Archive for February, 2006

Port Security Debate is Racist

I’m really pissed off at our government and surprised at how open-minded our president is being (although I suspect he’s not really being open-minded. I suspect that there are other, monetary or political forces at work here). You’ve probably all heard that Bush is backing the sale of shipping operations at six major U.S. seaports to a state-owned firm in Dubai and that pretty much everyone else in our government thinks it’s a horrible idea. The predominant argument coming from, well, everyone, is that it’s a security risk because Dubai is part of the United Arab Emerites (two of the 9/11 terrorists and some of the funding for the attack came from the UAE).

Let me make this crystal fucking clear: that’s racism. That’s racial profiling. Our government is basically saying that all Arabs can’t be trusted because a minority of them turned out to be terrorists.

I understand that security is a concern, but as security-guru Bruce Schneier points out, “trust comes through transparency and openness,” and, “the solution is openness.”

Thomas Jefferson said it best back in 1776: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

Friday Funday LXXXIII

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet.

Kid Canyon’s Stunning Stunt [del.icio.us]

At first this seemed pretty dopey, but once I got sucked into a commercial airplane’s jet engine, I was determined to make it across the canyon.

Monk’s Mind Game [del.icio.us]

This game is based off of the excellent TV show Monk, starring Tony Shalhoub. It’s a moderately fun game, but some of the levels are heard hard to play without a proper mouse.

The Cats’ House [del.icio.us]

And I thought I was a cat lover! These people have an awesome house and some mighty cute kitties.

Poetic Technologies [del.icio.us]

I love it when people make cool, futuristic/fantasy desks. I think they need to buy me one of these at work.

It’s the End of the World [del.icio.us]

An interesting if unrealistic and anti-climactic depiction of the (potential) end of the world.

Status of the Work Webcam

You’ve probably noticed that the work webcam has been offline since Tuesday morning. I got a promotion at work (I’m now our first official web designer/developer). Because of this, I had to switch to a new desk and my new computer has yet to arrive (although our IT says it’s being ordered today). So until my new computer comes, the work webcam will remain offline. I’ll have it back online as soon as possible!

ALLOpod Episode VIII – The REAL First Episode of the Year of the Dog

ALLOpod Episode VIII – The REAL First Episode of the Year of the Dog

Genre-defiant musician _AA_ rings in the Chinese New Year with a song called Gee, which he says reminds him of, “Dangermouse and Bananaman.”

One very interesting current event is that Dick Cheney shot a 78 year old lawyer in the face while they were out poaching. We have a brief discussion on how the situation is being handled and how the whole thing sets a dangerous president precedent for other people who are poaching (or shooting lawyers in the face).

As it turns out, we were wrong about the previous episode being the first episode of the year of the dog. The Chinese New Year was on 29 January, so it actually happened after the previous podcast was posted. Oops.

We also made a change to the way our single-episode sponsorship works. Last month we said that $25 would get you one minute, unless you sponsored the show during the months of February, March, and April. We have changed this such that now, if you’re one of the first three single-episode sponsors, regardless of which month you sponsor, $25 will get you four minutes of time to say whatever you want.

Also, the John Cage song I mentioned in the show is actually called 4’33”, not 2’37” as I thought. At least I was right about it being by John Cage (although, it’s kind of hard to get that part wrong).

In last month’s episode, we announced that we would have a contest and this month the contest was announced! Entering is easy, but you’ll have to listen to the show to find out how!

If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you probably know about the trouble that some U.S. companies are getting into over in China. Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Cisco, and several other companies are feeling the heat from U.S. citizens as well as the U.S. government because they’re censoring content at the behest of the Chinese government. Turns out that not only are Chinese and U.S. citizens bummed about that, but so is the U.S. government; so bummed, in fact, that they created a task force to combat internet censorship. Which is ironic, since other facets of this same government are trying to censor those parts of the internet with which they disagree.

