31 Jul

links for 2009-07-31

30 Jul

links for 2009-07-30

29 Jul

links for 2009-07-29

28 Jul

links for 2009-07-28

27 Jul

links for 2009-07-27

26 Jul

links for 2009-07-26

  • "Try to remember all the crazy directions Microsoft has gone in over the past few years. Note the dizzy remarks by Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, who recently insisted that online advertising would soon account for the majority of Microsoft's income. This is a software company making these comments." Personally I think Microsoft is a good and robust company that needs new management or some new ideas and it would be a great company.
  • "Zdziarski said it’s just as easy to access a user’s private information on an iPhone 3GS as it was on the previous generation iPhone 3G or first generation iPhone, both of which didn’t feature encryption. If a thief got his hands on an iPhone, a little bit of free software is all that’s needed to tap into all of the user’s content. Live data can be extracted in as little as two minutes, and an entire raw disk image can be made in about 45 minutes, Zdziarski said." Scary, yes.
  • "If you watched Sarah Palin’s resignation speech, you know one thing: her high-priced speechwriters moved back to the Beltway long ago. Just how poorly constructed was the governor’s holiday-weekend address?" Vanity Fair edits Palin's resignation speech.
  • "Taking a new hard line that news articles should not turn up on search engines and Web sites without permission, The Associated Press said Thursday that it would add software to each article that shows what limits apply to the rights to use it, and that notifies The A.P. about how the article is used. Tom Curley, The A.P.’s president and chief executive, said the company’s position was that even minimal use of a news article online required a licensing agreement with the news organization that produced it. In an interview, he specifically cited references that include a headline and a link to an article, a standard practice of search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, news aggregators and blogs." This is beyond stupid.
  • "This has been said before (multiple times) but you don't rescue your business model by "protecting" against what people want to do. You don't rescue your business model by wasting resources trying to hold back what people want to do. You rescue your business by providing more value and figuring out a way to monetize that value. Putting bogus DRM on news does none of that. It only hastens failure." Techdirt's initial thoughts on the AP's stupid plan.
  • "First of all, someone should sit Curley down and explain to him fair use — a concept of which he appears to be ignorant. This whole exercise seems to be an attempt to pretend that you can take away fair use rights via metadata. You can't. But, more importantly (from a business perspective) this shows a near total cluelessness on how Google works. Yes, Google built a multi-billion dollar business out of "keywords" but they did so not by forcing people to pay, but by adding value to people who did pay. That's the opposite of what Curley's trying to do. If you can't understand the difference between positive value and negative value, you should not be the CEO of a major organization. Meanwhile, Ryan Chittum, at the Columbia Journalism Review says that people should chill out because the AP isn't going after bloggers, he seems to miss a few points. First, the AP might not be "going after bloggers" now, but it certainly has shown a willingness to do so in the past." Techdirt = awesome.
  • "The Honduran armed forces issued a communiqué on Saturday indicating that they would not stand in the way of an agreement to return Manuel Zelaya, the country’s ousted president, to power." Good news.
  • "On the one hand, all of this is pretty rational — at any given moment, Specter was making moves that would seem to have maximized his chances of survival. On the other hand, it seems to have triggered plenty of fatigue with voters, who just can't be sure what they'll get if they vote to re-elect him. Arlen Specter is either just about the best reflection or the worst reflection on the state of our Democracy — it's just hard to say which one." Interesting statics on Arlen Specter's voting record.
  • "That’s Jupiter doing its cosmic job, astronomers like to say. Better it than us. Part of what makes the Earth such a nice place to live, the story goes, is that Jupiter’s overbearing gravity acts as a gravitational shield deflecting incoming space junk, mainly comets, away from the inner solar system where it could do for us what an asteroid apparently did for the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Indeed, astronomers look for similar configurations — a giant outer planet with room for smaller planets in closer to the home stars — in other planetary systems as an indication of their hospitableness to life."
  • Happy Birthday.
    (tags: humor xkcd)
  • "The Obama administration is vastly expanding a federal effort begun under President George W. Bush to identify and deport illegal immigrants held in local jails. But here in the city where the effort got a trial start eight months ago, people on each side of the immigration debate have found fault with it. Under the effort, known as Secure Communities, local officials check every set of fingerprints taken at jails against those of people who have had a brush with federal immigration authorities; in the past, they could check only for a criminal history in the F.B.I. database. If a person turns out to be an illegal immigrant, the case is turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for possible deportation proceedings in addition to the criminal charges."
  • "A prison in Goma in eastern Congo with 850 prisoners crammed into a facility built for 150 is the worst in Africa, a top United Nations human rights official said late Friday." Yeah that's pretty bad.
  • "Albinos are getting killed and mutilated for their body parts. Witch doctors believe their organs “bring good luck in love, life and business.” One man in the video explains how his brother Daniel was murdered by another family member — Daniel’s arms and legs were chopped off. The body parts were later sold for $240. This is what can happen when poverty and hopelessness meet superstition and miseducation." Horrible story.
25 Jul

