A Blog of Very Little Brain

'What does Crustimoney Proseedcake mean?' said Pooh. 'For I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words Bother me.'

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Cut the crap, OpenCity

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Seems like it’s “annoy Erez” week once again.

Ever heard of OpenCity? Me neither. Nor can I learn more of them once I read about the (possibly, I don’t really know) SimCity clone at Linux Games. The reason? I get bumped out everytime I try to access their homepage.
Turns out Opera was set to be identified as Internet Explorer at some point in the past, and now it keeps announcing itself as IE, which is a persona-non-grata at OpenCity’s site. I’m not joking, they practically boot you out and close the window if you go to their site with IE. Only problem is, that Opera have decided to hide that feature quite well (since they realised this was damaging their market share numbers), and I had to search very very hard to find out how to set it back.

Oh, and for kicks, this page didn’t have any browser filtering script, so screenshots are OK for IE, but not the homepage.

Written by Erez

Sunday, October 29, 2006 at 23:01

Posted in Internet, Politics

And while you’re in Iraq…

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The North Koreans now have a bomb.

Written by Erez

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 at 8:12

Posted in Politics

I have the wrong job

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Which might just bee too obvious when seeing that writer Iain M. Banks just told his publisher to stuff it for the next christmas since he was too busy playing Civilization rather than writing.

Of course, I could be founding a new company, called “Go Ogle” and then explain to the search giant what the hell was I thinking.

Then again, I could be working for Apple, running a very diligent, unbiased and profound investigation on my employer’s own |Chinese sweatshops finding them not to be sweaty nor shops. I’m a good liar, I can pull it off.

Or I could be a web-journalist, writing “beware the return of the bubble” articles, which is stating matters after the fact, as the bubble has re-manifested already in the form of “Web 2.0”, and issuing yet another of those no-warnings. I mean “don’t invest in companies that have nothing but hype to sell”? That’s like saying “don’t jump off a cliff”, or “install security updates“. It’s almost a no-brainer.

On the other hand, working for the Rolling Stones seems to be somewhat less lucrative these days.

And, in closing, this.

Written by Erez

Monday, August 21, 2006 at 4:49

…from our cracked team of developers…

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Courtesy of OSNews, comes the latest example of the effect on severe drug abuse while programming (not that I’ve tried, yet).

“4 short years ago, Microsoft unveiled its new framework/engine for programming and running applications in a virtual environment, and the world was stunned. Microsoft had introduced a run-time environment that was for the first time a true โ€œWrite once, run everywhereโ€ implementation”…”

First, 2004 was a leap year. So that can only be “3 short and one long years ago”.
Second a “true Write Once, Run Everywhere implementation”???
Everywhere which is a Microsoft Windows OS based, I assume.
Unlike almost every other programming technology, which has a version for most platforms, Microsoft has released the .NET platform ONLY for Windows OS. Though some other half-baked (this pun is continuing the drug abuse theme, not criticising their abilities) project attempts to port .NET to *nix, this isn’t official, nor supported by Microsoft and, in fact, Microsoft had made sure to patent every possible aspect of the API. As such, developing in Mono can be seen as a cause for litigation, as the developer has used patented technology without permission and in a manner that is not acceptable by the patent issuer.
Microsoft has no need for “write once, run everywhere”. As “Everywhere” is made of *nix (UNIX, Linux, *BSD), Mac, Solaris, or, in other words “not Windows”. Since Microsoft, unlike Linux, is a commercial company, they are not going to spend money on a product that will make money for their competitors. Sun, on the other hand has two such “Not Windows” Operating systems, Solaris and Sun Java Operating System (which is a Linux distro that you probably never heard of, and a very good thing that you didn’t). For them “run everywhere” ensure that they have business. That’s also why they try to play nice to the Free Software guys. It’s corporate America’s version of nice, but at least they’re trying.

Written by Erez

Friday, August 11, 2006 at 22:15

Everything you know is wrong

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Apparently I’m not the only one who “doesn’t get it”. Ever misinterpreted an email or an IM for being the opposite of what it was. Child, you’re not alone.
Although I rather be alone than going hunting with Dick Cheney. Let me guess, guns don’t kill people, people do? Try to use that line again. While at it, if you do go hunting with the VP, make sure to bring this visual aide with you. Not that he needs a gun to kill you, mind, as you know, if there’s a will, there’s a way (although if Law & Order, CSI and the rest are correct, when you do write a will, don’t tell anybody). (Thanks to BoingBoing for the links). Of course, it might be that he was checking for WMD on that guy

Speaking of will (nice connection, eat your heart, new journalism), here are the shining knights of will power, the Green Lanterns. Courtesy of Monitor Duty comes a nice recap of what is probably DC’s more interesting (if somewhat ridiculously over-the-top) heroes. Of course, everyone has his favourite GL, and while that GL is usually one Hal Jordan, mine’s actually Alan Scott and Guy Gardner. I got acquainted with Alan Scott by reading the All Star Squadron, and that got my attention. Especially the story where he demolishes entire Japanese villages in a blind rage. His breakdown at the end of that issue is one of my best memories from a Comic book.

Written by Erez

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 at 10:38

Posted in Comics, Internet, Politics

Holy recursive references, Batman!

