Thursday, February 24, 2005

UN and EU

Dr. Erich Pohl spoke at the United Nations Association of Utah on Tuesday. He gave an informative presentation on the European perspective of the United States and the U.N.. I enjoyed Dr. Pohl emphasizes that the trans-Atlantic relation between the United States is really built on the millions of human and trade contacts across the Ocean. He also rejects the Machiavellian notions currently dominating trans-Atlantic politics. In the US, we have the Straussian/Rumsfeld crowd that thinks the US must dominate the world. In Europe the Chirac crowd postures that the EU must be a contervaling force to a rogue US. Pushing aside the fantasies of a world spirit, we find the real driving force of the world is the millions of people with a staggering number of connections between them. We prosper when we work together. We suffer when the demigogs of the world find ways to tear us apart.

The presentation is even more interesting as President Bush is currently visiting the EU. We can hope that Bush will try to mend fences. He left Rumsfeld and Cheney behind, which is a good sign. Regardless of the acts of presidents, the real relation between the US and the EU is the millions of personal contacts across the Atlanta. Presidential politics divides. It is the people that unite.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Who Links To Me

I saw this on another blog. I am pasting it on this entry to see what it does: Who Links Here.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Fired for Blogging

Apparently, there is a growing list of people getting fired for blogging. Even blogger heaven Google cast off a disgruntled employee who was disgrunting in public. The Queen of Sky flight attendent is a getting a great deal of attention. She was fired because several pictures on her site showed pictures of her in uniform. The reports I read didn't indicate if the poses were provocative. Simply that they existed. I suspect that airline was more worried about effects of blogging on the corporate culture opposed to publicity about their uniforms. Too much free thought starts people wondering why we have an out of what social structure with only a few owners to thousands of workers.

There needs to be a way to address the imbalances of power between individuals and corporations without the debate being hijacked by activists recruiting for the revolution. I keep thinking of adding to crass commercial. The size and the limited number of players in so many markets really is spelling the end of the original dream of a free society. The blogger firings provide a visible example of the way that modern corporate culture suppresses individual expression.

On the flip side, of course, is that sad fact that few bloggers realize that the process of blogging is a form of publishing and requires attention to details such as copyrights and trademarks. It is said, though, that people who write, create art work or otherwise think outside of the corporate box often do great harm to their careers.

I Hate PDFs

It is interesting to think about history. If Adobe had done a little bit better job in its design of the Postscript language, HTML would never have existed. Everything would be written in PostScript. Unfortunately, the internal structure of Postscript was just too quirky for a mass audience. It is possible to learn the basics of writing HTML in a few short sessions. Even more important, it is possible for normal people to write web pages in notepad. Postscript just has too many oddities to capture the mass market.

Anyway, PostScript did not capture the mass market. Most of the web is written in HTML. Most of the browsers were designed for HTML. Postscript online requires add ons. Postscript add ons are quite often faulty. Clicking on a PDF file all but guarantees that my computer will crash and that I will lose all the work in open documents. This happens in both explorer and Firefox.

I've tested several other computers. About half of the computers I've tested crash when I click on PDF links. I've tested computers at local libraries. I know a person who bought a brand new computer. It crashed when I clicked on PDF links. I would not be surprised if 30% of the computers crash whenever someone clicks on a PDF.

Which brings me to my rant. I hate when people use navigation structures that mask the name and type of file in a link. I avoid PDF files like the plague. Invariably, however, so clever John will include PDFs with the name of the destination masked. I click on the link and before I know it, my computer is crashing as it tries to load the Adobe Acrobat Reader. I've lost hours of work because, while using the net to check data, I've acccidently clicked on PDF links. I hate Acrobat Reader with a passion.

Anyway, it seems to me that good web design etiquette requires that web masters make it clear when your link leads from an HTML page to a different file format. Personally, I think the primary navigation structure for a site should be entirely in HTML. The navigation bar at the top or on the side of the page should only go to HTML pages. The HTML pages should then make it clear when you are clicking to resources using add ons.

The same design criteria goes for contact pages. The main reason I click on a contact page is to see the physical address of a company. I consider it bad design to have a "Contact" link in the main navigation struction go to an email link. Anyway, I lost yet another pile of work to the fact that some bozo webmaster had a PDF link hidden in the navigation structure of a page. I clicked on what I thought would be an HTML page. Instead my computer does the Adobe Crash and Die.