dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:26am on 2009-04-17 under , ,
Tavis Smiley: 

"How much of what happened with Bear Sterns, Lehman, AIG, all the stuff we're reading about and experiencing as a country every day -- on the part of Wall Street, how much of this had to do with mistakes, honest or otherwise, but mistakes versus greed -- just outright greed?"

 
William Cohan: 

"I don't think they were mistakes, honestly. I think the compensation system on Wall Street provided huge rewards for firms to create financial innovation -- take a financial innovation like securitizing mortgages and selling them all over the world -- this is the creation of these so-called mortgage-backed securities.

"That was a financial innovation at one point, started by Lou Ranieri at Salomon Brothers. That was a very interesting financial innovation, and a very effective one. But Wall Street has no carburetor, it has no ability to stop when it discovers a financial innovation. It pushes it to the limit because that's what the incentives are on Wall Street.

"You get rewarded for doing more, more, more and more. More revenue equals bigger bonus. So they discovered this great thing called mortgage-backed securities and they sold it hard and strong for as long as they possibly could, until the bubble inflated and then burst and exploded all over the place.

"Same thing with Internet IPOs, and it has to do with the way Wall Street is compensated. So a little less financial innovation, or if you're going to have financial innovation, then be a lot more careful about what you're rewarding people to do.

"And I think to some extent, the market on Wall Street is taking care of that, but again, the short-term memory is a big problem, and I think we need to watch it very carefully."

[Emphasis added by me -- DGA]

-- from the PBS television program Tavis Smiley, 2009-03-31 (link includes audio and transcript)

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:26am on 2009-04-13 under , ,

"The Great Depression, we said, 'Hey, we have to learn the facts. What caused this disaster, so that we can take steps, like pass the Glass-Steagall law, that will prevent future disasters?' Where's our investigation?

"What would happen if after a plane crashes, we said, 'Oh, we don't want to look in the past. We want to be forward looking.' Many people might have been, you know, 'we don't want to pass blame.' No. We have a nonpartisan, skilled inquiry. We spend lots of money on, get really bright people. And we find out, to the best of our ability, what caused every single major plane crash in America. And because of that, aviation has an extraordinarily good safety record. We ought to follow the same policies in the financial sphere. We have to find out what caused the disasters, or we will keep reliving them."

-- William K. Black, on the PBS television program Bill Moyers Journal, 2009-04-03

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:26am on 2009-04-07 under , ,

"As a woman, it makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside to hear that men like Congressman Issa want to protect the female ideal. And by warm and fuzzy, I mean like if I drank bleach." -- Jezebel.com commenter BrutallyHonestBabes, 2009-03-27, regarding Rep. Issa's proposed legislation to "protect the historic role of the first lady"

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:28am on 2007-06-30 under ,

"I don't think these nut jobs, with their movie-plot threats, even deserve the moniker 'terrorist.' But in this country, while you have to be competent to pull off a terrorist attack, you don't have to be competent to cause terror. All you need to do is start plotting an attack and -- regardless of whether or not you have a viable plan, weapons or even the faintest clue -- the media will aid you in terrorizing the entire population.

[...]

"Following one of these abortive terror misadventures, the administration invariably jumps on the news to trumpet whatever ineffective 'security' measure they're trying to push, whether it be national ID cards, wholesale National Security Agency eavesdropping or massive data mining. Never mind that in all these cases, what caught the bad guys was old-fashioned police work -- the kind of thing you'd see in decades-old spy movies."

-- Bruce Schneier, "Portrait of the Modern Terrorist as an Idiot", 2007-06-14 [Note: original contains several links to other essays (and, in other sections than what I've quoted, news articles) providing additional background.]

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:26am on 2007-06-30 under ,

"I don't think these nut jobs, with their movie-plot threats, even deserve the moniker 'terrorist.' But in this country, while you have to be competent to pull off a terrorist attack, you don't have to be competent to cause terror. All you need to do is start plotting an attack and -- regardless of whether or not you have a viable plan, weapons or even the faintest clue -- the media will aid you in terrorizing the entire population.

