September, 2000

Friday, September 29, 2000

Ten tips to make your website usable - "the visual design of a site can make only a 15% difference in usability"

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Techno Greeks. - "blogs themselves often degenerate into one-sided discussions to promote a series of small cults of personality. And, as a filter on the Web, the way blogs are predominately being used, more noise than signal is being added. Which leads to our primary criticism of blogs: observing the manner in which they are often used by their most ardent proponents, it sometimes appears as if the first 'W' in World Wide Web stands for Wayne, and the point of the exercise is to prove that any two blogs are connected by only a few degrees of separation. "

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FEED | Daily 09.29.00 - "Which is why the MPAA lawsuit must be filling cyberpagans with a certain knowing glee: It's an argument for the growing power of code, and the possibility that the word is becoming magical again."

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More mosquito types are carrying West Nile Virus

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The Napster Revolution and the Law - "the idea that the maker of anything could enforce her will on the subsequent consumers is entirely at odds with the basic ways that markets work, and with the idea that once something is bought, it becomes the private property of the buyer, with the notion of privacy including the right to do what one wills with it"

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Antitrust in the New Economy - "The possibility that the combination of copyright and contract gives software manufacturers too much monopoly power in the economic sense, that is, causes a lessening rather than an increase in the output of the intellectual property in question, creates a natural concern with any further practice or circumstance that might increase the manufacturer?s power over the price of his software."

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Hold the Pickles, Please - "Who else but an American would open the world's first drive-through strip joint? Feel free to insert your own joke here"

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Blind customers want to touch club lapdancers - "The Pussycats club in Hove, East Sussex, complained that the strict no touching clause in its current licence discriminates against the blind."

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Thursday, September 28, 2000

Paid wireless content model is up in the air - "It's not a walled garden we're talking about. It's a walled fortress."

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Second sight - "The problem with suppressing the role of government is that it gives business free reign. It's like using antibiotics to combat bacteria; when the bacteria are killed, fungus grows unabated."

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Assessing Linking Liability - "May a court place the two publishers in the scales and reasonably conclude that one is engaging in lawful linking activity while the other has perpetrated a legal no-no?"

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Online or off, car dealers are car dealers - "Many online shoppers will provide their names, occupations, email accounts, and the type of cars they want. [...] 'You should be fired if you don't sell a car with this information.'"

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CueCat: Game Over - "Any merchandise mailed in violation of subsection (a) of this section, or within the exceptions contained therein, may be treated as a gift by the recipient, who shall have the right to retain, use, discard, or dispose of it in any manner he sees fit without any obligation whatsoever to the sender."

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FDA approves abortion pill in United States - "Even anti-abortion activists said they expected the pill?s approval. But they hope it will come with enough restrictions to block widespread use."

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Monkeys the new weapon of Paris gangs - "their favoured method of attack is to hurl themselves at people's heads"

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MSN turns users into spammers - "Users of the MSN Explorer beta may inadvertently be sending their friends seemingly personal e-mail gushing praise over the new Microsoft program. The catch is, the spam was written by Microsoft and attached to change-of-address e-mails sent by some users who have signed up for MSN Explorer."

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Wednesday, September 27, 2000

Feature: Welcome to the Hotel California No Vacancy - "They've worked in Internet time, they understand the value of options. We don't always get that here [in Cincinnati]. On the other hand, people here understand the fundamentals of the old economy. That was lost years ago in the Bay area."

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Lawmakers want to legalize MP3.com service - "The legislation has almost no chance of being acted on this year. Congress is scheduled to adjourn Oct. 6, and any action taken after that date will be limited to spending authorizations for the federal government."

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Tuesday, September 26, 2000

Executive says banner ads have proven disastrous - "We standardized a failed concept. That's how stupid we are in the Internet industry"

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Chicago weighs cell phone driving ban - "Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. cellular telephone provider, said it broke with the industry on Monday and agreed to support laws that would ban handheld cell phone use while driving"

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High Court Says Appeals Court Should Review Microsoft Case - "Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist declined today to disqualify himself from Microsoft cases, even though his son is a partner in a Boston law firm hired by Microsoft in another case."

