Updates from October, 2009 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Pat 9:06 pm on 31 October 2009 Permalink  

    Driving drunk is dangerous. Making calls on your cellphone while driving is also dangerous. Calling someone on your cellphone while driving drunk would seem to be the height of insanity. But what if you’re calling 911 to report yourself for driving drunk? Is that a bad thing or a good thing?

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  • Hober Short 1:22 am on 31 October 2009 Permalink  

    Also, the article has again been updated, this time by someone with a dictionary:

    Updated: Oct. 30 6:07 p.m.

    Long lines at H1N1 vaccination clinics Friday in Durham and Wake counties exemplify the situation across the country, where demand outstrips supply.

     
  • Hober Short 1:20 am on 31 October 2009 Permalink  

    At the very least if someone wasted your time with an email they thought was really important (i.e. had a relatively high payout), at least you’d have the satisfaction of the time not being a total loss.

     
  • Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. 8:46 pm on 30 October 2009 Permalink  

    I’ve always rather liked the idea of making e-mail non-free, but I was looking at it from the perspective of the sender: associating a cost with sending e-mail will reduce the amount that gets sent. (This idea has been proposed as a remedy for spam, and one that I think makes a lot of sense. A trivial per-note cost wouldn’t bother most of us, but it would put spammers out of business.)

    You propose an interesting twist, where the amount you pay to send a note is proportional to its importance (to you, anyway). It would be fascinating to see how such an economy would affect the mix of e-mail one receives; but I’m not sure whether it would be good or bad. After all, the sender’s sense of what is important is often not the same as mine.

    Oh, and I think sense 3 of exemplary is what was meant: “serving as an example, instance, or illustration.” A correct usage, if not the one normally employed nowadays.

     
  • Pat 4:10 pm on 30 October 2009 Permalink  

    I can think of one other method of sending a message to a high-profile blogger that virtually guarantees it will be read: write him a letter. On paper. Address the envelope by hand, and stick a stamp on it instead of using a postage meter.

    Such a message will almost certainly be read for two reasons. First, it will will be noticed, because almost no one is going to go to the trouble of doing this; e-mail is so much easier. Second, it will get past the recipient’s perceptual junk-mail filter, which looks for things with machine-printed address labels and bulk-rate postage. Your envelope will be perceived as a letter and opened.

    This method does require you to obtain a postal address for the recipient. That can be a challenge, but it’s usually possible if you’re creative. For example, I think my chances of finding a home address for Glenn Reynolds are pretty low (although a search of phone directories for Knoxville and its suburbs might work). But a letter addressed to him at the University of Tennessee Knoxville Law School will end up in his faculty mailbox. Mail sent to him care of Thomas Nelson Books (his publisher for An Army of Davids) will also reach him, although it may take a while.

     
  • Pat 3:35 pm on 30 October 2009 Permalink  

    The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has taken new pictures of the Apollo 17 landing site. They show not only the LEM descent stage, but also the flag planted by the astronauts.

     
  • Hober Short 1:35 pm on 30 October 2009 Permalink  

    Also, Government fails to anticipate demand outstripping supply on commodity provided free of charge:

    The county had scheduled two [H1N1] vaccination clinics — from 8:30 to 11 a.m. and from 1 to 4 p.m. for those in high risk categories. Durham County Health Director Gayle Harris said she counted at least 250 people outside the doors at 414 E. Main St. before 8 a.m. One woman told Harris she arrived at 5 a.m. to stand in line.

    . . .

    Harris said she expected all of the available doses of vaccine to be used up in the morning and canceled the afternoon session.

    Now I’m kind of glad I didn’t try and take time off work to go that clinic’s twin version on NCSU campus. Sounds like I wouldn’t have gotten a vaccination anyways.

    When you make something not cost any money (up front), you just make it cost something else: time. The people who got up earliest and arrived first get it now. Too bad I had to go to class, I guess.

    EDIT: The article has been updated so that the first paragraph now reads:

    Long lines at a Durham County H1N1 vaccination clinic Friday are exemplary of the situation across the country, where demand outstrips supply.

    Say what?

    ex·em·pla·ry
    Function: adjective

    1 a : serving as a pattern b : deserving imitation

    Copy editing fail.

     
  • Hober Short 1:23 pm on 30 October 2009 Permalink  

    I was just contemplating the best way to get an message to a high-profile blogger, mostly just a genuine note of thanks, and was trying to figure out how to communicate in a way that would make sure my message was read and not tossed out with the endless stream of email that any major blogger inevitably receives.

    And then it hit me: give him some money. Send the message as the note on a PayPal donation to the site. Basically say “I think this message is worth your time, so I’m going to pay you for it.”

    Okay, so, thought experiment time. What if all email worked this way? Obviously, we would still prioritize email from people we knew for things like round-table scheduling discussions, and not expect that to carry any money with it. But for mail from strangers? Read it in order of which ones paid the most money for your time.

    And in the workplace? Obviously, this might backfire as it would disincentivize sending emails, which would probably cause email to stop being used in favor of … something else. Is that a good thing? I think we can all agree that, whatever its form, email is drastically overused in the workplace.

     
  • Pat 10:09 am on 28 October 2009 Permalink  

    During our last face-to-face conversation, it was clear that none of us was quite sure which features are included with which version of Windows 7. Fortunately for us, Paul Thurrott has compiled a table that answers all such questions.

     
  • Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. 10:04 am on 28 October 2009 Permalink  

    I must say, that’s the most convincing reason I’ve yet heard for Obama’s Nobel.

     
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