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Christopher Parker
Date: 2008-11-30 11:29
Subject: Restaurant.com Certificate Limitations
Security: Public
Location:Malden, MA
I received four $25 restaurant.com gift certificates earlier this year and rediscovered that I had them today. I decided to start using them while they're still valid, as they seem to expire in two months. I found a restaurant I would like to use them at and called them to verify I could combine multiple certificates there before redeeming all four. The person on the phone said I could.

I then decided to redeem two of my four certificates for this particular restaurant (Mt. Vernon in Somerville, MA). After going through the redemption process for one, I noticed the following in the GIFT CERTIFICATES TERMS & CONDITIONS on the printed certificate:

* Limit one (1) redemption per party, per month, per restaurant.
* Limit one (1) gift certificate per redemption. Only one gift certificate can be used per party, even if the party is seated at separate tables and/or receives more than one check.

Given these two limitations, I've realized that it would be impossible to use all four of these certificates before they're scheduled to expire.

My questions for restaurant.com:

* Why am I not allowed to redeem multiple gift certificates in one month? This restriction alone will make it impossible to redeem all of my gift certificates.
* Why would restaurant.com set these limitations in place knowing that their customers would potentially throw money away with expired certificates?
* Is it possible to extend the expiration of the certificates, so I would be able to use all four?
* Why am I not allowed to combine multiple certificates on an order? Any other restaurant that offers certificates directly would let me pay for the entire bill in gift certificates. I started the redemption process expecting to be able to treat restaurant.com gift certificates just as any other restaurant gift certificate. Considering the current financial crisis, I do not have extra money to spend on dining out. I am only able to use one $25 gift certificate at a restaurant that has a minimum order of $35. That's $10 that I just don't have that I'm now stuck paying if I want to use this gift certificate.

Considering the above points, if these concerns remain unresolved, I consider the value that restaurant.com provides to be poor. In this case, it's not just "the thought that counts". I will be recommending against the purchase of restaurant.com gift certificates to anyone I know thinking of doing business with restaurant.com.
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Christopher Parker
Date: 2008-11-17 16:44
Subject: MBTA Q&A
Security: Public
Music:Dream Theater - Take the Time
I just posted the following comment on Boston Metro's Q&A section for the MBTA's general manager Dan Grabauskas:

I live between Wellington and Malden Center stations on the Orange Line. In the morning, I wait for the 97, 99, or 106 buses going to either of these stations. Typically, I end up waiting for a bus going to one, and I see a bus going to the other in the distance. When this happens, I start crossing the street as soon as I see the bus, and more often than not, there's just too much traffic to safely cross the street. I'm lucky if the bus driver stops for me, despite the fact that I'm standing in the middle of the street, waving at them.

This almost happened to me recently, however there was a long line waiting for the bus, which gave me the extra time to find an opening in traffic and cross the street (Main Street). When I got on the bus, the driver was extremely rude to me, telling me that, if I wanted to go to Wellington, I need to wait on the Wellington side. I explained to him that many people are headed to the Orange Line, and could take buses either way and get to the Orange Line. He told me he was aware of this fact. I suggested to him that the drivers should keep an eye out for passengers on the opposite side of the street, trying to cross. He informed me that my safety was my own problem, and that he shouldn't have to worry about other drivers' routes.

I put my life on the line every morning when I catch a bus en route to the Orange Line, as the drivers on the road seldom stop for people trying to get to a bus. The driver's comment to me left me with the impression that it was the MBTA's official position. Can you comment on that, Mr. Grabauskas? What is the T's official position on passenger safety when passengers are trying to fight traffic in order to get to a bus? Or do you not consider us passengers until we've actually boarded?

Chris
Malden
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Christopher Parker
Date: 2008-11-13 11:41
Subject: Racial Interest Groups
Security: Public
Mood:aggravatedaggravated
Music:HammerFall - Trailblazers
Tags:community, debate, equality, race
I recently had a heated debate with a coworker about a new interest group our employer announced this morning. I discovered that I get extremely worked up over situations like this, and I thought I would share my thoughts with others.

This morning, my employer announced a Latino-specific advocacy group, run by employees and supported by some of the higher-ups in the company. The purpose of the group is to teach others about Hispanic heritage and to aid the needy, with a focus on Hispanics and immigrants. While I feel the group itself is a good idea and that the cause of the group is just, as I assume it's run by people of Latino/Hispanic heritage, I feel that the company's decision to sponsor it is an implicit way of saying they value Hispanic/Latino heritage and people over others. My view is that by choosing to celebrate the heritage of only one racial group, the firm is also choosing to not celebrate the heritage of every other racial group. If the firm's intention is to sponsor groups like this for other racial groups in the future, or if the firm is open to similar groups for other ethnic groups, it should have stated so. Otherwise, I make the assumption that the firm values Latino/Hispanic heritage over, say, Germanic heritage, especially when part of the group's purpose is to provide financial assistance to Hispanic/Latino people/immigrants before those of other races/ethnic groups.

