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August 2007 Archives

August 3, 2007

Walk score for... some city or other, hopefully Groningen

This is technologically impressive, but still pretty damned inaccurate. And as with many Google Maps-based services, you need to wrangle it to get the right permalink for the results, especially if you didn't type in all the information you need in your very first search. (Generally, Web 2.0 and permalinks often don't mix well).

If you know Groningen, count the errors.

Via Lance Mannion

August 4, 2007

Word

I have nothing to add to this

As recently as the 1980s [...] Ronald fucking Reagan could not-so-boldly call for the elimination of all nuclear weapons and be widely regarded as having departed only ever-so-slightly from the hardcore militant industrialist anti-communist line. Ronald Reagan! Mr. "Evil Empire" himself wanted, or so he claimed, to eliminate all nuclear weapons from on Earth! Now it’s seen as a risky move (with a whiff of sixties fervor) for a Democratic primary contender to rule out the use of nuclear weapons against small, decidedly non-nuclear asymmetrical threats holed up in friendly nations? What? What dank, perverted path are we on? Twenty years from now, will Unity ‘28 scion Chelsea "LeMay" Clinton sadly note the unseriousness of those neo-stinking robo-hippies opposed, on principle, to nuking PETA? Or the NEA? A meth lab, maybe? The odd Mexican?

Twenty years ago, everybody in this country (give or take a baker’s million blazing nutjobs) understood that the use of nuclear weapons was a cataclysmic, final act of madness, a step towards global suicide to be avoided at (almost) any cost. Now, absent an enemy with any real ability to do us harm, the idea that nuclear weapons should be available to use on caves full of crazy idiots armed with weapons that were the height of military sophistication approximately seventy years ago, this idea is the conventional wisdom? Of the Democratic Party? The party that ostensibly wants to end the war in Iraq? Where have you gone, Robert McNamara / A nation turns its loony eyes to you, doot doot doo.

What the fuck, seriously. What. The. Fucking. Fuck. I want off this ball, blundering downhill. I want to go home, to the nation I imagined I lived in.

The end for Fight Cast or Evade

On the day when Matt Trepal announced the end of his webcomic, Fight Cast or Evade, its website was down, so I'm taking note of it now instead of yesterday. I've enjoyed Matt's humour and storytelling a lot over his comic's seven-year run.

In recent months it had been updating sporadically, and I guess Matt is right to end it now instead of pushing through with it without having the motivation to really do so. Seven years is much longer than most webcomics survive anyway, so well done and thanks, Matt.

Taking some time off from Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan

I'm taking the rest of the month of August off from Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan. Three reasons:

  1. While the quality of the last month's updates was all right, I was finding it harder and harder to make them even at the reduced schedule. I wasn't having as much fun with it and I was getting more than a bit fed up with the work. I need to recharge those batteries.
  2. Statistics for the website show that it's getting hit hard by the summer doldrums. If I'm going to take a break, it might as well be now.
  3. Most importantly, I can no longer afford to go on spending so much time on the comic. My hunt for paying work is finally picking up steam but I really need to work full-time on it until I'm employed and earning a wage. A good one, as I've been sliding into debt over the past few months. I'm working on it, but the compulsion to create comics has been a big distraction. Time out is necessary.

Of course, if, as is the plan, I'm employed by the end of the three-week period, it's quite possible that I'll need more time off as I settle into my new schedule, and in any case I will have less time to write and draw. So further reductions in the schedule are very likely.

Over the next three weeks, starting on Tuesday, August 7, I'll be running the White House in Orbit story "Marauders of Mars" from 2001, on a daily schedule, on this website. The Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan story "Feral" will continue to update on the Modern Tales mirror on a weekly schedule as planned, until I run out of material. If I end up staying away for longer than three weeks, I've got one or two plans lined up that will at least keep the ROCR flame burning through my leave of absense; one of these plans is already in operation and I've noticed that some people have spotted it.

If, on the other hand, my jobhunt fails, I'll probably have at least some new material ready at the end of the three-week period. I can't guarantee how much it'll be, but there'll be some.

Can the rest of us have our planet back?

Hear Marcus Brigstocke have a good rant about the Abrahamic religions. Or watch it on Youtube with amateurish but still entertaining graphics.

Or, if you're really in a hurry, read a transcript.
Via Pete Ashton by way of Squeezypaws.

