News from my friend Oliver

I just received a call from my brilliant friend Oliver in San Francisco. He was calling me using some weird new-fangled technology which routes telephone calls over the Internet and, in the process, introduces a slight almost imperceptible delay which is quite disconcerting and somewhat like talking to someone aboard ship. I hadn’t talked with Oliver for almost 5 years, and he found me through this website, and quoted the piece below on corporate credit cards to me, which I’d only placed online an hour ago, which someone makes this whole Internet thing seem even weirder and more immediate. In any case, if you’re looking for a bang-up science writer, you can’t go wrong with Oliver.

Using GNATBox to share Internet access

Because we’ve got more than one computer here at our house in Kingston, and we want to connect them all to our High Speed Internet (see below), we needed some sort of Internet-sharing system. The folks at Macintouch produced an access router report late last year, and this turned us on to the GNATBox. GNATBox Light, which is free, lets you use an old PC (we’re using Catherine Hennesey’s old 386/25) with two NIC cards (we bought two 3COM 3c509’s at Computer Renaissance) to share one Internet connection with up to five machines. It works. It took 15 minutes to set up. Highly recommended.

Island Tel High Speed Internet

We’ve now had three months of experience using Island Tel’s High Speed Internet at home. Generally, we’re impressed. As we’re a little over the standard limit from the New Haven exchange, our throughput isn’t eye-popping, but we’re still managing 40K/second downloads on a good day, and with the exception of the odd 5-minute outage, it’s rock solid. Technical support, as usual with Island Tel, is spotty; sometimes they don’t answer the phone for days, sometimes they answer on the first ring. In the end, though, we’re forced to wonder how we ever did without it.

Poems about Snowflakes

Gleaned from our web traffic logs, here are some interesting search keywords which have led people to this website:

  • Misconceptions about leaders
  • Luxury hotel in Jerusalem
  • Puerto Rican behavior in US
  • Pictures of Beaded Shawl
  • Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner
  • Poems about snowflakes
What does this tell us about the effectiveness of full-text web search?

National Caucus of Environmental Legislators

I’m working with Steve Muskie on the website for the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, a U.S.-based organization of elected members of state legislatures who have demonstrated an interest in and commitment to environmentally progressive legislation. Steve and I are also working on the website of the Edmund S. Muskie Foundation. Steve has published. on his own website, a wonderful article from Yankee Magazine about his father called Farewell to a Tailor’s Son which is well worth a visit.

Air Canada Express Check-In

I’m just back from a quick trip to Ontario, and fell immediately in love with Air Canada’s new Express Check-In kiosks in Pearson Airport. With an e-ticket in hand, you simply slide in your credit card (to verify identity), and out pops your boarding pass. Ergonomics and graphic design are very well done. Entire process takes 10 seconds. A joy to use, especially when there are 100 people waiting in line otherwise. Hint: at Pearson the kiosks are located in front of the RapidAir area, but you can use them for all flights.

Braden Printing

We worked with the folks at Braden Printing, in Keene, New Hampshire, to enhance their exsiting website to give their clients the ability to electronically submit requests for printing quotes along with any associated data files.

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