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GAIM Encryptiong using Off The Record (OTR) on Windows

As of now, you just install Gaim from

Then, install OTR from

Then, if you're using the Gaim beta, you need to install the files form this zip:

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Rikki Tikki Tavi - A Children's book name for a kid's level understanding of social bookmarking

Rikki Tikki Backstory

So, this morning I found Rikki Tikki Tavi's Garden a reference to the childrens book where a mongoose defeats an evil pair of snakes. The name is well chosen: this user is attempting to defang a group of employees from the Center for American Progress, one of whom uses a snake username on some social bookmarking sites. And it is the involvment in the social bookmarking that is pissing off this particular mongoose.

He (or she...) doesn't have comments enabled on that blog, which pissed me off, so I wrote a lot more than I probably should have on the subject.

How Social Bookmarking Works

People who like a story will bookmark and "vote up" that story. You may not agree with them, but that's how it works.

Digg has an uneasy relationship with self-promotion that comes from the community. The Digg FAQ doesn't say how to handle it so instead we get community opinion on the matter. And therefore we get dissent from that opinion. That's how the real world works - deal with it.

Reddit saw that problem with Digg and set the ground rules off the bat. Right in the Reddiquette it says:

Post links directly to interesting things. Old content and self-promotion are okay, because Reddit is a meritocracy.

So let me repeat: People who like a story will bookmark and "vote up" that story. This is not a case of people being shills. It's reality.

How American Non-Partisan "Political" Nonprofits Work

Much as I hate to see it, the reality is that American law currently allows an organization to be a nonprofit think tank (gaining all sorts of tax and social benefits) but only if they are "non partisan". The IRS test for "non partisan" has to do with advocating for a specific politician. Most people just assume it's the appearance of a bias, which is not true. However, both the popularly accepted idea of "non partisan" as being "unbiased" and the IRS test of "not advocating for a person" are crossed every day!

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Simply The Best

Many times people ask me:

"Greg, what is the best {something}?"

Most of the time I have an answer. That's because "I know the stuff". I'm an early adopter. I do research. I just bought a new computer and was asked "how long have you been thinking about this?" well my answer was since I was born.

This section of the site is my collected knowledge on the subject of the "best" in software, technology, and other "stuff". Most of the artiles in it are old, this just provides simpler navigation to find all the nuggets of wisdom.


Noble Savage, nostalgie de la boue, and Origins of Virtue

I read Matt Ridley's book Origins of Virtue a while ago, but just now in reading an article by iMomus in Wired about Nostalgia For Mud I was reminded of the Origins of Virtue.

The book takes an anthropological/sociological look at the idea of altruism, gift giving, and community to find where the history of animal and mankind these ideas have come from. Ridley notes how a certain species of bat will go out looking for food, return to the nest, and share food that they have with other bats who did not find food. Since the bats are not guaranteed to find food when they go out hunting, this provides the community with an insurance or "shared risk" policy that helps them all stay helathy. However, they keep track of who they have shared food with and if someone becomes a "free rider" on the system then the rest of the bats will stop sharing with them. Sounds an awful lot like the 1996 "Welfare to Work" and change from "entitlement" to "Temporary Assistance" kinds of changes that were made to welfare programs in the US.

Another interesting part of the book was a review of a set of Australian tribes that each produced different goods which they would trade with each other. They didn't need to trade - they could have all produced the items themselves and not had to trade. Ridley theorized that they forced themselves to specialize, to become reliant on each other, because it reduced the chances that the tribes would fight with each other. Ever hear of the Smoot-Hawley tarriffs (and their contemporaries) which probably helped usher in World War II? What about the establishment of the European Common Economic Zone (the commercial side of the EU) as a means to foster inter-reliance and reduce the chances of war. Would Germany, France, and England go to war today? Not as long as trade depends on it. There are certainly other reasons for a country/state to specialize, but as the US has shown with our Strategic Oil Reserves countries generally only specialize to a point and then will try to maintain some of the capability in an area to maintain a smidgen of independence.

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