August 5, 2007

A Gentlemen's Duel

By way of Brass Goggles


I found this wonderful little movie full of idiot noblemen, French poodles, steampunk, and sheer hilarity that must be shared widely.
Update by Reinder: Alas, the movie has been removed from Dailymotion at the request of Studio Blur who made it and own the rights. Fair enough, though I can't really see the point, what with the cat being out of the bag already. They have a teaser for "A Gentlemen's Duel" on their website, though as I type this, it doesn't seem to be working either. Watch it on the big screen when it comes out.

August 6, 2007

Milking the fatties

Being Unhealthy Could Cost You Clarian Health is taking a novel approach to reducing health-care costs: It's penalizing workers for indicators of poor health For employees at Clarian Health, feeling the burn of trying to lose weight will take on new meaning.

In late June, the Indianapolis-based hospital system announced that starting in 2009, it will fine employees $10 per paycheck if their body mass index [BMI, a ratio of height to weight that measures body fat] is over 30. If their cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose levels are too high, they'll be charged $5 for each standard they don't meet. Ditto if they smoke: Starting next year, they'll be charged another $5 in each check.

But why stop there? The real money's in cancer and heart disease. I'd say lung cancer should be worth at least $150 per paycheck, and a heart attack should be cause for immediate suspension without pay. That should teach people to take care of themselves! (Via Sadly, No!)

August 7, 2007

Jobhunt update

I've just had a very promising job interview with a local software localisation company. There's a good chance they'll give me a job, but they won't know for sure until two weeks from now, because they want me to do a specific kind of project that they're still trying to acquire.

Good news, then. But now I'm sort of wondering what to do with those two weeks. The welfare office will want me to keep applying for jobs at a steady pace but I can't really see the point. Unless I call a temp agency to do some menial job that's immediately available for one or two weeks. I think I'll try that.

Interview-wise, I need to watch my body language. At some point, while discussing my employment prior to 2001, I found myself sagging a bit. A bad posture isn't necessarily a problem; if it's how you sit and walk all the time it becomes a kind of gestural background noise. That's how it would have been for me ten years ago, but these days, I think I move differently. A friend who visited me the other day after I hadn't seen him for several years actually remarked on the changes in my posture and attitude. I seem to have straightened myself out, whether through increased exercise or through my six years working for myself. Could be either. So against that background of my generally looking alert, alive and straight-up, my demeanour when that part of my history was mentioned was a bit of a giveaway that I didn't enjoy talking about that part. I don't think it hurt me that much, but I certainly noticed it. Then again, maybe being fairly transparent in job interviews is a good thing. Anyone who looks at my rather checquered CV is going to want to know which of my former activities I liked or disliked, anyway.

Even if I don't get the job, the interview has allowed me to catch up and learn about the localisation business, so it should allow me to do better in the next interview. Though there are only so many software localisation firms to go around.

Next time, I'll probably under-dress a little compared to what I wore to this interview. It's a fairly informal culture, judging from the two interviews I've done with localisation firms. On the other hand, this may just be a Groningen thing. I don't know.

Rilstone on Harry

On August 2, Andrew Rilstone asked Is J.K. Rowling actually any good? and answered "No". Now*) he's written the review to back it up, and it's one of those reviews that made me nod in agreement even though I really like the series as a whole and the latest installment in particular. This is how it's done, would-be reviewers (warning: the quoted section is merely a sample of the whole and should not be taken as a substitute for it):

Harry Potter and the Qualified Recantation: .... I thought that Rowling had cleverly dusted off the old and slightly reactionary genre of the school story and given us permission to enjoy it again. I thought that it was a witty conceit to set such a story in a world which functions, like Alice in Wonderland, according to a kind of dream-like illogical logic. That's very much how the adult world can appear to a child. (That was Lewis Caroll's point as well, obviously.) Snape asks Harry questions that he knows perfectly well that Harry can't possibly answer. Harry is sometimes late for lessons because one of the staircases in the school moved while he wasn't looking. The Headmaster makes strict and sometimes rather arbitrary rules but is just as likely to praise Harry as punish him when he breaks them. That's how school feels to a child. "I don't know how this works, I can't avoid getting into trouble because I simply don't know what these irrational adult-things expect of me." When I was eight, it was obvious that the class bully was a member of a secret order bent on world domination and that Miss Beale was a wicked witch in disguise. At Hogwarts, that's actually true. [...] The problem sets in around volume 4, when Rowling ceases to treat Hogwarts as a literary device and starts treating it as if it was a real educational establishment. The whimsical "Billy Bunter with a magic wand" adventures become subordinate to a painfully derivative fantasy quest story in which Harry is the Chosen One who can defeat the Dark Lord. This creates massive inconsistencies in tone. In the fifth volume, evil Blairite Dolores Umbridge starts to physically torture misbehaving pupils. Are we to read this as comic violence or react to it as a realistic depiction of quite serious child abuse? If the latter, are we entitled to ask whether there are social workers or schools inspectors in the wizarding world? If Harry is now the Hero With a Thousand Faces are we really supposed to care (or imagine that he cares) about his wizarding exams or who wins the Quidditch tournament?

