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Showing posts from August, 2006

Words you must read. Words you must understand

We don't have enough orators in this world anymore, at least not orators that make any damned sense. We get people like Bush, or Gore, or Rumsfeld who fancy themselves orators but, really, at their heart are passionless readers.Except, that today, we may have found one. A writer, to be sure, of some prowess. A writer who, tonight, spoke the words that every American needs to hear and understand. Below is a transcript; this is a link to the video. Dismissal of these words based on the source is foolish beyond even this generation. Not understanding these words importance is proof that you're part of the problem.The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack.
Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.
Mr. Rumsfeld’s remarkable speech to the American Legion yesterday demands the deep analysis—and the sober contemplation—of every American.
For it did not merely serve to impugn the morality or intelligence -- indeed, the lo…

Feedback

Scoble says that Steve Ball, group program manager for the Windows Audio Video Excellence team (hell of title) is reading all the blog, newsgroup, and beta feedback about the Vista sound.

For those of you not familiar, the Windows Audio Video Excellence team has decided that the default, startup sound for Windows Vista will not be configurable. They're considering allowing "advanced users" to disable the sound. How considerate.
Hey Steve, here's some feedback. Don't you ever, ever, tell me I can't turn a sound off. I know Microsoft probably paid a shit-ton of money to get just that sound, and good for you. But you know what, after hearing it for maybe a week, I'm going to want it off. Every corporate IT person in the world will want it off. You know why?

Imagine a Tuesday morning in late 2008. It's 7:56am. 500 people on a floor all start arriving for work. For the next 20 minutes the entire floor will echo with, what will be by that time, the insipid sou…

Hey Ray!

Brilliant political strategy or stupidest thing you've heard in a year?

Ray Nagin to CBS Reporter (on camera)
"That’s alright. You guys in New York can’t get a hole in the ground fixed and it’s five years later. So let’s be fair."
*head to desk*

[via Ashley Morris]

ARG! There's Goes Another Fact!

At some point, I believe I heard or read that the human mind has a certain capacity for retaining information, sort of like a hard drive. At some point, you have kick out data in order to accommodate new data.

Which makes reading articles like this so damn infuriating. BBC NEWS | UK | Cows also 'have regional accents'

First, let me get this out of the way: Who effin' cares? How, in any way, shape, or form, does this improve the life of anyone? A university in the UK paid someone to research this. The stunning conclusion was expressed by a local farmer:
I spend a lot of time with my ones and they definitely moo with a Somerset drawl
Lloyd Green
Farmer
Wow. Assuming it's true (and, let's just say it is), this idea wasn't valid until some professor pronounced it so. Only then does it get a BBC story.

Second, I read this due to the car-accident effect; the article simply couldn't be about actual cows with actual accents. But, oh yes, it was. And now some fact which wi…

News Flash: This Story *might* be a subliminal advertisement

As J-- said, must be a slow news day.

ABC News has just learned that Republicans have sex. In fact, they have so much of it, they're out-producing Democrats and creating a "Baby Gap". Like that? Baby Gap.. get it? It's like the store. Oh, and want a little trivia with your slow news day? Paul Pressler, President and CEO for Gap, Inc. since Sep 2002, joined the Gap, Inc. board after leaving.. anyone.. anyone? That's right, The Walt Disney Company, which owns.. anyone? If you said ABC News, you'd be smarter than the average American.

But, back to the real news.. baby gaps *snicker* in political groups. If you can get through the blatant stereotyping (Democrats have cats not kids, Republicans are Puritan abstainers) and rhetoric ("'They're for abortion policy, they're for same-sex marriage, they're for many of the agenda items that eventually mean you probably don't have children in the household,' [conservative pollster Kellyanne] C…

This list means something

Hmm..Unbelievably expensive dinner (and damn good steak)Wrapping paperChocolate Bill Knapp's cakeCandlesDog begging for food at my feetWell, four of those things are special. Must be my birthday. No more blogging today.

