Archive for February, 2007

Whiners and Losers

February 28th, 2007 at 9:05 pm by Sam
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Since November 2006 a quiet storm has been gathering strength in Washington. Now it appears that Washington State politicians want to play El Nino to their D.C. colleagues, effectively taking the wind out of their sails by calling for impeachment ahead of their Center City counterparts.

Unbeknownst to D.C. Democrats who have been plotting to impeach Bush for “Security Breaches Post-9/11” (most often for things that they did themselves in a very botched and public political chess game), their constituents in Washington State have already come up with a proposal to take W down: they’ve draw up investigation and impeachment documents labeled Washington State Senate Joint Memorial 8016, to be decided upon tomorrow, March 1st.

Should they get the go-ahead from their State House & Senate, they merely have to refer the document to the Speaker of House of Representatives, and the Investigation process will begin.

The most atrocious charges in the document implicate both President George W. Bush and Vice-President Richard B. Cheney in a massive coverup of pre-war intelligence and subsequent lies to Congress and the American people as a justification to invade Iraq. However, the rest are at best laughable:

  WHEREAS, The war with Iraq has cost the lives of many Washington state residents and squandered taxpayer money from the state of Washington; and

  WHEREAS, The President has publicly admitted to conducting electronic surveillance of thousands and perhaps millions of American civilians without seeking warrants; and

  WHEREAS, Washington state residents are likely to have been subject to this electronic surveillance; and

  WHEREAS, The President, the Vice President, and members of the President’s Administration have acted to strip American citizens of their constitutional rights, based solely on the discretionary designation by the President of a United States citizen as an “enemy combatant”; and

The translation is as follows:

“We hate war! We don’t know how many of our citizens have died in Iraq, we read the Washington Post where it said that G.W. admitted to wiretapping, we’re not sure if that includes any citizens of our state, we’ve never read the Patriot Act even though our own representation passed it, and we generally think W is a big doo-doo head!”

These brainiacs (Washington State Senators Oemig, Regala, Kohl-Welles, Kline, Spanel, Fairley, Kauffman, Fraser and Prentice) have certainly not done their homework. And yes, their own idiots in D.C., Cantwell and Murray, both voted for the very bill that gave the President the power which they claim G.W. has dubiously wielded. But of course they aren’t sure whether or not it actually affected anyone in their state.

I sincerely hope that this particular impeachment goes through.  It will make them look like the bunch of ninnies they are and save a lot of Washington D.C. Democrats some serious headaches when the “Security Breach” investigations get turned right back around on them.

Although, that could be fun, too.

Democrats want George Bush impeached over many esoteric thing for which there is no evidence. Ahead of all of that is the War in Iraq.

It would seem that the vast majority of them are talking about the “hundreds of thousands of innocent women and children” killed during our invasion of Iraq, but the truth is, there have been remarkably few except in violence created and carried out by their own people, foreign terrorists and Al Qaeda. Factions inside of Iraq pleaded with us to get rid of Hussein, who was personally responsible for gassing and bombing hundreds of thousands of innocent women and children.

But it seems that Anti-War Protestors are unable to think of the lives we’ve saved.

Other Democratic factions claim that Iraq is “another Vietnam,” a sentiment which is as offensive as it is ridiculous, not only to those who actually fought in Vietnam, but also to the families who loved ones during the conflict.

They claim that the United States acted unilaterally and without provocation, despite the fact that the majority of Western countries were in favor of invading Iraq.

But even more heinous than those lies is their typical warcry: “We don’t need to lose another U.S. soldier in Iraq!” Yet, they want to cut funding, and prevent a slight increase in the number of deployed troops who would certainly be able to help in hotzones like Fallujah.

This sort of bullshit illogic is similar to the rhetoric they gave early in the war when they underbudgeted and entrenched to keep from sending additional aid. Meanwhile, our soldiers were dying due to lack of Armor on their persons and Humvees.

Do you ever read what your representatives are actually doing? How many things did they vote correctly on? Did they even bother to show up to work and vote?

These sorts of things prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that our politicians certainly do not have our interests in mind, and will do anything to further their power.

All you have to do is pay attention and remember things.

More on Software

February 28th, 2007 at 3:32 pm by Mark
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     (“Mark, why so much work talk?”  Because it’s easier to work and laugh than to think about things that are bothering me.  And besides, I’ve only rarely spoken about what I actually do for a living, anyway.) 

     A few days ago, Swankpad’s forum got weird.  Something happened and every post title was set to the same value.  Today, I found out for certain that exactly what code modification was causing it.
     Instead of adding code for upgrades and Mods to phpBB, it’s preferable to use a Patch File for software upgrades, and a neat little thing called EasyMOD to add in any future mods.  EasyMOD is great, and generally makes fewer mistakes than going through many thousands of lines of code to make changes (although, an uninstall feature would be nice!).

