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False Positives Adventures in Technology, SciFi and Culture from Toronto

Saturday, January 31, 2004

Save Hubble

Via wired news : Scientists Clamor to Save Hubble

I was very distressed hearing about plans to de-orbit the Hubble space telescope. I understand the difficulty in the servicing mission and the concerns about a uncontrolled reentry.

But on hearing about the decision I got a very strong felling of deja vu and remember what happened in '79 when Skylab fell out of sky. " In my gut I got a strong feeling that it was the end. Yes we needed to be able to get there and back, but as a working asset, a place to go, Skylab was incredibly valuable, even if it had to be mothball for a few years. "No problem, they said. Soon we'll have the space shuttle, and space launch will be so cheap we'll have a dozen space stations and then we'll start building O'Neill's... " Well it didn't happen, if fact it wasn't happening well before the Challenger accident of '86. '79 is when my dreams of being part of manned space program died. 86 only confirmed that there wasn't going to be much of a manned space program for me to watch. So, for want of a mission to boost Skylab, it has taken 25 year to get Skylab-lite (the ISS). Joy.

Now we have a decision to ditch a working space telescope which has provided data and images beyond compare, and hold our breath for a couple of years until, if we are lucky, the next generation of large space telescope is launched. What they should be doing, instead, 1) see if the orbit be shaped to make it easy to service 2) do the service mission to upgrade the instruments and replace the wonky gyro's 3) Make sure the capacity exists to maintain its orbit indefinitely, beyond the launch of the Webb ST (see 1). Astronomers are lucky that they have ground based and small space based instruments, otherwise it would be the end of improving our understanding the universe. I'm very glad they are putting up a stink about this. How about the rest of us. Is it important? No, it will not feed any staving children. But the US spends twice as much as on Pet food as on the current space program. Pet Food! Feed the kids that!. See this to better address that issue. I'll tell you why it 2 small reasons why it's important:

1) Dark Energy & Dark Matter. By current estimates the matter and energy we understand make up 4 % of the universe. 4 F**king percent. It?s figured that Dark Matter makes up around 26% and stops the galaxies from falling about. And 70% of the ?verse is Dark Energy which keeps the universe expanding, or at minimum from having collapsed long ago. You, Me and everything we See and think we understand are just the cream on a very large glass of milk. If you think the revolution in physic over the last 100 to 150 years (I'll include Electromagnetism as well as Relativity and Quantum Mechanics), which has made all our toys and tools possible, you haven?t see nothing yet!
2) Searching for Life bearing planets. In only the last 5 years we have been able to determine if and how common planet circling other planets are. Not very. Currently we are only able to indirectly measure very larger (super- Jovan) gas planet. The next generation will allow us to detect smaller, rocky, planet like earth and maybe even see some of the light from some, which would tell us about the chemical composition of the atmosphere and might tell us if there is life there (oxygen is a likely sign). Think what kind of impact it would have to know that there a no neighbors for a 100 light years ( we really are special, better take care of ourselves and our home) or that 30 light year away there is somewhere to visit (colonize), someone to talk to.

But before we can re-write the rules, or scout the galactic neighbor until we have better instruments. And don?t throwaway tools until you have better ones in your hands, and maybe not even then.

Skylab was a canary in the mine, so is the Hubble.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Music Guide Done Right

Found deep within Om Malik on Broadband a Link to Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music. A Flashed based guide to various types and genres of Electronic Music. It's like getting a new Encyclopedia set for Xmas! About 99% of the styles and music I've never heard of (A factor of age and utter un-coolness). But I loved the commentaries and discovered a few thing I didn't hate. (I tick to stuff in the last ten years: DownTempo/Ambient Breaks - Moby; Happy Core - which sounds like it should be the soundtrack of anime; TranceStep - Jonh B's American Girls is a hoot) The other interesting thing is the layout (showing how major genres mutated over time ) , the exploring of genres and well looped samples, and the explanations. It makes music that even Ishkur hates worthing listening to, if only to confirm that yeah that sucks! As a side effect If I want to tourture someone, I now know A couple of TerroCore "tunes" to play. You've been warned!

