Obama *should* know better, but….

Posted in Linkage at 3:13 pm by cori

I can’t often say I agree with much that any Obamacare opponents have to say about Obama or Obamacare (or, often, most anything else), but I’ll have to agree with Steven Presser says about Obama in his CNN Opinion piece; Obama should have know better than to say what he said about the Supreme Court’s eventual decision regarding Obamacare. Judicial Review *is* an important piece of the governmental pie, but my primary concern is the arrogance of Obama’s remarks, and the gauntlet he seemed to be throwing down. He may as well have said “Go ahead, conservative majority on the Supreme Court, strike down the Affordable Care act. I dare you.”

That said, I think Mr. Presser’s analysis of the status of the individual mandate is faulty.  I’m not a lawyer, and undoubtedly know less about the ins and outs of the Law than Professor Presser does, but my logic goes like this:

  1. There is no question that the government can force you to buy insurance under some conditions. Many states require that you carry auto insurance if you register a car, and home insurance is required if you have certain types of loans that the US Government guarantees.
  2. The key to whether the government can require you to purchase insurance seems to be that you’re engaged in certain kinds of commercial behavior that the government has interest in regulating.
  3. The government has an interest in regulating aspects of the health insurance and health care industries.
  4. Every one (and I mean everyone) will eventually have to engage in commercial behavior in the industry in question.

There should be no concern about the government regulating commerce around healthcare and health insurance; we accept that the can do so around voluntary commercial activity, and (as pointed out elsewhere) both healthcare and, to the degree that you recognize that paying for health care out of your own pocket is a sort of health insurance, health insurance has a special status; no one escapes the eventual need to engage is purchasing health care or health insurance.



A miracle of life.

Posted in Linkage at 6:25 am by cori


(sent to http://cori.posterous.com via email)


Woman piling your cart with a dozen bottles of water I AM JUDGING YOU! Oh, wait.

Posted in Linkage at 4:12 pm by cori


(sent to http://cori.posterous.com via email)


A good morning’s work – this is more than 20% turnout just for the morning shift.

Posted in Linkage at 12:52 pm by cori


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Apparently I’m having a very “leet” calorie tracking day.

Posted in Linkage at 8:03 pm by cori


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Should We Boycott Amazon for WikiLeaks decision?

Posted in politics tagged , at 12:14 pm by cori

Dave Winer writes about his decision *not* to boycott Amazon for their behavior and decisions around the WikiLeaks embassy cables. While I’m not boycotting Amazon either (more on this below), I think Dave’s logic is flawed.

Dave states that Amazon isn’t the guarantor of anyone’s rights; that’s the role of a government, not the role of business.  And to a degree that’s true: we can’t rely upon self-interested corporations to act in *our* best interests; we would be fools to expect that to be the case, no matter how much we might desire it.

However, neither can we expect governments to act in our best interests, as some of the previously released WikiLeaks documents have make clear. A government’s main motivation is self-preservation, not public service.  I do choose to believe, however, that companies that we entrust with our information ought not to knuckle under to the application of a little pressure from the government without appropriate legal actions.

In the end, the question is not whether we should boycott Amazon, but whether we should be giving our business to a company that will forgo it’s service agreement with us without any legal action on the part of the government. Where is the line between Amazon’s shutting off service to WikiLeaks without any legal claim from the government and Amazon shutting down service on a site that exposes a local government’s malfeasance, merely at the request of the local authorities?

All of that said, as I said above, I am not boycotting Amazon.  Here’s why:

  1. I am not an AWS customer – I don’t use the services that Amazon cut off from WikiLeaks.
  2. My participation, or lack thereof, in Amazon’s commercial activities is unlikely to be noted by Amazon, and even if it were is unlikely to make the round trip back to the portion of the organization responsible for the actions against WikiLeaks.
  3. Most importantly, I am not convinced that WikiLeaks deserves my actions on its behalf. As Clay Shirky has very recently noted there are reasons to suspect that WikiLeaks’ behavior is not focused on the sorts of oversight that I want to subject our government to, but is instead directed at causing damage. I strongly agree with what Shirky writes, including his confliction about WikiLeaks motivation and whether the release of the cables is a step over the line between required diplomatic secrecy and the sort of secrecy-by-default our government (including the Obama administration) has increasingly been making standard operating procedure, but until I’m less conflicted about WikiLeaks and their role and motivations I can’t take the sort of unequivocal stand that it would take for me to support a boycott of any kind.


