February, 2002

Monday, February 25, 2002

Risks Prompt U.S. to Limit Access to Data - "Ignorance is Strength" - aka bureaucrats discovering security by obscurity

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Saturday, February 23, 2002

Kung Fu Chess is pretty cool.

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Friday, February 22, 2002

I keep running into things which make me try to think of a joke which starts with "An HBS case study walks into a bar..."

Today in the mail I received a cold-delivery of some books from eHarlequin.com. They thoroughly mispelled my name. They need a "boy do you have the wrong target market" checkbox to go along with the "yes, I'd like to subscribe to eHarlequin, I agree to pay $X a month for this and you'll just keep sending it" and "no, you lunatics, I don't want this, and I'm not even sure I want to keep the books you sent me even though I am a book anddict, andi realize they are mine to keep".

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Thursday, February 21, 2002

An Intriguing Signal From the Saudi Crown Prince - "I wanted to find a way to make clear to the Israeli people that the Arabs don't reject or despise them. But the Arab people do reject what their leadership is now doing to the Palestinians, which is inhumane and oppressive. And I thought of this as a possible signal to the Israeli people."

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U.S. Tightening Rules on Keeping Scientific Secrets - "That takes apart the whole foundation of science"

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Questions grow over where Sharon is headed - "Churchill won in the Second World War because he spoke to the English people. Where's Sharon?"

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Allies Hear Sour Notes in 'Axis of Evil' Chorus

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SatireWire | FBI to Issue 5-Day Terror Forecasts - "Your comments are suspicious. Do not leave the studio."

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Wednesday, February 20, 2002

The Saudi Challenge - "When the Crown Prince proposed letting women drive - so Saudi Arabia would not have to employ 500,000 expatriate chauffeurs to shuttle women - he was blocked by conservatives. This is also a problem for middle-class Saudis who can't afford chauffeurs."

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An Extra's Unscripted Tumble From the Stage Is Roiling the Met

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Justices to Review Copyright Extension - "while the court had interpreted Congress's exercise of its copyright authority many times, it had never before taken on a direct challenge to that authority"

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Ericsson and Juniper Networks Provide Operators with 2.5 and 3G-ready Mobile-Internet Protocol Infrastructure - what I've been doing lately

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Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Pentagon Readies Efforts to Sway Sentiment Abroad - "When people get uncomfortable is when people use the same tools and tactics on friendlies."

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Monday, February 18, 2002

Following the big web-log CSS flamewar, I redid the site templates to use CSS for multi-column layout. I had used tables to do multi-column layout in the past but sacked them because they slowed down page loads (in terms of both overall time and apparent time to start showing content).

In theory, CSS takes care of these problems. In practice, it does not degrade well, and many niche browsers don't support it. So while it looks good and loads quickly on some browsers, it's a total mess on others.

So the CSS layout (including the calendar) is gone until I have the time and interest to burn figuring out how to create a site which will work for the 80% of the people who read this site using something other than Mozilla, IE 5 for Mac, or Lynx. Oh well, it was a nice idea.

Also worth pointing out: CSS layout is a huge pain to work with. None of the tools are any good. Browsers interpret the same commands in subtly different ways, and some of the major (and for my purposes, important) tags are just plain ignored. Designers have lobbied for CSS use by suggesting it frees the designer from having to fight with the code to get it to work across all browsers. I'm no web designer, but I wonder if they've actually used CSS, since it appears to have all the same problems but in new and different places.

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Patriotism on the Cheap - "There's a vacuum of leadership in defining what real patriotism might be"

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The non-performing country - "Unfortunately, a collapsed asset bubble followed by years of inaction have made it hard for Japan to achieve inflation, since expectations of flat or falling prices are so entrenched."

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The Panic Spreads - "There is no record of any government ever being able to repay debts equal to several times the annual output of its country in real money. Japan will be no exception."

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Financial regulation in America - "Firms will also have to explain why they have chosen particular accounting treatments, and show how the numbers would have looked on different assumptions."

