Pledge Request: Fax Your TD
John Handelaar is looking for some people to support his efforts to develop an Irish equivalent of the hugely successful UK site WriteToThem.com for contacting UK politicians. The Irish version of the site would allow people to contact their councillors, TDs and MEPs for free. If you are interested in helping out, visit www.pledgebank.com/faxyourtd BEFORE 1ST FEBRUARY.
Memex 1.1Computing’s energy problem (6.2.2006, 22:27 UTC)
We’ve known for a time that internet companies are increasingly worried about their power consumption and now, thanks to a conference organised by Sun Microsystems, it’s out in the open. Here’s a report… With rising energy costs and server computers that now suck up more electricity than ever, power bills have become such a significant expense that they are forcing chief financial officers to take notice, said Greg Papadopoulos, chief technology officer at Sun Microsys...
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Memex 1.1FON: Share your WiFi connection (6.2.2006, 17:17 UTC)
Here’s an interesting idea… FON is a Global Community of people who share WiFi. Share your WiFi broadband access at home/work and enjoy WiFi all over the world! FON: small cost, great benefit! To become a Fonero, all you need to do is register with us on our website, have broadband connection, and download the FON Software onto your WiFi router. It’s that simple. Just share your connection and the rest of the Community shares back with you. Join FON and enjoy connecting fr...
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Memex 1.1Drug dealer reports dope theft to cops (6.2.2006, 15:32 UTC)
From The Register… An 18-year-old drug dealing master criminal is languishing in Utah County Jail after reporting the theft of his stash to police, the Deseret Morning News reports. He rang the cops to complain that someone had broken into his Orem home and made off with the “quarter-pound of marijuana he had been trying to sell”. The burglar “had broken a window and apparently cut himself while crawling into the home” and a “trail of blood indicated that th...
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Memex 1.1Clash of civilisations (6.2.2006, 14:10 UTC)
In this case, those of the US and Europe. On the day that every newspaper on this side of the Atlantic is devoting acres of newsprint to the widespread and continuing Muslim protests against the cartoons of the Prophet published in Scandanavia and elsewhere, the US’s premier liberal newspaper has nothing at all about the issue on the front page of its web site.
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Memex 1.1Apple-pie protest (6.2.2006, 09:07 UTC)
Nice, properly barbed, piece by Tom Zeller in the New York Times about the way US technology companies are caving in to the Chinese government’s repressive demands. Western technology companies have only themselves to blame if users in the free world quickly ask when Shi Tao, the journalist whose name Yahoo gave to Chinese authorities and who subsequently was sentenced to a 10-year prison term, will be released. Or that people use what-ifs to ponder the moral limits of saying that local l...
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Memex 1.1Who do you trust? (5.2.2006, 10:08 UTC)
This morning’s Observer column… One of the more interesting news items of last week was the report that Tiffany and Company, the celebrated New York jeweller, is suing eBay, the online auction company, for ‘facilitating the sale of counterfeit goods’ over the internet. It turns out that undercover agents working for the company secretly bought 200 ‘Tiffany’ items in eBay auctions and found that three out of four were counterfeited. The case will go to trial i...
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Memex 1.1Realism at last? (4.2.2006, 23:39 UTC)
BBC Online is reporting that Shares of internet search company Google fell 7% on Wednesday after its earnings fell short of Wall Street expectations for the first time. The firm said late on Tuesday that fourth-quarter profit rose by 82% to $372.2m (£209m), or $1.22 per share. Analysts had expected $1.50 a share. Google’s stock fell $30.88 to $401.78 in New York amid concerns that the tech-industry giant may be overvalued. Well, well. The ingratitude of Wall Street. And after Goog...
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Memex 1.1The iTab (3.2.2006, 23:31 UTC)
A host of Apple patent filings have led to frenzied speculation — e.g. here — that Steve Jobs’s next bombshell will be a tablet computer that really works. I’ll believe it when I see it — not the tablet, but software that makes it do useful work. The computing tablet that’s more helpful than a Moleskine notebook has yet to be invented. But I’d buy one tomorrow if it existed.
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Memex 1.1Some grown-up questions for Google (3.2.2006, 13:04 UTC)
Terrific piece by Becky Hogge on openDemocracy.net Since going public in August 2004, [Google] has released over a dozen products, including Google Maps, Google Web Accelerator, Google Homepage, Google Sitemaps, Google Earth, Google Talk, Google Desktop, Google Base, Google Book Search, Google Video and Google Pack. So what has Google been up to in China during those eighteen months? One clue might lie in the feature of google.cn that sets it apart from the other global search providers, like...
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Memex 1.1The digital camera market (3.2.2006, 00:05 UTC)
From David Pogue, writing in the New York Times… Big changes are in the photographic air. First, there’s the astonishing collapse of the film camera market. By some tallies, 92 percent of all cameras sold are now digital. Big-name camera companies are either exiting the film camera business ( Kodak, Nikon) or exiting the camera business altogether (Konica Minolta). Film photography is rapidly becoming a special-interest niche. Next, there’s the end of the megapixel race. 
