Solidarity

[ music | U2 – Freedom for My People ]

Communication is key to a free society, and instrumental in helping a people liberate themselves. Radio helped win World War II. Television and helped bring down the Berlin Wall, and the Iron curtain. Right now, the Internet is helping the people of Iran try to take back their country. The Iranian government is cracking down on all forms of communications media, such as TV and the Internet, but the people aren’t taking it lying down. In America, many people think of Iran as a nation that hates the US, but that’s not true. Just like in other countries, Afghanistan, Cuba, North Korea, etc., extremists seized the government and that’s all we hear. The people of Iran are people just like you and me who want to have their own peaceful lives. And right now they’re fighting an obviously slanted election.

Amazingly, Twitter is a huge part of it. I scoffed at Twitter at first, then I started to use it, and now I can see it’s merely a new method of leveraging the world wide nature of the Internet with the local nature of telephones and mobile devices. Twitter is helping the Iranian people circumvent their oppressive government’s crackdown on communications, and helping organize protests as they fight for their freedom.

If it sounds grandiose and over the top, think of it this way, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Today’s pen is electronic. And it reaches far more people than paper ever could.

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Sometimes it hits, we made a big difference.

[ music | Talk Talk – Life’s What you Make It ]

I was reading this article with was an interview with Big Mitch Baker and Mozilla CEO John Lilly and stumbled across this sentence, and it made me double take.

As of April 2009, Firefox claimed 22.48 percent of Web browser market, according to Net Applications. That makes it the second most popular browser world-wide, after Internet Explorer, which holds 66.1 percent. An impressive feat.

We’ve helped take IE down from over 90% of users to a hair under two thirds, and dropping. We did that, you, me, the entire Mozilla community. We took Gecko from the marginal-at-best suite to Firefox, 22.48% of Internet users, and paved the way for alternative browsers like Chrome and Safari to be able to carve out a viable existence. Ten years ago people were wondering how long Mozilla could keep plodding along before IE snuffed us out, what would happen when AOL cut the umbilical cord, and laughed at the idea of a real alternative to IE ever rising in the shadow of MS.

Impressive indeed.

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Why APNG?

APNG is a good thing. Some people think it’s not, that it’s just Mozilla carving its own course. It’s not Mozilla just being difficult, it’s that MNG missed the mark by a mile. Don’t believe me? Turns out other companies have encountered similar situations, as Raymond Chen explains why it’s ok to reimplement a subset of functions as a simple solution to a simple problem.

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Thieves, they’re everywhere!

[ music | Depeche Mode – Wrong ]

I fell asleep in a chinese restaurant, and woke up in a tub full of ice. They stole my hair!

Like a thief in the night...

Like a thief in the night...

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Reflections so far

I’m in a hotel room in Pittsburgh, waiting to go north for the funeral. Waiting on anything gives one time to think. One thing all of this ordeal over the past few years has taught me is that I’m not as much of a lone wolf as I used to be. I have found that I actually enjoy the whole “family” thing much more than I ever thought I would. I always knew I wanted to eventually get married, and have kids, etc. But I never thought I’d enjoy the thought of helping and caring for people as much as I do now.  As a friend said to me, “you’re discovering your true self.”  It’s as though I went to sleep one night and someone switched me with someone else while I wasn’t looking. It’s odd to discover big things like that about yourself beyond your teens. I don’t just want to do big things, I want to have a positive effect on the world around me. I’m not satisfied just succeeding, I want to die knowing I changed someone’s life as positively as my mother changed mine. I hope I manage it.

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A Time for Mourning

[ music | Samuel Barber – Adagio for Strings (Opus 11) ]

My mother passed away this morning. This is about a year and nine months after her stroke, when I had to admit her to a nursing home, and about 3 years after her diagnosis of dementia, specifically what we believe to have been vascular dementia. In retrospect, I can see the onset was somewhere in early 2002, with significant symptoms emerging in 2004. But she was active and agile into the start of 2008, even though she had have more care at the nursing home than I could provide. She was hit by it quite early in her life, relative to most patients, and sadly the earlier it strikes, the more aggressive it is (and vice versa). If it manages to affect a younger brain, it’s a more severe case, and the prognosis isn’t good. She died at about 8am today, halfway through her 65th year.

She was my only parent, and meant the world to me, we were very close, and I will miss her terribly. But I’m also glad she’s no longer suffering from the cruelest family of diseases, one that robs a person of their memories, their very being. She passed quietly and without much suffering at all. For a short while my site here will be in this monochrome scheme as a form of modern armband of mourning.

I’m leaving for the funeral and mass tomorrow morning, and should be back Saturday. Additionally, I’ll probably be slow on responding to contacts for a bit even after that. Bear with me on that. Please support stem cell and other research into treating Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases so that maybe some day soon no families need ever see their loved ones slowly slip away from the inside out, and no one ever need forget who they are. Thanks.

Grey

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Travellin’ Man. Same cast, new show, new stage.

