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Instant Street View

I’ve been aware of this great site for a while. Today it proved essential, since Google’s own interface still requires Adobe Flash, which I do not intend to install on the computer I am using since September.


Happy voluntary schizofrenia

It has taken me almost ten years of permament residence, of which almost three years spent at university, to come to the diagnostic: “happy voluntary schizofreina”, or in French schizophrénie joyeuse et volontaire”.

MP Michael Chong’s attempt to fix it is a good cure for one symptom, but things are deeper seated and extend beyond Parliament.

Actually it is DID, but schizofrenia sounds better and it is a popular misconception that it is associated with DID.

Short Break

DNT Stands for “DO NOT TRACK”

Do Not Track is a simple way for web users to express that they do not want to be tracked.  It is available in most modern browser.  It has been around for four years, and yet the majority of website publishers do not seem to honour it.  RequestPolicy and NoScript keep warning me about web pages that attempt to instruct my web browser to pull in third party content, often from notorious data miners whose sole purpose is to track users.  Few website publisher are mindful of the explicit user request.  One such example is the FreeBSD website: if the Do Not Track preference is set in the browser, it does not send instructions to include Google Analytics.  How difficult is it for other websites to honour the user’s request?  Very easy, as it turns out.  For example, using standard Apache Server Side Includes:

<!--#if expr='!${HTTP_DNT}' -->
<!--#endif -->

The above code will show the third party requested elements only if the user consent to it.  Ignore the user’s express wish not to be tracked and you may be exposing yourself to legal liability.  Web publishers have been warned.

Welcome Committee: From Russia with Love

During last New Year’s Eve celebration our friend Erica organized games to fill the time between dinner and midnight.  One of the games involved an exchange of redundant objects.  We had to bring something that we do not need.  Others did the same.  At the end of the evening we all got rid of our old object and went home with an old object from someone else.  Somebody brought an energy efficient spaghetti cooker and we inherited it.  The mode of operation is simple:  put spaghetti in the tall tube; add boiling water; cover with the “heat retaining” lid; wait for the spaghetti to cook; drain; serve.  After three attempts, I understood why the other person wanted to get rid of that object: it does not work.  But we found a better use to it.  Our son has been asking for an aquarium like the one his grandfather has.  We decided to start him on a low maintenance Siamese fighting fish, commercially known as Betta fish in North America.  The acrylic transparent tube makes it for a perfect fish tank.  His new friend was greeted by a welcome committee.  From Russia with Love, Miss Moneypenny?



Tux Lawyer

Last week I interviewed for a summer student position at a local law firm.  I was surprised when the interviewers gave me their business cards on … Tux!  Despite the friendly presence of the Linux mascot, I did not get a law summer job.  The search continues…