Thursday, October 08, 2009
Why are webhosts so ill-mannered?
The internet and books have opposite vices and virtues. Books are highly permanent (we have some copies from a couple of thousand years ago) but are not readily accessible. You generally have to take a trip to a library if you want to access one. The net on the other hand is instantly and very conveniently accessible but it is also evanescent. A file of writings or a picture on the net can disappear in an instant and maybe never be found again. And the vanishing act is often the fault of the webhost rather than anything that the writer or photographer concerned has done. Many newspaper sites, for instance, seem to have a policy of deleting their own articles after quite short periods of time.
But I like to keep all the files of my writings publicly available regardless of what any individual webhoster or bloghoster might do. So I try to address the big weakness of the net by following the systems theory axiom that redundancy is the path to systems reliability. In other words, I keep multiple copies of my files up -- so that if one copy disappears, there will be others to be found. As a result, I have had a lot of dealings with the various webhosts where I place copies of my files/writings. And it is truly amazing how many webhosts I have gone through over time. Whether "free" or paid, there are at least a dozen (maybe 20) locations where my files were once found which no longer host my files. Some webhosts have simply gone bust and disappeared altogether and others have decided that my files are "incorrect" in some way and have deleted or blocked them.
And I am not complaining about that. It is precisely because I expect such impermanence that I keep multiple copies of my files online. What I DO object to, however, is that NOT ONCE have the webhosts concerned had the manners to email me in advance and warn me or consult me about what is going to happen. It is always a case of "shoot first; ask questions later".
It is actually a rather common event for webhosts to be "down" for various periods -- sometimes for a week or more. One would think that on such occasions, they would email their users and say something like: "We are having problems. Don't go away. We expect to be back up in a couple of days". But that never happens. The site eventually comes back online with no explanation or apology. Even sites that boast that they talk to their users are the same. And some sites of course NEVER come back up and you are left to figure that situation out. Even if you email them to ask if the cessation of service is temporary or permanent, you never get a reply.
And the Blogspot subsidiary of Google (which hosts this blog) is as bad as any of them. You would think that a big company like Google would be conscious of PR but it is not so. They too act first and ask questions later. I have lost track of how many times my blog sites have been blocked by them -- and never after any advance warning. Usually, I can fill out a form, the form gets acted on, and the site is unblocked but NEVER have I received an explanation as to why the block was put on. And sometimes the block lasts for over a week: At which point I tend to move to another bloghost, which is part of the reason why I now have two blogs hosted on Wordpress and two on blognow.com.au. That comes at some cost as I lose my old page ranking, so if anyone reading this has a site of their own it would help if they put up a link to my new POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH site.
And sometimes filling out the Google/Blogspot form does you no good at all. The obstruction is permanent and repeated requests for review of the block are ignored -- again without explanation. No manners or anything else much there.
I have become VERY wary about such shenanigans over the years, however. I don't blame anybody for thinking that I have gone overboard but at the moment I have my files spread over ELEVEN different webhosts. None have all my files but between them all there are usually three copies of any file available. I realize that I must sound slightly mad but I think that if you had had my experiences with webhosts you might be nearly as bad or mad. The way I have it set up, if one host goes down, I have to reload only a subset of my files, not the whole lot. Even that can be pretty pesky, though. And I have various pages -- including this one -- which have sufficent links to lead you to ALL my files (writings), regardless of where they are hosted.
So what is the answer to the question I ask in the heading above? I can only see the answer as lying with the general lack of civility these days. Under the influence of the prevailing Leftist gospel that "There is no such thing as right and wrong", people who can hide behind anonymity see no reason for civility. Maybe there is a Christian webhost somewhere who has higher standards than that but I have yet to find one.
McChrystal Slams DoD Bureaucracy
The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan bitterly complained in an interview Sunday about the Pentagon bureaucracy that he said was hampering his efforts to fight insurgents. In a profile on CBS television's "60 minutes," Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal said he faced pressure to move quickly from Defense Secretary Robert Gates while the Pentagon had moved slowly to get officers assigned to his staff.
"The secretary talks in terms of 12 to 18 months to show a significant change and then we eat up two or three months just on sort of getting the tools out of the tool box," McChrystal said, according to a transcript of the show to air later Sunday. "That really hurts," said McChrystal, shown in a video conference with the Pentagon.
The four-star army general, who was appointed to lead U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan in June after the previous commander was sacked, demanded the Defense Department had to move with more urgency. "The average organization when someone asks when you want something, they pull out a calendar," he said. "But in a good organization, they look at their watch and we really got to get that way."
