Rants

Telus Service

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I tell ya. I order a high speed business line from Telus on Thursday night
and on Friday they turn around and cut off our phone service. Way to go
Telus! So we call them a few times on Friday to figure out wtf is going
on. We thought maybe it was due to all the rain and a line was out or
something. But Penny and Dave's line (in the basement suite) was still
working so it obviously wasn't that.

Then I decided to check if the internet had already been activated which
wasn't suppose to be working until the 14th. It had been so we called back
and told them that. But no... let's not look at it on our own bloody end,
we're gonna have to wait until Monday and send a technician out to figure out
what the problem is... YOU BROKE THE PHONE FROM YOU'RE END, SO FIX IT FROM
YOUR END!!!! (note that they won't give us a time frame for when a technician
will come out either, so someone has to be home from 8am to 5pm on Monday)
For some reason they think having no phone line for four days
is an acceptable inconvenience.

So if you've tried calling us but the line just kept ringing with no
answering machine picking up. It's because we have no line. Assholes.

A win for bush, a loss for...

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I think that if Americans knew that Kerry would have given up before the fight was even over, he would have received much fewer votes than he did. This is the exact reason why he didn't win... Americans don't want a sissy. Obviously what's happened over the past four years doesn't matter too much to Kerry if he would give up so easily. Ahh, well, at least the Americans have stamped the last four years with approval and filed it away. Of course this is assuming that there was no corrupt e-voting machines (which we'll never know)...

My only suggestion... buy property now, before bush declares war on abortions, scientific research, and gays.

(hmm... is it just a coincidence that some of the worlds biggest terrorists (putin, sharon, bin laden) support bush?)

e-voting

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Well I've managed to hold of on US politics so far, but that must now come to an end.

The concept of e-voting is simple. Heck, I could probably write an e-voting application in about 20 lines of python code (with comments). Security would be an issue, but with something so simple it shouldn't be to hard to implement. The way that the US e-voting companies have implemented e-voting is far from simple. And as if the programmers who wrote the 10's of thousands of lines of code in the software weren't incompetent enough, the e-voting companies being used have extremely close ties to the republicans.

One e-voting company, who's machines will be in the most use on Tuesday, Diebold, has already proven to us that their machines don't work. They were used in California for some state elections about a year ago... it is now against the law to use diebold machines in California. Thousands of votes were lost, some counties had thousands of votes more than there were registered voters. And to top off all the bad programming, the CEO of Diebold is a Republican fund-raiser, to paraphrase:

"I will do everything I can to bring Ohio's electoral votes to Bush''.

No conflicts of interest here... move along now. But wait, there's more. There are two e-voting companies being used in this election and those machines will count an estimated 80% of all votes in the election. Well, those two companies are Diebold and ES&S. Interestingly enough, the owners of the two companies are brothers.

I was watching 60 minutes the other night (part of it was about e-voting), and part of the interview with Conny McCormack (she runs the e-voting machines in LA) went as follows:

"The Palm Beach supervisor’s position was, 'Well, when you push this button, the computer will recount.' Well, it just retabulates and spits out in a nanosecond what it said the nanosecond before. There is no recount. There’s no physical evidence to recount."

"You're essentially running the same data through the same software on the same computer, you’re gonna get the same answer every time," says Pelley.

"You are gonna get the same answer every time," says McCormack.

Is that a recount? "Oh, I think it's a recount. And you know, do people really want to get a different answer? What we saw four years in Florida was a recount that was done, where people got a different answer, chad fell out and the numbers were different," says McCormack.

Which is why you need a paper trail. At least until the e-voting machines proven themselves. These same people also claim that there is no proof that their e-voting has problems. And the problems that they do have are because of user error. Never mind that all the machines in entire counties just crashed and couldn't be used.

Students at Yale recently published a paper titled Tiny Systematic Vote Manipulations Can Swing Elections in which they demonstrate how altering only a single vote per machine would have changed the electoral college outcome of the 2000 election and that changing only two votes/machine would have flipped the results for four states.

Note that these machines are so vulnerable that a chimpanzee has been trained to successfully alter the votes in these voting machines. When Avi Rubin, a professor at John Hopkins got a hold of some leaked code he found countless flaws and bugs that could quite easily devistate an election. Diebold claims that the code is old and has since been fixed. Regardless, after looking at the code, it became clear to Rubin that Diebold and their programmers have no grasp of security. No one could ever know if these bugs have been fixed and security enhanced, since government officials aren't even allowed view to the codebase!

Well at least one thing's for sure, e-voting is going to make this election all the more interesting. Perhaps America will even see the first U.S. president to ever reside as president for two consecutive terms without being elected once.

Fahrenheit 911

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After a lot of waiting the DVD was finally released last week and we watched the movie this weekend. As some may know, the title of the movie is an alteration of the name of the book Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. When the movie was initially announced about a year ago, Bradbury asked Moore not to use the name, but Moore did anyway, I'm not too clear on the details, but I think after that Bradbury was openly pissed off at the movie and Moore. I didn't really understand that as I thought Bradbury would be all for a movie opposing the current US administration and some of the things they've been doing.

Anyway, after some reading about it and watching the movie, I think I agree with Bradbury, and I don't think the name really suits the movie. 451 degrees fahrenheit is supposedly the tempurature at which books burn. The book takes place in this futuristic society in which books are illegal and thinking for yourself is very frouned upon. Everyone takes tons of drugs to keep themselves happening. Meanwhile there's this war going where their country is fighting all of the other countries in the world, but they really don't give a shit cause they're all drugged out. Books were outlawed so that people wouldn't think for themselves.

Anyway, if Moore's movie was about the post 911 (which he subtitles his movie, the tempurature at which freedom burns) and focused more on the patriot act and other things that have actually been done to "burn" freedom, I would have been down with Moore. And although I really enjoyed the 911 movie, it was really only about Bush and his cronies and how messed up the current administration is.

Well, besides the fact that the entire plot of the movie was based on "what if's", most of what was shown was just raw footage massaged no more than what's shown on the 6 o'clock news, and overall it was a very informative film. Lots of things I didn't know before.

Internet addiction?

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It's studies like this that make the entire research community look like a bunch of idiots. I think if anyone's addicted to the internet it would be me. But I've gone cold turkey off the internet for two weeks before without any problems. The only symptoms I suffered were annoyance because I could upload my freaking photos or let people know how my trip was going.

> "it was incredibly difficult to recruit participants for this study, as people weren't willing to be without the internet for two weeks"

No shit, eh? Considering that most peoples work (especially the people who they would be considered internet adicts) requires them to use the internet. It's like saying it was difficult to recruit people for my study because people weren't willing to be without their desk or table for two weeks. Unless you pay me as much as I would've made in that two weeks, and then some, why should I do your study?

But at least the reg still did the story with their usual good british humour:
> "I'm starting to miss emailing my friends - I feel out of the loop," she said unloopedly.