Monday, October 31, 2005

Lies, Liars, and CBS -

"Yeah, it may be a tragedy that Robert Novak's reporting will get Valerie Plame a great book deal and an appointment in Hillary Clinton's administration while undermining NOC's who help appoint their husband to go on visits to Niger and come back to beat up the administration by distorting the President's 17 words, but it would also be a tragedy if we did not deal honestly with this issue in the media."

Business Opportunities Weblog | How Much Is My Blog Worth

My blog is worth $1,129.08.
How much is your blog worth?

Docs sew skull fragment in patient's belly | The Register

"We can still store the pieces in the old way if people prefer, as some patients don't like the idea of having a bit of their own skull inside them. But this technique is perfectly safe and an easy way to make sure it is protected and it takes just a few minutes."

Attack of the Blogs -

"But it turns out that scribe Nick Tracy of London was, in fact, a former stockbroker in Oregon named Timothy Miles--and Miles himself faces SEC charges that he took part in a pump-and-dumpstock scheme in 2000. He was tried in June and awaits a verdict. No matter:Circle Group stock fell below a dollar in a year of combat with Miles and the anonymous bashers on Yahoo (and after Nestle dropped Z-Trim). Halpern's stake is down $75 million, and he blames Miles and his acolytes; he has sued for defamation. 'Some of these bloggers have just one goal, and that is to do damage. It's evil,' he says. "

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Saturday, October 29, 2005

IBM researchers take Axe to computer security - Computerworld

"Thanks to a patented IBM technique, Axe loads special 'Axe runtime,' software into the central part of the operating system, called the kernel, every time the PC is booted up. It then polices every piece of software that's run on the machine, making sure that only authorized code gets used."

Intel delays and slows dual-core Itanium | Channel Register

"These delays serve as huge blows to Itanium's two main customers - HP and SGI. Both companies had been depending on Intel to catch up finally with rivals IBM and Sun Microsystems. Customers will be most displeased to see Itanium fall close to five years behind IBM with dual-core technology."

Friday, October 28, 2005

Memorable Quotes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Oh this is handy!

(I make all my important decisions based on Monty Python sketches.)

P.A. Semi's major PowerPC announcement, and looking back at The Switch

"So the search commences afresh for Jobs's super-secret, evil genius motives for hitching the entire Mac wagon to the unreleased and unproven Conroe/Merom architecture. Candidates for 'super-secret motives' must of course support the thesis that Apple really does intend to ride the Macintosh all the way back into media workstation leadership, or education market dominance, or double-digit market share, or whatever other Golden Age of Mac fantasy suits one's fancy."

Should we kiss our OS X machines goodbye?

I'll of course just switch mine to Linux while I wait for some other company to come along who cares about good processors.

Hasta la Vista Apple... a phrase which may take on new meanings.

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft told it's too slow in carrying out antitrust pact

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft told it's too slow in carrying out antitrust pact

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Does Visual Studio Rot the Mind?

"Twenty years ago, in November 1985, Windows 1.0 debuted with approximately 400 documented function calls.5 Ten years later, Windows 95 had well over a thousand.6

Today we are ready for the official release of the .NET Framework 2.0. Tabulating only MSCORLIB.DLL and those assemblies that begin with word System, we have over 5,000 public classes that include over 45,000 public methods and 15,000 public properties, not counting those methods and properties that are inherited and not overridden. A book that simply listed the names, return values, and arguments of these methods and properties, one per line, would be about a thousand pages long."

AMD’s new fab, new focus | InfoWorld | Column | 2005-10-26 | By Tom Yager

"But the idea of seeing “optimized for AMD64” stamped on software boxes delights me. Another journalist at the same event posited that AMD’s technological lead over Intel will be short-lived and is calling “game over” once Intel’s new Pentium M-derived cores debut across the product line. With due respect to my colleague, AMD will extend its lead, showing Intel’s reactive strategy for what it is."

Survey Says... - Judge Chides Microsoft Over Exclusive Music Proposal

"In a rare display of indignation, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly demanded an explanation from Microsoft's lawyers and told them, 'This should not be happening.'

Legal and industry experts said Microsoft's demands probably would have violated a landmark antitrust settlement the same judge approved in 2002 between the company and President George W. Bush's administration. The government and Microsoft disclosed details of the dispute in a court document last week.