Idiots

As the anniversary of Katrina rolls over us, everyone is scrambling to do something "meaningful" to commemorate the event.

Like TalkLeft. Their brilliant idea?
Help water the bushes for the anniversary of Katrina.

Please send a bottle of water to:

President George Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Put your return address as:

Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
900 Convention Center Boulevard
New Orleans, LA 70130
Har Har! Get it? Water the bushes? Yes, send your bottle of water to Washington, that'll really help the hundreds of thousands of people still waiting for work to begin on their homes in New Orleans. Send your bottle of water and wallow in your sense of self satisfaction and wittiness. Send your bottle of water and then go back to concentrating on mid-term election analysis.

Someone else will pick up your slack. Do-nothing, feel-good, blogging; yeah!

Keyboard Down

I'm thoroughly disappointed. My Microsoft Ergonomic 4000 keyboard, for which, I might add, I paid over $50 for, just crapped out on me in under 8 months of use. I've had nothing but love for Microsoft keyboards in the past, pounding Ergonomic Pros into the ground for over 6 years.

But I've never had a keyboard flat out die on me after less than a year. At first I thought had some driver corruption or a, god forbid, a virus. Hitting "x" resulted in nothing, pressing "s" 3 times opened the help for the application I was working in, hitting "\" printed out some machine code. After installing the Intellitype software and the keyboard on J--'s computer, however, and seeing the same thing, we knew the keyboard was toast.

I have a spare POS keyboard that came with J--'s computer, but it's straight and small, so I'll be running to get a new keyboard when I get some time. But the frustration of having only a few hours of our own over the …

Ah Jeez.. another "Virgin" sighting

Workers in some California chocolate factory spotted a clump of waste chocolate that, kid you not, looked like the Virgin Mary. You know, the same Virgin that seems to pop up beneath overpasses, in burned houses, and slices of 10-year-old toast.You'd think the Virgin Mother would have better things to do.Or, maybe, it's delusional people....but [Cruz] Jacinto said she froze when she noticed the unusual shape of this cast-off: It looked just like the Virgin Mary on the prayer card she always carries in her right pocket.Uh, yeah... it's called pareidolia people. Look it up. Nevermind.

Psychic Knew What JonBenet's Killer Looked Like?

A sketch created on a 1998 television show, when compared to a photo of the current suspect in the JonBenet case, has a "remarkable resemblance", according to the Denver Channel.

Take a look.. it's not just some "here's an vaguely familiar man" sketch; the "psychic" put a great deal of shading and features into the sketch, which correspond to the face of John Karr very well. I'm not postulating that she actually was psychic, but anyone know what the connection is here? Did she know the Ramsey's well? Would she have been privy to information not released publicly?

Because if she wasn't, that's one hell of a coincidence.

Wow, I Didn't Know You Could Do That

I'm all Web 2.0'd up with No Place to Go

Oh yeah.. we're Web 2.0, baby. We're lean, mean, and we like to validate. Or something... Does any get this Web 2.0 thing, aside from the people trying to sell you something Web 2.0 related?
You can make your own logo here.

[via Micro Persuasion]

Open Source Developers Add "No Military Use" Clause to License, Snicker as Friend Makes Farting Sound with Armpit

GPU, an open-source project that allows the formation of P2P grids, added a "no military use" clause to their GPL-based software license. The license says that

"the program and its derivative work will neither be modified or executed to harm any human being nor through inaction permit any human being to be harmed."

Which is cute and all in that Disney-esque picture of the world that the developers apparently have. But, it's the sort of hypocritical stance that sullies the name of open-source development. Open-source is just that, open. It's also, frankly, highly unlikely to be enforceable as there just in no precedent for excluding a specific user community based on intent.

