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My Archives: May 2004

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Googol vs. Google
Posted by CKL @ 11:22 AM PST
From a Baltimore Sun interview with Peri Fleisher ("Who?" you say? Read on):
[Q:] But you believe Google has an obligation to compensate you and your family for using the name coined by your great uncle, correct?

[A:] Legally, that's an open question we're exploring. But ethically, courteously, yes. I see some hypocrisy there. They have ignored us. Other than changing a couple of letters on the name, they are capitalizing on it. This is a business. These guys are going to make billions of dollars. It's not a cute little thing.

[Q:] As you know, Google now plans to make an initial public offering and expects to raise $2.7 billion. Does that fact make you more determined to be compensated?

[A:] You don't need to give us anything. Just let us participate as insiders on the IPO. I don't think it's a lot to ask.

Riiight. Ignoring the fact that the Google IPO will use an auction and therefore have no "insiders," there's no precedent for ownership of a mathematical concept or name. I mean, that would just be silly.

As Jan Freeman of the Boston Globe says:

Fleisher needs to get a grip. Her great-uncle couldn't have "identified" the number he called googol, which "existed" (as 10 to the 100th power) before his 1938 coinage, and in any case Kasner credited his 9-year-old nephew with suggesting the word... the 1930s [was] a good decade for Barney Google: The comic strip was flourishing, and Barney also appeared in animated cartoons and comic books. Did the mathematician's helper unwittingly pluck those "nonsense" syllables from the funny papers?
[Link]

Friday, May 14, 2004

Surprise Me
Posted by CKL @ 09:07 AM PST
From the New York Times:
For [Joss] Whedon, the death of television surprise is the end of what he calls a "holy emotion." Surprise, he argues, "makes you humble. It makes you small in the world, and takes you out of your own perspective. It shows you that you're wrong, the world is bigger and more complicated than you'd imagined." He continued, "The more we dilute that with insider knowledge, with previews that show too much, with spoilers, with making-of specials, the more we're robbing ourselves of something we essentially need."
Amen to that.
[Link]

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Free Cash!
Posted by CKL @ 10:47 AM PST
Oh, sorry, that's FreeCache, a new service from the Internet Archive. I gotta say, Brewster Kahle is one cool dude.
[Link]

Thursday, May 6, 2004

CDs and DVDs Not So Immortal After All
Posted by CKL @ 10:13 AM PST
From the Associated Press, via Yahoo! News:
Dan Koster was unpacking some of his more than 2,000 CDs after a move when he noticed something strange. Some of the discs, which he always took good care of, wouldn't play properly...

His collection was suffering from "CD rot," a gradual deterioration of the data-carrying layer. It's not known for sure how common the blight is, but it's just one of a number of reasons that optical discs, including DVDs, may be a lot less long-lived than first thought...

The aluminum layer that reflects the light of the player's laser is separated from the CD label by a thin layer of lacquer. If the manufacturer applied the lacquer improperly, air can penetrate to oxidize the aluminum, eating it up much like iron rusts in air.

Hmm... laser rot, anyone? At least with analog you can get some data. Go digital, and it's all or nothing. Not that I'd ditch DVDs to go back to LD, but let's be honest about the tradeoffs.
[Link]

Wednesday, May 5, 2004

SenderBase
Posted by CKL @ 05:23 PM PST
"SenderBase is an email reputation service designed to help email administrators research senders, identify legitimate sources of email and block spammers. You are viewing a report on the top senders of email on the Internet based on data provided from over 28,000 organizations that receive email."
-- senderbase.org

For the last 24 hours, the top 5 senders were (in order): Comcast (comcast.net), Yahoo!, Road Runner, Comcast (attbi.com), and Pac Bell. Hotmail was #8. AOL was #11. The point is, most people are using whatever email service was bundled with their Internet access. I suspect the two are still somewhat conjoined in many people's minds.

[Link]

Tuesday, May 4, 2004

It's THREE fruitcakes, actually.
Posted by CKL @ 03:29 PM PST
From theage.com:
Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street goliath that prides itself on its close relations with the world's leading businesses, has had a damaging row with Google that may have cost it $US100 million ($A138 million) in fees...

Goldman sources confirmed [CEO Hank] Paulson had placed calls to the search engine's backers through intermediaries but denied this was against Google's rules.

"What the hell is the chief executive supposed to do but make calls?" said one insider. "If that upset the two fruitcakes who run Google, so be it. Maybe they don't like Hank because he's bald."

I guess if you're going to be an unnamed source, you might as well say the most outrageous thing possible. I wonder if Eric feels slighted. Or George.
[Link]

Saturday, May 1, 2004

Don't Bug Me, Don't Spam Me.
Posted by CKL @ 02:01 PM PST
"[Q:] What's this all about then?
[A:] BugMeNot.com was created as a mechanism to quickly bypass the login of web sites that require compulsory registration and/or the collection of personal/demographic information (such as the New York Times).
"[Q:] Why not just register?
[A:] * It's a breach of privacy.
* Sites don't have a great track record with the whole spam thing.
* It's contrary to the fundamental spirit of the net. Just ask Google.
* It's pointless due to the significant percentage of users who enter fake demographic details anyway.
* It's a waste of time.
* It's annoying as hell.
* Imagine if every site required registration to access content."
-- BugMeNot.com

"When the computer industry wakes up from its dream and realizes people do not want to give out all their personal information, perhaps they will finally come up with a better way to make friends with their customers instead of alienating the hell out of them."
-- Poynter Online

"Welcome to Mailinator(tm) - It[']s no signup, instant email. Here is how it works: You are on the web, at a party, or talking to your favorite insurance salesman. Whereever you are, someone (or some webpage) asks for your email. You know if you give it, you'll be on their spam list. On the other hand, you do want at least one message from that person. The answer is to give them a mailinator address. You don't need to sign-up. You just make it up on the spot. Pick jonesy@mailinator.com or bipster@mailinator.com - pick anything you want (up to 15 characters before the @ sign).
"Later, come to this site and check that account. Its that easy. Mailinator accounts are created when mail arrives for them. No signup, no personal information, and when you're done - you can walk away - an instant solution to one way spammers get your address. The emails will automatically be deleted for you after a few hours.
"Let'em spam."
-- Mailinator.com

[Link]

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