Microsoft Responds to Yahoo! Announcement

I don’t know about you, but I think this statement:

It is unfortunate that Yahoo! has not embraced our full and fair proposal to combine our companies. Based on conversations with stakeholders of both companies, we are confident that moving forward promptly to consummate a transaction is in the best interests of all parties.

read more | digg story

Should be read with a Darth Vader respirator wheeze in the background.

“I find your lack of faith most disturbing.”

I maintain several lists on Yahoo!groups as well as a Yahoo! mail and IM address. If Microsoft successfully takes over Yahoo!, I will be ending my use of all Yahoo! services.

I refuse to be bullied by the monopolist from Redmond.

Googlism: the one true religion

Jay Garmon. Again:

the ultimate example of tech industry hero worship: The Church of Google. In what is (probably) an exercise in gleeful snark, this church promotes the notion that not only is Google a god, but that “She” is a more useful object of worship than most competing theological entities. After all, Google queries are prayers that actually get answered, though often mysteriously.

read more | digg story

The ten commandments were a nice touch, but Google cannot be god, because the Flying Spaghetti Monster is god. Get it right, man.

I want to live in a surveillance society

The title might give you pause, but if you read far enough into the article, you stumble across this comment:

Shouldn’t recording your own police interrogation be a constitutionally protected right, like the right to an attorney? If not, why not?

read more | digg story

The subtitle did it for me. “Big Brother is always watching you. But who’s watching Big Brother?” You can always get me with a 1984 reference; and truthfully, why shouldn’t you be able to produce your own record of a police encounter, or an interrogation, etc?

Happy birthday TCP/IP

So today marks the anniversary of the adoption of TCP/IP. 24 years ago today, the internet as we navigate it today was formed.

The only reason I know this is because it’s linked to the google logo on my home page (digg it if you must) I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I click on a link telling me about a revolutionary process that was adopted sometime in the distant past (distant for some of you; I distinctly remember 1983. I graduated technical school and was dumped by my high school sweetheart. It was a great year) I want to know what the mystical acronym means. I had to go to look it up on Wikipedia just to find a description that passed for layman’s terms:

The Internet protocol suite is the set of communications protocols that implement the protocol stack on which the Internet and most commercial networks run. It has also been referred to as the TCP/IP protocol suite, which is named after two of the most important protocols in it: the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP), which were also the first two networking protocols defined. Today’s IP networking represents a synthesis of two developments that began in the 1970s, namely LANs (Local Area Networks) and the Internet, both of which have revolutionized computing.

…and no, I didn’t know what TCP/IP meant until I looked it up. Yes, I know, a self-respecting geek should know these things. That’s what happens when you get to geekiness through scifi and gaming, rather than through rich parents who can afford to pay for the latest hardware as it rolls off the assembly line (do you know how much an Altair cost when it was new? As much as my first car. I’d rather have had the car) I never needed to know what it meant to make the household LAN work, or to make the browser go where I wanted it. So sue me.

Don’t mind the attitude. It’s the tail-end of mean champagne buzz. Time for some coffee and breakfast burritos. Happy New Year.

Amazon Un-box; Uninterested

Talk about false advertising. Got a message in the inbox promoting:

Amazon Unbox Holiday Treats: No-Cost, Exclusive, and Topselling Downloads

I don’t know how many people checked into this, but I’ve been intrigued for quite some time about the future of media on the internet, so I thought I would check it out.

First off, if you want to find the No-Cost portion of the advertisement, you have to dig pretty hard. Some of the No-Cost content is labeled, but you have to actually go several layers into the transaction before you can select the No-Cost portion of the content that you want to try out.

No-Cost isn’t really being truthful, either. Oh, it’s true you don’t have to pay anything, in the way of money up front; however, you have to submit to downloading their viewer (which has exclusive rights to play their content) and you can only play the content on one system; nor can you burn it to disk to play it on a standard DVD player. So if the system you download the content onto isn’t the one you want to finally play the content on, you’re out of luck, and into the Cost part of No-Cost if you want to actually view the content.

