31 March 2008

US Attorney General: Piracy funds terror


Michael Mukasey
US Attorney General: Piracy funds terror


"The Attorney General gives a speech on intellectual property in which piracy and counterfeiting turn out to fund...

(Wait for it...)

Terrorism.

Bet you didn't see that one coming."

I'll cut the guy some slack, because, just like Ars said, "he managed to make it through an entire speech on crime and intellectual property without suggesting that noncommercial P2P file-swappers are somehow equivalent to criminal gangs running huge Asian stamping operations."

Though, I personally subtract points from his speech about this new slant on "rooting out hackers long considered untouchable," because instead of addressing China (which, if you've been reading anything about hacking and copyright violations, is probably the worst offender), AG Mukasey decides to talk about... Romania.

Yeah, Romania -- the country that brought us "Numa Numa."
Dragons Whatever Disc Cover

Oh yeah -- I'm totally more concerned about Romania.

27 March 2008

Menu Icon Alignment in ExtJS 2.0

Okay, so I'm creating me up a pretty series of menus for a toolbar I'm working with in ExtJS. I've got some utterly delectable little icons from Famfamfam.com that I'm working with, and I'm putting them in with my custom "makeIconCls" function I talked about a while back.

However, I was using Famfamfam's "flags" icon set in addition to their "silk" set, and the icons are being aligned like this:



See how the little flag icon is a bit higher than the rest? It's because it's slightly shorter -- annoying as hell, and I was about to just leave it, until I decided to give it one last go...

Which let me to the good ol' w3schools site and their page on background positioning and attachment variables.

So, I changed my makeIconCls function to add a few more definitions:
var makeIconCls = function (className, url, id) {
Ext.util.CSS.createStyleSheet(
'.' + className + '{background-image: url(' + url + ') !important;'
+ 'background-repeat: none;'
+ 'background-position: center left !important;'
+ 'background-attachment: fixed;}'
, id
);
return className;
};

Note the "!important" after the "background-position" parameter -- without it, this won't work. However, don't try and be smart and put "!important" after any other param -- it makes your icons disappear in Mozilla!

Now, my icons are all pretty, and I'm happy.

21 March 2008

A Wee Spot of Fun

I usually never catch on to "Post this particular thing" fads, but this one was just too fun to pass up.

I got it from a Domino-related blog I recently started reading, and it goes something like this:
1. Go to Wikipedia’s random article page. The first article you get is the name of your band.
2. Go to the Random Quotations page. The last four words of the last quote is the album title.
3. Go to Flickr’s Interesting photo page. Third picture, no matter what it is, is your album cover.
4. Put it all together to make an album cover. Either crop it to CD cover size, or just use the raw image itself … the only rule is you’re only allowed to add the album title and artist title.

My Wikipedia page was (a stub?) about the Emperor of Romania; my quote was one by James Thurber: "Nowadays men lead lives of noisy desperation"; my photo was a (rather stunning) one by LaraJade.

And what do you get when you combine 'em all up?



Rather nice, if I do say so myself! I can just see it now: "Ladies and Gentlemen... Presenting the Emperor of Romania!!"

(All crappy photo manipulation was done in the GIMP -- all work is protected under Fair Use laws.

19 March 2008

Sleep Well, Maestro


Arthur C. Clarke Portrait
Arthur C. Clarke, 90, Science Fiction Writer, Dies - New York Times


I grew up watching re-runs of Mysterious World (along with a healthy serving of Carl Sagan's Nova), and I've always enjoyed reading his books (my favorites: Imperial Earth, the entire Rama series (immensely), 2001, 2010, etc.).

He wrote incredibly hard SF books -- seriously, we're talking about a Tom Clancy-ish level of specific technological know-how and jargon here. Arthur C. Clarke was more than just an accomplished author -- he was an accomplished scientist as well, and that came through in his writing.

What I always liked about his books was the relentless optimism that was always present -- he was someone who really believed that the future would be better, that there'd be no strife, poverty, disease, or war (or at least very little). There's no "bad guys" in his books -- the only confrontation is against the "unknown" (abstractly speaking, duh).

The thing is... and this is a weird thought... I keep wondering if it was (for him at least) just like how it was at the end of the fourth Rama book...

I mean, you can't not think that, can you?

FULLY CANONICALIZED, BABY

Just a reminder -- if you're making a Domino form, and you're being fancy and using Authors fields to restrict access and whatnot, remember to have FULLY CANONICALIZED names contained within. Not just bloody ABBREVIATED -- not bloody COMMON. FULLY CANONICALIZED.

Or you'll be wondering, for hours, why you can't edit a document even though your name is in the Authors field.

12 March 2008

YouTube APIs and Tools - Google Code

YouTube APIs and Tools - Google Code

Wow -- finally an API that's gotten me excited.

This could be very useful, if I could only convince my organization of the usefulness in a strategic partnership with YouTube -- just saying that sounds stupid, I'm sorry.

10 March 2008

They Criticized Vista. And They Should Know

They Criticized Vista. And They Should Know. - New York Times

Turns out that even higher-up's in Microsoft's ranks thought this whole Vista thing stunk. About a year ago, my firm was planning on definitely upgrading to Vista sometime this past fall -- it's now March, and I haven't heard anything more about it. Each day, Vista is looking more and more like the next Windows ME.

These lines from the article left me stunned in particular:

"In early 2006, Microsoft decides to drop the graphics-related hardware requirement in order to avoid hurting Windows XP sales on low-end machines while Vista is readied. [...] A semantic adjustment is made: Instead of saying that a PC is “Vista Ready,” which might convey the idea that, well, it is ready to run Vista, a PC will be described as “Vista Capable,” which supposedly signals that no promises are made about which version of Vista will actually work."

Eh.... does anyone else think that, to the average consumer, "ready" and "capable" mean exactly the same damn thing? I'm sorry, when someone tells me that something is "capable" of doing something, I don't take it to mean that "there's no promises that it can actually do it" -- I take it to mean that it can, without any problems.

05 March 2008

Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 Available for Download

Early Adopter Featured Windows Download: Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 Available for Download - LifeHacker.com

...my firm still hasn't even upgraded to IE7 yet. Well, as long as MS doesn't break any more backwards-compatibility, maybe it won't be so bad.

Oh, but wait a sec, check this out:



Isn't that just cute? "Go online to view similiar IE add-ons."

I actually kinda pity them, really. I know there's some guys on the IE dev team who are having to make this stuff, knowing it's ridiculous, and have to read about it in blogs like this one later on as they're browsing the internet... using their copy of Firefox, which, if they're a web developer worth their salt, has Firebug already installed, sitting along for the ride.