[...]

"Following one of these abortive terror misadventures, the administration invariably jumps on the news to trumpet whatever ineffective 'security' measure they're trying to push, whether it be national ID cards, wholesale National Security Agency eavesdropping or massive data mining. Never mind that in all these cases, what caught the bad guys was old-fashioned police work -- the kind of thing you'd see in decades-old spy movies."

-- Bruce Schneier, "Portrait of the Modern Terrorist as an Idiot", 2007-06-14 [Note: original contains several links to other essays (and, in other sections than what I've quoted, news articles) providing additional background.]

dglenn: Fire extinguisher in front of US flag (savemynation)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 03:21pm on 2007-06-12 under , ,

[Feh. Gotta fix the problem my post-to-three-blogs-at-once script has with multi-word subjects..]

This is, I think, a little too important to rick getting overlooked in the trivia and nattering of my previous entry, hence the second post in such a short time...

As a few other people have pointed out (mostly citing Pam's House Blend as where they saw it), Today is Loving Day:

On June 12, 1967, the US Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional all laws forbidding interracial marriage. The case was called Loving v. Virginia (1967). The decision was unanimous."

(I wish I'd realized this in time to pick a suitable QotD for the occasion.)

Ed Brayton adds: "I am still waiting for a conservative originalist to either defend the decision on originalist grounds (without completely contradicting their arguments against similar rulings in other case) or tell us why it was wrongly decided. No one has ever accepted that challenge."

dglenn: Spaceship superimposed on a whirling vortex (departure)

I propose an "all-purpose counter-protest" meme:

Equal Rights for Robots

Inspired by Charles Kline. (It seems to me that this could be used by folks on all sides of various issues, as easily by people I disagree with as by reasonable people ... folks who agree with me. Hence "all-purpose". Or does surrealism itself have an inherent political implication?)

dglenn: Lego-ish figure in blue dress, with beard and breasts, holding sword and electric guitar (lego-blue)
meme: "The LJ personality test: Just what are you like?" )

Hmm. I wonder how different the result would have been (and in what direction) if I hadn't deleted the interests in my profile in protest over the Strikethrough2007 kerfuffle and the official excuse that 6A thought "interests" specifically meant "stuff I like and approve of", and replaced them with just "censorship", "freedom of speech", and "nothing illegal".

(I've heard of folks doing the same thing out of fear that their interests would get them in trouble. I wasn't worried about mine, as I figured by the time we were getting hassled for the 'more controversial' of mine it would mean we were a good bit farther along the Neimoller progression. I deleted my interests in protest, not out of fear: 'if they're going to use the interests list that way and not in the ways LJ users have found useful, I'll make it not useful to them either, and replace it with a political statement.' I have not yet decided whether to restore the old list; I have a longer essay to write about interpretations of 6A's actions and the process (and prerequisites) of re-growing trust, and what I'm still making up my mind about.)

FWIW, my old interests list on my profile was:

"friendly", arisia, available light photography, bach, baitcon, balticon, bass guitar, bdsm, bondage, books, celtic music, chastity belts, cheese, chocolate, classic rock, cognac, computers, cooking, darkover, double bass, early music, echo's children, english country dance, erotica, filk, freedom of speech, garb, gratuitous hugs, guitar, hp3000, infrared photography, linux, ljmaps_dglenn, macos, mahler, mandolin, markland, mead, medieval, music, odd music, oud, pentax, photography, polyamory, polyamoury, recorder, renaissance, sca, science, science fiction, science fiction conventions, science fiction fandom, scottish music, snow, stout, swords, the homespun ceilidh band, three left feet, thrir venstri foetr, thunderstorms, trs-80, unix, vivaldi.

