Thursday, April 30, 2009

Media Still Enraptured by Obama - HUMAN EVENTS

Compared to the American media’s coverage of Obama’s first days in office, Pravda's coverage of Nikita Khrushchev’s exploits looks like “gotcha journalism.” But the Soviet strongman did have his disadvantages.

Khrushchev was, after all, a Ukrainian peasant given to removing his shoe and banging it on a desk during meetings of the U.N. General Assembly. He wasn’t the black political phenomenon recognized by Joe Biden in February 2007. Obama’s future Vice President alerted the media by saying: “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” “I mean that’s a storybook, man,' Biden added.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Muslims: 'We Do That On First Dates' - HUMAN EVENTS

"The CIA's interrogation techniques couldn't be more ridiculous if they were out of Monty Python's Spanish Inquisition sketch:

Cardinal! Poke her with the soft cushions! ...
Hmm! She is made of harder stuff! Cardinal Fang! Fetch ... THE COMFY CHAIR!"

My Way News - FACT CHECK: Obama disowns deficit he helped shape

WASHINGTON (AP) - "That wasn't me," President Barack Obama said on his 100th day in office, disclaiming responsibility for the huge budget deficit waiting for him on Day One.

It actually was him - and the other Democrats controlling Congress the previous two years - who shaped a budget so out of balance.

And as a presidential candidate and president-elect, he backed the twilight Bush-era stimulus plan that made the deficit deeper, all before he took over and promoted spending plans that have made it much deeper still.

Obama sows seeds of demise

For Americans to conclude that they disapprove of their president in the midst of an earth-shaking crisis is very difficult. But as Obama’s daily line moves from “I inherited this mess” to “There are faint signs of light,” the clock starts ticking. If there is no recovery for the next six months — and I don’t think there will be — Obama will inevitably become part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine flu hogs news coverage, sows fear - Washington Times

FAA Memo: Feds Knew NYC Flyover Would Cause Panic

"Federal officials knew that sending two fighter jets and Air Force One to buzz ground zero and Lady Liberty might set off nightmarish fears of a 9/11 replay, but they still ordered the photo-op kept secret from the public."

Monday, April 27, 2009

POLITICO 44 | A Living Diary of the Obama Presidency

“In addition to John – sorry, the – I just noticed I jumped the gun here,” Obama said, pausing for several seconds as he looked at the prompter. “Go ahead. Move it up. I had already introduced all you guys.”

Now I know, according to my lefty friends, that Bush was supposed to be really stupid (except when he was craftily evil). So why did he never have these teleprompter problems? Maybe it was because he wasn't so dependant on them? Maybe the country needs two presidents, one who makes nice speeches, and another who actually gets things done. At the moment I'm at a lost for which of the two jobs Obama would best be suited for.

Official Google Blog: Listening to Google Health users

Once he saw his data in Google Health, he saw diagnoses that were both alarming and wrong. Where did they come from?

It turns out that they came from the billing codes and associated descriptions used by the hospital to bill the patient's insurance company. These descriptions, from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-9), often do not accurately describe a patient because the right ICD-9 code may not exist. So the doctor or hospital administrator chooses something that is "close enough" for billing purposes. In other cases, the assigned code is precisely what the doctor is trying to rule out, and if the patient turns out not to have that often scary diagnosis, it is still associated with their record. Google Health faithfully displayed the data we received on Dave's behalf. We and Beth Israel knew that this type of administrative data has its limitations but felt that patients would find it a good starting point. Too often, this is wrong.

Dear Obama: Please consider open-source a waste of your time • The Register

For government workers, open source is too much of a risk. They have used Microsoft and others in the past, and they works. Everybody is complacent with software they know. If one day somebody shows up to work and Microsoft Word has been replaced by OpenOffice, well, meetings will be called. Of course, nobody will get fired over open source software (very few things short of a felony conviction will get you fired from a government job), but there will be forms filed in triplicate, maybe even quadruplicate. It's not that government employees fear risk. They just have nothing to gain by taking one. Mandating that open source be considered doesn't alter the path of least resistance.

