Archive for May, 2006

Politics for Sale

Politics for Sale in the Land of the Free:

In Senate testimony, and then in numerous presentations, Dr. Michaels claimed that the actual pace of global warming was falling far short of Dr. Hansen’s predictions. As evidence, he presented a chart supposedly taken from a 1988 paper written by Dr. Hansen and others, which showed a curve of rising temperatures considerably steeper than the trend that has actually taken place.

In fact, the chart Dr. Michaels showed was a fraud — that is, it wasn’t what Dr. Hansen actually predicted. The original paper showed a range of possibilities, and the actual rise in temperature has fallen squarely in the middle of that range. So how did Dr. Michaels make it seem as if Dr. Hansen’s prediction was wildly off? Why, he erased all the lower curves, leaving only the curve that the original paper described as being “on the high side of reality.”

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Linux on a stick with a fingerprint scanner

From Thinkgeek a Bio Computer-On-a-Stick. Linux on a 512MB usb flash disk with a builtin finger print scanner for biometrics.

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Google vs Yahoo – Analysis of IT Spending.

Clever analysis of IT spending between Google and Yahoo by StorageMojo » Killing With Kindness: Death By Big Iron

The Bottom Line
Google’s IT spend nets them at least a third more in revenue than Yahoo’s, and probably 50-60% more. I didn’t look at operating expense, but Google employs about 4,000 fewer people, too. So the autonomic GFS is probably saving money on the OpEx side as well.

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Microsoft Reader – A method to backup the DRM files on a PC?

From Microsoft Reader woes! a link to jkOnTheRun: New computer? Forget Microsoft Reader with the following comment:

Hi, here is the solution for your problem – when you activate your copy of MS Reader go to

<p>C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\DRM</p>

directory and copy the three files – these files contain your activation info!!!

I need to reinstall my tablet, so I should have a chance to test this sometime this week.

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Sync iTunes to any folder

A useful method to Automatically sync iTunes to any folder(s) from Lifehacker.

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Platformless Future

I was intending to blog about this last week, but the connection to my WordPress server didn’t seem to like me being on the other side of the world. Ecto which I’ve just started using might have helped that, although I’m now back in New Zealand. Of course that means now I don’t have the time to polish this entry as I’ve got a few important meetings. So I’ll just publish what I’ve got and build on it later.

While reading Cringley’s article last week about the Critical Mass a cluster of other pages I happened to be reading at the same time stuck me as vaguely related.

But there’s a problem with this approach. First, Microsoft tends to assume that if the PC goes away it will be replaced by something — ONE thing — when in fact it looks like the platform will be at least bifurcated between televisions and mobile phones, neither of which Microsoft dominates and neither of which it is likely to dominate.

My realisation to the extent of a platformless future was first driven was by see a product announcement from Netgear about their new Skype WiFi Phone:

You will also be more available for your friends to call, because you no longer have to be on your PC to be connected. You can even make calls to ordinary phones using Skype-Out for just pennies a minute and NO MONTHLY FEES. With the Skype WiFi Phone.

Skype is being an indispensable product for both private and business use. It is still tried quite strongly to the PC platform, so for example if you only have a cell phone then you are unable to participate. The value of this becomes more obvious when you travel a lot and carry several SIM cards. Running out of cash on one pre-pay number, switching to another card and suddenly your respondents for another number for processing messages.

O’Reilly Radar shows as a different example with a the Traffic Gauge, simple location specific device:

Now I know I could get this information on my phone, or even get real time traffic fed to my Garmin Streetpilot GPS. But having a dedicated device is surprisingly useful.

However, the final comment was particularly telling:

I remember a nice presentation years ago by someone from IBM in which he compared pervasive computing to the spread of clocks: the clock tower was equivalent to the mainframe, the grandfather clock to the minicomputer, the clock-radio to the PC, and the embedded clocks you see everywhere to the future of computing.

Add to this comments by James Kendrick on his use of a UMPC platform:

Last week I was having lunch in a local restaurant and an idea for an article struck me while sitting there. I pulled out the Sony and pen and started fleshing out the structure for the article with ink when it became clear to me I needed to do some heavy writing while the ideas were floating fresh in my mind. I pulled out a portable wireless keyboard, and in 5 seconds was writing the actual article.

This is what the current rash of reviewers are missing about the UMPC. It is about the mobility that provides opportunity to exercise the freedom of expression in places that would otherwise not occur.

Finally an article from CNN on Microsoft’s cash versus Google:

But in order to deliver your software as a service, and thus be able to display ads, as Google does, you have to spend unprecedented amounts of money. Software is becoming a capital-intensive business.

Some simple thoughts about this now. Any geek will at times have visions of one of the cyberpunk futures. Its my feeling that these types of networks can only be built on platform-less open standards. Without this the economic entry costs of supplying information from one edge to another edge by a user is high, creating friction. The capital cost of developing the ideas and building these platforms are very high. In order to profit from their work the software builders will want to have a strong gatekeeper role. This makes the development of open networks difficult. We’ll see what the future holds.

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Making the HP hx47000 WM5 usable

The recent  Windows Mobile 5 firmware upgrade to the hx4700 had a real impact on performance. Here are a few hacks to fix this until and if HP release a patch themselves.

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Blog Spam

I’ve been using Akismet to prevent spam, it’s really does it’s job. To see how well recently check these stats. If we ignore the startup period, it looks like spam vs ham has tripled in the last month. Nasty.

Thanks Akismet.

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Trade Balances – What is Fair?

I think this comment from Stiglitz: What the IMF Must Do to Reestablish Legitimacy clearly states the complication of international trade. 

This poses a dilemma for Chinese policy makers. Subsidising their own farmers would divert money from education, health, and development projects. Or China can try to maintain an exchange rate that is slightly lower than it would be otherwise. If the IMF is to be even-handed, should it criticise American farm policies or China’s exchange-rate policies?

As a side note, three books on economics I can recommend to any are: Naked Economics, Freakonomics and one I finished this weekend The Undercover Economist. The last one being a very good

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Flying Carpets

Discovered from jwz, the flying carpets: “A Site Specific Public Art Project for the Sacramento International Airport”.


Quite a cool art project, but it also gives a vision of a future digital version: bringing new meaning to a game like Civ4. 🙂

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