politics, random

How Human readable Contracts will Destroy Innovative Credit Card Companies

I found this in a CNN article “A push to simplify credit card ‘gobbledygook’” referring to the push for the government to force credit card companies to simplify contracts so that are human readable.

But the industry is fighting the reforms. The American Bankers Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce argue that they’ll stifle innovation and limit consumer choice.

I wasn’t aware that there was an innovation among the credit card companies. Unless “innovation” means new sneaky ways to bilk people out of money.


A Good Translation Makes a Difference

The BBC reported recently that Shanghai is trying to get rid of “chilglish” (English poorly translated from Chinese). If you want to see some examples see their slide show.

Sometimes a bad translation is cute, “you are hear,” or “beware of the bee.” Other times they are funny like “don’t fall down,” instead of the more standard “watch your step.” Sometimes they leave folks scratching their heads like “Forbid hatchet man machine.”

Of course english speakers make mistakes translating too. The point here isn’t to beat up non-native speakers. It’s about how important it is to do it right.

Signs are only the most obvious places (T-shirts being the second most obvious). But there are other places where translation is important. For me, the most important place is literature.

I couldn’t get through Crime and Punishment until a friend pointed me towards the translation by Richard Pevear, and Larissa Volokhonsky. Another example is the new translation of the Little Prince that may (or may not) be worse.

Some people think that machines will save us, and that it is possible. I doubt that a machine will ever be a reliable source of translation for anything more complex than a set of instructions— at least not in this lifetime. Even with decent machine translation it won’t save people from doing stupid stuff like this:


Until we all get super computers from the future, or magic powers that let us understand the nuances of every written language translators are essential to sharing culture across borders.


My Most Childish Post

The bird that makes the 14 year old boy in me giggle is the Tit. Without fail I snicker whenever I see anything about one. Do I feel a little stupid for it? Yes. Will that make me stop giggling? No.

Here are two examples of tits that make me laugh. The first is that the city of Fukushima is the tit:
fukushima and tits

The second, and my favorite, is from the rss feed on my google page. Until I saw which section the story was filed under, I was honestly confused at first when I read the title, “Great tits cope well with warming.”
great tits cope well


Safely Erase Your iPhone Before You Sell It

A while back I posted about a guy discovering that through forensics you could get tons of data off a used iPhone. There was a method to wipe iPhone data, but it require jailbreaking the iPhone and then doing a much of command line stuff. I doubt the average consumer did it.

So now the same man has delivered a much simpler system. Jonathan Zdziarsk has created an app for the iTunes store that securely erases your data from the iPhone. It is called, of course, iErase.

Zdziarsk describes just how easy it is to use:

Q. I am selling my iPhone / iPod. What should I do?
A. Before running iErase, you should reset all of the information on the iPhone. The most thorough way to do this is with a full restore, or a quick way is to “Reset all Settings” on the phone. The restore process only performs a quick format, however, and doesn’t wipe everything, and the “Reset all Settings” process only deletes your personalized files, and doesn’t even format the device. In both cases, you’ll want to follow up your restore by running iErase. Once your personal data is removed – keychain passwords, configuration files, email, etc., iErase will then wipe over all of that to ensure it is beyond recovery.



"Press This" bug

The Press This bookmarklet sends you to a page using white text on a white background in Safari. It may seem like it isn’t there, but by selecting the textbox the text in the editor reveals it is functioning properly, whiteness of text aside.

One option is saving as a draft and then going into the admin page and editing it allows you to see the text that wordpress accidentally hides.

A better temporary fix for me is to edit the press-this.php file located in the wp-admin folder. I changed this line:

to this:
// wp_enqueue_script('editor');

That means no rich text editor, but I don’t really use that anyway. Besides, it is much more useful to see the text.

see more: WordPress › Support » Press This bug


Music Monday (Biblio – Ambivalence Avenue)

Haven’t heard much from Biblio, so I can’t push this just yet.

This is the title track from the newest album, Ambivalence Avenue. It has a nice vibe to it, hovering over the cozy border of music you can listen to actively or just keep in the background. It’s theme music for real people.

Looking at iTunes, it seems though that the other tracks, move in a fairly different direction though. All things being what they are, Biblio deserves a listen.