links for 2009-07-25

24 Jul

links for 2009-07-24

23 Jul

links for 2009-07-23

  • I needed this a while back.
  • "We've written before about conservatives claiming that Congress, or Obama, or Washington, or Democrats in general want the U.S. to have a Canadian-style, government-run health care system. The truth of the matter is that the president has repeatedly said he doesn't. In fact, since being sworn in as president, Obama has riled advocates of such single-payer systems by largely excluding them from the health care debate. He has answered several questions from members of the public who asked at town hall events: "why not" have such a system. Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and one of the leaders in drafting legislation, has said bluntly: "single-payer is not going to get even to first base in Congress." Yet, the Canada claims continue."
  • "It’s time for another episode of the Up the Moo Herd: MooTools Tips and Tricks series, where we’ll talk about classes, the backbone of MooTools. Other JS libraries thrive using plugins and extensions, but MooTools keeps its object-oriented focus by using classes and mixins to new functionality to the framework." Creating classes in MooTools.
  • "Human trials of a vaccine to protect against the H1N1 swine flu virus have begun in Australia. Vaxine and CSL have both started injecting volunteers this week, but it will be at least six weeks before the initial results are known." It's going to be a fun flu season.
  • "Morgan Stanley made a loss of $159m (£97m) between April and June, a significant drop on the $698m profit it made in the same period a year earlier. It is the third consecutive loss for the Wall Street bank and was worse than analysts had expected. It was also hit by the cost of repaying government funding. Including that charge, losses totalled $1.3bn. However, a number of Morgan Stanley's rivals have reported significant jumps in second quarter profits."
  • "Some designers create things to show you what they did. I design things to tell you what I solved."
    (tags: quotes design)
  • "The developers I know would rather rip up $50 bills, long sequences of them, than do something that, in their best judgment, is against the best interests of the software and its users. And that’s why it’s kind of insulting, because it goes right to a developer’s pride and craftsmanship. It suggests they’d ditch all that for $50." With my involvement with building a product I would totally agree.
  • "A former Ukrainian general suspected of carrying out the high-profile murder of journalist Georgiy Gongadze has reportedly confessed to the killing. A senior police official said Oleksiy Pukach had also implicated senior political figures in the murder." This is why it's important to not just say you have freedom of the press, but to actually have it.
  • "The gist of the human-rights-violation argument is that multimillion-euro fines should only be issued by criminal courts, not as a result of an administrative proceeding." Probably won't fly in the EU court system.
  • "A court in the Indian city of Mumbai is due to decide whether to accept the guilty plea made by the main suspect in last year's deadly attacks in the city. The ruling is expected one day after Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab told the court he is ready to be hanged after admitting his role in the violence. Prosecutors said he changed his plea to guilty to secure leniency. They want the trial to proceed but the defence says it should end if the court accepts his plea."
  • "Show support for "MooTools FTW" and add a twibbon to your twitter profile image." Khabi-MooTools.
  • "So when it comes to creating a fun summer activity for 30 people, I turn to others for their advice. The first answer out of everyone's mouth?"
    (tags: humor)
  • "Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya should return home on Friday, mediator Oscar Arias has said. The country's interim authorities, who removed him, repeated that they would not reinstate him, but said they would submit the mediator's plan to Congress."
