Friday, October 31, 2003
  NY Times: U.S. Eating Habits, and Europeans, Are Spreading Visibly

Europe is catching up with the USA's obesity rates.

Thursday, October 30, 2003
  O' Confessions of the World's Largest Switcher

  Toronto Star: Retailers can't get no satisfaction

I doubt there would be that many people willing to fork over C$40 plus tax for DVDs of Rolling Stones concerts.

HMV Canada, which manages 100 stores nationally, Pindoff Record Sales, which operates 93 Music World outlets, and Sunrise Records, which has 29 stores in southern Ontario, cleared their stores of Rolling Stones merchandise yesterday. Sam The Record Man and other retailers will still carry the band's catalogue.

The DVD package, retailing in Canada for $39.99, documents the Stones' recent Licks world tour.

"The other offers we received from alternative distributors would have had the product being sold at least $20 to $30 higher to the consumer, something that was unacceptable to the Stones and TGA."

Wednesday, October 29, 2003
  CNN: Counterfeiters crack security on new $20s

  CNN: Anti-rocket laser cannon gets funding

Article also shows a gun that can shoot at right angles so you can shoot around corners without exposing your body. Evidently several elite squads have ordered the gun.

  MSNBC: Saddam’s top aide seen behind attacks

  MSNBC: Increased exercise lowers stroke risk

From the Stating-the-obvious dept. And you don't have to run marathons, just something to get the heart pumping, break a sweat.

  Wired: Light at the end of the tunnel

Infrared light from LEDs can increase healing and reduce effects from certain other health problems. And no one knows why it works. Mind-boggling.

  Microsoft fires contractor for blog entry

Even Microsoft Wants G5s is the root of the problem. Probably because he detailed where the loading dock was located.

Of blogging and unemployment and Thank you! detail the aftermath.

Microsoft has gotten a lot more paranoid about security. Perhaps it's due to 9/11 or maybe there was a local incident/threat which hasn't been made public. Either way, a lot of the rules that got ignored before 9/11 are strictly enforced now. The guy seemed to be a contractor at Microsoft, so he had fewer 'rights' than fulltime blue-carders.

  Forbes: Inside Dope

Forbes has a pretty-in-depth article about the marijuana life cycle in B.C. and the economic effects.

People think marijuana is a harmless drug for some strange reason. You walk the downtown streets of Toronto these days and you can get a whiff of pot now and again. It wasn't that way last year.

  NY Times: The Long Last Gasp of Tube-Based TV

Unfortunately, LCD screens are still way too expensive than CRTs, IMHO.

Tube sets still sell in huge numbers. In 2003, 21 million of the 31 million sets sold were analog direct-view models, with an average selling price of $231, according to the Consumer Electronics Association.

But by 2007, sales of conventional sets will dwindle to less than half that, analysts say. Such sets will be attacked on the high end by digital flat-panel TV's and on the lower end by digital rear-projection sets.

Prices and profit margins of some traditional sets are getting so low that Panasonic Consumer Electronics has stopped making 25-inch models, and Samsung has quit the market for small $100 models.

But plasma, which looks the best in a showroom, is far from perfect. Like computer displays of old, it suffers from burn-in if a static image or one smaller than the screen is displayed too long. Over time, the picture will lose half its brightness.

Many in the industry see plasma as an interim technology, to be replaced eventually by a pure L.C.D. flat screen.

The next generation of L.C.D. plants, which cost $1 billion to $2 billion each to build, will allow manufacturers to increase the size of L.C.D. panels from the current 30-inch maximum to 40 inches in 2004, said Mr. Chinnock of Insight Media. And within four years, wide-screen L.C.D. sets will be available in sizes up to 50 inches, said Bob Nocera, vice president for digital TV marketing at Philips Consumer Electronics.

Thursday, October 23, 2003
  Wired: New Antibiotic Kills Tough Bugs

  PCWeek: Code thieves strike again

Except this time it's only one disgruntled ex-worker who ran off to Mother Russia with the source code and is now producing his own CAD app.

  CNet: Son of MSBlast on the way?

Sounds like Chicken Little is calling out.

