Chris's Rants

Monday, January 31, 2005

Spongebob Squarepants strikes back!

Keith Olbermann takes on James Dobson and his Focus on Family organization aka the American Taliban:
Hey, guys, worry about yourselves. You’re spewing hate, while assuming that for some reason, God has chosen you and you alone in all of history to understand the mysteries of existence, when mankind’s existence is filled with ample evidence that nobody yet has been smart enough to discern an answer.
Priceless.

Read the whole post, it is absolutely hysterical.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Too little, too late

Jonathan Schwartz offers a post on commoditization and then, because he can't help himself, he tosses in a postscript that effectively sez "mine's bigger 'n yours" claiming that IBM's contribution of 500 patents to the open source community is not what it appears.

What drivel.

While at Sun, I frequently suggested that Sun open source Solaris... My pleas fell on deaf ears apparently (along with my frequent rantings that Sun should embrace rather than poo-poo XML and Web services). Had Sun open sourced Solaris (and Java for that matter) then, Solaris would be in the position that Linux is in today.

Too little, too late.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Sunday, January 30, 2005

What OpenDocument Is And Why You Should Care

Groklaw has posted an article entitled: "What OpenDocument Is And Why You Should Care". I certainly hope that someone at OASIS is trying to communicate this sort of information to the State of Massachusetts amongst others.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Mapping WS-Addressing to HTTP

Stefan follows up on the permathread.

First off, with regards to:
Chris Ferris, not exactly known as a REST proponent or someone who’ll easily agree with Mark, sums it up very well...
I wouldn't characterize myself as not being a proponent of REST. Quite the contrary. In fact, I was advocating a binding of SOAP to HTTP GET long before the XMLP WG took up the issue from the TAG. I had proposed a slightly different approach, one that bound a canonical SOAP envelope with GET semantics to an HTTP GET. Although I'm content with what is specified in SOAP1.2 with the WebMethod, I do wish that it had broader adoption from an implementation perspective.

Stefan continues (emphasis his):
Chris then elaborates on how you could build caching on the SOAP level without requiring modification, all of which is IMHO beside the point, which would be that if all of this is already built into the infrastructure, one might just as well use it. HTTP has proven its value as being the underlying protocol of Earth’s largest application; I believe it’ll be a fine platform for most of the Web services scenarios one can think of. In those cases where it isn’t, it might make sense to build some of its features into the SOAP layer and use that instead, but it doesn’t seem very compelling to me to build up a completely new stack with roughly the same features and deploy it on top. At the very least, it should be required to map these features to those of the underlying layer, if it supports it — which seems to be the core of the issue in question.
Two points. First, I agree with Stefan's point in italics. That is why I was advocating the approach to a binding to HTTP GET for SOAP I described above. I will admit that there are some subtle issues with which to be dealt as have been pointed out by Noah Mendelsohn in the discussions we had in the XMLP WG at the time. However, the Cache-Control SOAP header block I described in my previous post could be mapped to the HTTP Cache-Control header for the HTTP binding as provided for in the SOAP1.2 Binding Framework. I was merely trying to point out that there is nothing inherent to SOAP/Web services that precluded caching such that the feature could be enabled in a transport-independent manner.

Secondly, to the "core issue in question": I think Stefan has captured the issue exactly right. I just disagree with his conclusion that it should be a requirement to map these features to those of the underlying layer.

In related posts, Savas chimes in with:
Wouldn't it be really nice if we had a Web Services description language to capture these "interesting and useful MEPs" for SOAP message transfers? A vocabulary that didn't promote request-response as the most interesting MEP but, instead, allowed us to describe complicated interactions?
Indeed;-)

Finally, I'm glad to see that someone appreciates my reference to Humpty Dumpty:-)

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

The Firefox Explosion

(Via Bob) a really good Firefox article on Wired. Definitely a worthwhile read. In related news, there is this Groklaw post that stirred up a hornets nest of discussion. My personal take is that the ComputerWorld article isn't really anti-Firefox FUD as much as it is just poorly written (it doesn't make an effective case).

There is much truth in the fact that enterprises cannot just simply switch all their employees to Firefox... many, not all, have invested too much in deploying web-based intranet applications that only work with IE, for whatever reason (though IMO, any enterprise in this position should be taking their IT architects and managers that perpetrated such stupidity out to the woodshed for a severe thrashing with a cluestick!).

What an enterprise should be doing is assessing their inventory of deployed applications and instituting an architectural requirement that mandates standards-based, not product- (or, worse yet, version-) specific, solutions that are browser- and platform-agnostic and developing a transition plan that prioritizes targets for transition and sets a goal for achieving such browser and platform independence.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

None of the above

Steve Maine weighs in on the emerging blogosphere permathread on app protocols and transport independence:
Little bit of a diversion here, but this is what I don’t get about the whole MEST thing: if there’s only one application semantic (i.e. “ProcessMessage”), then why do different things happen when I send you different messages? There’s got to be something inside that message with some meaning, a latent semantic lurking in there somewhere, otherwise the system would never do anything interesting. ProcessMessage/POST is not an operation, it’s a punt. It’s a verb that effectively means “hey, I have no idea what you meant by this, so you go deal with this blob of data in whatever way you see fit”. In other words, it’s a non-verb. The interesting part (the part that actually governs the ultimate behavior) is not the POST but what got POSTed. The application protocol moves up a layer; behavior is governed not by the so-called protocol verb, but by the contents of the message and its position relative to other messages in a sequential conversation. I think it’s inaccurate to say that the entire application protocol consists of walking up to an endpoint and saying “deal with this”…(why that particular endpoint and not a different one? Why did it process one message but fault on a different one? There are semantics in here somewhere!). Maybe Savas can explain this to me.
Exactly right. FWIW, HTTP POST could just as easily have been named PUNT, or NONEOFTHEABOVE, or WHATEVERRR. Possibly, we could have named it after the great philosopher, Humpty Dumpty
"When I accept POST", said Humpty Dumpty, "it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less."
From section 9.5 of RFC2616 (emphasis mine):
The POST method is used to request that the origin server accept the
entity enclosed in the request as a new subordinate of the resource
identified by the Request-URI in the Request-Line. POST is designed to allow a uniform method to cover the following functions:

- Annotation of existing resources;

- Posting a message to a bulletin board, newsgroup, mailing list,
or similar group of articles;

- Providing a block of data, such as the result of submitting a form, to a data-handling process;

- Extending a database through an append operation.

The actual function performed by the POST method is determined by the server and is usually dependent on the Request-URI.
Basically, as it basically says in the specification, POST was designed as the none of the above method (not GET, not PUT, not DELETE, not HEAD, etc.). It has no fixed semantic of its own other than to pass the data in the entity body of the request message to some server-designated process.

Savas follows up with a missive that attempts to clarify Steve's confusion regarding MEST:
In MEST, we see a service-oriented application as a collection of services that interact through the exchange of messages. The messages can be grouped into interesting message exchange patterns or protocols. But, how is communication achieved? We need to define the semantics of how a message is transferred from one service to the other. This is where the ProcessMessage() operation is needed.

We wanted to use people's familiarity with the concept of a 'call', 'method', 'operation' (see WSDL) to describe the semantics of what 'message transfer' meant. So, we combined the concept of a one-way message and the implicit request to process that message (extract the content and do something with it) into a logical operation called ProcessMessage. We thought that if people wanted to describe distributed applications in terms of operations, we could give them one but define its semantics in such a way that we can get what we want: one-way messages.
Both HTTP POST and the MEST ProcessMessage() have roughly the same semantic as far as I can tell.

SOAP defines a processing model that is inherently oneway:
SOAP provides a distributed processing model that assumes a SOAP message originates at an initial SOAP sender and is sent to an ultimate SOAP receiver via zero or more SOAP intermediaries. Note that the SOAP distributed processing model can support many MEPs including but not limited to one-way messages, request/response interactions, and peer-to-peer conversations
The message exchange pattern (MEP) is just that; a pattern. The fact that many, if not most, people use SOAP in conjunction with a request/response MEP doesn't preclude SOAP being used in the context of other, possibly more interesting and useful, MEPs.

However, it is when we come to the point where we need to map MEPs to an underlying transfer protocol, like HTTP that we encounter difficulties. A transfer protocol like HTTP has its own architectural constraints. HTTP is by definition a request/response protocol. The request message originates at the user agent and (typically) terminates at the origin server and the response message is returned over the same network connection on which the request was received, originating at the origin server and terminating at the user agent.

Additionally, HTTP defines the user agent as the entity which establishes the network connection.
client
A program that establishes connections for the purpose of sending
requests.

user agent
The client which initiates a request.
Thus, there is no provision that request messages might be initiated by the origin server and terminate at the user agent. While this presents no problems for the application for which the HTTP protocol was defined (the web), or for applications that interact by means of a request/response MEP in which the roles of the actors map neatly to the roles defined by HTTP, it results in rather unnatural acts when applied to other application uses such as peer-to-peer messaging, publish/subscribe, etc.