The judge said Microsoft's music-player proposal -- even though it was abandoned 10 days later -- 'maybe indicates a chink in the compliance process.' She made her remarks during a previously scheduled court hearing to review the adequacy of the settlement."

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Computerworld | 'Nightmare' drove desperate user to open source

From the article:
In Japan large organizations like Morgan Stanley and the Bank of America have moved all their backend systems to open source, Uemura said, because with open source you can reduce IT operating costs without any commercial lock-in.


"Microsoft just happens to be one of our clients and Checkpoint is our standard firewall," Uemura said. "Checkpoint on Windows was unmanageable but after a few months of using OpenBSD we were told to put Checkpoint back."

Then PWC was hit with a virus affecting network traffic and the Checkpoint firewall was running at 100 percent CPU capacity which was effectively a denial of service.

"So we had to put an OpenBSD firewall in front of Checkpoint," he said. "We saved seven salaries worth over one year. It was so dramatic they gave me a big raise and I was promoted from system administrator to IT manager. And because of the savings we get more productivity out of old hardware."

Monday, October 24, 2005

Intel confirms Itanium schedule screwed up

"Ms Fields told the Journal Intel had run into manufacturing problems - which she called 'issues' - and said its Tukwila chip wasn't likely to arrive until 2008.

Montvale is delayed too. But then you read all of this on the INQ months and even years ago, didn't you? "

Microsoft to Enter Market for Business Intelligence - New York Times

With what?

LXer: Did Bill Gates Invent Linux and Has He Erased the Evidence?

"I believe that the US has slipped technologically in the last five years as investment in start-ups has slowed and our technologist have migrated to other professions. I lay the blame on our government's inability to show the fortitude to stop monopolies from thwarting innovation. Hopefully this article will provide some incentive for someone to take a look at how one company could change the internal landscape of the Internet and distort history."

What's So Bad About Microsoft? - SillyDog701

Microsoft Media Center going awry, say critics Microsoft Weblog

"The idea that the Media Center PC is off track is gaining ground among some industry observers. Why link everything to a computer, they say, when it’s clearly not the best way of operating many devices? Could it be that Microsoft is seeking world domination by making almost everything dependent on a Media Center PC"

More like they are trying to hold their ground by throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks. Apple can't afford to do this, almost no company can afford to do this. In another year or two Microsoft may find that it can no longer afford to do this either.

Maybe it's time they "re-innovate" themselves.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Electronic News - IBM, Mercury Move Cell Into Products - 10/6/2005

"The Dual Cell-Based Blade is Mercury’s first product based on the IBM Cell Broadband Engine processor, tipped in July. Mercury is partnering with IBM Engineering & Technology Services to integrate Cell technology into a range of products designed for applications in aerospace and defense, seismic, semiconductor test and medical imaging, as well as other markets."

Just in time for Christmas!

Nature Ignores Science on Greenland Ice Shelf; NASA Finds Global Climate Models Overestimate Warming

"The authors found the most pronounced warming “…in the 1920s when the average annual surface air temperature rose between 2C and 4C in less than 10 years…at a time when the change in anthropogenic production of greenhouse gases was well below the current level.”"

Oldy but goodie. I think there is an update on this out there somewhere.

Microsoft Connecting with Consumers

If only it were true!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: The amorality of Web 2.0

"And so all the things that Web 2.0 represents - participation, collectivism, virtual communities, amateurism - become unarguably good things, things to be nurtured and applauded, emblems of progress toward a more enlightened state. But is it really so? Is there a counterargument to be made? Might, on balance, the practical effect of Web 2.0 on society and culture be bad, not good? To see Web 2.0 as a moral force is to turn a deaf ear to such questions."

Web 2.0 Conference: Open source everywhere

"Indeed, the open source aura was so strong here on the first day of Web 2.0 that I felt a little sorry for the MSN people, whose workshop was titled Building a Developer EcoSystem. Their session, at 8:30 a.m., had only attracted about 20 people when it started, while a discussion of AJAX from a business perspective in the 100-seat room next door had an audience so large that it spilled out into the hall. Two other sessions going on at the same time were also full to bursting."

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Ballmer: Microsoft to go after Linux strongholds

"Saying 'That means we still have work to do,' Ballmer knows he's got a long roe to hoe. 'The day I come in front of the Gartner audience and say we have a better Unix than Linux, that'll be a good day.'

For Microsoft employees, that sounds like marching orders to me."

Sounds like a Freudian slip to me. I'd consider running a Unix based Microsoft product. I wonder what they are going to base it on... BSD?

