Thursday, September 20, 2007

iSlut for iPhone

For years and years I've wanted a single device that handled everything short of being a workstation (don't get me wrong, I'd love that too...and with that cool projected keybooard that came out a while ago...).
And my prayers have, nearly, been answered with the iPhone.
All the hype aside, it is a fantastic, intuitive device. I'm always connected (it looks for WiFi and failing that, connects through EDGE) including email and web browsing, my calendar and contacts are organized well, and so forth.
The keyboard is amazing and I'm getting faster every day (my fiance is significantly better at it than I am...apparently I have club-fingers).
Only a couple things annoy me:
- ringtones have to be only from approved songs on itunes...(minimal annoyance).
- 3rd party apps require a hack. This one is a little bigger for me. I want to synch my iPhone up with goggle calendar and come up with a way to synch google with outlook at work (I'm just a contractor and there's no way they'll let me hook up my iPhone to my workstation). That gives me a single repository for appointments which I'm always forgetting. There IS a process for doing this one-way, which will have to do for now.
Further, it would be great if there was a doc reader so I could skim over design specs, for example, while killing time in line somewhere.

I suspect that Apple will open things up eventually out of pure demand.

Oh, and something nice about hacks? The iPhone comes with a 'factory reset' function that will return it to its initial state if you screw anything up too much.

I'm also assuming that some software update will have the screen rotate for more than just browsing and pictures, and little tweaks here and there.

Honestly? This is the single best device I've ever owned.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Kathy Griffen, Hate Speeh and Jesus

Kathy's Remarks To Be Censored Because Catholics Have Snit

"A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this," Griffin said at this weekend's show, at which the academy gives out the awards there aren't time to hand out in Sunday's main Emmy telecast. "But he had nothing to do with this. Suck it, Jesus, this award is my God now!"

Now, I'm not sure where I stand on how hate speech should be classified and handled, but I'm pretty sure that this ISN'T hate speech (though many may find it offensive).

If she said "Suck it, Karl Marx!" it wouldn't be considered hate speech against Karl nor against Socialists.
If she had said, "Suck it, you child molesting socialists", that would be different.

Or, more to the point, if she had said "Everyone says 'thank you jesus', and I'm here to say, 'fuck off you christians'. Good night." THAT might be hate speech.

But she DIDN'T say that. She made a crack about a person who is dead (if he ever existed), or about a particular world-view. She didn't make any crack about the people who follow that view (other than the obvious subtext that people who get up there and thank jesus are generally not sincere).

But, yes, I can understand why the Catholic League finds it offensive, certainly. And they are doing EXACTLY what they are supposed to do. They are making a stink. Thats how these things work. You don't like something, you speak up. Thats how the whole Don Imus thing worked out.

I just think that calling it hate speech is an attempt to equate it with real threats against, say, gays, and providers of abortions, oh...wait...


We have to stay in Iraq why???

Its all because of the troops

"If you don't come out here, then you really have no clue," says Gonzales, a member of Task Force Justice, which is operating in northern Baghdad. "They don't understand what it is [like] driving down the road and to wonder if you are going to get blown up or not."

I've heard this sort of thing before. Usually along with "Let's honor the soldiers by letting them do their job".
Translation (as always): if you don't support the war, you hate the troops.
Another translation: You'll hurt the soldiers' feelings if you call the home before they 'win'.
And while I respect the men and women serving our country, hurt feelings and bruised honor (if these really would be the results) are NOT NOT NOT reason enough to continue a war.

I'm sorry if I sound like I'm belittling the situation, but the argument really does come down to that. Exactly how many lives have to be lost to balance against the emotional damage a soldier might suffer because he wasn't allowed to continue fighting?

Further, the troops serve us, and the policies we create, NOT the other way around.
Here's an analogy: Assume a large group of volunteers are being used to test an antidote for a particularly dangerous poison. The antidote keeps failing. The volunteers keep dying. Would you suggest that the doctors keep running the study because the remaining volunteers would feel like it had all been a waste?


Censorship and the real meaing of freeh speech

Not releasing a DVD is censorship?

Now Cyrus is trying to revise history. He complains that ABC’s decision not to release the DVD version of Path to 9/11 is censorship worthy of Stalin:

This passive self-censorship is just as effective as anything Joseph Stalin or Big Brother could impose. The result is the same: the curbing of free speech and creative expression, and the suppression of a viewpoint that may be an inconvenient truth for some politicians.

See, that’s the problem with free speech. People assume that the fact that you CAN say what you want, that you CAN make a movie, that you CAN write a novel, means you are entitled to an audience.

I'd say that blogging has disproved that. Gazillions of people, even with the means of production, have no audience. If the site hosting your blog doesn't promote it, is that censorship?


Friday, September 07, 2007

Oracle and RowID

Someone in class today asked why you would ever use Rowid. If you ever needed the speed which rowid grants you, then shouldn't you have an index on that column?
Now, the fact that indexes don't always help aside, my response was that rowid is useful in very large tables.
This is not actually the answer I meant to give.
What I have found it really useful for is deduping, especially in ETL situations.
If, somehow, you've loaded data in a way that has dupes (or perhaps the data itself has dupes) and you didn't assign a sequence to each record, then you can end up in a very bad place.
row1: Joel,Smith, 617-862-5147
row2: Joel,Smith, 617-862-5147
There is no way to tell one row from another, so getting rid of a dupe is difficult, if not out-and-out impossible.
Unless you use rowid.
Each of the rows above has a unique rowid, and that can be used to select a specific row, regardless of the data (no, you can't use rownum)
Yes, this is reasonably basic, but it is worth keeping in mind.
It isn't a speed issue, its an identity issue.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Cool Oracle thing, stupid oracle thing

so, I never really understood how to know if it was a good idea to use an index, or why an index is used by the CBO or a full-table scan was used.
While this isn't completely accurate, its a good estimate:
1. using the all_tables and tab_cols views, you can get how many blocks and how many rows per block.
2. if the percentage of rows you are planning to retrieve is greater than 1/rows-per-block then you are likely to use the full table scan

Stupid: the cursor_sharing parameter helps oracle know how to reuse explain plans (how oracle does the query). Set that to 'FORCE'. That means that EVERY cursor, EVERY query, will use the same explain plan.
Select * from employees where emp_id = 100
uses the same explain plan as
Select * from employees where emp_id = 200
which is good.
BUT, the same plan gets used for
Select * from products where product_id=7
Which will get you data from the employees table!


Rampant Links: Newsflash Edition

I'm sorry, Mr. Richardson, exactly where in the Constitution? Where in the Bible?
My response: Fuck Iowa.

See, Bob, thats what you get for going techno.

Duh, Part I. Film at 11.

Duh, Part II. Join us next week for our lead story, "People would rather be rich than poor"

The only story of late that doesn't make me sad, angry, or homicidal


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

No, don't bother with hard journalism. Just the easyfunstuff

Vanity Fair article on Gore and the media during his run.
As Time magazine's Margaret Carlson admitted to Don Imus at the time, "You can actually disprove some of what Bush is saying if you really get into the weeds and get out your calculator, or look at his record in Texas. But it's really easy, and it's fun to disprove Al Gore. As sport, and as our enterprise, Gore coming up with another whopper is greatly entertaining to us."

Yes, the MSM certainly have a liberal bias...
Jesus...this is frickin' Time magazine here. Not Matt Drudge