The tension in this permathread is really about how to map application semantics to the transfer protocol. Mark would have HTTP be the application. Thus, when the semantic of a request message is "retrieve the representation of the resource identified by this URI", that HTTP GET be used rather than a getSomething() operation tunneled over HTTP POST. That the URI of the resource be required to be the Request-URI of the HTTP request, not buried in a wsa:To SOAP header block in the SOAP entity body of an HTTP POST request message. Mark's point is that by not leveraging the HTTP application protocol, that Web services have effectively opted out of some of the architectural benefits that the infrastructure of the Web provides.
For example, had HTTP not had a GET semantic, then there'd be no need for caching. Now consider that with a "protocol independent" equivalent of GET, ala WS-Transfer, you've lost the ability to optimize the transfer features for that case. So while you could certainly try to deploy WS-Transfer, it would necessarily perform a whole lot worse than HTTP because optimization would require modifying SOAP. At least HTTP is optimized for the general case because it is the result of the merging of the two layers we're talking about.
He's right and he's wrong, at the same time.

He's right that in bypassing the application semantics of HTTP by tunnelling all requests over POST, that Web services has effectively opted out of exploiting the deployed web infrastructure for things like caching of responses and thus will not scale as effectively as it might had it leveraged HTTP GET for those requests that were effectively equivalent to an HTTP GET.

However, his assertion that you would have to modify SOAP to effect the optimization of caching in the context of a WS-Transfer Get in a transport independent manner is just plain wrong. WS-Addressing, maybe... but not SOAP. Just as with HTTP, there would need to be a SOAP header block defined that is the rough equivalent of the HTTP Cache-Control header. This new header could specify the criteria, if any beyond the wsa:To URI, for a matching request and the TTL for the cached response, and be targetted at a soap:role with a URI that specified a caching intermediary SOAP node.

Would a caching SOAP intermediary be as efficient as an HTTP caching intermediary? Possibly not, given that the arguments for the matching criteria are expressed as SOAP header blocks (wsa:To, wsa:Action and possibly a reference parameter(s)), possibly not adjacent to one another whereas with HTTP, the Request-URI and the HTTP Method are adjacent to one another and in the first line of an HTTP request message making it a snap to extract the matching criteria for a cached response. Would it be that much less efficient as to render Web services caching irrelevant? I doubt it. (Of course, there's no reason why the WS-Addressing WG couldn't grant me my wish and have the wsa:To and wsa:Action infoset properties be expressed as attributes on the soap:Envelope element rather than as SOAP header blocks.)

IMHO, it is misguided to assume, or argue, that the HTTP application protocol is the only-application-protocol-we'll-ever-need. The fact is that many of the types of application for which Web services (and WS-Addressing) are intended don't map neatly to the message exchange patterns, application semantics and/or roles defined by the HTTP application protocol.

4 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Friday, January 28, 2005

ALE

Mark follows up on my post on technology in education. He includes a reference to "Action Learning Environment (ALE), an open source environment for building experiential learning environments as interactive as classrooms at their best.". There we find this statement (emphasis mine):
The stampede to put 'computers in the classroom' (why?), and the rash of mindless web-based page-flippers being marketed as 'distance education solutions', show a deep and tragic misunderstanding of both technology and education.
This is right on the money.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

DaveO interview

DaveO has an interview on WebServices.org A Bottom-Up Success Story:
Q: Which specifications are most important to BEA at the moment?

We are spending a fair amount of time working on WS-Addressing, which has gone to the W3C for standardization. It’s a core Web services infrastructure piece, and other specifications are dependant upon it. We are also big believers in WS-ReliableMessaging, as well as WS-Security, a core set of enterprise messaging specifications. We’re working to get them in good shape with a stable specification, interoperability, availability on royalty-free terms, and descriptions of those specifications through WS-Policy.
Amen, brother!

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

ROTFL

[Via Josh Marshall]

(GIF Image, 500x318 pixels)

1 Comments:

  • That cartoon on "privatization" says it all. Great
    This is Dad (no password...and no idea how to get one)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 27, 2005 6:34 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Whateverrrr

Tom Toles A septagenarian using the phrase "whatever". Priceless.

The thing that really gets me though is how the press rarely makes a point about the Orwellian nature of the Bush administration's use of language.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat...

Herodotus:
Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.


Apparently, the USPS does not deliver mail if there's any snow around your mailbox as I discovered yesterday when the postman never rang once... just drove on past our door. Apparently, around a foot and a half of plowed snow at the curb was enough to deter his rounds.

2 Comments:

  • That creed means snow falling not snow piled up. Your mailman is not going to take the risk of getting injured just to deliver your mail. The creed should say neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift compleation of their appointed rounds.......unless the afore mentioned elements can cause an injury.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 29, 2005 12:04 AM  

  • Ha!! We have days when our mailman doesn't deliver the mail and there is no snow, nor rain...yada, yada. Just no damn personnel to deliver the mail is my guess. I run a home based business so this really ticks me off. The nerve of them raising the cost of a postage stamp!! I'm going to do like everyone else and just use email. If they want to keep my mail, then they can just pay my damn bills.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 09, 2007 9:30 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Stupid US cellphone companies

Geoff is ticked off at cell phone companies. Me too. Recently, my daughter's phone had an unfortunate incident with a toilet (fell out the back pocket... plunk... flush... oops!) and we had to go get her a new phone. I too am a Cingular nee AT&T Wireless customer (IBM has/had a really sweet corporate discount). So, my daughter and I went for a ride to the nearest Cingular branch (actually, we went to the next closest one in North Smithfield, RI which was jam packed. My daughter then informed me that there's a branch in the new Milbury plaza. So, we hopped back in the car and drove there). Upon entering the (empty) branch in Milbury, we were informed by the disinterested clerk that they couldn't service us because we were AT&T Wireless customers... they didn't have access gto the AT&T systems in stores that were not formerly AT&T Wireless outlets.

Sigh. Okay... now we have to travel to the Emerald Square Mall in North Attleboro (about a 30 minute drive from Milbury).

We get to the North Attleboro branch of AT&T Wireless... it looks just like all of the other Cingular branches with the minor exception of a poster out front that declares it an AT&T Wireless branch (the one we used to go to for service). All the other signage is Cingular.

Anyway, after waiting about 20 minutes for the next available clerk (why does it take sooooo long to execute a transaction with a cell phone company?) We were informed that they had only one... that't right... one AT&T phone left. All the others were Cingular phones (and the selection as Geoff mentions was generally paltry aside from the slick Motorola Razr).

The one phone they did have was a higher-end Nokia with a built-in camera and flashlight amongst other things.

I inquired as to why she couldn't get one of the Cingular phones. The clerk (a former AT&T Wireless employee) informed me that Cingular was trying to get all of the AT&T customers switched over to Cingular accounts. I said, "but we get our statement from, and pay Cingular... certainly that makes us Cingular customers". Ah, you foolish boy, no. You are still an AT&T Wireless customer. You're on their plan, etc. I see, said I. He said, we could switch you and your family over to Cingular, but then you wouldn't get the sweet corporate discount you enjoy with AT&T because Cingular hasn't renegotiated with AT&T's corporate discount customers yet. He expected that would take a couple months since the merger was only made final recently.

So, here I am in a sea of phones... flip phones (which my daughter wanted), camera phones, PDA phones (granted, not the greatest selection, but at least a dozen types) and I am left with a take it or leave it choice. I go from preferred customer with a juicy corproate discount to pond scum in terms of Cingular's treatment of me in one fell swoop.

Great, just great. So, I can't visit the bazillion branches of Cingular (they are like mushrooms, about one every 10 square miles from what I can tell), I am limited to former AT&T Wireless branches and if any of us has a hardware problem, we're probably hosed and will have to switch to a Cingular account to get a phone without going through their phone-based customer service.

I certainly hope they straighten this out soon. Afterall, I am on the hook for about another year on the two year contract I signed to get the discounted rate on top of the discounted rate for the set of phones I and my family are currently using.

4 Comments:

  • I like to describe this as being stuck between two companies. Usually it's a situation where neither company wants to take responsibility for a billing error. In your case the two companies could not communicate with itself very well.

    I describe it as two companies because really the two distinct corporate cultures had not had not had time to mesh very well when you posted this.

    I write about telecom stuff for consummers, to help you to work with your telecom and television companies better.

    Email me if you have specific questions.

    http://www.telecommer.com

    By Anonymous telecom rep, at May 19, 2005 12:22 AM  

  • Cingular Billing Horrors:

    First Bill : Additional charge for cancelling a phone line 280$. ( I was never a Cingular or AT&T customer ). GO Figure.

    Second Bill: Shocking 500+$. I analyzed bill carefully. It turns out they have billed me for mobile-to-mobile minutes in family talk REGIONAL plan. I work in NYC and live in NJ. So I had signed up for NATIONAL mobile-to-mobile plan so me and my wife can share it. It turns out cingular's REGIONAL assumption makes you pay for twice ( I had both phones in my name , though one was used by my wife ). You pay for receiving and calling as well. Luckily, I found my original contract so I can dispute this fact.

