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Oh, the emails you’ll get…

Posted on December 12th, 2006 at 18:03 by John Sinteur in category: Software


A management consultant at Bain wrote me a nice email, that included the following sentence:

“Our team is conducting a benchmarking effort to gather an outside-in view on development performance metrics and best practice approaches to issues of process and organization from companies involved in a variety of software development (and systems integration).”

I didn’t understand a thing he wrote. The email contained a lot of words (“benchmarking,? “outside in,? “performance metrics,? “best practice,? “process and organization?) each of which set off a loud buzzing alarm-like sound in my head. The noise from the buzzing was so loud and so distracting that I found myself completely unable to parse the email.
I think it was something about measuring performance in software organizations? aHA! YES! I know all about that. You can’t do that. Quit it. Stop it.

Listen. Let me tell you a secret about management consulting companies and software organizations.

Here is how the game is played.

Read the whole thing….

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‘No Santa’ school teacher axed

Posted on December 12th, 2006 at 16:27 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ, Pastafarian News


A primary school sacked a woman teacher for telling heartbroken nine-year-olds there is no Father Christmas.

Parents were furious when tearful youngsters went home saying they had also been taught elves and fairies did not exist either.

The supply teacher, in her 30s, had her contract terminated after complaints to the head. Mum Amanda Piovesana, 30, said her daughter was shocked to be told: “You are old enough to know there is no Santa or fairies. If you ask your parents they will also say there is no such thing.?

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  1. I’m sure Richard Dawkins would approve! Anyhow, I would have thought with all the Pastafarian news on here you would be anti church/J.C./immaculate conception etc etc. Why different about Santa and fairies? Mind you i would have been pretty upset too at that age if i thought i wouldn’t get presents!

  2. Why different about Santa and fairies?

    Is there a difference?

  3. Dunno…
    I personal would have told of the teacher if _she_ broke the news to my kid.
    I mean, get real. Does it hurt if a nine year old believe in Santa?
    It’s not that harmful as people believing in free will, peace, pure love, and such.

    It was malign and cruel.

Nokia steals iTunes logo

Posted on December 12th, 2006 at 15:31 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ, News, What were they thinking?



Apparently Microsoft’s not the only one stealing Apple icons for their site. Take a look at the icon Nokia uses for their “music software” – it’s the second one under “PC Software.” It’s the iTunes logo, copied and pasted.

And if you click the link, you get a Windows Media Player download…

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  1. Cell phone companies steal icons all the time. I’ve seen several stories of icon theft for many years. There was a story that showed about 5 icons from Apple on the main menu of a Cingular phone not all that long ago.

    I’m not sure why Apple hasn’t pursued these companies. In the older case they may have.

    A friend of mine had one of Apple’s network icons on his website advertising his consulting business. Once someone that didn’t like his business got wind of this, they called Apple and Apple sent a C&D letter. It was really stupid.

  2. Sorry, I should have added…

    It was really stupid because, if it hadn’t been for the disgruntled customer, Apple would never have known. Ah well…

All Sony Wants For Christmas Is A Better Marketing Company

Posted on December 12th, 2006 at 15:29 by John Sinteur in category: If you're in marketing, kill yourself


Marketing 101: If you going to do viral marketing, please avoid clusterfucks like pretending to be consumers order to appeal to appeal to other consumers. A bigger faux paux is doing things like creating a hardcore fanboy website and registering it under a marketing company. Real smart there, fellas

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  1. French 101: You obviously meant “faux pas”.

‘I would buy a Mac if I didn’t work for Microsoft’

Posted on December 12th, 2006 at 15:27 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Microsoft


Longtime Windows development chief James Allchin wrote in a January 2004 e-mail to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and company co-founder Bill Gates that the software vendor had “lost sight” of customers’ needs and said he would buy a Mac if he wasn’t working for Microsoft.

