Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Blackwater: Bush's private army

In the news today: what passes for the Iraq government has banned the operations of Blackwater USA, a secretive private army based in North Carolina, after a violent attack that left 8 Iraqis dead. Blackwater is one of several "security firms" operating in Iraq on a no-bid U.S. Government contract from the Bush administration.

Blackwater: the name has the same slightly chilling Kafkaesque quality that "Homeland Security" has. Their website brags they are "the most comprehensive professional military, law enforcement, security, peacekeeping, and stability operations company in the world."

Okay, let's call a spade a spade: they are the largest mercenary army in the world.

Mercenaries: guns for hire. You got the money, we got the muscle.

Drug lords know all about this shit.

So did the Nazis. Hitler's Stormtroopers, least we forget, were a private paramilitary organization.

Army officers swear an oath of allegiance to the U.S. Constitution against against all enemies, foreign and domestic. To whom do members of the modern corporate army swear allegiance?

The stockholders?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Google AJAX Feed API: yet another example of why Google rocks!

I swear I must be Google's biggest fanboy. It's a little embarrassing, really.

Their latest thing may seem no small feat until you've attempted to take it on yourself: trying to add RSS feeds to web pages. Their Google AJAX Feed API makes it quick and (relatively) easy. You simply insert some JavaScript, request a (free) numeric key, and paste the target feed URL(s) into your html. For the more adventurous, you can, with a little effort, get in and create customized CSS styles to format the feeds to suit yourself.

All relatively simple.

In addition to the AJAX Feed API, they've also got code to integrate search (natch) and Google maps, and a slew of other tasks. They've recreated an amazing collection of tools for the small time web developer, all for free.

Once again, thanks to the wizards at Google!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Why I have no personal career objectives

I just finished filling out a required employee survey. It is not, I repeat not, being submitted anonymously.

The following (reported verbatim) was listed as an objective to assess for the survey:

"Alignment of mind-sets and behaviors with those required within the organization."

Just shoot me. I hate this f**king place.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Latest cool thing I stumbled on - TiddlyWiki

While out wasting time researching on Slashdot the other day, one link led to another until I found myself at the TiddlyWiki site.

TiddlyWiki is a bit of an oxymoron in that it really isn't for collaboration. What it does, is allow you to create a non-linear set of notes on an html page that can be easily edited and linked to each other, like a wiki does. It can be printed, copied or changed.

All TiddlyWiki is, is a web page. A very clever, self-editing, DHTML-enabled web page. To format the text (and create links) requires a fairly simplified markup system (I'm assuming it's more or less standard Wiki markup).

Save it and you're done. Load it on a flash drive and you can take it with you. Oh, and did I mention it's free?

To use TiddlyWiki, you just download an empty TiddlyWiki html page from the TiddlyWiki site and load it in your browser as a local file.

That's it.

No executable, no zip file. Since it's just a web page, it will work on any platform that has modern web browsers, including Windows, Mac OS, Linux, BSD, and others.

TiddlyWiki was created a couple of years ago by Jeremy Ruston, so it's not a new thing. It looks as if an active group of people are supporting it.

The TiddlyWikiWiki (say that fast a few times), a true Wiki, has more information. But the easiest way to find out is just go to the site and play with it. You may find it as cool (and useful) as I did.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Labor Day Weekend

I have come to the belated realization that there are few things sweeter this side of heaven that the three day weekend.

The two day weekend is far too short. The first day of it you are haunted by the horrors of the previous work week, and the second day you find yourself dreading the horrors to come.

Four days is really too many. Returning to the workplace after that much time off is just too painful. The intoxicating freedom that felt so good slams you with a hell of a hangover.

Three days is just about perfect in every possible way.