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16 July, 2003

The 51st State?

From news.com: Australia primed to be yanked into the U.S.

Australia has been urged to seriously consider becoming the 51st state of the US. And American-born historian Dr David Mosler told a Brisbane audience yesterday there was a 20 per cent chance of Australia becoming an American state in the next 50 years.

Cool! Then we'll no longer need to import vegemite!

Posted on 16 July, 2003

My Personal Proofreader

Michael P. Talega reads the blog every day. And every day he finds my typographical errors and points them out to me. So I'd like to publicly thank Mike for making me look like a better typist than I actually am.

Correction: Mike informed me that his last named is spelled with two A's: Michael Talaga. See, he's good!

Correction #2: C. Jackson informs me that Talaga actually has three A's. That's a counting error on my part -- not a typo. So maybe I also need a technical editor?

Posted on 16 July, 2003

Straitjacket Fashion

Straitjackets could be the hottest new fashion trend.

Image is everything today. And image begins with fashion. Few items in today's wardrobe are as fashionable and as versatile as the straitjacket. Suitable for home or office, for work or play, the straitjacket is not just for bedtime anymore. Join our models on a carefree tour of the exciting world of straitjacket fashion.

Posted on 16 July, 2003

UPI Photo Search

Search the photo archives of United Press International.

UPI has a growing online archive of over 115,000 images created since 1996 and is adding around 1,200 images each month.

Posted on 16 July, 2003

Freedom To Innovate Swag

Microsoft sells Freedom to Innovate coffee mugs and t-shirts ("includes two free bumper stickers!!).

Declan McCullah mentioned these items in his CNET column.

Then, Macki (of rotten.com) wrote a comprehensive review of the swag. An excerpt:

The shirts say "Microsoft" over the front left breast and on the back is a rather uninspired logo of an American flag with the union portion of the flag replaced with a lame sub-PowerPoint-clipart-grade computer terminal graphic.

But my favorite quote is:

As a fan of both ironic clothing and corporate faux grassroots campaigns, I ordered one right away.

He also discovered that the shirts are made in a sweatshop in Haiti

Posted on 16 July, 2003

Golden Age Comic Covers

Comic book fans will find lots of good images at the Golden Age Comic Covers site.

Welcome to my gallery of classic comic covers. I've been collecting comic books for over 20 years and I wanted to be able to share some of my favorite covers. All of the covers, with a very few exceptions, are from my personal collection.

It's divided into three galleries: Super-Hero and War, Good Girl and Romance, and Crime and Horror.

Posted on 16 July, 2003

The World According to America

The original World According to America, and lots of variations.

Posted on 16 July, 2003

Our Tax Dollars At Work For the Entertainment Industry

From Wired: Upload a File, Go to Prison

A new bill proposed in Congress on Wednesday would land a person in prison for five years and impose a fine of $250,000 for uploading a single file to a peer-to-peer network. The bill was introduced by Reps. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and Howard Berman (D-Calif.). They said the bill is designed to increase domestic and international enforcement of copyright laws.

It's nice to know that our elected officials are spending their valuable time on worthwhile projects.

Yeah, this is the same Howard Berman...

Last year, Rep. Berman introduced a bill that would protect copyright holders from liability if they impaired or disrupted the unauthorized distribution of their content on P2P networks. The bill is still being debated.

And maybe this is relevant:

On the House side, of 435 members, Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif.-who sits on the Judiciary Committee and is the ranking minority Democrat on the Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property-ranks as the No. 1 recipient of PAC and individual contributions from the entertainment industry. Contributions to his campaign are $147,748-five times more than those contributed to the No. 2 House lawmaker.

Berman is the House lawmaker who set up the July 19 meeting between the RIAA and the artist community to try to forge language to return the law to its previous status. He has strong ties to artists and the industry.

Posted on 16 July, 2003

Ugly Money

Johnny Burrito is a restaurant in North Carolina. They've been collecting ugly money from the cash register, and they've posted photos at their web site.

