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Permanent link to archive for Thursday, December 25, 2003. Thursday, December 25, 2003

Microsoft has announced a unique approach to stopping spam. "For any piece of e-mail I send, it will take a small amount computing power of about 10 to 20 seconds. When you see that proof, you treat that message with more priority." Normal email senders won't notice the delay and filters on your mail client will be able to tell high priority mail from low priority spam. Very clever. I was briefed on it a few months ago, and as long as they are making the technique freely available I support it. If it's another patent gateway I'm afraid we're just trading the evil of spam for another evil. Which is lesser is a good question. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The RSS-User mail list is a miracle. It's the first time, to my knowledge, that there's been a discussion of RSS that wasn't dominated by developers. All I'm doing so far is approving messages, I just posted a couple at the start. I won't let through messages that are developer issues or ad hominems. Should have done this a long time ago. BTW, on some blogs they're saying my stint at Berkman is about to run out. Although I've asked them to run corrections, they haven't. So I'll correct it here. My fellowship goes through the end of next semester, and we're working on plans that go beyond that. Nothing in life is certain of course, but I hope to be employed by Harvard for quite some time, Murphy-willing of course.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

BBC: "The prospects for the Beagle 2 lander on Mars look increasingly gloomy after a radio sweep of the planet failed to detect any sign of the UK-built probe." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Steve Pomeroy: "Another fun (though scary) computer-generated Xmas song is this MBrola test file." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Dare Obasanjo: "My day job involves reading or writing specs all day. Most of the specs I read either were produced by the W3C or by folks within Microsoft. Every one of them contains contradictions, ambiguities and lack crucial information for determining in edge cases. Some are better than others but they all are never well-defined enough. Every spec has errata." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Today's song: "Oh the weather outside is frightful.." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Computer rendition of Let It Snow.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Demo of the Creative Rhomba for my parents. Here's me singing Let It Snow (it's not snowing in NY today). Happy holidays boys and girls!  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named xmasTree.gifFinal challenge for the morning -- hooking up a Ceiva digital picture frame. It has to connect to the phone line. The phone cable they gave us with the unit, with standard phone jacks at either end, doesn't fit into the back of the unit. We spent a half-hour trying different angles, it just doesn't fit. Then we tried taking the cord that connects the base unit of an old Princess-type phone to its handset, and that fits. Unfortunately that won't fit into the wall. I'm afraid this one has me licked. (For now.) Permanent link to this item in the archive.

My next challenge -- figure out how to get my Sony DSC-P9 camera to connect to my IBM laptop over USB. In the past, when I used a Sony laptop I could just pop the memory stick out of the camera and plop it into the laptop. The IBM, as far as I know, doesn't have a memory stick slot. So when I plug the USB cable in, nothing shows up on the desktop. I assume this means I have to install some software on the laptop. (Postscript: I just had to turn the camera on. D'oh!) Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named rhomba.jpgDriving from Boston to NYC my Creative Rhomba went kaput saying things like English Font Only and get new firmware from I didn't have a chance to look it up till now, doing a quick search on Google turns up lots of people getting the same messages. Where do you get new firmware? If you got it how would you install it? Geez Louise. It's not heavy enough to be a boat anchor. (Postscript: A pointer to the answer was on Creative's European support forum. Users to the rescue. Bing.) Permanent link to this item in the archive.

BBC: No Mars signal from Beagle probePermanent link to this item in the archive.

Philadelphia Inquirer: "Air France canceled six flights between Paris and Los Angeles yesterday after U.S. intelligence reports indicated that al-Qaeda might be planning to hijack aircraft for a Sept 11-style suicide attack, US officials said." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Channel Z status -- I'm using it every day, in fact I'm using it to write this post. At some point I plan to put in another month or so of intense work, not sure exactly when. Now I'm gaining experience as a user. And my experience as a developer with thousands of users of new Web authoring software has taught me to go slow at this stage. Once deployed, the demands of users get overwhelming quickly.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

B52s: "I am living on Channel Z." Me too! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Followup on yesterday's editorial Permanent link to this item in the archive.

There's been a bunch of comment on my editorial yesterday, most of it missing the point, widely. Candidates have to earn my vote, and they won't if they say one thing and do another. They don't stand a chance competing with commercial software developers, yet that's exactly what two leading candidates are doing. Further, the software market in America is depressed, and I think that's partly caused by people expecting to get software for free.

A candidate who wanted to help software jobs come back to NH, a high-tech state, could do something right now to help. No need to wait till they're elected. And I don't agree with people who say the candidate's job is to get elected. Sure, that's probably the way the candidate views it. But I'm not a candidate, I'm a member of the electorate and a taxpayer. I've yet to vote in a presidential election that means something. I'd like to, someday. I honestly don't think this is the year, but I'm doing my part to shift the focus to the voters and away from 60-second TV commercials. What are you doing?

BTW, Dean is a very average candidate. His handlers ought to tell him to answer questions frankly. He got a question about the airplane they were using and tax dodges. He was asked if the story was true and he said No, and didn't comment further. He said some really nasty personal things about George Bush and John Kerry, kind of schoolyard stuff. Not something you'd expect from a Presidential candidate. That people are rallying around this guy gives you an idea how desperate we are for leadership. I think we can do better, much better.

About open source being un-American --> wrong. It's almost totally American. Think about all the big open source titles, projects all led by Americans (or Fins living in America). Sometimes I wonder if these people even bother to read the things they critique.

Some critics have pointed out that I've done plenty of software for free. True. In fact, since 1988 I've only done software for free. Did it make me happy? No. I yearn to be paid for software again. I've learned, the hard way, that people don't appreciate stuff they get for nothing.

Jay McCarthy: "The point should not be to get elected to office. The point should be to be the person who the people want to be in office. Don't convince them, be their voice."


Last update: Thursday, December 25, 2003 at 10:49 PM Eastern.

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