Zero Tolerance

It’s not often that I agree with an opinion piece on Fox News, but when they’re right they’re right. In Zero Patience for Zero Tolerance the author describes some of the problems with zero tolerance in schools, which was brought to national attention with the Stratford Creek High drug raid. Do we really have so few problems in this country that we need to wage war on our own people? (via Fark)

Book Piracy

The Japanese have all the smart stuff before us, like tiny cellphones, pachinko, combination washer/dryers. Now they’re taking bold steps to prevent libraries from lending books. Libraries and used bookstores, the Napsters of the book world, have long cut into book publishers precious margins. For what? An informed public? Balderdash. They did so out of pure communist evil. It’s about time someone had the cajones to take on these card cataloging satanists. Remember P2P evil. (via Fark)
Update 2003-11-17: We should probably start a fund now to provide the ailing book industry with money to send bogus DMCA takedowns to the Distributed Library Project (via Murph). The gall of some people, thinking that they can loan out or sell things they bought.

Driver License Numbers

It turns out that driver license numbers aren’t random, but hashes of your personal information. Alan De Smet has figured out the algorithms 7 states use to generate driver license numbers, and provides a web form for calculating them. He was able to get mine, which was kind of scary, although Jenny reported that hers was wrong. Scary stuff, what with identity theft being so easy these days. (via Crypto-Gram)

Spam vs. Hackers

According to the Washington Post spam caused more economic damage than hackers and viruses last month. I can easily believe it, spam is a constant problem and it could easily be the death of email. People who think that it’s just a matter of using the delete key need to be shown what spam does to mail servers. Tragedy of the commons… (via IP)
An interesting aside: I was at a going away dinner for a friend and two guys I didn’t know an I got to talking. They told me that they sent out bulk email and I said “so you’re spammers?” and they said they were. My first inclination was to violently beat them but I didn’t know what that would accomplish aside from showing an insignificant portion of spammers how the world feels about them.
I asked “so you get paid to send my younger brother and sister porn pictures?” One of them said that they didn’t send porn anymore, and suggested that organized crime was responsible for a lot of that. So what could I have done in that situation? I don’t see how I could show someone the damage that spam does in a way they haven’t already rationalized as ignorable.

Ann Arbor News Weblogs

I had no idea that the Ann Arbor News has weblogs. It’s a shame they don’t have GeoURL tags or I would have found them a lot sooner. It’s also a shame that they don’t support RSS because I probably won’t visit them again.
That’s not a threat against sites that don’t RSS, it’s a simple fact. NetNewsWire remembers to check sites for me so that I don’t have to. If your site doesn’t let me check it in NetNewsWire, I won’t remember to check it on my own. Sorry.
Occasionally I’ll get so frustrated with a site’s lack of an RSS feed that I’ll create my own. I don’t do it very often because it is legally questionably and despite what some people think I’m actually not interested in being sued any time soon. For the record I contact sites about doing getting RSS feeds from their sites and if I don’t hear back from them I go ahead.

iTunes Linking

You can link to songs on the iTunes music store a number of ways. You can use the iTunes Link Maker, you can roll your own links, or you can do what I do and right-click in iTunes.
Then you can create links to songs like Double Dutch Bus, albums like To the Extreme or playlists like Missy Elliot’s.
Wait a second, if you’re using a browser that supports standards like CSS you’ve probably noticed the icons next to the iTunes links above. If you’re really interested, you’ve probably viewed my source and noticed that I don’t have any images in there. WTF?
I adapted <a href=”; title=Link Markers: CSS Generated Content”>a tip I found on SurfMind (via 0xDECAFBAD) for adding icons to links based on their hrefs. Whenever a link to the iTunes Music Store appears, CSS supporting browsers will add an image after the link automatically, with no effort on your part.
If you want to do the same, put /images/itunes.gif on your web server, then add the following to your CSS:

content: url("/images/itunes.gif");

You can do this for lots of different link types, the technique appears to have originated on As Days Pass By.