Well, I hope he's wrong on the thesis, but he sure nailed the nature of our government workforce.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Army Biolab’s Missing Vials May Never Be Found (Which, Oddly, Isn’t That Scary) | Danger Room

The Army has found “no evidence yet of criminal misconduct,” the Washington Post reports. And the virus usually causes only “a mild flulike illness” — although “brain inflammation and death” are possible, too. “It has potential for use as a biological weapon but is far less lethal than some other agents the lab works with.”

Oh, that's helpful.

WWJ Newsradio 950 - B'ham Native, Ex-Microsoft Exec, Argues For Open Source

"Curtis' ideas about software are heresy for a former Microsoft Corp. executive. He says the days of proprietary software are numbered and companies like Microsoft are likely doomed -- and that free open-source-code software will eventually run the world.

Curtis likens most of today's software development to medieval alchemy, where each alchemist jealously guarded his knowledge and shared it with no one."

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree | The Real Revo

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Why Steve Ballmer Is No Steve Jobs (MSFT)

"Hardware has never been Microsoft's (MSFT) specialty, but it seems the world's biggest software company should at least have some idea of what good hardware user experience is all about. Maybe not."

Sunset - Cringely on technology

"IBM doesn’t want Sun and is gleeful with the idea of Oracle taking over, as you’ll learn if you read the internal IBM memo copied below. Big Blue does a very good job here of explaining its thinking and most of it makes sense. No white knight."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Conficker virus begins to attack PCs: experts | Technology | Reuters

"BOSTON (Reuters) - A malicious software program known as Conficker that many feared would wreak havoc on April 1 is slowly being activated, weeks after being dismissed as a false alarm, security experts said.

Conficker, also known as Downadup or Kido, is quietly turning thousands of personal computers into servers of e-mail spam and installing spyware, they said."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Homeland Security Cancels New York Times, Washington Post Subscriptions (NYT)

New York Times Stock May Be Worth $0 -- Analyst (NYT)

"Now we're not the only ones who think that New York Times shareholders might end up with nothing.

Craig Huber at Barclays does hedge, though: He puts a $1 target on the stock."

I wonder how that "epic" thing is tracking these days...

George F. Will - Obama's Budget Satire -

"As the president and his party's legislators are forcing minority children back into public schools, the doors of which would never be darkened by the president's or legislators' children, remember this: We have seen a version of this shabby act before. One reason conservatism came to power in the 1980s was that in the 1970s liberals advertised their hypocrisy by supporting forced busing of other people's children to schools the liberals' children did not attend."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Jenkins: GM Is Becoming a Royal Debacle -

"It's good to be the king -- until you start tripping over your own robe.

So King Barack the Mild is finding as he tries to dictate the terms of what amounts to an out-of-court bankruptcy for Chrysler and GM. He wants Chrysler's secured lenders to give up their right to nearly full recovery in a bankruptcy in return for 15 cents on the dollar. They'd be crazy to do so, of course, except that these banks also happen to be beholden to the administration for TARP money."

The border for dummies

"Can someone please tell us how U. S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano got her job? She appears to be about as knowledgeable about border issues as a late-night radio call-in yahoo."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

SPIN METER: Saving federal money the easy way - Yahoo! Finance

"WASHINGTON (AP) -- Cut a latte or two out of your annual budget and you've just done as much belt-tightening as President Barack Obama asked of his Cabinet on Monday.

The thrifty measures Obama ordered for federal agencies are the equivalent of asking a family that spends $60,000 in a year to save $6."

Oracle Buys Sun


Friday, April 17, 2009

IBM Makes Math Cool, Current

"John Kelly, senior vice president and director of research at IBM, said, 'Our 150 mathematicians make up the largest math department in the world housed in one institution.'

Dietrich said a typical week for an IBM mathematician includes spending time on their research agenda similar to a university professor. They also spend time 'working on a real instance of the problem' they have been assigned to, as well as keeping current with the field of mathematics, she said. 'We want our mathematicians lean and mean.'"