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Justice site to drop anti-Napster spin - "Do we want to be telling people the whole story, which is a complicated story, which is all about rights and balances, or are we going to tell them a simplified story that they aren't going to believe or accept? If you try to simplify the message you are going to lose credibility."

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Monday, September 25, 2000

Meet the Napster - "Love it or hate it, that's what Napster has done: changed the world. It has forced record companies to rethink their business models and record-company lawyers and recording artists to defend their intellectual property. It has forced purveyors of 'content,' like Time Warner, parent company of TIME, to wonder what content will even be in the near future."

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Net businesses find some cities hiding the welcome mat - "It comes down to simple quality-of-life problems, city leaders say. Not enough parking spaces. Clogged neighborhood thoroughfares. Businesses whose sales are online, not in-person, hindering downtown shopping and contributing nothing in sales tax revenues to their home city. Light industrial zones equipped to handle a minimal flow of trucks are now spilling BMWs, Jettas and Mercedeses into nearby neighborhoods."

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Male couples could have own babies - "If the Government does not take careful notice of the issues surrounding the male egg, another report will need to be written by another Chief Medical Officer just because no-one believed this could happen."

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faisal.com - "The faisal is faisal."

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Are We Ready for Convergence Yet? - "Remember the last time you saw an advertisement in a magazine, and you decided immediately to go to the web site for more information? And then it was so difficult to type in the web address that you gave up, frustrated and disappointed? Neither do I."

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Anti-missile laser plane project on schedule

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Sunday, September 24, 2000

Novel drugs work against superbugs - "the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed this week placing warnings on virtually all antibiotic labels reminding physicians to prescribe them only when necessary."

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Friday, September 22, 2000

Dying Prohibited in Riviera Town

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Thursday, September 21, 2000

The Laws of Online World Design - "Any general law about virtual worlds should be read as a challenge rather than as a guideline. You'll learn more from attacking it than fromaccepting it."

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Why Big Oil Backed The Fuel Protests In Europe - "The companies -- Shell, BP, Texaco et al. -- claimed they wouldn't ask their tanker drivers to drive past the blockades because they feared for their 'safety.' The claim is bizarre."

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Priceline kicked out of Better Business Bureau

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A scanner darkly - "This thing doesn't even earn the right to be called a kludge"

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Wednesday, September 20, 2000

Report: Music pirates will evade countermeasures - "Recording companies that follow a strategy based on controlling content are doomed to failure"

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Study: Fraud No Threat to E-Commerce - "Online shopping gets a bad rap in the press, but most of the stories reported are anecdotal tales of companies that haven't put successful defensive measures in place. Fraud control is clearly possible online."

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After years of similar hoaxes, the RBOCs have successfully lobbied for a bill which will dramatically increase the cost of Internet access - this one is not a joke. Call, write and visit your elected representative and let them know this is a bad thing.

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Debunking the Myth of a Desperate Software Labor Shortage - "Since people who cannot find programming work leave the field, unemployment statistics for programmers are meaningless. Twenty years after graduation from college, only 19% of computer science majors are still employed as programmers. For example, consider the recent age discrimination lawsuit filed against Siemens. An EEOC report on the suit found that in the firm's layoff action, the termination rate for those over 40 was 10 times higher than for those under 40. The plaintiffs in the case were now working in jobs such as truck driver. Clearly, they were 'employed,' but they counted in government statistics as an employed truck drivers, not unemployed programmers."

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Tuesday, September 19, 2000

John Doerr and Bill Joy: The technology president: From wiring schools to a Net tax moratorium to globalization, Gore gets it - "You hear it all the time: Who cares about this presidential campaign? Gore, Bush -- there's not a dime's worth of difference between them. The country is at peace. The economy is booming. What difference does it make who sits in an oval office, 3,000 miles away? A big, big difference, we think."

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WebWord.com Flash Usability Challenge - "Are you a Flash designer? Do extensively use Flash to run your e-commerce web site? Are you angry? Good! You can win [$150] and put me in my place."

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A High-Tech Vision Lifts Fidelity - "Performance continues to be extremely important ... but how you service a relationship is critical."

