mark castillo
Thursday, May 30
  Maine Laptop Funding Threatened
A $180-million budget shortfall in Maine is threatening a statewide laptop program for middle schools, just as teachers are seeing initial success with their students. In December, the state signed a four-year, $37.2-million contract with Apple Computer to provide wireless iBooks to all seventh- and eighth-grade students and teachers in Maine. Governor Angus King spearheaded the controversial program, considered the largest educational technology purchase by a state. But with the shortfall, some legislators believe that money for the laptop program would be better spent elsewhere.
  The Penguin Continues Its March
Linux is now proliferating on powerful government computer systems in the United States and abroad, with technology giants increasingly providing support. At a Tokyo trade show on Friday, IBM was announcing the sale of more than 75 Linux-based computer systems to U.S. agencies including the Air Force, the Defense, Agriculture and Energy departments and the Federal Aviation Administration.
Launching Fall 2002
Wednesday, May 29
Cooper innovates and improves software and interactive products. Cooper's proprietary Goal-Directed method provides clients with an insightful understanding of their users and a practical blueprint for a superior product. Our clients benefit from reduced uncertainty and risk, shortened development cycles, faster time to market, lower support costs, and wildly loyal customers.
  Web Revival for Old Mac Interface
So when Josh Russell, who runs leading lowercase record label Bremsstrahlung Recordings, needed to redesign his label's website, he chose a look based on the bare-bones, black-and-white interface of Apple's famous System 6 operating system. System 6 was the Macintosh operating system circa 1989, the one that fits entirely on a single floppy disk. System 6 is instantly recognizable, with a simple, elegant, black-and-white interface. For some, System 6 is the finest computer operating system ever made -- the classic computer interface -- the one that made the Macintosh famous as "easy to use." While it appears simple, the design was in fact incredibly demanding. Each page of the site is made of upwards of 20 Photoshop layers. "I certainly didn't take straight screenshots," Murphy said. Murphy did some of the work on an old Mac Classic he found in a dumpster; some was done on a brand new Titanium PowerBook. The Sharp Zaurus -- A Lovely Little Computer
All in all, the hardware is super cool -- the only significant flaw is the tiny plastic door that covers the Sharp I/O Port, a door which must be manually opened when you drop the SL-5500 into its cradle and manually closed when you take it out. Where the Zaurus falls down, ironically, is with its software.The SL-5500 is very Linux-like: it's got a ton of cool features, but they are poorly integrated. What's worse, many of the advances in usability developed over the years on other platforms are simply missing from the SL-5500. It's as if this machine's developers spent their time studying photographs and screenshots of existing products, rather than actually using them. Sharp is firmly pitching the SL-5500 as a mobile organizer. But it's important to remember that this computer is more powerful than most desktops were just a few years ago. With its ease of application development and deployment, I expect the SL-5500 to become a favorite at universities and among the open source elite.
  The Dickens of EBay
So you want to create your own e-book? There is no shortage of tools to lure writers into publishing. Dozens of print-on-demand companies offer to put your book into production, some for as little as $100. And a new tool, the Palm eBook Studio, enables anyone to create, distribute and sell e-books for as little as $29 for the software. Jason Epstein, author of Book Business, is one of the industry pundits who have predicted that Internet and electronic publishing tools like Palm's might eventually cut out many middlemen -- from publishers to bookstores. At the same time, the need for more sophisticated filtering systems and gatekeepers to deal with the influx of titles on the market will become critical. Just based on ISBN numbers assigned in 2001, there were between 40,000 and 70,000 e-books and print-on-demand titles generated outside traditional publishing channels. (And that number doesn't include books created to be given away for free.)
  From Junkie to, Well, Junkman
James Burgett is a big, burly biker and an ex-heroin junkie who is building a trash empire from recycled computers. He has hooked together a cluster of junk machines into what may soon qualify as one of the world's fastest supercomputers. And he's a leading low-tech philanthropist, giving away thousands of refurbished computers to disadvantaged people all over the world, from human rights organizations in Guatemala to the hard-up Russian space program. Burgett runs the Alameda County Computer Resource Center, which he has built from a spare bedroom operation into one of the largest non-profit computer recycling centers in the United States.
  Projections: a futurist at the movies
Futurists don't predict the future -- they simply evaluate possibilities, scenarios, and probabilities. Josh Calder does the same for the movies on this site. From "A.I. - Artificial Intelligence" to "X-Men", he discusses whether or not the films present a coherent view of the future and create plausible circumstances and technologies. Some movies get high ratings because they address issues that society is facing right now, such as human genetic engineering (featured in "Gattaca"). Others get low ratings because they depend on unlikely technologies, such as time travel (the focus of "The Terminator"). While you may not want to base your movie choices on these reviews, they will definitely give you something to think about after you see the latest sci-fi blockbuster. via yahoo picks.
Tuesday, May 28
the blog of sugar monkey. a peek into my unique mind, thoughts and opinions... aside from that i just babble.
  Xbox hacking not for amateurs - Tech News -
The first Xbox add-ons that purportedly allow the console to play illegally copied game software have gone on sale, but analysts say they're unlikely to inspire a Napster-like wave of copy infringement. The Xtender, a "mod chip" intended to be added to the main circuit board of the Xbox, went on sale last weekend through retailers such as Hong Kong-based Lik Sang. Three other Xbox mod chips are also in development. For starters, using the mod chips requires disassembling the Xbox case and affixing the chip to the circuit board, a task that can require more than 20 soldering connections. Cracking Xbox game software may be even more difficult. Copy-protection software built into all Xbox games makes the game disc unreadable on PCs. So far, only a few hacker groups claim to have been successful in breaking the protection scheme, leading to a handful of game files being traded over the Internet, mostly in private ICQ chat rooms.
  Karen Loren Agustin
Karen Loren Agustin, Miss Philippines 2002, poses in her Bluepoint apparel during the preliminary swimsuit competition of the Miss Universe 2002 presentation show May 24, 2002 at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The competition will be bradcast live on May 29.
  Slashdot | The Empire Stumbles
We saw a cultural and generational coup d'etat this month, at least in cinematic terms -- if we were watching. Star Wars was challenged by millions of rebellious kids, who decided to choose a new kind of myth. The next generation unseated its elders -- as is the right of every generation - and is making its own culture, moving away from ours. In doing so, these kids balked at mega-hype, rediscovered earnestness, simplicity, the love story, some patriotism, punctured a billion-dollar balloon, and maybe even sparked a (relative) movement away from whorish sellouts, back to simpler story-telling. I, for one, sure hope so.
  Handspring shows off a new pair of Treos - Tech News -
The Mountain View, Calif.-based device maker began selling the Treo 270 and Treo 90 on its Web site Monday. As previously reported, the Treo 270 is similar to the already available Treo 180, which is a combination cell phone and organizer, and also boasts a color display. The device comes with 16MB of memory and costs $499 ($100 less than Handspring previously announced) and includes a one-year service contract from cell phone network operators Cingular Wireless or VoiceStream Wireless. Handspring has also begun selling the $299 Treo 90 on its Web site. The Treo 90 is similar in appearance to the Treo 180, but it does not have a wireless modem for making cell phone calls. It comes with a color screen, version 4.1 of the Palm operating system, 16MB of memory and a built-in keyboard. The Treo 90 will also be the first Handspring device to use a Secure Digital expansion slot instead of the company's hallmark Springboard expansion slot.
Monday, May 27
  O'Reilly Network: Essential Blogging Public Review [May 27, 2002]
Essential Blogging will be available in stores in August. Aimed at a technology-literate O'Reilly audience, Essential Blogging shows how to install and use the major weblog tools: Blogger, Radio Userland, Blosxom, and Movable Type. Written by bloggers (Cory Doctorow, Rael Dornfest, J. Scott Johnson, Shelley Powers, Benjamin Trott, and Mena G. Trott) who use the tools every day (and, in the case of Movable Type and Blosxom, who wrote the tools!), Essential Blogging aims to be useful without being boring. We need your help to make sure it meets that promise.
Sunday, May 26
  Slashdot | Slackware 8.1 rc1 Announced
Demerol writes with word that "about 12 hours ago, Patrick announced the that Slackware is now in Release Candidate stage in preparation for the long-awaited 8.1 release. Hundreds of updated to the current tree in the last few months have had all the slackers drooling, and now it is almost upon us. Now, I don't want to hear any more talk of Slackware being dead. Thanks. ;) Here is the ChangeLog and the Userlocal announcement"
Saturday, May 25
  GameCube: E3 2002: Amazing Metroid Screens
Metroid Prime this and Metroid Prime that -- it seems none of us can get enough of Retro Studios' 3D first-person adventure. Now, as if to further frustrate and infuriate readers who can't stand the wait for the game's November release, we've gone ahead and compiled a batch of new high-resolution images of the game in action. They are so beautiful and magnificent that you may faint upon viewing them, so be warned. In the shots below, you'll see more than a half dozen close-ups of Samus in her body suit -- look closely and you may even see the face behind her helmet. But you'll also see space shots, ship images, gun morphs, ball curls, and so much more. Download at the risk of heart failure.
Friday, May 24
Tao Te Ching Translations
The PalmOS Open Source Portal
  Slashdot | E3: Epic, US Army Develop Games as Recruitment Tool
securitas writes "Reuters and AP tell us that Epic Games and the US Army have announced the America's Army series of games, jointly developed by the Department of Defense and Epic. The first two-part game in the five-year project includes an RPG called Soldier and a first-person shooter called Operations. The game will be free of charge and available for download in July or August, with 1.2 million CDs simultaneously released, attached to gaming magazines. Does this remind anyone else of the war-room scene from Toys or Ender's Game?" Future installments will include Sim Mess Duty, Sim Standing Guard in the Rain, Sim Blister, and Sim Invading Iraq to Keep Approval Ratings High.
  Slashdot | Microsoft Battles Free Software at Pentagon
Spirit of Ishmael writes "The May 22 Washington Post is running a story under the headline Microsoft Fights Free Software at Pentagon. According to the story: 'Microsoft Corp. is aggressively lobbying the Pentagon to squelch its growing use of freely distributed computer software and switch to proprietary systems such as those sold by the software giant, according to officials familiar with the campaign.'"
  Xbox struggling with math test - Tech News -
That's the upshot from the Electronics Entertainment Expo, the game industry's main trade show, where new games for Microsoft's Xbox have largely been limited to "me too" titles--games already appearing on other consoles. Microsoft has said it expects to have more than 200 games for the Xbox by the end of the year, but less than two dozen of those will be exclusive Xbox titles from third-party publishers. Sony, by contrast, is touting high-profile exclusives from game publishers. "Grand Theft Auto III," the top-selling video game for the past few months, will remain available only for Sony's PlayStation 2, with publisher Take Two Interactive Software scrapping previous plans for an Xbox version. New versions of Eidos' "Tomb Raider" and Electronic Arts' "Medal of Honor" franchises will also be available only for the PS2, as will upcoming online and offline updates of the "Final Fantasy" series from longtime Sony booster Squaresoft. Game publishers say it's a simple matter of economics. With Sony having sold more than 30 million PlayStation 2 units worldwide and the Xbox just edging up to the 4 million mark, they have to put their money where the market is. The result is that even the biggest Xbox supporters are producing two PlayStation 2 games for every Xbox title.
