29 December, 2008

Should I feel bad about things?

Through talking to others over the years, I’ve learned that what I think of as my “conscience” is very different from the ordinary person’s conscience. While it is true that I do feel badly about certain things from time to time, they are almost never the same things that others continue to maintain that I should feel badly about.

Sometimes, when I am feeling particularly down, I look back on events from my past that I honestly regret:
But other things, things that I intellectually realize are horrible in the extreme, are items that I feel almost nothing about at all. It is as though these events, while real, have no guilt component embedded in them, unlike the events listed in the earlier bulleted list. Still, though I feel no guilt, intellectually I understand that they are negative to some degree or another, and thus I take care to ensure that they never happen again. But no matter how many measures I take, one fact remains: I do not feel bad about having done them.

Some of these items include:
  • losing control of my temper and destroying a dorm window w/ my bare hand, leaving others to pay the bill
  • making fun of a fellow classmate nehind her back (longtime readers will remember her as Total Recall) just because I felt she was not a particularly ‘deep’ individual
  • being physically violent with others in a most cruel and continual way during my first few formative relationships
But there is another class of items I do not feel bad about: things that, for one reason or another, I feel justified in not feeling badly about. Like looking at breasts, for instance. As I explained in detail in my feminist blog entry a few weeks back, I do not consider the looking at breasts to be a negative thing, despite the fact that I consider myself a fully fledged feminist. While some may believe that breast-gazing is equivalent to objectifying the generic female person, I disagree halfway: I think it objectifies only the female form, and so long as the gazer respects the person within that form, then no harm is done by looking. (Unless the recipient doesn’t wish to be looked at, in which case surreptitious gazing is a borderline case.)

But there are other items as well, including:
The above list is just a sample of the many things I continue to do to this day, even while others I talk to continue to insist that it would feel wrong to them. Hearteningly, everyone seems to agree with me on one or two items, yet disagree on others–yet everyone seems to think different things are right. I should mention that I have what I think are rather good reasons for each of the above: many recently popular books have been written on how religion ruins society, for example, and the only real argument for me to pay special attention to those related to me by blood is because they share genetic material with me, and that’s got to be the lamest excuse ever. But even with these well thought out explanations, very few people have agreed with me on all points.

To tell the truth, this diversity of opinion makes me happy. Personally, I think engineering is exceedingly boring when compared to theoretical physics, but I fully understand that engineers are needed for physicists to work their magic. It’s a good thing that different people have different things they like. Yet I still appreciate beyond measure the rare individual who shares my thoughts on these issues. For it is only with those such people that I can ever fully let my guard down and participate openly, as equals.

And that is an experience that I will always treasure.

18 December, 2008

The Horrors of Installing Facebook Connect

Although it’s been a number of weeks since I integrated Google’s Friend Connect on EricHerboso.com, I never bothered to write about it because it was by far the easiest install EVER.  Installing it literally consisted of going to Google’s web site, hitting a few buttons, typing in a few characters, and then it was over.  Google made things super easy.

Installing Facebook Connect, on the other hand, has been an immense pain.  Every step I took in getting it to work has been a step lined in tears of sweat.  Everything that could possibly go wrong has in fact gone wrong, and it was the most irritating install ever.  Horrifyingly, on my second attempt, I even followed an inane video entitled “Add Facebook Connect to your blog in 8 minutes!“.  And while following their directions were not hard, it took more like 45 minutes, and at the end of it, it didn’t work at all.  Which is severely fucked up, since the video was literally posted only three days earlier.  (The sticking point was their usage of uid=’loggedinuser’ — it turns out that ‘loggedinuser’ cannot be called by uid through xfbml.  Which makes the entire video pointless.)

I also tried a custom installation by modifying some code I found at a spanish-only site.  It was a terrible mess by the time I got through with it, and has since been removed completely.  (I don’t speak spanish.)
But today, during my lunch hour at work (okay, I used 1.75 hours), I finally got facebook connect to work on my WordPress install.  And it’s all thanks to some helpful code supplied by Adam Hupp.  You can see a partial documentation of it on the facebook developer’s wiki.  (I’ve already edited a few bits in the Q&A session and plan on fleshing out the article a bit more later on to clarify some of the more complicated parts used to customize how facebook connects to wordpress.)

Anyway, thanks to Adam Hupp, it’s now a pretty seamless installation procedure.  Just follow the directions at http://wiki.developers.facebook.com/index.php?title=WP-FBConnect if you want to add it to your own wordpress installation and you’ll see what I mean.

So please try out the new system.  If you’re already logged in on my blog, log yourself out and come back to this page.  You should see a ‘log in with facebook’ button right above the comment section.  You can log in that way, or, alternatively, if you’re already logged in to facebook, you should see a box in the top right of your screen that asks you if you want to log in with facebook.  Either login method should get you set up, and then all you have to do is enter in a comment and it should connect directly to your facebook account.

However, there a few caveats.

First, it breaks in IE.  After numerous investigations, I’ve come to find out that this is an issue on facebook’s end, and not an issue with the code I currently have on my site.  Facebook connect does not currently work in IE no matter how you try to make it work.  I think this is an xfbml issue, though I may be wrong.

Second, it’s fussy in firefox.  It doesn’t seem to like the way the code is being executed.  Sometimes it works right away, and sometimes it logs meout unexpectedly for no apparent reason.  I can’t seem to find the error here, even though I’ve combed through everything.  If you’re using firefox, and it won’t let you login, try refreshing the page.  It should work then.

These browser issues aside, it works perfectly in Chrome / Safari.  So if you really want to see it work seamlessly, I suggest opening this page in one of those browsers.  I know that’s a terrible way of getting code to work, but it’ll have to do for now.  I’ll let someone else do the legwork on figuring out what’s causing the firefox issue and get it fixed as soon as I see the corrected code posted online.

Anyway, please leave a comment and help me test to see if this works.  Oh, and let me know what browser you used to post the comment with, too.

Be well.