The developer who inserted the clause cites ham radio operators as an inspiration, stating that a rule that says the technology can't be used commercially is "respected by almost every ham operator". Which, I suppose, is good enough, if we ignore those few who don't respec…

So, What's For Dinner?

The Picture that Defines Ann Arbor

Via Patrick Austin's photo stream, who takes some of the coolest photos of A2.

Terror Starts at Home

Want to know why yesterday's foiled terrorist plot actually worked? Watch the show with zefrank - 08-10-06 and you'll understand. To wit:
Today the President said, "This nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom to hurt our nation." Generalized statements like this which instill nebulous fear without specific information are exactly in line with the goals of terrorism.
Indeed.

Land Use in NOLA

Why are developers always, always at loggerheads with residents? What is it about open land, rows of modest houses, and quiet neighborhoods that just screams "Build condos on me!!!"?
In many ways the Lower Ninth Ward incorporated all of the components of a lively, sustainable, engaging Smart Growth neighborhood. Residents understand the authentic connectivity that made their neighborhood work, the kind of physical, social and economic co-mingling that so many Americans desire, but which actually existed in the Lower Ninth.

It’s easy, even in the wreckage left by the hurricanes, to understand how the Lower Ninth Ward represents the idea of “neighborhood” and “community” — not as developers build them, or planners map them, or architects design them or politicians campaign in them. [source]
Hmm, that sounds downright lovely. With my developer hat firmly in place, I must recommend bulldozing the entire Ward and find my company's Johnny Mallseed to skip through town to sprinkle…

To Do Today - New Orleans Wiki

So, in my continuing immersion (descent?) into all thing New Orleans, I have one nagging question at the fringes of my mind: How, exactly, does a Michigan resident (native and current) actually go about involving himself in, well, all things New Orleans? I can't go there with any regularity or, for that matter, at all, at the moment. I can't attend meetings or talk to citizens or any of that.

Or can I?

Excuse me while I wax poetic, but I can do much of this from the relative comfort of my home and/or office via the mystical experience of the Internet. From Blogometer to NorthWest Carollton, Think New Orleans to Gentilly Girl, Ray in New Orleans to Your Right Hand Thief, I can virtually participate. I can hearpodcastsofmeetings, collaborate on Wikis, comment on blogs. I can, for intents and purposes all my own, become part of a larger community, one that only exists because of technology. Granted, many of these blogs and the people behind them can interact in ways I cannot, but t…

Return to Your Hovels, This Is Not An Election

So, I've been drawn into New Orleans politics, mostly because a) they matter and b) people around Ann Arbor think their politics are as important, which they are not. What got my hackles up was a "vote" conducted by Concordia Architecture and Planning (which I talked about over here). I'm still coming up to speed on a large backstory, but the current issue is basically this: planners are being chosen to rebuild the city after Katrina. Yeah, by the way, you should read some blogs from New Orleans; it's not all puppies and song-birds down there yet.
Think New Orleansexposed a process for receiving input from New Orleans citizens as a sham; many citizens groups considered the process a vote and their one opportunity to influence or outright choose the planners. Concordia, after the fact, is saying that it wasn't, and that the process was, in fact, a "consultation".

It should be noted that this "consultation" took the form of an easily-manip…

AOL - "There is not a whole lot we can do."

AOL recently released the search records of thousands of "anonymized" users. Except, user 4417749 was pretty easy to track down. She's a 62-year old from Georgia and the New York Times tracked her down and interviewed her.

AOL's response? "There is not a whole lot we can do." Stunning. Thanks, AOL, for proving once again that you don't get it. Of course there's nothing you can do because you should have done anything in the first place. Why, in the name of all that's holy, did you post that information in the first place?

As some in the article point out, now we can talk about the long-term aspects of the breaching someone privacy like this and the boundaries of where our data can and can't go.  It's a long overdue converstation. Too bad we had to drag the search habits of a grandmother into the street in order for us to talk about it.
New York Times article

Care to Back That Up?

