Richardson Tea Party

I went to the Richardson Tea Party yesterday and it was pretty interesting. The crowd looked like it was around 700 or so which is pretty good for a lunch day protest rally. We weren’t centered in one place like in other tea parties around the country. Most everyone was walking around the park waving at cars. There was lots of supportive honking and only one idiot woman who flipped us off. There were all different types of people there as you can see from the pictures below.

I feel like there is definitely something brewing with this movement. Here’s hoping anyway. Instapundit has lots more coverage and pictures including one from Dallas.

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Tax Day Tea Party Protests

If you’ve been reading anything about politics lately, you’ve surely seen at least cursory coverage of local tea parties around the country where people are coming together to protest the unbelievable spending that the federal government is doing in an attempt to get us out of the economic mess we’re in. These people are starting to understand that throwing more easy money at a problem caused by easy money can’t possibly be the fix we need.

April 15th is a day that was chosen to host these protests all across the country. You can find out if one is being held near you at Tax Day Tea Party. I’m planning on going to the Richardson one tomorrow at noon and probably the Plano one at 5, just to show my support as well as to make sure some coverage of the events take place. I’ll post photos and my thoughts tomorrow night. If you’re interested, drop me a line in the comments to tell me you’ll be there. Or if you have photos from other protests, feel free to send them to me and I’ll post them.

This could be the beginning of what I thought would be completely impossible in our country, the founding of a viable third party. It will be interesting over the next few months to see if this grassroots movement continues to build steam.

Solving Life’s Hard Problems

Hank Williams once wrote a song about ear candles while he was on break in the bathroom of the Ryman doing cocaine off a hooker’s ass. He decided it wouldn’t sell though and tossed it out. Turns out he was wrong.

I’m thinking about buying a couple just for the great picture it would produce.

Leading Spam Title Of The Week

It’s early in the week but this one is an early favorite to win this week’s “Most ridiculous yet memorable spam title”.

“Get your organism filled with needed Magnesium oxide.” I just don’t think I want my organism (or any organism really) filled with a “short term laxative”.

Getting It All Wrong

Because the internet is such a big place, occasionally you will read something that is so profoundly wrong that at first you are sure it’s parody and only later, does it come clear that the author is in fact earnestly trying to argue for something based on a fundamental misunderstanding of how the world works these days. The latest example I’ve seen of this is this commentary by Henry Porter in The Guardian that makes more dumb statements in 500 words or so than I’ve ever seen. Among them:

  • Google doesn’t produce anything
  • Google doesn’t have the right to control the content it offers on YouTube.
  • Google should have to pay whatever royalty amount an artist demands for YouTube videos.
  • Google is a monopoly (how can one be a monopoly and not produce anything?) and there is no other way to get content out to users other than YouTube.
  • Without old-style newspapers, democracy will crumble.
  • Google Street View invades the privacy of citizens. (The irony that this is a British writer who lives in one of the most privacy-insensitive places in the world with all the cameras they have watching people is apparently lost on Porter as is the delicious irony that Google Street View is a product of Google.)
  • Google is an amoral menace.

I know that this man is clearly an anachronism, longing for a time far past that can never return and would undoubtedly be detrimental if it did return. I feel sorry for his obvious bitterness at a world changed before him but that doesn’t excuse the fact that he’s writing in a major paper fundamental inaccuracies about, well, everything he writes. It’s called commentary which excuses it in the newspaper world but that’s just a cop-out. In any other profession, making this many mistakes in so short a period of time would warrant his dismissal. This is yet another reason why newspapers are failing.

I can’t fathom someone so confused as to look at Google and say they don’t produce anything. Perhaps there is nothing tangible to the old coot, but then there’s nothing tangible produced by his local pub or mom and pop market. These types of companies are what is colloquially called “service providers”. They don’t actually produce things, they provide services. How it is that he can both work for a major newspaper in Britain and yet fail to comprehend such a fundamental fact is beyond me. Again, it seems like it would be grounds for dismissal in any other profession.

His assertions that artists should be able to charge whatever they want and Google should not only have to bear the costs of the royalty demands but also the costs of hosting the content for free on YouTube is ridiculous on its face. Google should no more have to do that than a publisher should have to pay some third-rate author whatever he demands.

I put off writing about this article for over a week because it just seemed so sad that I wasn’t sure it warranted a response. But in the end, it’s these kinds of “voices” that have to be pointed out and held to task for things to improve. I’m sure that there has always been people like Porter resisting technological change to the end and the world has progressed quite fine. However, ignoring the fact that people like this still work for major newspapers and are allowed paid to write such tripe is a mistake. He says nothing true and nothing of value. Articles like this shouldn’t make it past the editors’ desk.

Wireshark Rocks

I love Wireshark. It’s a network protocol analyzer that has saved me countless hours over the last year or so in debugging serialization and HTTP issues on a variety of projects. Today’s success story comes courtesy of Silverlight, WCF and the hazards of leaving slashes off the end of a URL.

I’m working on a project developing a Silverlight app and I’m in the process of adding a logging service on the server side. After I added the framework and skeleton yesterday to implement logging, my Silverlight app started throwing up a “This web page is being redirected to a new location. Would you like to resend the form data you have typed to the new location?” informational message. This was late in the day yesterday and having zero brain cells left to figure it out, I left it for today, hoping it would magically go away.

Of course, it didn’t. But having rejuvenated the two brain cells I have with two gin and tonics last night, this morning it was clear that Wireshark would be the answer. Instead of spending hours trying to figure out why in the hell I was getting that message, I just fired Wireshark up and followed the TCP stream going back and forth from my app to the server. That told me that the server was returning a 301 Temporary Redirect because there was no endpoint at “http://my_url/without_an_endingslash” but that there was an endpoint listening at “http://my_url/without_an_endingslash/” and so I was being redirected there.

2 minutes using a great tool and I had the answer. I love days like this, rare though they are.

I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think It Means

Somali Pirates vow to take on US Military might if attacked. Ahem. 4 guys with AK-47s in a lifeboat with no fuel 300 miles off the coast of Africa are going to take on the US Navy? Really? For some reason, I’m pretty sure I know how this is going to turn out. This is a tragedy for the captain who remains a hostage as well as his family but it’s also heroic since he volunteered to become a hostage so that his crew could go free. But even if we assume a worst case scenario, 4 guys with AK-47s 300 miles off the coast of Africa in a lifeboat with no fuel versus 3 or 4 warships in the US Navy and the FBI isn’t really a fair fight. Hell, even if we don’t decide to blow them out of the water, all we have to do is sit there until they get totally delirious from lack of food and water. Hunger and thirst will do what force might not.

I’m guessing that these pirates may find out that attacking American flagged ships or ships with American crews won’t turn out quite like they expected. Americans aren’t known for negotiating with pirates or terrorists.

Adverse Effects

Workers in Paris are pissed again about supposedly terrible working conditions. I was just over there last September and working conditions really didn’t seem that bad to me. We went to the Eiffel Tower and as best I can tell, there weren’t a lot of rocket scientists necessary to make things work around that place. I’m not sure it follows that higher ticket prices necessarily means higher salaries. Oh and that whole taking your boss hostage because you think you’re being treated unfairly at work? I don’t think that’s going to work out the way you think it might. Though on second thought, if enough employees took their bosses hostage to protest job cuts, said bosses probably could stop making job cuts after all said employees got arrested and thrown in jail.

This is why France, beautiful and wonderful though the country itself may be, will always be a parasite on the world market. What person in their right mind would want to start a business in a country where workers take their bosses hostage when the entire global economy turns south? That maybe the most idiotic, selfish thing I’ve ever heard.