Of course if he was just referring to Posix support, then he is a bigger ignoramus than I thought.

Oh wait...

gridgame.swf - Fun cellular autonima game

Apple and Disney's two-inch disappointment | The Register

"No, the cynicism stems from how hard the industry as a whole - IT, content owners and media included here - tries to hype what consumers don't care about or want. Paying $1.99 to watch 40 minutes of TV on a 2.5 inch screen? Why not offer us an Orange Julius fetched from the toilet or an asbestos jockstrap?"

Monday, October 17, 2005

HD-DVD will be last physical media format, says Gates

"Speaking to a student audience at Waterloo University in Canada, Bill Gates served a death warrant on CDs and DVDs. “(High definition DVD) is the last physical media format there will ever be,” said Gates. “There won’t be one after this one.”"

OK, that settles it. We now know there will be AT LEAST one more type of physical media after the HD-DVD. Gates track record for technology forecasting is abysmal.

Of course his prediction SHOULD be correct. Just as voice over IP should have replaced most people's telephones years ago, the internet, in spite of the hinderances of Microsoft, should have replaced most of what we do with programs like Microsoft Office years ago too. Many organizations are coming to the slow realization that they are spending large amounts of time formatting documents for print, and then not printing them. Look dummies: Its a MEMO. Fill in the memo fields and save the text. Let it get formatted when it needs to be formatted. We learned this in... uh... the 70s! Eventually we will "figure it out" again.

Oh, I should have pointed to the original article dug from under a pile of blogs just like mine.

Virtual Unity - Computerworld

"Three years ago, Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, N.J., could claim one server for every two beds in its 176-bed facility. But for Alberto Cruz Natal, technical manager at the community hospital, that was nothing to be proud of."

Sunday, October 16, 2005

NewsForge | Horton AV announces avian flu vaccine for Linux

"We know that Linux is vulnerable to viruses," claimed Horton AV spokesman Bob Sinister, "but up until now we have been unable to identify any legitimate threats, in spite of our industry's frequent announcements. Avian flu, however, is a serious threat to Linux, due to Linux's close association with penguins."

We can now all breath a sigh of relief.

Saturday, October 15, 2005 News - Brave new world

"For I've found a virtual world which seems exciting, enthralling - even thought-provoking. It's more than a computer game or a chat room; it's beyond all previously defined parameters of online entertainment. It's the new society."

Friday, October 14, 2005

'Today' Reporter Paddles in Shallow Water

"In one of television's inadvertently funny moments, the NBC News correspondent was paddling in a canoe during a live report about flooding in Wayne, N.J. While she talked, two men walked between her and the camera - making it apparent that the water where she was floating was barely ankle-deep."...

"It's not like we were trying to pass it off as something it wasn't," spokeswoman Lauren Kapp said.

Um, yeah, sure.

The GNU/Linux User Show #19 - Problems with Ubuntu

"I think/hope that once people make the leap and start using GNU/Linux that over time they will want to expand their choices and freedoms and will move away from the more closed distros into the more mainstream and powerful ones. But the first step is getting them into any distro of GNU/Linux.

If it takes Kubuntu - then that’s OK. My requirements are just a little higher than Kubuntu can deliver.

Oh, and I was pissed off when I recorded that bit as well. A little righteous indignation goes a long way :)"

More and more I have learned to distrust anyone who makes a formal living at "journalism", including the "tech journalists" just as much as those who are "into" politics. Maybe the constant pressure to get SOMETHING out by press time forces them to lose touch with reality, not to mention the fact that many people who choose journalism as a profession aren't that tech savvy to begin with.

I haven't yet tried Ubuntu, and was glad to hear of your troubles (poor wording there): glad that hearing of your troubles saved me my own bad experience (that's better). Having been through Suse, Red Hat, Knoppix, Lindows and even Slacklware at one time or another, I finally settled on Debian about two years ago and haven't tried anything else since. I have been tempted by all the recent Ubuntu talk though. Most tempting of all were the assurances I've heard that it is Debian based and that you could mix and match it's repositories with the regular Debian ones. (You know, if this were really true, then you should be able to take a straight Debian system and by ADDING the Ubuntu repositories and doing any upgrade, make it into an Ubuntu release without doing a fresh install. I haven't heard anyone say that this actually works though... backing up your experience).

