Ads on the internet

I know that advertising pays for a lot of what I read on the internet. I also know that flash sucks. I’d like to read content on many sites, however they serve flash ads, which cause mozilla to crash in a horrific ball of flames under Linux. My main question is this: Why can’t I choose the type of ads I view? I’d be MORE than happy to go in and set this feature – hell I’d even give the marketroids info on what I’d like to see if it meant I could choose the WAY I recieved those advertisements. In fact, I’d rather see annoying fast animated gifs than deal with killing moz every few webpages. ARGH!

GAAP – Are there no ethics?

WorldCom announced last night that they had overstated earnings over the past TWO years by ALMOST 3.8 BILLION dollars. As expected the CEO is “shocked” and had “no idea.” He should be fired. If I, as President of my fraternity, DON’T know that my VP of Finance is lying about finances I would be ousted in a second. For those of you wondering what GAAP stands for it means “Generally Accepted Accounting Practices” and is taught in all low level accounting classes that any worthy business school graduate has to take. Today’s widespread disregard for business ethics is making me lean towards NOT investing in the market.

Scary Quote

I was reading an article on CNN.com that has the following quote regarding the disposal of Saddam Hussein “How we do it, when we do it, I don’t know and I’m not even sure the president knows.” WHY DOSN’T THE PRESIDENT KNOW??!?. My only POSSIBLE answers are a.) plausible deniability and b.) this is a smokescreen and there’s no possible way he doesn’t know. I now feel obligated to post this link compliments of Camworld.

Long night

It’s been a LONG night and day for me. It was just one of those days where you are feeling at odds with the world. Lauren and I had a great chat before bed tonight, which was nice. I also played around with Google’s API’s. They use SOAP, which is a fancy way of saying XML, to communicate. It took me about 30 minutes to get it working in PHP. I’ve also been working on another project, which until it’s ready to launch, will remain nameless. For the last few days zebulon might feel sluggish, this is because I’m FULLTEXT() indexing 1.5 million rows of data. Also on the geek front is an application I plan on creating for this site, a timeline. I’m going to go through 500+ entries and add ones I feel are significant to a “timeline”. If I feel spunky I might integrate PHPTalk as well. Archives are up to your left.

Nestalgia

I was recently looking through some of my old backups and found what was my very first version of miester.org. It didn’t last long and the code was about as ugly as it comes. But what was a real gold mine where the old SQL backups, which had about 40 postings from about 2.5 years ago. I’ve imported them into the latest miester.org. You can view the oldest one here, which is from January of 2000. You can see a screenshot of the old miester.org (and my oldest known screenshot) here (164k). Funny stuff.

Chatroom Etiquette

I’ve spent a great deal of time helping others learn about computers. Whether it’s the large number of posts to various PHP lists/discussion boards, or the hours I spend trolling #debian on irc.openprojects.net. I’ve recently had two experiences in chatrooms that have soured my outlook on helping others.

First off an experience I had in #e – the chatroom that is devoted to the window manager Enlightenment. Apparently it’s not the place to ask questions about the window manager, despite being listed in various incarnations of their website as a place to go seek help. I asked a question about e17, which has yet to be released. The answer was simple (as I later found out on my own), but was answered with a barrage of RTFM’s and “u r dumb lam3r”. This leads me into a whole other argument that Open Source developers, in general, could care less about what the users of their software want (a clear case where demand does not alter supply). I’ll save that rant for another time. My only question is this: would it have been so difficult to simply be nice? Possibly just say “This isn’t a help chatroom – check out the lists, etc.”? *Sigh*

My second experience had me on the other side. I run a small chatroom called #zebulon on irc.openprojects.net that is basically a room for my close friends to come in and chat about whatever fits our fancy. It is, by no means, a QA or HOWTO room. Evidently a new kid in the room didn’t know this and kept asking inflammatory questions in our room – like “Don’t you think ASP kicks ass all over PHP?” (not a good question to ask in the middle of an Open Source focused chatroom). Or better yet “Doesn’t it make sense to program EVERYTHING in JavaScript?” – um no. Anyways, I ended up banning the kid. I guess the fact that the room went totally silent when he showed up wasn’t a big enough clue (or the multiple times I kicked him for asking dumb questions). Usually I’d just smile and hold hands, but the simple fact is it was the wrong place and the wrong time.

