The evil imperial presidency part N of M


Two new articles came out recently that show that the administration is uncowed in their attempts to control the truth and eliminate the perception of dissent.

First of all is this article from the Seattle Times describing how the defense in a 1st ammendment case stemming from the 2005 ejection of a George Bush “town hall” meeting of two people for having a “liberal” bumper sticker on their car is legal because “the president’s staff can lawfully remove anyone who expresses points of view different from his.” (quote from the Times, not the lawyers)

Secondly is this opinion piece, from the New York Times, which makes a convincing argument that the lawyer firing case is really about the perception that the Bush administration was trying to plant that the Democrats have been tampering with elections (possibly to deflect the view that the Republicans have been tampering with elections).

The small record store perspective on how F’d up the industry is


Spinning Into Oblivion
Published: April 5, 2007

The major labels wanted to kill the single. Instead they killed the album. The Recording Industry Association of America wanted to kill Napster. Instead it killed the compact disc.

The article is from a couple of guys who owned a shop in Manhattan. They don’t bring much new to the discussion (the labels put out crappy music, charged too much for it, made it hard to just buy the one song you liked, sued their customers…) but it is good to get that re-confirmed by someone representing a different part of the industry.

If anyone thinks that all of Washington state is filled with ultra-lefties…

Periodically, those of us in Seattle get reminded of the fact that a big chunk of the state feels more in common with our ultra-red-state neighbors to the east than they do with us ultra-red-commies in Seattle.

Gay rights bill for couples passed

The bill passed easily on a 63-35 House vote despite condemnations from conservatives who said the bill was an affront to community values and religious freedom.

Oh yeah, and those conservative freaks on the Eastside trying to recreate Orange County in the forest (well, once forest, now parking lots and housing developments).

BTW, well done Washington State Legislature!

how * am i?

You are 82% Chicagoan!



Nice work. You know just about everything there is to know about Chicago. Stay out of the suburbs, friend!

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You are 95% Pittsburgh.



Great job! There’s nooooo doubt about it. You’re from Da Burgh. You deserve a reward, so go have an Ahrn City or two. And GO STILLERS!

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How San Franciscan Are You?

Your Result: You probably just moved here…



…and you’re probably scared of homeless people and riding MUNI. You probably live in a rathole in the Tenderloin because someone on Craigslist told you it was an “up and coming neighborhood…” You should know better! A lot more time in San Francisco will probably do you good.

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You are 99% Seattle!



Excellent work! You really know your stuff! You’ve either lived here a long time, know someone who does, or have studied up. In any case, you ROCK! You are officially “SEATTLE”!!

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Review of blend from an Interaction Designer –Engage!

After all this, I realized that MS made a really powerful tool for really expert users. It seems that after all is said and done that it is a tool not for interaction designers, but for interactive designers and thus its real promise is lost because interactive designers don’t design or engineer applications but rather sites, and experiences. Interaction designers do both, and quite honestly are more skilled and experienced in designing complex interactivity than those who come to all this from interactive design. I know I’m going to get burned from that statement, but while interactive designers are really great and knowledgeable, they don’t know a heck of a lot about UX, cog psy, HCI, usability, etc. It just isn’t part of what they do. They concentrate mostly on implementing the presentation layer without much attention to the context of use, without using user centered research models, etc.

First of all, I didn’t know there was a major difference between Interaction Designer and Interactive Designer, although I guess it makes sense that you would want to distinguish between the two different disciplines. I usually hear User Experience vs developer, or something like that.

That aside, it is a very interesting take. It actually makes blend a bit more appealing to me, because I’m more a programmer than designer, but the interface seems pretty screwy relative even to Flex, so I don’t know…

Average Seattle worker can’t afford to live here

Average Seattle worker cant afford to live here


Geez, how long have I been saying exactly this?

Tony To, a Seattle Planning Commission member and director of the housing agency HomeSight, said developers could take some steps without incentives. He lauded Belltowns moda condos, which got prices as low as $149,950 by cutting unit size to as little as 296 square feet.

While $149,950 is an amazing price by Seattle standards, 296 square feet is not adequate housing for many people. Those condos aren’t going to under under-privileged folk or newlyweds starting a new life. They are weekend homes for people from out of town. A normal person would have a hard time in a space that small. In New York, with its density’s that might be acceptable, but it’s a tough sell in Seattle.

I honestly wish I had a better solution than those proposed in the article. Honestly, I think that all of them suck. I do think that increasing density and improving the quality of life downtown might be a decent solution, but it isn’t an end-all-be-all. We can’t keep going the way we are though, sprawling out in all directions and still not making the area affordable.

Holy crap this is racist and lame!

Welcome to South of the Border Online

So anyone who has ever lived on the east coast knows south of the border. Any band that has ever toured has got at least one south of the border bumper sticker on a guitar case (along with the wall drug, mystery spot and little america bumper stickers). We were talking about this the other day and a friend sent me this link to the SOtB website. You’d think that someone might have thought about this hard enough to realize that this comes off pretty bad with the fake-bad-english and all.

I mean, I knew the place was tacky and goofy, but geez…

I was going to make a joke about how they probably have some innuendo about Mexicans being lazy or something, and then I found this:

Really, this place needs to be nuked from orbit.

Microsoft’s take on the data center in a trailer

I haven’t really posted about this because datacenters haven’t been my thing for a while, but I have been following the discussion with a sort of geeky fascination.

I’d heard the google rumour for a while, then came the Sun announcement, then the Rackable Systems product. The idea is great, no need to scale out your datacenter by buying new buildings and spending millions of dollars to set them up and get all the equipment configured. Instead, buy out a whole shipping container of machines, park it next to (or on top of!) your building, hook up power, water (for cooling), and bandwidth and DONE! Plug&Play at the macro level. Need more power, add another container.

Now, James Hamilton from Microsoft has proposed a twist on the whole thing: Recycleable data centers in trailers! Pack the container to the gils, have no serviceable human parts and when the thing stops working, send it back for a new one! I kinda dig it, although I don’t know why, cause I couldn’t geek out like in that X-files episode.

[via Geeking with Greg: More on a data center in a trailer]