Mark Shuttleworth (who spoke on 2005-7-14) at the most recent Debian conference (I think you can view the mpegs from seems like a nice guy and it can't hurt to have someone who is filthy rich willing to dedicate so much of his personal resources to the promotion of Open Source. On the other hand I can't help but sense that the existence of full-time salaried positions to work on something that looks a lot like Debian may be hurting the cause in the short term.

Thinking back now I remember all the "noise" for lack of a better term that was being made over getting the next official release of Debian (Sarge) out the door. I had already been using Woody on a couple of systems flawlessly, and was running Sarge, still beta (the installer) and as the "testing" release on my laptop, mostly without problems. The last thing in the world I wanted to do with these working systems was do a fresh install. One thing Linux systems lack in a big way is a method to install a totally new operating system (or even a new version) without wiping out the /home directories. I learned that the hard way a while back. So I'm always careful these days to copy /home, /etc, and a few other things off to a safe external drive whenever I do a new version of the OS. What a pain in the ass though. At what point is it safe to wipe out those "special" backups? With each new install I usually think of new ways to arrange the old files. Am I sure I have everything from the old archive? Hmmm. It's not just a Linux issue, my old Windows buddies go through the same thing. In fact they have it worse, since Windows often claims to do thing automatically for them, they are even more likely to find themselves screwed than us relatively knowledgeable Linux users are.

Which brings us to the point of some of these new distributions, Ubuntu, Linspire, Suse, that attempt to mimic the ease of use that Windows PRETENDS to have. Linux is ALREADY better than Windows in so many ways, and yet we all have friends that refuse to venture into an experimental install. Do they still call you for Windows advice like they do me? I've stopped badgering them to try Linux, I've stopped making fun of their girly-man operating system. I just tell them these days: "sorry, can't help you, I've forgotten everything I knew about Windows. Haven't booted it in months." While the truth is I haven't forgotten it all, the actual time span is now years, two to be safe, since I've booted a Windows machine. I think it's still installed on an old dust collector around here somewhere, waiting to be reformatted or consigned to the dumpster.

I give Linspire and Suse credit though, they are both great places to start for the "dumb user" who wants to use Linux and have someone to contact when things go wrong. Is support for these systems great? No, probably not, but then again when is the last time a Windows user you know actually got helped by Microsoft? If that were the case they wouldn't be calling you now would they?

My experience with Linspire (then Lindows) was exactly the same as yours with Ubuntu. I BAUGHT a copy, thinking it would be the perfect thing to give or sell to my poor Windows using friends. I just needed to use it a while first so that I could help them if they got stuck. Only *I* got stuck, and spent a lot of time trying to get unstuck, mostly without success. Things may have changed, but at the time Lindows told you that you could use their package management system or Apt-get (that I was used to) interchangeably. I did that for a while, but more and more it seemed that only Apt-get worked, and if I requested some new package from their list (which didn't seem to be available from apt-get for some reason) I would have problems. Then apt-get stopped working too. Like you, I spent a week, or more, trying to get my system working again without a re-install. By the time I gave up on it I was so frustrated that I went straight back to Debian and haven't used anything else since.

Basically, these so called end-user friendly systems (including Windows) have to limit how flexible they can be in order to remain supportable by some average-joe who answers the phone at their support center. Can you imagine being that support center person and being told that the user you are trying to help has renamed half his directories, moved things around and installed half a dozen things you've never heard of? You'd probably tell them "Have you tried re-installing Windows?" which is about all that Microsoft support is good for.

The problem that Debian will have over the years is "too many chiefs and not enough indians". Shuttleworth says they want to be big supporters of Debian by contributing back into the base, and I'm sure that is his intent, but IBM, Suse, and a lot of other folks will be contributing to that base too, and SOMEBODY is going to have to spend a lot of time merging it all together and somehow making a living at the same time. In the end, I think that Shuttleworth, and a few others with money to spend would do better to simply PAY people to do Debian work so that they could leave their day-jobs behind or not have to somehow mesh their day-job with whatever their Debian contribution was. Like the Apple OS (which I'm using at the moment) great things can be done when a money-making company takes the Open Source work built up over years and runs with it, but in the long run, if those improvements don't find their way back into a consistent, and Open product, the cycle ends there and it becomes a pretty much walled garden that only those who can, or are willing to pay can participate in, and only then, with continuing permission from the license holders.

