Tuesday, April 30
Rejection letters are never fun to get in the mail. As a writer, you either have to get used to people saying they're not interested in your numerous queries and book proposals, or you need to find another profession where people hug you all day long.
Cool stuff. I had to dig a little to find B. Burton's blog, which is a fun read. I like her line about "a job where people hug you all day long." I do tech support for an English department, and although they are grateful to see me on occasion, as soon as I fix their problems I just can't feel the love any more. I think that being a celebrity is sort of like being hugged all day long, but most of them drink themselves to death or engage in other acts of self-destruction, as do lottery winners. Are there any poor but happy people in Amerika?
I was sort of bummed to discover today that Al Roker had a weblog. But Bonnie Burton's blog balances that out, restoring equilibrium to the blogging world. (and Al's doesn't totally suck, btw).
Monday, April 29
Without providing any details, Pavitt acknowledged his agency's intelligence-gathering capabilities had been tremendously boosted since September 11 and now exceed those it had during the Cold War.
"Today, the year 2002, I have more spies stealing more secrets than at any time in the history of the CIA," he said, adding that the agency was now training more than 10 times as many operatives than just five or six years ago.
The Post-it Note’s tactile simplicity is misleading in another way as well. While it often stands in counterpoint to the digital office, a throwback to the days of paper clips, staplers, and typewriters, the Post-it Note is actually postmodernism writ on a square of yellow paper. Unlike its predecessor, the memo, which functions as a self-contained message, the Post-it Note is an analog forebear to hypertext; it acknowledges in its very construction that what’s most important is context – and that context is where you make it, achievable with glue as much as any organic cohesion of ideas.
Eventually, however, Fry experienced another moment of inspiration when preparing a report for his boss: to call attention to an important reference, Fry drew an arrow on one of the bookmarks and affixed it to the report. When his boss returned the report with his own comment written on the bookmark, Fry realized his invention might appeal to more than just fastidious hymnal users.
Saturday, April 27
Citing concerns about children who lug heavy backpacks in schools, an Assembly committee voted Wednesday to approve a bill that would set maximum weight standards for textbooks.
Maybe this will encourage ebooks.
Takahashi realizes that his book may annoy Microsoft corporate types.
"Any of the insidery stuff they just really didn't want to get out," he said. "The fact that the initial code name was Project Midway -- they don't want the Japanese people to know that because it will hurt their feelings." The Battle of Midway in 1942 was the turning point of the Pacific War. Before the November 2001 launch of the Xbox, all of the players in the console hardware market -- Sony, Nintendo and Sega -- were Japanese firms.
I know I said at one point that I was going to start writing more commentary in this blog, but I guess I'm full of crap.
For years, long-distance calls were more expensive than local calls because providers such as AT&T, MCI and Sprint Corp. had to pay fees to local phone companies to have their long-distance calls begin and end on local networks. Over time, the Federal Communications Commission has reduced those fees from several cents each to only half a penny apiece, Pulver said.
"A lot of cost is from originating and terminating a call, not how far it goes," he said. The marginal cost of carrying a call farther on a company's phone network amounts to "some fraction of a penny per call."
The end of long distance. I basically only call my family in Utah, and we get a 4.5 cent/minute rate through a phone card. We probably spend five bucks a month on LD. Eventually I hope we get rid of our land line and go to cell phones.
Friday, April 26
Thursday, April 25
Wednesday, April 24
Guys, after a night of problems and terrible but friendly tech support I got my blaster to work with a router (both a Linksys and a Netgear) along with the LAN. I'm somewhat computer savy and when I read in the manual (after I bought two of these) that it would not work I really wondered because I've never seen something that won't work around a router. The biggest problem is that it talks back to your computer through not just one but several random ports. It will work with a router/LAN but it takes a little time and the procedure varies from user to user. Here's a general idea of what you have to do:
router / behind firewall. To solve this problem you must use the 3rd
Download from here http:\\www.fobbit.net
. work ok when connected to internet isp via modem
. do not work through linksys cable/dsl routers, even with dmz set
These babies are going back...