Facebook credits at Target. Hmmm.

Posted in Linkage at 6:15 pm by cori

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Experiments Always Succeed

Posted in research at 10:53 am by cori

Their findings concurred with the conclusion that the experiment had failed: The monkeys didn’t appear to react to the change in patterns.

via chronicle.com

This article exhibits two specific problems, one with the journalistic establishment and one with research overall.

The author of this piece is misrepresenting science and research, at least as a researcher who follows the scientific method would understand it, and this researcher is not only being dishonest in reporting his data, but if he believes as the journalist certainly seems to indicate that he does he isn’t following the dictates of science and research.

Here’s the crux of the matter: an experiment *only* fails if you approach it with the intent to prove a specific hypothesis. In the truest spirit of the scientific method this should never be the case – you undertake an experiment in order to form a hypothesis. If the experiment doesn’t support your conclusion then either your conclusion is incorrect, you have misinterpreted the data, or the experiment you designed isn’t testing what you thought it was. The experiment *always* does what it’s designed to do, and any failure is with the experimenter.

Why this is wrong for the researcher should, I think, be obvious – if you’re going into an experiment hoping for a particular outcome then you’re already off the rails before you even start.

Why this is wrong for the journalist is perhaps not so clear. Articles like this one set the tone for our shared expectations and assumptions about the role of research in our society. We make value decisions about research based on these assumptions, and perhaps more importantly we make funding decisions based on them as well. If we, as a culture, expect experiments to conform to predetermined expectations then we are losing out on the true value of research and experimentation, and we ourselves are creating corrupt researchers like the one the article supposes Dr. Hauser to be.

Also, to Tom Bartlett, as much as I may disagree with whatever Dr. Hauser is alleged to have done, it is not Mr. Hauser, it is Dr. Hauser.

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The importance of transparency in activism.

Posted in Politics is Local at 11:40 am by cori

My wife (who no doubt will berate me for blogging about this, since it didn’t actually happen to me) had an interesting activism experience yesterday.  She was leaving a store with our kids in tow starting the walk back home when across the street someone jumped out of a car and ran across the street, stuffing this flyer into her hand saying “This is for you”.  The flyer related to the construction company building the new Stoughton fire house and whether or not they were safe enough to work in our community.

If you look at the thing, I think you’ll agree that these folks have something to sell; an idea they’d like us to buy into.  And they’re not above using a little fear marketing to get us to believe it either.  The thing is, I’d actually be inclined to do a little more research to try to find out what kind of validity there is to their claims and assertions – I’m not beyond believing that the company constructing our new fire house maybe shouldn’t be doing it. 

But see, here’s the thing.  No where on this document does it say who printed it or who’s handing it out.  Who are these people?  Do they have an interest in this company aside from concerns for the safety of the community?  maybe they work for a company that lost the bid?  Or maybe there’s a disgruntled ex-employee behind it all.  Taken as a sum, the anonymity of the source of the flyer and the alarmist language and graphics make me pretty much have to dismiss the whole thing.


Charles Sykes: ‘Let them have yachts’

Posted in Politics is Local at 11:09 pm by cori

Charlie Sykes, a Milwaukee conservative talk-show host and blogger, gets it all wrong again.

As is often the case when I read Sykes, he starts with a premise that I can at least respect; in this case one that I heartily agree with, in fact:

“In case you haven’t noticed, American politics is increasingly a rich man’s (and woman’s) game.” (From Isthmus | The Daily Page – ‘Let them have yachts’)

But also as is typical, he carries his premise to exactly the wrong conclusion.

Charlie makes a good case about the dangers of plutocratic democracy:

  • “However well-intentioned they might be, the mega-rich are immune from the daily anxieties of ordinary people.”
  • “Legislation they pass will have little impact on their own futures, or even that of their children, who are pretty much set.”
  • “So, to run for office today, a candidate must either be able to write out huge checks from his or her personal wealth, or count on massive spending by special-interest groups with their own agendas…. The result is that the average guy is increasingly left out.”

