November 30th, 2004



Apparently, the Chinese government is blocking , which is a shame...

A bigger and more shameful thing, however, is that Google News launched a Chinese version of their site, and censors the content.

After previous attempts to dodge the issue, Google recently admitted to self-censorship of their Chinese content, and yet claims to be "the only major search engine that does not censor any web pages". Somehow, I think this rice-paper-thin distinction will be lost on its Chinese users.

Hey Google... if you hate censorship, then how about turning some of that brainpower loose to find ways to help circumvent the Great Firewall of China, rather than helping create a false reality... a mythical land of harmony where the Tienenmen Square massacre doesn't exist.

As I once told a friend who works over at Google...
"Just because Google has a policy not to do anything evil, doesn't mean that everything they do is good."

The end to a long month in Iraq.

AP is pointing out that 135 US dead in Iraq this month is apparently a tie for the previous worst month in Iraq.

Meanwhile, Iraqi insurgents are still battling in Falluja... and some are coming back into the city to fight.

"Just when you think you have an area cleared, someone comes out of a tunnel, a spider hole and starts shooting . . . It's a dense city, easy to conceal in and move about . . . They move sometimes from buildings with ladders across rooftops. . . We are seeing tunnel and sewage system out into the river that the insurgents are using as a rat line, from those pipes along the river to come back into the city."

Meanwhile, a US serviceman in Connecticut, distraught over having to deploy to Iraq a second time, found a novel way to avoid having to do so.

I think he'll get to stay home now. The neighbors must've been shitting themselves...

LJ vs. Flickr on moblogging.

So, I tested out LJ's latest moblogging features, to see how they compare with that of Flickr.

I still prefer Flickr.

LJ allows my phone company's fluff text to be sent along with the body of the message post. You can add two dashes to the end of your LJ post to stop this behavior, but Flickr makes it easier by intelligently stripping it out without me having to think about it.

Also, why does LJ want to stick every image you post behind an lj-cut? What if I don't want an LJ-cut? Shouldn't I have the choice on that? It's my journal, after all...

The simple fact is that LJ's approach to usability here kinda sucks. Taking pictures with your phone is already too kludgy and dorky. On top of the standard subject and body text that you need to type up, LJ also wants us to remember to add the dashes to keep the spam out of our post... and to add all the photo post specific tags they created.
lj-gallery... lj-imgsecurity... lj-imgsize... lj-imglayout... lj-imgcut...

Of course, if you miss a dash or get the name wrong, you've messed up your post, and probably don't have any way of correcting it. Bollocks! Meanwhile, your date is left waiting around for ten minutes while you attempt to post a crappy low-res picture to your journal. See?! No wonder you never get asked out on a second date!

Camphones are the cheap bastard offspring of real digital cameras, but despite their drawbacks, what makes them worth using is ubiquity and convenience... but small digicams are getting pretty ubiquitous too. So, the lesson here is to make phonecams as convenient as possible. Point. Click. Share. Anything more than that is too much. That's why you want to pre-define all the relevant variables ahead of time, rather than trying to text them out on the run. Anything you type in outside of the basics should only be to change your settings from a pre-defined setting of your choice, not to configure things the way you want them by default.

Flickr does this well. LJ doesn't.

So, in summation of my findings: We all want convenience. Convenience. Convenience. Convenience... and a second date.