  CNS: Wireless LAN Project
Beginning in Fall 2001, a pilot wireless LAN service will become available in a few selected locations around campus. The new service, known as AirBears, will enable you to connect to the campus network if you have a laptop equipped with a wireless Ethernet card. The service is based on the IEEE standard 802.11b wireless LAN technology, which supports speeds of up to 11 Mbps. The AirBears project was developed as part of the Wireless LAN Task Force (WLTF), which first convened in November 2000 to discuss the development of a wireless LAN infrastructure on campus. Working groups have been addressing issues of user authentication, security, vendor interoperability, manageability, airspace ownership, health and safety concerns, site selection, and cost models.
Thursday, May 23
  Yahoo! News - Groom Loses All Memory of Marriage
The bride wasn't left waiting at the altar -- she was left waiting at the airline terminal. Honeymoon plans for a Texas couple came to an abrupt end when the groom suffered a case of amnesia, went missing and lost all memory of being married, police said on Wednesday. Sean McNulty, 30, was found outside an abandoned hotel near Houston airport three days after he was to leave on a honeymoon to Italy, and five days after he tied the knot. McNulty told police he could not remember his name or where he had been. And he had no idea of the woman he saw in a picture when Houston police showed him a photograph of his bride of less than a week, police said. Doctors who treated the groom said he suffered from amnesia after receiving a bump to the head. They do not know how he received the injury, they said.
  Xbox: E3 2002: Splinter Cell: Hands On
Tom Clancy's novels are all about true-to-life accuracy in terms of equipment, locations and believable storylines, which means a videogame based in the "Clancy-verse" will have plenty of the same. Ubi Soft's Splinter Cell should be one of the hottest Xbox titles to hit shelves this year because it's steeped in that Tom Clancy brand of realism that makes super-cool, super stealthy secret operatives so believable. The storyline should definitely do its part to carry a third person action title, but with pedigree like this, Splinter Cell hast that aspect more than covered. You'll play as Sam Fisher, an operative with the ultimate clearance by the U.S. government to use whatever means necessary to ensure the safety and well being of this land of the free and home of the brave. You are the splinter cell operating just on the fringes of the group The Third Echelon, which is itself an elite field operations unit at the service of the National Security Agency. Like all good espionage games, there's something wrong going on and you have to get to the bottom of it. Our most recent impressions from E3 left us even more impressed than our first go round with the game.
  Slashdot | Why The X-Box Network Will Fail
angkor wrote to us an article from The Register that looks at what Microsoft is planning for the X-Box Network. The factual information is educating on it's own - and the analysis of why they think it will fail is interesting as well.
  Slashdot | Passwords May Be Weakest Link
blankmange writes "ZDNet is carrying a piece on network security and employee passwords: "When a regional health care company called in network protection firm Neohapsis to find the vulnerabilities in its systems, the Chicago-based security company knew a sure place to look. Retrieving the password file from one of the health care company's servers, the consulting firm put "John the Ripper," a well-known cracking program, on the case. While well-chosen passwords could take years--if not decades--of computer time to crack, it took the program only an hour to decipher 30 percent of the passwords for the nearly 10,000 accounts listed in the file." Sounds like enforced password formats and mandatory changing of passwords would help, but how many companies actually make them policy and enforce it?"
  Slashdot | Nintendo Announces new Zelda, Mario & Metroid
MonkeyBot writes "Nintendo has posted news from the E3 convention concerning big name titles and their release dates. The new Metroids for the Cube and GBA, Legend of Zelda for the Cube, and a new Mario Game for the Cube are just a few of the titles for which new information is available. It'll be just like I'm a kid again, but with better graphics (and beer)!"
Wednesday, May 22 is a spin off from - a highly successful web site that focuses on Handspring's Visor products. In late 2001 Handspring decided to take a new direction and introduced the Treo, a family of communicator devices. Shortly thereafter, the plans for TreoCentral were formed. TreoCentral intends to become a center fixture of the expanding Handspring Treo online community by delivering high quality and reliable news, articles, and reviews. Our previous success with VisorCentral proves this can be achieved. TreoCentral also features an online discussion board, where users from all over the world can share ideas and provide support to each other.
  Plan for Kids Domain Goes Forward
The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday approved an effort to create a kid-friendly Internet zone free of violence, pornography and other adult material. The House approved a bill by a voice vote that would set up an area within the United States' dot-us Internet domain allowing only websites deemed appropriate for children 12 years old and younger.
  Stephanie - OpenBSD Hardening for Multiuser Environments
What is Stephanie? Stephanie is a series of patches for OpenBSD with the overall aim of improving security. It's not for everyone, but if you have users with shell accounts, check it out and see if its for you. Also, since the new version is 'configureable', you can use any of its features you see fit.
  China Secretly Readies Astronauts
Training in secret, a dozen fighter pilots are getting ready to make history as China's first astronauts. Two attended Russia's cosmonaut school, but little else is known about them. China's communist government, pursuing a unique, costly propaganda prize and worried about embarrassing setbacks, hasn't announced their names or a launch date. But with confidence growing after three test launches of empty spacecraft, foreign experts say China's astronauts could carry its gold-starred red flag into space as early as this year. "The day that we achieve our dream of space flight is not far off," program director Su Shuangning said in a rare interview with the state newspaper People's Liberation Army Daily.
  E3: Attack of the Games
The video game console war is over. Playstation 2 whipped the competition, leaving Microsoft's Xbox and Nintendo's GameCube in the dust. Now the war moves to a different battlefield: the games themselves. Thousands of video game superfans and freaks are gathering in Los Angeles, anxiously awaiting the start of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the largest North American video game convention. The Big Three –- Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft -- have promised that last year's catfight over the best home console will give way to the introduction of stunning new games with jazzed up graphics, deep storylines and high-fidelity audio.
  Poor Sysadmin's Guide to Remote Linux Administration
Like many free software geeks, I run a one-person Web hosting shop, a combination business, hobby, and community service. I've become accustomed to doing complex tasks not only easily, but also as cheaply as possible. Since most of the time my modest Web hosting is more hobby than business, I can't really afford to buy expensive -- or setup and manage -- complex software and hardware monitoring solutions. I also, like many free software geeks, have a perverse, somewhat mysterious need for uptimes to be as long as possible. Even if it doesn't cost me money, I am bothered by unnecessary service interruption. There is a certain virtue that comes in doing a job excellently, even or especially if one is not doing it as one's primary vocation.
  Summit Expeditions & Nomadic Experience
My name is Simon P. Mtuy, and I am the founder of Summit Expeditions and Nomadic Experience (SENE). I would like to invite you to join us for an adventure in Africa. We offer a variety of packages in Tanzania, ranging from extreme adventure to a leisurely vacation, from jeep safaris throughout the Serengeti to the beaches of Zanzibar. Our specialty is leading expeditions up Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain on the continent. Our trekking expeditions are custom designed to meet the clients’ skill and interest levels. We can take photographers to dramatic landscapes. We can take our time exploring the natural history of each eco-zone as we move through them. My guides and I use less traveled routes to the summit, which add to our visitors’ enjoyment of the climb. No one knows the mountain better than we do.
  Nonprofit to wire up rural Asian schools - Tech News -
Room to Read, a nonprofit start-up dedicated to improving literacy in developing nations, will launch a new division Wednesday to wire impoverished classrooms in Asia. The San Francisco-based company, founded by a former Microsoft executive and funded largely by donations from technology workers and venture capitalists, developed its "Computer Room" project with cash from Microsoft, Global Catalyst Foundation and The Tibet Fund. Eleven classrooms in Nepal and Vietnam will be the first recipients of grants under the new program, which provides each school with four computers, one printer, all related hardware and software and a dedicated dial-up connection. Room to Read founder John Wood said the group will be cautious when selecting the rural districts that receive computer grants; only those that already have strong teachers and established schools will receive computers. In addition, the communities that receive Room to Read computer grants must provide matching grants for teacher training and computer upgrades, repairs and maintenance.
Tuesday, May 21
  Slashdot | Microsoft vs. Northwest Schools Part III
SymphonicMan writes: "As previously discussed on Slashdot, Microsoft threatened an audit for the 24 largest school districts in the Northwest. Now it appears they may be backing down, according to Steve Duin, the Oregonian columnist who orginally brought this to all of our attention in April. Not only that, he writes that Portland Public Schools is opening 16 Linux computer labs across the districts, at half the cost of a Microsoft-equipped lab. Looks like this might be more than just a PR victory for open source. I'm a senior in one of the districts (Beaverton) included in the audit, and our staff is still going crazy trying to comply. But with districts across Oregon facing major budget shortfalls due to the poor economy, removing the pressure of this audit would be very welcome."
  Sony trash-talks Microsoft, others - Tech News -
With most of the actual news, such as console price cuts and online strategies, having leaked out weeks ago, Sony kicked off the game industry's biggest trade show by trash-talking the competition. Kaz Hirai, president of Sony Computer Entertainment of America, used the company's press conference in advance of the Electronic Entertainment Expo to tout the huge sales lead of Sony's PlayStation 2 over Microsoft's Xbox and Nintendo's GameCube. The PS2, which has been on the market a year longer than either competitor, has sold 30 million units worldwide, compared with about 4 million for each for its rivals. Sony expects to sell another 20 million during the current fiscal year.
Monday, May 20
  Palm Programming Links
  Slashdot | XBox Live Network
The New York Times covers Microsoft's planned XBox Live network, a subscription-based online service for the XBox. Microsoft's "we control everything" approach will probably impact the number of games available, but the article notes that the service will include voice-over-ip, which might be a selling point.
  Slashdot | Nintendo Drops GameCube Price to $150
DarkZero writes: "According to Planet Gamecube, Nintendo, as was expected, has dropped the price of the GameCube to $150. As the consoles currently stand, the GameCube is $50 cheaper than both the X-Box and the PS2, letting it retain half of its price edge on its competitors. Neither Sony nor Microsoft has commented on it yet, but Microsoft might decide to lower the price of the X-Box a little bit more in retaliation. Yay, competitive pricing!"
  Help Build the Web of Knowledge
Altruistic programmers and word-nerds with an urge to connect the historical dots are needed to help build a website that will blend the best of old and new technology. "Knowledge Web" is the pet project of James Burke, an Oxford-educated historian whose fascination with technology resulted in Connections, a television series that explored the strange links between technological breakthroughs and historical events. Knowledge Web (K-Web) is intended to be the visual and virtual extension of almost three decades of Burke's attempts to show how all knowledge is somehow connected to all other knowledge. The not-for-profit site is being built by about 100 volunteers from around the world, but more helping hands are needed.
