Sunday, October 31, 2004

Bush top movie villain in the UK

According to a news-item on CNN those silly Brits have voted for Bush as the top movie villain! Jolly good show lads!

CNN News item

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Old (and wise) Europe

A day ago I saw an American fanatic Bush supporter shouting about abolishing the UN, "old Europe" and how all Europeans where jealous of America. Ignorance is bliss I guess. I doubt most of Europe is jealous of America. The UK and France still live in the illusionary worlds they rule the world. Germany is perhaps one of the few sane countries (losing two world-wars and knowing what it is to as a nation go mad, I think in the end made them one of the wisest nations in the world. It's called learning from your mistakes.) And I would not even want to live in the US if they paid me for it.

I do however agree with this Bush supporter on one thing. Yes, "old Europe". Because that is indeed what we are, old and wise. Where the US is nothing more then an angry adolescent, we grew up already. If I where to put an age on the US, I would put them somewhere around 15 or 16 year olds (we view the US as a "modern nation", but I do think large parts are still stuck in the middle-ages, and would even class them no older then 2 year olds). And compared to that most of Europe is indeed much older and wiser. Al through I do think we too are still rather young. Perhaps around 25 or 27 years old in human-years.

Seriously though, I have no problem with Americans. But sometimes when you see people so ignorant say such things it's hard to just let it slide as basically "the ignorance of youth". Europe also has many problems itself, and I do think we sometimes forget how diverse the cultures of Europe are. We are a world-power past our glory, with a history much longer and filled with more power and more conflict. All the mistakes we made, the US is still making to this day. Not that I do not think we would not make them again if we could. But somehow I do think in the end nations learn from their mistakes.

A few years ago I thought Europe should just re-treat from the political world-front. I thought we should try and help those who want help. Give support to refugees, help nations develop. But that we should remove ourselves from the world-stage. Too old and wise to participate in the sandbox the children of this world are playing in. But I think I was wrong there.

Not only can nations regress (see the once enlightened Arabic and Muslim cultures), but also see how youth needs guidance. We ourselves might be screwed up, but I do think most of the world could benefit from a stronger, more guiding Europe. We've seen so much trouble, caused so much trouble, ruled the known world, lost the known world, we have been responsible for the international human rights, etc. In short, young ones, don't count the old geezers out just yet.

Gammadion Seed

"Now the first among equals are chosen at birth
Your outward appearance is all that you're worth
They came for the black man and then for the Jew
They've done with the gypsies - all that leaves is you!"
- Skyclad "Gammadion Seed"

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Presidency 101

I found this online somewhere and thought I would share:

Presidency 101

Printing with our eyes closed

A few days ago I read a news item about printers adding a secret code to every print. Apparently this code can be used to trace back which printer originally did the printing. This obviously is handy for, for example police to trace back somebody who tried to print fake concert-tickets or god-forbid money! I must admit I both such instances mostly remind me of a Beavis & Butthead episode where they try and copy coins in a copy machine.

Regardless however, shortly after this news item was published a few government-representatives responded to it in relative shock. They said they wanted legislation that forces printer-manufactures to say their printers add this secret code. Which again in itself validated a new article apparently. And as with almost everything online, readers can comment on these articles.

What amazed me was the sheer stupidity and short-sightedness of almost all those who responded. Most people attacked these politicians with comments in the vein of "why does it have to be so hard to track criminals?" and "if you do nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear". That last statement of course being almost the archetype of stupidity and naivety.

What about people who live in countries where the government does not have their best interest in mind? What about opposition in countries like China, Iran? If they print information or even notes about meetings they can also be traced.

People here in the West are often so short-sided. Lack of privacy here doesn't seem so bad, because we trust our government (at least the Dutch usually do). But the world isn't as save a place as here, and also here it hasn't always been this save. Nor is there any reason to assume this never would change. I'm just amazed at how some people can be so short-sided and so live within their own bubble. Being unable to imagine other kinds of situations.

Original article (dutch)
Followup article (dutch)
Responses to followup article (dutch)

Sunday, October 24, 2004

moe

Vandaag ben ik een beetje moe van de heletijd in het Engels praten. Dus bij deze een berichtje in het Nederlands. En wat is Múm overigens toch een vreemd bandje. Hun laatste CD 'Summer Make Good' is best wel weer geforceerd "vreemd", maar alsnog lekker.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Better consistently wrong then sometimes right?

Al through both of us not being US citizens I recently had a discussion with somebody about the US elections. What amazed me was that I heard the person I was debating with saying that he disliked both presidential candidates, but he would still rather vote for Bush (if he could). This because Kerry was somebody who "was inconsistent".

