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March 2007

Check Your Premises

Maybe I “don’t belong” there, as the column header subtly warns, but I find Francois Tremblay’s blog quite interesting. A minimalist design allows one to focus on the content, which is good, because posts are typically meaty offerings. Excellent recent examples include Raising the Flags, The Orderly Anarchy of Nature, Dixit Dawkins, and especially The Ideal Citizen, which deserves wide attention. If you venture forth, be aware that you will almost certainly have some untouchable idea challenged, particularly if your untouchable ideas fall into the realm of statism or religion. The focus is mostly on deep thought, rather than personal observations or news, so if you decide to give the site a go, allow some time for reading and digesting.

Site overview: Simple WordPress site with an easy-on-the-eyes color scheme. A narrow, centered column makes for a lot of scrolling, particularly if one increases the font size; however, doing that does not break the site design. Commenting is available, but one must join in order to participate; and RSS feed is available.

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COLOURlovers:

Want to get absorbed in a world of luscious color and color combinations? COLOURlovers will almost certainly deliver that, and more. Whether you simply enjoy exploring color, or your work relies on creating pleasing color schemes, it offers a wealth of color-related information and resources. In addition to member-created palettes, which can provide endless escapist enjoyment, the site offers news, articles including color science and history of color, a blog, and a forum. Not being a member, I don’t know what advantages one might gain by signing up; lots of great stuff is available for all who wander in. If you enjoy color, be prepared to wander around for a while. Every time I visit, I stay far too long ... but I almost always feel mentally refreshed afterwards.

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Linux Distribution Chooser:

So, you’ve read the bad news about Vista. And you don’t want to switch to that other proprietary OS—you want out of that corral. But how to pick a Linux distribution that will work best for your needs and technological abilities? (Have you looked at the list of distributions lately? It’s wonderfully mind-boggling!) Hie thee over to the Linux Distribution Chooser, answer some straightforward questions, and see what it recommends. It doesn’t consider all the possibilities available, of course, but it seems to be very good in pointing to a good first step for prospective Linux users to try.

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Acreage.com:

You know where you want to set up your gulch community, or your private retreat from civilization, or whatever you’re needing a parcel of land for ... but how to find the right parcel, especially if you aren’t already living in that area? This spare site might be helpful. Select a state, then narrow down further by county if desired to get a current listing of properties available. Or use the links to more specific search sites at the bottom of the page; choices include oceanfront, lake, mountain, or ranch property.

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Chilling Effects Clearinghouse:

How are the First Amendment and “intellectual” property laws and practices shaking out online? It doesn’t take a deep intellect to recognize that a wide variety of formerly acceptable uses of information have been curtailed, by law as well as by simple bullying. The Chilling Effects Clearinghouse is an excellent resource for anyone who runs a web site, or is simply interested in the issues from a pro-freedom perspective. A project of the excellent Electronic Frontier Foundation and various law schools and policy centers, it provides news and analysis focusing mostly on the threats leveled at currently lawful online conduct. Topic areas include fan fiction, copyright, linking, anonymous speech, and parody/protest speech. The site is also building a searchable database of Cease and Desist letters, and invites all who have received such notices to contribute them for analysis. Various RSS feeds are available, allowing one to focus on a specific area or the entire site.

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