I guess I should think differently about scenario one after being on the other side, but in reality I had read #e as being a source of help. They should probably promote that it’s not a little more to the public.

Great parable

I found the following on slashdot today and thought I’d pass it on and archive it here. You can find the orginal here. Read on for the parable.

Once upon a time, some people lived in a cave, and no one knew that there was a world outside of the cave. The cave provided everything they needed, with plenty of fish and water. Luminous mushrooms provided both food and light. The only thing in short supply was air. All air came through a small shaft connected to the outside world. The shaft was controlled by a single company, Microshaft, which carefully rationed its flow to maximize demand and collected breathing license fees from everyone who had to breath. To save money the company hired cheap labor to operate the valves, but these laborers were often barely competent, and the air supply was unreliable. The shaft was poorly maintained, the air was often stale and laden with viruses. By selling a product that cost them essentially nothing to produce, Microshaft’s profits were enormous and they became rich and powerful.

One day, a group of daring young renegades discovered that there were other ways to get air, just by moving some rocks that blocked openings to the outside. And they offered their air free. At first people were hesitant to use Free Air, thinking something must be wrong with it since it was free. Initially Microshaft ignored the renegades, dismissing them as a fringe movement and minor nuisance. But eventually Microshaft saw them as a threat. They started a major marketing campaign to convince people that the Free Air was bad for their health. But people found that they actually felt better and healthier breathing the free, fresh air. Microshaft added more and more features to their air, perfuming it and coloring it with smoke to give it “added value”. Many people started to dislike Microshaft’s heavy, bloated air that was hard to breath and began flocking in droves to the sources of Free Air.

About this time, after some years of hard volunteer work, Open Air developers finally increased the size of a Free Air portal so that a person could actually squeeze through to the outside. The first brave individuals who ventured through it discovered that not only was there an unlimited supply of air in the outside world, there was no way you could harness and control its supply.

Alarmed, Microshaft sought to have the government declare Free Air illegal since it threatened their business model, which they had developed and rightfully earned through many years of hard work. They called the use of Free Air “theft” and claimed that the “viral” nature of the Public Breathing License advocated by many Open Air rebels would threaten the livelihood of Microshaft’s suppliers and distributors. Indeed, the whole economy of the cave would collapse, they said. Laws were quickly passed and the portals of Free Air were sealed off.

A charitable organization called the Business Air Alliance was formed to help protect businesses against the threat of Free Air portals. By proving that it was theoretically possible to fund terrorist organizations with the money saved by breathing Free Air, the BAA successfully lobbied to strengthen the laws so that any attempt to make an opening to the outside became punishable by death. Possession of shovels and picks became a criminal offense, and the BAA performed random audits to help citizens comply with the law. For their protection, everyone was required to wear an Air Rights Management security device, which would send an alarm to the authorities if it didn’t detect a secret mix of fumes found only in Microshaft air.

As time passed, Microshaft and the government became indistinguishable. To prevent future uprisings, a new feature was added to the air to keep the people sedated happily ever after.

Mozilla 1.0

I’m currently using Mozilla 1.0. Being a person that has been testing Mozilla (moz for short) for the last 3 years I have to say it’s come a LONG way. I remember cursing its existence only a year ago. It took over as my main browser around .90 or so and I haven’t looked back since. I highly recommend anyone who is looking for a good browser to check it out.

Wireless Router

Keeping in line with my previous statements that I have too many computers, I sold a few of them and went shopping for a dsl/cable router (since one of them was my firewall). I was super impressed by the new prices on these little things. I got a 4 port 10/100 wireless router for 150.00. It took me literally 30 seconds to have wireless networking and my regular network up in running. Not bad.