Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Blog Spam

Or, Why I Changed My Posting Policy.

I've gotten a couple comments recently on my blog recently urging me to check out some biotech stock or purchase a summer home in Hawaii or some such rot. This was pretty clearly an attempt by certain entities (I will reserve "unscrupulous" for later, although the stock posting smelled suspiciously like a pump-and-dump) to game their page rank.

And, since my blog is read mostly by people who know me personally, and are quite capable of sending me email directly to let their feelings be known, I decided I wasn't missing much when I restricted posting to registered Blogger members.

So, if you really have a burning desire to respond to one of my diatribes, you'll just have to sign in.

Happy Natal Day To You (to the tune of )

This page quotes a couple of articles about a little copyright spat that happened back in 1996. Most people probably think this is ancient history, but it's worth pointing out that a) this was less than 10 years ago, and b) this clearly represents the agenda of the media industry -- get royalties any time copyrighted material is used anywhere, for any purpose. And if it means that the Girl Scouts can't sing "Happy Birthday" to someone because they can't afford it, well, shucks, it's not our fault you don't have the dough.

Although they ostensibly back off from suing the Girl Scouts in their "retraction", reading the fine print reveals they have no intention of backing off of anything. Who defines what "profitable" camps versus "unprofitable"? See any mention of an explicit revenue cap under which you won't get sued? I didn't either.

Happy f****** ********.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The New Blue Collar Worker

I was reading this article about NASA's new focus on returning to the moon, and the different vehicles that will be required for moon travel. The author sounds like something halfway between a crank and an armchair quarterback, but the part that really gave me a laugh was as his rant is winding to a close:

Therefore, the United States will have to come up with a 21st century replacement for Saturn V or a reasonable facsimile thereof. And the boost in basic engineering skills and domestic production capacity this will require will demand some degree of reorientation away from the white collar, intellectual skills of the software designers back to the hard-hat, blue collar, iron, steel, and volatile fuel technologies of the old Huntsville and Cape Canaveral rocket engineers.

Excuse me??? For the last 30 years, "rocket scientest" has been synonymous with most extreme form of geeky egghead. Now all of a sudden they're Ford-driving, lunch-pail-toting blue-collar workers? Gimme a break.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Broadband and Bullets

A couple interesting links. Congress is contemplating a new bill regulating broadband. Seems to be pretty fair so far (hard to say what the final version will look like) in that it forces providers to give unhindered access to the internet (i.e. no disabling the services of your competitors). Also has provisions making it legal for municipalities to do broadband build-outs.

Another link is one Jeff sent me. This guy is a hard-core journalist following U.S. forces in Iraq. His most recent entry has photos of a squad leader taking fire and getting hit three times, and still returning fire. Definately worth a read.

Designer of IE switches to Firefox

In a posting on his blog, the designer/project manager of IE 5.0 (and several previous versions) recently switched to using Firefox as his browser. He had some comments about how he thought it could be made better, as well... Hopefully he ends up impressed enough to join the Firefox crew.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Gun Safety

I was searching for some good phrases to use for a gun-safety lecture, and ran across this article on why Japan has such a low rate of violent crime. The author is associated with the conservative Cato institute, but the article presents a reasoned counter-argument to the idea that eliminating guns would eliminate violence.

Instead, the unstated conclusion is that the violence in American culture may be a byproduct of our national values of independence and empowerment. If you tell people that they're special and equip them with a can-do attitude, one of the things they can-do is attack people.

The article also contains a number of other observations and history about Japanese culture that make it worth reading by itself. One that surprised me was that the Japanese police force requires 90 hours of training in judo, and that over 60% of their officers are highly-ranked judo competitors.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Random Links

No real rant for today, just a few random links that caught my eye:

Man eventually caught by police after fleeing a burglary with the loot in a wheelbarrow.

Google search on keyword "failure" returns biography of George Bush.

Massachusetts chooses OpenDocument as document format for official records.

Friday, September 02, 2005

File Sync Tool

Saw this article about a tool called "tsync", for keeping files on multiple machines in sync. This is one of the things to come out of Google's "Summer of Code" initiative.

Tsync's major advantage over existing synchronizing tools like rsync is that it automatically detects when peer computers are connected and synchronizes them, and that it can synchronize computers that are never in contact with each other -- my desktop at work and my desktop at home could be synced via my laptop.

Movin' In

My friend Adam was looking for a way to lower his rent, I had a spare room, and I could use a little extra cash, so this weekend we're rounding up the suck^H^H^H^Hvolunteers and moving him into my house. Adam's a gear-whore like me, so figuring out how to pack all of his stuff into the house could be challenging. I predict we'll spend some quality time rearranging the garage.

I'm also considering disconnecting the battery from the truck and just letting it sit for a while... I had been starting it up once a week so the battery doesn't die and the cobwebs get cleared out, but with gas prices over $3.19/gal, now I'm trying to figure out how to strap my hockey gear to my bike.