Never mind some of the horror stories circling the net about lost downloads and Tivo’s; I have a hard time believing that Amazon would not refund a transaction that didn’t end satisfactorily for the customer, but I’m not willing to hazard even a few bucks on the service until there is some process in place for allowing me to watch purchased material wherever and whenever I want.

[FYI Hollywood mogul types; this is what it means to ‘buy’ something. You get to use it the way you please; and, by the way, the Torrent files I download for free don’t have any restrictions on them. Yes, I haven’t purchased any rights when I download a torrent file, but I don’t appear to have any rights when I do put out cash for properly licensed material anyway, so I don’t see the downside for me; well, other than being hounded into the grave by bloodsucking corporate hacks with nothing better to do than punish their customers]

Until that time, when I have rights to use the material in a normal fashion (i.e. play it in the average video player, display it on the average TV screen) I’ll be sticking to purchasing plain old (used/cheap) DVD’s and ‘free’ torrent downloads.

My apologies if your children don’t get to attend Harvard because of this. My children might actually be able to attend college on the money I save (did I mention I was skipping out on the upgrade to HD-DVD/Blueray? There’s some major savings there) What an ironic turn of events.

‘Former’ Palm user?

I’m beginning to think it’s time to trade up.

I’ve carried a Palm device since Handspring first offered it’s Visor. While I was content to nestle in the (expensive) corporate software world that Bill and his buddies have carved out, Palm desktop’s Windows exclusive interface was not a problem. Now that I’ve struck out into the (nearly) trackless wilderness of Linux, trying to get my Palm devices to reliably sync with any version of Linux has proven to be more problematic than I had ever envisioned.

Consequently, I was heartened to hear that Android rolled-out the long awaited open source OS for the as yet sight unseen gPhone.

By creating an open platform, Google is trying to make money not on software or hardware sales, but by creating vast hordes of ad-susceptible phone users. Google can be less selfish about design, and less worried about stumbles on the road to perfection. Google boss Eric Schmidt told us today that they would not be in the business of clamping down on independent development, and from the sound of it, would be encouraging carriers to adopt a hands-off policy toward third-party development.

Gizmodo – Analysis: Google’s Android Phone and the Four Carriers

Intrigued by this development, I wandered by the Engadget site, only to discover that

Palm, which has been struggling for years through countless setbacks to introduce its own Linux-based mobile OS, in the mean time using a continuously cobbled-together version of Palm OS 5 (originally introduced in 2002) throughout. Palm’s first attempt at a next-gen mobile OS, dubbed Cobalt, is announced in 2004 and quickly becomes the stuff of vaporware legend, delayed over and over until ACCESS eventually buys the flagging PalmSource (more here on how that whole thing went down); ACCESS pledges to finish development of Palm’s misplaced next-gen mobile OS, and then license it back to Palm (among other companies).

But Palm’s had enough, so earlier this year it announces its intentions to release its own Linux-based OS — again — but this time without the help of its spin-off sister company Palm Source (which, of course, is now a part of ACCESS). And that new OS is quickly hyped and lauded — and then delayed. Yet again. Pushed back into late 2008 at the earliest (although we won’t be surprised if Palm revises and makes that 2009 or even later). And so we ask, Palm, where the hell were you when Google was rallying its Open Handset Alliance?

engadget – Palm: assimilate with Android or die

Yes, where the hell were you, Palm? Why am I still forced to juggle an OS that has essentially remained unchanged since 2002 with newer and faster PC’s and their constantly updated OS’s? Why hasn’t a shift to a Linux based Palm OS come about? Why is the Palm Desktop still exclusively set up for corporate software solutions (Windows/Mac)?

Most importantly, will I have to endure a brain transplant? Long before the iPhone ad, or even the iPhone itself, I frequently referred to my Palm device as my brain. So will I need to get a brain transplant? Will I have to find some other smartphone manufacturer’s product that I can make myself understand in order to get a device that plays well with the OS that I intend to use for the foreseeable future? A Linux OS?

Will we ever see a gPhone? Google executives won’t say … yet. For now, Google CEO Eric Schmidt says there will be a variety of Android phones offered by several wireless carriers. But even without a dedicated gPhone, we can all look forward to a software platform designed to better the user experience, while also being light on the pocketbook. All the while, Google is extending its seemingly endless grip on the technological world.

