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Monday, 23 December, 2002

Shelter for Six Sick Scenic Sightseers

Lots more with this came from, at the Tongue Twister Database. (Sorry, it's a Geocities site.)


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Competition For Google?

Yahoo (I mean Yahoo!) announced that they are acquiring Inktomi, a company that specializes in Web search technology. (Press release)

"Since 1996, Inktomi's foundation has been the Web search business and we have grown it significantly with our core customers and new paid inclusion partners while focusing on extending and innovating our technology," said David Peterschmidt, Inktomi chairman and CEO. "Today's announcement matches our premier Web search technology and team with Yahoo!'s global reach and commitment to providing the best user experience on the Web, bringing us closer to achieving our mutual goal of making the Inktomi-Yahoo! search offering the standard bearer for searching on the Web."

Personally, I don't think Google has a thing to worry about.


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Microsoft to Acquire Macromedia?

The Register is spreading rumors. And so is Slashdot.

A Microsoft acquisition of Macromedia would inevitably see Flash, and Macromedia's other cross-platform tools, tailored purely for Windows and .NET.


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My First “Where’s George?“ Bill

The Where's George web site tracks money (US or Canada only) by serial number. Enter a serial number, and that bill will be entered into a database so you can follow its progress. Most people who enter a serial number also write (or stamp) "wheresgeorge.com" on the bill so others will know that it's being tracked and add their own tracking data.

I've know about this site for quite a while, but I had never seen a bill that was tagged with "wheresgeorge.com" -- until yesterday. I received a $5.00 bill as change in a grocery store, and it was stamped in red. It was a raggedly-looking bill, so I was expecting to read an interesting account of its travels. No such luck. The bill had only one previous entry, from about a month ago. During that time, it had traveled about 12 miles.


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Airport Security: One Man’s Story

It seems that everyone is posting a link to this story, by Nicholas Monahan. It's called:

Coffee, Tea, or Should We Feel Your Pregnant Wife's Breasts Before Throwing You in a Cell at the Airport and Then Lying About Why We Put You There?

It's fairly lengthy, but it's well worth reading.


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The Ultimate Drop

Check out this photo by Yves P. Kafrifelle, posted at photoSIG. It was taken with a Sony F707 digital camera.

...there is no Photoshop work on this picture beside recrop. I used a combination of daylight, flash and +4 close up lens to achieve this one. The extra colors are from the bowl I used to receive the droplet. It is an Italian Pasta Bowl with plenty of colors.


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Is Spam Destroying Email?

I think so. And so does Barry Shein, owner of a small ISP.

"Spam is a thousand times more horrible than you can ever imagine," Shein said. "The entire Internet mail system is under a denial-of-service attack. ...We're victims of crime, and nobody gives a damn. That's a nice feeling -- your business is being pounded into dust by criminals, and people say, `Live with it,'" Shein said. "The spammers are calling the shots, the spammers are in charge of my time, and they are in charge of the Internet."

 Read more.


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Sunday, 22 December, 2002

Sunday Quote

About every other time I took a vitamin C pill, fifteen times a year, I thought as I filled the water glass, "...living' on reds, vitamin C, and cocaine."

-Nicholson Baker (The Mezzanine)


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Saturday, 21 December, 2002

Local Man Turning Into Tiger

A programmer named Dennis Smith (who lives in San Diego) is attempting to turn himself into a tiger with tattoos and cosmetic surgery. Full story

Dennis Smith is tattooed from head to toe with orange and black stripes and his teeth have been filed to needle point. He has also had latex whiskers implanted and surgery to his lips so he has a permanent snarl. He now wants a surgeon to graft tiger fur on to his skin, like a perma-wig.

Mr Smith, who has changed his name by deed poll to Cat Man, said: "I have a collection of old tiger pelts from the days of hunting. I want these grafted on to me. It will cost another $100,000 but will be worth it. "When I have the coat of a tiger, I feel I will have reached my goal in life."