  Wired 10.06: One Nation, Overseas
Need (hired) help? Try the Philippines, the forerunner of tomorrow's distributed economy, supplying nurses, teachers, techies, and sailors to the global village. They're known as bagong bayani, a Tagalog expression meaning "new heroes." That may sound a bit inflated, but at a succession of December celebrations in Manila, Filipinos who work on contract in foreign countries get treated something like the Series-winning Yankees coming home to New York. One day is Health Awareness Day, when thousands of overseas Filipino workers, also called OFWs, are treated to free medical care, and another is Family Day, when at malls all around the nation, the government throws a mass party. Bright welcome banners stretch from rafters. Christmas music spills from loud speakers. Returned workers, along with their spouses and kids, walk around in costume from the Auntie Anne pretzel emporium to Ace Hardware to the Gameworx bowling arcade. They also make pit stops at the booth for free dental checkups and the booth for psychological counseling. Two years is a long time away. December's bizarre climax comes when President Gloria Arroyo travels to Manila's Ninoy Aquino Airport to personally greet returning workers, who zoom through specially designated express lines for immigration and customs. After a welcome speech, Arroyo turns a big drum filled with tickets bearing the names of returnees and picks one from the batch to win a $2,000 grand prize. It may look like a TV game show, but the Philippines has discovered the future of work. At any given time, about 10 percent of the country's 76.5 million population is hard at work - outside the country. During 2001, more than 800,000 people headed out on a commute that makes Rye-Grand Central seem like a milk run to the corner store. They went to Italy, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Singapore, and Uzbekistan. They went to Mongolia and Equatorial Guinea. Unlike Mexicans, who flock primarily to the United States, Filipinos traveled to 162 nations in all. Unlike Indians, who fill mostly tech and medical positions, Filipinos toil as domestic helpers, engineers, nurses, bricklayers, teachers, farmers, seafarers, stenographers, hairdressers, crane operators, cooks, and entertainers.
  Business 2.0 - Magazine Article - Printable Version - Beating Bill
Thomas Reardon knows exactly how Microsoft (MSFT) thinks when it sets out to destroy a competitor. He knows how it goes about running down rivals that once had huge leads, and how it rips the heart out of little upstarts -- software companies no bigger than the one he works for -- that seem only the most distant threat. He knows because he was once inside Microsoft, helping to push the plunger on one of the greatest corporate demolitions in history. In the mid-1990s, Reardon ran the Microsoft engineering team that developed Internet Explorer, the product that methodically snuffed out Netscape. This, he says, is the one thing anyone going up against Microsoft must understand: "The presumption at Microsoft," says Reardon, now vice president for technology at cell-phone software maker Openwave, "is that all you have to do is wound the opponent, and they will bleed to death." : home page
For the third year running, we are having a competition. The deal is, you have 5 kilobytes to make the best web page or site you can. We'll organize the entries and make them public so people can admire and learn from them. And then people will rate them, and discuss them. And then special judges will judge them, and we'll calculate the score and award some lucky winner 5k cents (US): $51.20. Finally, about six months later, we will do it all over again.
  $20 Bill Commemoration of 9/11
The new U.S. $20 dollar bill contains hidden pictures of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks! via metafilter.
Sunday, May 19
  'Clones' racks up $116 mln at U.S. box office
"Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones," the fifth movie in filmmaker George Lucas' long-running sci-fi adventure franchise, grossed an estimated $116.3 million in its first four days of release, its distributor Twentieth Century Fox said Sunday. After bowing Thursday with $30.1 million from 3,161 theaters across North America, the film added $86.2 million for the Friday-to-Sunday period. The three-day weekend tally ranks at No. 3 among all-time new releases, behind "Spider-Man," which opened with $114.84 million two weeks ago, and "Harry Potter (news - web sites) and the Sorcerer's Stone" with $90.29 million last November.
  Attacks Almost Certain
The chance of more al-Qaida attacks against U.S. targets is "almost a certainty," and Americans must stay vigilant, Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) said Sunday. U.S. officials do not know when the attacks might occur or what the targets might be, Cheney said.He also said the United States could not have anticipated that terrorists would turn four commercial airliners into missiles on Sept. 11, as he responded to criticism the Bush administration ignored warning signs about those attacks.
Saturday, May 18
  Chessmaster Game Boy Advance
This item will be released on September 6, 2002.
  X-Files: Science Fact or Fiction?
Mulder and Scully walk into the sunset on Sunday. The two FBI agents have tracked government conspiracies and alien invasion plans for eight years. But it's not all fiction -- unfortunately. By Brad King and Kristen Philipkoski. - Shave your head completely bald!
A step-by-step guide to shaving your head. If you've never shaved before, this is the spot for you.
  Slashdot | A Shogi Champion Turns to Chess
FFriedel writes "Michael Jordan tried it with baseball, and it, like, didn't work out too well for him. But what about a professional Shogi champion switching to chess? Yoshiharu Habu, one of the most gifted players in the history of the ancient Japanese game, has taken a casual interest in chess – and already reached IM strength. He is currently playing in a tournament in Paris, where chess grandmaster Joel Lautier interviewed him." Shogi is a very odd game if you're used to chess. Most of the pieces have biases toward forward motion, and when you capture an enemy piece, you can bring it back into play for your side.
Friday, May 17
  Handspring cuts prices, preps new device
Handspring is trimming the prices of its existing handheld computers and preparing to introduce a new device, just as the handheld maker has been losing market share. On its Web site Friday, Handspring chopped the price of its low-end Visor Neo and Platinum handhelds by $20, to $149. The slim but largely ignored Visor Edge dropped another $30 to $169, while the 16MB Visor Pro dropped to $199. The cuts put all of Handspring's Visor devices at less than $200. With the cuts, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company could improve its popularity among price-conscious buyers. Market share leader Palm has been dominant at the low end of the market. Handspring is also expected later this month to debut the $300 Treo 90, a device similar in appearance to its Treo 180 combination cell phone and handheld, but without the wireless modem, according to sources. The Treo 90 will have a color screen, version 4.0 of the Palm operating system and 16MB of memory.
  Can a Child Love a Robot?
Now, husband-and-wife researchers at the University of Washington are asking whether young children will learn to love a robotic dog, and what effect will it have on society if they do. In a demonstration for the press on the Washington campus Wednesday, a group of 3- to 5-year-olds played with a Sony Aibo robot dog, and a soft plush black-lab puppy while answering questions about how they saw the two. Ann Foreman, a senior in the Information School asked the children if they thought the toys were alive, whether they would get hurt if she dropped them on the floor, and what they would do if "Aibo" or "Shanti" got broken. The kids agreed that neither the metallic nor the stuffed dog could feel pain because they were toys. All but one of the children said that Aibo was not alive. (One girl said it was "because she moves.") Their suggestions for what to do with a broken Aibo were to throw it away or recycle its parts. At the same time, they said that Aibo did have a stomach, and they held and petted it carefully, the same as if it were a real dog. "One of the ways in which children learn to be responsible for others, that their actions can affect others, that there can be negative consequences, is through their interactions with animals," said Batya Friedman, an associate professor at UW's Information School. "As they develop those senses, then they carry those over to their interactions with other people." Programs already exist for cars that can converse to keep the driver awake, and similar devices are on the way for everything from thermostats to toasters. No one is expecting people to begin mistaking their refrigerators for friends.
A project of the Marcus A. Foster Educational Institute, this nonprofit school-run program finds and recycles computers for use by students in the Oakland Public Schools. Students learn develop technical and business skills as they work in a "repair classroom" to fix machines. They earn "tech bucks" script that can be redeemed for computers to be used at home. Graduates of Tech have accumulated enough points to take 100 computers with them to college. The school has also recycled several hundred computers for use in the classrooms. The group plans to train and place high school students in elementary and middle schools as tech aids in the classroom.
  Slashdot | Microsoft Opts-In Hotmail Users
medeii writes "East Side Journal reports that without telling anyone, Microsoft has suddenly changed the privacy preferences for all Hotmail users. They're now sharing your name and other personal information with third parties, even if you said you didn't want that when you signed up. (If you're a user, login, go to Options > Personal Profile, and un-check the boxes at the bottom of that page.)" The same reporter has written a follow-up article today.
Thursday, May 16
  Slashdot | EA Cites MS Bullying, Says No Xbox Online Games
beggs writes: "It appears that Electronic Arts will not have any games for the new Xbox online service Microsoft is rolling out this week. In this article over at the Times, people close to the negotiations for the service say that Microsoft was "trying to force software publishers to offer their online games on data-serving computers controlled by Microsoft, a move that could potentially give Microsoft access to information about customers." In the end EA said it will work with Sony and the PS2 online service."
  Slashdot | Verisign Ordered to Stop Deceptive Renewal Notices
Ummagumma writes: "CNN is running a story on how the courts have ordered Verisign to stop their deceptive 'renewal notices' to other registrars' customers. I've gotten a couple of these, and was smart enough to figure out what's going on, but this is a dirty practice, of borderline legality. Let's hope they get smacked down hard for this one..."
The Neptunes reign as today's most successful hip-hop production team. Over the last five years, they have helped propel the talents of a number of artists, their punctuating beats and syncopated rhythms fueling a unique sonic aesthetic. They've worked with current chart toppers (Jay-Z, Mystikal, Backstreet Boys), thuggish hip-hoppers (Noreaga) and eclectic performers (soulstress Kelis, Ol' Dirty Bastard). And just recently finished work with longtime superstars (Janet, Mary J Blige, Babyface, Usher) and alternative ska icons (No Doubt). But those are The Neptunes. Now they introduce N*E*R*D and the album IN SEARCH OF…. Mixing everything from hard hip-hop beats to black psychedelic pop to classic rock to new wave, the album brings a beguiling new sound to the pop landscape.
  Yahoo! News - Spitball Could Land Boy in Prison
An errant spitball that put a fellow student in the hospital with an eye injury could land a 13-year-old California boy in juvenile prison for up to eight years on two felony convictions. Figueroa has admitted that he shot the spitball -- a gum wrapper moistened with saliva -- on the first day of school last September at a middle school in the San Francisco suburb of Walnut Creek, California. Jeffrey said he was not aiming at anybody in particular. But the spitball hit a 14-year-old boy in the right eye, requiring a trip to the hospital and surgery. Jeffrey and his 14-year-old brother Stephen, who allegedly urged Jeffrey to fire the spitball, both were charged with battery causing serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, assault by force likely to produce great bodily injury, and mayhem.
