29. November, 1999 - It's been a month of lots of links. permalink
- Skeleton Closet claims to have all of the scandals on all of the candidates.
- ZUG may not all be new content, but it sure made me laugh. Check out the Great Pumpkin Drop in the pranks section. Heck, and Excite thinks it's obnoxious. What more could a guy ask for?
- Naupa is the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. It may be worth your time to see if you've got anything out there. If you imported a car into Caliornia, you may be eligible for a refund on the Smog Surcharge, too. Check the Smog Impact Fee Refund Center for more details.
- Uselessknowledge.com sure does have lots of useless knowledge.
- Have you checked out Project Gutenberg lately? It keeps getting bigger.
- dorkoftheday.com is exactly what it sounds like.
- Yahoo! Disturbing Trends are kinda sick (in a good way). Lots of things that make me laugh.
27. November, 1999 permalink
24. November, 1999 - Happy virtual Friday before Happy Turkey Day permalink
- The man who fell to Earth is a little story for Thanksgiving.
- Doctor Fun is back! Woo! And there was much rejoicing!
- The Payphone Project on sorabji.com has a list of phone numbers for payphones. Give one a call.
- The Healing Power of Obnoxiousness is another good time-waster. Some funny writing. Some good rants.
- Sex in Silicon Valley - Palo Alto has the second-lowest women-to-men ratio in America. The lowest? Barrow, Alaska.
- Giant Floating Metropolis Planned - this is the stuff of Cyberpunk SF novels. I like it.
- Dear MAILER-DAEMON are funny letters people sent in reply to bouncy email alerts.
- Freemasons to Reveal Secrets on Internet - Of course they're not going to reveal the real secrets. (Yorkshire Freemasonry is the site.)
- Hitler used in marketing campaign - Seems folks in Taiwan don't have a deep understanding of European history so they won't be offended.
- More Millennium madness from The Register.
- New millennium will bring doom and gloom is worth a read. It's not what you think.
21. November, 1999 - The two-year anniversary edition. Nothing special, just pointing it out. permalink
- Popular Science's 1999 Best of What's New is a pretty spiffy shopping list for the geek in your life.
- Etymologic is the brain-twisting etymology game!
- Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.
- James Lileks wrote for The Minnesota Daily when I was going to school at the U of M. He's got a swell site, that includes pictures of the buildings in downtown Minneapolis, plus archives of his writing. Lots of stuff to look at here.
- SMUG is a good online magazine. It's a good way to spend a Saturday.
- How To Write Unmaintainable Code is fun. I know a bunch of guys who seem to have already read it.
- Sherlock 2 Winzap claims to put Sherlock II back into a normal window.
- The Register: Y2K bug smokes Fire station like a kipper -- is the testing worse than the actual bug? It might be.
- IRA to lay down guns? but critics were not willing to accept the olive leaf and were quick to reject the offer.
19. November, 1999 - Sunday will be the 2-year anniversary of Dave's Picks. permalink
- Also of note today, today is the last odd day we'll see until 1-1-3111 (that is, where all the digits in the date are odd). The next even day will be 2-2-2000, which will be the first since 8-28-888. Anyway, it's a good excuse to celebrate today, since it's the last odd day we're likely to see.
- The San Francisco Chronicle has a series called The Dark Side of Silicon Valley, which starts with Phantom Riches, a story about how many tech companies cook the books to get high valuations in the stock market, and how Bill Lerach takes them on. Lerach is protrayed as more of a hero than I'm comfortable with (how the heck can they praise him for winning a $5 million lawsuit against Seagate, when the lawyers took $4.26 million (that's 85.2% of the settlement) of the judgement?), but the series sounds good overall.
- Why I Love Gema. Gema is a text-manipulation language. Looks like it kicks butt over perl, sed and awk.
- Forbes Magazine: The End of Privacy is their cover story. You'll be amazed at how easy it is to get at information you might think is private. There are also a few tips on how to protect your privacy.
- MSNBC: "Y2K fuels America's fear of flying". Nobody wants to be in the air on New Year's Eve.
- When the government goes too far, what do you do? James Knott is fighting back against the EPA, who he says falsified evidence against him.
- The New York Post's The Top 25 Most Evil People of the Millennium has some interesting results. Milosevic loses to Timothy McVeigh, for example. The fact that a write-in almost won is as interesting as who that write-in was.
- kaus files dot com is Mickey Kaus' venue. He's a columnist who's gone freelance in a big way, publishing his own material (though Slate now picks up his columns a day in advance). I like his writing, since he's willing to take a shot at mainstream media.
- It's not 'only' a baseball stadium is a requiem for Tiger Stadium. The corporate greed-heads continue to try and kill the game. It's what drove me completely away from MLB back in 1994 and 1995 (though I already had the Saint Paul Saints).