All true, Charlie, all true. And I argee, a serious problem. Parts of the solution Charlie proposes are right on target; enforcing full disclosure of campain contributions and instituting term limits both make a great deal of sense.

But the third part of Charlie’s proposed solution is to lift individual contribution caps. In other words, instead of electing folks who are “able to write out huge checks from his or her personal wealth” we end up electing folks who have friends who can write out the huge checks.

I don’t know which auto workers or small business women Sykes is talking to, but I don’t know of anyone that has to “scrabble to come up with cash for unexpected home repairs or trade family vacations for higher gas prices” who can at the same time afford to exceed the $2,300 per candidate limit that the McCain-Feingold bill (or Bi-Partisan Campaign Reform Act) imposes, let alone the $108,200 per 2 year cycle limit in the same bill. How are these folks being harmed by the limits that the BCRA imposes? Follow that up with Sykes’s typical hatchet job against progressives, liberals, and sitting Democrats (I particularly love the way dear old Charlie portrays the BCRA as being solely responsible for making the election of future politicians like Russ Feingold all but impossible, when in fact the BCRA doubled the individual contribution limits) and I think we can all see the real intent here – remove all limits so the the fairly rich can give all they want to their pet candidates.

No, indeed, the BCRA was a tiny little gesture towards making finance less important in the course of an election. It hoped to ameliorate the importance of cash money as a measurement of how free political speech might be, a goal which it hasn’t served particularly well.

Indeed, I agree with Charlie in one particular: the BCRA should be revised. But not to remove the limits. If we’re really serious about opening up elections to the non-rich why don’t we expand on the BCRA? Extend the $2,300 individual limit to a candidate’s contributions to his or her own campaign? Distribute television and radio time for free by lottery, so everyone might excercise their right to speak freely in the political forum, not just those who can afford the ad time? Fully fund every political campaign equally from the public coffers?

I refuse to donate to any political campaign because I whole-heartedly believe that money has no place in politics. No one’s voice in the public sphere should be louder because their bank account is bigger. I don’t expect that Charlie Sykes agrees with that, though.


Carter eases back on [weasels out of] criticism of Bush

Posted in Linkage at 9:30 am by cori

Former President Jimmy Carter weasels out of his previous comments regarding the Bush Administration:

“This administration’s foreign policy, compared to President Nixon’s, was much worse,” Carter said on NBC. “I wasn’t comparing this administration with other administrations back through history but just with President Nixon’s.” (from The Boston Globe)

In contrast to that statement, here’s what he said to the interviewer:

Carter called the Bush administration “the worst in history” when it comes to foreign affairs and accused the president of abandoning “America’s basic values.” (from Arkansas Democrat Gazette, audio here)

Now President Carter’s right, he was responding to a question about a comparison between the Nixon and Bush administrations.  But what he said, “this administration has been the worst in hist … worst in history,” was clear-cut and patently directed specifically at the current administration, not in comparison to another administration, but in contrast to the arc of the American Presidency.  It was unequivocal and not particularly subject to misinterpretation.

Now I happen to agree with what Mr. Carter said originally; this administration had been an almost unqualified disaster, both for the United States and for the world as a whole.  But as important as that is that President Carter’s not taking responsibility for his statements.  He’s dissembling when he says “My remarks were maybe careless or misinterpreted, but I wasn’t comparing the overall administration and I was certainly not talking personally about any president” (Globe) and it hurts his credibility in my eyes and perhaps on the larger stage.  If he felt he was wrong to say that then fine, he should admit he made a mistake, and apologize if appropriate.  But he shouldn’t try to change what he said to get out of taking responsibility for his words – that’s too similar to what members of the current administration are wont to do.  Perhaps the White House is right when they say that Carter is increasingly irrelevant, and perhaps he should constrain himself to his work in Habitat for Humanity and the Carter Center, where he’s done some real good, and where his words are less likely to get him in hot water.

On a side note, my congratulations and thanks to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette and Frank Lockwood and whatever other editors or publishers were involved in the decision to post the audio so we could hear President Carter’s words for ourselves.  I wonder if they would have done so if the audio would have reflected less favorably on themselves or not been quite as newsworthy – there’s the real test of journalistic openness.


Sound familiar?

