Older blog entries for cinamod (starting at number 26)

The Second U.S. Presidential Debate

Like a lot of the people I know, I spent yesterday night inside watching the debate instead of being out on the town. Two few things about the President's demeanor and rhetoric particularly struck me as unsettling.

Firstly, President Bush called Senator Kerry "the most liberal senator in this nation's history" on several occasions. My knowledge of the candidates leads me to believe this to be patently false. A few weeks ago, Luis referred me to this site, which attempts to show where a person's political views fall in 2-space, rather than the traditional "liberal/conservative" line. (For the record, I fall in the lower, left quadrant, or about 180 degrees from both Bush and Kerry.) Notice how closely grouped Bush and Kerry are, based on their statements, campaign promises, voting record, etc... Based on your knowledge of the candidates, which of the following are true?

A) President Bush is misinformed/lying/expounding rhetoric.

B) Senator Kerry is pretty liberal, all things considered. If you're a liberal, you find this sad.

C) President Bush's campaign is misinformed as to where a true centrist lies.

D) The graph's information/method/premise is wrong.

E) One or more of the above.

Secondly, it seemed as though all nuance escapes the President. In his projected worldview, everything boils down to Yes/No answers, and it doesn't matter why you answered Yes/No on any particular item. Again, this may be pure rhetoric on the part of the President. For instance:

A) "Senator Kerry voted against spending $87 billion in Iraq." Indeed, Senator Kerry didn't vote for the President's $87 billion plan. He was in favor of another $87 billion dollar plan which was *nearly identical* to the President's, except that it drew that $87 billion by rolling back President Bush's tax cuts rather than incurring further deficit spending. Kerry's vote is not so much of a "no" as a "yes, but let's get the money from over here instead."

B) "Senator Kerry didn't vote for the partial birth abortion ban." Again, Kerry did not vote for this bill. Why? Because it failed to include a provision in cases where the mother's health is gravely at risk. Kerry's vote is not so much of a "no" as a "yes, but let's make this one extremely narrow exception."

C) "Senator Kerry voted against the Department of Homeland Security." Again, the President is correct. But only because as part of its charter, the DHS as sponsored by the President excludes its workers from joining unions. Kerry would have voted for the DHS if this provision were removed. Kerry's vote is not so much of a "no" as a "yes, but let's make sure that the workers in this new department have the same rights as other employees."

D) President bush called Senator Kerry a "tax and spend liberal", without mentioning that he himself is a "don't tax, but keep spending" conservative. Clearly, the President isn't conservative in the "fiscally conservative" school of thought, and what more, has never vetoed a spending bill from Congress. The days of Republicans wanting small government are truely over, and the Republicans I know resent that. I'm not an economist, but I'm highly unconvinced that tax cuts somehow lead to higher tax revenues and smaller deficits. If you're going to net less income, it seems as though you need to spend less, at least in the long-term. In the long-term, we as citizens all have to balance our checkbooks. Why should our government be held to a lower standard? Shouldn't someone with a MBA be aware of this?

I don't necessarily believe that President Bush himself believes this rhetoric, but his campaign is trying to convince you that the rhetoric is true in the interest of getting President Bush re-elected. Not that the Kerry campaign is innocent either. But in my opinion, the FUD spread in the debates thus far has been fairly one-sided.

22 Sep 2004 (updated 23 Sep 2004 at 03:17 UTC) »

Hacker Head

So my ~3 journal entries have finally been syndicated to Planet Gnome. Huzzah!

In the process, I've tried (and amittedly, failed) at creating a viable hacker head.

If someone with more Gimp-foo than myself would like to give it a whirl, I was thinking of using this photo as my base. There's a free [drink of choice] in it for you @ the next Gnome Summit or Guadec.


I'm slowly making my way back from an extended hacking absence here. A few fixes here, a few fixes there. It's all building up to AbiWord 2.2, which is due out in about 1 month. The 2.1.x branch is probably an order of magnitude more stable than the 2.0.x branch for the same feature set. 2.1.x's new features need some more testing, but things seem to be coming together rather nicely. I love it when a plan comes together.


To the delight of my mother and mothers everywhere, I've enrolled part-time at Harvard graduate school this semester. I recently finished up a fascinating IP law class there this summer. No, I'm not thinking of becoming a lawyer...

