Blog Moved, Upgraded, Revamped, and Fixed!

WordPressAfter letting fall into disarray with ancient blog software, lack of comments, a horrible UI, and other problems, I’ve finally updated. And, I must say, it’s a lot nicer!

The heart of the upgrade is a move from MovableType 2.64 (MovableType is now at version 3.3) to WordPress 2.0.4. This upgrade brings a host of new features for my ability to publish and also for users of, the world’s exclusive host and premier provider of my bulls***. Most importantly, comments are now open again. No longer hold back your anger, disdain, disgust, and outright horror when you read You can now join the discussion and tell me what you really think.

Overall, the upgrade process was very good. It took a while to learn where everything is and get all my little features configured just right. But the documentation and install steps were all accurate. Let me know what you think! How’s the new UI?

The Cost of Cisco’s Company Meeting

This morning, traffic was the worst its ever been for me coming to work.  It was over 2 hours, and everyone in the office is complaining.  Even those with what is usually only a 10 minute commute suffered for 90 minutes or more.  The cause?  Cisco decided to have a company meeting at the Shoreline Amphitheater this morning.

According to the radio, 30,000 Cisco employees descended upon Shoreline this morning.  I suspect that number is inflated, but regardless, traffic in all directions was completely snarled from 8am to 11am.  Several people decided to bail on work altogether.

I don’t care much about how much this meeting cost Cisco, as they did it on their own.  But what did they cost the two other major employers in the Shoreline area?

Assuming the average employee makes about $100K per year here, and assuming the average employee was delayed about 1 hour, and assuming about 80% of employees were impacted:

Microsoft, 1500 employees: $60,000

Google, 8000 employees: $320,000

Ouch.  And we don’t even work for Cisco. 

If you had trouble getting to work today, please link to this article with “Cisco Sucks” in the link text!

Screen Scraping Made Easy

I stumbled across Dapper today, a pretty phenominal UI & utility that can create sophisticated screen scrapes from any website.  I have two reactions:

1) WOW!  These guys did a great job of making it easy to scrape!  Fantastic interface, boiled down to very simple tasks!

2) Jesus Christ!  Who in their right mind would try to build anything off an unknown screen scraper?

The latter is really where I finished thinking about it.  It seems that in our Web-2.0 world, people think that somehow hacks can sustain.  Hacks can’t.  Hacks are hacks.  And fundamentally, screen scraping is a hack.  One small div-hierarchy change and the whole thing breaks.  One slight UI one-off, and the data provided is bogus.  I usually try to avoid being a purist, but screen scraping is just one approach I can’t support.

Conclusion: Dapper represents a lot of very nice work behind what is ultimately a futile effort.