For the past day, I've been at a small workshop on spectrum policy hosted by the Aspen Institute. Aspen regularly assembles key figures from the government, private sector and academia to frame emerging communications and Internet policy issues. This one was interesting. I was there to advocate open spectrum and unlicensed wireless technologies, like 802.11/WiFi. It was heartening to see the level of awareness about WiFi among the lawyers, economists, lobbyists and policy-makers. They realize something important is going on here. Still, most of them were shocked when I mentioned there are now 1.5 million WiFi cards being sold every month.Link Discuss
The TLD Secretariat could easily be a single person. Her or his allegiance would be first to the root server operators, then to the ccTLDs, and lastly to the gTLDs. A stable, well-respected, international Internet organization would appoint the TLD Secretariat. While there are benefits to having the ITU organize the ccTLD administrators, it would be completely unsuited selecting the TLD Secretariat because it isn't well regarded in the Internet community or by the root server operators. The Internet Society (ISOC) would be a much better choice.Link Discuss
Given ICANN's current penchant for secrecy and closed meetings, the new TLD Secretariat will have a harder time gaining the world's trust. Fortunately, it wouldn't be difficult to make all correspondence to and from the TLD Secretariat a matter of public record. Although this might initially cause some consternation for the commercial registries that have benefited from ICANN's methods, it will build trust in the system.
First Edition Rosetta Disk: (25 will be made, 23 remaining)Link Discuss (Thanks, jpancake!)
We are creating a limited edition run of 25 Version 1.0 Rosetta Disks and Containers, which we are offering in exchange for donations of $25,000 and above. Proceeds will support our global collection efforts to build the 1,000 language archive and complete the disk. The delivery date is the summer of 2003. You can see the design for the disk and container in the "about this project" part of our site under "concept" and "design". $25,000
Internet is for everyone - but it won't be if it cannot keep up with the explosive demand for its services, so we must dedicate ourselves to continuing its technological evolution and development of the technical standards the lie at the heart of the Internet revolution. Let us dedicate ourselves to the support of the Internet Architecture Board, the Internet Engineering Steering Group, the Internet Research Task Force, the Internet Engineering Task Force and other organizations dedicated to developing Internet technology as they drive us forward into an unbounded future. Let us also commit ourselves to support the work of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers - a key function for the Internet's operation.Link Discuss (Thanks, Katie!)
Edison Twins theme Polka Dot Door theme Take Off, Eh! Degrassi High Theme Degrassi Jr. High Theme Beachcombers Theme King of Kensington Theme Definition Theme Hockey Night in Canada (Original) Theme From Degrassi -- Zit Remedy The Littlest Hobo Theme Mr. Dressup Theme Kids In the Hall ThemeLink Discuss (Thanks, Michael!)
Papa Smurf represents Karl Marx. He is not so much the leader of the Smurfs as an equal revered by the others for his age and wisdom. He has a beard, as did Marx, and thus could conceivably be a caricature as well. And lastly, he wears red, which is the traditional colour of socialism. Brainy Smurf could represent Trotsky. He is the only one in the village who comes close to matching Papa's intellect - he is a thinker. With his round spectacles, he could also be a caricature of Trotsky. He is often isolated, ridiculed or even ejected from the commune of the village for his ideas. And of course, Trotsky was banished from the USSR.Link Discuss (Thanks, Drue!)
This is problematic and not just because it's expensive. When you convert a document, it's hard to know whether you've preserved all the parts of that doc that will be of interest to posterity -- it's impossible. For example, someone may want to dig through billions of Word docs to look at the embedded spyware GUIDs to see which modern writers were reviewing each others' works. Opening a Word 5 doc and saving it in WordXP may well eliminate that information.
The solution is emulation. Write, say, a 486 simulator that will run under a Pentium III running XP. Run Win 3.1 on the virtual machine and run Word 3 under the virtual Win 3.1. When PIIIs are in danger of obsolescence, write a PIII emulator to run on a G5 processor under OS X. Run XP on the virtual PIII, run the 486 emulator on the virtual XP, run Win 3.1 on the virtual 486 and so on -- nested Turing machines, one inside the other.
Theoretically, this eliminates the explosion of complexity; at any time, you need only know how to emulate the last generation of technology on the current gen. While there is a possiblity that the nested emulators will introduce difficult debugging problems, an emulator that runs on a gate-for-gate simulated processor should, in theory, run perfectly (what do you do about I/O? I dunno).
It's a powerful idea. Human posterity is terribly endangered by proprietary data-formats (and doubly so by DRM technology), but by funding emulator research, the LoC can preserve posterity -- just so long as Moore's Law keeps on generating CPUs that are sufficiently advanced over their predecessors that they can handily simulate them.
