Saturday, July 31, 2004


Switzerland -
A neutral power for as long
as most can remember, it has avoided war for
several centuries. However, it is still
considered highly advanced and a global power.





Powerful without Force.

Makes Excellent Watches, Etc.


Target of Ridicule.

Constant Struggle to Avoid Conflict.

Target of Criminal Bank Accounts.

Which Country of the World are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Uh oh - Money's not worth the Microsoft printed on it?

Apparently, MS Money users are finding that Money relies on connecting to MS' own .Net/Passport servers (at least in one configuration) and even backups were not available, because, they too, were encrypted with the same system. Makes you wonder what else could quit working one day if someone misconfigured a server. - Glitch Locks Out Money Users

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Timeout for Cheney

A 12-Year-Old Kerry campaigner says: "'When our vice president had a disagreement with a Democratic senator, he used a really bad word,' Ilana said. 'If I said that word, I would be put in a timeout. I think he should be put in a timeout.'"

I agree.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Something is wrong when

A representative of the US Copyright Office implies that "the Betamax decision, which made VCRs legal, should be overturned by Congress".

I can't even decide where to begin with this one. It's left as an exercise to the reader.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Really creepy and disturbing

To read that Tucson, Arizona was [an] al-Qaida hotbed. Especially since I lived there in the early to mid 90s. To think that I lived in the same city as people capable of such terror and destruction. {Shudder} I mean, I don't blame myself, but it really starts to eat away at my trust in the general public. I guess you really can't trust the general public anymore.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Capitol Deliberations

A Webcast from Washington, D.C. with an overview of this country's political process. Neat!

This scares me...

that they want to move ahead with the INDUCE Act, and they don't care if it makes everyone happy. They just think something has to be done. Something *does* have to be done, like voting out any lawmaker that support this awful legislation. According to the article I've linked, eBay - Google - Intel - TiVo - Verizon - Sun - Yahoo and others have said that the INDUCE Act would "... chill innovation and drive [away] investment in technology ..." and they're absolutely right.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Something to watch

Current Electoral Vote Predictor 2004 uses state-by-state polling data to do an electoral vote map, just like the networks do with their exit polling data on election night coverage.

Whither the 1st Amendment?

Free Speech Zones?: "This entire nation is a free speech zone, by design."

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Remain Calm

This Flash Animation is a great example of the (lack of) usefulness of the ongoing unspecific terror alerts.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Is NPR Sirius about newsmags? has an examination of the issue that I find misses the most interesting point: Isn't a purported "public service" denying service to the public by signing an exclusive contract with one satellite provider that prevents the other provider (which consumers have overwhelmingly selected in a competitive marketplace) from offering NPR content?

I think they should also study whether the deal to keep NPR's two satellite channels exclusive to Sirius benefits the public interest or even NPR itself. I bet a larger audience would certainly draw some of the national underwriters they appear to be interested in obtaining. Then again, I've never understood a good "public service" rationale for encrypting NPR's feeds on the older (large) C-Band satellite services. The rationale there (as in the article above) would seem to be affiliate protection.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

a very good idea...

This really does represent where I'm at in life so much. 5 Balls: "Each of us is given five balls. One is rubber and four are glass. The rubber ball is work. If you drop it, it will always bounce back. The other four glass balls are family, friends, health and integrity. If you drop them, they are shattered. They won't bounce back."

Friday, July 16, 2004

one scenario ...

"... since Oregon votes by mail, it would be largely immune from any polling manipulation on Election Day)."

On the west coast? Even in a western time zone? Consider the absentee option. I'm not saying that Bush & Co. would do this, but I am saying I would be upset and not terribly surprised.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Attn: Freedom Destroyers

An editorial states: "America's message to the world should be: We're prepared to vote on Nov. 2, no matter what."

I wholeheartedly agree.

I invite you to consider...

Voting absentee in case elections are postponed.

If enough voters were to do so (say, 75 percent of expected turnout), perhaps it would pressure the administration to go ahead and count the absentee votes and pick winners. I don't know if this would work, and it would require a very impressively high turnout of absentee voters, but on the other hand, I am really scared of disenfranchisement and running out of ideas.

Isn't it ironic, don't you think?

That VH1 is pushing MSN Messenger with a bunch of (putting it nicely) Mac OS 6/7 - inspired icons, and manages to (conveniently?) completely forget to mention that MSN Messenger is available for the Mac? I even checked the box when I entered their sweepstakes to get an extra entry for downloading MSNM and a box popped up indicating I (running Safari) didn't meet the minimum system requirements for MSNM.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

SBC Yahoo DSL Tips & Info

Boing Boing: Weird sticker on my DSL modem got me thinking about my DSL connection, and here are a few tips.

Some of the downsides / things to be aware of:

*If possible, avoid installing any software you may have received with your kit. The vast majority of it is unnecessary bloat. Support for PPPoE, the method by which SBC Y! allows users to log on and have access, is built into Mac OS X and Windows XP, and is easily added with a very small free driver to Windows versions greater than 95 but less than XP.

*Don't expect the special Yahoo features to work reliably or as you might expect. Email and the custom home page work fine. For example, the unlimited Y! Photos space is nice, but the photos aren't directly linkable. The Y! Briefcase space does have a large storage limit, but each file can't be very big. Launchcast Plus only works in an awful combination of Netscape & OS 9/Classic on the Mac (one of my sore spots). It would appear the "SBC Premium Video" service is in the process of becoming Mac compatible, but currently only works on Windows (and that is not official, just based on my own observations).

