Joho the BlogMay 2004 - Joho the Blog

May 31, 2004

History of the org chart

When were org charts first used to depict a business’ management structure? Anyone have any leads? All I could find on the Net was a link to a book by Stafford Beers that costs $115. While I wait for my local library to locate it, does anyone have any other sources/links?

Thank you.


Trying SpamBayes

I’ve been happily using PopFile to filter my spam in a Bayesian way. But it’s inconvenient to train it because it’s not integrated into my mail client (Outlook, ulp). I tried Outclass, but it was over-featured and under-explained. So, I’m trying out SpamBayes, another free Bayesian filter with seemingly good integration into Outlook. It doesn’t filter into all the buckets that PopFile does, but it’s easy to batch-train it against your existing junk and inbox folders.

I was motivated to try new filters by the elegant way Thunderbird integrates spam filtering into the client…much as the Mac client does. I’m using Thunderbird on the road, and find much to like about it, not least that it’s not Outlook.


One gun smoking, the other gun holstered

Smoking gun: Time reports on a Pentagon email (from Douglas “Chicken Hawk” Feith) that says that Dick Cheney’s office “coordinated” the awarding of a multi-billion dollar contract in Iraq for the company he formerly headed, Halliburton. (Reuters)

Holstered gun: The Boston Globe’s Wayne Washington reports that Bush no longer mentions the prescription drug bill he rammed through Congress:

A Globe survey of Bush’s and Vice President Dick Cheney’s remarks indicate 22 mentions in December and January, four in February, five in March, one in April, and three in May.

The reason seems clear: The Medicare expansion, once viewed as a crucial link between Bush and seniors, is now a subject of intense scorn among many seniors.

Then there’s the gun that may be turning out to be smaller calibre than expected: Scott Kirsner reports evidence that the adoption of RFID tags is going more slowly than many anticipated. He says they are still too expensive, suffer from poor quality assurance, don’t work with all goods, are not yet standardized, and are frequently used in demanding environments. Worse, he says, companies haven’t thought through how they’ll handle the massive amounts of data RFIDs will generate. Scott expects RFIDs to be adopted widely, but not for the next few years.

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May 30, 2004


The most comprehensive interspecies dictionary available…

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May 29, 2004

Jim’s Big, Shared Ego

The Boston Globe writes up the local band Jim’s Big Ego because it encourages people to share the band’s files. In September, they released an album under a Creative Commons license and it’s been their biggest seller. In fact, Creative Commons and the band are holding a contest to find the most creative remix of their paean to mixing, “Mix Tape.” One of the band members, Jim Infantino, talks about “community-based art patronage”: “When you as a band act in good faith, you invite your fans to act in good faith.”

I love all this, but I so don’t believe that patronage — a fancy name for a tip jar — is going to be the way we keep our artists alive. There will be some successes that way, but I think we need a more structured way of paying, such as the EFF’s suggestion that online music adopt an ASCAP/BMI model. But I ain’t no stinking economist so, thankfully, I don’t have to pretend to have a real opinion about this.

(BTW, the group’s site let’s you stream all of their music. The first item on the playlist when I tuned in was a track that archly raises the musical question: “After all, isn’t God an angry white guy?”)


May 28, 2004

Napster: Boo! Rio: Yay!

At 3pm, I bought my daughter a Samsung-Napster MP3 player. Deciding among the indiscernibles, the Napster’s ability to broadcast to an FM channel for wireless car connectivity sold me.

At 7:30pm, I returned the Napster and got a Rio Karma.

I had a bad feeling about the Napster from the moment I started installing the software. It kept adding layers and layers of cruft, forcing me to upgrade my Windows Media Player, bundling in a CD burner, forcing me to register at…window after window of incomprehensible files and DLLs until I wanted to scream that it ought to take its over-educated, over-engineered supercilious ass to the mountains and take up goat herding. And, sure enough, although Windows recognized the Napster device, the Napster software didn’t. After four hours of trying, I gave up.

The Rio is a thing of beauty. Baddaboom, it installed. Baddabing, it let me download MP3s into it. Now that’s the way software should work!