    Be careful, analyze your bills from cell companies and save yourself from getting robbed outright even without you realizing it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 06, 2005 7:35 PM  

  • sorry to hear that your experience is so bad with Cingular. I've been with Cingular/Bellsouth for over 10 years and have no complaints. I too took advantage of the IBM Corp discount with ATT at one time. Hated thier service. Anyhow....Cingular now offers the mega corp discount for IBM Employees. 50% off on all non data hardware and 23% off on monthly billing. Good luck!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 09, 2005 5:43 PM  

  • Before the AT&T merger, I was a cingular customer. After countless billing errors and false roaming charges (which each take 30 minutes on the phone to correct) I fired them and went to AT&T GSM with my 4 phones.

    Things were great. Then, the dreaded merger. Now, billing issues, funny charges, and heaven help you if you break or loose your phone. You call them up and get phrases like “you’re one of those old AT&T customers” (apparently with leprosy, the way they talk.)

    My solution is two pronged. First, when a phone fails, you buy another on eBay. They are flooded with AT&T GSM phones that belong to those who have already left (or in a moment of weakness became “cingular” customers). You can also get AT&T SIM cards for about $3 each.

    The second part of the solution is even better. I have programmed my contract expiration date into my phone memo calendar. A few days before the contract end, the phone will pop up a message to remind me to go fire these guys and try someone else. Looking forward to it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 26, 2005 11:55 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

We're all doofuses

Mark Baker:
Its clear to me that Steve (and every other Web service proponent for that matter) has yet to fully absorb the implications of that. Remember, we're talking about very different stacks that use the same word (protocol) to refer to very different parts of that stack; in the Web services stack a 'protocol' is inconsequential, while in any Internet/Web based stack, the protocol is the fundamental building block of interoperability, the exact opposite of 'inconsequential'.
Gimme a break.

1 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Monday, January 24, 2005

Tim Bray: The Decline of Script

Tim opines on The Decline of Script.

I had meant to write about this a short while back. I was engaged in a similar discussion a while back over beers after tennis on the topic of education. We were all in agreement that it was a complete waste of time for children to be taught penmanship (cursive writing). They should be learning keyboard skills if anything. Of course, most of the young kids know more about computers than their teachers which is really sad.

This brings me to a post I have been meaning to finish for over a week. There had been some discussion on this point in the blogosphere in response to this article:
WASHINGTON - Schools lag behind much of society in using technology, but students are seeing benefits and clamoring for more access to computers, the government says.
Maybe the educators should ask the students how the technologies they use daily could be used to improve things in the schools.

Today's kids have grown up immersed in technology. They use email, IM, and the web starting at an early age, many teens have web pages and blogs. They could probably teach their teachers a thing or two if the teachers bothered to ask. Beyond that, we really do need to have a societal discussion on the state of our educational system. The education system we currently suffer was designed for the industrial age, not the information age. That needs to change. We need to recognize that IT is a critical part of our lives and IT skills are critical to anyone's success, regardless of their vocation.

Here are some simple ways that some simple technologies could improve education, especially as it relates to communications between teachers, parents and students.
  1. Wiki and/or blog -- some schools use an online service (I can't recall the domain) to post homework assignments, but it was clunky and probably costs money for the school. For elementary schools, where a teacher has a single class, a blog would suffice. The teacher could blog homework assignments on a daily basis. Both parents and students could have easy access to this information. It would help parents supervise homework and eliminate the circumstances where students "forgot" to bring home their list. For secondary school, where teachers and students have multiple classes, a wiki might be a better choice. It could be access controlled so that students weren't tempted to hack the information.

  2. IM -- teachers could give out their IM address and offer to help students with questions about homework assignments via IM. Parents could contact the teachers and vice-versa to discuss the student's progress, etc.

  3. XForms-based testing -- this just makes sense to me. Teachers spend considerable time grading tests and homework. This could be easily automated, especially for multiple-choice type tests. The time that teachers could save not having to grade tests and homework assignments could be used to coach students (see IM above)

  4. Text books on DVD, memory stick, or better yet, on the web -- again, this just makes sense. Sure, not everyone can afford a computer, but that excuse is becoming less and less valid with every passing day. You can get a decent entry-level computer for less than $500.00 USD. Kids don't really need to lug around a backpack of tomes when they could be stamped out on CD or DVD saving tons of $$$ in printing costs for school systems.

  5. For that matter, how about wiki text books? -- this is an idea that could be worth pursuing. Especially for some of the more volatile curricula.
All in all, I think we have to do something to transform education in this country. Let's start by asking the kids to help teach the educators something about how to use a computer.

1 Comments:

  • I really like innovative ideas for applying computers to education. I found an intriguing open source project...

    http://www.mindreef.com/people/markericson/weblog/

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 25, 2005 6:41 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Jet lagged

Marc has a new blog, and he's jet lagged from his trip to Melbourne.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Sunday, January 23, 2005

AFC Champs!

Patriots, just gettin' it done the old fashioned way.

Dominant.

What's the magic? They haven't got any so-called superstars (at least, none that are given the credit they deserve). No first round picks. No free agents. They are injured at nearly every position. Yet every week, they just get the job done.

Incredible.

Now we get two weeks of Super Bowl hype (sigh). Fortunately, the Patriots, as a team, have been there before. Philly is just glad to finally win the NFC championship after 4 missed opportunities. They will be ill-prepared... not that there's much they can do to stop the Belichick machine:-)

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Goodbye Johnny

Late-Night King Johnny Carson Dies at 79

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

TuneJuice

Griffin Technology: TuneJuice. Kewl. I'd still like to find an iPod power adaptor for airplane power jacks.

Update: this seems even sleeker but would be a little heavier (6 AAA batteries vs one 9v).

Update II: Hah! Found what I was looking for.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Spreading Freedom™

Fafblog: Freedom™ is a delicious dessert topping...

But, it's also a floor wax!

ROTFL

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Live blogging Blizzard of ought five

Just finished clearing the driveway for the second time since the storm began. Snow totals for last night were about 7" at 11:30 pm. An additional 9-10" this morning for a total of about 17", although it is tough to measure with all the drifting... the driveway seems to have much less than the surrounding areas (which I have no desire to measure).

It is still less windy than when we first got up this morning. Snow is still falling roughly vertically. However, you can still hear the wind above the treetops, so maybe the trees are acting as a wind-break, protecting us below from the stronger winds.

There were a few other brave souls out in my neighborhood clearing their driveways. I could see next door and across the street, but could only hear the others.

Update 10:30 am ET: Here are some images from front and back.

Blizzard '05 front yard Blizzard '05 back porch

You can see the snow is more than half way up the mailbox post at the end of our driveway. That object in the back is our gas grill and the other in the foreground is the picnic table which has about 2 feet of snow on it since I never bothered to clear it from the last storm earlier in the week (4-5") when I was in Phoenix, where it was 79F and sunny (near record high) and thoughts of snow were far from my mind.

Update 12:00 pm ET: The sun seems to be peeking through. Can't tell if it is still snowing or just fallen blowing around. Think that the worst may be over.

Update 12:10 pm ET: Less than 2" additional accumulation in the driveway since I cleared it at 9:30 am ET. Think I'll go out after lunch and finish the job. Also will to do the neighbor's driveway as they are away for the weekend. Gosh, I'm such a nice guy:-)

Update 1:00 pm ET: Finished the driveway and sidewalk. Still have to do something about the walkway up to the front door... I'll have to do that by hand (steps preclude use of the snow blower) so it'll have to wait until I thaw out. The snow is quite light and fluffy because of the cold, so shouldn't be that difficult. It's just damned cold out there (+14F).

My neighbor across the street conscripted one of his sons to do my neighbor's driveway, so I'm off the hook. I'm still a nice guy for thinking of it:-)

The snow has started again, pretty steady now, and the sun is no longer poking through the haze. Visibility is much better now. I can see through to the other street behind us. Wish that I hadn't been fooled by the lull in the storm. Will probably have to get out there once more before it's all over.

Update 3:00 pm ET: Storm is over. Sun is out and skies are partly blue. Not much more in the way of accumulation. Total about 19-20" which is the low-end of what they had predicted. For once, the weather geeks were right on the money.

Now for some football!

Oh, and my wife reminds me I still have to clear the front walkway. Sigh.

Final update 3:45 pm ET: Okay, I cleared the front and back walkway and deck. The snow drift at the bottom of the stairs of our deck was easily 30", possibly more. Definitely thigh-height. The front was not as bad. I guess we'll have to wait for the evening news and tomorrow's papers for the media to pronounce this as equal or worse than the Blizzard of '78. From here, and my memory of the event, I'd have to say no. However, Boston and the south shore were supposed to get hit much harder than those of us in central Mass. We'll see.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Will this storm beat the blizzard of '78?

Geoff has the records from the NWS.

Yesterday we broke the daily record for snowfall for Jan 22 -- 9.1" at Logan airport. Today's record is 12.4" (1935) which will easily be shattered. Geoff's post had me wondering how they measure snowfall depth in the face of heavy drifting. Apparently, they simply average totals from a variety of locations all selected to minimize drifting.

As for the local report, we've had 2" accumulation since I shoveled the deck just an hour ago. Of course, this is unofficial since I broke the rules by measuring close to a building:-) The winds have somewhat subsided and it is now snowing vertically instead of horizontally, as it was when we woke up. I still can't see the street behind us though.

