Wednesday, March 31, 2004
  MSNBC - Google to offer free e-mail with 1GB in storage

Interesting. One GB of mail storage, 10MB max email size, 9 months inactivity before deactivation. "Breathe the free air..." A lot of people should jump ship to Google from Hotmail and Yahoo - as long as GMail doesn't become known as a spammer's den. / News / Local / Mass. / Man arrested in alleged investment scam

Gullible PhD.

"At Dana-Farber, where Xu was a researcher in cancer and AIDS vaccines, he persuaded co-workers to give him $160,000, with the agreement that the money would be returned within a few weeks, police said. When he was arrested, Xu told police he was investing the money in a Nigerian business venture in which he expected a $50 million return."

  CNet: Judge: Sharing music via networks legal in Canada

The record industry does extract money on blank CD sales even if you don't burn music on to the blanks. Let's see what the Canadian Supreme Court says...

Hmmm. CTV has a more pro-record industry view of the decision (or CNet really jumped the gun on the whole thing). CTV: Music industry loses in downloading case :

Some lawyers were saying the music industry might have hurt its case through legal sloppiness, he said.

"They really didn't have their t's crossed and their i's dotted. They would likely go back and assemble the evidence the judge said was missing. The judge said clearly there's some tests that have to be met, and the record industry failed to meet those tests."

Once they do that, the industry can resubmit its case. Until then, Canadian online music traders are free to keep swapping songs, Akin said.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004
  MSNBC - The outsourcing debate: A tale of two cities Dell rebates row rears up again

This is why I hate mail-in rebates. Looks like Dell is giving people the runaround so they don't have to pay out the rebates and hurt their bottom line. Scum.

Monday, March 29, 2004 / Business / Technology / EU hurts itself in hurting Microsoft

Part of it is MS-envy too.

"There's something about Microsoft Corp. that makes smart people stupid. It's not the company's products, annoying though they can be. Instead, it's the aura of arrogant, absolute power emanating from the world's biggest software maker. It drives some people into a blind fury, a determination to hurt Microsoft, no matter the cost to consumers or the software industry."

  Music industry way off track with song and dance about falling sales

Evil scum

ARIA's press release was slugged with a bizarre headline: "Music DVD continues its rise whilst CD singles slide further". A mixed year, you might think. Not so. It took a canny finance reporter, SBS's Peter Martin, to decode the spin. He had access to ARIA sales figures going back to the early 1980s. He worked out what ARIA knew but decided not to share: when sales cracked 50 million albums for the year it was the first time this had happened. And combined sales of all formats for last year climbed to more than 65 million for the first time.

But that's just one year, I hear the record companies say. OK, let's go back to 1998. The year before an 18-year-old college dropout named Shawn Fanning wrote a file-sharing program called Napster, the software that kick-started the downloading boom. In that year Australian record companies sold 39.6 million CD albums. Five years later the figure had gone up to 50.5 million. That makes it hard to argue that downloading and CD copying has been killing sales.

Saturday, March 27, 2004
  NY Times:

The Big 3's drive for increased sales at the cost of future sales is hitting current car owners now.

  NY Times: Ex-Executive of Dynegy Is Sentenced to 24 Years

This should scare people to own up to white collar crimes and not go scott free.

Thursday, March 25, 2004
  BBC NEWS | Entertainment | David Bowie's bonds hit low note

Bowie must be siding with the RIAA these days, what with his bonds just one step above junk bond status.

  Long wait ahead...

I saw this notice on an online retailer's website.

This Title Is Not Yet Released! This item will be available for shipment starting on 01/01/2010. In order to assure you's low price on this pre-order, we will charge your credit card when the order is placed today. The item will be shipped on or after 01/01/2010.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004
  Web-based Mail Threat Looms

From trial and error, if you have the "Play animations in web pages" option turned off (under Tools.Options's Advanced pane), then the bug doesn't occur.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004
  X-bit labs - Articles - March 2004 Hardware News Overview

  E-mails give peek at Microsoft strategies | CNET

"A 1997 e-mail note from Jeff Raikes, a Microsoft group vice president, asks billionaire Warren Buffett to consider investing in the Redmond, Wash.-based software company. Some observers have likened Microsoft's lucrative operating system dominance to a 'toll bridge,' Raikes wrote in an exchange that was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. With a worldwide sales force of just 100 to 150 people, 'this is a 90%+ margin business.' "

Raikes, who noted his own net worth was "well into" the hundreds of millions of dollars thanks to Microsoft, tried to convince Buffett to change his mind. "A PC is just a razor that needs blades, and we measure our revenue on the basis of $ per PC," Raikes wrote. "In FY96, nearly 50 million PCs were purchased and Microsoft averaged about $140 in software revenue per PC or $7 billion...I don't really see our business as being significantly more difficult to understand than the other great businesses you've invested in."

