Tuesday, December 16, 2003

I've been mostly posting (bitching) about political stuff here, so I guess this will be a change of scenery...

I just installed the new Google Toolbar (I dunno, is it really new? I'm usually pretty far behind the technology curve these days, despite being in a technical field) Anyway, being notified when a pop-up is blocked has sort of highlighted something that I had noticed, but hadn't given much thought to because it wasn't always obvious when the pop-ups were being generated or who was serving the pop-ups. Could the browsers be themselves generating pop-ups?

Here's my simple test. Bring up two innocuous pages and see what happens. I bring up Netscape (specifically 4.72 -- Hey, I'm running on a Sun-PCI card in my Ultra-60 at work here) and go to Excite and then manually go to Yahoo and then back again. No big. Netscape brings up the pages and that's pretty much it.

I do the same thing in IE (Version 6.0.2800.1106) and the toolbar tells me that it blocked a pop-up on the way to Yahoo and half the time, it'll block a pop-up pulling up a page from Excite.

Evil empire? You make the call.

[UPDATE] Ok, July has suggested that it's probably some hook in IE that just doesn't work or exist in other browsers. And since everybody and their technically savvy grandmother will target their code to IE, it's gonna be IE that gets that many more pop-ups. So I guess the call is "not evil" in this instance. Kinda like you can't blame them entirely for having the lion's share of viruses, worms and other on-line nasties. If someone wants to attack the system, they hit the application that is being used by the largest segment of the population... So sometimes it isn't so great to be the king.

Although you have to admit, they're still doing pretty well with that world domination thing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

current timewaster: the Metacortechs ARG. I stumbled upon it while looking up info online during my Matrix Revolutions obsession.
trailhead :: overview :: details
gotta run...

Thursday, November 06, 2003

An interesting article from The Slate about the use of "Grandfather clauses" in lawmaking. Relevant to Bush's tax cuts, but also interesting in its use of California's Proposition 13 in 1978 as an example.

I remember Prop. 13. Although, being a kid, the biggest things that I noticed were that they cut the public fireworks display at the local park and that my parents pulled me out of public school that year.

The article: "Grandfather-clause Politics"

Saturday, October 25, 2003

fall disc at night

Well, it's fall again. Practically winter, really.

July has often said that we haven't had a proper fall in quite a while. That is to say, she thinks it goes far too fast from summer hot and humid to F'ing cold, not leaving enough time to really appreciate the cool, crisp air, the autumnal colors. Too true, but it seems like all the seasons are just blowing by, even when I try to slow down and savour the moment when I can.

But it still has been beautiful out.

I witnessed snowfall for the first time this season on Wednesday; light flurries as I got into my car to head in to work, becoming an intermittent drizzle by the time I reached the office. There was no precipitation when I headed out although the ground was still wet and the clouds were still threatening.

That evening, we played pick-up in Lexington under the lights. By the time I reached the field, a steady drizzle had started. I was relieved to see several discs flying as I was worried that the inclement weather would keep people away. The outside temperature displayed in the car read 41F.

There's something about fall disc under the lights; I can't really explain it. There is a certain clarity, a crispness in everything you see. It feels like the cold air somehow locks everything into focus.

And the lights have their own magic. They highlight as much as they illuminate. I've caught myself staring at the trees on the perimeter of the field, strangely visible in the night, orange and yellow, the lights also outlining individual leaves like a halo, with blackness beyond.

This night, the trees are lit, as is the rain, falling so lightly it's not felt, only seen. And a beautiful sight it is. We play. It's still cold. I'm wearing at least 3 shirts and a fleece and my gloved fingers are still a little numb. But it feels good to be running and playing. Moving.



Under the lights.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

I just made a check-up appointment with my doctor. I called, got the receptionist's voicemail [Hmmm, ok, that's a new one. What's up with that?], left a message and received a return call a few minutes later. No big. When I asked for an appointment, I got his first available, in August.

August? As in next year, 2004, 10 months away, August?


(And just to make it totally clear: helloooo? it's October.)

Does anybody else think this is totally screwed up? Whatever happened to the concept of wellcare? Preventative medicine?

And not to mention, in 10 months, my healthplan could change on me, again. Or I might get laid off. Or move out of state. There was a time when I wouldn't even have had a calendar around where I could write down an appointment that far ahead.



Monday, September 29, 2003

The regularity with which something I read related to the current Bush Administration pisses me off is just unbelievable. Admittedly, I originally thought it was basically every day, but upon further reflection, it's not really everyday, and it's not really all about W. I suspect that part of what is keeping the count low is just that I cut back on the amount of time I spent reading and keeping up with the news. Chalk up a plus on the personal scoreboard for "improved mental state," and a minus for "staying informed."

