December 28, 2004

The New York Times: A Day of Devastation

It's instinctive in humans to search for the meaning of an event like this, once shock and grief have begun to subside. And there will be plenty of meanings to find in the ways that humans reacted as this disaster struck and in its aftermath as the relief effort begins. But except for our obligations to help the victims in any way we can, the underlying story of this tragedy is the overpowering, amoral mechanics of the earth's surface, the movement of plates that grind and shift and slide against each other with profound indifference to anything but the pressures that drive them. Whenever those forces punctuate human history, they do so tragically. They demonstrate, geologically speaking, how ephemeral our presence is.

A search of the New York Times since 1996 on the words 'global warming' produces a return set of 12,837 records. Scientists are now claiming that the Earth has not been this 'warm' since the 1500's. The opinion piece referenced above states it best, although it is doubtful that the New York Times is reversing its position on the damage your SUV is doing to the environment.

"...the overpowering, amoral mechanics of the earth's surface, the movement of plates that grind and shift and slide against each other with profound indifference to anything... "

There were no SUV's in the 1500's - what caused the Earth's warming then? The transient nature of mankind is nothing compared to the earth itself. We are but a temporary scourge on the surface of an entity that existed long before we did, and will continue to do so, long after we are gone. I think it is pompous for humankind to believe that it even has the capability to exert such forces as to destroy the earth. And the earth has ways of letting us know...

December 27, 2004

Welcome to Gmail

A Google approach to email.

Gmail is an experiment in a new kind of webmail, built on the idea that you should never have to delete mail and you should always be able to find the message you want.

If you would like an invitation to Gmail, my Gmail address is below.

The key features are:

· Search, don't sort.
Use Google search to find the exact message you want, no matter when it was sent or received.

· Don't throw anything away.
1000 megabytes of free storage so you'll never need to delete another message.

· Keep it all in context.
Each message is grouped with all its replies and displayed as a conversation.

· No pop-up ads. No untargeted banners.
You see only relevant text ads and links to related web pages of interest.

I have 4 invitations to the Gmail Beta. (That's a large-scale user testing phase, for you non-geeks). Right now the only way to get a Gmail account from Google is to be invited. You can buy invites on Ebay if you want to - but the 4 I have are free. And if you want one, just let me know. alandix - at -, you would have to replace the - at - with the & symbol. I am trying to not let this address get harvested by too many spammers, even though it has a pretty awesome built in spam filter. I really like the conversation labeling. So far that is the best feature - no more trying to remember the folder you stuck something in - I really like it.

Archives are working now

In case anyone has clicked on the Archives over on the right and found them to be links to empty holes in Cyberspace - I just fixed it. Funny how a web guy has about 20 broken links on his site and never notices, but finds broken links on someone elses site and spends 20 minutes debugging it for them and sends them a detailed email about how to fix it. (Yeah, I have done that.)

USA versus Everybody

Peace on Earth, good will toward man. Kind between a rock and a hard place when it comes to supporting Taiwan. Independence was something the British vowed to crush at one point in American history too.
China Army Will 'Crush' Any Taiwan Independence Move
Forget about "links" to al Qaida - The militant group Ansar al-Sunna should be as big a priority as bin Ladin himself.
Iraq Militants Post Video on Bombing of U.S. Base
And things aren't going so well in North Korea either.
Nuclear Weapons Program: North Korea
But here is the real kicker, and information you will be lucky to find unless you look for it...
Poll shows troops in support of war
So here is my fear, eventually something is going to pop and I am not entirely sure why it hasn't already. Everyone knows that the US Military is underfunded for the missions it is currently being tasked with. The December 26th natural disaster will surely warrant some diversion of US Military assets for HA missions. If China decides to take back Taiwan, we have to respond. If North Korea invades the South, or worse yet, nukes them, we have to respond. The question is though, with what? Not the Reserve and National Gaurd, they're as tapped out as the active duty forces.
I am not going to predict anything, for fear I would be right. Lets just say I am not comfortable right now. Not one bit.

This just posted to Drudge. Looks like if we help Taiwan in a pinch, Russia may be a possible ally for China. How Nice.

December 23, 2004

ACLU in Half-Baked Bush Smear

White House-approved "torture" tactics include "sleep deprivation and stress positions," as well as "loud music, interrogators yelling at subjects and prisoners with hoods on their heads."

This is torture? Horse-shit. It's your freshman year at any military academy. Actually, probably not anymore, but it sure was when I went through it. (1992).
Oh my, we better not find out you are yelling at those future murder-bombers. Whatever.

Macromedia 2004 Holiday Card

Happy Holidays from the company that makes the product that I use to make a living.