  • "News has just broken that Amazon.com has purchased hot ecommerce up-and-comer Zappos for 10 million Amazon shares or $880 million. (The Amazon release said it was $807 million, but that was based on a trailing 45-day estimate of its share price. Closing price today bumps the deal up to $880 million.) Zappos employees also will get $40 million in cash and restricted stock. In other words the deal is more like $920 million all told. And Zappos management will remain in place."
  • "Not too long ago, the CTO at Dudley H.'s company had a startling revelation: there should never, ever be a need for technical support. If a client has an issue using one of their products, then the problem is most certainly in the product. Maybe the UI is a little confusing. Maybe it's not documented enough. Maybe the documentation isn't clear enough. Whatever the case, every client issue means that someone — be it the developer, tester, or helpdesk technician — didn't do their job properly and should strive to improve themselves. Of course, the counterargument to the CTO's revelation, lobbied primarily by the helpdesk staff, was that many users are simply lazy, stupid, or lazy and stupid, and no amount of improvement could ever change that. Not that it mattered, though. The CTO was determined and set a new policy that all client issues were to have "problem/improvement" reports written about them, and that all reports were to be reviewed at the higest level."
  • "The companies announced on Wednesday that Amazon was acquiring Zappos, based in Henderson, Nev., for 10 million shares of Amazon stock, worth nearly $900 million at its current level. Amazon also said it would give Zappos employees an additional $40 million in cash and stock." Awesome news for Zappos.
  • "Intel, the world’s largest chip maker, filed an appeal Wednesday challenging the European Commission’s record €1.06 billion fine and ruling in May that it had abused its dominance in computer processors by offering rebates to computer makers who used more of its chips. The appeal will not delay Intel’s payment of the $1.45 billion fine, the largest ever assessed in Europe in a market-dominance case." So surprised Intel filed an appeal.
  • "The report found that nearly half of all African-Americans and English-speaking Hispanics (the study did not include a Spanish-language option) were using mobile phones or other hand-held devices to surf the Web and send e-mail messages. By comparison, just 28 percent of white Americans reported ever going online using a mobile device. Not only are African-Americans the most active users of mobile Internet, they are also the fastest growing group to adopt the technology: the percentage of African-Americans using mobile phones or another type of connected gadget to share e-mail, exchange instant messages and access the Internet for information on an average day has more than doubled since late 2007, jumping to 29 percent, from 12 percent. By comparison, 19 percent of Americans over all log on to the Internet on a mobile device on a typical day."
  • "And today the company unveiled the FREETALK Everyman headset, a USB super wideband audio headset. While first and foremost the goal was to ensure great call quality, Skype also notes that this headset is, “lightweight and folds flat so you can throw it in your bag with your laptop.”"
  • "An American man has been charged with giving al-Qaeda information about the public transport system in New York City, US court papers say. The man, named as Bryant Neal Vinas, 26, is also accused of firing rockets at US troops in Afghanistan last year."
  • Fun stuff.
  • "Complaints from customers about the airline industry have risen by 11% in a year, a consumer support group says. The Air Transport Users Council (AUC) handled 12,307 complaints and enquiries in 2008-9, compared with 11,077 the previous year. Cancellations, delays and mishandled baggage topped the gripes list but new technology has also led to new types of complaints, the AUC said. It accepted that complaints came from a "tiny" minority of passengers."
22 Jul

links for 2009-07-22