Archive for March, 2004

Stupid politician tricks

Tuesday, March 30th, 2004

I generally despise politics, but I enjoy seeing blowhards–from either side–get their comeuppance.

On a recent morning in early March, the Senate Judiciary Committee convened to protect the American flag from burning, stomping, shredding, and the notion that, as Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch put it, “urinating or defecating on the flag is some form of speech.” The Committee’s Republican majority had carefully assembled the audience for this hearing. The room was filled with dozens of aging veterans, wearing medals and dark red VFW hats. Also in attendance was a hero of perhaps even greater red-state status: nascar driver John Andretti, who would testify that “those who desecrate the flag have total disregard for our military.” 

In other words, the hearing had all the trappings of a perfect, election-year GOP stunt. But then things got a little more complicated. Committee Democrats, such as Richard Durbin of Illinois, noted that Republicans had voted down a Senate amendment increasing veterans’ health spending the previous night. “Giving a veteran a flag is not a substitute for giving our vets the quality health care they were promised,” Durbin said, causing brows to furrow under those VFW caps. Committee Republicans were furious.

Blocking traffic

Sunday, March 28th, 2004

As I was walking over the Mass. Ave bridge Friday night, I saw this gang of bicyclists reclaiming the street. They backed up traffic along Mass. Ave all the way to Columbus Avenue.

Linky Goodness – 3/26/04

Friday, March 26th, 2004

Many thanks to Jay for helping with the new JPButler.com logo treatment!

If a man gets himself pierced in Georgia, it’s a-ok; woman gets pierced: 2-20 years in prison.

Don’t steal stuff at a party crawling with cameraphones. You might unleash a fractious blogger posse.

Multiprojecting: the illusion of progress.

John Kerry was in Vietnam? Yadda yadda yadda.

Handy Perl/PHP translation reference.

Some Sunday Reading.

Noam Chomsky blogs.

So, let’s see which Presidential candidates are receiving contributions from my fellow Holliston natives. How about your neighbors?

Monty Python’s Philosopher’s Song, annotated.

Top ten things they never taught me in design school.

Legal theory lexicon.

Scandal after scandal after scandal.

New Boston.com section: Where they went, in which Bostonians submit their travelogues.

Do big publishers still want to publish good writing?

Anyone else remember when Marketing Fix was a fun site with good information?

Wednesday, March 24th, 2004

Marketing Fix, Up2Speed, Marketing Wonk, Marketing Vox News relaunches. With the world’s smallest, most unreadable font.

It’s almost axiomatic that no one likes a redesign on the day it launches, but I really don’t like this redesign. The new revenue streams which looked so good on the whiteboard now crowd out the reason people actually came to the site.

I evangelized for this site on the basis of what it was: a source for useful marketing and business links, coupled with a sense of humor. Now, it appears to have morphed into yet another “business portal.” Alas.

Off to Phoenix

Thursday, March 18th, 2004

I’m leaving our little winter wonderland for my very first wedding-in-law. Back in a few days…

Obvious virus, with smart social engineering

Thursday, March 18th, 2004

So, this is the fourth email like this I’ve received over the past few days:

Dear user, the management of Jpbutler.com mailing system wants to let you know that,

Some of our clients complained about the spam (negative e-mail content)
outgoing from your e-mail account. Probably, you have been infected by
a proxy-relay trojan server. In order to keep your computer safe,
follow the instructions.

For further details see the attach.

Kind regards,
    The Jpbutler.com team

The attachment is the virus.

I find it amusing that there may be a “JPButler.com team.” I obviously won’t fall for this, because I *am* the JPButler.com team, but I can imagine how easy it would be for a user at a company to see this as a real message from the IT Department. You’d think the virus would invest in a proofreader, though; it would greatly increase their conversion/infection rate.

Jason the ninja elf

Wednesday, March 17th, 2004

Ninjas are quiet and elegant, pirates passionate and strong. Elves are conceptual and refined, dwarves practical and structural. Overlay the two spectrums and see in which quadrant you live.

New York thoughts

Tuesday, March 16th, 2004

Last Friday, I had to go to New York to meet with folks at the paper. So, A. and I made it into a weekend and were able to visit some of her friends.

