January 5th, 2004


Pause button

On today's bike ride to work, I went through some mud.. and was wearing whitepants. I now look a bit like a clown, the mud looking remarkably like polkadots..Speaking of which, I wonder what the origin of that word is.

Sun is making some pretty stupid grumbles.Basically they're criticizing Microsoft for discontinuing Win98, saying thatcustomers are learning a lesson for trusting Microsoft, and that people shouldnot migrate. My response? SIX YEARS. Should Microsoft really be expected tomaintain such an ancient codebase? For that matter, does Sun support SunOS?I remember it being dropped like a dead rat not long after Solaris came out.It's basically business as usual for software companies, and while I like Sunand dislike Microsoft, this is clearly a case of excessive spin.

As for now, let's look at an area where Microsoft really did mess up..Microsoft has the problem that practically every piece of software they'vewritten has ended up being a potential security hole. In this case, theculprit is their Messager client. Actually, it might not beentirely reprehensible -- if it's just a buffer overflow, it's understandable(although it's a shame that in this age that people arn't using the safe,length-bounded string functions... practically all security problems in C arethe result of the way strings work). If, instead, it's because they added somekind of an interpreter into the application that runs client-chosen code, it'sbloody stupid, although it's not the first time....

I came across another info site for TMBG that I mightfrequent.. They had some MP3s of rare materials that never made it toone of their CDs.

Oh, in the future, you're supposed to keep flammable people away fromfire.

Aerogel is the result of a lot of research in materials science -- it'sa foam that's only slightly more dense than air, but is pretty resistant tocompression for that density. Here's some pictures NASA took.It's really cool stuff, but unless one has a very large frivolty budget, out ofrange for most people.

Since falling from power in the Soviet Union, Gorbachev has kept busy onsome fairly high-profile things. It'simpressive that, considering that he was bitten by the results of Perestroikaand Glasnost, both from the Soviet old guard and then from the masses, he'sstill putting in efforts towards liberalism. Like Trotsky, it's a philosophicalshame that Communism in Russia was not led more by such people, instead ofpeople like Mao Tse-Tsung and Stalin. I find myself wondering if a system ofchecks and balances in liberal democracies would be possible in a single-partysystem.. Would it have been different under the Mensheviks?

Brazil's not happy about discriminatory security measures the U.S. has putinto place, and is retaliating.Seems fair, although the judge who made the order to retaliate (interesting thata judge, in whatever system they have there, can set policy like that) comparedthe American system to "the worst horrors committed by the Nazis". That'smind-bogglingly stupid -- not only did he bump up against Godwin's law, it'scompletely off base to compare selective photography/fingerprinting when peopleimmigrate/visit from certain countries to confescating property, sending peopleto concentration camps, and putting them in gas chambers because they belong toa few "undesirable" groups.

A conservative writer has an analysis on Dean being pretty quiet on thereligion issue. I'm going to bite the writer's bullet -- yes, I think thatthe south, conservative as it is, is very fixated on their god, guns, andpersecuting gays, and considers jobs, education, and health care to (mostly)be good things that come after the necessities (above) are met. I do find myselfwondering if Dean's really religious at all -- he's an educated guy, andthere's a negative correlation between education and religiosity. At the endof this article is another statistic that's interesting -- 63% of people whoattend religious services regularly support republicans, and 62% of those whovery rarely or do not attend services support democrats.

Speaking of undereducated conservatives, check out this column bya conservative whose only understanding of Communism is fixated on Stalin'sRussia. He's either ignorant of history, or he's really grasping forsomething bad to say about liberals to his readers.

The British government, like the American government, eventually releasesdocuments that were once secret. Take a look. Much of my cynicism WRThonesty of the government comes from reading such things our government hasput out.

This is really cute.I wonder if a certain cat or two I know could be taught to do the same...If so, I think I know a certain word they'd like to write ;)

We'll end this with a pointer to an article by RMS.Both it and the comments are interesting reading.