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:26am on 2007-05-31 under ,

"In the past it was fashionable to assert that the Internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it. In the current era we might say that 'Web 2.0 treats censorship as inspiration and creates performance around it.'" -- Alan Wexelblat, "Web 2.0 vs The Cartel", 2007-05-03

Less insightful/clever but still a useful reminder: "Practically any attempt to sort works of fiction into tidy piles of acceptable and unacceptable material, of course, is likely to invite controversy. Works by noted authors such as James Joyce, Henry Miller and William S. Burroughs have been lauded as masterpieces--and at other times prosecuted as obscene. -- Declan McCullagh, "Mass deletion sparks LiveJournal revolt", CNET News, 2007-05-30

dglenn: Photo of clouds shaped like an eye and arched eyebrow (sky-eye)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 04:16am on 2007-05-31 under ,

For commercial television, viewers are not the networks' customers, nor are television shows, ultimately, their product. Viewers are the networks' product, and the advertisers who pay big money to reach those viewers are the networks' customers. The programming is just an intermediate step, a byproduct, or,if you will, bait.

Who are Six Apart's (LiveJournal's) primary customers? The writers and readers ("the users"), some of whom, at least until yesterday, paid for additional account features? Or the advertisers vying for the eyeballs of the "Plus" account holders and non-subscriber readers of "Plus"-level journals? (Presumably, LJ would like to consider both groups its customers, but with which group do its loyalties lie? From a business perspective, where should its loyalties lie?)

And what are the ramifications of the answer to that question, with regard to decisions faced by the content creators? An important difference between LJ and television, regardless of the answer to the question in the second paragraph, is that the 'viewers' and the 'production studios' for LJ are the same people.

[ETA: Official response from LJ/SA to the userbase regarding recent/current events was finally posted about the time I thought to start writing this entry. It may affect your reactions to the questions I ask here.]

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:26am on 2007-05-23 under ,

"Attendee of radical 'madrassa' religious school threatens violence to those who disagree" -- [livejournal.com profile] ckd describing the "headline we won't see" for articles about the Liberty U student who made bombs apparently to blow up folks protesting Falwell's funeral, 2007-05-22

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:26am on 2007-05-21 under ,

"I wonder if [Westboro Baptist Church] will picket Reverend Phelps' funeral when he dies?" -- [livejournal.com profile] elkor, 2007-05-17, in response to news that Westboro Baptist, Fred Phelps' organization, intends to protest at the funeral of Jerry Falwell.

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:26am on 2007-05-16 under ,

A different format for today's quote-of-the-day entry, pasting together what ought to be a regular entry out of recent quotes Tomorrow's QotD will be in the usual format.

Reading my friendslist yesterday, I ran across several topical posts that either made me think, or said something related to what I'd already been thinking (not usually precisely the same spin on the memes presented, but close enough to want to pass along the phrasing).

Until [livejournal.com profile] firinel got me thinking about our reactions I was mostly just surprised at how little I cared, thus [livejournal.com profile] leiacat's words here ([livejournal.com profile] osewalrus shares a similar assessment of the relative importance of this event).

[livejournal.com profile] griffen wrote:

I promise I will not crow, strut, or rejoice.

However, I reserve the right to express both relief and sorrow that Jerry Falwell died today.

Relief, because he will no longer be able to persecute me and mine for his own misguided beliefs.

Sorrow, because he was never able to reach a point where he realized those beliefs were misguided, and do something to correct their effects.

[livejournal.com profile] firinel wrote:

May God bestow Zir infinate, and far more reaching than my own, mercy and forgivness on him.

May I have the time to right all the wrongs that I have wrought before I die, and find that same mercy and forgiveness awaiting me, when I do.

[livejournal.com profile] scooterbird wrote:

We are to love our enemies and wish for peace and reconciliation, even when our common, worldly sense tells us that such a thing is either impossible, or futile, or injurious to ourselves or the world. So it is here, and it's compounded by the fact that this man specifically damaged Christianity itself in far-reaching ways. [...] But the Bible teaches love for enemies, even such as he, and it is profound in so prescribing. If I was to repudiate this part of the teachings of Jesus - perhaps because it was not "convenient" for me - I would be as guilty of hate and anti-Christian behavior as Falwell himself was.

