Misplaced Outrage

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Misplaced Outrage

The video of US Marines urinating on corpses is shocking and counterproductive. But it's not the worst thing that happened to the victims that day. More shocking, and more damaging to the US is that at the same time Guantanamo marked its 10 year anniversary. While the Republican Presidential hopefuls fight over who will be the first to invade Iran. But go ahead, spin up the news cycle for the sideshow.

Photo credit: stroud4341

Farallon Islands

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Farallon Islands

A rare clear day where you can see the Farallon Islands from Fort Funston.

More on breaking the Internet

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

I finally got round to actually reading SOPA and PIPA

I make my living from intellectual property, it's my hobby as well. I also used to work at Macrovision, at the time the leading anti-piracy company for Hollywood, software, music and games. I understand the sentiment behind the legislation and agree that theft of IP causes real harm. I'd love to see the pirate sites vaporized. But not at the expense of undermining the fundamental architecture of the Internet. 

The most controversial penalties are removing sites from search results and DNS combined with a shield from prosecution for sites that comply with requests voluntarily or even preemptively. 

It's an insidious infrastructure tax comparable to requiring the phone company from removing you from their directory and taxi drivers to shrug their shoulders and pretend they don't know where you live. It also inverts the DMCA approach of holding sites harmless provided that they respond to take down notices.

Worse still, the legislation would make it illegal to provide a product or service that circumvents these penalties. Because the proposed remedy to piracy is censoring the Internet this equates to making anti-censorship software illegal. 

It's not even like mucking with DNS will be effective. People who want to steal movies will still be able to find them. These are bad laws. Sign a petition and contact your congresspeople to help put the brakes on.

This brings me to a piece on KQED where Rick Cotton from NBC says: "But these new forms of distribution that all of the content providers are embracing cannot compete against stolen, cannot compete against free.

Which sounds like bad news for a company in the business of competing with free. Luckily this isn't true. People happily pay for speed, quality, convenience, features, support, kudos, reputation, collection. Yes, some people will never pay. It's not worth the decreasing returns to go after them both to your company and as with SOPA/PIPA to society as a whole. 

Instead of having Congress censor search results for you grow a pair and use some SEO. Fill the search engines with legitimate ways to access your content. Invent new windows. Treat piracy as market research for unmet needs. 

How about a streaming service for parents who can't get to the cinema that often? I'd happily pay a premium - two tickets, parking, popcorn equivalent - and it's money you're not getting now while I have to wait for a film to eventually show up on Netflix. 

Release raw footage for an episode every season and have a competition for who can cut together the best episode. Embrace the Internet rather than fighting it. 

Don't spend your time and energy and money on SOPA/PIPA and other attempts to fight a battle that can't be won. 

Installation: Early and Often

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Jiri Novotny at Dextronet wrote a great post this week on improving installers for micro-ISVs.

One essential that I'd add is writing your installer early and including it as part of the build process. It's the first thing that potential customers see and leaving the installer to the last minute is a huge mistake. You should be testing with a complete installer as pretty much the first milestone in any new project.

For Windows products I'd recommend WiX. It's easy to learn, and easy to include in your build. The latest beta includes Burn, a bootstrapper to install dependencies before the main MSI runs. I'm sick of having to do this part myself and I can't wait for Burn to become a stable part of WiX.

Moon on a Wire

Updated on Saturday, June 23, 2018

Moon on a Wire

Testing posting by email with a picture of the moon from last night...

I've extended BlogEngine.NET to post by email. Not horrible for the very specific case of this blog and a short list of email clients. I shudder to think of extending it to the general emails and different templates.

LEGO, now for Girls

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

LEGO.com Friends - LEGO for Girls

LEGO Friends is “The new LEGO theme – for girls!

So I guess the current sets not for girls include Alien Conquest, Architecture, Atlantis, Cars 2, City, Creator, Harry Potter, Hero Factory, Heroica, Kingdoms, Mindstorms, Ninjago, Pirates of the Caribbean, Pharaoh’s Quest, Prince of Persia, Racers, Spongebob Squarepants, Star Wars, Technic, Toy Story and World Racers.

I know they’ve tried this before, but still, how about LEGO Vikings: The new LEGO theme – for Danes!

Misogynistic plastic peddling marketing weasels.

Catfood.Shapefile 1.40

Updated on Thursday, December 26, 2019

I’ve just released a small update to Catfood.Shapefile. Stephan Stapel, who implemented PolyLineM support, has contributed a patch that improves the class hierarchy. CodePlex user originSH suggested supporting the ACE driver for 64-bit systems. I’ve added a constructor overload that allows you to use predefined Jet and ACE connection strings or provide your own templates if necessary. Thanks to Stephan and originSH.

Catfood.Shapefile is a .NET library for enumerating ESRI shapefiles. I originally wrote the library to help me build some complex layers in Catfood Earth. Since then it’s picked up thousands of users and some really valuable suggestions and patches from the CodePlex community. I’m very glad a took a couple of hours to open source the library back in 2009.

