In the sewer of sh*tty software


I had a popup on my desktop this morning telling me there is a new version of MSN Messenger (version 7.5). I figure what the heck. After all, MSN Messenger always adds some neat new functionality, like being able to shake my friends screen remotely (the nudge functionality), so I say "yes".
 
Then, the install pops up with a plethora of choices, including the new MSN toolbar. Being the adventurous sort, I choose to install all of them (the default, by the way). Think about all of the functionality. The install then forces me to shut down every piece of Microsoft software I have opened: Microsoft Messenger, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Visual Studio (okay, so I made the last one up). It is kind of like an Oracle stating, I need full control of everything … and, "trust me!".
 
For those who have not installed the new Messenger, let me tell you some of its new features.
 
First, you get a new desktop search that appears on the start bar. Really cool, it appears a lot like a web search bar, but if you fail to state you have a web search, it completely shuts down your machine as it searches the entire disk drive for search terms. The more complex the search, the longer your computer is completely unusable. What a nice feature.
 
Next, Microsoft has stealthily added Internet Explorer 7 functionality. In a bid to keep up with Firefox, you now have tabs in Internet Explorer. Unfortunately, you have to click a plus sign to add a new tab, as Internet Explorer 6 does not have tabs natively. If you use control + N, you end up with another window, with another tab bar. And, both use a great deal of memory, which means the more windows you open, the slower your machine gets. How cool!
 
Just as soon as I can say "my computer is now completely unusuable" I came up with another plan: uninstall. It was quite easy to install this betaware (not labeled as such, so it might be early alphaware), so it should be just as easy to uninstall. The machine appears to completely stop for about three minutes and then … sorry, Greg, you have to reboot your machine. Sure, we can install without restarting, but this is tangled into too many things to actually uninstall as easily as you install.
 
I have not, as of yet, tried the IE 7 beta. This is largely due to not having a VPC image ready to test the software. I did not, however, expect Microsoft to beta test software without warning by adding a new product in the guise of a toolbar. My advice: read carefully if you are upgrading Messenger and turn all of the bloatware off.
 
For the record, I am on a Toshiba Tecra-M4 (Tablet PC with a 1.73 GHz Centrino) with 2 GB of RAM. The only beef I normally have with the machine is opening software (spoiled by the dual core machine at home), as the machine runs fast once programs are loaded. Perhaps my experience is unique to this particular machine or chipset, so you can experiment. It did at least uninstall all of the bits, so it is a safe experiment for those adventurous souls.
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Bill Gates sending money for email users


Every once in awhile, a friend forwards me an email about how Bill Gates is giving out money through some email tracking program. Even though Snopes.com has covered this topic rather well, I wanted to take a moment to introduce a simple analysis of the logic of the situation.
 
First, let’s have fun hacking up the email sent to me:
 

To all of my friends, I do not usually forward messages, But this is from my friend Pearlas Sandborn and she really is an attorney.

 
Good thing she doesn’t just play one on TV, right? Typical opening for one of these stupid mass emails. Let’s use an appeal to authority (argumentum ad verecundiam, for the learned). I just wonder why we should believe a lawyer is an expert in email methods? I also wonder about a parent who would name their child Pearlass, but that is for another day.
 

If she says that this will work – It will work. After all, What have you got to lose?

 
I was thinking "my dignity for passing on this stupid email", but you might have other ideas.
 
SORRY EVERYBODY.. JUST HAD TO TAKE THE CHANCE!!! I’m an attorney, and I know the law.
 
I am glad you know the law; if not, you probably would not be a lawyer (I am inclined to believe you are not a lawyer anyway, but I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are a really stupid lawyer instead of a liar). This is, assuming you (Pealass) actually exist.
 

Dear Friends; Please do not take this for a junk letter. Bill Gates is sharing his fortune. If you ignore this, You will repent later.

 
Do you mean a "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near" kind of repenting or do you really mean "I will kick myself for not believing this far fetched, asinine scheme to make some cash for doing nothing more than annoying all my friends" kind of repenting? I assume the latter.
 

Microsoft and AOL are now the largest Internet companies and in an effort to make sure that Internet Explorer remains the most widely used program, Microsoft and AOL are running an e-mail beta test.