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Memex 1.1End. Period. Stop. (2.2.2006, 22:05 UTC)
This really is the end of an era. Western Union has transmitted its last telegram. STOP: After 155 years in the telegraph business, Western Union has cabled its final dispatch. The service that in the mid-1800s displaced pony-borne messengers has been supplanted over the past half-century by inexpensive long-distance telephone service, faxes and e-mail. In a final bit of irony, Western Union informed customers last week in a message on its Web site. “Effective January 27, 2006, Western...
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Memex 1.1Quote of the day (1.2.2006, 23:51 UTC)
The Carrowteigue area is notorious for its scenic landscapes. From the online brochure of a Co. Mayo estate agent. Update: I’ve had a lovely email from a fastidious reader who points out that ‘notorious’ has several meanings. For example, the Shorter Oxford lists these three: Well known, commonly or generally known, forming a matter of common knowledge, esp. on account of some bad practice, quality etc., or some other thing not generally approved of or admired; Such as is...
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Memex 1.1That State of the Union speech (1.2.2006, 23:13 UTC)
The first President Bush loved to quote Woody Allen’s saying that half of life is just showing up. Last night, the current President Bush demonstrated the wisdom in those words. He delivered a pedestrian State of the Union speech, and he’ll likely get a brief bounce in the polls just for showing up at an annual ritual designed to make any president look presidential. But by next week, nobody will remember what he said…. David Kusnet, writing in The New Republic. I think he
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Memex 1.1Helpful hints (1.2.2006, 23:02 UTC)
My colleague Seb’s plane was diverted to Delhi when he was en route to Bangladesh to instal the first Ndiyo Internet cafe using mobile phone technology to provide internet connectivity. To compensate for the disruption, he was put up in a luxury hotel which, among other thoughtful touches provided this ‘To Do’ list. Suggestions include: Have you called your family today? Are there any important calls to be made before the day ends? Are there any anniversary or birthday gr...
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Memex 1.1Photo arcade (31.1.2006, 23:02 UTC)
Behind the facade of these buildings in St Andrew’s Street in Cambridge, there’s a huge retail development under way with the optimistic name ‘Grand Arcade’. In a smart move to counter public dislike of the disruption caused by a massive building project right in the heart of a medieval city, the developers commissioned Martin Parr, the populist Magnum photographer, to do a series of photographs under the general heading of “The Cambridge Portrait” which wi...
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Memex 1.1Google at work on desktop Linux? (31.1.2006, 21:23 UTC)
From The Register. The really interesting thing is that the Linux they’re working on is allegedly based on the Ubuntu distro we use in the Ndiyo Project! Needless to say, it will be called Goobuntu.
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Memex 1.1“Microsoft Would Put Poor Online by Cellphone” (31.1.2006, 21:14 UTC)
This hilarious NYT headline goes over an equally hilarious report about Microsoft and the $100 laptop project. Mr. Negroponte has made significant progress, but he has also catalyzed the debate over the role of computing in poor nations — and ruffled a few feathers. He failed to reach an agreement with Microsoft on including its Windows software in the laptop, leading Microsoft executives to start discussing what they say is a less expensive alternative: turning a specially configured ce...
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Memex 1.1Divine (IP) Rights, contd. (30.1.2006, 17:16 UTC)
Further to my comment about whether the pope is entitled to assert IP rights over papal encyclicals (on the grounds that he is merely a conduit for the Word of the Lord), Joe Newman writes, Encyclicals do not necessarily constitute ex-cathedra pronouncements, invested with infallible authority (see http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05413a.htm). Further, according to that inerrant source of all knowledge Wikipedia “papal infallibility is the dogma that the Pope is preserved from error when ...
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Memex 1.1Tiffany sues eBay (29.1.2006, 09:37 UTC)
The New York Times reports that Tiffany & Company is sueing eBay for facilitating the sale of counterfeit goods over the Internet. Undercover agents working for the company secretly bought 200 ‘Tiffany’ items in eBay auctions and found that 75% were counterfeited. The case will go to trial later this year. If Tiffany wins, the implications for eBay would be dire: imagine the costs of policing all those auctions.
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Memex 1.1Google falls at first moral hurdle (29.1.2006, 00:07 UTC)
This morning’s Observer column. In the longer term … the commercial logic that led Google to capitulate may turn out to be counterproductive. The reason is that - in contrast to companies like, say, Halliburton - Google’s ultimate fate depends on trust. Its corporate mission - to ‘organise the world’s information’ - means that it aspires to become the custodian of immense quantities of private data. Already, it holds the email archives of millions of subscri...