Rob Pegoraro - GPS Units Plug Into the Web, but We're Not There Yet -

"But the last item on the TomTom Services screen, the 'TomTom Buddies' service that lets you look up designated pals on a map and send them text messages, looks like gimmicky excess. It invites too much distraction on the road -- and besides, do we have to turn everything into a social network?"


Charles Krauthammer - Barack Obama's 'New Foundation' - a Sting in Four Parts -

"Here's the problem. The heart of Obama's health-care reform is universality. Covering more people costs more money. That is why Obama's budget sets aside an extra $634 billion in health-care spending, a down payment on an estimated additional spending of $1 trillion. How does the administration curtail the Medicare and Medicaid entitlement by adding yet another (now universal) health-care entitlement that its own estimate acknowledges increases costs by about $1 trillion?"

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Economic survivalists take root -

"The earn, spend, earn era has come to an end for us," he says on, their blog. "The idea of living a fuller, more satisfying life seems simple to us now. ... Money, cash, credit, maybe they don't matter. Maybe, just maybe, it is those things that impede our ability to be truly happy."

DHS issued report on extremism despite concerns

"WASHINGTON – Civil liberties officials at the Homeland Security Department flagged language in a controversial report on right-wing extremists, but the agency issued the report anyway.

The intelligence assessment issued to law enforcement last week said some military veterans could be susceptible to extremist recruiters or commit lone acts of violence. That prompted angry reactions from some lawmakers and veterans' groups."

Global hosted virtual desktop market to surpass $65 billion in 2013

"The worldwide hosted virtual desktop (HVD) market will accelerate through 2013 to reach 49 million units, up from more than 500,000 units in 2009, according to Gartner Inc. Worldwide HVD revenue will grow from about $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion in 2009, which is less than 1 percent of the worldwide professional PC market, to $65.7 billion in 2013, which will be equal to more than 40 percent of the worldwide professional PC market.

The IT consultancy said HVDs would have a major impact on the PC industry as enterprises that previously purchased high volumes of PCs on a regular basis would now look to replace them with less-expensive devices and replace them less frequently."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Obama's Recipe For Change Not My Cup of Tea - HUMAN EVENTS

"Having run out of things to tax, now the California legislature is considering a tax on taxes. Seriously. The only way out now for California is a tax on Botox and steroids. Sure, the governor will protest, but it is the best solution ...

California was, in fact, a laboratory of Democratic policies. The rabbit died, so now Obama is trying it on a national level."

Gawker - Why Newspaper Shouldn't Buy What Steven Brill Is Selling - Steven Brill

"Steven Brill launched American Lawyer magazine, Court TV, Brill's Content and those airport security fast-passes. Now he wants to help newspapers broker their online content. Clue: Smarter people already offer that."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

H-1B Visa Demand Plunges with Economy

"Four Indian IT outsourcers topped the 2008 list of companies obtaining H-1B visas, followed by Microsoft as the top U.S. user of the controversial temporary work visas. Leading the list of 2008 H-1B permits was Infosys Technologies with 4,559 visas granted.

Following Infosys were Wipro Technologies with 2,678 H-1B visas, Satyam Computer Services with 1,917 H-1B visas and Tata Consultancy Services with 1,539 H-1B visas. Microsoft clocked in with 1,307 H-1B visas in 2008.

Cognizant Technology Solutions (467 visas) and Cisco Systems (422) were the only other U.S. companies making the top 10 list of H-1B users. Other notable U.S. technology companies using H-1B visas in 2008 included Google (207), Oracle (168), Yahoo (139), Motorola (112), IBM (104) and Apple (70)."




When good browsers go bad -- and they all do

April 13, 2009 (Computerworld) Jeffrey Zeldman must have thought he'd never live to see the day. Ten years after he co-founded the Web Standards Project, all of the major browser vendors have renewed their commitment to supporting World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards in the past few years -- and they're following through. The specifications in the latest standards initiatives are tighter than ever. Web authoring tools are generating more-compliant code. Two of the three rendering engines that underpin the major browsers in use today are open source.

