October 31, 2005

Bush to Nominate Conservative Appeals Judge for High Court - New York Times

Bush to Nominate Conservative Appeals Judge for High Court - New York Times

Now the battle is on. This judicial fight will surely take the public heat and attention off the Libby indictment.

To Battle the Telephone Giants, Small Internet Providers Choose Wi-Fi as a Weapon - New York Times

To Battle the Telephone Giants, Small Internet Providers Choose Wi-Fi as a Weapon - New York Times

The wireless splurge is on with comapnies like Google and Earthlink and many others willing to provide services to large and small cities. Rural America will wait, but next generation wireless, WiMax or other flavors, may be a better answer than 802.11g/n wireless.

Meanwhile, I've signed up with Verizon BroadbandAccess, but have not yet tried it.

The Time Is Now: Bust Up the Box! - New York Times

"The Network is the Computer" may soon be a pervasive reality.

October 30, 2005

Congress Weighs Big Cuts to Medicaid and Medicare - New York Times

Are they rearranging the deck chairs, or do they think this is meaningful reform? The systems are so complex that twiddling at the margins may be the best we can hope for absent consensus on what constitutes true reform.

The End of Pensions - New York Times

A long but enlightening, if not a bit surreal, piece about the pension pain the country is experiencing. When will our erudite elected officials at all levels of government take on the problem for a fix.

"And as future auto executives would discover, pension obligations are - outside of bankruptcy, anyway - virtually impossible to unload. Unlike wages or health benefits, pension benefits cannot be cut. Unlike other contracts, which might be renegotiated as business conditions change, pension commitments are forever. And given the exigencies of the labor market, they tend to be steadily improved upon, at least when times are good."

"The three filings (Delphi, Delta Airlines and Northwest Airlines) have blown the lid off America's latest, if long-simmering, financial debacle. It is not hedge funds or the real-estate bubble - it is the pension system, both public and private. And it is broken."

Google Wants to Dominate Madison Avenue, Too - New York Times

A fascinating look into Google's advertising machine and the fear and dread it instills in traditional advertising agencies.

October 29, 2005

Microsoft Says Profit Rose 24% - New York Times

Strong financial results from Microsoft, but they clearly must refocus themselves to counter their up-and-coming rivals Google and Yahoo. Particulalry telling is the quarter over quarter shrinkage of revenue from the MSN service while Google's profits exploded.
The Web 2.0 excitement surely must have Gates and his team gearing up for the needed changes. Microsoft has shown in the past they can do it when they focused on the Internet and created Internet Explorer now in version 6. I think they can do it again, but they'd best get a move on. Ray Ozzie, one of their key people is paying attention.

Blogger Spam Help Item

This post describes the word verification actions used by Blogger for blogs that are new or have been machine-determined to be spammy. I'm requesting mine be checked by Blogger to be declared white-listed.

Novel Strategy Pits Journalists Against Source - New York Times

The media and the legal eagles are not very comfortable with the Libby indictment, so it seems from this Times piece. When this case is tried, it will be a media circus because of the precedent it could set, plus the media's credibility or lack thereof will be on full display. Add to that the possibility that classified information may surface.

Now add the political ramifications and how the Left and the Right will try to spin the whole thing. One wonders if justice can be done, unless Libby pleads guilty and makes it disappear quickly. That's unlikely because of the significant penalties he would face.

Perhaps a trial is the best outcome for the Left as a runup to the 2008 elections.

Daylight Time

"Currently, daylight time begins in the United States on the first Sunday in April and ends on the last Sunday in October. On the first Sunday in April, clocks are set ahead one hour at 2:00 a.m. local standard time, which becomes 3:00 a.m. local daylight time.

On the last Sunday in October, clocks are set back one hour at 2:00 a.m. local daylight time, which becomes 1:00 a.m. local standard time.

These dates were recently modified with the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Pub. L. no. 109-58, 119 Stat 594 (2005). Starting in March 2007, daylight time in the United States will begin on the second Sunday in March and end on the first Sunday in November."

Confused about the CIA leak case? Start here. | csmonitor.com

Here's a concise summary of the Libby/Plame case from the CSM. It seems to me Libby is guilty of a cover-up and has rightfully resigned. Now the question remains whether others are involved. If they are, they have to go, too.

It amazes me how these guys think they can get away with this crap! Do they think they're invulnerable? After the trial, a big book deal will probably result. Shameful! Perhaps it'll be co-authored by Libby, Miller and Russert and edited by Novak and Cooper.

No matter its outcome, the case will not improve the media's image.

