The July 2003 Blog
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Internet Trivia (Thursday, Jul 31)
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Inspired by eknori's recent post, I decided to do a little research on some of the Internet "firsts". My "research" consisted of about an hour of Googling various things. Just for my own curiousity really, but I thought I'd share. Enjoy.

The first commercial modem is sold by AT&T (300 baud)

The word "hypertext" is coined by Ted Nelson

First ARPANET Nodes:
UCLA (30 August, hooked up 2 September)
Stanford Research Institute (SRI) (1 October)
University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) (1 November)
University of Utah (December)

First e-mail sent on ARPANET by Ray Tomlinson (the message was "Testing 1-2-3", and it was addressed to himself)

May 1973:
First Ethernet network, at Xerox Parc (called the Alto Aloha System)

TCP/IP is created

RFC 706 is posted, warning about the potential problem of junk e-mail

USENET established by Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis

12 April 1979:
First e-mail emoticon by Kevin MacKenzie, suggesting that the characters -) should indicate "tongue in cheek" (the use of the familiar :-) and :-( were suggested years later by Scott Fahlman on 19 September 1982).
(via and

The first "in the wild" computer virus is written and released by Rich Skrenta

Paul Mockapetris writes the first DNS server software, called Jeeves (according to Nominum, prior to DNS a woman named Mary Stahl was responsible for the master ARPANET hosts file)

15 March 1985: becomes the first registered Internet domain

March 1986:
First "netiquette" posting on Usenet

"The World" ( becomes the first commercial provider of Internet access

November 1990:
First web browser: called "WorldWideWeb" (see for a screenshot)
First web server:, later called
First web page: (no longer active)

Geoff Arnold and Martin Hall invent WinSock

5 October 1991:
Linus Torvalds announces Linux version 0.02

February 1993:
Mosaic is released by Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina

The InterNIC is created

David Filo and Jerry Yang develop Yahoo

3 May 1995:
Sun releases Java (formerly called "Oak")

23 August 1995:
Microsoft releases the Internet Explorer browser as a part of the new Windows 95 operating system

Compuserve, AOL and Prodigy are born

(this is actually way off -- they were founded in 1969, 1985, and 1984, respectively. Thanks to Jess for pointing out that it wasn't correct.)

Google is launched by Larry Page and Sergey Brin

JPEG Image Manipulation in Java (Wednesday, Jul 30)
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Here's another tip for you: Manipulating JPEG Images with Java. I was playing around with rotating and resizing images using Graphics2D, and the next thing I knew I had written a class. It actually started as a way for me to make mass modifications to my JPG files (like making thumbnails), and just kept growing from there.

The only really tricky method in there is the rotate() method, because there's some geometry involved with figuring out where the origin of the image should be after it's been rotated. Everything else is pretty straightforward.

Also, not only does this class only work with Java 1.2 or higher, but I think it only works with Sun implementations of Java2. That's because I'm using some of the com.sun.image.codec.jpeg classes to read and write images to/from files. Sorry about that. There are probably easy ways around this, if you happen to be using Java from a different vendor.

When to Recompile Agents (Monday, Jul 28)
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Boy, it's been well over a month since I published my last tip. Sorry about that. Even though the last tip happened to be The Unfinished LotusScript Book, which actually counts as a bunch of tips if you actually read it, that's still a long time.

In an attempt to get back in the groove, here's a tip about recompiling Lotus Notes agents when script libraries change. It just talks a little about when you have to recompile and when you don't, and also has a tip for using constant values in a script library. As always, if you notice anything that's incomplete, missing, or just plain wrong, please tell me.

Today's Random News: Disney Downloads, IBM Cartoons, and More SCO Shakedown (Thursday, Jul 24)
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When you've got nothing to say, talk about the news, right? Actually, I just happened across several interesting news articles today, and figured I'd just lump them all together.

In our first story, Disney is planning to make its movies available for download. Interesting, not only because this is the company that keeps retiring its movies from video and DVD (are the retired titles going to be available for download?), but because the company they're partnering with -- Movielink -- has some kind of scheme that only makes the downloaded movies available for 24 hours after you first start viewing them. Hmm, I wonder when that will get cracked. And do you have to get a Passport license with that?

In other news, IBM will be partnering with Threshold Digital Research Labs to work on computer generated movies a la Pixar (turns out this isn't necessarily new news, but...). Now that's the direction I want to go with my Domino servers. Forget this Websphere stuff, how can I jump straight to the CG movie software?

And finally, SCO is continuing its shakedown of the Linux community. Here's the latest quote:

"We now have the right to enforce our copyrights with all end users," company spokesperson Blake Stowell told NewsFactor. "Our intention is not to press legal action. But for those customers who are unwilling to pay for the intellectual property we own -- and that they are using -- we will take any action necessary to extract a license from them."

Well, if you had any doubt about their mindset before... My question is, if they're not intending to take legal action, then what exactly is "any action necessary"? Are they going to start breaking kneecaps? Especially if the intent is to "extract" licenses from users. Sounds awful threatening, but then I'm sure it's supposed to.