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Rio's Pyrrhic victory - "Anybody who thought record companies were going to crawl back in a hole after Rio didn't understand the depth and intensity of these companies' allegiance to their shareholders, their assets and their own paychecks,' notes Potter. Others suggest the arrogance adjustment undertaken by the RIAA in the wake of the Rio loss has served the association well this year. 'They thought they had Diamond nailed and there was a lot of bluster,' remembers Wert. 'I don't think they'd lost a case in 30 years because they usually go after legitimate criminals, like warehouses duplicating CDs. They're usually right on principle.'"

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China keeps firm hand on Net use - "Sina says its editorial mandate is clear -- no sensitive political stories or anything that could challenge the authority of the Communist Party. Santa Clara-based Yahoo Inc. says it applies the same rule for Yahoo China, also one of the top portals in the country. The companies say they work closely with the government."

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Credit-card fraud has become a nightmare for e-merchants - "whether customers are ripping off merchants or have been victimized themselves by credit-card thieves, itÕs the merchants who almost always end up losing money. 'The misunderstood truth of payments on the Internet is that sellers are suffering, not the consumers'"

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Christmas in September - "People are becoming more accustomed to purchasing remotely."

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The whole world in our hands - "the origin of life is a puzzle. Think of it as a kind of reverse murder mystery. The bringing-to-life happened in a locked room in a strange world 3.4 bn years ago. There is no surviving scene of the not-crime. There are no footprints, no strewn clues. The evidence was destroyed by the very creatures that rose from original experiments in fashioning the living chemistry from non-living chemicals. Whatever conditions made life possible were promptly erased by the action of life itself. The last surviving universal common ancestor went round eliminating all chances of new rivals emerging."

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Artist's Glowing, Live Rabbit Creation Causes Fuss - "Animal rights activists claim the project is a needless and abusive manipulation of an animal, while scientists who work with the fluorescent proteins have dismissed the project as interesting but silly."

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Monday, September 18, 2000

Out With the Old - Over the past year or so, when old-media execs made their high-profile, well-funded new-media moves, the idea they tried to convey was that you can stop worrying, the grown-ups have arrived: Internet-based entertainment is now legitimate, we know what we're doing. It hasn't turned out that way."

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His So-Called Rights - "Millen, for his part, says filtering is about parents' rights. 'Encouraging children to rebel against their parents and empowering them to view sexually explicit images is morally wrong,' he says, pointing to the Genesis creation narrative as historical proof that knowledge can lead to destructive behavior."

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Which company will be the last online? - "Jacobs has saved money by waiting, Watson reiterates. He stops short of saying competitors wasted theirs."

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Why Won't the Times Apologize to Wen Ho Lee? - "Nowhere in the Times' voluminous coverage of Lee's release has there been the slightest acknowledgement, much less expression of regret, that the Times helped put Lee behind bars. A few commentators (Lars Erik Nelson, Robert Scheer, Joshua Micah Marshall) have chastised the Times for whipping up anti-Lee hysteria, but most readers are probably unaware of it. And though Lee is newly released, the weakness of the case against him is not a new story; the basics were outlined by Nelson more than a year ago in the New York Review of Books."

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Amazon.com: buying info: The Anarchist Cookbook - "Author would like to see publication discontinued."

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IBM's Olympic brand madness - "People entering the Olympic gates are searched for knifes, bombs ... and Pepsi cans. We're serious. Possessing a can of Pepsi is enough to block entry because Coca-Cola is one of the sponsors."

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AOLBeta.Com stolen from 16 year old - "This case is almost a mirror image of what happened earlier this year when the domain 'aolsearch.com' magically became transferred to AOL. The site actually had nothing to do with AOL, it was a 'clearinghouse for sites about African-American issues and culture.'"

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Saturday, September 16, 2000

Jail term for MP3 pirates predicted - "I have to say that if the RIAA is looking to make a serious impact on this problem, the students are the guys who are going to be hit"

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Thursday, September 14, 2000

Clinton Says He Is 'Troubled' by Handling of Scientist's Case - "I don't think you can justify in retrospect keeping a person in jail without bail when you're prepared to make that kind of agreement"

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Adding insult to injury - "Thanks to a 1998 state court ruling, which says that subjecting children to scenes of domestic violence suffices for a charge of neglect, social workers are now accusing battered women of 'failing to protect' their fetuses."

