Rants & Ramblings

random commentary about culture, media, politics, technology and whatnot.

technology

jun
30
2003

apple politics

Rush Limbaugh apparently blames Al Gore for Apple’s less-than-stellar market share. (“Why Does Apple Put Politics First?” - 06/27/03) Apple is apparently a company that is so constrained by the political views of its corporate leadership and board, which now …

jun
25
2003

wi-fi in the trees

Wired reports that the tiny South Pacific island of Niue just set itself up with a free, island-wide wi-fi network. (“Analysts Sour on Commercial Wi-Fi” - 06/25/03) Even though it didn’t distribute the computers and PC cards necessary to tap …

Generally unwanted — and often pornographic or with fraudulent intent — spam is a nuisance and a distraction. Like almost everyone, I receive a lot of spam every day, much of it offering to help me get out of debt or get rich quick. It’s ridiculous.

— Bill Gates, in an e-mail memo (reported by The Register) (source)

jun
24
2003

another casualty of technology

Computers and the Internet have been blamed for the death (or impending demise) of any number of “traditional” offline customs and institutions. The handwritten letter. The post office. Ordinary patience. Grammar. And now: cursive handwriting. AP reports that third graders …

jun
14
2003

another twist in the “browser wars”

CNet reports that Microsoft is not going to release any new versions of Internet Explorer for the Macintosh, citing competition from Apple’s own Safari browser. (“Microsoft: No new versions of IE for Mac” - 06/13/03) This comes after another MS …

jun
07
2003

keep your number

Maybe wireless telephone number portability isn’t the “impossible dream,” after all. The U.S. District Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., voted down a cellphone industry challenge to an FCC regulation requiring mobile phone service providers to allow consumers to keep …

jun
05
2003

uh-oh, tivo

Wired reports that TiVo plans to start selling information about user viewing habits — including down-to-the-second data about programs and commercials viewed — to advertisers and broadcasters. (“TiVo to Sell User Viewing Data” - 06/02/03) Although the company plans to …

jun
04
2003

chatter

FBI agents investigating online child pornography are getting a lesson in instant messaging from real authorities on the subject — eighth grade girls. Today’s Washington Post reports that the FBI is consulting with teens to learn the proper lingo and …

may
25
2003

'rent' or 'buy' music?

CNet reports that Microsoft is working on its own version of the iTunes Music Store, which will work with music services such as Pressplay. (“Microsoft prepares reply to iTunes” - 05/23/03) The MS version of the service would employ a …

may
16
2003

segue

For all those who were just chomping at the bit to have one, the Segway scooter is now shipping from Amazon.com. For just shy of $5K, you, too, can have a shiny new “human transporter” in about four weeks. Can’t …

may
14
2003

iraqi information minister sighting

Online computer retailer SmallDog.com is running a funny ad on VersionTracker featuring the now-missing Iraqi Information Minister. If it wasn’t an advertising tagline, I might use “They are DOGS! Little, small dogs!” in everyday conversation. (Thanks to Andrew for the …

may
10
2003

death to ns4

The market share for Netscape 4 is rapidly dwidling — although may web designers and developers would probably tell you that it’s not disappearing fast enough. Anyone who designs websites and worries about their sites looking the same across all …

go wireless … at a payphone

According to today’s Washington Post, local telco Verizon is going to build wi-fi access points into many of its 300,000 regional pay phones — meaning (paid) wi-fi at the airport, in hotel lobbies — maybe even in Metro stations? (“Verizon …

may
09
2003

texting parents

Technology is catching up to truants at two schools in Ireland. When students are counted absent, the schools send their parents text messages. From Wired’s “Furthermore” section: Slackers Beware It’s getting harder to play hooky at two Irish schools. Parents …

may
07
2003

weblog troubles

The database for my weblog went screwy, so I had to delete it and start from scratch again. I’ve been able to re-import my old entries, but the entry ID numbers, between the old installation and the new one, don’t …

may
05
2003

farewell, subway token

New York City officially retired the subway token this past weekend, in favor of the electronic cards introduced in 1993. From today’s New York Times: The finale was, to be honest, a bit anticlimactic. No grand gestures or valedictories as …

may
02
2003

weaning myself off kazaa

So I’m officially hooked on Apple’s new iTunes Music Service. It’s a super-easy, guilt-free way to download high-quality music tracks. The interface is very clean and intuitive, and is integrated directly into iTunes, the music software I use already on …

apr
28
2003

legalese

Check out the disclaimer from the latest version of iTunes: A note about copyright This software may be used to reproduce materials. It is licensed to you only for reproduction of non-copyrighted materials, materials in which you own the copyright, …

gianormous videoscreen

Wired’s December 2002 issue included an interview with Ed Schlossberg, designer of the huge $20 million, 7,000-square-foot videoscreen on the outside of news agency Reuters’ New York headquarters. (“Making Headlines in 10,000-Point Type” - Dec 2002) Especially interesting is the …

apr
22
2003

10 years of browsing

Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of NSCA Mosaic 1.0, the first web browser. (A beta version of the browser was first released on March 14, 1993. The official 1.0 release was on April 21, 1993.) A poster at Slashdot noted …

flash preloader petition

Flash guru Colin Moock has a petition that might win the hearts of Flash developers everywhere. Fed up with Flash’s fairly mediocre built-in preloader support, which forces developers to jury-rig their own preloading solutions, Moock suggests that Macromedia beef up …

apr
17
2003

a flash haiku

export for testing is processing endlessly finish up already!

apr
14
2003

webmonkey tutorials

This is more for my future reference than anything else… Webmonkey has reorganized its faboo collection of web-related tutorials into four curriculums (curricula?). Design - Web graphics, redesigns, accessability/usability, etc.E-Business - Advertising, shopping baskets, logfiles, etc.Engineering - Linux/Apache/Unix, JavaScript, Perl, …

going on safari

There’s a new public beta of Apple’s Safari browser available. Of special interest in this edition: tabbed browsing! Safari’s a very nice, speedy browser. I love the ability to dump my cache via a simple key command. And I am …

mar
24
2003

they'll give you a nickel for it…

I made a visit to amazon.com this afternoon and was greeted with an enticement to answer Amazon-related multiple choice trivia questions. (For example, “Amazon offers subscriptions to how many magazines and newspapers?”) Answer right, earn a nickel. My current balance …