The “Keynote” PodBrix Minifig is a limited numbered edition of 300 units. Hand created by artist Tomi, each figure stands just 1.75″ tall. Included is a minimalist card backdrop for displaying your figure. The reverse of the backdrop displays the limited edition unit number and is signed by Tomi.
Sold out already…
you happened upon nj.com in the last month, you might have noticed a clucking penguin waddling across the computer screen, stumbling over text as it promoted a local utility company.
On a cricket league chat board in New Zealand, exasperated users have been deluged with floating squares that try to interest them in mattresses, dating services and officially licensed trinkets from the “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy.
On the Web, the floater’s time has come.
Not to be confused with pop-up ads, which open new windows and clutter virtual desktops, these floaters, or overlays, or popovers (no one can agree on a name), can evade the pop-up blockers that many Web browsers have incorporated.
In the last year, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, which collects and analyzes data on Web advertising, the frequency of these ads has risen markedly, by almost 32 percent from December 2003 to December 2004, while pop-ups in that period declined by 41 percent.
The floater ads, often using a computer’s Macromedia Flash Player to run, overlay the content of the page rather than spawning new windows. They have been around since 2001, but their rise has been abetted by the growing use of high-speed Internet connections, allowing them to play with greater ease.
Floaters are one example of a variety of online ads known in the industry as rich media. Some variants include banner ads that expand to show graphics and streaming video when the cursor is waved over them; a tamer version packs the video and graphics into a static, or polite, banner. All have a common characteristic: they cannot be categorically blocked by existing technology.
To many, they are just as irritating as pop-up ads, if not more so. On the New Zealand cricket chat board, one user declared, “This form of advertising is without a doubt the most ridiculous and offensive form I have ever come across.”
My blocking software is apparently strong enough. I haven’t seen any..
Ordinarily, revelations that a former male prostitute, using an alias (Jeff Gannon) and working for a phony news organization, was ushered into the White House — without undergoing a full-blown security background check — in order to pose softball questions to administration officials would qualify as news by any recent Beltway standard. Yet as of Thursday, ABC News, which produces “Good Morning America,” “World News Tonight With Peter Jennings,” “Nightline,” “This Week,” “20/20″ and “Primetime Live,” has not reported one word about the three-week-running scandal. Neither has CBS News (“The Early Show,” “The CBS Evening News,” “60 Minutes,” “60 Minutes Wednesday” and “Face the Nation”). NBC and its entire family of morning, evening and weekend news programs have addressed the story only three times. Asked about the lack of coverage, a spokesperson for ABC did not return calls seeking comment, while a CBS spokeswoman said executives were unavailable to discuss the network’s coverage.
Meanwhile on the newsstands, through Thursday, there had been no meaningful coverage in USA Today or in the Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Detroit Free Press, Cleveland Plain Dealer, San Francisco Chronicle, Indianapolis Star, Denver Post, Oakland Tribune and Philadelphia Inquirer, to name a few that have effectively boycotted the White House press office scandal. Leo Wolinsky, deputy managing editor of the Los Angeles Times, says the Times is running its first Guckert story on Friday, focusing on the guidelines for securing White House press passes. “It’s a bit late,” he concedes. “We may have been a bit slow to recognize it had become a story of public interest.” Tom Fiedler, executive editor of the Miami Herald, did not return calls seeking comment on that paper’s decision to not report on the story.
So that is what a Free Press looks like…
Photographs from the camera of a Canadian couple killed in Asia’s tsunami include their final shots of a huge wave as it rushed toward them at their beach resort in Thailand.
John and Jackie Knill of North Vancouver, frequent visitors to the popular Thai resort, Khao Lak, were apparently on the beach when the tsunami hit Dec. 26.
The couple disappeared and relatives say they were notified about a week ago that the identities of their remains had been confirmed.
Searchers later also recovered the couple’s destroyed digital camera but were able to print photos from its memory card.
A Chinese bird trainer feeds seeds to his pet at a bird market in Shanghai February 22, 2005. Pet ownership was once banned in China during the Communist heydays, but is fast becoming popular again as the country opens up and disposable income increases, though raising birds has been a popular pastime in China since imperial times. REUTERS/Claro Cortes IV
Ten of the 32 government drug advisers who supported the continued marketing of the pain relievers Celebrex, Bextra and Vioxx have consulted in recent years for the drugs’ makers, the New York Times reported on Friday.