  MSNBC: Jacobs tested positive for THG

Blimey! This steroid scandal is scopping some big names - Regina Jacobs and Dwayne Chambers supposedly tested positive for the steroid. Other customers of BALCO are going to be guilty by association if nothing else. Athens is going to be interesting.

Globe and Mail: U.S. body decides finally to get tough

The U.S. Track and Field organization signalled an about face in its approach toward drug cheats yesterday, proposing to slam steroid users and their coaches with massive $100,000 fines and lifetime bans for a first offence.

World 400-metre champion Jerome Young, ran to a relay gold medal in Sydney despite having tested positive for steroids in 1999.

Carl Lewis took part in the 1988 Seoul Olympics -- and inherited a 100-metre gold medal from doped Canadian Ben Johnson -- despite two positive tests for stimulants that should have kept him out of the Games.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003
  CNet: X10 files for Chapter 11

Good riddance (until the day I actually need that X10 gear...)

Tuesday, October 21, 2003
  Globe and Mail: Cowpland faces 2-year ban, payment to OSC

This is similar to the penalty that Cowpland had agreed to earlier. The behind-the-scenes look at Corel is interesting as well.

Unlike a settlement agreement, which is a “take-it-or-leave-it” proposition, the novel approach taken yesterday gives the panel the option of either adopting the recommendations or imposing its own penalty. In the event the panel rejects the penalty suggested by OSC staff and Mr. Sofer, Mr. Cowpland will withdraw his agreement to make a voluntary $500,000 payment to the regulator. (The balance of $75,000 consists of the OSC's costs.)

Mr. Sofer said banning Mr. Cowpland from serving on the board of a publicly traded company in Ontario for two years sends a strong message that an honest mistake is no defence against illegal insider trading. He also said the losses avoided by Mr. Cowpland when the Corel shares were sold total about $1.3-million — well below the $5-million figure used by OSC staff in its 1999 statement of allegations.

The agreed statement of facts contains disclosure not available to the previous OSC panel, which in February, 2002, rejected the settlement negotiated between staff and Mr. Cowpland's lawyers. It also provides a behind-the-scenes look at how Corel attempted to meet its quarterly sales targets in 1997 and ultimately changed its revenue recognition policies.

  Industrial companies turning into lenders...

What do GE, GM, Ford, and Sears Roebuck have in common?

They make most of their profits from lending money than from selling physical items. So if you bought these companies because you thought you understood what they sold, think again.


According to GE's third-quarter financial results, released two weeks ago, more than 50 percent of the company's revenues and earnings are now coming from finance-related activities, continuing a trend that began when Welch became GE's chairman at the start of the 1980s. That growth, which has long since become the single strongest source of support for the company's stock, has continued right on through the economic slump.

It's a trend that other industrial giants reflect as well. Last week the Ford Motor Co. announced huge losses on its automotive manufacturing and sales operations. But nearly all those losses were offset by equally huge gains on Ford's lending and credit operations.

Yet GE is unique in at least one respect - for having now surpassed the 50 percent benchmark, the contribution of its finance segment means, at least from the point of view of sheer common sense, that GE should cease being viewed as an industrial and electrical parts company and should instead be judged as a financial services business with various manufacturing, consulting and media activities bolted onto it.

Globe and Mail: GM and Ford aren't car makers, they're banks

In other words, the profit didn't come from selling more cars and trucks -- in fact, the profit came in spite of GM selling more cars and trucks.

That's because the company's profit was made up entirely of earnings from the auto maker's financial division, General Motors Acceptance Corp. or GMAC, only some of which had anything to do with cars and trucks. Acting like a bank was so lucrative for GM, in fact, that it made up for all the money the company failed to make by acting like a car company. GMAC's profit rose by 32 per cent to $630-million for the third quarter.

As it turns out, more than half of the profit GM turned in came from mortgage lending and its insurance business. Despite narrower margins, the car maker managed to make more money because its provisions for bad credit declined. And the auto side of the business? If higher sales are what you're looking for, there's some good news -- but if profitability is what you're interested in, you'll have to take your search elsewhere.

