Starting December 31, 1999
IP: Meaning at the end points, More cell towers, Copyright date, Sampled sound, Digital cameras even more popular, Old buildings win with telecom hotels, Y2K glitches, Happy New Year!, Test entry, The long awaited day arrives
Thursday, January 6, 2000
IP: Meaning at the end points
I read an email this morning from Bob Frankston in which he lays out his feelings about government regulation of the Internet and what the Internet is. He gave me permission to post some excerpts.

I think Bob's definition of the Internet as:

"Creating meaning at the end points while commoditizing the connections between them"

helps you understand its organic growth and evolution. It makes it possible for extremely rapid and diverse innovation. Keeping this ability is crucial in order for society to exploit the potential of telecommunications and computer technology.

I posted more of his statements, including his comparison of government regulation of computer-based systems to undebugged code, and my comments contrasting the old way of doing telecommunications applications with the IP way, in the Writings section of my main web site. Read it here.

Wednesday, January 5, 2000
More cell towers
My page on Cell Towers and cell trees seems to be very popular, so I added more material about different cellular phone antenna configurations in a "More Cell Towers" page.

Close up of top of a flag pole with flag
Flag pole antenna

Copyright date
I finally remembered to change the copyright date on this web site. The date appears on most pages. It was easy to do since I used a field in Trellix Web to hold the date string and changing it in one place changed it everywhere (just like changing a number in a spreadsheet...). Being a string, it was easily Y2K compatible. If you maintain a web site or create software, don't forget to update the copyright date, if appropriate.

Tuesday, January 4, 2000
Sampled sound
I had my yearly physical this morning. I appear to still be healthy (!). My doctor is also a jazz pianist (reminding you he has talented hands). He records his own CDs, plays them during examination (except while listening on the stethoscope), and sometimes gives them out to patients. He has had a personal recording setup for years, originally with an Amiga. Today he was most interested in the "latest piano" he got.  What he meant was he liked a particular sampled piano sound that he buys from a person he likes. I'm not in the music business, and when I learned about sampled music years ago a piano was a huge amount of ROM. Now you can buy a great new piano sound for $399 on a CDROM. He likes how this guy records his samples and supports his users. I went to the web site, William Coakley Sound Design, and found a promotional video (1.5MB RealVideo that doesn't stream) that shows the Steinway surrounded by microphones during sampling. Cool.

Digital cameras even more popular
NPD Intelect reported that nearly 19% of cameras over $50 sold in October 1999 were digital as opposed to film. This is compared to 7% a year before. The trend is pretty clear.

I found this item on Phil Askey's Digital Photography Review, a wonderful site for those of you who care about digital cameras, etc. If you haven't seen this site you should check it out.

Monday, January 3, 2000
Old buildings win with telecom hotels
The Boston Sunday Globe had an article in the Real Estate section entitled "Telecom Rush". It seems that telecom companies need buildings with high ceilings, strong floors to hold the heavy equipment, and near major fiber backbones. If you have such a building to rent, often an old one downtown that some companies would find too old fashioned for regular office space, it's "...like hitting the lottery." These telecom hotels, as they call them, need less fixing up (tenants do their own modifications), need fewer parking spaces (racks with machines instead of cubicles with people), and are scarce (so rents can be real high). Interesting. Never thought of those implications.

This brings me back to one of the songs I listened to waiting for the new year: "...the loser now will be later to win, for the times they are a-changin'". Find a copy of Bob Dylan's old song and listen to it carefully or read the words. (The album entry on Amazon has a RealAudio clip with this line.) Boy does it still apply to what's happening to everything because of the Internet.

If you think those that don't make millions with stock options or whose businesses don't make successful switches to the iEcomony are in some way lesser people, listen to the other song I mentioned 12/31/99: "...I'll show you a young man with so many reasons why, and there but for fortune may go you or I". It's on Phil Och's In Concert album. (I remember hearing Phil Ochs sing when I was young and we needed parents to drive us to a concert.)