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Security the Microsoft way

Boing Boing: "MSFT: don't click on links, type them in by hand
Microsoft's crapware browser, Explorer, has more security vulnerabilities than my block has dope-dealers, but this is ridiculous. MSFT now advises its users to not click links, but rather to type them in by hand:

    The most effective step that you can take to help protect yourself from malicious hyperlinks is not to click them. Rather, type the URL of your intended destination in the address bar yourself. By manually typing the URL in the address bar, you can verify the information that Internet Explorer uses to access the destination Web site. To do so, type the URL in the Address bar, and then press ENTER.

Or, you could, you know, just Download Moz.

Oh My God. If I hadn't seen the document myself I wouldn't believe it. Coming Soon : Bill Gates delivers his solution to span and Email Viruses (Just Post a Letter!). And expect to see MS make bids for a pencil manufacture, and the leading buggy whip provider.

Database Modelling Plugin for Eclipse

Via Jared Odulio's Weblog : My Favorite Eclipse Plugins I found Clay Database Modelling Plugin for Eclipse

Not quite the full suite of ERB modeling tools, but It's a good start. I pointed at my working MySQL database via a JDBC definition, and wam-bam I've got a DB model in Eclipse. I can modify it , generate creation script and such (good old DDL) for a table or the whole model; add a key to the table; just being able to cruise my model and confirm table and rows within Eclispe is useful. Lets see what can be done if I read the help!

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

JYMSIML or at least read.....

Java Pro - Using Data Sources the Right Way: Data sources let app servers manage pools of database connections.

Java Pro - Uncoupling Struts: " Use the marker interface design pattern and polymorphism to uncouple your persistence tier from Struts"

Did Linux steal code from SCO?

Did Linux steal code from SCO? Take a look.

via vowe dot net

Everything except the squeal : Sausage Aged for Three Generations

NYTimes : Sausage Aged for Three Generations

Now I'm hungry.....

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Don’t design on spec

Jeffrey Zeldman Presents: The Daily Report : Don't design on spec

  • It don't pay
  • Design is problem solving
  • unsafe for you and the client

When Big Brother meets Gordon Moore

The Panopticon Singularity

If I was a Japanese Cartoon

Via The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century
Flash What would I look like if I was a Anime character?

I like the blue hair! Is there a photoshop plugin to Anime images?

Monday, January 26, 2004

Hiring in Startups and the danger of 'hiring down'

Due Diligence:"Hiring in Startups:

managers who consciously or unconsciously hire those who are not potentially threatening (intellectually or politically). Big companies in fat times can survive some amount of this behavior, a new venture cannot. If you look at a startup where the CEO feels much stronger than all of his reports, you're seeing a failure in the making.

and A VC: Why CEOs Fail

Don't try this at home!

Via vowe dot net

not for wives, nephew's, brothers, or friends...Please god no.....I beg you....

Who Cares About Sound Quality

Via Techdirt: "Who Cares About Sound Quality?

It seems that the focus on in-home entertainment devices has moved from the stereo system to the home theater system. However, this change of focus from the audio to the visual means that many buyers are skipping out on the fancier speaker systems - much to the dismay of those who sell such speakers. Even though home theater systems require a complex setup of speakers to produce optimal sound, some are worried that many buyers are too focused on the picture they get from the screen, and thus only buy the cheapest speakers to handle the sound. Of course, they're working to change this perception. Though, there are some odd ideas - including 'tactile audio' where the speakers end up embedded in the furniture of the room itself. This way, the viewer can actually 'feel' the sound relate to whatever they're watching in the home theater."

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Is an Internet war looming?

"Rogers raises stakes in broadband battle

Rogers Cable, Canada's largest cable company, is offering its Internet subscribers in Ontario and New Brunswick a new premium service running at 5 megabits per second in addition to its regular 3 Mbps service.

QuirksMode - for all your browser quirks

QuirksMode - for all your browser quirks It comes recommended. It contains more than 150 pages with CSS and JavaScript tips and tricks, and is one of the best sources on the WWW for studying and defeating browser incompatibilities.

I'm not Just the Hypocrisy, I'm a Member.

The Advertising Slogan Generator

Corporate Identity : 15 Trends Taking Shape In Logo Design"

So if your going to charge me real money, you had better NOT retrend this stuff.

Fifteen trends of contemporary logo design, according to the Graphic Design USA web site, include (among others):

  • Droplets - two or more droplets caught in the act of merging

  • Pop - as in the culture of the 60s
  • Natural spirals - chaotic rather than precise
  • Canted - geometric figures wrapped on a sphere
  • Alpha-face - turning a word into a face or person
  • Punctuation
  • Wire  

Via boingboing via Smartpatrol

I remeber see this earlier but it making the rounds again.

