Sunday, November 27, 2011

What a Nice Logo you have, Where Did You Find it?

The small record label Balance Underground (or Alliance) has apparently lifted the Debian swirl as their logo for the past few years (actually legal, but only if the jackets have a disclaimer). It's a sub-label of another swirly label called Balance Recordings that appears to have different artwork.

Apparently they were also Spelling-Bee Champions.

Here's some releases, most of them link back to discogs; the ones at the bottom are from their Facebook page.

About the author
Chris Mckenzie writes Free software.

Edit 1: The Debian swirl appears to be trivial to construct and has been used by other organizations.
Edit 2: A representative from the organization in question has some replies below concerning the logo! :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Augmented Wiki Model

Augmented Wiki Model

Statement of problem

An artifact of the traditional wiki model is that malice, bias, and fiction (un-valued content) can masquerade itself as factual information. The mechanisms deployed to prevent this; banning users, protecting, and locking pages each require manual intervention by a member of a privileged group of users.


To minimize the amount of un-valued content on a wiki by augmentation of the wiki model.


  1. The value of a user's recent contributions can be used to predict the value of a user's contributions in the near future.
  2. The value of a page of content currently to a wiki community can be used to predict the value of the content in the future under a certain guideline (outlined below).


Given the above axiomatic assumptions, I propose to augment the wiki model as follows:

  1. Assign a variable to every user and to every page.

    1. The user variable will be called the "integrity" of the user and be a signed number starting at 0.

    2. The page variable will be called the "value" of the page and be a signed number starting at 0.

  2. Every user will be allowed to state a fully retractable, single "+1" "0" or "-1" on another user's or page's value. In theory this will create the following:

    1. The value of the user's contributions will be directly reflected by the sum of the value of their integrity, assigned by other users.

    2. The value of the page's content will be directly reflected by the sum of the value of the page, assigned by users.

  3. Under the above constraints, the following limitations, that by assertion preserve the spirit of the wiki, can be imposed:

    1. There will be two types of edits: moderated, and un-moderated.

      • Moderated edits

        • Another user has to approve the edit

        • Any edit where a user's integrity is less than a page's value becomes a moderated edit

        • Only users whose integrity is greater than or equal to the value of the page can approve an edit queued for moderation

      • Un-moderated edits

        • An edit that does not need approval.

        • Any edit where a user's integrity is greater than or equal to the value of the page becomes an un-moderated edit

    2. Furthermore, the following safeguards will be used

      • Since certain accounts will now be of more value than others, hijacking will become a problem.

        • A user's integrity will only be viewable by a user with more integrity.

        • Page values will always be viewable.

        • Only a user with an integrity greater than or equal to the a page's value can view the queue for moderation with the exception of

          • A user who submitted an edit for moderation can purge their submission from the queue

        • The history of a page will not reveal to a user with insufficient integrity which edits were moderated and which edits were not

        • Since people can gain integrity through deceit, and then only disclose malicious intent after accumulation of power, any vote placed upon a user or a page is fully retractable.

Hypothesis 1

Under the augmented wiki model as proposed above, the quantity of un-valued content on a wiki will decrease.

Hypothesis 2

The augmented wiki model as proposed above eliminates the need for the traditional manual protection mechanisms employed to prevent un-valued content being committed.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The winners are: Opera, IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari; in that order.

This is a response to a contentious blog entry I wrote two days ago.

In under 36 hours, a lot has changed:
  • has updated their tests
  • Opera 12 Alpha is out.
  • Firefox 10 Alpha is out.
Also, many said I didn't give Opera a fair shake. So now the beta and alpha builds have been included.

Here's the updated (2011-11-11) results. Each browser's data is compressed with bzip2.
BrowserFailsThe photoThe dataRelease Status
Opera 11.60 beta 11471ScreenshotXML ResultsBeta
IE 10 10.0.8102.06ScreenshotXML ResultsAlpha
Opera 12.00 alpha 111611ScreenshotXML ResultsAlpha
Firefox 10.0a2 2011-11-11160ScreenshotXML ResultsAlpha
Firefox 9.0164ScreenshotXML ResultsBeta
Firefox 8.0164ScreenshotXML ResultsRelease
IE 9 9.0.8112.16421322ScreenshotXML ResultsRelease
Chrome 17 17.0.932.0 dev-m415ScreenshotXML ResultsAlpha
Chrome 16 16.0.912.36 beta-m415ScreenshotXML ResultsBeta
Chrome 15 15.0.874.120 m416ScreenshotXML ResultsRelease
Safari 5.1.1 6534.51.22772ScreenshotXML ResultsRelease
Opera 11.52 11003751ScreenshotXML ResultsRelease
IE 8 8.0.6001.18702N/A[1]ScreenshotN/ARelease
1The test fails to run in IE8, much like the last time. But after the error is hit, the status bar quickly goes back to saying "done". The developers tools, however, shows the error in the same place.