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Unspecial Olympics - "This would be absolutely fine, if it weren't for the fact that all of this money is being made off of the Olympics' reputation for being a benevolent force of good in the world."

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The businessman as villain - "A businesslike people cannot afford to see lax rules and unscrupulous chancers undermine the health of the entire system. America loathes Mr Lay because it treasures the notion that business should do the country good."

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The Great Unwatched - "This is not some alarmist Orwellian scenario; it is here, now, financed by $20 billion last year and $15 billion more this year of federal money appropriated out of sheer fear. By creating the means to monitor 300 million visits to the U.S. yearly, this administration and a supine opposition are building a system capable of identifying, tracking and spying on 300 million Americans."

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Skeleton Plunges Face-First Back Into Winter Games - "Normal people might be able to afford it - the sleds are homemade - but they do not want to."

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Sunday, February 17, 2002

French Judge Gives Taliban Victory

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Startup Shelf Life - "attempts at preserving a once viable company are not to be confused with the embalming process"

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Monday, February 11, 2002

Google to Offer New Search Product for Companies

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In Uncle Sam's cabin - "With favors like that from our friends, we don't need enemies."

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It's time to do or die - "We don't owe any leader a free hand to wreck our country."

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Down in the valley - "But the latest boom has shown that there are limits to the region's growth, at least in its current state. As the bubble inflated, the valley's quality of life declined."

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Economist.com: The Mormons

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Jewish angst in Albion - Long article on the British "New Anti-Semitism" and how it relates to everything.

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Verizon Is Not the Nation's First - "Monet charges the user a flat $50 rate for a month. Instead of focusing on the large urban markets like the major carriers, Monet offers data-only services as internet connections in areas where DSL or broadband is not easily available."

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Computer science's gender gap - "in the early '70s, prior to there being a computer science major available in universities, women were being recruited as programmers"

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The message from the high command - "testimonies indicate that these are no longer exceptional events but policy with a clear, if twisted, goal - to embitter the lives of the residents so that they will put pressure on their leaders to fight terrorism"

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Deferrals Bug Cisco Investors - "if Cisco's revenue deferrals had stayed the same in Q2 as they were in Q1, Cisco would have reported a 2 percent quarterly revenue decline, not an 8 percent revenue increase"

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Series-Skipper: Hello, Saylor! - The Washington Post on its favorite bloviating tycoon. - "How many (if any) great, successful firms start out by conning Wall Street with inflated earnings charts and then, before they're unmasked, use the money they've raised to generate real earnings?"

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Hard Money, Strong Arms And 'Matrix' - "When Enron executives were advocating a certain policy and a member of Congress tried to explain the votes weren't there, they became very frustrated that he wasn't smart enough to understand the wisdom of their policy."

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Villagers Released by American Troops Say They Were Beaten, Kept in 'Cage' - "We are sorry. We committed a mistake bombing this place"

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Saturday, February 09, 2002

(yes, I've been very, very busy)

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Tuesday, February 05, 2002

Anecdote time....

We were in the Autogrill (restaurant) over the Autostrada A1 (highway) north of Rome (Italy), on vacation.

The restaurant is on a bridge which had been built over the highway to house the restaurant. You climb the stairs at one end, the restaurant (and a small convenience/tourist store) sits directly over the highway. Cars pass directly under you at 100kph+.

In the restaurant with us were a small number of random Italians, a small number of random tourists, a medium size group of Japanese tourists, and a larger group of Australian tourists.

As we were leaving, I was walking down the stairs and found them blocked by a group of Japanese tourists speaking in Japanese.

I haven't spoken Japanese since college, but I remember about enough to say "excuse me". I hadn't spoken Italian since high school, but it was coming back after a week in the country. So I'm sitting there behind a group of Japanese tourists, in Italy, trying to say "excuse me", and three different parts of my brain fighting for dominance and I... just... froze. My brain went into deadlock. I literally couldn't move or think straight until the Italian speaking part took control and I mumbled something in Italian and someone moved aside and I walked through and recovered.

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