  24's Good Guys Do Use Macs
As Fox's hit espionage thriller 24 draws to a close, the theory that the good guys use Macintosh computers while the bad guys use Windows PCs appears to be reinforced. The traitor's identity was a revelation that took most viewers by surprise, but not those who had spotted the producers' new device to denote villainy in the shady world of spies: The baddies use computers running Microsoft Windows; the good guys use Macs. The show has turned into a cult hit for Fox, and earned star Kiefer Sutherland a Golden Globe award. The show, which debuted in November, traces 24 hours in the hectic life of counter-terrorism agent Jack Bauer (Sutherland), who is trying to rescue his kidnapped wife and daughter while simultaneously foiling an assassination plot. Each hour-long episode unfolds in real-time. The final episode airs next week. But viewers like Dean Browell, a Web designer from Virginia who championed the Macintosh theory, knew it all along. While Bauer and most of the other agents in his unit used Macs, the traitor used a laptop made by Dell. The baddies, a group of renegade Serbs, also use Dell machines.
  Slashdot | System Administrators - College or Career?
Chicks_Hate_Me asks: "I'm a Senior in High School right now and I'm graduating soon (hopefully!) and I was wondering what the hell I should do? My teachers are all telling me I should go to college, but they don't know much about computers so they automatically assume that I wan't to be a programmer or an engineer. I want to be neither, in fact, I want to become a System Administrator. Is college really the best option? Or should I concentrate on getting certification, experience, and taking a few junior college classes on the side? I've already gotten a few job consultancy offers in the area. What has the experience been for any of you out in the tech industry? For you that went to college, did it truly help? And for you that didn't go to college, has it been harder for you to find a job? Also, if you believe that I should go to college, what should I major in? But if you think I shouldn't, what certifications would hold valuable in the future, and what kind of job positions should I take now?" The never ending question. College is a valuable experience for most, but it's also expensive and time consuming. Might that time be better spent in the job market now rather than later (current conditions notwithstanding)? - Telecommuting
Telecommuting is gaining popularity among nonprofit organizations. It can broaden the candidate pool for a nonprofit with limited space and a small budget, increase productivity, and be viewed as an employee benefit. With a few simple tools and practices, you can manage the risk involved for your nonprofit and your employee.
Wednesday, May 15
  Microsoft releases monster IE patch - Tech News -
Microsoft urged Windows users to download a fix for Internet Explorer on Wednesday, following the company's announcement that six new flaws had been found in its Web browser. The software giant called three of the flaws critical, but only one of them--a cross-site scripting error that affects only Internet Explorer 6.0--would allow an attacker or a worm to run a program on the victim's computer. "Two of them are critical because of the possibility of information disclosure," said Christopher Budd, security program manager for the Microsoft security response team. "But they have steep requirements."
  Low End PC - Getting the Most Value from Your PC
The mission of Low End PC is helping users get the most value from their computers. We're not concerned with having the fastest, most tweaked out computer possible. We're not concerned with keeping ancient PCs in use long after they've become a bottle-neck. We are concerned about value: getting the most use from your hardware for the money -- and sometimes that means an upgrade or a newer computer. This site covers "Wintel" PCs, models designed to run Windows -- in contrast to DOS machines, the ancient 8088 and 80286 machines that were never up to the demands of Windows. Due to our focus on value, the primary focus of Low End PC remains older models.
  Microsoft Xbox $199.99
Microsoft Xbox with Free Driven DVD & T-shirt - New Low Price! New - $199.99
Tuesday, May 14
  Amazon strategy shift could threaten eBay - Tech News - is planning to allow sellers of used goods on its site to branch into new categories, an analyst said Tuesday, in a move that could strike at the heart of eBay's business. Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos and other executives met with bankers over the weekend in Seattle and outlined an expansion plan for the company's Marketplace and Services units, according to Safa Rashtchy, an analyst with U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, who was at the meeting. As part of the plan, Amazon has struck a deal with Circuit City that will allow the electronics chain to sell its own goods on the Web superstore--alongside Amazon's. Currently, people can sell used goods on the site only if Amazon itself offers the same items new. For instance, if Amazon sells a CD by the rock group U2, then it allows a seller to offer a used copy of the CD. This way, Amazon doesn't need to create new product descriptions or displays. Under the new plan, sellers can create their own product descriptions and displays, Amazon executives said, according to Rashtchy.
Handspring, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAND), a leading innovator in handheld computers and wireless communicators, today announced the "Trade up to Treo" program allowing owners of any existing Visor, Palm OS or even wireless email-enabled devices, such as a RIM wireless handheld, to receive a rebate for $100 off the purchase of Handspring's award-winning Treo 180 communicator. This promotion is available exclusively from Handspring's website at All current Visor owners will receive the rebate instantly upon purchase of a new Treo communicator, while customers who own another handheld device will receive the same discount through a mail-in rebate form. A complete list of qualifying products can be found on Handspring's web site. The trade-up program begins Tuesday, May 7 and runs through Sunday, June 2 and applies to Treo devices purchased either with or without service activation.
  Osbournes 'dysfunctional' but better than Murphy Browna>
Ten years after he came to San Francisco to vilify single mom Murphy Brown as an agent of moral decay, Dan Quayle has found a TV character he can applaud -- Ozzy Osbourne. The former vice president vigorously defended his decade-old condemnation of single parenthood Thursday and its glorification on television. He added "Friends" and "Sex and the City" to his list of offending shows and boasted that many politicians -- including Democrats -- had joined his moral crusade. Yet when he was asked about MTV's hit series "The Osbournes," which documents in "real TV" format the bizarre daily life of the former Black Sabbath lead singer and his family, Quayle was eager to display his hipness. "You have to get beyond this sort of dysfunctional aspect," he said of the Osbournes, whose expletives are bleeped out but whose frank discussions of alcohol, sexuality and body odors are not. "You have a mother and a father involved with their children. And from the one episode I saw, they were loving parents," Quayle said.
  High Time
Despite the attacks on the World Trade Center, buildings are reaching for the sky—at least in Asia and Europe. The trend is leaving U.S. developers in the lobby. Donald Trump, the world’s most Trumpian developer, has threatened several times to erect the world’s tallest building, and last year he tried again, on a prime riverfront site in Chicago. THE PLAN WAS for a “mixed use” project of well over 2 million square feet, sandwiching every conceivable amenity—including retail, offices, apartments and a hotel—between a parking garage and an observation deck. On the morning of September 11, the architect, Adrian Smith of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, was preparing to show Trump executives three designs ranging in height up to 2,000 feet. But something else happened on September 11, and the meeting was adjourned. A week later the Trump people got back to Smith. “Let’s look at it without the hotel,” they said. The height of the building has been scaled back to a little more than 1,000 feet. “I’ve heard developers say, ‘Let’s not do something quite so distinctive’,” Smith says. “Maybe it’s OK to be the second tallest.”
  Game industry girds for battle
Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo will launch new campaigns in the game console wars next week, with the main weapons this time involving online gaming and price cuts. The Electronic Entertainment Expo, the game industry's main trade show, kicks off May 22 in Los Angeles. Games are the premier attraction at E3, with publishers showing off every title they plan to release during the coming year. Highlights this year range from previews of potential blockbusters such as "Doom III" to a video jigsaw puzzle featuring Penthouse's Miss April. Sony got the ball rolling Tuesday by cutting the U.S. price of its PlayStation 2 game console by one-third and dropping the price of its older PlayStation One by 50 percent. Effective immediately, the PS2 costs $199, down from $299, while the PSX now sells for $49, down from $99. Besides the cuts for game consoles, the main competition will be around plans for putting consoles online, with Microsoft taking the biggest gamble. The company is building a subscription-only broadband network to allow Xbox owners to play against one another online, using the Xbox's built-in Ethernet adapter. Prices and availability for the service, which will include live voice chat, are scheduled to be announced at E3.
  Why hackers are a step ahead of the law - Tech News -
The resulting frustration for investigators, companies and consumer victims raises a question that has persisted for years: Why are hackers able to elude capture so easily? The answer, according to security analysts and fraud investigators, is that the Internet has bred an elite class of criminals who are organized, well funded and far more technologically sophisticated than most law enforcement officials. "It's a world-class business," said Richard Power, editorial director of the Computer Security Institute, a private research firm that tracks electronic crime. "Al-Qaida and serious narcotic terrorists are using credit card fraud to finance their groups." Fraud cost e-tailers $700 million in lost merchandise last year, says Avivah Litan, a financial analyst for research firm Gartner. Some large Internet retailers have software that screens transactions and refuses to sell to customers who appear suspicious. Litan estimates that this costs Web stores between 5 percent and 8 percent of sales. A Gartner study also shows that 5.2 percent of online shoppers have been victimized by credit card fraud and 1.9 percent by identity theft.
Monday, May 13
  Lauryn Hill unplugs, unsettingly
New, indeed. Her voice sounds raggedy and hoarse, sometimes altogether missing notes. Her spare songs are accompanied only by her guitar. And she's dressed in jeans and a baseball cap rather than the flowing dreadlocks and bohemian clothing she'd become known for. Her offering, she tells the audience often, is in her lyrics - two CDs filled with songs that are clearly works in progress about spirituality, individuality, and emotional struggle. Although several songs are strong - ''Freedom Time,'' ''I Find It Hard to Say (Rebel),'' ''Just Like Water'' - the music is almost overwhelmed by interludes of Hill talking about her struggles with the chains of fame. It leaves listeners feeling as if they've inadvertently turned on an episode of ''Oprah.''
  Quake shakes Bay Area
A substantial earthquake has shaken the San Francisco Bay area. The upper stands of Compaq Center in San Jose shook violently for 10 seconds with 9 minutes remaining in third period of Sharks-Avalanche playoff hockey game.
  Central Booking - Read like crazy...
Way back in 1998, we decided to wrest information about contemporary authors from the hands of big publishing companies. See they'd locked it away on proprietary databases in university libraries, verboten to the non-tuition paying. We tried to circumvent that whole mess by writing biographies of important living authors and posting them online. Each one took about six months and no one really cared. We were young and stupid back then. The domain name was catchy though. Central Booking. Not a casting agency or a bail bonds consortium (although both wanted to buy it from us) but a gathering place of books and readers. With that in mind, we decided that rather than create an Authors Hall of Fame (duller than dirt), we'd build a Fat Albert club house full of fun stuff to read, useful book-related information and a place for bibliophiles to meet, share, hang out and drink Tang (sort of). Passionate readers of both Virgil and Iceberg Slim have more in common than we think. Each must jigger their time, décor and budgets around this addiction we all enable and could never shake.
  The Chronicles of George
Welcome to the Chronicles of George. This web site is a collection of helpdesk tickets gleaned from the support database of my previous job. I was employed there for twenty months, and during that time I had the misfortune of encountering an individual whom I will call George. George is, quite simply, the worst helpdesk technician ever. His grasp on the written word is shakier than a canoe full of epileptics. His knowledge of computers is thinner than a Vegas dancer's chiffon underpants. He is, by all standards of intelligence, a rock.