Friday, January 23, 2004

January 25 is Robbie Burns Day

Robert Burns was born on January 25th, 1759.
Everything you need to know here and here

This truth fand honest Tam o' Shanter,
As he frae Ayr ae night did canter:
(Auld Ayr, wham ne'er a town surpasses,
For honest men and bonie lasses).

Now in Atom!

A Atom RSS new feed is now available to this blog. See the Site Feed link to the left side.

BLOGGER - Knowledge Base�-�What is Atom?: "What is Atom?"

2 quick comments : 1) Why Atom, why not one of the more mature and widely supported formats? 2) How is RSS going to effect BStats (a web traffic-tracking service for blogger). I would like to know how people found me, what they are looking for, and how big is the audieance. Yes It is partial ego, but it is almost the only feed back I get.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

the Testing Bug

A Dozen Ways to Get the Testing Bug in the New Year

and Effective Unit Testing with DbUnit [Jan. 21, 2004]

Saint Babbage

via Saint Babbage

After a long, virtuous life in which he never used a 2-digit field to represent the year, a programmer died and was met at the Pearly Gates by none other than Saint Babbage himself.

As they walked down the hall in Programmer Heaven, they came to a door, and he looked inside to see lots of programmers busily working, and the walls were covered with user manuals, every one different.

"Oh, that's Linux heaven," said Saint Babbage. "We gave them all the manuals they could possibly dream of, well formatted and professionally prepared, answering any possible question they might have."

The programmer looked in the door to the next room, and it, too, was full of happy looking programmers typing and merrily computing away. The shelves on the walls were absolutely crammed full of boxes of commercial software. He looked Saint Babbage, and Saint Babbage said "That's OS/2 heaven. They finally get decent app support."

"But we have to be quiet going past the next door, OK?" The programmer nodded, and the two tip-toed past another door. Yet another room filled with happy programmers.

Once they were well away from the door, the programmer said, "What was that all about?"

Saint Babbage nodded knowingly, and replied, "That's Macintosh Heaven. They think they're the only ones up here."

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

never let an ad agency near your website

Web design: never let an ad agency near your website: January 19, 2004 issue of New Thinking by Gerry McGovern

Gung Hei Fat Choi!

On the eve of the Year of the Monkey, Year 4702, I'd like to wish us all a Healthy, Wealthy, and Happy Year.

Case Dropped Against Student Who Created Satire Site

via Techdirt:Case Dropped Against Student Who Created Satire Site follows up on this story. He is STILL a ass, and an abusive one at that.

Quick Links (YMTIML)

The Simplest Thing that Could Possibly Work: That's were I always go wrong ! It's either the simplest thing that still doesn't work or the most complex thing possible (which sounds like a general description of java).

MySQL develops new graphical admin tool MySQL Administrator provides all the capabilities of the old command-line tools and adds new features, Urlocker said. Some of the tasks that database administrators can perform with the new console are: server configuration, user administration, database monitoring, backup and restore, and log management...also..- An alliance with JBoss Group LLC to integrate the JBoss application server with MySQL's database servers, to improve the way the products work together. All in all a very good thing.

From Raible Designs :Coldtags these is a cold fusion devived jsp tag set. Raible mentions the Country tag and the State tag. Looks useful. I'll have to a let examine the tags they have defined to see if it would save time/effort. The HtmlCalendar bean looks promising.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

The Way of Nigella

This is for Elicia :The Morning News - The Way of Nigella

URL Rewrite Filter

Russell Beattie discovers URL Rewrite Filter at Paul Tuckey's URL Rewrite Filter. Looks useful. Something to tuck away for a later time. Something like this seems like it should be a part of Struts (or whatever your framework of choice/joy/damage/pain is).

After 50 years, soldier reunited with his family in South Korea

This story After 50 years, soldier reunited with his family in South Korea brought tears to my eyes.

Mr. Jun was lost to his unit just days before the 1953 armistice that ended the fighting, and South Korean military records listed him as killed in action. But he was not dead, just taken prisoner.

Somehow, Mr. Jun managed to survive -- not only 50 years in a country ravaged by a bankrupt economy, a hard-line Communist regime and terrible famine, but also a remarkable escape from North Korea that came close to disaster at many turns.
When he was captured, Mr. Jun had parents, two sisters and a brother. They all assumed he was dead, and he had no idea what had happened to them.
Mr. Jun was finally reunited with his brother and sisters just after Christmas. Tears of joy and sadness flowed.