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Piratebay blocks Swedish ISP

Posted on December 12th, 2006 at 15:14 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property


When the the swedish ISP Perspektiv decided to block their customers from visiting the music site allofmp3.com just before the weekend they pissed quite a few people off.

Well, now The Piratebay strikes back and announces that they are blocking Perspektiv customers from using their site.

It must really suck being a Perspektiv customer, right?

Here’s the press release from Piratebay (sorry, loosely translated from Swedish):

As one of the larges websites in Sweden we will not sit silently and watch some of our basic rights be restricted. If we want a working and good society even on the Internet we must stand up for one another and show courage when it is needed.

After careful consideration, we have for the first time ever, decided to block an ISP because of their management. The ISP *Perspektiv Bredband* is a very controversial enterprise – in the way that they have shown to put the unrealistic ideas of some powerful media-companies over their own customers freedom of information – something which in our eyes is comparable with dictatorialness and censorship.

*Perspektiv Bredband* has every right in the world to block whichever site they want on their own net. And their customers have every right in the world to change to a new ISP which does not take upon itself the task of ensuring collective conscience.

Do you have any opinions on this? Call Perspektiv Bredband’s support line on 075-555-0030! (source)

The Pirate Party is also calling for sites to block the ISP – and they also provide this PHP code for the convenience of people who would like to do so.

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‮Fun with UNICODE and Mirroring Character

Posted on December 12th, 2006 at 14:48 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ

‮Backwards Day! | MetaFilter

You may want to “View Source” on ‮this link..

‮Unicode is capable of representing many languages, including those written from left to right and those written from right to left. There are special characters in UNICODE to achieve the RTL. One such character is the Mirroring character. The property of mirroring character is that it makes Left to Right Text, Right to Left just by pasting the character, all text after it becomes RTL. So it can be used on sites which use UNICODE character encoding format (like orkut). The property of the mirroring character is that it reverses whatever you paste after it. So “[mirror char]hello, how are you?” becomes “?uoy era woh ,olleh”.
Mirror character has nothing to display, so you cant see a mirror character.
One thing to note that is the mirroring character is not rendered on all browsers. It is supported on Firefox, Opera, IE7 (partially).

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The Crooks of the World Hurt Copyright, Free Speech

Posted on December 12th, 2006 at 12:36 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property, News



Michael Crook claims to be a “friend? of copyright law, but he takes his twisted notion of friendship to a dangerous extreme. On his “Facts vs. Fiction? page, he says that, while he supports free expression, “copyright holders have stronger rights than the idiots whining about ‘free speech.’?
However, his recent abuse of the DMCA has not only jeopardized free speech rights, but also the rights of copyright holders on the Web. In addition to being a blatant attack on the free expression of critical commentary, Crook’s false DMCA filings may make it harder for Webmasters with legitimate copyright issues to resolve them efficiently and effectively.
Crook’s antics, in the long run, may even lead to new legislation that will make it more difficult to fight scraping, content theft and plagiarism.


The Michael Crook notices are not a simple matter of a copyright dispute that should be settled by a court. He didn’t just omit information on the DMCA notice or make an honest mistake in the complicated world of copyright law. There are with Crook no intricate fair use debates, or nuanced questions about complicated copyright issues. It’s about as cut and dry as copyright law gets.
Michael Crook does not own the copyright to the image in question. It is that simple. With photographs and videos, copyright law protects the photographer, not the model. It even says so on the United States Copyright Office Web site in plain English. Despite his claims of holding a “copyright interest? in the work, its copyright belongs squarely to Fox News, who has given clearance to use it.

However, even if Michael Crook did own said copyright, the use is almost certainly fair. Transformative uses, uses which are for a different purpose than the original, are almost always protected as fair use, especially if they are for commentary/criticism and do not impact the potential market for the original work. It’s almost impossible to imagine any judge deeming this use to be infringing.

