Mark Harrill's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week

from the may-the-force-be-with-you dept

Hi all. I am pretty much a lurker around these parts, generally because when I chime in on the chat, someone starts thinking I used to play a Jedi Knight on the big screen. I’ve been in IT for more than 15 years and currently do project management work at a non-profit focused on public education. In my free time I work as a football official in middle and high school football games in Texas. So enough about me, on to what, in my estimation, are the best posts of the week.

For me the top post of the week focused on the hypocrisy of the US . As a child of the 80s, the notions of democracy and freedom were central to why we would “win” the Cold War. The revelations about the NSA, CIA, FBI and DEA (did I forget anyone?) spying and trampling all over the constitution has just shattered the myth around what the US stands for. You want to believe in the myth that the US stands for freedom and openness when everything we’ve seen since the Snowden leaks began has shown that is no longer, and may have never been, the case. Of course, in the usual tone deaf way of the government as a whole these days, on Friday General Alexander gives an interview in which he insists the problem is the press and not, you know, the surveillance and dragnets.

Working for a non-profit, getting maximum value out of my projects is one of my success factors for any project. Therefore I found the story about the bungled healthcare website implementation of particular interest. For me, I would have approached the folks who built my bank’s or credit card’s website or Google or Yahoo for the job. Instead, it was government as usual and making sure the connections get greased and the campaign coffers filled. The goals of the implementation were all wrong, it wasn’t to get people to sign up for health care in the most efficient manner possible, instead it was to fill bank accounts.

Of course, the health care website and spying agencies weren’t the only government departments with problems this week. The TSA admitted that they were checking on us poor travelers long before they even got invasive with the searches. And that wasn’t even the worst revelation of the week, since they admitted that it’s all probably unncessary . Then law enforcement was dealt a smackdown when a judge finally ruled against warrantless GPS devices. Hopefully this means the Constitution isn’t a myth to everyone in the government after all.

What week isn’t complete without appearances from some of the “smart people” like the MPAA and Team Prenda? First the MPPA wants more education while they refuse to learn about how the world is changing around them. Then, sometimes, more education doesn’t help as with John Steele, who can’t seem to learn when to stop digging. Then again, you can be, I assume at least, an educated person who supports a very bad idea.

Hopefully next week will be full of posts of smart people, good ideas and less myth busting. Until then, May the Force be With You.

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Comments on “Mark Harrill's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week”

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William McDuff (profile) says:

See, I’d think you used to make fun of Batman, Mark…

As a Canadian, I’d like to note that CSIS seems to be doing all the things that the NSA is up to, but seem to be better about keeping it quiet. Then again, we’ve got “peace, order and good government” instead of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” so maybe we’re just better as a country with dealing about giving up liberty for order. I hope not. :/

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: linking errors galore

I think he needs Google or Yahoo to do his web sites for him !!!

“I?ve been in IT for more than 15 years and currently do project management work at a non-profit focused on public education.”

So is it “project management” or IT you are in ? they are not the same, you do know that right?

project management (if you really don’t know) is (or could be) managing project that involve IT, or watching OTHERS do the IT, and you just tracking (and managing) the project, but your not doing IT, you are managing a project. But you know that right !!!!

Coyne Tibbets says:

Bad Links in Firefox for Android

When using FireFox for Android, the links on this page do not forward to the target articles. Instead, they refer you back to the same page.

This may be due to a translation that results in the link becoming something like “……”

Not sure if this is an error with the article or a design error of the app, or a problem specific to Android.

Anonymous Coward says:


You DID NOT WIN the cold war, Peristroike and Glasnost, was the contributing factors to the END OF THE COLD WAR.

You might want to claim you “WON” it, but I call bullshit on that, lets not rewrite history please.

Of Course you are welcome to explain to us how the “US WON THE COLD WAR”.

Let me guess, you think you won the war in the middle east too, and Vietnam.

while they refuse to learn about how the world is changing around them.

Clear, they are not the only ones !!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

oh ok, I thought you were actually trying to make a point in showing how the US WON THE COLD WAR, instead you told me how the “US Won against the Persian empire, the UK Empire, and was instrumental in changing the name of Ceylon.

Oh and did the USSR “WIN” the war that resulted in the Federation of the United States ?