"My little sister, come here! I will hug and carry you on my back as I used to," Mr. Jun cried to 57-year-old Jun Boon-yi, as he saw her for the first time since she was a toddler.

"I am sorry that I was away so long and did not do my duty as a brother."

The woman, her face now creased and weathered and streaming with tears, buried her face in his chest.
Mr. Jun, the 34th escapee since 1994, then headed to his old hometown, where sister Yong-mok promised "to feed him well."

"This is a miracle he could come back home alive after all that hardship in North Korea," she said.

What horror the man must have gone though. The hardship of being separated from this family multiplied by the hell on earth that is North Korea. Every happiness to Mr Jun and this family.

I should note that the story was covered earlier (on Dec 24th (which is why I missed it?)) by The Marmot's (Final) Hole: Welcome Home and Seeing Eye blog : 53 YEARS LATER has a very emotional picture.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Disable Flash in Mozilla, kill ads dead.

Krzysztof Kowalczyk's Weblog: Disable Flash in Mozilla/Thunderbird. I wanted Flash Click To View and now I found it (via Jeremy Zawodny). This will block Flash animations in Mozilla/Firebird. It's still possible to view them (if you click on them).

Another Firebird/mozilla trick: type about:config in the url box and you'll see all the configuration parameters.

The zombie that will not die.

As part of the runup to yet another LotusSphere at mickey's dolphin world :The Long Goodbye for Lotus Notes

Politically, Notes apps reside on the borders between business units. Notes HR apps are the J. Edgar Hoovers of the enterprise, capturing the sensitive details of where the corporate bodies are buried. Notes' seminal delivery of secure replication allowed sales force automation to establish interconnected mapping of complex relationships that could survive individual personnel changes and the loss of rainmakers to competitors....

But don't count Notes out. Being dead has been good for the architecture that inspired the Web. As long as IBM keeps the porting path open;from those original Notes apps to Domino to Lotus Workplace portlets to a DB2 alternate store in Domino 7 to an Eclipse assembly tool in 2006;it keeps Global Services busy and profitable.

Also Microsoft is trying to, skin the cat, at least give it a new home:

Microsoft Zeros In on Lotus
Over the next six to eight months, the Redmond, Wash., company plans to roll out a series of initiatives, including a tool kit, due this summer, that allows Domino developers to create Notes- and Domino-based Web services using Microsoft development tools such as Visual Studio .Net and Visual Basic....The as-yet-unnamed tool kit... creates the .Net Web services, they will be consumed by Microsoft applications such as the Office suite, SharePoint and Exchange.

All this in the bigger picture of what IBM/Lotus is planning : IBM Beefs Up Lotus Workplace Platform

A point release of Notes and Domino, 6.5.1, is planned for the first quarter of next year. Then in the second quarter, IBM plans to release Workplace 2.0 featuring a rich client built on the Eclipse framework, collaborative document management and Workplace Builder, an application development toolkit for Workplace.

At the same time, support for team workspaces and document management will be added to Notes and Domino.

By the fourth quarter, Workplace will get a disconnected client and mobile development support in its 2.5 version, while the 7.0 version of Notes and Domino gets integration with Workplace, enhanced portlets for WebSphere and support for DB2 as the data store.

The 8.0 version of Notes and Domino, likely for some time in 2005, will allow Notes users to access non-IBM applications, such as a Siebel Systems Inc. call center application for example, from within Notes.

By far the biggest problem is expecting IT managers and theibossesss to digest all this and plan out the next 2 or 3 years.


Via Raible Designs : || Tweaking MySQL (4.x) Primer

and Jakarta Struts Tutorials

More Googling by the Numbers

Google also does unit conversations : 23 miles = 37.014912 kilometers or 71 degrees Fahrenheit = 21.6666667 degrees Celsius or half (1 US cup) = 24 US teaspoons and you can do math 234 * 34 = 7 956

see more at Google Web Search Features

Saturday, January 17, 2004

I qualify

Tomcat Tutorial: HelloWorld for Complete Fools ;-) [English]

Seems to be very similar to Java(TM) Boutique - The Power of Three - Eclipse, Tomcat, and Struts

Friday, January 16, 2004

Yet Another Thing For Ian to Understand (YATFITU)

Hibernate Your Data by Davor Cengija. Hibernate can persist any kind of Java object, manipulate a hierarchy of objects, handle collections, and work with transactions. Davor Cengija shows you how.

