April, 2000

Sunday, April 30, 2000

Napster sends a message to music industry: 'Your customers aren't happy' - "...the music industry has a severe customer service crisis. Customers aren't happy so they've created a new market, albeit an illegal one."

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eBay: 100% Genuine Raft Used by Elian!!! - "The high bidder will become the owner of the most desirable piece of memorabilia from the new millenium."

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Saturday, April 29, 2000

David Bunnell: 3Com raises the white flag - "Wouldn't you love it if Paul Allen announced that he doesn't know what the hell he's doing and it doesn't matter?"

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Beer Taxes Reduce STD Rates - "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, released Thursday, compared changes in gonorrhea rates to changes in alcohol policy in all states from 1981 to 1995."

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NY Times: Government Must Sell Break-Up of Microsoft - "Less than 30 days after the conclusion of the trial in this action, Bill Gates wrote an e-mail directing that Microsoft redesign its software in order to harm competitors [including Palm Inc.]" ... "Microsoft altered industry-standard security software in Windows 2000 to work exclusively with its own server software, and not with rival Unix packages such as Linux [...] 'The effect of this is to require all networks that install Windows 2000 on the desktop to install Windows 2000 on the server if they wish to be able to use the security features built into the desktop operating system'"

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United States of America v. Microsoft Corporation: Plaintiff's Proposed Final Judgement - "The separation of the Operating Systems Business from the Applications Business, and the transfer of the assets of one of them (the "Separated Business") to a separate entity along with (a) all personnel, systems, and other tangible and intangible assets (including Intellectual Property) used to develop, produce, distribute, market, promote, sell, license and support the products and services of the Separated Business, and (b) such other assets as are necessary to operate the Separated Business as an independent and economically viable entity."

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Friday, April 28, 2000

Nature: A flat Universe from high-resolution maps of the cosmic microwave background radiation

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Joel Spolsky: Chapter 6: Designing for People Who Have Better Things To Do With Their Lives - "In fact, users don't read anything."

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Upside: Do cryptic sites equal lost opportunties? - "Despite the appallingly low success rate on both sites, in the end a huge majority of testers described both Monster.com and HotJobs.com as easy to use."

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Red Herring: B2B not what it's supposed to be - "We're going to see Darwinism in this market at its finest."

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ClickZ : Customer Service Pays For Itself - "Customer service is part of the marketing department. That's not how the org chart is set up, but it should be tightly interwoven"

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Thursday, April 27, 2000

The Register: Man plunges to his death using mobile phone - "It's official ñ mobile phones can seriously damage your health."

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CNET: Cisco, former customers in legal dispute - "the giant maker of computer-networking equipment[...] is involved in a dispute with two former customers who accuse Cisco sales agents of 'extortion, conflicts of interest and making death threats,' according to reports."

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ZDNet: Pentagon cracks down on ... PowerPoint - "PowerPoint has altered the landscape. Just as word processing made it easier to produce long, meandering memos, the spread of PowerPoint has unleashed a blizzard of jazzy but often incoherent visuals."

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Wednesday, April 26, 2000

Why isn't the Palm organizer catching on? - "Name five people you know who use Palm organizers. Now cross off the ones who call themselves 'systems analysts,' 'Web page designers,' or some other title that suggests they're trying to get a tan by basking in the glow of a bright monitor all day long. Of the ones still left, how many drive cars worth more than your home?"

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MEMETIC OVERLOAD

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Tuesday, April 25, 2000

Jury Flips Coin To Decide Case - "the judge declared a mistrial after finding out about the coin toss."

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Ellison Claims Richest Man Title - "If the past is any indicator, the world can expect a lot more old-fashioned, alpha-male, rich-guy behavior from its new top financial dog."

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Vermont Gay Union Bill Is Approved - "Gov. Howard Dean has promised to sign the bill and may do so by the end of the week."

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'Rewired' Ferrets Overturn Theories of Brain Growth "Like inventive electricians rewiring a house, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have reconfigured newborn ferret brains so that the animals' eyes are hooked up to brain regions where hearing normally develops."

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Monday, April 24, 2000

Red Herring: New biotech VC raises a record fund- April 24, 2000 "Versant Ventures, a new venture capital firm and fund, will not invest in Internet infrastructure, B2B, wireless, or any of the other hot spaces most VCs are flocking around. It will focus exclusively on medical devices, health care services, biotech/pharmaceuticals, and e-health." - Versant is the counterpart to Redpoint, the exclusively IT VC firm spun out of Brentwood and IVP.