Expert: 40 Percent of World of Warcraft Players Addicted | TwitchGuru

Ah, yes, another "Games are The Ruin of Society" expert. In this week's episode, the good Dr. Maressa Orzack. Dr. Orzack is the founder of Computer Addiction Services, which in no way compromises her objectiveness. She is "swamped" with addicted gamers coming into her addicted gamer treatment center, which is a hell of a coincidence.

World of Warcraft takes center-stage in this interview with TwitchGuru, a shocking turn for the press as it finally shifts its focus from the glamorous world of Hello Kitty console games and handheld, stand-alone Yahtzee units. Shining a dim light on the underbelly of the gaming world, Dr. Orzack absolves the gamer and places the blame squarely where it belongs; on the game company.
They design these MMOs to keep people in the game. I do think the problem is tied in with other things like family issues, but the games themselves are inherently addictive. That's u…

Chelsea Fire Authority Proposal Doesn't Pass...

... but, it was close. 17 votes.
I voted against this proposal. Why? I didn't understand the benefit. I read the article in the paper and my reaction was "there is no added value to me for voting this through". Most of Chelsea lives less than 5 minutes from a fully-staffed firehouse and the services have been outstanding. We have a full-time chief. This Proposal felt like an accounting move, not something that would make us all now live less than 3 minutes from the fire house.

More than anything, I didn't understand the need. As a business-type person, no one took the time to explain to me what issue was being solved with this proposal, with more of my money.

And then, the kicker; that last line: "A small portion of the revenue collected may be required to be distributed to the City of Chelsea Downtown Development Authority." Please, someone, tell me what that's supposed to mean? How did the DDA get a cut of a Fire Authority proposal? What's that money…

Outsourcing Democracy - How an Election is Being Stolen as You Read

New Orleans parishes are in the process of choosing the planners that will guide the rebuilding of the city. These are people who will be tasked with urban planning, clean-up, and spending millions of dollars in federal aide money.And they're choosing these people via an online poll. You read that right, an online poll. It gets better. Want to qualify to vote in this election? Guess what, since you're online, you already do! Oh yeah, the only qualification to vote is a valid email address.  And, the kicker, the poll is being run by a local architectural firm. Hm, wonder if they stand to gain by, say, having one of their own become the planner for the old French Quarter?

This is a travesty of a election, hardly worth the use of the word. Between this website, my ISP, work, and Google, I could easily vote over 50 times in an election for New Orleans. No one would ever be able to verify that I was, in fact, a resident of Michigan. No one would ever be able to verify that onlinepol…

I've been scraped

So, I found an interesting thing today; my site has been scraped, my content stolen. The last post here has been posted, in it's entirety, on two spammer website. Both WHOIS lookups go through proxies, one Tor and one at Carnegie Mellon University. You can see both stolen posts here and here (yes, I'm linking to the spammers). So, aside from the image I've replacee (since they deep-linked to my image), what else can you do about this? There's no contact links, obviously, and the poster is hiding behind proxies.

Ideas?

Stupid Windows Tricks - Trusted Web Sites

This post is in a new category, "Spot the Sarcasm"; guess why.
Windows has a wonderful feature for Internet Explorer users called Trusted sites. Trusted sites are described as "Web sites that you trust not to damage your computer or data." Pretty straightforward, right?

But, as they say, the devil is in the details. Let's say you have a web application that lives at www.webapp.edu. www.webapp.edu uses a central single-signon service for authentication; let's call that www.signon.edu. Both www.webapp.edu and www.signon.edu are listed in the Trusted sites zone for Internet Explorer.

If you now attempt to log into www.webapp.edu via www.signon.edu, you get a security warning.



Considering it's Microsoft, I let a little slide. But this rates as one of the stupidest security errors I can think of. Let's break it down.

Both sites listed are on my Trusted sites list, a list I had to manually edit to add the sites. That means I spent time and effort to verify tha…