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The Year in Pictures

MSNBC has posted their annual Year in Pictures slideshow.

You can view hundreds of other photos, dating back to 1998, sorted by week.


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Disturbing Search Requests

When I review my web access logs, I'm often surprised at some of the search terms people use to find this site. For example, do a Google search for "802.11 b safe for pregnant women" and the J-Walk Blog will be first on the list of results.

Here's a web site (a blog, actually) that that collects unusual search requests.

So, even if you only once wrote about your hamster, and on the same day mentioned you were wearing a three piece suit, google just might list you as No.1 for 'hamster suit'. Now just imagine that you check your referrer logs and you find a query from a search engine, looking for 'hamster suit'. This is where this site kicks in.


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Does XML Suck?

Decide for yourself, here. It's actually a very good introduction to XML, by Aaron Crane.


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Spam You Silly

Need more spam? Sign up here...

Within approximately 1 week of signing up with Spam You Silly! you should start receiving between 2,000 and 7,000 unsolicited emails daily for as long as you remain a member!.

(Yes, it's a joke -- but very nicely done!)


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Friday, 20 December, 2002

Trusted Computing?

If you care about the future of computing, check out Daniel C. Silverstein's article at the bIPlog: TCPA, An Offering You Can't Refuse.

TCPA refers to The Trusted Computing Platform Alliance, and future of computing (if HP/Compaq/IBM/Intel/Microsoft get their way) is called Palladium.

It's a future of mandatory upgrades and byzantine content controls, a future without sharing. It's a future where the fair use rights granted to consumers by law are revoked by technical measures. But most of all it's a read-only future. And, if we're not careful, we'll eat it up like a New York Times bestseller.


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Steve Ballmer’s Christmas Message

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, wishes you a Merry Christmas, in his trademark style.

 


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Censorship Via EULA

Did you ever read the End User License Agreement (EULA) that accompanies your software? I didn't think so.

A EULA is almost always a lengthy document full of incomprehensible legalese that supposedly tells you what you can and cannot do with the software you purchased. And by simply clicking a button, you indicate your full agreement -- which almost always grants the software company every conceivable right, and takes away all of your rights.

Some EULAs, I think, go too far. For example, here's a quote from Microsoft's EULA for SQL Server 2000:

e. Benchmark Testing. You may not disclose the results of any benchmark test of either the Server Software or Client Software to any third party without Microsoft's prior written approval.

In other words, if you run some tests to compare the performance of Microsoft's product with the performance of a competing product, you can't tell anyone the results. Unless, of course, you get Microsoft's written permission. What a crock!

InfoWorld's Ed Foster has more to say about this issue here and here.


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And the Winner is…

... www.Brophy.com (link opens in new window)

The Category: Worst Use of Flash on a Web Page.

I'm not even sure what this company does. I was so amazed at the extremely bad interface, that I was distracted from the actual content.

Using Flash for site navigation is almost always a bad idea. No doubt, some people will be impressed, and classify this as a "cool" web site. Well, maybe it is cool -- as long as you aren't actually trying to get any information.

I suspect that the design goals for this site were:

  1. Set it up so people who have JavaScript disabled just get an obnoxious looking screen

  2. Make the user wait before we display anything

  3. Create a menu system that is completely baffling

  4. Put all text in a graphic window, so it can't be copied

  5. Make sure that the text cannot be resized

  6. Do everything you can to make this site mysterious

  7. Make everything slow

  8. Violate every accessibility rule ever created

  9. Make sure the search engines find no text to index

  10. Hijack the browser's Back button so people can't leave

And I'm pleased to report that every goal was achieved.


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The Very Curious Language of George W.

Just in time for the holiday gift season: A daily quote calendar featuring the words of George W. Bush. If you don't want to buy the calendar, you can read the sample quotes. For example:

"I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe, and what I believe -- I believe what I believe is right."

"There is a lot of speculation and I guess there is going to continue to be a lot of speculation until the speculation ends."


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