Sunday, August 29, 2004
  Toronto Star: Visiting Oakville's gold coast
Microsoft Canada president Frank Clegg has his home privately listed at an asking price believed to be in the $29 million range, a record asking price for a property in Canada.

Clegg demolished the original dwelling and built a 26,000-square-foot mansion with 12 fireplaces, a multi-level theatre, a stone wine cellar, and a master bedroom that has a Juliet balcony overlooking the lake. If that's not enough room for you, it also comes with a 10,000-square-foot coach house.

  USA Today: Man in Greek attire attacks marathon leader

Totally despicable.

A man wearing a brightly colored costume bolted from the crowd and grabbed the leader of the marathon Sunday, about five miles from the finish.

The intruder wrestled Vanderlei Lima of Brazil to the curb and into the crowd. Police tackled the intruder and freed Lima.

The intruder, who police said was from Portugal, was arrested. His name was not immediately available.

Monday, August 23, 2004
  Gmail server downtime

Post-IPO, the fun begins...

Server Error

Gmail is temporarily unavailable. Cross your fingers and try again in a few minutes. We're sorry for the inconvenience.

  SAP software - not for the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type

Two links: SAP system problems dog AMD shipments and SAP: Will software solve Nortel's woes?.

If your business processes are similar to how SAP operates, then your conversion to using the software will be easy. Otherwise, you should prepare for a world of hurt including a bunch of $$$ on SAP consultants. ATI is smug but Nvidia's the bug in the rug

Looks like ATI has shot too low for their x800 parts and NVidia hit the mark. As long as ATI can recover in a couple of years, the struggle will continue.

  NY Times: The Peril That Trails an Oil Shock

But another factor is compounding the effects of supply and demand on oil's price. That is the rush by speculators into the relatively illiquid oil markets in recent months. These investors, immensely frustrated by the trendless stock market and the static bond market, have latched onto oil as one of the rare world markets that have momentum and produce profits.

No one knows, of course, where oil prices could go. But Mr. Roach said that recent levels are approaching oil-shock territory. And that makes the United States economy especially vulnerable to a recession.

Mr. Roach said the price of oil must stay at current levels for between three and six months to produce a true energy shock. It may not. But if it does? In the past, Mr. Roach found that oil shocks have always been followed by recessions.

Friday, August 20, 2004 - How much does a patent cost%3F

Monday, August 16, 2004
  SHA-1 Break Rumored
Also from Cryptography: Joux found a collision for SHA-0 !:
The computation was performed on TERA NOVA (a 256 Intel-Itanium2 system developped by BULL SA, installed in the CEA DAM open laboratory TERA TECH). It required approximatively 80 000 CPU hours. The complexity of the attack was about 2^51.

Friday, August 13, 2004 Download Windows XP Service Pack 2 for IT Professionals and Developers

A page where you can download WinXP SP2.

Thursday, August 12, 2004
  NY Times: Toys 'R' Us Says It May Leave the Toy Business

So the ToysRUs brain trust thinks that they've lost the toy business business to Walmart and Target, so now they should toss out their raison d'etre. Some fight these execs put up. Is this what their shareholders are paying them to do? Jump ship at the first sign of trouble? If they're trying to sell the toy business at cheap prices, then this is the way to go. I'm sure lotsa ToysRUs employees are printing their resumes on the corporate laser printers.

But the TRU execs are putting all their eggs in the BabiesRUs line. How hard is it going to be for Walmart and Target to copy that concept? What a bunch of geniuses.

The $11 billion company, which rose to become the nation's largest toy retailer by developing a once-successful formula that pushed its rivals out of business, said in a statement that it was determined to split its toy business and its faster-growing baby supplies division, Babies "R" Us, into two companies. It also said it planned "to explore the possible sale of the global toy business."

As for the continued health of Babies "R" Us, Mr. Flickinger said he was in a new Wal-Mart in Gulf Shores, Ala., this week where a special baby department had been set up selling everything from infant formula to baby clothes. "Moms were pouring in," he said. "It is in all likelihood going to be the death of Babies 'R' Us at a very early age."

