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The end of CityDesk
Dec 8th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

RIP City­Desk – Joel on Soft­ware. In those days all the cool kids wrote their own blog­ging plat­forms. I wrote City­Desk. In what turned out to be a mon­u­men­tal­ly wrong bet, I thought that peo­ple would want to blog on Win­dows, with all the slick WYSIWYG edit­ing good­ness that wasn’t yet avail­able in ear­ly ver­sions of HTML. City­Desk kept your entire web­site in a SQL data­base (Microsoft Jet, the back­end of Access) and had a fron­tend like a word proces­sor. Every time you need­ed to pub­lish, it gen­er­at­ed the entire site as a set of html pages, which it then upload­ed to an ftp server for you.

[…]

Over the years the City­Desk code base (VB 6.0, anoth­er bad bet) stopped run­ning on the lat­est ver­sions of Win­dows. Nobody else cared but by that time I was using a cus­tom ver­sion of City­Desk which only ran on Win­dows XP. So until recent­ly, I had a vir­tu­al machine set up with Win­dows XP run­ning in there, and a copy of City­Desk.

[…]

Matt Mul­len­weg over at Word­Press has been try­ing to get me to move Joel on Soft­ware over to Word­Press for so long it’s not even fun­ny. I final­ly gave in. [Joel on Soft­ware]

I used City­Desk myself to man­age my main web­site for a num­ber of years after the sad demise of User­Land Fron­tier, before final­ly replac­ing it with nanoc around the time I moved to Austin in late 2012. It was an unusu­al pro­duct in that it was actu­al­ly bet­ter than any Mac alter­na­tive at the time (some­thing that’s usu­al­ly true only of games).

New job
Dec 8th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

I’ve just start­ed a new six-month con­tract as a pro­gram­mer with Integri­ty Dig­i­tal Solu­tions. I’m in Tem­ple for the week for train­ing, but after that I’ll be work­ing from home. It looks like it will be a pret­ty good job.

Watch out for hysterical politicians
Oct 7th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Clowns, Kids & Satan. The secu­ri­ty expert Bruce Schneier coined a term for this: Movie plot threat. We imag­ine the threat to our kids is just like the one we’d see, or have seen, in the movies. It’s eas­ier to pic­ture Bozo with a bazooka than a car crash when mom or dad is con­fused by their GPS (which in our car seems to be about a third of the time), so that’s the threat we focus on…to the point where we start exag­ger­at­ing unlike­ly out­comes, or even see­ing things. [Free Range Kids­Free Range Kids]

Even now there are peo­ple being per­se­cut­ed (espe­cial­ly in New York City) because of laws writ­ten by politi­cians who had con­fused West Side Sto­ry with a doc­u­men­tary. I hate to think what sort of future per­se­cu­tion will result from politi­cians think­ing that Killer Klowns from Out­er Space was a doc­u­men­tary.

Not so offline as the Gestapo would like
Sep 21st, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Court: Group’s 3D print­er gun files must stay offline for now The fed­er­al civil suit orig­i­nat­ed three years ago when Cody Wilson and his group, Defense Dis­trib­ut­ed, pub­lished designs for the “Lib­er­a­tor,” the world’s first 3D-printed hand­gun. With­in months, Defense Dis­trib­ut­ed received a let­ter from the Unit­ed States Depart­ment of State’s Office of Defense Trade Con­trols Com­pli­ance, stat­ing that 10 files, includ­ing the designs of the Lib­er­a­tor, were in vio­la­tion of the Inter­na­tion­al Traf­fic in Arms Reg­u­la­tions (ITAR). This let­ter came despite the fact that the­se files had already been down­load­ed hun­dreds of thou­sands of times and con­tin­ue to cir­cu­late online. [Ars Tech­ni­ca]

This reminds of the 1990s, when the Evil Empire tried to keep encryp­tion tech­nol­o­gy away from peo­ple using the same tac­tics. It didn’t work then, and it won’t work now. Here’s a Bit­Tor­rent link to down­load the files in ques­tion.