Is my reasoning really all that off-base? If this group existed on its own, I wouldn't have a problem with it (except for the preferential treatment toward Hispanics/Latinos by offering aid to them before anyone else). A Hispanic heritage group run by Hispanic people? Sure. That's cool. It's a community of people who share a common background getting together to celebrate their shared history and their culture. I don't have a problem with Irish American clubs, why would I have a problem with a Hispanic/Latino equivalent to them? However, just as I would feel an Irish special interest group would be inappropriate in a workplace setting, I also feel a Latino/Hispanic one is inappropriate, and sends messages of racial preference on behalf of the company. If the company wanted to celebrate racial/cultural diversity, it should have done so by supporting a multicultural group, instead of a group that gives one specific racial group representation.

And for the record, I am part Irish and part German, and I would be just as upset if it were an Irish or a German special interest group, instead.

I'm interested in others' opinions. What are your thoughts on the subject? If you disagree, why? I'd like to get others' opinions on the matter in order to compare my views with those of a larger group of people. I don't think my argument is extremist, but I've been wrong before.
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Christopher Parker
Date: 2008-09-23 16:06
Subject: Updated Browser Name Sniffer
Security: Public
Music:Ensiferum - Into Hiding
Tags:code, javascript, programming, web
My browser name sniffer, updated for Google Chrome.

The highlighted section accommodates for the structure of Google Chrome's userAgent string, otherwise Chrome would be detected as Safari:

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/525.13 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/0.2.149.29 Safari/525.13

var browserName = navigator.appName;

if (browserName != "Microsoft Internet Explorer" || typeof document.all == "undefined")
{
	if (browserName == "Microsoft Internet Explorer")
		browserName = "your browser"; // for user agent switching capability
	else if (browserName != "Netscape" || navigator.userAgent.indexOf("Netscape") != -1)
		browserName = navigator.appName;
	else
	{
		if ((/\([^)]*\)[^(]*\([^)]*\)[ ]([\w]+?)[\/\s][\d]+?[^;()]+?$/.test(navigator.userAgent))
		 || (/[ ]([\w]+?)[\/\s][\d\.]+?$/.test(navigator.userAgent))
		 || (/[ ]([\w]+?)[\/\s][\d]+?[^;()]+?$/.test(navigator.userAgent))
		 || (/^([\w]+)[\/\s][\d]+.+/.test(navigator.userAgent)))
			browserName = RegExp.$1;
		else
			browserName = navigator.appName;
	}
}
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Christopher Parker
Date: 2008-08-20 16:15
Subject: Dojo Bugfixes
Security: Public
Tags:code, dojo, javascript, programming, web
I've had to make the following changes in Dojo Release 1.1.1 in order to get Dojo to work in both IE and Firefox:

/dojox/data/dom.js:

Line 37:
	/* CCP: Bugfix: mimetype of "text/xml; charset=UTF-8" set by the server causes DOMParser.parseFromString to fail with the following error:
		uncaught exception: [Exception... "Component returned failure code: 0x80004001 (NS_ERROR_NOT_IMPLEMENTED) [nsIDOMParser.parseFromString]"  nsresult: "0x80004001 (NS_ERROR_NOT_IMPLEMENTED)"  location: "JS frame :: http://www.example.com/scripts/dojo111/dojo/dojo.js.uncompressed.js :: anonymous :: line 495"  data: no]
		
		Line 0
	*/
	if(!mimetype){ mimetype = "text/xml"; }
	else if (mimetype.indexOf(';') != -1) { mimetype = mimetype.substring(0, mimetype.indexOf(';')); }


/dojox/io/proxy/xip.js:

Line 63:
		var url = this.xipClientUrl + ""; // CCP: Bugfix: url is not a string in original version, so url.split fails.


