Google voter info gadget

Michael Geary | Wed, 2008-10-01 22:53

Today Google launched a voter information mapplet and gadget that I built (with help from some talented people at Google).

It’s a simple little application that just looks up voter registration information for your address, and later this month will also display your voting location. They are going all out to promote it, with a link on the main Google home page, and a cool video with a few faces you may recognize:

Now go register to vote, or Leonardo will never speak with you again!

Pennsylvania Primary Google Map

Michael Geary | Tue, 2008-04-22 02:48

Another day, another primary, another Google map. This time we added a bunch of demographic information using little sparkline graphs, with help from Jim Barnes of the National Journal. I think the voter registration by age is especially interesting. Check it out:

(The map probably won’t load in an RSS feed, so click through to the article to see it.)

You can get this map for your own site!

That's not a tax, it's a federal grant

Michael Geary | Sun, 2007-08-12 16:30

From the San Jose International Airport Fact Sheet:

No tax funds are used for the operation nor development of the Airport. Airport revenues come from user fees and federal grants.

And where do the federal grants come from?

We are not evil, and we will burn down your church to prove it

Michael Geary | Sat, 2006-09-16 11:44

I’m a big fan of The Daily WTF, even if I can’t explain its name in mixed company. But today the real world has outdone anything that site ever posted.

You see, the Pope gave a speech that quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor who said that Mohammed’s teachings were “evil and inuhuman”. Naturally, some people took offense. No one likes to have their faith criticized, and a few people decided to prove that emperor wrong. To demonstrate their lack of evil, they burned and shot up a few churches.


The Firefox vote

Michael Geary | Tue, 2004-11-02 15:31

Looking at political party websites in Firefox tells me a little something about each party. (Click images for full size versions.)

The Republicans may be able to pack two grammatical errors into one sentence (“In 2000, less than 17,194 votes decided five states, and 55 Electoral College votes.”), but they have a big tent and Firefox visitors are welcome:

Republican Party in Firefox

Popups? We don’t need no steenkin’ popups. And the scrolling banner at the top is awfully annoying, but it offers an interesting optical illusion: Stare at the live GOP site for 30 seconds or so, and then look at the screen shot of the same site. Your eyes will tell you that the screen shot has a scrolling banner too, moving the opposite direction.

The Libertarians may have a very small tent, but it’s a friendly one:

Libertarian Party in Firefox

No problems with Firefox here, and no scrolling banner to play tricks on your eyes.

How about the Democrats?

Democratic Party in Firefox

Well! We are not using an approved browser, are we? Firefox users are not welcome here. You will use IE or you will use nothing.

Does it get better if we scroll down the page?

Democratic Party in Firefox

Oh. That’s easy to read, isn’t it?

One of the reasons I switched to Firefox is that I can override the font size of any website by simply using the Ctrl+Plus and Ctrl+Minus keys. What about the folks who are still using IE? Can they change the font size of a website? IE does have a Text Size button, but it only works for sites that are gracious enough to avoid absolute font sizes.

What if an IE user needs really big text because of poor vision? Do these sites allow it? Let’s take a look at each one in IE with the Text Size cranked all the way up. (No large versions this time, since the point is to show how the sites might look to someone who can’t see well.)


Republican Party in Internet Explorer


Democratic Party in Internet Explorer

It is nice to see that the Democratic Party actually does have a website (as long as you’re using their approved browser). And why should you be able to choose your own font size, anyway? The Democrats, just like the Republicans, have already picked out the font that they know is best for you.


Libertarian Party in Internet Explorer

True to their philosophy, the Libertarian Party is the only one that lets you pick your own font size instead of being stuck with theirs.

(Where’s Ralph? Sorry, I got too tired to make that many screen shots. Summary: He’s Firefox-friendly, but just like the Demos and Repos, he knows what font size is best.)

Daylight Saving Tax

Michael Geary | Sun, 2004-10-31 09:27

How many clocks did you have to change today? This year I’m pretty lucky. I only had to change 19.

Of course, I’ll probably find a few more in the next few days.

Here’s the list so far, for our family of four:

  • Oven
  • Microwave
  • Answering machine
  • Two wall clocks
  • Four cameras
  • Sony reverb (yes, it has a clock)
  • Two thermostats
  • Three alarm clocks
  • Fax machine
  • Sprinkler system
  • Two cars

Some years have been worse. I recall changing 28 clocks about ten years ago. That was before my computers adjusted themselves for daylight time. For a while that made things even worse, though: I was dual booting Windows 95 and NT, and when the time changed, both OSes decided to adjust the time for me. So I was an hour off in the wrong direction.

Now I do all my software testing in VMware virtual machines, and I’ve given up on putting those on daylight time. I let them run on standard time all year around, otherwise it gets too annoying. Revert to a snapshot and it will want to adjust the time all over again.

I do have one atomic clock that set itself back to standard time automatically. But my daughters have atomic clocks that didn’t, and I don’t see any way to change them unless I turn off the radio synchronization and set them manually. Must research this.

I can’t wait for spring, when we do it all over again, and probably get to church an hour late.

Whose idea was this? Democrats? Republicans? A pox on both their houses. The Libertarians would never pull a stunt like this.

Update: Roy Green informs me that it was not the Democrats, not the Republicans, and not even the Libertarians, but my hero Benjamin Franklin!