- LostInstruction.com is running a database of instruction manuals for products. It'll be awfully handy if they can pull it off.
- Junk mail from MS: whose spam is it anyway? It's very easy to get onto a MS mailing list (by registering any of their products), but it's nearly impossible to get yourself removed. ... most Microsoft marketing people don't have Internet experience, and so fail to grasp the implications of what they're doing.
- 'Women's Only' Language Found Among Chinese and Last rites for secret women's language talk about a secret language developed in China. Not only is the language dying out, but thousands of ancient books were burned during the cultural revolution. Thanks to Bruce Schneier's November 1999 Cryptogram for the links. Also, that issue of Cryptogram has excellent commentary on the DVD encryption breakage.
- The NSA has patented a new technology for a system of automatic topic spotting and labelling of data in speech. It's Patent #5937422. This patent should worry people. Everyone's overseas phone calls are or may soon be tapped, transcribed and archived in the bowels of an unaccountable foreign spy agency.
- Jean-Louis Gassee on Microsoft ruling is another good analysis of the findings.
15. November, 1999 - I'm pretty sure I'm switching to updates on Monday and Friday. permalink
- Why Photograph? is a heckuva good essay, and is from the same guy who wrote "If this is your idea of playing a waiter no wonder you can't get work as an actor." which is a quote I really hope to remember the next time it would be appropriate.
- Geek Fantasia makes me feel better about my mental health, but not as much as you might think.
- There's A Fine Site sitting out there. Don't click the link if you're offended by anything. If you do, don't blame me.
- Did you know you can Opt out of Doubleclick? Well, only sorta, but it does mean they don't track you when one of their banners sneaks by the filter you should be running.
- Our Rigged Elections is a pretty pessimistic piece.
- Crypto Guru Bruce Schneier Answers questions on Slashdot. He's an interesting guy to read, and certainly seems to know his crypto.
- Turn off the music! -- S.L. Goldman is definitely not feeling the groove. Music really has only one purpose, and that's to destroy your sense of awareness.
- IETF Says 'No Way' to Net Taps - of course that's not going to slow the FBI, CIA or NSA down one bit, but it's a nice gesture.
- Medication may cause school shootings: It's not guns that kill people, it's drugs. And it appears that prescription drugs used to treat hyperactivity are the culprit. To quote the Dead Kennedys song Hyperactive Child: Ram a needle up my butt, put my brain into a trance.
- Telescope catches star just exploded: The Lick Observatory caught a supernova in the act, using the Katzman Automatic Imaging Telescope. That's pretty cool.
12. November, 1999 permalink
- Peter's Evil Overlord List is on temporary hiatus. But that gives you time to catch up. And catch up you should. It's funny.
- 'Politically Incorrect' gun defense in case you missed the show (I did).
- FBI Restructuring to Emphasize Crime Prevention is kind of a spooky article. Now the national police force is going to stop crime before it happens. What about ThoughtCrime?
- Remembering our veterans: Veterans Day was November 11 ( a commemoration of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when World War I officially ended).
- Jory's Apple Icon Garden Adventure shows the icon garden at Apple before it got taken away (there's a story at Adios to the icon garden, and it went away on May 28, 1998). Sigh. I miss it.
- The problem is the politics: If we are to preserve liberty, we need to destroy Moloch, the ghastly god of political power and corruption. Amen!
- I stood up for the American way of life, says Clinton in an interview with ABC television. He claims historians will salute his defence of the Constitution. It was an interesting article to read the day after I watched Primary Colors (yes, I know it's fiction, but it still got me thinking). One the other hand, Greeks Condemn Clinton in a mock trial. They declared him guilty of genocide. The Greek protesters are calling Clinton the Butcher of the Balkans. Guess someone's gotta be the Butcher now that Milosevic isn't.
- IRA may be ready to end its 'war' with Britain.
- New-wave spies have more ways (well, not really, they're just cheaper) to grab your data. Computers emit RF. A sufficiently smart device can turn that RF into data. No real news there, just notable that it's getting cheaper as computers get powerful enough that you can do the work in software instead of in special-purpose hardware.
- But The Computer Said ... Accepting what a computer tells you, instead of thinking, is a big mistake. I especially liked the end of this article.
8. November, 1999 -- A Monday edition because I found too much over the weekend. permalink
- Understanding Upgrades/Downgrades explains the ratings analysts give to stocks. Understanding the ratings is a big help if you're looking to invest, and these explanations actually match what I had come to believe the ratings meant.
- APBnews.com has a lot of crime-related news. The thing that caught my eye is their Neighborhood CrimeCheck which lets you enter your zipcode and find out what the crime rate for that zipcode is. They also point to local resources. Useful.
