a conspiracy

Check out these two pictures.

I’ll give you a few seconds.

Okay. Why is it that the same service is more expensive in Firefox? Exact same url, but the service is cheaper in IE. If Yahoo is specifically doing this, I think it’s a very poor business practice. (Not to mention the fact that I would never enter credit card info in IE).

I’ll note that if one views the source of the page in IE, copies the link from the anchor tag that wraps the price button image, and pastes that into Firefox, one can get the lower price. I will not be beat!

Geek Programming


You know you’ve programmed too many hours in the last week if — when typing an email, you type "(I think snarkiness can be excused in this instance());"

Blogging things bothering me:

  • People who use the MTRedirect plugin to fight spam, but fail to also then put the commenter’s email or website URI in the title attribute of the link.
  • Commenters that use the same name as the site owner for their comment name. Dude, if the site owner is Mike (and he always signs his comments as Mike), then don’t use Mike as your name. You can be Mike #2, or Mikey, or Michael, but you cannot be Mike.
  • As a corollary to the above, if you are new to a site, lay low for a couple days and check out the common commenter names. If there is already a Joe, sign your comment as something else. I mean it’s just proper blog etiquette.
  • This doesn’t really fit in the list, but kudos to the people that already constantly follow this etiquette
PHP Programming

Advanced PHP: eval()

I thought I’d share a handy trick I came across recently. Most people know of the handy Javascript eval(), but PHP has one of its own up its sleeve. My situation involved needing to capture the result of a PHP script for inclusion into content I was rendering in a Smarty plugin. The content I was creating would then be passed back for inclusion into the compiled template. My problem was that I was basically three levels deep in code parsing. What to do? Use the eval() function.


    //send result of php script back
    $num = 3;
    eval("include '$num';");

I should note that by default the result of eval() is sent directly to the browser. If you want to capture the result, do something like the following:

    //capture results of eval()
    $num = 3;
    eval("include '$num';");
    $result = ob_get_contents();

The eval()function can be used in many situations, of course. For one, you might have PHP code stored in a database that is rendered and included dynamically in a script.

Also, be sure that the string you pass contains all valid syntax including semicolons.


I have discerning readers

Thank you my loyal non-IE-using audience. The fact that only 35.2% of my audience uses Internet Explorer makes my bad day seem not so bad.

Opinion Random

Irony or coincidence?

As I was doing a little research for the previous post, I came across the website for the Free Market Foundation. I thought myself, “Hmm…they must be advocates of globalization or general market efficiency.” Um, no. Their tagline is “protecting freedoms, strengthening families.”

Beside the fact that their domain name seemingly is of no relation to their agenda, I thought it quite ironic that the top story on their website was one relating disappointment that the Federal Marriage Amendment was shot down.

Apparently, it is okay for them to advocate freedom for themselves, but restrict it for others. And, I must ask, how does allowing gay marriage affect their freedom at all?

Economics Education Politics

More is not better

This is especially true in a market that doesn’t operate efficiently. (I’ve mentioned the state of education a few times before.) And, yet, the idea that throwing more money at education will fix everything pervades. Why? I’m scratching my head on this one.

California’s education budget (in 2002) is 43 percent of the total state budget. This figure leaps up to 53 percent if one considers only the general fund. Over 22 percent of Michigan’s 2005 budget will go towards higher education alone. Mississippi allocates 65.26 percent of its budget to education. Most states fall in the 40-70% range.

Where does it stop? More money is obviously not fixing anything. When do we try alternatives? When do we say enough is enough? When do we insist that public education use our tax dollars more efficiently?

My first idea? Introduce market dynamics into the teacher market. It would lead to an incentive for those that would be excellent teachers/educators to enter the market because market dynamics would allow good teachers to be properly rewarded for their efforts.

This is a small step, but it could be one of the most important.

Further reading on the subject:


Out of Order

I’m getting an amusing pleasure out of the fact that the elevator in my building is out of order. I laugh everytime I see the sign on the door.

Why? Because my building is only three (yes, three) floors and EVERYONE seems to use the elevator at all times. I’m sorry, but taking the stairs up to the second floor is not going to kill anyone.


The better personality test

My personality according to a wacky personality quiz (please don’t be alarmed):

Wackiness: 16/100
Rationality: 70/100
Constructiveness: 28/100
Leadership: 36/100

You are an SRDF–Sober Rational Destructive Follower. This makes you a font of knowledge. You are cool, analytical, intelligent and completely unfunny. Sometimes you slice through conversation with a cutting observation that causes silence and sidelong glances. You make a strong and lasting impression on everyone you meet, the quality of which depends more on their personality than yours.

You may feel persecuted, as you can become a target for fun. Still, you are focused enough on your work and secure enough in your abilities not to worry overly.

You are productive and invaluable to those you work for. You are loyal, steadfast, and conscientious. Your grooming is impeccable. You are in good shape.

You are kind of a tool, but you get things done. You are probably a week away from snapping.

Hopefully, taking a week’s vacation has pushed my snapping point back a week or so.

Life Politics

There’s no place for discrimination in the Constitution

It is likely that Wednesday the Senate will vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment. The whole idea of using the Constitution to discriminate against an entire group of people flabbergasts and sickens me. Thus, I joined’s campaign by sending a short email (through their website) to the President, my state Senators and Representative. My message:

Not very often am I driven to political action. However, I find the idea of using an amendment to the Constitution — a document I consider a sacred haven for the liberties and freedoms for absolutely EVERYONE in America — to discriminate against an entire group of people completely appalling.

This is not a Democratic or Republican issue (as I am neither), but, rather, this is a human and civil rights issue.

This text was included within a form letter. I urge everyone to go and let their voices be heard.


Life Sports

I’m back, but I’m not happy about it

Vacation time is over. I actually had to work today. Meh.

I am also throwing myself back into my usual schedule. I will be taking tennis lessons for the next month or so. I love playing tennis, but have never had a formal lesson. This will be good as my lack of formal training has caused a formidable absence of forehand stroke skill. (If you ever plan to play me in tennis, promptly forget the previous sentence, if you will).

When I feel like it, I’ll elaborate on my vacation, and sometime there might even be pictures.

On my sh*tlist today: Bill Frist