April 30, 2003

Prepare for more Media Consolidation

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: FCC chief says rule barring media cross-ownership likely to be dropped, which means that newspapers can start buying TV stations (and vice versa).

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Kan't Kritisize these Komments

Jakob Nielsen Declares the Letter "C" Unusable "The letter 'C' is 95% bad," states Nielsen's latest bi-weekly newsletter which is entitled "Stop Being Stupid."

"As I sat down to re-evaluate the English language, I was struck by the letter 'C' and its basic lack of function in the language," writes Nielsen. "The sheer uselessness of a letter which just mimics the sound of not one but two different consonants is staggering. It only causes confusion and is probably costing companies millions every year."

"The letter 'C' is 95% bad," states Nielsen's latest bi-weekly newsletter which is entitled "Stop Being Stupid." "As I sat down to re-evaluate the English language, I was struck by the letter 'C' and its basic lack of function in the language," writes Nielsen. "The sheer uselessness of a letter which just mimics the sound of not one but two different consonants is staggering. It only causes confusion and is probably costing companies millions every year."

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April 29, 2003

Nuke production back on!

Los Alamos restores U.S. ability to make nuclear weapons- ``Los Alamos National Laboratory has successfully made the first nuclear weapons pit in 14 years that meets specifications for use in the U.S. stockpile.``

``The six-year effort at Los Alamos' plutonium processing facility restores the nation's ability to make nuclear weapons, a capability the United States lost when the Rocky Flats Plant near Boulder, Colo., shut down in June 1989.``

Yay! Bombs Away! We'll show them!

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The sky is falling

Italian Satellite Poised to Fall to Earth Any Moment - Italian satellite BeppoSAX is expected to crash to earth on Wednesday.

``Most of the debris will likely land in the ocean, but officials have warned several countries along the potential path, which circles Earth in the vicinity of the equator.``

Watch your head if you live in one of these places:

Africa: Burundi, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania
Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Singapore
Oceania: Baker Island (USA), Federated States of Micronesia, Howland Island (USA), Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea
South America: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Venezuela

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Sharing=bad, Greed=good

Music Industry Sends Warning to Song Swappers

The RIAA is now sending automated instant messages to file sharing users who are sharing files matching a list of titles of copyrighted songs.

``The message was designed by a third party who utilized the existing capability of the peer-to-peer networks' instant message systems. The RIAA said by using song titles, it was identifying users who were posting songs for others to download as targets for the message.
"We have a designated list of major copyrighted works and we're sending (them) to designated users to let them know that we know they are offering these songs on these networks and that they are not anonymous," he said. ``

Yes, the RIAA knows that someone called /\/\u$1|<h@k3r is sharing a lot of files, and they're gonna get them. I can just see the court documents now.

Posted by rusty at 02:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 28, 2003

Apple Music Service

Apple's new music service was unveiled, and finally Mac users have a good pay per download service.

As expected, lots of interesting comments on MeFi about the Apple Music Service. Of course, there are a lot of dumb ones too.

I've been playing with the service, and I like it. Mac users have needed something like this for a while, especially because Pressplay and others don't support Macs.

Posted by rusty at 05:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 24, 2003

You have to read this AP interview, taped April 7, with presidential candidate Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.who believes that ``if you make the case that if you can do whatever you want to do, as long as it's in the privacy of your own home, this "right to privacy,' then why be surprised that people are doing things that are deviant within their own home? If you say, there is no deviant as long as it's private, as long as it's consensual, then don't be surprised what you get. You're going to get a lot of things that you're sending signals that as long as you do it privately and consensually, we don't really care what you do. And that leads to a culture that is not one that is nurturing and necessarily healthy. I would make the argument in areas where you have that as an accepted lifestyle, don't be surprised that you get more of it. ``

Get used to it. This is the new world order.

``We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family.``

And it's not just the gays he's after.

``Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that's what? Children. Monogamous relationships.``

You hear that women? Get back to breeding NOW!

Read the article. It gets even better. The "Man on Dog" part is really great. You rarely see an AP reporter get freaked out.

Just remember: ``The right to privacy is a right that was created in a law that set forth a (ban on) rights to limit individual passions.``

This man is a Senator!

Posted by rusty at 12:33 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 23, 2003

Quarantine or Jail?

SARS victims now have a choice of Quarantine or Jail in Australia.

This comes on the heal of news that the SARS virus is mutating rapidly.