PCWorld.com - Motorola, Intel Team on Mobile WiMax

Still a way to go for wireless and mobile broadband via WiMax, but two biggies are working to develop standards.

"The WiMax Forum, a consortium that includes vendors and service providers, currently is working on certifying fixed WiMax products based on the IEEE 802.16-2004 standard. Those products won't allow subscribers to use WiMax while in motion.

The IEEE 802.16e standard, still being developed in draft form by a working group of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, won't define mobile WiMax closely enough to immediately create a high-volume set of products, he said."

October 27, 2005

Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: The amorality of Web 2.0

A view of Web 2.0 that expresses a view that amateurism is not a benefit within Web 2.0, but that we are at the beginning of a profound change in the collective consciousness of humankind that is the World Wide Web.

October 26, 2005

Jon Friedman's Media Web: The New York Times declares war -- on itself - Media - Opinion

The media critics show no mercy when the subject is the New York Times, it's reporting and editing. I agree that something is amiss at one of the nation's best newspapers. I think the problem is to be found among the editors who are not doing their job. The handling of the Judith Miller affair has been a fiasco.

Quality in Broadcasting and Podcasting

A long treatise on production quality in public broadcasting and audience expectations vs. the podcast off-the-cuff approach contained in a private email to Steve Gillmor from Stephen Hill. Published by Steve Gillmor.

Do Public Broadcasters Get It? (Stephen Hill) by ZDNet's Steve Gillmor -- Do Public Broadcasters Get It?...............................................Final version 10.18.05.............................................. Description During the doldrums of mid-August Steve Gillmor dropped a semi-cryptic post on his ZDNet blog to the effect that he'd been working with a group of people from public broadcasting as part of something called the Public Service Publisher Initiative (PSP) and had received a private email [...]

No Escape: Thaw Gains Momentum - New York Times

This serious piece of reporting includes the dire warning of global warming's effects in the Arctic but also includes the uncertainties of short term scenarios. I wonder what proportion of warming is due to natural causes compared to that caused by humans? I wonder why this piece doesn't examine that?

"Dr. Brinkhuis and many other veteran Arctic researchers caution that there is something of a paradox in Arctic trends: while the long-term fate of the region may be mostly sealed, no one should presume that the recent sharp warming and seasonal ice retreats that have caught the world's attention will continue smoothly into the future.

'The same Arctic feedbacks that are amplifying human-induced climate changes are amplifying natural variability,' explained Asgeir Sorteberg, a climate modeler at the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research in Bergen, Norway.

Indeed, experts say, there could easily be periods in the next few decades when the region cools and ice grows."

However, the author does point out that differences of opinion do exist.

"Because of that natural turbulence, a significant camp of Arctic specialists say they are not convinced that humans are driving the changes in the North.

"It's definitely true that the level of variability in high-latitude regions is huge, and trying to separate this from a human-induced trend is very difficult," said Igor Polyakov, another expert at the school's Arctic research center.

In the short run, the natural fluctuations will most likely sustain those on both sides of the debate over how to respond to global warming, with cool years embraced by skeptics and hotter ones by proponents of cutting the heat-trapping gases, said Dr. Richard B. Alley, a geoscientist at Pennsylvania State University.

But he and other scientists say it is clear that in the long run, the Arctic will get warmer, a conclusion at the heart of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, a report commissioned by the eight Arctic nations and released last year."

Google Found to Be Testing Classified Ads - New York Times

When Google creates buzz, those affected need to be concerned. One concerned group should be newspapers. Their advertising revenues under enormous pressure from online competitors and their financial future is shaky at the same time that readership fals and they become less trustworthy.

The 'Mainstream Media' (NY Times, CBS, USAToday) has a deservedly bad rap lately for ethical lapses and bad editorial management. Nevertheless, if they lose their advertising base, how will society receive the depth of research that large news organizations within media companies provide today? I suppose we could pursue the publicly funded British BBC model, but they have had their lapses lately, too.

The smart media people need to find a way to change with the evolving technology and create viable business models. Otherwise, theirs is a dismal future

October 24, 2005

Separating myth from reality in ID theft | CNET News.com

An ongoing reality check of ID theft.

O'Relly's Take on Web 2.0

This piece by Tim O'Reilly is 'must read' for anyone with a serious interest in the Internet and where the Web is headed. In it he describes the evolving web, dubbed Web 2.0, though the dynamic nature of these changes is not fully captured by a static label. The piece is long, but well worth the time. The subheads are listed below:

What Is Web 2.0
Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software

1. The Web As Platform
2. Harnessing Collective Intelligence
3. Data is the Next Intel Inside
4. End of the Software Release Cycle
5. Lightweight Programming Models
6. Software Above the Level of a Single Device
7. Rich User Experiences

Core Competencies of Web 2.0 Companies

There are valuable insights here that impact users, developers, investors and policy-makers.