Friday, March 12, 2004 - Swarm of cicadas takes aim at U.S. - Mar 12, 2004

  MSNBC - The Hunt Heats Up

  Washington Post: Divided S. Koreans Impeach President (

"After a drama in the National Assembly as pro- and anti-Roh legislators came to violent blows before, during and after the vote, Roh's opponents secured 193 votes for impeachment -- above the two-thirds mark of 181 needed."

Thursday, March 11, 2004
  Robotic legs could produce an army of super troopers

"In lab experiments, says Kazerooni, testers have walked around in the 100-pound exoskeleton plus a 70-pound backpack and felt as if they were carrying just five pounds. "

  NY Times: Internet Providers File Suits to Stop Spammers

The ISPs need to blacklist networks that allow spammers. If the spammers are using zombies, then block email from that network. If the spammers are hosted on that network, block all traffic. ISPs should know what type of traffic is leaving their network.

  MSNBC - Olympic-size savings in Athens

Every four years, the price gouging appears in the summer. US$281 for the finals of popular events??!! Hell, no.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004
  CBC News:Ottawa tries to trace millions in computer deal

Oy vey.

The RCMP and internal auditors are trying to trace up to $159 million in an investigation that has pitted the Liberal government against Hewlett-Packard, one of the world's biggest technology firms.

  ExtremeTech: Video Codec Shootout

When it comes to visual quality, it's difficult to say whether DivX 5.1.1 or Windows Media Video 9 looks better. It's not hard to find specific instances in our test material where one outshines the other. It's safe to make the generalization that the DivX encoded clips tended to have a touch more detail, but also a few more compression artifacts, than the WMV9 video.

QuickTime 6.5 faired reasonably well when using the common Sorenson3 codec, only really breaking down in certain high-motion scenes. It's also the fastest-compressing codec of the four tested here. The same cannot be said of Apple's MPEG-4 implementation, however, which is absolutely awful.

  Silicon Valley: Rise of DVD players in cars leads to cases of drive-by porn - Oxygen masks may have spread SARS

It looks like everyone just assumed that oxygen masks were airtight, at least wrt viruses.

"Using special techniques to create images of exhaled gases exiting from the vents of oxygen masks, the researchers showed plumes of droplets that extended for five metres and beyond on each side of the mask-wearer."

Tuesday, March 09, 2004
  City of Toronto: DineSafe: Conditional Pass for downtown Krispy Kreme store???

So I was walking through the "underground" in Toronto, when I passed by a Krispy Kreme store. I looked at the restaurant inspection displayed on the store's door. It wasn't a green Pass, but a yellow "Conditional Pass".


So I went to the City of Toronto website and found this entry on the DineSafe portion of the website: KRISPY KKREAM Doughnuts - 120 Adelaide St. W:

Most Recent Inspection Finding

Date Inspected: Nov 21, 2003

This establishment was inspected by Toronto Public Health in accordance with the Ontario Food Premises Regulation, and passed the inspection.

Date Inspected: Nov 20, 2003

Severity Action Outcome
Outcome Amount
Conditional Pass IMPROPER MAINTENANCE / SANITATION OF FOOD CONTACT SURFACES / UTENSILS /EQUIPMENT Operator fail to provide required sinks S Notice to Comply      
    Operator fail to properly wash multi-use utensils S Notice to Comply      
  IMPROPER MAINTENANCE / SANITATION OF NON-FOOD CONTACT SURFACES / EQUIPMENT Fail to provide thermometer in storage compartment O. Reg 562/90 Sec. 21 S Corrected During Inspection      

The Bay St. Krispy Kreme also had a Conditional Pass around the time that they opened (probably days before/within opening): Krispy Kreme - 181 Bay St.. Their list of infractions is much longer and more severe.

