General Ramblings comments edit

This is probably something that most people aren’t bothered by but that bothers me quite a bit.

I have this friend who subscribes to an Internet service provider who uses parental control features to “blacklist” certain web sites. On paper, one would think this sounds like a keen idea - parents can let their kids surf the web “unsupervised” without the kids seeing anything “bad.” The blacklist gets automatically updated so the latest badness is hidden from their youthful eyes.

Things like this sound great, don’t they? Yeah, except for the fact that they blacklisted my site. That’s what makes me think. Am I purveying porn here? Aside from some minor language issues, am I even doing anything that offends anyone? Okay, well, maybe I might offend people, but I’m not sure it’s on a level that requires blacklisting by parental control software.

So I’ve been going back and forth with my friend over why he submits to this sort of treatment by his ISP. Apparently he does have some sort of override control, but just doesn’t choose to exercise it. That both interests and annoys me. I mean, what happens if I’m researching, say, breast cancer or AIDS? Somehow I think I’d start “protecting myself from myself,” don’t you? Stop myself from getting the information I’m looking for?

I think that the idea of parental control is interesting until you start really examining it. I think I’d prefer to trust my kids and teach them what they should and shouldn’t look at rather than rely on automated enforcement of ethics that I may or may not agree with. The same problems we have with spam filters exist with parental control software: How do you know if you’re filtering out enough bad stuff? And how do you know you didn’t just include content you want to get to?

Maybe I just feel like parental control software is overprotection at its finest. I feel like it’s an illustration of an over-politically-correct society trying to protect itself from itself, because God forbid anyone get offended by anything. Sort of like the whole V-Chip television thing. Is there a need for it? Maybe. But the fact there’s a need for it, I think, signals something larger is wrong. Wrong with the content? Wrong with society? Wrong with the way we teach morals? Who knows?

I think it’s important to note that this has nothing to do directly with my friend or the way he teaches his kids. My friend has some of the smartest, coolest kids on earth and if I ever have kids of my own (which is not currently on my agenda), I’d hope they turn out half as great as his. I’m just having issues with the implementation of automated censorship - it’s never been something I agree with, and I’m not about to agree with it any time soon.

General Ramblings comments edit

My eBay item (well, items, since it was a set of 10 shirts) didn’t sell. In fact, it didn’t get to half of my reserve price, which could mean one of a few things:

First, it may mean that some folks don’t want 10 shirts. Or not the people who have money.

Second, it may mean that I’ve over-valued the items. I don’t think so, though; new t-shirts go for about $12, I figured I could get $7 for barely-used ones.

Third, it may mean that people don’t like reserve auctions. Bah. I was reluctant to start the bidding really high on the item because I didn’t want to discourage bidders right off, but then, some people just don’t even bid on reserve auctions. Can’t win for losing. At least I can see what’s what, now.

I suppose this means I need to re-list these things, but this time I’ll do it individually. I guess we’ll see what happens.

blog, net comments edit

My site may be moving from a Unix-based server over to a Windows 2003 server. To the end users, that shouldn’t make a difference, but to me, that means a few decisions.

Do I continue to use pMachine, which I just recently migrated to and took so long to configure to my liking? Or do I migrate to dasBlog, the best .NET-based blog package? I’ve had people tell me dasBlog rocks, and with pMachine being a PHP/MySQL package… well, I’d rather run on .NET, if you know what I mean. That’s where my expertise lies, and with the ability to use .NET to extend the blog, how can I pass that up?

On the other hand, do I want to deal with that?

Not to mention that, to my knowledge, there’s no pMachine-to-dasBlog conversion utility. When I moved from GreyMatter to pMachine, I was able to import my entries so things weren’t lost. Moving from pMachine to dasBlog, I may not have that luxury.

Which means, of course, that I’d have to write one myself. It wouldn’t have to be robust, since it’d only have to work once, but what a pain in the ass! Do I need to even take something like that on? Or would it just be better to run PHP and MySQL on Windows and call it a day?

The featureset, functionality, and extensibility is there in dasBlog, where it’s harder for me to do stuff in pMachine. My stuff is already in pMachine, though, and I’ve done a lot of work to make it just so… Something to think about, I guess.

personal comments edit

A bit ago I mentioned how Lockergnome is sowing fear, uncertainty, and doubt in newbies regarding security and the World Wide Web. I mailed the editor of the newsletter and he said he’d post my rebuttal (since the original author didn’t have a functional email address) in the next issue of the newsletter.

I just checked the next issue, and my comments aren’t there.

I remember a time I subscribed to that newsletter and actually got some useful information out of it. Whatever happened to Lockergnome, man?

movies, net comments edit

Today’s my first day back at work (that is, actually at the office) since the winter storm fiasco last week and let me tell you how nice that is. I’m not very social at work or anything, but being in a place designated particularly for work is much better for focus, and hearing the other guys in the department doing their thing… well, it’s more social than sitting at home trying to get the cat to stop climbing my back.

First thing this morning I got here and there was a minor database-related crisis on one of our intranet servers, so that took most of my morning hashing that out. Stupid SharePoint Team Services…

I scheduled my last test for my Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer certification - “MS070-300: Analyzing Requirements and Defining Microsoft .NET Solution Architectures” - this coming Monday. I’m more uncomfortable with this test than I have been with others; they really are testing for “Software Engineering The Microsoft Way” and coming from a more real-world perspective, this inconsistent theoretical crap is really tough for me. I end up answering the questions the way you would in a real-world situation, but those answers end up being wrong because they’re not Microsoft answers.

A couple of friends of mine here at work have taken the test and they say it’s easy enough. Here’s hoping they’re right. In the meantime I’ll be studying my ass off.

I rented some movies this weekend and so far I’m not too impressed.

Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle was iffy at best. Random plot interspersed with overdone effects scenes and implausible stunts that destroy your suspension of disbelief. My dad told me as much, but somehow I didn’t pay attention. Pass.

The Silencer, a low-budget movie about a hit man, was not only poorly acted but poorly written. In fact, I don’t know where one problem ended and the other began. Was it bad because the actors read lines like they were on cue cards? Or were the lines themselves so bad that it didn’t give the actors much to work with? Does it even matter? Pass.

I have another movie, The Art Of War, but I haven’t watched it yet. We shall see.

I should probably work at work, huh?