Welcome to 2016

After much anticipation, the newest model year has finally come. It features:

  • A presidential election
  • The presidential campaign
  • Other stuff will be voted on, also mainly in November, following primaries at various times
  • A continuing El Niño
  • 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro
  • A leap day in February

As you can see, 2016 has much to offer over 2015. Like a whole extra day. The year feels so less cluttered!

And we’ll have episode after episode of “Politicians Say the Darnedest Things.”

Expect more wacky weather, like flooding and temperature anomalies, as 2016 features an El Niño event that looks to be headed for the recordbooks. Buy a canoe. Hell, buy two!

Get ready to watch atheletes compete in Brazil. Will they dope? Some of them will! Alright! Will there be lots of commercial tie-ins, but not as many as Star Wars?! You bet there will be! And the opening ceremonies? Yes, there will be some opening ceremonies for you ceremony lovers.

All this, and more, coming soon to a year near you.


Worst Consensus Ever.

SOUTER, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered the
opinion of the Court, except as to Part III–B. STEVENS and BREYER, JJ.,
joined that opinion in full; ROBERTS, C. J., and GINSBURG, J., joined all
but Part III–B; and SCALIA, J., joined all but Parts III–B and IV. STE-
VENS, J., filed a concurring opinion. ROBERTS, C. J., and SCALIA, J., filed
opinions concurring in part. THOMAS, J., filed an opinion concurring in
the judgment. KENNEDY, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which ALITO,
J., joined. ALITO, J., filed a dissenting opinion.


pastebins in search results == bad

One thing I’ve noticed from time to time (and just now, hence this post) is pastebin entries showing up in search results.

Never mind the fact that they usually expire quickly (and then only to remain in the results until the search engine does a recrawl), they shouldn’t be there at all. At least, that’s the easier solution.

The more difficult solution would require everyone who uses them to create addenda to their pastes describing what their results were. People use pastebins to show others their code/logs/etc. and usually in conjunction with a discussion or bug. Seeing a pastebin entry for a term you’re searching for means someone else probably had the same issue and may already have gotten it resolved.

But ultimately the right thing to do is for them to exclude search engines. Seeing the paste of the exact thing you search from, while reassuring that you’re not crazy, does not help.



The Microsoft Dilemma

I’ve still not seen Vista in the flesh, and I’ve neglected to write up a ‘linux one year review’ (it’s been over a year since I switched), but I thought I’d chime in briefly on one aspect of Microsoft’s OS that always bothered me and is among the things I love about linux.

Powertoys. These were little applications that made it easy to tweak or customize the behavior of the operating system to provide alternatives. For the most part (speaking specifically of TweakUI) they just modified existing Registry keys, but it’s always nice to have that up front and center in a nice application.

And here’s the twist: I always felt like the developers at Microsoft did that in their ‘spare time’ as it were. That they felt like these were things they wanted and went out of their way to get it approved and posted for the rest of us to use. I felt like there’s this creative spirit that still lives in the hearts of Microsoft Employees, but that they are not free (like the Googlians are) to harness and express it… at least not directly.

That’s one of the amazing thing about Free Software. There’s probably been something like 1/256th (really I have no idea what fraction) the code of the whole of Free Software written that never made it. That’s a shame, but it was when individuals had a tweak or patch they wanted, but upstream said ‘no thanks.’ But for every 1/256th that got dunked there’s probably at least another 15/256 that got added.

The heart of Free Software is people that want a function or want an application or want a library, and they go to it. And then they put it up somewhere and say “this is here if you want it get it, if you change it tell me so if it’s good I can add it to mine.” With Microsoft not do they not want you to do that with their software, they don’t want themselves to play either. It’s far too rigid.

If Microsoft had more of the powertoys extensibility in mind and built in to their operating systems and software I think the world would be a lot mellower and sharing place.

And with all that wind let out, bookStack is nigh. It’s probably actually in the state it’ll be in when I ship it, but I’m still thinking about some of the quirks I’d like smoothed and features that I have in limbo for the moment. So if I don’t decide anything in a week it’ll be out.


car tags

Just one of the reasons I have my doubts about the viability of libertarianism:

This piece of Alabama legislation that provides all privately owned vehicles may at the owner’s discretion display a ‘distinctive’ ‘god bless america’ license plate for no additional fee (except issuance of the new plate).

Maybe the libertarian line is that no one should need a driver’s license or license plate, and that there should be no public roads in the first place. But ultimately the libertarians seem to want to shut down most of the federal government and let states do as they please in these matters. On the one hand, it surely would increase competition between states. On the other hand, there’s no real evidence that it would improve conditions in states where things are already idiotic.

And that leads to the following question: If Iraq became a mecca for liberty, freedom, open and honest and glorious human spirit, would it encourage the neighbors to change? I’m sure it would encourage change, but whether that change would be the right kind or not is a different matter.