Monthly Archives: April 2004

The dregs of Iraq’s Oil-for-food

This was an interesting read…
[Oil For Terror]:

It’s a look on the UN’s Oil-for-food program for Saddam’s Iraq. Yes, well, um… hm… somehow, it doesn’t seem that the sanctions had as much to do with Iraqi economic difficulties. One of the stories: a shell company setup by senior officials of Saddam’s regime was a UN-authorized purchaser of Iraqi oil. Also, why would the United Arab Emirates purchase oil from Iraq?

I thought it was worth reading…

Wedding dress on ebay

Oh man, you should check this out. Some guy is selling his ex-wife’s wedding dress. Go on, click on the link and have your dose of American culture for the day.

eBay item 4146756343 (Ends Apr-28-04 15:37:01 PDT) – SIZE 12 WEDDING DRESS/GOWN NO RESERVE

As of this posting, it’s up to $15k. Wow. And don’t I feel proud for contributing to the item’s blogdex rating.

Ward Cunningham’s Wiki

You know, I knew, that, one day, I would write an article about the original Wiki, [Ward’s wiki]: . The Wiki is a sort of concept that really flies in the face of technical convention. The term “Wiki” comes from the hawaiian for “quick”, and wikis are really quick. Wikis work by social, not technical convention, and operate because of human goodness, not pareto efficiency or rules or restrictions. It’s absolutely fascinating, and truly wonderful to see what it creates, simply by existing.
Read more »

Which OS/Pearl tea are you?

….and I fall prey to more silly online pseudo-personality quizzes. *shrug*

You are HP-UX. You're still strong despite the passage of time.  Though few understand you, those who do love you deeply and appreciate you.
Take the OS quiz

I'm honeydew bubble tea!
Take the bubble tea quiz

Has anyone estimated how much productivity is lost taking these quizzes? Probably not as much as spam. Though for me, probably more… Thunderbird has been doing a pretty decent job at filtering.

Sweatshops and Globalization

Okay, so it still feels a little biased towards corporations, but [Sweatshops and Globalization]: is still a pretty decent article about “low-wage” factories in third-word/developing countries. It’s pretty persuasive. Still, there’s a really fine line between operating with the market’s real supplies and demands, and being greedy and artificially keeping wages low or lobbying governments for unfair competitive advantages and subsidies. Oh wait, did that sentence make any sense? Better ask someone better versed in international trade and economics.

See also: [A World Connected]:

Is income tax constitutional?

Hey, it’s another interesting piece from the folks at [Reason]: (your regularly scheduled libertarian editorial site) on one person who has [vowed never to pay income taxes again.]:

Though I can’t say that I agree with much of the stuff that Reason publishes, they present reasonably researched articles that slant differently than normal media. Nearly all news is slanted one way or another, right? If I absorb the same facts from different slants, I end up a more informed person, don’t I?

Advice on phone service

(So… I just wrote this long email to someone asking for recommendations on cell phone service, and I figured I should post it here, both for my own reference and in case anyone finds it helpful or has something to add.)

I have a home phone, but rarely use it. It’s for telemarketers to use, and for when I want to call international, since cellphones don’t support the 101nnnn (like 1010-220 or 1010-345) dial-around long distance system.

Anyway, I have Sprint, and it’s okay. Its main benefit is trouble-free coverage, a good plan, and I have other family members with it. I have the “please don’t switch to AT&T” plan, at 36/month for 500 peak, 3000 off-peak, 500 sprint minutes. No home calling area, free domestic long distance. It’s only offered if you ask to cancel service with them.

I would recommend Sprint or Verizon (no preference), since they both have really decent coverage. The others have their own problems, which may or may not apply to you. I hear that Cingular is okay if you’re in SF or in LA, but fairly sucky in other places, like suburbs between SF and San Jose. Cingular may be better now, since they bought AT&T wireless. T-mobile has good plans, but their coverage isn’t very good. Still, if you don’t have a car, maybe you won’t go anywhere where the more spotty providers have deadspots.

Try not to get stuck with a contract greater than a year. But remember that the law says you can cancel any cell phone service and return the phone within 30-days of purchase.

All of them have bad customer service. I’ve had my own bad experiences with Sprint, and my friends have bad experiences with AT&T. I’ve heard of bad experiences with the others.

Actually, the cheapest long distance I’ve found is prepaid: . Its only problem is that the call quality would sometimes be bad when calling some overseas destinations. Oh, and your account expires if you don’t recharge it for 6 months (minimum $5 recharge). has similar rates, but had security problems in the past with leaking credit card numbers, so personally, I can’t trust them.