TradingMarkets.com Google platform challenges Mac, PC markets

So, in the meantime, I’ll keep carrying my Treo 650. I’m just not sure what manufacturer I’ll be purchasing my next device from.


2019 – It was LG. That was the next phone. LG, then HTC, Then a Nexus 5. I’m currently using a Motorola/Lenovo G5. Get me as close to pure Android as I can get, please. That’s what I’ve determined that I want. As open source as I can get without having to program it directly myself, please.

Connect America = Control of the Internet

It’s not making much news, but Hillary Clinton has a proposal that should have all of us running away from her in abject terror.

No, it’s not the completely predictable proposal to force us all to pay for health insurance (that’s a yawner, from where I’m sitting) it’s the story being reported in this AP news story:

Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday called for a national broadband Internet system and permanent research tax credits…
“The nation that invented the Internet is now ranked about 25th in access to it,” Clinton said in her latest speech directed at the middle class appeals.
Called “Connect America,” Clinton’s broadband network would give businesses incentives to go into underserved areas, support state- and local-based initiatives and change the Federal Communication Commission rules to more accurately measure Internet access.

Can we say FCC as a national internet service provider (ISP)? If a federal agency is given authority over the internet, can there be any doubt that they will become the ultimate ISP, and govern the internet as they govern television and radio broadcast. Even beyond that, rules changes allowing FCC regulation of the internet will give the FCC regulation of cable television as well.

Let’s imagine, shall we, that the self same government agency that has so famously declared certain words as unspeakable over the airwaves, and certain body parts as unviewable on television, can now determine what will or will not be acceptable on the internet.

Obviously there will be no more porn (and no more porn channels on pay-per-view, either) but that’s just the start. How about access to information on sex education? How about medical journals? And why stop there? How about an internet ‘fairness doctrine’. Political forums would be subject to requirements concerning equal times on the forum for dissenting views, or be faced with closure.

But that’s also only the surface. This is where the real money is. Access to all materials that have ‘cloudy’ licensing issues will be blocked. Peer to peer will be history. Torrents a thing of the past. If you want music or movies, software or whatever, you will have to go to the license holders and pay whatever price they ask. No more testing on the QT to make sure the product will work for you, not unless you can find someone with a duplicatible hard copy. No more catching that missed episode of you favorite TV show by accessing a torrent file.

“Follow the money” the saying goes, and I think I can spot where the money is coming from, and where it will be going, if Hillary gets her wish on this issue. Forget socialized medicine; we’re talking basic information access here.

But that’s also just the tip of the iceberg. Putting the gov’t in charge of internet access puts us in the same category as China; where anything the gov’t doesn’t approve of will be blocked. It opens up the door to a 1984 type scenario where information and history are completely malleable, where truth is whatever those in charge deem it to be at any given moment (we have always been at war with Eastasia…) because they can simply dictate that the records be changed, and there won’t even be the gaping holes in the photographs next to Stalin to point out that something is missing.

Is anyone still so naive as to think that once the camel’s nose is under the tent that the whole camel won’t shortly follow? That giving the gov’t the ability to provide access to the internet won’t eventually lead to active control of content? It’s happening now everywhere the gov’t is involved; the internet will be no different, and is already no different in places where internet access is provided at gov’t expense; the attempts to control content in libraries are a shining example of this.

We should run screaming from suggestions such as the one floated by Ms. Clinton. Better yet, we should vow never to listen to (much less elect) someone with such a shaky notion of what real freedom is.


I left that screaming tirade just the way I wrote it. Get a load of that guy, would you? What I find amusing is the fact that no one coined the term Hillary Derangement Syndrome in her entire time in politics, but they sure are quick to jump to the defense of demonstrably insane conservatives by calling their opponents insane.