Here's the last comment from Creative labs:
CREATIVELABS VOIP BLASTER TECH SUPPORT THREAD:
Installation: VoIP Blaster
Support ID: 52941
Request Type: Installation: VoIP Blaster
Product: VoIP Blaster
Current Status: Pending
Support Request Message Thread:
Response from Customer: 9/28/01 1:07:39 PM
Thanks for getting back to me. Just one more quick
question. How does the voip blaster work over the
internet? The internet is based on routers and as far
as I know, there is no way for me to communicate with
anyone on the internet without a router somewhere in
Response from Creative: 9/27/01 8:28:08 PM
The VOIP is not supported with any kind of router, hardware or
software. The software is not designed to work with them, and
unfortunately, there's no way around that. I apologize for any
Creative Labs Technical Support
Tuesday, April 23
"The supposed explosion of digital creativity
on a million websites and a thousand channels... Well,
come 2002, it boils down to 95% market share by a single
ruthless feudal empire! And you wonder where your
excitement's gone? A thing like Linux... that isn't a
competitive free-market innovation, that thing is like a
But it gets weirder. The public interest in public-
domain intellectual property freezes dead with the humble
birth of a cartoon mouse on a tabletop in Kansas City. The
Mouse is flash-frozen in legal ice. He's unrotting. He's
undying. He's cryogenically preserved.... In ancient
Rome, folks thought it was pretty decadent when the
Emperor Caligula made his horse into a Senator. But in
the modern US Senate, there's a Senator who's a cartoon
Tuesday, April 16
I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:50 PM PST on April 15
Written in response to the discover of a supercolony of ants in Europe.
Monday, April 15
“My readers know more than I do, and that’s a liberating notion, not a scary one,” he says. “Every journalist ought to realize it’s true. No matter what you cover, your readers know more collectively than you do. If we can capture that, we all come out ahead.”
"But if they're bullied on their mobile (phone) or on the internet, then it's ever-present," he added.
Carr said that schools were generally good in preventing bullying, but NCH wanted to make sure they were reacting to this new angle.
"This is a new and insidious development," said Carr. "It can ruin lives and lead to suicide."
It seems that this is not the case in networking. Eric Bonabeau's Ant Colony Optimization research (which I've written about here on several occassions) has been used to solve real-life networking problems and to approach optimal solutions to the Travelling Salesman problem inherent in Southwest Airlines' routing. The Santa Fe Institute has also used cellular automata research to solve complex traffic and urban-planning problems
Saturday, April 13
The trouble is, the whole concept of measuring software productivity in "man-years" or "man-months" is profoundly discredited -- and not by some radical new theory of software development, but in what is probably the single most seminal work on software management: Frederick P. Brooks' "The Mythical Man-Month," first published in 1975, when Bill Gates was a stripling and personal computing a dream.
Friday, April 12
Adding the 307 and 1,138 figures equals the alleged 1,445 alcohol-related deaths annually among college students.
But Hingson relies on a key, but unsupported assumption. It does not automatically follow that college students constitute 31 percent of alcohol deaths simply because 31 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds are college students.
Thursday, April 11
From your OpenMG Jukebox playlist, you are allowed 3 simultaneous downloads (or "check-outs") of a song at one time. Once all 3 check-outs have been used up, the song will still exist on your harddrive, and you will still be able to play it on your computer's jukebox. However you won't be able to download it to another MD until one of the checked-out copies is checked back in. Checking-in a track will delete the song from the MD and increment the number of your available check-outs in the jukebox by one. Note that there is no way to upload a track recorded on an MD up to the harddrive at high speed (and the "check-in" process doesn't involve any actual audio upload). This is an unfortunate limitation for those that were hoping to be able to transfer their live recordings and interviews onto their harddrive to use with other applications. Perhaps in the future...? The speed of the PC-to-MD transfer ("check-out") depends on the selected MD recording mode - 2-4x for SP (292kbps ATRAC), 16x for LP2 (132kbps ATRAC3), and 32x for LP4 (66kbps ATRAC3).
Serial rights management sucks.
Tuesday, April 9
In this changing world, the norms and practices of the lumbering print media leave it increasingly vulnerable to nimble online critics. Over the last two weeks, for example, New York Times op-ed columnist Paul Krugman has blasted the right in columns on David Brock's book and Social Security. But Krugman-bashers like Sullivan have unlimited space and time to tear him apart for days between his twice-weekly 700 to 800 word columns. It's no contest, and it's even worse for news reporters who have no means for responding to critics at all.
