East of the Sun, West of the Moon



Filed under: Humo(u)r,News — Erwin @ 6:12 pm

…good, or bad. See for yourself.

The Finnish (YouTube.com) submission to last weekend’s Eurovision Contest that walked away with the prize give you an indication why it is both considered horrifying and greatly amusing, to a lot of people. I’m almost sorry I couldn’t see it this time. ๐Ÿ˜‰


Habla Ingles?

Filed under: News — Erwin @ 5:40 pm

This just caught my eye in the BBC News feed:

The US Senate has voted in favour of making English the national language. <…> But the Senate also approved a milder Democrat amendment describing English as the “common and unifying language”. Neither of the bills would bar the use of Spanish or other languages in government services.

Some will say that that was about 200 years overdue, others will glare at you for saying that and call you a racist. Frankly, I didn’t even know the US didn’t have an official language until a few years ago when M pointed it out to me. Supposedly this is something every US kid learns in school but having heard some statements from people calling into radio shows, that doesn’t always sink in apparently.

I’m going to go with the group that’s in favour of English being the official language of choice. I grew up (although I was born elsewhere) in Friesland, a province in the Netherlands where there are two official languages (Dutch and Frisian) and while at the time I picked up enough that I could understand and read Frisian, that was never enough to keep up with actual conversations and certainly don’t expect me to say (or worse, write) something in the language.

Where having two official languages goes awry is where you run into people stubbornly speaking the one you’re not fluent in or, not being from the Friesland province, don’t understand a word of it at all. If you’re a tourist in the area, that’s something you might expect and prepare for, but that isn’t always the case. Having no official language at all can only be worse, I would think.

Add to that the fact that, sure, a lot of people learn to speak some foreign language when they’re in school, but most of them will never be fluent in it and unless you practice regularly that only gets worse. Do you remember any of the French, German, Italian, Spanish, etc, that you took in high school (or its moral equivalent elsewhere)?


In debt

Filed under: News — Erwin @ 3:34 pm

Reading an article in The Guardian:

On an individual and a government level America is spending way beyond its means. The average American household now owes $8,000 in debt on credit cards alone. Meanwhile the government equivalent of credit card spending has seen the deficit hit a record $423bn. With the war in Iraq showing no sign of ending and the imminent retirement of millions of baby boomers, there is little ability – or some might say, will – to pay that money back.

Eight thousand on average! Ouch.

I haven’t checked recently but I’m quite sure that putting car loans and retirement savings and such opposite of eachother, M and I are in the clear. We certainly are if we only look at credit cards. Are you, or are you one of these average American households?


Small world

Filed under: News — Erwin @ 3:11 pm

The idiot teenagers that saw their plans thwarted because someone relayed rumours about them to a friend via MySpace were a lot closer than was made clear from the initial reporting. You see, Cherokee county is the one south of where I live. Hrm. Or to put it differently, M‘s mother has a colleague whose son is the same class/grade as some (if not all) of those kids.


Linkage (41)

Filed under: Linkage,News,Software,Technology — Erwin @ 11:57 pm

The biggest cruise ship ever in Hamburg (Germany). Just don’t make that same mistake as the Titanic, alright?

A lot of unix (Linux, Debian and others) manual pages placed online in a convenient browse-able format and allowing for added commentary.


Linkage (40)

Filed under: Humo(u)r,Linkage,News — Erwin @ 3:11 pm

Did you read about the giant Mario Question Blocks that showed up on April 1 in an Ohio town and got some girls threatened with fellony charges? Here’s a follow-up on that, quite fun to read. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve always wondered how reliable those (snail) mail address change requests are, now I know, not at all!

Since January, Fred Hill had used the Postal Service’s Web site to file 170 change-of-address forms since January, authorities alleged in court records. The same credit card had been used to pay the $1 charge for filing change-of-address forms online, they said.

Shannon made me aware of this Amar Plan, which sounds like the best solution for the Electoral College madness so far, as long a complete overhaul is unlikely to happen.

