Archive for February, 2006

How not to market a next-gen format

February 28, 2006

PCWorld (via Techdirt)

  1. Confuse the market by failing to decide on two competing, little differentiated formats, and an insubstantial difference from the previous format.
  2. Lock down the format in DRM hell, making it much less convenient to use than existing technologies.
  3. Launch it with a small, limited, crappy library of content.
  4. Launch the first players at $1,000, competing against players for the previous format now as cheap as $20
  5. Sell the content for 50-100% more than content for the previous format.
  6. ???
  7. Profit!

BoingBoing declares war on censorware

February 28, 2006

BoingBoing is currently being censored in such lovely freedom loving places as the UAE, Qatar, and US libraries, thanks to a piece of software called SmartFilter produced by Secure Computing. Their response to this: Get bent.

Secure Computing offered us a devil’s bargain: if we’d change the URLs of images with “nudity” (which, they assured us, included photos of Michaelangelo’s David) to something they could detect and block, they’d let the rest of the world see us again. That guy in the UAE who was worried he’d be imprisoned for trying to read BoingBoing would be OK again.

We considered their offer, and decided not to do it. What happens when the next censorware company comes along with another editorial process they want us to engage in to help them censor the site?

More importantly: why should we let a company that helps corrupt dictatorships oppress their citizen dictate morality to us?

So instead we’ve decided to help put Secure Computing out of business.

An awesome and appropriate response, IMHO. By their suggestion, I’ve decided to include gratuitous nudity on my blog here as a form of protest:

Bush hits new low

February 28, 2006

Thankfully though, this time it was just in the polls, clocking in at a stunning 34%

I know, you’re probably thinking the same thing I am. There’s still one in three people that actually approve of this guy? WTF?

Let the jokes commence!

February 27, 2006

Bill Clinton needs 25 interns!

How do you know when your ideas are terrible?

February 27, 2006

How about when your party controls both houses of Congress, and you still can’t get them passed.

Media Matters analyzed a comment made by Wolf Blitzer that Bush usually gets his way. Well, its true that Bush does get his way too often (for some atrociously bad stuff too), but they do point out that especially for a one party government, Bush sure has had a lot of failures.

I guess when your agenda is just that bad for the country, it’s tough to sell all the shit you’re pitching.


February 27, 2006


Tony Blair’s ex-media chief Alastair Campbell says he never sent an e-mail or used the internet during his near decade working for the Labour leader.

“I never used a computer other than to write – I used it as a word processor,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week.

The man who drove the communications strategy for New Labour said he had been in the technological “dark ages”.

That’s just hilarious.

Why I’m glad I don’t live in Kansas

February 25, 2006

An interesting article in the Boston Globe, describing the activities of anti-sex crusaders and the effects of an insane Kansas law regarding teenage sex:

There was also the testimony of Dr. Elizabeth Shadigian, best known as a stalwart of the abortion-gives-you-breast-cancer misinformation campaign. She said that teenage girls are always the victims of sexual activity because ”there’s always a power differential between a boy and a girl.” When girls have sex, they aren’t doing, she said, ”they have been done to.”

Frankly, I hadn’t heard this argument since the late Andrea Dworkin maintained that all intercourse was rape. Radical feminism meets the radical right in the Puritan revival.

I assume that Kline’s real purpose in mandating reports is to scare teens away from birth control and abortion clinics. If Kansas actually believed that all under-16 sex was harmful, why would it allow 13-year-olds to marry? But the most sensible remark came from the exasperated Judge J. Thomas Marten who insistently asked the state: ”Where is the clear, credible evidence that underage sex is always injurious?”


In Kansas, instead of homing in on real sexual abuse of children, they are redefining all underage sex as abuse. As for the notion that girls are invariably victims of sex, unable to consent to ”lewd fondling”: Do we want to return to those wonderful yesteryears when women were supposed to be sexually inert until their wedding night when they magically became eager sexual partners?

I can’t tell you how many times lately I’ve thought to myself how glad I am I don’t live in Kansas.

What the fuck is wrong with these anti-sex crusaders? The law is so obviously wrong on so many levels to any rational person that it hardly needs stating.

Three guesses what the killer app for cell phones is

February 25, 2006

But you’ll only need one:

LOOKING at porn on a PC is, apparently, so last century, and only a fool risks a furtive glance at adult websites on their company PDA. Nowadays the cellphone is the device of choice for those seeking out porn on the web, according to research by Google.

Computer scientists Maryan Kamvar and Shumeet Baluja analysed 1 million searches made using the firm’s mobile search software. They found that “adult” material constituted 20 per cent of the searches on cellphones, but only 5 per cent on PDAs. Just 8.5 per cent of searches on desktop computers are for adult material.

The real shocker here is that porn only constitutes 8.5 percent of searches.  Wasn’t there a point in the 90’s where it was like half of all web searches?

Yahoo Exec suggests obvious; RIAA execs confused

February 24, 2006

Cnet (via Techdirt):

Yahoo Music chief Dave Goldberg raised eyebrows Thursday at the Music 2.0 conference in Los Angeles with a proposal rarely heard from executives at large digital music services: Record labels should try selling music online without copy protection.

The article doesn’t offer many details in terms of what the exact reaction of the music industry executives were, but I imagine it was something along the lines of “Blasphemer!” and “He’s a witch! Burn him!”

Quantum Computers work best turned off

February 24, 2006

New Scientist:

Even for the crazy world of quantum mechanics, this one is twisted. A quantum computer program has produced an answer without actually running.

The idea behind the feat, first proposed in 1998, is to put a quantum computer into a “superposition”, a state in which it is both running and not running. It is as if you asked Schrödinger’s cat to hit “Run”.

With the right set-up, the theory suggested, the computer would sometimes get an answer out of the computer even though the program did not run. And now researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have improved on the original design and built a non-running quantum computer that really works.

File this one under “What the fuck?”