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30 June, 2003

Digital Shoplifting

A growing problem in Japan: Digital shoplifting.

Japanese publishers said on Monday they will launch a campaign this week to stop digital shoplifters - people who visit bookstores to photograph magazine pages with their cell phones rather than make a purchase.

Posted on 30 June, 2003

The Christian Porno Site

It's not really a Christian porno site, it's more of a Christian parody site.

Particularly interesting is the People Who Are in Heaven page and the People Who Are in Hell page.

Posted on 30 June, 2003

Searching For Weapons

A Googoo search for "Weapons of Mass Destruction" displays these results.

Posted on 30 June, 2003

Art by Scott Drake

Scott Drake is an artist who creates puppets, drawings, and sand sculptures. He says:

I spend a lot of time in solitude, with my creations as my only companions, when others spend the day with co-workers. Sometimes others perceive this solitary creation as depressing or weird. Sometimes it is, but I think my previous work in a factory and driving cab was much more depressing and weird!

Shown here are a few of his marionettes.

Posted on 30 June, 2003

Earglasses

Eyeglasses for vision, Earglasses for hearing.

Does listening to TV make you want to squint your ears? Try on an Earglasses headset instead. The clear reflectors magnify any sound you face just like cupping your hands behind your ears does... except your arms won't get tired!

The man shown in this photo is not wearing earglasses, but he really needs some.

Posted on 30 June, 2003

Not Angered by Spam

Eric Goldman, writing for Mercury News: Spam is just a byproduct of our media-saturated world.

Don't get me wrong. The dozens of spam e-mails I receive each day annoy me. But I'm not angered by the e-mails, and I don't understand why so many people are.

The fact is, annoyance is a cost of living in a media-drenched society. We receive dozens or hundreds of unsolicited commercial messages each day through a variety of media, and we have found ways to tolerate these messages. We should not confuse the minor annoyances we experience due to spam with a major social crisis.

Well, to start with Eric, spam is different from the other commercial messages that we are bombarded with. The difference is that spammers force us to pay for their advertising.

He says:

So can't we learn to cope with spam? The solution is simple: Hit the delete key, and it's gone.

Cope with it? Coping with spam is tantamount to giving spammers permission to send whatever they want. No Eric. Laws must be passed, and action must be taken.

So how about if I just forward all of my spam to you, Eric? Just hit the delete key and it will be gone. No big deal.

Personally, I've never ordered anything in response to a spam, and I don't intend to, but I am grateful -- not angry -- to receive unsolicited e-mail that is relevant to my interests.

OK, just wait until your inbox consists of 95% spam. I'm getting close to that point right now.

Posted on 30 June, 2003

Objective Christian Ministries

The Landover Baptist Church site, as you may know, is a parody -- an excellent parody site. However, it takes about one minute to realize that it's not for real.

The humor at the Objective Christian Ministries site, on the other hand, is much more subtle. In fact, it took me about half hour to figure out that it's not for real.

Their current campaign against Landover Baptist is simply brilliant (see Objective: Landover Baptist Shutdown). It takes parody to the next level.

The Landover Baptist Shutdown piece starts out like this:

The Internet was created by the United States of America - a Christian nation - and should not be used to spread anti-Christian, secular, or non-Christian propaganda and hatespeech. This is our Internet, and we should exercise our position as its owners and as the guardians of civilization to stop its misuse.

For this reason, this website was created to try and stop one of the more vile and dangerous misuses of the Internet: using it to mock Our Lord Jesus Christ, His teachings, and His followers. And one site in particular stands out in need of stoppage: Landover Baptist.

There's a lot to see here. For example, check out A Proposal For a Design Change to the U.S. Flag. And don't overlook Those Wacky Evolutionists.

Objective Christian Ministries just might be the best parody site on the Web. Well done!

(via Reenhead)

Posted on 30 June, 2003

George W. Bush Approval Ratings

Here's a chart that shows how Americans' perception of George W. has changed over time.

