Saturday, January 24
Update on the Hotmail situation: When I wrote the below rant, I wasn't aware of all the facts, so it's not entirely accurate (well, it is after all a rant). It's become obvious that Hotmail, at least for the time being, will remain blocked. I still think the situation was handled poorly, but there's little that can be done to change it now.

The best course of action that I can see is to try to get the block temporarily lifted for a few days, so that everyone who has a Hotmail account can deal with any messages they have waiting for them by this time, close their account, and sign up with a new service (or get an account through the school).

For what it's worth, every message I've ever received from a Hotmail account has a header named X-Originating-IP, which contains the IP address of the machine that the message originated from. This isn't foolproof, but AFAIK, it provides a means of tracing most Hotmail messages.

There's a new version of mIRC out, v5.31. No big changes this time, just some bug fixes.

Wednesday, January 21
<RANT>Why is it that school authorities always have to overreact to anything dealing with the net?

For a little bit of background, I live near a small Nebraska town, where the only way to get a net connection without paying per-minute charges is through the local high school. They offer several dialups to the community, and most students are able to use the net at least a little at school (on crippled Macs, with constant "supervision", but that's another rant...).

A lot of people who were unable to get an e-mail address signed up with Hotmail (there are a lot of free e-mail providers, but Hotmail is the most popular, for some reason). The school has since started offering e-mail accounts, but a lot of people kept their Hotmail accounts.

Recently, one of the less intelligent people I know decided that he would send some remarkably offensive mail to another student. He used Hotmail, thinking that this would provide anonymity. He then decided to send a message asking if the first e-mail had been received - Using a school account.

The result? Rather than being satisfied with punishing the individual responsible, our superintendent decided to have access to Hotmail blocked. For everyone, and without any sort of warning.

I don't use Hotmail, and I'll probably never have reason to. It just strikes me as ridiculous that a large number of people should lose access to a service they depend on because of the moronic actions of one individual. What if someone was caught in the act of searching for something "offensive" on Yahoo? Would they decide to block access to directories and search engines? Why does this sort of thing always have to snowball?</RANT>

Yes, I did take out those proxy addresses... Self censorship is worse than the standard kind, but I can take a hint, and posting them here was a (rather stupid) mistake in the first place. (Sure, rationalize it. That'll make it all better...)

Sunday, January 18
I got rid of the JavaScript on my contents page. While I don't really mind OnMouseOvers, it's nice to be able to see where you're going when you follow a link, and this way I can say that my pages are completely JavaScript free (for whatever that's worth).

I've been looking for a good freeware telnet client lately. Here's what I've found so far -

EasyTerm -
Simple, easy to use, and there're some nifty features. On the downside, it lacks a good set of copy & paste commands; all you can do is copy the screen. It's definitely worth the tiny 40k download. (Technically, this isn't freeware, it's CareWare... It's a great concept, and the CareWare page is worth reading.)

Tera Term Pro (zip, 740k) -
A decent interface, and there're some nice features. It allows for Japanese and Russian character sets (not that I'll ever use them, but it's nice to know they're there), it has a built in scripting language, and the copy & paste features work well.

Windows95.com Terminals and Telnet Clients -
One heckuva lot of telnet apps.

Wednesday, January 14
Episode 106 of Dæmonsong is out. Definitely the best episode so far. If you found 105 to be something of a disapointment, this more than makes up for it.

If you don't know what Dæmonsong is, read this.

In the interests of journalistic integrity, I must point out that I'm now on staff. Of course, it hasn't affected my judgement in any way. (Wait a minute... I'm not running a news page here... The hell with journalistic integrity.)

Tuesday, January 13
I should have mentioned this earlier... The All Basic Code packet (a bimonthly collection of BASIC programs, code, and tutorials) for January is out. You can get it at any of the following locations:

The ABC Home Page also mentions a Windows version of the ABC reader, though I've no idea how soon it'll actually be there.

The Dominion (the Sci-Fi Channel's site) has put up a Java IRC client at http://www.scifi.com/chat/chatnow.html. It seems to work fine on Netscape 3, and it's actually fairly useable. The biggest nuisance is that it beeps when you hit enter. I've mailed them about it, and I imagine it'll be fixed sooner or later. (I mention this because it'll probably have an effect on events.scifi.com.)

Monday, January 12
I just noticed that Mirabilis has released a Macintosh version of ICQ (as well as versions for a number of other OS's).

I downloaded Opera 3.0 yesterday. It's a web browser with some very interesting features. The biggest difference you'll notice between this and other browsers is that it uses a MDI (multi-document interface) instead of the one page per window approach. In other words, multiple pages are opened as windows inside of the main Opera window... And a lot of them. I've had as many as 20 different pages open at once, which I somehow doubt you'd be able to do with Netscape or IE.

Opera is currently only available for Win 3.x, 95, or NT, but they're apparently working on a project to port it to quite a few other operating systems. This one is definitely worth checking out. It might even be worth paying for...

Saturday, January 10
Updated my IRC page.

Friday, January 9, 1998
Notice the spiffy little menu at the top of this page? I suppose this will make it easier to navigate. Or maybe it just takes up space. One way or another, it's there.

I updated my SF Links page slightly.