Hopefully in the long run, companies like Apple, and even the brain-dead Microsoft will learn that owning the franchise need not require owning the building in which the product is sold. Apple SEEMS to be getting it in that their profit these days is based on the Itunes name and on downloadable content, and not the fact that their OS is based on Unix. The shift in emphasis over the next few years to how we are connected, and what we are connected to and away from our OS or what kind of PC we are running will (I hope) make the OS wars a thing of the past.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Google and Comcast: Got mail? (CNN story)

Regarding possible bidding war between Google, Comcast, Microsoft and maybe others for parts of AOL...

I was never a particularly big fan of AOL, and have never been a paying customer, on the other hand, in terms of "evilness" (or lack thereof) I think AOL has a lot more in common with Google than Microsoft.

AOL has pumped a lot of money into various "open" software efforts over the years, keeping Netscape, Winamp, Shoutcast among others, funded as a customer, or by acquiring the remains of these efforts when nobody else was interested. I stopped using ICQ when they acquired that, thinking they would ruin it. They didn't, however after jumping from one IM to another over the years I find that AIM suits me just fine and apparently I'm not alone in this. I use the built-in iChat client on my Apple machine, and I use Gaim under Linux, so essentially AOL has been providing me with a free service for a couple of years now and I've never paid them a dime or even viewed an ad to pay for the service indirectly.

Beyond that, it seems to be an industry secret (I haven't seen it reported ANYWHERE!) that AOL is quietly re-inventing itself mostly through the AIM namespace. Since I've never been an AOL customer, I am only known to them via the free AIM ID I signed up for several years ago. At the time it was linked with what was left of the Netscape organization with a fairly useless free e-mail id. These days, you can get a free AIM branded e-mail address that comes with (hold on to your seats):

2Gig of storage, and IMAP client interface, and AJAX interface with the look of Outlook, complete with drag and drop folder actions. NOBODY else has this, and nobody seems to be talking about it, which shows how dependent our tech press is on formal press releases to actually know what is going on (they don't actually experiment with the tech on their own).

Oh, did I mention they have a blogging service that already rivals MSN's (OK that's not saying much). You can load up to 98 meg of stuff onto a personal web page (I don't know how they arrived at that particular limit), do photo albums, schedule recurring tasks, generate automated e-mails, although there seems to be no formal calendar yet, and probably a few other things that I haven't discovered. If you have the right cell phone, which I don't, you can apparently use AIM from that too. All of this is free (although I can't test the cell phone bit) and can be used on Linux, OS X, and of course Windows.

AOL has long been platform agnostic, although they get dragged kicking and screaming into helping Microsoft lock users in to Windows on a regular basis. The recent kiss-and-make-up between Microsoft and Real I think underscores how desperate Microsoft is getting for friends. The existence of Google coupled with Microsoft's long reputation of screwing over anything that moves into its field of vision, I think has finally started working seriously against the big company and in favor of all the screwees. Google may have squashed the online Office-killer rumors for now, but gradually more and more of what we do with computers is online and offers no particular advantage, and in some cases a major disadvantage, to the Windows user. The technology set-back that clueless user's infatuation with Windows has caused for the past 10 years is finally coming to an end and we may see that some old dinosaurs like AOL and IBM (just to name two) have a lot more upside potential than anyone ever thought (particularly the "tech analysts").

What PC to Buy If You Are Planning On a Vista Upgrade

"There's a catch, however. Vista is Microsoft's biggest upgrade to Windows in a decade, and it will require much beefier and costlier hardware than Windows XP. So you will have to rethink your PC buying assumptions, starting now."

Oh My God! They've never done anything like this before!

Well, there go my Vista upgrade plans, unless they come out with a PowerPC version (and pay me to run it).

IBM Research turns 60... And I spontaneously combust

"IBM inventions and discoveries include the programming language Fortran (1957), magnetic storage (1955), the relational database (1970), DRAM (dynamic random access memory) cells (1962), the RISC (reduced instruction set computer) chip architecture (1980), fractals (1967), superconductivity (1987) and the Data Encryption Standard (1974). In the last 12 years, IBM has received 29,021 patents--more than any other company or individual in the world."

In the mean time, we continue to search for evidence that Microsoft has any research objectives beyond wearing out the Patent office with protective software patents (which Microsoft also claims to oppose). For instance there is the Microsoft Hall of Innovation which so far seems to only be giving MS credit for Microsoft BOB and the talking paper clip.

