October 2003 Archives

I don't mean to pick on Andrew Welch, but his article is a good example of a recent trend that annoys me.

People who want to make an economic argument should use and understand economics.

An argument that says that marginal cost of software is 0 and so the cost of software should approach 0 would be welcome (even though it's kind of silly).

His article ignores one of the fundamental principles of economics, ie. that the consumer always chooses what is in their own best interest (with respect to the information that they have). If you were doing an analysis of OSS you might include the idea that the person choosing to 'give away' their software must be doing it because of a far greater "utility" that they get from it.

... I should get some more advanced econ. books so I can calculate the effects that so often aren't considered by people who claim to understand econ.

As detailed here, I complained about AT&T wireless to the Secretary of State and the Better Business Bureau. I was contacted by their "Executive Response Center" via both a phone call (with information for calling them back when I had time to talk), and US mail. I called back today. The 800 number was immediately answered by someone who actually had the power to make things better. Since I was already irritated, though, I asked to have my contract terminated as of today (so, when number portability happens for cellular phones, I can switch providers and keep my number without paying the $175 early account termination fee).

The woman I spoke to was several orders of magnitude better than the reps. I spoke to before (probably because she can actually do things to fix customer problems). She also reminded me that I would most likely have to sign a new contract with a different provider and purchase a new phone (I knew that, and it's just their attempt to keep me locked into their service, but it was still nice).

If they hadn't been so bad before, I might have almost been tempted to stay. (When I escalated the issue before, they should have sent me to her department. I shouldn't have had to do the extra complaining).


Computer profiling isn't likely to help us find terrorists. Bruce Schneier has a nice article about it here.

So, using Mac OS X and sick of warnings about geeklair.net's SSL certificate?

You can solve this by importing the geeklair.net CA certificate. (Hint, an OS upgrade could obliterate this change, so you might want to wait until after installing 10.3. Also, the certtool command on 10.2 won't correctly add the key unless you copy the X509Anchor file to you ~/Library/Keychains/ directory first, use k=X509Anchors, and then copy the ~/Library/Keychains/X509Anchors file back into /System/Library/Keychains ... basically wait until getting 10.3 and do it then).

1. Download the geeklair.net CA cert.
2. Open Terminal
3. run `sudo certtool i ca.crt k=/System/Library/Keychains/X509Anchors`

Make sure you're in the directory where the ca.crt file was downloaded to.

You should be all set. Mail and Safari should stop complaining about the geeklair SSL certificates.

Note that under linux, using Firebird and Thunderbird, you can just tell it to import the key on your first connect and it will be happy.

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If you insist on using it, this, looks almost worthwhile.

I wonder why you wouldn't just use Perl and HTML::Template, though.

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Why doesn't this kind of thing get more coverage on mainstream US media?

(ok, don't answer that question ;-) )

Arnold part of a vast conspiracy to rob Californians? If true, it's good to know that there are so many people out there willing to help the rich.

And who really decided to send many identical form letters supposedly from soldiers to their hometown newspapers?

And number three (the most upsetting one). A US citizen (who served in the Navy and US Diplomatic corps) had his fiancee (a German citizen) detained and then sent back to Germany when she tried to visit him (she had obtained a six-month tourist visa).

Read about it here, and here.

The ACLU just posted a list of cases that are particularly interesting that the court will probably rule by the end of this year.

This is interesting:

On finding Osama Bin Laden in Central Asia:
"We're going to hunt them down one at a time. . . it doesn't matter where they hide, as we work with our friends we will find them and bring them to justice."
--President George W. Bush, 11/22/02

On finding Saddam Hussein in the Mideast:
"We are continuing the pursuit and it's a matter of time before [Saddam] is found and brought to justice."
--White House spokesman McClellan, 9/17/03

On finding the leaker in the close confines of the White House:
"I don't know if we're going to find out the senior administration official. I don't have any idea."
--President George W. Bush, 10/7/03

Help our President determine who leaked this information by letting him know that you didn't.

(Quotes and link were stolen from a MoveOn.org email message.)


It's ok when your own people leak information, but not when other people do.

/grumble grumble grumble/

(In case you aren't aware, after a person who had gone to investigate the possibility of Iraq trying to purchase uranium (remember the state of the union address?) revealed that his investigation proved that it was false long before the infamous speech, someone leaked that his wife was a CIA agent, thus ruining her cover. Not only did this put _her_ life in danger, but it hurt us all as she was no longer able to do her job gaining information to help protect us.)

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Information here.

A bunch of these have decided that my living room might be a good place to enter. My front window isn't the greatest, so they manage to squeeze through. They're also squeezing around/through the weather-stripping on my front door. I've vacuumed up at least 100 of them today.

They are a pain. Imported from Japan to help control aphids, they now pester me.

Perhaps I can seal off that window ...


A few years ago, my grandmother purchased this stupid book (actually the hardcover) for my parents and all my uncles and aunts. I was thinking that I might buy a copy of this for all of them this Christmas...

Would that be wrong? ;-)


Does watching Fox News make you stupid, or are you just stupid if you watch Fox News? ;-)


This could happen to you!

If this is real, we might see some news with a more centrist (or slightly left of center) balance.

Sometimes crazy liberals (like me) complain about how there's no liberal counterpart to FOX NEWS (tune in because you JUST MIGHT SAVE YOUR LIFE and if you don't then you HATE BABIES, you don't hate babies do you?). Of course, I don't think that many people would watch a bunch of lefties who lie constantly (although there are lots of people who like watching right-wingers who lie a lot, so maybe I'm wrong ... I don't think I can make the generalization that people who share my political beliefs are smarter, because there's just so much stupid in the world).

I hope this deal actually goes through. It would be nice to be able to have a news source that isn't NPR or The Daily Show. :)

In conclusion: fries.

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