August 19, 2004

Olympic

Rich, I don't know if you read planet gnome, or are just syndicated there, but here goes ;).

As an American currently living in Canada, I have been able to get both the CBC's Olympic coverage, and most of the American Olympic coverage (Hey, its a different country, but they don't produce nearly enough content to cover 4 billion tv stations). I have to say, the country bias is not just an American thing. Every single event that has a Canadian participant is covered in some way. For example, the Men's Team Gymnastics Qualifiers were generally fairly well covered, but absolutely had a Canadian content edge to them. Break to the finals, with no Canadian team involved. You got to see one participant from each of the top 4 teams (US, China, Japan, and Romania) perform each event. Zoom over to the American networks, and you get to see *all* of the performances of those same top 4 teams. The same held true for the Women's competition.

So, caring only about your country's atheletes isn't just an American thing. In general, I find the coverage on the Canadian stations to be superior just in terms of less 'the long hard road' sort of biographical crap, and absolutely less fawning over Michael Phelps. However, for certain events, their coverage turns into crap unless there is a Canadian present.

The reality is that as much as the Olympics is touted as a international event, and about how much it brings together the entire world (Are they running that horrible commercial with Nelson Mandela outside of Canada?), its all crap. The only thing viewers of any country care about is how well their country is performing. So much for that whole global village thing. I am just looking forward to the day when the IOC decides to tell the big networks to fuck themselves, and publishes all the content over the internet. Unfortunately, Nader has more of a chance in November than that ever happening. The Olympics are big business for everyone involved, and it seems to me that everyone is involved somehow.

On the subject of the Olympics, I would like to air my one huge problem with them. Its not even with the Olympics themselves, but the ignorant fools who write/talk/type/whatever about how it is supposed to be an amateur competition and what are all these professionals doing here, blah, blah, fucking blah. First, a little history is relevant here. In 1896 the first modern competition was touted as being for amateurs to prevent anyone who wasn't rich from participating. It was purely an exclusionary tactic designed to keep out the 'lower classes'. And now, as far as I can tell, you are supposed to be competing against the best in the world in that particular sport, not the best that is rich enough to train 24x7 and take no money from doing it. People like to cite 1992 with the 'Dream Team' being sent to Barcelona as the death of the 'amateur' Olympiad. Bullshit. When you live in a country that pays for your training, and all of your living expenses, and gives you cash for winning gold, I'm sorry, but you are a fucking professional. This has been the case in many countries for years, and is only getting more exaggerated. Get off your damn high horse and accept the Olympics for what they have become, not what they never were.

Posted by tberman at 12:59 AM

August 17, 2004

Linking

This page is very cool, just because it links to Mono. How sweet is that?

Posted by tberman at 12:36 AM

August 14, 2004

Oh Canada

Joe: Time to figure out how to pirate canadian television man. I think for the next 2 weeks, the Olympics are on canadian television 24 hours a day. CBC has a broadcast from 7AM until 1AM, and TSN looks to have a broadcast across most of, if not all of the rest of the time, with some overlapping coverage.

As much as I am sometimes at odds with my current adopted home, they do some things right. Unfortunately it is something that is as trivial in the long term as Olympic coverage. But hey, for the next 2 weeks, I will be a happy camper. Thinking about it though, I'm not sure if I would trade a good health care system for excellent coverage. I mean, some things are actually important...

Posted by tberman at 08:55 PM

August 13, 2004

Political/Technical Content

In response to a handful of emails I have received over the level of political content in my blog recently, yes I do realize that you guys read my blog, and the various places its syndicated for technical content. However, a little spice never hurt anyone.

One of the reasons my blog has been light on technical content, is that my day job right now is kinda hushed a bit. So I can't exactly blog about a lot of what I'm doing, and even if I could, I doubt the ins and outs of the M[UMPS] $horolog format is what gets you up in the morning and rushed over to planet gnome, or monologue, or wherever you find this. Never mind that it is the single greatest date/time storage format ever, its not something most people would get excited about.

Posted by tberman at 06:24 AM

August 12, 2004

Italian Leather Sofa

YAMP (also known as "<clarkbw> the greatest MP3 player of our generation") is now running for president in November. So, if you feel like voting for a third party that isn't a throw away vote (*cough*nader*cough*), support YAMP in 2004.

Posted by tberman at 07:42 PM

Support YAMP

Everyone. Right now. Go and buy this button to support YAMP.

Posted by tberman at 07:12 PM

August 10, 2004

Yamp for 2.8!

This just goes to show you that the snorp has always been the most badass hacker around.

I say we show support for our very own Mr. S. Norpopolis and make yamp the mp3 player for the gnome desktop in 2.8.

Update: Thanks Luis for this link for those of us that are german impared.

Update #2: Even though snorp hates me, I still feel nothing but platonic love for the guy.

Posted by tberman at 09:09 PM

Tar and Feather

jamesh: To me, the difference between filing an informal vote and not voting at all is twofold.

  • It is a waste of people's time. The people handling the ballots have wasted their time, the person filing the informal ballot wasted his time, and the people who actually wanted to vote had to wait longer, wasting their time.
  • Even worse, its government excess at its finest. The *need* to have someone fill out forms to express their apathy doesn't solve the apathy. And the apathy seems to be fairly well expressed by low voter turnout.

