Continued Pot/Kettle Rants

China’s propaganda machine is amazing. Just now I brought down a search for 730 articles from Google News on how China’s leadership has become absolutely hysterical over Taiwan’s dissolution of the useless and non-operational unification council. Most of the articles really do an amazing job of spewing out the Chinese talking points, about how Taiwan is the real danger here, with hardly a mention that China is the one that is threatening war, and that Taiwan only wishes what it already has: Sovereignity and peace.

From: SFGate.com

“The escalated secessionist push of Chen Shui-bian will certainly trigger a serious crisis across the Taiwan Strait and destroy peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region,” China’s policymaking body warned.

From Chron.com:

China has refused to have any contact with Chen or his pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, and frequently targets both with threatening rhetoric.

Beijing has hundreds of missiles aimed at Taiwan, just 100 miles off its southeastern coast. The mainland holds annual war games that include simulated assaults on offshore islands, and fired missiles into the sea near Taiwan during its 1996 presidential election in an effort to rattle voters.

China has made repeated threats of war and continues to build up it’s miltary in anticipation of a supposed eventual invasion, while at the same time making these outlandish claims that Taiwan is a threat to stability in Asia. The truth of the situation however is that it is China’s intolerance and aggressive stance against Taiwan that is the real threat here. If China were to put aside the tyrannical and fallacious clam of overlordship over Taiwan and respect their sovereign status, we would have no issue at all here. If they were to even put on a smile and attempt a strong strategic partnership instead of outright dominance over the island, they could reap greater rewards.

Imagine that situation for a minute: China removes the threat of war against Taiwan and instead pursues a policy of commonwealth and cooperation with Taiwan. Business would flourish for both sides, without drowning in political threats, just wading through the usual bureaucracies that are inherent in any country-to-country relationship. Less money and time and angst would be spent on the thought of a senseless war. Maybe even a free trade agreement. With one simple change in attitude, the whole situation could turn for the better.

The end of the infernal daily links

It was cool to have del.icio.us post daily links to my blog, but the experiment is over. I didn’t like the fact that I had no control over the title, or the fact that it was posting daily and not on some more infrequent basis. My blog obviously was beginning to turn into a steady stream of automated link posts, which doesn’t look good. Even if I could make the posts appear less frequently, like once per week, then the problem is that the links become stale. I needed to get my del.icio.us links back into the sidebar, and updated in real time.

If you look over to the right (in the current design) you will see the links over there all bright and shiny now. I did this by using an XSL transformation to convert my del.icio.us RSS feed on the server via PHP. It shows the top ten nodes from that feed with title properties that show the description, dc:subject, and dc:date nodes.

And now I can go back to abusing del.icio.us.

A cruise down El Camino

A browser that does not suck reached it’s 1.0 milestone recently.

Camino is a Mozilla-based web browser that leverages what is best about Mac OS X. Way back when, this browser was billed as being built on Cocoa with a Unix backend. I don’t see any of that billing on their current site, but it was a nice idea. Unix is fast, and Cocoa is native Mac OS X goodness. So it should be a powerful, speedy platform in which to build a browser.

I don’t know if any of that is true any longer, but speedy it is. Page rendering blows away Firefox and Safari, without question. I’m not going to time it, but just a quick jumping around between the various browsers let me feel that Camino was by far the snappiest-feeling user experience.

The user interface is clean. Looks a bit more busy than Safari, but less so than Firefox. And certainly a Firefox user switching to Camino will feel right at home I think. The tabbed browser interface is nice and compact, with the close window buttons on the tabs where they should have been placed in Firefox (although there’s an extension to fix that…)

Camino supports digital certificates for client authentication. Thank goodness – now if more web developers could just learn how to implement this…

Rendering is based on Mozilla 1.8, so we get the industrial strength display. Supports SVG and CSS3.

How it plays with WordPress is especially nice. With Safari, the user unfortunately misses much of the shortcuts in WordPress’ user interface. Of course Firefox handles it nicely. With Camino, you get the same functionality as Firefox, but in Aqua:

Camino rendering of the Write Post buttons in WordPress, with Aqua-fied buttons.

(Note that I don’t use that funky rich text editor in WordPress 2.0 which likes to eat up all my HTML tags…)

We seem to have what appears to be a Spotlight implementation in the History view. The rendering of results while searching for recent sites was pretty much instantaneous. Sweet!

To close up here, it’s a very nice browser. I like it so much in this release that I’m going to finally switch it to my default browser for a few weeks and see how it goes. Is it as extensible and as uniform as Firefox? No. Is it as tightly integrated with the Mac OS as Safari? Well, arguably not quite, but it does very well in this regard, in places where it counts. Opera? It’s not my cup of tea – I like my opera in the theater. Does it suck like Internet Explorer? No, of course not! But what it is is a fast, stable, simple, highly functional web browser that makes for a great user experience. I highly recommend giving it a try.

Snow

We had snow at 1000 feet on Mt. Diablo today, and we all drove up there this afternoon to check it out. We saw Channel 7 news crews filming kids playing in the snow, and one guy had a little snowman built on top of his truck. Max and Dylan were having a blast. Max quickly figured out that the goal was to throw as many snowballs as possible, while Dylan was just amping out:

Dylan in a yellow jacket and smiling in the snow on Mt. Diablo
Fig.1: Dylan amping out.

It’s so cold right now. It should dip into the 20s tonight, and I’m betting we’ll get a bit of snow down here in the foothills sometime this weekend. It rarely snows here at this elevation, so this may be our chance…