Tuesday, August 10, 2004
  Wired: Spot-On Solution for Car Thefts

Hundreds of Data-Dots on items deter thieves since the effort to remove them is too high... for now at least.

Monday, August 09, 2004
  EWeek: What's the Real ROI of Self-Checkout?
"The unions would be beating us up and we'd say to them, 'Look, if you just bring me 30 or 40 more cashiers,'" we won't implement self-service. But the unions can't find enough members willing to do cashier duty either, Riso said.

But Symbol's Riso said self-checkout should be expanded to try to fix a major retail customer-flow problem. He speaks of the tradition that the store's largest customers (with the largest baskets) wait in the longest and slowest lines, while someone purchasing one can of peas gets whisked through an express lane. "The worst customer gets speeded through and the best waits on line. How stupid is that?"

  CNet: Intel uses delicate surgery to fine-tune microchips The Best Stock Tips in Town

Over the seven-year period, the buy recommendations issued by independent firms outperformed the recommendations of investment banks by about 8 percentage points annually. (For example, if investment bank recommendations returned 5 percent more than the general market, independent recommendations returned 13 percent more.)

Considering investment banks' advantages in resources and access to management, the difference is impressive. But the performance of the independent firms since the bust has been even more impressive. Between March 2000 and June 2003, investment bank buy recommendations essentially tracked the broader markets, but independent buy recommendations outperformed the market by about 17 percentage points.

Why would independents do so much better? It turns out that the conflicts that Spitzer set out to eliminate have a lot to do with the underperformance. The researchers did a set of additional tests, and found that the recommendations of investment banking firms made on companies just after equity offerings—initial public offerings or secondary stock offerings—underperformed recommendations of independent firms by 22 percentage points annually. Says Trueman: "That's consistent with a reluctance on the part of analysts to downgrade stocks that have had investment banking relationships."

  Wasington Post: Youth Violence Has Japan Struggling for Answers

The young killer in Sasebo, whose name is being withheld under Japanese law, was an avid fan of "Battle Royale," a popular teen movie turned Internet game in which students kill one other through blood sport. Although the girl is still undergoing psychological evaluation, she is believed to have been set off by a seemingly minor offense: The victim, one of the girl's closest friends, once called her "overweight" and "prissy" on a Web site.

An estimated hundreds of thousands of Japanese students, from grade school to college, are suffering from a behavioral disorder known as hikikomori, meaning they are unable to leave their homes or cope with daily life, according to experts and sociologists who have studied the phenomenon.

Thousands of teenagers, mostly girls in large cities throughout Japan, have entered into what authorities describe as voluntary prostitution, marketing themselves to adults through Internet sites accessed by cell phone, mostly to earn money for designer handbags and brand-name clothing.

  CNN: New efforts to combat invasive species

Probably best known among the globe-trotting invaders is the zebra mussel. Native to Eastern Europe, the organism was introduced by Russian vessels to the U.S. Great Lakes in 1986. By 1988, the species had spread to lakes and waterways in 19 states. Zebra mussels have caused billions in damage by clogging water intake pipes at factories and power plants and by interrupting the food chain.

Another devastating invader species traveled in the opposite direction.

The American comb jellyfish, just a few centimeters long, was transported thousands of miles from the Chesapeake Bay to the Black Sea and then to the Caspian Sea. With no natural enemies there, the creature caused the collapse of anchovy fisheries.

Sunday, August 01, 2004
  NY Times: Your Money > Digital Domain: It's BlackBerry Season, but Maybe Not for Long

The RIM guys have been searching for another killer app besides email for their Blackberry. What have they got to show for several years of searching. Nada. They are the modern equivalent of the pager. And we know how popular those are these days. If it weren't for hospitals' rules about cellphone usage, pagers would probably be in the same pile as the manual typewriter and the record player.

Time to cash out of RIMM and enjoy the $$$ while you can.

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