More comedy gold from the AFA

As I believe I've mentioned, I'm subscribed to the newsletter of the American Family Association. Their latest trip is to claim that the continuing drop in sales at Ford -- a troubled company with a history of poor quality control, lacklustre design, and incompetent management -- is happening mainly because they support the "homosexual agenda", and the AFA is thus boycotting them. Read on: Sales of all Ford Motor Company automobiles fell 19.1% in July, compared to a year ago. Since AFA began a boycott of Ford in March 2006, sales have dropped in 15 of the 17 months. While the boycott isn't totally responsible for the drop in sales, it has played a major role. According to Ford's own press releases, here is the last 8 years of sales data for July: Year Sales %change 2000 347,331 1% 2001 303,043 -13% 2002 319,975 2% 2003 297,265 -7% 2004 ...
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Standard Malpractice

As some of you may remember, back in February, soon after I arrived in the US, I hurt my back and had to be admitted to the ER. Luckily, Y! provides me with full and comprehensive health insurance, so the bill -- all staggering $1700+ of it, for care that took about 2 hours -- was not my responsibility. The billing procedure, even for somebody full insured, was immensely complicated and stressful. I had to provide my insurance details at the outset, which was impossible since I had just joined Y! and didn't have them yet. This meant I received a bill from the hospital, a separate bill from the doctors, and a notice from the hospital that as I was uninsured I was receiving a discount. In response to these I supplied my insurance details, only to have them rejected as a result of an administrative error at the insurance company, resulting in a letter from the hospital politely but clearly implying that I was attempting to defraud them, and that I had to pay the bill soon, or else. After sorting out the...
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We're hiring

My team at Yahoo! Widgets need web devs. LOTS of web devs (and if you look at the old site, which we're in process of completely replacing, it should be obvious why). Do you know anybody who fancies a new job in sunny California, working on a BIG (bigger than just Widgets), exciting greenfield web site? If so, check out the job description and apply ASAP! The job we're advertising is basically a clone of my current job, and I love my job: the tech is interesting, my team is cool, and the company is fun. So I can't recommend this highly enough :-) Plug ends now.
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Mosh pit

So it turns out I have an ancient membership to the Nokia developer forums that I forgot about. As such, I've got into the beta of Mosh, Nokia's new mobile social networking/file sharing venture (not to be confused with the rumoured Yahoo! project of the same name). I have a ton of invites. Anybody want in?
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Minor update

Basically, the "beta" is gone and there are suddenly a lot more tags, although the tag cloud is still massively skewed by the 1000+ old entries still marked as "totag". I am working my way through them in batches of 50, but obviously I have to do that a little over 20 times before they're all tagged... I'm currently in February 2006. Update: now in February 2005, after lots of breaks and other stuff. It's really weird having to go backwards in time through my own thoughts, and seeing how this blog has evolved. Sometimes it's full of interesting, timeless stuff, sometimes it's full of random topical stuff that has no lasting value, and it goes in waves -- it seems like I get little obsessions about blogging a certain way for a few months, then forget, flounder for a few months, and try a new tactic. Odd. Update: done! All six and a half years worth of entries are tagged and ready to go.
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After-after-afterlife

Well, it seems to be time to pass the baton yet again in the never-ending relay race that Will and I have been running with his Planet Afterlife feed aggregator. So here's my quickly-slapped-together Planet Afterlife @ Seldo.Net. Unlike all the previous incarnations, this one is not powered by the obviously somewhat unreliable Planet Feed Reader, and is instead a custom implementation using SimplePie to do most of the feed stuff and Code Igniter to glue everything together. It is a great deal faster than the old PA, except once every 20 minutes, when it will be really, really slow. Just don't be that guy.
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The Gay FAQ: your input required

Dear everyone - Recently a straight friend of mine asked a question about gay people. It was a really simple question: "why are all the gay guys I meet so effeminate?" And it had a really simple answer: "they're not; you just didn't realize the other ones were gay, because they're not effeminate." But he'd never heard that answer before -- even though he's known gay people for years, it's just not something he felt comfortable asking, because it seemed like it might be an insulting question. It seems like the answer to that question should be really simple to find, but it isn't. You get a bunch of ill-informed nitwits mouthing off on various forums, or at best you get a FAQ directed at gay people. There's no resource for well-meaning but clue-free straight people to ask the questions that they might be embarassed to ask, for fear of seeming clueless, bigoted, or just nosey. So I'm setting out to change that, and I need your help. What are the questions? Think hard, dig deep. Remember the first time you...
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Amazon Unbox and the Law of Small Numbers

I've recently (finally) got into Battlestar Galactica via my Netflix subscription. Unfortunately, having binge-watched my way through series 1 and 2, series 3 is not yet available on DVD. Gah! So I went digging and found that you can get full episodes, legally, via iTunes and Amazon Unbox, their new video service. Since I don't care to buy video from Apple, I thought I'd give it a try. Pros: The experience is simple. You search on Amazon and it pops up the episode. You click the episode and it downloads instantly -- it's watchable inside the first 5 minutes. Very satisfying. The first download requires you install the Amazon Unbox Player, which seems to be Windows Media Player 10 with all of that skinning tech Microsoft spent so much time working on finally put to some use. It works just like media player, although oddly there doesn't seem to be a way to buy additional episodes from within the player -- you have to go back to Amazon for that. Playback is crystal-clear and uninterrupted. So far so...
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AFA says: Ford is awesome!

Continuing my series of covering the AFA's viciously homophobic "ActionAlert" newsletter, this week they spend yet more time covering the apparently horrific support given by Ford to the gay community. The thing is, I bet there's no gay group paying this much attention to Ford's absolutely unremarkable levels of support -- so it actually makes Ford look great. Here's the items that have their blood boiling from 2007: January - Sponsored "graphic homosexual scene" (i.e. a gay kiss, and implied fellatio) on FX network's "Dirt." The AFA links to the video only after two gateway pages warning you about how SICKENING and DEPRAVED the scene you're about to watch is. By the time I finally got through I was expecting hard-core porn. But no, it's bad dialogue followed by an awkward kiss. March - Diversity Inc. lists Ford as "fifth highest corporate supporter of homosexuality" (i.e. fifth-best for workplace equality). April - "Gives $10,000 donation to support gay marriage" (i.e. remained a gold sponsor of...
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Things that only happen to me

"Where the hell is my watch this morning...? Oh, it's plugged into the side of my monitor. Of course." USB watches have their disadvantages, too, it seems.
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I Resolve To Never Be On The Same Social Networking Site As My Children

I have created a a group on Facebook. Here is its description: We've all seen it happening. As Facebook expands to cover the whole Internet, more and more people join who seem less and less... appropriate. Your school principal. The CEO of your company. Your boss. Your parents. It's just no good. How can you express yourself via risque status messages if you know your mum is reading? How can you talk about hating your job when your boss is in your network? It's time to call a halt. It's time to enforce the generational gap necessary to maintain a free and open social net. And it starts with you. By joining this group, you resolve to never, ever, belong to the same social networking site as your children. Probably, you don't need to do anything right now. You probably don't have kids, or they might be too young. Just make sure you delete your MySpace profile before they're old enough to find it... and those skanky pictures of your drug-addled, blind-drunk self on Facebook, looking for "random play". Of...
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