Tuesday, August 31, 2004

the vice guide to everything. if j00 want to know everything, this will LIGHT your WAY.

victoria's secret introduces "mickey mouse collection". i will be the first to admit that these are insanely c00te@

very HAWT: "The economists' Olympic predictions were mostly wrong."

Monday, August 30, 2004

China reveals "119 project" - The plan on overtaking the USA in gold medal and total medal haul in Beijing in 2008: This revolves around the 119 medals in track and field - 4 of which China won in gold form in an unheard of accomplishment in womens' 10,000m and men's 110m hurdles. There's more to come - just in case the US was wondering if there's competition for a new superpower. Guess it's time to get the NBA to not blow off Olympic team-building :>

Florida State University to sign iTunes deal with Apple:
In an effort to prevent illegal file sharing on campus, Florida State University is on the verge of finalizing a deal with Apple Computer, Inc. -- a deal that would provide free iTunes software to students and allow them to download music for 99 cents per song.
unlike my esteemed colleague, i have no patience for these campus music distro deals. furthermore, it's truly unfair of apple to offer such an AWESOME deal to universities while cutting out the general public. it ain't proper, y'hear?@#$%

Friday, August 27, 2004

soooooo... what do you kids think of the hp ipod? speak up... j00 know j00 want to@#$

Thursday, August 26, 2004

philip greenspun on MIT's new president:
[New prez Susan] Hockfield has a good opportunity to realign MIT with the national mood.  Harvard University, for example, nearly a century ago was host to the world's #1 department of civil engineering.  The president of Harvard at the time looked around and decided that civil engineering wasn't going to be important to the United States.  He shut down the department and fired all the faculty members, including those with tenure.  There are plenty of things that folks at MIT do that (a) attract reasonable research funding, (b) are among the best projects of their kind worldwide, and (c) are things that nobody cares about anymore or that are done just as well by Industry.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

two amazing stories about a ground-zero chernobyl survivor:

new scientist: cheating chernobyl
the guardian: how i survived chernobyl

Macrovision to license FairPlay? this would enable ipod/itunes users to play audio off of macrovision-locked cds. the director of marketing seems pretty confident that the deal will go through:
"We will provide FairPlay portability in Q4... If [DRM music] can't go on an iPod at this point, what's the point of putting it on a disc at all?"
ugh. score another one for the GREAT SATAN (in tr00 hebrew sense of the word) of drm. i can dig itms world domination, but my HATORADE for drm is platform-neutral.

Monday, August 23, 2004

much as i'm loath to show LUV to rumor sites, this is fuckin' HAWT: Tiger to support resolution-independent UI.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

James Surowiecki guest-edits Marginal Revolution this week. not to be missed... he wrote the unFtastical g00gle ipo editorial, as well as the wisdom of crowds (it's on my reading list, but i'm not quite there yet@).

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Globalization meets Microsoft Joe - An amusing series of anecdotes by a Microsoft exec on how various incidents of lack of multicultural savvy cost the company millions.

Friday, August 20, 2004

a financial times double-header@#$ Ignore Wall Street's whining: Google's IPO worked. this is a great l00k at the google ipo, with a requisite SLAM against iBanking (not to mention LUV for buffett):

One of the more laughable aspects of the whole Google circus has been false sanctimony about "valuation" from money managers who happily bought Cisco when its market capitalisation was $400bn and from Wall Street investment banks that bid internet stocks up to billion-dollar market caps. We can be forgiven for thinking that something other than devotion to the principles of Warren Buffett is at work...

Wall Street can spin this however it wants. But Google went public without underwriting from a major investment bank, without handing out favours to well-connected executives and without dictating a price in the manner of Soviet central planners. Because it did, it now has hundreds of millions of dollars that it would not otherwise have had. By any standard, this was one IPO that worked.

Ted Kennedy flagged five times as terrorism suspect by Homeland Security. why? his name is similar to one of the suspects on the list. only vaguely related, but let's not forget that airline passenger profiling is less safe than random screening.

Unwilling participants: Iraqi soccer players upset about Bush campaign ads using team. RAGE:
"Iraq as a team does not want Mr. Bush to use us for the presidential campaign," Sadir told SI.com through a translator, speaking calmly and directly. "He can find another way to advertise himself."

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Where Do All Those Bad Ideas Come From? The Fall of Walt Disney Imagineering, Pt. 1. it's a little suspect, coming from roy's soapbox and all, but check it out nonetheless@#
How is it possible that the same people who created EPCOT Center, Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones Adventure and Tokyo DisneySea, also created Disney's California Adventure, Walt Disney Studios Paris, DinoRama, and Journey into YOUR Imagination? The answer is simple... they didn't.

Robert X. Cringely on Google, post-IPO:
Look for the company to accelerate its acquisition pace with a strong emphasis on acquiring smaller companies with interesting technologies. Don't expect any big mergers for Google. And don't expect them, either, to use much if any of that cash since another benefit of going public is they can now buy companies with stock. The cash won't be used for expansion, won't be used to cover necessary losses as the company enters new fields, it will be used as a get-out-of-jail-free fund in case Google stumbles and needs to reinvent itself. That's the Microsoft model of cash management, by the way, and was actually invented by David Packard of HP back in the 1960s.

Swipe hype: debit the small stuff. visa is now permitting PIN- and signature-less credit card payments at counter service restaurants and other small-transaction businesses. any THAWTS on the economic and liability implications of this?@

The Apple of forbidden knowledge:
Apple was saying (and apparently believed) that Real had broken into something different from my iPod or your iPod. They had broken into the idea of an iPod. (I imagine a small, Platonic white rectangle, presumably imbued with the spirit of Steve Jobs.)

Memory and Manipulation. la weekly profiles elizabeth loftus, one of the leading voices questioning the validity of "repressed memories", especially as evidence in legal cases. her points on the malleability of memory are well-taken, but the article doesn't really touch on the methods she uses to disprove false memories.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Marginal Revolution l00ks at the Islamic Bank of Britain, England's first bank which complies with the prohibition in sharia against drawing interest on loans. There are some interesting ways around it, but they're not without pitfalls; profit-sharing loans are susceptible to shady b00k-keeping (think Enron).

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Economists who perfectly predicted medal hauls in 2000 Olympics set to try again - This is a very interesting article showing the predictive power through known variables without even factoring in "important" variables - such as the BMI or athletes, or their reflex measures, or anything like that. The variables used: Per capita GDP (Real), Population, and halo effects for host nations and for past successes - with GDP being the most important variables. Wrock on, Stats!@$

The strange hiring and firing of Michael Ovitz - A great sum-up of some of the highlights of former COO Michael Ovitz's tenure at Disney and his "friendship" with the other Mike, added with some of the new revelations under testimony.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Kerry's vote on $87 Billion funding on troops on Iraq - A nice summary deconstructing the myth Republicans have created and late night comedians have fostered about a "flip-flopper" - Mostly focussing on Kerry's vote to go to war, and his no vote on the funding for the troops, and his "I vote for it before I voted against it" comment - In fact, that remains the truth. Worth a read, even if you know about the facts behind the story already.

Congressional Budget Office confirms Bush tax cut overwhelmingly pro-rich - Just in case anyone was actually taken by Bush's bleeding heart for retirees, budding entrepeneurs, small business owners, and the middle class in general: Those are the folks paying so people of Bush's financial class don't have to.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Inside Al-Qaeda's Hard Drive. this is fuckin' fascinating. an american journalist manages to buy a laptop and an a desktop system used by upper-level al-qaeda operatives in afghanistan. he spends a year documenting the contents; this is his description of them. it's a must-read, baybee!@# for xxxample, regarding their chemical and biological weapons program:
The enemy started thinking about these weapons before WWI. Despite their extreme danger, we only became aware of them when the enemy drew our attention to them by repeatedly expressing concerns that they can be produced simply with easily available materials…
v-twin sez: sorry, this shit is too g00d not to post!@#$
To: Mullah Omar
From: Osama bin Laden
Folder: Publications
Date: April 11, 2001

… I pray to God—after having granted you success in destroying the dead, deaf, and mute false gods—that He will grant you success in destroying the living false gods, the ones that talk and listen. God knows that those [gods] pose more danger to Islam and monotheism than the dead false gods. Among the most important such false gods in our time is the United Nations, which has become a new religion that is worshipped to the exclusion of God. The prophets of this religion are present in the UN General Assembly … The UN imposes all sorts of penalties on all those who contradict its religion. It issues documents and statements that openly contradict Islamic belief, such as the International Declaration for Human Rights, considering all religions are equal, and considering that the destruction of the statues constitutes a crime …

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Follow-up: Roy Disney may luck out: The Times also reports Disney's hard at work at cutting Harvey Weinstein loose while still making $$$ off him by hanging on to Brother Bob - It's a complicated deal, and it's well worth a read. Of note, though:

An agreement is far from certain: a senior person involved in the negotiations said there was still a 60 percent chance that the Weinsteins would leave Disney altogether.