``The SARS virus belongs to a family of viruses known as coronaviruses, which are prone to mutations. So it is not surprising that the virus has developed changes in its genetic makeup, according to other scientists. The key question is whether the changes affect the virus in any meaningful way, such as making it more or less likely to spread or more or less likely to cause severe disease. Most mutations in viruses have little effect on how the disease manifests in humans.``

Oh, yes, in case you haven't read, it looks like SARS can spread through sewage systems.

And in internet imitates life news, there is now a computer virus preying on SARS fears.

Posted by rusty at 04:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cool Internet Statistics

The CAIDA Web Site has all sorts of amazing statistics and analysis on internet usage.
They also have a bunch of cool tools for generating these stats.
I like the big Skitter chart that shows the connectivity of backbones and autonomous systems. The closer a provide is to the middle, the better peering they have.

Posted by rusty at 02:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 22, 2003

Earthquake to hit San Francisco!

Bay Area fault study estimates 62% chance of deadly 6.7 temblor by 2032. Of course it was a 70% chance 4 years ago. And anyone who lives here knows that there might be one at any moment.

It must have been a slow news day today.

Of course San Francisco is due a huge earthquake. But we're preparing for it for the most part. Now where are those bookshelf brackets I bought...

Posted by rusty at 09:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ruff Ruff

Man charged for barking at police dog: is this insane or what? A dog barks at you and you can make a barking sound back? You can bark at a cop but not his police dog?

``Palo Alto police spokesman Jim Coffman acknowledged that barking in itself may not warrant a citation, but the law clearly prohibits actions that harass and agitate police dogs, he said. ``

Police dogs have more legal protection than citizens? Wacky.

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Going to Manhattan

Manhattan Bloggers is a really cool guide to NYC, where I'll be going soon.

Posted by rusty at 03:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Colon Pride

The Colossal Colon is coming to San Francisco! It's part of cancer awareness month. It's also Pride Weekend in San Francisco.

Coincidence? Conspiracy? Cacophony!

Posted by rusty at 12:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Sweet or Sour

Guardian UK: industry demands congress stop funding World Health Organization: the Association says it will "exercise every avenue available to expose the dubious nature" of the WHO's report on diet and nutrition, including challenging its $406m (£260m) funding from the US.

``The industry is furious at the guidelines, which say that should account for no more than 10% of a healthy diet. It claims that the review by international experts which decided on the 10% limit is scientifically flawed, insisting that other evidence indicates that a quarter of our food and drink intake can safely consist of .``

So, assuming a 2000 calorie a day diet (the US average), the new guidelines say only 200 calories a day. So, that's like one 24 ounce soda with ice a day. And that's just for Soda! No wonder they're annoyed. But maybe that will drive the food producers to start producing less sweet foods and beverages. I know I would love sodas with less and no artificial sweeteners.

It also turns out that lager beers have 9-12 grams of in a standard 12 oz beer. Dry beers will have less . That's 36-48 calories of in your beer, so you can't have more than 4-5 beers a day assuming you don't get any anywhere else!

Posted by rusty at 12:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 21, 2003

Listen Real

RealNetworks buys Listen.com for $36 mil...
this comes after they took a minority interest a while back.

Posted by rusty at 02:17 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 17, 2003

Misleading Subjects

FTC targets porn spam operation using misleading subject headings like "New movie info" to get people to visit their porn site. Well, more accurately, it was a site full of ads for porn sites, which they got cligh through commissions on.

The emails also used "spoofed" or forged return addresses, and false unsubscribe info.

Now if they'd just go after that home loan spam that I'm getting 20 or more copies a day for... same thing, fake misleading subject lines and false return addresses, and a fake, non-working unsubscribe feature where the unsubscribe form doesn't even "post" the data.


Posted by rusty at 04:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 16, 2003

Were there that many vases?

Donald Rumsfeld on Looting: "The images you are seeing on television you are seeing over, and over, and over, and it's the same picture of some person walking out of some building with a vase, and you see it 20 times, and you think, 'My goodness, were there that many vases? Is it possible that there were that many vases in the whole country?' "

Posted by rusty at 12:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 15, 2003

Self(ish) Interest

Offices, hospitals, museums and now Looters ransack Iraq's National Library: what are the Iraqi people thinking? Have they given up on society and only looking out for their own individual interests?

