on the subject of livejournal friends pages

We interrupt your regularly scheduled lack-of-posting to bring you this breaking news update:

A few people have recently noted that they have been removed from my LJ friends page. The management would like to reassure the denizens of LiveJournal that being removed from my friends list does not mean that I hate you. It does not mean that we’re no longer friends. It does not mean that I never want to hang out with you again.

My friends page is not a list of my friends. It is a list of people that I like to read. So, if you don’t post regularly (i.e., more often that I update my weblog — which, trust me. That’s not hard), or you post a multitude of cryptic one-liners that make no sense to me, I likely deleted you. If there’s some piece of information that simply must get to me, such as “I was abducted by the lizard people but now I’m back” or “I’m graduating,” the preferred method of contacting me is e-mail or IM. In more urgent cases, such as “how about some cheese” or “my favorite pet ant (you know, the one with the funny colored leg? Sammy? Who was hated by all the other child-ants?) was abducted by lizard people and I’m freaking out,” a phonecall may be more appropriate.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled bursts of silence, stupid news articles, and equally stupid ramblings.

Florida considers law outlawing withdrawal of food and water

Appeals Court Refuses to Order Schiavo’s Feeding Reinstated: “In Tallahassee, Governor Bush worked to gather support for a bill that could force at least a temporary restoration of Ms. Schiavo’s feeding tube. A measure passed last week by the House of Representatives would outlaw the withdrawal of food and water from people in a ‘persistent vegetative state,’ as doctors have diagnosed Ms. Schiavo, who had not left specific instructions refusing artificial sustenance.”

I can’t believe this bill would gain any traction in Florida. The majority of Fl citizens are elderly, and while I have no doubt that most of them want to live long, fulfilling lives, I’d be willing to bet that most of them wouldn’t want to be kept alive in circumstances such as these. Nationwide polling seems to support this.

Clearly, the way out of this is leave clear instructions concerning end-of-life instructions. If you’re not so thoughtful, however, what do you do?

In a way, this reminds me of the anti-death penalty arguments: we shouldn’t execute people because there’s always some chance they could be innocent. Witness testimony is unreliable, and DNA evidence has been exonerating people left and right. Can we apply a similar argument to someone in a persistent vegetative state who hasn’t left instructions concerning end-of-life?

I’ve got a date!

That might sound like a good thing, except it’s actually the date when I’ll retake the PhD Qualifier.

May 17-18 (a monday) is the day. I’ve got a wedding in Philadelphia the previous weekend (May 8).

Right. I’ve managed to get some studying done almost every sunday this year. I should be OK, right? Right?

Tracking PCs anywhere on the Net

Tracking PCs anywhere on the Net

A University of California Ph.D. Student, Tadayoshi Kohno, will be presenting research in the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy. Kohno has apparently managed to fingerprint remote devices, even if they are behind a NAT box, or behind an anonymizer service. Furthermore, Kohno’s techniques work regardless of distance: a target can be next door, or multiple hops and thousands of miles.

This is fascinating work. I’m going to add this to my stack of papers to read.

(Via Mitch Kapor’s Weblog.)

DrunkenBlog: Inside Ranchero with Brent and Sheila Simmons

DrunkenBlog: Inside Ranchero with Brent and Sheila Simmons: “In case the name Ranchero is new to you, Brent and Sheila make NetNewsWire (RSS aggregator) and MarsEdit (Weblog editor) for Mac OS X, among other things.”

NetNewsWire is an excellent piece of software. I’ve experimented with some of the other RSS readers for OSX and linux, and found them all to be lacking in some respect. NNW benefits from having a developer (Brent) who truly listens to his users and is willing to take their perspectives and ideas into account without losing track of his basic vision for the software.