GPL or BSD for government?

There has been a lot of buzz in the Open Source community about which OS license is appropriate for government use. A recent thread on Slashdot talks about which license is the best choice. In a rare lack of “First Post!” syndrome the posters have managed an insightful thread. All make great points on why they should choose the GPL or why they should choose BSD license; they being the government.

On a whole I have to say the BSD license makes the most sense. Yes it would be nice if all code based on publicly funded projects was open, but it does not fall in line with current standards. If a publicly funded researcher uses public funds to find out a certain bacteria attacks and kills the AIDS virus natrually his research, by law in most cases, would have to be released without IP restrictions. This means Pfizer could come along and create a drug based on this research and charge billions of dollars for it.

While the above example may not be the greatest outcome, it must be said that Pfizer pays taxes too. Also, in the end the public is much better served by the solution than the research. On the other side of the coin, the GPL side, Pfizer should manufacture and distribute the drug for free, which does not make much sense.

Wake up call for schools

I’ve talked about how public schools are completely out of control a few times before. Students told what to wear, what to say, and how to act. The students who do not conform are labeled as outcasts.

After years of being opressed, rediculed, and downtrodden it does not come as a surprise that kids lash out. While I do not condone nor agree with the methods of those involved in the Columbine Masacre, I can empathize to a certain degree with their state of mind. It can be very difficult to complete with the idolized athletes in your High School when all you do is get straight A’s, organize school events, and volunteer for local nonprofits.

It is for the above reasons that I find the story of a student fighting back and winning so uplifting. The student described in the article was suspended after posting a violent message on a satanistic website. He sued saying his freedom of expression was violated and the courts agreed! I always thought that schools punishing students for violations that occurred off school grounds was overstepping some boundary. Apparently the federal courts agree as well.

Small Town, USA

Last night Lauren and I visited some of the finer establishments in Richmond, MI. We started the night off at a place called “Chaps.” In the heart of “downtown” Richmond. It was your typical small town bar. Upon entering the bar we were surrounded by the ear piercing sound of “I am Woman” being sung by an inebriated elderly woman. After wading through the sea of cammoflauge and John Deer hats we settled down for a few beers. Amazingly, they had our favorite beer Michelobe Ultra. As you can imagine, I was quite relieved to find out that the bright orange shotgun the guys in the back were wielding was attached to the latest version of the “Deer Hunter” video game. After a few more poor renditions of twangy country tunes belted out over the bar’s hand-me-down karaoke player, we left for the other hot spot in town, Knapp’s.

Knapp’s had an overall younger feel to it. We quickly grabbed a table and headed to the bar for a drink. I was feeling especially cheery so I decided to get my favorite mixed drink, a Red Bull and Vodka. I was greeted with “Red what?” from the bartender. How could you NOT know what Red Bull is? After having my bubble burst I settled into a regular routine of $1.50 drafts for the rest of the night.

Of course, no drunken night would be complete without a trip to Taco Bell. I ended up getting a Steak Bowl.

All I have to say now is: Thank Allah for Chaser!

Apple, Credit, and Classes

After hearing moonkhan gloat about his iPod, I’ve decided to purchase one. I’m torn on which one I should get. The 5GB one seems too small, while the 20GB seems too expensive. On the other hand if I get the 10GB I just know that I will wish I had purchased the 20GB one in a few months. Once I finally do make up my mind I have to decide between purchasing a new one or a used one off of eBay. Once I finally DO purchase one I promise I will post a review here. In other Apple news I found an extremely funny site called Crazy Apple Rumors via The site instantly reminded me of the satire I wrote about iApp.

After shifting some money around I was finally able to pay off all of my credit cards. I will be promptly cancelling all but two of my credit cards. One I’m keeping to reserve hotels, cars, etc. and the other I’m keeping because it offers low balance transfers. A side note to anyone who has a credit card: The Great Credit Card Bazaar.

I registered for my last two undergraduate classes. In April I will officially be a graduate of Eastern Michigan University. I will graduate with a degree in Computer Information Systems. I plan on staying in the area for a year or so while Lauren finishes school and then we plan to head off to an, as of yet, undecided big city.


As a programmer the bane of my existence is the dreaded bug. As a PHP coder what I despise most are people who submit inadequate bugs. At my previous place of employment there was very little buffer between the enduser and the coders. The channel tended to be enduser -> support personnel -> either a.) my boss or b.) me. My former boss, bless his heart, did all he could to shield myself and others from the onslaught of dupes, etc.

The worst part was that there was absolutely no buffer between the dev team and those who worked in the office. This meant that the dev team would regularily get bugs like this: “Login not working!” Really? We have 10’ish domains all with separate login scripts. What browser were you using? What OS? What username did you try? Have you logged in successfully before? After much back and forth you could possibly fill out half of the required material in your average Bugzilla bug posting. After many failed attempts to teach the team how to correctly report a bug and a few ignored requests to either build or implement a bug tracking system, I gave up.

