This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at are encouraged... or follow me on Twitter as @abulsme.



July 2008

McCain is Ahead! NOT

There has been a lot of attention today to one new poll showing McCain ahead nationally among “likely voters”.

First of all, my usual caution, looking at national polls for a presidential election is just plain silly, and does NOT really tell you much of anything useful about the state of the race. We do NOT have a national election, we have 50 separate state elections (plus DC). So you are better off looking at something that breaks things down by state. I of course prefer my own analysis but there are a bunch of places out there that do this using a variety of different methodologies. If you actually care to understand what is going on, you need to look at the state by state breakdowns and pretty much ignore the national polling.

Having said that, if you MUST look at national polling, look at something that does a trendline over many polls, so that you don’t get distracted by random noise or outliers. The best one out there (I think) is the one at First, you clearly see just how noisy the poll data is. Second, you see that this one result is a clear outlier.

Now, could additional polls start coming in any day now to reinforce the numbers in this new poll and thus indicate the beginning of a shift in McCain’s direction? Quite possibly. But the point is that with just the one poll, with a large number of other polls continuing to give Obama a big lead, it is way too early to be saying anything of the sort. In fact, the trend at the moment is still a widening of Obama’s lead.

Although, as I mentioned here and here and here there are some hints that some states may be starting to move in McCain’s direction again after a long period of time where it seemed absolutely every update was good news for Obama.

BY-NC-SA is Here Now

I’ve had a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike license sticker on AbulWiki since I started it, but I never got around to putting one on my main site. I just did. You’ll see it in my footer now if you scroll down. So, if you really had a hankering to reuse any of my content, but just weren’t sure on how to go about doing it in the way I would prefer, you now know. (Of course, I still stand by my position that all intellectual property, including licenses of this sort, are inherently obsolete in the digital age, and really more represent the preference of the author which a well meaning and polite person should abide by out of the goodness of their heart, rather than something that can or should be legally enforced, but that is a whole other debate.)

Stupid IE

OK, after a long time of just ignoring it, I went back to try to finally fix the CSS for this website on IE. A number of months ago, I thought I had done so, but there were still some issues with it, and while it worked on IE 6, it broke on IE 7. And at some point I accidentally reverted to an older version that didn’t work in IE 6 either. So this site has basically been broken in IE for quite some time.

I spent a couple of hours on it tonight, and I think I finally have things working nicely, not just in Safari and Firefox, which have always worked pretty nicely, but also on IE 7. I no longer have a copy anywhere of IE 6 to see if it manages to do the right thing as well though. If anybody is running IE 6, please let me know if things look all messed up. Although, if it isn’t working, then perhaps it will stay that way. :-)

I did have to kill the Google Ad in IE to make it come out right, but I dare say I doubt anybody will mind that.

While I was at it, I also made the one character change in the CSS file to make the minimum width of the center column match the size I’m now using for images instead of the older smaller size.