Ford, meanwhile, also showed better than expected results for the quarter, with a net loss of $25-million or 1 cent a share, a nice improvement from a loss of $326-million or 18 cents a share in the same quarter last year. Analysts had been expecting a loss of about 11 cents for the latest quarter. As with GM, Ford's financing arm did most of the heavy lifting profit-wise, with net income that rose by 71 per cent to $504-million for the quarter, thanks in part to lower reserves for bad credit and lower rates.

EDGAR Online: Sears 3Q 2003 8-K

Sears, Roebuck and Co. (NYSE: S) today reported net income of $147 million, or $0.52 per share, for the third quarter ended September 27, 2003, compared with net income of $189 million, or $0.59 per share, in the third quarter of 2002.
Sears' third quarter 2003 earnings included a pretax charge of $141 million ($89 million after-tax), or $0.32 per share, related to the company's previously announced refinement of its business strategy for The Great Indoors.

Retail and Related Services reported an operating loss of $85 million for the third quarter of 2003...

Credit and Financial Products reported operating income of $366 million for the quarter

  How smart is Jessica Simpson???

MSNBC: Raised by a pack of French poodles

As Jessica pondered the meal she was enjoying in front of the TV, she asked her husband, "Is this chicken, what I have, or is this fish?" As it turned out, she was confused by the label that read, as she recalled it, "Chicken by the Sea.

Tired of having to hang up her own towels, she asks a friend whether there are special "maids for celebrities." Called upon to empty a vase of dead flowers into the trash, she falls apart. She can’t imagine hanging pictures on the wall of her own home without the help of a designer.

In fact, when Nick does a little low-key decorating in the new house while she’s away, Jessica is irritated primarily because she is unable to figure out whether she likes it or not. She takes the position that she and Nick are unqualified to decide what should go where. They don’t know what looks good, she argues. She returns to her mantra, which she repeats over and over in a variety of situations: "Can’t we hire someone?"

Seattle Times: Jessica Simpson: Is she a dumb blonde, or does she just play one on TV?

Now, with the season finale airing at 10:30 tonight, Simpson is a star. At 23, the whiny, buxom blonde has out-Anna-Nicoled Anna Nicole Smith, rising to pop icon status with her daffy one-liners and fast becoming the beautiful ditz viewers love to hate.

"Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica," which chronicles the lives of Simpson and her already long-suffering new husband, Nick Lachey (formerly of boy band 98 Degrees), is the sleeper hit of the season. According to figures supplied by MTV, "Newlyweds" is the No. 1 cable series among female viewers 12 to 34.

Still, the show's popularity has done little to boost the couple's flagging singing careers. Both stars are attempting to reposition themselves in the pop landscape with their new albums: Simpson as the not-a-girl-but-a-woman (oh, the irony) and Lachey as a solo artist. But Simpson's third album, "In This Skin," tanked after debuting at No. 10 on the Billboard chart in August (before the show began airing). Lachey's solo effort, meanwhile, has been pushed back to a November release.

So who gets the last laugh? While you may be making fun of Simpson's antics tonight, consider this: MTV has announced she'll be back for a second season in early 2004. The question is, will you?

Monday, October 20, 2003
  Reuters via Yahoo: Many Job Losses Permanent, Richmond Fed

  GCC: Perf? Let them eat cake while they wait...

The sad part is that there's no response from the GCC devs in this email thread. Now, GCC 3.4 is still in development, so maybe they can squeeze some perf out by the time 3.4 ships (1H 2004), but I'd be willing to put some money down that they don't improve on GCC3.3 except when precompiled headers are used. I'd bet serious money that they don't beat GCC3.3 by more than 10%.

> g++ (GCC) 3.4 20031010 (experimental)
> real 24m20.049s
> user 22m17.930s
> sys 1m45.420s

This gives a degradion of 13 per cent in realtime compared with your
earlier results of:

G++ 3.3:
gcc (GCC) 3.3.2 20030923 (prerelease)
real 21m23.975s
user 19m25.020s
sys 1m44.680s

Friday, October 17, 2003
  TheInquirer: IBM drops Lotus Notes inside

I got email from someone at IBM recently and the email headers still show Lotus Notes.

Thursday, October 16, 2003
  Washington Post: USADA: Elite Athletes Using 'Designer' Steroid

Looks like US athletes get caught cheating and not with your mom's steroids. We're talking designer steroids. If big name A-list athletes get caught in the net, then the US track and field team for the 2004 Athens Olympics may have a light medal haul.