What Is Web 2.0 by Tim O'Reilly -- Defining just what Web 2.0 means (the term was first coined at a conference brainstorming session between O'Reilly and MediaLive International, which also spawned the Web 2.0 Conference), still engenders much disagreement. Some decry it as a meaningless marketing buzzword, while others have accepted it as the new conventional wisdom. Tim O'Reilly attempts to clarify just what we meant by Web 2.0, digging into what it means to view the Web as a platform and which applications fall squarely under its purview, and which do not.


TIME.com: Where Pensions Are Golden -- Oct. 31, 2005 -- Page 1

Nothing is secure in this life. The pension promise is only as good as the soundness of the company or public agency providing it.

Powerful forces are at work that jeopardize the future of our country:

Insecurity of pensions
Underfunded Social Security and Medicare
Out-of-control Health Care Costs
Energy Shortages
Education Mediocrity
Exploding Public and Private Debt
Rise of Asia as a Powerful Economic Engine

These and other forces are piling up rapidly. The 2008 Presidential campaign must take these head on. I'll be anxiously watching to see if either the Democrats or the Republicans offer realistic solutions. We cannot tax our way through these problems.

Works for Me: Killing the killer app - CNET reviews

Rafe Needleman provides a realistic analysis of local vs. Web-based applications and the effect on local computing power.

Here's his bottom line:

"So can you throw out your high-powered PC, hard drives, and operating system? Probably not. All of this incredible new functionality that's running over the Net won't fly on a TRS-80. Graphics- and user interface-intensive applications such as mapping and productivity need horsepower.

What is changing radically is how we buy software. More and more of it will be made available as a subscription, and ultimately, we'll probably not even know how much of any given application is running locally or what amount is running on a machine on the Net. Whether software serves us from our hard disk shouldn't be something we need to care about. But we're still going to need hardware to run our software, and the fancier our applications get, the more local processing power we'll need."

FT.com / World / US - Wind of change in US blows dust off nuclear facilities

In the U.S. and also in Vermont, an energy/electricity crisis is slowly building because of increasing demand, conservation measures that are less than fully effective, environmental resistance to new power plants and the increasing price of fossil fuels.

Nuclear energy must be part of the mix, but that remains to be seen in the U.S. can muster the will to build new plants. If the crisis takes hold, it's too late. The fact that a couple of plants using new technology may be built in Alabama and Mississippi is an encouraging sign.

October 23, 2005

tTropical Storm: Historical Tracking Map : Weather Underground

Fascinating that the October hurricanes in the last 150+ years follow such similar paths. All due to the prevailing highs and lows in October, I suppose. But the convergence of paths in the Yucatan Channel is incredible.

(Click on Title Link to see map)

Ethan Allen Institute: The Colchester Opportunity

John McClaughry's views are rational and provide an alternative perspective to that held by many Colchester residents in the turmoil of the current teachers' strike for higher pay and better health care benefits. Understandably, the kids need to be back in school

I wonder if he has his tongue in his cheek with this suggestion:

"Barring that enormous change (fully free school choice), split the school budget into two parts, one for administrative, transportation, and physical plant costs, the other for instructional costs (essentially the teachers union contract). Let the voters decide at the polls whether the proposed teacher salaries and health insurance premiums are in line with the resources of the community. (It is not now legal for the voters to vote on a union contract.) The Vermont-NEA absolutely hates this idea.

Reason Amid Emotion

I sent this to a Colchester School Board member who takes a reasonable and rational position in his comments published in the Colchester Sun, the local weekly newspaper.
Hello Dan,

We've never met, but today I read your excellent letter in the Colchester Sun. Thanks for a rational approach to your unenviable task in these tough times. Thanks also for holding the line against the union's irrational demands.

I have served on many non-profit boards and once chaired a planning board in another small town so I know the heartache that can come with difficult decisions. I very much appreciate your willingness to serve Colchester education and the taxpayers who must fund it.

Keep the faith!!

Thousands of Demolitions Are Likely in New Orleans - New York Times

An opportunity of a lifetime in New Orleans. To rebuild 'as is' would be irrational. Revamping the landscape should be first priority in planning what gets built and where.