I should probably get out and clear the driveway before it gets to depths that the snow blower can't handle.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

All dressed up without a clue

Some Question Background of Unit's Leader (washingtonpost.com):
'They arrived with shiny black kneepads and elbow pads, shiny black helmets,' said one special forces officer who served with Waldroup's men in Iraq. 'They brought M-4 rifles with all the accoutrements, scopes and high-end [satellite equipment] they didn't know how to use.' An older member of Waldroup's staff 'became an anchor because of his physical conditioning and his lack of knowledge of our tactics, techniques and procedures. The guy actually put us in danger.'

Another special forces officer, who served with the augmentation team members in Afghanistan, said some of the intelligence officers deployed with his unit were reluctant to leave their base and spoke only to local residents who ventured inside. 'These guys can't set up networks and run agents and recruit tribal elders,' he said.
Scary really. Read the article.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Snow

At least a foot, possibly more... tough to tell with all the drifting. Still going strong. Visibility is about a block if that. Wind is pretty brisk. The blizzard is not supposed to end until 5 pm.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Nevermind...

The WaPo reports Bush Speech Not a Sign of Policy Shift, Officials Say:
White House officials said yesterday that President Bush's soaring inaugural address, in which he declared the goal of ending tyranny around the world, represents no significant shift in U.S. foreign policy but instead was meant as a crystallization and clarification of policies he is pursuing in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East and elsewhere.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Good riddance

FCC Chairman Powell resigns - Jan. 21, 2005. Also sprach Howard Stern:
'Thank God he's gone,' he said. 'This is a great day in broadcasting.'

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Titan made of creme brulee

The Moon may have once been thought to have been made of cheese, but CNN reports that Saturn's moon Titan has the consistency of creme brulee (emphasis mine):
That surface, which scientists have said was the consistency of wet sand or even creme brulee, features ice rocks, channels, and abundant indications of liquid from rain.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Better off?

Be sure to read the NYT article: Missing Money: Mystery in Iraq as $300 Million is Taken Abroad:
'I am sorry to say that the corruption here is worse now than in the Saddam Hussein era,' said Mowaffak al-Rubaie, the Iraqi national security adviser, who said he had not been informed of the details of the flight or the arms deal.
I'm shocked!

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

$%#@!

I got a flat tire on the way into tennis this morning; the coldest of the year (-9F).
To make matters worse, the chintzy jack buckled when the car slid forward and I couldn't get it to work properly. Fortunately, a good Samaritan came by and offered to lend me his jack. Needless to say, I was a few minutes late to tennis.

When I got home, I noticed that my wife's car also had a flat!

I guess better to learn this now than later today when they forecast up to 30" of snow and blizzard conditions.

I hadn't anticipated spending my day getting tires repaired.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Oops!

Jeff sent me a note regarding my article on the Basic Profile changes from 1.0 to 1.1. He correctly pointed out that I had mistakenly confused R2724 with R2714 text for BP1.1. The article should have stated that R2724 had only changed with regards to the term "envelope". For the record, the difference between BP1.0 and BP1.1 for R2724 is as follows:
RequirementBP1.0BP1.1
R2724If an INSTANCE receives a message that is inconsistent with its WSDL description, it SHOULD generate a soap:Fault with a faultcode of "Client", unless a "MustUnderstand" or "VersionMismatch" fault is generated.If an INSTANCE receives an envelope that is inconsistent with its WSDL description, it SHOULD generate a soap:Fault with a faultcode of "Client", unless a "MustUnderstand" or "VersionMismatch" fault is generated.
The incorrect entry for R2724 should be removed and R2724 should be added to the list of requirements that were amended to reflect the change in terminology regarding the use of the term "message" and "envelope" in the section titled "New Conformance Target" as follows:
Additionally, the following requirements were modified such that the term message was replaced with the term envelope to be consistent with the revised conformance targets that distinguish between the SOAP envelope and the HTTP message:

R2751, R2748, R1025, R1027, R1028, R1029, R2724.
Of course, now I need to figure out how to get a change made to a published article on IBM's developerWorks.

Thanks Jeff!

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Friday, January 21, 2005

Prayer of the frequent flyer

Don Ferguson:
... you should see the cable unwinding behind the plane. Please God, don't let it snag.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Ya think?

DaveO on a rant:
What I really think is going on is FUD to enable a US imperial foreign policy. If he and others can successfully convince the world that there is no problem, then any interventions around the world couldn't possibly be for oil reasons. Surely installing democracy in Iraq is the real reason to invade Iraq if there's no oil problem. But if there is a growing shortage of oil, then perhaps an iraq invasion might be about access to oil instead of 'democracy'.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

About right


I am nerdier than 72% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!


Technorati Tags:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

More WS-I Compliance

Stefan continues the discussion in comments
Didn't you write that if I want my WSDL to be SSBP (not only BP) compliant, ALL of my bindings have to be SSBP? That's the only reason I'm so stubborn about this separation.
Ahh... I may have said that, but didn't mean to suggest that there was some relationship with document organization. You can place conformance claims where they make sense. If the physical document happens to also carry non-conformant bindings, etc. that is fine from WS-I's perspective.

Technorati Tags: , ,

1 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Lies, damn lies and statistics

The Minneapolis - St. Paul Star Tribune editorial today tells it like it is (emphasis mine):
Of all the lies -- let's call them by their right name -- that the Bush administration is spreading about Social Security, none is as vile as the canard Bush repeated last Tuesday, when he said, "African-American males die sooner than other males do, which means the [Social Security] system is inherently unfair to a certain group of people. And that needs to be fixed."

...

Social Security is a complex program, so it's easy to tell outright lies or make misleading statements about it with little fear of contradiction from the general public. All Americans should be on notice that the Bush administration, in its drive to start dismantling Social Security, isn't telling the truth on several fronts.
I was watching a clip of Bush in one of his "unscripted town hall" meetings on the Daily Show when he sprung that statement. The body language of the guy sitting next to the president was undeniably one of WTF!? That was certainly my reaction.

I'm glad to see that the press (aside from the Daily Show which has been doing so for some time now) is finally calling a spade a spade.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Go Pats!

All week long, the sports pundits were blathering on, and on, and on about Peyton this and Manning that... how can the Patriots possibly stop this machine that is the Colts' offense. The Patriots are the most under-appreciated team in football because they don't have a standout superstar player like Manning or Vick. Yet, Tom Brady is 7-0 lifetime in post-season play and has been Super Bowl MVP twice. You'd think that would count for something:-)

The Patriots won 20-3 over the Indianapolis Colts in their usual style... no heros, no heroics... just outstanding team play (where they are by far the better team on the field), and solid, impenetrable defensive play (despite their supposedly anemic secondary).

Pittsburg barely beat the Jets yesterday by virtue of the Jets' non-existant offense and pitiful kicking game. While it will most certainly be difficult to win at Pittsburg's Hines field, the Patriots will go into the game as they always do... the better team.

Next weekend is the Super Bowl as far as I am concerned.

Technorati Tags: , ,

1 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Technorati tags

Technorati tags are kewl. There's even a bookmarklet to aide those, like me, who use Blogger which lacks categories (which has always been a pet peeve of mine).

I've just added Technorati tags to my most recent posts. Let's see where this leads.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Repeat after me...

Social Security Agency Is Enlisted to Push Its Own Revision:
WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 - Over the objections of many of its own employees, the Social Security Administration is gearing up for a major effort to publicize the financial problems of Social Security and to convince the public that private accounts are needed as part of any solution.

The agency's plans are set forth in internal documents, including a 'tactical plan' for communications and marketing of the idea that Social Security faces dire financial problems requiring immediate action.

Social Security officials say the agency is carrying out its mission to educate the public, including more than 47 million beneficiaries, and to support President Bush's agenda.

'The system is broken, and promises are being made that Social Security cannot keep,' Mr. Bush said in his Saturday radio address. He is expected to address the issue in his Inaugural Address.

But agency employees have complained to Social Security officials that they are being conscripted into a political battle over the future of the program. They question the accuracy of recent statements by the agency, and they say that money from the Social Security trust fund should not be used for such advocacy.

'Trust fund dollars should not be used to promote a political agenda,' said Dana C. Duggins, a vice president of the Social Security Council of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents more than 50,000 of the agency's 64,000 workers and has opposed private accounts.
Once again, the administration resorts to its tried and true tactic of repeating a lie so frequently that people start believing it to be true.

I'm growing weary of the administration using my tax dollars to fund propoganda at advance its political agenda.

Technorati Tags: , ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Classic Rich

Frank Rich: All the President's Newsmen:
But the Jan. 7 edition of CNN's signature show can stand as an exceptionally ripe paradigm of what is happening to the free flow of information in a country in which a timid news media, the fierce (and often covert) Bush administration propaganda machine, lax and sometimes corrupt journalistic practices, and a celebrity culture all combine to keep the public at many more than six degrees of separation from anything that might resemble the truth.
Read the whole thing.

