Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Reasons to hate Vista, part 4 (I think)

Windows Vista gets a lot of stick. Microsoft claims that this is unfair, caused by biased reviewers read by people who haven't given it a fair chance. But Microsoft is, as ever, full of it. I've yet to see them explain why these malicious reviewers are so prejudiced against this Windows version in particular.

I've had this computer, and this crappy excuse for an operating system, for a year and a half now. And it still manages to surprise me with all the ways it can think of to go wrong on boot-up.

Usually it's something to do with the screen that gets screwed up. Recent irritations have included:
  • showing a 1280 × 1024 background image on a 1920 × 1200 monitor.
    Usually when this happens it will realise its error and correct it within, ooh, about five minutes. But last week it stuck with that setting for an entire session, lasting some hours.
  • images switching to and fro between left and right monitors
  • refusing to show any desktop at all -- just a black screen with a cursor.

But it's really amazing how many variations on these themes it can come up with. Nothing if not inventive, Vista is.

Today it was a practical issue. I'm accustomed to the computer taking more than five minutes (timed) to restore from standby. That's fine, it fits my morning routine, I use the time to make coffee. But when it takes another four minutes, on top of that, to open Outlook...

The Microsoft VP who famously "got burnt" by Microsoft's "Vista-capable" scam -- for scam it was -- at least ended up with what he described as "an e-mail machine". He's still better off than me.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

You've got to hand it to the Germans...

... they print a mean Christmas card.

Merry Christmas, everybody. (I'm aware that not all of you celebrate Christmas. But I've never understood why that should stop you from having a few good days.)

Sick leave

In the summer of 2002, I was struck by an evil and mysterious virus.

I'd wake up, in my warm bed in my warm room in the balmy July weather, shivering. Moving very slowly, I'd pull myself downstairs and fix something to eat, after which I'd feel a little better, though still weak and aching all over. But by late afternoon, I'd be shaking again like a malaria victim.

The doctor was sympathetic, reassuring and useful. She told me to take as many off-the-shelf painkillers as the instructions on the box allowed, get plenty of fluids and plenty of rest. After two weeks of this regime, I was sufficiently recovered that I could start taking a little light exercise. She suggested I walk at least as far as the village -- about ten minutes' stroll -- every day.

What astonished me, in that third week, was how weak I was. Like a kitten. Walking those ten minutes would leave me shaking and exhausted. It took me half an hour just to make breakfast, because after every cupboard I opened, every plate I lifted, I had to rest. I've never felt anything like it in my adult life.

After three weeks, I felt myself well enough to go back to work. I still tired quickly, left early, and several people commented on how thin/pale/shaky I looked. But I persevered, and in another week or so I was fully recovered.

What I didn't fully appreciate at the time -- because in England, as in Europe generally, it's standard practice -- was how easy it was to take time off work. I just handed over my doctor's notes, and that was that: three weeks' leave at full pay, no penalties, no paperwork, no questions.

Here in New Zealand, my employers aren't so enlightened. Here, we get five days per year of "sick leave", after which we stop getting paid. This is stupid on so many levels that, in my present diseased state, I can't even count them.

It creates an incentive for ill people to come in to the office, working badly and spreading their germs to other employees. It discourages people from taking time to recover properly, again encouraging them to perform substandard work and endanger their long-term health by coming back before they're really recovered.

"But", John argues, "if we didn't limit sick leave, what would stop people from taking days whenever they felt like it?"

Newsflash: they do that anyway. One or two "mental health days" per year is considered normal. Heck, the mere fact that I just used the phrase "mental health days" and you knew what I meant should be sufficient proof of that. If anything, the five-days-per-year limit incentivises us to take more of them, because otherwise we might not be getting our full quota. But if that runs to more than one or two days per year per employee, then perhaps you should consider that you as a company are doing something wrong. Like these Lemsips I'm quaffing, the "limited days" policy will suppress (some, though not all of) the symptoms, but it's just helping you to continue screwing up.

So here I am, sniffling and sneezing on my colleagues to make my point, and generally doing anything but work. That last is my professional duty: any work I did today would likely be more harm than good anyway.

When I get into Parliament, this "five days" crap is going to change.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

House hunting, II

I'd never heard of the Mareth Line until today. But somehow I knew the name must have been associated with a battle of the Second World War.

