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23 June, 2003

With You Always

A series of drawings by Larry Van Pelt. These drawing depict Jesus in various work settings. In the example below, he's watching over a farmer (but not helping out in any way).

Posted on 23 June, 2003

The CAN-SPAM Act

Read the entire text of the proposed CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.

Reading through this, it's pretty clear that this will do absolutely nothing to curb spam. In fact, it may even increase the amount of spam.

This law basically says that spamming is OK, as long as the header is not faked, the return address is valid, the subject line is not deceptive, and the recipient has an opportunity to "opt out."

Interestingly, if someone opts out for a particular spammer, the spammer is allowed to send as much new spam as they like for the next 10 days. And they are also allowed to ignore the opt out request, and claim a "technical or capacity problem."

It's likely that people will be spending much more time dealing with spam. After all, they'll have to read it in order to opt out.

This is a perfect example of lawmakers at their worst.

Posted on 23 June, 2003

The Download Dream

At Stereophile, Ken Gilmore describes what needs to happen before he will spend any money on a digital music service. One of them deals with pricing:

I think something in the range of 5-25 cents per song -- perhaps $3 for a full album -- would be fair. Older stuff with little market could be offered for 5 cents -- that would be better than not having it available at all, which is the case today for a lot of material.

The music industry would call this preposterous. But I think we'll eventually see a pricing structure like this.

Posted on 23 June, 2003

Are People Really This Stupid?

I wonder how many people would actually fall for this? People are invited to enter their name and credit card number.

If the last 7 digits of your credit card number match the pre-selected winning number, You Will Win $5,000.00 instantly. It's that easy and the money will be deposited right into your credit card account.

It's not even a secure site. But they do have a "security pledge:"

If you submit your credit card information to Direct Deposit Promotions, we pledge to provide you with quality credit card offers without compromising your security. We will notify our advertisers that you are a Direct Deposit Promotions credit card customer without providing them with your actual credit card information.

Yeah, sure.

Unfortunately, there are hundreds of thousands of these types of sleazy web sites. Their very existence answers the question. Yes, people really are that stupid.

Posted on 23 June, 2003

The Tard Blog

The Tard Blog is a weblog written by a special ed teacher.

This site is not intended to mock the retarded, the mentally disabled, or the behaviorally challenged. The authors understand that these people have a difficult life, and sympathize with them. This site does nothing but catalog the funny happenings in a special ed classroom. If you think this mocks anyone, this is because you are bringing these prejudices to the site, they are not here to begin with.

(via Hi, I'm Black!)

Posted on 23 June, 2003

The Genius of Bil Keane

Bil Keane is the cartoonist who draws "Family Circus." A few months ago, I linked to some funny reviews of Bil Keane's books. Here's another good one: The Genius of Bil Keane -- Paul Day's detailed analysis of half a dozen Keane cartoons.

An excerpt:

Why is she talking to the dog? The first answer is that Keane is equating her with a dog! The tone of familiarity is not that of master/underling, it is one of peer/peer. This creates a mysogyny that is almost unbearable. One wants to cry out "You're human, Dolly, it's just a dog! Don't let your creator pull you down! Rise up!" A second answer is that the "dog" is touching the sacred waters of "boy country." There is a status quo to be maintained and Dolly, knowing her place, must maintain it.

(via Off On A Tangent)

Posted on 23 June, 2003

The Celebrity Atheist List

Someone compiled a list of celebrity atheists and agnostics. Why? I have no idea.

Each one is documented. For example, here's part of the listing for Howard Stern:

Camille Paglia interviewed Stern in the Advocate in promotion of his book Miss America. Paglia asked "How do you feel about religion and politics?" Stern responded "I'm sickened by all religions. Religion has divided people. I don't think there's any difference between the pope wearing a large hat and parading around with a smoking purse and an African painting his face white and praying to a rock."

Posted on 23 June, 2003

Create Some Stamps

Go to Stamp-It-Out and enter the URL of an image file. In a few seconds, you'll have some stamps. Like this:

I doubt that you can use these as real postage stamps.

Posted on 23 June, 2003

Prisoners' Inventions

A few things invented by prisoners. These are from a book, which looks very interesting.

In 2001 Temporary Services invited Angelo, an incarcerated artist, to write and illustrate a booklet about the ingenious, practical, and sometimes bizarre things he has seen prisoners make. Angelo generated more than 100 pages of drawings and text, representing 78 different inventions or skills.

The inventions cover a wide range of techniques for storage, bathing, cooking and dining, privacy, recreation, home beautification and more. Angelo's texts and drawings will show you how to improvise a wake-up alarm, grill a cheese sandwich in a locker, make an immersion heater from razor blades and popsicle sticks, use a toilet to chill a soda or take a hot bath, and complete - with severely limited resources - many other tasks we on the outside take for granted.

(via Obliterated)

Posted on 23 June, 2003

Night Photography

You'll find some very nice photos taken after the sun goes down. By Larrie Thomson.

Since so many interesting details seem to get lost in the shadows after dark, I sometimes use special lighting effects in my night photography. These colorful highlights are created by adding colored light to the scene, on location during the time exposures. None of these lighting effects have been created digitally or in the darkroom.

(via Sublimate)

Posted on 23 June, 2003

Metabuzz

Metabuzz has some useful "meta" links.

Posted on 23 June, 2003

Vintage Handcuffs

This site is called a Collector's Guide to Vintage Handcuffs.

A handcuff collection presents a fascinating look at the development of one small segment of modern industry. The handcuffs of the later 19th and early 20th centuries were of high quality, manufactured to a high standard, but the basic designs often left much to be desired. A great variety of competing handcuff models were marketed over these years, some were quite successful, others not.

Posted on 23 June, 2003

How Do I Force...

Far too many web site designers attempt to force visitors to do certain things. Dan Tobias provides a list of common questions asked by these naive designers.

Here are just a few examples from the list. How do I force the user's browser to...

  • not have a "Back" button?

  • eliminate the past history of the user's browsing so the user can't go back out of my site?

  • save the past history of the user's browsing and send it to my site so I can analyze it for marketing research?

  • suppress the "hand" mouse pointer when the user moves the mouse over a link, so it can be a hidden link?

  • be sized at 640 x 480 no matter what the user's monitor size?

  • not have scroll bars no matter what the user's monitor size?

  • install my custom fonts on the user's system so my page displays the way I want it even if the user doesn't already have those fonts?

Dan writes:

Even if it were possible to force such things on the user, the question is "Why do you want to do that?" A large portion of the user community is apt to get annoyed at such attempts to manipulate his or her browsing experience, and an annoyed user probably won't return to your Web site. Users are accustomed to using standard navigation tools like the browser's Back button, and won't like it if you somehow manage to disable them.

If you have anything to do with Web design, Dan's Web Tips site is well worth checking out.

Posted on 23 June, 2003

Make A Rock Band

At the Create Bands site, you can create a band. Enter a name, choose the musicians, and then listen to them play. You can even play along if you like.

Posted on 23 June, 2003

Traffic Waves

The Traffic Waves site is dated 1998 -- but it's still an interesting read. William Beaty describes his observations on freeway traffic, and explains how a single driver can make a big difference in traffic flow.

Accelerating out of the end of a traffic jam can do nothing unless EVERYONE would do the same, and there is no way to change everyone's behavior. But just one single car, if it decelerates while approaching, can change the behavior of everyone behind it. And soon these people behind you will take the place of everyone in the jam. Your single car can bite a huge chunk out of the region of stopped traffic. If you refuse to pack together with everyone else to form a "parking lot," the jam can be made smaller.

Posted on 23 June, 2003