Posted in Linkage at 3:11 pm by cori

Almost two-thirds of those polled said … actions in Iraq showed … was “stubborn and unwilling to admit mistakes”. (From here)

Who might that be in reference to?  Of course it’s a reference to George W. Bush, but it sounds like Hillary Rodham Clinton to me.



Posted in politics at 7:07 am by cori


The message from the Clinton campaign, particularly its chairman, Terry McAuliffe, has been blunt, the strategist said, “that you’re with us or against us. This isn’t one of those races that you can max out (in contributions) to all the candidates. The message from Team Hillary is: We’re ahead, we’re going to be the nominee — and we will remember who our friends are.” [emphasis mine]

smacks of influence peddling to me.  And of all that’s wrong with campaign finance, only from the other side of the fence.  I’m so used to thinking of the corporate money and big corporations’ attempts to curry favor as being the greatest evil of mixing money and politics, but here’s a candidate’s campaign essentially threatening past donors. 

Lucky for me I don’t contribute to any of them, I guess.

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Currently listening to Senator Clinton Addresses the New America Foundation’s 10 Big Ideas Conference from Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Podcast.


No, Hilary, we don’t want "a firmness"

Posted in politics at 4:30 pm by cori

This is going to be an interesting election cycle in our house I think.  I don’t think I’d be overstepping my bounds to say that my wife is leaning towards supporting Hilary Clinton in the Democratic primary race.  For my part I am undecided, but decidedly less enthusiastic about Senator Clinton, though I remain willing to be convinced.  I’d like to see a woman in the White House, but I remain unconvinced that Senator Clinton is the right person for that role.

Recent discussions regarding Clinton’s position on the Iraq war in 2002 and her current explanations of her original vote have left me cold.  Sunday’s New York Times article about Clinton’s recent reiteration of her position (ironically forwarded to me by my wife) leave me less than cold; Clinton’s position as portrayed in that article have convinced me more than ever that she’s the wrong candidate for the next Democratic presidency.  Some choice bits, all quoted from the NYT article:

“She wants to maintain a firmness, and I think a lot of people around her hope she maintains a firmness. That’s what people will want in 2008.”

This is a statement of one “advisor,” one who falls on the non-apology side of the discussion that apparently recently took place within Clinton’s circle of advisors.  Personally, I’m not sure a “firmness” is the only thing “people” will want from the next president.

As a candidate, Mrs. Clinton likes to think and formulate ideas as if she were president — her “responsibility gene,” she has called it. In that vein, she believes that a president usually deserves the benefit of the doubt from Congress on matters of executive authority.

This particular statement actually worries me even more than the overly simple “firmness.”  My feeling, one I think shared by many Democrats, is that Congress has given the current house-sitter in the White House too much “benefit of the doubt.”  Far more than he deserved.

“She thinks she will be president and will have to negotiate on the nation’s behalf with world leaders,” said one Clinton adviser. “She thinks we’re likely to still be in this mess in 2009, and coming onto the campaign trail and groveling and saying at every opportunity that you made a mistake doesn’t actually help you solve the problem.”

Um, no, it doesn’t help you solve the problem, but a certain amount of humility can go a long way in working with others, at least in kindergarten, and I imagine also on the world stage.

I know that Senator Clinton is targeting her election machine on November 2008 and as such is thinking not only about primary issues, but also about the issues she would face in the general election.  However, it seems to me that she’s misreading the single greatest lesson of the last 6 years under George W. Bush and his cronies.  That lesson is not that the war in Iraq was/is wrong, or that lying your way into war isn’t a reliable strategy for victory.  The most important lesson to be learned here isn’t the Iraq debacle; its that overbearing arrogance and an unwillingness to admit your mistakes is not only unworthy of the leader of our country, but also dangerous, not just for America, but for the world at large.  I can think of no way that any of us, men or women, Americans or Africans, Arabs or Jews are safer now than we were before the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq, and I would argue that we’re, most of us, demonstrably less safe. 