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Salon: Reno's redemption - "For now, it is the most famous picture in the world: a U.S. marshal in combat fatigues gesticulating with his rifle toward a terrified Elián, who is in the arms of the fisherman who first plucked him from the Caribbean. But consider that photo again and ask yourself a few questions: How did it happen that Donato Dalrymple was in the González house at 5 a.m.? Why was it that Dalrymple was chosen to hide in a bedroom closet with the boy?"

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Sunday, April 23, 2000

Bell Labs Releases Linux Security Software - "Bell Labs, the R&D arm of Lucent Technologies, announced Thursday that it has released Libsafe, a new security software program for Linux. Libsafe prevents intruders from overloading an application's buffer memory to gain unauthorized access to a computer." ... "buffer overflows ... have been the most common type of security exploit during the past 10 years."

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Saturday, April 22, 2000

Elian grabbed by US police - "Ms Reno defended the use of armed officers. She said that despite pictures of an armed officer next to a distraught Elian, the automatic rifle had not been pointed at the boy and the officer's finger was not on the trigger of the gun." - "There were no pyrotechnic rounds used at Waco.", "The check's in the mail.", "* ***'* **** ** **** *****."

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Friday, April 21, 2000

ABCNEWS.com : First Detailed Photos of Area 51 Hit the Web - "The Air Force only recently acknowledged that Groom Dry Lake Air Force Base even exists."

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Error in Genome Done on the Fly - "Celera Genomics, which recently claimed to have finished the human genome sequence, inadvertently mixed some human genetic information with that of the fruit fly in a public database. But Celera officials said Thursday that this type of error is common, and will have no effect on scientific research." - "You're getting worse." "No! I'm getting better!"

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Just for Kids - a new federal law that requires web site operators who target children to get parental permission before tracking personal information. This page is using some awfully complicated language for a page targetted to kids under 13. (yes, 13 year olds should be fine with it, but how many 8 year olds know what "personal identifying information" means?)

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TBTF: eGroups Eats Customer Data - is Unresponsive - "Have you never heard of the not-so-complicated concept of WARNING your users that you are going to get rid of a function that stores their data? Data is very important - my CAT understands this very straightforward idea."

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Dali, at the Hirshhorn, to June 18 - "Modernist sophisticates soon tired of his shtick, but Dali scarcely noticed. He'd lecture on the rhino. He'd hurl himself through windows. And then, all of a sudden, he'd do something so amazing one could not believe one's eyes." The Hirshhorn web site has nothing on the subject and is woefully out of date.

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Probe of Hacker Nets a Second Suspect: His Father (washingtonpost.com) - "Montreal police said today that they moved in on the 15-year-old hacker last weekend after learning from wiretaps that his father had taken out a contract to harm or frighten a business associate and that the attack was imminent."

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Thursday, April 20, 2000

Idealab Files for IPO, With Jack Welch on Board

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Salon: Where do Peeps come from? - "People don't just eat Peeps. They take pictures of them."

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Salon: Evidently You People Aren't Tired of Hearing About Columbine - "They include charges that a law enforcement officer, not Dylan Klebold or Eric Harris, killed student Daniel Rohrbough, and that officers knew early on that Klebold and Harris were dead, and thus could have saved teacher Dave Sanders, who bled to death four hours after he was shot."

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Salon: Beowulf vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin

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Antoin Sevruguin, Sackler Gallery, Washington DC, to May 28

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Wednesday, April 19, 2000

Meetings - The Practical Alternative to Work

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Tuesday, April 18, 2000

Wired: Net CEOs: 'Shallow and Greedy' - "The head of a major Internet consulting firm predicts that many dot-com companies will soon be exposed for what they really are: hollow, half-baked schemes without much hope for long-term success."

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Keith Dawson: Timeline of Composers, 1500 - 1900

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CNET: Microsoft boosts benefits to retain employees - "Ongoing legal problems, including a rash of civil lawsuits, 'combined with less-motivated employees and a fiduciary responsibility to avoid further legal action, will make Microsoft's corporate culture less aggressive during the next 10 years,' according to Gartner Group."

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French Couples Take Plunge That Falls Short of Marriage

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Find the Black Dot

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Random list of my current media inputs at the Media page. This is probably not interesting unless you're Goob.

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IE does not appear to handle in-page anchors well when you're using CSS. "We've got your standards support right here buddy!"

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Airborne laser fills vital need, officer says - "Col. Ellen M. Pawlikowski, who earlier this month assumed command of the Air Force's top weapons project, says its success ultimately will change the face of war."

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Monday, April 17, 2000

U.S. spying pays off for business - "According to reports buried in congressional testimony and in speeches by intelligence officials, U.S. companies have reaped billions of dollars in contracts after the U.S. quietly went to foreign governments and presented intelligence showing that European and other companies were bribing their officials in hope of winning big contracts."