Lorem Ipsum (Wednesday, Jul 23)
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Not much time to write today, so this blog entry is courtesy of the Lorem Ipsum Generator:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Sed adipiscing malesuada wisi. Quisque velit. Ut pulvinar, sem ut imperdiet convallis, nulla erat fringilla pede, vel pulvinar pede odio vitae magna. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Donec wisi diam, pharetra sed, feugiat non, lacinia at, arcu. Quisque dui. Aenean metus dolor, sollicitudin vitae, viverra eget, hendrerit ac, elit. Proin volutpat lorem ut enim. Mauris rutrum, nulla id fermentum tristique, massa wisi elementum sapien, sit amet posuere augue ipsum eget lorem. Praesent arcu. Vestibulum quis enim. In ante velit, ornare quis, convallis eu, dignissim vel, urna. Nulla laoreet. Donec congue justo at nisl. Sed congue orci vitae quam.

Aliquam non diam. Etiam in risus scelerisque dolor venenatis viverra. Curabitur dapibus, erat vitae consequat ullamcorper, sem risus interdum ante, et sodales diam nisl eu nulla. Aliquam consectetuer quam nec pede. Proin eu odio. Integer tristique ipsum id turpis semper adipiscing. Vestibulum imperdiet aliquet enim. Phasellus interdum luctus ipsum. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Morbi ullamcorper, leo in interdum egestas, nunc orci fringilla arcu, in suscipit lorem lorem ut lacus. Cras id lacus. Nullam nisl libero, iaculis sit amet, imperdiet vitae, tempus ut, lacus. Aenean diam. Donec pede sapien, suscipit quis, hendrerit a, sollicitudin at, enim. Suspendisse auctor egestas nunc. Vestibulum sagittis. Vestibulum at lectus. Proin a dolor. Morbi id ante. In ligula.

Another Take on the Free eBooks (Sunday, Jul 20)
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Via TeleRead, via Pocket PC eBooks Watch (article from 2 days ago...permalinks don't seem to work right on that site), I found this article by Jeff Kirvin that has a different angle on the free Microsoft Reader e-books (discussed yesterday). He thinks it has more to do with the updated Digital Rights Management (DRM) scheme in the new version of the MS Reader. An interesting -- and probably more educated -- take on this story.

Sad that we can't just trust Microsoft to be doing this as a service to the community...

Free eBooks from Microsoft -- at What Price? (Saturday, Jul 19)
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Microsoft recently announced a new promotion that runs through November where they are offering 3 free e-books a week on their website, in Microsoft Reader format. These aren't just little no-name book titles, either. As I'm writing this, they're offering the complete text of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Flying Book, and Face in the Frost (coincidentally, The Flying Book was a recent Duffbert recommendation).

So, this is great, right? 3 free books a week, for the entire summer, as long as you don't mind the Microsoft Reader format. There's got to be a catch, right? Well, many people have speculated that this is just an attempt to get the Microsoft Reader installed on more machines so they can squash the Adobe eBook Reader. There's probably some truth to that, but I think the plan runs a little deeper. You see, to download one of the free Microsoft e-books, you have to have an "activated" copy of Microsoft Reader on your machine. This means you have to have a Microsoft Passport account.

I think this whole thing is really to get more people signed up on the Passport program. Microsoft has received some bad press over the Passport program already, so maybe they figure this is a back-door way to get more members. If you're really conspiracy-minded, you could say that they're also doing this to tie information about your computer in with your Passport account. Read the Microsoft Reader activation FAQ again:

"You are entitled to activate Microsoft Reader on up to 6 different devices using the same Microsoft Passport account. You could, for example, activate a desktop computer, a laptop computer, and a Pocket PC with the same Passport. This limit balances your convenience with copyright owners' need to protect their content. Reactivating the same device does not count towards this limit, so you can reactivate the same machine as many times as you like. However, certain actions such as reformatting your hard drive and resetting a Pocket PC require you to reactivate your device, which will count against this initial quota."

Think about that. If you reactivate a computer that you've already activated, then somehow Passport knows that you've already activated that specific machine. How would it know that unless it collected information about the machine and stored it somewhere? Hmmm.

So anyway, if you're not worried about the implications of having a Passport account and marrying it to a Microsoft Reader "activation", you can download free e-books all summer. Well, sort of free. At what cost privacy?

(Editor's Note: if anyone knows the technical details of how this whole Reader activation thing really works, I'd appreciate an explanation. I'm making some assumptions here, and I'll admit if I find out that I'm way off-base.)

Bad Writing (Friday, Jul 18)
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Ah, the results of this year's Bulwer-Lytton contest are in (this is a contest for worst opening sentence for a novel). The winner this year is one Mariann Simms, who wrote:

"They had but one last remaining night together, so they embraced each other as tightly as that two-flavor entwined string cheese that is orange and yellowish-white, the orange probably being a bland Cheddar and the white... Mozzarella, although it could possibly be Provolone or just plain American, as it really doesn't taste distinctly dissimilar from the orange, yet they would have you believe it does by coloring it differently."