In what they describe as the biggest anabolic steroid bust in sports history, U.S. drug-testing officials say several elite track and field athletes have tested positive for a steroid they say was distributed by a nutrition company in California with connections to dozens of high-profile athletes.

Terry Madden, chief executive officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, said yesterday that the athletes tested positive for a "designer" steroid, a substance manufactured specifically to be undetectable in standard drug tests. Officials say they were tipped off to the new drug by an anonymous track and field coach who sent a used syringe to USADA.

Madden said yesterday in a conference call that the coach told USADA officials the substance came from Victor Conte, the founder of Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) in Burlingame, Calif. BALCO's legal nutrition products have been used or endorsed by a long list of well-known athletes, including home run king Barry Bonds and track and field stars Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery and Kelli White.

Madden declined to identify those who tested positive or how many athletes tested positive, other than to say all participate in track and field. Madden said their names will be made public when USADA's adjudication process runs its course, likely by early December. A source said there were about a half-dozen positives.

Madden said USADA officials "have a strong belief international athletes were involved as well," but declined to elaborate. USADA has jurisdiction to test only U.S. athletes.

U.S. shot put champion Kevin Toth is among those who have tested positive, according to sources with knowledge of the investigation. Toth could not be reached for comment yesterday; his wife, reached at their home, declined to comment.

  MLB: ALCS Game 7: Red Sox vs Yankees - 5-5, bottom of the 8th.

Man, this is exctiing. Bases loaded with two out. Soriano to bat.

I didn't think the Yanks would come back from the 4-0 lead the Red Sox had put up earlier in the game.

  MSNBC: Garner to join ‘8 Simple Rules’

James Garner will play Katey Seagal's father, helping her character cope with the loss of her TV husband, John Ritter.

  MSNBC: Want a raise? Stand tall, survey says

Harumph. Tall, beautiful people have a couple steps on everyone else. They need to do studies to prove that??? They actually quantified the advantage for tall people, approx. US$789/yr.

  Music services popping up like crazy

New offerings to join Real's Rhapsody and MusicMatch's service.

The new Napster (aka Pressplay) Globe and Mail: New Napster music download service

But the basic service provided by all the on-line stores — selling difficult-to-steal songs for 99 U.S. cents — is more or less the same, thanks to very similar licensing deals struck with the record labels that have, after many years, started to see the light and profit potential.

Napster, which works only on Windows-based computers, will launch with 500,000 songs — more than its rivals.

And like the rest, Napster's digital rights management technology limits what can be done with each file. Each purchased song can be shared on only three computers but can be burned to a CD as long as the play order occasionally changes. The tunes also can be transferred to a portable music player an unlimited number of times.

If all this sounds a bit more confusing than the old Napster, it is. But it's a big improvement over the first-generation legal subscription services like Pressplay, which was purchased by Roxio and has been merged into the new Napster. At least now purchased songs don't die if you don't shell out the monthly subscription fee. In Napster, there's still a $9.95 monthly charge for extras like full audio streaming. But it's not required to buy the music.

The accompanying Samsung MP3/WMA player Globe and Mail: Samsung launches Napster Player

However, to Samsung's credit, its new player isn't just another iPod copycat.

It has a line-in jack so it can record by itself. It can tune into and record FM radio stations. And, with an included antenna, it can transmit FM signals, allowing its music to be picked up by any nearby radio, such as a car stereo.

Navigation on the Samsung unit, which can hold 5,000 songs, is more complicated than on the iPod. The control to skip forward and backward is on the right side and moves up or down, not the more intuitive left or right. Volume is controlled by the front's large button, which also is used to move between on-screen selections.

