Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My problem with Javascript

Imagine a computer language that is used for almost everything on the internet that is interactive (seriously, try disabling it and going to your favorite sites). Also imagine it has the worst conventions for a language you can imagine, almost everything about its design being haphazard or shortsighted. I think you see where I am going with this. Apparently it is easier to get going as a beginner copying and pasting known code (say for mapping APIs used by all the cool, or at least, dominate kids). You can't really watch the experts in the language explain it without being struck by how many errors and outright mistakes there are still in there, destroying lives and sanity. JavaScript is probably just as powerful as he says, but if I could be using any other language to do the above online mapping I would probably take it. Additional: The best thing that can be said about Javascript is the fact it isn't VB. Everything that I've said about Javascript applies perhaps doubly for VB (VBA being the worst). I am by no means alone in this. RE: Disabling JavaScript on browsers. This is actually a very good idea in general. Start using Mozilla Firefox if you don't already, and install NoScript. It lets you very easily allow or not allow JavaScript to run on a given site (default off).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Links for Today

Happy generic Hallmark created holiday everyone. Here is a list of interesting things.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Telcom immunity passes Senate, Clinton doesn't bother showing up to vote.

The Senate bill includes every single thing Bush wanted. One senator was mentioning with glee that not one of the amendments that could have caused a veto made it through. McCain show up to vote for immunity, Obama voted to oppose it. Not even the amendment that stipulated that this was the only legal eavesdropping program the president can create passed (this was Dianne Feinstein's, to give her credit for not being a complete shill). The lack of that amendment means a president can just make up a new spy program if for some reason (s)he find this law to be too constricting. Knowing this congress, they would just make it legal afterward anyway. The only way you can justify the striking down of these amendments is if you honestly believe the president has the right to spy on any person for any reason. I will be highly amused if Clinton - who's campaign is already Nixonesque - gets the nod and the right-wing echo chamber suddenly reverses its position with the kind of amnesia normally reserved for budget, midday soap opera programming. Here is a petition to the House not to back down. Their bill isn't perfect, but it doesn't include immunity. I also recommend calling your representatives.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

McCain effectively locks up Republican nomination

And if Democrats were interested in beating him, they should basically just show this picture on every possible two dimensional surface.

There. Barring the unlikely event of a massive terrorist attack that can't be blamed on the administration (ha) or Iraq suddenly having obvious political progress (which would be wonderful in any case, though still doesn't justify the launching of the war) you just won the election. Except for 20-25% of this country that just can't learn from (or are too proud to admit) their mistakes, Bush is radioactive for McCain.

Monday, February 4, 2008

My new mapping project: IKEA

This is addressed to all my friends that suggested going to IKEA: I hold you in utter contempt. I suggest chocolate to my wife to mitigate this. Las Vegas casinos would die to have they kind of layout your average IKEA store has. I've been to a great number of casinos and never have I experienced the seemingly impossible method in which IKEA can get you directly to the items you came in looking for (trashy and overpriced as their selection is) but make it completely impossible to leave without seeing everything else in their inventory. Somehow I also managed to pick the store all of their fattest and oldest patrons gravitate to as well. I want to map IKEA stores to see how they pull this off. It would be like the opposite of the efficiency networking studies found in journals depicting good city street layouts. I could create an objective metric to measure impassibility (or find an existing one) and measure IKEA stores, casinos, and other people walking places with a new method. I need a name for my metric. Something to capture how infuriating the experience is.

Polls are projecting Barack Obama as the Winner of my Heart

He was against the war while Clinton was making a passionate speech for why it was necessary to give that decision to Bush, abdicating a key constitutional responsibility given to Congress (Section 8). He has the best policy on network neutrality and privacy rights - IE, keeping the internet from being a worthless telcom-dominated commercial enterprise. He has as much real political experience as Clinton (both relatively new Senators) and has actually gotten good government transparency legislation passed - a searchable database of where government money actually goes.

Friday, February 1, 2008

One sentence movie summaries

I am Legend: I know when I build my impregnable zombie-proof fortress I'm gonna pack way too many explosives in the ground around it so it will blow out huge chunks of my own defenses and allow them to get in easy - it's really just common sense. American Gangster: ++ would sleep through again Juno: Accidental teen pregnancy has never been so funny. The fact this apparently didn't get a wider release is a testament to how stupid the movie industry is. Charlie Wilson's War: This is about a blow inhaling Democratic Congressman from Texas that kills the Soviet Union with his bare hands; if you need anything more to sell you on going to see it you are probably a dirty red. Michael Clayton: This is basically boring as hell until the very end and then Clooney has a scene that appears to have been written by Aaron Sorkin (meaning it actually had snappy, entertaining dialog). Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer: To everyone who paid money for the first one, and thus justified the production of this sequel: letters have been sent to your families instructing them to love you less.

RE: Arizona's new Immigration Law

The Phoenix area at least gets a lot of its powerhouse economy from ruthlessly exploiting probably innocent prisoners in chain gangs and illegal immigrants. So the natural response to the housing crisis, which is probably going to bankrupt the state government by itself, is to toss one of these groups under a bus with an employee sanctioning law. I suppose if you were attempting to change one group into the other, this would be your plan. At the moment you can frequently find a free six month apartment lease as a prize in your cereal box...which you would get for free as part of the current sweetheart lease you signed rewarding you free food for a year and full use of the renter's daughter for your meth-fueled pornography business. Okay, admittedly such places are utter ratholes. But they drive the prices down for all other apartments nicely. They will all probably go away and the sudden absence of their residents will drive any number of other businesses to ruin. And all that is ignoring the substantial amount of taxes that immigrants paid (sales and even parole taxes with faked Social Security numbers). Now they will move home/to other states - with the businesses likely following them - and the ones that can't move will be forced to crime for survival. Addendum: This law wouldn't be nearly so stupid and shortsighted if there was an extremely easy mechanism to turn currently "illegal" workers into a guest worker/working-on-citizenship status and letting them stick around but with all of the advantages of them being on the books while still maintaining the necessary labor force. Of course the whole immigration system with its astoundingly racist quota system should be overhauled, but if you are going to pass a law to ruin a bunch of people's lives, you should attempt to provide a way in people guilty of what amounts to a rather minor crime (if 50+ million of the people in your country are guilty of something - alcohol consumption during prohibition, nonviolent drug use, minor [even accidental] personal copyright infringement - you really can't consider it a major crime).