Line 388:
	// CCP: Bugfix: iframeProxyUrl: "../xip_server.html" does not work in original version.
	//Make xip_server a full URL.
	var colonIndex = ifpServerUrl.indexOf(":");
	var slashIndex = ifpServerUrl.indexOf("/");
	if(colonIndex == -1 || slashIndex < colonIndex){
		//No colon or we are starting with a / before a colon, so we need to make a full URL.
		var loc = window.location.href;
		if(slashIndex == 0){
			//Have a full path, just need the domain.
			ifpServerUrl = loc.substring(0, loc.indexOf("/", 9)) + ifpServerUrl; //Using 9 to get past http(s)://
		}else{
			ifpServerUrl = loc.substring(0, (loc.lastIndexOf("/") + 1)) + ifpServerUrl;
		}
	}


/dojo/dojo.js.uncompressed.js:

Line 152:
		if(typeof console[tn] == "undefined"){


Line 7432:
			dfd.cancel(e);


My favorite Dojo source comment quote: "IE 6 is a steaming pile," Line 7408, dojo.js.uncompressed.js. Amen.
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Christopher Parker
Date: 2008-08-02 00:21
Subject: Watashi wa Kurisutofaa Paakaa desu.
Security: Public
Tags:nihongo, romaji
Kon'nichi wa. Watashi wa Kurisutofaa Paakaa desu. Hajimemashite. Doozo yoroshiku. Watashi wa Amerika-jin desu. Nihongo o manabu no desu.

Watashi no burogu desu.

Ja mata-ne.
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Christopher Parker
Date: 2008-07-30 18:27
Subject: Browser Name Sniffer
Security: Public
Tags:code, javascript, programming, web
NOTE: This code has been updated.

I recently came across a need to sniff a user's browser name with JavaScript. I could just use navigator.appName, but many browsers report Netscape even when that's not really the case (e.g.: Firefox). I've seem some rather inelegant browser name scripts out there. So, I decided to write my own:

var browserName = navigator.appName;

if (browserName != "Microsoft Internet Explorer" || typeof document.all == "undefined")
{
	if (browserName == "Microsoft Internet Explorer")
		browserName = "your browser"; // for user agent switching capability
	else if (browserName != "Netscape" || navigator.userAgent.indexOf("Netscape") != -1)
		browserName = navigator.appName;
	else
	{
		if ((/[ ]([\w]+?)[\/\s][\d\.]+?$/.test(navigator.userAgent))
		 || (/[ ]([\w]+?)[\/\s][\d]+?[^;()]+?$/.test(navigator.userAgent))
		 || (/^([\w]+)[\/\s][\d]+.+/.test(navigator.userAgent)))
			browserName = RegExp.$1;
		else
			browserName = navigator.appName;
	}
}


So far, this has worked most of the time during brief testing. One case where it didn't report the exact name is with Netscape 4.8, which is reported as Mozilla. I'm using Firefox's User Agent Switcher extension to do my testing, and the default Netscape entry that comes with User Agent Switcher is Netscape 4.8, which doesn't contain "Netscape" anywhere in navigator.userAgent.
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Christopher Parker
Date: 2008-04-01 21:19
Subject: Out of the Microwave
Security: Public
Location:Malden, MA
Mood:amusedamused
Music:Nine Inch Nails - 34 Ghosts IV
Tags:geeky, humor
I saw this on a ThinkGeek Customer Fortune: (Disclaimer: I am not responsible for time lost while reading ThinkGeek Customer Fortunes.)
Out of the Microwave...

Recently one of my friends, a computer wizard, payed me a visit. As we were talking I mentioned that I had recently installed Windows on my PC, I told him how happy I was with this operating system and showed him the Windows CD. Too my surprise he threw it into my microwave oven and turned on the oven. Instantly I got very upset, because the CD had become precious to me, but he said: 'Do not worry, it is unharmed.' After a few minutes he took the CD out, gave it to me and said: 'Take a close look at it.' To my surprise the CD was quite cold to the touch and it seemed to be heavier than before. At first I could not see anything, but on the inner edge of the central hole I saw a inscription, an inscription finer than anything I have ever seen before. The inscription shone piercingly bright, and yet remote, as if out of a great depth:

4F6E65204F5320746F2072756C65207468656D20616C6C2C20 4F6E65204F5320746F
2066696E64207468656D2C0D0A4F6E65204F5320746F206272 696E67207468656D20
616C6C20616E6420696E20746865206461726B6E6573732062 696E64207468656D

'I cannot understand the fiery letters,' I said.

