Thursday, May 27, 2004

I sent a message to the webmaster of the local paper this week, saying, "Are you offering RSS feeds? If not, when will you start?"

Got a message back a couple of hours later saying, "Sounds like a good idea - try this feed out and see if it works."

It didn't at the time, but a couple of iterations later the local paper is now offering RSS feeds! How cool is that?

Herald-Times RSS feed

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

The major topic of discussion on the news this morning was the gay marriages taking place in Massachusetts.

There's a lot going on in the world today. A disastrous war in Iraq, leading to massive federal budget deficits. Gas prices spiking to record levels. Torture and abuse of prisoners, in Iraq for sure and probably at Guantanamo. Afghanistan is still a mess; so is most of Africa, and the Palestinians and Israelis are no nearer peace than ever.

In all this, is it really important who got married today?

Friday, May 14, 2004

There was an article in the local paper today - I'll add a link, but I bet it's not permanent - about electronic voting. The author, who claims to have a PhD in computer science, is pretty hard against any kind of computer based voting. I don't understand why. The arguments are all correct, of course - poor programming or malicious programmers could cause votes not to be counted or even recorded differently from what the voter intended - but in conjunction with a printed ballot, I see very little possibility of serious problems. The nice thing about a computer-printed ballot is this: it doesn't need to be human-readable. Wouldn't it be cool if each ballot printed out to an inch-high bar code on a standard piece of paper? You could fit 10 votes or so on a page, and create software to scan the ballot back if required. This way, each voter could have his ballot scanned for accuracy even before leaving the polling place, and recounts would be an easy job. Why is this so difficult?

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Meme via Burning Bird: From "The Bushes: Portrait of a Dynasty". "According to his son Bucky, he never spoke about them later in life." Instructions: Grab the nearest book, open it to page 23, find the 5th sentence, and post its text along with these instructions. I would add to the instructions: point back to where you got the idea so that we can follow the threads. I got the idea from Ongoing. When I opened the book I thought I'd be out of luck, but luckily there were exactly five full sentences on the page :)