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Posts from — December 2008

Give Me A Break

The Microsoft music player has a “Z2K” problem. The Zunes began freezing up by the thousands and nothing seemed to work.

Well, the wizards at Microsoft finally figured it out: some sneaky so-and-so added an extra day to this year, and that confused the internal clock. Think about that. The people who wrote the operating system in use by millions of people sold a device that is obviously dependent on its clock, but they made no provisions for A LEAP YEAR.

Apparently people have to let the battery die, and then, since it is already 2009 UTC time, they can recharge it, and resynchronize it with their computer, to get it to work.

Hey, it’s only one day every four years. What do you want for hard earned dollars? [/snark]

December 31, 2008   22 Comments

Year End Blues

As I wander through the blog roll I’m reading the annual spate of people questioning why they do this, and if it’s worth it. A lot of this is the let down as the holidays pass into memory, and the effects of reduced sunlight for some.

It’s hard to get enervated when the weather is miserable, and the economy is in the tank. I don’t have any magic answers, each of us has to find our own. A bit of the Russian soul has rubbed off on me and I understand the basic concepts: When things are bad, they will get better. When things are good, they will probably get worse.

A curious contradiction, but it works for me.

December 30, 2008   12 Comments

Nice Work CNN [NOT]

CNN has this up: Gaza relief boat damaged in encounter with Israeli vessel

(CNN) — An Israeli patrol boat struck a boat carrying medical volunteers and supplies to Gaza early Tuesday as it attempted to intercept the vessel in the Mediterranean Sea, witnesses and Israeli officials said.

CNN correspondent Karl Penhaul was aboard the 60-foot pleasure boat Dignity when the contact occurred. When the boat later docked in the Lebanese port city of Tyre, severe damage was visible to the forward port side of the boat, and the front left window and part of the roof had collapsed. It was flying the flag of Gibraltar.

The Dignity was carrying crew and 16 passengers — physicians from Britain, Germany and Cyprus and human rights activists from the Free Gaza Solidarity Movement — who were trying to reach Gaza through an Israeli blockade of the territory.

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December 30, 2008   18 Comments

Our ?Friends?

On MSNBC, another reminder, as another Israeli spy pleads guilty.

NEW YORK – An 85-year-old former Army mechanical engineer pleaded guilty to conspiracy Tuesday and admitted he passed classified documents to the Israelis in the 1970s and ’80s.

Among what was passed were documents on US nuclear weapons. He worked with the same Israeli agent who controlled convicted spy Jonathan Pollard.

December 30, 2008   Comments Off on Our ?Friends?

He Deserves It

Reported by the BBC: Sir Terry Pratchett, for service to literature.

December 30, 2008   4 Comments

Israeli Agitprop

Having spent years reading propaganda and dealing with military and police euphemisms, allow me translate some of what is coming from Israeli and Hedgemony spokesweasels:

We are targeting “uniformed Hamas forces”. That would be cops, firemen, and postal workers.

We are targeting “Hamas buildings”. As the largest social services provider in Gaza, that would be daycare centers, schools, clinics, mosques, and community centers.

The Islamic University trained the people who built the rockets attacking Israel. They taught physics and chemistry classes in the science building.

The University was a meeting place for Hamas. Some people in Hamas went to that University.

We are targeting Hamas field agents. That would be local officials, like mayors and city councils.

Soon they will talk about “military support facilities”. Those are roads, bridges, and public utilities.

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December 29, 2008   9 Comments

Maybe Later

The Agonist has decided that the Drupal upgrade isn’t ready for prime time at the moment and have reverted to version 4. Been there and done that – looks swell with the test data, but you start loading the real data and it’s one disaster after another.

December 28, 2008   14 Comments

They Just Don’t Get IT

Because going to the County Tax Collector’s office to renew license plates is a pain, I decided to to try the on-line renewal that was offered [note that Florida now offers a two-year renewal] in the notice. What a joke.

I can understand about the invalid security certificate, they are using a certificate for the old site and haven’t changed it yet, but the “problem” the state DMV found in the records was laughable and shows why datamining is a concept that is wasted on these people.

The associated DMV records didn’t match because the city name “Fort Walton Beach” appeared as “Ft Walton Beach” on one record, and “Ft Walton Bch” on another, while all of the other information was the same. The renewal notice has the unabbreviated version, and all of them have the complete 9 digit ZIP code.

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December 28, 2008   2 Comments

An Eye For An Eye?

McClatchy provides the basic numbers in Israel launches air assault on Gaza, killing more than 200

Saturday night, medical officials in Gaza said that 225 people were killed and 300 more were injured in the prolonged Israeli attacks, which propelled Israel’s confrontation with the militant Islamic group into a new and even more volatile phase. The White House gave tacit support for the assault by blaming Hamas for provoking the Israeli attack.

Israeli leaders, however, said they could no longer allow Gaza militants to fire rockets into southern Israel. Rocket and mortar attacks have killed at least seven Israelis in the last two years, including one Saturday.

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December 27, 2008   9 Comments

Stuff & Nonsense

MSNBC has once again called upon readers to vote for the weirdest science news of 2008. If you can con 10 people to go along with you, you can even nominate your own choice of odd science news.

I had added a page that is reachable through the Navigation area at the top of the left sidebar that shows what emoticons are available for use in comments and how to insert them. I had to enclose the text for the symbols in quotes, because there isn’t an obvious and easy way to stop the page generator from inserting the icons. The biggest problem is remembering not to include a period after the code. The period blocks the proper identification of the text.

Oh, I took a better picture of the “Cativity” set because the original was bugging me.

December 27, 2008   4 Comments

Bocken Baked

The Gävlebocken had a God Jul, but was toasted this morning. 🙁

December 27, 2008   5 Comments

Missing The Point

This has to be one of the most clueless lead paragraphs to ever appear at  Corrente:

One of the goals of single-payer health insurance is to put the health insurance companies out of business. Another is to reduce the paperwork load at doctor’s offices, clinics, hospitals and for other health care providers.

It is the beginning of a post titled, Has anyone considered this? written by someone named Badger.

I’m sorry, but the one and only goal of the single-payer health insurance plan is to make health care available to all Americans. In the civilized world where everyone has health care coverage, there are health insurance companies, although many exist merely to provide health care coverage for people who travel to the US or other uncivilized countries.

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December 26, 2008   17 Comments

Health Care

I haven’t written much about the health care crisis in this country basically because I looked at the problem years ago and the answer was obvious: Medicare for all.

The numbers all point at it, and no one is able to make the numbers change – Medicare is the most efficient provider of health insurance in the United States by a wide margin.

When you look at the savings from switching all of the current government systems to Medicare coverage, and then factor in all of the problems for business and the states from our current hodgepodge system, the answer leaps out at you.

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December 26, 2008   7 Comments


Eric Alterman’s Altercation is moving to The Nation starting New Year’s. The new address is http://www.thenation.com/blogs/altercation

Jill has a bright new look at Cookies in Heaven.

The Agonist will finish their Drupal “real soon now”. Upgrades are generally known to take longer and cost more than anticipated.

Mary Beth of Wampum has been accepted to law school.

December 26, 2008   3 Comments