Offsite Backups (Wednesday, Jul 16)
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So, if I make a copy of a music CD for a friend, does that count as an "offsite backup" of the CD? Legally, I'm allowed to back up my data, right? And wouldn't that mean that people who are doing MP3 file sharing are simply doing large scale distributed backups of their legally-acquired music? I mean, that's just good disaster recovery, isn't it?

Just a thought...

A Few More .NET Links (Monday, Jul 14)
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Here are a few follow-up links from yesterday's entry:

Who's Afraid of .NET? (Sunday, Jul 13)
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Okay, let's face it. A lot of us are resistant to learn (or even learn about) .NET because we think it competes against our beloved Lotus Notes or Websphere or Java or J2EE or whatnot. This ends up turning into a "which is better, Java or .NET?" discussion, or something equally religious in nature.

Here's my take: if it's something that might be useful for us (or used against us) in the future, then we'd better at least learn the basics. Don't think of it as competing against .NET so much as coexisting with it. I've been trying to figure out what .NET actually is in the past few weeks (well, off and on for the past few years, but whatever), and here's what I think I've learned:

The CLI/CLR/language-neutral runtime aspect is pretty cool once you start looking at it. Shared libraries across multiple languages is interesting, because it's sort of a step beyond calling a DLL function or using JNI. For example, you could write a class in Visual Basic that inherits from a C++ class. The ability to write a program in the language of your choice and then distribute it to any machine with the appropriate runtime is also interesting, because it's like Java platform independence but you can choose from a number of different languages (I know that in theory you can compile other languages into Java bytecode, but I don't think it's done very widely or very commercially).

I have a feeling that, at least over the next couple of years, the decision to develop in .NET or J2EE or whatever is going to be mainly a matter of personal choice. All the competing technologies are going to have varying but similar performance metrics (depending on which vendor you talk to), and which one your company uses will depend largely on what the existing knowledgebase and technology is and who is selling to your management. What we need to do is make sure we don't get hornswaggled into using .NET because we think it's our only choice or because we think that other technologies are somehow being made insignificant because of it. It's just another tool that may or may not be in our toolbox, and in the future it will probably run alongside many of the technologies it's supposed to be competing against. Microsoft is trying to convince us that .NET will take over the world, but that will only happen if the rest of the programming world remains stagnant -- and I don't see that happening. Repeat after me: it's just another tool...

If nothing else, it should help to push the envelope of Java a little more, because the Java community will fight to make sure that any innovations in .NET are equalled or surpassed in Java. That's good for all of us.

The Ol' Water Cooler Forum (Thursday, Jul 10)
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I've been trying to find an archive of the old Lotus WaterCooler forum (because of a comment from my last post). I've found several references to, but that just comes back with a page not found error from IBM. I also checked the Internet Wayback Machine and the old forums on, but to no avail. Any ideas?

(Update: Rob McDonough found the person being referenced in the comment. It was Jules Allen. Here's an example post that Rob provided -- rather quickly, I might add. I'd still like to know about the WaterCooler though, if anyone knows...)

Back From Vacation (Tuesday, Jul 8)
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I just got back from a 10 day family vacation (much of it spent camping in the Adirondack mountains), and ironically enough I find that Ed is blogging today about whether or not to mention vacation plans in your blog.

It's funny to me because that's something that I've thought about plenty of times before. Granted, I'm a paranoid sort of person anyway -- I don't even like to put outgoing mail in my mailbox, in case some unsavory person might grab it before the postman gets there -- so I found it a little reassuring that at least I'm not the only one who thinks about that sort of thing. The logical side of me says that it's a stupid thing to worry about, but my gut always sends up the warning flags.

Sometimes I think that a good part of my waking life is spent dealing with internal [paranoid] struggles like that...germs, crime, whatnot. A few months ago, I randomly ran into someone at church, started talking, and mentioned that I was a Lotus Notes developer. He got my name, then there was a big smile on his face, and he said that he was also a Notes guy and not only had he been to my site a few times, but he had sent me an e-mail some time ago (which I remembered after he mentioned it). That was really exciting, albeit a little weird, meeting someone like that out of the blue and realizing that he knew who I was from my website.

So I was standing there, feeling all flattered, until he started saying that after he found out that I was in Jacksonville he decided to look up my address to see how far away I lived. That got the paranoid jives going. I don't think I heard another word he said, because I started racking my brain to think of how he would have got my address. Not too hard, really. If you know my site, you could do a WHOIS search. If you know my name, you could look me up in about 1000 different places on the Internet. Heck, if you know my name and the fact that I live in Jacksonville, you could just open a phone book (not too many Robichaux's down here). So, I just have to continue to purge those paranoid thoughts from my head and try not to worry about it.

As a strange sort of therapy (and a kind of joke, really), I'm going to suck it up and post an actual picture of myself on the site. Here I am goofing off a few days ago near the campsite. Not all that clever, but I always find signs like this to be amusing. Are the pedestrians supposed to be cautious of the cars, or are the cars supposed to be cautious of the pedestrians? And exactly why are we being cautious? Are the pedestrians dangerous, like escaped convicts?

So anyway, I'm back. More technical stuff later in the week (I hope).