The utility of Twitter falls o…
Aug 28th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

The util­i­ty of Twit­ter falls off dra­mat­i­cal­ly if you don’t actu­al­ly have any friends.

A rare victory for the good guys (and tacos)
Aug 28th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Los Ange­les taco trucks can stay put again. A Los Ange­les Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court judge Wednes­day over­turned a con­tro­ver­sial ordi­nance passed in April by coun­ty super­vi­sors that made it a mis­de­meanor in unin­cor­po­rat­ed parts of the coun­ty to park a taco truck in one spot for more than an hour.

The lan­guage of the ordi­nance, Judge Den­nis A. Aichroth said, was “vague” and there­fore “uncon­sti­tu­tion­al” in its descrip­tion of how quick­ly a ven­dor could return to an area where the truck was pre­vi­ous­ly parked. Aichroth said it also vio­lat­ed the vehi­cle code because coun­ty super­vi­sors had not prop­er­ly estab­lished that it was writ­ten in the inter­est of pub­lic safe­ty. [Los Ange­les Times]

That’s an unusu­al piece of good news. The pas­sage of that law was bla­tant­ly cor­rupt and shame­less even by the sleazy stan­dards of gov­ern­ment.

He gives them too much credit
Aug 28th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Vladimir Putin accus­es Bush of pro­vok­ing Geor­gia con­flict to help John McCain. “It is not just that the Amer­i­can side could not restrain the Geor­gian lead­er­ship from this crim­i­nal act. The Amer­i­can side in effect armed and trained the Geor­gian army,” Mr Putin said.

Why spend years hold­ing dif­fi­cult nego­ti­a­tions and look­ing for com­pli­cat­ed com­pro­mis­es in eth­nic con­flicts? It’s eas­i­er to arm one of the par­ties and push it to kill the oth­er par­ty, and the job is done.

The sus­pi­cion aris­es that some­one in the Unit­ed States espe­cial­ly cre­at­ed this con­flict with the aim of mak­ing the sit­u­a­tion more tense and cre­at­ing a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage for one of the can­di­dates fight­ing for the post of US Pres­i­dent.” [Times Online]

I might buy that if Clin­ton was still Pres­i­dent, but real­ly, what in the past eight years sug­gests that the Bush Admin­is­tra­tion is even capa­ble of that sort of advanced plan­ning? The very idea is absurd.

The local Starbucks has so man…
Aug 26th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

The local Star­bucks has so many squat­ters it almost qual­i­fies for its own zip code.

Independence day in the Caucuses
Aug 26th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Rus­sia recog­nis­es Geor­gian rebels. The Krem­lin for­mal­ly recog­nis­es the inde­pen­dence of Georgia’s break­away regions of South Osse­tia and Abk­hazia. [BBC News]

I’m sure there are a lot of very hap­py peo­ple in South Osse­tia and Abk­hazia today. The BBC arti­cle also con­tains some­thing which is actu­al­ly quite impor­tant, although it’s only men­tioned briefly and then ignored:

[Pres­i­dent Dmit­ry Medvedev] said Moscow now felt oblig­ed to recog­nise South Osse­tia and Abk­hazia as oth­er coun­tries had done with Koso­vo.

The Rus­sians have been say­ing all along that they con­sid­er the fate of Koso­vo, South Osse­tia, and Abk­hazia to be linked. The Evil Empire rec­og­nized Koso­vo as an “inde­pen­dent” nation in Feb­ru­ary over Russ­ian objec­tions, so it was inevitable that Rus­sia would do the same for South Osse­tia and Abk­hazia. The Geor­gian inva­sion at most sped things up a lit­tle. I do find it inter­est­ing, though, that the main­stream media (and for that mat­ter, many blog­gers) have been doing their very best to ignore Koso­vo while cov­er­ing the war.

Sleazy lock-in bypassed
Aug 25th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Secu­ri­ty Hack Allows VOIP Aboard Air­planes. In-flight inter­net access is a real­i­ty, but despite promis­es that the air-to-ground sys­tem would effec­tive­ly block voice calls, the hack­ers are on it like wolves and voice-over-IP calls are being made. Stand by for the fall­out. [Wired News]

I guess the air­lines will have to go back to the draw­ing board for a new way to force pas­sen­gers to pay for their incred­i­bly over­priced air phones.

Escaping voicemail
Aug 25th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Press 1 for Eng­lish, Press 0 and Holler “Oper­a­tor” for a Human.

HumansWon­der­ing how to get an actu­al human being with­out fight­ing your way down each branch of a phone tree? Check out Dial-A-Human, which lays out the prop­er sequence of but­tons to push to get a human being as quick­ly as pos­si­ble.

The most inter­est­ing, and often the most com­plex sequences: Gov­ern­ment offices. My favorites include Depart­ment of Home­land Security/INS “Select lan­guage. Press 2 6 2 4. Press 0 at each prompt,” the U.S. Postal Ser­vice ” Press 5 4 2 2 at each prompt,” and per­haps best of all, the IRS “Don’t press or say any­thing.”

Via the indis­pens­able Life­hack­er blog.

[Hit and Run]

This is a very use­ful site! Some com­pa­nies that I’ve need­ed to call are in this list, so it will no doubt save me con­sid­er­able trou­ble in the future.

Too many choices
Aug 25th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

The Three Dumb­est Neo­con Pre­dic­tions Since the Dis­as­ter in Iraq [Exiled Online]

It seems Neo­cons are under the impres­sion that Turkey, Pak­istan, and Mau­ri­ta­nia are Arab coun­tries. Also, the Eng­lish lan­guage needs a word for “self-inflicted geno­cide” to describe their pol­i­cy rec­om­men­da­tions for Geor­gia.

Facebook is bad for photographers
Aug 24th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Why I Don’t Post Pho­tographs on Face­book. Imag­ine while on vaca­tion with your fam­i­ly you cap­ture this exquis­ite pho­to­graph of the Gold­en Gate Bridge, and that you are so proud of it that you post it on Face­book so all your friends can see it. If some­one on the Face­book staff sees your pho­to­graph and real­ly likes it, Face­book can use it to adver­tise Face­book. They can license a post­card com­pa­ny to use it on a post­card they sell. They can even license the image for the cov­er of Time mag­a­zine, use by a trav­el agency or any­one else. You will nev­er know about it and you will nev­er receive any com­pen­sa­tion for it. [Arti­cles and Reviews by Wal­ter Rowe]

My first-ever attempt at a pro…
Aug 23rd, 2008 by Ken Hagler

My first-ever attempt at a prod­uct shot with my view cam­era seems to have turned out okay. Iron­i­cal­ly, my Crown Graph­ic is in the shot.

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