I've been involved in a few GPL scuffles with some corporations. You know who you are. Knowing the history and realities of US and World copyright, patent, and trademark law has shed some new light on why things are the way they are, and how one might go about changing them for the better. It was quite a thrill to defend GPL-like licenses in class against a man who is Harvard's top IP lawyer and clerked for a Supreme Court Justice.

Hackergotchi Update

Thanks go out to RP and Tobias for their hacker head submissions. I think that I'll be using this one for now.

Found this neat snippet of HTML code on Slashdot today:

<LINK REL="alternate" TITLE="Slashdot RSS" HREF="//slashdot.org/index.rss" TYPE="application/rss+xml">

If you have a relatively new Firefox (1.0rc will do nicely), Firefox will act as an RSS aggregator by creating a virtual bookmark folder. It's kind-of neat. I expect that the RSS planets out there will start using it.


I think that the US basketball team's loss to Puerto Rico is an embarrasment. And I do think that its members are some of the best players in the world. And yet I think that they still should have lost.

The US basketball team isn't a team. It's comprosed of superstars that don't work well together, and Tim Duncan. Each player is *the* star on his own team. Its co-captian, Allen Iverson, is a street thug who doesn't like to practice and has a problem with coaches. Like this year's NBA finals where the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Detroit Pistons, we've seen that the whole can be much less than the sum of its parts.

It's probably also noteworthy that the first 10 people asked to be on this team turned down the offer. I don't think that happened on Puerto Rico, Argentina, Serbia, Spain, or Lithuania.

I don't think that the US team underestimated Puerto Rico. I think that the US chose some great players. I think that the US chose a lousy team. And we'll suffer for it.



I'd love to get word and character spacing into Pango proper before its next release. It's essential for handling SVG's text elements properly in librsvg, and I really would rather not duplicate any work that you're putting into Mozilla. If you have a plan of action, lemme know.


It is great the Caleb is working on adding filters to librsvg. Soon, we'll have nice support for all sorts of blurs, masks, and the like. I believe that this will lead to a significant improvement in the quality of SVG icon themes.

However, these will definitely not detract from RSVG's speed in cases where where these filters are *not* used. The way filters work is they take a base image (i.e. what you've already drawn using our lightning-fast rendering engine) and transform it according to a set of rules.

Granted, to start supporting some features (and make others work 100% correctly), RSVG will need some internal changes. But I imagine that these changes will make RSVG resemble XSVG's internally. Considering that XSVG is a fork of RSVG, I don't think that'll be *too* drastic of a change for us to re-merge.

I think that RSVG will be the full-featured renderer that you want. I think that it will be the fast renderer that you want. I do not think that replacing RSVG with KSVG is a good idea. I do not think that replacing RSVG with XSVG is a good idea.

And yes, application writers need to start using the new GdkPixbuf and GtkImage APIs that I've added in GTK 2.3. Too much scaling is happening after load-time, and as a result, our Scalable Vector Graphics aren't looking as nicely as they should. Bravo to Gnome-Games for getting this right!


Indeed, that would be a great idea. I can concretely point out a few things that are lacking or need improvement, though:

1) GtkSpell is dependant on Aspell/Pspell. It would be preferable if it instead used something like Enchant. Patch here.

2) Its language support is pretty basic right now. It'd probably be preferable if it would use a "lang" TextTag.

I guess I'll contact Evan Martin or the new maintainer and send him up a new patch that addresses these concerns.


I've been distracted away from any productive AbiWord hacking in so long... The good news is that some other projects got a bit of help along along their periphery.

Was able to write GIMP plug-in loaders for the JBIG and SWF formats. The SWF plugin lets you load any frame from a SWF movie, optionally scaled/otherwise resized. Why open Flash movies inside of GIMP? I dunno. Boredom, I suppose :)

Also thinking of writing a RSVG plugin for Moz. Its builtin SVG support shows promise, but (at present) leaves much to be desired. Yeah, RSVG needs a lot of work too. I'll see what I can get to, now that most of the Sodipodi Flags work properly.

We all loved you Chema. Words can't describe how much I'll miss you.

Matrix Revolutions. Wow. Darn good movie. No tribal sex scenes. No crappy CGI. Just lots of wholesome goodness. Yum.

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