Professor Ipod

This article on Wired is somewhat interesting. I’ve never seen anyone put so much thought into something I’d normally think is unimportant.

…for example, music allows people to use their eyes when they’re listening in public. I call it nonreciprocal looking. Listening to music lets you look at someone but don’t look at them when they look back. The earplugs tell them you’re otherwise engaged. It’s a great urban strategy for controlling interaction.

Free stuff

A site I stumbled on a little while ago really brought me back to my college days during the Internet boom: Most of the stuff they link to, after rebates, is free. The “catch” is usually that there’s a shipping and handling charge. Some sites offer free s&h for big enough orders though, so I may look into ordering tons of free stuff so I can earn the free shipping. After that it’s all about filling out forms and mailing UPC’s (giving your personal information to companies, etc) but I’m fine with that if it scores me a free network switch, 100 blank cds, and a few wireless LAN adapters.

Windows Source code leaked

Not sure how serious this is, but the most-commented story I’ve seen at Slashdot in a long time just came in yesterday about portions of the Windows 2000 and Windows NT source code being leaked to the Internet.

Predictions are flying over what this all might mean. Including somewhat crazy theories that if you look at it, then work on a project of your own, you could get sued for stealing their intellectual property. There are slightly less crazy theories that a closer investigation of the source code will allow hackers to discover and create more viruses.

I personally don’t think that anything really damaging is going to happen (each virus seems more serious than the last, even before the source code leaks). That doesn’t matter as much as public opinion however, which only needs theories and fear in order to create a wave of news stories. It will be interesting to see what this all results in (I guess there’s an investigation taking place).

Object Dock – eye candy for your desktop

If you’ve envied the cool taskbar they have in Mac OSX, you’ll be pleased to find out there’s a free one available for Windows, called ObjectDock. It does the same fisheye thing, and looks quite nice with high-quality icons. Other than the fact that it hops the the foreground when I move my mouse over it, I have no complaints. It seems quite nice and has a decent set of features. A coworker introduced me to it.

Looking back on the war

So, a year ago I posted my thoughts on the war in Iraq – whether it’s justified or unjustified. The bottom line conclusion is that the only case in which I felt war was justified is if Iraq was a threat to us. Period.

Knowing what we know now, not having found significant weapons of mass destruction it becomes difficult to conclude that Iraq was a threat, and therefore that war was justified. Of course, I guess this issue is not over yet. There are still searches and investigations as to whether they exist, and certainly people regardless of party had at one time believed they existed. I supposed one could argue it doesn’t matter whether or not we thought they existed, or who thought that they existed, only that we today see no proof of the fact.

Looking back over the last 2-3 years, my question is this: if you were president, what would you have done?

Not too long after 9/11 a firestorm of theories came out about Bush knowing about what was going to happen. How was he supposed to have known? Intelligence. The US supposedly had intelligence that should have tipped us off to the 9-11 attack so we could do something to prevent it.

Now what’s the biggest thing Bush is being attacked on for the war in Iraq? Intelligence again. This time rather than being criticized for ignoring his intelligence, he’s being criticized for using it.

So this is the dilemma I have. Intelligence appears not to be an exact science. It is not 100% reliable. So what do we do with it? If it’s not reliable, and we can’t act on unreliable information, then it’s not producing information that’s actionable. If it’s not producing information that’s actionable, then isn’t it worthless? Can it be made better? Does anyone really think the intelligence is any better under one administration versus another? One bloated bureaucracy to the next?

As a sidebar, I really think the Democrat-Republican role reversal is interesting in this case. When Clinton was president, the Democrats were big fans of humanitarian military efforts. Republicans groaned at the spending. Now here we are with Iraq, and the strongest arguments for the war Republicans currently have are humanitarian arguments. We freed them, we stopped the killing, etc. Republicans are actually using these arguments. Democrats have taken the opposite position and complain about the spending, with apparently less of an interest in the humanitarian aspect. The two parties never cease to amaze…

Lieberman drops out

It’s official, the only person who I would have even considered voting for if I was forced to vote for a member of the Democratic Party dropped out today after some disappointing losses. I hope Al Gore is happy that he turned his back on his old running mate to endorse a real winner. I guess normal, experienced, well-spoken candidates with integrity and consistent viewpoints on major issues are not warmly embraced by Democrats these days.