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Customer disservice: E-tailers dodge calls to cut costs - "Online retailers lost a combined $6.1 billion last year as a result of poor customer service"

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What makes software open source? - "We see ourselves as performing our usual function, which is a conservative function for a bunch of anarchists -- namely to persuade people from uncautiously doing something."

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Courtney Love demands some MP3.com cash - "I call this racketeering and so should you."

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Sell-side explosion - "I've spoken to many analysts about such scenarios, and their answers are always the same: 'There's disclosure' or 'It's legal.' Such responses fall short. What on earth does legality have to do with it? Have we so many lawyers in the world that we've forgotten about common sense?"

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Statement by Judge in Los Alamos Case With Apology for Abuse of Power

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Wednesday, September 13, 2000

Found: Possible Pre-Flood Artifacts - "'Artifacts at the site are clearly well preserved, with carved wooden beams, wooden branches and stone tools collapsed amongst the mud matrix of the structure,' Dr. Ballard said. The expedition, sponsored by the National Geographic Society and others, is part of a project to survey the coastal waters of northern Turkey for signs of human settlement around the time of a great flood. Some scholars believe that such a flood inspired the biblical story of Noah; it may also be the source of the flood tale in the Babylonian story of Gilgamesh." - and Atlantis

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Wen Ho Lee Freed Amid Apologies From Judge - "Judge Parker had harsh and angry words for the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Energy. He said that the top levels of both departments 'have embarrassed our entire nation and each of us who is a citizen of it.'"

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Dow Jones wins Web address dispute - "The U.N. World Intellectual Property Organization's system, which began last year, allows those who think they have the real right to a domain to get it back without having to fight a costly legal battle."

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Denial in Web Design: Elephants in the Living Room - "When I speak to the interaction designers, they typically expect me to commiserate with their difficult position; after all, what can they do? My answer is simple, if harsh: Whatever it takes to fix the problem."

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Interview with David Touretzky - "If the MPAA wants to start censoring academic works, they know where to find me." - READ THIS.

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Reno Talks Tough on Piracy - "She compared the phenomenon to illegal drug trafficking, money laundering, and gun-running in terms of its severity and need for police attention."

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Intent and the Web - "Together NETA and the DMCA placed the stiffest straightjacket on free speech since the heyday of Joe McCarthy and the House UnAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC)."

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The Once and Future King: Pay-for-Performance - "When asked why they wouldn't consider pay-for-performance buys, there was a lot of hemming and hawing about compromising the integrity of their inventory, and how they have so much value, etc. But how much integrity can inventory have when 80% of it is left unsold every month?" - Disclosure: Tools, Inc. is an idealab! company

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Smashing Pumpkins Release "Final" Album Online - "The five-record set was then sent out to the group's online friends, who were subsequently encouraged to upload MP3 files of the new tracks to Napster, as well as circulate burned CD-R versions of the songs among themselves."

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The Netherlands OKs Gay Marriages - "The bill still needs approval by the upper house, considered a formality, and is expected to take effect next year."

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Scientists Try to Forsesee Marriage Breakdowns - "A pair of uoiversity researchers announced Monday that they can scientifically and mathematically predict how likely and how soon a newly married couple will untie the knot."

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Tuesday, September 12, 2000

The Only Good Virus ... - "Patching other people's machines without annoying them is good; patching other people's machines without their consent is not."

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AOL will hide Olympic results from users - "The Internet giant decided to give its United States customers the options after 75-percent of more than 1,000 users polled said they would prefer not to find out event results before getting the chance to watch them on TV and experience the suspense."

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Computers Can Harm Young Children, U.S. Group Says - "children's social skill's are hindered as schools reduce recess time, and increase computer lab time. Early exposure desensitizes them to other children's emotions ... It is particularly damaging at a young age because the brain is most active in terms of the socialization process."