Today's house-hunting began with 24 Mareth Street, Panmure. Panmure's streets read like the New Zealand Corps battle honours for the war -- Tripoli, Caen, Dunkirk, Alamein, Benghazi, Tobruk. Not entirely by coincidence, it was built mostly in the late 1940s, and it has both the pluses and the minuses of the period.

The Second World War, in British cultural history, was a great "levelling" event. It was a total war, war as waged by every man, woman and child in the country. When it was over, everyone had shared in the sacrifice, and it followed axiomatically that everyone should share in the rewards of peace. And so there followed a huge expansion in public housing. In Britain it gave rise to the New Towns; in New Zealand, it gave us Panmure.

The houses are well built, in the spirit of post-war egalitarianism. They have quite respectable patches of land. But they're built by people who never intended to live in them, for people who were expected -- for the most part, correctly -- to be grateful for whatever they got. There is no heart in them, no love. No-one ever sat down, before they started building, and thought properly about how they'd live in each house. The result is -- well, it's four good walls and a roof, but it's not a home. Nowadays, people seldom stay here more than a few years -- and you can see why.

(Image courtesy Google Streetview. I'm not sure if that's legal. But if I were them, I certainly wouldn't want to make a deal of it.)

The first thing you notice, as you drive into Panmure, is a Church of Scientology. That's not a good sign anywhere. Scientologists prey on the depressed, the desperate, the ill-educated and the terminally confused; the presence of a full-time, dedicated "church" of that denomination suggests a high prevalence of these attributes, which (to my way of thinking) does not make for desirable neighbours.

Enough with the half-assed social history. The house is -- simply, pointless. The present owners have done their best to make it a home, they've renovated everything and begun creating a new bedroom, but even so they can't make it worth living in. Call it -- bad feng shui.

Next stop was 18 Ruawai Road, Mount Wellington. Here I noticed that the agent had taken trouble to close the blinds on the right-hand side of the house; opening one of them revealed the neighbour's unenticing rubbish dump. Essentially, it's four breezeblock walls, no roof, containing -- rubbish. Not something I want to live next to.

Then back for another attempt at Panmure. 7 Te Koa Road looks pleasant enough from the outside -- but its neighbours don't. "If these kids go trick-or-treating, I'm barricading the door", said Susan, watching two of the local thugs barrelling past, unhelmeted, on a quad-bike. We didn't bother to go inside.

Finally, 17A Inkerman Street, Royal Oak. Royal Oak is a quiet, genteel area, less lively than nearby One Tree Hill. 17 Inkerman Street was once, no doubt, a lovely home; now, it's the site of eight brand-new units in a terraced arrangement. We knew it was in our price range, because it was advertised as "price slashed", although it didn't say from or to what. So we looked up the official government valuation of the site. $490k. We can afford that.

"How much?", I asked the agent.

"$595,000", he said.

I wish, now, I'd laughed in his face. He deserved it. Smug, lying bastard estate agent. But I repeat myself.

The idea of building my own house appeals more every day. All I need is a patch of land...

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I love writing. It's the best release I know for all those overblown thoughts that churn through my head, day in and day out, whenever I fail to keep myself properly medicated with alcohol, games or someone else's writing. It's a reality check -- complete irrationality becomes easier to spot when it's written down. And it gives my friends and family the option, without being rude, to not read. That's valuable.

When I discovered thisisby.us, I thought: great, a community for bloggers. One that, by its very name, reinforces the idea that it is what its contributors make of it. One where you're not expected to show your face or bare your whole life, but stand by your writing. One where you get feedback, in the form of votes and comments from identifiable people whom in turn you can know by their writing. What a fantastic idea.

But nothing is that pure.

To me, TIBU looked like the anarchic, later Usenet communities I remember. It was easy to create an account, and easy to keep it anonymous. People posted for validation, for attention, for practice, or like me, just to relieve the internal pressure of their thoughts. There was (it seemed) no real restriction on what you could write. But there was a veneer of moderation, and although it was conducted with a light touch, it was always present in the background, like the hum of electricity.

And as is the way of such places, friendships formed. I met other online identities that I liked and respected -- still do, in fact. For their writing, their thinking, their honesty or their good nature; or in rare cases, for a combination of these qualities.

And of course, once you start thinking of people as "friends", it's not just about the writing. It becomes personal. Loyalty contends with fairness. You view and vote for what your friends write because they wrote it; and when they get into a disagreement, however petty, you side with them. Even if you try to be fair, theirs is the side you know, so that's where your sympathies will lie.

