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12 December, 2002

Aerial Photography With Kites

Mount a camera on a kite, and see what you get. I want to try this!

Posted on 12 December, 2002

"The Dude" Arrested

Daniel Feussner (AKA "The Dude") is in big trouble. According to this Seattle Times article:

For a year, Daniel Feussner lived an extravagant life. He bought a Ferrari, a Hummer, diamond rings -- and the crown jewel, a 51-foot yacht. The young Microsoft manager was so proud of his possessions he displayed them on a personal Web page. But federal agents allege his newfound wealth was derived from a scheme in which he ordered $9 million in Microsoft software, ostensibly to be used in-house, then sold it on the street at reduced prices.

Here's a link to The Dude's web site. Read it while you can. It probably won't be up for long. For a good laugh, check out his guestbook.

If there's an award for the "Most Stupid Technology Worker of the Year," I think we have a weiner.

Posted on 12 December, 2002

Project euh?

Project euh? will keep you occupied (and maybe even amused) for a long time. It relies on randomness, so you'll get a different experience each time you visit. JavaScript must be enabled.

Posted on 12 December, 2002

That TIA Graphic

Boing Boing had an item this morning that featured the graphic from the Total Information Awareness (TIA) web site (part of the Information Awareness Office). This diagram, shown below, depicts how information will be gathered and used to preempt terrorist attacks.

One of the commenters at Boing Boing referred to the fact that this diagram was created in Powerpoint. I've seen this image several times, but it never occurred to me that it was, indeed, created with Powerpoint. In fact, the file name (TIA_ppt2.gif) is a dead giveaway. The arrows and flowchart symbols were created with the Microsoft Office Drawing toolbar. That little chain is from Microsoft's Design Gallery Live site (go there and search for "chain." I have no idea what those two circular graphics are -- they look like glass ashtrays.

First off, this graphic is so completely confusing that it makes no sense. If it's intended to summarize the TIA program, it fails miserably. I'm no artist, but I think most would agree that this is the product of an amateur. It might be appropriate for an internal presentation, but this image is displayed prominently at the TIA web site and is intended for public viewing. For many people, it will be the first exposure to this new program. The graphic will raise hundreds of questions, and the site provides no answers for them. Is this really the best they can do?

And that's not all. The IAO web site is virtually teeming with bad graphics. Try this one. Or this one. And what's the point of this one?

Posted on 12 December, 2002

Froogle From Google

Froogle. It's new from Google:

Froogle is a new service from Google that makes it easy to find information about products for sale online. By focusing entirely on product search, Froogle applies the power of Google's search technology to a very specific task: locating stores that sell the item you want to find and pointing you directly to the place where you can make a purchase

Posted on 12 December, 2002

SNL Transcripts

At one point, I actually made an effort to stay up and watch Saturday Night Live. Now, you can read the transcripts for SNL sketches from 1975 through today. It has a very efficient search feature, so you can quickly find all of the "Land Shark" skits.

(via Pop Culture Junk Mail)

Posted on 12 December, 2002

Tim O'Reilly on Publishing and Piracy

Publisher Tim O'Reilly has it figured out, and shares his ideas in an article titled Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution.

The article discusses five "lessons:"

  1. Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy.
  2. Piracy is progressive taxation.
  3. Customers want to do the right thing, if they can.
  4. Shoplifting is a bigger threat than piracy.
  5. File sharing networks don't threaten book, music, or film publishing. They threaten existing publishers.
  6. "Free" is eventually replaced by a higher-quality paid service.
  7. There's more than one way to do it.

This article makes some excellent points about the future of publication. Now, if the big media companies would only read it...

(via SlashDot)

Posted on 12 December, 2002