Category Archives: Meanwhile

How has it come to this?

How is it that the person who wrote one of my favorite blog posts of all time on the issues of positive thinking and positive association, has become the victim of threats that cross all sorts of lines. Whatever the details on this huge controversy are, the bottom line is that I hate to see one of our fellow usability geeks get hurt.

However, the reaction by Kathy and many other bloggers sympathetic to her cause has been to abstain from writing in their blogs in a supposed act of protest and support. I frankly don’t get it. It’s just free speech.

I do not agree with most of Malkin’s political opinions (with the notable exception of certain free speech issues), but there is one thing she said recently in relation to this incident that I do wish to quote here:

My response to this and other endless slurs and threats–most empty, some serious–has been two-fold:

1) Report the serious threats to law enforcement.

2) Keep blogging.

As I have said before: “There is a time to be tolerant and there is a time to draw lines. If you don’t draw those lines, bullies will be emboldened.”

That is my unsolicited advice to those now cowering in the face of anonymous commenters and assorted nutballs who will never go away.

Would I stop blogging as Kathy has done? Hell no. The only thing that stops me from blogging is outright laziness, lackawanna, and deep cases of ennui. My reaction to such hostility and negativity has traditionally been to completely ignore the offensive material and continue forward. In fact I thought twice about posting this issue on my own blog here, because to an extent I am just perpetuating the flame war begun by the trolls that began this mess.

Although maybe the silence is in itself a form of speech. But I think keeping the blogosphere full of positive energy is better than letting silence and negativity rule.

A Class of Objects

I was trying to think of a straightforward explanation of the difference between a class and an object (in OOP terms), and came up with this:

Objects are specific instances of classes. When you create a class, you are literally creating “a class of objects.” For instance, let us create a class of double basses. All objects of class “double bass” have certain properties defined: Maker, city, year, varnish, string length, etc. But this particular bass was made by Carlo Testore in Milan in 1710, has a deep reddish varnish and about a 42″ string length. This Testore double bass is an object of the class “double bass.”

Now I just need a bass player to explain OOP to.


I see that Bush has been critical of Attorney General Gonzales’ scandal around the intent to mass-fire attorneys across the board for political reasons. But I’m going to defend Gonzales a bit here and say: Wasn’t he just following orders from the White House? It seems unlikely that he’d just stick his own neck out for something like this, and already the whole thing has been tied back to turdblossom. Isn’t it time to root these problems out at their source once and for all? Sounds like Bush is just trying to blow smoke up our kilts again…


Dongshan clay ovensToday we took a drive out to Dongshan (±). The trip involved two elongated stops at some impressively maintained rest areas and a final stop at this little shop run by a friend of Yingwen’s mother, where we bought some chicken for later. Apparently the area is famous for roasted chicken, and they cook ’em in the ovens pictured here. With apologies to the vegetarians who are reading this, the smell of the global barbecue was incredible. Both sides of the street were lined with chicken ovens. The chickens were generally GF – just coated with garlic and salt.

What I found most interesting on this trip is that each onramp to this highway, I think it was Highway 3, had a policeman or several policemen standing at the intersection. I was informed that they were there to monitor the number of persons sitting in each vehicle, and that you were not allowed to enter the highway unless you had three or more persons in the car. I then asked what one would do if they did not have enough people in the car – how would they get to where they were going? Nobody could answer that one, but I could see no alternative route – no frontage roads or other highways passing through the hills. It seemed like it would cost a lot of money to place this many cops on the road for this one single, somewhat questionable purpose.

The rest areas were also interesting in that they were probably the main part of the trip. Each one had a well-designed mall with food courts and shopping inside, washrooms, parks, picnic benches, and a place to get gas. There was particular attention paid to the architecture, especially on the bridges and walkways, and one had an incredibly huge banyan tree that was serving to shade about a dozen picnic settings. American rest stops are all business – and not that attractive I might add. These ones make the journey just as fun as the destination – a lesson to be learned I think…


Today I had my toothpaste confiscated from the airline security people as I went through. They said my toothpaste tube was too big. I pointed out that it was 90% empty, and only a few CCs of product remained in this flattened tube, but they were convinced that this dangerous piece of contraband was too risky.

We live in a very strange world where toothpaste and shampoo are not allowed on airplanes. I already had to take off my jacket, my coat, my belt, and my damn shoes. Now they deny me the ability to conduct basic personal hygiene. Flying is now an exercise in abject humiliation. Being rushed through the line while you fumble for your flight pass and try to get your laptop computer out while throngs of stressed out and impatient travelers and DHS employees watch you practically strip to your underwear. Imagine how much money is spent on placebo airport security. In some sense here, the terrorists have won, because I’m sure they are laughing their asses off at us every time we disrobe at the airport.