Other publications also continue the search for research in Redmond. Not only mainstream publications such as Fast Company, Wall Street Journal, and Forbes but many blogs... and bloglike things, and so on, and so forth.

If you look hard enough (excluding Microsofts own pages of course), you can find that from time to time a
minor local tech pub pays obeisance. As you raise your prices, crack down on pirates, lock down everyones PC 'till they can be safely stamped "Microsoft Inside", do take pains not to destroy the economy of the Northwest as you enter your decline. I'd recommend perhaps a gradual migration to some Mid-eastern emirate, where forming cartels and doing things to thwart the United States are looked favorably upon. Maybe parts of Hollywood can join you there.

It feels so good to be back from a bad cold.

IBM, SuSE Challenge Blade Economics

"'What we are offering is a single SLES 9 license for an IBM BladeCenter chassis, which is the first of a kind-pricing deal as, until now, operating systems and applications have been priced per user or per server or via an enterprise license,' Juhi Jotwani, the director of IBM's BladeCenter and xSeries solutions in Raleigh, N.C., told eWEEK.

IBM's BladeCenter chassis supports up to 14 blades that can be Intel Corp., Advanced Micro Devices Inc. or Power-based, and the license can be used with any of these blade servers as long as they are associated with the chassis."

Which is the oposite of what Microsoft is doing as it penalizes running multiple instances of Windows on a single machine. Maybe MS should double the price of its baby too, and further crack down on those nasty pirates stealing copies of Windows from work!

I'm all in favor of making it less convenient to use Windows. Saves wear and tear on my firewall.

IBM donates Rational IP to Open Source | The Register

"According to IBM, a lack of standards in core development activities has increased time and overhead as organisations 'continually reproduce the myriad processes, plans and compliance documents that are fundamental to software development'. Best practices often remain retained within an individual team or company, it adds."

The trick, of course, is getting organizations to use it. I can just hear a couple of my old managers now: "We don't have time for this sh*t. We need to get product out the door yesterday, and if it's cr*p, we'll fix it later!"

Only later never comes, or it comes in the form of the company shutting down, while those in the know, with solid resumes have moved on.

Msft & Yhoo get cozy

Goog continues to kick ass.

Twx looks on, confused.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Dilbert Does Microsoft

Scoble seems to think certain Dilbert strips are directed at him, then this one must be about Microsoft.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Searching for Answers: A challenge for Mini-Microsoft

"I offer a personal guarantee that I will keep Mini’s identity secret unless he releases me from that promise. We hire many people into our team each month – so nobody would have to know about this except for Mini and me – even if he gets hired here."

Let's get this straight. A blogger at Microsoft has some negative opinions. A manager at Microsoft wants said blogger to come and "anonymously" interview for and be potentially hired for a new job.

I'd like to know what this guy is smoking. Whatever they pass around at the design meetings I guess.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

NewsForge | Citizens Against Government Waste vs. Massachusetts OpenDocument decision

"In its latest press release on the matter, the group seemed to confuse document formats with IT architecture and applications, blasting 'a plan in Massachusetts to force all state computer networks to move to an open source format' and the state's supposed 'mandate that state agencies use only open source and open standard software by January 1, 2007.'

When contacted by NewsForge, CAGW president Tom Schatz said the statements, reprinted by several Linux and open source publications in the original form, were 'wrong,' and the organization's press release was subsequently changed to read: 'CAGW today criticized a plan in Massachusetts to force all state agencies to shift all their documents to an 'open' format.' Another correction to the release said the Massachusetts policy 'would mandate that state agencies use only open formats for the storage of documents by January 1, 2007.'"

From: MS Shill Organizations
To: Rest of World
Subject: Don't Confuse Us With Facts

Six Things you need to know about Bubble 2.0 | The Register

"Let's acknowledge what the Web has been successful at: as a presentation layer. But the Web 2.0 kids desperately want to write system apps on their 'global operating system' - only they don't have the cojones to do system level thinking. Real engineers look at where systems (and humans) fail - their priority isn't a cool demo. They're pessimistic. And there's no place for pessimism at a Web 2.0 conference.

For example, look at how many of these new services will depend on Flickr. Flickr is a joy indeed, but it spends more time in a paralytic state than a Tenderloin wino. If as much effort went into keeping the Flickr system running as goes into writing cute messages explaining why it's not working , we'd feel a lot more confident in trusting it."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Gizmodo Announces Support for Some Form of Higher Definition DVD - Gizmodo

"Gizmodo joins the likes of Microsoft, Paramount, Intel, Toshiba, Matsushita and Sony in supporting some form of next generation DVD. The weblog is a participating member in the debate over which standard to choose, and anticipates continuing anguish over having to write several dozen more entries about the issue.