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It now generally costs $3.50 to withdraw money from an ATM in California . That's more than the annual savings account interest rate, unless you're making large withdrawls every time. The ----ing you get isn't worth the ----ing you get.

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All I want for Christmas is the illusion of illimitable power. - "What's better than a new 911? An old 911."

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Which reminds me, quote of the day:

"It is irresistible, if you come to them as a scientist, to feel it's there in your hands, to release this energy that fuels the stars, to let it do your bidding, to perform these miracles, to lift a million tons of rock into the sky; it is something that gives people the illusion of illimitable power and it is, in some ways, responsible for all our troubles, I would say - this, what you might call technical arrogance that overcomes people when they see what they can do with their minds."
-Freeman Dyson
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Jakob Nielsen: Reset and Cancel Buttons - "Most Web forms would have improved usability if the Reset button was removed. Cancel buttons are also often of little value on the Web."

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I get a lot of stuff from WebWord.com - if you're interested in customer experience and/or human factors for the web, I highly recommend checking it frequently.

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Sunday, April 16, 2000

Illustrator Edward Gorey Dead at 75 - "It was not clear if there were any survivors."

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Megapixel Myths - "A camera with a million-pixel image sensor will not produce an image with a million pixels."

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'Flirting Juror' Back in Court - "Gill was cleared of the murder charges, but prosecutors have appealed the 1995 verdict, in part, because of Guess's conduct during the trial."

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ARTnewsroom.com: Mona Hatoum - Tate Britain, London, to July 23

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Peter F. Drucker: Beyond the Information Revolution - "At the very same time, however, that Luther used print with the avowed intention of restoring Christianity, Machiavelli wrote and published The Prince (1513), the first Western book in more than a thousand years that contained not one biblical quotation and no reference to the writers of antiquity. In no time at all The Prince became the "other best seller" of the sixteenth century, and its most notorious but also most influential book. In short order there was a wealth of purely secular works, what we today call literature: novels and books in science, history, politics, and, soon, economics. It was not long before the first purely secular art form arose, in England -- the modern theater. Brand-new social institutions also arose: the Jesuit order, the Spanish infantry, the first modern navy, and, finally, the sovereign national state."

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New Mission Impossible trailer - "A John Woo Film". It's nice to see that someone has the brains to make a preview that doesn't detail the plot.

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More additions to the Quotes pages.

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The first photographs I've taken since I've moved to California.

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Bill Viola

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The Twelve Networking Truths

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Saturday, April 15, 2000

Gripe for the day: Why is all web human factors and customer experience thinking dedicated to e-retailing? It's relevant to just about anything on the web, and there are a lot of ways to make (or lose) money on the web other than directly selling a shippable item.

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webreview.com: Mind the Store - "We don't usually think about Web design as a human resource activity, but it is. Every line of copy, every graphic, every link, every SQL query or pop-up window acts as a customer service representative. A major part of e-commerce design is recruiting and training this virtual staff. Spend a day shopping online and the sad truth comes out. You'll find too many Web stores are filled with lazy, rude, and ignorant employees."

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Fast Company: Adventures in Polymerland - "...much earlier than most business units inside GE, Polymerland understood a simple yet powerful proposition: that it could use the Web to improve its customers' purchasing experiences."

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DCI's I.T. News: Getting Visitors to Register - "It's annoying."

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Upside: "Less than a week after some financial observers predicted a 'Linux bounce' in the wake of Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's [ruling against Microsoft], publicly owned Linux companies were, in fact, leading the Nasdaq retreat."

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Microsoft: Not selling Visual J++, but apparently not doing anything more with Java until the Sun suit is resolved. "Mumble, mumble, ability to innovate."

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Friday, April 14, 2000

Read this. Really.

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The Register: PR bunnies in extinction shock - "Unfortunately for the rest of us, this means the poor dears will have to turn their not-considerable talents to other tasks, including the creation of yet more appalling marketingspeak terms if the report itself is anything to go by, including, as it does, such vile barbarisms as 'newbieproofing', 'topic centres' and 'centre-morphing'."

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Salon: The insta-business plan re-strategizer! - "Forrester Research projects that by 2003, Internet start-ups will have focused so relentlessly on infrastructure that there will be no remaining actual content on the Web. Jupiter Communications expects that within five years, the Pets.com sock puppet will develop cataracts and start growling at both strangers and inanimate objects."

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NYTimes: For Start-Up Workers It May Be Worry.com

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General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology, abstract gr-qc/0003092 - "In this talk I discuss pertinence of the wormholes to the problem of circumventing the light speed barrier and present a specific class of wormholes. The wormholes of this class are static and have arbitrarily wide throats, which makes them traversable"

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Dana Blankenhorn compares web infrastructure to Mobile Suit Gundam - "In the case of campaign management this is done through an Application Service Provider (ASP). This allows any major client (or their agency) access to a powerful robot, as in Gundam Wing." Cool.