- posted by John @ 11:35 PM
  The Seattle Times: Local News: Pedestrian finds pack with almost $500,000

A pedestrian who found a backpack filled with nearly $500,000 near Ellisforde, Okanogan County, likely helped disrupt a drug deal, officials said.

The pedestrian found the pack hidden along Highway 97 on Friday and called authorities, Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said. He would not name the pedestrian.

Deputies took the cash, replaced it with police magazines, then returned the pack and waited, Rogers said.

At about 7:30 p.m. Friday, David L. Taber Jr., 35, of Oroville, Okanogan County, picked up the backpack and drove away, Rogers said. Deputies arrested him. "

  Wired: One File Swapper, One Lawsuit

A federal judge ruled on Friday that the music industry cannot sue over 200 alleged file sharers in one swoop and that the companies must sue each defendant individually.

The music trade group must pay court fees for each of these cases. Filing each lawsuit will cost $150 in court fees, for a total of over $30,000, according to the EFF.

  MSNBC: Senators' stocks often outperform market

U.S. senators' personal stock portfolios outperformed the market by an average of 12 percent a year in the five years to 1998, according to a new study.

He admits to being "very surprised" by his findings, which were based on 6,000 financial disclosure filings and are due to be published in the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis.

First-time senators did especially well, with their stocks outperforming by 20 percent a year on average — a result that very few professional fund managers would be able to achieve.

A separate study in 2000, covering 66,465 U.S. households from 1991 to 1996 showed that the average household's portfolio underperformed the market by 1.44 percent a year, on average. Corporate insiders (defined as senior executives) usually outperform by about 5 percent.

The Ziobrowski study notes that the politicians' timing of transactions is uncanny. Most stocks bought by senators had shown little movement before the purchase. But after the stock was bought, it outperformed the market by 28.6 per cent on average in the following calendar year.

Returns on sell transactions are equally intriguing. Stocks sold by senators performed in line with the market the year following the sale.

  MSNBC: 'Idol' reject Hung gets record contract

I think the album should be released on April 1. Another album that is not on my to-listen list.

  CBC: Military meal repayment sparks controversy

In a report released Monday, Canadian Forces ombudsman Andre Marin says 10 soldiers agreed to take part in a three-month air traffic control training course in Richmond, B.C., in early 2002.

The military promised to pay $50 per day for meals and expenses, which the soldiers received as a cash advance. There was no microwave or refrigerator at the training facility.

A week into the course, that payment was dropped to $17.50 per day, but the soldiers were told their superiors were negotiating to have the figure returned to $50.

When the course ended, the soldiers were each ordered to pay the Department of Defence approximately $3,000. They were given six months to repay the debts.

The ombudsman estimates that National Defence has spent 10 times as much fighting the soldiers as it would have if it simply kept its promise.

  Globe and Mail: Wright resigns from Ontario board

I wonder if he gets a severance package???

Mr. Wright resigned on Monday following reports that he had given a long-time Tory associate a consulting contract that paid $100 an hour for communications advice and that he was billing the WSIB $2,800 a month for his Toronto apartment. His home was in Kitchener.

"On the face of it, there was some very inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars," the Premier told reporters at Queen's Park.

  Toronto Star: Felicien upsets champ Devers

The 37-year-old is a hurdling and sprint legend who came into the event as a heavy favourite. She was undefeated this year, including two victories over Felicien. She was the defending world indoor champion, a three-time world outdoor hurdling champion and a two-time Olympic gold medallist as a sprinter.

She had already won the 60-metre sprint in Budapest and was going for an unprecedented women's double. Felicien finished in 7.75 seconds, a meet record. Devers crossed in 7.78 seconds while Linda Ferga-Khodadin of France clocked 7.82. Felicien became Canada's first champion at the world indoor championships since Bruny Surin took the 60-metre title in 1995.

Friday, March 05, 2004
  TheRegister: Eolas' web patent nullified - I need $300,000/month: Lionel Ritchie's ex

"The singer 'has never had a problem earning money. I know that he earns in excess of $300,000 per month because we have always comfortably spent at least that in any given month,' Diane Richie said in the papers.

She cited the upkeep for their $40-million, 30-room Beverly Hills mansion, which the estranged couple still shares. That includes a $75,000 monthly mortgage and wages for a full-time staff of nine and additional people to 'maintain our plants, detail our cars, care for our pool, groom our dog, maintain our aquarium and a painter for regular touch-ups on the house.'

