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Archive: December 9, 2004

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the gravity bill

Thursday,  12/09/04  07:32 AM

I had always thought we'd have to pay for anti-gravity.
(new yorker, 12/04/06)


phoning home

Thursday,  12/09/04  08:38 AM

If you want to support our troops and help someone less fortunate this Holiday Season, consider donating phone cards to wounded troops.  You can send phone cards of any amount to:

Medical Family Assistance Center
Walter Reed Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20307-5001

Apparently they need an "endless" supply of these -- any amount even $5 is greatly appreciated.  Walmart has good prices on AT&T cards, Sams Club is even better, if you are a member.

military phone cardYou can buy phone cards for troops online as well.

Please pass this on, copy and paste it into your e-mail, and send to everyone you know.  These men and women are supporting us, now let's support them!


extreme dialup

Thursday,  12/09/04  10:59 PM

I had a good day today.  Got a lot done.  Enjoyed being with my kids.  In fact only one bad thing happened today, but it was bad; MY DSL WENT DOWN!  Gasp!!  How can anyone survive life without broadband, especially in December, and especially when hosting ten websites?

So I called Verizon, and predictably they didn't find anything wrong, and have "opened a trouble ticket".  I asked for a prognosis and they said these kinds of problems are usually resolved within 24-48 hours.  What!  You want me to be down for two days!!  Okay, stay calm.  I made a dial-up connection from my laptop to, my trusty ISP going back for about ten years, and poked around a bit.  I found a diagnostic program on the Westell website for my DSL modem.  This program cannot even find the DSL modem, let alone diagnose it.  I'm guessing the modem has died.  It will take Verizon days to agree and more days to ship me a new modem.  So I'm down.  I can dial-up from my laptop, but my network is down.  Sigh.

airport extreme - the dial-up gateway!But wait!  I have an Airport Extreme wireless access point - and it has a built in V.90 dial backup facility!  To make a not-so-very-long story short, I was able to configure the access point to act as a dial-up gateway to my account, so here I am, with my entire network running on a V.90 dial-up at 56K.  Yeah, my websites are slow, and yeah, surfing is a bit slow, but email and RSS are working just fine, and everything is up.  If you are reading this, you are reading it over a dial-up connection.

I knew Apple's wireless hubs were cool, but this is really cool.  And it isn't even a feature I would have ever looked for or cared about until now.  Excellent.

P.S. I have modified my page template to eliminate all unnecessary images.  Not too bad, eh?  Who knows, I might leave it this way.  What do you think?


Thursday,  12/09/04  11:13 PM

Poking around the 'net at 56K, here's what we find...

The Economist ponders America's One-Party State.  "If you loathe political debate, join the faculty of an American university...  Academia is simultaneously both the part of America that is most obsessed with diversity, and the least diverse part of the country."  A great point, and well made.  Some would say this is an IQ-driven thing (smarter people vote blue) but I would suggest a role-driven thing (people with skin in the game for red).

Ethan Zuckerman is looking for a name for 4.8B people!  There are 800M people currently "on" the Internet, and then there is "the next billion".  Which leaves 4.8B people which are neither currently "on" nor about to be.  Check out the comment thread as well...  My personal favorite is "The Unwired".

LGF reports French Winemakers are Whining.  "'We are a sector in crisis,' said Jean-Michel Lemetayer, the head of France’s main farmer union, urging the state to bail out an industry awash in a sea of Chablis and Bordeaux.  France’s wine industry, which employs about 500,000 people, says exports through Aug. 31 dropped by more than 5.5 percent in volume and 9.6 percent in value."  Boo hoo.  Interesting that they don't mention France's increasingly hostile relationship with the U.S., which is obviously a key factor.

This is great news: The Commercial Spaceflight Bill has passed!  "Under this legislation, the FAA's role until 2012 will be to protect the uninvolved public on the ground, and allow passengers to ride as long as they've been properly informed of the related dangers."  This will greatly reduce the liability of private spaceflight pioneers, reducing cost and making space tourism much more feasible.

AdAge has a terrific story Dissecting the wreckage of airline marketing disasters.  "In retrospect, it's easy to see the fallacy of an all-forks strategy.  But in the short term, many of these marketing moves increased revenues and profits.  It's only in the long term, and in the presence of narrowly focused competition, does an all-forks strategy fall apart."  This is a great analysis; why are Southwest and Jet Blue viable, yet United, American, and Delta are hovering on the brink of disaster?  [ via Doc Searles, in a post titled "Customers to airlines, go fork yourself" ]

F.A.O.Schwarz - they're back!Oh my gosh - F.A.O.Schwarz is back!  Too bad they're not bringing Zainy Brainy back with them.  One of the few crummy things about shopping for Christmas this year has been doing it at Toys 'R' Us instead  >:(

Vonage Viseon phoneThe new VoIP?  Not voice, but video!  Leading voice-over-IP providers Vonage and VoicePulse are both planning video-over-IP services.  Excellent!  That should finish off whatever is left of the analog phone companies...  Apparently Vonage is introducing a $600 phone called the Videon (pictured at right); this seems like a high price point, but maybe it will be okay for early adopters.

Matt Haughey had a chance to try a hacked DirecTivo.  "Once you've got a DirecTiVo on the network, you can use TiVoWebPlus as a front-end to add shows, sort recordings, and do some deep searching.  Along with the included FTP and telnet, you can extend the basic toolkit in all sorts of ways.  This is really exciting stuff, and the start of the perfect TiVo toolset I always dreamed of having."

Matt also interviews Margaret Schmidt, Tivo's Director of User Experience.  Matt fails to ask the key question, how does Tivo balance the conflicting needs of their consumer users and their advertiser customers?  I wonder what she thinks of displaying ads during fast-forwarding!

Oh, and here's a review of BeyondTV, a PC-based PVR from SnapStream which really seems to be as easy to use as a Tivo.  Almost :)  The screen shots look very nice, anyway.

And of course, Video Feeds Follow Podcasting.  "We think of it internally as TiVocasting.  It's one thing to have a bunch of video files dumped into a folder on your desktop.  The interesting future is when it is put into a TiVo-style mechanism."  Yep.

A boy and his dog - in spaceA boy and his dog - in space.  By Floyd Darrin Perry, former Creative Director for Wired, who recently passed away...

Open Pro 60 dinghyJust a big dinghy?  The Open Pro 60 looks like it, doesn't it?  Amazing.  Must be fun - and just a bit exciting, too.  [ via The Horse's Mouth ]

Gerard Van Der Leun, The Name in the Stone.  Great post, very moving.

Om Malik thinks the personal blog is dead.  Um, not quite.  Bloggers are terrific filters.  The bigger the net gets, the more need there will be for filtering...   [ via Scoble, who is a great filter himself ]

Heck, even Eliot Spitzer has a blog.

Finally, my DSL is down - boo! - maybe I should blame it on Christmas Lights?


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Correlation vs. Causality
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