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August 24, 2004

 
I'm not a huge fan of Indiatimes, however now that they've added weblogs to the roster of services offered, I applaud their using the .Text engine. Dottext and Wordpress have to be the best weblog engines out there, for free or pay. This automatically means Indiatimes bloggers have a far better tool (and far better blogs) than, say, Rediffblogs. I wish Indiatimes would go easy on the advertising, though.

The quality of writing on Indiatimes' weblogs isn't anything worth writing home about, though -- barring a few good ones, most are faux stream-of-consciousness textstreams.

 

 
It's sad to see Scripting News turn into a soundbite site for the Kerry Campaign. Weblogs are supposed to wear their biases on their sleeves (and Dave has laid his biases bare: this election has one and only one issue for him: Anyone But Bush); however, it is interesting to see which way a weblog turns when there's a conflict of interest.

Regular readers of Scripting News know that the relationship between webloggers and journalists is a fairly regular topic here. Because of that, the silence on Scripting News about the Swiftvets and their (non-)coverage in the media was mystifying. Here was a story where the weblogs were getting all the action, and I for one expected Dave to point to it and rebutt it vociferously. However, the position on Scripting News was radio silence. Now, this could be simply a result of Dave having too much on his plate, however, given the things he is likely to write about I have to wonder if the silence was a result of a battle between his politics and his professional work (as a thought-leader in weblogging), a battle which his politics won.

A great counterpoint is Scoble's point about who you should point to: to be an authority on the operating system industry and to become an authority you must point to ALL stuff, not just that that's friendly. Substitute 'integrity' for 'authority' and 'politics' for 'operating system' and there's a point the guru of weblogging could himself take to heart.

 

 
Victor David Hanson:
So insular had [Europe's] utopians become under the aegis of NATO's subsidized protection that it was increasingly convinced that the ubiquitous United States was the world's rogue nation, the last impediment to a 35-hour work week, cradle-to-grave subsidies, and wind power the world over. [...]

But this is no parlor game any more. Islamic fascism, scary former Soviet republics, rogue Middle Eastern nuclear states, an ever more proud and muscular China thirsty for oil ? these and more specters are all out there and waiting, waiting, waiting...

Welcome back to the world, Europe.

 

August 23, 2004

 
Gmail Notifier is Google's official Windows-based Gmail biff tool. It's in beta, but works well for me.

 

 
For this year's US Presidential Election, the graph to watch is the Iowa Electronic Markets Winner-takes-all market prices graph. Interestingly, it's been running close to a dead heat these past two weeks. What does the market know that we don't? (For those interested, the IEM's 2000 Elections markets have some fascinating data as well.)

 

August 17, 2004

 
(Via Slashdot) Slate on Macroeconomics and Olympic Destiny:
The model projects such big losses for established Olympic powers -- and such big gains for nobodies -- largely because of the influence of GDP growth. In the past four years, France and Germany have had comparatively little growth compared with, say, India and Mexico. So, France and Germany are projected to lose medals, while India's total is expected to rise from one to 10 (!) and our neighbor to the south could win 11 medals, up from six in 2000.
This is all good, but given the paltry sums budgeted for our athletes ($30,000 per athlete actually budgeted -- and rampant corruption ensures that what actually reaches them is far less), I'll eat my words if India's medals count exceeds five (yes, I know India won its first silver today in double-trap shooting).

 

August 10, 2004

 
I'm back to posting after a long hiatus. Lots going on now so posting will be light; however I'll try to keep posting once in a while.

* * *

I was in the beautiful city of Sofia on a business trip. Even after years of Communist rule, it has managed to retain its old world charm. Some photos:

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Cable Car on Black Peak, near Sofia

Bulgaria's History Museum

Countryside outside Sofia

* * *

Windows XP SP2 is out. This is a must-have upgrade; now Windows users have no excuse for letting spyware all over their systems. MSFN notes that even users with pirated copies should have an easy, hassle-free upgrade:

There have been a number of discussions on this newsgroup regarding whether SP2 will install on non-genuine (aka "pirated") versions of Windows. Here is the official Microsoft position on this topic:

We expect that nearly all Windows XP users, running genuine or pirated Windows, will have access to the security technologies in SP2. The same users that were blocked from installing SP1 - those that have used a small set of legacy pirated product keys - will be blocked from installing SP2. We believe that there are very few systems in use today that use these keys -- in other words, the pirates have moved on to other keys which we are not blocking.

So how do we characterize our policy?

We want to make sure that the broadest number of people can install SP2. The nature of malicious attacks on computer users is constantly changing and we will continue to evaluate how we deal with security updates for pirated versions of Windows to best protect our genuine Windows customers.

Thanks,

Gary Schare
Microsoft

Given the number of users running pirated XP and jamming up the net with trojan traffic, this is great news for the net at large.

 


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