Team Murder No Brain No Headache.

24Apr/04Off

Bookmark The Insane, Pay Visits To The Dead

It seems like I have at least one conversation a day that begins with a question or wish out loud about a piece of software that would come in particularly handy and is terminated by a Google search to jar my memory about some software that would fit the request perfectly. I usually have a fair amount of luck with this because I find out about projects in beta or pre stage when a good deal of the functionality is missing but enough is finished to give me a pretty good idea of what the final product (or 1.0) might be like and completely forget about them again until I think about them in this context. That usually means that they're a thousand times more usable than my first look or the project is entirely dead. The downside of this is that it's an unpleasant reminder that places like Source Forge are slowly becoming the new GeoCities of the web complete with obscure masses of dying and mummified projects slumbering eternally in pre-Alpha.

The answer that I came up with today was Ghostzilla the embeddable version of Mozilla that you can run on the down low in the main window of Windows applications and conceal quickly with mouse gestures much like the "boss button" of share ware games of the not-so-distant past. It isn't an application that's incredibly useful for me since I don't have a Windows machine at the moment and I look at the Web pretty much whenever I want/need to at work but I've always thought that GZ was a nice implementation of good and slightly subversive idea. The former (and I believe sole) maintainer of it has apparently decided that it was a terrible idea and might destroy the whole world or something equally melodramatic. This is a bummer because 1)Good ideas in development are rare 2) Good ideas seem to rarely get further than a planning stage 3) apparently reading Michael Crichton books will make you lose your mind:

The program's author realizes that, for what it's worth, it's irresponsible to leave Ghostzilla in the open. So the free version has been removed from this site, and the CD version is not for sale anymore. It's a tech person's form of recycling: do what little we can, and everyone will be better off.

And meanwhile we'll feel better if we don't have to pretend and hide.

That bit of flaky and I'll-be-damned-if-I'm-playing-God reasoning has killed work on Ghostzilla for the moment. Luckily for those folks who are stuck in internet connected salt mines Ghostzilla is going be released open source so someone else can take the rap for all of the goofing off and shirking in offices that began with the release of Ghostzilla and subsided quickly when the application was made unavailable.The Bugzilla for the project will deliver daily affirmations and counseling referrals as well as tracking bugs and revisions. My condolences to micro-managing control freaks everywhere at least until we get the official OK to seal all of the uncontrolled M.B.A population into a rocket ship and shoot them into permanent orbit.

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