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Let's Drive Over to Amazon and See What's New - "And believe me, people like to go shopping. All the numbers agree that today online retail makes up around 0.6% of the U.S. retail market. And it appears to be slowing, not growing. Technology simply doesn't change the core marketing reality that people want what they want."

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The speed of business: If your pages are slow, your customers will go - "In the 1980s, IBM conducted a study that determined successful response rates for what were then terminal-and host-based applications. It concluded that response rates should be no more than 2 seconds. Beyond that, productivity declined significantly."

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Troops on Standby in Petrol War - "The Privy Council passed the measures at a secret meeting yesterday as drivers started panic-buying and petrol supplies began to run dry. Up to A THIRD of all garages nationwide were out of unleaded petrol last night."

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Monday, September 11, 2000

Aliens from Jupiter Land a Press Release - "DrMartens.com? Boo.com? Who wants more of that? What 'consumers' is Jupiter talking to?"

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Double Dis: New Wallflowers Album Is Napsterized a Month Before Release -"A source close to Universal confirmed that the conglomerate is using the watermarking scheme as a way to find out 'where the leaks are'"

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The Counter-Money Laundering Act: An Attack on Privacy and Civil Liberties - "In other words, American financial institutions would have to violate their customers' financial privacy or assume liability for their patrons' potentially illegal business. In effect, these bills would force banks to spy on their customers. Furthermore, banks would employ computer software to make customer 'profiles,' and then could share this information with affiliates or sell it to third parties in order to recover the cost of data collection."

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Sunday, September 10, 2000

Is Litigation The Best Way To Tame New Technology? - "Mr. Valenti, the president of the Motion Picture Association of America, was testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, and he was ready for a rhetorical rumble. The new technology, he said, 'is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston Strangler is to the woman alone.' It was 1982, and he was talking about videocassette recorders."

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Saturday, September 09, 2000

One Consulting Firm Finds Voter Data Is a Hot Property - "45 senators, more than 200 members of the House, 46 Republican and Democratic state parties, and most major presidential candidates this year except Al Gore, whose campaign said it would not hire any firm whose practices could jeopardize the public's privacy."

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Friday, September 08, 2000

ICANN call it what I want - "arbitrators have not got the message that the policy was meant to apply only to the clearest cases of abuse. The result is a procedure biased in favour of the trademark holder, which, Mr Froomkin argues, damages the consumer's right to use the Internet for purposes other than capitalism -- such as free speech, posting pictures of your children, or parody."

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Decision could limit tapes of TV broadcasts - "Attaway says Hollywood does not want to restrict all copying of cable shows but is focused on hot, new offerings, such as pay-per-view or video-on-demand movies. The taping of such programs is already barred on new analog VCRs. Critics point out that the proposed license that would be granted manufacturers by the cable industry would not confine the copy restrictions to pay-per-view or video-on-demand."

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Downtime by Law - "These are actual, established rights being disposed of -- the fundamental legal underpinnings of the Internet -- and in any sane world a series of decisions like this would create a backlash severe enough to snap your neck. Though freedom of speech has always been the abstract red-headed stepchild of the Constitution, almost any largish group subjected to treatment like the recent decisions would respond as it needs to respond: with an effective and organized lobbying effort to defend not only its present but its future rights. The population of the Internet, in contrast, has managed to whine a lot. Or rather, those who are even aware of the problem have managed to whine a lot."

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National Debt Clock stops, despite trillions of dollars of red ink - "I was waiting for a friend, and that was the first thing I was going to ask him -- why is the clock going down?"

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Thursday, September 07, 2000

Foolonga, Day Two - "At last night's inaugural Jester Council, Gates was voted off by a decisive margin. It was clear that his fellow castaways viewed him as a big threat, and they chose to oust the Microsoft founder immediately. But even though Gates clearly lost the vote, he demanded several recounts and even attempted to appeal the results."

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Newsflash: So far, we're not impressed - "You can, of course, usually skip Flash intros. But doesn't that make them the equivalent of pop-up windows - annoying extraneous things that you want to get rid of as soon as they appear?"