The problem with such a flagrant abuse is that it creates a backlash that, while understandable, often goes too far. While there is certainly a need to change the DMCA to add protections against false notices and hosts should be more intelligent about how they handle DMCA notices, there is still a need for hosts and copyright holders to work together to fight cases of infringement that go beyond what is generally considered acceptable on the Web.

Crook apparently has given up sending me DMCA notices, I’ve received a handful or so, and I know others have received dozens. I’m keeping the EFF and the DMCA clearinghouse informed, and I’m not about to give in to him… it’s a pity I don’t live in the USA, I’d have loved nailing his ass to the wall on perjury.

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2nd pastor resigns over gay sex scandal

Posted on December 12th, 2006 at 10:33 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News


The founding pastor of a second Colorado church has resigned over gay sex allegations, just weeks after the evangelical community was shaken by the scandal surrounding megachurch leader Ted Haggard.


On Sunday, Paul Barnes, founding pastor of the 2,100-member Grace Chapel in this Denver suburb, told his evangelical congregation in a videotaped message he had had sexual relations with other men and was stepping down.

Dave Palmer, associate pastor of Grace Chapel, told The Denver Post that Barnes confessed to him after the church received a call last week.

The church board of elders accepted Barnes’ resignation on Thursday.

On the videotape, which The Post was allowed to view, Barnes told church members: “I have struggled with homosexuality since I was a 5-year-old boy. … I can’t tell you the number of nights I have cried myself to sleep, begging God to take this away.”

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Good News, Everybody: We’ve Got a New Iraq Slogan!

Posted on December 12th, 2006 at 10:27 by John Sinteur in category: Mess O'Potamia


Not surprisingly, the Bush administration is already backing away from most of the proposals put forth by the Iraq Study Group. The New York Times, with unintended comic irony, noted it this way: “Administration officials say their preliminary review of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group’s recommendations has concluded that many of its key proposals are impractical or unrealistic.” Thank God we have George Bush to protect us from doing anything impractical or unrealistic in the Middle East.

But there is one thing in the proposal we can be sure Bush will take from the report — the slogan. Bush may not be into things like facts, truth, or reality, but he loves a good slogan.

So while Bush may not like any of the Group’s 79 proposals (so impractical and unrealistic), he’s ready to adopt its slogan, “New Way Forward.” Newsweek says that next week “Bush is expected to announce what he calls ‘The New Way Forward,’ his latest plan to salvage the mission in Iraq.”

If all the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group are followed, there will be at least 70,000 U.S. troops on permanent bases in Iraq, bases located strategically to best protect oil resources. Most of Iraq’s oil will be in the control of international oil companies. So there you have it, finally out in the open: all the US military deaths were to protect oil company profits.

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  1. Great post, thanks. Don’t know if you’ve seen this David Letterman clip with Our Fearless Leader in it, but its pretty funny–

Craigslist Meets the Capitalists

Posted on December 12th, 2006 at 10:10 by John Sinteur in category: News


Jim Buckmaster, the chief executive of Craigslist, caused lots of head-scratching Thursday as he tried to explain to a bunch of Wall Street types why his company is not interested in “monetizing? his ridiculously popular Web operation. Appearing at the UBS global media conference in New York, Mr. Buckmaster took questions from the bemused audience, which apparently could not get its collective mind around the notion that Craigslist exists to help Web users find jobs, cars, apartments and dates — and not so much to make money.

Wendy Davis of MediaPost describes the presentation as a “a culture clash of near-epic proportions.? She recounts how UBS analyst Ben Schachter wanted to know how Craigslist plans to maximize revenue. It doesn’t, Mr. Buckmaster replied (perhaps wondering how Mr. Schachter could possibly not already know this). “That definitely is not part of the equation,? he said, according to MediaPost. “It’s not part of the goal.?

“I think a lot of people are catching their breath right now,? Mr. Schachter said in response.

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Undercover | Recovery Stories

Posted on December 12th, 2006 at 9:45 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


01:29 AM

John contacts the Undercover recovery center and sends us the Undercover ID for his stolen laptop. Our recovery center immediately takes action and registers the Mac as stolen.