The newest example of the war between the online and establishment media comes from Washington Post reporter Susan Schmidt, who is "widely considered the most slavish recipient" of leaks from Ken Starr's Office of the Independent Counsel, according to an article by Marshall on Salon.com [Salon Premium subscription required]. Following her March 20 story with Neely Tucker on Robert Ray's final independent counsel report, MWO blasted Schmidt as "Steno[grapher] Sue Schmidt" and told readers to e-mail her, presumably to express their discontent with her reporting.
whole "well, if you believe *markets are conversations*, why don't you
let us talk freely." There is a big difference between "markets are
conversations" and every fucking idiot and his dog expressing their
opinion. Don't get me wrong -- I love it when people start their own
websites. Great! Go express yourself! Guess what? If you touch a
nerve, you'll get readers. But the simple fact is that most of these
discussion board shitheads couldn't pull readers to their own site if
their life depended on it.
Not to revert to the whole complex adaptive systems theory all over
again, but voices of prominence rising to super-node status in the
network is simply how this shit works. No one said all of the nodes
would be of equal status.
Monday, April 8
This begs the uncomfortable question, however, of "isn't there more to life and identity than your mp3 and video collection?"
Very few people attempt to define themselves outside of their consumer purchases or their employment. We don't even know how to have that conversation anymore, online or off.
The Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act of 2002, introduced by Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C., would give the entertainment and technology industries up to 18 months to agree to a technological standard that would halt the spread of unauthorized copying of digital video and audio.
The bill would require this on any "digital media device" -- any hardware or software that reproduces, converts, retrieves or accesses copyrighted works in digital form. Penalties for altering the standard would be $200 to $2,500 per violation.
Saturday, April 6
Only this time, the attendees engaged in some high-tech heckling, using their PCs hooked up to the conference's wireless local-area network (Wi-Fi, for wireless fidelity), and from there to the Internet.
The implications are broad.
No, it won't make private meetings public. But it will make for more two-way communication at public meetings. Listeners can simultaneously query the speaker and communicate among themselves instead of everyone remaining silent while one person at a time speaks.
(Don't get me started on intuitive. You know what's intuitive?
Fear of heights. Everything else we call intuitive, such as walking or using
a pencil took years of practice. Is that what we want? A control that takes
years of practice?)
That is to say, I am not a fan of the student centered class as it is often
outlined. I have had too many experiences and good teachers that have
pointed me in directions and made things that I thought dull, very
interesting and important. If we only stayed with those thing we knew and
were interested in, life would be dull indeed (not to mention very limited).
We are after all rhetoricians. The trick is not to let students decide the
way, but to get them to think they are deciding the way. Rhetoric can be a
really interesting thing to learn (even if students don't know what it is
when they begin the course).
Friday, April 5
1. If the topic is consistently dominating discussion in a more general group (e.g. 80% of discussion in alt.books.horror is about one author). Forming a new group because of this reason is called "splitting". If you want to form a newsgroup by splitting from an existing group, you should discuss the idea of a new group in the existing group before coming to alt.config with a proposal. People have to agree that there is a logical way to split the discussion. The old and new group would both be need to be viable after the split.
We sometimes think of Sesame Street as purely the result of the creative genius of people like Jim Henson and Frank Oz. But the truth is that it is carefully and painstaking engineered, down to the smallest details. There's a wonderful story, in fact, about the particular scientific reason for the creation of Big Bird. It's very funny. But I won't spoil it for you.
There are, of course, blogs of all persuasions on the Net, but the stars of the genre tend to tilt right of center. This is understandable, given the leftward swing of the mainstream press. The Web is an outlet for ideologically homeless opinion-mongers, and the smart ones are using it. Their audience? Readers and viewers who are hungry for alternative points of view.
This is the crucial difference between the Edison site and newer museums that many children are familiar with. Older museums tend to be places where you can see and learn, but not touch. The newer ones tend to be entertaining interactive spectaculars that say, "Touch me, please," but at their most superficial are not easy to distinguish from Chuck E. Cheese pizza parlors. Aside from a few push-button displays, including kinescopes of Annie Oakley and a boxing match, the Edison site is definitely in the former camp.
"Believe me, things that the press is hearing about today as new initiatives were fully planned out as contingency actions years ago. Nothing happens on the spur of the moment here.
Thursday, April 4
I am convinced that if your heart is in the work, either you will find your audience or your audience will find you. And if your heart isn't in it, find something else to do. Above all, we need to bring passion to our investigations, so that the highest scholarly standards can be informed not only by intellectual rigor but also by love.