Mea culpa review 2018. I have eaten a Big Bowl of Crow since publishing this and other thoughts on many subjects. Here is the text of the AP article I was whingeing on about. I can’t find it anywhere on the internet, but I just happened to have saved a copy,

The Associated Press Go to Google News
Clinton: Internet Access Key to Economy
By PHILIP ELLIOTT – Oct 10, 2007


MERRIMACK, N.H. (AP) — Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday called for a national broadband Internet system and permanent research tax credits, while also quoting comedian Stephen Colbert for the second time in a week in a swipe at the Bush administration.

The Democratic front-runner and New York senator said that if elected she would invest in high-tech fields in order to sustain the high-tech jobs that are critical to economic prosperity and strengthening the middle class.

“The nation that invented the Internet is now ranked about 25th in access to it,” Clinton said in her latest speech directed at the middle class appeals.

Called “Connect America,” Clinton’s broadband network would give businesses incentives to go into underserved areas, support state- and local-based initiatives and change the Federal Communication Commission rules to more accurately measure Internet access.

“I see this problem in New York. A lot of the utilities don’t want to connect up our isolated, rural areas. And they also don’t want particularly to go into our underserved, poor, urban areas because there’s so much money that can be made in Manhattan and our suburban areas,” Clinton said. “It was like when we had to electrify the country in the 1930s. Utilities didn’t electrify places because it wasn’t cost effective for them to do so. Well, we’ve got to play catch-up.”

Clinton said the Internet is the new necessity for economic development.

“In the 19th century, we invested in railroads. In the 20th century, we built the interstate highway system. In the 21st century information economy we need to invest in our information infrastructure.”

Clinton also advocated making permanent the research and experimentation tax credits, which more than 15,000 companies have used since they began 1981.

“We cannot rebuild a strong and prosperous middle class if we don’t have a new source of new jobs,” Clinton said. “Our country is a country of innovators. We’re not acting like it right now, but we have all the potential to get into gear quickly.”

Clinton also repeated a pledge made last week in a speech to the Carnegie Institution for Science to give researchers increased freedom and to end the politicization on science. She cited Colbert, the Comedy Central news anchor with a pseudo-conservative personality.

“To paraphrase Stephen Colbert, that great philosopher, this administration doesn’t make decisions based on facts, it makes facts based on decisions,” Clinton said to laughter. “By ignoring or manipulating science the Bush administration is letting our economic competitors get an edge in the global economy.”

Later Wednesday, Clinton lashed out at Republican activists for questioning the financial need of a 12-year-old who spoke up on behalf of Democrats who sought an extension of the State Child Health Insurance Program. Bush vetoed the bill that would have done so.

Some conservative bloggers suggested the family of Graeme Frost had granite counters in its Baltimore home and could afford health insurance. The family said its counters are made of concrete.

“I don’t mind them picking on me; they’ve done it for years,” Clinton said to laughter from the audience at Symphony Hall in Boston. “You know, I think I’ve proven I can take care of myself against all of them.

“But President Bush and the Republicans should lay off Graeme Frost and all the other children who are getting health care because we have decided to do the right thing in America,” Clinton said.

Associated Press writer Glen Johnson in Boston contributed to this report.

Hosted by Google
Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Reading back through that press release, I can’t tell the difference between what I think the internet should be now, and what she was talking about then. Since the Orange Hate-Monkey has nixed the net neutrality rules that we fought so hard to see put in place, we are now dominated by corporate information providers who can shut any or all of us off for whatever reason they like even though the internet is the only way to get some forms of business transacted these days. If the FCC ran it, and that isn’t even what she was talking about but let’s go worst case, at least they would be required to provide me with internet access. Corporations do not have to suffer the indignities of serving the poor and undeserving, even when denying service is the same thing as signing a death warrant. 

Mars Rovers – Still exploring the red planet

I have been waiting for news that the rovers had survived the dust storms. I apparently missed it.

Mars Rovers Survive Severe Dust Storms, Ready for Next Objectives

Two months after sky-darkening dust from severe storms nearly killed NASA’s Mars exploration rovers, the solar-powered robots are awake and ready to continue their mission. Opportunity`s planned descent into the giant Victoria Crater was delayed, but now the rover is preparing to drive into the half-mile diameter crater as early as Sept. 11.

read more | digg story

Not only did they survive, but they’re mission has been extended yet again.