For Valentine’s day, Andrew Burton wrote us a special technology haiku:

“you need an ipod”

(special valentine’s day edition)

like the heart, or love

music completes the creature

you need an ipod

We transitioned to our interview with Stu Evey by listening to Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King as performed by _AA_. It was… Interesting, to say the least.

Also interesting (in a slightly different way) was our interview with ESPN co-founder, Stu Evey. He talked to us about the founding of ESPN, as well as the state of Spokane, WA (the city where we live). Unfortunately, we had some problems with our equipment that caused us to lose some of his answers. About halfway through the interview, I figured out what the problem was (and hopefully it will never happen again). If you hear some weird edits or if any of the transitions seem odd to you, that’s probably the reason why.

One really interesting question and answer that we lost was, “What was the first thing that aired on ESPN?” Stu’s answer was, “Canadian girl’s slow-pitch softball, because that’s all we could get the right to.” Classic. -)

Next month’s interview will be with the creative force behind the new sketch comedy show, Throbosho! You can download the pilot episode from their website (see infra for the link). We’re taking your questions, but we’ll be interviewing them in early March, so get those questions in ASAP!

If you have any questions or comments, or if you want to help sponsor the show, e-mail us at: podcast alifelessordinary . If you send us a question or comment, be sure to mention if you want to be included in the shout-outs.

If you want to hear your name mentioned in our shout-outs, send an e-mail to: podcast alifelessordinary . Please include your name and location (for example, “Thomas in Spokane, WA” or “Phoenix in Japan”).

Links:

_AA_ [del.icio.us]

Wikipedia: John Cage [del.icio.us]

XM Snags Oprah [del.icio.us]

Google vs. Google China in an image search for “tiananmen” [del.icio.us]

ESPN [del.icio.us]

ESPN: The No-Holds-Barred Story… [del.icio.us]

Throbosho! [del.icio.us]

Andrew Burton [del.icio.us]

Friday Funday LXXXII

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet.

Wow, late two weeks in a row. Again, I have no excuse

Mac Parody [del.icio.us]

Here’s a parody of those old Mac ads where people talked about why they were frustrated with Windows machines. Old, but still really funny.

Super Banned Bowl [del.icio.us]

Then the annoying Flash interface finishes loading, click on the second icon from the right in the bottom row (it should say Super Banned Bowl when you mouseover it). This is being billed as a bunch of ads that people tried to get into the Super Bowl, but which were rejected. Some of them I know to be true (the Bud Light one, for instance), but others I know aren’t (the Mac Parody ad is on this list, and I know this was never meant as a Super Bowl spot). Plus, some are from other countries. At any rate, they’re mostly pretty funny. Mixed in is a surprisingly large number of Peta ads. I have no idea if they’re real or not, but they’re all pretty weird.

Tibetan Writing Course [del.icio.us]

You know, just in case.

bushSpeech [del.icio.us]

Unsatisfied with the recent State of the Union address? Roll your own!

What Sucker Got Shot by the Veep? [del.icio.us]

Who did Dick Cheney =really= shoot? Another fantastic roll your own.

ALLO Meets ALA

Well, it’s finally happened. Something I wrote was linked to by A List Apart. Now I’m sort of embarrassed that I haven’t worked on this site in a while (there are some glaring errors that I just haven’t gotten around to fixing). If you’re a fellow web designer, I apologise for any… Ugliness you end up finding. I’ve tried to keep it to a minimum.

On the other hand, I wrote some code this morning that will help all of my pages have better cross-browser support (that is, once I implement the script).

Yes, this page is in need of plenty of work. I have a brilliant idea for some neat Ajax integration, but I’m not yet sure how I’m going to go about adding it. I’ll likely save it for the annual anniversary update.

I’m just still so stoked about the link. -)

Friday Funday LXXXI

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet.

I admit it: I totally forgot to do this yesterday. Sorry for the delay.

Galleria Carnivora [del.icio.us]

“A museum of colour photographs of carnivorours plants.”

Multi-Touch Interaction Research [del.icio.us]

So, so cool. I mean, just imagine the possibilities! Via Tom.