OSNews takes a look at Apple's iTunes for Windows OSNews: First Impressions of iTunes for Windows

So far, so good. I found no glitches with the application or its stability. Except one thing: its UI speed. For the life of me, I am almost unable to resize the iTunes window (with visual effects OFF no less)! Its window UI is almost unresponsive. Menus and native-windows-looking alerts are responsive and fast, however the metal interface is just unusable here. I can't easily resize the application, and with difficulty I can scroll the scrollbars in the store or the Library! After many attempts, I managed to get the window size down to about 640x480 and then the application did become more responsive and workable. But on a normal ~1024x1000 window, it is just unusable. There are times I can't even move the whole window across the screen! Note: I am not talking about playback (which works fine with no performance issues), or when in mini-mode: I am talking about scrolling/resizing the app when the window is in normal mode and bigger than 800x600. Resizing the window when in "Music Store" is almost impossible here! Update: Upgrading to the latest graphics drivers didn't help.

  ExtremeTech: Microprocessor Forum: VIA's C5P and Transmeta's Efficeon processors

VIA C5P Processor: Small is Beautiful

Transmeta Unveils the Efficeon

  National Post: GM finds out LaCrosse not just a team sport in Quebec

General Motor's plans to rechristen the Canadian-built Buick Regal passenger car as the Buick LaCrosse have hit a snag: In Québécois youth culture, the word is slang for masturbation, among other things.

Stew Low, a GM Canada spokesman, said in Quebec youth culture the word is a slang term "that means a couple of things, either to masturbate or 'I just got screwed,' or 'I just got taken.' "

He, he, he. Why does GM have this problem??? First it was the Chevy Nova, now this.

  Microsoft: What You Should Know About the Windows Security Updates for October 2003

A slew of buffer overruns, most of them severe.

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS03-041 - Vulnerability in Authenticode Verification Could Allow Remote Code Execution (823182)

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS03-042 - Buffer Overflow in Windows Troubleshooter ActiveX Control Could Allow Code Execution (826232)

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS03-043 - Buffer Overrun in Messenger Service Could Allow Code Execution (828035)

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS03-044 - Buffer Overrun in Windows Help and Support Center Could Lead to System Compromise (825119)

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS03-045 - Buffer Overrun in the ListBox and in the ComboBox Control Could Allow Code Execution (824141)

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS03-046 : Vulnerability in Exchange Server Could Allow Arbitrary Code Execution (822363)

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS03-047 : Vulnerability in Exchange Server 5.5 Outlook Web Access Could Allow Cross-Site Scripting Attack (828489)

  Toronto Star: Jews rule world, Malaysian PM tells Islamic summit

The PM doesn't lay out any proof for his theory of Jewish world domination, but there's some interesting stuff he does mention:

He told the audience of sheiks, emirs, kings and presidents that Muslims had the world's richest civilization during Europe's Dark Ages, but disputes over dogma - instead of embracing technology and science - had left them weak and divided.

"Because we are discouraged from learning of science and mathematics as giving us no merit for the afterlife, today we have no capacity to produce our own weapons for our defence. We have to buy our weapons from our detractors and enemies."

"Today we, the whole Muslim ummah (community) is treated with contempt and dishonour. Our religion is denigrated. Our holy places desecrated. Our countries are occupied. Our people starved and killed."

Wednesday, October 15, 2003
  Washington Post: Bush Campaign Raises A Record $49.5 Million

If the economy/job market doesn't improve for middle America, there'll be an interesting fight between money and voter dissatisfaction for the presidency in 2004. Bush's fundraising is stomping all over the Democrats.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003
  Globe and Mail: IT jobs contracted from far and wide

Another boo-hoo-hoo story about white-collar IT jobs disappearing. There's not much that govts can do aout it. While they may legislate that all govt work be done onshore, there's a lot more work in the private sector.

The offshore IT race

Who's who (and who's ahead) in offshore information-technology outsourcing.

Leader India

Challengers Canada, China, Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, Northern Ireland, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa

Up-and-comers Belarus, Brazil, Caribbean, Egypt, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, New Zealand, Singapore, Ukraine, Venezuela

Beginners Bangladesh, Cuba, Ghana, Korea, Malaysia, Mauritius, Nepal, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam


Cheap labour

Typical salary ranges for computer programmers with two to three years experience. ($U.S.)

China $5,000 - $9,000

India 6,000 - 10,000

Philippines 6,500 - 11,000

Russia 7,000 - 13,000

Ireland 21,000 - 28,000

CANADA 25,000 - 50,000

United States 60,000 - 90,000

Friday, October 10, 2003
  MSNBC: Near-nude Britney shuns sexy image

Hypocrisy on the Esquire magazine cover...