Diane Richie estimated that she spent $20,000 a year on plastic surgery and $50,000 a month on personal expenses, including $15,000 a month for clothing, shoes and accessories; $5,000 on jewelry; $3,000 on dermatology; $1,000 for laser hair removal and $600 on massages."

The Colorado boarding school for their nine-year-old son, Miles, cost $125,000 a year. Their daughter's tuition was $15,000 a year.

Thursday, March 04, 2004
  NY Times: Researchers Retract a Study Linking Autism to Vaccination

"Ten of the 13 scientists who produced a 1998 study linking a childhood vaccine to several cases of autism retracted their conclusion yesterday.

In a statement to be published in the March 6 issue of The Lancet, a British medical journal, the researchers conceded that they did not have enough evidence at the time to tie the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, known as MMR, to the autism cases. The study has been blamed for a sharp drop in the number of British children being vaccinated and for outbreaks of measles."

  How Tiny Swiss Cellphone Chips Helped Track Global Terror Web

"One senior official said the authorities were grateful that Qaeda members were so loyal to Swisscom.

Another official agreed: 'They'd switch phones but use the same cards. The people were stupid enough to use the same cards all of the time. It was a very good thing for us.'"

Wednesday, March 03, 2004 Killers/Sexual Predators/Marc Dutroux: The Child-Killer Who Slipped through the System

Pretty sad the ineptitude and liberal justice system in Belgium that allowed a convicted pedophile to go free and go on another spree. - Woman uses sex act as manslaughter defense

Oh my.

"A woman charged with causing a fatal car crash in 1999 says that she couldn't have been behind the wheel because she was performing a sex act on the driver at the time. "

  MSNBC - McDonald's phasing out Supersize fries, drinks

"In a sign of the times, McDonald's is getting rid of the extra-large portions that had become one of its signatures. The burger giant said it has begun phasing out Supersize fries and drinks in its more than 13,000 U.S. restaurants and will stop selling them altogether by year's end, except in promotions."

  The Globe and Mail: Parlez-vous Français?

I guess English is the lingua franca of international peacekeeping. Bill 101 really helped these guys.

"Last month, when soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, Royal 22nd Regiment arrived in Afghanistan, military leaders said the troops could probably speak enough English to get by with English-speaking interpreters. They soon discovered they were wrong.

More than half of the sergeants who lead patrols do not speak English well enough to get by with the interpreters who don't always speak perfect English, either, according to the officer in charge of hiring interpreters. Lieutenant Stephan Anctil said that patrol teams often resort to communicating by committee, with soldiers pooling their English to get through to interpreters." User Profile Hive Cleanup Service

This would have been useful a long time ago.

UPHClean is a service that once and for all gets rid of problems with user profile not unloading.

You are having profile unload problems if you experience slow logoff (with Saving Settings for most of the time while logging off), roaming profiles that do not reconcile, or the registry size limit is reached.

  NY Times: An Extra Eye in Combat, and Maybe Aboard Airplanes

Essential Viewing's software compresses signals by effectively making a sketch of each image rather than transmitting it pixel by pixel. A neural network - a program designed to mimic the brain - breaks each image down into a series of shapes from a code book that contains 512 curves, triangles and so forth. The program then translates the configuration of shapes to reassemble them into an image at the other end.

The compressed data requires as little as 1 percent of the transmission capacity of the same image sent uncompressed. The reassembled picture is not as sharp as a typical television image, but it seldom needs to be for the tasks it is used for.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004
  Infinium Labs going downhill fast...

Most companies bring out the lawyers when their innovation rate slows down, the founders have left or just plum out of new ideas. Infinium Labs is high on PR and low on actual tangible product.

HardOCP and Sudhian Media have felt the sting of the legal arm of Infinium Labs.

Sudhian: Products with no Market: ApeXtreme, Phantom, Dead Before Arrival and HardOCP: Infinium Labs Vs. HardOCP - Round 2, IL's reply to HardOCP's quick look at the blown-up creds behind IL, Behind the Infinium Phantom Console . WHDC News for July 2003 - Archive

You can get a copy of PREfast in the WinServer 2003 DDK. Just pay shipping and handling and it's yours.

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