Quite a good piece. A little SQL 101, show you some things that Can Go Wrong (CGW, happens to me a dozen times a day). I don't know why I didn't link this the first time I read it (Blogger fatigue?).

There is also this SQL 201 piece (allways good for reference) The Effective Use of Joins in Select Statements by Satya Komatineni -- A join construct helps you effectively use select statements to mine relational databases. This article examines syntax, surprises, and rules of thumb for the use of joins.

And in a related, all things DB theme Ten MySQL Best Practices : 1. Set a password for the "root" user and then rename the user, 2. Hide MySQL from the Internet, 3. Protect the MySQL installation directory from access by other users, 4. Don't store binary data in MySQL, 5. Stick to ANSI SQL, 6. Create your own sequence generation scheme, 7. Do not mix display code and database code, 8. Normalize with zeal, denormalize sparingly, 9. Use connection pooling in Web servers and application servers, 10. Tune your queries with EXPLAIN SELECT.

Thoughts on Blogging The Market

Via Blogging Roller: Newsfeed Syndication, E-mail to weblog gateway, Notification of comments, Full text search, Archive browser, Weblog aggregator, Wiki integration.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Troll XP

Behind the scenes at Microsoft.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Eric's Kitchen

Via Chanpon Eric's Kitchen, The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen, is a modernist/contemporary interpretation of Japanese food.

The Observer | Focus | Forget black, forget white. EA is what's hot

The Observer | Focus | Forget black, forget white. EA is what's hot

Mindblender or How to lose weigth via the internet

Via Wired 12.01: "Mindblender"

Japanese psychologist Akiyoshi Kitaoka presents more than 120 such optical illusions in his books .

Professor Tetris , unfolded

Canadian scientist Dr. Erik Demaine, about whom I blogged in November (2003) gets mentioned in January 2004's Wired

What does VOIP get you?

As part of my ongoing "Year of VOIP" rant, I submit Tim Bray's Telephony R.I.P.? or "Video conferencing for free"/"Videophone's for the Rest of us".

also extremetech has this on webcam's :The $40 Device You Didn't Know You Needed

And Wired has "Why Your Next Phone Call May Be Online, which means its mainstream geek. (Now only the PCweek article is missing)

Googling by the numbers

via InfoWorld: Google adds number search tool

Not every one is aware of this, and unfortunalty many of these tricks/Tips/Hacks only work for USA based information, but you can search for

  • A phone number like (530) 756-0236 and get a Name and a map.

  • UPS, FedEX or U.S. Postal Service tracking numbers (untested)

  • Patents numbers Like this for patent 5159513

  • (FAA) airline registration number , like this for Air Canada Flight 716

  • You can get Definitions (words and abbreviations) by typing : "What is Word" like this what is FBO

  • Bar codes (I have yet to test this)

  • check the weather at a particular airport by entering the airport's three-letter code and the word "airport". (USA only, this it links to the FAA like this for LGA, New York LaGuardia International Airport

  • USA zip codes link to maps, like this one Zip code 10242

Many of these have been there for some time, but where not well known. It also seems to have problems with some new/change zip codes and phone numbers.

Update (jan 17th) : via boingboing to Google Blog
an example of UPC codes, e.g. 073333531084 or 036000250015, bring up some information about the product.
and Google does Vehicle ID (VIN) numbers, e.g. JH4NA1157MT001832, link to a CARFAX report on what kind of car and its status.

'UName' naming standard. Patent pending

"Pick a word. Now, imagine a potentially meaningful adjective or other nebbish modifier, select the first letter, and append this to either the beginning or the end of the noun you originally chose.

Slashdot | Why Such Unimaginative Nomenclature?

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

The Power of 3 plus a DB

Today's reading list :

hopefully not DOA, with a lemon wrapped around a large brick.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Mastering MVC and Model 2 with Struts"

via A Sleepless Night in Tucson: "Mastering MVC and Model 2 with Struts"


All Things: SELECT @@IDENTITY. works in MySQL 4 and Microsoft SQL Server', get you the last auto increment value (used to gett the primary key for a table after an insert )

Liberation spectrum

Liberation spectrum by By Cory Doctorow

A List Apart : Faux Columns & Elastic Design

A New A List Apart: ISSN: 1534-0295. 9 January 2004 – Issue No. 167

Anita Mui’s funeral

BWG does a splendid job commenting on Anita Mui's funeral.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Developing Multilingual Web Applications Using JavaServer Pages Technology

Developing Multilingual Web Applications Using JavaServer Pages Technology.

A useful reference paper with regards to using the JSTL "fmt" tags. I've just started using the setBundle and message actions for the tag set and although I known I have more learning to do (duh!), it's a good start. Soon I'll have a .properties file from all my text string messages. Which can be Spell Checked!!

UNC finance professor Junius Peake is an ASS

Via Techdirt:Make Fun Of A Professor, Lose Your Computer : - Student who spoofed prof online sues after cops threaten charges

here' the Colorado story the broke the news : Student squeals over seizure, College satirist suing Greeley police after computer confiscated

So Professor Peake, did the problem go away? Or are you just a rock and roll fascist? (Yes I've just passed the Godwin's Law line

A quick google search turned up : this UNC directory page, with his email and phone number, and a article that about a earlier issue Earlier this year, the coalition backed a student who filed a complaint with U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights against Professor Junius Peake, charging that he badgered her in his office. Last week, the Department of Education dismissed the complaint as groundless.

The web site can be found here : and another newpaper article about the issue us here

The new enterprise portal:

InfoWorld: The new enterprise portal: January 09, 2004: By Eric Knorr: Applications: "The browser-based portal is fast becoming the enterprise UI and the nexus for a new breed of integration and app dev".

So have the technologies matured enough for this to happen? Can you mix and match (integrate) back-ends system? java and .net? I don't think the standards are there, just yet. which means you still have to standardize on a vendor. And pray your older back ends can be pasted in, at some limited level. And of course there are still huge organizational issues, as always the harder part.

Ian's World of clenched forehead

Eric Weisstein's World of Physics. Lots of yummy stuff.

VOIP Slap Down follow up

to follow up on this and this this

further Globe and Mails articles :
Primus service nips at telcos' heels gives more details and background.

Primus is the first to move but others, such as large cable television companies like Shaw Communications Inc., are poised to introduce their own service by next year....Numerous observers have said that local phone prices, set by the federal regulator, are already too low in Canada, discouraging competition. But Primus Canada has undercut those rates by at least 15 per cent, and as much as a third when options such as voice mail and call display are included....Until now, Sprint Canada Inc. was the only national competitor to the former monopolies in the local market.... the company resells traditional service rather than taking a new approach. It has had modest success at best, attracting about 200,000 customers -- a fraction of Telus's and Bell's almost 12 million connections.

and another background article Net phones just a small device away. Small hook-up box needed but some say they likely won't replace fixed lines

Cell phones--the next dinosaur : concerning Vonage's deal to ebed its software on chips from Texas Instruments.. allowing any broadband-connected device can hook into the Vonage network. more details here

The metaphysics of VoIP. regarding whether VoIP.. should be classified as an "information service" or a "telecommunications service" under existing federal or state regulatory policies. If VoIP falls under telecommunications, then it is subject to public-utility economic regulation. If it is an information service, then it is not." Wathout who wins this regulatory/political battle. the phone lobby is a big player, but they are NOT all on the same side.

Here is more background: Broadband top issue in 2004, U.S. regulator says

Friday, January 09, 2004

Manageability - Open Source Web Crawlers Written in Java

Manageability - Open Source Web Crawlers Written in Java. Evil, pure Evil.

Apache Jakarta Tomcat 4 and 5: Configuration and Usage Tutorial

Apache Jakarta Tomcat 4 and 5: Configuration and Usage Tutorial. I'm thinknig this with be a great help. or not.

Toshiba Breed's Huge People

Via boingboing Via richinternetapps Via steal from the best

Toshiba today announced at the Consumer Electronics Show, the result of a successful project to breed huge humans. Industry insiders suspect that with Moore's Law starting to crumble, and physical limits on lithographic technology causing tremendous problems on the continued minituarisation of a range of devices, that the solution was to breed huge people, which in the words of a spokesman, "...obviously have huge hands...".

Results of this programme are demonstrated in the above photographs, showing large humans (TM) to scale against a traditional 40GB SCSI drive.

As can be seen from the above images, the technoloy has also been applied to children, in attempts to bring school bullying to a historic end. Rumours that Toshiba have in fact just announced a tiny hard drive, are being dismissed as ludicrous.

