Google Knows Where You Live

Lots of folks are commenting on Google’s dubious taste in news sources for Google News. But did you know that Google has implemented a reverse-telephone directory that provides a name and address when you enter a phone number?
Go try typing your home phone number into the main Google search page and see what pops out.
To their credit, they do offer an opt-out form where you can request your number be removed. But still: creepy…

Ecosystem Games: Fun While They Last

We’ve had another outbreak of Ecosystem manipulation, I’m afraid. But thanks to Ann reaching out to me, it is now at an end. The culprits this time are Marginal Utility and The Columnist Manifesto.
I’ve sent the message below to both bloggers; rest assured that I have a less-than-zero tolerance policy at this point for Ecosystem games, and anyone who chooses to try their hand at them will soon be receiving a similar message.
Oscar & Tom:
Yes, it is possible to

TTLB: A bear, a girl, and the strong urge to get married

I am pleased to report that very soon, the lovely Lady M will become Mrs. Bear. Our wedding day is fast approaching!
We are currently making final decisions about wedding rings, and I thought I might solicit some blogosphere advice.
First, her ring. We have pretty good ideas on what we are looking for for hers; either platinum or white gold with diamonds. We’ve found a few jewelers in our home Orange County, CA area that we like, but I would welcome recommendations if anyone has them for jewelers in our area that you trust. We’re especially interested in jewelers that can do custom designs, as we’re picky, and will probably not find precisely what we want “off-the-rack”.
Second, mine. One of the options that I am considering is a Titanium ring. I like the look; the strength and resistance to scratches is apparently much better than white gold or platinum, it’s lightweight, and it’s not expensive. What could be bad?
Well, for one thing, titanium requires a completely different fabrication process (it’s milled from a block, not poured molten in a mold) and so very, very few jewelers do work in titanium. I haven’t found anyone local that does, but there are quite a few on the Internet. The problem, of course, is that everybody knows you should never trust anybody on the Internet! 🙂
So: does anyone know a Titanium jeweler on the net that you’ve done business with and would recommend?
General thoughts on the process are also welcome, particularly the whole Titanium thing. Anybody have a Titanium ring? Do you like it? Are all the claims about durability true, or hype?
Thanks all…

Annoying the FEC: Fun and Educational!

Many bloggers are all abuzz about the prospect of campaign finance laws being applied to blogs. The Rocky Mountain News explains:
Current FEC rules count any Web link to a candidate’s Web site as “coordination” with that candidate’s campaign. If applied to the Internet, that could make individual bloggers subject to the much more restrictive rules that now govern the activity of special-interest groups.
As “Captain Ed” Morrissey of the political blog Captain’s Quarters said in an open letter to Sens. McCain and Feingold, during the presidential campaign he linked to Kerry’s Web site four times as often as to Bush’s, “which would have meant to the FEC that I was a major contributor to his campaign.” In fact, he was a Bush supporter.

Where Ed sees stupidity, I see opportunity! It’s rare that such a fine chance for amusing civil disobedience comes along.
Unless I’m missing something (entirely posssible), current campaign finance rules would hold the offending blogger responsible for giving a “contribution” with their dirty, dirty link — but they would also hold the campaign linked to responsible, regardless of whether the campaign wanted the link or not.
Catching on yet? It’s easy, and fun, too! Simply pick the least desirable candidate whose sheer presence on our fair planet offends you, and link, link, link to their site!
Sure, you’ll be in trouble with the FEC. But unless you’re planning on sitting out the next campaign cycle entirely, let’s face it: you’re going to be anyway, if the rules don’t change. So you might as well wreak some blessed havoc on the books of your least favorite candidates on your way down.
What’s that you say — the FEC could then decide to only count “real” links that are truly meant as support for a candidate?
Splendid! There’s nothing more amusing than watching a government agency attempt to implement content-based restrictions on free speech. Did I really mean it when I made that hypertext link to JFK II’s site that said He’s a Fine Fine American And I Feel Empty Inside Without Him? Maybe I did… and maybe I didn’t!
I look forward to the FEC figuring it out, and letting me know.

Debugging in Progress

I’m beginning yet another round of debugging in my ongoing quest to find and swat the performance bugs around these parts. Many TTLB functions will be disabled over the next few days; please be patient. Thanks…
NZB
Update 3/4 PM: This now extends to the status display used on blogger’s pages, which is disabled. Bear with me…

Democrats Long For The Good Old Days

Democrats comparing Republicans to Nazis? Yesterday’s news!
How about Howard Dean as FDR?
Mississippi Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Dowdy, this morning on NPR’s Morning Edition, speaking on Howard Dean’s visit to his state:
“The Republicans would criticize us if we resurrected Franklin D. Roosevelt and brought him back — there would be criticism from the Republicans. We are honored to have Chairman Dean here…”
Everybody knew that the Democrats were getting desperate when they tried their unholy effort to annoint John Kerry as JFK2 in the 2004 election. But who knew they’d continue reaching backward into the past?
What’s next — Hillary as Andrew Jackson?