Macromedia 2004 Holiday Card

Anything with a Penguin in it has to be cool, right>

December 21, 2004

Always Low Wages, Sojourners Magazine/February 2004

Where would Jesus shop? As much as I hate spin off's of an already cheeky bumper sticker (WWJD?) This one is worth talking about. So many products from countries other than the US sit on Wal-Mart's shelves - but are they destroying the American economy?
Always Low Wages: "Always Low Wages"

I don't shop at Wal-Mart - only partly because of their business practices. Target is easier, closer and in the case of my neighborhood, cleaner and having the appearance of "safer". Don't even start raising your eyebrows and muttering things about racism - I don't want to hear about it. When I drive to Target I am driving away from Downtown and toward homes with lower insurance rates - the exact opposite is true when I drive from my home toward Wal-mart. Crime reports don't lie, and I don't care who commits the crime - judgmental or not, its just a fact. Anecdotally, there is more often a squad car or three in front of Wal-mart than there is in front of Target in the area I live and work - so that is partially where the feeling of "safety" comes from.

Anyway - Wal-mart employees apparently don't make enough money to shop at Wal-mart. My question then has two parts - 1) Where do they shop? and 2) Why don't they go get jobs at Target? The free market has to work in all cases not just some. If Wal-mart doesn't pay competitive wages, then how to they keep a steady workforce? Either something about the Wal-mart culture is not being reported, and there are other reasons people continue to work there, or as I have long suspected - there are just a lot of really stupid people in the world and Wal-mart capitalizes on that fact.

I am not stating that there are tons of jobs available, but lets face it, working at Wal-mart doesn’t really require a myriad of job-skills. They have employees whose sole purpose is to stand at the door and smile. If they are only paying those people $7.50 an hour – what is stopping those people from standing behind the counter at say, McDonald’s with their smile? Again, it doesn’t require a lot of training to add “Do you want fries with that?” to their repertoire and for another $2.00 an hour and the ability to actually shop at Wal-mart, I’d say its worth it. I’d tell them to shop at Target though. I think its safer.

December 15, 2004

Firefox ad readied as market share increases

The first time I used Firefox I could tell that it was better. When I started downloading the extensions that enhance the superiority of the browser, I knew I would be using it instead of IE whenever I could. It appears I am not alone.
Get Firefox!
Firefox ad readied as market share increases

Try it, you'll like it. I even started using Thunderbird, the Mozilla email client. I like that too.

Get Thunderbird!

December 14, 2004

The Globe and Mail: Rutgers researchers may have stopped HIV

The Globe and Mail: Rutgers researchers may have stopped HIV

Here's a ray of hope for today. My question and possible topic for future blogs as this develops: Will this drug be something that can truly "stop HIV/AIDS" worldwide, or will it for some indeterminate period of time be available only to people with money in developed countries? (Keep in mind that a majority of the people infected with HIV and the AIDS virus do not have money and live in underdeveloped countries.)


I so need to rant right now - but I will have to wait until tomorrow.  Sometimes stuff happens that makes so much sense it doesn't make any sense.  Something good comes along a day late and a dollar short - and you settle for something just "okay".  You suffer through "okay" until it starts to become annoying, then eventually unbearable.  That same something good comes along a second time, and you have to risk the unbearable "okay" to take a shot.   Sort of a definition of life, isn't it?  I guess we'll see what tomorrow brings.  Again, another definition of life.  I wish I could stop defining life and just start living it.


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Syndication...of what?

I spent a good part of tonight learning about syndication and publishing of XML and Atom feeds. Learned quite a bit from and I did all of this for someone else's blog site, and in doing so, realized that I haven't written anything here in about a month.

So I set up all the syndication and pinging and XML feed stuff. I "burned my feed" to not coin a phrase, but borrow one that seems like it was coined mere months ago.

I even hooked up some automatic stuff with Amazon that will automatically insert links to products that are sold there when I talk about them in my blog. If you were to click on said links and then follow through and purchase said item, I would in theory get a commission on said sale.

So if I were to mention the fact that I would love to get the Big and Rich CD for Christmas, I would assume that there might be a link to said Big and Rich CD in my feed. You could click on the link, buy the CD and send it to me, AND I would get some money from your sale!! Isn't that devious? Of course, it is only going to put links in every third post I write, and only if said post is greater than 50 words long.

So yeah, I am trying to motivate myself to post more and more often. The next thing I am going to do is look into some micro-content thing that is supposed to make your blogs look even cooler than they already do.

Right now, there is only one person I know of that actually takes a look at this blog once in awhile, and I am not sure if he still does. Tony, if you do, buy me that CD for Christmas, will ya?