Critical Section

Archive: June 6, 2003

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Friday,  06/06/03  10:39 AM

The U.S. joins the SARS victim community: Nine cases reported in North Carolina.

Oracle has launched a hostile takeover bid for Peoplesoft.  Interesting.  "This is a consolidating industry," said Ellison. "Only the strong get stronger."  I'm a little confused about what industry is consolidating...  business software?  Software in general?  This seems like a preemptive strike to take out a competitor, nothing more.  Very little value gets created in this type of deal.

Takeovers to take out a competitor are like patent fights.  Lots of value sucked off by the lawyers, nothing new created, nobody benefits.  Pure defense.

When I was at Digital Insight, early on we had a chance to buy a smaller competitor.  Some in our team thought it was a great idea, good synergy, etc.  Paul Fiore, our CEO, thought it was a terrible idea.  Paraphrasing: "The only real synergy is the customers.  Instead of buying all those customers, let's just take them in the market one-by-one."  And we did.  Pure offense.

3Leaf posts a great list of attributes desired in a new hire.  I like #2: "You are not arrogant. If you're not arrogant, but everyone else seems to think you're arrogant, then for the purposes of this discussion, you're arrogant."  I guess I don't qualify :)Business Card Cubes

Ned Batchelder: Business Card Cubes.  I like it!

The 37th Carnival of the Vanities is up (but who's counting).  They're getting longer - lots of blogsurfing to do.  They should have an RSS feed.  Oh, but there is no they.  Yet.  There could be a they.  Hmm...

My pick from this litter is Daniel, etc.  (I put him on my extended blogroll.)  After reading I really like Daniel.  Isn't it so much more attractive when people don't try hard to be attractive?

Have you ever wondered if SCSI is really better than IDE?  If so, then this article is for you.  The punch line: yes, SCSI is faster, especially for a Windows boot drive.  Interesting...

Boing Boing notes: "It costs NASA less to send a probe to Mars than it would cost Hollywood to make a movie about it."

Agent SmithElrondGreg Costikyan was"inspired" by the fact that actor Hugo Weaving plays both Elrond and Agent Smith:

"You seem to live two lives, Mr. Baggins.  In one, you are a peaceful and productive resident of the Shire.  In the other, you flit about the world in the company of wizards, dwarves, and other low lives, apparently attempting to hurl a magic ring into a volcano."

"One of these paths has a future, Mr. Baggins."

[ Later: I was thinking about this.  The Matrix is designed to fool humans being used as batteries into thinking they're living "normal" lives so they function normally.  But what's "normal"?  Couldn't there be more than one matrix?  Perhaps Middle Earth is a matrix.  Perhaps the elves are really agents.  Perhaps Elrond is Agent Smith.  (Perhaps I have stretched this too far...) ]


Friday,  06/06/03  12:47 PM

QOTD from Phil Wolff: "RSS newsreaders are Tivo for bloggers".  [via Doc Searls ]  This is cute but wrong.  Tivo does three main things:

  1. It timeshifts television content.  You can watch what you want when you want.
  2. It allows you to fast-forward through commercials.
  3. It finds things it knows you will like based on experience.

So RSS newsreaders do none of these things.  Blogs don't need timeshifting, because Internet content can always be accessed when you want.  It doesn't do anything like skipping commercials.  It doesn't find anything you didn't explicitly tell it to aggregate.  Newsreaders also change the program by displaying an abstracted version, unlike Tivo which displays the original content "as is".  So the analogy is useless.

However, I have come around to using an RSS aggregator, I use SharpReader all the time.  It helps me discover when blogs I like have new content; it is faster than blogsurfing.  SharpReader is my favorite because blog contents look almost like they do in a web browser (they are actually displayed by the IE ActiveX control).

Just signed Lawrence Lessig's petition: Reclaim the Public Domain.  Please read it and if you agree with it, sign it.  This is really important, in the last fifty years the concept of intellectual property ownership has gotten completely out of control.

"We, the undersigned, while believing in the importance of copyright, also believe in the importance of the public domain.  We believe the public domain is crucial to the spread of knowledge and culture, and crucial in assuring access to our past.  We therefore write to petition you to reconsider major changes that you have made to the copyright system.  These changes unnecessarily threaten the public domain without any corresponding benefit to copyright holders."

FuturePundit: Altruistic Punishment and Genetic Engineering of the Mind.  Wow.  Unintentionally makes a strong case for doing something about Unnatural Selection.

Here's an interesting report on an Apple meeting with independent labels.  Some iTunes Music store statistics: 6-6M copies of iTunes have been downloaded.  The store sells 500K songs per month, and 45% are purchased as albums.  75% of the 200K songs have been sold at least once.  90% of sales are one-click downloads.  There are 10 previews for every buy.

For indy labels, there is no cost to list music on iTunes, and no advance payments.  "We're going to give so you the same deal as the big five [labels] - take it or leave it.  This is a reseller agreement, Apple buys at the wholesale price, and sells retail.  No complicated licenses."

Pearl Jam is leaving Epic, their label, after 12 years.  "But this is more than just another band leaving just another label... because the band may no long require the services of a major label."  Wow, they're going to sell music directly from their website, only.  I wonder if they'll make a deal directly with the iTunes Music Store?

In related news, Wired notes iTunes music swap just won't die.

Andrew Anker says Don't Take the Money.  An interesting post in response to Joel's Fixing Venture Capital article.

Ronald Piquepaille spends a night in a room from the future.  Only it isn't the future, of course, it is the sometime present.

Dave Winer: New York Times archive and weblogs.  Progress getting the NYT to keep their archives available for linking.  But I don't get it yet - are only Dave's links going to stay valid?  Will mine?  Stay tuned.

Wired: Phoning over WiFi getting easier.  This is going to be very interesting...  Already my phone (a Treo) is basically a computer on a digital network.  But it is a closed network belonging to Spring.  What if it could join the open network belonging to nobody?

WiFi Speed Spray.  I am not making this up.  But they are :)


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Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
Aperio's Mission = Automating Pathology
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
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Moving Mount Fuji The Nest Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
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solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
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On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
triple double
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how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
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your cat for my car
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world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
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introducing eyesFinder
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where are the desktop apps?