Monthly Archives: March 2003

IVR

OK, so I've spent a couple hours this morning pouring over IVR documentation and I'm starting to get some stuff cobbled together so you can check your IMs over the phone. I'm not talking about any special WAP internet phones by the way — I'm talking about voice phones with nothing more than a keypad.

Anyway, to continue I'm going to have to drop a little bit of money, so I just wanted to make sure that there are people who'd use a feature like this before I put any resources into it (not a ton; about $200 to get started, and then just the monthly cost). I'm assuming this would be useful to people who are travelling?

Oh, in the short term it would include the following main features, with more being added later:

  1. The ability to have your IMs read to you.
  2. The ability to send a voice message to someone (that is, you speak it into the phone, and they can listen to it as an MP3 file if they're online, or have it played back to them on the phone if they call in).
  3. The ability to post voice messages to your page (so for example you could call from a payphone and post an audio diary entry to your page).

Given that we're coming up on BBQ season, I figure some effort should be put into this?

New artists

I've added a few new pros… Today it's Allen Falkner, piercedgirl13, Bodmodboy, jesterv1, luisg, and munky207. Thank you! And remember, if you want to be added, just fill out the form (piercer or tattoo artist). The newsfeed is also up to date, and on the note of professional body artists I thought I should mention “Tattoo artists receive threats” over how tattoos artists in Winnipeg (yes, the city that Winnie the Pooh is named after) are receiving threats from low-end shops that don't support their drive to get regulation in place.


Now, I really had wanted not to bring up war news because it's all just so miserable right now, but I'm getting both a lot of people asking me to, and I'm seeing a lot of pro-killing banners flying, many of them based on emotion and anger that runs contrary to fact. I've also gotten a few messages from people asking questions that show a profound lack of understanding of the “diplomatic structure” of the international community. But I'll try and be as brief as possible.

If you're not interested in this, don't read it.

Let's begin with a quote from The Washington Times:

We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it. And we must not allow ourselves to be drawn into a trial of the causes of the war for our position is that no grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson
U.S. representative to the
International Conference on Military Trials
Aug. 12, 1945.

A lot of people are making a big deal about whether this is a “legal” war or not; some argue that previous resolutions are still being violated (a dubious claim given the last ten years as well as the inspections — even the US's “star witness defector” has flat out said that there are no WMDs), as well as bringing up 1441 (which the UN has not said was violated). I'll let former Marine Daniel Ellsbery (ie. the “Pentagon Papers” guy that was instrumental in ending the Vietnam war) give his take on that. I also recommend MSN/Slate's article, “Unauthorized Entry on how Bush is seizing unprecedented amounts of power and waging war “without permission”.

According to the Miami Herald, he's re-writing the “rules of war” (and no, that's not a good thing, because it destroys the possibility for international stability). There's definitely a concerted effort in the US to destroy the UN and eliminate international diplomacy — the US has ordered its allies to cut off contact with Iraq (calling Russia to demand a UN ruling on the legality; the US, who went into this under a UN banner is fighting to silence the international community).

Relations with former ally Pakistan have been cut off, with the US pulling out its embassy indefinitely. It's important to realize that Pakistan is a radical Muslim military dictatorship far more brutal and terrorist than Iraq ever was — they quite publicly fund terrorist groups that launch absolutely brutal attacks on India. Pakistan denounced this war, and it's people are freaking out that Pakistan has to do more to stop it. And guess what… Pakistan is a nuclear power with serious amounts of confirmed long-range weaponry (unlike N Korea who may well be bluffing). If Pakistan is at all destabilized, it's those nukes that could really make the world hell.

The Washington Times writes that Saudi Arabia has drafted plans to deal with a nuclear strike…
     …by the US.

It's weird… There's so much lying going on and everyone is just believing it blindly. Sort of like how Bush claimed that his “coalition of the willing” was thirty-five countries, plus fifteen that wouldn't be named, and that there were more countries backing him than there were his daddy in Gulf War I… Yet when Reuters inquired they discovered that only three have actual troops fighting, with ten other countries having offered non-combat forces such as medical teams. But still, I see people quoting this lie constantly. No one cares that it's a lie. I guess that's the thing: it's not supposed to be true. It's like music. The words might not make any sense, but it's fun to sing and it gets you revved up.

Anyway, I think The Times sums it up well with this headline:
After the Shock and Awe, next will come the despair

Better version

I'm sure everyone but me thinks this is terribly lame, not to mention narcissistic, but I did enjoy drawing it. Like Jason, lettering isn't my strong point so that part isn't done:

Doodling

I was just scribbling away — this is just hand drawn (except the star) so if I actually were to do something with it I'd have to go and render it nicely. I'm thinking of putting on the back of my jean jacket (I wish).

Hmm….

I've been setting up voice recording stuff here today for doing phone interviews and so on… Unfortunately the line is very noisy and while it's useful for legal purposes, it's pretty much useless for anything else. Certainly it's far too rough for actually re-broadcasting.

Maybe someone (that I know) in Toronto can stop by one of the spy stores for me and find a decent hardware solution for me — if you have to time to, drop me a line please…

I was also fiddling with it because I want to finally get the voice plugin for IAM completed. With any luck I'll have a prototype running some time next week if the tools I've downloaded today do what they're supposed to. For those that don't remember, the concept is that there'll be a phone number that you can call when you're on the road and it'll do things like read your IMs to you.