Rants & Ramblings

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

technology

oct
10
2003

foiled again

I really wonder if all these copy-protection schemes being tested by the record industry are really worth all the trouble. Early attempts at copy protection, tested abroad, produced CDs that consumers found were incompatible with some players, and which could …

winmac

Because some of the software we’re required to use in my office is PC-only (namely, a “trouble ticket” tracking program and a project management suite), I’ve been told to install VirtualPC on my Mac so I can run Windows-based programs. …

itunes for windows

AppleInsider.com reports that Apple will announce iTunes (and the iTunes Music Service) for Windows next Thursday, Oct. 16, in San Francisco. (“Apple to Host Music Media Event Next Week” - 10/09/03) Over the past couple of months, Apple has quietly …

sep
21
2003

landline

The recent hurricane, and the resulting widespread power outages, inspired newfound respect for the traditional “landline” — as well as the corded phone. With electricity out, people found their cordless phones inoperable. And since the power outage knocked some cell …

sep
16
2003

apple of my eye

Apple finally announced some long-expected upgrades to their Powerbook line of notebook computers. I’ve been jonesing for a Mac of my own for some time, particularly since my office bought me a 17” Powerbook this spring. The 17” P’book is …

sep
15
2003

licensed user

The Associated Press has a semi-facetious story about the notion of licensing computer users, just like we license vehicle drivers. (Wired: “Are You Too Stupid to Surf? - 09/12/03) A virus fouls your computer and you haplessly pass it on. …

geektastic

This Sunday’s Fox Trot comic has a pretty geeky/techie punchline that I’m halfway ashamed to say I got … and found funny. Check it out.

sep
14
2003

digital transfer

George Hotelling, who, as mentioned earlier, was trying to sell a track he purchased via the iTunes Music store, posted an update about what happened with the sale, and how he finally ended up transferring the song to the new …

sep
13
2003

apple vs. … apple

Apple Corps, better known as The Beatles’ record company, is suing Apple Computer about the latter’s successful iTunes Music Service and iPod MP3 player. The two companies have been fighting over trademark rights for decades, and came to a settlement …

sep
11
2003

d'oh

AP reports that a $239 million weather satellite was damaged when it fell to the ground while being moved. (CNN: “Satellite topples to floor in mishap” - 09/11/03) According to a source close to the program, bolts that were supposed …

sep
05
2003

more legal stuff

nycfashiongirl,” whom the RIAA has accused of music piracy, has enlisted lawyers to fight back. The Associated Press reports that her legal team plans to question the legitimacy — and legality — of the RIAA’s efforts to track her. (Wired: …

sep
04
2003

out of service

I think my cellphone is possessed. For the past week, it’s been randomly turning itself off and on, the the start-up chimes ringing eerily from inside my messenger bag or on my bedside table. During a call, the person I’m …

sep
03
2003

selling digital music

In an interesting legal test, a Michigan man is selling a track he purchased from the iTunes Music Store on eBay. In a posting to his weblog, George Hotelling writes: Does the Right of First Sale Still Exist? I just …

online learning

Colleges and universities have been experimenting, to various degrees, with the concept of online learning for a few years. Now, in Arizona, the state is tentatively experimenting with “cyberschooling” at the grade-school level. (Twelve other states are experimenting with cyberschooling …

safari spoof

Sometimes websites are coded to allow only certain browsers (i.e. Internet Explorer), but other third-party browsers are still capable of viewing those sites. There’s a hack for Safari that allows users to identify themselves to sites as being an IE, …

aug
16
2003

spam me. really.

Slate's Jonathan Rauch has a modest proposal about this whole spam e-mail mess that I can solidly get behind: If the spammers want access to my e-mail inbox, they should pay for the privilege.

aug
15
2003

oopsie

After I got into work this morning, I started off on my morning surfing/reading routine. Wanting to visit Slate, I typed site’s URL — http://slate.msn.com — into my browser window. When some semi-explicit photos from a gay porn site came …

aug
06
2003

no more sms divorces

The Associated Press reports that the government of Malaysia has moved to prohibit the use of electronic messages (voicemail, SMS, fax, e-mail) to initiate divorce proceedings. (usatoday.com: “Malaysia to change divorce-via-cell phone law” - 08/01/03) Under Islamic law, a husband …

aug
04
2003

on the blogging bandwagon

First Howard Dean. Now Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) has joined the blogging bandwagon, with his new weblog Travels with Tom. Daschle himself is writing updates from the road as he travels South Dakota and meets with constituents. For the last …

jul
31
2003

product activation

Macromedia is making a foray into the realm of product activation, implementing the feature in personal editions of Contribute 2. Product activation is the practice of requiring users to register their software with the company in order to use the …

jul
28
2003

in flight

Paul Beardsley, my uncle, has been getting a lot of attention this year (the anniversary of the first Wright Brothers flight) with his flight simulator skin/model of the 1903 Wright Brothers flyer airplane. His model was a prominent attraction at …

jul
22
2003

undersized mailboxes

Americans have been getting bigger over the past several decades — and so has our mail. The Washington Post reports that the U.S. Postal Service has a begun a campaign to encourage apartments, condos and office buildings to retrofit their …

jul
07
2003

addicted to multitasking

Yesterday’s New York Times has an interesting story about people who are so accustomed to multi-tasking that they’re practically addicted to it. (“The Lure of Data: Is It Addictive?” - 07/06/03) The ubiquity of technology in the lives of executives, …

jul
03
2003

geekspeak

Mac OS X Hints reports that AOL Instant Messenger (and, by extension, Apple’s iChat) now allows users to send SMS messages to US cellphone numbers from its instant messaging interface. To send an SMS in iChat, hit Cmd-Shift-N to open …

jul
01
2003

browsing

I’ve spent a bit of time this morning updating the various web browsers on the Powerbook. Both Mozilla 1.4 and Netscape 7.1 were released within the past day or so. (And the geek in me got a kick out of …