Eisner better find the MIDAS TOUCH which made him scoff at such odds before if he don't want Rest of the World makin' it game-set-match!@#

Light adds: There's also an explanation of the massive layoffs at Miramax in the article:

This summer, Miramax has been in a state of near-suspended animation, as it has already spent most of the $700 million that Disney gives the subsidiary each year to make and market movies...production on future projects has largely halted, and Miramax is soon expected to lay off at least 100 employees, or as much as 25 percent of its work force, said a person involved in the negotiations.

smOOv, Harv...spend all your money to pressure Disney into giving you more. A few exceptions have already been made, but not enough for the salary of the hundred poor suckahs.

Disney profits, revenue up 20% year-over-year, beating expectations - PwNed, yet again: Stockholders, as much as they enjoy being a fan of PIXIE DUST, are first and foremost a fan of COLD, HARD CASH. Mike 6, Rest of the World 2. Of course:

Former board member Roy Disney, who resigned last fall to mount a campaign to oust Chief Executive Michael Eisner, issued a statement questioning the growth prospects of the company in 2005.

G'luck, Roy-O!%$

Monday, August 09, 2004

Nokia moves to counter Apple-Moto music alliance. much as i hate to invoke teenage fanclub on such a petty occasion, the reg take on this one is "dumb, dumb, dumb" as usual@#$% they paint apple as the strategic winner here for adopting aac (vs. loudeye and wma), but this one slipped under their radar: Coding Technologies Signs Broad aacPlus License with Nokia. high-efficiency aac is supposed to deliver quality on par with the low-complexity profile apple uses at half the bitrate. ideal for mobiles, eh?@# unless apple hops on the he-aac bandwagon before the mobile itms roll-out, nokia has the technological edge.

they also don't seem to acknowledge this throwaway line from peter gabriel: "Since this sort of merger [of Gabriel's OD2 service] with Loudeye, Apple are now our clients instead of [our] competition." this seems to have gotten zero play in the press--anyone care to speculate about wtf it means?

The Case Against George W. Bush. this is pure RONNIE RAGE. so fuckin' beautiful i can barely stand it@#$

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Disney introduces PC for Kids! - Hint: It's not a Mac :<< - But, it's designed by the same folks who did the desining for the Mac SE.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

SUVs illegal on a shitload o' CA residential roads. nothin brings out the HATORADE within like SUVs. the "i'm changing the climate. ask me how!"" bumperstickers are great, but where are the fuckin... "i brake for foreign oil" ones?@

Light notes:Economically speaking, it makes perfect sense, IMHO, that to qualify for a bunch of financial incentives (be it from the manufacturer's or consumer's point of view - both reducing the effective cost of one of these BEASTS), you be straddled with some financial disincentives - like, say, the financial cost of not being able to drive on certain roads, or paying lots of cOOt little fines for it. It may be a loophole which it wasn't originally meant for, but this does not change the fact that the Hummer does as much damage to a road as any other 10,000 pounder. And...HEH to the bumper stickers :>>

VT Xserve cluster interconnects held in place with Velcro. speaking of "optimism a bit early", not sure this is the kinda "attention in the supercomputing community" apple needs@#$.

(much LUV to hack the planet for the heads-up.)

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Jack Valenti - A career in quotes - exceptionally BONKed quotes from the most powerful lobbyist of his time. Awesomeness such as:

On the Internet versus Intellectual Property, 1996
"[If Congress fails to act,] the information superhighway ... will collapse the great wonder of intellectual property. The country will be the loser. Big time."

There are many more. Please check them out.

A plethora of BusinessWeek Apple articles, following Steve Jobs's memo to employees saying he just got cancer surgery:

Apple now more lucrative for the (US) government - Considering the government's tech budget this year was $46 billion, it's a DAMNed good market to be considered lucrative in. But observe:

Apple's market share in computers sold to the government rose from 1.6% in the first quarter of 2003 to 2% in the same period of this year, estimates analyst Roger Kay of market researcher IDC. Today, Apple is the government's No. 6 computer supplier -- and climbing.

Optimism a bit early, p'haps?