     There was a new mod called Akismet Spam Butcher for phpBB that I decided to install last week, just for the heck it — too many spammers.  Though the plugin doesn’t actually *do* anything, it was more of a proof-of-concept for using Akismet with phpBB.  I wanted to see how well it worked in adding Spam flags to the database — which is all it does at present.
     (In all honesty, if you can keep people from registering, that alleviates the spam issue altogether.  😉 )

      Anyway … Take a look at this SQL statement, from phpBB with Akismet Spam Butcher added via EasyMOD:

$sql  = ($mode != “editpost”) ? “INSERT INTO ” . TOPICS_TABLE . ” (topic_title, topic_poster, topic_time, forum_id, topic_status, topic_type, topic_vote, topic_spam) VALUES (‘$post_subject’, ” . $userdata[‘user_id’] . “, $current_time, $forum_id, ” . TOPIC_UNLOCKED . “, $topic_type, $topic_vote, $post_spam)” : “UPDATE ” . TOPICS_TABLE . ” SET topic_title = ‘$post_subject’, topic_type = $topic_type ” . (($post_data[‘edit_vote’] || !empty($poll_title)) ? “, topic_vote = ” . $topic_vote : “”) . ” , topic_spam = $post_spamWHERE topic_id = $topic_id”;

     Sometimes it’s just glaringly obvious where the problem is.

     One Edit, and every post in entire bloody forum gets the post title you edited.

     (Hint:  “$topic_spam = 0”)

     *shakes head*

#—–[ IN-LINE FIND ]———————————
# Yes, we’re still working within the same FIND
# Note that the space here is important, you will need to be sure there is
# a space between what’s there and what we’ll add next
 WHERE topic_id = $topic_id”;
#—–[ IN-LINE BEFORE, ADD ]————————
, topic_spam = $post_spam

     Looks like EasyMOD was the culprit… but then again, I probably would’ve done the syntax a little differently due to the spaces.

     Removing the Spam Butcher anyway … I found a more elegant solution. 😉

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Intelligent Design, Take 2

February 28th, 2007 at 5:37 am by Mark
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     As if Monty didn’t have enough to say about Intelligent Design last year… Check this out… 

     SayUncle Interviews TN State Senator Raymond Finney:

SayUncle: Let’s get the question everyone is wondering out of the way: are you retarded?

Senator Finney: Uh, no.

     Oh yeah, that rules.  😉

     The “Yeah, God put those [dinosaur] bones there to test our faith,” bit was hilarious.  I can remember hearing that when I was a kid from several people, being that I was such an avid Paleo-archaeologist at the age of six.
     The simple explanation was that there couldn’t have been any dinosaurs, since they weren’t mentioned in the Bible.  Strangely, neither were Planets, Meteors or Giraffes, so they must not exist, either.  *shrug*

Simplicity Rules the Day

February 27th, 2007 at 9:16 pm by Mark
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     Before I start this little rant, I just wanna say, this is not to ridicule Chris — he’s certainly worth his salt.  This was just an example — and a rather basic one, at that, given that this was more of an oversight than a faux pas — of something that’s been getting on my nerves for years.

     Every once in a while, someone’ll do something, semi-cool with a piece of software, but their execution makes it appear that they’ve forgotten why a given function works the way it does.  It happens a lot these days, and I’m glad I’m old enough to remember “why” things are like they are.

     A case in point — and Chris is a brilliant guy, mind you, and again, I’m not bashing him — was the beginnings of a WordPress plugin (blog software, for the initiated) to show extra formatting buttons in the Text Editor.

function st_addAdvanced($buttons) {
    array_push($buttons, ‘wp_adv’);
    return $buttons;

     It’s a pretty elegant little function.  It takes an array called $buttons, and changes the last value to ‘wp_adv’ and returns it.  Unfortunately, it makes things look ugly because of the way the $buttons array is used elsewhere in the code.
     He says, “Ahh, there are some formatting issues to take care of.”

     I’ve always had this bizarre K.I.S.S. approach to programming anyway.  I mean, hey, why bother calling two other functions, unset() and array_push() when I can do what I need with a single, local variable?

function st_addAdvanced($buttons) {
    return $buttons;

     Sure, I could’ve used two, and said, “$a=$buttons; $x=a[21]; $a[21]=’wp_adv’; $a[22]=$x; return $buttons;” to save keystrokes…. but… I’d be wasting as much memory as I gained CPU by foregoing the functions.

     But that’s basically my argument about most Developers these days.  It’s a pretty serious can of worms for me to open, because I know I’ll have developers coming from all over to tell me I’m full of it…  Even though I was writing Assembler before their parents ever met, and have some pretty cool — working, useful, debugged — software under my belt…. Joke ’em if they can’t take a f… *shh*

     Seriously, it’s no wonder our CPU and Memory requirements are so ridiculously high these days.  There’s an API or a DLL or a Library for freaking everything!  Layers upon layers, upon more layers, with repositories and snippets and widgets and scripts galore!

     Our Universities teach this method, often telling people, “Do it this way!” without telling people “Why it should be done this way.”  The “simpler” things get, the more abstract they become.
     They’re not churning out programmers and problem solvers.  They’re churning out memorize-and-regurgitate linkers who can’t write code without the assistance of a Visual Integrated Development Environment.

     Hey … Wasn’t the whole point of all this Link Library, Visual garbage to make software development easier?  Faster?  More bug free?

     I used to sit down with vi, edit or Notepad and it’d take me a couple of days to write a program.

     I can use all these neato-keen, new-fangled hooks and VIDEs, and it’ll still take me a couple of days to write a program…
     But it might take weeks to debug.

     Most developers do the same thing… And spend a lot of time setting up their VIDE.  Or getting a bit of code they copied off the internet to work.  Or…

     But, hey … I’m probably full of it, right?

     As employers, educators and policy makers, we need to get back to basics.  Yes, teach how.  But teach why, as well.

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Hotties of Blogdom

February 27th, 2007 at 2:34 am by Mark
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     It was smart-ass-ness that made me do it.

     New Blogroll section at right… 😉