And for the first time ever, the latest version of Microsoft Corp.'s browser, Internet Explorer 8, operates strictly in standards-compliant mode by default. In other words, it will support the W3C standards before it provides backward compatibility with nonstandard coding methods supported by Microsoft's previous browsers.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Why Nick Carr is wrong on Google as a middleman for news - Nieman Journalism Lab

"After seeing recommendations on Twitter from Clay Shirky and others, I was expecting a tour de force from author and former Harvard Business Review editor Nick Carr, but I confess that I found his post on Google as middleman — and its effect on newspapers — disappointing. Not just because the middleman comparison is one that has been made repeatedly over the past couple of years, and therefore doesn’t really add much to the conversation, but also because I think he is wrong."

Good discussion follows.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Week in Review: Successful Voucher Programs, Immigration Debates and a New Path for Africa (Cato @ Liberty)

Last week, a U.S. Department of Education study revealed that students participating in a Washington D.C. voucher pilot program outperformed peers attending public schools.

According to The Washington Post, the study found that “students who used the vouchers received reading scores that placed them nearly four months ahead of peers who remained in public school.” In a statement, education secretary Arne Duncan said that the Obama administration “does not want to pull participating students out of the program but does not support its continuation.”

Friday, April 10, 2009

Official Gmail Blog: New in Labs: Inserting images

Well, it's about time. You no longer have to use workarounds to put images into your messages or attach images when you really want to inline them.

About time indeed!

In Warrantless Wiretapping Case, Obama DOJ's New Arguments Are Worse Than Bush's | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Friday evening, in a motion to dismiss Jewel v. NSA, EFF's litigation against the National Security Agency for the warrantless wiretapping of countless Americans, the Obama Administration's made two deeply troubling arguments.

First, they argued, exactly as the Bush Administration did on countless occasions, that the state secrets privilege requires the court to dismiss the issue out of hand. They argue that simply allowing the case to continue "would cause exceptionally grave harm to national security." As in the past, this is a blatant ploy to dismiss the litigation without allowing the courts to consider the evidence.

It's an especially disappointing argument to hear from the Obama Administration. As a candidate, Senator Obama lamented that the Bush Administration "invoked a legal tool known as the 'state secrets' privilege more than any other previous administration to get cases thrown out of civil court." He was right then, and we're dismayed that he and his team seem to have forgotten.

Click title for rest of article.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Official Gmail Blog: New in Labs: Sender time zone

"There's a new feature in Gmail Labs called Sender Time Zone that can help. Turn it on from the Labs tab under Settings, and you'll see green phone icons next to people who are probably awake and readily reachable (if it's between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm in the sender's local time zone) and red ones next to those who could be sleeping or out of the office:"

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Judge Orders Probe of Prosecutors -

"In the Stevens case, the Justice Department said the prosecution should have given the defense notes from an April 15, 2008, interview in which Stevens friend Bill Allen, head of Veco Corp., a now-defunct oil-services company, made statements to prosecutors that contradicted the testimony Mr. Allen later gave at trial.

Judge Sullivan previously held three department officials in civil contempt for failing to turn over internal communications in connection with a whistle-blower complaint about the case from a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent. Justice officials found the April 15 notes during a review that began in February in preparation for Mr. Stevens's appeal."

Electricity Grid in U.S. Penetrated By Spies -

"Cyberspies have penetrated the U.S. electrical grid and left behind software programs that could be used to disrupt the system, according to current and former national-security officials."

Dana Milbank - For Ted Stevens, Rough Justice -

"Nothing can be done to give the citizens of Alaska the senator they surely would have elected," he said as the 85-year-old Stevens, defeated for reelection a week after his guilty verdict last year, stared at the ceiling. "The government cannot do much except to say they're sorry . . . sorry prosecutors were unethical and dishonest and caused you to lose an election."