'No but I can,' he said. 'The letters are Hex, of an ancient mode, but the language is that of Microsoft, which I shall not utter here. But in common English this is what it says:'


One OS to rule them all, One OS to find them,

One OS to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
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Christopher Parker
Date: 2007-12-26 11:20
Subject: Amber Abreu
Security: Public
Location:Boston, MA
Music:DevilDriver - Impending Disaster
Tags:abortion, human rights, life
I just read an article on Boston IMC about a woman named Amber Abreu. She is facing seven years for self-inducing a miscarriage. Her actions resulted in the abortion of a 24-week-old, 11/4 pound fetus that remained alive outside of the womb for four days at Tufts-New England Medical Center. Of course, it died after the four days. The article's summary:
On January 6, 2007 18-year-old Amber Abreu went to the hospital in Lawrence, Massachusetts after trying to terminate a pregnancy by taking a drug, misoprostol, which is an ulcer medication as well as a key component of the abortion pill RU-486. Amber was between 23 and 25 weeks pregnant. The result was a miscarriage. The doctors rushed the 1-1/4 pound expelled fetus to the Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston, where it remained alive for four days. The police, meanwhile, went after Amber using an archaic law dating back to the 1840s to charge her with “procuring a miscarriage.” Cops dragged Abreu into court in shackles and then held her in the state’s maximum security prison at Framingham for three nights until friends and relatives could come up with $15,000 bail. The young woman, a recent immigrant from the Dominican Republic, faces up to seven years in jail on this outrageous charge.
I initially tried to post the following comment to the Web site, but it seems the commenting system there is broken. So, I'm posting it here. While reading it, please keep in mind that I take a conservative pro-choice stance. I feel that abortions should be legal and safe under certain conditions. I do not think abortions should be the answer to irresponsible behavior. People need to take responsibility for their actions. Terminating life--seen as an “easy out” by some--is not the answer to a one-night stand. I hope this situation sparks much heated discussion among the fervent pro-choice and pro-life communities. I'm sure even the most hard-headed people on the pro-choice side of the fence would agree with me--at least to some extent.
What you protesters fail to realize is that women--by the very nature of their purpose in the “circle of life”--are not equal to men. When a woman becomes pregnant, she has an added responsibility to her growing child, as well as herself. Anything that a pregnant woman does to her body is also done to the unborn child growing inside of her. Any woman who does not like this fact simply should not become pregnant or even have sex. It's that simple.

If Amber didn't think she could've supported another child, she shouldn't have gotten pregnant in the first place. Since she did, she should've given birth to the child and given it up for adoption. The argument that she would have been burdened by this child for 18 years is asinine in a society makes adoption services so widely accessible.

I think it's outrageous that she's only being put away for seven years. She murdered an innocent child. The underdeveloped infant survived outside of its mother for four whole days, then died, as a direct result of her actions. How can anyone say this baby was not alive? How can anyone say this baby did not deserve to live?

The article mentions South and Central America. This has nothing to do with Massachusetts. We have safe, accessible, and legal abortion services here. Within the scope of having an irresponsible abortion, what Amber did was doubly irresponsible, as she could have been within the confines of a professional setting to ensure everything had gone smoothly. Since her family was able to pool together the $15,000 to get her out of prison, I'm sure they could've come up with the money to pay for her to have an abortion performed by a professional. This would have minimized the suffering endured by the unborn child. Instead, this child had to die slowly for four whole days.

If I'm going to be protesting anything, it's going to be the protesters at Salem City Hall. This issue is not one about women's rights. It's about the murder of a defenseless human being. Put her away for life!
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Christopher Parker
Date: 2007-03-16 17:29
Subject: The Super IQ Test: How Smart Are You REALLY?
Security: Public
Tags:memes
Wow. I usually don't take these tests seriously, but it does say it's “PhD Certified”. Besides, it's been a long time since I've posted one of these memes to my LiveJournal, so I figured, “Why not?”


Christopher, your IQ score is 133



Your overall intelligence quotient is the result of a scientifically-tested formula based on how many questions you answered correctly. But it's only part of what we learned about you from your answers on the test. We also determined the way you process information.

The way you think about things makes you a Creative Theorist. This means you are a highly intelligent, complex person. You are able to process information of nearly every kind with ease, using both creativity and analysis to make sense of the world. Compared to others you also have a very rich imagination.

How did we determine that your thinking style is that of a Creative Theorist? When we examined your test results further, we analyzed how you scored on 8 dimensions of intelligence: spatial, organizational, abstract reasoning, logical, mechanical, verbal, visual and numerical. The 3 dimensions you scored highest on combine to make you a Creative Theorist. Only 6 out of 1,000 people have this rare combination of abilities.
Now, if only I could put these supposed smarts to ultra-good use and retire before 30! (Hey, a guy can dream, can't he?)

EDIT: Apparently, my IQ score has gone down within the past few years. Previous results. Although I know why I got the score I did. I got the full test results, and some of the answers to the questions on the test seemed too obvious, so I did not go with my instinctual answers and over-analyzed the quesitons. So, if I only would've followed Stephen Colbert's example and gone with my gut, my test score would've been higher.
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