Toxic Elephant

Don't bury it in your back yard!

iPod Tax?

Posted by matijs 29/04/2005 at 09h36

This should be fun: The Dutch Stichting Thuiskopie seems to want to tax iPods for a ridiculous amount of money. The article ends with:

Or the Dutch could just become a nation without iPods. I wonder how happy that would make them?

Well, it wouldn't make me very happy. On the other hand, it seems I could just buy one in Belgium or something.

(The Stichting itself on its website denies that any amount has been set yet. Let's make sure the amount they set will be more sane than The Register reports.)

Oh yeah, this is all via Slashdot.

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Posted by matijs 27/04/2005 at 23h04

Language log talks about Blendie. I like Blendie a lot. The following conversation results:

N: Hiingnyiiiiiing.

M: What are you doing?

N: I'm trying to be a blender.

M: I still love you even if you're not a blender.

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Hello, my name is ...

Posted by matijs 16/04/2005 at 21h32

Ooh nice, a meme! Via the language log (where someone actually bothered to write something resembling an essay — no such luck here). Here follows my meme copy:

My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Brother Hand Grenade of Sweet Reason.

Get yours.

Hm. Sweet Reason. I like that.

Update: Boris Skoric mentions that the other Unitarian Jihad name generator gives me the name Joyous blunderbuss of patience. There is now also a Wikipedia article about the Unitarian Jihad, as well as a LiveJournal community.

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Computer Implemented Inventions Directive Adopted

Posted by matijs 09/03/2005 at 12h57

I'm slightly out of touch with happenings in the digital world, so I only read yesterday evening that the EU Council adopted the Computer Implemented Inventions Directive. This is a sad thing.

Slashdot points to an article on ZDNet about this. The ffii also has press release.

Interestingly, proponents of this directive are mostly not saying that pure software patents are good. Rather, they argue that the directive as it stands will not allow them (e.g., Frits Bolkestein, Robert Evans, MEP). I wonder if we can hold them to this when the lawsuits start.

Oh, and last evening I read it in a paper newspaper (in dutch), in a bar. Go figure.

Updates: Links to proponents added above, a good overview with arguments against software patents and the wording of the current CIID, the European Parliament is not pleased.

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Cut the monospace crap!

Posted by matijs 11/02/2005 at 09h36

I’m ill, so I’m ranting. Bear with me.

I’ve now run across the second
that does something like this in its CSS:

p {
font: 11px “Lucida Sans Unicode”,
“Trebuchet MS”, Verdana, monospace;

And, with me running Linux and as a consequence not having any of the
three named fonts installed, I get to see the whole body text in monospace.
Sure, monospace is a great replacement for Verdana. Very readable, too.
What are people thinking? Fucking monospace!

(The style contains more wonderful font insanity, such as giving the
input element the choice of fonts Courier New, Arial [why yes,
Arial is very similar to Courier New], or, again, monospace. Oh,
and for some reason, this rule is !important. Sure.)

(The first site is less bad,
but still annoying: Only part of the text is accidentally monospaced.)

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Artificial Silliness

Posted by matijs 25/01/2005 at 22h12

A friend sent me MapPoint's advice on how to get from Haugesund, Norway, to Trondheim, Norway. Very entertaining. Don't forget to look at the directions: there are 116 steps, plus the Start and End.

In fact, though, that was the quickest route. The shortest route is perhaps even funnier. And only 55 steps.

Just in case they fix things (hey, they probably will), here are screen shots of the fastest route, and the shortest route

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Blafoolia!, for want of a better title.

Posted by matijs 24/01/2005 at 19h59

People who visit this site more often than once may have noticed that I changed its layout. It took a lot longer than I expected: It's easy to just whip something up that looks nice, but it's much harder to take a thought sketched on a piece of paper and make that happen in CSS. It's harder still if you want to make it work in old browsers.

In addition to the change of layout, I did a redesign of the URLs my site serves.

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Thank You, Poland!

Posted by matijs 10/01/2005 at 23h46

There's a great initiative to thank Poland for preventing the legalization of software patents in the EU.

(via Mark J. Wielaard's blog entry)

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Mulholland Drive

Posted by matijs 05/12/2004 at 12h10

The first time I saw Mulholland Drive, I only saw the first part. It made sense to me. Then there was a fire in the theater.

The second time I saw Mulholland Drive, I saw all of it. The first part still made sense. Then something weird happened, and I was confused during the rest of the movie.

Last week, I saw the end of Mulholland Drive for the second time, and this time I understood it. What I had thought was real, was not, and suddenly it all made sense.

(Salon made sense of it too. See the movie first, then read that.)

Maybe I should also see Lost Highway again.

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CSS Shame

Posted by matijs 25/11/2004 at 23h42

All this time, it turns out, people using IE5.5 (36 so far this month), and perhaps IE5.0 (44 so far this month), have been unable to read my website: The left and right sides of the text were simply cut off. I knew IE6 didn't show the vertical borders, but at least it showed the whole text.

Somehow, it feels similar to suddenly finding out you've been walking around all day with mismatched socks, or a torn shirt — assuming those things weren't part of your fashion statement. It's simply a little embarrassing. Anyway, it should all look fine now. The vertical borders even show up in IE6.

Oh, and I'm working on a new layout, so here are samples before and after, just in case the site looks completely different when you read this.

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