* Posts by Michael Friesen

15 posts • joined 28 Feb 2008

Techie stages 'strip down' protest at TSA 'harassment'

Michael Friesen

Never mind the children; think of Lester Haines!

Clearly, this guy is a Register fan!


Ballmer can exhale: Bill Gates rules out Microsoft return

Michael Friesen

Maybe it could be a good thing...

There are suggestions on the Gates Foundation website that some good research is happening. Rather than merely advocating single-vector solutions, some of the sponsored research SEEMS to point to solutions that show an awareness of complex ecosystems.

That is a pointed contrast to Microsoft's "monoculture" approach that caused such damage to the intellectual/creative technology environment over the past 15 years. I know, if you're a member of the collective, you'll say that it was all good because your species prospered. What you're missing is that the ecosystem itself was miniscule compared to how big it COULD have been if it hadn't been so wholly dependent upon a single (inevitably limited) cognitive infrastructure.

So the appearance of ecosystem-aware thinking in Gates Foundation projects COULD spell very good things for Gates' return to the helm at Microsoft. If he were to start thinking of the overall information/cognitive landscape (Raymond would call it the "noosphere") rather than solely his part of it, then Microsoft could evolve some extremely interesting products and actually begin to contribute to the growth of the whole ecosystem.

Is the electromagnetic constant a constant?

Michael Friesen

Using symbols vs. words for "alpha"

I think it's absolutely fine to use a mixture of symbols and words. After all, as Aldous Huxley noted, "They can't all be alphas."

Wikipedia: It's not for girls

Michael Friesen

Mark Twain on language and gender

To quote the very excellent writer Mr. Mark Twain, on the subject of "The Awful German Language":

"In German, a young lady has no sex, while a turnip has. Think what overwrought reverence that shows for the turnip, and what callous disrespect for the girl."

linguistic gender != sexual gender

Neighbours cop an earful from screaming Swedish w*nker

Michael Friesen

Unit of sound pressure pressure level?

Surely this calls for a revision of the Vulture Central Standards?


The "Swedish Wanker" is a measure of sound pressure level, equal to that of...

Botnet that pwned 100,000 UK PCs taken out

Michael Friesen

All is well?

AC@0957 writes,

"Everyone fucks up. So long as they learn from mistakes, then all is well."

Since when have people learned from their mistakes? I used to think that was true, but I've since learned...

Oh, wait a moment...

Samsung Wave smartphone

Michael Friesen

what's more...

If the Bing application crashes the phone, it would be a case of...

Bada Bing, Bada boom.

Android - the winning formula for tablets and netbooks?

Michael Friesen

Word on Mac?

Oooh. Stepped on a historical nerve here, my friend. One of my all-time greatest word processors was Word 5.1 for Mac, circa 1992. Awesome power: it THEN did nearly anything that I need TODAY, yet it came on three 3.5" floppy disks -- two of which were optional crud. Yeah: MS created a great word processor that worked beautifully and didn't suck memory. THEN they came out with version 6 point oh my god, which began the bloat, and it was the beginning of the end.

As regards the article on iPads vs. competitors, I think the "appliance" camp has it right. I don't WANT to customize my information appliances any more than I want to hot-rod my toaster or tweak my blender. For modding and customizing I have a couple of lovely computers -- but even then, I mostly just want to get the job done.

Quickening satellite quickens pulses at ESA

Michael Friesen

Real Density


AC @ 17:01 says scientists are dullards; James 55 @ 14:18 debunks this quite nicely, and Disco-Legend-Zeke @ 20:28 suggests that the problem lies in the density of mountains.

I propose we combine the three: it IS about density, but not of mountains. Where exactly did the anomalous acceleration occur? Near the whereabouts of AC @ 17:01? Whilst flying above a ranch in Texas? Above Quebec?

Look in the light of what you're searching for.

Palm slams Apple, hoodwinks iTunes

Michael Friesen

A new 'tard!!

