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The Crapolla According to Fek'Lar
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Santa Leaves You a Credit Card Bill
You've stumbled onto another issue of The Crapolla, a journal written for software professionals. No not the managers; I mean the people who do the work.
This Crapolla is sponsored by...
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In This Issue...
The Urologist called, your Wiki is leaking.
There's something strangely entertaining about the whole WikiLeaks brew-ha-ha. The US government is beating on WikiLeaks in every way possible, calling them terrorists, and claiming that the leaks will cost lives. But what they aren't doing is charging anyone from WikiLeaks with a crime.
And Now For Your WTF Paragraph
Amazon tossed WikiLeaks off their servers saying WikiLeaks was distributing material they didn't have rights to. Since these are US Government documents they can not be copyrighted, therefore there isn't a rights issue. Amazon says the call from Senator Lieberman's office had nothing to do with their strange behavior. Now we learn amazon.co.uk has been selling the same material. How is it WikiLeaks was distributing material they didn't have rights to, but Amazon selling it was OK? Oh, I get it. When it's free it's socialism, and when Amazon sells it it's capitalism, and that's OK. Really, Bezos, call me. I want some of your medication.
Next, PayPal decided they wouldn't process WikiLeaks' transactions because WikiLeaks is engaged in "Illegal Behavior". But WikiLeaks has not been charged with a crime. Hmm. Doesn't it seem strange that PayPal is sure a crime has been committed, but no one can say which one? What was their motivation? They received a letter from the State Department saying crimes were committed. Not the FBI. Not even the Department of Justice. Why not? Because the State Department is pissed off that their cables are being exposed, and the Justice Department knows there's no crime here. Visa and Mastercard have followed suit. Again, Mastercard playing the "Illegal Behavior" card, but again has not said what illegal behavior they are referring to. I guess they got a letter from the State Department too.
And Now For Your Bonus WTF Paragraph<WTF>
But what we are not seeing is the same type of behavior when it comes to newspapers who are publishing the same content. Why is that? The government is not demonizing the established press. The New York Times is not having its servers shutdown at the request of a Senator. And the State Department is not impeding their ability to do commerce. If this doesn't seem strange to you, please wake up.
Since the First Amendment is being selectively criminalized, this allows the established press to play both sides of the field. They can continue to tell you all this gossipy stuff about Gaddafi's blonde nurse, and the Russian government being little more than the Mob. Then they can turn around and tell you about the naughty foreigner who is leaking all these juicy tidbits the newspaper is publishing.
Did you notice that the government didn't come down on WikiLeaks when it leaked information about how the Department of Defense is running the wars? But it freaked when WikiLeaks started leaking information about what the State Department says about their counter-parts. In other words, they pissed off the wrong cabinet member. It's not that this is a crime, this is personal embarrassment. The Secretary of State spent a good chunk of a week calling people and apologizing for what she feared was about to be published. Who knows, she might have apologized for stuff that wasn't about to be leaked. You can imagine how mad she was. You can imagine she turned to some flunky and said, "Take them down!" You can imagine that's why PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard got letters. When you leak a powerful politician's dirty laundry, don't be surprised when they go after you.
Here's the real problem. Publishing this information is not illegal. This is why no one is going after the New York Times. They've been down this road before with The Pentagon Papers. That's where Daniel Ellsberg stole a bunch of classified material in 1971 (before you were born) that proved the government was lying about the Vietnam War (the prequel to Afghanistan). The Times published the papers and lawyered up to defend the First Amendment. The Pentagon Papers and the WikiLeaks are really the same thing separated by four decades.
Both started as acts of theft. Ellsberg was prosecuted for The Pentagon Papers. He would have probably been convicted but the case was thrown out because of misconduct by the Nixon Administration. In the WikiLeaks case, the theft was committed allegedly by Bradley Manning, an Army Specialist working in Afghanistan who had access to the classified State Department files. It should be Manning who is brought up on charges. His alleged theft is the only crime.
In both cases, publishing these papers are not crimes. Nor is it a crime to embarrass the State Department. But this time the government can get companies to shun the offenders, and maybe able to bully other governments into locking up the head of WikiLeaks. (I'm not taking a stance on the rape charges. We haven't been shown any evidence. But the timing is mighty convenient.)
