Oct 31st, 2006 by ravi
Update: Crittr!

New crittrs:

  • Jerry Lewis (CA-41)
  • Gary Miller (CA-42)
  • Marilyn Musgrave (CO-04)
  • Tom Tancredo (CO-06)
  • Bob Beauprez (CO-07)


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Oct 30th, 2006 by ravi
Update: Crittr!

New crittrs:

  • Tom Kean Jr. (NJ-Sen candidate)
  • Randy Graf (AZ-08 candidate)
  • John Doolittle (CA-04)
  • Richard Pombo (CA-11)


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Oct 30th, 2006 by ravi
The politics of Internationalised Domain Names

Vint Cerf is making noises that IDN is a huge technical challenge:

“One of the most important aspects is for the user to make unambiguous references to every registered domain name.

“Historically this has been through a small subset of Latin characters.”


Mr Cerf said that in order for other scripts to be introduced into the domain name system, there needed to be rigorous testing to ensure that users could be certain they will reach their online destination no matter which script they used.

“Domain names are not general natural language expressions. They are simply identifiers,” he said. “They must be unique. Names registered today must be able to work into their distant future no matter what characters are added.”

He warned: “A miss-step could easily and permanently break the internet into non-interoperable components.”

I respect Cerf but this seems like fear-mongering (perhaps to counter international pressures particularly on ICANN, which is today controlled by the USA) rather than a technical argument. Uniqueness of names can be guaranteed in IDN, and talk of “permanent” break of the Internet into non-interoperable components, is a bit irresponsible. Also, phishing/spoofing attacks (the concern brought up above regarding the certainty of users in accessing sites) are not unique to IDN and have been addressed both before and also within IDN. Wikipedia offers a decent introduction to IDN/IDNA that addresses many of these points, and provides information on IDNA support in applications (e.g: Mozilla/Gecko).

The opinion of Viviane Reding of the EC, quoted in the same article, are, I think, a bit more on target:

Viviane Reding, the EC’s information society commissioner, said: “Bridging the digital divide is not just a matter of screens and cables.

“It is equally important to recognise the extent and value of cultural diversity within global village of the internet. That is why multilingualism is important.”

She said that IDN was “sometimes wrongly seen as technical issue”.

“There is legitimate political imperative,” she said. “Users want to be able to use Chinese ideograms and Arabic scripts.

“There is a real danger that a prolonged delay in the introduction of IDN could lead to fragmentation of the internet name space.”

I cannot but draw parallels to the (oft-mentioned) doomsday protestations of car manufacturers regarding everything from seat belts to better mileage.

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Oct 29th, 2006 by ravi
Update: Crittr!

New crittrs:

  • Dan Burton (IN-05)
  • Ken Calvert (CA-44)
  • Terry Everett (AL-02)
  • Don Young (AK-01)
  • J.D.Hayworth (AZ-05)


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Oct 29th, 2006 by ravi
Update: Crittr!

New crittrs:

  • Curt Weldon (PA-07)

New features:

  • Links for feeds, updates
  • Green markers for “new” critters (new = added in last 24 hours)


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Oct 28th, 2006 by ravi
Update: Crittr!


New crittrs:

  • Dick Cheney
  • Jim Gibbons
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Oct 26th, 2006 by ravi
Crittr! A map of your Congresscritters

Not satisfied with my earlier attempt to use Frappr I created a very simple Google Maps API based map of our beloved representatives. Click on the image below to view it:


Keep checking the Crittr page for updates!

Update: I have created a blog category called “Crittr” (see sidebar menu on the right). You can now visit that category to see updates to the Crittr map. You can even subscribe to its RSS feed!

URL for category: http://platosbeard.org/tag/politics/crittr/
URL for feed: http://platosbeard.org/tag/politics/crittr/feed/ or feed://platosbeard.org/tag/politics/crittr/feed/

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Oct 25th, 2006 by ravi
The Class of 2006

Just so we don’t lose track of the wonders that are our representatives: Frappr Map.

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Oct 24th, 2006 by ravi
Flash Player 9 upgrade on Mac OS Panther

This was so harrowing an experience that I thought I would document it here for those who may be searching for solutions to this problem. My own searches yielded no results which could just mean that this problem was peculiar to me (and was caused by some meddling on my part!). Keep in mind the usual warnings. Now on to my experience…

I have Mac OS X 10.3.9 (Panther) on my PowerPC laptop and decided (for reasons not worth going into here) to install the latest version (9.0) of the Adobe/Macromedia Flash Player. The player can be downloaded at this page on Adobe.
The problems start right away. The correct option for my platform is Option 2 (PowerPC-based Macs) on the above page. However, there are two links under that section. One is an image with a downward pointing arrow (to signify “download” I presume) and the other is the text “Download .dmg file”. Problem: they point to different binaries! One (the arrow) points to a 7.0 binary (a Mac Classic one, I think) while the DMG link points to the right binary (9.0.x.x). There is a star next to the “Download .dmg file” link, but it seems to point to nowhere.

Fortunately, I did download the 9.0.x.x DMG. The install went well, but when I relaunched Firefox and Safari, the former displayed a blank box where flash content would be, while the latter displayed an error intimating that the Flash player plugin could not be loaded. A look at the console log showed that a necessary file was absent in /Library/Internet Plug-Ins/Flash Player.plugin.

Next step: the usual uninstall/reinstall attempt. I downloaded the uninstaller from Adobe… well, there are two uninstallers linked to in two separate pages. The first one froze my computer requiring a hard reboot (probably my impatience after waiting for 10 minutes is somewhat to blame). The second did the trick and carried out the uninstall. A re-install however made no difference.

Time to get dangerous: I carried out one more uninstall, followed by removing all the flash related files and folders in the above-mentioned plugins directory. An attempt to re-install produced a Permission Denied error. I have seen that one before in a different context! Onwards to the Disk Utility to select my main disk and run Repair Permissions on it.

That did the trick. Re-installing from the 9.0.x.x DMG brought Flash back to life on both Safari and Firefox.

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Oct 24th, 2006 by bookie
Links and News [2006.10.24]


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