[livejournal.com profile] squire_liz wrote:

I don't buy into the whole "don't speak ill of the dead" Dying doesn't magically make you a good person. It doesn't right the wrongs you were responsible. I have never understood why we feel we have to say something good about someone just because they stopped breathing.

Yet I can't find it in me to snark and say good riddance. [...] I don't want to waste the negative energy on someone who is no longer alive to be affected one way or the other.

Rest in peace, may you find more enlightenment in the next go round and may your followers eyes and hearts be opened to the truth, the real truth, not the truth as they wish to see it.

[livejournal.com profile] leiacat wrote:

I find myself caring far more about the continuation of Heroes on TV than about the death of Jerry Falwell.

I see on my flist a string of posts [...] Me, I just can't bring myself to care. Words don't die, they've been spoken, and they, even the hateful ones, will yet be spoken by others. Death of the speaker rarely stops them. [...]

I must say, I care far more about the (inevitable from the point of view of storytelling) fictional demises in a well-written imaginary world than about this one hateful real man.

I am much less interested in debating/discussing Falwell's death, life, works, words, and sins, than in talking about these five quotes in particular. But, having expressed that preference, I'll not try to impose restrictions on those who would comment here. If you want to talk to each other about Falwell himself in "my" comment-space, go to it. Just try not to start any flamewars. I can skim over the bits I'm less interested in.

[One request/suggestion: if you take any of these quotes from here and re-use them elsewhere, and there's a '[...]' in there, first click through to read the entire original and decide for yourself whether you want to include any of the text I snipped. Depending on what aspect of the quote appeals to you, you may really want some bits I cut.]

dglenn: Me in poufy shirt, kilt, and Darth Vader mask, playing a bouzouki (vader)

In case anyone is unfamiliar with the abbreviation, "IANAL" means "I am not a lawyer", a standard bit of disclaimer when a layperson on the 'net starts speculating about the law or offering "worth what you paid for it" free advice. I think I know quite a bit more about copyright law than most people, just because I've read various "copyright law for dummies", "intro to copyright for photographers", "intro to copyright for musicians", and "common myths and misperceptions about copyright" web sites, and the US government's own "copyright FAQ simplified for laypeople" page, as well as Lessig's Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity ... and given just how freaking commonplace the various copyright myths and misperceptions are, it's obvious most people haven't. I know that I know less about copyright than some of my friends, and most of my friends know less about it than a lot of lawyers, and then there are the lawyers who specialize in this stuff. So: while I feel that I have about 1/3 of a clue more clue than most people about copyright stuff, that only adds up to ... about 1/3 of a clue. Admittedly it's been awhile since I reread any of those "things you ought to already know about copyright but probably don't" sites...

So ... this is layperson-with-a-third-of-a-clue speculation and brainstorming which may or may not turn out to have any bearing on reality, but I'm going to throw this out there just in case it lands in front of someone who knows their stuff and has time to respond to my questions here (I know some of my friends have more than two whole clues to rub together regarding copyright, that being part of their jobs, but I don't know whether they'll have tome to respond), or turns out to be something useful that too few people have gotten around to yet. Take every darned paragraph with a grain of "IANAL"-flavoured salt, and check with authoritative sources (unless you are one of those more authoritative sources) to see whether I've misremembered something.

Okay, the very basic background just in case anybody needs it: copyright is, basically, "the right to make copies" (which is why it is not, as some people mistakenly spell it, 'copywrite'). "Copies", as it winds up being in the law, includes performances, recorded or not. The basic idea is that, for a set time (in theory -- though in practice every time Micky Mouse is about to enter the public domain, the duration of copyright gets extended) only the creator of a work has the right to make copies or to grant permission for anyone else to do so ... with certain exceptions (including the grossly misunderstood 'fair use' and the probably better understood but often abused parody). The creator, or hir employer if it's a "work for hire", starts off owning exclusive rights, which can then be rented, sold, or given away like any other property. (We'll leave the argument over whether "intellectual property" should exist for some other day -- today I'm working within the framework of what the law currently is, to the extent that I haven't misunderstood it.) These rights are most often rented, after some sort of negotiation (which may be as simple as "hey, what's your standard rate?"). In general, if you want to use or copy someone else's work, you have to ask permission and probably negotiate compensation. Want to use my photo in a textbook? We'll negotiate. Want to use my song in a television commercial or a movie? We'll negotiate. *cough* In general. But not always.