  Slashdot | Workstations 'Dirtier Than Toilets'
hettb writes "How often do you clean your keyboard and surrounding work area? A recent study (also discussed here) found that computer workstations harbour 400 times more health threatening bacteria than the average toilet seat. If you're anything like me, spending most of both professional and personal time in front of your computer, this is sobering news. "
  Skywalker: The Family Tree
You've watched Star Wars, but you can't recall how Luke and Leia are related to Owen Lars and Beru Whitesun. Or even who in the hell Owen Lars and Beru Whitesun are. You probably aren't alone. George Lucas has created a galaxy rich with characters whose relationships are interwoven through several generations. Following along can be difficult. However, it's those relationships that drive the Star Wars universe. If you get lost, well, the movies don't make much sense. Some critics have even argued that the movies don't make much sense anyway. Some critics are wrong. They've forgotten this is a fantasy-action adventure and not War and Peace. We digress. For the rest of the fans, here is your water cooler guide to Star Wars to help get you up to speed.
  Nintendo reveals online plans - Tech News -
Nintendo on Monday announced plans to bring Internet play to its GameCube, making the company the last console maker to step into the as-yet unproven online market. Nintendo announced that it will begin selling a network adapter for broadband Internet connections and a modem for dial-up connections--both priced at $35--starting this fall. The first games to take advantage of online GameCube play will be two new versions of Sega's Phantasy Star Online, the first major console game to offer online play, through Sega's now-defunct Dreamcast console. GameCube versions of "Phantasy Star Online I" and "Phantasy Star Online II" are set to be available this fall. The service will work with most ISP connections.
  Slashdot | Neo-Geo : The Game Console That Won't Die
xonox writes: "Perhaps you heard about the Neo-Geo game console when it came out some 12 years ago. Most people remember it because it was very expensive. Well, after 12 years, it is still alive and getting brand new commercial games for it. It may be a bit of a niche item but still. The Neo-Geo console was essentially the arcade hardware of the same name inside a prettier case. 3 games have been produced this year for the arcade hardware and two of those 3 have been released for the home console. If you think 2d games are cool, then you should check out for more information about one of the greatest 2d platforms of all time. I'm picking playability over 3d anyday :)"
  Handspring sends mail software for Treo - Tech News -
Device maker Handspring will announce on Monday that it has begun selling the final version of its e-mail software for its Treo communicators. The company has been offering a beta, or test, version of its e-mail software, called Treo Mail, on its Web site since mid-March. The software runs on Handspring's Treo devices, which combine cell phone and handheld features into a single device. The application makes Handspring the latest device maker to officially jump into the market for offering e-mail access on a handheld device. Research In Motion, Palm and newcomer Good Technology are among the other major companies in the market.
  Cries to open up IM have quieted
Calls for opening instant messaging services are fading as the three biggest providers wage a protracted war for market share. Two years ago, Internet heavyweights routinely criticized America Online for refusing to allow competitors to communicate with its AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) system. AOL, then trying to win regulatory approval in its acquisition of Time Warner, was labeled a bully and criticized for perpetuating a closed network, to the detriment of consumers. Today, the nature of the debate has shifted and the voices have been tempered--largely due to the successes of AOL's biggest challengers. The most vocal critic, Microsoft, has shown signs of closing AOL's lead, helped in part by the folding of its instant messaging application into its Windows operating system. Web portal Yahoo, which joined Microsoft in its criticism of AOL, has also watched its Yahoo Messenger service surge in popularity and has embedded it throughout many of its Web services. "As long as there is no interoperability, it protects these companies from things like churn," said Jupiter Media Metrix analyst Michael Gartenberg, referring to the rate at which people leave a service. "These types of barriers are the things that these companies like."
A toy piano purchase at a flea market inspired the creator of this site to start collecting musical toys for kids. Accumulating everything from a Fisher Price Grand Piano to something called a Pling Plong, he began to compose tunes using these toys as the main instruments. The resulting music is both whimsical and entrancing. For example, "Shy Violet" progresses at a mournful pace, while the jaunty "Hoppity Jones" and the breakbeat-heavy "Catnip" will have you bobbing your head. After you listen to the MP3s, we recommend browsing through the extensive gallery to gaze with wonder at the toys behind Twink. via Yahoo!'s Picks of the Week.
Sunday, May 12
  Gadget converts woofs into words
The company on Thursday unveiled a gadget called Bowlingual, which scrutinizes and translates a dog's barks into expressions such as "I've had enough" or "I'm a little bored, let's play." The gizmo was tested on a dog at the Tokyo Toy Show, an annual event featuring electronic games, collectibles and dolls from all over the world. The four-day event ends Sunday. Bowlingual consists of a wireless microphone, which is attached to a dog's collar, and a terminal that analyzes and matches each "woof" with a set of preprogrammed phrases. According to Takara, the device detects feelings--including happiness, frustration and sadness--and displays the associated expressions on the terminal's screen. Bowlingual can also be used to record a dog's mood throughout the day when owners are away from home.
  `Spider-Man' Nets $223M at Box Office
With $72 million in its second weekend — a number that would be a tremendous debut weekend for almost any film — "Spider-Man" knocked off "Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace" to become the fastest movie ever to hit $200 million. Spider-Man" passed that mark on Saturday, its ninth day of release. It took "The Phantom Menace" 13 days to reach $200 million.
  Slashdot | Einstein's 1,427-Page F.B.I. File
meow meow cat chow writes: "Fred Jerome of the Gene Media Forum has recently written a book called "The Einstein File: J. Edgar Hoover's Secret War Against the World's Most Famous Scientist." The book talks about how the FBI spied on Einstein and identifies some of the people who said he was a spy. Jerome sued the government to obtain access to the 1,427 page file which can be found at ( The New York Times has an article about the book."
Saturday, May 11
  Those Boys Really Will Be the Death of You, Mom
Mothers who have complained through the centuries that their sons will be the death of them may be right -- a Finnish study published on Thursday shows having boys shortens a woman's life span. Each son takes an average of 34 weeks off a woman's life span, evolutionary biologist Samuli Helle and colleagues at the University of Turku found. On the other hand, having daughters adds, but only very slightly, to a woman's life span, said the report in Friday's issue of the journal Science. - The Home of Independent Games and Gamemakers is a unique Internet publishing label for independent games and gamemakers. We are a band of professional gamemakers committed to publishing truly original and exciting titles on our own terms. We want to give any and all gamemakers the opportunity to publish their games, find their audiences - and perhaps make their fortunes. Our mission? To provide independent developers with tools, knowledge, co-conspirators - whatever YOU need - to make great games.
  Analysts: Xbox U.S. Price Dropping to $199
With the Electronic Entertainment Expo two weeks out, Microsoft let the proverbial cat out of the bag earlier this week, indicating to retailers and analysts that the company will soon slash the U.S. price of the Xbox console to $199. The price drop is expected to take effect on May 23, right in the middle of E3. “The price drop for the Xbox isn’t going to be a shock to anyone in the industry,” said Edward Williams an analyst with Gerard Klauer Mattison. “Sales of the Xbox have slowed in March and April and retailers are becoming more vocal for the need for a price cut.”
Friday, May 10
  Hot Topic: David Blaine
We knew David Blaine had been on TV again as soon as we scanned last week's search traffic logs. The evidence was scattered everywhere: David Blaine, David Blaine magic, David Blaine levitation, David Blane (sic)... Lots of people get on TV, but Blaine really seems to stir people up. He's a self-styled "street magician" and his specials on ABC have made him a rising star. Every time he appears we see searches for him spike. Blaine has the MTV generation angle down pat: he's hung out with Leonardo DiCaprio and dated tortured warbler Fiona Apple. (Last week Blaine got 10 times as many searches as either one.) His most famous gag was spending a week buried alive in front of Manhattan's Trump Towers in 1999. Result: he's inspired fan pages in the U.S. and overseas.
  Celtics, Pistons lower the bar
Sacramento and Dallas went to halftime of their Game 3 with more points than Detroit and Boston scored in their entire Game 3. Despite no single-digit scoring quarters for either team, the Pistons and Celtics shattered the record for fewest points in a playoff game (since the shot clock's inception) by 12 points in Boston's 66-64 win. The Celtics took a 2-1 series lead only because Jerry Stackhouse's banked-in three came after the final horn. In the West Game 3, David Robinson's return didn't prevent the Lakers from their 10th straight playoff road win, a 99-89 Game 3 win at San Antonio.
  Simple Planet Magazine: Wake Up and Live.
SIMPLE PLANET is a quarterly on-line publication about simple, natural living. Here you will find articles on the philosophy of living simply, frugality, environmental concerns, natural health and beauty remedies, voluntary simplicity, organic gardening, natural/attachment parenting, reducing physical and mental clutter; sustainable living, healthy recipes, eco-tourism and -agriculture, successful businesses that have led people into achieving a simpler, more fulfilling life; arts, and the rejection of overt consumerism in favor of personal enrichment through simple living.
  Slashdot | Internet Storm Center Tracks Hack Attacks
An Anonymous Coward writes: "It looks like has a new offspring, the Internet Storm Center. The internet storm center uses data from to track hack attacks all over the world. Some of the interesting trivia: While usually, China has a bad reputation for the volume of attack coming from it, the US outpaces China by a lot. Actually, China only comes in at #6. So much for the great security boost the US gets from using genuine Microsoft software."
  Colin's Movie Monologue Page - a savior with antenna and six channels and nothing on
HELLO and WELCOME to COLIN'S MOVIE MONOLOGUE PAGE, the last bastion of monologuerrific paraphernalia in the free internet world. Now in its fifth year, this website is proud to be the home of more monologues than Jay Leno (or me or anyone else) knows what to do with. Need a conclusion for that paper you stayed up all night writing? Desperate for an audition piece that's not written by a guy with the initials Neil Simon? I have pages of everything from Apocalypse Now to Dawson's Creek, and thanks to the Fair Use provision of the U.S. Copyright Act, you don't have to pay a cent to use 'em. Unfortunately, no one can be told what COLIN'S MOVIE MONOLOGUE PAGE really is. You have to see it for yourself. This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You click the back button and the story ends. You return to Yahoo! and believe whatever you want to believe. You take your hand off the mouse and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember, all I am offering is monologues, nothing more. And the truth. Which is out there. Whoa.
  Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis Review
Like those other games, this handheld version of Tactics Ogre is very easy to recommend--its depth is comparable to that of its predecessors, making it almost unequalled for a handheld game. The action focuses on the turn-based management and strategic command of a small group of soldiers. This is a complex idea, but the gameplay of Tactics Ogre truly shines, and the Game Boy Advance is a capable platform for it. Rather than act like a completely original game, Tactics Ogre for the Game Boy Advance is more of a side story in the Ogre Battle saga. As a young knight and member of the Order of the Sacred Flame, you are part of a small detachment of troops sent to the island nation of Ovis on behalf of the Holy Lodis Empire. You begin with a straightforward objective, but the path that lies before you isn't simple. Your decisions throughout will determine your path and lead you to one of several different endings--but you'll never get that far without proving yourself in the heat of battle.