I also like his use of style parodies to bring home his point, though neither that gimmick nor his use of the question-and-answer format midway through the review are strictly necessary. It's another fine example of the reviewer's craft, from a man who, unlike most bloggers, including, on most days, yours truly, actually thinks and organises his thoughts before posting. Read the whole thing.

*) Strictly in the non-journalistic sense of the word, i.e. after previously.

August 9, 2007

So long and no thanks for the noise pollution, the effluent, the chemical waste, the fishing nets and the damming off of essential habitats

It's official now: The Yangtze Dolphin is extinct. Species go extinct all the time, which is bad enough, but this news hit me in the stomach. Hook Douglas Adams up to a generator and watch him spin.

(Via Pharyngula by way of Stranger Fruit.)

Joomla sucks donkey cock, says Pete

Jeroen asked about Joomla the other day while working on a project. So when I found this old article on Pete Ashton's blog while looking for something else, I thought of him. Take it from a guy I trust to know his stuff: Joomla sucks donkey cock.

Now, having had to use it on a daily-ish basis for a while I can honestly say, hand on heart, that it's a piece of shit and a hinderance to my work. At least the interface is. It's the most unintuitive, frustrating thing I've had to click my mouse on since I can't remember when. This is not helped by the project I'm using Joomla for not needing a fraction of its power.

So, my advice if you're setting up a site and want a content management system? Think very hard about what you need, strip away what you don't need and use either Wordpress or Movable Type. They might be sold as blogging CMSs but they can do much more and they won't make you want to eat your fist.

I haven't used Joomla myself, but I'm happy to take Pete's word for it. I complain about Movable Type a lot, but it does what I want it to... eventually.

August 11, 2007

Stuff.

Paul Graham on stuff:

I have too much stuff. Most people in America do.[...]
Stuff is an extremely illiquid asset. Unless you have some plan for selling that valuable thing you got so cheaply, what difference does it make what it's "worth?" The only way you're ever going to extract any value from it is to use it. And if you don't have any immediate use for it, you probably never will.

Companies that sell stuff have spent huge sums training us to think stuff is still valuable. But it would be closer to the truth to treat stuff as worthless.

In fact, worse than worthless, because once you've accumulated a certain amount of stuff, it starts to own you rather than the other way around. I know of one couple who couldn't retire to the town they preferred because they couldn't afford a place there big enough for all their stuff. Their house isn't theirs; it's their stuff's.

And unless you're extremely organized, a house full of stuff can be very depressing. A cluttered room saps one's spirits. One reason, obviously, is that there's less room for people in a room full of stuff. But there's more going on than that. I think humans constantly scan their environment to build a mental model of what's around them. And the harder a scene is to parse, the less energy you have left for conscious thoughts. A cluttered room is literally exhausting.

Amen, hallelujah, testify and beeeeeaar witness. I'm poorer than dirt right now, and I often feel like I'm drowning in stuff. Most of it is in disrepair and even the stuff that isn't is pretty damned worthless so selling it isn't a viable option. And the clutter often does seem to own me. So, if you'll excuse me, I'll be throwing out some stuff. (Via the sidebar on Making Light)

August 15, 2007

Quick updates on comics and stuff

I've got good news and bad news on Feral. The good news is that I've moved on from simply finishing up the pages I had lying around and am now writing and drawing new pages. The bad news is that in doing so, I discovered that I'd buggered up the scene planning, and the only way to fix it is to run the new pages starting next week instead of early in October as I'd planned to. DFG and I are on the case, and if all goes well, you shouldn't notice a thing. The pages that are already uploaded will be bumped by the number of extra weeks this insertion will take. If I can't get my stuff together before Saturday, there may be delays, though.

It's a good thing I'd already decided to take a bit of a gamble on me getting that translation job, and spend some time getting ahead with the comics.

I've also drawn one page for Invasion, which I'll probably run on the Webcomicsnation mirror when it comes back from DFG and I've done the additional computer work. I feel a lot more relaxed about scheduling updates on the various mirror/specialty sites than on the main site, which should update as predictably as possible.

Speaking of mirrors, the Drunk Duck rerun project is now well under way. On that new mirror, Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan will update daily starting from the very beginning. It's a way for me to experiment with another comics management and social networking system while also introducing the comic to a new community. The underlying idea is that there is no such thing as a single webcomics community, but instead, a bunch of scattered communities and collectives that are mostly unaware of one another's existence.
So far, I'm impressed with Drunk Duck's system. I spent far less time on settting up several hundred comics than I was expecting to, because Drunk Duck has good batch upload functionality. It only took a few hours to set up updates until the end of May, 2008. I also like the social networking and recommendation features, and the Trophy system. Giving people virtual trophies for activities ranging from the trivial (signing up, filling out a profile) to the fiendishly difficult (getting into the Top 5) or embarrassingly geeky (posting 2500 forum posts) is, of course, a very silly thing to do, but it does work to motivate people to take part in the social networking and community activities. I can't imagine, say, Webcomicsnation adopting it because it doesn't fit that site's serious-about-comics image, but as a simple idea that works, it's quite brilliant.

August 17, 2007

Kidnapped Princesses by Geir and Daniel

The Double and Alcydia artist Daniel Østvold has updated his Kunst.no pages (in Norwegian) with some pictures of recent fine art projects and a preview of the sequel to Alcydia, Kidnapped Princesses.

Daniel works fast when he has the opportunity to, but he usually has several things on the boil at any time, so it's nice to see that he has been working on a new comics project. As usual, the script is by Geir. I have no further details than what it says on the pages, which is basically that Countess Alcydia has been settling into a new line of business, kidnapping prinsesses for fun and profit. I hope we'll be able to run it on the Chronicles of the Witch Queen web site late this year.

August 18, 2007

Guest comic at Cameocomic

I've got a guest comic up at CameoComic. For some reason, the regular artist on that comic, which has crossed over extensively with ROCR over the past six months, has been falling behind on her updates, so various webcartoonists are chipping in at the last minute to catch up.

The update is part of a long story and won't make a lot of sense on its own, but I thought some of you might want to take a look at it anyway.

August 23, 2007

Psychological effects of jobhunting

I was supposed to take a test this morning at ten, to qualify for a job that I have applied for and have been interviewed for. Sort of a final hurdle sort of thing. It's a good job, and it's rather important for me to give getting it my best shot. So I've been nervous and I caught a touch of that test anxiety I wrote about earlier. It's not as bad as that time, but I have been feeling it.

At nine-thirty, the company called to tell me they hadn't got the testing materials yet, and to to reschedule the test to tomorrow at the same time. At one stroke, that build-up of anxiety and anticipation was flattened, canceled, deflated.

The rest of the day has passed in an odd sort of rush. I know I've done useful things. But I'll be damned if I can remember most of them. Judging from my studio output, I must have cleaned up and inked character art for one page of Feral, then penciled another one. After that - and this I do know - I had a break and went to the pool below the studio, swimming 30 laps, or 1500 meters. I think the reason this is still fairly clear in my mind is that I had delayed my daily swim a bit compared to most days, and because I had intended to do 40 laps, but decided to quit after 30 because my breathing wasn't quite right. I'm always very aware of problems with my breathing due to living with asthma for 30 years.

After that, I finished a second guest comic for CameoComic, a quicky I'd penciled and inked at Erik Wielaart's place on Wednesday evening while the anxiety was already rising. I scanned it, cleaned up the scan, added panel borders and did digital lettering. Once that was sent off to Cameocomic writer Hogan, I went back to drawing and inked the character art for the Feral page I'd penciled earlier (in case you're wondering, I'll fill in the backgrounds on both pages later). Then I went to the bookstore and then home for dinner.

So, in short, I can reconstruct the period between 9:30 AM and 20:00 PM. But I can't remember most of it properly. Presumably I'd been building myself up to be able to hyperfocus during the three hours that test would have taken. Had the test taken place, I would have spent those three hours doing the work and instantly forgetting what I'd done, simply because the brain would have been too busy with the work itself to keep a record. Instead, some of that carried over to the rest of the day, so I breezed through all my activities except the one - the swimming - in which my focus was temporarily broken.

I guess that anxiety, if kept at precisely the right level, is good for something. I did get some really nice inks done on those two pages and was generally more productive and less inclined to procrastinate than I usually would have been.

Well, I must have been. I can't really remember it, see.

August 24, 2007

Testing progress report, because I know everyone will be asking

The test at the localisation company went reasonably well, though I didn't finish the work and will have to wrap it up on Monday afternoon. Then my hopefully-future-boss and I will evaluate and I'll hear about it soon.

Quick points:

- The anxiety faded quickly once I had a good idea of what to do and was settled into my workspace. Good.
- I had forgotten how interesting the work was. Translating really is an intellectually stimulating activity, even in those cases where you end up doing a dozen increasingly more complex takes only to find that the first one, the three-chord one, was the best all along. That happens a lot.
- The work environment itself was distraction-free, though that had to do with few of the staff being there. That will change. In any case, I felt like I could focus and get on with it there, a feeling that's been missing from my life for some time.
- I had to dig through a large amount of reference and guidance material before I could get my teeth into the actual translation. I didn't know yet which bits were relevant so I studied it all quite carefully. That slowed me down and was probably the reason I didn't get the work finished. It was important for me to read it all, but for the most part I won't have to read it again so the second part of the test should go faster.
- My working speed may become an issue and I need to be able to guarantee to them that I'll speed up soon-ish. On the other hand, I'm already quite far into the application process and they do need more people, based on what the boss told me. So I can get away with slow speed, for now, because in the initial stages, it will be better for them to have me around than to have to look for someone else while being short one brain.
- Even if I don't get the job, and even if the reason for that is that the quality of my work is not up to their standards, I should go on looking for translation work. It's just too much fun. I'll just have to shape up and learn, possibly by taking on any assignment I can.

Roll on Monday.

August 28, 2007

Employment!

I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that starting on Monday, I will be working full-time at Globaltextware, a software localisation company in Groningen. What this means is that I'll be resolving my financial problems, and, even better, I will be resolving them doing intellectually stimulating work, within my degree, in a work environment that I've tested thoroughly over the past week, and with no commute whatsoever. It's the best job offer I could possibly get.

The bad news is the same news. The job is full-time, so there will be very, very little time left for cartooning. If I want to go on running on a regular basis as well, and maybe seeing some of my friends some time - you know, this thing people call having a life - I will have a few weekday evenings when I'm not too tired, plus the weekends except when I'm taking part in a running event. I'll be very lucky to produce one update a week.

I'm at peace with that, mostly, though it makes for a wrenching and scary change in my life. I've got some plans for dealing with that, though, which will allow me to keep my connection to the webcomics world, or at least those part of it that I still like, alive. Here's what I think I'll be doing.

White House in Orbit: I will extend the moratorium on posting new Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan material on my main site, rocr.net by another three weeks. During that time, I will post two more White House in Orbit stories: "In Space, No One Can Hear You Groan", and "Target: The Emperor", from 2001 and 2003, respectively. These will run daily, taking us into the end of September, which will be my trial period at the new job.

Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan: The "Invasion" storyline will be moved to the crossovers section of the archives and left unfinished for the time being. Occasional updates may show up on the Webcomicsnation mirror, but don't hold your breath. "Feral" will continue to be published on Modern Tales at a rate of one update a week - except this week and the next when there'll be two updates. When I start posting ROCR updates on the main site again, what I post will be the new "Feral" pages, which will appear on the main site at a rate of three a week until caught up with the Modern Tales publication. Confused? Yeah, me too. I can just about keep up with the different schedules. Meanwhile, the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan re-run on the webcomics site Drunk Duck will continue at its old pace of one update a day, with material queued up until the end of May, 2008.

Lives of X!Gloop: Two years ago, I posted some of my earliest comics, a surreal series called The Lives of X!Gloop on my site. These are now being rerun on Drunk Duck as well, also at a pace of one update a day until I run out. I just might scan and process the unpublished pages from that series as well - that's the sort of job I can do when I'm knackered out from a day's work.

I'll post a summary of the above as a front page announcement tomorrow, so don't worry if you can't keep track of everything.

August 29, 2007

New storyline, hiatus extension, site housekeeping and future plans.

Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan's hiatus has been extended until September 17. Instead of new ROCR updates, the site will continue its remastered rerun of White House in Orbit stories, starting with In Space, No One Can Hear You Groan.

Starting September 18, ROCR will return resuming the Feral storyline, updating three times a week. Invasion has been moved to the Crossovers section of the archives and may be away for a long time.

