How not to respond to negative claims online

Some obscure accounting software company called 2Clix is suing Whirlpool for comments made in its forums. I suspect their problem is that a search for 2Clix gets lots of threads Statement of Claim, I'm even more convinced this company has taken exactly the wrong approach. Reading between the lines they're claiming that the supposedly false statements in the threads were made by a malicious third party, like a competitior or disgruntled ex-employee. If they really want to make this claim, they're going after the wrong person. What they should have done is attempted to find the identity of the posters, filing a subpoena against Whirlpool to get IP addresses and the like. But it sounds like they're either stupid or very badly advised.

Ad blocking is a moral issue now?

There's recently been a bit of talk about Firefox and Adblock Plus, with wild claims about it being immoral to block ads.

For those of you who haven't worked it out, the web doesn't have to be a place filled with popping up, flashing, zinging, annoying advertising getting in the way of the content. By simply installing a more secure, better browser with an ad blocking extension, the web becomes blissfully ad-free. No more trying to read text while a neighbouring advertisement competes for your eye.

Now there's even a campaign to block Firefox itself, adblock or no, which is pretty hilarious. I have to say I haven't found any sites that have redirected me to this, which probably says something about the types of sites that might block Firefox.

The argument they make is that advertising pays for the content, so it's wrong to use the content without the ads. Here's a tip guys: find another way to make money. By this logic, making a cup of tea during the ad breaks on television is also morally wrong.

They also say it's wrong to use the site's bandwidth without looking at the ads. So do they also block search engines and the like, which have no human being to watch the ads?

Want to know why I've blocked ads for many many years? Punch the monkey to find out.

Cops removing badges

News that cops removed their name tags at the APEC protests should come as no surprise. This tactic has been around since the Vietnam War protests, allowing the coppers to get away with beating hell out of anyone they like without being identified.

I was at an outdoor rave party in 1995 where cops did exactly that and got away with it, despite photos of cops smashing heads and multiple witness statements. The photographer wouldn't come forward to identify the time and location of the photos as he was a visa overstayer, and of course the cops denied everything and had collaborated on their statements.

The cops claimed they remove their badges because the pin could be used as a weapon, yet at the time of the investigation the badges were being redesigned. Did they move to a safer fastener, like velcro or press studs? Course not!

I'll be very interested to see where the latest cases go, though I won't be holding my breath.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: NSW Police are all either bent or have covered up for bent coppers, which means they're also bent. Nothing I've ever experienced has changed that view.

Because I said so

Lawyer for the police says "a full-scale riot was probable because in a crowd a mob mentality easily takes over." I couldn't agree more, and considering there will be more coppers than protesters, we should ban the biggest mob as they're the most likely to succumb to a mob mentality.

I wonder if the judge has asked for evidence about this "mob mentality" or if it's just because the police say so?

It's not like cops would be encouraging violence or anything. Oh no.

Fortunately the judge in this case has called bullshit on the coppers a few times already.

I'm also curious about the bail conditions given to protesters arrested yesterday that ban them from being within 200 metres of an APEC declared area. I think this bears challenging as I think it could well be unconstitutional under our implied right to political speech.

Update: so much for judicial sanity.

1-bit browsing

Hunting through Google Analytics, one of the stats reported is screen colours. It seems there's been a number of hits using 1-bit browsers. That must be a pretty poor experience. The two hits with a 520-bit display must see something pretty impressive! You'd need more new primary colours than just squant to make that worthwhile!

So that's what all the noise was

So all that noise last night wasn't a trial run of the motorcades for next week's visit by monkey man. This would've been just up the road, and we had the windows open last night, so that would explain why it seemed every cop car in Sydney was driving around our area. I was pretty sure I heard a gunshot, but I guess that could have been the smash.

PS: A good example of the value of the geographical tags and the RSS feeds available in the redesigned ABC news site.

Prices for bespoke products

Holly and I were talking about various things we'd like to buy for our new house and the usual grumbles about Australian web sites came up. Searching for things like fitted wardrobes or kitchens brings up lots of paid search links, so there's clearly companies out there actively marketing online. The problem comes about when you want to get some kind of ballpark figure for the costs. It's no good them telling you all about the wonderful materials they use and their superior design skills if you need a Packer-sized fortune to pay for it.

Most of these sites' call-to-action is an email form or phone number, promising a quote at some undetermined point in the future. They expect the browser to go through the effort of specifying exactly what they want without any idea if they can even afford a doorknob from the supplier.

So we had an idea for this. Combine a "portfolio" section on the web site with pricing information. Show some recent jobs, preferably a range of designs, styles and budgets, and most importantly show how much you charged. You could get really creative with this kind of thing, including all sorts of details like the brief, comments from the customer, some rough size and material specifications.

Sure beats a mailto asking you to get in touch for a quote!