Category Archives: Technology and Society

Brilliant Morons

Who are the geniuses who think that a web site has to use the latest and greatest technology in order to accomplish a basic function? There’s nothing I love better than going to some site (like, for example, Bell South’s) to test my internet speed, and then to wait a long time for a page to appear to be doing something, and then be informed that the test can’t be run because I don’t have plug-in “X” installed.

Now plugin X is obviously not required to test an internet connection speed, or to display it, because I can find numerous other sites that will do this for me without requiring a plugin. The poor benighted neanderthals who designed those web sites apparently figured out how to do it with standard HTML, because it seems to work in all my browsers.

Self-indulgent whiz kids who think they’re doing us some kind of favor by insisting on bells and whistles on their web sites should ask themselves: how many people visiting their site will be pissed off if they don’t encounter a need for zippywhammo plugin “X” on their site? I mean, this isn’t http://internetspeedconnectionthemovie.com we’re talking about here.

Now, ask how many people who are trying to get their technical question answered, but can’t because the poindexters who designed the web sites make them go off and download and install software (on a slow network connection, which is what they’re trying to diagnose and fix) before they’ll get the answer, will get pissed off?

Think about it, brainiacs.

The Sky Is Falling

Now where have we read things like this before? Oh, yeah.

The very headline is absurd. For it to make any sense, one must believe that “resources” are some fixed quantity, rather than a product of technology and human ingenuity. Which was of course exactly the same mistake that Dennis Meadows made in “Limits to Growth.” Not to mention Paul Ehrlich.

[Update at 2 PM]

Phil Bowermaster has further thoughts. He also has some great SF movie titles. I’ll bet these are being optioned as I type.

But It Checqued Out Fine

This probably isn’t news to people who are both good writers and use MS Word, but its grammar checker sucks.

I personally find it a frustrating mix of useful and extremely annoying. It does occasionally catch a word I misspell (something that I do rarely), but it almost never gives me good grammar advice. Ninety percent of the time (probably more) its recommended changes are either of no value, or would actually be wrong (I notice in particular that it has problems recognizing subjects and objects when recommending singular or plural forms of irregular verbs). I’ll probably keep using it, but given my writing style, I wish that I could disable the “long sentence, no suggestions” feature, because that’s the one that I most often get false alarms with.

Anyway, as the article says, if you’re a student (or worker) and think that your product is spelled correctly and grammatical just because Microsoft says so, think again. There’s still no substitute for a human editor, whether yourself or, if you’re unsure, another.

[Via Geek Press]

Hope They Don’t Blow It

Whatever one’s position on the use of embryonic stem cells, it has to be admitted that restrictions on their use, and ethical concerns, have certainly spurred creativity in developing alternatives. Apparently, funded in part by the Catholic Church, Australian researchers have come up with a way to harvest useful adult stem cells from the nose.

As someone well endowed in the schnoz department, I think this is great. I don’t have a big problem with cloning, or using embryos, but I don’t have a huge letch to destroy them either. If we can come up with medical advances that everyone’s ethically comfortable with, all the better. Of course, some people are apparently morally opposed to long life and good health, regardless of the means.

I should mention perhaps the ultimate irony of this particular breakthrough. The one person in the world who seems most interested in remaining youthful forever will never be able to take advantage of it.

Hope They Don’t Blow It

Whatever one’s position on the use of embryonic stem cells, it has to be admitted that restrictions on their use, and ethical concerns, have certainly spurred creativity in developing alternatives. Apparently, funded in part by the Catholic Church, Australian researchers have come up with a way to harvest useful adult stem cells from the nose.

As someone well endowed in the schnoz department, I think this is great. I don’t have a big problem with cloning, or using embryos, but I don’t have a huge letch to destroy them either. If we can come up with medical advances that everyone’s ethically comfortable with, all the better. Of course, some people are apparently morally opposed to long life and good health, regardless of the means.

I should mention perhaps the ultimate irony of this particular breakthrough. The one person in the world who seems most interested in remaining youthful forever will never be able to take advantage of it.