Of course, it's at direct odds with DRM. If I simulate your "trusted computer" in a virtual machine, I can bend the laws of time and space as far as the simulated computer goes -- like a brain in a jar with a wire running off its stem, it doesn't have any way of distinguishing those responses that are explicitly generated from those that are "real."
The MPAA's Broadcast Protection Discussion Group is establishing the principal that digital media technologies should be made tamper-resistant (read: no emulators, no open source) so that you can't intepret the "protection" as damage and route around it.
So check this out, as George begins his one-man crusade to tear apart Black Jack Valenti's prevarication:
according to the report, the "350,000 downloads" number was ginned out of a weeklong sample of IRC file-trading activity. the IRC profile was subsequently applied against "self-reporting" P2P networks (like Napster or Gnutella) activity (ie, given x nodes and y files, z files can be assumed to have been traded). the resulting numbers were smoothed out with media reports for the less transparent networks (like Aimster). I admit that this is about as thorough as you can get. it's also probably wildly inaccurate.Link Discuss
With a free-flowing id and the assistance of old-school, no-nonsense directors like Gerd Oswald and Byron Haskin, Stefano established "The Outer Limits'" uneasy tone and celebratedly gothic atmosphere in the stellar episodes he wrote. Among these were "Don't Open Till Doomsday," a deliciously unctuous take on frustrated desire featuring a belligerent phallo-vaginal blob, coitus interruptus on a cosmic scale and several Stefano-penned songs; "The Bellero Shield," a spin on "Macbeth" with a shimmering space creature as inadvertent Player King; "The Invisibles," in which crablike aliens botch a takeover of the human race by commandeering its most marginalized members; and "Nightmare," a prescient look at the internal and external bonds that disintegrate during wartime. Some of his other efforts, such as "A Feasibility Study," "The Mice" and "The Zanti Misfits" (which features the series' best-remembered monsters, a race of fist-sized ants with leering human faces), were less cohesive but no less distinctiveLink Discuss (Thanks, Marc!)
* Aggregate (i.e. read and blog) RSS syndicated feeds of about any flavour via a simple command-line interfaceLink Discuss (Thanks, Rael!)
* Simpler than pie drag-n-drop installation
* Small (<= 46 lines of actual code ;-) and lightweight
* Makes use of all the operating system and Web server beneath its feet have to offer
* Doesn't even require an XML parser (whatever that is ;-)
Opium-Inspired Ad Executive Composes Epic Tums JingleLink Discuss (This one's for you, Grad!)
CHICAGO— An eight-hour opium binge resulted in a towering work of advertising Sunday, when DDB Needham copywriter Brian Lisi gave birth to an epic 400-line radio jingle for Tums. "When Vulcan's fires spout and rage / within a roiling acid sea / let work the soothing tablet Tums / The Hell-sear'd forge within becomes / sweet alkaloid esprit," the jingle begins before detouring into iceberg imagery believed to represent Tums' new "Cool Relief" flavor. The ad, which begins production in June, is expected to run nearly 90 minutes.
Plans call for the line to stretch up to seven miles by the time construction ends later this decade, with stops at most casinos, downtown and the local convention center. Sleek bullet-shaped trains will be run by computers, not drivers, and travel up to 50 miles per hour on a winding route above roadways.Link Discuss (via /.)
There will also be unusual safeguards. Since more than a few riders here are bound to be sloshed by more than a few drinks, every stop will be walled and sealed in glass, with doors timed to open only at the moment trains arrive -- so no one in a stupor falls from a platform.
The essayist's point is that publishers -- either by deliberate collusion or economic forces -- have harmonized their standard, non-negotiable boilerplate contracts, and that this leaves authors with no choice: Sign the contract or publish it yourself. He goes so far as to call it anti-trust.
For the record, the book contracts I've signed have been, on the whole, fair. The only parts I've ever taken serious issue with that I haven't been able to negotiate are the occassional nondisclosure clauses. When you're writing a book where you're a domain expert, it's hard to determine what information you learned in confidence versus information you came by over your transom. The other thing I've objected to is the "reasonable" withholding against returns, which is a pretty ugly practice, since it never specifies the definition of "reasonable."
OTOH, I did turn down a nonfic contract recently, after my agent looked it over and pronounced it completely unworkable. He sent the publisher a letter asking for a real contract and the publisher never wrote back. Que sera, sera. Link Discuss (Thanks, Pat!)
John Ivers wanted to see a roller coaster.Link Discuss (Thanks, Michael!)
So he built one -- a real, working roller coaster 180 feet long, 20 feet high, and complete with a 360-degree corkscrew. It goes over his steeply angled barn roof, wraps around a nearby Chinese elm and comes to a roaring stop in about 11 seconds