Well, Opera wins. and the old becomes new again. IE10 still takes the number 2 slot with everything else staying nearly the same.

Tests were done on Windows 8, XP, and Vista; to try to main consistency. If you want to contact the author, reply here below. The author is Chris McKenzie; a programmer dedicated to truth, no matter how crazy it gets. Check out his projects on github.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Acid3 of JS has a few surprises.

Edit: Updated Results Are Available Here

Wikipedia has an article on a Javascript conformance test called sputnik from Google.

It has the results from various Desktop browsers on how standards-compliant they are. Now I know what you are thinking, probably #1 is Chrome because the test is from Google, followed by Opera, Safari, and Firefox; with IE trailing behind in a pitiful display of brokenness.

But that's not what Wikipedia shows. In fact, it shows IE as the most standards-compliant browser.

Microsoft has quite brilliant engineers and recently they've began to take their browser seriously again, but to say that Internet Explorer has the most standards compliant JS engine? This would be quite a departure from history.

I needed to verify these results, for my own sanity.

According to Wikipedia, the test has changed hands and is now hosted at You can go there now, it's on a domain registered by Mozilla Corporation. So this doesn't look like some wonky unfair comparison that almost looks to be designed to make Microsoft look good. Let's get questions of legitimacy out of the way.

Here's the updated (2011-11-09) results. Each browser's data is compressed with bzip2.
BrowserFailsThe photoThe data
IE 10 10.0.8102.06ScreenshotXML Results
Firefox 8.0164ScreenshotXML Results
Firefox 9.0 (2011-11-08)164ScreenshotXML Results
IE 9 9.0.8112.16421322ScreenshotXML Results
Chrome 16.0.912.32 beta-m415ScreenshotXML Results
Chrome 15.0.874.106 m416ScreenshotXML Results
Opera 11.523750ScreenshotXML Results
IE 8 8.0.6001.18702N/A[1]ScreenshotN/A
1The test fails to run in IE8 and hits a Javascript error fairly early on.

IE 10 did the best by far. Surprised? Me too. The next up was Firefox. Also surprised? Yeah, here too. Then IE 9 ... IE 9? The world is crazy sometimes. Chrome comes in right above Opera, which basically eats shit ... that's a new one. What has this world come to?

One of the important things to note is that failures seem to happen in batches. That is to say it's successful for a few hundred (or a few thousand) tests, then a bunch of tests fail consecutively. Almost makes me think of that math exam you once got where questions 2-8 depended on you getting question 1 right.

These tests also don't speak to how performant the browsers are on, well, anything. Their are more factors than compliance-to-standards when it comes to providing the best web experience. Regardless, these results certainly support the on-going notion that IE is finally back in the running.

Further Work

I just looked at the number of failed tests; not focusing on the content of what tests failed. I'm not familiar enough (and just plain not smart enough) with the internals of ECMAScript to know whether the results warrant further investigation or concern. I do know from my own experience that I've fallen victim to many more IE Javascript bugs then other browsers. And perhaps, that's the important thing; not whether a feature is implemented, or passes a smoke screen test, but whether the feature has problems. It would be great to hear what some of the browser developers have to say about these results.

Tests were done on Windows 8, XP, and Vista; to try to main consistency. If you want to contact the author, reply here below. The author is Chris McKenzie; a programmer dedicated to truth, no matter how crazy it gets. Check out his projects on github.

Friday, November 4, 2011


First, complaints from an imagined developer:
  1. You are not nerdporn. When I do my contracting as a developer, I can no longer take my fixie to the local programmers coffee shop to do work and look cool. Since I don't go out otherwise, how the hell am I going to get a girlfriend in Sunnyvale with such crap?
  2. You are so easy to use that your community is chock full of people who can't code. Like a business guy fooled into the idea he can skimp out on hiring one of us expensive nerds by coding that brilliant facegrouptube idea himself (with an iphone app of course, it'll make millions!). How hard can it possibly be to write a product and platform? Pshh!, piece-o-cake!
  3. You are simply not expressive enough. My coding boner goes way flaccid when I see how not purty PHP is. When my emacs window doesn't follow the rule of thirds when looking at code I get pissed off and it makes baby jesus cry.
Programmers of the Internet.
With all the hate, why is it still hands down, the most popular language for websites that people actually use?

Things get done when bickering pedantic coders stop caring about process and focus on product. Picky nerd debates about refactoring, design, coding approach ... get tossed, because they are more annoyed by the environment then they are by all those lost Dr Who episodes. This speeds things up enormously (because nobody is arguing any more) and like magic, shit actually gets done.

This makes PHP an extremely productive, fluff-free language. It's not going to change any time soon and nobody is excited about it; people don't assemble in church basements on a Tuesday night like narcotics addicts to talk about how awesome it is at solving all your problems.

It becomes just a tool; which is the ideal position of any language.