I agree completely that people should vote. I am all for people voting. I have voted in every election I have been able to, and I attempt to convince some of the apathetic friends I have to vote as well. However, my desire to vote, and my desire for other people to vote doesn't mean it should be compulsory. My desire to vote is just that, mine. Not yours, not his, and not anyone elses. My reaction to being told I have to vote would be the same as being told I was not allowed to vote. Total outrage.

As far as preferential voting removing a 2 party bias, I can see your point, and I would prefer such a system. However, I doubt it will be seen any time soon in America, as it does take a large step towards defeating the two party status quo, and I doubt either party would support that agenda.

In other news, Ralph Nader should be shot. Shot, tarred, feathered, dragged out into the road, urinated on, etc. And before you email to tell me how wrong/right/bad/good/stupid/smart/whatever I am, please understand that I don't think/care if Nader lost the 2000 election for Al Gore, and I don't think/care if Nader can/will lose the 2004 election for Kerry. I just think he is a total egotist who has no place presenting himself as a real choice. (With regards to the 2000 election, Al Gore lost that election. When you are unable to carry your home state, its time to get the fuck out of politics and take up disco or some shit.)

Posted by tberman at 07:58 AM

August 06, 2004

Compulsory voting can suck my ass

Sorry Jeff, but it is just generally useless. For many many reasons.

Exercising your right to vote also includes the right not to vote. Some people (not myself, I vote in every possible election) would even tell you that it is the most supreme expression of that right. And how is not voting any different than going down to the polling station and registering a 'protest' vote? Sounds like government excess at its finest.

The argument that gives me the shits is the 'voting is a civic responsibility' crap. Fuck that, a real civic responsibility is getting people who don't vote to vote. Getting the vote out is the easiest, and most effective expression of civic responsibility that you can do. Getting up, and explaining to other people, 'Hey, this is how I feel, and this is why I think you should feel the same way I do' is a hell of a lot bigger, and more important responsibility than 'Well, I guess I'm going to go vote now because I have to'. Being pro-compulsory voting to me is the same as being pro-compulsory anything. Compulsory military service? What about compulsory identification cards? Neither is good. The ability to choose is the basis on which all freedom is defined. And that choice you make when you wait too long, or sit on your ass and watch life pass you by is still a choice. Please, let me decide how I want to express myself.

And yes, by having a large non-voting population, it does mean that politicians are pandering to a minority of the population. However, I would be willing to wager that the minority they pander to is fairly representative of the majority. The voting population (percentage wise) is generally fairly even to the eligable voting population. Because of this, you don't get this 'catering to a smaller market' effect. I don't think any study has every shown that people vote based on their race, religion, etc, etc. It is just a smaller population exercises its right to vote.

As an American living in Canada (for 2 years and 3 days now), I have been able to witness both a 'democratic' electoral process and a 'parliamentary' electoral process. The 2 party democratic process and the multi-party parliamentary process are far more similar than most people realize. Sure, you occasionally get a minority government, but generally they are either relatively ineffectual and are quickly dissolved, or two parties whose views are so similar they might as well be the same party are joined at the hip for a little while. I moved here when the Liberal party had a clear hold over the parliament, and now they have formed a minorty government with a more 'liberal' party. Has anything changed? It's too soon to tell, but will anything change? Not likely. The democratic process as it exists in America would fail on a large scale if a serious third party were ever introduced. History has shown that the American population has gravitated to the two party setup.

To me, people who don't care to vote shouldn't be forced to, as that is a hell of a lot closer to fascism than the 'viable third parties' compulsory voting might bring us. And judging by the makeup of the Australian Senate and House those viable third parties look to be pretty useless in reality. Looks to me like a 2 party system with a bunch of minority parties that are incapable of doing anything against the 2 main parties. Kinda reminds me of America... So, the fascist state is the one with the ability to not vote? Huh? Judging the American political system by its recent failing is just a mistake. The system isn't even close to fascist, just the asshat in charge of it right now.

</rant>

Posted by tberman at 09:16 AM

August 02, 2004

comparison

While googling to attempt to find a decent explanation of the java.lang.object.wait () behaviour, I came across a wonderful comparison of Java and C#. This is one of the better ones I have ever read, and is absolutely recommended reading for anyone familiar with either language, both, or someone who is getting interested in either. It is actually a very unbiased comparison in my opinion.

The last 3 work days I have been using VS.NET and Microsoft's ECMA implementation. Visual Studio is fairly impressive as an IDE. However, to me, the debugger is what sells that bastard. I am absolutely in love with how easy it is to debug with it. It has only further convinced me that mono/MonoDevelop need 2 things.

  • We desperately need a high quality debugger.
  • We desperately need an amazing GUI to it inside MonoDevelop.

In other unrelated news, I thank all of you for your emails about the development platform. Hopefully this week at some point, but for sure by the end of next weekend, I will find some time to collate all your responses and post something here. And for those of you who havn't emailed, this is your last chance before I start swearing at you.

Posted by tberman at 08:38 AM