The Penthouse at The Pierre [del.icio.us]

Oh. My. God. I need money. Lots of money. Now.

Vegetable Liberation Army [del.icio.us]

They’re coming…

Throbosho! [del.icio.us]

It’s finally here! The show that Kris and Lindy have been working on for long is finally ready to download and watch! Make sure you don’t watch this at work (unless you work in… Well, just don’t watch it at work).

Friday Funday LXXX

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet.

The Right Mix [del.icio.us]

Do you have what it takes to make a great Cosmopolitan? Take your mixing skills for a spin!

Could You Pass 8th Grade Science? [del.icio.us]

No really, could you? I got 8 out of 8 right! Guess I passed. Via Brynna

Islands for Sale Worldwide [del.icio.us]

Not the best looking site, but some of the islands kick major ass. Damn, I want an island.

Bow Hunter Target Challenge [del.icio.us]

What day in Eastern Washington would be complete without killing a helpless animal? Be aware that the controls are kind of wonky.

The Infinite Cat Project [del.icio.us]

This is one of those image in an image in an image things. What are those called?

Free At Last, Free At Last!

In the world of web design, there are two words that are guaranteed to make every web designer/programmer roll their eyes and groan; the first is “workaround” and the second is “Mac/IE”.

Workaround is usually followed by “for Internet Explorer” and until Microsoft pulls their heads out (of the sand, what did you think I meant?), there’s probably not a lot we’re going to be able to do about it.

But! We can eliminate the Mac/IE problem! The solution is simple, easy to implement, and already in use by the two biggest computer companies out there. That’s right, the solution is to just ignore Mac/IE users.

I’m serious.

Microsoft has long since jumped ship on the whole Internet Explorer for Apple users thing, which is why Mac/IE got to be such a problem. With no updates for Mac users, a huge carbuncle was formed. Suddenly, thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of users were no longer able to stay up-to-date with fast-changing web technology (unless they switched to a new browser, but you can’t expect people to do =that= can you?). With no updates available, they just kept plodding along using Mac/IE version 5.2 (or worse) to browse the internet. Web designers everywhere were forced to remember that these users exist and that sites must work for them because they were the victims of circumstance.

Or were they?

In 2000, Microsoft lost a huge antitrust lawsuit because IE was bundled with Windows and this was creating a monopoly for them. But in 2003, in a moment of fantastic irony, they announced that they would no longer update Mac/IE because there was no point in competing with a browser that comes with the OS (referring to Apple’s then-nascent web browser, Safari).

So what about all those Mac users who were browsing with IE? Well, they got hit twice. Not only did Microsoft cease support of Mac/IE, but Apple switched over to OSX and quickly vowed never to speak of Mac Classic again.

The new victims are the web designers; forced to hack their code together with digital duct tape and unglamorous solutions just to make sure their web sites display (and operate) properly for those people who happen to be using an antiquated, obsolete, doubly-unsupported browser.

Well, we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore! Arise, my brethren! Shrug off the shackles of Mac/IE and look to the dawn of a new time! A new era of creativity! A world in which our code can be as beautiful and artistic as the pages we design. For, today, we tell Mac/IE users to piss off!

Why are we still writing code for them? If both Microsoft and Apple have turned their backs on Mac/IE, why shouldn’t we? Safari and Firefox (and several others) are infinitely better and both available! What are Mac/IE users waiting for, a gilded invitation? At a time when so much is so close at hand, why do we resist the temptation to reach out and take it?

Web 2.0 is here. Ajax is here. Mac/IE is holding us back with its puppy-dog eyes, but just like Old Yeller, Mac/IE is sick and it’s time we did the only humane thing left: take it out back and shoot it. Or something like that. At any rate, from this day forth, I pledge to never again program a page that contains workarounds for Mac/IE.

Why did I choose today to stop supporting Mac/IE? Because today is the first day that Microsoft officially no longer supports Mac/IE =at all=. Up until yesterday, some downloads were still available, but today? Well, today is our day.