Pretard: someone who wants his particular hardware choice to be supported by another manufacturer because, well, it just, you know, whatever.

IBM-Sun deal breaking down, report says

Michael Friesen
Paris Hilton

@Nomen Publicus - Equivalent products to Sun?

I disagree that IBM has any products "equivalent to Sun", except perhaps in storage. What is has is abysmally-designed products that boast competitive specs. No elegance of design; no foresight in execution; no flexibility for the hardware architect -- just ugly limitations that favor clunky implementation... Hardware designed by a committee for sale to Suits.

In automotive terms... I'd suggest that IBM is a Ford F150 pickup truck: Plebian, expensive, hell to repair, lousy on gas, and the wrong vehicle for most of the people who buy it.


(( Lacking a back seat, Paris would never buy a Ford F150. Wait, I mean, the Ford's lacking a back seat... ))

As Gates strides into the future, we wallow in the past

Michael Friesen
Dead Vulture

re. Tom - Way to go!

"When it comes down to it at the end his software wins..."

"Wins"? There is no "winner", merely a runner who holds a baton for a short while and then passes it on.

Get a sense of historical perspective, and for heaven's sake stop fawning. I promise that he's not going to track you down and give you a thousand dollars for being such a swell guy.

The sign on the door is a vulture, not a pair of Mickey Mouse ears!

Customers give Dell the finger over keyboard screw-up

Michael Friesen

QWERTY logic

That design was NOT meant to slow down the typist. If you were to spend 60 seconds hitting keys on a manual typewriter, you'd be able to see why it was designed that way.

The QWERTY layout was designed -- very cleverly, I might add -- to keep commonly-adjacent letter pairs from occupying arm positions that were physically close to each other.

For example, if the "t" and the "h" arms (arms, not keys) were physically beside each other, you'd constantly have the "t" arm coming backward and hitting the "h" going forward. Instead, the typewriter was physically designed so that common pairings would physically approach the paper from very different angles -- thus allowing the first arm to get out of the way of the second.

And don't get me started on the origins of "upper case" and "lower case".

Mine's the coat with "grumpy old man" on the back of it.

American ISPs already sharing data with outside ad firms

Michael Friesen

IPv6 -- Correct me if I'm wrong, but...

...with IPv6, every computer becomes personally identifiable through its IP address. On the bright side, the Phormists will no longer be able to claim that they are respecting any kind of privacy. On the downside...

Well, it's pretty much ALL downside, isn't it? Nothing is confidential when every IP address resolves to a single individual.

We have seen the golden age of the internet, and it has passed. It was double-plus good. May as well have a barcode shoved up your arse at birth.

Can Microsoft teach tots digital-age virtue?

Michael Friesen
Paris Hilton

@Dunstan, @system

A recording of a song or a movie is not the 'property', per se. What you pay for (or steal) is the artist's (studio's) license to enjoy that movie (or not, in the case of some of Ms. Hilton's efforts).

My stance is based on being a sometimes creator of content, sometimes teacher, sometimes consumer of content. No matter which way I aim at this issue, I wind up kicking my own backside.

That said, the ethics of copyright violation are indefensible: the artist creates a work with a license, which is effectively a covenant attached to that work. When you 'share' that work, you are breaking the covenant. If you don't like the covenant, don't watch or listen; support only those artists who give away their recordings (and there are some).

But please don't try to justify wanton bootlegging by any principled means. Downloading a movie means that you've snuck into the theatre; sharing the music means that you're giving away something that isn't yours to give.

Of course there are grey areas, and I applaud the curriculum even as I shudder at the source. But I shudder far more at the morally feeble attempts to justify taking something that isn't yours. It's nothing more than a convenient, weak-willed attempt to abdicate personal responsibility by denying specific harm -- and it's the same logic that applies to dropping your garbage in the street.

Paris, 'cause she understands these things.

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