Judge Emmet Sullivan joined the assault, announcing that he was opening criminal proceedings to investigate Brenda Morris, William Welch and the other prosecutors in the case for withholding exculpatory evidence from the defense. "This is indeed a dramatic day in a case that has had many dramatic and unfortunately shocking and disturbing moments," he announced, spitting out his words with disgust. "In nearly 25 years on the bench, I've never seen anything approaching the misconduct and mishandling that I've seen in this case."

Tuesday, April 07, 2009 Customer Reviews: TEST: do not purchase

In case you are ever tempted to buy something based solely on customer reviews.

How Ford Restructured $9.9 Billion of Debt in a Month - Deal Journal - WSJ

With Chrysler and General Motors begging for government money, Ford Motor realized it would be competing with two rivals whose bills were, for the time being at least, being picked up by the government.

“It’s great to be the strongest one in a weak field, but if your competitors get rid of their liabilities, you’re not the strongest, you’re the weakest,” said one person familiar with Ford’s thinking.

Hey There! RITreasury is Using Twitter! | John Paczkowski | Digital Daily | AllThingsD

Seems rather silly doesn’t it?

Why not something unambiguously parsable like an XML string?

What if they later decide to add a third number to the data, and all the old entries won’t be compatible?

Why not a shared Google spreadsheet?

I’m all for government transparency, and we have far too little of it these days.

But grand summaries are too subject to politicking. I’d rather see raw numbers. Let us see where every penny is spent, and let media and citizens do their own aggregating.

Obama promised to use a scalpel to cut government waste. He, and the media, seem to have forgotten about that, preferring instead to do surgery on GM.

Maybe some states can set an example of how it can be done. Give citizens enough information about HOW the money is being spent and I’m quite sure the scalpels will materialize.

How the Internet Got Its Rules -

"TODAY is an important date in the history of the Internet: the 40th anniversary of what is known as the Request for Comments. Outside the technical community, not many people know about the R.F.C.’s, but these humble documents shape the Internet’s inner workings and have played a significant role in its success."

Monday, April 06, 2009

Official Google Blog: CVS joins Google Health Rx network: millions can access medication records online

"To get started, first see if your pharmacy is connected with Google Health. If so, just sign up for an online account at your pharmacy's website, and then you can securely import your data into your Google Health account. Once your medication information is in Google Health, you can use our new sharing feature to share it with anyone in your care network, including family members, doctors, and other caregivers."

Cloud computing exit strategy

Willis looks forward to the day when people stop asking whether the cloud causes lock-in. "It's the wrong question," he says. "The cloud is just the furniture." Instead, Willis says, remove the word cloud altogether and ask, "Is there lock-in in the choices I'm considering?"

Kundra courts the risk of innovation -- Government Computer News

"Government shouldn't be spending a ton of money setting up stuff," when less-expensive alternatives exist, he said.

OMG! Have these words ever been uttered by a government employee before?

Saturday, April 04, 2009

John Crace: The question that flummoxed the great orator | World news | The Guardian

"Barack Obama, the World's Greatest Orator (™all news organisations), didn't exactly cover himself in glory when the BBC's political editor Nick Robinson asked him a question about who was to blame for the financial crisis. Normally word perfect, Obama ummed, ahed and waffled for the best part of two and a half minutes. Here, John Crace decodes what he was really thinking ..."

Friday, April 03, 2009

Gawker - E! Comedienne Falls for Twitter's Fake Dina Lohan - chelsea handler

Nobody can say "DUH" with quite the authority of Hollywood (and that includes the entertainment and news extensions of it in New York).

Maybe we should rename them HollywooDUH.

Microsoft’s Stephen Elop Speaks! | Kara Swisher | BoomTown | AllThingsD

All the examples of Microsoft being “open” are future speculations, while at the same time pointing out that everyone else is going more toward “closed” solutions. The devil is in the details:

1. The iPhone isn’t as open as many would like it, but it is hardly closed. More importantly, the iPhone doesn’t present a barrier to my using a cell phone, or even the AT&T network. It hasn’t become such a “standard” that every other cell phone user needs an iPhone compatibility module. Nor is it likely to.