Posted by rusty at 04:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 14, 2003

RIAA ups and downs

Lots of people have been talking about how the RIAA site can't be accessed or is down, wondering if hackers have done it again, and if the hackers will ever stop.

Well, I hate to say it, but I don't think its the hackers.

I have done a bit of research, and noticed that riaa.com/org and www.riaa.org/com point to different addresses. www.riaa.org/com work fine, but using just riaa.org/com return some bad addresses, which make it appear that the RIAA web site is down:


Name: www.riaa.org, www.riaa.com
Address: 65.244.101.222

Name: riaa.org
Addresses: 65.244.101.222, 208.225.90.120

Name: riaa.com
Addresses: 65.244.101.222, 12.150.191.35, 208.225.90.120

12.150.191.35 = mail.riaa.com but doesn't respond on port 80 (the normal web port) or port 25 (the normal mail transfer port).

208.225.90.120 has no reverse DNS and does not respond on port 80.

So what happens is this: if you go to riaa.com, your browser tries 2 bad addresses first before it hits a live web server on the third try. Depending on your operating system's timeouts, this could be 10-60 seconds of delay before the site comes up. When you try riaa.org there is only one bad address first, so riaa.org is more likely than riaa.com to come up before you give up.

What is up with these old addresses?

According to an old usenet post in Google Groups, The 208.225.90.120 address is the old address for www.riaa.com and riaa.com. I am unsure why they are still showing it in their DNS.

Perhaps it was a temporary thing they meant to change and forgot about. Perhaps, they never try going to riaa.com directly in their web browser.

I'm really surprised that Andrew Orlowski over at The Register hasn't figured this out yet.

What amazes me is that the RIAA hasn't hired some managed hosting company with a good reputation to run the silly site for them.

Posted by rusty at 11:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

This is travelling...

Geek (wired) Hotels around the world. Many with wireless or ethernet to the room.

Posted by rusty at 11:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Today's threat level is...

Strategic Forecasting, LLC: Al Qaeda is on the spot. Having set in motion the process that led to the fall of Baghdad, it is now under heavy pressure to demonstrate both that it is still operational and that it can still exact vengeance on the United States... it is our view that the United States is now at the most extreme risk of being attacked by al Qaeda since Sept. 11, 2001.

Posted by rusty at 02:25 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

No escaping the man...

SF Chronicle: Island paradise may be bulldozed / Delta denizens never got county building permits "These are uninhabitable, substandard units," said the county's building inspector, Carlos Baltodano. "There is no other alternative but to have these structures removed."

Posted by rusty at 01:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cool tech toys

Sony Ericsson Clicker lets you use a T68i as a remote control for your Mac - including doing things like controlling iTunes, your presentation software, etc. Considering that you can get this phone effectively for free at Amazon if you sign up for new service with T-Mobile, it is worth experimenting with. However, T Mobile uses the Cingular network in San Francisco, and the Cingular network in San Francisco sucks!

But what if you don't want to control iTunes from your phone and would rather have a MP3 player hooked directly to your stereo? Then check out the SliMP3 from Slim Devices. I just got my dad one of these for his birthday. I've got something different which I also like: a Turtle Beach Audiotron that Merin got me for Christmas a year or so ago. I generally like the Audiotron, except that their internet radio support is quirky, and one of the last software upgrades I got from them didn't work very well. But it's a really nice looking piece of hardware, and fits nicely with the stereo. It even has SPDIF digital outputs.

The only thing I don't like about the MP3 jukeboxes is that non of them have any kind of signal processing to make the audio levels more consistent, and none of them do crossfading. For best sounding music playback, I still prefer OtsDJ which is what we use for originating all the SomaFM audio streams.

Posted by rusty at 01:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 11, 2003

In the world today...

Another peace activist killed. We're really going through activists and journalists lately. Not a good time to be embedded or just doing your job in Baghdad.

In other news, the Rave Act passed by being snuck into the Amber Alert legislation. Also included was a provision that would give jail time to online pornographers who deliberately mask their sites behind innocuous domain names. It's up to the judge to decide what is deliberate and innocuous. Originally intended to target typo-squatters who redirect to adult sites which pop up tons of windows, the act got simplified into this potentially chilling law. I bet this will be used to prosecute anyone law enforcement wants to go after who has a naked picture on their web site.

