January 30, 2003

Make love not …

Why is it that we always tell our children "don’t fight", "violence is not the solution", "might is not right" and so on and then go and do just the opposite? Are we out to prove besides the fact that we are spouting hot air, that we are a bunch of liars and that it is also OK to lie? I don’t know … This is how it seems to me from a simplistic point of view. I know that there are times when war is inevitable but we should do all that is humanly possible before we resort to war.

OK now you know I am going to talk about the US :p So let me put in a few disclaimers and set the stage first. I know that there are a lot of people in the US who feel the same way as I do and I also know that most people online are aware of the fact that there is a world outside the US and that the US is not always right – so when I say something about US people generally, it might not mean *you* even if you live in the US :p The second thing is that when I say "the US" most often than not, I mean the US government and not the people of the US itself – not the average Joe on the street. Incidentally, it’s a curious thing but I’ve noticed that quite a few people from the US support any action by the government just because it’s done *by the government*. Now just because it is a government of the people, by the people, for the people does not mean that we should lose sight of one important fact – it is also a government *of* people. I mean it’s a government made up of people – people with emotions, feelings, prejudices; things that may colour their actions and may not make them always objective. I can’t say that I have a wide experience of the world but I don’t see that particular mentality (the idea that it’s OK because your government does it) in other parts of the world – certainly not in Sri Lanka where people always analyze the actions of the president and the government and look at it – if not fairly – at least critically.

There are many things I don’t understand about the US government’s insistence on war with Iraq. How come they want to fight Iraq over nuclear capabilities that have not yet been discovered (but that the US government insists are there) when they are bending over backwards to accommodate North Korea which openly declares that they are going to resume nuclear testing? Wasn’t North Korea part of George Bush’s "axis of terror"? Or is the *real* reason for going to war with Iraq something else altogether? When I hear all this stubborn insistence that Iraq has nuclear capabilities (with no concrete evidence as far as I know) I begin to believe the stories that I hear about the US actually having provided Iraq with nuclear armament by the US twenty years ago during the time of the Iran-Iraq war – how else can the US know with such certainty that Iraq has nuclear capabilities? I wonder …

There are many things which don’t make sense to me about this looming war. I don’t understand why human lives (does not matter which race, creed or nationality it belongs to) should be lost for political reasons. I wonder if this is just another instance of "Wag the Dog" – which incidentally is a brilliant piece of political satire as far as I am concerned. I didn’t understand when the US government went to war in Afghanistan saying that they were going to bring back Osama Bin Laden to trial – many human lives have been lost (both Afghan and US) but Bin Laden still roams free. If I could see that Bin Laden couldn’t be captured even then (I said so in my blog at that time …), how is it that the US government with all it’s highly-trained and highly-paid analysts couldn’t? Could it be that it was not about bringing Bin Laden to justice but about making a point? Why do we waste human lives for the sake of such pettiness? Is it because human lives (each of which should be so utterly precious) have lost all meaning and value in the world of today? If so, then maybe we do deserve to be wiped out in one big nuclear conflagration …

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Posted by Fahim at 9:17 am  |  3 Comments

I did get back to Blog coding yesterday finally (and before DeViLbOi starts his cry of “PostMan, PostMan” again, I will get to PostMan too but I feel that I should work on the apps that have users since they do want bug fixes :p) and set out to find out what the problem was with adding custom snippet buttons to the edit toolbar. Incidentally, I probably should have started work on BlogMan since that still needs to be finished up for final release but since Blog and BlogMan share the UI, BlogMan has the same problem with adding snippet buttons to the toolbar and so it is all good 🙂

Anyway, since I couldn’t remember what the exact problem had been, I decided to go another route and check up on the ActionBand component in Delphi since that’s what I used to provide the customizable edit toolbar in Blog and that was where adding the snippet buttons was causing problems. I discovered that a new patch had been released which solved some problems with the ActionBand component and though none of the listed fixes seemed relevant to me, I applied the patch anyway since that might fix something obscure which was affecting what I was trying to do. While downloading the patch, I saw a demo which showed you how to save toolbar customizations for ActionBands if you create toolbar items dynamically. Since the snippets are user defined, they have to be created dynamically and so I took a look at the demo and that gave me some ideas as well.

Even after applying the patch and integrating the ideas from the demo, it still didn’t work the way I wanted and so I ended up splitting up the custom snippet menu/toolbar creation code into three separate procedures from the original one. This allowed me to have better control under different circumstances and this helped a bit but I got stuck again at that point. By this time however, I had remembered the actual problems that I was trying to fix :p One was that all edit toolbar customizations disappear when you invoke the custom snippet definition dialog and click OK. I had fixed that by this time. The other was an internal problem that I had discovered earlier while trying to fix the former – internally, the edit toolbar gets multiple copies of the same button and while only one displays, each time you do a customization, the number of invisible buttons on the toolbar goes up. I finally discovered the reason for this too (and that was just by accident) and I managed get it all fixed and now have the custom toolbar stuff working fine 🙂

I also intend to change the UI a bit for the next release – I know it’s supposed to be a bug fix release and there shouldn’t be any functional changes (at least, that’s my internal rule :p) but I think this is necessary. The current UI is a bit too cluttered and confusing since I’ve had many people ask me what the area next to the category selection box is since it’s never used – it’s for built-in Blog comments incidentally – and that’s bad utilization of screen space. So I’ve decided to borrow something from BlogMan and go with a tabbed interface. The main entry area will have a single tab for the title, entry and the category selection box, there will be a separate tab for previewing and another tab for the comments. That should make things a bit more neater and organized – I hope …

Posted by Fahim at 6:36 am  |  No Comments