Full story carried over at BBC Technology News...

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

via Russell Beattie Flaming Lips album "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots"

And I like it too! But more to the point (as if), the Warner Brother Record site and link is amazing in that within a flash player you can actually listen to the tracks on the album. It would be difficult, but not impossible, to intercept the music on its way to me speaker and make a mp3, but WBR has not let that stop them from letting the average music fan from learning about their clients work. WBR = Not clueless! I believe you Yoshimi! Wicked Stuff. I think there may be FlammingLips CD (or DVD) in the near future.

Primus Canada launches national Internet phone service : Let the Fight begin!

Via the Globe and Mail : Primus Canada launches national Internet phone service. This happened a lot faster than I expected. And it looks like it's available now at $CAN 20 / month for the basic package. And I noticed this in Coverage :

Customers can get a new phone number or migrate their existing phone number to TalkBroadband™ service in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver. However, any High Speed Internet user in Canada can take advantage of TalkBroadband™ by selecting a new number from one of the markets above.

truly the "Death of Distance". So what does area code (or country code) mean now?

This is just the beginning of a turf war that's going to blur the boundaries between Local phone, Long Distance, Cell phone, ISP's, Cable, Satellite, and Wireless companies. They are all Communication Infrastructure Provides (CIP's ?), and with IP everywhere the differences that kept them from competing are gone (or going). Pick the one that suits you based on price, service or features.

followup here

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Massive Change - Radio

BoingBoing put me on to UoT's Massive Change - Radio and their archive of "provocative thinkers across disciplines" including the Bruce Sterling December 2, 2003 interview which I'm currently listening to (the interview covers many things in his "Tomorrow Now" book). A lot of good stuff. I expect I'll be playing more of these interviews.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Cleaning Up Information Pollution

Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox lists Ten Steps for Cleaning Up Information Pollution .

All are fairly common sense. None of them are that hard to do. None of them would cost much, if anything, it practiced (and likely save money). Most of them should be standard policy for any non-Neolithic organization. Sadly few company teach good infomation habits.

My picks for the practices with the most bang (effect) for the buck (effort): Don't use "reply to all", Write informative subject lines, Don't circulate internal email to all employees.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Ten Most Violated Homepage Design Guidelines (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)

Ten Most Violated Homepage Design Guidelines (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox), just so you can make sure to do ALL ten! So many places make the Homepages (public and internal) hard to use, it is just easier to count how badly they are doing it.

VoIP in '04

Voxilla has A user's guide to the VoIP revolution, if it isn't being Slash'ed at the moment.

And I would agree that 2004 is the year where VOIP enters mainstream awareness and practical use for business and the public. (and 2005 will be the year of VOW [Voice Over Wireless, trademark pending]).

The tipping point for me was this Globe and Mail article :: BCE wants to use VoIP to compete with itself and this one :: Bell, Microsoft team on broadband TV mentioning IPTV. BCE (Ma' Bell ) has to get serious about VOIP because it will allow Rogers to compete for LOCAL telephone service. BCE has to do this or find Rogers providing new services based on VOIP (like : each teenager with separate phones), plus figure out how to do IPTV to compete with Rogers on their field.

It will be interesting to see if all this can be done on the current infrastructure or will this lead to (finally) upgrading of the "Last Mile" and fiber (at least) to the curb if not into the house. In this case the "Last Mile" is for both the Telecoms POTs (Plain Old Telephone System) and the Cable system's Cable cable. At last local competition at the local level! The only worry would be regulators getting in and unduly ly slowing the process.

Add this to the tends afoot for wide screen HDTV (see This) :: ie 50' TV's <700USD by the end of 2005 and trends in PRV like Tivo, the converging of computers and home entertainment is well under way to changing the Home.

followup here and here

Power to the People, A New Year for Hong Kong

Via the The Globe and Mail, between 37,000 and 100,000 people marched on New Years Day demanding full democray for Hong Kong, as set out for in Hong Kong's mini-constitution.

This is the biggest rally since a mass protest in July that threw the government into crisis by denouncing a proposed anti-subversion bill.

Another step in the right direction, following district council elections in November (2003) which had increased turn-out and more seats for The Democratic Party (and setting the stage for elections to the more powerful Legislative Council next year, with could weaken government control of the legislature even though only half the seats are elected.)