Instead of acknowledging that a presidency gone wild has put us in greater danger, and that a stronger balance between the Executive and Legislative branches would be better for us all than the run away arrogance of the current administration, instead of showing herself able to take responsibility for blindly and mistakenly following what seemed, even at the time, to be trumped-up evidence, Senator Clinton seems to be telling us that she’d act in much the same vein if she were president.  If she found herself on the wrong side of a mistake while she’s in the White House, will she wield her executive authority to change course, to acknowledge the mistake and learn from it, or will she continue on, unable to admit her own fallibility?  And if the latter, as she seems to be indicating, I want even less for someone with her apparently expansive opinion on executive authority to be president.  While she might wield her power in much more benevolent ways than the current president, she might well plod blindly on long after it’s become clear to others that the path itself is wrong.  No, for my vote, a candidate’s ability to say “I was wrong” is more important than almost anything else.


“Free” blogging tools on display at John Edwards’s site

Posted in blogging, politics at 4:11 pm by cori

John Edwards’s candidacy interests me – I think he’s right on a lot of the issues and has a good opportunity to be a serious contender for the Democratic nomination. I’ve been subscribed to some of the feeds his site’s producing for a while, and the other day I took a look at their efforts to involve bloggers and to encourage folks to blog.

The site makes on-site blogs available for interested bloggers; simply sign up for an and they’ll provide you with a blog or “Diary” within their community. Sensible enough, as far as it goes. I also came across this information regarding starting your own blog on their “For Blogger’s” page” regarding ways to start you own blog :

Perhaps you are already a blogger on the John Edwards Blog. Maybe you already have your own diary on our site. That’s fantastic. But we encourage you to do more. You should start your own independent blog.Check it out; it’s easy and free.

Here’s what you do (remember – it’s all free):

  1. Go to a free blogging site. A few examples: www.blogger.com, www.typepad.com, www.wordpress.org, and follow the given instructions. It only takes a few minutes. Again, it is easy and free.

(From: For Bloggers / John Edwards ’08 Blog)

I think it’s great that they’re encouraging folks to start their own blogs and put their own voice on the web, out from under the umbrella of the John Edwards site. But right away I noticed some errors and misleading info there, so I sent them an email:

Hey all;

I noticed a few things that could bear a little attention on the site with respect to growing a blogging community. On the for bloggers (http://blog.johnedwards.com/bloggers) page there is an error and an “opportunity for improvement”

  • Contrary to the claim that “it’s all free,” TypePad accounts are not free. The lowest cost plan is $4.95/month. Not a lot of money, I agree. But not free.
  • While the WordPress.org blogging software is technically free, it requires a hosting account to host the software so that the blog is available on the web. Again, the lowest commonly available cost for hosting that I’ve seen is $4.95/month. Alternately, a WordPress.com blog is free, and requires nothing but to sign up.

The next day I got a response from David Pierucci:

Hi Cori,   

Thanks for writing in and thanks for the info. We are working 
on adding message boards to the chapter pages. Please 
feel free to write back with any questions or ideas that 
you may have. Thanks for your time.   


Nice enough, I suppose, but woefully inadequate. In fact, I get the feeling that not only do they not care that the information’s inaccurate or misleading, but that David doesn’t even understand what’s at issue. Several days later neither of those bits have been corrected. Not an outstanding way to attract bloggers to your cause, if you ask me; I had better hopes for Edwards’s “netroots” organization than that.


Set a Deadline

Posted in politics at 2:40 pm by cori


I was against the war to start with, but it seems to me that having, as a nation, followed George Bush to war we have a responsibility to the people of Iraq and while I want to see our troops home as soon as possible, pulling out precipitously seems to have a reasonable chance at creating an even worse situation that what we’ve created already.

That said, if the Iraqi administration is unwilling or unable to step up to the plate to ensure the success of their own government and the safety of their own people, staying even an additional day is just a matter of throwing good lives away for nothing.  A firm timeline that holds the Iraqis to some meaningful benchmarks for progress in their own efforts to take over responsibility for their own security and safety seems a reasonable alternative to abrupt withdrawal.

Please, Mr. Bush.  Set a deadline.

<aside>It would be nice if the Set A Deadline campaign would provide a badge of some kind that included a counter of signatories.</aside>


Your Only Choice Is Which Role You will Play

Posted in Linkage at 1:05 pm by cori

 Interesting and effective illustration of our responses to victimization.  The author had my responses pegged exactly correctly.  A little manipulative overall, but worth reading….

In any situation in which someone is being victimized, there are only six roles you and I can play.