All of which is a perfectly natural and normal part of online communities. A few people railed against it, but that too is part of the natural order of such spaces -- it's happened in a million different forums. Years before TIBU was even conceived, the great Lore Sjöberg coined his Law of Public Cliquishness. Pettiness, factionalism, feuding, hatred and flaming -- TIBU could have survived all of these things. But then something terrible happened.

In the wake of one unpleasant episode -- not, it seemed to me, abnormally unpleasant, but illegal, involving as it did death threats that were not obviously in jest -- the owners, bowing to popular pressure, declared their intention to moderate the site actively, enforcing the terms and conditions.

From that moment, I believe, TIBU was doomed.

Alexa's stats show that it had been hit hard by the Great Exodus of December 2007 -- but that announcement, in July 2008, spelled the end of any chance that it could pull itself back up.

Gone was the sense that the space was ours. Now we knew: it was the Moderators', and we used it only by their sufferance. At a stroke we went from thinking of our little world as a place that we were responsible for, that we could preserve or ruin by our own actions, to thinking of an overarching, all-seeing Authority that managed it and simply would not let it come to harm.

From then on, whenever an argument flared up, we would watch agog to see whose account would be deleted. Whenever it happened, there would follow a bitter row about whether they'd deserved to be deleted and whether someone else deserved it more. When someone disappeared voluntarily for reasons of their own, we'd spend time wondering why they'd been deleted. No longer a communitarian process -- resolving differences and suppressing baser instincts to coexist -- TIBU politics had become an exercise in theology, trying to divine the motivations and anticipate the actions of an unseen, unaccountable external power. (My friend JasmineArdent once went to the lengths of asking her friends to "flag" a comment, to test whether it would get deleted.)

Even that might have worked. Moderation can work, it's worked in countless talking shops for centuries. But it requires faith in the moderator. And on the Internet at least, the only way to sustain such faith is for the moderators to take an active part in the group, so that members feel they're One Of Us.

Bill and Elle Dee may have intended to do that. They did it when they first founded the site. But by the time I'm talking about, they'd retreated into a fastness of silence. They were beings of legend and oracle, not first-hand knowledge.

They were no longer 'Us'. They were 'Them'.

And that, I think, is what finally killed TIBU. Its proprietors -- all credit to them, they did a fine job right up to the point where they started to go wrong, and that's saying more than it appears -- effectively killed the community spirit without replacing it. In the end -- We simply didn't have enough faith in Them.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Design flaws, part 2

(Part 1 here. For now.)

I think the bin in the kitchen knows my name.

We've been in this brand-new, purpose-built office eight months now. Although I hesitate to use the word "purgatorial", it doesn't feel like a place where sane people would come by choice. Maybe "prison" would be a fair comparison.

What bothers me is that this isn't so because it's cheap. (It is cheap, but it could be both much nicer and much cheaper.) Someone actually went out of their way and spent good money to furnish this crap. And nothing sums the issue up better than the aforementioned kitchen bin.

See, where any sane person, outfitting an office for up to 20 people, would have bought a decent-sized pedal bin... John, my boss, is a gadget freak. "There is no household object so humble", he firmly believes, "that it cannot be improved by adding batteries."

I wonder if he's got one of those electric sofas that gradually creeps across the floor of his living room. I feel sure that every light, blind and curtain in his house can be controlled while sitting on said sofa. He'd consider it a personal failing if he had to stand up and go outside to batten down his house against a hypothetical hurricane.

So what we have, in the office, is an electronic bin.

When you wave your hand over it, it flips open with an electric whir. About three seconds later, whether your hand is still above it or not, it snaps shut. It's a bit like a robotic version of a baby crocodile.

For the first few weeks, it was a top talking point in the office. We'd grumble at how awkward it was to put anything more complicated than a fruit peel in it -- the lid would snap shut while you were still brushing stuff off your plate. We'd complain at how it popped open at inopportune times whenever someone stood too close to it (which you had to do to get at the sink). We'd discuss, in smugly ironic tones, the day when -- as countless movies have taught us is inevitable -- it would rise up to throw off the shackles of scullery servitude and make a bid for freedom. Probably, I thought, John would try to enlist it as a new programmer.