Last week, a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel said that Merck & Co Inc.’s . withdrawn arthritis drug Vioxx was safe enough to rejoin Pfizer’s pain relievers Celebrex and Bextra on the U.S. market after concluding that all three medicines posed some level of heart risk.
The Times article said that if the 10 advisers had not cast their votes, the committee would have voted 12 to 8 that Bextra should be withdrawn and 14 to 8 that Vioxx should not return to the market.
According to the article, the advisers with company ties voted 9 to 1 to keep Bextra on the market and 9 to 1 for Vioxx’s return.
Why should man expect his prayer for mercy to be heard by What is above him when he shows no mercy to what is under him?
~ Pierre Troubetzkoy
There’s a discussion on Software Components on the Risks Digest. It’s an interesting discussion on why the software industry is still having so many defects while other ‘engineering disciplines’ such as housing construction are doing much better. The following article is a good example on a different issue: optimization:
Who says the parts are interchangeable?
Paul Robinson has the silver bullet, and it is software components. Right.
One of the things I learned from a talk by Tom Love, circa 1991, on software components, was that Eli Whitney’s mass-produced parts were not, in fact, interchangeable (even though that was the basis on which he had gotten Congress to fund his factory).
And so it is with software parts.
Circa 1998, a program I had written, which had been shipping for years, developed a very odd bug.
It turned out to be an error in the vendor’s C library implementation of strcmp.
It had some clever-clever optimizations so that it could perform the bulk of the comparison by four bytes at a time. And a number of different logic paths to avoid setting up a zero-count loop if the transfer was less than five bytes long. And some special cases depending on the relative alignment of each of the comparand’s addresses with a four-byte boundaries. One of the cases happened to misbehave if a character at one particular position in the string happened to be in the upper byte range (128 to 255, high bit set). (And for the record, yes, the documentation for strcmp does define what the behavior is supposed to be bytes in the upper byte range. And the behavior wasn’t consistent; comparing string A with strings B and C, where B and C had identical contents but different placement in RAM, gave different results).
I could have reported the bug to the vendor. As a matter of fact, I did. It hasn’t been fixed yet. (The development system was supposedly still being supported but was nearing end-of-life and wasn’t a very high priority).
Maybe I could have gotten on my high horse and returned the compiler to the vendor and insisted on our money back. But getting the product to compile and build under another vendor’s development system would have taken much, much longer than that.
So I did what I truly believe to be the sensible thing: I wrote my own implementation of strcmp. Wrote it to be as simple as it could possibly be and to hell with efficiency. Unit-tested it. Carefully. With a test-case generator that generated all sixteen cases of relatively alignment of start-of-string to four-byte boundaries, and many combinations of upper- and lower-byte characters. And put it into service.
strcmp is one of the most simple, basic, fully-documented, and frequently-used “components” there is.
strcmp isn’t an interchangeable part.
It demonstrates my philosophy on optimization:
The First Rule of Program Optimization: Don’t do it.
The Second Rule of Program Optimization (for experts only!): Don’t do it yet.
A plaintiffs’ attorney in a wrongful-death lawsuit, who missed a court date because his firm’s spam blocking software automatically sidetracked the court’s e-mail notice, has narrowly escaped being sanctioned for failing to appear at the scheduled status conference.
Attorney Jeffrey J. Stesiak, of Sweeney, Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak in South Bend, Ind., who represents the family of Ruthie Barnes, explained in his response to the order to show cause that he did not receive the electronically transmitted notice from the court that the status conference would be held Dec. 8, 2004. Stesiak said he left for a vacation in California Dec. 7 but if he had received the notice, he would have had another member of his firm attend the conference.
Stesiak said that with the help of the court’s system administrator, he discovered that his law firm’s spam-blocker software set the Internet security level too high, which blocked the e-mail notification from the court. After the security level was reset, the notification came through.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher A. Nuechterlein accepted the explanation and concluded that sanctions, which could have included dismissal of the case, were not warranted.
Next time you get an opportunity to kneecap a spammer, please tell him the above story first.