Half-arsed fallacy

This is a great logical argument:

1) A pretentious man claims that CDs aren’t as good as vinyl, despite the fact that they are;

2) If you compress a song to MP3, it doesn’t sounds all that great compared to an uncompressed song. People increasingly listen to MP3s on their personal music players, instead of, err, tapes;

3) Overproduced records by mediocre bands can sound quite good, but aren’t as distinctive as great records by great bands. There are more of the former than the latter;

THEREFORE: music is dead as an artform.

What was wrong with the old bloody virus?

This, basically. Blech.

Update, Tuesday evening: well, those were a rubbish couple of days. I’m now more or less confident in my ability to go more than 10 seconds away from a toilet, although I’m not quite up for vindaloo night just yet.

In the meantime I was sufficiently bored that I followed my own advice and read all of Dan’s archives starting from the beginning, which has left me jaded, cynical, statistical, argumentative and mildly jealous.

(yes, this also explains my original link, rather than merely having a disturbingly good memory of bloggers’ illness records from five years ago.)

Update, Wednesday: yes, I confused “noro” and “novo” in the headline. I was a bit distracted at the time, in my defence.

The only good communist…

Very sad to hear that Marxist economist Andrew Glyn, who had the dubious honour of teaching both me and Chris Dillow, has died.

As a not-very-socalist, I’d second Chris’s view that:

He never gave those of us who shared his views an easy ride, and was never less than generous to those who didn’t share his views; his conservative and liberal students held him in as high regard as I did.

…which isn’t a bad (professonal) epitaph for an academic.

International house of stupid comparisons

In a Computing Which? survey, Bebo has been rated the best social networking site, ahead of Facebook because its security settings make it harder for unwanted ‘friends’ to get user information. Yahoo Groups was rated as poorest, due to its lack of social networking features.

Relatedly, in a Sarcasm Which? survey, C-BBC has been rated the best TV channel, ahead of Channel 4 because its content guidelines make it unlikely that users will see adult-oriented content. Radio 4 was rated as poorest, due to its lack of visual content.

Look, computing-Which-people: Bebo is a networking site for kids, so it makes information sharing harder (note: this is a bad thing per se) so that weirdos can’t stalk them, groom them or nick their photos and post them on pervy websites (obviously, this is a good thing that outweighs the bad thing). Facebook is aimed at grown-ups, so it doesn’t. And Yahoo Groups isn’t a networking site at all.


Quick house bet

It’s possible that house prices will fall a little in 2008. It’s just about possible they may even fall by a lot (although I’d happily stake my life that they’ll fall by less than 20%).

However, it’s absolutely certain that house prices by the end of 2012 will be higher in real terms than they are now. And it’s highly likely that the return on house prices between now and the end of 2012 will exceed the base interest rate.

“So, why don’t you put your money where your mouth is?” – well, because I’m quite happy in my current rented set-up, I’m not sure about where I’m going to be living for the next two years (during which time I accept I could lose money), and I don’t want to be a landlord right now.

Still, anyone who thinks that an investor with more than five years’ liquidity/time before they’d like to sell will lose money (say, the government on Northern Rock’s house estate…) is an idiot.

Just in case your blog is Top Sekrit

[sorry, this post is written in Incomprehensible Geek. If you don’t understand what the four letters and three characters before “www.johnband.org” on your screen to the top-left of this post mean, then it’s not for you. On the other hand, if you’re using a browser esoteric enough that the address isn’t displayed Up Top, then it almost certainly is.]

Does anyone know of a blog that’s hosted on a secure http site? Or perhaps more relevantly, can anyone think of a reason why the hell anyone would choose to host their publicly accessible blog on a secure http site?

What about ftp? Does anyone write a blog in text documents and upload it to their ftp server? Does this strike you as a sensible thing to do? How about writing your blog on Usenet and linking to articles in a “news:xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx” format? No? How about hosting it on a telnet server, for that true retro 1980s feel?

Let’s be honest, here – if you have a blog, then its URI will always, always, always begin with “http”. So why the sodding hell do some of the comedians who write blogging comments software insist on you including the protocol when asking you for the site address? ‘Ah yes, thanks for rejecting my comment there; after all, I didn’t specify the protocol, and wouldn’t want people to miss my amazing Gopher page’.

Eejits. Just because you’re programming a computer, doesn’t mean you have to accept the same degree of meaningless anality about your inputs that a machine would…


Apparently it’s Daniel Davies Day today (even if the TV schedulers and sellers of greetings cards have failed to notice).

In tribute, I’m linking to his two best ever pieces: It was a wonderful headbutt and (allegedly, pseudonymously) Why the Bombings Mean That We Must Support My Politics.

If you don’t follow Dan’s writing, a) you should; b) you’re an idiot. Go here, here and here, and keep reading for the rest of the day…

The idle musings of John B