Anyway, about a week ago, it was this article about the problematic wireless communications network being built in Iraq, which mentions a (yet another) questionable contract award without a formal bidding process, this time to MCI. (we already know about Halliburton, right?) Remember MCI? (That would be MCI/Worldcom.) They're trying to dump the WorldCom name to disassociate themselves with last year's accounting scandal. (Here, pick an article)

When I initially started this post, I was pretty pissed off about something the day before as well, but I'm beginning to think that it wasn't directly related to W. I think it might have been about all companies (besides MCI/Worldcom) changing their name to distance themselves from their historically poor reputations... oh yeah, that's the ticket, just that it centered on AOL/TimeWarner (TimeWarner) and made references to Philip-Morris (Altria) and Andersen Consulting (Accenture). But that's not really about W. It did send me off in some idle musings about Alfred Nobel. I remember someone telling me that he established the Nobel Peace prize because he didn't want to be remembered solely as the inventor of dynamite and its darker contribution to the world. And I wondered, in a 100 years, if the U.S. will be thought of as a country of great ideas and ideals, representing freedom and equality, or if we'll just be "USAria[tm]" or "AmeriCo[tm]." But I digress.

Anyway, the day before that (Wednesday, September 17, by my count), it was W's official statement that there was no proof of a connection between Saddam and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Which, in and of itself, is a good thing considering that apparently almost 70% of the American population thinks that there IS a connection. But the reason? Perhaps because he regularly ties the two together in public addresses, and then there are the comments from other members of his administration (such as Vice President Dick Cheney just a few days prior). I think this article gives a pretty good overview.

...which reminds me of this joke. And gives it a extra little "umph," dontcha think?

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

I've been locking horns with someone in a discussion group on the Jim's Big Ego homepage of all places. It all stems from Jim's posting of "The White House Resume" which upon first reading I found terribly depressing... and then, as I followed one poster, upsetting.

But, on the plus side, while looking for the exact wording for a quote by Thomas Jefferson, I did find this page, which I found heartening...perhaps like an on-line equivalent to the Phoenix Song in the Harry Potter Lexicon.

Interestingly enough, my search also came up with this site, which I found initially troubling, then amusing. I find this to be a common response when I view this type of site (other examples are http://www.whitehouse.org/ and http://www.landoverbaptist.org/).

And I realize that such sites poke fun by pushing their targets' perceived viewpoints and opinions to their logical (or illogical) extremes, but I sometimes wonder whether there are people out there who don't get the joke, or think to themselves "Spot on, you gentlemen have got the right idea." (Or perhaps "Yeah! Let's beat the $#%@ out of those commy-pinko[sic] bastards!")


Monday, September 15, 2003

Well, I was trying to be a good doogie, a fresh start as it were, and got in early ready to get back to work after an enjoyable weekend. But I made the mistake of taking a short break to check out the news online and read an article that got me upset enough that I couldn't get focussed again.

I thought I had a fairly articulate rant about the creeping lines of discrimination and prejudice (Thank you, AG Ashcroft and the Patriot Act), but I've managed to fat-finger delete the thing en toto. So I'll just drop in a link to the article in MSN Money which was original published in the Christian Science Monitor (but which charges a fee to read archived articles)

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

It's the eve of the second anniversary to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I've already seen a few hints of it in the media, most notably the airing of a documentary about the two towers last night. The images still resonate, but thankfully not in the paralyzing way they did two years ago. I still couldn't watch the entire show.

So I'm reading a news article about a speech W gave today, and I'm struck by a quote where he wants to expand capital punishment to cover acts of terror.
"Sabotaging a defense installation or a nuclear facility in a way that takes innocent life does not carry the federal death penalty," Bush said in calling on Congress to make these type of crimes punishable by death. "This kind of technicality should never protect terrorists from the ultimate justice."
And I ask myself, exactly how does capital punishment serve as a deterrent to the type of person that would participate in a suicide attack? And while I'm at it, I was thinking about the latest tape that was released today that was purported to be of Osama bin Laden, and I wondered why our rhetoric couldn't be more about fighting religious extremists and addressing the problem by stamping out ignorance and misinformation rather than chest-thumping and carrying on about how we're going to squash our enemies who are, by definition, "servants of evil" like the bugs that they are?

Thursday, January 16, 2003

I've been listening to NPR on WGBH (89.7FM) on my drive home from work over the last few nights. I realize that it probably has a more liberal bias than other sources, but the statistics that I've been hearing recently have been making me either mad or depressed.

From Daniel Schorr's commentary, consider the following:

  • Although the administration claims that the average tax saving with the new tax cut will be over $1000, according to the Brookings Institution, 59% of the savings will go to those who earn income in the top 10% and "almost half of taxpayers will receive less than $100." (I checked the document; according to them, the average tax cut for the lowest 48.9% of filers is $52, and FWIW, their calculated average tax cut for all taxpayers is actually $865)
  • Bush's proposed welfare reform for working mothers (presumably single) will require 40 hours of work to qualify without any additional funding for childcare. And this in an economy with 6% unemployment. (so far)

I find it interesting to notice that I'm beginning to tune in and understand what's going on around me. The guy who had no opinion on anything just a few years ago. I must be getting old. Or maybe W just makes it easy.

Ok, here's something interesting... The first thing that comes up on a search for "W" on Google is http://www.whitehouse.gov