The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

America Online does not want your pork with ham, salt, water, modified potato starch, sugar and sodium nitrite, and will do anything it can to keep it that way

“Hello,” I said. “This is Technical Support, how may I help you?”

“Yes,” said the customer, and then launches into a five minute diatribe about not getting email.

“Are you finished?” I asked.

“No!” The customer then goes into a two minute diabribe about the parentage of The Company.

“Can I help you now?”

Primal screams followed by screaming invectives about the email problem.

“I'm sorry, it won't fit up there,” I said.

Another few minutes of poisonous vituperation about the parentage of The Company comes from the customer.

“May I try to solve your problem now, or do you wish to continue with your current dialog?”

Several minutes of obloquies followed.

“Oh, I see the problem,” I said through the billingsgate at the other end of the phone line. “You're trying to forward your email to AOL and AOL is yet again rejecting email from our server.”

The conversation went downhill from there.

I think Smirk and I are this >< close to telling our customers that they can no longer forward email to AOL. It just is not worth the headaches.

The Myth of the Rule of Law

Stop! Before reading this Article, please take the following quiz.

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States provides, in part:

“Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; … .” (2)

On the basis of your personal understanding of this sentence's meaning (not your knowledge of constitutional law), please indicate whether you believe the following sentences to be true or false.

_____ 1) In time of war, a federal statute may be passed prohibiting citizens from revealing military secrets to the enemy.

_____ 2) The President may issue an executive order prohibiting public criticism of his administration.

_____ 3) Congress may pass a law prohibiting museums from exhibiting photographs and paintings depicting homosexual activity.

_____ 4) A federal statute may be passed prohibiting a citizen from falsely shouting "fire" in a crowded theater.

_____ 5) Congress may pass a law prohibiting dancing to rock and roll music.

_____ 6) The Internal Revenue Service may issue a regulation prohibiting the publication of a book explaining how to cheat on your taxes and get away with it.

_____ 7) Congress may pass a statute prohibiting flag burning.

Thank you. You may now read on.

Via, The Myth of the Rule of Law

A long and thoughtful article on interpretations of law and while indeterminate laws aren't necessarily bad. I'm not sure if I agree with the author, but I haven't fully digested the full article yet. But it is thought provoking.

And while I quote below the answers the author gives to the questions quoted above, you should really read the article to get an understanding of why the author answered the questions above as he did.

Unless your responses were: 1) False, 2) True, 3) True, 4) False, 5) True, 6) True, and 7) True, you chose to interpret at least one of the words “Congress,” “no,” “law,” “speech,” and “press” in what can only be described as something other than its ordinary sense. Why did you do this? Were your responses based on the “plain meaning” of the words or on certain normative beliefs you hold about the extent to which the federal government should be allowed to interfere with citizens' expressive activities? Were your responses objective and neutral or were they influenced by your “politics”?

I chose this portion of the First Amendment for my example because it contains the clearest, most definite legal language of which I am aware. If a provision as clearly drafted as this may be subjected to political interpretation, what legal provision may not be? But this explains why the legal system cannot be reformed to consist of a body of definite rules yielding unique, objectively verifiable resolutions of cases. What a legal rule means is always determined by the political assumptions of the person applying it. (24)

Via, The Myth of the Rule of Law

A calendar of curlers

For Spring, a calendar of curling athletes (link via a round-about way from Jason Kottke—and while the article linked is safe for work, the calendar itself most definitely isn't).

Obligatory Picture

[It's the most wonderful time of the year!]

Obligatory Contact Info

Obligatory Feeds

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

You have my permission to link freely to any entry here. Go ahead, I won't bite. I promise.

The dates are the permanent links to that day's entries (or entry, if there is only one entry). The titles are the permanent links to that entry only. The format for the links are simple: Start with the base link for this site:, then add the date you are interested in, say 2000/08/01, so that would make the final URL:

You can also specify the entire month by leaving off the day portion. You can even select an arbitrary portion of time.

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