Wednesday, January 27, 2010

From "Top Tech News" today:

Google might think Chinese censorship of the Internet is unacceptable, but Bill Gates says it's not that bad. In an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's Good Morning America, Gates called China's attempts to censor the Internet "very limited," and said its controls are not much different than other countries' policies.. . . The People's Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper, trumpeted, "Bill Gates Bats for China," The Wall Street Journal reported.

Gates said it's "easy to go around" the Chinese government's system of controls. "And so I think keeping the Internet thriving there is very important," he said. Other countries also censor the Internet -- to ban porn, for example, or the way that Germany censors references to the Nazi Party. "And so you've got to decide: Do you want to obey the laws of the countries you're in, or not?" Gates asked.

Is Microsoft in favor of blindly following unjust laws, or are they in favor of "going around" the laws?

It is not noble, Microsoft, to "follow the laws of the country you're in" if those laws are unjust. There is a higher standard in the world than the Communist government of China.

Two Great Challenges for Computing's People

It seems like there are two really interesting challenges in
computing, for us humans involved:

(a) Learning skills that are valuable and enduring.

E.g., Learning how Ethernet works in 1985: good investment of time.

E.g., Learning intricacies of Turbo Pascal 6.0 modules in 1991: that
knowledge has expired.

E.g., Learning Unix system administration in 1987: good investment of

E.g., Learning intricacies of the Windows ME registry in 1997: poor
choice of time.

E.g., Learning ANSI C++ in 1991: good use of time.

(b) Designing systems that are a good fit for the application, and,
harder still, are a good fit for changes we don't yet know about yet.

E.g., Choosing OS/2 as the desktop platform for Bank of America in
1995: not a long-term choice.

E.g., Choosing Unix as a server OS in 1994: good, flexible choice.

E.g., The Berkeley Sockets API for Network Programming: awkward
choice. (The fitter choice: file handles.)

E.g., SQL-accessible database for multi-user applications: flexible,
long-term choice.

E.g., Filesystem database for multi-user applications: tough choice to

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Canon replaces 5-year-old out-of-warranty camera -- Free

Canon just replaced my old, malfunctioning digital camera with a new
model camera -- for free! This was all part of a recall program they
setup years ago.

I'm quite surprised and grateful to them. In 2004 I bought a Canon
SD110 digital camera. It worked fine, until images started to be

Google revealed that Canon had a recall program related to this issue,
for this model of camera. It covered repairs even for cameras whose
warranties had expired. Canon replaced my camera free. They took my
long-used, 3 megapixel SD110 and gave me a refurbished, 8 megapixel
SD870. They even paid all the shipping fees.

(Footnote: When they first shipped the SD870, it too was
malfunctioning. The lens had a problem. So I had to ship it back for
repair immediately. But they fixed this for free as well. It wad
important that I called immediately after receiving the broken,
refurbished model.)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

They'll Ask You To Do That.

They'll ask you to agree to things you don't quite understand.

They'll ask you to be overlook their minor mistakes and oversights.

They'll ask you to do things when you don't have the experience to

They'll ask you to help them cover up for their mistakes.

They'll ask you to get things done without the tools you need.

They'll ask you to check in with them, because they might change their
mind later.

They'll ask you to make your best guess when facts are warranted.

They'll ask you to make them your highest priority.

They'll ask you to stop wasting their time.

They'll ask you to get it done without spending so much time on it and
making such a fuss.

They'll ask you to ignore your other commitments.

They'll ask you to put your name on medicrity.

They'll ask you to waste your time on unimportant tasks.