5:23 AM

John forwards us the phone number and contact information of his local police station, as well as the case number. This information will be crucial for us to work with the police and the ISP.

7:48 AM

Less than 12 hours after the theft, the thief connects the stolen MacBook Pro to the net. Within the first minute of network connection, Undercover sends all network information to our recovery center. This information includes IP addresses for the machine and the router, as well as date and time of connection, and the ethernet MAC address.
Our recovery center contacts BellSouth, the ISP of the thief and sends them all information, together with the contact information for the police and a case number.

7:54 AM

Just 6 minutes after the MacBook was connected, our recovery center receives snapshots of the thief, taken with the MacBook’s built-in iSight camera. The iSight camera really is a great tool for identifying the thief. The iSight pictures we receive clearly show the current user of the MacBook, most likely the thief himself (later, we received confirmation that this was indeed the thief).

Ladies and gentleman, we've got him


We receive confirmation that the police has entered the thief’s house at the address provided by Undercover. The MacBook Pro was recovered in the same condition it was in when stolen, only 3 days ago.

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  1. AHAHAHAHA. i think that guy is sitting on the toilet.

  2. Man, that is awesome! At first, I thought the built-in iSight camera thing in the MacBook’s were silly. Now, I can see the wonderful use of such a camera.

    The only down side to this is that from now on, someone who steals a MacBook is going to put a piece of duct tape of the camera to prevent it from taking their picture. At least it won’t prevent the police from locating the thief and arresting their ass. They just won’t get a pre-made mug shot of the perp. Ah well. 🙂

    Great story!

Light Deposits Indicate Water Flowing on Mars

Posted on December 12th, 2006 at 9:36 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

Credit: Mars Global Surveyor

What’s creating light-toned deposits on Mars? Quite possibly — water! Images of the same parts of mid-latitude Mars taken over the years but released only last week have shown unexpected new light-toned deposits where there were none before. One clear case is shown above, where the same crater on Mars is shown as photographed in 1999 August and again in 2005 September. The unusual deposit is visible only on the more recent photograph. Apparent tributaries near the bottom bolster the leading hypothesis that water gushed out of the crater wall, flowed down the crater, and soon evaporated into the thin Martian atmosphere. Although frozen water-ice has been known near the Martian poles for years, free flowing surface water like this was not expected to be seen in the mid-latitudes of Mars. If confirmed, such water springs might make more of Mars hospitable to life and human visitation than previously believed.

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  1. AHHH!!!! Now we’re causing global warming on the other planets too!!!!

A New Front in the War Against Hugging

Posted on December 12th, 2006 at 9:23 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ, News, What were they thinking?


When a Bellmead father received a letter from his son’s school district saying the 4-year-old had inappropriately touched a teacher’s aide, he said he couldn’t believe what he was reading.

“When I got that letter, my world flipped,” DaMarcus Blackwell said.

The Nov. 13 letter from La Vega Independent School District stated his son, who was 4 years old at the time, was involved in “inappropriate physical behavior interpreted as sexual contact and/or sexual harassment” after the boy hugged a teacher’s aide and “rubbed his face in the chest of (the) female employee” on Nov. 10.

The letter also stated Blackwell’s son, who Blackwell requested not be named in this story for privacy reasons, spent the day in in-school suspension (ISS) as punishment for the incident.

Blackwell has since filed a complaint with the district.

In turn, the district changed the offense to “inappropriate physical contact” and removed references of sexual contact or sexual harassment from the boy’s file, according to a subsequent letter from the district.

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  1. This is just bloody ridiculous.

    Did the teacher’s aide get reprimanded for her part in the incident? Unless she’s really short, she would’ve had to have picked the child up or have bent down in order for him to rub his face on her chest. If she (or someone else) is going to say that the child sexually harassed her, then she should should not have touched the child. A hug takes four arms.