McChrystal said he was slightly surprised by the strength of the insurgency when he took over his post. "I think that in some areas that the breadth of violence, the geographic spread of violence -- places to the north and to the west -- are a little more than I would have gathered," he said.
He also repeated his warning that if the NATO-led mission was perceived as an occupier that posed a threat to civilians, the war would be lost. "If the people view us as occupiers and the enemy, we can't be successful and our casualties will go up dramatically," he said. McChrystal said 265 civilians had been killed by U.S. or allied forces in the past 12 months.
In a quarterly report released Saturday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said 1,500 civilians had died between January and August, with August the deadliest month so far this year.
Military officials have credited McChrystal with reducing civilian casualties in recent months by ordering a change in tactics, including scaling back the use of air strikes and artillery fire, as well as requiring soldiers to exercise more caution when driving on Afghan roads.
Obama and the General
The White House finds a four-star scapegoat for its Afghan jitters
Democrats have found someone worth fighting in Afghanistan. His name is Stan McChrystal. The other night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went after the commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, "with all due respect," for supposedly disrespecting the chain of command. Around the Congressional Democratic Caucus, we're told Members refer to General McChrystal as "General MacArthur," after the commander in Korea sacked by Harry Truman.
White House aides have fanned these flames with recent leaks to the media that "officials are challenging" his assessment asking for more troops. In the last two days, the White House National Security Adviser and the Secretary of Defense have both suggested that the general should keep his mouth shut. President Obama called him in Friday for a talking-to on the tarmac at Copenhagen airport.
Though a decorated Army four-star officer, the General's introduction to Beltway warfare is proving to be brutal. To be fair, Gen. McChrystal couldn't know that his Commander in Chief would go wobbly so soon on his commitment to him as well as to his own Afghan strategy when he was tapped for the job in April. We're told by people who know him that Gen. McChrystal "feels terrible" and "had no intention whatsoever of trying to lobby and influence" the Administration. His sense of bewilderment makes perfect sense anywhere but in the political battlefield of Washington. He was, after all, following orders.
Recall that in March Mr. Obama unveiled his "comprehensive new strategy . . . to reverse the Taliban's gains and promote a more capable and accountable Afghan government." The Commander in Chief pledged to properly resource this "war of necessity," which he also called during the 2008 campaign "the central front on terror." The President then sacked his war commander, who had been chosen by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in favor of Gen. McChrystal, an expert in counterinsurgency.
Upon arriving in June, Gen. McChrystal launched his assessment of the forces required to execute the Obama strategy. His confidential study was completed in August and sent to the Pentagon. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Michael Mullen told Congress that more troops would be needed, and a figure of 30,000-40,000 was bandied about. The figure has clearly spooked the Administration".
It's Official! Iran Publicly Says it Fooled U.S. and Europeans in Geneva, Offered Nothing: "And now it's official! Iran's Supreme National Security Council has announced that the main "concession" it supposedly made in the Geneva meeting with the United States never happened. It has no intention of sending off its enriched uranium to Russia to be turned into someting fit only for medical research at all. This supposed pledge made by Iran was the alleged big development that set off so much optimism after Iran met with the United States along with China, France, Germany, Russia, and England). No, says the Iranian government. This is merely an old idea--Tehran offered the same plan back in 2007 and then, after using it to stall for months, rejected it-- which it has been planning to discuss on October 18 in yet another meeting with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Not only did it not offer anything new in Geneva, the Iranian government maintains it offered nothing at all."
Senate passes Pentagon budget, war funding: "The Senate has passed a $626 billion Pentagon funding bill that would bring the tab for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to more than $1 trillion. The measure passed by a 93-7 vote. It would also ban outright any transfer of accused enemy combatants from the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility into the United States. Current law permits transfer of detainees to face trial or go to prison.”
Firefighters lose large FEMA grant to ACORN: "Nearly $1 million in Homeland Security funding typically earmarked for fire departments has been awarded to ACORN, despite a clear signal from Congress that it intends to cut off federal funding to the embattled group. The grant to ACORN's Louisiana office became public on Oct. 2, less than three weeks after the House and Senate voted to cut off ACORN funding after employees were caught on video advising a fake prostitute and pimp on scams. It was one of only three such grants issued to the state and made up almost 80 percent of the firefighting money earmarked for Louisiana, prompting one of the U.S. senators from the state to demand that the funds be taken back. "I request that you rescind this grant based on a history of abuse of federal dollars by ACORN and their clear lack of expertise in this area," said Sen. David Vitter, Louisiana Republican. Mr. Vitter, who was routinely notified of the grant before it became public, sent his letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Sept. 22, saying the money should be given "to a more deserving group of first responders." One such group might have been the St. Tammany Parish Fire District No. 3, which applied for a $120,000 grant to purchase smoke alarms for low-income families after a January fire killed four children in a home that had no working detectors."
