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Ad stramineum hominem

Sunday 25 March 2018, 16:11

Sometimes I find myself on the receiving end of false accusations of "straw man" argumentation, and it feels like this happens abnormally often to me in particular. It's baffling because when it happens, it doesn't make any sense.

Serializing Shining Path

Sunday 13 December 2015, 12:09

Shortly after I finished my PhD in 2008, I took about half a year off from other work, and wrote a 100,000-word science fiction thriller called Shining Path. That was half a year for the actual writing. It was a synthesis of notes and other material I'd been collecting for a number of years previously. I then spent the next three years or so looking for an agent to represent it.

On academic freedom and fearing one's students

Friday 12 June 2015, 11:15

This was originally a Facebook comment, to one of my friends who had posted one of the original articles there, but a lot of other people in my circles are re-sharing the same articles, more general distribution of these comments is appropriate, and anyway Facebook is an untrustworthy platform. So, here's a repost. For necessary context, see the earlier articles from Edward Schlosser and Koritha Mitchell. Both of these articles have received a whole lot of circulation in the last few days, but I'm not sure they've received enough serious attention.

Now on Github too

Tuesday 13 March 2012, 11:04

I took the plunge and created an account on the world's worst Internet dating site. This is mostly so that I can participate in the KanjiVG project, which has decided to host there; git and thereby Github remain not my favourite systems. However, I've established a mirror of Tsukurimashou in my new Github space, so people who do like git and Github can find it there now too.

First thoughts on Google Plus

Wednesday 13 July 2011, 14:19

M. "Doc" Skala tries things so you won't have to!

How Wikipedia could save itself

Saturday 19 February 2011, 00:15

I don't think Wikipedia wants to save itself. But if they really wanted to, I know how they could do it.

So much for Twitter

Saturday 4 September 2010, 16:52

I have a Twitter account under the name mattskala, but I no longer endorse Twitter because their newly-mandatory "OAuth" system treats open-source client software as second class. We were warned about this, and apparently it's been in effect since September 1, but the first I knew of it was a vague awareness that my automatic word counts weren't getting posted. It turns out that now it's no longer possible to authenticate to Twitter with HTTP "Basic" authentication; you must go through the human-readable Web interface, or authenticate via something called OAuth. So it's a lot harder to just send an HTTP transaction with a simple utility, and have an update posted. The API has become much "heavier."

Bus plunge kills 16

Thursday 27 May 2010, 16:42

Yesterday a bus plunge in Turkey killed 16 Russian tourists and injured 25 more. Thanks, dagbrown, for bringing the phenomenon of bus plunge stories to my attention. Oh, and Facebook changed its privacy policy again.

What's wrong with Facebook? (part 2)

Tuesday 18 May 2010, 11:01

In my previous posting I discussed human issues, which might be specific to me: they are reasons that neither Facebook nor anything else with a similar purpose to Facebook would necessarily be a good thing for me to use. I also discussed technical issues, which are serious but should be easily correctable; Facebook could fix the technical problems without changing what Facebook is. In this posting I'm going to talk about what I call "corporate" problems, issues I have with the people and corporate entity who run Facebook. These would be reasons not to deal with Facebook in particular, even if I wanted to deal with something exactly like Facebook that might be run by a different corporation.

What's wrong with Facebook? (part 1)

Monday 17 May 2010, 12:04

I thought it would be sufficient to just announce I was leaving Facebook, and all my friends who would care about such things would already have a pretty good idea of what the issues involved were, and would be making their own peace with those issues. I'm not the first and surely won't be the last among my circle to do something similar. Last night, though, I had a chat about it with some of my friends who aren't so well-connected to the Internet culture, and it became clear to me that there's room for me to write something laying out some of the issues surrounding Facebook and why those issues are important.

Let me start by saying it's not about "privacy."