"Of the city's 180,000 houses, 110,000 were flooded, city officials say, and half of those sat for days or weeks in more than six feet of water. If up to 50,000 homes are beyond salvaging, many of the others could be saved with expensive repair jobs, but large numbers of homeowners may not have the resources to rebuild. As a result, the number of demolitions could soar beyond 50,000"

October 22, 2005

Woman of Mass Destruction - New York Times

Wow!! I am no fan of Dowd, but in this piece she rakes her colleague, Judy Miller and the Times management, over the coals for their ineptness, potential deceit and lack of clarity.

Get this:

"Judy refused to answer a lot of questions put to her by Times reporters, or show the notes that she shared with the grand jury. I admire Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Bill Keller for aggressively backing reporters in the cross hairs of a prosecutor. But before turning Judy's case into a First Amendment battle, they should have nailed her to a chair and extracted the entire story of her escapade.

Judy told The Times that she plans to write a book and intends to return to the newsroom, hoping to cover "the same thing I've always covered - threats to our country." If that were to happen, the institution most in danger would be the newspaper in your hamds."em>

Congress Passes New Legal Shield for Gun Industry - New York Times

This legislation is correct. It makes sense and was demanded after so many groups and cities wrongly sought to bankrupt legitimate businesses. The cliche is ever true: Guns (or any other devices) don't commit crimes, people do.

"President Bush said in a statement that he looked forward to signing the bill, which he said would 'further our efforts to stem frivolous lawsuits, which cause a logjam in America's courts, harm America's small businesses, and benefit a handful of lawyers at the expense of victims and consumers.'

Backers of the measure say it is necessary to keep the American arms industry in business, while opponents say the law would deprive gun violence victims of a legitimate right to sue. Dispirited gun-safety advocates said they now expected attempts to dismiss nearly a dozen lawsuits around the country, and they vowed to challenge the constitutionality of the bill in court."

Italy.Province.L'Aquila.COA.png (PNG Image, 133x175 pixels)

Italy.Province.L'Aquila.COA.png (PNG Image, 133x175 pixels)

The coat of arms for the province of L'Aquila in central Italy.

Wilma's Future

Wilma's track once she leaves the Yucatan makes her look like a nor'easter running right up the coast, but apparently out at sea. We'll see.

After Two Storms, Cities Confront Economic Peril - New York Times

Painful as this disaster is, an opportunity is presented for some fundamental reform. The reform could include not rebuilding in kind. Instead, leave some land vacant and plan for the kind of development or non-development that makes sense, economically and environmentally, not the type that was washed away by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, an event sure to happen again. Why pour good money after bad?

Oilman Indicted Over Kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's Regime - New York Times

If this accusation is true, the bastard should go to jail for the remainder of his natural life.

Warning, Spying and Hectoring - New York Times

I have great respect for Walker who I had seen several months ago on C-SPAN testifying before Congress on the crisis ahead for Medicare and Social Security. We have a disaster looming and America, including the Congress, has its head in the sand. We need to rethink our future. The candidates for President and Congress in 2008 had better get their act together and propose sane programs rather than play politics as usual.

"But however loud, logical or well presented the arguments may be, the lack of government action seems to some to come from a systemic fault in modern American politics.

'There is not much courage out there,' said Brian M. Riedl of the Heritage Foundation, speaking at the Minneapolis event. 'Like an alcoholic, the first thing you have to do is admit you have a problem. The flip side of it is, Americans are vehemently opposed to every possible solution.'"

BBC NEWS | Americas | Mexico reels under force of Wilma

Wilma is a puzzling storm as it sits nearly stationary on the eastern edge of the Yucatan peninsula. Widespread devastation can be expected because some forecasts have it producing up to 40 inches of rain along with the high winds

This from the early Saturday Hurrican Advsory form The National Hurricane Center:



October 20, 2005

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Bush renews Palestinian state vow

"The US leader said he had assured Mr Abbas that 'the US would use its influence to help realise a shared vision of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security'. "

If and when a Palestinian state is established opposite Israel, the world will watch to see if a Palestinian economy can match that of Israel. Where will they generate capital and industry in a land bereft of natural resources?

A Web on the Grid - New York Times

If broadband over power lines were easy and affordable, it would be much more widely deployed by now. This is the first I've read that Google has serious investments in this technology. Where? R&D only? Any deployments that carry Google investment?

A Journey to a Thousand Maps Begins With an Open Code - New York Times

The ability to freely link all sorts of databases to easily available maps from Google, MSN and Yahoo portends a fascinating assortment of useful applications.

Wilma on the Prowl

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Here we go again as, this time, Florida prepares for a possible battering from Wilma. There was a time in the '50s when hurricanes ran up the eastern seabord causing damage in coastal New England. I wonder where Wilma is headed after Florida?

