Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Another BlackBerry™ BIS outage.

CrackBerry reports there's been another BlackBerry BIS outage yesterday. Yay! A Christmas reminder to the devs: avoid BIS like the plague in your apps. I do.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

IntelliJ Idea 9.0 is out!

Good news, everybody! IntelliJ Idea 9.0 is out! Go grab it, there's enough for everybody!

In case you didn't know, this year's release comes with a Christmas present for all you good-behaving boys and girls: an open-sourced Community edition. There's a ton of goodness in the Community edition, and a ton more in the Personal $249 edition ($149 if you're upgrading). If that sounds like a lot of money, compare ingredients and price with the MS Visual Studio.

So ditch your Eclipse into the gutter right now, and run to get your very own copy of Idea!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Speaking about Austria

In my previous post I jokingly mentioned that we shouldn't be surprised if Austria follows the Swiss lead on banning the minarets. I don't claim to know much about Austria, but it turns out I wasn't exactly wrong here. Farid Hafez has an article (Google English translation) in Austrian Der Standard on 30. Nov which argues, very reasonably, that the Swiss ban is only a manifestation of a much more serious phenomenon of widespread paneuropean islamophobia. He also mentions that whereas in Switzerland it looks like an absurd paradox, a very controversial decision with no unified majority behind it, in Austria the support for such hypothetical measures has much more of a consensus behind it. An in fact, an Austrian land has approved exactly such a ban a minarets, although more covertly, two years ago in 2007:

In fact, Austria was the first country where such a ban was implemented. While a resolution of the FPÖ in the first half of 2007 was soundly defeated in the National Assembly still took advantage of the Carinthian governor a chance, a mosque and minarets of launching. Such however, could not use the votes of his own party alone prevail. Thus, the Austrian People's Party agreed with Carinthia.
But what's even more worrying is true is the fact that a party of the "center" in another state, this law still half a year earlier decided. While in Carinthia, the law on 18 December was implemented in 2008, was in Vorarlberg ÖVP under a majority, 20 June 2008, the first mosque in Europe and Minarettbauverbot blessing. All these laws were in Austrian style of course less clear and direct than in Switzerland (change of Ortsbildpflege Act and the Building and Regional Planning Act formulated). It turns out that even in this part of the political elite of the "middle" such a ban is supported. A consensus of the parties, churches and civil society against such a ban in Switzerland can not be found. On the contrary, the Feldkircher diocesan bishop at that time supported such a mosque and Minarettbauverbot. Even members of the Federal Government appropriate arguments were heard.
Sorry about the automatic translation -- maybe Greg can provide a better one.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Swiss Antics

Greg Levonian has a post on Switzerland's recent referendum results banning construction of minarets. (as per a BBC article, there are only 4 currently in Switzerland)
An, Schweize Volks Partei... even in their xenophobia they're so warm and cuddly.

But seriously, don't be surprised when the neighboring Austria does something similar. The good news is that Vatican has quickly condemned this, and I think it's going to sparkle a new wave of public discussion in Europe. And that's going to end up in one of two ways. Either Switzerland is shamed to death, or all of a sudden all those xenophobic masses in other European countries have their "aha" moment and do the same thing. With the current level of racism & xenophobia in Europe, you just never know.

But also, it's kind of interesting how Switzerland doesn't have any overarching constitutional legislation to prevent this kind of referendum from succeeding.

Meanwhile, embarrased Swiss officials are trying to lighten up the mood (from here):
Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said: "Concerns [about Islamic fundamentalism] have to be taken seriously.
"However, a ban on the construction of new minarets is not a feasible means of countering extremist tendencies."
She sought to reassure Swiss Muslims, saying the decision was "not a rejection of the Muslim community, religion or culture" (emphasis is mine).