 
Now, stop the presses for a second. AOL is owned by Time Warner. This conglomeration also owns a company called NetScape. From a pure logical standpoint, why would A-hole want to make sure Internet Explorer is the number one browser? In addition, what does Internet Explorer have to do with Email tests?
 
In addition, Pearlass probably forgot a bit of her law background. It seems Microsoft, Bill Gate’s company, got sued a few years ago over binding Internet Explorer to the Windows operating system. In addition, Microsoft paid off Netscape in another suit. Initiating an email scheme to further his monopoly would not be a wise move, so I am now assuming Pearlass Sanborn graduated either last in class or from a mail order law school. One more thing, how much money does Microsoft make if Internet Exploder is the number one browser (this should give you a clue – check the license).
 

When you forward this e-mail to friends, Microsoft can and will track it (If you are a Microsoft Windows user) For a two weeks time period. For every person that you forward this e-mail to, Microsoft will pay you  $245.00 For every person that you sent it to that forwards it on, Microsoft will pay you $243.00 and for every third person that receives it, You will be paid $241.00. Within two weeks, Microsoft will contact you  for your address and then send you a check.

 
Now, let’s think about this. Let’s say I send it out to only 10 people. Of these, six have a brain and the other four send it on to ten people, and so on. In just two rounds, I should make about $4 million dollars via my two down levels. Woo hoo!!! Let’s say this only gets down ten levels in two weeks (some people have to think about making money for just sending email, so they are not as quick on the ball). Just following this simple plan, we should be able to get out 2.6 quadrillion emails, which is enough to send each person around 436,000 emails (imagine cleaning that email box). Side note: since not everyone has email, many of us will get spammed with double or triple this amount, crashing every single one of our email servers and clients. Mass chaos in the streets.
 
Bill Gates payout, on the first level alone (assuming this asinine scheme was real, of course) is $642 quadrillion. Considering Microsoft and AOL/Time-Warner combined are not even worth a trillion dollars, this puts both companies out of business.
 

I thought this was a scam myself, But two weeks after receiving this e-mail  and forwarding it on. Microsoft contacted me for my address and within days, receive a check for $24,800.00. You need to respond before the beta testing is over. If anyone can affoard this, Bill gates is the man.

 
I am not sure about you, but using the values $245, $243 and $241, I am having a hard time coming up with this number that this hypothetical person received. I would spend more time on it, as I love to solve problems, but I really do not give a damn about spinning my wheels on this one (other than making fun of the idea in this blog entry, of course).
 

My brother’s girlfriend got in on this a few  months ago. When i went to visit him for the Baylor/UT game. She showed me  her check. It was for the sum of $4,324.44 and was stamped "Paid in full".

 
And, I am having an even harder time working with integers and coming up with a floating point number. I guess Bill dscounted for her friends that were really, really stupid.
 
Like i said before, I know the law, and this is for real
 
Still have not figured out what this has to do with "the law" either, but I am fairly safe in guessing it is not "for real".

Stupid political tricks


According to yesterday’s City Paper, the city of Nashville has finally agreed to allow the Nashville Sounds (or minor league baseball team) to build a stadium along the Cumberland River. Here is the City Paper’s report (broken down with my comments, of course):
 
Yaeger said the stadium would cost roughly $43 million. Of that, $23 million would be provided by a coalition of 12 local banks. About $20 million would be provided by the city, mostly through tax increment financing.
Tax increment financing? This is a lovely BS term that means the cost of the stadium will be paid off through taxes on the revenue it generates. It allows Mayor Bill to say: "This will not be produced at the risk of the property taxpayers of Nashville." This means the government cam say "no tax dollars are being spent to build this stadium" or "no public financing will be used."
 
Government Math? Of course, as the bottom line is the city will pay out now (real dollars created by taxes) and get it back via a mechanism it would have received regardless of what was built (only other options would not require refilling the coffers, as no imaginary "no public funds" money would have been spent up front).
Goverment money laundering through the turnstyles of a third rate baseball team. How cool!
 
