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22/11/05

Permalink 21:58:16, by matt Email , 260 words   English (NZ)
Categories: blog, Technology

And you thought Engrish was funny

Link: http://kb.palmone.com/SRVS/CGI-BIN/WEBCGI.EXE?New,Kb=PalmSupportKB,ts=Palm_External2001,Case=obj(887)#zeroout

Usually one expects amusing technical instructions to be in "Engrish". That is, translated from an Asian language, by a native speaker of that language. Classic examples of the hell that is translating between languages.

Palm have gone one better. Their technical support instructions, written by a native speaker of English, include this gem from the section on doing a secure erase of the memory in a Tungsten T5 and a Trio 650:

1. Read through these instructions before attempting the reset. We made this method of zero out reset extremely awkward to perform, so that it would not happen by accident. You may need the help of a dextrous friend if you find it too difficult to do by yourself.
...
4. While continuing to hold Power and UP, press and hold the HotSync button on the HotSync cable or cradle. As you press HotSync, make sure your other finger doesn't slide to LEFT or RIGHT on the 5-way navigator; it needs to be exactly on UP during the entire process. Although you are pressing the HotSync button, a HotSync operation should not begin.
5. While continuing to hold Power, UP and HotSync, press and release the RESET button on the back panel of your device (where's the reset hole?). This is very difficult to do with only one person; you may wish to hold the stylus in your mouth and use your hands to press Power, UP and HotSync.

Needless to say, I was amused. Do they want people to cross their eyes and stand on one leg as they're performing this arcane procedure?

18/11/05

Permalink 23:15:27, by matt Email , 87 words   English (NZ)
Categories: International events

We're not paranoid, this is a healthy level of fear

Link: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=1&ObjectID=10355813

TUI!

As a New Zealander of European Descent, I have concerns about going to the US, and won't be for at least as long as it takes them to get a grip. If I were of foreign - especially Middle Eastern or African - descent, though, the US would be right up there on my travel list. Up there with North Korea, Iraq, and Chechnya while wearing the uniform of the Soviet Red Army.

The United States of Paranoia strikes again. And again. And again. They're all fucking crazy &amp;#58;&amp;#124;

15/11/05

Permalink 18:24:40, by matt Email , 84 words   English (NZ)
Categories: blog

It makes me want to laugh. It makes me want to cry

First, the crying.

Then, once you've actually looked through those photos, the laughing.

OK, so it's not nice to laugh at someone's misfortune. Tough. Obviously whoever was driving that car is entirely unworthy of ownership of such a vehicle.
If you can afford it, you can afford the track time to engage in hooning and you can afford the driving lessons to teach you how to handle that kind of Italian glory without the, err, unfortunate consequences of power in excess of your capabilities.

13/11/05

Permalink 10:25:03, by matt Email , 218 words   English (NZ)
Categories: Social commentary

Maybe we should be raising the driving age

Link: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=1&ObjectID=10354894

To 17.
$100k in fines?! What the fuck?
At least if she had been 17, she could've been put before an "adult court" judge and given time inside.

This situation with unpaid fines is really getting out of control. Youth caught driving outside the conditions of their licences should be treated the same as a person caught driving without a licence, and the car impounded for 28 days unless the owner (who wasn't the driver) can show that it was being driven without their knowledge.
The only way we'll discourage this kind of shit is if the punishments are extremely inconvenient for the drivers who get caught. Simply tacking larger fine onto unpaid fine doesn't give them any kind of immediate, painful feedback. Impounding the car for 28 days would work quite well, and if a second offence was punished by auction of the vehicle (again, unless the owner could demonstrate that they had no knowledge that the driver had the vehicle), with the proceeds going to their tab with the Ministry of Justice, it would be even more of a discouraging tactic.

The current regime obviously isn't working. These little fuckers rack up enormous fines, only to see them wiped in exchange for a pittance of community work at what equates to an hourly rate that would make some lawyers blush.

10/11/05

Permalink 21:17:58, by matt Email , 503 words   English (NZ)
Categories: Social commentary

When money is not enough

Link: http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,69508,00.html?tw=rss.TOP

The concept of ethical investing has been around for years. It's the notion that an investor looks at more than just the bank statements of companies in which they invest, seeking to find companies that are good citizens of the communities where they operate.
Usually, though, ethical investing is small-scale stuff. Individuals, or family trusts, looking to make sure that they're not supporting a company that shits where it eats. A company that looks after its employees, gives back to the community, and acts in a moral fashion at all times - to paraphrase Google, one that does no evil.

This signifies a change, and a significant one. USD21b is quite a lot of weight to be throwing around, and it would be a foolish corporate board that didn't listen. Not listening to shareholders gets directors fired, or sued, or worse.
It's all the more interesting that this announcement comes this week, at the time that we are told about a US company that will be blocking Skype in China. That's a company seeking to cash in directly on China's oppressive regime, and it would be all the more pleasant for their board to be directed, by shareholders, that that sale is not to go through.

Google's "do no evil" policy is going to have to be carefully considered in light of this agreement. They cannot, on the one hand, have such a policy, and satisfy shareholders who seek an ethical investment, while on the other hand working with red China to tread upon the hapless citizenry of that country. One or the other will have to give. Will it be an image, and an ethos, or will it be money?
There are no illusions as to MS ever acting in an ethical fashion. Money will win, without a doubt, and even if Google withdraws because of moral considerations the Beast of Redmond never will. The Chinese Communist Party will continue to oppress the masses, aided by the biggest names in internet search. Google pulling out would matter not a jot, except to the people who have put in their money in the hope of supporting a company that does not have a purview limited only to the colour of the ink at the bottom of their financial statements.

The buck is not the end of the world, though the fascination with quarterly results does make that difficult to believe at times. A company cannot act solely for financial gain forever. At some point the shareholders will demand a wider view, since fucking over the communities from which you draw staff and sales isn't a good way to make friends and influence people. Some companies - such as Hubbards - behaved morally from the start. Others found out the hard way, and had to clean up their acts to avoid shareholder riots. Still others are bumbling along with tight fists and greedy eyes - Telecom spring to mind - to the detriment of their communities. They will fall eventually, and this movement can only hasten the day.

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Shocking as it may be, I think, and sometimes those thoughts are almost worthy of public contemplation. So, here are those some thoughts, with no guarantees as to their validity, worth, or utility to the cosmos. All thoughts are my own, representing only my thoughts, opinions and positions, unless explicitly otherwise stated. This blog is not an official or unofficial outlet for any company or government body, or for person other than myself.

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