2. Similarly, the Kindle isn’t open, but it is based on Open Source software (should I anticipate a Linux version of Word?). There are a dozen or so alternatives to Kindle, and I could even download Kindle books to the iPhone if I wished. Books that aren’t DRM-locked can be downloaded for almost any device. In fact if we could factor out DRM concepts from our thinking there would be little reason for the software stacks on the iPhone (iPod with a phone) or Kindle not being totally open (i.e. Open Sourced).

3. Last time I checked Chrome was an Open Source browser. So will MS be Open Sourcing IE any time soon? It’s early, but I haven’t heard hints of any Google functionality ONLY working on Chrome. But I can’t use most of Microsoft’s “cloud” services unless I am using IE and Windows, and in some cases Office as well.

Yes, Microsoft has a copy of Linux running in a lab somewhere, and they have donated a few tid-bits of source code to the world (strangely though they mostly have to do with converting things to work on Windows).

To the extent that Microsoft makes products run or interoperate with any non-Microsoft hardware or software it is where they have clearly lost control and are being dragged kicking and screaming to the inter-op party. They made a commitment to continue supporting Office for Apple computers, but only after being incentivized by a court settlement.

In other words, their concessions to openness are never voluntary, always forced by circumstances.

Other than that, nice Mohawk.

Russia's Medvedev hails 'comrade' Obama - Yahoo! Singapore News

The pair also discussed thorny issues including NATO's eastwards expansion, long opposed by Moscow which sees it as a power-grab by the West's former Cold War-era military bloc into former Soviet territory.

"Yesterday I spoke about this with my new comrade President Barack Obama," Medvedev told reporters travelling with him to the London summit.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Ex-Senator's Friends Say His Victory Is Bittersweet -

After the news broke that the charges would be dropped, Stevens "sounded elated," said Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah). "Here's a guy who gave 60 years of service to this country, and he was screwed [by federal prosecutors]. . . . How does he get his reputation back?"

He won't, he has an "R" after his name.

Last time I checked though the Dem with $100,000 in his freezer is still in office.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Lawmakers Have Long Rewarded Their Aides With Bonuses -

"Most aides could make more money elsewhere, but choose to work on Capitol Hill because they believe in public service," said Brendan Daly, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat who along with other top House leaders awarded bonuses. (Senators also give bonuses, but documents showing those payments aren't yet available.) Mr. Daly said bonuses are a small perk for underpaid government employees.


Harvard Derivatives Whiz Fired For Emailing Larry Summers About "Frightening" Trades TPMMuckraker

So Mack took inventory of the abuses -- high employee turnover, lax risk management practices and a "low level of productivity in the workplace" were among others, and detailed them in an email to Marne Levine, Summers' chief of staff and a Treasury staffer on the Obama Transition Team. (Summers was the only person to whom Meyers reported, and according to a recent Forbes story he personally ordered the university's biggest derivatives trade, a purchase of interest rate swaps that cost the university billions this year.)

A month after sending her email, Mack was fired after a meeting in which the endowment fund's then-chief furnished her the emails and castigated her for making "baseless accusations." She later sued for wrongful termination and settled out-of-court with the university. But she claims the practices "shocked" her, and -- the punchline is -- she had joined the company from Enron.

Obama told a joke and Brown laughed... and laughed... and laughed... and laughed

Our old donkey Gordon, by comparison to this American visitor, was for once Mr Eloquent, Mr Quick-Off-The-Mark. Mr Obama had managed to make Mr Brown look good. Another amazing achievement. They left with Mr Obama snaking an arm round his host's shoulder and ushering him from the room. Very much an 'I'm in charge' gesture.

Maybe Brown wasn't laughing at the jokes.

Google App Engine Blog: A Brand New Language on Google App Engine!

"Want to give it a try? Download our SDK and deploy your application by mailing punch cards to:

Google App Engine, C/O APPCFG
1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy
Mountain View, CA 94043

and we'll take care of the rest! We welcome your feedback on our newest addition to the App Engine family--you can discuss it on our Google Group!"

