Hey, anybody have suggestions on what would be a good comment icon? Since I'm moving away from PivotX, I'd kind of like to stop putting the PivotX saw-blade logo on every comment.
As you probably know by now if you live under a rock and get all your news through the Net, several popular sites are protesting current US proposed Net censorship laws. I'm glad to see that happen, and I'm glad that a lot of people are paying attention, and I don't want to understate how glad I am of those things. But I'm also disappointed by a lot of what I'm seeing, too.
M. "Doc" Skala tries things so you won't have to!
Here's a simple online Tarot page I wrote a few years back. Very simple: choose a spread, you see the cards face-down, click on each card in turn to flip it face-up. You're on your own for interpretation. I'm taking the opportunity of the transition to the new site code, to add a Project Wonderful box - but if I'm not pleased by the bidding on that, I may remove it.
The card images used in this system are scans from the edition of the Waite deck published in 1909 that collectors call "Pamela-A," and they are public domain in Berne Convention countries. See John B. Hare's comparison of the Pamela-A deck with another popular deck.
Here are a few notes on the current state of my life.
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."
Hi! I'm a scientific researcher. I have a PhD in computer science. My doctoral dissertation is mostly about the mathematical background of "similarity search." That means looking at things to find other things they are similar to. I've travelled the world to present my work on similarity search at scientific conferences - and some very smart people with very limited funds chose to use those funds to pay for me to do that.
Argument from authority has its limitations, but I would like to make very clear: I am an expert in the specific area of how computers can answer questions of the form "Which thing does this thing most resemble?" Gee, why would I mention this right now?
I spotted this buried deeply in an otherwise-boring discussion on tvtropes.org, and it has much wider application and deserves much wider distribution. I made a mental note to re-post the quote on my site, then couldn't remember exactly which page it was on, and spent many hours searching, over the course of a week. Now, I finally found it again.
Let me paraphrase the OP's point: "I have this opinion. I don't understand why people have differing opinions. But instead of genuinely asking why other people hold those opinions, I'm just going to say: you have those opinions because you are defective. Tell me why you are defective." Way to go, Ace.
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.
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."
It should not be thought that Six Apart have completely clean hands here. I'm not by any means a big fan of Six Apart. It's partly because I'm not a fan of Six Apart that I've left Livejournal and given up my paid account. Nothing in the previous section should be taken as my saying that Six Apart are perfect. I think they're basically doing the right thing, but what have they done wrong?
In the previous section I mentioned that fandom itself is considered a perversion. I don't think most people in fandom are willing to admit that they know that. It might be another terrible secret - the terrible secret of fandom. The thing is that fandom is about creating a line that separates Us from Them. That's the point. That's why you joined - remember? You wanted to be among your people and escape from the ones who aren't your people. The trouble is that when we separated ourselves from the mainstream, we created a really good reason for the mainstream to separate from us too.
I'm hearing another round of rumours about Six Apart, the company that runs Livejournal, and its deletion of Livejournal users. It sounds like they've changed their code to make it less obvious when a user has been deleted (by hiding usernames or something, instead of showing them in strikethrough), and they're continuing to not follow their stated policies of issuing warnings and conducting reviews and so on. The fandom community is up in arms, and the current situation is seen as an example of Six Apart not sticking to the promises it made last time there was a round of deletions. I think the time has come for me to reveal the terrible secret of Livejournal - the one big issue behind this situation, that neither side wants to admit even to themselves. Because of this one big issue, I think that fandom is making unreasonable demands of Livejournal. This is a sort of open letter or reality check for the fandom community: you can't expect Six Apart to give you what you're demanding, and you need to recognize why.
Re-posting of an article first posted in September 2008.
You are an officer, say a commodore, in the military-diplomatic-exploration organization of an interplanetary nation with United Federation of Planets (UFP) membership. You've been tasked with asserting your nation's interests with respect to a certain out-of-the-way planet that happens to be rich in natural resources. Unfortunately, it's already inhabited, by a race of disgusting natives we will call the Filthy Humans.