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British Company to Use Stem Cells to Treat Stroke - "When the stem cells -- a sort of master cell that can be coaxed into becoming other cells -- are injected into the brains of rats which had suffered a severe stroke it restored their mobility."

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How consumers respond to changes in credit rates

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The reasonable gun nut - "the NRA has long associated itself with an imagined history of America in which those who love freedom always owned firearms. And if that imagined history is demonstrated not to hold, they have to be doing what they should be doing -- which is basing their current political position on current political necessity instead of on an imagined past."

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Judge fines MP3.com up to $250 million for copyright violations - "There is no doubt in the court's mind that the potential for huge profits in the rapidly expanding world of the Internet is the lure that tempted an otherwise generally responsible company like MP3.com to break the law and that will also tempt others to do so if too low a level is set for the statutory damages in this case."

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Amazon charging different prices on some DVDs - "Amazon spokeswoman Patty Smith said the price differences on certain DVDs are the result of tests that the company performs to re-evaluate various aspects of its Web site, such as the navigation system, what the home page looks like, overall site design and product pricing."

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Wednesday, September 06, 2000

Minor-League Mouth - "Folks: If we have to refer to it again, let's call Bush's word a vulgarity, not an obscenity. It has nothing to do with sex. Nor is it profane, having nothing to do with religion or the deity."

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RSA Security Releases RSA Encryption Algorithm into Public Domain - "'c = m^e mod n' Made Available Two Weeks Early"

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Interview with Jef Raskin - "You can tell how open Apple was because I could go to the Chairman of the Board, and say 'Your product strategy for the company is wrong, and I propose this instead,' and he listened."

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Tuesday, September 05, 2000

Crisis for Air Traffic System: More Passengers, More Delays - "It is a tale that involves so many disparate interests shouting one another down -- from grass-roots organizations to large corporations to municipalities to labor unions -- that politicians in Congress and the White House have simply let the system drift for years."

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The Ultimate Laptop: A Black Hole - "In the most extreme version of this computer supreme, so much computational circuitry would be packed into so small a space that the whole thing would collapse and form a tiny black hole, an object so dense that not even light can escape its gravity. If that sounds like a rather dangerous device to hold on one's lap -- 'Opening the lid,' Dr. Lloyd warns, 'voids the warranty' -- there is a serious purpose to his theoretical tour de force: to plumb the absolute limits nature sets on computation."

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Bar Owner Sues Underage Drinker - "Walk wants Weiner to pay $2,500 for accusations that a bartender did not check for proper identification, and an additional $60 for time he spent convincing prosecutors that the allegations were false."

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Online Deliveries Lighten the Burden for the Disabled - "To the disabled, the growth of online delivery services has been empowering. To their advocates, it represents progress. To some owners of such businesses, it has become another piece of a shrewd business equation."

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Digital Delusion - "Believing that we can dramatically boost educational opportunity and shrink income gaps by proliferating PCs is akin to believing we can dramatically raise the level of civic discourse and electoral participation in this country by requiring every cable system to carry CSPAN."

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Monday, September 04, 2000

Study on male contraceptive shows promise - "side effects included mood swings, weight gain and increased appetite, some of the same side effects felt by women who take contraceptive pills"

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Researchers Harness DNA for Tiny Motors That Could Widen Use of Genetic Code - "The space between each letter in the genetic code is 0.34 nanometer, or billionth of a meter. Existing electronics technology makes features about 100 nanometers in size, more than 100 times as large."

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Sunday, September 03, 2000

Army germ warfare experts drafted to battle West Nile virus

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Friday, September 01, 2000

No master keys for me, thank you - "Containing crypto will do much more harm than good, and public safety alarmists should get a grip on the notion of risk versus benefit. Criminals also drive cars."

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IBM, Microsoft, Ariba team on e-commerce standard - "This really represents the maturation of the business Internet"

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StockTalk About the Future [StockTalk] August 31, 2000 - "One of the most important things in forecasting is to be sensitive to timeframe and to level of uncertainty. This is a moment where the uncertainty of biotechnology is actually greater than it was a year ago, because now we're on the other side of the first sequencing of the genome."

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