Stephen’s Statements A little bit of everything from Stephen Duncan Jr, a Software Developer in Portland, Oregon

Friday, November 26, 2004

Blue State Blues

Blue State Blues. Hilarious. Read it. Now.

"I'm not sure where we went wrong," says Ellen McCormack, nervously fondling the recycled paper cup holding her organic Kona soy latte. "It seems like only yesterday Rain was a carefree little boy at the Montessori school, playing non-competitive musical chairs with the other children and his care facilitators."

"But now..." she pauses, staring out the window of her postmodern Palo Alto home. The words are hesitant, measured, bearing a tale of family heartbreak almost too painful for her to recount. "But now, Rain insists that I call him Bobby Ray."

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Media Laziness

While not exactly about politics, the "press" plays an important role in politics. And its failures are therefore important to note. In this case, Mark Cuban notes the laziness of reporters in regards to the Pacers-Pistons-fans brawl.

Thanksgiving and Communism: A Lesson

A Thanksgiving Lesson. A discussion on Gov. Bradford of the Pilgrim's Plymouth Rock founding colony, and his statements on their initial attempt at communism.

Among Bradford's many insights it's amazing that he saw so clearly how collectivism failed not only as an economic system but that even among godly men "it did at least much diminish and take off the mutual respects that should be preserved amongst them." And it shocks me to my core when he writes that to make the collectivist system work would have required "great tyranny and oppression." Can you imagine how much pain the twentieth century could have avoided if Bradford's insights been more widely recognized?

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Brendan Eich: OpenLaszlo and Eclipse

Brendan's Roadmap Updates: OpenLaszlo and Eclipse

Brendan notes that Laszlo has released an IDE for LZX based on Eclipse. Noting the similarity of LZX and XUL, he asks for takers on patching it to support XUL. I hope we do find a taker, as that will be a huge step in allowing for people to adopt XUL. Not that yesterday's thoughts don't still apply.

Update: Brendan says they (Mozilla folks) are talking with the Laszlo people.

Stephen: we are already talking to Laszlo folks, and we'll see what can be done quickly. It may not pay to converge and standardize, instead of harmonize. Laszlo would love to target native support in Firefox, of course, but that's another Gecko extension to be written. If LZX evolves to use CSS and the full DOM and ECMA-262 Edition 3, then it's a better match to a future Gecko (+ extension) target.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Open Source/Standard XML User Interface Language

I've posted on this topic before.

From an interview with CTO of Laszlo Systems:

But now that the source code is open and available, we're working on establishing alliances to get this platform, especially the LZX language, to be a standard. That benefits us and the industry because this is the open Web. It's open source. It runs everywhere and runs in any browser.

Competition with Longhorn's XAML platform from Microsoft is mentioned, but Mozilla's XUL is not. What does this mean for the future of XUL? Will the split of competitor's between XUL, Laszlo, and the proprietary Macromedia Flex allow Microsoft to win?

The primary incompatibility between XUL and Laszlo is that XUL requires some portion of the Mozilla runtime environment to run, whereas Laszlo uses Flash. With Flash having a much larger install base, people look at Laszlo as being essentially zero-install on the client.

What I would like to see is Mozilla and Laszlo work together to come to a standard on the XML UI language. Then Laszlo could continue to produce a Flash-based implementation, while Mozilla continued to produce it's current implementation. Both implementations have pros and cons. Flash is cross browser; Mozilla is themeable, and has more native-like widgets.

I don't know what the currently techincal differences are in the languages, so I don't know how far away this concept would be to achieve. But I really think that it's got to be started now, if open-source is to compete in this field with Microsoft. Any ideas on how to get this ball rolling?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Population Density and Voting

A Tale of Two Maps via Instapundit.

Comparisons of these two maps make startlingly obvious the extent to which population density predicts voter behavior. Though not a perfect match, the relationship is undeniable -- and ultimately enigmatic.

The relationship is definitely there. I've seen another map where the population is shown as a 3d bar graph coming out of the locations, with red vs. blue counties.

The statistician's perennial caveat is that "correlation is not causation." but there is little doubt that there is connection, largely unexplained, between ideology and demography.

One thing I noted throughout this article though, is that the question of causation which way was never asked. Are people in low population density areas then influenced to become Republican? Or do Republicans tend to move towards low density areas? The first seems to be assumed in the article, but the second seems quite likely to me as well. Republicans are seen as the party of small government, generally favored by the "leave me alone" sorts. Those same sorts are the type that would tend to like some elbow room, and would prefer to live in low population density areas.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

WinNoia 1.3

I've put the new version of WinNoia up. I did it quickly, so let me know if there's anything wrong. This update uses the latest version of Winstripe, so all the new icons are there, and makes the theme compatible with 1.0+.

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Coming Back to Tech Goodness

Just got back from vacation with my in-laws. Now I'm setting up my new Tivo that they gave me for my birthday. And I find out that Firefox 1.0 has been released! So I'll be grabbing that shortly; go grab it yourself.

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Election Day

I voted today, at around 4:30 pm. Happily, my polling place is just a block and a half away. The line was not too long, though it had been longer earlier in the day, apparently. The touch-screen system was pretty fool-proof as long as you assume that DieBold can guarentee that what my vote showed up as on the screen is what will get registered. Is it so hard to provide a paper receipt that I can check and turn in, to be used in the case of a recount?

There were only two positions on the ballot here. I actually voted straight Republican. I voted pretty much straight Libertarian last election, so take it for what you will.