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Memex 1.1Divine IP Right (27.1.2006, 23:32 UTC)
Andrew Brown draws my attention to the fact that the Vatican is now claiming IP Rights over papal encyclicals. According to the Times story, For the first time all papal documents, including encyclicals, will be governed by copyright invested in the official Vatican publishing house, the Libreria Editrice Vaticana. The edict covers Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical, which is to be issued this week amid huge international interest. The edict is retroactive, covering not only the writi...
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Memex 1.1Kissing the badger (27.1.2006, 21:58 UTC)
Wonderful column by Harry Pearson. Sample: The radio filtered alarming news to my vantage point high above. From what I could make out from an incoherently angry caller to 6-0-6, it seemed that the Manchester United right-back Gary Neville had taunted visiting Liverpool fans at the final whistle by standing in front of them and kissing - and here was the shocking bit - his badger. That, at least, was what it sounded like. Many would instantly have dismissed the idea as implausible. Those who h...
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Memex 1.1Quote of the day (27.1.2006, 21:19 UTC)
From a CNN report on Microsoft’s latest results… Microsoft, which in addition to Xbox 360, recently released its new SQL Server 2005 database software, is expected to see a pickup in growth thanks to these new products as well as the upcoming release of Microsoft’s long-awaited new operating system, known as Vista, and the latest version of Office: Office 12. “I’m excited about the second half of the year,” said Michael Cohen, director of research with Pacif...
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Memex 1.1Nasty Sony kills off robotic bow-wow (27.1.2006, 20:41 UTC)
Such cruelty! Good Morning, Silicon Valley reports that, The Aibo lived seven years — or 49 if you count robotic dog years. On Thursday, Sony pulled the plug on Aibo, its peppy robotic dog with a software-controlled personality and abilities that has entertained thousands of faithful owners. The dogs, which cost upward of $2,000 each, can dance, whimper, guard and play, developing personalities based on interaction with their owners. Sony has sold more than 150,000 Aibos since launchin...
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Memex 1.1Mighty Mouse (27.1.2006, 18:40 UTC)
The news that Steve Jobs is to join the Board of Walt Disney (as a result of selling his company, Pixar, to them) prompted the following exchange on Slashdot: Does this mean that Mickey Mouse will now only have 1 button? Yes, but when they release the new Minnie Mouse her button will provide 4-way scrolling action. Apologies: geeky joke. Explanation: Apple’s fanatical commitment to a one-button mouse was one of the longest-running annoyances in the business and was widely attributed t...
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Memex 1.1Jack Anderson (27.1.2006, 18:30 UTC)
The great muckraking journalist has died, aged 83. There’s an appreciative Guardian obit which recalls how much Anderson was loathed (and feared) by those in power. FBI chief J Edgar Hoover once described him as “lower than the regurgitated filth of vultures”. Wow! To be so reviled by such a creep as Hoover is praise indeed. Very good biography of Anderson on Spartacus.schoolnet.
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Memex 1.1Bubble bursts Hollywood? (27.1.2006, 08:59 UTC)
Tech Review reminds us that Today is the release date for Bubble, a new film directed by [Steven] Soderbergh and released by HDNET Films, an upstart film company cofounded by [Mark] Cuban. Setting Bubble apart from, say, Nanny McPhee and Big Momma’s House 2, two other films debuting on Friday, is that the film will be available in cinemas and on the HDNET cable channel on the same day. What’s more, just four days later, it will be out on DVD. In other words: there will be no &#8220...
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Memex 1.1Middle-aged dog tries to learn new tricks (27.1.2006, 08:55 UTC)
Well, well. According to MIT’s Technology Review, Microsoft is reorganizing part of its research-and-development operation to create new products faster, and to compete with the seemingly vast array of innovative consumer software and services that companies like Google and Yahoo bring to market on a weekly basis. Its new organization, called Live Labs, consists of some 85 researchers drawn from two existing divisions, Microsoft Research and the Microsoft Network (MSN). Both organizatio...
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Memex 1.1The Alice in Wonderland World of DRM (26.1.2006, 23:50 UTC)
Ed Felten has an amazing story on his Blog. Here’s the gist: If you’ve been reading here lately, you know that I’m no fan of the Sensenbrenner/Conyers analog hole bill. The bill would require almost all analog video devices to implement two technologies called CGMS-A and VEIL. CGMS-A is reasonably well known, but the VEIL content protection technology is relatively new. I wanted to learn more about it. So I emailed the company that sells VEIL and asked for a copy of the spec...
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Memex 1.1Latin gags (26.1.2006, 23:32 UTC)
Today’s Daily Telegraph reports that actor Brad Pitt’s current inamorato, a lady whose name escapes me, has the Latin inscription Quod me nutrit me destruit tattoed in Gothic type “across her lower stomach”. I’m sure you know that this translates as “What nourishes me, destroys me”. But what I want to know is what the Torygraph is doing inspecting the lower stomach regions of actresses.
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