It's even more hypocritical when you take a look inside the cover...Britney Spears

  Silicon Grove warns of software downfall

Why are things looking so grim for software? Grove attributes it to fewer people getting advanced degrees in the United States in science and engineering, the high cost of U.S. labor in comparison to some foreign countries, and the fact that high-bandwidth connections are prevalent and cheaper, making it much easier for U.S. companies to work with developers in countries such as India.

After the speech, Grove was questioned on his desire to preserve jobs domestically, while at the same time Intel and the industry as a whole are moving jobs offshore. Grove responded that the industry is facing conflicting goals of serving shareholders and doing ``the right thing for the country.''

In the absence of public policy to help guide us, we have no choice but to export jobs, he said.

  Globe and Mail: Biovail threatens lawsuit against analyst

I recall reading an article talking about one of the things bad companies tend to do. One of them was suing people for their unfavourable opinions. Another was taking on people who were shorting your stock - because often those guys shorting were right about the company. Sun is feeling its age in valley of upstarts

Sun's sickliness might be caused partly by start-ups across the valley.

One is Menlo Park's Cassatt, unveiled last week and which hopes to conquer Sun's data-center management business.

Cassatt, led by founder Bill Coleman, just swiped 19 of Sun's top programmers from its N1 group in Colorado. N1 is precisely the project that Sun has high hopes for helping it out of its mess -- the data-center management business.

Coleman, 55, vice president of system software at Sun during the 1980s, realized that Sun and its competitors have been focusing on old solutions: how to manage the hardware of these computer systems, including servers and databases.

Backed by venture firm Warburg Pincus -- and the whisper is about $50 million -- Coleman is working on a different solution. He hired 30 employees from Cray Research in Minnesota, super-computing gurus who'd conceived a new approach: managing the software and files, instead of the hardware. Then he hired the Sun people to help execute the vision.

Thursday, October 09, 2003
  CNet: Microsoft details new security plan

A major change for system administrators bogged down by a to-do list of patches to apply to Windows computers is the software giant's move to a monthly patch release schedule. Microsoft will immediately start to release software updates once a month, unless the security flaw needs to be fixed immediately in order to help customers avoid an attack, said Amy Carroll, director of product management in Microsoft's security business unit.

"One of the things that we have heard from our customers is that deploying patches on a weekly basis is too difficult," she said. "There is some anecdotal evidence that deploying a patch is what prompts the release of exploit code."

The software giant also plans to shrink the size of patches up to 30 percent by next May and reduce the number of updates that require the user to reboot the system. Microsoft will also reduce the number of patching systems for its products lines to two. The company has also pledged to continue support for users of Windows NT4 service pack 6a and Windows 2000 service pack 2, both products for which the company had previously halted support.

  TheRegister: Sun cluster guru joins MS in brain drain

The most prestigious name is Dr. Yousef Khalidi, distinguished engineer and chief technical officer for N1 products at Sun, who has defected to Microsoft. Khalidi was the brains behind Sun Cluster 3.0, much of Solaris 9 and was appointed to provide technical guidance to N1 - Sun's software and hardware management package. A few months back, we have confirmed, Khalidi decided to join the dark side.

Nineteen members of of Sun's N1 team have also departed to software start-up Cassatt. Cassatt is going along the N1, Adaptive Enterprise, On-Demand route in its own way. The company is not talking too much about how its products will work, but it is saying that it hired 19 of Sun's N1 engineers away from the company.

It's run by BEA co-founder Bill Coleman and has hefty backing from Warburg Pincus and a little more cash from HP. Coleman, also an ex-Sun employee, has hired an impressive list of executives and talent to back up the new company. Cray was gutted along with Sun and a number of ex-IBMers, HP folks and you name it are on board.

  Toronto Star: Corel cuts 18% of staff after takeover by U.S. firm

Vector, which counts Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen as one of its backers, has argued Corel would do better without the expense and public scrutiny required of publicly traded companies.

  Cringely: New look

Another site gets a new look

  KnowledgeWharton: Sun and RIAA

Does Sun, Burned by Competition, Need a New Business Model?.