  • Perpetuator
  • Collaborator
  • Victim
  • Bystander
  • Resistor
  • Rescuer

This is the total extent of our choices. Whether we welcome our role or not, simply by being aware of the situation means we have taken on one of these roles. The only good news here is that we have a choice as to which role we will play.  (from: Your Only Choice Is Which Role You will Play / John Edwards ’08 Blog)


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Truce declared in peace wreath battle – CNN.com

Posted in Linkage at 7:46 am by cori

Ah yes, American holiday spirit: 

Jensen was ordered to take the [peace-sign shaped] wreath down when some residents in her 200-home subdivision saw it as a protest of the Iraq war. Bob Kearns, president of the board, also said some saw it as a symbol of Satan. (From: Truce declared in peace wreath battle – CNN.com)

In the season of Peace on Earth and Good Will Towards Men, we have whole neighborhoods declaring hanging a peace sign on your house is not just unpatriotic and divisive, but also downright Satanic.

No comment from the neighborhood association board, two of whom changed their phone numbers to unlisted ones on Monday.

Yes, peace on earth; what a radical notion.


Tony Blair proposes network of ‘Supernannies’

Posted in Linkage at 9:49 pm by cori

“Tony Blair has unveiled plans to introduce nearly 80 ‘Supernannies’ to help parents tame unruly children.

Up to £4 million is to be spent on creating a network of experts in a bid to tackle the roots of anti-social behaviour, according to the Prime Minister.” (Source: Telegraph | News | Blair proposes network of ‘Supernannies’)

Guess I was wrong about “anti-social” being code for “illegal”.

Later though, good old Tony goes on to reinforce the big-brotherism in British government:

“Laying the ground for the publication of proposals to force more fathers and mothers to attend parenting classes, Mr Blair said that an ‘overwhelming majority’ of people would welcome outside assistance.”


I’m not 100% sure I disagree with the usefulness of mandatory parenting classes; there are an awful lot of parents who could benefit from them out there.  On the other hand, I’m sure a lot of people would say that I’m one of those parents, and I’m 100% sure there’s no good solution to determine who should decide who’s a good parent and who’s not.  Not that that’ll stop old Tony.

London Beat officers to use head cameras

Posted in Linkage, technology at 1:43 pm by cori

Police are to use head-mounted video cameras to help in the fight against anti-social behaviour. (Source: BBC NEWS | UK | England | London | Beat officers to use head cameras)

Hmm. My wife and I are heading to London next year, and we’ve recently discussed the pros and cons of Britain’s surveillance state. Questions of who decides what’s “anti-social” aside (I have to assume that’s a British way of saying “against to law”), I don’t know whether to find this creepy or not.  There are certainly all sorts of reasons to find it oppressive, but also some not to.  Especially if the coppers are open and transparent with the content captured by the cameras.  We certainly don’t hear much about police brutality in Britain, though I’m sure that’s at least partly due to my not living there.

I think they should supply a similar percentage of the general populace with head-mounted cameras, just to make things fair….

via Engadget

Currently listening to Do You Feel Loved by U2 from Pop.

Mexican leftist declares himself ‘president’ – Los Angeles Times

Posted in politics at 9:33 am by cori

“Lopez Obrador, who says he was cheated out of victory, holds a ceremony to declare himself the real leader.” (Source: Mexican leftist declares himself ‘president’ – Los Angeles Times)

Now why, oh why, didn’t Al Gore think of that?


Indonesia protests don’t faze Bush

Posted in politics at 9:15 am by cori

President, on brief visit, hails protestors being able to ‘say what they think’: “It’s to Indonesia’s credit that it’s a society where people are able to protest and say what they think….” (Source: Indonesia protests don’t faze Bush – Asia-Pacific – MSNBC.com)

How nice for them.  Too bad when we “say what we think” in the US it’s “unamerican.”


Scripting News: Making money with ads

Posted in Linkage at 10:32 am by cori

Dave Winer:

If its perfectly targeted, it isn’t advertising, its information. Information is welcome, advertising is offensive.

Well, while I don’t agree that all advertising is offensive, I absolutely agree that commercial information perfectly tailored to me is just that: information. It’s no longer an ad.