October 18, 2005

Another Hurricane, Wilma, Threatens Florida - New York Times

Another bad news hurricane. Ugh.

PCWorld.com - Taiwan Tests Island-Wide WiMax

I think this is really big news when 23 million people will have WiMax access in a couple of years... a whole country. What the Taiwanese and Intel learn form this should be directly applicable to WiMax deployment in the U.S.

I suppose it wouldn't have been possible to do a trial on this scale in the USA?

"The government will provide around $209 million in funding for the initiative, in addition to spectrum allocation and other assistance, while Intel is expected to pitch in its technical resources. Next year, the government will provide an additional $32.8 million in research funds specifically for WiMax, a separate budget from the above figure, said Minister of State Lin Ferng-ching."

Does Creative Commons free your content? - CNET reviews

A concise explanation of Creative Commons licensing

October 16, 2005

Why WiMax Could Hit the Hotspot - Yahoo! News

Well worth the read for anyone interested in the potential for WiMax wireless services. Some folks talk about the broadband potential in powerline services, but those are premise-based and could offer an alternative to cable and DSL broadband. However, wireless with it's portability and the ability to use it at a fixed location will be the real future broadband winner.

Don't count out the cellular service companies. Their 3G networks offer both broadband and a fallback to narrower band coverage in much of the U.S. and their footprints continue to grow.
"DOUBLE BYPASS. WiMax has the power to disrupt the telecom market by throwing control of the customer up for grabs. Wi-Fi isn't that threatening to telecom and cable companies because customers need a fixed broadband connection such as a DSL or cable modem to make it work. Wi-Fi is simply a wireless version of a broadband extension cord with a reach of a few dozen yards. But WiMax eliminates the need for a fixed broadband connection in the home. It allows outfits like Covad to completely bypass the telecom companies. And as WiMax goes mobile, it will allow upstarts to bypass the wireless phone companies, too.

Timing is everything in life. Companies such as AT&T searched desperately for such a local phone bypass in the late '90s. AT&T experimented with fixed wireless before it moved on to cable. Both failed, and now SBC is buying AT&T for $16 billion. WiMax came along a few years too late to save AT&T. But it may offer a new generation of companies a shot."

Federal Deficit Fell in Past Year

The deficit is nearly 100 $Billion less than near term forecasts, vindicating Bush's tax cuts...though the media has not emphasized that. However, the BIG problems are ahead without changes in the policies underlying the health care entitlements.

"As the baby boomers retire, not only will Social Security outlays rise steeply, but Medicare and Medicaid spending also will soar to staggering levels unless policy is changed, Holtz-Eakin said. Federal spending on the two health care programs will rise from about 4 percent of GDP now to 20 percent of GDP by 2050, based on current cost trends and demographic projections.

"So it's hard to get excited about a $318 billion deficit when you're looking at a projection suggesting that 318 will turn into 1,318 if you don't do something," Holtz-Eakin said. "At the moment, the deficit is something this economy can handle. It's the going forward part that worries me.""

Katie's Birthday Party

Grandaughter Katie had her 7th birthday party yesterday. Lots of fun and many games for 20+ of her friends. Her mom and dad are super party-givers. Posted by Picasa

Mind Over Muscle - New York Times

As usual, Brooks is onto something huge and his ability to distill this megatrend into a readable piece is extraordinarily relevant. We do need an honest debate about the differences in the sexes. That Larry Summers was crucified for his attempt suggests that the PC crowd dislikes uncomfortable questions. That makes for lousy science.

While Brooks focuses for the most part on gender differences, we know the differences exists in the ethnic and racial realms. If we truly ask why, are the answers actionable?

"In other words, if we want to help boys keep up with girls, we have to have an honest discussion about innate differences between the sexes. We have to figure out why poor girls who move to middle-class schools do better, but poor boys who make the same move often do worse. We have to absorb the obvious lesson of every airport bookstore, which is that men and women like to read totally different sorts of books, and see if we can apply this fact when designing curriculums. If boys like to read about war and combat, why can't there be books about combat on the curriculum?
Would elementary school boys do better if they spent more time outside the classroom and less time chained to a desk? Or would they thrive more in a rigorous, competitive environment?
For 30 years, attention has focused on feminine equality. During that time honest discussion of innate differences has been stifled (ask Larry Summers). It's time to look at the other half. "

October 15, 2005

Cellular Fills Gap Between Hotspots

A good summary of the various cellular digital data access sytems and plans in the U.S.

G.I.'s and Syrians in Tense Clashes on Iraqi Border - New York Times

Putting pressure on Syria is the right strategy. They are either unwilling or unable to prevent terrorists flowing across their border with Iraq.