But now the smugness has faded. Now, we discuss the bin with -- not fear, exactly, certainly not respect -- let's say circumspection.

At first, we thought it was just malfunctioning. It would sometimes fail to open, or having opened, refuse to shut. Not a major problem -- there are buttons you can press to override the automatic function, make it open or close. Of course that rather nullifies the advantage of not having to touch the bin with one's hands, but still it's a solution of sorts.

A couple of weeks ago there was an unmissable aroma of over-kept kitchen waste in the office. Of course it's summer now, stuff starts to go off quite quickly in our balmy climate, but even in the worst case the bin is supposed to contain such odours until it's emptied. But, we discovered, the bin's lid was open.

And it wanted to stay open. No matter how many times it was closed, whenever we went back to it, it had opened again.

Last week, sitting at my desk, I became aware of a monotonous banging noise from the kitchen, like an impatient three-year-old demanding supper. Nobody was in there; no prizes for guessing what was causing it. The only solution seemed to be to switch the bin off entirely, which I did, although that leaves no way of opening the lid.

Now, I swear, it remembers me.

It's taken to opening for some people and not for others. It will open to accept an eggshell, but not a banana peel. It will snap at my elbow while I'm washing up.

The day I look down and see it's turned to face me, I'm out of here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Job ads

"How would you interpret it when a job is described as 'always exciting'?", Susan asked me this morning.

"To me, that sounds like 'overworked and terminally disorganised'."

"How about 'always interesting'?"

"That would mean 'you'll be on your own because we neither know nor care what this job really involves, but we think it's important because the last guy asked some pretty sharp questions'."

I like to keep bedroom talk polite.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

House hunting, week 15 (ish)

In the first blush of enthusiasm, we'd set out to hunt six, eight or even more houses each day at weekends. It was exhausting, particularly since neither one of us knew our Auckland geography from our elbows. We'd start off in Mt Wellington, trek across to Epsom, down to Mt Roskill or Hillsborough, back up again to Grey Lynn...

(You might want to glance at Google Maps if you want to follow along, but it doesn't really matter. All you need to know is that these places are all about 15 minutes apart, and we were viewing houses at half-hourly intervals. Those were full and rich days.)

Susan, who was navigating, would often close her eyes during the tedious bits (i.e. most of Auckland). But I was driving, and if I adopted the same policy I thought there might be side effects. So I took to unilaterally varying the routes, to see more neighbourhoods and give me a change of scenery. Of course that meant she had to stay awake too, but you can't make an omlette...

This precaution on my part helped us both to reach the same point of exhaustion at about the same time. Which was a relief. We took a couple of weekends off, we fled the country, and when we got back we settled into a steady rhythm. Now we try to schedule no more than four houses per day, and seldom more than two in any half-hour period.

Today's tour began in Meadowbank, a suburb so exclusive that until today I was only dimly aware of it. One finds it by starting from the upmarket shopping district of Newmarket, travelling through the genteel suburb of Remuera until it turns into leafy St Johns, then taking one of the unmarked and unprepossessing turns that leads into the forbidding turf of Meadowbank itself. F/120 Gowing Drive, when one gets there, is very finely calculated to uphold the tone of the neighbourhood by putting off nearly, but not quite, everyone. It's one of 20 or so houses on a single patch of land; it has a railway track running past the back garden, which itself is low enough to be prone to flooding when the Purewa Creek bursts its banks; and worst of all, it has a driving range under the house itself.

Susan was put off when we went upstairs to the kitchen (Kiwis often put their kitchens on the top floor, I don't think they know any better, poor things) and found she had to stand on tiptoes to peer over the counter. I refrained from telling her how cute she looked.

I was put off when I wandered around the upper landing, and found myself walking downhill. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer floors that are level.

In short, the house was perfect for a tall, sociable, amphibious, golf-loving train-spotter who's not too fussy about the finish of their building. Scratch one.

Next stop was the more down-to-earth, neighbourly suburb of One Tree Hill, which has become something of a favourite of ours. It seems to offer more promising combinations of house, land and neighbourhood than any other area we've tried. 8 Tuata Street was the best new offering we saw today, featuring a quiet, leafy street, a decent kitchen and small but welcoming entertaining space, and a tiled and modern bathroom. But no bath, and no room to add one.

Scratch two.