I also agree with what Dave says further down in this piece that “target” is the wrong metaphor. As I seem to recall hearing Doc say (though I can’t find the reference): “I’m not a target.”


Scripting News: It’s a User’s Conference

Posted in Linkage, technology at 12:07 pm by cori

Scripting News: 6/15/2006

Posting the ground rules for BloggerCon this year, Dave Winer rebaits a long-lived ideological trap:

“…if they say the technology is too complicated for a user to understand, ask them why, and if they could simplify it so we can understand. And if not, why should we use it?”

It’s not that I disagree (completely), or that I think Dave is being disingenuous or doesn’t believe in this idea. It’s how categorical this statement is that brings it to the foreground of his post for me.

Take XML-RPC as a good example. It’s widely used for a large proportion of online activites (I’m using it right now, in fact). It’s a large part of the central nervous system of the web, and it’s a technology that Dave is largely (perhaps solely) responsible for. However it’s not really a technology that users need to understand, or are necessarily equipped to. I wouldn’t care to try to explain XML-RPC to my father or my sister-in-law, and from my point of view they sholdn’t need to understand it. For that matter, I probably don’t understand all the complexities of it; I’ve only taken the time to understand the bits I needed to when I needed them.

I wholeheartedly agree that technology should be as simple as possible (and no simpler). To whatever extent we can, we should, as makers of tools, make what happens when a tool is used easy for the user to understand. I’m also fully cognisant that many of the users at BloggerCon will be extraordinary as far as their ability to understand technological complexity. But to suggest that, perhaps, a technology isn’t worth using if it’s users can’t understand it seems too broad a brush with which to paint either users or technology.


How’s this for inadvertent IP masking

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:15 pm by cori

AntiOnline thinks I’m in Australia:

(You) at h69-xxx-xxx-xxx.69-xxx.unk.tds.net (69.xxx.xxx.xxx) are located in Australia.

I wish.


Scott Johnson on blogging style

Posted in blogging, Linkage at 5:56 am by cori

FuzzyBlog – Elements of Blogging Style

I was looking forward to reading this. I'm not much, generally, for sets of rules about blogging; everyone blogs for their own reason and with their own style and no one set of rules will work for everyone, but I respect Scott, and like his writing, and this was likely to be more insightful than Guy Kawasaki's tripe about blogging evangelism.

I gave up on it, however, when the navigation overcame me. Scott seemingly realized his goal of "short, pithy guidelines," but that became a hindrance rather than a strength when I had to scroll a mile and a half down the sidebar to get the next bit of pith.

Perhaps I'll get back to it, but I can't help thinking that there's a better way.


BitTorrent rocks….

Posted in Linkage, web2.0 at 9:44 am by cori

Like that wasn't already common knowledge, but I'm downloading the Steven Colbert video (thanks to Dave for the link). Inside our corporate network I'm getting upwards of 450 kbps.

That's what I'm talkin' about!

Too bad so much of the stuff I want to download via torrent has no seeders any more 😦


Freedom of Religion?!

Posted in Life, politics at 11:27 pm by cori

I believe that the irony of this statement is lost on many.

And though I am a committed Christian, I believe that everyone has the right to their own religion, be you Hindu, Jewish or Muslim. I believe there are infinite paths to accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior.

From Daily Kos: Re-Improved Colbert transcript (via Thank You Stephen Colbert)

More goodness:

  • "Oh, they're just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic." First of all, that is a terrible metaphor. This administration is not sinking. This administration is soaring. If anything, they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg!


ShelleyTheRepublican.com: Linux: A European threat to our computers (by Tristan)

Posted in Linkage at 10:41 am by cori

ShelleyTheRepublican.com: Linux: A European threat to our computers (by Tristan)

On this website you will find many information on how to support America

On this website you will also find more ignorance than I thought could possibly fit inside one brain. This individual's mind is so far closed to reality that even the fact that Blogger is hosted on Linux server is impossible.

Even if this isn't a spoof and these folks are for real, there are some great trolls in the comments.


This made me go hmmm.

Posted in blogging at 11:08 pm by cori

Make You Go Hmm: » Wikiargument over Hacking Netflix being link-worthy and professional enough on Netflix page

I have no desire to argue with somebody who might not even be wearing pants.

Pretty rich from somebody who might not be wearing pants himself.

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