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Oh and did the USSR “WIN” the war that resulted in the Federation of the United States ?”

Assuming you mean the War of Independence, the one with George Washington…I don’t see how the USSR could have been involved in that one. It began and ended somewhere around 120 years before the USSR was founded. So…why the fuck bring that up at all?

Rikuo (profile) says:

Gotta love the AC here. He’s so helpful, pointing out errors in the article’s links…no wait. He’s not. He’s attacking the article’s author, demeaning him, attacking the site’s operator, demeaning him, all over a silly little problem with links that is easily fixed.
Do you feel proud of yourself, AC? Do you feel like you accomplished something of merit? Do you feel vindicated that your comments revealed to the world just how stupid, selfish and pointless you are?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

oh right and that would never happen here on TD if applied to some other subject !!!


I am sure I am as proud of myself, as the Author’s of TD are proud when they do it, and they do it all the time, perhaps you should actually read some of the articles posted here.

But if you cant take it, don’t dish it out I say, I particularly like the “finger pointing” in regards to TD failure to “roll out” this article, do we call that from now on “healthcare.Goving ?

Tell you what when TD stops ‘demeaning’ anyone, particularly anyone connected to “EVIL US Government” or anyone in a form of media, or prenda or NSA or you name it, I might consider doing the same.

But if your post is critical of other web site, and you claim to be in “IT” ( and yes, I know project managers can manage IT) they manage ‘people in IT’ but they are themselves in “project management” (even if its only the local PTA), But to say “administration and Management” is also IT shows either you don’t know what you are talking about, or actually you are not what you say you are.

So if you are a ‘manager’ for a company that has an IT department does that make you “in IT” ?

I know what I said, And I probably feel as proud of what I say here as TD does.

And I expect TD to hold themselves to the same standard as they expect off everyone else, particularly those they write about. Clearly they don’t, and its not below TD to ‘point fingers’ and offer lame excuses as to why they fucked up.

And if you are going to be critical of something, damn well make sure you display some competence in your own work.

Perhaps TD needs someone to stop it and fix its problems too.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

This site, a blog, can have coding errors up the wazoo, but that wouldn’t make a lick of difference to whether this site can and should be able to call out other government-run sites for being sloppily coded: those sites, due to their origin, should be well coded and maintained.
Besides, there’s far more to IT than just writing links. I myself am quite proficient in IT, I build computers, but I wouldn’t know how to code, I wouldn’t be able to debug software or write an OS. Just because someone has a mistake when writing an article with his links, does not in any way mean that he was lying or misleading when he says he spent 15 years in IT. After all, you yourself said that the problem is with WordPress, something neither Mike nor Mark Harrill wrote.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

AJ the difference here is that Mike admitted that there was a mistake and fixed it. It was simply that the authors editor helpfully changed all his speech marks over to the HTML equivalent.

As a stark contrast, you never admit you make a mistake, the government, MPAA, RIAA, also never admit they make mistakes.

Please do everyone a favour and add to your hosts file pointing to

marcus (profile) says:

Not sure you want to consult with Yahoo for any important work.

“For me, I would have approached the folks who built my bank?s or credit card?s website or Google or Yahoo for the job. Instead, it was government as usual and making sure the connections get greased and the campaign coffers filled. “

I’m not so sure you would want to have Yahoo working on such an important project with the bugs in their new Yahoo interface that has resulted in long time Yahoo customers closing their accounts. They are still working out the kinks but before I canceled, my account was broken into even though I have a strong password and most likely was compromised as a result of a cross scripting or SQL injection attack. They tried to fix what wasn’t broken replacing it with a buggy interface that is as slow as molasses and removed things that a lot people found useful but they decided in the new implementation to remove.

perzue health (user link) says:

Perzue brings an opportunity for per-day/on-call doctors

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perzue health (user link) says:

Perzue portal creates a favourable job chance for travel nurse

Perzue is a one stop location for travelling nurses looking for employment opportunities. To target the shortage of medical facilities and doctors in rural area, this is an empowering step taken by perzue, where practitioners, doctors and people looking for travelling nurse jobs, can register. Perzue is a job portal which allows practitioners and medical professionals to register and explore different job scopes. If you are a travelling nurse, register at Perzue and get the most suitable travelling nurse opportunities in your area.

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