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Category Archives: internet

why you shouldn’t link to images on other peoples’ sites without permission

Not only is it rude (I don’t pay much for my hosting, but I do have to pay), but if the target site belongs to some kind of computer-oriented smartass, they might do something like this.





Yes, yes, I know: she probably doesn’t know any better and I’m a terrible, terrible person. But before you judge me too harshly, just consider the images I could have planted. Plus, while I love Buffalo ’66 dearly, wouldn’t it have been just the tiniest little bit better with a sarcastic, cat-eating Melmacian in the mix?

random nuggets of Eric

So, for the past few weeks, I’ve been devoting my hours to work at Worio, a Yaletown start-up I’ve been associated with essentially from its inception (though other people have done much more work than me). I enjoy the work, and it’s a nice break from grad school. Not only is the pay better, but pretty much every day I can go home feeling like I’ve accomplished something. The PhD program is not like that.

The only downside is the schedule. I work 10 to 12 hours a day, and that’s not counting the 45-minute commute each way. I go to the gym two or three nights a week, and out for dinner, movies or concerts a couple of other nights. I typically leave the house at 8 AM and get home at 10 or 11 at night. Saturday is usually spent running errands, and Sunday is my day of rest.

And so, other things have to fall by the wayside a bit. I don’t think I’ve looked at YouTube in a month! A month! And I’m lucky is I see more than one movie a week (though my commute means that I’m reading a ton of books, which is pretty cool, though I have an iPod Touch to watch videos on now). This blog is another victim. I just don’t feel like I have the time or energy for full, thought-out posts. Not that what I write is usually more than “Here’s a cool link. BLANK is cool! (Insert joke here.)” Even so, I do have opinions and I know how much you care about them. But maybe for now, I’ll just do a bit of a random thought dumpage. Let’s try it, shall we?

andorra.jpgThe buy cheap prednisone online new Caribou album, Andorra, is terrific — kind of a wistful sixties psychedelic pop version of Caribou that perfectly fits walking though downtown Vancouver in the fall. I’ve been listening to the entire album pretty much daily. My roommate even liked it so much she blogged about it, too. Actually, 2007 has been a great year for Canadian indie music. Besides Caribou, I’ve been really enjoying the 2007 releases of The New Pornographers, The Arcade Fire, Tegan and Sara, Pink Mountaintops, Champion and You Say Party! We Say Die!. And I’m sure there’s plenty of others I haven’t heard yet.

As I mentioned before, massively somebody used my credit card to commit several thousand dollars worth of fraud. It’s taken a few calls to the bank, but the damage seems to have been undone — at least the damage against me. I wonder how common this kind of thing is. Somebody is out a lot of money — there’s no way the bank has made anything like the money the lost off my past half-decade of credit-card use.

kyrgzhatsnip.jpgI’m still hugely looking forward to my post-PhD trip across Asia in a couple years, but I haven’t had anything particularly insightful to say lately. The part of the route from India to Turkey will be interesting. I will either have to go through Pakistan and Iran, or through the Central Asian republics and Russia. I’ve been reading a bit about both. On the one hand, Iran has better transportation and I culture I’m very interested in. On the other hand, Central Asia has thrilling headgear. But I think the final decision will depend on the state of the region when I get there, c. 2010.

Can you believe 2010 is now the near future? Like, I’m making plans for that year? The mind boggles. I feel all the time like I live in a William Gibson novel.

facebook-snip.jpgI’m still on Facebook, though all I ever do is update my status message every couple of days, which I see as kind of a creative exercise. I don’t even read the updates of people on my network very often. However, I still find it kind of fascinating — I think its genius is that it’s the first web page on the internet that is explicitly targeted toward the extroverted majority of human beings. The people who (unlike, say, me) honestly want to know what all their friends got up to last weekend, and who (also unlike me) typically do something with their free time that’s more sociable than watching DVDs or reading comics and books about statistics and economics.

Speaking of books about statistics and economics, I recently read and enjoyed Tyler Cowan’s Discover Your Inner Economist and Nassim Nicholas Taleb even more interesting Fooled by Randomness. Each of these looks at how the authors’ fields (economics and financial mathematics) informs their worldview in subtle and unintuitive ways, complete with amusing anecdotes. While I’d recommend these books in general, I think I personally got a lot out of them because while I’m neither an economist nor a statistician (a shocking revelation, I know), my own research owes a lot to these fields, and I increasingly find myself looking at the world through a haze of utilities and variances. Also, Taleb’s book provides some evidence that it is possible to work on interesting problems in finance, be well paid, and not turn into (or start off as) a boring, status-obsessed asshole.

Wednesday night I saw Tokyo Police Club at The Plaza. The band didn’t even come on until midnight (on a Wednesday night!), and then the sound was pretty awful. Tired and bored from standing around waiting for the show, and disappointed by the shitty mix and always too-hot Plaza venue, we left after about five songs. Enough people were bolting that there was already a fairly long queue for the coat check at that point. Nice try, boys. I don’t know whether it’s the Plaza or TPC to blame, so I blame both.

anatomy of a Firefox bug

A long-term annoyance for me in Firefox is the bug that truncates text in an ALT tag. This is most noticable in web comics which like to put commentary in the image tags, though some news and forum software also uses the ALT tags to preview links. As a result, what should look like this:

ends up looking like this:

The great thing about open source is that it’s transparent: this was first logged as Mozilla Bug 45375 in 2000 (!), and the comment logs are on the web. And like sausages and laws, if you like open source, you probably don’t want to see how it’s made.

For the first few years, you can see the occasional complaint about how long the bug has been opened, usually dealt with in the standard open source response of “we’re doing this for free, fix it yourself”. When frustrated web companies affected by the bug offered money and programmers to fix it, the Firefox developers threatened to block any patches they submitted, because they didn’t like the “tone” of the offer.

After seven years, there is supposedly a fix that will go into Firefox 3.0. The punchline? There is no official release date for Firefox 3.0.

buying bunnyhug

So I’ve been thinking about putting together a web-based side project of some sort or another, and in a shout-out to my homies back in the Skatch, I decided to check out A little investigation revealed was taken by a Chicago band that apparently played a couple of gigs a few years ago and evaporated. If there ever was a web site at, is ain’t there now. So I emailed, thinking maybe they would sell.

They want sixty thousand dollars.

Now, maybe I’m naive, but I can’t think of any scenario where is worth sixty large to anyone. I can’t even imagine, in this age of search engines, it being worth $6000. I mean, it’s really not a great name unless you’re from Saskatchewan, and even then “great” is, let’s be honest, quite a stretch.

I’m not faulting them for wanting to keep the name. That’s cool. I wasn’t really expecting them to sell. Maybe they’re going to make a comeback or they’re working on an album or something and not having a web site is part of the plan. But I can’t help but wonder, is there still this kind of market for domain names? Are they really saying that if I only had $40,000 to offer, they wouldn’t sell? I dunno, but I snapped up You can have it for the discount price of $30,000.

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XKCD does the doodles I wish I was brilliant enough to do.