Technorati Tags: , ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Friday, January 14, 2005

WS-I Compliance Continued

Stefan elaborates a bit on his concerns. However, as I indicated, it isn't necessary to separate out the abstract and concrete aspects of the WSDL. You simply annotate the bits that conform. e.g.
<wsdl:definitions xmlns:wsdl="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/wsdl" 

xmlns:tns="http://example.org/myservice"
xmlns:soapbind="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/wsdl/soap"
xmlns:wsi="http://ws-i.org/schemas/conformanceClaim/"
targetNamespace="http://example.org/myservice">
<wsdl:portType name="MyPortType">
<wsdl:documentation>
<wsi:Claim
conformsTo="http://ws-i.org/profiles/basic/1.1" />
</wsdl:documentation>
...
</wsdl:portType>
<wsdl:binding name="MyBinding" portType="tns:MyPortType" >
...
</wsdl:binding>
<wsdl:service name="MyService" >
<wsdl:port name="MyPort" binding="tns:MyBinding" >
<wsdl:documentation>
<wsi:Claim
conformsTo="http://ws-i.org/Profiles/SimpleSoapBinding/1.0" />
</wsdl:documentation>
<soapbind:address
location="http://example.org/myservice/myport" />
</wsdl:port>
<wsdl:port name="MyPort" binding="tns:MyBinding" >
<soapbind:address
location="http://example.org/myservice/mynonConformantPort" />
</wsdl:port>
</wsdl:service>
</wsdl:definitions>
This should work. YMMV.

Technorati Tags: , ,

1 Comments:

  • Thanks for your help, Chris; I thought it might be easier to continue in one place for a few iterations, so I'm using a comment here :-)

    Didn't you write that if I want my WSDL to be SSBP (not only BP) compliant, ALL of my bindings have to be SSBP? That's the only reason I'm so stubborn about this separation.

    By Blogger Stefan Tilkov, at January 15, 2005 4:29 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

More on WS-I Profiles

Stefan writes:
If my reading of the spec is correct, another workaround would be to separate the WSDL into its abstract part (schemas, messages, operations and portTypes) and into one or more concrete bindings. The abstract part would be BP 1.1 compliant, the concrete part would claim conformance to the Binding Profile (where applicable).
He is correct. You can place a conformance claim on the wsdl:portType to designate that the abstract portion of the WSDL is conformant with the profile. e.g.
<wsdl:definitions xmlns:wsdl="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/wsdl" 

xmlns:tns="http://example.org/myservice"
xmlns:soapbind="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/wsdl/soap"
xmlns:wsi="http://ws-i.org/schemas/conformanceClaim/"
targetNamespace="http://example.org/myservice">
<wsdl:portType name="MyPortType">
<wsdl:documentation>
<wsi:Claim
conformsTo="http://ws-i.org/profiles/basic/1.1" />
</wsdl:documentation>
...
</wsdl:portType>
<wsdl:binding name="MyBinding" portType="MyPortType" >
...
</wsdl:binding>
<wsdl:service name="MyService" >
<wsdl:port name="MyPort" binding="tns:MyBinding" >
<soapbind:address
location="http://example.org/myservice/myport" />
</wsdl:port>
</wsdl:service>
</wsdl:definitions>
I should note that it isn't actually necessary to separate the abstract and concrete portions into separate physical documents. The conformance claims are scoped so you can have both conformant and non-conformant aspects of the same WSDL description document.

He continues:
The only downside I can see is that this way, it will not be possible to use a single wsdl:service with multiple wsdl:port elements. But that is something I’d be willing to accept.
Which I don't understand. You can make a claim of conformance on either the entire service, or to an individual wsdl:port within a service. Hence, a wsdl:service that had multiple wsdl:port children, some conformant and others not, would only annotate those wsdl:ports which are conformant. It should also be possible to annotate a wsdl:portType and the wsdl:port that references a conformant wsdl:binding and not annotate another wsdl:port that references a wsdl:binding to that same wsdl:portType that is not conformant (e.g. one with a SOAP binding and another with a JMS binding to the same portType).

Technorati Tags: , ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Shuffle meme

[Via Bradford Plumer] "Open up your entire music library, hit shuffle, and see what the first ten songs to come up are."

1. Right Through You -- Alanis Morrisette
2. Angel -- Jimi Hendrix
3. Cocaine -- Eric Clapton
4. If I Had Possession Over Judgement -- Eric Clapton
5. Turn Me On -- Norah Jones
6. It's Too Late -- Derek & the Dominos
7. Wish You Were Here -- Pink Floyd
8. Speed of Light -- Joe Satriani
9. Brandenburg Concerto #3 -- Johann Sebastian Bach
10 . Rhapsody in Blue -- George Gershwin

Technorati Tags:

1 Comments:

  • Don't songs 9 and 10 come with Windows?

    You can make fun of my own list here. Oh wait, no you can't. Comments are disabled... Oh well, you can still make fun of me via email.

    By Blogger Marc g, at January 19, 2005 5:01 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Thursday, January 13, 2005

The ones in the red current jelly?

ROTFL! this (video/quicktime Object) is just too funny.

Technorati Tags: , ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Applying WS-I Basic Profile

Stefan is applying the WS-I Basic Profile in his current project. You chose wisely, Grasshopper! :-)

He enumerates some of the project's guidelines:
3. All of our functional extensions — e.g. transactions (which will likely not include but I’ll use as an example anyway) — will be implemented using SOAP and WSDL extension mechanisms. This means that there may be custom SOAP headers, e.g. to propagate a transaction context, as well as meta-data, e.g. in the form of elements from other namespaces within our WSDLs.

It’s the last point that I’m not 100% percent sure about yet. I believe the Basic Profile does not restrict the usage of extensions such as SOAP headers or additional WSDL elements — while they’ll obviously impact interoperability with simple and out-of-the-box service consumers and providers, it would be perfectly possible to interact with services that use these extensions if the toolkit or implementation technology of outside or 3rd parties support access to those extension elements. In other words: A service that expects certain specific SOAP headers to be set, or a WSDL that includes custom extensions, could still be profile compliant.
This is indeed a good question. I may possibly be able to shed some light on the matter.

As I explain in my article on the new WS-I Profiles, there are now three profiles: Basic Profile 1.1 (BP1.1), Simple Soap Binding Profile 1.0 (SSBP1.0) and the Attachments Profile 1.0 (AP1.0). These can be used in conjunction with eachother as follows: BP1.1, BP1.1 + SSBP1.0 and BP1.1 + AP1.0. The WS-I Testing Tools can be used to test for each of these three conformance configurations.

The Basic Profile 1.1 includes some extensibility points which, if exploited, are flagged by the WS-I Testing Tools (note that the BP1.1 testing tools are not yet final, but are in the approval cycle and should be available soon) as warnings. Thus, you can be conformant with the profile with the caveat that interoperability may be compromised.

However, there is a twist to the use of extensibility points in WSDL bindings if you want to also claim conformance to the Simple Soap Binding Profile 1.0 as it constrains the WSDL binding to be only the WSDL SOAP binding, exclusive of any extensions. So, for those cases where the WSDL SOAP binding is used in conjunction with some other WSDL extension, it may be best to simply claim conformance only with the Basic Profile 1.1.

Also, if there will be use of SOAP headers, then in order to enable interoperability, it might be best to avoid use of the SOAP mustUnderstand attribute if at all possible. Construct the service such that it can function without the headers. Thus, clients that don't support the extensions, can still access the service and clients that do support the extensions can take advantage of the increased functionality, etc. Just a thought.

It will be interesting to follow the progress on his project!

Technorati Tags: , ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Poor Man: Compare and Contrast

The Poor Man has a side-by-side comparison of Rathergate and the Search for WMD in Iraq. Brilliant, as usual.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Maestro!

[Via Stefan] I agree, this (6.9MB Windows Media) is pretty funny. And no Stefan, I won't call you a simple-minded fool:-)

Technorati Tags:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Exellent!

From IsThatLegal?, a one-time employee of Chertoff notes the striking similarity between the DHS nominee and the infamous Mr. Burns.

Too funny!

Technorati Tags: ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Good for the goose

Allawi group slips cash to reporters:
The electoral group headed by Iyad Allawi, the interim Iraqi prime minister, on Monday handed out cash to journalists to ensure coverage of its press conferences in a throwback to Ba'athist-era patronage ahead of parliamentary elections on January 30.

After a meeting held by Mr Allawi's campaign alliance in west Baghdad, reporters, most of whom were from the Arabic-language press, were invited upstairs where each was offered a "gift" of a $100 bill contained in an envelope.
Hmmm... these Iraqi reporters should come to the U.S.. I hear that our gummint is handing out envelopes to the press with $240,000 in them.

Then there's this pair of gems:
Mr Allawi's list, whose campaign emphasises the rebuilding of the Iraqi military, is playing on its leader's reputation as a strongman and Iraqi yearnings for stability.

Like most candidate groups, Mr Allawi's has not announced its complete list of candidates for security reasons.
So, Allawi is marketing his campaign on the premise that he's a 'strongman'. Isn't that one of the reasons we invaded in the first place? To rid Iraq of its 'strongman' dictator, that the U.S. helped put into power? Secondly, we call this a 'democracy', when 'for security reasons', the electorate does not get to know for whom they are voting? Do they remain annonymous after the elections too so that the insurgents won't kill them at the first opportunity?