Apple servers find LUV in supercomputing - Now, this is good. "Big Mac" clusters are getting attention in the supercomputing community, which is apparently pretty tightly-knit. Good potential in this.

Apple clawing back in the K-12 community for Back2School - But, mixed results, Apple's SPIN working for one thing, but evidence is surely not as rosy.
In 2003, Apple's laptop market share in the K-12 segment grew by 3.2% over the previous year, to 26.9% of laptops sold in this category. During that period, the laptop market share of the K-12 sector leader, Dell, fell 1.1%....

...Apple managed to boost its overall market share 1.1% in the K-12 education market, according to IDC. But that came amidst declining unit sales of desktops. Further, sector leader Dell boosted its market share at a far faster rate of 7.7%, mainly by taking desktop customers from Apple and others.

...And not having an iMac to sell this season will surely not help that BONK. Incidentally, the opening paragraph of the article has a sales pitch by a school district's SysAdmin that should warm Macaphilic hearts. It also details how Apple is offering better support via on-the-spot services....Educational Services Network, anyone? 8)

"Halo Effect"? Look again - An author suggesting the much-theorized on halo-effect of Apple's other biznizes helping Mac sales will be coming...eventually. I'll believe it when I see it, which is perhaps why the article is suggesting that I keep looking.

In a recent survey of likely home PC buyers....8% of respondents said they intended to buy an Apple. That's second only to Dell -- and up from 5% in May....

The article runs through why people might be considering Macs again, starting with the antivirus advantage, as well as the retail stores providing an uplifting Kool-Aid drinking experience. May it truly be so.

Republicans try to distance themselves from Eugenics proponent running on their ticket - This candidate shares the values of many Republicans in gun totin', and eliminating immigration and welfare. However, he also wants to implement eugenics, which the Republicans aren't keen on associating themselves with. A Republican write-in candidate has gotten the support of the state GOP, and may well be the Republican answer to a Democratic Rep. who is considered safe.

He insists his beliefs have nothing to do with racism and everything to do with "favored races" from Europe and Asia and "less-favored races" from Africa.

Consumer spending suffers largest drop since 9/11 - Maybe this economic recovery leading to a decent job for me when college is post ain't gonna be happening after all 8O

NBC to air SI Swimsuit reality contest - The reality juggernaut rolls on...for some reason, I have a feeling this particular show might be pretty SUCKsessful, too 8O

The religification of John Kerry - How JFK's advisors got him to start wearing his faith on his sleeve, got him to talk about Jesus, and why it's so crucial in election '04:

But Kerry's refusal to engage on faith posed serious problems. A substantial "religion gap" had developed, with people who attend church regularly moving increasingly into the Republican camp. A Time magazine poll showed that only 7 percent of people thought of Kerry as a person of strong faith, a statistic that was feeding the perception of him as a waffler. He was running no better among Catholics than Al Gore did, which, considering he's the first Catholic nominee in 44 years, is pretty amazing—and politically worrisome since Catholics are heavily represented in battleground states like Pennsylvania (30 percent Catholic), New Jersey (45.9 percent), Ohio (28 percent), Michigan (28 percent), Wisconsin (34.4 percent), Minnesota (28.7 percent), and New Hampshire (38.2 percent). And the Bush campaign was hitting "values" hard and brazenly organizing churches to mobilize Republican voters.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Time: Palestinian Authority profiteering off of The Wall by selling cement to Israeli contracters building it - Whoa...didn't see this coming!@

Business of the day: "Family Video," a chain rental store - One that rents X-rated material out in the open in some stores, and The Passion of the Christ in others, because of Indiana's oddly structured laws regarding the dissemination of obscene materials. Go Quayle!

Bush campaign planning August RAGE against Kerry

Mr. Bush's aides said they were determined to use the weeks ahead to highlight Mr. Kerry's 20-year record in the Senate, using votes he has cast and what they described as his lack of accomplishments to portray him as ineffective, ideologically out of step, and a slacker for missing crucial votes while campaigning.

"He has 20 lost years," Mr. Dowd said. "It's amazing." Mr. Kerry's voting record - he has cast more than 6,000 votes in all - has long been considered vulnerable by Democrats and Republicans, not just because it can be characterized as liberal, but also because it is so vast and touches on so many complicated and politically fraught issues over so many years. The decision by Mr. Bush to turn on Mr. Kerry's voting record, while hardly a surprise, underlines why members of Congress are sometimes viewed as less than ideal candidates for president.