“As a big fan of the color blu, I was an early supporter of Blu-Ray technology,” said Gizmodo’s senior vice president of logistics Vince Veneziani."

Well, the question is now settled as far as I'm concerned.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

MSFT Bagholder: Just a f***ing rumor

I think he is abso-f***ing-lutely right.

SpinMass: Grid Renders and the SLCC Sims

I've found the Faux Terrain map style I described below to work pretty well. In fact, it's become my default view as I use Grid Chart. I decided to apply this style as textures to a 3DSMax model of the Second Life grid and see how it came out. Below are a few rendered results.

Cool stuff.

Media, media everywhere, and no time left to think? - Yahoo! News

"WASHINGTON (AFP) - The average American is a ravenous media junkie, consuming up to nine hours a day of television, web time or cellphone minutes, according to new research which raises fresh questions about how technology is revolutionising society."


Structuring Projects

Here is some good advice from a fellow I used to work with... err or go to school with, or something. I've seen his name pop up several times over the years. I particularly like this one:

Forget MS Project

Beginning project managers often use the features of MS Project as a sort of template to guide them, but although task dependencies, critical paths, Pert and Gantt charts and the other schedule-oriented tools found in MS Project can come into play, managing projects, at its core, isn't about schedules. The key is to make sure that the right things get done.

To meet a schedule you need to thoughtfully and strategically structure your project. Don't let timelines, WBS, and all the other fancy stuff in MS Project distract you.

Unfortunately in government contracting (as well as private in some cases) they fixate on things like MS Project. I've dealt with government types who would probably forgive you not finishing the project at all as long as your MS Project graphics looked pretty. Yet another reason why I oppose almost all government spending (as well as MS Project).

Google, Sun to bring StarOffice to Web - Computerworld

"Google Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc. are expected to unveil a collaborative effort later today that will bring StarOffice productivity applications to Google users, according to sources familiar with the companies' plans.

The move is expected to be part of a larger technology initiative in which Sun will help Google build a network to provide Web-based applications that will enable the companies to compete with their common rival, Microsoft Corp."

Great move, and not unexpected. I'm surprised Google would need or want Star Office however. I look forward to the day when I can do formatted documents and spreadsheets on the Internet the same way I now do mail. 98 percent of what people use Windows for just became obsolete. Note that the technology to do this has been around a while. Even Microsoft could implement something like this if they thought it was in their best interest, which it isn't as long as "suckers" will pony up Kilobucks for client software.

Update: One example of existing solutions: from a comment to this entry. They even seem to have a free version (linux compatible!) for individual use.

Monday, October 03, 2005

HP to buy blade management expert RLX - Computerworld

"HP's blade servers already have tools for managing Linux on blades, but those tools have been built from HP's Windows and Unix-based tools, said Becker. The RLX tool now gives HP a blade server management tool built from the ground up by Linux engineers."

Great move. I've seen these RLX systems in action and wondered why more people aren't using them. HP might be able to bring their technology to more people's attention (sorry if you missed out before, the price will no doubt go up now). - Views - Massachusetts Should Close Down OpenDocument

Fox gets hoodwinked. Hard to overestimate the pervasiveness of Microsoft advertising dollars.

Firefox Still Tops IE for Browser Security

"'Mozilla is forthcoming about vulnerabilities,' Levy said, whereas 'it takes Microsoft far longer to acknowledge vulnerability.'

How much longer? 'In the last reporting period, the second half of last year, Microsoft had acknowledged 13 vulnerabilities. We've now revised it to 31. The difference is that now Microsoft has acknowledged these vulnerabilities.'"

David Frum's Diary on National Review Online

"The Miers nomination, though, is an unforced error. Unlike the Roberts's nomination, which confirmed the previous balance on the Court, the O'Connor resignation offered an opportunity to change the balance. This is the moment for which the conservative legal movement has been waiting for two decades--two decades in which a generation of conservative legal intellects of the highest ability have moved to the most distinguished heights in the legal profession. On the nation's appellate courts, in legal academia, in private practice, there are dozens and dozens of principled conservative jurists in their 40s and 50s unassailably qualified for the nation's highest court."