Catfood: Cleat

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Need to tweet from the Windows command line? Well, now you can…

Reviews and Links for December 2011

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

REST API Design Rulebook by Mark Masse

2/5

Two huge problems with this book. It's short and very repetitive so the information content is about a couple of blog posts. The 'rules' are highly subjective, and much of the book is pushing the author's WRML 'standard' which I've never seen in the wild. The only real positive is that it's a comprehensive survey of the issues you need to think about when designing a REST API: just don't take the rules as gospel and research best practice from major APIs so you understand the context.

 

Links

What are the 1865 stickers on Bernal Hill about? http://t.co/0CGOmRYe

ITHCWY: Congress: instead of breaking the Internet how about fixing child identity theft?: According the the… http://t.co/4eBrdCPI

Penn Jillette: An Atheist's Guide to the 2012 Election - Boing Boing http://t.co/oA8XEYzP via @BoingBoing

Shouldn't hackers be _taking over_ a network of satellites? http://t.co/QmOcn8oy

ITHCWY: Shiti: Citigroup sent me a nice notice saying they are going to share my information in about four thousand… http://t.co/DQLR5DlV

The coming war on general computation http://t.co/yl9vNJHc (Cory Doctorow)

Zeno's Advent Calendar: http://t.co/EyGf4vBY #fb

“we couldn’t as a company be in a position of acknowledging ... hidden people.” - http://t.co/K7aSceFm

Check this video out -- IDEX: Connecting You to Grassroots Solutions to Poverty http://t.co/kiq32ThR via @IDEX

Catfood Software Blog | Winter Solstice 2011 in Catfood Earth http://t.co/O0x5TngH via @CatfoodSoftware

For Christmas, Your Government Will Explain Why It's Legal to Kill You: http://t.co/rrMIrELV

Arch druid ... said it was a "good omen for the year ahead" that the sun had come up after the ceremony. http://t.co/UxK0BQlf

Looking forward to: Build better web applications with "Get Some REST" http://t.co/DGxCp9uN via @getsomerestbook

Why is @VisualStudio so busy? http://t.co/y9TLULLk

Sphero http://t.co/VCM5rvhK #todo @myEN

HTTP status cats by GirlieMac: classic server error codes, now with cats: http://t.co/1bJc3tgt

Land of the free taken nearly taken care of: http://t.co/uNlYAzoJ just need to do something about home of the brave. #fb

Trillion-frame-per-second video: http://t.co/JLsK5GDm

ITHCWY: Reviews and Links for November 2011: Reamde by Neal Stephenson 5/5 Intelligent and humorous if highly… http://t.co/ysKotKbY

Yet more on http://t.co/Dk1bJ0Ve: http://t.co/OTViMYQW (BoingBoing)

Check this video out -- Cello Wars (Star Wars Parody) Lightsaber Duel - Steven Sharp Nelson http://t.co/8xzzZh6E via @youtube

Stop marketers from being able to call your cellphone! http://t.co/wJd12VzP @CREDOMobile #p2

More on http://t.co/p0AhRSIl hijacking shareware to install crap: http://t.co/lDsXNB2g #fail

RT @justanswer: Want to know how old Santa is or what he gets Mrs. Claus for Xmas? Ask Santa your questions for free! http://t.co/i9WIce ...

You're doing it wrong: on toast, with butter: http://t.co/sTHvdHY6 (Sandwich Monday: The Marmite Sandwich)

Too hot? Switch Google off: http://t.co/ZRLIpH12

2 of 5 stars to REST API Design Rulebook by Mark Masse http://t.co/U6A4yQNk

Aliens on Ice: http://t.co/FmLdlfZ3

There, we fixed it: http://t.co/gEhPi3Z8 (The woman... must marry her rapist as a condition of the release.)

Congress: instead of breaking the Internet how about fixing child identity theft?

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

Child Identity Theft; A Lot of Questions Need to Be Answered, But the Most Important One is

According the the Carnegie Mellon CyLab one in ten – 10% – of children in the US have had their identity stolen. Most likely this is related to the relative ease with which social security numbers can be predicted.

As a parent this makes one want to start checking credit reports, but according to a Today Show segment on the topic “Advice for concerned parents on this point is nuanced. Both the FTC and the Identity Theft Resource Center say parents should not check their kids' credit reports on an annual basis.” Kids shouldn’t have credit reports, and if they do then checking them obsessively might do more harm than good by damaging their credit rating.

WTF?

It doesn’t seem that complicated to me. How about at birth or when the child’s social security number is generated placing an automatic block on it until their 18th birthday? There should also be a process to register existing children with the credit rating agencies until automatic registration kicks in. Would this for some reason be difficult or controversial?

Also, is there a great reason for social security numbers to be short and based on states and birth years? I guess there’s a Y2K level problem to update every computer system, but converting SSNs to UUIDs sounds like a great stimulus program to me.

Apparently Representative Jim Langevin has introduced legislation to try and fix the problem for foster children. Which is great, but why just for one special group? If 10% of children (or anything like this number) really are affected then this is a pressing issue that should be getting a lot more attention.