  Why can't Hollywood make sexually mature movies?
I wish Lane's performance could have subverted the entire movie. But she's working against the preconceptions about a woman who cheats, and Lyne, in both his point of view and visual presentation, is working to reinforce them. It's a remarkably grown-up performance in a movie that can stand for the infantile way Hollywood talks down to moviegoers about sex. Gere, who has settled into middle age very comfortably and has recently shown an appealing relaxation in comedy, reverts to the forced, phony acting he did in his years as a young hot shot. With all his anguished thrashing about, he becomes the moral standard-bearer for the boys behind the camera. You want to tell them to watch the hard-won truths of Lane's performance and grow up.
  To-Do List: Keeping Track of our Common Compulsions
Unlike most of the publications flashing across newsstands, To-Do List magazine is not just for women of a certain age, or just for women period. To-Do List is not just for men with GQ style. Our interest is in diving into the details of daily life that make us click, roar, think, develop, and sometimes break down. No one has the patent on these experiences, even in this decade where the very human DNA is becoming corporate property. Our outlook is broad, and our readers reflect that perspective. Signpost for the Net?, a nostalgia site that started out that same year, decided to try a different route. Offering a mix of free and paid services, the company gradually--and quietly--built a business which centered around offering subscribers a way to reunite with lost school chums. Then about two years ago, enjoyed a spurt of growth, helped in no small part by the flameout of so many dot-com operations and the concomitant collapse in online advertising rates., which subsequently emerged as the seventh-largest advertiser on the Internet, watched its database of names soar from approximately 5 million to its current 30 million entries. The privately held company has also been in the black since October of last year, according to Chief Executive Michael Schutzler, who joined in September 2000. Considering the carnage among so many Internet ventures, that's an accomplishment that many of Schutzler's rivals still can't claim.
  Bomb 'Face' Pattern
The 21-year-old college student accused of putting pipe bombs in mailboxes in five states told authorities he was trying to make a "smiley face" pattern on the map, a sheriff said Thursday. The first 16 bombs were arranged in two circles, one in Illinois and Iowa and the other in Nebraska. On a map, the circles could resemble the eyes of the 1970s happiness symbol. The final two bombs, found in Colorado and Texas, form an arc that could be the beginning of a smile.
  Slashdot | Star Wars: AOTC Reviews Pour In
Dork King writes "The New York Time's Review of AOTC (free reg, yada yada) notes that Attack of the Clones doesn't look good for fans. Thankfully, I'm not a fan." Also, dw5000 writes "The BBC has a favorable review of Attack of the Clones on its news website, as well as an executive summary of what the UK papers are saying about AotC. The populist tabloids love it, while the broadsheets are giving cautious approval. Hmm. Maybe I won't wait for DVD ..." I also noticed Variety has a review up as well. Also, for those who have lost all hope for Star Wars, I submit to you the date of the Spider-Man sequel: May 7th, 2004. You should know that spoilers exist in one or more of these stories. Beware!
  Slashdot | Spider-Man, Star Wars and the Power of Myth
Spider-Man shocked analysts and critics last week, racking up a record-breaking $114 million opening weekend for Sam Raimi's warm-hearted adaptation about the web-slinging arachnoid-nerd from Queens who gets the bad guy but really wants the girl. Spider-Man embodies the simplest, most elemental tenets of myth, especially when compared to the increasingly elephantine Skywalker saga, which seems more like a graduate program than a story each time there's a new movie. I'll bet Peter Parker's adventure surpasses the upcoming opening weekend of Attack of the Clones and teaches George Lucas something about the power and nature of myth.
Thursday, May 9
  Playstation2 price drop
Playstation2 price drop: I heard a rumor that after May 20th, the price for new Playstation2 console game systems will drop its MSRP from $300 to $200. That is in addition to the recent drop in price of many games.
  Slashdot | Jornada Killed, iPaq To Live On
MartinG writes "According to the news at "HP/Compaq merger completed. HP Jornada will be discontinued in favor of HP iPAQ. HP Labs will continue to support Linux on the iPAQ. In particular, we plan to complete the Linux port to the Jornada 56x." I couldn't see any further details, but interesting news nonetheless."
Wednesday, May 8
NorCalSlams is a loosely organized confederacy of slammasters, hosts, emcees, slam poets and anybody else interested in promoting slam and poetry in Northern California. There are no officers or dues, and we meet when and where we need to, and try to support each other and each other's venues in between.
  PSI - Poetry Slam Incorporated
Poetry Slam, Inc. is the official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization charged with overseeing the international coalition of poetry slams. Though slams are maintained in a growing number of cities by local volunteer organizers, the vast majority of slam series follow the rules established by the governing body, and are certified by the governing body as slams that adhere to the vision slam's founders established for the art form over a decade ago. Because of slam's exponential growth as an art form, PSI has emerged not only as an administrative body to maintain the rules which govern slam, but as an organization that seeks to grow slam's audience and protect slam's interests. The Executive Council, headed by a seven-member Executive Council comprised of poets and slam organizers, and voted on by representatives of local slams, maintains a vigilant watch of poetry slam series worldwide, insuring that slam maintains itself as an art form open to all competitors. Through the certification process and its annual organizational meetings, PSI has created the backbone for a community of poets who are in frequent communication with one another, in order to pool ideas and share creative resources to insure the future growth and recognition of slam. Poets from the community frequently embark on poetry tours in other slam cities, relying on each other to set up the venues and housing necessary for such tours.
  Slashdot | How IBM (and Open Source) Won eBay
DemonBrew wrote to us with a new article in Business2 how IBM beat MSFT, Sun, BEA Systems to win the contract for the new eBay. Cool part is that it's based on Websphere, which has major open source components.
  Slashdot | Review of New Sony Clie PEG-NR70
Bryce writes "Here is a detailed review of the new Sony Clie PEG-NR70." Kurt the Pope picked one of these up in Japan and I have to say that it is an amazing PDA. Brilliant screen, and that cool flip open design with a mini keyboard. When I can get one that speaks English, it could be my next PDA (my iPaq died!)
  Slashdot | HP/COMPAQ Publishes OS/product Roadmap
jacexpo069 writes: "You can find it here , however, the highlights are HP Omnibook, HP Kayak, HP Vectra, HP Jornada and HP Netserver all being phased out. TRU64 phased out, however OpenVMS lives on. Read all the gory details in this detailed roadmap "
  Wardrobe for Opportunity
Wardrobe for Opportunity is a volunteer-based, non-profit organization that provides free professional clothing, image enhancement, and career support to low-income women in the Bay Area. Our services provide women with the self-confidence, self-esteem, knowledge, and skills necessary to find and maintain employment and thereby give them the opportunity to lead fulfilling and self-sufficient lives with unlimited possibilities for themselves and their families.
  Father Helped Find Pipe-Bomber
After a five-day spate of pipe bombings that had rural Americans nervously eyeing their mailboxes, a cell phone signal and an alert motorist led authorities to their suspect: a 21-year-old college student who majored in art and sang in a punk band called Apathy. Luke J. Helder, of Pine Island, Minn., was arrested Tuesday after a high-speed chase along a desert highway followed by a phone conversation with an FBI negotiator and his parents.
Tuesday, May 7

about me
i'm a twenty-something happily married dad living in the sfbay area. i used to work as a qa tester (which meant i got to break stuff) but i'm consulting right now and going to school full time. i was born in the philippines but grew up in jersey city. that's my brief bio, thanks for reading.

site info
this site is running under apache on openbsd. the box is a hp w/ P100MHz, 16MB RAM and 800MB HD. budget restrains keep me from getting a better machine. - Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis
Assume the role of Alphonse, a knight of Galicia, sent on a mission to investigate the intentions of the suspect governing body of the Holy Lodis Empire and solve the mystery of Ovis. Along the way, you will experience many trials and tribulations, but you must survive the unrelenting battles and cultivate your characters’ abilities to reveal your true destiny.
  Oracle fires back over Calif. contract - Tech News -
Oracle came out swinging Tuesday, disputing claims that it sold the state of California more software than it needed--and warning that if that state cancels a $95 million contract, it could create problems for agencies already using the software. "Nearly 50 California state and local agencies have already used the new contract," Oracle Chief Financial Officer Jeff Henley said in a statement. The contract gave agencies a volume discount on the price of the software, he said. "If the state elects to withdraw from this contract, these savings will be lost." The $95 million deal is all but dead. Oracle and Logicon, the Oracle reseller that negotiated the contract, offered to rescind the deal, and the governor's office on Monday said it had accepted the offer. Executives from Oracle and state Finance Director Tim Gage were meeting Tuesday to work out financial details since some money has already changed hands.
  Slashdot | Teach An Old Aibo New Tricks
dipfan writes "After expending much energy trying to stop hackers from tinkering with its Aibo robot dog, Sony has finally realised it's not worth the effort and has decided to start giving away a 'non-commercial' developers kit. The kit is called OPEN-R SDK, which allows Aibo be programmed in C , as part of Sony's efforts to promote its (so-called) OPEN-R architecture for robotic entertainment. Anyway, the really neat thing is that you can reprogram your Aibo to meow."
  kar'ikter - the european character store
kar'ikter opened its doors as TT Globe Trotter USA on the day after Thanksgiving 1995. Located in San Francisco, it was the first store in th U.S. to specialize in the books and products of the legendary Belgian character Tintin.There are now two kar'ikter stores; one in San Francisco and one in New York. In these stores you'll find a unique range of European licensed character merchandise. Treasured products of Tintin, Asterix, Babar, Le Petit Prince, Wallace & Gromit, the Smurfs, Noddy and much more fill the shelves.
Monday, May 6
  Jackson Announces Song Contest
Michael Jackson is offering fans a chance to collaborate with him. Jackson, Tonos Entertainment and AOL have launched the Michael Jackson Songwriting Contest. Fans can enter for a chance to co-write a song with Jackson, producer David Foster and songwriter Carole Bayer Sager. The contest runs through June 10.
  Yahoo! News - BYE-BYE SAT
The academic establishment (most notably in the outward visible form of University of California President Richard Atkinson) has declared war on the Scholastic Assessment Test. The Princeton Review Board, which owns and produces the SAT, has obligingly agreed to commit hara-kiri: Bye-bye SAT. Something called the SAT will linger around for a while. But the test's 50-year reign as an instrument of democratization of America's elite universities has clearly come to a crashing end. Why? Because at public colleges, the SAT has increasingly proved a fatal barrier to affirmative action. To admit enough black (and to a lesser extent, Latino) students, universities had to accept minority applicants with far lower SAT scores than white or Asian students. Judges began to balk at such blatant racial classifications in a government institution. University administrators such as Atkinson could read the writing on the wall.