The data are from the CNN/USA Today Gallup Poll. The most recent data point (61%) is from a survey conducted June 27-29. The approval rating is getting back down to the pre-war level, but it is still significantly higher than his all-time low of 51%.

This is an updated version of the chart I presented in April.

Posted on 30 June, 2003

EFT's Ad Campaign

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has started an ad campaign in favor of changing copyright laws regarding music file-sharing.

We need to face the fact that copyright law currently is broken. It is making criminals out of music lovers and technologists. College students are being sued, ISPs are being forced to rat out their customers, some members of Congress are calling for college students to be jailed for file sharing, the list goes on and on. But there are more than 60 million people in the United States alone who use file sharing--more than the number of people who voted for our current President. If we all band together and stand up for our rights, we can change the law.

Posted on 30 June, 2003

Cell Phone Photos

PhoneBin has a collection of photos taken with cell phones.

PhoneBin is an online photo album for all types of photo-phone. Simply snap a photo and send it to phonebin.com. Your photo will be on the web within 15 minutes, day or night. Add comments, email it to your friends and check out the most popular photos.

As you might expect, some of these are moderately risque, so use caution if you're offended by such things.

Posted on 30 June, 2003

Visitors Are Up

June was the best month ever for the J-Walk Blog. It saw 44,349 visitors, and a total of 125,753 page views. In terms of visitors, this represents a 180% increase over May.

The reason? Lots of people came here after viewing my Nigerian Email Conference spoof. As far as I can tell, more than 500,000 people read that joke. It has pretty much run its course now, so things will probably be back to normal in July.

Posted on 30 June, 2003

Protecting the Pope's Web Site

From Australian IT: Pope takes on hackers, spammers.

The Vatican has taken on a team of experts to protect the pope's website, which is attacked by some 10,000 viruses a month and at least 30 mainly-American hackers every day.

"Fortunately, up to now no-one has managed to penetrate the pope's site thanks to a highly efficient team of specialists charged with antivirus protection who have always managed to block hackers' emails," said Archbishop Claudio Celli, secretary for the administration of the Holy See's heritage.

 Hmmm... I didn't know that you could hack a web site by sending email.

Posted on 30 June, 2003

The Next Generation of PCs

From the New York Times: A Safer System for Home PC's Feels Like Jail to Some Critics

Silicon Valley -- led by Microsoft and Intel -- calls the concept "trusted computing." The companies, joined by I.B.M., Hewlett-Packard, Advanced Micro Devices and others, argue that the new systems are necessary to protect entertainment content as well as safeguard corporate data and personal privacy against identity theft. Without such built-in controls, they say, Hollywood and the music business will refuse to make their products available online.

And I say, who cares if this stuff isn't available online? The world has survived for a long time without online media. If access to online media means giving up control over my system, I say no thanks.

But it's even worse. Small-time software developers may also be locked out.

"This will kill innovation," said Ross Anderson, a computer security expert at Cambridge University, who is organizing opposition to the industry plans. "They're doing this to increase customer lock-in. It will mean that fewer software businesses succeed and those who do succeed will be large companies."

Posted on 30 June, 2003

Mrs. Stewart's Bluing

Mrs. Stewart's Bluing has been around since the early 1880's. What is it?

Mrs. Stewart's Bluing is a simple, concentrated blue liquid that optically whitens white fabric. It does not remove stains, does not "clean", but adds a microscopic blue particle to white fabric which has been giving fabric that "just bought" whiteness for 115 years!

The web site is loaded with goodies, including a Home Washing Guide and a handy list of "other uses for bluing." This list includes whiter hair, whiter pets, pain relief from insect bites, use in casts, pottery glazing, and even detecting plumbing leaks.

A truly versatile product, with a fascinating history. Or maybe I just like the looks of Mrs. Stewart...

(Thanks Fine-Line)

Posted on 30 June, 2003