The Open-Source War - New York Times

John Robb has some interesting notions about terrorism and effective countermeasures, comparing the terrorists activity to the open source software movement which has given us a host of valuable products. Underlying his ideas is agility of the terrorists and the natural selection of disparate approaches to the common goal to arrive at, then spread, best pracyices. He is certainly no fan of the bureaucratic Pentagon's tactics.

Merely Following a Megatrend - New York Times

Ain't this the truth! This Indian business leader of InfoSys has it right and the sooner the West adapts to this reality, the more successful competitors we'll be. Otherwise, companies like his will quickly overtake those in the West who are in the same business.

"Q. So now you'll be competing with the likes of I.B.M. and Accenture. Do you think you'll change the cost structure of the consulting business?"

"A. This is a battle of business models. We believe that at the end of the day we have a disruptive business model that is a threat to the existing business model and older companies will have to reconfigure themselves to look more like us if they're going to be globally competitive.

Q. What would that mean, to look more like you?

A. In any software project, we do 30 percent of the work in the U.S. and 70 percent in India. Our competitors do 100 percent of the work in a particular location. We have sort of become masters of delivering high value and high quality at lower cost, and on top of that we're trying to add consulting. Their challenge is to retain their relationships and business knowledge while reconfiguring their internal operations to become as efficient as us.

Q. Does it feel odd to find yourself lecturing Americans on the joys of capitalism?

A. You guys told us for so many years to cut out this socialist rubbish and go to free markets. We came to free markets and now you're telling us, "Stop, don't come."

October 14, 2005

Behind Artificial Intelligence, a Squadron of Bright Real People - New York Times

The AI world has shifted into high gear as a new approach supported by the enormous computational power now available in small packages can provide real-time systems of enormous benefit. What a world we live in!

"New artificial intelligence systems - like that embodied in Stanley - are now capable of evaluating a huge amount of data from sensors and then making probabilistic decisions.

'The prior opinion of many informed observers, based on decades of disappointing experimental results, was that the problems were so hard that they would remain unsolved for many decades yet,' said Hans Moravec, a Carnegie Mellon University robotics researcher who was one of the nation's first developers of autonomous vehicles during the 1970's. 'But now everyone knows differently,' he said. 'The interest, effort and investment in the broader field is sure to skyrocket.'"

One Guru's Take on Tech Heavyweight Lineups

The digital elephants are tromping around in the media jungle. David Berlind, who I respect for his depth of technical and industry knowledge offers this insight.

"The big picture behind Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, Real, and Sun deal-o-mania by ZDNet's David Berlind -- Maybe I'm crazy. But if you ask me, there's a super big picture that's begining to form when you start to look at all of this week's announcements, or maybe-announcements involving Google, AOL, Real, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Sun and more. If I'm not mistaken, just about everyone is taking sides in preparation for what [...]

[...On the other hand, between all the computers, handhelds and telcos that are in the Microsoft video camp (and there are very many), Microsoft's video ecosystem makes all other comers — including Apple — look puny by comparision. Today, Microsoft controls the video. Apple controls the audio. Neither is happy with the situation because it forces them to divide and conquer the market with their incompatible playback technologies when both (and their shareholders) would be better off having the entire market to themselves. But before Apple can try to slow the Microsoft media juggernaut down, it needs to do what Microsoft has already done — mobilize it's video technologies. Enter the video iPod. Now, much the same way it has been driving FairPlay-DRMed audio into the market, expect it to do the same with video."

The Harriet Miers I Know - New York Times

Harriet Miers has an ardent supporter in Mr. Scully who knows her well. Other conservatives will argue this is merely a 'puff piece' sponsored by the White House. I note the Democrats are unusually silent on this nomination as they let the Republicans battle among themselves. Smart move for now.

I will be interested to see how she stands up in the Senate Judiciary hearings and whether any of them will make her faith an issue. She would be hard-pressed to support abortion.

"Whatever his reasons, what America got is a nominee of enormous legal ability and ferocious integrity, and in the bargain a gracious Christian woman only more qualified for her new role because she would never have sought it for herself. And in a few years, when the same critics we hear now are extolling the clarity, consistency and perhaps even the 'brilliance' of judicial opinions, that's when you'll know it's the Miers court."

Important Data?

According to a reputed survey from Scott paper co.

