Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Moving to other blog

All posts are now being put on Opalesce.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Free WiFi

Even aside from the fact that I know someone who worked on the New Orleans wifi, this is interesting:

Big Easy to Telcos: Stick It

So, if the telcos/ISPs are complaining that they can't compete with free service provided by the city, how about if the city just buys them out? That way the city doesn't have to install as much of its own equipment, and the public still gets free wireless, and the telcos get out of a business that isn't very profitable anyway (at least from some things I read; feel free to correct me, but I've heard that most ISPs are on the verge of going out of business all the time, and will have to drastically raise rates to stay around).


I was so disgusted by this I had to write something:

RIAA Recommends Students Drop out of College

Can this be justified under some system of ethics? Let's see:

  • Utilitarianism: is there any overall, average good that comes out of this? Potential violators may be deterred from committing further crimes. These crimes, if committed, might reduce the quality and amount of music being produced. Seems like the greed and pushiness of the RIAA is what's doing this already, so this is making that problem *worse*, not better.

  • Kantianism: does this increase individual choice or individual moral intent? Funny, seems like if you only motivation to not download music P2P is to avoid getting a heavy fine, that would only make you have more bad moral intent (unless getting mad at a greedy organization and wanting to harm them is a good moral intention).

Somewhere, a while back, I read an article about how the tech community had been too complacent about laws relating to their field, and as a result, organizations like the RIAA and MPAA had run amok with laws totally advantageous to themselves (and thus, in many cases, against the principles and interest of techies). So, what are *you* going to do?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Freedom of Speech

I really like the way Southpark pulls no punches when it comes to making fun of anything and everything, and I think this article does a good job of saying what's at stake in the current controversy (especially the last few paragraphs):

Hey Chef, these guys are killing free speech

ps. I just now noticed, after putting up this link and posting this entry, that the article is by Andrew Sullivan. No wonder it's so darn good. He's probably the most persuasive author I know of. An article he wrote for Time a few years ago had me thinking for a few minutes that maybe the Iraq war wasn't such a bad idea (I hear he's since turned critical the war). He strikes me as an amazingly good balance between conservative sense and liberal openness, someone who really tries to look at both sides and think about them objectively.

Making things that are really nice

I don't know about you, but I'd rather have something that's a little late and is really nice than something that's on time but you keep getting the feeling that it's just not quite what it could have been when you use it:

Microsoft's Not So Happy Family

I think they should be commended for standing up for doing it right, late or not, rather than making the deadline and delivering something not quite right to millions of users. In fact, I wish there were a lot more emphasis on doing things right rather than meeting arbitrary deadlines. It's like going to a coffee shop, and having this...

Customer: "I'd like a latte."
Waiter: "Yes, sir, I'll have it for you in four minutes."
Customer: "Okay, that's fine."
*four minutes pass*
Waiter, running up: "Here you go! Right on time!"
Customer: "This is just black coffee."
Waiter: "Yes, but it's right on time! If I'd put the milk in, it would have been late."
C: "Late according to what? This isn't what I wanted."
W: "But I had to have it to you in time!"
C: "Why? If I knew I was just going to get black coffee, I wouldn't have ordered from here. Why do you care so much about getting *something* to me in four minutes?"
W: "We suspect our competitors are working on a way to get a latte to you that fast."

But that's just my two cents, from the bottom ranks. Oh, and I should add the disclaimer that I'm in a really awful mood. So please just find this amusing and don't take it too seriously.

Oh, and I don't like lattes. It's a drink that can't decide if it's milk-flavored coffee or coffee-flavored milk.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The people who run the world are insane

I present these as evidence:

Larry the mighty raccoon hunter
Steve Ballmer screaming "Give it up for me!"
What's In Cheney's Hotel Room?
Cheney Unplugged

Have any more? Post them in the comments. I'd like to see how many we can come up with.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Way too easy...

Today, I wrote my first bit of JScript/JavaScript/ECMAScript. It looked something like this:

alert("squee! " + i)

The first thing I noticed was that IE completely freaked out when I went to run this. I repeatedly had to accept dialogues that effectively said "HELP! SOMEONE IS TRYING TO DESTROY ME AND BRING DOWN MY COMPANY WITH BAD PR BY MALICIOUSLY EXPOSING SECURITY HOLES!" I guess it's better that it do this than just go right ahead and run whatever the script says... as admin.

But, that aside, note that with just a few tiny lines, I can make an arbitrary number of windows pop up. It's frighteningly easy to be evil in JavaScript. I guess this was what happened when the web started to boom: lots of people went "hey, look what I can do!" and just did it, without any regard to whether it was useful or terribly annoying. Most of the web is still really annoying and not very useful.

Clearly, I just need to write my own browser that doesn't support any operations I find annoying (like blinkytext). Or I could probably find an extension to Firefox that already does this.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What I Think Of Politcians

This about sums up what I think of politics and the people who play at it: