Alexander The Great

March 31, 2008

Israel and Palestine

Filed under: Modern Life — alexanderthegreatest @ 2:25 pm
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March 30, 2008

A Page Can Only Have 1 Title Tag!

Filed under: SEO Gone Wrong — alexanderthegreatest @ 9:18 pm
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Remember the quote about if another country forced our standards of education on us we’d consider it an act of war? Here’s a glowing example. The web isn’t so hard to understand. I’m reading a book by Tim Leary, it has a title. A as in 1. Just like a book has 1 title, a web page has 1 title.

But our friend at “SEO 101 Blog” want to try multiple titles to get his clients (?) better search engine rankings. Titles in the footer, titles in images, titles in Firefox, titles galore. This apparently comes from a misunderstanding of html, specifically the difference between tags and attributes. For people with no idea, tags are surrounded with <pointy brackets> and attributes aren’t. An attribute is something that describes or gives more information to a tag.

I don’t think the importance of a basic understanding of html can be overstated for the SEO industry. If our friend wants to bait search engines, and these creaturs try to tease out semantic meaning from html, it stands to reason that he and others like him would benefit from walking a mile in Google Bot’s shoes.

Why important? Two people can’t share new ideas with each other about a complex system when they can’t describe the parts they’re talking about in a way the other will understand. Words (and these are technical ones, less well known to many) have established, agreed on meanings. Rather than inventing new ones and then trying to convince people to take you up on their meanings, simply use them as intended if you wish to be understood.

March 29, 2008

Copyright Infringement Man!

Filed under: Humor — alexanderthegreatest @ 8:32 pm
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(I would recommend using the wonderful AdBlock Plus when visiting the site. It hit me with a popup, and I’ve heard Vista can’t handle it. Freaks out and turns off the much touted AeroGlass feature. You know, the one you bought a new $300 video card for.)

Delusions at Colorado Right

Filed under: Modern Life,Terrorism — alexanderthegreatest @ 11:09 am
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This would be hilarious if it weren’t so delusional. In celebration of the 4,000th dead American soldier in Bush’s failed war, “Colorado Right” is publishing a mock news dispatch. Strangely, they justify opposition to this five year (and still going) war of choice.

In “Grim Iraqi Milestone” Colorado Right and “IMAO” (Imagining My Ass Off) seem assume the number of people Saddam Hussein would have killed would today be 200,000. I’m assuming a little more coherence than is actually present in the piece. (The parody can’t even keep it’s made up figures straight – on one day the number would have been 200,000 and “the 2000,000th non death” would have occured? Missing a comma in that 2 million?)

Of course the number of Iraqi civilians killed by the civil war GWB’s policy unleashed has been estimated at anywhere from 300,000 to 900,000 people. Humanitarian? What’s that? (From the type of nativist who derides foreigners, no less, we have an appologist dismissing American death to promote a mathematically flawed idea of “less” Iraqi death.)

The article goes on to describe the physical state of Saddam’s two suns in pornographic detail. It’s not enough to say they’re dead – this guy clearly takes pleasure in thinking about exactly how dead they are. To some people, many of them conservative, war is nothing more than an excuse to see anyone killed.

March 27, 2008

HierarchyID in SQL Server 2008

Filed under: Programming — alexanderthegreatest @ 9:53 am
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Int has always been my hierarchy ID, but hey, new is good.  I guess it remains to be seen how this will perform in the real world.  It seems like there are a lot of new features in SQL 08, from this new data type (and why the hell would they put ID at the end of a data type? they don’t even do that for UniqueIdentifier, which really is an ID wrapped up in a data type!) there’s geo data and more.

We’ll probably wind up upgrading right around the time SQL Server 2011 is released, but I’m still interested in this new version and the direction SQL and Microsoft are going in general.

March 26, 2008

Fear and Loathing – In Memory of HST

Filed under: Americana — alexanderthegreatest @ 3:04 pm
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Hunter S Thompson

Paul Jub – Paranoid Delusional?

Filed under: Uncategorized — alexanderthegreatest @ 3:03 pm

This hateful man left a comment on one of my posts, so I’ve looked over his blog a few times. Today I see good news there. Quote

I’m tired of friends and workers, supposed Christians, spying on me and researching me through the internet. You could just come and talk to me face-to-face, but you slink around in the darkness because you prefer the darkness.

I’m slipping into the anonymous internet now… I’ll start another blog somewhere else, and you’ll never find me.

Surprising as it may seem, people are reading what somebody publishes on the internet!

An earlier post reads

SPECIAL NOTICE: To my “Friends” who are Researching me using the internet
March 12, 2008

Dear Friends,

I know what you’re doing. I’m not an idiot. Furthermore, I have nothing to hide. So if you want to learn about me, just come on over for coffee and I’ll tell you all you want to know. You aren’t exactly behaving like Christians… but then, oops, nobody was supposed to know what you were doing??? God’s watching you!

Kind regards,
brother Paul

Sorry. These two posts strike me as very schitzophrenic. I’m a little fascinated, like a motorist driving past a nasty crash.

This couldn’t have happened to a more spiteful person.

March 25, 2008

Stupidness and Gas Prices

Filed under: Modern Life,spam — alexanderthegreatest @ 10:02 am
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I got this email yesterday. It was probably written by an Exxon competitor. I have no problem with that – but please don’t try to hide things from us.

Thing is, if everybody stops buying gas from the #1 distributor, that would mean suddenly there’s more demand and less supply all being channeled to the other gas companies. Everyone who used to buy Exxon going to Shell instead means Shell raises their rates. And probably winds up buying gasoline from Exxon to keep up with the demand spike.

If who writes this sends it to 30 people who all send it to 10, a lot of people are going to get the same email from several friends. Six degrees of separation and all that. You and I might both send this to the same person, but that doesn’t make that person count twice.

Friends, the only way gas prices will ever come down for more than a few days is if demand falls compared to supply. Magical wishful thinking won’t do it. Neither will Enron style accounting games, using numbers to pretend something is happening when it’s not. This is a distraction from actually doing anything to improve the situation!


This was sent by a retired Coca Cola executive. It came from one of his
engineer buddies who retired from Halliburton. If you are tired of the gas
prices going up AND they will continue to rise this summer, take time to
read this please.

Phillip Hollsworth offered this good idea. This makes MUCH MORE SENSE than
the “don’t buy gas on a certain day” campaign that was going around last
April or May! It’s worth your consideration. Join the resistance!!!!

I hear we are going to hit close to $ 4.00 a gallon by next summer and it
might go higher!! Want gasoline prices to come down?

We need to take some intelligent, united action. The oil companies just
laughed at that because they knew we wouldn’t continue to “hurt” ourselves
by refusing to buy gas .

It was more of an inconvenience to us than it was a problem for them. BUT,
whoever thought of this idea, has come up with a plan that can Really work.
Please read on and join with us!

By now you’re probably thinking gasoline priced at about $2.00 is super
cheap. Me too! It is currently $3.49 for regular unleaded in my town,

Now that the oil companies and the OPEC nations have conditioned us to
think that the cost of a gallon of gas is CHEAP at $1.50 – $1.75, we need to
take aggressive action to teach them that BUYERS control the
marketplace…not sellers.

With the price of gasoline going up more each day, we consumers need to
take action.

The only way we are going to see the price of gas come down is if we hit
someone in the pocketbook by not purchasing their gas! And, we can do that
WITHOUT hurting ourselves.

How? Since we all rely on our cars, we can’t just stop buying gas.

But we CAN have an impact on gas prices if we all act together to force a
price war.

Here’s the idea: For the rest of this year, DON’T purchase ANY gasoline
from the two biggest companies (which now are one), EXXON and MOBIL.

If they are not selling any gas, they will be inclined to reduce their
prices. If they reduce their prices, the other companies will have to
follow suit.

But to have an impact, we need to reach literally millions of Exxon and
Mobil gas buyers. It’s really simple to do! Now, don’t wimp out on me at
this point…keep reading and I’ll explain how simple it is to reach
millions of people!!

I am sending this note to 30 people. If each of us send it to at least ten
more (30 x 10 = 300) … and those 300 send it to at least ten more (300 x
10 = 3,000)… and so on, by the time the message reaches the sixth group of
people, we will have reached over THREE MILLION consumer. If those three
million get excited and pass this on to ten friends each, then 30 million
people will have been contacted!

If it goes one level further, you guessed it….. THREE HUNDRED MILLION

Again, all you have to do is send this to 10 people. That’s all!

(If you don’t understand how we can reach 300 million and all you have to
do is send this to 10 people…. Well, let’s face it, you just aren’t a
mathematician. But I am . so trust me on this one.

How long would all that take? If each of us sends this e-mail out to ten
more people within one day of receipt, all 300 MILLION people could
conceivably be contacted within the next 8 days!!!

I’ll bet you didn’t think you and I had that much potential, did you!
Acting together we can make a difference.

If this makes sense to you, please pass this message on. I suggest that we

Keep it going

Is it just me, or do others find it funny that the author writes things like “I need gas as badly as junkies need crack, and that means I should get to set the price!” Typical entitled thinking, almost certainly hatched by a Republican.

March 20, 2008

By Unaided Reason Alone

Filed under: Science — alexanderthegreatest @ 11:24 pm
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The First Cause

We all know that things have a beginning, a middle and an end. In other words, cause and effect. If you follow the chain from effect to it’s cause and so on, all the way backward, you’ll reach the first cause. God, who caused all else.

The Overwhelming Consistancy of Nature

If our home, Planet Earth, had been an inch closer to the sun, it would be so hot we would have never survived to burn up. An inch further away, and we’d be a frozen wasteland in the depths of space. The consistant movement of all the planets through space is overwhelmingly an amazing fact.

Like human law, natural law seems naturally to have come from a law giver.


And from this comes intelligent design, a completely different subject. One which asks the question of whether people can choose not to believe in the faith, and whether children can receive a qualit education. We’re not fascists. I’m concerned with a different question of design – so please, however much is possible, hold apart the message from its perverted use.

A blind watch maker, well, you already know the rest.


God is of course the definition of goodness, and Hell isn’t so much a place where souls burn on brimstone, but the absense of God. Without this ultimate creator of everything there would be no good or evil.

There is great injustice in the world. Genocide is going on, unchallenged by George W Bush who invaded Iraq looking for imaginary weapons to fix humanitarian problems like the ones we’re ignoring in Darfur, Sudan. Hundreds of thousands of people have been murdered since 2003, and millions are homeless. Many will continue to die horrible deaths, largely at the hands of the janjaweed. It is only in death that these wrongs will be righted, as God takes the good into Heaven and leaves the rest. Without God, the world would ultimately be devoid of justice.

The Prevayler, Klaus Wuestefeld, and Cooked Numbers

Filed under: Programming — alexanderthegreatest @ 12:16 pm
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Actually, two-phase commit is unnecessary. —KlausWuestefeld

A 2 phase commit is a protocol for distributed transactions. A local transaction means work is done in a tentative way, and then committed, or made permanent. This is a single phase commit. When a transaction is run against more than one store or data source, this is insufficient. Consider this scenario

  1. Data must be changed in 3 related databases (each hosted on its own server or “box”) to processes a logical unit of work – say creating a new user account.
  2. A winter storm knocks down a power line, causing a server to loose power and go down.
  3. The 2 other servers are unable to get confirmation that the 3rd has successfully completed its update, so they roll back their part of the transaction, preserving a valid state across the system. (This must be possible even after a local commit.)

Ideally, the distributed transaction would not fail, and no rollback would be necessary. However, in the real world, this inevitability must be accounted for. A non computer analogy would be a space shuttle (or even a sea faring vessel) preparing to launch – if any system isn’t ready, the entire launch is aborted. This is very much necessary.

Consider this quote from the very same article

Actually the TwoPhaseCommit is the algorithm for resolving commit commands for distributed transactions. What prevayler does is a basic recovery mechanism, and it sweeps concurrency control under the carpet by serializing all concurrent acesses to the global object model. Well, it works in situations, but you have to be very careful in analyzing whether it works for your particular problem. If you have a distributed transaction situation, the lack of support for TwoPhaseCommit is can be a very serious deficiency, but again, depending on the particular situation it may not be too big a problem. Because what TwoPhaseCommit does at the infrastructure layer, transparent to the developer, could be done at the application layer with application specific business logic. I guess that’s what Klaus’ article it’s trying to say: that you can deal with the issues at the business logic level. However, depending on the situation that extra business logic you have to add can be extremeley simple or it can be extremely complex, and I’m affraid the examples he presented are not very representative of how and why one would be in a distributed transaction situation and how to handle it.

The wiki article introducing The Prevayler gives these statistics

-3,251 times faster than MySQL.
-9,983 times faster than ORACLE.

This is probably true for some operations.  For example, someone else in the article goes on to explain that Oracle is tuned for a mixture of read and write operations, while MySQL has less optimization for real world work loads.  While Oracle is in general much more performance delivering than MySQL, very specific cases can be set up to show the reverse.

The Prevayler stores its data entirely in memory, serializes all “transactions” (runs them step by step, one after another) so scale is severely limited, and real world data sets simply can not be processed with this Java toy.  Much like Safari, the world’s fastest browser, and one which ignores instructions (like in some cases anything to do with background) in order to achieve that speed – hardly useful!

Still, toy is perhaps too harsh a word, for there are many web applications with trivial needs that can be satisfied by such a system.  It’s annoying to read Klaus defend his work by saying, over and over again, that any feature not implemented by “The Prevayler” is unnecessary in any situation.  As shown with 2 phase commit, this type of arrogance is off putting, and makes a person want to stick with standardized, tested, non buggy RDBMS code.

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