* You can gauge a person's education by whether they read in the
* More than 2/3 of the people with a master's degree and doctorates
read in the stall.
* Only one in two high school grads read while in the bathroom, and 56
percent of those with college degrees do.
* Fifty-four percent of Americans fold their toilet tissue neatly while
35 percent wad it into a ball before using it.
* Seven percent steal rolls of toilet paper (hotels/motels)
* More than sixty percent prefer that their toilet paper roll over the
top, twenty-nine percent from the bottom. The rest don't care.

October 13, 2005

The Internet enters a bold second act | csmonitor.com

A useful high-level review of where Internet/Web-based products and services are taking us. Keep in mind it all must be paid for, either by consumers or investors or both.

Silence and Suicide - New York Times

Friedman uses the strongest possible language to castigate the radical Islamic terrorists and those Sunni Muslim leaders who refuse to condemn the outrages in Iraq and elsewhere.

A few years back, I read much of what Daniel Pipes had to say and heard him speak once. I agreed with him then and continue to believe that most Muslim leaders, particularly Sunnis, condone radical Islamic terrorists. It seems Friedman is now closed to Pipes' viewpoint thn previously.

Today's radical Islamic terrorists must be eradicated and the breeding grounds for future generations must be destroyed.

"Western leaders keep saying after every terrorist attack, 'This is not about Islam.' Sorry, but this is all about Islam. It is about a war within Islam between a jihadist-fascist minority engaged in crimes against humanity in the name of Islam, and a passive Sunni silent majority. Many of those Sunnis, I'm sure, are appalled by the violence against Iraqi civilians, but are too afraid, too morally leaderless or too quietly anti-Shiite to act.

As I said, a civilization that tolerates suicide-genocide will eventually be devoured by its extremists from within - and quarantined by its friends from abroad"

In Her Own Words - New York Times

Brooks has seldom been this pessimistic. If Republicans cannot settle their differences, Miers' nomination may be doomed.

Treated for Illness, Then Lost in Labyrinth of Bills - New York Times

Where should we look for the leadership to fix this mess? Where should it originate? Feds? States? Insurance industry? Medical Associations?? Hospitals? Corporations who have large health plans? Information technology software companies?

I wish I knew the answer.

"And to keep the system churning, close to 30 cents of every dollar spent on health care goes for administration, much of it spent generating bills and explanations of benefits."

October 12, 2005

Google ETA? 300 years to index the world's info | CNET News.com

The print industry has a problem given this statement by Eric Schmidt of Google.

"Advertising is increasing on the Internet and cable television, and showing modest to no growth in newspapers and magazines, Schmidt said. 'The cost per revenue dollar of online ad systems is so much lower than' for offline advertising, he said."

What Liberals Don't Get About Supreme Court Nominees

Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. hits the nail on the head concerning the liberal/conservative views of Harriet Miers nomination to the Supreme Court.

October 11, 2005

A Question for Journalists: How Do We Cover Penguins and the Politics of Denial?

It's fashionable to agree with Moyers' view of the world and his notion that he and others (environmentalists) are the only ones who can 'save' it. The earth is a powerful force that provides sustenance lives of men, to be sure. Certainly he and most of us would agree that science and capitalism has moved us from collective misery to a modicum of comfort and a better life, at least in the West. Wouldn't we?

Climate change is a phenomenon that has existed for hundreds of millions of years and has swung the earth's conditions wildly over the eons of time. Perhaps w/he give man too much credit for our ability to cause...or prevent... global warming. We are polluters, to be sure and we can clean up our act, but can we control the future of life on earth? I doubt it.

I doubt Moyers would suggest that man could control earthquakes or volcanoes or tides or the orbit of the earth around the sun or the rate of cooling of the earth's mantle. Yet these factors are responsible for the climate changes of history. Consider for a moment that man, evil as his nature is, is not a prime mover of the conditions on earth. God has set in motion the forces of Nature. Man is only a participant with an eternal destiny of everlasting life guaranteed by the death and resurrection of God's Son, Jesus...if we believe.

Peter Shumlin - Down and Out

This from James Dwinell's Political Report this week.

Shumlin hasn't the stuff it takes to reach higher office. He's a pandering, power-hungry politician, not a leader. I remember him well in his early years as a Vermont State Representative from the Brattleboro area.


Peter Shumlin has three times dressed for the ball. Each time, unlike Cinderella, unanticipated shyness froze his feet. Five years ago he called a press conference at which many thought that he was going to toss his hat into the Congressional ring to challenge Bernie. But he blinked. Family called.

Four years ago he called a press conference to announce the end of his expected race for governor, electing instead to ascend to lieutenant governor. Doing this for the good of the Party. Vermonters looked askance at Shumlin and chose Brian Dubie.


