RIAA’s pet peeves

RIAA hates little baby ducks,
old pick-up trucks,
a slow moving train, and rain.

RIAA hates little country streams,
sleep without dreams,
Sunday school in May, and hay.

And RIAA hates you too.

(By Tom T. Hall and Clint, through Francis, through BoingBoing.)

#2.2.2, I got an answer machine that can talk to you

IIRC, I wanted to go camping this Summer in Boxtel, but the mayor says I am not allowed to (based on art. 2.2.2. of the APV). This appears to have created some brouhaha.

Unfortunately, the What the Hack’s website sucks big time as always. Public participation is about as unwanted as camping in Boxtel. So I am posting this here.

The local ordinance the mayor leans on can be downloaded at some horrible dynamic URL (PDF). If that doesn’t work, go to boxtel.nl, click on Kalender, click on Verordeningen Actueel, click on Algemene Plaatselijke Verordening 2004.

Chapter 2 is about Public Order, section 2.2 about Supervision of Events, article 2.2.2. (page ) about Events.

Article 2.2.1. defines events as any publicly accessible form of entertainment (follows a long list of exceptions, some of which a hacker with a sense of humour might use).

Article 2.2.2. states that you need a permit from the mayor to hold an event; permits can be refused on the basis of (or with the goal of)

  • public order
  • to prevent or limit public nuisance
  • traffic safety or the safety of persons or goods
  • morality or health

New Rules

New Rule: Just because your tattoo has Chinese characters in it doesn’t make you spiritual. It’s right above the crack of your ass. And it translates to “beef with broccoli.” The last time you did anything spiritual, you were praying to God you weren’t pregnant. You’re not spiritual. You’re just high.

(Bill Maher’s New Rules, through Hanzi Smatter.)

Eurovision Song Contest

The Eurovision Song Contest is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. The Eurovision Song Contest is the gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk-heaps. Its contestants are, as the man once said, “Whores, pimps, gamblers and sons of bitches,” by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peep-hole he might have said, “Saints and angels and martyrs and holy men,” and he would have meant the same thing.

(Well OK, so Steinbeck did not write that about the ESC.)

Reinder is trying to ask me something

But he doesn’t tell me where to reply.

Right-wing German spam

As Philipp Lenssen has today, I have received a lot of right-wing German spam today. Lenssen links it with a gradual shift in Germany to also commemorate their suffering in WWII. If neo-nazis are sending out these spams to indicate that they weren’t all that bad, they are doing a horrible job. If there’s anything I hate, it’s spam.

Could be a joe-job of course: somebody sending out spam that looks like it comes from nazis to make them look bad. But how much worse do you want a neo-nazi to look?

Unsettling noises from a disgruntled GIMP user

A while ago I reported on several usability improvements in GIMP 2.2., and comic strip artist Reinder Dijkhuis quoted me on that. Reinder has been using the GIMP for simply aeons, and as a true professional he does not limit himself to just one tool.

Since he took me up on my word, he has been emitting unhappy noises [1] [2] [3]. If any GIMP developers stumble upon this, they might do well to investigate.

Blister-packed blister pack opener

As Theo Maassen said: “Everything comes with a price tag nowadays. Except the price tags.”

Even the blister pack opener comes in a blister pack.

(Through BoingBoing. As Theo Maassen also said: “First, wars were started because we did not have enough, and we wanted some. Now, wars are started because we need a place to dump our surplus.”)

On the relation between psychosis and marijuana

Politicians have squandered billions of tax-payers money to try and find negative effects of smoking marijuana, but have been surprisingly unsuccessful. This is rather unfortunate, because the same politicians have been surpressing the freedoms of these same tax-payers on the grounds that ‘marijuana is bad for you’. Which, apparently, it is not.

The one crumb thrown in their direction by the researchers of the world is a corelation between marijuna and psychosis. The thing the researchers aren’t sure about yet is whether marijuana is the cause for psychosis. The jury is still out on that.

The New Scientist has an interesting article that explores the various findings of scientists who went looking for the connection between marijuana and psychosis.

(Disclaimer: I have never ingested marijuana myself, but I did at one time almost get arrested for growing it. Drat, there goes my chance to become Miss Universe.)

Why computers need a long start-up time

I had to look something up on the interwebs this morning, but did not really feel like firing up the old PC. That’s really what it feels like: waiting until the information service at my finger tips deigns to service me. Even the fact that Firefox takes seven to ten seconds to start up doesn’t bother me, because that is peanuts compared to the time the computer needs to get ready.

Google itself? Less than two seconds. Not instantaneous, but good enough.

I doubt a long start-up time is necessary. There have been experiments years ago with keeping part of the on-state on, so that the PC only needs to load a couple of things while starting up. And of course, lots of people nowadays just let their PCs sleep, and never switch them off. I would too, but the noise from sleeping Macs does nothing to convince me that these things are hardly using up energy, and my sleeping PC (quiet as a mouse) has a tendency not to wake up.

In his excellent Don’t Make Me Think, Steve Krug describes one of many problems that besiege a homepage; everybody wants a piece of it. This is literally what used to be happening to the homepage of the city of Amsterdam; the many departments all wanted to have a story on the homepage that led to their department’s website. If the webmaster had given in to this, the homepage of www.amsterdam.nl would have been unusable.

My guess is that this is what is happening with a computer’s start-up sequence: every stake-holder wants a part of that pie. Even if the producers of the OSes I use could get their start-up sequences to under a second (they can, but they won’t), programs I install would still be able to ruin it by claiming part of the start-up sequence.

Only devices that aren’t viewed as computers have a chance of having a limited start-up sequence, because their users wouldn’t stand anything else. Can you imagine having to wait thirty seconds before being able to answer a call on your mobile phone? The caller would have hung up by then, or your answering service would have kicked in.

(So why do we accept this situation with PCs? As Steve Krug says in the sample chapter I linked to, “we muddle through”. Start-up time would be an interesting thing to have fixed, but in the absence of a fix we accept the lesser solution.)