The Real Networks vs. Microsoft war would be more interesting if Real wasn't almost as bad as Microsoft about doing nasty things to their users. Today, I had a Real link file on my hard drive. It was for a broadcast that is no longer available. After double-clicking on the file and having RealOne Player 8 tell me that the link is no longer valid, the player deletes the file from my hard drive! No asking me, and no preference for changing this. "Sorry, we don't want you using that file any more." <sheesh> No wonder Real is getting so little sympathy from the market.
Side note: I have a fondness in my heart for SATN. They were my first paid writing gig other than magazine articles and reviews. They paid well and copyedited my words much better than any of the magazines for whom I wrote.
Just as predicted, Mardi Wormhoudt's campaign folks sent out an ugly hit piece. Is it too stiff to call it a hit piece? Well, it doesn't mention Mardi's name once. It says, literally, "Vote No on Mark Primack" and is full of ugly pictures (including an ugly picture of Mark). Many of the accusations are probably correct if you squint hard, but the tone is just plain nasty.
Hey, I get to blog an .int domain name! The World Health Organization just released their annual report on reducing risks and promoting healthly lifestyles. In other words, how to live better and die later. One interesting aspect is that rich countries have lots of preventable deaths, just like poor countries. The overview is freely downloadable in English, French Spanish, Arabic, Chinese and Russian. To order the actual report, you have to deal with the UN bureaucracy (like they wouldn't say on the web site how much it costs, only who you could email to find out).
The ICANN meeting in Shanghai is being webcast so everyone can watch. Hearing some of the reports this evening (my time), I realized that this is mostly dance, not drama. That point hit home when the camera went to the audience microphone and you could see that the not-terribly-large auditorium was quite empty. This is probably due to the more interesting work being done in the committees, but it could also be due to the fact that the outcome of the board meeting is >95% predictable.
Seems like the dialect survey is being heavily blogged, but no one is fessing up to their standings. Of the first five I looked at, I was in the minority in four. My nieces think I sound funny when I say "aunt" (pronouncing it as it is written).
It appears that New York's politicians are falling all over themselves to protest the idea that financial institutions should keep backups at least 200 miles away from their main adata centers. The short-sighted reason for their anxiety: it would cost jobs in New York. Yeah, the dozens of people whose jobs are to watch tape systems must be a major political force in Manhattan. Given how the feds have refused to mandate sensible cybersecurity so far, it wouldn't be surprising to see them cave in on this one too.
Maybe we don't get enough gossip about the Miss World/Universe/Galaxy contestants from other countries, but somehow I don't think this news item is going to make the US look any better in the cultural realms that George Bush is making us look in the political realms.
It's the week before elections. This means that, near the end of the week, I'm likely to get at least one very negative "hit piece" that is timed to hurt a rival candidate late enough where the hit candidate can't respond effectively. It happened all the time when I lived in Berkeley, where people talked about the art of hit pieces. (What a way to disparage the word "art"...). Politics in Santa Cruz are much mellower than in Berkeley, but I'm still expecting the incumbent county supervisor, Mardi Wormhoudt, to send something nasty about her quit popular challenger, Mark Primack. I'm sure the California governor's race will have postal ugliness on both sides. <sigh>
The Russian government/military still aren't saying what gas they used to immobilize the kidnappers and kill over 100 of the hostages. There are probably two reasons that the hospitals who are trying to treat many of the hostages still don't know what was used: (1) it's a military secret and (2) it's a chemical that they don't have any experience with, so knowing what it is wouldn't help them.
Before we criticize the Russians for using military chemical weapons and for not telling the hospitals what they used and for initially lying about what killed the hostages, we need to ask whether the US would have done exactly the same thing. I assume that the answer is yes.