One example of the suspicion attending my evident passion for maternity came from a colleague in my discipline, who wondered aloud, upon learning that I had four children, "Is she part of a cult?"
A new poll on sleep habits suggests that millions of Americans are in a bad mood, short-tempered and prone to overeat because they are tired.
The National Sleep Foundation Poll, released Tuesday, finds that people say they're much or somewhat more likely to make mistakes, get impatient or aggravated when waiting, or get upset with their children or others when they haven't gotten enough sleep the night before.
One fourth said they were more likely to eat more than usual on days when they didn't get enough sleep, with slightly more women than men reporting this was common.
"The poll establishes a direct association between how Americans are sleeping and their overall behavior, mood and performance," said Richard Gelula, the foundation's executive director. It shows 'you are how you sleep.' And it indicates that some of the problems that we face as a society, from road rage to obesity, may be linked to lack of sleep or poor sleep."
Wednesday, April 3
The test of any technology is the extreme case. For a car, it is surviving the Paris-Dakar Rally. For a hair dryer, it is baking Don King's hair into a ziggurat. And for TiVo, the digital video-recording device, it is capturing the wily and elusive Academy Awards broadcast.
In the past year, TiVo has been widely adopted in Hollywood, where it is beloved for its ability to store up to sixty hours of programming; to create a profile of its subscribers based on what they watch and then record shows it believes they will like; and to blitz through commercials at sixty times normal speed. In mid-March, TiVo sent its customers an e-mail urging them to build their Oscar nights around TiVo, but reminding them to "pad" their recordings by at least thirty minutes: "That way, in case the ceremony runs long (ahem!), you're covered."
David Park, an agent at United Talent Agency, went one step further. He said, "I set TiVo to record the Oscars"—slated to run from 5:30 to 8:30 P.M., Pacific Time—"and the hour-long Barbara Walters special that followed it. I knew I had four hours—plenty of time. My girlfriend and I came home after a lovely dinner and chilled on the couch, eating tiramisu and fast-forwarding through the boring parts, the technical awards. We saw Halle Berry freaking out, saw Julia Roberts freaking out, and then, right before she announced Best Actor—it cut off! I said, 'This totally sucks!' " The
Tuesday, April 2
Monday, April 1
Academicians, Ms. Mentor notes, are not always the most courageous fighters for principle. And so, instead of the bright young postcolonialist who'd been brought to campus and royally feted, the department hired a rather foggy personage whose expertise was Old English philology. And since hardly any students would willingly sign up for that, the department quickly made Old English philology a requirement for all majors. Students fled, and the ranks of general studies and communications majors swelled to bursting. But Professor Cheese was appeased and pleased.
And tucked away in a less-traveled back corner of one of the server rooms, behind the door of a black tower that looks no different than any of the others, is the principal reason for all the precautions: the A root server.
Most people envision the Internet as a global network that resides on no single physical system or network of systems. While that picture is roughly correct, key pieces of the Internet's technological backbone are concentrated in a handful of physical locations around the world.
The Domain Name System (DNS) makes the Web easy to navigate by translating long Internet protocol (IP) numbers into memorable Web and e-mail addresses. It relies on a hierarchy of physical root servers to inform computers connected to the Internet where they need to look to find specific locations online.
At the top of that hierarchy is the A root server, which every 12 hours generates a "zone" file, which in turn tells a dozen other root servers spread around the world what Internet domains exist and where they can be found.
Pigeons naturally operate in dense populations, as anyone holding a pack of peanuts in an urban plaza is aware. This compactability enables Google to pack enormous numbers of processors into small spaces, with rack after rack stacked up in our data coops. While this is optimal from the standpoint of space conservation and pigeon contentment, it does create issues during molting season, when large fans must be brought in to blow feathers out of the data coop. Removal of other pigeon byproducts was a greater challenge, until Page and Brin developed groundbreaking technology for converting poop to pixels, the tiny dots that make up a monitor's display. The clean white background of Google's home page is powered by this renewable process
Arafat loyalists in the camp, such as Faqawi, concede that Hamas is ascendant. If Oslo had led, as many had hoped, to a two-state solution, and thereby given Palestinians some glimmer of a better life, it is a fair bet that Hamas would be a marginal force in Gaza. But Israel's occupation and Arafat's mismanagement have made it only a matter of time before the militants come to power. They already rule the street. If Sharon unleashes Israel's might, as he did in Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority will be his first victim.