Mostly about my amusement

Month: May 2008 (page 2 of 2)

Myanmar government is a real class act

After the situation that the U.S. government created with the whole Katrina mess, it’s hard to come down on how other people handle a disaster. I mean, people are still recovering in Louisiana and Mississippi. The U.S. just does lip service to areas that were devastated in 2005.

Luckily the military in Myanmar makes it so easy to throw stones. After hemming and hawing about permitting help to their country, they are now distributing the aid but slapped on their generals names on the boxes.

My favorite part is

State-run television continuously ran images of top generals — including the junta leader, Senior Gen. Than Shwe — handing out boxes of aid to survivors at elaborate ceremonies.

Nothing like setting priorities. Over 20,000 people are reported dead, they are about to see a real disease problem, and these people are looking for good press.

I know that politicians use anything for a photo op and our politicians do that as much as anyone. But this is a military junta, who do they think they are fooling?

Myanmar is not the U.S. so I do not think we will see someone telling the generals to go flip themselves. But I can hope.

Finished Valve’s Portal and the Cake is a Lie

Remember when the platform was sliding into the fire pit and I said ‘Goodbye’ and you were like ‘NO WAY!’ and then I was all ‘We pretended we were going to murder you’? That was great!

I usually don’t play current games on my PC so I just got and completed Valve’s Portal.

It’s a first person shooter without the shooting. It’s all puzzle solving and your opponent is a computer that runs the “Enrichment Center”. The dialog from the computer is great and at the end the computer treats you to a song.

It’s a great game, lots of fun.

Code Geass R2 Episode 5

Code Geass R2 - 05

When Code Geass first came out, I did not have the time to watch it. So I recently went back and saw the first season. Animation with giant robots, what’s not to like? Read more

Upgraded to Ubuntu 8.04 LTS

My Ubuntu T40 laptop is “only MOSTLY dead”.  The built in LCD display is too dark to read and I replaced it with a HP laptop running Vista Home Premium.

I feel slightly guilty about running Vista on it but it runs really well so ptthhhhppp.  I put the T40 onto it’s docking station and hooked it up in the basement with the other equipment.

The upgrade was easy as usual.  Just sudo su – and update-manager -d.  It took a while to download the files but a reboot later and I’m running.

This new Ubuntu feels faster.  It’s hard to really quantify that with old hardware, but it does.  So far the only issue I have is that the spell checker in Firefox 3 beta 5 is broken sometimes (I had to use the one built into WordPress for this post).

It’s like a refined version of 7.10.

I hope Amazon wins this one

Amazon is suing New York state over the “Amazon Tax” law. I hope they win for a couple of reasons.

  1. This law is just aimed at fixing something the state does not like: people buy items from out of state and don’t pay the use tax. If anyone actually pays this tax I would be surprised. I’m not commenting on if people should of should not pay use tax (it’s the law) but sales tax is collected by the store for the state. If the tax is not collected at the time of purchase, who keeps good enough records for all their transactions?
  2. I understand that this law was Eliot Spitzer’s idea. The man was a grandstander who went for big headlines over something useful. Sheriff of Wall Street? More like gadfly of Wall Street. His “penalties” did not really change anything but it did get his name in the papers.

Years ago NY sent officials to photograph NY cars in New Jersey shopping malls. They sent letters to the cars owner saying “Bad Monkey, you should pay your use tax.” This did not go over very well and the idea was quickly abandoned.

If the State of New York does not like federal law they can take it up with Washington. If they want to compete with online stores versus brick based stores in NY then they should fix the tax laws to actually compete and not convince people to go online or even out of state.

It’s tempting for law makers to target companies like Amazon and other online stores. It does not personally cost the lawmaker anything. But it also does not solve anything either and that probably makes it more appealing to the law makers.

.htaccess fix for machine translation

The current version of ATPP is 5.1 and it works really well. But occasionally I get speed bumps from Babelfish and Google translation engines so I end up turning it off for a while.

Without the plugin, when someone goes to the translated version of a posting, they get redirected to the home page.

For example the German pages for Andre’s trip to Disneyland is

http://blog.dembowski.net/2008/01/30/andres-trip-to-disneyland/de/

When I turn off the plugin users get sent to

http://blog.dembowski.net/

Here is where .htaccess comes to the rescue. By adding lines at the top of my .htaccess file I can send the request for a translated post to the English version:

RewriteRule ^de/ http://blog.dembowski.net/ [R=302,L]
RewriteRule ^zh/ http://blog.dembowski.net/ [R=302,L]
RewriteRule ^ko/ http://blog.dembowski.net/ [R=302,L]
RewriteRule ^ja/ http://blog.dembowski.net/ [R=302,L]
RewriteRule ^pt/ http://blog.dembowski.net/ [R=302,L]
RewriteRule ^it/ http://blog.dembowski.net/ [R=302,L]
RewriteRule ^es/ http://blog.dembowski.net/ [R=302,L]
RewriteRule ^(.*)/de/ http://blog.dembowski.net/$1/ [R=302,L]
RewriteRule ^(.*)/zh/ http://blog.dembowski.net/$1/ [R=302,L]
RewriteRule ^(.*)/ko/ http://blog.dembowski.net/$1/ [R=302,L]
RewriteRule ^(.*)/ja/ http://blog.dembowski.net/$1/ [R=302,L]
RewriteRule ^(.*)/pt/ http://blog.dembowski.net/$1/ [R=302,L]
RewriteRule ^(.*)/it/ http://blog.dembowski.net/$1/ [R=302,L]
RewriteRule ^(.*)/es/ http://blog.dembowski.net/$1/ [R=302,L]

The request from /some/url/here/de/ results in the Apache server sending back a 302 temporarily moved to the same URL minus the two letter language code.

If I have to turn off the ATPP plugin for an extended time, I can do so knowing that search engine visitors will still find the original post.

Update: added portion for languages off of the root i.e. http://blog.dembowski.net/es/ becomes http://blog.dembowski.net/