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Greg Knauss: The Web's Essence in Brief - "If you were to condense the best of the Web down to a single phrase, what would it be? What words capture the Internet's purest essence? No, not 'free porn.'"

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Microsoft said its engineers included a secret password using the phrase "Netscape engineers are weenies!" in Web site authoring software that could allow hackers to gain unauthorized access to potentially thousands of Web sites.

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Thursday, April 13, 2000

Peter Merholz. Today. Now. Go. - words describing something I've been thinking about for the past 6 years, something I've poured countless hours into wrapping software around. What he said. Yeah.

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vnunet.com: Microsoft to end support for Java

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goodexperience.com: Explaining the "nt" firms

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This entry has no point other than to snicker, once again, about the name "Windows Me".

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Not just a pretty page - "When you work with web design companies in San Francisco, you end up with a bunch of twenty-somethings who have their own cultural peculiarities, including obscurity for its own sake. You give those guys a website for a banking institution and they screw it up, because they are designing for themselves."

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ClickZ: E-tailers: Only One Chance to Survive - "...e-tailers only have one chance to survive. One bad experience almost guarantees a customer won't return for more. Not so for bricks-and-mortar businesses, which can sometimes get away with bad service repeatedly without losing a customer."

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Wednesday, April 12, 2000

Barlow: Bill of Rights Lite

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NYTimes: When Success on the Web is a Bad Thing - "A 1998 Forrester Research study of 50 e-commerce sites found that only 30 percent of the sites expected to integrate customer service by the end of this year. The forecast was not far off the mark."

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Upside: Rushing the buy - "Conversion is just not happening like we all expected."

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Jakob Nielsen: The Mud-Throwing Theory of Usability - "Launching a site that is difficult to use will deprive the business of its best customers: those that are so eager to use your service that they will visit the site as soon as they hear about it."

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Tuesday, April 11, 2000

Ralph Reed / Century Strategies: Oops

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Salon: Clueless in Gotham - "It's unfair to have women portrayed as gold-diggers when many women today are responsible for creating the gold."

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Martha Stewart, upset with unfriendly neighborhood, plans to move out

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Dow Jones to launch bandwidth index - "a new commodity index" ... "tracking the rise and fall of telecommunications network bandwidth prices."

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Microsoft hires Ralph Reed to lobby against MS suit - Rev. 13:2

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Monday, April 10, 2000

evolt.org: Getting Started with Usability Testing - 3. Then: shut up. Don't speak. Do not utter a word! 4. Sounds easy, but see if you actually can shut up. 5. Watch them use the site. If they ask you something, tell them you're not there. Then shut up again.

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Suck: Skin Cancer - "...skins allow a growing number of applications to change their looks in a growing number of ways, almost all of them bad."

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Wednesday, April 05, 2000

Fifth 'Trek' May Boldly Go Where We've All Been Before - "Star Trek: Birth of the Federation"

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Danny O'Brien: Some Past And Future Cliches Regarding GNU/Linux

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Tuesday, April 04, 2000

Computer programs used to scramble electronic messages are protected by the First Amendment because those codes are a means of communication among programmers, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

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Monday, April 03, 2000

news.com: Microsoft violated antitrust laws

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nytimes.com: Judge Finds Microsoft Guilty of Antitrust Law Violations

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Interview with the Search Engine - Jeeves needs to get interviewed on The View.

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nytimes.com: Text Conclusions of Law - text, but the usual NYTimes "requires free registration" caveat applies.

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Talk about your niche markets, redskirt.com, a community for shy Chinese women - "the website provides a place where Chinese women can discuss issues such as divorce, domestic violence, or sexual harassment that they may not feel comfortable talking about openly".

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Conclusions of Law - pdf

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Wired: Microsoft Loses Big

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I must follow the trend and point out the cool new Epinions TV ads, specifically the one for the iMac

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CAT-LIKE TYPING DETECTED

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Saturday, April 01, 2000

Technology Review interview with Jeff Hawkins - "Ask what problems can benefit from a system that understands its environment, can predict what ought to be happening next and can recognize unexpected and undesirable events."

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BBC News: Single mutation led to... ...the Spice Girls.

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Effective April 1, 2000, I will no longer be working in the computer industry. I have quit my day job and will be pursuing my lifelong dream of being a light-jazz singer. I start April 3rd at the San Jose Light Rail Lounge. Wish me luck. (note: yes, my hourly rates will change).

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