Hyperbolic Headline Writers

According to the author of this headline, Hamas election victory shocks world. It may be that the victory was unexpected by some observers. It may be that some are disappointed in the election results. But I would not say that the world, all of it, was shocked. If all the rest of the world was shocked, one must ask if they have been paying much attention.

There are things that a government, particularly an elected government, must do if it is to stay in power. Foremost is to bring home the bacon.

The Pedant’s Rules for Canning Spam

  • Is it misspelled?
  • Does it violate the rules of grammar?
  • Does it offend my sense of style?
  • Is. It. Punctuated. Idiosyncratically?
  • Does it violate IETF RFCs 2047 and 2231 by placing un-encoded non-ASCII characters in any of the message headers?

If any of the above are true, the recipient SHOULD send a delivery status notification stating the reason for the delivery failure. The recipient MAY prefer to discard the message.

What Outlook does instead is ask one to select those countries, languages, and encodings which you find unacceptable. I can’t do that. It’s a small world after all. But I can be pedantic and insist that mail be well-formed.

Sorry, Mr. Postel.

Watching Television, or Just Shows

Since we moved we’ve been without television.

There’s a home-owner’s association, and winter, and we’re unsure of where to put the dish, and the CATV MSO is more expensive, and we’d need to get a new TiVo, so we’ll wait.

This does not mean that we’ve been without video on a cathode-ray tube. We did not hook up the TV for a couple of weeks, but I did finally get around to looking for the cables and found them — and there are still things on the TiVo that we haven’t seen. But perhaps more interestingly my laptop has S-video output, and the television has S-video input, and the videos sold at the Apple iTunes Music Store look just fine at NTSC resolution.

Which brings me to my point, such as it is. People do not care about channels of television; they care about their shows. That is why they say, “my soaps.” It is why popular shows have continuity, plots which continue from episode to episode. If you can miss an episode, and not care that you missed the episode, then that show was just filling time. But if you care, then you’ll pay $1.99 for the episode so that you do not miss it.

Releasing My Data

It’s just the way the procedures are designed. The procedure assumes that the only one wanting to know the lat,long would be law enforcement. Law enforcement needs a warrant.

Sprint Refuses To Reveal Location Of Cell Phone In Carjacked SUV

POSTED: 9:14 am PST January 11, 2006
UPDATED: 9:46 am PST January 11, 2006

EASTVALE, Calif. — A stolen car that had a kidnapped baby and a cell phone inside has become the center of a new controversy.

The parents of the kidnapped baby are outraged that the phone that could have been used to find the baby was not.


NBC4 reported that a lot of cell phones come with GPS locator technology and privacy assurances that your location will not be divulged to anyone, even to law enforcement without a subpoena.

“I guess I just assumed they had these GPS things. Let’s use it for some good rather than tracking where I’m hanging out at the mall,” said mother Stephanie Cochran.

The Cochran family of Eastvale was loading their baby into their SUV in the home’s driveway. The father, Jason, belted in their 10-month-old baby and came back inside for their 3-year-old.

“Stephanie was finishing brushing his teeth. I went and got him and walked out the door and the car was gone with Wade in it,” said father Jason Cochran.

When the parents called 911 they also realized that the father’s Sprint cell phone with GPS locator technology was also in the car.

NBC4 reported that Sprint wouldn’t provide a location to the parents or to the deputies.

“The deputies were told that Sprint had the location of the vehicle but that they could not disclose it to them because they needed to pay the $25 fee for a subpoena or fill out some forms,” said Stephanie.

Almost 2 ½ hours later a passer-by spotted the SUV abandoned a mile away.

Responding deputies found the boy safe in his car seat.

Riverside sheriff’s authorities were outraged that Sprint could have directed the deputies to the boy an hour earlier and did not.

Supervisors were told Sprint already has an emergency protocol that the employee in this situation did not follow.

NBC reported that the Riverside supervisors were considering prodding Sprint with a regulatory stick but they discovered they don’t have authority.

It Plays OK, Fine, For Sure, For Sure

I was reading the news about the vapor release of Verizon’s V CAST Music store. The labels open yet another retail outlet; Verizon maximizes usage of their infrastructure; and Microsoft gets another distributor of its DRM software. But I fail to see the benefit for the customer. Similiarly, Microsoft and MTV‘s vapor URGE is so thrilling that I might call 1-800-OK-CABLE.

But apparently there were some clues passed around at CES, even in the press releases, that flew right over the heads of the media attending.

“Customers are endlessly creative in imagining ways for broadband and mobility to transform their lives and change the way our society works,” [Verizon CEO Ivan] Seidenberg said. “Verizon’s job is to make sure that – whatever great communications idea anyone can come up with – our networks can help make it happen.”

Consumer Electronics Short-Term Memory Loss Show

On Marketplace this morning, they talked about what’s buzzing about the Consumer Electronics Show this week. Apparently it’s the same buzzword that’s been around for the past twenty-odd years: convergence. Who knew?

And “another thing everybody’s talking about is high-definition DVD.” It is?

I must be lounging next to the wrong water-coolers, because nobody who is anybody is talking about either.

Conserving the Darkness

One of the things that attracted me to the Town of Beekman is the opportunity to become involved in local government. Over the past few days I have been considering to which committees I might reasonably devote time and effort: already I merely expressed an interest and was accepted on the architectural review board of the home-owners association. One which piques my interest is the conservation advisory committee. To familiarize myself with the issues, I am reading the Town of Beekman Open Space Plan (PDF), adopted in April 2005, and the proposed wetlands protection law.

Since we’ve just moved here, most of what we see is unfamiliar. I expect that to change soon enough, but for now I am looking at this environment with new eyes. After ten years in Mahopac, I had become accustomed to the warm glow on overcast nights from, I supposed, the City to our South. On clear nights, the additional light was not obvious — I could see so many stars. But over Christmas I was reminded how many more you can see from Highland County, Virginia.

Today’s Poughkeepsie Journal reports that the lights from Union Vale Middle School bother its neighbors. The lights, seen in this photograph, have been left burning all night long. As the Journal puts it, Arnold and Andrea Ruf don’t have a night light in their bedroom.

If you drive up Roosevelt Drive to the top of the hill, you can look South to the Green Haven Correctional Facility. The lights from the prison, and from the farm across the road, turn our overcast nights orange.

How many more stars would we see if these lights lit the ground instead of the sky?

Wealth is a Matter of Perspective

In discussing a Slate article on the Advisory Panel‘s proposed changes to the tax code, Zimran concludes

From a federal standpoint there are no middle class families living in $500K houses. If you live in a $500K home and are surrounded by people who live in a $500K home and think you are middle class you are wrong — you are, in fact, rich and you live in a rich neighbourhood and you will be taxed.

That’s funny; I don’t feel rich. I’ll feel even less rich when the first mortgage payment comes due. But, Zimran, the proposed change would cap the deduction on mortgages in excess of $300,000. The relative weight of a mortgage may not be in proportion to the value of the house. To use an example from recent history, the mortgage on one property is $280,000. The property sold for $520,000 on the open market. The mortgage on another property is $360,000. That property sold for $390,000 on the open market. Which of these buyers is wealthier?