Want a better picture? Picture two scenarios:
 
Scenario 1: Someone comes in and builds a theme park on the spot (it was an alternative thrown in the mix early on). Theme park is built by the theme park owner, on his dime. He opens and collects taxes on food and goods sold in the park, as well as tickets and hands this to the government, for the amount of … oh, $2,500,000 per year. In addition, the park pays $3,000,000/year in lease payments. Here is the ten year plan:
 
Public money spent to finance: $0
Tax collections over five years: $25,000,000
Money for lease: $30,000,000
Net to city: $55,000,0000
 
Scenario 2: The government builds a new stadium using "no public financing" by throwing in $20,000,000 to build the stadium. It agrees to also pay $500,000 for maintenance each year, while the Sounds pay $3,000,000 in lease payments each year. The stadium pays off its loans with tax money from food and goods sold to the tune of … let’s keep it even … $2,500,000/year.
 
Public money magically created for stadium (as there is "no public financing"): $20,000,000
Tax Collections over ten years: $25,000,000
Maintenance payments: $5,000,000
Money for Lease: $30,000,000
Net to City: $30,000,000
 
The bottom line is we now have $25,000,000 fewer dollars (even more than the $20 mil we spent using "no public financing"). How do the politicos feel about this?
  • Councilman David Briley is concerned about the amount of tax increment funding. He is not concerned that public financing IS actually being used, just the amount. But don’t worry, Mayor Bill has covered his fears by showing we originally were going to finance more than double this amount. Thanks mayor, it feels so much better when you only screw us for half the amount of money. Briley is also interested in running for mayor and having wireless access for everyone (okay, the last one is pretty cool for a geek like me, despite its $300,000 price tag, paid for by "public financing").
  • Councilman Jamie Isabel is concerned about the lack of minority participation in the project. As long as we are throwing some scratch at the minorities, it is okay to screw all of Nashville, right Jamie? As an aside, Jamie Isabel’s other pet cause is stopping police from using Tasers, which was prompted by the death of Patrick Lee, whose autopsy shows that his aggitated state and drug usage were the primary factors in his death, not the Taser.
  • Michael Craddock is against using tax incentive funding or money from the sales of the other land to build the stadium. You go boy!

It seems strange to me that Nashville owns some prime land on the Cumberland River that it wishes to piss away in another bad deal. But, at least Mayor Bill can say he was not screwed over as badly as the Coliseum deal with Bud Adams, right?

Annoying code samples


Take a look at this code sample:
 
public class Index: System.Web.UI.Page
{
   private void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
   {
      Ajax.Utility.RegisterTypeFOrAjax(typeOf(Index));
   }
}
 
Did you notice typeOf(Index) is pointing to the page? Yes, in thsi sample, Index is the name of this page. When you look at it closely, it is obvious, but the word Index also has other meaning, so the code sample ends up confusing. It only caught me up until compile and then I examined the code sample to figure out what went wrong (I had actually named my page something with meaning to the application, which caused the breakdown when copying Page_Load). But, it cost a less experienced coworker even more time.
 
Now, here is my suggestion. If you are building samples, use MyXXX for the name, like MySamplePage. Why? No confusion. It is obvious that My points to something in the app that the developer is playing with.
 
My sample:
————-
public class MyStupidSamplePage: System.Web.UI.Page
{
   private void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
   {
      Ajax.Utility.RegisterTypeFOrAjax(typeOf(MyStupidSamplePage));
   }
}
 
Or, if you have a full sample app, then provide documentation that shows a code template.
 
Template sample:
——————–
Ajax.Utility.RegisterTypeFOrAjax(typeOf(NameOfPageHere));
 
We can make this difficult on each other or not; i is all in the way in which we present things.

Bomb found in New Orleans


It appears Farrakhan was right. He contended that bombs were planted in levees in predominently black areas of New Orleans, stating "They found two types of explosives used by the military" and "A member of the Army Corps of Engineers saw burn marks on the concrete". There are now pictures of the bomb, proving he was right.

Many will not believe this and the confusion is understandable. It seems the military was using one of the new b345 bombs, which are disguised as barges. The picture below shows one of these insidious bombs.

Now, the right wing conspiracists are claiming that Farrakhan is mad. They cite the fact that Lakeview and Old Metarie, predominently white areas, were also destroyed. This is just typical of those fascists, trying to diffuse a legitimate story with facts. Damn them!!! They need to "stop making sense" and allow us to continue on with our own realities. BAAAAA!!!