Saturday, 12 May 2007

Fucking bat-shit idiot

(Edit: Fixed the link...)

I work with neurological disability, I have worked with mental health (still do, only not as the primary focus) and intellectual disability and other forms of impairment or poor functioning or impaired development of the brain or cognitive processes.

So this made me too mad to think of a coherent response. I will just say that Dante in all his lurid imaginings did not conceive of a hell suitable for this level of abject deriliction of duty as a parent. And I speak as someone who doesn't like children, doesn't want children and doesn't want to have to deal with children. John Travolta, you chose to have children. Your religious beliefs do not prevent your current actions from being abuse. Burn in hell.

Friday, 11 May 2007

See? Someone else thinks the same thing!

I believe that recently I mentioned a lack of education as the main reason for quackery having free reign in this country. I am happy to report that far more experienced skeptics than myself agree with me. So there.

Clay Bennett

I am certain that this man is one of the most incisive political cartoonists I've ever seen. It's not that he spots what others don't - he doesn't. But very few can portray a pointed, cutting opinion with such an economy of space.

Y2K was merely a warning...

There seems to be almost a competition on the Interblag to see who can find the most expensive, the most catastrophic, the most ha-ha-it's-funny-because-it-didn't-happen-to-me programming error or otherwise bug. The decision to limit years to just two digits has been the highest-profile blatantly obvious cockup so far, but its memory is becoming faint with time as the sheeple go about their lives content to be content that nothing happened, that it's all okay, that a world in which the idle speed of your car is set by electronic sensors is not a world in which a computer error can catastrophically disrupt their lives. The poor fools.

Brisbane, a city not without its IT cachet, hosting TrollTech's Qtopia development team, has launched a bid for a top spot in the oops-that-was-expensive bug awards: $2 million worth of oops-that-was-expensive

Thursday, 10 May 2007

It's the little things... v.2.

It's still the little things that piss me off, and this time it's not Microsoft. My rather nice (bit chunky, but rather nice) and generally well thought-out Hewlett Packard printer has a subtle and simple but quite nasty user design flaw. When you pull out the paper tray, there are absolutely fuck-bugger-all-none guidelines, markings or even vague hints as to which way up paper should go. Which is fine for a packet of generic A4, but gets extremely annoying when you're about to print at 1200dpi on single-sided photo paper using ink that costs more than blood and you'd like to not cock up and have to turn the paper the other way up and repeat the print. No matter how fast it may or may not be.

Luckily, educated guesswork (the paper gets pulled backwards, and comes out forwards, which means it's probably inverted during the process, which means... paper goes face-down) is both simple and correct. But I didn't appreciate having to do a test print to check that before printing at 1200dpi etc.

Come on guys, it's not really that novel a suggestion, is it? (To be fair, the rather oh-my-god powerful photocopier at work has a sticky note permanently taped inside one paper draw with "This end up and face down" written on it. Actually, no, I'm not prepared to be fair. The photocopier manufacturer also cocked up.)

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Why is there so much quackery in Australia?

The real reason why Australia is so full of quacks, woo-woo merchants, snake-oil salesmen and homeopaths is that people are prepared to shell out money for their products. The real question is why people are so gullible, and it probably comes down to poor education.

Let me share with you one factor which, I'm positive, can be put front and centre of a firing squad for complicity in mass stupidity:

Thursday afternoon I was, for reasons not quite clear, not so much off-colour as severely out of sync with reality. And when I progressed from feeling slightly ill to making silly mistakes I knew it was time to go home.

On the way home, I had the sudden desire, possibly fueled by impaired impulse control, to track down and buy a copy of Climbing Mount Improbable by Richard Dawkins. So I dropped into the most convenient shopping centre on the way home and steered a direct course for the resident Angus & Robertson bookshop.

Where I circled the shop three times, feeling increasingly like a refugee in the Twilight Zone, looking for where they might have put a book on evolutionary biology. I eventually found the Science section, around the back from the Natural History section (good candidate, but no). It was one shelf-unit wide. It was a little less than 1m wide and about that tall. And did not contain Climbing Mount Improbable, possibly because there was no room left after the three copies of The God Delusion had occupied all the available space.

I stared at the Science section in a small state of shock before my eyes were irresistibly drawn to the New Age (four shelf-units wide) and the Alternative Heath (three wide and twice the height) sections for comparison. And I fled the store before I started ranting at the first person to so much as acknowledge my presence.

I fled to Dymocks, downstairs. Where I only needed to circle twice before finding the science section. Which was the same size.

I didn't look for the New Age or anything else by way of comparison, I just fled.

I personally believe that any society which allows homeopaths to flourish and which is prepared to pay $100 for a tub of face cream with an "exclusive olive extract" in it is a society on the cusp of madness. And major bookstores are not helping.

Mobile phone redux

Well, well, well...

A few days ago I made a comprehensive list of what I wanted out of my next, super-duper, all-powerful, cabaret mobile phone. And I made numerous references to the incompleteness of the rather neat Sony-Erric.. Ericc... Ericsson M600i, making especial point of the fact that it has no camera and no WiFi.

Well, well, well.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

It's the little things that really piss you off...

There are a million and one things that annoy me about Microsoft software, and usually it's not the errors, the bugs, the overt problems that do it. It's the inconsistencies, the user interface WTFs and the seemingly random omissions.

Here's two recurring Why, God, Why problems that have already bugged me this morning:

There is no "Open location" right-click-menu option for desktop shortcuts in WinXP. Suppose I have a shortcut and I can't remember where the actual document is. This happens more often than I care to acknowledge. If I want to delete it, or drop something into the same folder, or any one of a hundred reasons to have direct access, I would like to be able to go from the shortcut right there. I'm not the only one who's thought of this: I've seen it in other interfaces, I know I have.

There is no "save as shortcut" option in File menus in Microsoft Office 2003. I have a desktop littered with shortcuts, for commonly accessed databases or files or, specifically, for files I am currently working on and can't afford to forget. I would like, if creating a new file, to be able to save it to its correct directory and as a shortcut to the desktop without messing about wasting time with File Browser windows and more right-clicking.

I'm positive I'm a victim of Microsoft trying to do away with the desktop - just look at the useless XP default settings.

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