Suing Your Customers: A Winning Business Strategy?

  CNN: Peach $20s to land Thursday

  Microsoft: New Security homepage
Looks like MS's security page got a facelift.
Wednesday, October 08, 2003
  PCWeek: "Larry Ellison: Everyone Else Must Fail" excerpt

Much of the history of Oracle has been covered already in previous books about Oracle and Mr. Ellison. This book also looks at the current management structure and personnel.

  Washington Post: The Spy Next Door
A look at the undercover CIA agent.
  NY Times: As It Tries to Cut Costs, Wall Street Looks to India

India's low real estate costs and salaries make it possible for investment banks to sustain the necessary round-the-clock coverage. On Wall Street, salaries constitute as much as three-quarters of total research costs. But, Dushyant Shahrawat, a senior analyst at TowerGroup, a financial services consulting firm in Needham, Mass., said "a junior sell-side research analyst from an Ivy League school costs $150,000 a year to the company, while an Indian equivalent from a top business school would cost $35,000 a year."

  CNet: Eolas files motion to enjoin IE

Eolas puts the squeeze on Microsoft and they've got a sympathetic judge, so why not?

Hypermedia patents

Viola web browser home page is the web page of an example of prior art to the Eolas patent that MS is trying to get admitted as evidence. The trial judge doesn't seem to want to let prior art be admitted though. Does he/she understand patent law???

Then there's Ray Ozzie's example of prior art: Saving the Browser

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Beating Donald Trump for $7 million wasn't enough - now the infamous Uzan brothers are accused of looting their family bank of $6 billion.

The two high-living sons of Turkish tycoon Kemal Uzan, 68, who's worth a reported $1.3 billion, are already in hiding, along with their dad and other family members.

If any of them set foot in the United States, the United Kingdom or their native Turkey, they face jail for a wide-ranging series of major frauds and white-collar crimes.

In the bank fraud reported last week, the Uzans allegedly used a special computer program to embezzle bank funds through 27 separate banks, officials said.

Inspectors said they found an "extraordinarily large discrepancy" between deposits registered on the bank's books and money deposited by the public.

"The bank hid more than 90 percent of the deposits it collected and did not show it" in official documents," the report said. The missing deposits totaled more than $5.7 billion.

  CNet: Microsoft granted an IM patent

Microsoft has won a patent for an instant messaging feature that notifies users when the person they are communicating with is typing a message.

The patent encompasses a feature that's not only on Microsoft's IM products but also on those of its rivals America Online and Yahoo. The patent was granted on Tuesday.

Patent No. 6,631,412 could serve as a weapon in Microsoft's battle for IM market share.

Saturday, October 04, 2003
  Microsoft: Microsoft Security Bulletin MS03-040 - Cumulative Patch for Internet Explorer (828750)

This is a cumulative patch that includes the functionality of all previously released patches for Internet Explorer 5.01, 5.5 and 6.0. In addition, it eliminates the following newly discovered vulnerabilities:

- A vulnerability that occurs because Internet Explorer does not properly determine an object type returned from a Web server in a popup window. It could be possible for an attacker who exploited this vulnerability to run arbitrary code on a user's system. If a user visited an attacker's Web site, it could be possible for the attacker to exploit this vulnerability without any other user action. An attacker could also craft an HTML–based e-mail that would attempt to exploit this vulnerability.

- A vulnerability that occurs because Internet Explorer does not properly determine an object type returned from a Web server during XML data binding. It could be possible for an attacker who exploited this vulnerability to run arbitrary code on a user's system. If a user visited an attacker's Web site, it could be possible for the attacker to exploit this vulnerability without any other user action. An attacker could also craft an HTML–based e-mail that would attempt to exploit this vulnerability.

  Globe and Mail: BAR drops Jacques Villeneuve for 2004
I think everyone expected this.

Friday, October 03, 2003
  Don't go see the movie "Lost in Translation"

The movie is totally overhyped. A mix of "In the mood for Love"'s slow pace and "Mr. Baseball"'s cultural jokes, the movie would have been more enjoyable as a short film. If you enjoy people staring at their navels or are taking some illegal drug, then the movie may be up your alley.