"Not always," because there's this notion of "compulsory licenses", for specific uses, which go hand in hand with statutory royalties. If you've published a recording of a song and I want to record a cover version of it, I do not have to ask your permission or negotiate a royalty rate. There's a "compulsory mechanical license" that means all I have to do is pay you the royalty amount specified in law for covers before I press copies of my version, and all you can really do about it is cash my check. Because you're compelled to grant me the license, the royalty amount is set by statute instead of negotiation. Note that you do have the option, if you like me a whole heck of a lot -- it's still your work and your copyright after all -- to charge me a smaller royalty or to waive the royalty or to write a letter saying that you trust me to pay you later and are giving me permission to go ahead and press those CDs now. Gotta have that in writing, of course, so I can show it to the CD pressing plant so they know I'm not BSing them. AFAIK, you don't get to insist that I pay you more than the statutory amount, since the law says you're compelled to grant me a license and specifies the standard payment (hence "compulsory license"), but do keep that "IANAL" thing in mind here.

Which brings us to performance royalties. I'm not 100% certain that performance licenses are compulsory, but it makes sense that they would be, since a) there are statutory royalty amounts for different types of performance, and b) it just makes sense that you wouldn't make every single radio station negotiate a separate license with every single copyright-holder whose music they play. For now I'll assume that performance licenses are compulsory unless someone corrects me in the comments. Every time a radio station plays a recording that's still under copyright, they owe a royalty payment. Every time a band performs a song that's still under copyright for an audience, someone owes a royalty payment -- usually the owner of the club or theatre where the concert's taking place, but it could be the band -- which is why when the music industry came down on the Boy Scouts and various summer camps to collect royalties for campfire sing-alongs, however wrong they were from a PR standpoint and a "what decent people should do" standpoint, they were actually legally absolutely correct (as I understand it -- IANAL). This is one of the frequently misunderstood bits, and every so often music industry agents check up on clubs that aren't paying lump-sum royalties and sue them if it turns out they've been hiring cover bands who haven't been paying performance royalties either, and I think it usually comes as a surprise when the club owners learn that they should have been paying royalties (or verifying that the performers had done so) all along. I keep wishing I could sic the RIAA on those folks who blast their car stereos so loudly you can hear them for two blocks (no I am not exaggerating) for not paying royalties for a "public performance" of the recordings...

There are statutory royalties covering how much it costs to play a song on conventional radio, how much it costs to play a song on satellite radio, how much it costs to play a CD at a discotheque, how much it costs to have a band play a song they didn't write in your bar, and how much it costs to stream a song over the Internet. I'm guessing there are statutory royalties covering telephone hold music and elevators. In principle, whoever runs the organization "performing" (which includes playing a recording of) the music, owes performance royalties to the specific copyright holders of each piece of music they play.

In practice, that's too much paperwork -- they'd have to track Every Single Song and exactly how many times it was played and write checks for the right amounts to each and every copyright-holder whose work they'd used. So there's a legal shortcut. A radio station will work out how many songs it plays on average each month, and write a check for that lump-sum amount to an agency that collects and distributes royalty payments. That agency then does some statistical sampling, figures out which copyright-holders get what percentage of the pie, and writes checks to the copyright-holders (usually artists or record companies ... and I get the impression that it's more often the record companies). The system isn't perfect: niche artists, "genre" artists, and local indie artists are so far down in the "noise", statistically, that their cut gets rounded down to zero if they're even noticed in the random sampling at all. On the whole, it works well enough for the folks owed large enough amounts of money to care, so everybody's basically cool with it even if they're getting shortchanged a little ... either that, or the little guys' complaints just aren't being paid any attention. Hmm. Gotta look into that.

And that, at last, brings us to the whole reason I'm writing this: Internet-radio royalties. I had this funny thought about how to turn this whole "jack up the statutory royalties on Internet radio so high that it puts the entire field out of business" crap on its head. I'm just not sure whether I've got all the details right.

Does the compulsory performance license specify an exact amount for each category of performance, or just the largest amount the copyright-holder can insist on? Does it specify that lump sum payments to a particular agency must be used, or do broadcasters have the option of using a different agency or paying copyright-holders directly? Because if I can charge a friend less than the statutory royalty for a compulsory mechanical license if I so choose, why can't I charge a group of broadcasters I want to support less than the compulsory performance royalty? (In fact, I saw a throwaway line in some superficial news article about this that suggested that major web-casters would negotiate discounts with major labels, implying that exactly this is possible.)

So what happens if a bunch of indie artists -- the ones with the most to gain from Internet-radio exposure -- put in writing, "We will only charge $reasonableamount as a performance royalty for Internet radio, instead of the ruinous statutory amount"? Would that mean that suddenly an Internet-radio station would be affordable to operate again as long as it stuck to artists who had given either blanket or specific licenses to use their tunes at the reduced rate? Could this then bite the RIAA in the ass by making its own artists too expensive for Internet-radio and leaving that entire field to the indies and small labels willing to support the medium? Or am I missing or misunderstanding something critically important? And if the paperwork burden of this approach is too high, could a bunch of indie artists band together and start a separate royalty-distribution agency just for these lower-rate artists? They certainly wouldn't be "lost in the noise" there ...

I haven't bumped into this idea elsewhere yet. So what am I missing? Would it work? (Is it already being discussed, just not in the places I'm reading?)

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:26am on 2007-04-17 under ,

"I'm pretty sure my optical mouse is a bomb. It has a weird light underneath." -- Timm Murray 2007-02-23, in a comment to an entry in Bruce Schneier's blog, about the number of inoccuous items being treated as bombs by authorities.

"I just noticed that every parking spot in my city has mechanisms mounted on sturdy steel-pipe columns -- which makes me think of super pipe bombs -- and the mechanisms have countdown displays that show in red 'EXPIRED' -- which I assume means detonation time. If I tip off the police, will the bomb squad destroy these infernal devices?" -- Roy, 2007-02-23, in another comment to the same post.

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:26am on 2007-04-01 under ,

"The culture of CYA makes a denial-of-service attack less risky and almost as effective as a real attack. If your goal is to terrorize people, you don't actually need to blow them up. Just get enough scary bomb squad video on their TV sets." -- RSaunders, 2007-02-23, in a comment on Bruce Schneier's blog

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:26am on 2007-03-25 under , , ,

From the Quotation of the day mailing list, 2005-12-31:

"The creative brief in the first Gulf War had more to do with the conflict of cultures and ideologies--it was the Islamic or Arabic East versus the West, and so the conflict was set in those tones. The second time it was more like they were trying to promote the war the same way they would promote Terminator 3--it was like 'Battle of the Megaheroes.' So the first time what I delivered was vaguely militaristic and vaguely Arabic simultaneously. And the second time it was just Techno-Ali vs. Frazier-IV, we're-going-to-knock-the-crap-out-of-them music. -- Peter Fish, composer, on his work for CBS's Iraq war coverage. Quoted in "Music at 6: Scoring the News, Then and Now" by Carter Burwell in the Fall 2003 edition of Esopus Magazine.
(submitted to the mailing list by Terry Labach)

dglenn: Photo of clouds shaped like an eye and arched eyebrow (sky-eye)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:52pm on 2007-03-11 under

