A copy of a message I sent to Bugzilla today.

I would like to be able to report crashes on my system using Bugzilla. However, I will not sign up for an account on that service because they violate a basic principle of user privacy, and for no good reason so far as I can tell. They require an email address for people to sign up, but this email adddress is then visible to all on any bug reports submitted. They “helpfully” suggest that users should use a “secondary” email account to avoid spam on their main account. This is just a ridiculous suggestion. If I wish to make use of bugzilla to do more than just submit automated bug reports, such as actually track the status of my bug, I’m going to want to use a “push” service to report changes to the bug, and that means accessing the email account I register with them, making it pointless as to whether it’s a primary or secondary account – I’m still going to have to wade through any spam to get at the real contents, and the publication of the email address will pretty much ensure that it gets spammed. Why not follow the more-or-less standard approach of having users select a username which is visible to other users and if it’s really necessary to allow users to contact others for whom they don’t separately know an email address, provide a simple user-to-user personal message system? Since the purpose of Bugzilla is to allow community-minded users to report problems with software to the development community, discouraging them from doing so degrades the whole community effort.

I’ve painfully pushed my way through “Cult of the Amateur”, despite its huge flaws. As mentioned last time, the author constantly follows the “broken window fallacy” in all his economic arguments so far.

A couple of sections cover the issues of accountability in the press and the undermining of advertising. Keen offers up examples of where mainstream media have been caught out, including outright lies, poorly researched stories etc. He offers these up as examples of the higher quality of the infrastructure because of the sanctions then applied. However, the very fact that these failings exist in the mainstream media rather undermine his case, particularly as there’s no way of knowing how many flawed articles aren’t spotted. He also excoriates the self reinforcing groups “talking only to themselves”. These groups are no worse than the existing examples of biased media, for example “Fox News”. One of the differences between mainstream media and the new online media is that new media does not generally make the same claim to lack of bias, or claim to “authority” made by existing media. (more…)

A colleague sent a link to a Japan Today article, which seemed of interest, so I followed it up. The article was indeed interesting, but one of the side-bar adverts was amusingly bizarre. It’s an “Ad by Google” and looks something like this (best I can do in WordPress to duplicate the formatting).

Hot Japan Girl
Thinking of buying?
Compare 100s
of retailers’ prices at

I’ve installed the reCaptcha comment filter on my blog. Sorry folks, but you’ll need to jump through the “type this word” hoop from now on. Too much spam, even with Akismet blocking.

I’ve definitely been here too long. I got my first piece of “junk mail” today.

OK, so it should have been expected. When I first arrived I bought a digital camera from Yodobashi camera. At the time, I signed up for one of their “loyalty cards” which give a ten percent bonus from each purchase which can be used on future purchases. Since I’ve bought a moderate amount of stuff from them, this has been a decent deal. But, to sign up I had to give them an address. Their summer catalogue arrived today, my first piece of junk mail in Japan.

Yet again an ambulance just used their siren/voice alarm at 12:45am. I’ve mentioned this annoyance in Japan before. In the UK it’s illegal to use your car horn after 11pm and before 7am. I’m fairly sure it’s either illegal, or at least severely frowned upon, to use sirens after 11pm, and certainly after midnight they’re rare. In Japan, the ambulance drivers in particular seem to be all like Bill Cosby in Mother, Jugs and Speed. This one used their sirens and the recorded voice that (I assume – I can’t hear well enough even to try and translate) tells people to get out of the way, then it stopped. About thirty second later it started up again. Since I’m sitting at the computer I pulled up the blind and watched them drive off quite slowly and with absolutely no other vehicular traffic in sight. They then proceeded down the “road” along next to the canalised river bed. It’s fairly narrow but it’s got good visibility and very few vehicles, mostly pedestrians. I’m sure that the ordinary lights would be enough to get people out of the way, and if people were in the way THEN they could have switched the siren/voice on. But, no, if they’re moving and on a call they have the noise going.

At least now the elections are over the loudspeaker vans have gone. There’s still a delivery van that beeps everywhere it goes, though. Makes me long for the once a week (alternating garbage and recycling) collection vans at 7:30am at home.
Japan has a serious problem with noise spam (spaudium?) .

I’m really glad there is the Akismet spam filter for Word Press. So far, it’s caught almost 1500 spam comment to this blog, and not one seems to have been a legitimate comment. It’s catching better than 99% of the spam as well. I only have to manually mark a couple a week as spam. Of course, I’m not getting many comments, so maybe there’d be more false positives if there were more to make the mistake on.