zen.org Communal Weblog

April 29, 2006

Bad Web design vs Just Plain Ridiculous Web design

Filed under: — brendan @ 10:34 GMT

If you visit the Guinness website, they first ask you what country you’re from. It’s not even necessary, since they can actually figure this out based on your IP address.

But the fun only starts there. After the more expected choices, there’s a series of hyphens then an alphabetical list, starting with Afghanistan. Most of the time there’s no reason to be honest with this sort of question (marketing demographics, bah) I went with Afghanistan.

The result was better than the fact they even ask:

SORRY

Sorry, we are unable to allow you access to our website due to regulations in your country of access

Please leave the GUINNESS® website »

The “Please leave” line is a link to Google. A little script would let you put together a list of all the countries they believe aren’t allowing access to their site. Wonder how they keep track of laws and regulations for every country on the planet?

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April 26, 2006

Random Patrick quotes while getting ready to go to bed

Filed under: — brendan @ 21:29 GMT

While picking up a dropped toothbrush, he bonked his head on the sink. “Ow!!”
I tried to reassure him: “Aww, sorry you bumped your head Patrick.”
“Oh it’s okay, it’s not your fault.”

“You really should drink water. It’s good for you—it’s healthy.”

On the toilet, he asked me to wipe for him (as he seems to request frequently, never with any success). Handing him the toilet paper, I replied, “No, Patrick, you go ahead and do it—it’s your butt.”
“No, Dad, it’s your son’s butt.”

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April 25, 2006

Kubuntu 6.06 LTS Beta Released on a Mac G5

Filed under: — Sven @ 14:00 GMT

So, I bittorrented down the kubuntu-6.06-beta-live-powerpc.iso image and burned it to a CDRW. I rebooted my work’s G5 while holding down the c key and went into live 64-bit version. Unlike breezy it didn’t ask me any questions, so I told it no lies, and plopped me down at the KDE GUI in a low resolution. The fan started going, then up popped an error message that the audio didn’t work, and the fan got noisier. Audio didn’t work in breezy either, but at least this time it told me it didn’t work. The fan got louder! Then again, the fan GOT LOUDER! I HAD NEVER HEARD MY THIS MAC THIS LOUD BEFORE, AND STILL IT GOT LOUDER! I PRESSED THE POWER BUTTON ON THE MONITOR BUT NOTHING! AS THE RPM OF THE FAN INCREASED IT GOT EVEN LOUDER! MY SYSTEM IS UNDER AND BEHIND MY DESK, I HAD TO JUMP OVER THE DESK, AND AS THE PEOPLES HEADS FROM OUT IN THE HALL STARTED PEARING IN MY OFFICE THE NOISE LEVEL INCLEASED!! I’M SURE JUST SECONDS BEFORE THE FANS WHERE TO COME OF THERE BASE AND FLY AROUND LIKE LITTLE PLASTIC THROWING STARS I HIT THE POWER BUTTON, AND THINGS got quiet again.

I can’t wait until it’s out of beta.

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April 24, 2006

Absolutely, positively have to call someone outside Ireland?

Filed under: — brendan @ 20:52 GMT

We had a situation where we needed to be able to call someone in America from a payphone in Ireland. No calling card handy, nothing the phone company in Ireland could do to charge it to our Ireland-based home account. Can’t do a collect call. Can’t do 3-way calling even though it’s mentioned in the phone book. Can’t do conference calling cuz the department for it in the Irish phone company goes home at 6pm. Is it actually impossible?
Whatcha do?

In Ireland, call the international operator (American accents) at 1-800-945-555. They’ll call anybody you want and let you charge it to a credit card.

Whew.

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April 21, 2006

A Good Place to Live?

Filed under: — alice @ 19:36 GMT

The nation involved is a large, wealthy and powerful one; but …

– Government officials reserve to right to eavesdrop on your telephone calls, read your email, search your home, investigate your political interests and personal background, all unbeknownst to you and without Court approval.

