The Idiocies of Categorization

The Washington Post reports on radio advertisements which complain about Teresa Heinz-Kerry categorizing herself as an African-American.

Another ad attacks Teresa Heinz Kerry, who, at the Democratic convention last month cited her birth and upbringing in Mozambique and who has described herself as African American. In the radio commercial, the announcer says: “His wife says she’s an African American. While technically true, I don’t believe a white woman, raised in Africa, surrounded by servants, qualifies.”

Look, if you want to differentiate between people based on the amount of melanin in their skin, or by their ethnic origin, then don’t use a geographic category. That just makes you a moron.

Assume the Net Works

I’ve given up Radio Userland’s aggregator. I had to do it cold turkey, but I did it. I tried SharpReader for a week, and while I like some of the features, like 410 GONE support, it’s much faster to read the headlines in a single long scroll than it is to click about. Same thing with Newzcrawler (and the Ouchlook integration issues), NetNewsWire, and FeedDemon. They’re all good for a leisurely read every now and again, but when you’re scanning and deleting lots of lines, they’re just too much work.

On the recommendation of several people, I’m trying Bloglines. It’s nice. It’s fast. And it fails when the network does.

JetBlue needs 37 Signals

Using a 56kb dial-up connection, I really notice failures in the web applications which assume network state will persist, or which have, under other circumstances, minor usability flaws.

Take JetBlue‘s ticketing process for example. All of the pages are POSTs, and don’t persist in cache, so using the browser’s back button could reissue the transaction. This is not something you want when you’re spending $800 on non-refundable tickets. This failure is aggravated when there’s a problem with the credit card, either because their systems fail or you mistype a number; they tell you to go back, but it’s not that easy. And these are nothing compared to your line dropping in the middle of a transaction like picking seats.

Song shows you the seats available on the flight before you begin the purchase, so if that’s important, you can eliminate flights with a paucity of seats.


On Monday I upgraded my account at Pair Networks to include MySQL and PHP support. It just incidentally includes more disk space. My storage over-usage fees have been about the same as the pricing for the new features, so I should have done this many moons ago.

About 5 minutes ago, I installed WordPress. When it works, this shit is easy.

One thing I don’t like, and will have to address, are the post-id-based URIs.

Scenes from Belize

We bought a new camera just before our cruise; here are some pictures.

a house for computers
A House for Computers

A house for computers in Data Park, by Intelco on the Northern Highway in Belize. Shortly down the road we saw

a house for people?
A House for People

a house for people on the intersection of the Northern Highway and the Old Northern Highway.

And this is what a Ford Aerostar looks like after it hits a bus.

crash between a Ford Aerostar and a bus

On our way back from Altun Ha we found this accident. In our tour group were three ER nurses. They saved the life of the Aerostar’s driver while the people in the neighborhood worked to pry the dash and door off. People are incredible.

as we came up on the bus

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“Yahoo tacks fees onto e-mail, storage features: The company said it will begin charging for a feature that lets people check their Yahoo e-mail messages from outside services. In addition, the company will limit public access to its data storage service in hopes of persuading people to pay for it.” [c|net]

Expect more of the same. As this goes on, SBC Yahoo will become the bargain.

SBC: We’ll hit our numbers: “The company said it plans to focus on building its operations in the United States by expanding into new markets such as long-distance voice and data services, Internet and wireless.”

Ah, expanding into the Internet market. I wonder how that works. 😉

Yahoo sends MapQuest packing:

Yahoo said Wednesday that it has stopped using AOL Time Warner online street-finder unit MapQuest and has instead created its own mapping service.
Yahoo’s service, which continues to look and operate like the one powered by MapQuest, is built on data providecnd by Navigation Technologies, Geographic Data Technology, and software application providers Telcontar and Sagent Technology.

Jon’s Radio: “How do they do it? My theory: less time spent in meetings.”


At one time, SBC was intending to migrate their members’ personal home pages to our servers. Why didn’t it happen? I was only involved for six months, but the project had gone nowhere for 18 months before that: meetings, staff changes, more meetings, more staff changes, more meetings, and no deliveries.

I wonder how long will it take for SBC to migrate to Yahoo.