Curiouser and curiouser...

Technorati Tags: , , ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Mac mini

Yum! If only I weren't saddled with college tuition obligations...

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Do not eat iPod shuffle

iPod shuffle:
1. Music capacity is based on 4 minutes per song and 128Kbps AAC encoding.
2. Do not eat iPod shuffle.
3. Rechargeable batteries have a limited number of charge cycles and may eventually need to be replaced. Battery life and number of charge cycles vary by use and settings. See www.apple.com/batteries for more information.
4. Some computers require either the optional iPod shuffle Dock or a USB cable extender (sold separately).
The iPod Shuffle is compared in size to a pack of chewing gum. The footnote in the caption reminds people not to eat it though:-)

This is really kewl. I only wish that these had been shipping before Christmas. We bought our daughter a 128Mb iRiver for Christmas, which is nice, but the 512Mb Shuffle is sweeter and has 4x capacity at a lower price and works with iTunes. Given that I have ripped all our CD collection to ACC, we were going through the pain of having to rip them all again so she could have a format supported by the iRiver.

My bet is that the iPod Shuffle will sell like packs of chewing gum!

Update: DaveO is sticking with his MuVo. I dunno, I think the shuffle it would make an exellent backup for my iPod Mini on long-haul flights and, as I mentioned above, I have all my tunes in iTunes AAC format.

Update II: Apparently Sam has a sharp eye, too.

Technorati Tags: , ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Go Blue!

Now this is just way cool!
IBM plans to announce today that it is making 500 of its software patents freely available to anyone working on open-source projects, like the popular Linux operating system, on which programmers collaborate and share code.

...

John Kelly, the senior vice president for technology and intellectual property, called the patent contribution "the beginning of a new era in how I.B.M. will manage intellectual property."

...

I.B.M. executives say the company's new approach to intellectual property represents more than a rethinking of where the company's self-interest lies. In recent speeches, for example, Samuel J. Palmisano, I.B.M.'s chief executive, has emphasized the need for more open technology standards and collaboration as a way to stimulate economic growth and job creation.

On this issue, I.B.M. appears to be siding with a growing number of academics and industry analysts who regard open-source software projects as early evidence of the wide collaboration and innovation made possible by the Internet, providing opportunities for economies, companies and individuals who can exploit the new model.

"This is exciting," said Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Stanford Law School and founder of the school's Center for Internet and Society. "It is I.B.M. making good on its commitment to encourage a different kind of software development and recognizing the burden that patents can impose."
Update: Lessig has weighed in on this great news.
This is important news. It further demonstrates IBM's commitment to making free software and open source software development flourish. And it could well inspire others to follow. Ideally there should be a trust that these patents could be contributed into. We'll have to get the commonists to get to work building such a thing.
You can't imagine how hard some of us have been lobbying to change things from within. This is pay-dirt. Makes me proud to be an IBMer.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Maybe Rummy was right

Now, the insurgency is blowing up tanks with their IEDs (emphasis mine):
For the second time in four days, insurgents used a huge roadside bomb to destroy a Bradley fighting vehicle, one of the American military's most heavily armored troop carriers, as it was patrolling in southwest Baghdad. On Jan. 6, a bomb in northwest Baghdad killed seven soldiers inside a Bradley.
Of course, that doesn't excuse the Pentagon from short-changing the guard and reserve troops on armored vehicles, but it seems that all the armor in the world isn't going to protect our troops from the class of explosives that the insurgency is using lately.

Maybe it's time to declare victory and bring our troops home. But alas, the administration's "everything's coming up roses" mentality won't allow it to take advantage of a golden opportunity to do so.

Technorati Tags: ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

What's wrong with this picture?

U.S. tells D.C. to pay inaugural expenses (emphasis mine):
D.C. officials said yesterday that the Bush administration is refusing to reimburse the District for most of the costs associated with next week's inauguration, breaking with precedent and forcing the city to divert $11.9 million from homeland security projects.

Federal officials have told the District that it should cover the expenses by using some of the $240 million in federal homeland security grants it has received in the past three years -- money awarded to the city because it is among the places at highest risk of a terrorist attack.
Let's party like it's 2000!
A spokesman for Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, which oversees the District, agreed with the mayor's stance. He called the Bush administration's position "simply not acceptable."

'Most odious'
"It's an unfunded mandate of the most odious kind. How can the District be asked to take funds from important homeland security projects to pay for this instead?" said Davis spokesman David Marin.

The region has earmarked federal homeland security funds for such priorities as increasing hospital capacity, equipping firefighters with protective gear and building transit system command centers.
Yeah, let's divert money from far less important items, like hospitals and firefighting, so that a bunch of Republican fat cats can get wasted and rub elbows with Dubya, Darth, and Rummy. I'm sure that the capitol's nurses and firefighters will appreciate the importance of the inaugural over homeland security next time there's a terrorist attack in D.C. At least there appears to be bipartisan outrage towards this egregious misappropriation of homeland security funds.

Speaking of Darth, has anyone heard from, or seen, Cheney since the election? Does he have a pulse? Is he still breathing?

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Monday, January 10, 2005

Relief politics

Sanjiva updates us on his efforts at getting the Sri Lanka tsunami relief effort the IT support it needs.

1 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Iraqtile dysfunction

I saw the title above inside a greeting card today. On the front, Dubya is pictured with the caption: "I have this problem I need help with...". The news from Iraq certainly qualifies: After Threats, Iraqi Electoral Board Resigns.

How can you have elections when the entire electoral commission in one of the key provinces resigns due to death threats? Of course, the article's content is much more than just that one story, but a detailed list of a number of completely FUBAR events in Iraq today. The Bush administration is living in a dream world because Dubya simply refuses to hear any bad news.

Freedom is on the march! lalalalalalalalalala

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Sunday, January 09, 2005

The Salvador Option

Newsweek reports that the administration is considering "the Salvador Option" (emphasis mine):
Jan. 8 - What to do about the deepening quagmire of Iraq? The Pentagon’s latest approach is being called "the Salvador option"—and the fact that it is being discussed at all is a measure of just how worried Donald Rumsfeld really is.

...

Now, NEWSWEEK has learned, the Pentagon is intensively debating an option that dates back to a still-secret strategy in the Reagan administration’s battle against the leftist guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador in the early 1980s. Then, faced with a losing war against Salvadoran rebels, the U.S. government funded or supported "nationalist" forces that allegedly included so-called death squads directed to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and sympathizers. Eventually the insurgency was quelled, and many U.S. conservatives consider the policy to have been a success—despite the deaths of innocent civilians and the subsequent Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal. (Among the current administration officials who dealt with Central America back then is John Negroponte, who is today the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Under Reagan, he was ambassador to Honduras.)
Just great. We're creating another monster. What a surprise.

4 Comments:

  • Here is another guy acting as an apologist to the "right" solution to this problem. The only way to win against an insurgency such as the one in Iraq is to remove the population to another location or to fight terror with terror. I endorse this steak and potatoes effort the Pentagon is considering. Chris you seem scared of your own shadow perhaps. When the going gets tough its time to get tougher. Chris, stick to emerging technologies such as better ways to dress up a hot dog, or more eloquent ways to drink Koolaid. Semper Fi, bring out the dogs of war and let the those who would scuttle our democracy run for their very lives.

    By Blogger MIKE ZONE, at January 12, 2005 5:55 PM  

  • Scuttle our democracy? What the fuck are you talking about? When have any of the Iraqi's tried to scuttle our democracy. Was Oscar Romero trying to scuttle democracy when he was murdered by CIA backed death squads in El Salvador? How the fuck will this ever bring peace?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 13, 2005 11:10 PM  

  • Almost like Chris replying to a post under an AKA. This country was founded as a country as a republic under defined borders. Your kind defines peace as appeasement, Neville Chamberlain was your hero, Patton or Oliver North are your antichrist. You enjoy the fruits of the tree planted by fallen soldiers and many clandestine soldiers you will never know. Vietnam was long because of political hacks like yourself getting involved in making decisions that should be left to the warriors themselves. Your politics are as soft as icecream on a friday night in August. You so aptly quote from postscripts and news items of the day and cite the names of those whom you can only define in letters. You are only as smart as your last copy of newsweek my friend. Pull the trigger on terrorism. China awaits patiently in the wings while the left make us weaker. Did you happen to watch that last episode of Desperate Housewives? I thought so .......