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Pointing towards the Lowell Sun, a post already risen to fame concerning over 1000 edits to Wikipedia made from US government IP addresses. Most of these were made by interns working for congresspersons, and didn’t involve much more than padding up relevant entries, however, the bigger spiel refers to one U.S. Rep Marty Meehan, who’s staff edited his bio in the following way: Instead of “Meehan first ran for Congress in 1992 … As part of that platform Meehan made a pledge to not serve more than four terms, a central part of his campaign. This breaking of the pledge has been a controversial issue in the 5th Congressional District of Massachusetts.”
The edited entry read: “Meehan was elected to Congress in 1992 on a plan to eliminate the deficit. His fiscally responsible voting record since then has earned him praise from citizen watchdog groups. He was re-elected by a large margin in 2004.”
Lovely, even thought they forgot to add “God bless America”.

A quick jump to said Wikipedia entry reveals that indeed the damage has been undone: “Meehan first ran for Congress in 1992 … Meehan made a pledge not to serve more than four terms. He won the 1992 election and was re-elected to Congress every two years since, including the latest election (2004). On the House floor in 1995 he scolded members who might go back on their promise to limit their tenure in office. “The best test of any politicians’ credibility on term limits,” he said, “is whether they are willing to put their careers where their mouths are and limit their own service.” Despite this peldge (sic), he again ran for Congress in the year 2000, exceeding four terms. [2]”

Nice one. See if they dare remove it. But, what’s the [2] in the article stands for? It’s actually referenced to an article in a site called the US Term Limit about politicians running on the promise to quit after X terms, but have some issues with actually keeping that promise. However, unless you click or hover over the link, there is no indication that this is a link to an outside article and not an inner link to a note or referendum (unless you’re familiar with Wikipedia’s system of placing links to notes and references in superscript). If you do check the “item [2]” in the articles notes, lo and behold, you’ll find:
Lehmann, Evan. “Rewriting history under the dome”. Lowell Sun Online. January 27, 2006.

This got me thinking. The Lowell Sun wrote about the change in Wikipedia’s entry, which, after returning the original content “linked” to the Lowell Sun as a source! Isn’t that like anything said in a Libel suit can be published as “quotes from the trial” despite being libel?

Of course, I’m just taking it too far, as the real paragraph linking to the Lowell Sun article was the one where the Wikipedia incident was mentioned (emphasises mine): “On 18 July 2005, U.S. Rep. Marty Meehan’s staff made controversial changes to his Wikipedia article. These edits consisted of, among other things, removing verified facts that portrayed him in a bad light. On January 27, 2006, Matt Vogel, Meehan’s chief of staff, admitted to authorizing a replacement article on Meehan published on Wikipedia, with a staff-written biography.[2] This ran afoul of internal Wikipedia guidelines and possibly federal law.”

Oh my. Let’s start with the simpler ones, “Controversial” is in the eye of the beholder. You’d expect that the writer would use this, taking Wikipedia’s side, but keep in mind that Wikipedia, according to the Lowell Sun ‘promotes a “neutral point of view” policy.’ Hehe. sorry. Low blow.
Nos. 2, is the “his” reference. I assume the writer meant “this” (actually I don’t assume it, but let’s get on with it), as the Wikipedia entry about Rep Meehan is not exactly “his”. “About him” yes, “of him”, could be. “His”? Nope. Of course, Wikipedia writers tend to see themselves as the definitive article. In this way of thinking, writing an entry regarding person X is “the entry to end all entries”. And as such should be treated with all respect and integrity.

Which brings us to “possibly federal law.”
In a nutshell, WHAT?
Did I fell asleep or did someone hinted that Meehan’s staff actions are against Federal Law? I truly hope whoever did this didn’t log from home, as this goes way beyond libel.
Just to further clarify matters, here is the correlating paragraph from the Lowell Sun article (emphasises mine): “The changes by Meehan’s staff are not as “reprehensible” as inserting derogatory comments in someone else’s entry, said Stephen Potts, former director of the federal Office of Government Ethics, which establishes conduct standards for the executive branch.”

Still with me? Ethics, not law. Conduct standards, not law. OTHER PEOPLE, not Meehan’s staff.
After all the brouhaha about Meehan’s staff editing this and editing that, there goes annonymous poster X and just, based on what apparently is nothing more than a customary glance at the original article, hints that the editing goes against Federal law. I would love to know which law that would be.

(Update: Going through the editing made to the Wikipedia article, it seems that the original text was “changes to the Wikipedia article about him” which was changed to “his wikipedia article” by Wikipedia user Achille for reasons of “Grammar”. Feh.
The “possible federal law” bit was added by a user named Sukiari, no basis for this was given.
In both cases, this was the only change made, removing the possibility of a slip-up)

Written by Erez

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 at 12:52

Posted in Comics, Internet, Politics

Welcome to the Machine

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I know I’m not exactly the right person to discuss those issues, but I just noticed (via OSNews, who really should learn some moderation when it comes to announcing a change in the comment system) the announcement that Peter Quinn, CIO of the State of Massachusetts has just resigned. To anyone not in the loop, the whole mess began when Mass. state announced that they will adopt the Open Document format, instead of proprietary (read: Microsoft) formats. The usual suspects immediately raised their heads, as MS sued the state. Come several months, and a few lobbysts later, and not only did the state renounced its previous decision, but in fact, disavowed any connection to Open Document format.
“It is readily apparent that I have become a lightning rod with regard to any IT initiative. Even the smallest initiatives are being mitigated or stopped by some of the most unlikely and often uninformed parties,” said Quinn in his resignation email.
I guess office talks around the water cooler have become a bit uneasy for Mr. Quinn.

Written by Erez

Sunday, January 1, 2006 at 1:50