Personally I challenge the idea of Kerry being inconsistent, and I believe this is mostly Bush Propaganda. The man is far from perfect and in no way the saviour of that nation. But both Kerry AND Bush have often voted inconstantly due to political reasons. In fact any man or woman alive probably in that respect acts "inconsistent". I also believe Bush made more inconsistent choices in regards to the war on terrorism then Kerry ever would. Such as sending soldiers over there, then cutting their pay. Blocking investigations into the terrorists, but finally under pressure allowing it. So these where my arguments I used in that debate.

I also said that I think Kerry is more subtitle in his judgements. What Bush calls inconsistent I call actually thinking about your reasoning for doing something. I prefer some-one who for example recognises a mistake and then aims to not make that mistake again, or fix that mistake.

What I however failed to mention, and now feel inclined to speak about is, why would you ever choose somebody you know makes mistake after mistake over someone who doesn't? So the big argument is "Kerry is inconsistent", Bush has lied to his own country-men, has ruined the economy, killed thousands in a false war (as Saddam and Bin Laden hated one and other and there where no weapons of mass destruction), has first send soldiers to their death's and then cuts their pay, has taken the very civil liberties that America stands for away from Americans.

Why would you ever choose a man who makes mistakes and persists in making mistakes? When has it become a vice to not-think? When has it become a good quality to persist in making extremely damaging mistakes that are effecting us all on a global level? If you have a choose between somebody you KNOW will do the WRONG thing or somebody who might do the right thing. Who do you choose? Apparently these days, choosing the man who consistently does the wrong thing has become the better choice, for the cheer notion that he is "consistent". The world is surly mad...

Arrays! Arrays everywhere, yet not a single one to use

One of the most dreaded variables in Visual Basic 6 is the Array. In every other programming language, this gentile variable is easy to use and an asset to any serious programmer. In Visual Basic 6 however Array's are scary, unfriendly bulky monsters used to scare beginning programmers. So you'd think they would fix that in Visual Basic.Net. Well, sort off...

In .NET we have actually have Arrays, ArrayLists, HashLists and SortedLists. With so many options one needs to be good right?! So lets go over them.

Arrays: Still your VB6 nightmare variable. Confusing to use, clumsy to walk through and to fill and not to mention multi-dimension hell. Sure, in essence they are powerful, but much to clumsy and bulky to seriously use.

ArrayLists: Fun! Finally we can walk through them normally and you can actually fill them exceptionally easily. Multidimensional? Strings as keys you ask? Nooooo...

Hashtable: So far my favourite. You can actually declare your own keys with string values as keys. Buutt..... it just sorts anyway it pleases.. NOT the way you entered them or on alphabet or whatever, it just does... *something*

SortedLists: So we have sorted lists. Because yay! those are sorted on alphabet (what about ON THE BLOODY ORDER I PUT THEM IN?!) and just like Hashtables one key values. Which makes them semi-okay. But how about ordering them the way I want them?!

All I want is a self-expanding, easy to walk through multidimensional array where I can define the key names myself. Really is that to much to ask for Bill? Perhaps you did hide it somewhere in Visual Basic.NET. But .NET sometimes is just as any other Microsoft product. Full of features and possibilities that just don't really do what you want.

Friday, October 22, 2004

PHP's call_user_func

Having been devoid of the pleasure of programming in PHP for a few weeks now I can't help but recall those joyful moments, those bliss filled hours spend typing away coding in PHP. One function I particularly fell inlove with is call_user_func().

Any information you ever want on this function you can find here:
http://nl3.php.net/manual/en/function.call-user-func.php

Basically this function allows you to call a string in a variable as if it where a function within a class or reference of an object. You can also pas along other variables into the function and call these both by Value and by Reference. Al through the latter works a bit awkward with the '&' being "on the wrong side" of the call compared to the rest of PHP.

call_user_func() is more of less an eval() function on steroids and the potential to wreak havoc with it is beyond scary. In the wrong hands this functionality one could write the most un-maintainable code straight out of the pits of hell. The worst nightmare of any debugger!. But it's potential when used for good are just to yummy to ignore.

If your not familiar with the functionality, please remember that when you dynamically start calling functions you can really make the life of a debugger hell. So make sure you not just describe your API and code well, but also set your entire object structure up to be very transparent. For example: register all the functions you can call with a special function to register them (for example action1 triggers function1) and make sure the call to these functions also happens on a transparent and logical place within your code.

Also see: http://nl3.php.net/eval (also a dangerious function!)

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

"sir we're losing you.."

A small confession is in order I believe. A few days after I started this Blog, it's existence totally slipped my mind again. In all honesty I do not believe this to be a great loss to the "blogging community". Mostly because I doubt anybody (except one) has even discovered this Blog and reads it. This Blog remembers me more of having a conversation with myself then anything else. And talking to oneself in real life is generally not considered a sign of a good mental health I do believe.

Still, if anybody happens to stumble onto this Blog by sheer luck (or misfortune), I shall do my best to post something new every so often. But as the age old advice goes, don't hold your breath for it!