Don't even bother with the DVD, I can't see anything in the movie that a VHS tape couldn't handle.

I have no idea what most of the people saw in the movie, Metacritic's user reviews of Lost In Translation. Maybe these people are 'lost' as well.

  NY Times: With a Motorized Hub, the Wheel on the Bus Goes 'Round

Cool concept. Here's the company's website:

Wednesday, October 01, 2003 Canada is narrowing the obesity gap with U.S.

Then, again, in some ways Canada and the USA are similar.

Today about one in 10 Canadian children is overweight. This figure has almost tripled since the mid-1980s.

When these children are adults, the Canadian population is destined to resemble the current U.S. picture, where nearly two-thirds of adults have a weight problem, and one woman in 10 carries 100 pounds or more in excess weight.

In 1985, every province reported less than 10% obesity, but by 1990, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and the Maritime provinces had broken through the 20% threshold. By 1998, Alberta had joined this group, with Ontario following in 2000. Quebec, where smoking rates are higher, and British Columbia are the only provinces that still hover around 10%. The territories are generally worse off, with more than 20% obesity as of 1999.

In the United States, western states, excluding California, have lower obesity levels, and eastern states all report rates over 20%. Colorado has the lowest rates, while Mississippi is the only state that has exceeded 25% obesity.

Maybe it's a conspiracy by people who prefer large men and women?

  Difference between Canada and USA

In the USA, the media is focusing on the outrageous sums that top execs are receiving: NY Times: Ex-Tyco Chief, Free Spender, Going to Court

The case against Mr. Quattrone, who helped take companies public during the boom, hinges on whether an e-mail message he endorsed, directing department members at Credit Suisse First Boston to clean up their files, constituted an effort to obstruct a government investigation.

But other prominent executives enmeshed in scandals, like Kenneth L. Lay of Enron and Richard M. Scrushy of HealthSouth, may never have to appear in court because of the complexity of the suspected frauds and the difficulty in prosecuting white-collar crimes.

The accusations against Mr. Kozlowski, on the other hand, are relatively straightforward: he and a co-defendant, Mark H. Swartz, Tyco's former chief financial officer, are accused of reaching into the corporate cookie jar to pay for everything from Mr. Kozlowski's apartment on Park Avenue and homes in Boca Raton, Fla., to jewelry from Harry Winston and Tiffany.

In particular, they are charged with stealing $170 million from the company itself and reaping $430 million more by covertly selling shares of Tyco while "artificially inflating" the value of the stock, according to the indictment. They are also accused of "enterprise corruption," a charge often used in organized-crime prosecutions.

But in Canada, the media is focusing on the spending habits of its politicians and other govt officials: CBC: Fraser calls for RCMP probe into Radwanski


  National Post: Olson's righteous 'sin' as an analyst

"But on Wall Street EBITDA was also known as earnings before I tricked the dumb auditors," said John Olson, a former Merrill Lynch Inc. energy analyst.

Enron management only handed out investment banking fees to those who helped promote the stock. They needed the "buy" recommendations to hype the stock so they could cash in their options and issue more stock.

Three weeks later, in mid-1999, the president of Merrill Lynch flew down to Houston and "whacked me," he said. "It was a nightmare."

Ironically, Merrill's indifference toward research integrity became its undoing. Once Mr. Olson was fired, its underwriters snagged Enron's next big deal, a spinoff public issue in the water business. This was not only a spectacular bust but eventually became the scandal that blew up Enron and brought discredit, an army of investigators, huge fines and lawsuits down on to Merrill Lynch.

In Enron's wake are 23,000 creditor claims, the ruin of thousands of former employees and investors, and lawsuits with a face value of US$400-billion. The bankruptcy is costing US$30-million a month to sort out and only US$3-billion of Enron's alleged US$62-billion in assets have been sold.

"My sin was not recommending Enron stock for over 10 years," he said. "I call it the New York Syndrome. Money buys people. Companies were paying colossal amounts to their investment banking, accounting and legal enablers and rating agencies failed miserably."

  MSNBC: Global music sales tumble... again
The lame lawsuits against file-sharers will continue until sales improve...
  MSNBC: SCOOP: Tale of the Clooney conwoman
One of the downsides to fame.

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