September 24, 2007

TV Screen Clutter

The clutter on your TV screen is getting worse.

Kyra Sedgwick, star of “The Closer” on TNT, walks under a police tape and scans the screen with her flashlight. And every time she does, she makes Gretchen Corbin, a technical writer in Berkeley, Calif., irate.

The promotional ads for “The Closer” run in the bottom right of the screen during other TNT programs — a graphic called a snipe. But for Ms. Corbin, who sometimes watches movies that have subtitles, the tiny images block the dialogue.

“Some ad just took over the entire bottom of the screen so I missed what the characters said to each other,” said Ms. Corbin, describing a recent experience. “And it’s TV, so you can’t rewind.”

Snipes are just the latest effort by network executives to cram promotions onto television screens in the age of channel surfing, ad skipping and screen-based multitasking. At first, viewers may feel a slight jolt of pleasure at the sight of a new visual effect, they say, but over time the intrusions contribute to the sense that the screen is far more cluttered — not just with ads, but with news crawls and other streams of information.

Not just "snipes" but full blown, full-color, moving ads that take away from the current show, sometimes obscuring it. This really is way too much.

This ranks right down there with a feature on news channels that appeared after 9/11: The Scroller(tm). On a day when terrorism hit the US, keeping up with more news than just what was being covered at the moment was very useful. But when The Scroller is noting who's won a local mustache and beard contest, it's usefulness has long, long been outlived. Give me some of my screen back, guys

Posted by Doug at 12:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 21, 2007

Only At the UN Does This Pass For "Reform"

I've criticized the UN on human rights before. Their Human Rights Commission was a sham and a joke, often headed by countries with the worst human rights abuses, and very often condemning those with better records on it while ignoring egregious acts by member states.

The Commission was disbanded in a "reform" move, and the Human Right Council was created. Living up to my low expectations, the Council is virtually identical to the Commission in its actions.

Members of the UN's new human rights watchdog on Tuesday formally agreed to continue their scrutiny of Israel while halting investigations into Cuba and Belarus - a move that immediately drew fire from Canada and the United States.

Palestinians are trying to get into Israel to escape the human rights abuses in Gaza (the subject of an upcoming post). Yet they excuse Cuba, ignore Hamas and Fatah, and single out Israel. Such "myopic zeal".
The United States - which is only an observer to the 47-nation body - has been skeptical since the beginning.

Any wonder?
The large Muslim and African groups, which dominate the council, had lobbied hard to minimize the scope for naming and shaming countries over their human rights records, ...

Any wonder?
...but make an exception for Israel, the only government explicitly criticized so far by the body.

This is absolutely preposterous. The United Nations has absolutely no credibility in this area, and its pronouncements on this should no longer be taken seriously.

And if this is what they call "reform", they make their own case for dismantling.

Posted by Doug at 11:15 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 12, 2006

Spammer with a Sense of Humor

We've done a bit of work with keeping the comment and trackback spam off SCO. There's always some that still gets through, but it's two orders of magnitude less that it used to be before we instituted countermeasures.

Lately, comment spam has been trickling in from what appears to be the same person/bot. It's usually a content-free comment but has a URL associated with it that it hopes is noted by search engines. Most are nailed, but again some get through. This person/bot hit another post this afternoon that got automatically zapped, but I got an e-mail showing what the comment was. I got a good chuckle.

Hello! This is a nice site! but alot of Spam...

Good Luck!

To the Pit of Spam it goes, but it was good for a smile.

Posted by Doug at 12:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 06, 2006

Robertson. Again.

Yo, Pat. Please stop trying to read God's mind. As usual, ScrappleFace nails it.

Posted by Doug at 09:25 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

September 14, 2005

DeLay Jumps the Shark

I'm duplicating a topic Rick just hit, but I just had to get my 2 cents in as well.

What in the ever-luvin' world???

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said yesterday that Republicans have done so well in cutting spending that he declared an "ongoing victory," and said there is simply no fat left to cut in the federal budget.

Mr. DeLay was defending Republicans' choice to borrow money and add to this year's expected $331 billion deficit to pay for Hurricane Katrina relief. Some Republicans have said Congress should make cuts in other areas, but Mr. DeLay said that doesn't seem possible.

"My answer to those that want to offset the spending is sure, bring me the offsets, I'll be glad to do it. But nobody has been able to come up with any yet," the Texas Republican told reporters at his weekly briefing.

Asked if that meant the government was running at peak efficiency, Mr. DeLay said, "Yes, after 11 years of Republican majority we've pared it down pretty good."

I would really hope this has been taken out of context, but it's hard to see what larger context he might be talking about. There are entire departments many conservatives would like to see gone (e.g. Education Department, NEA). If DeLay's that tone deaf to the folks who put him in office, it's time for a change.

Fortunately, not everyone's that out of touch.

