Dark side of the web

This widely carried Associated Press story, amused me.

It is mostly a standard “predators roam MySpace” story. I have no idea why The Agechose to illustrate it with a picture of a stewardess or some sort of tidily dressed woman on a plane. There does not seem to be any indication in the story that rogue stewardesses (or “female flight attendants” if you prefer) are a significant internet problem, but it would explain airlines insistence on turning off mobile devices I suppose.

Buried among the usual concerns and anecdotes that have probably been repeated about every means of communication ever invented is the gem that:

MySpace profiles have been used to threaten classmates and in at least one case, to mock a school principal.

(my emphasis)

It sounds like time we pulled the plug on this whole interweb thingo. Won’t somebody think of the principals? If distributing the Anarchist’s Cookbook was not bad enough, now somebody is mocking a school principal. The horror.

The History Of 404 Page Not Found … as told by a gullible wombat

According to this guy the reason the number 404 is used is because CERN’s central database was in room 404.

Now it is well known that nerds select identifiers for all sorts of stupid reasons, and it sometimes comes back to bite them, but that story is about as believable as the one about the lady who wakes up in a hotel room with one kidney.

read more | digg story

Avoid Not Using Double Negatives if you Don't Want Digg Readers to Not Misunderstand What You are Not Telling Them Not To Do.

This Top 10 list of bad programming advice has some very defensible ideas, and some sections were the author seems to have missed the point on how conventional wisdom became conventional wisdom.

Digg commenters are not always the most insightful bunch, so the fact that the article copped a pasting there made me want to like it, but it has two main problems. The nested double negatives make it very hard to read, and for most of the advice you would be at least as bone headed to dogmatically never apply the presented advice as to dogmatically always apply it.

Can somebody explain “The a square is a rectangle problem” to me? To my mind, “a square is a rectangle” is a basic fact, not a problem. Maybe I need to learn to think outside the box more.

From the article:

People who think in such parallels are likely to find themselves confused if they run into the “a square is a rectangle” problem. In math, squares may well be subclasses of rectangles but making square inherit from rectangle is plainly wrong.

Why is it plainly wrong?

Ning: Wednesday Feb 15 is International Annoy Marc Andreessen Day

From Wired, there is a certain irony in using Ning to annoy one of its founders, but although I really do like annoying people, I don’t think I will be able to make it.

The trigger for the event was Marc telling an anecdote to analysts, that because somebody came to visit once, Ning took their sign off the door. In his opinion, one of the great things about internet businesses is that you never need to meet your customers. It is always good to see the nerd ethos of shunning human contact thrives at all levels of the Internet community.


Update: the “unannounced visit” is on the official Ning Blog. In the same blog, there is a Ning Magic 8 Ball. I am not sure if it is a one off injoke, or a really cool piece of conference schwag.

eBay Stupidity

OK, so stupid eBay auctions are not a rarity, but this one amused me. The whole, tee-hee, your chance to ‘sleep’ with radio ‘personalities’, snigger, part does not amuse me, but the fact that after the auction had been running for five days they felt the need to go back and add more information spelling out in black and white that there is to be no sex involved is funny.

I wonder if it triggered a rash of bid retractions.