    By Blogger MIKE ZONE, at January 15, 2005 4:31 PM  

  • Oh yes and one more thing. 911 was a foggy soupy blend made by the punch press of knockoff look and act alikes in the mideast. They came here knucklehead on 911 to attack us or perhaps you were playing with your Ken doll, ooops sorry GI Joe that day. Run for cover. Another thing, understand the word "fuck" you illiterate prosthesis.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 15, 2005 4:34 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Another gem

Frank Rich with yet another gem -- We'll Win This War - on '24':
By common consent, 2004 was the year that Jon Stewart's fake news became more reliable for many viewers than real news. As 2005 begins, we must confront the prospect that a fictional TV action hero is more engaged with the war on terror than those in Washington who actually have his job.
Read the whole thing.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Ministry of Truth

Administration Agitprop (washingtonpost.com):
Covert propaganda is more than unethical; it is against the law for taxpayer dollars to be used 'for publicity or propaganda purposes within the United States,' unless approved by Congress. Congress should investigate, as this administration does not seem to understand the lines it has crossed.
This administration seems to be reading directly from the script of Orwell's "1984", and guess what, it is working.

Indeed, Congress should investigate, but the fox is guarding the hen house. What about all of those investigations that were deferred until after the elections, because they might influence the elections? You don't suppose we'll ever hear about those do you?

No, I think that the WaPo editorial staff is far too generous when it says: "this administration does not seem to understand the lines it has crossed". This administration knows full well what lines it is crossing, and it seems to believe that it can get away with it.

This is not the first time. It is at least the third time that the administration has been caught in the act. Are there other cases we should know about? Is this practice continuing? Why hasn't the President spoken out on this matter; stating how wrong this is, and how he will not tolerate such actions under his watch?

At this point, only "we the people" can do anything about it. We can't simply expect that the checks and balances will take care of themselves. Certainly the "faux" estate isn't doing its job. It requires that "we the people" take an active role in holding government's feet to the fire.

The only reason that the 9/11 Commission was able to do its thing was because of the pressure mounted by the families of 9/11 victims.

The only reason that the Republicans backed off their plans to gut their ethics rules, to protect Tom Delay, was because of the significant pushback from constituents.

Use your voice. Contact your congress-critters and demand an investigation.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Friday, January 07, 2005

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Gonzales Defends His White House Record (washingtonpost.com) Also sprach Sen Cornyn (R-Tex.) in his introduction of Alberto Gonzales:
"President Bush and Judge Gonzales have both unequivocally, clearly and repeatedly rejected the use of torture," Cornyn said. "But is there anyone here today who would fail to use every legal means to collect intelligence from terrorists in order to protect American lives? I certainly hope not."
Ah, but as we learned over the past months and during today's hearings, it all depends on what the definition of "torture" is. This guy is a weasel. He either didn't answer questions by evading them or gave answers that demonstrated his incompetence. He'll end up being approved because he is hispanic. Sure, he has a compelling life story. So what. So do thousands upon thousands of other Americans, none of whom set the stage for the inhumane treatment (torture) of "detainees" at Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, and other undisclosed locations that has actually done more harm than good.

In the words of Sen Durbin (D ) quoting the Army Field Manual on Intellegence Interrogation:
The United States Army agrees. The Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation states:

Use of torture and other illegal methods is a poor technique that yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say what he thinks the interrogator wants to hear. Revelation of use of torture by U.S. personnel will bring discredit upon the U.S. and its armed forces while undermining domestic and international support for the war effort. It may also place U.S. and allied personnel in enemy hands at a greater risk of abuse by their captors.

In other words, weakening the rules against torture makes us less secure, not more. Torture produces unreliable information, makes it more difficult to win wars, and places our troops at risk.
So now, because this guy is hispanic, we will have a yes man as AG who will interpret the law as the Whitehouse sees fit and who believes that the President has the authority to disregard U.S. and international laws despite the fact that the Supremes have already ruled on that during the Truman era.

Fantastic!

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Boxer's balls

Democrats to Force Debate on Ohio Results:
While Bush's victory is not in jeopardy, the Democratic challenge will force Congress to interrupt tallying the Electoral College (news - web sites) vote, which had been scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. EST Thursday. It would be only the second time since 1877 that the House and Senate were forced into separate meetings to consider electoral votes.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., signed a challenge mounted by House Democrats to Ohio's 20 electoral votes, which put Bush over the top. By law, a protest signed by members of the House and Senate requires both chambers to meet separately for up to two hours to consider it. Lawmakers are allowed to speak for no more than five minutes each.

...

On Wednesday, Rep. John Conyers (news, bio, voting record) of Michigan, top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee (news - web sites), issued a report claiming "numerous, serious election irregularities in the Ohio presidential election."

The report, mirroring complaints from Ohio voters, cites machine shortages and extremely long lines in minority and Democratic precincts. It alleges intimidation of voters, a purging of registration lists and other irregularities.

Many problems stemmed from "intentional misconduct and illegal behavior" by Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in the state, the report argues.
Too bad the Democrats don't have the balls that the Ukranians had in forcing another vote.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Argh!

We got about 6+ inches of the white stuff last night and this morning. While clearing the driveway, the snow blower spat out a pebble from the intake which shot at the rear window of my daughter's car.

Smash!

Grumble... and no NEGeek dinner tonight to make up for the bad start to the day... sigh.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Exsqueeze me?

The NYT reports C.I.A. Chief Names Deputy and Ends Meetings:
The move appears to reflect what Mr. Goss has publicly said was his concern that the C.I.A. under Mr. Tenet may have devoted too much time and resources to terrorism at the expense of other issues.
(emphasis mine) Hello!!! Anyone home!!! If this had been the act of a Kerry-nominated DCI, the right wingnuts would be fulminating at the mouth aghast at the incomprehensible audacity of the new Kerry administration to de-emphisize the WOT.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Doublethink

Josh Marshall brings home an important point on the President's initiative to "save" social security. As with the "Healthy Forests", "Clear Skies", and "No Child Left Behind" initiatives (amongst others, that went before) the administration's intentions are the complete antithesis of the branding: otherwise known as doublethink.

The President has no intentions of saving social security, he is bent on gutting it.
Clearly, this isn't about 'saving' Social Security. It is a battle to end Social Security and replace with something that Wehner clearly understands is very different, indeed the antithesis of Social Security.

This entire debate is about ideology -- between people who believe in the benefits Social Security has brought America in the last three-quarters of a century and those who think it was a bad idea from the start. There is an honest debate to have on this point, a values debate. Only, the White House understands that the belief that Social Security was always a bad program isn't widely shared by Americans. So they have to wrap their effort in a package of lies, harnessing Americans' desire to save Social Security in their own effort to destroy it.
As others have pointed out, the real problem is not social security, but rather the combination of medicare, because medical costs in this country are so out of control, and the general fund (the rest of the budget) which because of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and the war in Iraq have us running at a serious deficit approaching a half a trillion dollars a year. Note that that deficit would actually be far worse than the reported half trillion were it not for the fact that social security is running a surplus which the government promptly snarfs up to defray its deficit spending.

If the administration wanted to save social security, then it would be discussing options such as raising the salary cap for social security contributions above the current $80K USD and/or raising the retirement age by a couple of years. More importantly, the real problems should be tackled; namely medicare and the deficit spending (oh, and ending the sensless war in Iraq!)

But no, the President and his minions will be flooding the airwaves with repeated propaganda that claims that social security is headed for a brick wall, that the generations following the Baby Boomers will not receive the same levels of benefits as are currently enjoyed by seniors, that the social security trust fund will be bankrupt by 2028; all of which are outright untruths.

The only crisis we face is a crisis of knowledge.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Tight-wad

From the AP Ex-presidents ask for tsunami aid:
Bush himself plans to make a personal donation but has not done so yet.
What's the hold up? Took me all of two minutes to complete the form on the ARC site with matching from IBM. Made me think, maybe the U.S. humanitarian aide donations should be made on the basis of matching the generosity of it's citizens. To the same causes. That would focus our foriegn aide where the people want it to go rather than where the arms dealers and war mongers want it to go.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Isn't this obvious?

Bob Sutor rants about the selection process for JavaOne papers/speakers.
BUT, and this is where I felt stupid, Sun should not be solely responsible for deciding which papers are accepted! According to Casey, the papers are picked by

the JavaOne Conference Program Committee, a pack of the top dogs in Java technology at Sun. They are a brilliant, passionate, focused, and overworked group of ubergeeks, steeped in the history and evolution of the Java platform. Their mission is to review, select and oversee the content submitted in the Call for Papers (technical talks, BOFs) for each year's conference.
I would note that even being one of the overworked group of ubergeeks reviewing the proposal submissions doesn't guarantee yourself a speaking spot, as I can relate from personal experience:-)

Of course, maybe because the proposals Marc and I submitted were for a talk and a BOF on SOAP 1.2 before Sun really jumped on the Web services bandwagon, had something to do with not being selected:-)

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Supporting our troops

Gonzales Nomination Draws Military Criticism (washingtonpost.com):
The letter signed by the retired officers, compiled by the group Human Rights First and sent to the committee's leadership last night, criticizes Gonzales for his role in reviewing and approving a series of memorandums arguing, among other things, that the United States could lawfully ignore portions of the Geneva Conventions and that some forms of torture 'may be justified' in the war on terror.

'Today, it is clear that these operations have fostered greater animosity toward the United States, undermined our intelligence gathering efforts and added to the risks facing our troops serving around the world,' the officers wrote, referring to the Bush administration's detention and interrogation policies.