At my new place of employment I’m one of two developers. The bosses give us a lot of range in developing various technology policies. These two facts have lead me to develop a new system called “Bugger.” It’s not an amazing piece of software, but it’s tailored to my liking and specific to web programming. With a little tweaking of my php.ini file I can have users and or employees easily submit bugs that have all the info I could want (Browser, URI, etc.).

My only complaint about it is that I won’t be able to release it. I was paid to create it so it is property of the company I work for. I could probably make the case that we should open up the source, but I should probably make sure it’s complete first.

Bluetooth Gadget / New Cell Phone

I’ve been reading the buzz about Bluetooth for a few years. Like most others I wondered if this seemingly amazing technology would ever find its way into the mainstream. The answer is “Yes.” Everything from bluetooth printers to mice and keyboards are scheduled to come out this year (the mice and keyboard are already out).

This brings me to the point of this post. I bought a new cell phone with BT technology built in. I bought the Sony Ericsson T68i. The phone works with Apple’s iSync. This means that I can have my phone sitting in my pocket and as soon as I’m within 30 feet of my computer it syncs all of my calendars, contacts, etc. wirelessly. Yeah. Cool.

I also bought the CommuniCam as well, but plan on sending it back since it has no flash and is not a very good replacement for my Sony digital camera. I’ll probably pick one back up once more people have 3G service. One of the coolest features with ATT’s mLife service is that it has GPS searching. In other words you are standing on a corner and click “Find Resturants” and the service finds all resturants in the surrounding area. Yeah. Cool. The best feature that I’ve found thus far is that the phone accepts and sends cards flawlessly via IR to my current Palm Phone, the Samsung I300.

Office Life

Now that I am back working in an office environment I get to enjoy all of the things office life brings. I forgot how annoying cubicles are. I wish I could put up a protective shield and avoid the customers. But, alas, that is not an option since we are a retail shop. Of course there is the usual office gossip that tends to be funny and or interesting.

Some of the other things I’m not too fond of while working in the office are as follows: dress codes, no music, a foreign and unknown machine on my desk, customers, office protocol, and having to clock in and out. Because we are a retail shop our rules differ greatly. I wish that there was more distinction between employees (ie. Programmers don’t answer customer calls and salesmen don’t code), but being a small private business we are forced to wear many hats.

I suppose many people are reading this saying “At least you have a job!”, which is something I truly am thankful for. OK, I guess I’ll just shut up now.

Lifes Lessons via John Cusack

Many people struggle with life’s lessons. I personally struggle with time and money management. For some reason I don’t have that person inside my head telling me when a meeting is nor do I have the one telling me purchasing gas at 26% isn’t the best investment I could make. A few of life’s lessons have been cleared up thanks to a guide to life’s lesson as told in John Cusack’s movies.

I love John Cusack. In fact my copy of High Fidelity has been worn out and will no longer play in my DVD player. His movies are witty and full of real life relatable material. Nothing beats the on screen synergy between Jack Black and John Cusack in High Fidelity.

Reality TV Going Too Far?

I remember reading, with great interest, Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. In it the book describes, among other things, video walls that cover entire sides of the living room. What was playing on them? Why someone else’s living room! The main character’s wife even goes so far to nag him about purchasing more video walls. What seemed absurd at the time doesn’t seem so absurd now.

The story above tells how shame, not sex or violance, is the easiest way to score ratings with today’s TV audience. Duh. We’ve been having fun shaming our neighbors, classmates, and coworkers via gossip and idle rumors for years now. I’m surprised the TV executives are just now realizing this.

In other news, it’s official, I have no life. I spend the majority of my time in committee meetings, working, and programming a mind numbing school project in VB. What little free time I do have I gladly spend with Lauren or hanging out with my fraternity brothers. Sigh. I can’t wait to graduate and become an adult. The funny part about that is that as soon as I become an adult I’ll be wishing I was back at college. Just more proof you can’t win no matter what.

Yay for CSS

I have successfully moved to version 5.1, which includes NO TABLES! This was accomplished using XHTML 1.0 Strict and CSS2. If you look at the source of this page you will notice the lack of tables. I really dived into CSS this time and have to admit I enjoy working on it. For the most part Internet Explorer and Mozilla render the same when using well formed XHTML and CSS2, which is a shocker. For those of you who remember with pain the days when IE and Netscape wouldn’t render a page the same way to save your life, this is a godsend. One thing to note is that for the print version of the news it doesn’t modify the XHTML at all, thanks to the wonders of CSS. This voyage into XHTML/CSS has lead me to look into other protocols such as RSS and SOAP. I’m not sure yet what I plan on doing with them, but I can say that I am interested in doing something with them. Possible options include search integration with Google and Amazon, thanks to SOAP. Maybe I’ll create a SOAP backend for this site for fun letting you query my DB via a SOAP interface. Of course no one would ever use it, but it would still be fun to play with.