Rants & Ramblings

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

technology

mar
13
2003

why do you blog?

One of my classmates at Georgetown is doing her thesis on blogging — who blogs? why do they do it? She has an online questionnaire, and is calling all interested bloggers to fill it out and offer their own perspectives …

mar
02
2003

california does it ebay

Ever wonder what happens to all that stuff that gets confiscated at airport security checkpoints? In California, they’re selling it on eBay. (San Francisco Chronicle: “Bureaucrats get EBay fever” - 02/28/03) According to the SFChron article, the state of California …

feb
27
2003

google doesn't want to be 'googled'

The Google Weblog reports that lawyers for search engine Google requested that the verb “google” be removed from, or its definition modified in, the online dictionary Word Spy. (“Google asks to be removed from dictionary” - 02/26/03) The WordSpy definition …

online shopping on college campuses

The Los Angeles Times ran a story on Sunday about an aspect of online shopping one might not normally think about: All around them, civilian America is shopping online with the same fierce enthusiasm of any Ivy Leaguer. But those …

souring on apple

In January, I greeted Apple’s Macworld announcement of the new 17” G4 PowerBook with much glee and anticipation. Some money had been freed in the department budget for new computers, and I could choose my own machine. So, naturally, I …

feb
26
2003

news websites sued for patent infringement

According to a story in Editor & Publisher, 12 small U.S. newspapers have been sued for patent violation regarding a certain technology used on their web sites. (“Newspapers Sued for Violating Web Patent” - 02/26/03) The technology in question involves …

feb
19
2003

another one bites the dust

The Toronto Star reports the demise of Canadian tech / culture magazine Shift. (“Shift magazine publishes its last issue” - 02/19/03) I quite enjoyed the magazine, and I’m sorry to see it go. While not up to Wired’s level in …

feb
12
2003

gator lawsuit settled

The lawsuit against Gator by seven major media corporations has been settled out of court, with the outcome sealed by a confidentiality agreement, Computerworld reports. (“News Sites Settle Pop-Up Lawsuit” - 02/11/03) Gator is an adware program that serves up …

online scoops the mainstream press

E-Media Tidbits links to another interesting story this morning. In a column in The New York Times, Tom Kuntz makes the case that the online world broke the news of the space shuttle Columbia disaster perhaps 11 minutes before AP …

gamers of the world unite

The Poynter Institute’s E-Media Tidbits weblog points to an interesting Associated Press story. Many games are now all about role-playing, and some players aren’t participating to escape terrestrial life. They’re getting on virtual soapboxes and organizing all manner of protests …

feb
10
2003

life imitates art?

From Wired: You’re Busted, Dude Maybe getting busted for possession will wipe that smirk off the Dell Guy’s face. Benjamin Curtis, the 22-year-old actor who plays Dell Computer’s insufferable, idiotic pitchman, was arrested in lower Manhattan late Sunday after the …

maxis striking out?

Game studio Maxis, owned by game publishing behemoth Electronic Arts, is batting a thousand these days. Best known for “The Sims” and “Sim City,” Maxis’s latest releases, “Sim City 4” and “The Sims Online,” have thus far been consumer and …

feb
09
2003

patron saint of the internet

CNN ran a story last week about an online campaign to nominate a patron saint for the Internet. (“Bishops seek saint for Internet” - 02/01/03) The Italian site Santie Beati is running an Internet poll where users can vote for …

feb
08
2003

upward bound

My uncle, Paul Beardsley, is featured in the February / March issue of Air & Space Magazine, put out by the Smithsonian Institution. This issue of the magazine celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the airplane. Uncle Paul, as a hobby, …

feb
07
2003

page not found

I recently found one of the funniest 404 - Page Not Found pages I’ve ever seen. Ah, the musings of a sad, overworked, underappreciated webserver… A 404 page is what comes up in your browser when you try to load …

feb
06
2003

gps-enabled stalkers

Wired offers another disturbing story — although this one is more “alarming” than “disturbing” — about recent incidents of stalkers using GPS technology to track their victims. (“Stalkers Use GPS to Track Victims” - 02/06/03) The two cases mentioned in …

jan
30
2003

beware browser hijackers

Wired has a rather disturbing story about a new piece of spyware / adware that’s taking over users’ browsers — apparently without their permission — and makes itself near-impossible to uninstall. (“Sneaky Toolbar Hijacks Browsers” - 01/30/03) Xupiter is an …

a neat application of blogging

Jay Small’s latest Sensible Internet Design e-newsletter (“Moments of Clarity at Connections” - 01/29/03) mentions a great use of weblogs in the journalism sphere: David Reed, who runs the Web site for The Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, described how …

jan
24
2003

happy birthday, dear macintosh

Today marks the 19th anniversary of the Macintosh computer. On Jan. 22, 1984, Apple aired its famous “1984” commercial during the Super Bowl. Two days later, the Mac was released. (MacInTouch.com: “Apple introduced Macintosh 19 years ago today; see ‘1984’ …

jan
21
2003

pop-ups crank up the annoyance factor

As if pop-up and pop-under ads weren’t annoying enough already… CNET has an article (Pop-ups add new twist - 12/20/02) about a new strategy for pop-up ads — directing users to the advertiser’s site when the user has just rolled …

jan
16
2003

north korea tries to make its case online

Slate posted a story Monday (DearLeader.com - Kim Jong-il’s fanboy home page) about a curious website intended to convey North Korea’s point of view to the Western world. The site is purportedly a volunteer project maintained by a 20-something Spaniard …

jan
15
2003

amazon.com can time-travel, too?

I was at amazon.com this morning looking for a book for class and stumbled upon something curious: Setting the Agenda: The News Media and Public Opinion by Maxwell McCombs List Price: $26.95 Price: $26.95 & This item ships for FREE …

jan
10
2003

passing the buck

It amazes me how shameless companies can be about passing their costs on to consumers when the government imposes certain mandates. I was looking at my Sprint PCS cellphone bill this morning (I do most of my bills online), and …

jan
09
2003

be careful with apple's safari

Some major issues have cropped up for users of Apple’s new Mac web browser Safari since the first public beta of the program was announced and posted earlier this week. Probably most worrisome of the issues: a bug that can …

jan
07
2003

so why does IE run so much faster?

Yet further evidence that Microsoft is out to rule the world… Brian Tiemann offers a good explanation (it’s a bit technical, but written well for the layperson) of why Internet Explorer seems to pull up web pages so much faster …

jan
01
2003

happy birthday, dear internet

Today marks an important anniversary for the Internet: 20 years ago, the ARPANET (predecessor of the Internet) switched over to the TCP/IP network protocol standard. Not a very glamorous event, to be sure, but the switch helped make it possible …