[ music | Steve Winwood – Valerie ]

You know, I’ve moved quite a few times in my life. I think I’m currently at move number 24. Most were within a small radius as a kid. A couple were across town, a couple were around 75 miles, and now I’ve finished my third move of 500+ miles. That’s not counting travel; I’ve never been overseas, but I’ve been to Mexico once, and Canada three times (four if you count veering into the Canadian side of Lake Erie, but that was an accident), and 28 states. Also, I hate lines, I much prefer pacing. Apparently I’m not one for standing around, neither metaphorically nor literally.

So that brings me back to the third 500+ mile move (I’m going to gloss over the first two). Technically I’m counting road miles and not as-the-crow-flies partly because it sounds more impressive and partly because I’m not a crow. From north western PA (a cultural desert, if I may say so (and I may, I was born in Pittsburgh, I can get away with insulting the crappy parts of PA, so bugger off)) to south eastern Virginia. I packed my car up, and hit the road. It’s fun driving on the freeway with a table strapped to the roof of your car, you should try it.

And you know what? For the first time in my life, I have absolutely not a single ounce of regret or homesickness. It’s fabulous here. I arrived a bit ago and never got around to blogging about it until now. The fact that it’s so flat here is starting to sink in, but other than that, it’s great. And I never thought I’d wind up in The South. Granted, Virginia isn’t exactly on the equator, but it’s below the Mason-Dixon line, and it’s a place I never imagined myself until last November.

And tonight I went to a “tweet up”. What’s a tweet up? It’s like a meet-up but for Twitter people. What’s Twitter? It’s like crack for the ADD crowd; tell the world what you’re doing in 140 characters. Yes, I have a Twitter page too. It’s a lot harder for me to use though. I’ve written a ream of short fiction and two books with a third in process. For me to say anything in 140 characters is like packing a dozen clowns in one of those little cars. I’m most assuredly 10 pounds of manure, and Twitter is a 10 ounce bag. But the tweet-up was awesome. There was a whopping 6 people tonight, and I’m quite sure I talked enough that none will ever come to another one, but I had a blast. I forgot how much fun I have jumping into the deep end feet first.

So here I am. New town, new home, a whole new smorgasbord of opportunities, and I feel 20 again. I don’t look 20, but I sure feel it. Of course, I didn’t look 20 when I was 20, so that’s nothing new. One person at the tweet up was a quite ambitious, hard working, impressive, and beautiful young woman who was a touch older than me, but looked easily ten years younger than she is, and mentioned her husband is about that much older than her. This told me two things: one, that he is a VERY lucky man, and two, there might actually be hope for me yet. If a guy who is that much older can land a beautiful and amazingly talented woman like that, a guy like me who just looks it still has a chance. 😉 Hidden Egg

All in all, I’m glad to be here. Stay tuned, it’s the same old me, but this is going to be a whole new show. and you bet your sweet bippy it’ll be even more interesting.

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Bring back some v3 features in Safari 4

[ music | Jason Mraz – The Remedy ]

If you’re a web developer, or a developer of web browsers (which is another kind of web developer, I suppose), you’ve probably grabbed betas of Safari 4. I haven’t had it long enough to give a full review, but I CAN say tabs on top? NO SIR. So, how do you undo that? Well, some swell soul has already dug out some of S4’s hidden prefs. I’m very thankful to this kind chap, and I’m just sharing the knowledge.

Now, if you’re on Windows and want to change these prefs, obviously you can’t do it the way that article mentions. This article has some good tips but there’s a caveat. The potential problems are twofold. One is if the file exists and it’s a binary plist, you’ll have to delete/rename it and create a new XML based one. Two is if similar but very different directories. The proper path is %APPDATA%\Apple Computer\Preferences and not %APPDATA%\Apple Computer\Safari\Preferences despite what it may look like.

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ISO: Webhost outside the US for long walks on the beach

[ music | Jesus Jones – International Bright Young Thing ]

I personally am quite happy with Dreamhost. However, I have a customer who is based in Europe, and would prefer a European web host, or one based elsewhere in the world. So, Lazyweb, does anyone know of a non-US web host with a comparable feature set? A healthy bandwidth allotment, PHP, several domains and subdomains per account, and supporting HTTPS/SSL are required, and SSH access is a really welcome feature. I’m more than open to invite or referral codes for good deals to get us in the door. Please email me or leave a comment. Thanks.

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Stop complaining, Warner’s fumble WAS reviewed!

[ music | Aqua – Be a Man ]

Many people are complaining that Kurt Warner didn’t really fumble, that it was an incomplete pass because there was forward motion and he retained control. They say the play should have been reviewed, even if it was a fumble. I can probably agree with that last part, if for no other reason than to put doubt to rest. But it turns out it was reviewed. Thanks to the play reset time and now the extra minute of discussion by the refs for the unsportsmanlike conduct call on Woodley, the guy in the booth, Bob McGrath, had about a minute and a half to review the play. He didn’t phone down and let the refs review it too, but he didn’t feel there was a need. Even after the game it was reviewed and found a legit call. Hindsight is 20/20 and I’m sure McGrath wishes he had talked to the refs, but in the end it wouldn’t have changed anything.

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