  David Trezguet Photo
Juventus' French striker David Trezguet is left in his underwear after jubilant fans ripped off his uniform following his teams' match against Udinese at the Friuli Stadium in Udine, May 5, 2002. Trezeguet and Alessandro Del Piero both scored as Juventus won the Italian championship on Sunday with a 2-0 victory over Udinese while favorites Inter Milan crashed to a 4-2 defeat at SS Lazio. Juventus end the season on 71 pionts while AS Roma, who defeated Torino 1-0 are second on 70 points and Inter finished third on 69 points.
  Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters
Ankou writes: "Today (May 6th, 2002) marks the first day of the Hewlett Packard and Compaq merger. The finalized buyout of Compaq is expected to be done today and are expected to be working together "as a combined entity" by tomorrow. This also means a new stock symbol will replace the old HWP to the new symbol HPQ. Behind the hype this merger will cost, according resources at CNN on this article, a total loss of 15,000 more jobs with over 150,000 following the next two years. The same article details more information regarding the new merger and the recent events which have lead to today." Update: 05/06 15:03 GMT by T: Note: that job-loss figure is off; the 15,000 jobs projected to be cut are from a total of 150,000 between the two companies.
  Slashdot | Microsoft's $40 Billion On Hand
eMilkshake writes "CNN/Money magazine report here that Microsoft has more liquid reserves than 'Ford, ExxonMobil and Wal-Mart have combined' and 'enough to buy the entire airline industry -- twice. Or all the gold in Fort Knox, four times over. It is enough to buy 23 space shuttles or every major professional baseball, basketball, football and hockey team in America.' This is thanks to (according to WinInfo Update) the fact that 'Microsoft handles its investments with an inhouse software application called--seriously--the Catastrophe Hedging Program 2.5.' I wonder what I would do with $40 billion?"
Sunday, May 5
  OpenBSD rocks on low spec Pentiums!
As I sit here typing away on Abiword and enjoying my favorite mp3s, I am downloading email with Sylpheed, chatting on Linux Orbit with X-Chat and I also have a few web sites open in the background with the Dillo web browser. The main point of this story though is not so much the applications I am using (great as they are) but the hardware and operating system that they are running on. The machine is a classic Pentium 100 MHz with 24MB of RAM and two hard drives at 545MB and 130MB each. Not only is this machine extremely low spec, but it also has a Y2K bug which means I have to run it with a pre 2000 or post 2094 date. If it weren't for the fact that I was given this machine for free, it would probably be in a landfill somewhere. After deleting Windows 95 I decided it would be a perfect machine to try out the OpenBSD 2.9 ISO's which I had downloaded some months before (Since then OpenBSD 3.0 has been released and 3.1 is due 19th May, 2002).
  'Spider-Man' Sets $114 Million Record at Box Office
"Spider-Man" a highly anticipated comic-book hero saga, kicked off the lucrative summer movie season in North America with a record three-day gross of $114 million, according to studio estimates issued on Sunday. The film, released by Columbia Pictures, smashed the old three-day record of $90.3 million, set last November by "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." "Spider-Man" also broke the boy wizard's benchmarks for highest single-day receipts, said Jeff Blake, Columbia's president of worldwide marketing and distribution.
Saturday, May 4
  Adulthood Defined by Personality Change
You've graduated from college, gotten married and had children--is it safe to say you're an adult? Not necessarily, says one British researcher. She found that for many people, "adulthood" is not defined as a passage through traditional events, but rather a change in personality and behavior. "We found that the traditional markers of adulthood--such as marriage (or) getting a job--were of little importance to our participants," said Fiona Ulph of Southampton University in Highfield. Instead "it appeared that characteristics which fostered individualism were important in defining adulthood."
  Children Killed in Fighting
Thirty-nine children no older than 15 were among at least 98 people killed around two Colombian villages caught in a battle between far-right militias and leftist rebels who bombarded a packed church on Thursday, a provincial health service said on Saturday.
  Pipe Bombs Found in Mail
Five pipe bombs were found Saturday in rural Nebraska mailboxes, heightening fears among Midwesterners already on edge after similar bombs injured six people in Iowa and Illinois the day before, authorities said. Federal officials had described the earlier bombings as an act of domestic terrorism and said anti-government propaganda and notes warning of more "attention getters" were found nearby. It appeared that the five devices discovered Saturday also were accompanied by letters, at least one of them identical to those found in eastern Iowa and northwestern Illinois, FBI Special Agent Jim Bogner said.
  Ten Thousand Monkeys
Take a million monkeys, put 'em at a million typewriters, give 'em a million years, and supposedly you end up with "War and Peace", or "Hamlet", or some such ... We wanted a million, but could only get licenses and collars for ten thousand, so if you're willing to sacrifice Shakespeare for Jackie Collins ... read on. So, we've gathered together as many monkeys as we could find ... put 'em at as many computers as we could find (c'mon it's the year 2001 right?!?) and set 'em to work.
  M.U.S.C.L.E. Revisited
I used to collect all of these pink plastic wrestling figures and now i-mockery has finished the big task of giving names and profiles to all of the original figures. 233 to be exact. Great retro memories for me on this one. Some really bizarre (ie: "Klondular the Barnacle Muncher "), yet extremely funny descriptions for some of these figures. There's also a Mr. Blocky tribute in there. I always hated him though since he made one of the prongs in my ring snap off. He was just too fat.
  Peter Parker's Sticky Spider Web
The actors ham it up. The script is uneven. The effects are corny. But Spider-Man has an undeniable appeal. What made the original 1960s Spider-Man comic book so cool was that the hero was so damn normal. Written by Stan Lee and drawn by Steve Ditko, Spidey was a science geek, not a playboy millionaire; self-doubting, not ultra-confident; lanky, not muscle-bound. Pimply boys reading the comic could identify with the shy, nerdy orphan Peter Parker (the hero's hapless alter ego).
  Slashdot | Penguins Invade the North Pole
An Anonymous Coward writes "Thanks to a project of the U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a webcam has for the first time been installed at the North Pole -- one which runs on Embedded Linux (uClinux), no less! The device was installed on April 28, 2002 and is now logging four images a day, which are available for viewing on NOAA's publicly accessible website. This article at describes the Linux-based webcam (called the NetCam), opens up the device to see what embedded hardware and software are inside, and explains why the NetCam's developers used Embedded Linux as the basis of their design."
Time, if you please, for another Google bomb. My friend and yours, Leslie Harpold, continues to suffer the arrogance and incompetence of Verisign, a company to whom she paid money in exchange for the safekeeping of her domain,, and who then cheerfully sold it to someone else. Perhaps Verisign will fix this fiasco some day; nonetheless I see no reason not to share the story. With, say, all the stock analysts, potential investors, journalists and (apparently) lowly domain registrants who type the word Verisign into Google.
  Slashdot | SonicBlue Ordered to Spy on ReplayTV Viewers
An Anonymous Coward writes: "Got outrage? According to a story on, a federal magistrate has ordered SonicBlue to track ReplayTV users' every click to see what they're watching, recording, skipping (commercials) and e-mailing to friends. The info is to be given to the entertainment industry control freaks who are suing SonicBlue for allegedly abetting copyright violations."
Friday, May 3
  Slashdot | Review: Spiderman
I skipped out early this morning and went to see the first showing of Spiderman in my local theater. The Sam Raimi directed spiderman is the first of the summers blockbusters and stars Toby Maguire as the webslinger, Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin and Kirsten Dunst and the lovely Mary Jane. And guess what? Its one of the best comic book movies I've ever seen. I loved it. And I'll try not to lone-gunman-are-dead the review, but if you're super paranoid, just skip out, go see the flick, and enjoy it.
  DevShed - Perl
Introduction to mod_perl (part 1): Why mod_perl? Web Mining with Perl. Using Perl with XML. Object-Oriented Programming in Perl.
  Slashdot | Mars Exploration Must Consider Contamination
letxa2000 writes: "CNN is reporting that the National Research Council has submitted a report to NASA that recommends certain precautions be taken if NASA is to send astronauts to Mars to guarantee that they don't bring back Mars-based bacteria and contaminate earth; including possibly banning the return vehicle from entering the Earth's atmosphere. What is the likelihood of bacterial life on Mars infecting the earth if we ever get around to visiting Mars in person?"
  Best Buy closes wireless registers
Mark J. Ferrone, spokesperson for Symbol Technologies, Inc., said stealing wireless cash register traffic is feasible if proper security measures are not in place. Symbol makes hardware used by IBM in its wireless point-of-sale terminals. The firm couldn’t say which large retailers actually deploy their wireless point of sale technology, but Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Home Depot are among Symbol’s broad customer base, he said. “There are security mechanisms in place, but whether or not (the stores) use them is a different story,” Ferrone said. “If the security is not turned on, then the traffic would be open.” However, Ray Martino, Symbol’s vice president of wireless network products, said that credit card data wouldn’t normally be among the traffic that’s broadcast through the air. Credit card purchases still require authorization from a bank, meaning the traffic must travel over a phone line.
  Slashdot | Wireless Registers May Expose Your Credit Card
flynt writes: "Found this article about people sitting in Best Buy parking lots with wireless sniffers and intercepting credit card numbers that the wireless cash registers inside the store are beaming about. Gives more credence to the idea of one time use credit card numbers. Now you don't even have to be online to have your number stolen."
Thursday, May 2
  Slashdot | Attack of the Clones to Cost Economy $300m
Audent writes: "Attack of the Clones may make you sick but according to this story, it will cost the US economy $300 million in lost productivity what with all the nerds calling in with a bad case of midiclorianitis. ... Nerds and geeks and propellorheads are singled out as being most at risk. Take your medication now! dammit." A nameless reader also points to a review (looks like two, but only one is up at the time of this writing) up at
  Monster: Write Around the World (Work Abroad feature)
Can you imagine getting paid to journey to faraway exotic lands and write about them? For many, the life of the travel writer sounds like an unobtainable dream. But in fact, travel writing can be a viable way to make extra money while abroad, though it's not going to be the key to scoring that first-class, all expenses paid trip to Australia. So before you pack your suitcase, see if travel writing might be "write" for you.
  Handspring Treo 180 Review
Why did I buy one? Easy. I was tired of needing to carry two devices, at least, for my daily electronic needs (personal and for work). Finally, the data I collect using it (contact information, memos, email, and schedule) will surely be moveable to future devices, so I'll take a chance because it's a platform that others will need to import data from in the future. A little over one month in as a PDA and a little over one week in as a phone, I feel I've made the right decision.
  GameCube Online to Unveiled
Video game company Nintendo (news - web sites) Co. Ltd. , the only console maker without a strategy for online game play, will unveil plans for Internet-based services for the GameCube at a key industry trade show later this month, an industry source said on Thursday. Nintendo will announce details of its online strategy for the GameCube at a press conference scheduled for May 21 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, said the source, who is knowledgeable of Nintendo's plans but asked not to be named.