The Live Reuters Video Feed from Baghdad is really cool. Brought to you by the Mother of All War Web Sites (which undoubtedly will turn into a porn site after the war ends or when people just stop caring.

Posted by rusty at 03:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Apple Universal?

Forbes.com: Apple considering a bid for Vivendi's Universal Music. With the Pixar deal winding up, this could get interesting.
The article also says ``A handful of prominent artists, such as Madonna, still won't let their music be sold online`` - but I just bought the new Madonna American Life single for $1.95 online. Maybe Madonna just wants control over her online offerings herself.

Posted by rusty at 03:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Chaos in Iraq

Chaos in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq : `` looting of Baghdad's hospitals has led to the virtual collapse of the city's health system. ``
I watched on TV last night as people were using gurneys as dollies for looting the big stuff. Pretty crazy, but what did we expect?

Posted by rusty at 03:07 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 10, 2003

Imagine that

Gee. Imagine this: Kurds enter oil-rich city of Kirkuk as Saddam's regime disintegrates. The Turks are probably saying "I told you so!"

Posted by rusty at 01:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 08, 2003

Tabloid Journalism

Andrew Orlowski's Latest Conspiracy Theory

In my opinion, Andrew Orlowski (whose online reputation precedes him) is an idiot hack journalist, and you should not trust any of his quotes. He is constantly misquoting people, and his articles are poorly researched. He only wants to make a sensation, he really should be working for the Weekly World News.

I won't even mention the poor journalism in the article. He refers to people without introducing them properly. He jumps from topic to topic like a speed freak at closing time. All his links are all promoting his own writing, he never links to original sources.

Let's look at what he writes:

``A proposal was agreed by RIAA members AOL-TW and...AOL-TW. ``

Yeh, and all the other RIAA members, and DiMA who represents Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, AOL and others. Yeh, this is all a conspiracy by AOL to take over the world. This also completely misses the fact that all the monies paid to SoundExchange for the next several or more years will NOT go to the artists and record companies, but instead will be used to help he RIAA recoup expenses incurred in setting up SoundExchange. So this is NOT AOL-TW paying itself by any doubt. Maybe if he understood the situation more, and took some real time to research things, he'd realize that there is a lot more going on than he is reporting.

``Greenstein explained that the RIAA didn't care if 25,000 webcasters in the US went out of business because AOL streams 200 channels of music``

The RIAA says this over and over. At the Small Webcasters Amendment hearings, it was Yahoo that streamed over 200 channels of music. I don't know why it is suddenly a chilling remark (other than the fact that he'll get more readers that way).

``Internet broadcasters are burdened with royalty payments that traditional radio stations don't need to make. ``

Yes, but the RIAA is trying to change that as well. This is the wrong argument to take, because it's not going to last. The US is the ONLY COUNTRY where this is the case. This is just an argument that will help the RIAA collect monies from the existing over the air broadcasters - who have an express exemption in the copyright act... cable and satellite music services / radio stations have never been exempted. Webcasters just assumed we would originally. We were naive I guess.

``Even if a non-profit exemption is passed, and there's little hope for this in the near future, small commercial casters face serious disadvantages compared to their traditional counterparts. ``

He seems to forget about the Small Webcasters Amendment, passed last November, which sets the rates at $2000 a year (minimum) or aprox 10% of revenues. You must make less than $500,000 a year to qualify as a small webcaster. Webcaster Alliance is only representing a very very few 501(c)3 non-profits, if any at all... it's more accurate to say that they represent the hobby broadcasters.

``"If you had made radio pay 12 per cent of its gross revenue, would radio be what it is today?" ``

Agreed, 12% is high, but around the world, ALL BROADCASTERS playing music are paying 6-8% of their gross revenue in "Phonographic Performance Licenses".

``Perhaps it's also time to take a closer look at the Nullsoft division of AOL Time Warner, which creates the essential tools for netcasters.``

Right, huge conspiracy. Nullsoft, that unchecked, radical, trouble causing division of AOL, has a monopoly on tools? Give me a break. Go use RealAudio or Windows Media if you're concerned with that.

This is a stupid article, written by a writer who has a history of writing stupid inflammatory articles just to get attention and increase his page views. He's not interested in facts, he's interested in here-say.

I know. He has misquoted me in two articles, based on an email from a private mailing list that someone forwarded to him. Lucky for me he wasn't paying close enough attention to spell my name correctly in one of the articles.