Random thoughts from New York:

1. The streets of New York feel more like Bangkok than Boston. With the bustle, the smells and the honking, the only thing missing is the army of tuk-tuks.

2. Everything in New York is very small; hotel rooms, apartments and entree portions are all much smaller than you’d expect. More expensive, too.

3. I don’t have nearly enough jackhammer noise in my life.

4. We went to the top of the Empire State Building. The view from the 86th floor observatory stretched for 25 miles. 9/11 slips back into your mind at odd times; as A. was pointing out the different towns in New Jersey, I was thinking about how people were forced to jump from this height to escape walls of flame.

5. The Chrysler Building is very pretty:

Chrysler Building in New York

That’s not what I said

Tuesday, March 16th, 2004

I really like this trend: people in the news starting their own blogs to keep the media honest.

In this post, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban compares and contrasts his correspondence with a columnist to what the columnist actually wrote.

Note that [Dallas Morning News’ Kevin Blackistone] conveniently used only part of my response to make it seem like my comments to Josh were in response to Bruce Bowen and Michael Finley getting into it. Unfortunately, he ignored the part of my response that said it was not. My conversation with Josh was long before Fin and Bowen got into it.

And of course, this intrepid columnist completely ignored and left out the entire reason I was talking to Josh so he could come in with a slam about why I shouldn’t be talking to players. How convenient for him.

Three cheers for hearing both sides of the story.

Err. Wait a second. I work for a newspaper. Bad. BAD!

Linky Goodness – 3/16/04

Tuesday, March 16th, 2004

For all of you afraid of the big, bad Internet, don’t forget that it’s easier for restaurant workers to steal your credit card than for hackers.

Acoustics Experiment Shows Why It’s So Hard to Make Out the Heroine’s Words at the Opera.

How New York City is embracing technology.

How a Steadicam works.

Television tropes, idioms and devices. There’s always room for HoYay!

Five articles on the design of adventure games.

Printable 2004 Red Sox Schedule. ICal 2004 Red Sox Schedule.

BYU in round one, Maryland in round two

Monday, March 15th, 2004

The road will be rough for your National Champion Syracuse Orangemen.

Otto!

Jason’s Mantras

Wednesday, March 10th, 2004

When two people fall in love, they tend to pick up each other’s mannerisms, each other’s vocal tics.

Phrases I figure I say a lot, if only because I notice when A. says them:

  • Fun!
  • It’s neither good nor bad, it is what it is.
  • There’s more than one way to do it.
  • It depends.
  • It’ll magically fix itself.
  • Everybody wins!

It goes the other way too. Never before have I spoken so much about what “one” would do in any given situation. When one marries a lawyer, one must learn to speak carefully.

What will I do if my kids start talking like me? Egads. I’ll have to shake them, saying “Stop being so damn precise and get to the point.”

Linky Goodness – 3/8/04

Monday, March 8th, 2004

Boston.com’s RSS Feeds.

Experiences using PHP in large websites.

The worst sneakwrap licensing abuses.

An index of logical fallacies.

What newspapers and their web sites must do to survive.

Doing things, not buying stuff, has proved to be a superior pathway to pleasure in life.

Advice to social-networking services. Also, thirteen ways to save Orkut.

Testy copy editors.

Tales from the switch from a PC to a Mac.

Pictures of spring along the Charles River

Sunday, March 7th, 2004

I spent most of the first tolerable Saturday of the year pruning trees along the Charles River, reveling in being outside and taking some pictures of the scene:

Tree-pruning with the Charles River Conservancy.

Tree pruning along the Charles River

Crew teams practicing on the Charles River.

Rowers along the Charles River

Bikers.

Rowers along the Charles River

Amazing pictures of the Haitian crisis

Friday, March 5th, 2004

Check out William Plowman’s pictures from Haiti. Amazing.

We need a photographer

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2004

Hey everyone –

I’m looking for a photographer for our August wedding. I’ve got a couple of possibilities lined up, but if anyone has any recommendations, I’d rather give the money to a friend. If you have a suggestion, please drop me a line.

Thanks!

Jimmy Buffett at Fenway?

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2004

This could be fun! It looks like Jimmy Buffett will be playing at Fenway this September.

Mmmmm, Cheeseburger in Paradise.