There is, by now, a good buffer of "Feral" updates, some of which have already been shown on Modern Tales. Nevertheless, due to my new full-time job, I am going to have to take things very slowly as far as comic updates are concerned. Putting "Invasion", which is set after the events in "Feral" anyway, aside for a while will allow me to harness the help of DFG and Calvin Bexfield, who both did excellent work assisting me on "Invasion".

I apologise for the switching around of schedules, the long hiatuses and the switching between storylines. It just sort of happened that way, especially after I put "Feral" on hiatus for a while, only to be roped into this multi-comic crossover event. Things will, I hope, be more or less normal by the end of the year.

Starship Stormtroopers

Starship Stormtroopers, an eminently readable essay, or perhaps a transcripted speech, by Michael Moorcock from 1977, about authoritarianism in Science Fiction and Fantasy literature:


There are still a few things which bring a naive sense of shocked astonishment to me whenever I experience them -- a church service in which the rituals of Dark Age superstition are performed without any apparent sense of incongruity in the participants -- a fat Soviet bureaucrat pontificating about bourgeois decadence -- a radical singing the praises of Robert Heinlein. If I were sitting in a tube train and all the people opposite me were reading Mein Kampf with obvious enjoyment and approval it probably wouldn't disturb me much more than if they were reading Heinlein, Tolkien or Richard Adams. All this visionary fiction seems to me to have a great deal in common. Utopian fiction has been predominantly reactionary in one form or another (as well as being predominantly dull) since it began. Most of it warns the world of 'decadence' in its contemporaries and the alternatives are usually authoritarian and sweeping -- not to say simple-minded. A look at the books on sale to Cienfuegos customers shows the same old list of Lovecraft and Rand, Heinlein and Niven, beloved of so many people who would be horrified to be accused of subscribing to the Daily Telegraph or belonging to the Monday Club and yet are reading with every sign of satisfaction views by writers who would make Telegraph editorials look like the work of Bakunin and Monday Club members sound like spokesmen for the Paris Commune.

Some years ago I remember reading an article by John Pilgrim in Anarchy in which he claimed Robert Heinlein as a revolutionary leftist writer. As a result of this article I could not for years bring myself to buy another issue. I'd been confused in the past by listening to hardline Communists offering views that were somewhat at odds with their anti-authoritarian claims, but I'd never expected to hear similar things from anarchists. My experience of science fiction fans at the conventions which are held annually in a number of countries (mainly the US and England) had taught me that those who attended were reactionary (claiming to be 'apolitical' but somehow always happy to vote Tory and believe Colin Jordan to 'have a point'). I always assumed these were for one reason or another the exceptions among sf enthusiasts. Then the underground papers began to emerge and I found myself in sympathy with most of their attitudes -- but once again I saw the old arguments aired: Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov and the rest, bourgeois reactionaries to a man, Christian apologists, crypto-Stalinists, were being praised in IT, Frendz and Oz and everywhere else by people whose general political ideals I thought I shared. I started writing about what I thought was the implicit authoritarianism of these authors and as often as not found myself accused of being reactionary, elitist or at very best a spoilsport who couldn't enjoy good sf for its own sake. But here I am again at Stuart Christie's request, to present arguments which I have presented more than once before.


Read on and take notes. And get yerself some John Brunner novels. They're good. (via)

Note: misspelling of "Tolkien" in the quoted section corrected because I'll have no part in spreading it around.

In which CAPTCHAS are not so much a cure that's worse than the disease as a disease in their own right.

While I was on a Moorcock essay tip, I went to the Michael Moorcock's website to see if his short essay Epic Pooh actually did have some sort of a sequel as promised*). Multiverse.org is largely built on forum software, which is a less than ideal way to manage a website to start with, but still I was more than a bit surprised to find that I had to fill in a CAPTCHA before said software would show me search results.

You read that right. I had to prove that I wasn't a bot before I could search. What the fuck? I know from bitter experience that spambots can be a cancer on even a well-protected website and that spam can take down a server. And yes, spammers will post into any text box in any web form. But as long as you don't post search terms to anyone other than the searcher's results page, and there's no reason why you should, I don't see how bots carrying out searches are the sort of problem that can be solved by harrassing legitimate users with CAPTCHAS. Not that there is any problem for which CAPTCHAS are the solution, but this particular use of them takes the bakery.


*) Answer: Yes. "Continued" didn't look clickable but it was, and clicking it caused the next page to show. The printer-friendly version is probably more convenient to read.

About August 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Waffle in August 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

July 2007 is the previous archive.

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