They get 270 electoral votes worth of states to sign a compact, wherein the states all agree to place their electoral votes as a block … to whoever wins the popular votes.

Only about half the states (by population) have to sign on, and there’s no prisoner’s dilemma thanks to the clever managing of the compact to not go into effect until there are enough states for it to work.

When the guy you contacted asks if you really meant to contact him… it might be worth to listen:

Now the buzz around town is a little different: the school had accidentally booked Jon A Stewart, a 39-year-old part-time wrestler and former motivational speaker from Illinois.

“Very often I get emails intended for Jon Stewart from Comedy Central that are mailed to me,” the wrong Jon Stewart said in a TV appearance after the gaffe was revealed. “And the first reaction, and the first response that I or my assistant make is: ‘Do you have the right Jon Stewart?'” But the staff at the DaVinci Academy in Ogden, Utah, assured him that they did.

Oops! ๐Ÿ™‚


Linkage (39)

Filed under: Linkage,News,OS X,Software,Technology — Erwin @ 4:03 pm

The NY Times isn’t doing itself any favours (The Register):

To be fair, the W3.org markup validator found only 338 errors on the NYT home page, which is not that bad, compared to technology news outfit c|net’s 449 errors.

Apple now officially supports the idea of multi-booting its Intel machines, at least as far as WinXP is concerned:

Word to the Wise

Windows running on a Mac is like Windows running on a PC. That means itโ€™ll be subject to the same attacks that plague the Windows world. So be sure to keep it updated with the latest Microsoft Windows security fixes.


You’re shitting me?

Filed under: News — Erwin @ 5:06 pm

Honestly, this can’t be for real?


GPL v3

Filed under: News,Software — Erwin @ 3:40 pm

When I saw the story (The Register) appearing in the news that Linus (Torvalds, a.k.a. Mr Linux) would reject GPL v3 (LKML) (which is still a draft, this is not the final version) because he didn’t like the DRM related wording in it, apparently saying that it meant he would have to turn over his private (encryption/signing) key, I blinked a few times. Huh? How is one thing related to the other?

Unfortunately I didn’t have or take the time to find the original statement from Linus (until just now) or read up on the GPL v3 draft to see if I could read the same thing into its wording.

Fortunately I don’t seem to be the only one who’s quirking eyebrows at this statement, because here’s GrokLaw‘s Pamela Jones, the open source’s favourite paralegal (so to speak):

Linus seems to think you have to turn over your private key, such as one might use to sign off on code. That’s not my understanding of the clause about DRM at all. I see no wording saying that. Of course, I’m still getting up to speed myself on the GPLv3. My current understanding of the DRM clause is just that if you can’t run a program without a private key, you have to be given the key. And no invasions of user privacy are allowed.

Thank you for confirming I wasn’t the only one who was somewhat confused by this statement. I’m sure time will come with clarifications on whether the GPL v3 draft really implied this and, if it did, whether that wording is going to be in the final version.


Linkage (35)

Filed under: Linkage,News,Technology — Erwin @ 6:42 pm

A few random bits that caught my attention recently:

  • Ars Technica reports that Spammers rights do not prevail against institutional rights:

    The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling found that UT was well within their rights to block the e-mail in question, and that in doing so, they were not in violation of First Amendment interpretation. The Supreme Court’s decision to not hear the case sends a strong message to spammers everywhere: it is permissible to block spam, no matter how closely it confirms to marketing practices, rules, and even federal communications laws.

  • Levi’s announced iPod jeans!

    Designed for both men and women, the jeans are designed to be compatible with most iPod systems. A special joystick is built into the jeansโ€™ watch pocket, with four-way controls to allow the wearer to play, pause, track forward, track back and adjust the volume control without ever removing the iPod from the pocket.

  • The MoGo MouseBT is a tiny cordless mouse that fits inside your laptop for storage while traveling:
    MoGo MouseBT

I’ll leave it at this for now as I’m a bit busy cleaning out the collection of tabs I’ve been gathering in NetNewsWire. At a guess I’d say around 50-100 of ’em, where I normally keep it under 20. Ugh.

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