Although it stops short of directly opposing Gonzales's nomination, the three-page letter contains sharp criticism of his decisions related to military legal issues and argues that he is 'on the wrong side of history.'
Basically, these retired senior Pentagon officers recognize that by flouting the Geneva Conventions, based on memorandum drawn up by Gonzales, we gained little, or nothing, yet we have placed our military at greater risk for future confrontations. Not good.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

No, really?

U.S. Military Prefers Indonesian Aid to Iraq War:
ABOARD THE USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (Reuters) - U.S. military crews are launching more than 100 helicopter flights a day from the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln ferrying food, water and medicine to tsunami victims, a task they say is far more satisfactory than the Iraq (news - web sites) war that seems only to destroy.

'Oh yeah, no doubt,' said U.S. Navy (news - web sites) helicopter pilot Rachel Brainard. 'Here we're helping people, not destroying things.'
Not surprising, really. Any moral person would prefer helping others to killing them, our military personnel are no exception.

However, things are so messed up in Iraq that now our troops are basically shooting first and asking questions later. They can't afford not to at this stage when any approaching car could be a car bomb, and any approaching stranger could be a suicide bomber.
War supporters predicted Iraqis would be so happy to get rid of Saddam they would greet U.S. soldiers as conquering heroes, but instead violent Iraqi resistance has bogged down the U.S.-led effort.
We squandered any chance that we would be "greeted as liberators" in Iraq by not being prepared to "win the peace". By permitting the looting, by not protecting the citizens in the initial days after the military victory, by disbanding the Iraqi Army (and placing all of its members on unemployment), we sowed the seeds of the insurgency. Now, the Iraqi's realize that while the insurgency is directed at the U.S., they are increasingly its victims and they resent us for it.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Mother, may I?

Iraqi Premier Calls Bush to Discuss Obstacles to Election: If there was ever any doubt about who is in charge of Iraq after we turned "sovereignty" over to the Iraqi Interim Government in June, this seems to be a clear signal that it isn't the Iraqi Interim Government.
But some officials in Washington and in Iraq interpreted the telephone call as a sign that Dr. Allawi, who is clearly concerned his own party could be headed to defeat if the election is held on schedule, may be preparing the ground to make the case for delay to Mr. Bush.

"Clearly the thinking on this is still in motion in Baghdad," a senior administration official said Monday evening. "And President Bush is holding firm," the official said, telling Dr. Allawi that the Iraqi government has met every deadline so far, including assuming power from the United States in June.

Mr. Bush has publicly insisted that the elections must go forward on Jan. 30, as scheduled, and said any delay would mean giving in to the insurgents who have vowed to stop the elections from taking place.
Dr. Allawi: Things are pretty f***ed up here, I think we need to postpone the elections.

Dubya: What are you talking about? It's been a catatrophic success. NFW, we postpone the elections, it shows we haven't got big brass ones.

Dr. Allawi: But... WTF! They just killed the Governor of Baghdad!

Dubya: Suck it up, get back to your campaigning. Don't be a whimp! Things are going just fine.


My guess is that Dubya plans on declaring victory on Feb 1 and pulling out. Maybe that would be the best for all concerned.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

More versioning

Bill de hOra weighs in on the subject. I had forgotten about Reach until reading Bill's post. Their versioning guidelines are definitely worth a read. Although I don't know that I necessarily agree with all of them (e.g. 10, 11), they are quite thought provoking.

As for Bill's enumerated thoughts; +1.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Sneakernet?

DaveO:
Notice how the Internet V1 has now basically failed for content sharing? I don't share signficant amounts of content with people by the internet any more, even with DSL lines. When synching up 200 Gig of mp3s, 300Kbps isn't good enough. We're back to tannenbaum and his station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway, also previously known as sneaker-net.
One word: bittorrent.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Monday, January 03, 2005

Tsunami videos

Some tsunami videos... simply unbelievable...

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Blink!

Following up on a previous post, the AP reports that House GOP Reverses Course on Ethics Rules.
Hastert spokesman John Feehery said that a change in standards of conduct "would have been the right thing to do but it was becoming a distraction."

Brendan Daly, spokesman for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, said Republicans pulled back on the discipline rule because "the issue simply became too hot for them to handle."
The right thing, but a distraction or too hot to handle... you make the call.

I'm guessing too hot to handle.
Rep. J. D. Hayworth, R-Ariz., agreed there was pressure on Republicans not to change conduct rules. "Constituents reacted and the House and, more importantly, the House leadership, responded accordingly," Hayworth said.
Chalk up one for "the constituents". I wonder if the Shays handful was more than a "handful" afterall.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Part Deux

Glen Daniels has the low-down on this month's N.E. geek dinner. Last month was loads of fun, great conversation and great people. There are likely to be a few new faces this month. Should be fun!

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Gulag Texas-style

Long-Term Plan Sought For Terror Suspects (washingtonpost.com):
The Pentagon and the CIA have asked the White House to decide on a more permanent approach for potentially lifetime detentions, including for hundreds of people now in military and CIA custody whom the government does not have enough evidence to charge in courts.
Note that when asked about this issue today on MTP, Powell said he knew nothing:
MR. RUSSERT: There's a front-page report in The Washington Post today that the administration is considering a prison to detain alleged terrorists where they do not have enough evidence to bring them to prosecution. What's your role in that and do you seem...

SEC'Y POWELL: I am not familiar with that and I can't talk to it.

MR. RUSSERT: The State Department is involved.

SEC'Y POWELL: I just don't have the facts on that one.

MR. RUSSERT: Why would the United States detain people for life without bringing them to trial?

SEC'Y POWELL: I have no information on this one, Tim.
Not surprising that he'd have little to say. I suspect that he is firmly against this strategy and given his lame-duck status, would rather distance himself from the ensuing mess.

The WaPo article continues:
The new prison, dubbed Camp 6, would allow inmates more comfort and freedom than they have now, and would be designed for prisoners the government believes have no more intelligence to share, the officials said. It would be modeled on a U.S. prison and would allow socializing among inmates.
Give me a break... something tells me that they won't be as comfortable as Martha has been these last few months.

However, their comfort is really not the issue. The issue is what right have we to simply imprison, indefinitely, someone who is merely suspected of being a "terrorist". If we can't make a case stick in a court of law, we shouldn't be holding them. We can certainly watch the heck out of them, but imprisoning suspected terrorists, without due process, and without sufficient evidence to make a legal case is completely counter to American values.

This is simply a bad idea. The Supremes have already told the administration it couldn't hold the detainees in Gitmo without due process. I guess the Bushies simply don't hear too well. They probably think that they will get a better answer after they replace a few of the soon-to-be-retiring Justices (assuming that any of them do retire. I note that Rehnquist has yet to retire even though he has cancer!)

I'm all for ferreting out terrorists before they can act, but you need to have more to go on than "we think he's a terrorist... lock him up for life".

What's next? Round up all the muslims and intern them in concentration camps the way that we did with the Japanese Americans in WWII? It was wrong then, and it is still wrong now.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Party On!

Frank Rich with yet another great piece in today's NYT: Washington's New Year War Cry: Party On!
Washington's next celebration will be the inauguration. Roosevelt decreed that the usual gaiety be set aside at his wartime inaugural in January 1945. There will be no such restraint in the $40 million, four-day extravaganza planned this time, with its top ticket package priced at $250,000. The official theme of the show is "Celebrating Freedom, Honoring Service." That's no guarantee that the troops in Iraq will get armor, but Washington will, at least, give home-front military personnel free admission to one of the nine inaugural balls and let them eat cake.
Read the whole piece.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Nah, that would make too much sense

Bill Bradbury, Oregon's Secretary of State, has an op-ed piece in the WaPo today: Vote-by-Mail: The Real Winner Is Democracy

Frankly, after having utilized a mail-in absentee ballot this year, I have to agree that a vote-by-mail system would be far superior to the nonsense that we suffered through this year in places like Ohio where some, mostly in minority precincts, had to wait in line for hours to vote on machines for which there was no paper audit trail.

In the article, he sites the reduced cost and improved supervision of the counting process as reasons to adopt the system nation-wide.
Without polling places, vote-by-mail eliminates the expensive and time-consuming recruitment and training of poll workers. As a result, the cost of a vote-by-mail election is nearly 30 percent less than the cost of a polling place election.

Centralized supervision and control of ballot processing by elections officials in county elections offices, instead of dispersed polling places, maintains uniformity and strict compliance with law throughout the state.

An impressive percentage of Oregon's registered voters cast ballots in this election. Each of those voters can be confident that the mechanism of democracy in Oregon suits their needs, runs smoothly and fairly, and, most importantly, protects their votes.

The answer to the nation's voting anxiety is not a national standard that imposes new rules on an outdated system of polling places. The answer is a low-tech, low-cost, reliable and convenient system that makes it easier to vote and easier to count votes. The answer is vote-by-mail.
An improvement would be along the lines of what airlines and movie theaters are trending towards; printing the ballots off the internet which would save on printing and postage costs. An even further improvement might be to provide forms-based voting online where the UI facilitates the selection process, verifies the voters intent, and then allows the finished ballot to be sent to the printer and subsequently mailed by the voter.

Certainly, we can and should do better than what we have today.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home