Inside Python Jungle

Eeeks.  I spent most of today stepping through innards of Python interpreter and PyWin32 extension modules to debug some bugs caused by my embedding Python inside Internet Explorer.  Its pretty creepy in here and easy to get lost.  I am not very happy about this part of developer's life, particularly when I have to work with messy result of accumulated hacks like Python and PyWin32 is.  To quote my father: "it looks as solid as fart wrapped in spider web."

J2SE 1.4.1_02 Released

You can download it here and read the release notes here.  I have been using Java ever since the first beta of JDK (8 years ago?) and its amazing how buggy it is still thanks to features being piled on major release after release.  Most of those features I could do without, an exception being NIO (finally working acceptable since 1.4.1_01) and ActiveX bridge (removed but due to reappear in 1.4.2).  Features I care about are speed, size (download and runtime), and stability.  So far, speed is satisfactory, size remains unbearable, and stability is frequently suspicious.  Java is turning into a classic example of creeping grace.

Ganglog, Mafialog, Yakuzalog, Triadlog

Are there any ganster bloggers out there?  I know that many gangsters in Korea are avid online game players, enough to cause online wars between gangs to spill into meatspace, but I haven't heard of any gangsters bloggers.  Judging from popularity of gang-related movies, gangster blogs should be popular although it would be difficult for the blogger to gab without being grabbed.  Just a thought.

New Korean president kicks Korean police

Much of President Roh Moo-hyun's cabinet was announced today.  So far, there are four women in his cabinet.  Biggest surprise was that Kang Goom-shil, a 46 year old woman, was appointed as the new Attorney General, first woman to hold that position.  While I am very happy to see it happen, it was a total shock.

In Korean justice system, seniority rules supreme.  So when someone is promoted for one reason or another, those with higher seniority but lower rank resigns to avoid the taboo of higher seniority taking orders from lower seniority.  Crazy, but true.

The new Attorney General has 11 years less seniority than the head of police who must take orders from her.  When the possibility of her appointment was raised, people with higher seniority than her threatened to quit (no wonder, they will have to quit anyway if they follow the tradition).  President Roh appointed her anyway and effectively said "f**k seniority".  I like his style.

Its all in the <description>

Check out the RSS 2.0 feed for job information.

Looking for a job in Spartanburg, South Carolina? It's now a weblog with an RSS 2.0 feed, a first, as far as I know, and a very valid application of RSS. [Scripting News]

While I am very happy with new application of RSS like this, it is disappointing to see all the key information crammed into <description> tags.  Best solution is to add more details to input forms, but this is not always possible because most people zone out when are faced with a complex form.  With complex forms, there must be a compelling reason to fill it out, like getting tax refund for filing out the tax form.

Textual search technologies, often used with monolithic text, can easily handle seaching with time and location parameters.  Does Google search engine know that San Francisco is 1 hour drive away from San Jose?  Does my RSS reader know?  We'll see a lot of interesting future development in this area.

Battlesuit and Bazooka for everyone

Nanotech suit of armor with airconditioning for American GIs.  Cool.  Whats next?  Bullets with spent uranium core to pierce nanotech armor suits?  It would be more practical to develop exploding bullets that can kill or wound everything within six feet.  Most soldiers have terrible aim under pressure, wasting most of the bullets.  Sure, they call it suppression, but why suppress when you can destroy?  With enough force, tiny fragments of the bullet will go right through a human body, leaving tiny holes that cause internal bleeding.  It will also pop eardrums and knock enemy soldiers down.  Less mess and more prisoners.  With exploding bullets, each M-16 will turn into a Bazooka.  Hmm.  Wasn't there some research done on ways to turn chips into bombs?

IMG: super soldiers

Infrastructure needed for blockers

While Mark is fighting his battle against what I call A-bots (A as in A**hole), not everyone can do what he does nor afford the time to maintain it.  What we need is something similar to Micrsoft Update that will allow average people to pick and choose individual filters as well as filter packs.

How to block spambots, ban spybots, and tell unwanted robots to go to hell. I fight back against telemarketers who abuse my phone, and now I'm fighting back against robots who abuse my web site. (1716 words) [dive into mark]

Smart webskin for cellphones

Many have written about how cellphones might be used as a universal remote, controlling not only everything inside the house, but outside as well.  This morning I woke up from a dream in which I was actually using my cellphone as a universal remote, changing traffic lights and such.  I had similar dreams before as results of impatient creativity, but this time there was a difference.

I was in France and sitting inside my car in front of a restaurant (hey, its a dream).  When I pointed my cellphone at the restaurant, I was given a menu (I think it was in Flash).  What surprised me was that it was in English and prices were in dollars.  I then woke up and tried to make sense of the dream.

It must have been that when a menu in French was received on my cellphone, the menu was forward to a specialized translation service that returned a menu in English with prices converted to dollars.  Hey, its a smart webskin of sort.  Smart webskins filters and modifies the user's view of the web as well as offering missing features such as search and sortable tables.

An example of professional journalism not at its best

While professional journalism strives to be objective and unbiased, it is difficult for professional journalists to be unbiased.  After all, they are not monks.  But it irks me that they have financial and professional incentives to hide their biased viewpoints leaving their readers exposed to bias leak and slip between words.  FYI, I am biased on this issue.

Scott Rosenberg's piece about the Davos reporter who got caught saying what she really thinks. [Scripting News]