Strange days.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Statements by Sulzberger, Keller, and Miller on Her Release

These may be useful in looking at upcoming events.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Torvalds' Baby Comes of Age

"Hardware companies are selling more than $1 billion in servers to run Linux every quarter, while sales of servers running proprietary software continue to fall. And now, slowly but surely, Linux is making inroads on the desktop as well. According to IBM, 10 million desktops ran Linux in 2004 -- a 40% jump from a year ago."

Above provided for anyone becoming discouraged about that little "2004,56 being the year of the Linux desktop thing". I never believed it, but a lot of others did, and now they have to endure insult from mind-numed Windows users on Slashdot and other places. It will take time my son, use the force, and all that.

Wall Street to Newspapers: Screw the Journalism | Bayosphere

Daniel Schorr was asked on this mornings NPR wake-up program (I don't know the actual name of the show since I only hear a dozen or so minutes of it while I get dressed) what impact the Judy Miller release/testimony would have on on news reporting (if any).

I expected some long whiney speech about how democracy was doomed etc. But instead, Schorr surprised me by being succinct (paraphrasing): No doubt people will be more reluctant to talk to reporters "off the record" since now we know those comments can end up in court. This is partially a side effect of the fact that the American people just don't like us journalists very much at the moment.

That was all he had to say on the subject, and as is rarely the case, I agree with him. Furthermore I think the wound is for the most part self inflicted. It's true that the Internet has and is causing a sea change in the way the news is reported and analyzed. Some of this change is for the better, and some not.

It seems that two or three times a day in my Internet reading I find a mainstream journalist pointing out that blogger and other "Internet journalists" are sloppy in their reporting and are often doing little more than passing on rumors. More often than not, the very next article by said mainstream journalist contains those very same sloppy attributes.

The New York Times "journalist" who was caught in wholesale fictionalization of the news was not the first, but certainly an epoch-making case, and we have since had several more sensational cases, mostly concerning presidential politics, and now, bad reporting on a massive scale during the Katrina storm, and its aftermath. One of the "hi-lights" of the coverage in terms of hard facts was, I think, a lone network administrator, tending to a computer on a diesel generator, taking photos out the window of an office building in New orleans, mostly without comment.

So, as I see it, the ubiquity of the Internet and mainstream journalism's attempts at adapting to it have conspired to open the doors of a long-kept-secret sausage factory that is the news business. Of the masses of "ordinary people" doing their own Internet news shows of one form or another (blogging, pod-casting, vlogging), we see a lot of sloppy reporting, bad grammar, and outright misrepresentation of the news. As a percentage, there is more bad than good among the amateur efforts than among the professionals. This is to be expected.

Not so expected however is the poor showing among the so called professionals. Also not expected, is the fact that in some cases the top amateurs are as good as, if not better than the top professionals. I don't START my news reading with the New York Times or Washington Post, although I don't have those addresses blocked by my browser either. I'm more inclined to start with Slashdot, Drudge Report, Bloglines, Google news, in other words, aggregators of news (some automated some manually produced) and follow the links to (sometimes) original content in the MSM. More and more the MSM is pointing back out at the Internet, since, to a large extent, the MSM has been doing aggregation itself all along, we just didn't think of it that way.

Now the question that remains to be answered (although I think I've made up my mind) is: If I have to do my own quality analysis on a journalist by journalist basis to determine which ones are just REPORTING the news and which are cooking the books so to speak, is there any advantage for me to limit myself to the MSM sources? How much work do I actually save myself (given all the automation that comes into play) by using the MSM as a first filter on the news?

There is very little doubt in my mind that the business of news would be much better off today had it been run more like a business sooner. That implies more quality control, attention to customer feedback, and earlier adoption of new technologies. There are too many paid journalists out there who think themselves unique because they want to "change the world". I think they set their standards too high (or at least in the wrong place) in this. With that goal, one might better seek to be a researcher in medicine or physics, a politician, or even a computer hacker from Finland. I'd rather see an emphasis in journalism to "seek the truth and report it as found." If the news business had placed a greater emphasis on that for the past 20 or so years I think they would be faring better now.

RED HERRING | Yahoo Adds Business Columnists

"The Internet portal company tapped Ben Stein, David Bach, Robert Kiyosaki, Suze Orman, and Jeremy Siegel, among others, to continue its foray into the world of original online journalism. The company expects to add 21 more writers to its stable of columnists for its Yahoo Finance site."