Following on from the Godawful Fiction site, I find FanFiction.Net (90874); which features one of the best reviews I've ever seen: TheRabidAardvark - 2002-09-22 - This is one of the worst stories I have ever read. It makes me sick that somewhere, valuable 1s and 0s are being used to convey this bollocks to my poor, unsuspecting computer screen.

Slashdot | Germany Places Command & Conquer on Restricted List The reason according to Elke Monssen-Engberding, director of the Ministry for Family Affairs: 'It portrays war as the only way to resolve conflicts.'

Well, yeah, it does. It's a pretty unapologetic war game. What do they expect - a war game which starts with "resolution through diplomacy yes/no" which exits the game if you select yes? "Now exiting game. $80 well spent, sucker." I thought they'd be upset about the extremely stereotyped portrayal of the different factions; but that's just me.

Quotations about Librarians. "I really didn't realize the librarians were, you know, such a dangerous group. ... You think they're just sitting at the desk, all quiet and everything. They're like plotting the revolution, man. I wouldn't mess with them. You know, they've had their budgets cut. They're paid nothing. Books are falling apart. The libraries are just like the ass end of everything, right?" - Michael Moore.

The Register | Is SSL safe? Czech security researchers this week claimed to have uncovered weaknesses in SSL that might permit crackers to decypher transmissions over supposedly secure links.

That's Not Good. Your bank almost certainly uses SSL to protect your financial data; the last time you bought something online the little padlock icon was an SSL connection. As with anything related to computers; nothing is really safe. All you can get is "nobody's cracked this yet". Note the yet.

British aircraft latest victim of friendly fire - America continues its proud tradition of killing more of its own side than the enemy does. On another note - Lockwood noted the Patriot system is designed to intercept everything above it - so basically the system did exactly what it was designed to do. People have too much faith in military computer systems - computers are not humans, they do not "think"; they simply follow coded instructions. In this case, it went to "kill that flying thing" bit without doing the "check it's not one of ours" bit. My guess? That particular system recognised the plane only as "Not American" and therefore "hostile".

Driver Down - Who Would Jesus Bomb?. New post from one Mr Mark Driver.

The next person who tells me that I have to respect the office of the presidency deserves a rap on the head with the Declaration of Independence. You toothless worms! We fought to eliminate kings! Despite the spectacle that the office has managed to accumulate around itself, "the president" is just another schlep job, albeit one where you get to kill folks and help your buddies get rich. But this president poops, eats pretzels, and has nightmares just like you. And, like the bozo before him, this president used daddy's juice to get out of fighting his generation's war. He's a chickenhawk, like most of his bloodthirsty administration. And he's using a national tragedy to justify plans that were in the works long before 19 assholes ruined this country for years to come. I love America. This administration has nothing to do with the America I love. So love your country, but be careful what you worship. Blind faith is the beginning of the end of discussion.

what's your genre? - fantastic bit of flash which goes through the many variations of electronic music. i've frequently given shit to metalheads for their insanely detailed sub-genre classifications... but after looking at this i guess i should shut up :)

Griffin Technology - PowerMate. It looks funky and provides a cool interface device... I'd love to play with one of these. I wonder if you can set it to move the mouse cursor (twist) left/right and (click and twist) up/down. Click for click. No more of these dumb joysticks and touchpads, a nice robust mouse replacement for laptops.

How Google Grows...and Grows...and Grows.... and despite the little tale of nine words/120 bytes... Google has its collective head up its arse if it thinks saving those 120 bytes makes a difference, compared with what they'd save if they created some valid XHTML instead of the tag soup they call an interface. Their design is based on tables, which are not lightweight code. Meanwhile, on their subpages and alternative homepages (eg. they slice up their logo into several small images; which means each browser is sending extra requests up and down the pipe and it takes a bunch of extra code in the page to render it. On top of that, they repetitively specify styles throughout the document instead of setting it once with CSS. On top of all of these points.... they don't meet basic accessibility requirements.

So, while they may want to deliver their results faster and make users happy; they can't see the wood for the trees.

They should hire me, nagdamnit! :) I'd sort it out :D

TIVO LESS OF A THREAT? "SURPRISING" P&G FINDINGS CINCINNATI ( -- Recent internal research by Procter & Gamble Co. indicates that consumers who fast-forward through ads with digital personal video recorders such as TiVo still recall those ads at roughly the same rates as people who see them at normal speed in real time. Goes on to say people don't remember much anyway; a lot of ads are just bad ads anyway; and the aim is to build a reaction, as opposed to simple recall.

and now, some posts from yesterday

blogger freaked out and wouldn't post these. now everything's out of order (well outta orda, guv) and what the hell? so... without any further adoooooo! - projects - bubbacomp. you know those 5L beer kegs? you know how you always wanted to put your computer into one of them? no? well this guy did :) cool case build. | 48 hours: Leave or face war (March 18, 2003) US President George W. Bush has delivered a final ultimatum to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and his sons: leave Iraq now or face military conflict. "All the decades of deceit and cruelty have now reached an end," he said. "Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours."

