Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ratio of Lifehacker Visits to Ideas Implemented ~30 : 1

So, I finally broke down and installed Invisibility Cloak which blocks time-wasting websites. More precisely, you list the worst offenders and it prevents them from loading prior to a certain time of day. I had previously resisted the software based on the important principle that I really enjoy wasting time.

The script exhibited a sad lack of professionalism: it has a built in variable specifying the time of day after which the cloaking stops taking effect, but no opposite variable. Perhaps they assumed that anyone who is awake after midnight is just too degenerate to embrace this sort of productivity enhancing tool. As a result, I was forced to alter the code so that I won't be stripped of my diversions after midnight. Since I've never even previously looked at javascript, the chances of this failing are approximately 100%.

A more insightful post than this would have noted how this hack is really just another instance of applying a high-powered technical solution to avoid applying any concept of personal responsibility, but I'm too lazy for that.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

This is relevant to 11% of my visitors

There has been some chatter about a security flaw in Safari, though as of yet there's no malware in the wild. You can fix the most serious issue by going to preferences and stop having Safari automatically open “safe” files. Even to my uninformed eyes, this looks like an atrociously bad feature, but it's the default setting. Given that Gruber was writing about this feature back in 2004, and again in 2006 it seems time to start entertaining the thesis that all the (extra) protection Apple has going for it is security through obscurity.

Update: it may be that the dmg problem doesn't actually pose a threat beyond forcing you to restart. That's reassuring, but doesn't change the badness of Safari's presets.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

My apologies to Chekhov

If there is a database of driver's license data in the first act, it will be hacked in the second.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Please to not exercise your creativity

I went to a go tournament in D.C. this weekend, but I'll reserve comment until later, as it only sets the stage. While driving back to Pittsburgh on I-76, I was behind a pickup with a bumper sticker reading Gun Control Is Racist. Several hours later, I still don't get it.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Ding, dong, the witch is dead

Vernon Robinson is no more. Brad Miller beat him 96,842–55,308 or 64 to 36 percent. Both Vernon's political hopes and half of my traffic have now gone the way of the dodo.

Related News:

Friday, November 03, 2006

A schedule

It's almost exactly a year since I last posted a harrowing schedule of my activities for the upcoming several weeks, so for tradition's sake, I might as well let you know what's happening.

  • November 6th: Presentation of Projectivism about laws of nature
  • November 8th: Presentation on Michael Dummett's article “Realism”
  • November 9th: Philosophy of Science paper on something somehow connected to causation or reduction
  • November 13th: Paper for metaphysics, which will probably be on projectivism
  • November 16th: Presentation on Kuhn's “Revolutions as Changes of World View” and probable paper on lack of theoretical unity in science (how did this happen?!)
  • November 23nd: Probable paper on the topic of scientific change
  • December 11th: Final short paper in metaphysics
  • December 13th: Short paper for M&E core
  • December 13th: 4000–7000 word paper for Philosophy of Cognitive Science

The two saving graces are that the philosophy of science papers are usually just 1000 words, and I have a topic for cognitive science that is quite exciting. I'm writing on Stich's argument that the simulation theory blocks arguments for eliminativism. For that paper, I'm looking at his books From Folk Psychology to Cognitive Science and Mindreading (with Sean Nichols), the latter of which is an all-time favorite. Nevertheless, this hurts.