*I've never gotten SBC's official speed test Java applets to work in any browser, but I use the speed tests at, and they seem to work fine.

*The TOS used to contain a provision that appeared to indicate that a formerly free Yahoo ID, once merged into a paid DSL account, would never be free again, and instead Yahoo would charge a $9.95/month fee to maintain each ID you wanted to keep. The only way to get an ID back free would have been to cancel it entirely and try to sign up for it again before someone else got it. They seem to have eliminated this provision as of late, but I would still not merge an existing (free) Yahoo ID into the system as a paid DSL account ID. I have intentionally kept my old free Yahoo ID separate from the new paid one. I don't know if they'd add that old idea back to the TOS, and wouldn't want to be caught in that situation.

There are also upsides:

*The newly upgraded email to 2GB is nice (at least on the primary account, I don't use the 10 subaccounts so I don't know about them). Also nice that anything filtered and moved to the bulk mail folder *doesn't* count toward the 2 gig limit.

*SBC doesn't block any ports except 135 (IIRC) and if you do really need it for (some type of Windows network, I think) you can call them and they will unblock it just for your account. They used to not block any, but the Windows virus threat became too great.

*They still offer Usenet (which I think some ISPs have dropped) - server details found in the help system

*They've recently upgraded their phone system to be more "natural lanugage" (seems to be powered by TellMe). Obviously, YMMV as to the usefulness of this, but I prefer it to pressing buttons.

*You can have 1 DSL & 1 Dial-up connection active simultaneously (or 2 Dial-ups) and the TOS allows it.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

' violence has claimed 43 lives so far this year.'

Rocky Mountain News: Columbine covers this shocking increase in school shootings. When you look at the total number of kids that died because another kid shot and killed them in their school, that number was at its previous high of 37 in 1999. It had gone down to less than half that amount each year since 99, until this year, when (so far, as far as we know) 43 kids have died because another kid killed them in their school.

I don't really know how to put this, but it seems so obvious to me:
No kid should die because another kid killed them in their own school. It's just not acceptable by any standard. We have to find a better way. Somehow.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Phonecam art (?!)

SENT: An art show with Megan Mullally, Mark Cuban, and Wil Wheaton, amongst others.

Friday, July 09, 2004

It makes me want to ... scream!

Ridge's Ruffled By Eric Umansky: "vague-but-dire warnings" are all we ever get about terrorism at this point, and I can't take it anymore. When there is a serious warning, the population will probably ignore it.

Thursday, July 08, 2004


Stephen Stromberg explains the Bush adminstration's threat to veto legislation if it contains a provision that would restore privacy and freedom to buying and borrowing books.

Clear concrete!

Boing Boing on concrete mixed with glass fibers so that light will shine through it. We can't possibly be very far away from transparent aluminum at this rate. :D

AOL/AIM offer IM Relay

As explained here, the new IM Relay service for those who communicate better with text or sight than hearing or speech is also available to users of iChat AV on Mac OS X. I think it would be so cool if (perhaps as part of the launch of OS X 10.4) Apple put up a "Relay Phone Booth" in each store, which would simply consist of a privacy screen, an iSight, and either an iMac or any other sort of Mac. The accessibility features of 10.4 would be activated and/or a poster would explain how to activate them easily, and Apple could invite people to make free IM Relay calls at Apple Stores. It'd be a nice service to provide. I'm sure this could already be done, btw, but if Apple were to promote it properly, it could be another way to show customers how an Apple product can make life easier.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Pick a number, any number

News: "using IE is like playing the lottery"
according to Johnannes Ulrich, CTO of an Internet Security Centre.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

You can ... help = not run Windows

LJ Maintenance's Journal: "One thing you can do to help is not run Windows."
So it's not just the Department of Homeland Security advising against Internet Explorer, it's now LiveJournal advising against Windows itself.

Say it with me:
"I'm committed to homeland security through operating system diversity."

Hotmail email link redirection soon to be removed!

Also: More storage space, etc.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Sony's "ipod killer" - yeah right!

the Mp3 player that does NOT play Mp3's!
I will add one small correction to this link:
They say of the iPod's 8 formats that only one has DRM. That is slightly wrong. There are *two* DRM formats on the iPod, Protected AAC (as downloaded from iTunes Music Store) and Audible (*.AA files downloaded from However, it doesn't diminish in any way, the main point, which is that the iPod is compatible already with the format that most people have most of their music in, which is MP3. You need not convert, fold, spindle, mutilate or otherwise harm your MP3 files to play them on the iPod. This in fact, as far as I know, is what has made it so simple for third-party developers to work with the iPod; it will play standard unencrypted formats such as MP3, MP4/AAC, and even Text files (for the Notes feature). AIFF, WAV, and Apple Lossless MP4 support is also included, for those that can't stand even the lightest lossy compression.

Thursday, July 01, 2004


MSNBC - Guantanamo prisoners could be moved to U.S.
Visit this link and scroll down to find the "INTERACTIVE" box on the right hand side. You can pretend you're an airport baggage screener for two minutes.

(I found all the threats, but also had a few false alarms, and I took too long, as judged both by my end score and the complaints that ensued during my two minute period. (Yes, you get to hear the passengers complain if you don't do it fast enough.))