- Fly in the Soup has humorous stories from the front lines of the Food Service Biz.
- The Giveaway of the West is the San Jose Mercury News' report on how we're subsidizing corporate cowboys and rolex ranchers who are grazing cattle, which is wrecking the native ecosystem out west. Y'know, if these folks were wrecking land they owned, I'd have a harder time criticizing it, but the idea of paying folks to graze their cattle on federally-owned land galls me.
- The Silicon Valley Outsider is not serious. And that's a Good Thing.
- In Breaking up (with your PC) is hard to do, Dave Plotnikoff tells you how to know if it's time to upgrade your computer. Hint: if you bought it when there was a republican in the White House, the answer is probably yes.
- Jon E. Dougherty is Tired of playing victim and believes all prohibitions against guns should be repealed and repealed now. I find it hard to argue with him. "I also choose to put armed criminals on notice -- if you waltz into my office with a gun and evil intentions, you will in turn be gunned down for your stupidity; you won't live to see a trial." That's one way to cut down on workplace shooting-sprees.
- Bush flunks foreign policy quiz asking him to name the leaders of four current world hot-spots: Chechnya, Taiwan, India and Pakistan. He got partial credit for Taiwan, and nothing else.
- In Washington changes strategy on Milosevic, the South China Morning Post says that US is no longer demanding that Milosevic be removed before sanctions are lifted. Guess he's not the Butcher of the Balkans anymore.
5. November, 1999 permalink
- Microsoft's Stock Option Pyramid Scheme: I haven't looked into this further, but if what he's saying is true, it's bad news for Microsoft. Similarly, it could spell bad news for much of the rest of the tech sector through ripple effects. The other question is What other companies do this?
- Why the DVD Hack Was a Cinch explains what mistakes were made. The XingDVD player didn't encrypt its key, and more importantly, the encryption algorithm was surprisingly weak. Admittedly, the keys are only 40 bits long (there's the US Government again), but with a decent algorithm, it would have at least been a little tougher.
- The government we didn't want is what we've got. Consistently, a majority of Americans vote for change, but nothing changes.
- Tampa Bay Online: Noisy Cruisers get unusual sentence. Ever hear one of those "Urban Assault Vehicles" go by with the thumping sub-woofer? This judge had enough of it.
- If you're really worried about things, The Y2K 'procrastinators checklist' offers some suggestions for how to get ready.
- ABC News: "Phone Companies Brace for New Year's Tie-ups": They're expecting call volumes 11 times that of a typical Mother's Day, and say not to pick up your phone to see if it works, since that'll just make things worse.
- Washington Post: FBI Warns Of Millennial Violence Risk from religious extremists, racists, cults and other groups. Apparently the FBI thinks these folks figure if the apocalypse isn't going to happen on its own, they're going to help it along a bit.
- Washington Post: Oregon Wages a Battle Over Access to Internet which should help determine the rules for cable-modems.
- Feed: NYTimes duped by Egg Auction story. I thought one of the responsibilities of a journalist was to check the facts before going public with a story.
- Integrity, honor, and doing the right thing -- not enough people are. The idea smacks of the in my day, we walked five miles to school, uphill both directions view of the past that it's easy to have, but the fact remains that reading this column made me smile.
- Slashdot: Uncle Robin's Advice for Lovelorn Geeks is pretty typical for an article with this title. The strange thing is that while there's a lot of advice out there, people just don't seem to pay attention.
- DaveNet: Dan Gillmor's Wee Blog! If you've been looking at Dave's Picks for any length of time, you'll know I read Dan pretty regularly, and refer to him a lot. I'm not sure if I'd rather have him working on a weblog or just cranking out articles, but I'll keep watching it to see what happens.
- Jim Bell Files document what's happened to the guy who wrote Assassination Politics. Now, I'm not advocating what he done, but he definitely had the right to say what he did. Of course, if he actually tried to put those ideas into practice, that would be A Bad Thing, and it sounds like that's the official reason he got thrown in jail. I find myself wondering what the truth is, though....
- My flight with the Blue Angels and On a Wing and a Prayer tell two very different stories
of flights in high-performance Navy aircraft (One in an F/A-18 Hornet, the other in an F-14 Tomcat).
(The Blue Angels are on the web, too). It was way cool. vs.
It was like being on the roller coaster at Six Flags Over Hell.
Either way, it sounds pretty cool. I wouldn't mind flying much at all if I could travel in one
of these babies instead of an A320 or DC-10.
A Postscript: Unfortunately, between the time I spotted these articles and getting the pointers online, a crash killed two of the aviators in the Blue Angels. What is gained is loss is written by the guy who flew with them.