January 31, 2003

New car

About a month ago, and after many years of ogling, I finally acquired a certain new-to-me old BMW -- a 1988 E30 M3.


The original M3 was the product of BMW Motorsport's desire to win the european touring car championships of the mid- to late-eighties, which was dominated at the time by entries from Mercedes and Ford. The touring car championship was production-based, which meant that at least 5000 examples of your race car had to be sold to the public for operation on the street.

The race car had to be identical in form, layout and engine configuration to the production model -- no extra spoilers, or tube-frame chassis such as you see in some other racing series. So when BMW went out to win the touring car championship, the M3 was the result. Basically a racing car for the road.

And the funny thing is, it's not very good for commuting. It has a high-strung, peaky engine, and the ride is pretty harsh. It responds best in places where you can really wring it out -- either twisty, isolated mountain roads, or race tracks like this one and this one.

And that's exactly how I intend to use it.

Posted by dreeves at 10:19 PM

It's always nice to know

that some things just do what they should.

Posted by dreeves at 9:35 PM

How to reduce your workload

Someone at the INS came up with a clever way to reduce their workload -- start shredding. Update As BoingBoing points out, one has to wonder how many of the 500 Middle Easterners arrested in LA by the INS were affected by this...

Posted by dreeves at 11:42 AM

January 30, 2003

Europe and America must stand united

In this London Times op-ed, the leaders of eight european countries (including, surprisingly, Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic and Anders Rasmussen of Denmark) come out strongly in favor of supporting the US in its bid to make Iraq disarm.
Interestingly, they argue that the challenge to Iraq should be supported first to preserve cohesion between the United States and Europe, and secondarily, because it's the right thing to do.

Posted by dreeves at 9:23 AM

January 17, 2003

New Economy, meet Old Economy

Yahoo announces a dividend.

Posted by dreeves at 11:16 AM

January 15, 2003

John Le Carré: The United States Has Gone Mad

Posted by dreeves at 1:26 PM

January 13, 2003

New Version

The new version of QuickBase is out as of very early Saturday morning. The list of major updates is here, along with a page describing the developer-oriented features we've released over the last six months.

We're pretty excited about this release, and we think a number of the features are really going to make a big difference in the everyday usage of the product. Over the next few days, I'll be describing some of the new features here in a little more detail. Stay tuned.

Posted by dreeves at 1:56 PM

January 10, 2003

Something cool is coming...

About to push out a substantial new version of QuickBase...

Posted by dreeves at 11:10 PM

Off the grid

Nick Denton extols the virtues of getting off the grid. And he's absolutely right. We are all endowed (or develop, depending on where you stand in the Blank Slate Debate) with different levels of self-discipline. For those of us with less patience and addicted to novelty, the ever-present web is at once one of the greatest stimuli and barriers to productivity ever.

Posted by dreeves at 9:27 PM

There are all kinds of bad jokes

one could make about a 10-cylinder, 8-liter motorcycle. Let's not make them.

Posted by dreeves at 8:40 PM

Making Sense of Safari

After Apple's announcement Tuesday of Safari a number of us at QuickBase were puzzling over the announcement. We read the reviews by Ben, Mark and others, but still couldn't quite understand the strategic imperative that led Apple to develop its own web browser. Were they so desperate to be independent from Microsoft? What was going to be so compelling about Safari that would induce web developers to support yet another browser with a minority share on a minority platform?

It was a brief post by Brent Simmons at Ranchero that finally made Safari make sense. Apple needed an real, OS-level HTML rendering engine, and none of the other makers of major browsers have had any incentive to implement one for the mac.

Here are some of the places Safari will likely be used:

Mail.app - one of the most frustrating aspects of switching back to Mac OS X from Windows earlier this year is the inability of Mac mail clients to correctly render HTML email. Most of them (mail.app and Entourage) make a halfway-decent attempt at it, but as soon as you forward or do anything with the message, the HTML disintegrates.

Although the whole point of Sherlock 3 is to provide a polished way to find and access structured data on the web, it is also badly in need of an embedded browser, usually to display the results of searches for things like eBay auction items, dictionary entries, etc.

Third-party apps - Probably the most important. One of the main obstacles preventing QuickBooks for the Mac from achieving parity with QuickBooks for Windows is the fact that large portions or the interface of the Windows version were implemented using the OS-level version of Internet Explorer as a rendering engine. You can also tell from Brent's post that he's excited about using the Safari rendering engine in NetNewsWire.

So go Apple. The ironic thing about this argument is that it bolsters Microsoft's longstanding and controversial contention that the browser & HTML engine belongs as part of the OS...

Posted by dreeves at 8:33 PM

January 7, 2003

Super-Duper Power?

House Majority Whip Tom Delay:

"John, we're no longer a superpower. We're a super-duper power."

Sort of sounds like something Dr. Evil would say...
(Source: Joi)

Posted by dreeves at 8:26 PM

New Tech investment

On Scripting News today, Dave Winer laments the lack of VC investment in new technologies in the past year.

I'm not sure I fully understand his point. The VC industry is in business to make money. For the last forty+ years, they correctly believed that investing in new technologies could be an excellent way to make money, and set up shop in Silicon Valley because that's where most of the people that create interesting new technologies choose to live and work.

At the risk of sounding like an apologist for the VC industry, I don't think they're under any obligation, especially in this environment, to invest in new technology without some some firm idea that they'll get a healthy return. Right now, that's what's missing.

Posted by dreeves at 1:08 PM

A plug

In the past year, the best $15 I spent was for a service that shouldn't have to exist -- Fastmail.fm. For your $15, you get lifetime access to Fastmail's authenticated SMTP server. This way, you can use your laptop to send email from any network, and circumvent annoying policies by certain DSL providers I won't name.

Posted by dreeves at 9:04 AM


After about four (!) years reading Dave Winer's excellent Scripting News and other weblogs, a few fits and starts, I've finally gotten into the act. We'll see how it goes.

Professionally, I'm product manager of a pretty interesting web application at a big company. It wasn't always that way... but it's a great product and an interesting challenge.

Posted by dreeves at 7:52 AM


Adam Curry writes that one of the things he likes most about flying a helicopter is that you can't be distracted by anything else.

That's also one of my favorite aspects of my two-year effort to learn to drive my old car on the racetrack. It demands (and gets) your total concentration; while you're out on the track, you simply cannot think of anything else. So far, I've been here, here, here and here. It's a real skill, combining tactile/motor skills with a real knowledge of geometry and the physics of how different actions affect a car at speed. And it's a lot of fun.

Posted by dreeves at 7:44 AM