Sep 13

Suicidalism

The most important weapons of al-Qaeda and the rest of the Islamist
terror network are the suicide bomber and the suicide thinker. The
suicide bomber is typically a Muslim fanatic whose mission it is to
spread terror; the suicide thinker is typically a Western academic or
journalist or politician whose mission it is to destroy the West’s
will to resist not just terrorism but any ideological challenge at all.

But al-Qaeda didn’t create the ugly streak of nihilism and
self-loathing that afflicts too many Western intellectuals. Nor, I
believe, is it a natural development. It was brought to us by
Department V of the KGB, which was charged during the Cold War with
conducting memetic warfare that would destroy the will of the West’s
intelligentsia to resist a Communist takeover. This they did with
such magnificent effect that the infection outlasted the Soviet Union
itself and remains a pervasive disease of contemporary Western
intellectual life.

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Sep 13

Help with WordPress

This is a request for help from my readers. I’m trying to find out how to hack WP so that it will never insert <br> tags in my entries. I want it to ignore hard newlines, treating them as soft.

Sep 12

Site theme no longer completely sucks

OK, the site theme no longer completely sucks. I’m using Jim Vanderveen’s modified version of Steam, with my own custom header and the CSS brutally simplified to get rid of margins and excess whitespace.

I’m extremely relieved to have got rid of the default “Kubrick” WP theme.
Fixed-width, heavy whitespace, gratuitous images — what were the WP developers thinking?

(Grrr. Designers who change the browser-default color and decorations for hyperlinks are depriving readers of valuable navigational cues and should be killed in some horrible way.)

I may make some minor changes to improve the look a little over the next few days.

Sep 11

WordPress theme designers annoy the crap out of me

Having discovered that my WordPress 1.5 upgrade broke the CSS and
customized template I had designed for WordPress 1.2, I’ve been
shopping for a new theme at the WRC Theme
Viewer
site. I’m looking for something clean and simple that I
can customize to my taste.

Having browsed through over a hundred and fifty themes, I’m left with one
burning question in my mind: why are 90% of these themes designed by
utter pinheads who don’t understand basic Web concepts like letting the
viewer control the presentation?

I’ve ranted about the drooling idiocy of pixel-sized fonts before.
Many of these themes not only make that mistake (which hoses anyone in
a screen with a DPI different from the designer’s), they cram the
content into boxes or vertical bands that don’t resize when you
widen or narrow the browser
.

There are a handful of honorable exceptions: Clasikue. Anarchy.
Curtains up. Dixie Belle. Elvgren. Flex. Fullwidth. Gentle
Calm. Gila. Greenwood. Ice. The three “Journalized” themes. Man-ja.
Operate. Placidwide. Psycho. Rampart. RohitKumar.org.
Sixties. Steam. But by and large, almost all of the more than 250
themes at this site (and elsewhere I’ve looked) make the same basic,
unforgiveable error. They treat the display like fancy paper under
the control of the theme designer rather than allowing the
user’s preferences to control font sizes and the width of the
display area.

It’s the web, you morons! Stop wasting readers’ screen
space with frames and diapered borders. They have better use for
their pixels than all that frou-frou crap.

Sep 09

Upgrade in progress

My WordPress instance was just upgraded from 1.2 to 1.5. The visual presentation may have a glitch or two until I edit the template.

UPDATE: Aaargh. It looks like the special magic in the templates has been changed enough that I will have to rebuild my look and feel from scratch. This may take a while…

Sep 08

Microsoft’s Worst Nightmare?

A commenter writes, in reference to my letter to the Microsoft
recruiter,

BTW, I think abrogating to yourself the status of MS’s worst
nightmare might be seen as presumptious, considering that FLOSS
depends on a big community, and a lot of what FLOSS is about precedes
your 97 work, but far be it from me to try to teach ESR strategy.

Um. You meant “arrogating”, I think. A few words about that…

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Sep 08

Impotent radicals

A minor SF writer of radical Marxist political convictions recently uttered a rather incoherent rant in which, among other things, she accused me of “simple-minded right-wing” views. I’m not going to name her because I don’t dislike the woman enough to want to add to her troubles. But I’ve heard this song before from other Marxists, and I can’t resist commenting on why I find such accusations darkly amusing.

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Sep 01

The first good thing to come of Hurricane Katrina

Oh, my stars and garters. A pro-firearms story in the New York Times?

Yes, children, it has actually happened: Police and Owners Begin to Challenge Looters (link via InstaPundit). Property owners with guns maintaining civil order in their neighborhood are cited approvingly. There’s even a picture of a handsome armed couple “on the lookout for looters”.

I think I’m more shocked by this than I was by the hurricane. It’s bylined “FELICITY BARRINGER and JERE LONGMAN”; I wonder what life is going to be like for them at the Grey Lady’s next struggle session.