Jach's personal blog

(Largely containing a mind-dump to myselves: past, present, and future)
Current favorite quote: "Supposedly smart people are weirdly ignorant of Bayes' Rule." William B Vogt, 2010

"Go fuck yourself" is a status signal

It's amazing how often behavior can be explained by status signaling when you look for it. This isn't to say all such behavior is incorrect and to be avoided, but understanding when others, or especially yourself, might not be driven by rational thought as much as believed is important. I'm still learning, too, but finding social signaling and cognitive biases is always a good exercise. "Go fuck yourself" is, typically, putting an end to an argument by saying "I'm high status enough that I don't need to go on wasting my resources arguing with you.", with a possibly corollary being "My status is so high and yours so low that I don't even have to acknowledge you anymore, your status won't increase." And I would say it can sometimes be a rational means to end an argument, though my first restriction would be that there was an argument in the first place. Writing off someone's argument [toward you in general] without even responding isn't allowed.

It seems "you" can be referring to a set of ideas as well, and the above phrase signals your strong opposition to such views. Some views deserve it, though, like Young Earth Creationism, and since an argument advancing that position already has been argued ad infinitum, I think it's right and proper to ignore or mock.

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Metroid: Other M Review

In the interest of procrastination, I shall write a review for Metroid: Other M which I acquired a couple weeks back! Standard disclaimer, all of the following is an opinion (unlike all of my other posts...) but I'm happy to entertain flames.

First off, I liked the game. I'm not going to give it a score, because I can really only rank things two ways: like or not like, and like more or less than some other thing. I like it more than getting kicked in the face, I like it less than a million dollars. A bit more specific, I still think the Prime series, especially Metroid Prime 3, dominates this one, but in a way this is a nice refresher instead of a Prime 4.

Why do I like it? It has a pretty unique control system with the gameplay, and it works out. The Metroid team took a gamble with the Prime series, putting Samus in first person for the first time, and it paid off remarkably well. They took another gamble here, and while there are some issues I'll get to I thought it was overall successful. Nice 2D side-scrolling in some places, full 3D elements with depth in others; this is what New Super Mario Bros. Wii should have done, then it wouldn't have felt as much like a clone of New Super Mario Bros. DS.

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Flex Tip: SOAP Webservice POST calls with an XMLList

Here's a tip that may be obvious to some people, but it certainly wasn't to me. Let me set up my situation and explain how I solved it.

I have Java web services that communicate with my Flex client via SOAP with the interface defined by a WSDL. Some of the older methods simply use Strings as parameters and return values, with each side constructing / converting the strings manually. (It's pretty ugly.)

After a while of this ugliness we started migrating to object-based parameters and return values that get converted to XML on the Flex side and Java native objects on the server side, all done by Enunciate. This works swell for return values, e.g. suppose I have this Java class:

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Why is there so much hostility over ad blockers?

It's not as if this is a new concept... Ever since advertising arrived people have sought ways to avoid it. Yes, I understand that some websites rely on the revenue generated from their ads. Yes, I understand that some websites would shut down if everyone used ad blockers. But there's no reasonable justification for banners such as these, and no reasonable outrage about "killing a site". You can always implement something to ban clients using adblock, if you're sufficiently cylever. (Though there would probably be a workaround if your site was popular..)

Anyway, the rage over adblockers is almost equivalent to the rage over ads. I have no problems with ads themselves, but I prefer not to see them, so I use AdBlock Plus. I recently had the joy of browsing Youtube without AdBlock, and it amazed me how the rest of the internet puts up with all those ads. Youtube was nearly unusable for me.

What advertisers should realize is that we users are under no obligation to even look at ads, let alone click them, and there's nothing wrong with the internet equivalent of muting, turning off, or changing channels on the t.v. during commercials. And what users should realize is that advertisers aren't obligated to give you free content, nor are they obligated to treat ad blockers with the same respect as non ad blockers. If a site that survived on ads dies because everyone blocks the ads, and the owners can't make money through other means, was it really that important in the first place? Are people so focused on profit that they'll put a paywall up if ads don't work? My estimates lean heavily in the "No" direction.

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Introducing a new ugliness!

New Ugliness 1.0 completed. Well, it should be easier to read... Maybe.

Edit: I may have topped the previous ugliness. Hooray. :)

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Tao Te Ching Reflections, 47 through 55

(It occurred to me the other day I hadn't finished this!)


Without opening your door,
you can open your heart to the world.
Without looking out your window,
you can see the essence of the Tao.

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