– Anyone who voices disagreement with the Rulers’ policies, actions or behaviour is automatically labelled disloyal, unpatriotic and suspect.

– Your name, ethnicity and/or appearance are considered reasonable grounds for anonymous imprisonment without charge, for an indeterminate period and without access to legal counsel or contact by family or friends.

– The party in power creates laws favouring the wealthiest citizens and pays for them by plundering support for education, elderly services, aid to the poverty-stricken, and food and heating assistance to the poorest of citizens.

– Laws pertaining to health care, environmental protection and corporate taxation are written by and for the corporations most directly affected … many of whom have close financial ties to Government Officials.

– The Country’s Head of State creates lies and distortions on which to base an order to invade, bomb and loot a non-threatening nation, resulting in unknown deaths, injuries, hardships and extraordinary degrees of suffering amongst innocent, helpless civilians. All in the name of “Freedom,” “Democracy” and “Individual Rights.”

– At the same time, that Head of State warmly welcomes a dictator internationally recognised as a vicious suppressor of human rights, with much pomp and ceremony and then, apologies to that dictator for any discomfort created by a brave woman who spoke up and publicly protested the dictator’s unspeakable outrages in their mutual home country.

– The woman is subsequently arrested and charged with the Federal Offence of “Threatening a Foreign Leader” for voicing objections to the dictator’s suppression of and violence against the philosophical organisation to which she belongs.

If you think that sounds like a good place to live … welcome to the United States. You can have it.

[PS: Finances, alone, have prevented me from long since moving back home to Dublin. Anyone thinking of emigrating to the US needs to think long and hard about the sort of society in which s/he really wants to live.]

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April 17, 2006

Zen, Down!

Filed under: — Sven @ 15:58 GMT

My house is very unbaby-safe, power tools laying around, drywall dust all over the place, nails on laying on the floor, half the power sockets don’t work and many of the ones that do have no covers, no railing on porches, loose boards at entryways, and doors to steps don’t close.  When I noticed zen.org was not resolving last Friday I could not help to smile knowing that it had nothing to do with the goings on at my house.

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April 5, 2006

Computer Shopping

Filed under: — Sven @ 17:51 GMT

While I’m going to hold off buying a new computer until our house is finished, the amount of time it took me last time to pick computer I figure I better start now. The quantity of cash left after the house is finished might have something to do with what I pick too, and I might hold it back a few more months while the bank account replenishes, systems less then $1K seems to fit what I want to do with it. This will mostly be the entertainment system in the new kitchen, I already have speakers, a keyboard and a VGA monitor and stuff so all I need is the box.

My goal, I think, is a Mac Mini, with GNU/Linux, likely Kubuntu. I am not going to pay for a non-libre operating system so any Mac is out of the question. Something with quiet fans, and not to ugly, with a path running down the middle. AOpen‘s cubes look cool, but that only comes with Windows, so far I found:

  • HP’s Compaq 7000 series fit the bill, I can even get a Pentium D in it! Even though the Ultra-slim model doesn’t look that bad, it ain’t no Mac Mini.
  • Thinking it would be cool to have a 64-bit system I found Genesi‘s Open Desktop Workstation. It’s a PPC system that I think would work great, but it seems to only come with ½G of memory, I was hopping to get 1G. It lacks pictures of the back of the system, so I don’t know what ports I’m getting.
  • Last, for now, is Groovix‘s the LINI™ PC, an AMD64 system. Again seems everything I want, again no picture of the back. Plus no hint of a USB ports, it’s gotta have USB2 ports, no? It also worries me that it ships with “Ubuntu + Groovix Enhancements”. So normal Ubuntu will not work?

Purely due to being able to find all the questions I had about the system, I think HP is winning, but I’ll take other suggestions. The new kitchen cabinets arn’t arriving until the end of April so nothing is happening before then.

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