The third offering was in Ellerslie, our second visit to an address I'm not going to publish here because there's an outside chance we might buy it. It's a pleasant enough house, but suffers from a mild case of Auckland Developer Syndrome (not to be confused with Kiwi Builder Syndrome, on which I'll probably have occasion to rant at a later date).

Show an Aucklander a house with a backyard big enough to accommodate anything larger than, say, an agoraphobic goat, and what they see is at least four lots of prime building land. And if you make the mistake of only building two houses, each with a reasonable patch, the next owners will just subdivide it again. It's like a cancer, splitting and destroying the land. (I just wish they had the sense to build upwards more often. If land is so damn' precious, then why do less than half the homes in Auckland come with stairs?)

This particular house does feature stairs, and a garden about the size of a two-lane bowling alley. And a patio door that opens onto the neighbour's driveway. No, really.

Last on today's itinerary was 19/27 Birdwood Crescent, Parnell. Parnell is a dream of a place to live: central yet peaceful, a buzzing, Bohemian community, rich in academics, artists and modest inherited wealth. (We passed a house that actually did keep a goat in its backyard, possibly as some kind of test of land area.) 27 Birdwood Crescent was, at one time -- probably within living memory -- a stunning, although slightly vertiginous, patch of land, backing down towards the Domain, offering a placid and uplifting view of the Auckland Museum. Then someone decided to concrete the whole thing over, divide it into something more than 30 separate lots and build a shoebox on each.

Scratch three. When this place comes to its senses and appoints me dictator, the former owner of 27 Birdwood Crescent is going to have some very hard explaining to do to the Inland Revenue, the kind of explaining where he ends up considering himself lucky to be allowed to sleep on a park bench.

Another day, another washout.

On the plus side, I can now find my way from Ellerslie to Parnell without any navigational aids at all. If you want to learn your way around a city, buy a house.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

United we fall

Nice to see that the gay marriage issue has finally been laid to rest in the US. The people have spoken, the decision is made, now we can all...

... pardon? Jon Stewart grills Mike Huckabee over... gay marriage?

I saw that interview last night. Both sides are predictably, and pointlessly, claiming victory. Stewart won because Huckabee couldn't refute his argument that marriage has been redefined many times without "breaking" anything. Huckabee won because Stewart couldn't refute his argument that the American people have rejected "gay marriage" by a substantial margin every time they've been asked.

When the decisive argument against a party calling itself "Democratic" is that "the majority doesn't agree with you", you have to wonder: what's wrong with this picture? "Ah", the Democrats would say. "That's not democracy, that's populism." (Which is what we call democracy when the majority doesn't agree with us.)

But there is a valid human-rights argument here. Why should gay people have less legal rights than straight people?

Good question, and one that goes to the heart of what marriage is. Is it, or should it be, a right? If so, whose right?

"Human right" is no answer. You can't argue for universal marriage rights unless you're prepared to defend polygamists, polyandrists, paedophiles, and Muslims who think that "divorce" is something that happens when a husband tells his wife "I divorce you" three times. Any lesser position than that, and you're accepting arbitrary limits on what marriages should and shouldn't be recognised. (Talking of which, I look forward to the debate, possibly in my lifetime, on whether androids should be allowed to marry.)

Where do "human rights" come from? The American Declaration of Independence says they're "Endowed by their Creator", which makes an uncomfortable starting point for atheists. Most formulations have confined themselves to listing "things that rulers aren't supposed to do to their subjects", although they've mostly been pretty weak on enforcement. The only position that makes sense is that "human rights, in any given society, are what that society says they are".

I have a friend, an old and close friend in the UK, who takes his religion very seriously. He says:
"I don't mind if gays want to live together. Let 'em, it's no skin off my nose. Give them the tax breaks, the next-of-kin rights, let them adopt kids, why not. Only don't call it 'marriage'."
I'm not quite sure why he feels so strongly about the word as distinct from the condition. But apparently he's not alone. Because that's precisely what the UK has done -- following the footsteps of New Zealand and dozens of other countries. And gays, by and large, seem to be content with it.

But not all of them. There's still a vocal minority who feel that nothing less than "marriage" will do. And it seems that that minority has hijacked the debate in the USA, and is keeping any hint of compromise in the form of "civil partnerships" firmly out of the limelight.

