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Dear Congress...


 Dear Congres,


Seriously, just FUCKING STOP.
I read this one today and just couldn't believe it guys:


A bipartisan group of senators will introduce legislation to stop the FAA from closing any control towers to meet its sequester cut requirements. "The Protect Our Skies Act, which is co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of 18 Senators, would prohibit the Department of Transportation (DOT) from closing any air traffic control towers, including those that are operated by the FAA," says a news release issued by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla), one of the bill's sponsors.

So, basically in your infinite stupidity you all went ahead and created a law that imposes budget cuts so draconian that they say it's inconcievable that it woud ever be allowed to go into effect, then when you pull the trigger on this massive bazooka pointed at the nation's head and realize essential services are getting cut as a result your answer (rather than doing something sane like passing a reasonable budget) is to start legislating agencies into an impossible situation: Cut your budget, but don't cut any of the services you provide.
Frankly I'm not a huge fan of the tower closings (a bunch of towers at fields I would like to visit would be going away under the FAA's plan, and I think it would turn the airspace over Connecticut into a marvelous knot), but I'd rather the FAA make those cuts rather than wiping out more center and approach controller positions, eliminating maintenance inspectors, or countless other options with potentially more devastating safety implications than closing 150 towers.
So my dear esteemed congresscritters, I would like to know two things:
  1. Exactly what economics program did you all flunk out of?
  2. Exactly when did you all become experts on the national airpsace system?
You all seem to be laboring under the misguided assumption that you can cut a budget without cutting services.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the FAA is a service agency, and those services are (a) essential, and (b) provided by people.  If you want them to cut their budget they're going to have to cut the least essential of those services, and that - I'm sorry to say - pretty much means "Towers". The other option is to make deeper cuts to approach control and centers, which at least in my little corner of the airspace system are already working above capacity.
You also seem to think you know better than the FAA how to run the nation's airspace. First you stomp your feet like petulant children and DEMAND that the FAA integrate unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) into the airspace, now you pitch a hissy and try to micromanage the way they deal with this budget crisis you idiots created.
Frankly - you're full of it, and messing with things you don't understand, so PLEASE just fucking STOP - you're making it worse!
Just sit on your hands and resist the urge to try to legislate anything until your term is up and we can replace you with something more useful (like perhaps a stuffed wombat.
No love,


The SOPA/PIPA Protest


The following is a list (woefully incomplete) of sites that took action against SOPA/PIPA:

Google (blacked out their logo)
Slashdot (blacked out their logo)
XKCD (Protest Comic) 
WBAI Radio (CSS switch: Content blocks in reverse video)
I Can Has Cheezburger? and the Cheezburger Network (Banner)
TV Tropes (Banner)
EFF (Banner & CSS Switch)
The Tor Project (Censor bar across site)
Craigslist (Main page blacked out. Banner on regional pages)
Ars Technica (CSS Switch & Banner)
Not Always Right (CSS Switch & Banner)
Reddit (12-hour outage, 8AM-8PM Eastern -- US Workday)
Questionable Content web comic (Special Comic)
The Mozilla Project (12 hour outage, 8AM-8PM Eastern ; Firefox start page made black)
English Wikipedia (Offline)
2600 (and various local 2600 groups) (Offline)
The Oatmeal (Offline & Funny Picture)
SMBC Comic (Comic blacked out)
Explosm (Site blacked out)
Wasted Talent (Site blacked out)
Wordpress (Main site blacked out)
Nyan Cat (Site blacked out. No Nyan Cat.)

…and of course, which was offline.

Continue reading "The SOPA/PIPA Protest"

Bye Bye GoDaddy


As I write this all of my domains are in the process of being transferred from GoDaddy (who I've used since they first hit the scene years ago) to NameCheap  (I considered going with Gandi, but wanted to avoid pricing in Euros because my credit card company sucks so hard they blow).

Most of you know that I've been generally dissatisfied with GoDaddy from an image standpoint, but have generally let the inertia of "I don't want to go through the domain transfer process" carry me along.  That all changed today -- I can overlook their shitty business practices.  I can excuse their slut-tacular commercials as "sex sells (even domain names)", but I draw the line at supporting the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA, H.R. 3621) - This is an absolute piece of shit legislation that threatens the most fundamental principles of free speech by stripping away even the minimal end-user and content-provider protections of the DMCA.  Further in chosing its technological weaponry SOPA also manages to jeopardize the DNS system, one of the most basic technical underpinnings of the internet as we know it.

That anyone can support this legislative disaster in the making baffles me. That a technology company can do so is unfathomable. Mr. Parsons has literally gone to congress, pointed an elephant gun at his testicles, and said "Go on, pull the trigger. I like the pain."

 I am not usually a fan of Reddit, but they have a nice thread about GoDaddy supporting SOPA, and the ensuing mass exodus of even folks like me who were sticking with GD because of inertia. I have also reproduced GoDaddy/Mr. Parsons' statement supporting SOPA in its entirety below the break. They also mention the BYEBYEGD NameCheap coupon that inspired the title of this post.



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Dear Senator Schumer...


One of my dearly beloathed Senators (Charles Schumer)  has apparently taken up the plight of the iPhone 4 victims as a righteous cause.  While I agree that Apple screwed the pooch on their RF design here, I find it somewhat disconcerting that Sen. Schumer has chosen this to focus on.  Please allow me to engage in a brief bit of snark:


Sen. Schumer's letter to Apple:

July 15, 2010

Dear Mr. Jobs, 

I write to express concern regarding the reception problem with the Apple iPhone 4. While I commend Apple's innovative approach to mobile technology and appreciate its service to millions of iPhone users nationwide, I believe it is incumbent upon Apple to address this flaw in a transparent manner. According to Consumer Reports' review, released Monday on its website, the iPhone 4's signal-strength problem is a hardwire glitch triggered by gripping the device in a particular manner. This finding, according to Consumer Reports, "call[s] into question” Apple’s recent claim that the problem is “largely an optical illusion caused by faulty software." Consumer Reports declined to recommend the iPhone 4 because of this hardware design flaw.

Given the discrepancy between Consumer Reports' explanation of the reception problem and the explanation provided by Apple in its July 2 letter to customers, I am concerned that the nearly two million purchasers of the iPhone 4 may not have complete information about the quality of the product they have purchased. The burden for consumers caused by this glitch, combined with the confusion over its cause and how it will be fixed, has the potential to undermine the many benefits of this innovative device. To address this concern, I ask that Apple provide iPhone 4 customers with a clearly written explanation of the cause of the reception problem and make a public commitment to remedy it free-of-charge. The solutions offered to date by Apple for dealing with the so-called “death grip” malfunction—such as holding the device differently, or buying a cover for it—seem to be insufficient. These proposed solutions would unfairly place the burden on consumers for resolving a problem they were not aware of when they purchased their phones.

I also encourage Apple to keep its promise to provide free software updates so that bars displayed accurately reflect signal strength; I further urge Apple to issue a written explanation of the formula it uses to calculate bar strength, so that consumers can once again trust the product that they have invested in.

I look forward to Apple's swift action on this matter, and once again laud Apple for its innovative efforts and service to millions of Americans.


Charles E. Schumer


Continue reading "Dear Senator Schumer..."