Dubya could at least pretend there's a chance to avoid war. Like Saddam is going to leave Iraq?! Having just demanded the leader of another country LEAVE that country, Dubya tops it by saying: "We will not be intimidated by thugs and killers."

Sigh. Although I must say... after last night's episode of Enough Rope (which included an interview with an Iraqi refugee); I'm amenable to the idea of a war which really and truly liberates the Iraqi people. - kindy "we all learned it in kindergarten" (Condensed from Kansas City Times - Robert Fulghum).

Something to ponder this morning as a fucking monkey decides he knows better than the UN; then drags Australia into it via our tosser Prime Minister. Fuck you both, Dubya and Johnny.

InSpectres (RPG). Interesting for its system and manifesto; which raises some good points about gaming. eg. The action should never stop because of a bad die roll. A randomly chosen outcome should provide for a satisfactory and engaging resolution, regardless of whether that outcome is in the characters’ favor or not.

The creator's view of gaming is expressed fairly narrowly on this site; so if you get super-involved in gaming-related debates perhaps you should just skip this site ;)

Slashdot | A College Without Microsoft? An anonymous reader asks: "My grandfather is the president of a well-known undergraduate-only college of about 7,000 students. He tells me that an alumnus has agreed to donate $2.4 million initially (and up to $800,000 each succeeding year for 10 years) to the school for computer equipment and staff if the school agrees not to renew any contract and to buy no products or services (either directly or through an intermediary like Gateway) from Microsoft.

Wired 11.04: How Hydrogen Can Save America (and gee, perhaps the rest of the world).

President Kennedy understood that dominating space could mean the difference between a country able to defend itself and one at the mercy of its rivals. In a May 1961 address to Congress, he unveiled Apollo - a 10-year program of federal subsidies aimed at "landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth." The president announced the goal, Congress appropriated the funds, scientists and engineers put their noses to the launchpad, and - lo and behold - Neil Armstrong stepped on the lunar surface eight years later.

The country now faces a similarly dire threat: reliance on foreign oil. Just as President Kennedy responded to Soviet space superiority with a bold commitment, President Bush must respond to the clout of foreign oil by making energy independence a national priority. The president acknowledged as much by touting hydrogen fuel cells in January's State of the Union address. But the $1.2 billion he proposed is a pittance compared to what's needed. Only an Apollo-style effort to replace hydrocarbons with hydrogen can liberate the US to act as a world leader rather than a slave to its appetite for petroleum. - Malaysian motorist booked at 773kmh - April 26, 2001. You know your speed camera is broken when..... A Malaysian man has been booked by police for driving his Toyota Corolla at more than half the speed of sound. ... He told the paper he was amazed that police believed his family car was capable of such speeds. Nonetheless he said police were determined to press charges.

I can't believe the police won't admit their equipment must have made a mistake. The fastest production sports cars in the world would be hard pressed to make half that speed. Downhill. With a tailwind. And a tow from an F-18.

Wired News: Porn 'Filter' Uses Peer Pressure.

Frustrated with the shortcomings of conventional software designed to block out pornographic websites, Brandon Cotter is urging moralistic Web surfers to take matters into their own hands.

As founder of the nonprofit monitoring service, NetAccountibility, Cotter, 33, is pushing what he calls the "accountability approach" for Internet porn addicts, religiously inclined Net users and others seeking to curtail their exposure to the Web's tawdry side.

Concerned about naughty web content? Christians say "let someone else think for you"!

Dilbert Comic Strip Archive - 2003.03.10 NO ONE READS IT, FREAK! Why is it that a) people sign contracts without reading them, and b) treat you like a nutcase if you do? I actually read the contract when I bought my car. It was a new car. It was the biggest thing I'd ever bought, by tens of thousands of dollars. I was signing up for five years and part of the deal was trading my current car. Now, I don't read software EULA screens, since it's not worth the time. But for my car, it was worth the time. Apparently I'm the only guy the salesdroid had ever seen read it right through.

OK, so legally it wouldn't help me; but it didn't say anything really insane like "we reserver the right to revise our estimated trade-in value after you sign this document". What if it did, though? Seriously, people will sign anything. Some people would sign their own death warrant if they were told it was a form to get 20% off at their favourite store - they wouldn't read the damn thing.

Feh. I don't understand people.

Australian IT - At war over PeopleSoft (Simon Hayes, MARCH 04, 2003)

"As you know, PeopleSoft was not designed specifically for the Australian higher ed community, and the software needed to be adjusted to suit our market."

Translation: Australian universities have to change fundamental aspects of their operations since the software is hard-coded for American systems. For example, you have to stop offering "degrees" and start offering "programs". That's the exact point I personally would have told the sales rep not to let the door hit them on the arse as they left.

A spokesman for CQU implementation partner Accenture says the two continue to work together. "The University is very satisfied with Accenture's role in the project," he says. "We continue to enjoy a strong relationship with CQU, and it remains an important client."

Translation: Accenture spokesdrones would never admit they (or their work) were less than perfect and besides; they're still getting mad wads of cash to keep pecking away at the system.