Posted by rusty at 05:39 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Death of a computing pioneer

Women in computing pioneer Anita Borg Dies at 54 of brain cancer of all unfair things.

Posted by rusty at 03:47 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Bomb Saddam

Very Special Bomb signed by hundreds hoping to kill Saddam. OK, so it wasn't a real bomb, but you get the drift.

Posted by rusty at 01:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 07, 2003

Shame on Oakland

Police Attack California Anti-War Protesters - the new face of protest: wounds from concussion gernades and rubber bullets.

And the cops effectively shut down the port that day with their tactics of hitting Longshoremen bystanders with the rubber bullets:``Trent Willis, a business agent for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, said angrily that dockworkers were leaving the docks after the incident.

"They shot my guys. We're not going to work today," Willis said. "The cops had no reason to open up on them." ``


Posted by rusty at 06:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 04, 2003

Free Bandwidth (almost)

Cheap DSL in Japan: with competition between DSL and FTTH (Fiber to the Home) carriers in Japan, bandwidth prices are dropping.
``NTT West Corp, which initially charged 10,100 yen per month for its 100Mbps service, added a new service menu in September 2002 that lists approximately half the initial price, 5,400 yen a month, which, the company said, is accepted favorably by customers.``
Yes. That is right. 100mbit for under US$50 a month.
I guess I should go rent an apartment in Japan and run my radio station out of there.

Posted by rusty at 05:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Digital TVs of the (near) Future

Sony TV would grab streams from the Net: ``The device will be manipulated by a remote control rather than a keyboard and will use the Internet primarily as an alternative way to deliver video to the TV screen.``
Sounds cool. Lots of wacky multimedia out there on the net that I would love to watch sitting on the couch rather than sitting at my desk.

Posted by rusty at 12:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

DiMA and RIAA settle on webcast fees

CNET: Webcasters, RIAA propose new royalties: ``The 0.0762 cent rate, as well as a rate of 1.17 cents per aggregate hour, covers individual streams for subscription and nonsubscription services. The recording industry would also receive 10.9 percent of subscription revenue but no less than 27 cents a month per subscription.``
OK, what exactly is new here? The CARP rate was $0.0007 per song per listener. So that's basically unchanged. The only new thing is the ATH hourly rate and the 10.9% of revenues for subscription services.
Why did this happen? Well, DiMA and the RIAA had been at a deadlock over this for months, and it wasn't going anywhere, so instead of wasting more money on legal fees, DiMA just said, fine, we'll accept this.
They did get the subscription fees finalized in this, which is very good. While 3% higher than the satellite radio services pay, it's a workable amount.

Posted by rusty at 11:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 03, 2003

Everyone is Insane

Neal Pollack: Fighting Words
``Let's run down a list of incidents that I've heard about in the last month alone: A French woman in Houston, who's lived in her neighborhood for 20 years, wakes up on a Saturday morning to find graffiti on her garage door telling her to go back to France. A guy from Seattle arrives in San Diego and finds a threatening note from airport security because he's packed two "No Iraq War" signs in his bag. In Austin, the French owner of an antique shop hears on a radio call-in show that people want to blow up the miniature Eiffel Tower in front of his store.``

Posted by rusty at 03:00 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Block a street, go to prison

Reuters: Oregon Law Would Jail War Protesters as Terrorists
Expect more dissent=terrorism laws soon.

Posted by rusty at 02:52 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

World War IV

CNN.com - Ex-CIA director: U.S. faces 'World War IV'
"We want you nervous. We want you to realize now, for the fourth time in a hundred years, this country and its allies are on the march and that we are on the side of those whom you -- the Mubaraks, the Saudi Royal family -- most fear: We're on the side of your own people." said James Woolsey!
(I guess we missed World War III?)

Posted by rusty at 01:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 02, 2003

Mainstream Media

SF Weekly: Traditional media mislead the public about the war in Iraq as a media revolution makes traditional media increasingly irrelevant writes Matt Smith.
``Nobody with any brains looks to the mainstream media for truth on the war these days.``

Posted by rusty at 08:54 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The real winners in the war on Iraq

Jim Moore thinks that the Chinese are the real winners in the war on Iraq. ``While the United States blows resources on a destructive cause, the Chinese are staying focused on strengthening their core economy.``

After all, isn't that how the US won the cold war? By forcing the USSR to spend so much that their economy went to pieces.

Posted by rusty at 01:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack