Farewell, Dr. DeBakey.

Dr. Michael DeBakey has died at the age of 99.

It can be said that before Michael DeBakey, and other pioneers of his time such as Denton Cooley, heart disease was an automatic death sentence. After Michael DeBakey heart disease, while certainly still serious, had become very treatable and one could live a long life, even thriving, after a diagnosis of it.

Michael DeBakey lived to an immense age, nearly a hundred. He fulfilled his medical oath, practicing medicine, until the day he died. The honors that he was awarded are almost without number. He has become one with such giants as Jenner and Pasture who “contended with disease” as the ancient Egyptian physicians would say. With Michael DeBakey, disease often got the worse of that battle and for that we honor a great doctor.

I feel shame over not knowing this man’s name before his death, but I feel pride in knowing his name now.

Farewell, Dr. DeBakey. You’ve made all our lives better.


Color Profiles and Firefox 3

At long last, Firefox now has the ability to honor ICC profiles,* allowing it to correctly display any image tagged with a color profile. This allows you to view photos, your own and others’, with colors the maker intended.

Here’s how to enable it:

Type about: config in the address bar and then set gfx.color_management.enabled to true.

If you’ve ever seen the colors in a photo become very flat when viewed in a web browser, while they were perfectly vivid in Photoshop, you’ve seen the result of a browser not being ICC-aware. Your photo was probably tagged with the Adobe RGB (1998) ICC profile, but your non ICC-aware web browser just treated it like it was sRGB. (I still recommend that you designate all photos destined for the web with sRGB.)

* ICC profiles define the color palette an image should be displayed with. Commonly used ICC profiles are sRBG and Adobe RGB (1998).


News wants to be free

The death of NBC news anchor Tim Russert on June 13 was reported on Wikipedia 38 minutes after it happened. This was also 38 minutes before it was officially reported by NBC’s Tom Brokaw.

The traditional news agencies have a tradition of not reporting things like this before the family can be notified. Citizen journalists on the web have no such tradition. If something noteworthy occurs it will find its way quickly and inexorably into public view on the internet.

The person responsible for the Wikipedia update was fired. I’m sure this isn’t the first time somebody with good journalistic instincts and bad bosses has been canned for this sort of thing, just as I’m sure it won’t be the last. Nevertheless, no matter how tightly the traditional keepers of the news try to control that news, the news will get free.


Google punishes AdWords advertisers with slow loading pages

Google recently announced that they have begun factoring page load times into quality scores for keywords in their AdWords program. What this mean is that advertisers with slow-loading landing pages will pay more per visit they receive via their AdWords ads.

Without sounding too much like a socialist, this is good for the web. Encouraging website stakeholders to build lightweight, quick-loading sites is often tricky — getting proportionately harder the farther removed the stakeholders are from the build process. This move by Google speaks in a language these stakeholders understand most clearly — the bottom line.

It’s only a matter of time before Google starts penalizing sites’ PageRank (a measure of a site’s ranking within their search engine) for slow-loading, poorly-optimized pages.

Can I get an amen?


Come Get’cha Some

Download Day - English

Firefox 3 is available today. Go get it. You know you want to.


Document Freedom Day

Open standards are good for you.

Celebrate Document Freedom Day


Passing Greatness

Today the world became a little dimmer. Arthur C. Clarke, one of the greatest visionaries and authors of the last century, has died.

For those of you who don’t immediately recognize the name, it was his thoughts which filled the pages of 2001: A Space Odyssey, among many, many other works. He also is responsible for the invention of the communications satellite.

I, for one, will miss his light in my world.