NASA Extends Mars Rover Mission a Fifth Time

The twin rovers landed on Mars in January 2004 on a mission originally planned to last only 90 days. That was 45 months, or nearly four years, ago. Both robots recently survived a series of global dust storms that threatened to end the mission by blocking sunlight to their solar panels.

read more | digg story

The most impressive stat in the article is the lifespan of the robots on Mars.

The twin rovers landed on Mars in January 2004 on a mission originally planned to last only 90 days. That was 45 months, or nearly four years, ago.

What’s Going to Replace Gasoline?

I’ve blogged on the subject of Alternative Fuel in the past. Others are now running polls on the subject. Here’s the results of one of them:

When asked, “what will be the next best automobile alternative to petroleum?” here’s how nearly 16,000 people responded:

  • 33% chose hydrogen fuel cells
  • 21% chose biofuels
  • 21% chose electric (battery)
  • 17% chose unknown/no opinion
  • 2% chose compressed natural gas
  • 2% chose liquefied natural gas
  • 1% chose liquefied petroleum gas

As you can see, not are there a lot of possible options, but we’re pretty well divided between those options. Each alternative fuel has its pros and cons, but it unfortunately it appears that it’s the lack of definitive information that’s making it difficult for us to settle on “the next” fuel.

read more | digg story

Why bother to ask the average Joe what he thinks about it, it’s like asking him to decide whether we need to irradiate food (oh, wait, we did that. Turned out well, didn’t it?) or stem cell research needs to be pursued (ditto on that one) perhaps we should leave it up to the experts.

Aside from which, saying they are all untested is not factually precise. Biodiesel is currently in use in several areas around the world, and there are even vehicles produced now that can burn it. You can just pour straight vegetable oil into most diesel engines and they will run just fine.

Personally, my next vehicle will probably be a diesel, one that is set up to run a variety of fuels right from the manufacturer (Mercedes Benz already offers one) would be preferred.

There’s also the distinct possibility that we’ll invest in an electric car for day to day commuting. There are several places in town that either offer or retrofit vehicles themselves to run on electricity.

I’m also not counting out the introduction of compressed air technology, two versions of which were featured on Beyond Tomorrow recently. These options aren’t even mentioned in the poll.

So, which direction should we take? All of them. The only way to test which fuel is best is to subject them all to market forces and see which fuel system is successful in a open market place.

…and that means getting the government and it’s associated popularity contests completely out of the picture.

iPhone Conundrums

The class-action lawsuit alleges that Apple and AT&T had illegally exerted a monopoly by telling customers their iPhone contract was two years long when in actuality the companies’ exclusivity agreement was for an indefinite, undisclosed amount of time. That means even after iPhone customers’ two-year contracts have expired, they still don’t have the option of switching to another carrier because AT&T is still Apple’s only U.S. partner.

Gizmodo – Lawsuit Accusing Apple and AT&T of an iPhone Monopoly

Intentionally breaking third party applications for their phone hardware is what is going to get Apple in trouble, in the end. It’s what got Microsoft in trouble, intentionally breaking Netscape‘s ability run on updated Windows products (something that was reversed in later releases) so that Internet Exploder, urm, Explorer, would run unchallenged on Windows systems. This was SOP at Microsoft for many years.

Yes Microsoft dominates the software market currently, but I wonder how much longer this will be true; and how is Apple ever going to gain customer loyalty when they alienate whole sections of their user base by purposefully breaking their customers phones with software updates?

First you pay 200 dollars too much for the thing, and now it doesn’t work at all. Thanks Apple. Stick with Palm or LG or Nokia next time, lusers.


…And then the other shoe drops. So much for Apple’s control over their product base.

Hackers Claim to Revive ‘Bricked’ iPhones

It’s unclear, however, how permanent any “unbrick” fix will be, or whether changes to the hacks that allow modifications will survive the next Apple iPhone update.

PC World Magazine

I still say you should have bought a Palm.


2019 – While updating the links in this one I ran across the Gizmodo article I quoted from at the top. The lawsuit was granted class action status in 2010. As far as I can tell, the lawsuit is still ongoing twelve years later.