Y2K glitches
I'm still getting used to the new year. I had to type the date line (Monday, January, 3, 2000) twice -- I first typed "1999". Decisions, decisions, as we each personally become Y2K compatible: Do I write 1/3/00 (as the New York Times did in their headline) or 1/3/2000 (show I learned the Y2K lesson and I'm ready until 9999), or 1/3/0 (if I don't write 01/03/00 with leading zeros), or whatever?

Just a few little glitches I'm noticing so far. Dan Gillmor mentioned problems with dates that go from 99 to 100, giving you "19100" instead of "2000". One of the programs I use usually lists files like this:

Date/time is 991230
Screen capture: Filename, date/time modified
Now it's adding new ones like this:

Date/time is 1000101
Screen capture: New files have a funny date/time
I tried the old VisiCalc. It seems to still run.

Saturday, January 1, 2000
Happy New Year!
Time to see if Trellix Web works in the new year. Since you're reading this, it does. Whew! This item was first posted 12:49 am EST 1 Jan 2000, with minor edits later.

I had two New Years. One was the Computer New Year, midnight GMT. I celebrated that one downtown Boston. Here's right before 7 pm EST, midnight GMT. It's a view looking over the Boston Public Garden and the frozen pond where the swan boats are in the summer (I saw a few "make way for ducklings" ducks waddling around later):

People looking up to the sky
Awaiting GMT New Years in Boston
Seconds later, it was past Y2K GMT:

See light of the first blast through a tree  Families standing on the ice holding each other watching the fireworks  Fireworks in the sky past outlines of people
Fireworks starting with the first blasts after midnight GMT. Boston had both an early "family" fireworks display at 7 pm EST and an "adult" one at midnight EST.
The "Boom! Boom! Boom!" explosions really drove home that it finally happened. I needed that. With all the anticipation, I'd almost expected a big colored line to pass overhead in the sky as we moved into the next millennium...

My second New Years, the personal one, was at home with some friends and loved ones in front of a fire listening to influential songs of my youth like Dylan's "The times they are a-changin'" and Phil Ochs' "There but for fortune":

Logs burning
At midnight EST we watched the ball drop in Times Square. A "Don't you want to register our product?" message popped up on one of my computer screens. The Internet still worked and so did the phone. Life goes on.

Saturday, January 1, 2000
Test entry
This entry, written and posted before "the big moment", is here to check that Trellix Web, my hosting company, and your browser don't blow up when I type a date that says it's in the new millennium. I also added January 2000 to my month list as part of my last minute getting ready and being Y2K compliant. Since using Trellix Web is like using a word processor, making 1/1/00 no different than xyz, this isn't much of a test (though it does help me get used to typing 2000). Posting something after the year starts will be. See you then!

Friday, December 31, 1999
The long awaited day arrives
Almost as far back as I can remember tonight has been looming. This was always one of the few communal, non-personal landmarks of a "time in the future". In computer classes at MIT in 1970 I learned about using computer clocks measured in milliseconds since March 1, 1900 GMT and about why not to use MM/DD/YY because of the year 2000 not fitting in. It seemed so theoretical. Just like me being 48 years old felt at the time. What would my life be like? What would the world be like? The guy in the local electronics fix-it shop who sold me my first tube (a 1U5) and first transistor (a CK722) promised me we'd have flat screen TV sets to hang on the wall in 10 years. Almost 40 years later, at that "forever time" of the turn of the century, I finally have a flat screen in my house, but it's not a TV (which hasn't changed much in the 40 years). Flat panel TVs are still not here for most of us. Instead, it's a computer with millions and millions of transistors. We don't fly in levitation machines as was predicted when I was a kid. Teaching someone to drive today is no different than 30 years ago (I first helped teach a cousin in 1968). But the Internet lets me communicate and share information with people and places in a much better way than flying. I zip from continent to continent in seconds without thinking about it. That cousin now lives halfway around the world and we use email and phone much more than we use a plane.

I wonder what the next communal "time in the future" landmark will be, and how different and the same the world will be.

Happy New Year! Happy start of that unknown future just past the landmark that loomed ahead of us our whole life!

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