft got AOL to agree to further increase the marketshare of its flagship Internet product, Internet Explorer.
  2. Microsoft got AOL to agree to further increase the marketshare of its flagship multimedia product, Windows Media Player.
  3. Microsoft got AOL to agree to further increase the marketshare of its flagship instant messaging product, MSN Messenger.
  4. Microsoft got AOL to agree to further increase the marketshare of its upcoming anti-freedom technology, Microsoft Digital Rights Management Software.
  5. Microsoft got AOL to agree to investigate how Microsoft could redistribute AOLTW content.
  6. Microsoft got AOL to agree to drop its antitrust lawsuit.
  7. Microsoft got AOL to agree to let its best programmers visit the Microsoft campus, at a time when most AOL employees are looking for alternate emloyment.

Secondly, let's examine what AOL got out of the deal:

  1. AOL got Microsoft to agree to pay about 2% of Microsoft's cash on hand to AOL.
  2. AOL got Microsoft to agree to give users a choice: MSN, a Microsoft-sponsored OSP running on Microsoft's Trident, or AOL, an AOL-sponsored OSP running on Microsoft's Trident.
  3. AOL got Microsoft to agree to give them a subscription to MSDN.
  4. AOL got Microsoft to agree to not break their existing legal obligations.

Well, congratulations to AOL on yet another stunning negotiation. Incidentally, I would like to invite the entire AOL legal team to one of our games of Monopoly. Let's play for real money.

2003-05-26 23:59 UTC Reloaded, finished, not started yet, unconvinced, and good luck

Today I saw Reloaded. Great movie. The fight choreography and special effects are simply amazing, and the plot hangs together surprisingly well given the subject matter. I'm used to science fiction films being totally unrealistic, and computed-related films making no sense at all, but the Matrix series falls into both categories and yet still works. Similarly, the "bullet time" effect has been done by lots of people, especially since the release of the first Matrix film, but as GwieF pointed out, only the Matrix films manage to do it in such a way that it adds to the story rather than distracting from it. (For an extreme example of this and similar effects being abused to the point of jerking the viewer out of suspension of disbelief, see Die Another Day.)

If you haven't seen it yet: Don't forget to stay through to the end of the credits, or you'll miss the Matrix: Revolutions trailer (don't worry, it is spoiler-free).

I also finished the set missions in Vice City today. Woo! Great game. One of my favourites. It even supports widescreen TVs. I wonder what I'll do with my PS2 now, though. I mean, I only bought it to play Vice City, so...

Actually, though, I'm still only at 59% completion. This game has so many sub-games it's just insane. I still have 51 hidden packages to find and a large number of minigames to complete. Playing time: 308 hours. That's not counting the times I failed a mission by dying or being caught and reloaded so I wouldn't lose my arsenal, of course. People wasted: 3177. People wasted by others: 1401. That makes me over twice as deadly as everyone else in Vice City put together!

Road Vehicles destroyed: 1106. Total number of wanted stars attained: 611. Evaded: 454. I assume it doesn't count the stars I evaded by (ahem) saving and immediately reloading... Daily police spending: $72,544. Holy mackrel. As I understand it, that's basically how much street damage I made while driving around like a maniac. Multiplied by the number of in-game days, that's $62,823,104. "Oops". Bullets fired: 973,333. Hit accuracy: 1%. Yes. Well. Moving on, I'm sad that the highest media attention I got was "National TV 4am" (aka 770). I even stole a tank and went on rampages around the city, how can it be so low? Or rather, how do you get it higher? My criminal rating is Fixer (4165).

Now, Kam has started working on the Pyoro client, so I may have to start working on the Pyoro server soon; and GwieF has started working on the Voidwars single-process server, so I may have to start working on a sample client implementation soon; and I've been getting ideas on Void, so I may have to start working on both the client and server parts of that. Plus there's all my CSSWG commitments, like the 2.1 test suite and other specs, and I'm trying to outline a plan for reorganising Bugzilla in line with the new direction Mozilla is taking (should be out around the same time we release 1.4), and I'm actually reading my bugmail these days so there's probably lots of bug INVALIDating to do.

I was most amused by recent comments on bug 25537. I now think I've had every possible argument put forward for showing alt attributes in tooltips: It helps authors and it hinders authors, it helps users and it hinders users, it gives too much control to the author and it gives not enough control to the author, it is presentation and it is semantic, it will encourage good behaviours and it will encourage bad behaviours, it is against the spec and it is not against the spec, it is standard behaviour and it is non-standard behaviour, we will never get any market share if this isn't fixed, we should display the alt attribute only, the title attribute only, the alt and the title attribute together, the alt and the title attribute at the same time but in separate bubbles, the alt attribute if the title attribute is missing, the title attribute if the alt attribute is missing, there should be a pref, there shouldn't be a pref, it should be the default, it shouldn't be the default, add-on packs make this bug irrelevant, add-on packs aren't enough and this bug is still relevant... All of which, of course, misses the whole point of why we WONTFIXed this bug in the first place: Authors should use title attributes if they want tooltips, and we don't want to encourage authors to use alt attributes instead, since those should contain alternate text, not additional text as given in tooltips.

