Dysmey Blog Archives  >  fall approaches

fall approaches

Work is interesting this week: The iMacs are misbehaving despite my best efforts; I had to turn the card catalog terminals into kiosks to keep the users from using them as regular workstations; and the EPrints repository is slowly taking on the shape that the archivists want.

The weather is finally cooling down, which means I get to give my folks back their air conditioner. The goldenrods are blooming a bright glowing yellow, announcing that fall is on the way. The tall plants next to the deck has turned out, to my surprise, to be goldenrod itself! Nice!  The user picture shows the goldenrods in bloom.

the attacks

I have nothing to say about the attacks of six years ago yesterday, except that we should have seen them coming from the attacks on American targets overseas and even (in 1993) on the World Trade Center itself. We tend to forget that we are the envy of the world; and envy breeds murder.

Yet the reaction to the attacks is nothing short of shameful. It is folly to give up freedom for peace and security: We lose what our ancestors fought for, and we gain nothing in return. Only now, with the discrediting of the incompetent and venal Gang of Cheney, are we slowly wresting some of our freedoms back from their filthy hands.

evening lawn mowing

Everyone Monday night was mowing their lawns. They had to, given that it was going to rain the next day. So I mowed my lawn, too. Actually, the lawn needed mowing really badly. But mowing a lawn with a push-reel mower takes a long time, especially when you have a grass-catcher on the back that has to be emptied every five minutes. And I mis-estimated the time that the evening light would last.

In the end I just removed the grass-catcher from the back of the mower. It was almost night by the time I finished; and I had two yard bags full of grass clippings on the side of the street for the street department. This is the last time I will do both mowing in the evening and using the grass-catcher on the mower.

Those two yard bags were my last. I will have to go to Lowe's of Marion to get more. For some reason Lowe's of Muncie has a terrible time even acknowledging that yard bags exist.

firefox as theft, part two

A CNET blogger is disseminating the falsehood that using ad-blocking extensions in Firefox is theft of resources. He claims that:

Internet content is different, as each person's computer makes an individual connection to the remote server hosting whatever Web content the user is seeking. Each time users visit a Web site, the server consumes bandwidth to send the content of the Web page back to the user—and that bandwidth costs money.

There is no mention that downloading content from a Web site consumes not only the user's bandwidth but the resources (like disk space) of the user's computer. To visit a Web site, especially a site that forces a visitor to download massive graphics, run Javascript applets and store intrusive cookies: Isn't that theft of resources on the part of the Web site owner? Where does it say that the user must bear the cost of an ad-laden site but the Web site owner does not?

As I stated before, all this talk about theft by ad-blockers is based on the assumption of an Internet business model identical to the model for television, no matter how much the blog author denies it. The fact that this issue is laughed at by the programming community (which is having trouble with the idea of advertisers — Web or otherwise — talking about ethics and morality) while it is taken seriously by everyone else, shows a deep divide between those who maintain the Internet and those who make a buck off of it.

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Let me ask you this: How would you like an Internet that works like the telephone company (landline or cellular) or the cable television franchise? How would you like an Internet maintained by nine-to-five drones, like the companies just mentioned? Antagonizing the programming community who voluntarily helps maintain the Internet they had helped to bring about — antagonizing them with this nonsense about AT&T's my pipes are not free (never mind that it got them from the Feds for free) and ad-blocking is theft (from people who have no right to expect any profit off the Web) — will make those programmers walk away into their own private internetworks. When that happens, then you can talk about theft of resources over blogs that slow to a crawl for users who won't pay for faster access.
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Really, we should resist nonsense like this whenever it appears, or we will be kissing our Internet freedoms goodbye.

Posted on the Dysmey Blog on 12 October 2007.