The NYT "Ethicist" is a comedy writer!: "Randy Cohen has written humor articles, essays and stories for numerous newspapers and magazines. His first television work was writing for "Late Night With David Letterman," for which he won three Emmy Awards. His fourth Emmy was for his work on "TV Nation." He received a fifth Emmy as a result of a clerical error, and he kept it. For two years, he wrote and edited News Quiz for Slate, the online magazine. Currently he writes The Ethicist for The New York Times Magazine. Each week, in Moral of the Story, he will examine a news story from an ethical perspective."
WI: “Prayer death” parents sentenced to probation, jail time: "A judge sentenced a Wisconsin couple to 10 years probation and 30 days a year in jail for the next six years [stayed pending appeals] for praying instead of seeking medical care for their dying 11-year-old daughter. … The girl died of complications from undiagnosed diabetes on the floor of the family’s home while people around her prayed. Someone called an ambulance after she stopped breathing.”
Pepsi, the homosexual drink: "God hates Diet Pepsi!’ A group advocating ‘traditional family values’ claims it has the signatures of 500,000 people who have pledged to boycott Pepsi over what it says are the company’s activities promoting gay rights. The American Family Association (which boasts ‘2.5 million online supporters’) ‘asked PepsiCo to be neutral in the culture war and not support the homosexual agenda,’ it said in a press release Tuesday. ‘PepsiCo refused. The company continues to give financial support to homosexual organizations.’ The AFA launched its boycott campaign in January over PepsiCo’s ‘continued support of same-sex marriage and homosexual advocacy.’”
Consensus. Margaret Thatcher in a 1981 speech: "For me, pragmatism is not enough. Nor is that fashionable word "consensus."... To me consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects—the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner "I stand for consensus"?
“Death tax” destroys wealth: "The politicians in Washington impose double taxation on interest, dividends and capital gains, but the ‘death tax’ wins the prize for being the most self-destructive part of the internal revenue code. Adding an extra layer of tax when someone dies is an unsavory combination of bad economics and immoral grave robbing. The current policy is especially foolish since every economic theory — even Marxism — agrees that saving and investment are the keys to long-run growth and higher living standards.”
Fascism: Why can’t it happen here?: "Recently I saw Ed Schultz on MSNBC, in the context of a story on the murdered census worker in Kentucky, running a clip of Michelle Bachmann’s comments. She claimed that census data had been used by the government in the past to round up American citizens (namely the Japanese-American Nisei on the West coast in early 1942). ‘The government rounding up American citizens?’ Schultz asked incredulously. ‘That goes beyond psycho talk.’ Now, I’ll be the first to stipulate that Michelle Bachmann goes beyond psycho. But Schultz acted as though the idea of the U.S. government rounding citizens up was so ludicrous, on its very face, as not to deserve refutation. Why? Because the U.S. government is run by the kinds of angels that James Madison wrote of? Because the American people are uniquely predisposed to resist authoritarianism? Or just because there’s something ‘different’ about the American genetic makeup, or maybe something different in the water here? The idea of the U.S. government as an object of fear, that its growing police state powers might be used against the American people for the wholesale suppression of dissent, is hardly a right-wing preserve, as Schultz seems to suggest.”
Why Chile is more free than the United States: "In the 2009 Economic Freedom of the World Report, Chile is now #5, one place ahead of the United States. In 1975, of 72 countries, Chile was No 71. How did this happen? The explanation lies in what I call the ‘Chilean Revolution,’ because it was as important and transformative to my country as the celebrated American Revolution that gave birth to the United States. The exceptional political circumstances of this period have obscured the fact that from 1975 to 1989 a true revolution took place in Chile, involving a radical, comprehensive, and sustained move toward economic and political freedom (from a starting point where there was neither one nor the other).” [It was a great start for Chile when Pinochet cut the bureaucacy in half]
NYC: Big Brother Bloomberg is watching you (even more closely): "On the heels of breaking up an alleged bomb terror plot, New York is planning to place high-tech security cameras, license plate readers, and ‘weapons sensors’ in midtown Manhattan. Office workers and tourists — and possible terrorists — will have cameras watching their every move as they visit Macy’s, shop for diamonds at Tiffany & Co., or gawk in Times Square. … Sensors will try to detect chemical, biological, and radiological threats. But some terrorism experts have questioned whether a camera network will deter terrorists. They also say that sensors are known to give off ‘false positives.’ Meanwhile, civil rights organizations are concerned that the project will be another encroachment on civil liberties.”
My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 1:34 AM