Since 1998, while running the cash register at Johnny Burrito, I have encountered unsung artists, poets, philosophers and pundits using our national currency as their medium. A cost effective delivery to be seen by many. Few folks would throw away money - offensive or not. I often wonder...what is someone thinking when they do what they do. After several years of collecting, this page was created Feb, 2002.

We are dedicated to featuring their work here - the home for money drawn on, written on, stamped, stapled & burned...

Shown here is the father of our country, smoking an illegal substance.

Posted on 16 July, 2003

Pictures of Places

This is an interesting site: Pictures of Places.

Pick a place you'd like to see, click on a link - and start touring! There are thousands of great picture sites in our directory. Scenery of all kinds -- pyramids, mountains, islands, cities, towns, monuments and more!

Posted on 16 July, 2003

A Memo from eBay Management

The Internal Memos site publishes actual memos from corporations. Here's an internal memo from eBay. It starts out...

It has come to my attention that several employees are talking at their desks during scheduled work hours. I must convey the importance of NOT talking at your desk, or to your desk partner. Talking greatly decreases work productivity, and company morale.

Wow, that sounds like a fun place to work!

Posted on 16 July, 2003

A Hummer Limo

Wiltshire Stretch Limousines now has a Hummer Limo.

The hummer is one of those limousine for when nothing else will do but the exotic. Pull up in one of these babies and you sure are to turn heads and become the center of attention. If you need to attend Prom night, a Bachelor party, Bachelorette party, or simply just having a night out on the town and you need to do it in style then look no further. This exotic limousine will get you there and back while accentuating your personality as a person who deserve VIP treatment..

With a fully stacked bar and a state of the art entertainment system that includes multiple flat panel TV screens and DVD player, you are sure to get the party started long before you reach your destination.

(via Attu)

Posted on 16 July, 2003

Perpetuating the Office 2003 Myths

From CNET: Microsoft buddies up with new Office

Microsoft is getting this unexpectedly good feedback from competitors, as it readies the next version of its Office desktop application package.

The most notable new features in Office 2003 include the ability to save documents in XML (Extensible Markup Language) format in addition to in Office's native file format. This should allow data to be read by other software, such as corporate databases and customer relationship management (CRM) tools.

For the record, Office 2003 does allow you to save documents in XML format -- but so does Office XP (this is not a new feature in Office 2003). In Excel, for example, the file is is saved using the XML Spreadsheet Schema (XMLSS). I'm not aware of any other software that can read such files.

Some people are going to think that Excel 2003 allows you to save an arbitrary range of data in XML format. It can, but it isn't easy to do. In order to export a range in XML format, you must have schema for the data, and then map the cells to the schema. And it's not possible to create the schema using Excel.

Bottom line? I think people may be expecting things in Office 2003 that just aren't there.

Posted on 16 July, 2003

Double the Drumsticks

A four-legged chicken was born in Delaware.

The bird appears to be healthy, chirping like any other chick. The Shorts even let the chicken walk around their kitchen - on two legs, although the second pair were visible.

Posted on 16 July, 2003

Rude Words

George Wright, from The Guardian, writes a polite guide to profanity on the Net.

Posted on 16 July, 2003

A Beard Collection

Graham Barker saves his old beards.

Have you ever grown a beard? If so, and you shaved it off, were you ever tempted to save the whiskers for posterity? I was, and the result is this small collection of beards.

The collection dates back to 1986. He describes that year's beard as "half decent."

Posted on 16 July, 2003

Macromedia To Use DRM

From ExtremeTech: Macromedia Engages in DRM Strategy

Macromedia Inc. on Tuesday dipped a toe into the choppy waters of digital-rights management when it announced Version 2.0 of its Contribute content-management system. Contribute 2.0, which will be available for download July 25, uses Macrovision's SafeCast technology, the same DRM technology in Intuit's current TurboTax tax-filing software.

We can only hope that Macromedia goes through the same public relations nightmare as Intuit did.

My favorite quote from the article is from Erik Larson, senior product marketing manger:

"We honestly believe this is better for our customers."

Yeah, right. People just love to be treated like criminals.

Posted on 16 July, 2003