Cops can’t even fabricate charges right
Sep 19th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Cops record them­selves alleged­ly fab­ri­cat­ing charges with suspect’s cam­era. In a fed­er­al civil rights law­suit, a Con­necti­cut man has shared footage to bol­ster his claims that police ille­gal­ly con­front­ed the pedes­tri­an because he was film­ing one of them. Author­i­ties seized Michael Picard’s cam­era and his per­mit­ted pis­tol, and the offi­cers involved then acci­den­tal­ly record­ed them­selves alleged­ly fab­ri­cat­ing charges again­st the man.

[…]

The tick­ets Picard got were for the alleged use of a high­way by a pedes­tri­an and for alleged­ly cre­at­ing a pub­lic dis­tur­bance for car­ry­ing an “exposed load­ed sidearm in plain view of pass­ing motorists.” The author­i­ties even­tu­al­ly dis­missed the tick­ets. [Ars Tech­ni­ca]

Note that car­ry­ing an exposed load­ed sidearm in plain view of pass­ing motorists is per­fect­ly legal in Con­necti­cut as long as you have a car­ry per­mit, which Picard did. Not only did the jack­boots get caught fab­ri­cat­ing charges, they were so stu­pid that they couldn’t even come up with some­thing that was actu­al­ly ille­gal for their lies.

Twenty Years
Sep 17th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

I’ve now had the orange-road.com domain name for twen­ty years.

The inevitable result of being a good cop
Sep 12th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

West Vir­ginia cop fired for not killing a man with an unload­ed gun. He did what police offi­cers are sup­posed to do — put him­self at risk to save a life. [Radley Balko]

What Mader did upon arriv­ing at the scene is a hell of a lot braver course of action than sim­ply open­ing fire when the sus­pect doesn’t imme­di­ate­ly dis­arm. What Mader did is in fact exact­ly what we want cops to do when some­one is in cri­sis. It’s also pre­cise­ly what law enforce­ment offi­cers say they do on a dai­ly basis — put them­selves at risk in order to save lives. Mader should have been given a medal.

Of course the out­come of this guy being a good cop is com­plete­ly pre­dictable: he was fired. Also, two oth­er cops showed up who were per­fect­ly will­ing to mur­der the guy who Mader wouldn’t.

Apparently his message was heard
Sep 8th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Fer­gu­son Activist Dar­ren Seals Found Shot and Dead in Burn­ing Car in St. Louis. 29-year-old activist Dar­ren Seals was found dead in a burn­ing car in the Riverview sec­tion of St. Louis this week, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Seals became an anti-gun vio­lence activist after being shot in 2013, and in 2014 was among the first pro­test­ers in Fer­gu­son, accord­ing to the Wash­ing­ton Post.

Seals helped found the group Hands Up Unit­ed and was a vocal oppo­nent of African-Americans vot­ing Democ­rat as a bloc. “Just because they’ve got the D next to their name, that don’t mean noth­ing,” Seals told the Wash­ing­ton Post in 2014. “The world is watch­ing us right now. It’s time to send a mes­sage of our pow­er.” [Hit & Run)]

The dan­ger of send­ing mes­sages like that in a police state is that the peo­ple in charge might actu­al­ly get the mes­sage and decide to send back one of their own.

Another phony crisis
Sep 6th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

New Round of Fear­mon­ger­ing Over Tex­ting and Dri­ving. If you went by the breath­less report­ing on tex­ting and dri­ving, or the word of law enforce­ment or “traf­fic safe­ty advo­cates” you’d think at any given moment some­one is careen­ing to their death because they or anoth­er dri­ver had their eyes on their cell­phones and not on the road. [Hit & Run]

I’ll con­sid­er believ­ing that phones are some sort of seri­ous threat to dri­ver safe­ty that must be banned once they ban things that are unques­tion­ably more dis­tract­ing in cars, like small chil­dren.

Quote of the Day
Sep 4th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

An elec­tion is the act of choos­ing a new paint job for the tank which is plow­ing through your house and crush­ing your chil­dren.

Kent McMani­gal

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