For months this year Shumlin has maintained that he is in the race for Congress to replace Bernie for keeps, money was no problem for him, and he hired Dean's former staffer and key campaign aide Kate O'Conner as his campaign manager. Last week he ventured to Washington in search of money and power only to find that all the money and power was committed to the candidacy of Senator Peter Welch. Suddenly Shumlin developed a fear of flying and bailed out, suggesting that he would enjoy returning to the Vermont senate but not as a leader.


Kate O'Conner was Howard Dean's longest serving and most loyal and fanatic aide. She not just went through fire for him, she willed his victory at the polls in spite of an often lackluster effort from the candidate. So now Kate goes to Washington to see old Waldo who pulls a foldo and will not help her new boss, Peter Shumlin. Shumlin has approached the governor's office about an appointment should a current senator retire. Ha, fat chance! Ironically, the leading candidate reportedly is Kate O'Conner's mom who hosted a Democrats for Douglas fundraiser."

Liberal Hopes Ebb in Post-Storm Poverty Debate - New York Times

A reasonably balanced article about the swirling ideological debate as we decide how to pay for the recovery after Katrina and Rita.

VoIP Bloggers "Top 10" Status

An interesting Top 10 list of the VoIP world and current status.

As Polar Ice Turns to Water, Dreams of Treasure Abound - New York Times

As Polar Ice Turns to Water, Dreams of Treasure Abound - New York Times

This is a long but fascinating piece. Kudos to the Times for doing the basic reporting that led to this series of articles.

Forget Blogs, Print Needs Its Own IPod - New York Times

What will the newspapers morph into? Will their present business model survive another decade? Very doubtful.

The NY Times has taken the leap into charging for some of its digital content (after years of free access) and a raft of other services geared to Internet users while at the same time laying off hundreds of workers. The Wall Street Journal has charged for a digital subscription from the get-go.

News and opinion content organizations must have the money to get fast, reliable news to us. It takes money to do that and a viable, sustainable business model. Because their advertising revenue is migrating to other online companies like Google and Yahoo, the newspapers must do something about their fundamental business model very quickly.

"There is already a crisscross of intention on the part of the current content providers. The primary gesture of Google and Yahoo - search is actually content - is now being woven with video, paid columnists and, ye gads, even some reporters. Television networks are beginning to explore whether people would pay for an on-demand version of their product. Blogs are federating into verticals of quality to be sold to advertisers. Broadcast radio worries about competition from satellite radio while satellite wonders if it can get people to unplug their iPods.

That is the future that newspapers have to prepare for. Readers no longer care so much who you are, they just want to know what you know.

That may sound grim for big media brands, the kind of proposition that will not provide enough cash flow to finance a squad of reporters examining what a hurricane left behind or venturing out onto the streets of Baghdad. But in a frantic age where the quality of the information can be critical, being a reliable news source humming away in everyone's backpack sounds just useful enough to be a business."

October 9, 2005

October 3, 2005

USATODAY.com - Palestinian policemen break into parliament building

The Palestinians are a society totally out of control. The Israelis were right to pull out of Gaza, build their fence to wall off the terrorist homicide bombers and let the Palestinians sort out their leadership problems. Such is the legacy of the terrorist Arafat.

Why don't the Arab states support a rational improvement in the institutions of Palestine? Instead, they seem to pour money into a black hole of terrorism, rivalries and anarchy. If things are better than what I believe, the MSM is not reporting conditions accurately

One can argue whether the Israelis should be in Palestine at all, but history and a conscious decision of the world established the State of Israel in 1948. Since then, Israel has thrived and Palestine socienty has fractured.

Mrs. Triangulation - New York Times

One emerging view of Hillary who would be the next President:

"In fact, among pundits and strategists of both parties as well as the reporters who cover them, a story line about Clinton has now taken hold, and it goes like this: While she is at heart a more stridently liberal and polarizing figure than her husband, Hillary Clinton is now consciously reinventing herself publicly as a middle-of-the-road pragmatist. According to this theory, she has resolved, along with her cadre of canny advisers, to brazenly 'reposition' herself as the kind of soothing centrist that middle-class white voters might actually accept as the first female president."

Here's one middle class white voter who will not vote for a 'chameleon,'whether male or female of any party. Do she and her advisors think we're stupid?

October 1, 2005

How to Prepare for One Really Quick Getaway - New York Times

Some good suggestions here. This is a good winter task when the snow is deep and the weather is cold here in Vermont.

Google Bids to Help San Francisco Go Wireless - New York Times

The operative word here is FREE! Here's a first instance of Google going head-to-head with an entrenched telco, SBC.