In Challenge to Microsoft, PC Makers Test Laptops Running Google Software -

"PC makers are testing Google's Android operating system—which has so far been used to power mobile phones—for use in new models of so-called netbooks, inexpensive laptops that have become the fastest-growing segment of the PC industry.

Google, which dominates Internet search, already challenges Microsoft on other fronts, including with its free word-processing and spreadsheet software, neither of which has succeeded in denting Microsoft's Office suite. The effort to move Android to netbooks targets Windows, which generated more than 60% of Microsoft's operating profit in its last fiscal year."

Time Warner Cable To Test 100 GB Plan For Mega-Downloaders, Too (TWC)

"U.S. Internet providers have typically charged a flat fee for unlimited broadband access, but Time Warner is trying to change that to a consumption-based model. Consumers could be wary of unexpectedly huge cable Internet bills -- easily more than $100 per month if you watch a lot of Web video -- but Time Warner tells us that only about 14% of its Beaumont trial subscribers went over their monthly caps."

ONLY 14% !?

How comforting.

Conficker Virus: Why the World Didn't End - Digits - WSJ

"So here’s where we stand now: The machines infected with Conficker, a few million by most estimates, still have the virus. And while it isn’t doing anything now, it seems likely that it will do something at some point — why else would someone bother to create and distribute it? This could happen any time — today, tomorrow, four months from now. When that happens, the most likely scenario is that Conficker will be used to send unsolicited spam emails or to steal information — bad things, to be sure, but things that millions of computers infected with other viruses are doing everyday."

The analogies being used here are terrible. Maybe the problem starts with calling these things viruses in the first place, implying that having them is inevitable, and like the common cold, something we just have to live with and in the long run relatively harmless.

Each of these things is man-made, and designed to make your computer do something that you would probably not have it do on your own.

The question to be asked is not whether a particular virus causes serious problems or not, the question is why we are blithely using products that allow these things to exist at all.

If millions of people around the world had refrigerators that randomly cut off allowing food to spoil there would be lawsuits, outrage, talks of jail-time, perp-walks, etc. The sum total of expense due to these viruses certainly exceeds the cost of AIG bonuses.

Yes, the real news here is we have become numbed to the inadequacies of our operating systems (particularly Windows) and the infrastructure surrounding them.

That a few journalists got worked up over a particular virus and its potential is far less interesting than the fact that the public isn’t worked up over the broad range of “accidents” just waiting to happen.

Cafe Hayek: Social Engineering Vs. Piecemeal, Competitive Creation

I was attracted to economics for a reason quite the opposite of the one that appealed to Mr. Krugman, namely, because it helps explain how incalculably complex and productive social orders emerge from billions of individual actions, where no one of these actions is meant to achieve anything more than improvement in the welfare of the individual actor. This type of economics - associated most famously with Adam Smith - teaches that it is hubris of the most extreme sort to imagine that problems can be solved by pushing buttons. Social-engineer wannabes such as Mr. Krugman might mean well, but they are dangerous; they suffer from what another Nobel laureate economist, F.A. Hayek, called "the fatal conceit."


GM, now renamed Government Motors, has a new CEO: President Barack Obama.

By replacing the head of the company and demanding a restructuring of its board in return for further TARP aid, Obama has taken upon himself the responsibility for the future of the company. As Gen. Colin Powell said when Bush was considering invading Iraq and toppling the Saddam Hussein government there: “If you break it, you own it.” Now it is Obama’s company.

YouTube - cadiesingularity's Channel

Google puts more innovation into their April Fool jokes than Microsoft puts into most of its products.

Three Mile Island Memories - Cringely on technology

"The folks at TMI did not really know how to manage the technology of a nuclear power plant, and that led to a huge mess. The same thing has now happened to our economy. Congress changed the banking and mortgage lending rules without regard to their purpose. Many firms bought derivative securities without the slightest thought to the math behind them or the risk they were incurring. Nuclear power plants run on a chain reaction process of atomic decay. Our government and investment community created a chain reaction of economic decay."