"This is hardly a well-oiled machine," said Rep. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican. "There's a lot of fat to trim. ... I wonder if we've been serving in the same Congress."

American Conservative Union Chairman David A. Keene said federal spending already was "spiraling out of control" before Katrina, and conservatives are "increasingly losing faith in the president and the Republican leadership in Congress."

"Excluding military and homeland security, American taxpayers have witnessed the largest spending increase under any preceding president and Congress since the Great Depression," he said.

And here's someone else with their own list of things that could be cut.
Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), said if Mr. DeLay wants to know where to cut, "there are plenty of places to reduce."

His group soon will release a list of $2 trillion in suggested spending cuts over the next five years, and he said Congress also could cut the estimated $20 billion to $25 billion in pet projects that make their way into must-pass spending bills each year.

Now, I will say that Democrats, even in light of unfettered and un-vetoed spending by Republicans, still argue that we're not spending enough on this or that program, so I think we probably doing better financially vs. a Kerry presidency & Democrat Congress. However, to claim victory at this point in time is simply irresponsible.

OK, and outright nuts.

Posted by Doug at 11:40 AM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

September 02, 2005

Critics trying to have it both ways

The President is taking heat for responding too slowly to the Katrina disaster. James Taranto covers how angry folks on the left have been reacting in general ("It's global warming!", "It's because Mississippi has a Republican governor!"), but the speed issue is one that keeps coming up.

The NY Times calls Bush's response too little, too late.

George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life yesterday, especially given the level of national distress and the need for words of consolation and wisdom. In what seems to be a ritual in this administration, the president appeared a day later than he was needed. He then read an address of a quality more appropriate for an Arbor Day celebration: a long laundry list of pounds of ice, generators and blankets delivered to the stricken Gulf Coast. He advised the public that anybody who wanted to help should send cash, grinned, and promised that everything would work out in the end.

One of the criticisms I have of many pundits and news reporters on the Left is that, no matter at all what Bush does, they'll find some way to criticize it. It doesn't matter how objectively good his action may be, it simply must be shot down. Don't believe me? Well Sherman, set the Way Back Machine to August 15, 2004, a little over a year ago. CBS reports on what folks are saying to Bush's response to Hurricane Charley.
Even before the storm hit, the president declared four counties disaster areas to speed federal money to victims. But that quick response fueled suspicion that he is using disaster politics to help his campaign in one of the most critical battleground states, a notion the president dismissed Sunday.

"Yeah, and if I didn't come they'd have said he should have been here more rapidly," Mr. Bush said.

Just like they are saying now. And precisely what they said to Dubya's father.
The president is trying not to repeat his father's mistakes. After Hurricane Andrew flattened parts of south Florida in 1992, state officials blamed the first President Bush for not answering their calls for help quickly enough, and trying to make up that by overcompensating later.

It's a lesson the current president and political analysts have not forgotten.

"President Bush Sr. put so much money into the state after Hurricane Andrew that he was accused of buying votes in that election. So there is potential that the president could float so much money into Florida that people would say that's political opportunism," says political analyst Craig Crawford.

So a Republican President, by the definition of the Left, can only respond either too quickly or too slowly, and will spend either too much or too little money. This is what playing politics with human suffering looks like. Independents, take note.

Posted by Doug at 02:45 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 03, 2005

Comments Have Been Down

Our apologies, but it appears comments have been down for the last day or so. Comments should now be working. This is from the continuing deluge of spammers. We continue to work on a permanent fix to the spammer problem and hope that one of us (namely Doug) will be able to fix it soon.

Posted by Mark at 09:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 03, 2005

Censorship but hopefully not for long


As a temporary means of thwarting the dreaded spammers, until a better and more permanent solution can be found, we have implemented the comment approval feature of Movable Type. When you post a comment, it will need to be approved. We will try to approve them as quickly as possible.

We hope you understand. We are not thrilled with this.


Posted by Mark at 01:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 26, 2005

Comments and Trackbacks Down Again


The vile creatures known as spammers have managed to shut down our comments and trackbacks again. You can try to leave a comment, but it may not be successful. You have not been banned (unless you're a spammer, we're actively working on banning you). We are working on this. We suspect that no reader of Stones Cry Out ever responds to online spammers. If you do, though, you might want to re-think that, since it only encourages them and leads to problems like this.

Dante's Inferno may need to be updated to add spammers. Guess which circle they'll be in?

Stones Cry Out

Posted by Mark at 01:45 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 17, 2005

Comments, Trackback Down

No, we haven't banned you (unless I've been banned too). The comments and trackback features are down. Our crack team of flying monkeys are working the problem and we hope to have it resolved just as soon as we can. (Translation: I have no clue how to fix it but I hope one of the other fellas does.)

(Thanks Catez for the heads up.)

Posted by Mark at 06:57 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack