Sample code for Google search from VB

MSDN: Using Visual Basic .NET to Access Google’s Web Service. Article in MSDN giving instructions and a sample executable for using the Google web service from VB. Looks like the support for XML web services is pretty strong in VB.NET. Another development environment to learn.

Nits: There are no active hyperlinks in the document to Google, including the one that should point to the location for downloading the web toolkit. Not sure what’s up there.

Photo essay on Argentina in New York Times Magazine

Susan Gotthelf: What They Were Thinking: On Barely Getting By in Argentina. Photos and interviews with three Argentinian women about their situation. One is photographed digging through garbage for her children. Another ran a soup kitchen until her family became unable to feed itself. The third has lost all her savings but still has a house, and is “still in the top 10 percent of the income bracket in Argentina — just because I have a job and I haven’t had my salary reduced.”

An apology

An irate reader left a message on my discussion board (registration required) to complain about a news item from January on the Argentinian crisis. He writes:

“Sorry, but what fun can you find in ?Quiere Ser Presidente de Argentina?…People is passing a very hard time here, some (not few) are hungry and eating from the garbage.

When you suffered the terrorist attack (in which people from Argentina also died) we showd our pain and demonstrated in massive meetngs with all religions and personalities here. We know how it is to be a target for terrorists, we had two mayor blastings in Buenos Aires.

A few points:

  1. Antonio is right on: the posting was insensitive. It showed no sympathy for the very real sufferings of the Argentinian people.
  2. The post was also, until I figured out how to use the inverted question mark (¿), badly punctuated; I will note that Fortune magazine, the original source, never did figure out the latter.
  3. However, Antonio completely missed the point.

The post was written following the series of nominations and withdrawals for the presidency of Argentina, after the collapse of Fernando de la Rúa’s presidency in December 2001. It did not seek to mock the Argentinian people. It sought only to call attention to the severity of their political situation. It did so by pointing to a humor article in a US magazine.

I acknowledge that using humor may create misunderstandings, particularly on topics so sensitive as this–and particularly when this blog’s visibility in Google may surface my writing to a larger audience. However, I refuse to relinquish humor. It is frequently the only defense available against the absurdity of the cosmos.

That said, I still feel the need to become more deeply engaged in understanding Argentina’s situation. Look for more posts about Argentina in the future as I find out more.