Slashdot | Cow Manure -- Electricity. 800 cows + feed = a whole lot of manure. A whole lot of manure + bacteria = methane. Methane + large generator = enough power for the farm and 80 nearby homes. Added bonuses include much less smell; and better quality fertiliser.

To think of it another way: if more people did this, the internet could actually be powered by a load of bullshit.

hee hee hee. a pune, or playe on wordes. btw, i know that dairy cows are cows and not bulls. duh. it's a joke, people. - SADDAM'S SOLDIERS SURRENDER.

"The British guys on the front-line could not believe what was happening. They were on pre-war exercises when all of a sudden these Iraqis turned up out of nowhere, with their hands in the air, saying they wanted to surrender.

"They had heard firing and thought it was the start of the war.

"The Paras are a tough, battle-hardened lot but were moved by the plight of the Iraqis. There was nothing they could do other than send them back.

"They were a motley bunch and you could barely describe them as soldiers - they were poorly equipped and didn't even have proper boots. Their physical condition was dreadful and they had obviously not had a square meal for ages. No one has ever known a group of so-called soldiers surrender before a shot has been fired in anger."

Last night the Ministry of Defence officially denied the incident had taken place, but the story was corroborated by an intelligence source.

After the initial humour, this isn't funny.

Another LJ link: Dear Music Industry: The reason your CD sales have declined has not been because of file sharing programs, it is because the music you churn out is crap. Yes. I hate to tell you it, but someone had to. People don't want to spend $18 purchasing a CD full of crap.

For anyone who cares about my earlier post regarding Darren O'Shaughnessy's books Ayuamarca and Hell's Horizon; I can confirm that yes a third book has been written: City of the Snakes. Darren answers fan email somewhat promptly :) So, straight from the man who knows; it's written, just not published.

Marketing: Flogging on a Blog. Is that a paid ad I see on your blog? The upshot is: like all good things, marketing is trying to turn blogging into just another marketing ploy - viral marketing, blog-style. So, don't trust any link or post advocating a product called "raging cow" - it's not geniune, it's a paid advertisement.

Following on from Frame Frustration is this nifty Frameset test, which details how much space various browsers will insert between frames; based on the attributes/styles you apply. Basically; if you want to use framesets with no extra space in all browsers, you can't build valid pages. This highlights one of the major flaws in the W3C's XHTML and CSS specs - neither one provides adequate frameset control.

The Adrenaline Vault | News | Prince of Persia Back in Action. Ubi Soft, creators of my current game addition Ghost Recon, are working on a new Prince of Persia game. Very short article; but some really nice concept render images. Ghost Recon's texture mapping and sprite detail are great; good to see they're continuing their good work :) Ahhh, Prince of Persia. With my trusty Amiga 600, PoP wasted many hours of my young life :) It was notable at the time for good gameplay and some of the surprisingly nasty deaths you could have inflicted on your hero.

Slashdot | Riemann Hypothesis Proved? If so, the person responsible could win a US$1million Millenium Prize. Excuse-fucking-me? US$1m for solving a maths problem? I'm no maths geek, so perhaps the value of this is just beyond my grasp. Of all the times I've seen or heard people talk about "important" mathematical advances, I've never seen an adequate description of why they are so important. Occasionally some oblique reference is made to a possible practical application; but mostly it all seems like a particularly snooty arm of pure academia. Besides that; if it takes million dollar incentives to get people to work on a problem, perhaps some re-evaluation is due.

Yahoo! News - British Girl Baffles Teacher with SMS Essay LONDON (Reuters) - An English essay written by a British teenager in text messaging short-hand has reignited concern among teachers that literacy standards are under threat.

Just as gangsta rap should not be allowed in English essays; SMS shorthand should not be allowed. This sort of argument comes up periodically and should always be thrown out. If you fail a maths test by making up your own formulae, too bad. If you fail an English test for making up your own language, too bad. You are in the class to learn the subject; you are therefor tested on what has been taught in that class. Now to get that through people's skulls.... where's my bat....

E-029 2003 And Beyond Once Microsoft's Internet Explorer reached 70% market share, the once blazing hot evolution of Web browsers came to a sudden screeching halt. The only features being added to Internet Explorer now are features that allow Microsoft greater remote control of your network and computers.

pop links in new windows

Regular readers (haaaahahahhaahhahaha gasp haheheheheh i said "regular readers" *ahem*) may like to take note of the "pop new windows" feature up top. It's pretty self-explanatory. Select it; and all links will open in their own window. Easy.

Yahoo! News - U.S. Court Won't Review Pledge of Allegiance Ruling A three member panel of the 9th circuit infuriated much of the country in June of 2002 when it found by a vote of 2-1 that the phrase "under God" contained in the pledge violated the separation of church and state mandated by the U.S. Constitution because it appeared to endorse religion.

This seems quite ok to me - if you don't believe in God why should you say the words during a pledge to your country? Patriotism and religion are not the same thing. Yet, not really surprisingly, massive numbers of merkins - with Dubya leading the charge - can't cope with the idea.