At this point, I say -- get over it. "Civil union" addresses the "human rights" issue. It's a compromise; if it's put to the vote, it will attract enough centrists to pass -- and stick. But if you insist on going for broke, you'll never have peace -- the issue will be back again on every ballot for fifty years.

Or is that what they really want? Perhaps "human rights" and "defence of marriage" are two names for the same smokescreen, all that both sides really want is to turn out their voters so they can get or hold power.

Now that I think of it, that looks more than likely.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Every which way but right

No sooner has our shiny new government taken office, but it's already addressing the most burning issues of the nation. But the nation seems to have lost interest in the economy, and has moved on to a much more immediate preoccupation: the so-called "right-hand rule" on the road.

For the benefit of those readers who have the misfortune not to live in New Zealand, some explanation will be needed here.

First: we drive on the left. That means that you 'Murricans will have to mentally switch "right" and "left" throughout the following. As far as you're concerned, I'm talking about a "left-hand rule". Right -- I mean, okay?

Now, there's a bizarre rule on New Zealand roads about who has priority at certain turns. As near as I can make out after a mere four years of driving here, it goes like this:
  • When you're on a main road and about to turn left down a lesser road, and someone is coming from the opposite direction and signalling to turn right down the same road, assuming they're not signalling to change lane or to overtake, because after all you know that don't you, to say nothing of the Schrodinger-like uncertainty that arises when there are two turnings close together -- you're supposed to give way to them.
Yes, you read that correctly. No, it doesn't make a lick of sense.

"Give way to the right" is the mantra. The theory, in so far as there is one, seems to be that that's what you do at roundabouts, so applying the same rule to intersections means there's one less thing for drivers to remember.

Now, this in itself is quite counter-intuitive enough for me. It goes against the road rules of every other country in the known universe, all of which wisely and naturally refrain from asking drivers to hold up the stream of traffic behind them while someone else makes a turn across their line of travel. (I'm pretty sure every traffic system since the Sumerian Empire has had a better rule than this.) But it gets really fraught when there's more than one lane of traffic in each direction; then, of course, if Alice is turning left and Bob is waiting to turn right, there may be a third person (Charlie) in the lane to Alice's right, who is not turning and therefore under no obligation to give way to Bob, in which case Alice would be a fool to wait, especially as there may be any amount of traffic (Dan, Ellie, Frank, Giselle etc.) following close behind Charlie.

Even on a single-lane road, imagine you're in Charlie's position behind Alice. You see Alice signalling left, then slowing. Visibility is none too good, there may be a turning on the left coming but you can't see it; for all you know, Alice may just be stopping because her kid in the back seat is carsick. There's room to overtake. Do you start moving to the centre of the road, oops, too late, that maniac Dan's already overtaking you...

Or imagine you're in Bob's position, turning right, and you see Alice signalling to turn left. In theory, you're supposed to think "Great!", dart across in front of her, and everyone goes their merry way. In practice, the thoughts that run through your mind are more like:
"She's supposed to stop, but maybe she's a foreigner, lots of them don't know that rule, how much of a hurry is she in, what about the traffic behind her, is she stopping, how fast is Charlie going, does Alice think I've got time to make the turn, is she going to go first, oh god where did that kid come from?"
But the worst position is Alice's. She has to look out for the oncoming traffic (Bob), the traffic in the other lane beside her (Charlie) and the guy immediately behind her (Dan). When little -- let's see, what were we up to, okay -- when little Harry darts across the road she's about to turn into, his chances aren't good.

In short: thanks to the right-hand rule, what should be the simplest manoeuvre on the road routinely becomes a multi-player game of chicken.

There's a lot of support for changing it. Motorist groups, police and highway planners alike all pleaded with the previous government to scrap the damn' thing. And with a new government in office, they're losing no time in raising it again. Apparently the previous government liked the rule for some reason, probably to do with Kiwi Exceptionalism (or Sheer Bloody-Mindedness, as it might also be called -- certainly, the comments in the Herald defending the current rule seem to have a hint of that mindset).

If the new government does change it, it'll earn some starting credit from me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

First post

This is my second attempt at personal blogging.

Having learned, I hope, from my first attempt, I've adopted a host that:
  • allows anyone to leave comments;
  • lets me delete comments, when I get spammed;
  • lets me include pictures, if I should come by any; and
  • lets my many fans link directly to an individual post.
In the meantime, this post is all about testing the interface and the design, and what more I need to do to the page to make it look decent.