[livejournal.com profile] acroyear70 provided another reason for me to refer to DST as "Daylight Spending Time", with his glimpse into the costs of changing the start/end dates for DST (search for the phrase "crappy time" if you want to skip over the reasons I already mentioned -- or don't skip over it because he discusses it in much more detail and includes some relevant history). His back-of-a-napkin estimate is $10,000,000,000 spent just by folks maintaining systems that use Java, to deal with the change. Now that's some Daylight Spending!

dglenn: Me in poufy shirt, kilt, and Darth Vader mask, playing a bouzouki (vader)

I had a kinda busy/kinda productive couple of days (with help from a couple of people). But I can't shake the feeling that there was something planned for today that I forgot to write down.

I know my VCRs won't automagically switch to Daylight Spending Time[1] tonight, but I think that one of them will try to do so on the old date and need to be set back then. I'm not sure which of my computers will/won't automatically spring forward; most won't, but at least one got a batch of OS upgrades installed that may or may not have included a DST patch. I'm not sure whether to expect next year to be on the new schedule or the old schedule, so I hven't decided whether to patch the ones that need to be patched by hand, or just stay up tonight to set their clocks manually.

There's been a major flurry of activity on the lowest floor of the house across the street, ripping out the bricked-up windows, installing widowsills, patching the mortar in the outside wall, redoing some of the masonry inside, fixing up the floor. I've lost track of what permits the owner has gotten -- it sounds as though the first round or permits were to allow him to do the work that was required to apply for the second round of permits, or something -- but the coffee shop he wants to open seems to be back on track. He said his proposed paint and signage sailed through the community associating meeting easily (it's a historical district, and there are a bunch of rules related to that regarding what is allowed on the street-facing sides[2] of houses here). There's no glass in the windows yet, and there's a couple of big storefront window openings still bricked up that I'd never noticed until he pointed them out, saying they'd let in a lot more light when he opens those up.

Why do I feel funny about setting up a computer in a tower-style case on its side? I never hesitated a moment in setting up a desktop-style case on end. And I can't think of a mechanical reason[3] not to put a tower case on its side. It just ... feels wrong, and the fact that it feels wrong and I don't know why feels even more wrong. (It's not quite a strong enough feeling to stop me from doing it, to fit computers into the rack, but it'll take me a little while to get used to seeing them that way.)

Now if only I could either shake this feeling of having forgotten something, or remember what it is I've forgotten ...

[1] [livejournal.com profile] vvalkyri pointed out an interview on NPR about daylight saving time, in which it was pointed out that a) DST doesn't actually save energy because what we save on lighting is more than offset by gasoline used to get to various events taking advantage of the evening light, and b) the main proponents of DST have been business interests because the main effect of DST is that people spend more time shopping when they have extra daylight after work! So it occurs to me that since we are not "saving daylight" (there are still the same number of daylit hours) nor saving energy, the name ought to reflect the true purpose: spending. Hence "daylight spending time", which fortunately uses the same abbreviation as the official name.

[2] I know, the "street-facing side" is usually referred to more concisely as the "front". But the storefront in question across the street is actually the side of the house it's under; the front of the house is on Fulton Ave.

[3] I've heard that hard disks don't like to be formatted in one orientation and then used in a different one, but a) I don't know whether that claim is legitimate, b) if it doesn't turn out to be completely bogus, I don't know whether it applies generally or only to particular generations of drives, and c) for most of the spare drives I've got lying around waiting to be stuck into computers, I have no idea what orientation they were used in by their previous owners anyhow.

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:26am on 2007-03-01 under ,

"Someone wrote that when there's an airline accident, the FAA finds out exactly went wrong and institutes rules to make sure that it never happens again. This makes great sense when you have a highly reliable system and your (rare) problems have non-malicious causes. Air travel is so safe that finding potential accidents is really hard.

"This gives a possible explanation of why the TSA airline regulations are so boneheaded. It's not so much that the people who devise them are stupid, it's that they're stuck in the wrong mental model: accident prevention rather than counterterrorism."

-- Jeremiah Blatz, 2007-02-22

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