  University systems a haven for hackers - Tech News -
College is intended to nurture the quest for knowledge, but many universities are also unwitting breeding grounds for hacking and online piracy. In a presentation here at the CanSecWest security conference, David Dittrich, senior security engineer with the University of Washington, said university politics and a lack of emphasis on computer security have made college networks rife with online piracy and hacking. The networks "are a real fertile ground," Dittrich said in an interview after the presentation. "There is a responsibility that the universities are not meeting." While some universities have good security checks in place, the majority of academic networks are tempting targets for hackers because of their lack of security, abundance of bandwidth and overworked administrators.
  Slashdot | Microsoft Expert Witness Stumbles
parking_god writes "MIT prof Stuart Madnick, testifying on MS's behalf, was caught out twice when a government attorney asked him to name an OS (other than one made by Microsoft) where the browser couldn't be removed. Madnick also faltered on several other questions." Basically he doesn't understand what GNOME and KDE are, and since we're all holier-than-thou know-it-alls around here, we might as well laugh at Microsoft's expense.
CHECK OUT THAT BUTT: We mean the cigarette in her right hand, of course, as clean-living Britney Spears gets some tobacco satisfaction on the balcony of her hotel room in Sydney, Australia.
  Yahoo! News - Photographer Catches Britney Smoking
A photographer has caught pop star Britney Spears on film smoking a cigarette, after she's been preaching for years that she was against the habit. The 20-year-old singer once told the News-Sentinel in Knoxville, Tenn., "I don't believe in drugs or even smoking. I believe in God." The New York Post is carrying the photo today showing the singer, dressed in short-shorts, apparently turning her back to the photographer.
  Amorphophallus titanum Photo
The pungent smelling Amorphophallus titanum, also known as the Titan arum, the world's largest flower, is tended to by Science and Collections co-ordinator Kath King at Kew Gardens, London, May 2, 2002. The phallic flower is a native of the rainforests of Sumatra and only a few specimens have been cultivated.
  Yao would help Warriors on, off the court
RX FOR Warriors: Hire Rick Barry as your coach and draft Yao Ming. Money is a problem for the Warriors, the main reason they didn't pursue Jerry West. Both Barry and Yao would sell tickets. The Chinese community has been very excited when the Dallas Mavericks have come to Oakland with Wang Zhizhi; think what it would be like if the Warriors had the highly touted Yao. Barry would appeal to those who remember the last time the Warriors won an NBA championship, in 1974-75 -- and, yes, I know, the dry stretch seems even longer.
  Tech exec exodus expected to continue - Tech News -
Management experts and executive recruiters say that senior-level turnover, which picked up late last year, is likely to quicken in the next six to 12 months as the economy continues to sputter, stock prices remain depressed and companies continue massive rounds of layoffs. They're warning employees in the technology sector--still struggling to recover from the dot-com stock bubble of the late 1990s--to brace for a particular frenzy of senior-level resignations. "Tech stocks are not performing the way we've liked them to, and there's got to be somebody the pressure is placed upon--and it's always the top executive," said Bob Winter, senior technical recruiter for Atlanta-based Management Decisions. "They're burning the candle at both ends, getting pressure from the board and shareholders at one end and having to lay off people below them. They're totally burned out and unhappy, so they quit."
  Slashdot | Turner CEO: "PVR Users Are Thieves"
mrbrown1602 writes: "It was bound to happen - is reporting that Turner Broadcasting CEO Jamie Kellner is calling PVR users thieves. When asked why personal video recorders are bad for the industry, Keller says 'Because of the ad skips.... It's theft. Your contract with the network when you get the show is you're going to watch the spots. Otherwise you couldn't get the show on an ad-supported basis. Any time you skip a commercial or watch the button you're actually stealing the programming.' Since when have we made contracts with the broadcasters for watching their content? More of the 2600 article can be found here."
Wednesday, May 1
  Voluntary Simplicity & Simple Living Resource Guide - Home Page
This site is maintained by Linda Breen Pierce, founder of The Pierce Simplicity Study and author of the book Choosing Simplicity: Real People Finding Peace and Fulfillment in a Complex World (Gallagher Press, 2000). Choosing Simplicity features the real-life stories of people who have simplified their lives as well as the author's reflections and insights on their life experiences. The people profiled in the book were participants in The Pierce Simplicity Study, the author's three-year research project on what simplicity looks like in our modern world. This site provides a wide spectrum of resources related to simple living, including book reviews, links to related sites, and relevant articles.
  Affluenza: PBS Program on the Epidemic of Overconsumption
Af-flu-en-za n. 1. The bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses. 2. An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by dogged pursuit of the American Dream. 3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth. 4. A television program that could change your life. Affluenza is a one-hour television special that explores the high social and environmental costs of materialism and overconsumption.
  Live Simple: Welcome to the Simple Station
Access the full text of the ebook: Live Simple: Radical Tactics to Reduce the Complexity, Costs, and Clutter of your Life by John December published by December Communications, Inc., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 2000.
  Vegan Couple Starved Toddler, Cops Say
A vegan couple in New York City were busted for starving their baby daughter — by denying her breast milk and formula, feeding her only nuts, fruits and vegetables, and allegedly failing to get her medical help for severe malnutrition. Joseph and Silva Swinton, both 31, were arrested Friday and charged with reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child for failing to properly feed and care for their baby, Ice.
  Slashdot | Sewage To Be Turned Into H
Anonymous Howard writes "The New Scientist website reports in this article that British scientists are working on a more efficient way to convert sewage and other wet waste into hydrogen fuel. It sounds fairly promising."
  Cracking the nest egg - Tech News -
After years of reluctance, consumers are finally starting to bank online in substantial numbers--and hackers are wasting no time in preying on the trend. Law enforcement agencies and security experts agree that breaches in bank security are rising, but the number of serious incidents--and the risk to the public--remains largely unknown. The banking industry, manically protective of its reputation, releases as little information as possible about break-ins, for good reason: Consumers are more sensitive than ever about security, having been exposed to financial disasters ranging from the S&L scandal to the Enron debacle.
  Melissa virus creator gets 20 months - Tech News -
The creator of the Melissa computer virus, which hobbled computer systems across the United States three years ago, was sentenced Wednesday to 20 months in prison and ordered to pay $5,000 in fines.Virus creator David L. Smith also must serve 3 years of supervised release, during which he cannot use the Internet, computer networks, or bulletin boards unless authorized by the court.The judge also ordered Smith to complete 100 hours of community service, which will take advantage of his computer skills in a supervised atmosphere.
  Site Barks About Deep Link
Now Adelman is locked in a battle against the Belo media corporation, owner of The Dallas Morning News, which sent him a legalistic letter this week demanding that remove all "deep links" to the site. "Deep links" point to specific content within a site, allowing readers to bypass the site's front page. Instead of linking to a specific article within The Dallas Morning News's site, Belo wants Adelman to only link to the site's main page.
  MS Gets a Hand from MIT Prof
An MIT professor criticized antitrust sanctions sought by nine states against Microsoft, telling a federal judge they would cripple the Windows operating system and give away the company's technology to competitors. Stuart Madnick, professor of information technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said Wednesday that the states' demand for a version of Windows that can be customized by computer makers and other software makers would be difficult to achieve and sap resources devoted to improving the operating system.
  Cranes Pass Under Bridges
Four giant cargo container cranes standing as tall as a 22-story building successfully slipped under both the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge on their way to the Port of Oakland this morning. CHP officers and Caltrans slowed and then stopped traffic temporarily on the Bay Bridge to reduce weight on the span as the 220-foot-tall cranes slipped underneath with just a couple of feet to spare at around 10 a.m.
  Google to Power AOL Search
America Online and Google today announced a multi-year agreement that will make Google's popular search technology and targeted paid listings available on America Online brands. Google's paid listings will begin rolling out on the AOL service and AOL.COM immediately; they will launch on Netscape and CompuServe in the next several weeks.
  Ex-Nixon Aide Dean to Reveal 'Deep Throat' Guess
Lots of people have theories on the identity of "Deep Throat," the famous Watergate whisperer who helped spell the end of the Nixon presidency. Now, former Nixon White House Counsel and key Watergate player John Dean will take his stab at cracking Washington's mystery of the century, releasing "The Deep Throat Brief" as an e-book through online magazine publisher Salon in June.
  HBO Sets Final Sentence for 'Oz'
HBO prison drama "Oz" will end its run early next year after six seasons on the pay cable network. The series, which chronicles power struggles between inmates and guards inside the fictional Oswald State Correctional Facility, was HBO's first hourlong dramatic series. It debuted in 1997.
  Williams Indicted
Former NBA player Jayson Williams was indicted on manslaughter charges Wednesday in the shooting death of a limousine driver at his estate. Williams also was indicted on a series of other charges including aggravated assault and witness and evidence tampering. He could face more than 24 years in prison, and remains free on $270,000 bail. Williams appeared in court on the charges in March. He did not enter a plea and was not required to do so until a grand jury indictment. His spokeswoman, Judy Smith, has said Williams will plead innocent "at the appropriate time."
  Installing Linux on a Wal-Mart OS-less PC
The Wal-Mart machine itself strikes me as a very reasonable clone. With the exception of the modem, all the hardware seems to work. I have had to live with useless modems in clones before, but at least this modem is a card that can be removed from the machine. I should also note that Mandrake installed on the box easier than Windows ME did. If I had wanted to keep Windows on the machine, I would have had to manually install drivers for both the ethernet and sound card, because Windows did neither on installation. So it appears that the Wal-Mart machine as tested makes a very reasonable Linux box. But I suggest you lose the Lucent modem card and replace it with a real hardware modem.
  Slashdot | Installing Linux On A Wal-Mart OS-less machine
Azar writes "An article at Newsforge details the experience of installing Linux on Wal-Mart's OS-less PC. It states: 'A few months ago, super-sized discount store Wal-Mart made the headlines in the Linux world by becoming the first major U.S. retailer to offer PCs without Windows preloaded...While this was widely hailed in the Open Source community as a victory over the "Microsoft tax," which usually afflicts buyers of Linux PCs, one major question remained unanswered: How well do these machines support Linux?' Here is your answer." Newsforge is owned by OSDN, which also owns Slashdot, is all part of the sinister Andover keiretsu.
  Slashdot | Playstation 3 In the Works
Kredal writes "The Independent is running a story about Sony's work on a new console, being built around online games, such as Everquest Adventures and Final Fantasy 11. No word on backwards compatability, but expect it to be the X-Box killer if it is." FF11 already has me lusting.
  John Lennon Songwriting Contest
The John Lennon Songwriting Contest is an international songwriting Contest that began in 1997. The Contest is open to amateur and professional songwriters who submit entries in any one of 12 musical categories. Your song may be entered in any of the following categories: Rock, County, Jazz, Pop, World, Rhythm & Blues, Hip Hop, Gospel/Inspirational, Latin, Electronic, Folk and Children's.Entries will be judged based upon originality, melody, composition, and lyrics (when applicable). Instrumental compositions are encouraged. Both performance and production value will not be considered during the adjudication process.
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