Welcome to the first Information War. I'm sure this is going to make a great movie. I think they should cast Liam Neeson as Julian Assange.
Recently, I was speaking with a web designer who does some pretty good work. In the conversation I happen to mention the box model, which all HTML pages are based on. She didn't know what I was speaking of. I wondered how an accomplished designer could make a living working on web sites and not understand this fundamental idea. The answer turned out was that none of her sites make use of HTML's core abilities. She designs exclusively in Adobe Flash.
You may be aware that Flash has been in controversy because Dear Leader has banned it from IOS devices. He claims that about half of all Mac crashes are caused by Flash problems. And Dear Leader is telling the world to migrate to HTML 5 and CSS 3. Of course, we don't believe everything Dear Leader says. But there is some logic in his reasoning.
About six months ago, the Redmond Company hosted a HTML 5 / CSS 3 Meet Up. A fellow from Google gave a comprehensive demonstration of HTML 5. The presenter whipped out the normal card deck of slides one uses to do a presentation. Was this PowerPoint? No. Was this OpenOffice? No. The deck, which transitioned between cards with a horizontal push, was itself written in HTML 5 and used CSS 3. The audience was not told this until the end of the presentation.
It was pretty clear in this demo that HTML 5 / CSS 3 is going to allow us to do things on the web that we've been dreaming of for years. It's not just that you can present your video without the Flash wrapper, we'll have easier transitions between elements, built in audio, and a drawing model. Sounds sort of like Flash, doesn't it? Maybe Dear Leader is right on this one.
What does Flash offer? Right now, compatibility. The current crop of browsers have a terrible record when it comes to being HTML and CSS standard compliant. During this Meet Up, a Product Manager from The Redmond Company gave a long sales job on how wonderful IE 9 is going to be. Now that might be true, but you have to remember two points. First, this was a Product Manager so anything he says is most-likely complete bullshit. And second, he was a Product Manager for The Redmond Company. They don't seem to think anything they didn't invent is "standard". We'll see. Maybe IE 9 will put everyone to shame. But I wouldn't bet the farm on it. This is why you might be compelled to code today's dancing baloney in Flash, because as long as the Flash player is working, you know what is going to happen. You don't have to worry about which version of which browser the user is running.
But think 5 years out. We won't be talking about HTML 5 and CSS 3. They'll be the old stuff. We'll be talking about some other promising new standards that do even more. By then we'll have HTML 5 and CSS 3 browsers. Although none will be equally compliant, the vast majority of browsers will be compatible with the vast majority of HTML 5 and CSS 3 features. When this happens where will Flash be? Will there be a point to adding an abstraction layer to a web presentation that could be done with less overhead? Will hand-held devices even support Flash? Given that most internet users have no idea how anything works, you can count on the handset makers to have a say in Flash's future.
And what of my designer friend? I dare say she's going to have to go back and learn the fundamentals of the web - The Box Model.
Top 5 Reasons to Drink Caffeine Free Diet Coke
Banks Restart Foreclosure Proceedings
Damn, Monopoly "Reality Edition" is a Bitch!
Heard in the halls of various software companies.
"We have to pay attention to this now that we're in the phase where we want the product to actually do something."
"I stopped finding the fuck ups of this company amusing a long time ago."
"Nestle uses certificates for everything. That's what's wrong with Hershey. No certificates, and then the God damned almonds invaded the candy bar!"
"I'm calling to confirm our nooner."
"I think that means something other than what you meant."
"My new product's acronym is ROTTEN."
I need to go ask that man why he's pointing a parabolic dish at my house.
They pay me to think. These are my thoughts. Do you think they are getting their money's worth?
Remember: The Crapolla contains my personal opinions. That's right they're mine, so get your own! And you kids get off my lawn!
Although written with the software professional in mind, my mind tends to wander all over the place, and I sometimes write about politics, mass stoopidity, dumb things I saw, and whatever else comes to mind.
From time to time, I use salty language, thus The Crapolla is not intended for children, or certain people from the Christian Right.
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