In all fairness to the person primarily leading the most recent request for this bug to be reopened, though, he has been giving the most persuasive arguments so far.

Finally, good luck to anyone taking exams at the moment. I hope the results come back better than you hoped.

2003-05-19 01:41 UTC Weekend update (of firebirds, wide screens, and generals)

Saw the GwieF/Kamakaze/Xiven crew again this weekend, as we attended another BUNCS LAN party. It was a cool LAN, we played a bunch of games. I even got some positive scores in Urban Terror 2, a great Quake III Arena total conversion.

On Friday I bought a copy of Command and Conquer: Generals, a pretty nice real time strategy game, although missing some of the interface features I want from an RTS (I've never seen one that does everything I want, although Red Alert 2 and Total Annihilation came close). For various technical reasons, I can't use my CD drive at the moment. Which meant that to install Generals I had to make images of the two CDs (thanks GwieF), mount them using a virtual CD driver, install the game, patch it manually, then use a no-CD crack! Software authentication is a pain in the neck. I'm not aware of any game whose protection hasn't been cracked, and meanwhile legitimate customers like me are being forced to resort to reverse engineering (by proxy, in this case) to play software for which we have full licenses.

I also bought the Diablo II expansion pack, since for some reason the aforementioned people have started playing Diablo II again and to play with them I need the expansion. I wonder how long it'll take before I get bored of it again. When I last played it, back in 2001, I got bored after about a month. Once you've completed the plot, the game turns into pretty tedious point and click, point and click, press alt, point and click.

In other news, I hear, through the grapevine, that sky|one will be switching to full widescreen broadcast in the coming months, following the lead of all BBC channels, ITV1 and ITV2, Channel 4, E4, and Channel 5. This is great news! It'll be too late for any of the new (and final) Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes, but hopefully they'll broadcast Stargate SG-1 season 7 in widescreen (as well as all the daily SG-1 repeats!). I'm still amazed at how few US shows are filmed in 16:9 ratio. Literally everything from soaps to weather reports to adverts to late night soft-core porn is filmed in 16:9 here in the UK.

The whole digital TV mess is very similar to the problems the Web has with new standards — for example, only one Web browser supports MNG at the moment, so authors are unlikely to use it... but because few authors use it, there is no incentive for UAs to implement it (and indeed, it is possible that even Mozilla will drop support for MNG soon). The solution, of course, is for authors to start using MNG, and other new standards, regardless of the level of support, thus forcing UAs to implement the features in order to render the Web correctly. Unfortunately, few people are willing to make their sites less than pixel-perfect in old (yet still widely used) browsers like WinIE6.

While I'm rambling on, I'll just quickly mention that another grapevine I sometimes listen to suggests that there may soon be a Firebird™ release. Personally I am eagerly awaiting for the first Firebird™ release with the Advanced User (<link> toolbar and alternate stylesheet support) and Web Developer (DOM inspector, JavaScript debugger) add-on packs, since they're the last features that are keeping me using the current Mozilla Seamonkey builds.

Finally, a word to the person who hit my CV from a Google query for "best practices for writing test cases": what you probably want is the CSS2.1 Test Case Authoring Guidelines

Pingbacks: 1

2003-05-15 01:21 UTC Overly-specific job description

So I was looking through the job descriptions of open positions at IBM when I came across one that read as follows:

...The Browser Development Center is looking for a senior level software engineer with in-depth experience developing cross platform browsers and experience influencing open source development. The candidate must demonstrate experience with contributing to Mozilla browser and must be a Mozilla Driver (or have influence with Mozilla Drivers). [...] Looking for experience in the following: C++; XML; XUL and XPCOMM [sic]; CSS and XSL; Javascript; Customer Interface; Problem Solving Skills; and Have track record as Mozilla Driver or key influence with Mozilla development.

Why not just name them... that's only like 4 people, and one of them already works for IBM...

2003-05-14 16:26 UTC CSS3 Generated and Replaced Content Module: Call For Comments

The first draft of the CSS3 Generated and Replaced Content Module was published today on the W3C Technical Reports page as a Working Draft. I am therefore now soliciting comments and discussions of this draft. Please send your review comments to the www-style@w3.org public mailing list (archived) (see subscription instructions).