(Yes, we looked at the Ipod, and it was elegant and supercool, but also super-expensive, especially since the 15G version would have required us to buy a Firewire-USB converter.)


Ping Q&A

Halley interviews Andre Durand of Ping ID over at Wortwhile.


Spam Domain Checker for Outlook

A growing percentage of the 2,000+ spams I’m receiving every day come to false names at my domain, Here’s a VBA script for Outlook that searches the selected entries in a folder and moves bogus ones sent to that domain into a folder of your choice. To use it, create a folder to receive the putative spam; I’m calling it YOUR_SPAM_FOLDER in the script, but you should change it to whatver yours is called. Also, replace “” with the domain of your mail, and be sure to specify the addresses to that you want to accept. (And watch out for bad wraps in the code below.)

Public Sub CheckForBadEvidents()

Dim ToWhom As String
Dim objNS As NameSpace
Dim objInbox As MAPIFolder
Dim objSpamFolder As MAPIFolder

Set objNS = Application.GetNamespace("MAPI")
Set objInbox = objNS.GetDefaultFolder(olFolderInbox)
Set objSpamFolder = objInbox.Folders("YOUR_SPAM_FOLDER")
Dim objApp As Application
Dim objSelection As Selection
Set objApp = CreateObject("Outlook.Application")
Set objSel = objApp.ActiveExplorer.Selection
Dim objItem As Object

' check to make sure the folder is there
If objSpamFolder Is Nothing Then
MsgBox ("Folder not found")
Exit Sub
End If

x = 0 ' count the number of hits, for fun

For Each objItem In objSel
If objItem.Class = 43 Then ' if mail msg

' get the To line
ToWhom =
' If it's to but not
' to a recognized address...
If InStr(ToWhom, "") > 0 And _
(ToWhom <> "[email protected]" And _
ToWhom <> "[email protected]" And _
ToWhom <> "[email protected]") _

' move it
objItem.Move objSpamFolder
x = x + 1
End If
End If

MsgBox "Moved to YOUR_SPAM_FOLDER "    & x & _
" msgs with ill-formed addresses."

end Sub

Note: I’m an amateur and you use this script at your own risk. Really. I mean it. (The code for moving a msg to a folder came from here. I’ve lost where I cribbed the other functionality from.


Book your blog

At the Personal Democracy Forum on Monday, Mathew Gross told me about LJBook, a tool that turns your blog into a printable PDF book. Then Stephen Fraser of sent me an email recommending LJBook; Lulu publishes and sells anyone’s book. So I gave LJBook a try. It works. And it’s free.

It was designed initially for LiveJournal users, but there’s a beta that works with MovableType. You have to entrust it with your MT name and password (it says it forgets the pwd after 30 mins), but if you’re willing, you point it at your MT directory and it automagically creates a PDF file of all your posts between any set of dates. Mine was 1,200+ pages so I’m not going to print it out, but it’s nice to have it as a, well, I’m not sure why it’s nice to have it, but it is. (FWIW, the formatting of the book it created is minimal and ugly. But, then, take a look at what I gave it to work with.)


Sopranos finale spoiler

Over at I’ve just posted my guess about how the season ends. (Don’t worry, not only am I just making stuff up, but I’m pretty much batting 0 with my previous predictions.) Hint: I hope you’re not too emotionally attached to the bear.

I think it’s been a good season. I love the ambiguity of Steve Buscemi’s character. The episode featuring Meadow’s boyfriend was difficult to watch, in the best sense, as was Adriana’s big episode. My biggest disappointment, though, has been that I don’t believe how the relationship with Carmella has developed; it feels like it’s being pushed in that direction not by the characters but by the writers. (I’m trying not to give anything away for those who haven’t caught up with their TiVo yet.) For me, The Sopranos remains the best acted and funniest show on TV, maybe ever.

I have a question that does require giving away an event in the penultimate episode. Here goes: [SPOILER ALERT]

When Tony says that his “activities” in the future will not affect their marriage, we viewers hear “In the future, I’ll wipe the lipstick off my collar.” What are we supposed to think Carmella hears?


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