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Archive for November 2008

SPAM and guilability

Six months ago, an anti-SPAM law was passed in Israel, and it’s supposedly enforced from today.
The law is opt-in, meaning people have to agree explicitly subscribe in order to receive SPAM.

This didn’t deter some “honest businessmen” from sending me SPAM about this very law, stating that in order to stop receiving more SPAM I have to opt-out. As you may know, any reply to SPAM requesting removal will just increase your incoming SPAM flow.

Remember, Israeli’s anti-SPAM law is opt-in.

Why I finally installed Chrome

I’ve resisted the Chrome buzz so far, but today I’ve fallen too. Even though Firefox is somewhat sluggish in comparison to Chrome, I like its multitude of extensions and frankly, I’m just used to it.

However, today I finally gave up, because of a missing feature in Firefox – the ability to view source of an RSS/Atom feed. As far as I’ve been able to discern, it’s impossible in FF3 to view the raw XML of a feed (just try opening this feed and clicking View Source). I found several posts on how to manually edit a javascript file to disable this preview, but they must not apply to FF3 because … they didn’t work.

So my workaround was Chrome (haven’t switched over as a main browser though). What’s most annoying is I’m sure there was a way to do this, because before I switch computers a week ago I was able to view the raw feed – I just can’t remember how.

Google SearchWiki

I think this was a long time coming. I still can’t see it when I search, I guess the deployment is taking some time.

My guess is despite what Google says, votes might end up effecting search results after all – despite the fear of manipulation, this is powerful user data that should be used for ranking.

Apparently, I’m a gamer

I’ve been playing Magic online for quite some time now, and have always had problems connecting to other players. Magic isn’t a bandwidth intensive or particularly sensitive to network latency, but I found that more and more I’m getting disconnected, have huge (10 seconds +) lag, and just plain connection problems.

Well, today, the problem is solved. It appears that Smile 012, my ISP, had to classify me as a “Gamer Profile” in order to get a straight connection working. These two test sites just would not work 99% of the time under the normal profile. It appears that the so called Gamer Profiles are connected to the internet backbone by fewer hops (012 usually charge 15 NIS – 4$ for this privilege). I’m not sure why it worked – as I mentioned, Magic shouldn’t be affected this much by latency.

Anyway, if you have the dubious pleasure of being a 012 customer, and want a supposedly better connection to the backbone, just tell them the tests sites I listed don’t work well for you – they won’t charge you for it. I think it also improved my torrent speeds.

Don’t fix your tests too quickly

You know the classic workflow to fixing bugs?

  1. Find bug
  2. Write test
  3. Make sure test fails
  4. Fix bug
  5. Makes sure test passes
  6. Profit!

Sometimes, after you fix the bug, the test still fails. This means the test was flawed!

In this case, besides fixing the flawed test, you should go back to step 1 – undo the bugfix, write a better test or fix the test, make sure it fails with the original code, and only then fix it (the “lazy flow” is just to fix the test and watch it turn green, but then you don’t really know it tested what you wanted).

Shards of Alara draft walkthrough (Bant)

Moved to a page.

Superman Returns

Just saw Superman Returns, and I can’t help but wonder – the producers were inventing a new Cannon, sure. Sure, they don’t have to hold on to everything that happened in the last 20 years. But come on?!

Lois: “Clark told me bla bla bla”
Superman: “Clark? Who’se he?”
Lois: “Some guy that works with me”

Like it isn’t in practically ALL Superman material that Clark and Superman are best friends.
And why did Lois, who acknowledged Superman gets his power from the sun didn’t think of the brilliant idea of putting him in the sun when he was lying in the hospital? Was that too hard?

3.5 on movielens, just because of the few nice touches (Lex going to the fortress of solitude, for example).

Proposition 8

I usually don’t post about politics, but I can’t let this one slide.
Proposition 8, banning gay marriages in California, recently passed. One of the few places where such couples can feel free, is no longer, because its people voted against it.

Democracy is such a lovely thing, right? It gives the majority of the people the right to be bigots. The people of California have the power to interfere with the lives of gay people and hurt their happiness – when those gay couples did nothing to hurt them.

I’m usually an optimist, I think the world today is so much better than 10, 20 and 50 years ago. It appears that in some aspects, we’re still not good enough.