Monday, July 27, 2009

Try, try again

I hate software that's tries to pull one over on me. Microsoft Update (aka Windows Update) just did that to me. I prefer to choose which updates get installed because I don't like having to restart my computer when I don't want to.

Microsoft thinks that installing Internet Explorer 8 is "important." I don't think it is. I usually use  Chrome or Firefox 3.5. When I do have to use IE, I'd rather use the version I'm more familiar with. And I'd rather wait until it's clearly better and more stable than IE7.

So today I selected the updates I wanted and unchecked IE8 again. The updates failed because my network connection flaked out. I fixed that and clicked the convenient "Try Again" button. Hmm. Why is there one more update being downloaded? Answer: because Microsoft decided to throw IE8 back into the set of updates to install.

Thanks, but no thanks. While some would see this as a deliberate attempt to trick me into installing IE8, I know that one should never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence.

In other words, Microsoft, try again.

P.S. While I wrote this I was surprised to discover that linked to Guess that's one way to pump up the stats. But wouldn't it have been better to link to the right place:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Getting down to Earth

On the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing, there's something humbling about the big news from space being the malfunctioning toilet.

When I think of space, there's one specific image that comes to mind. I used to have this picture on the wall of my windowless office so I could see the outside world. I always found that looking at that picture put whatever small problems I might have had in perspective.

I hope that the astronauts on the space station struggling with the plumbing are enjoying the view outside their window.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

And that's the way it was

Just adding another to the million-plus hits for the phrase "and that's the way it was." Apropos of yesterday's post, here's Walter Cronkite reflecting on the first moon landing.

Walter Cronkite ended every broadcast with the catchphrase "and that's the way it is" because the journalist's job was to synthesize the news and tell us what was really happening in the world. Sadly, newspapers are dying off and what passes for "news" on TV today frequently confuses opinions with fact, gossip with news, and fake reality with actual reality. I hope it's not too late for us.

Good night, Walter.

Update: I enjoyed reading Dan Dubno's remembrance.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

One giant leap

Next Monday is the 40th anniversary of the first landing on the moon. NASA has set up a special anniversary web site and has released new digitally enhanced video in commemoration of the event. If you didn't see it the first time around or you don't remember it very well, now's a good opportunity to watch it again and be amazed.

Unless of course it was all faked. Nah. Everyone knows it was the Mars landing that was faked. And that was such a success the Russians just did it again and Hollywood is doing a remake.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Some rights reserved

Today, I've added a Creative Commons license to this blog. The tag line for Creative Commons is "some rights reserved" a play on "all rights reserved" that frequently accompanies copyright notices.

You might notice that every post on this blog has an accompanying picture on it. Well, today, it just got easier for me to find pictures to use. Google image search just launched the ability to search images by usage rights. The image on the right comes to you courtesy of TylarX (thanks!) who put it on his Flickr album and licensed it for usage via Creative Commons so I could find it with Google. Just click on the image to be taken to the original image and license information.

In case you haven't heard of Creative Commons, it's a non-profit organization that solves one of the major problems people have with sharing their creations: we're not lawyers. The lawyers at Creative Commons have created a set of licenses that make it easy to share your work without giving up the copyright and without granting permission you didn't intend to.

If you want to add a license to your blog, here are the three easy steps:
  1. Use Creative Common's license selection tool to pick the right license.
  2. Copy the license and paste it into your blog template.
  3. Since a Creative Commons license works with a copyright, also include a standard copyright notice: ©<year><your name>.

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