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Moore's Lore
August 2005
August 31, 2005

Some Good NewsEmail This EntryPrint This Article

Cingular has apparently agreed to offer the Motorola-made iTunes phone.

Don't you all feel better now?

Logistics of New Orleans' Kidney TransplantEmail This EntryPrint This Article

kidney.jpgA Great City must be evacuated. Then it must be rebuilt.

After the people are gone -- all the people -- the logistics of what must happen in New Orleans next are daunting. We're talking about debriding America's gaping wound and rebuilding a kidney on a massive scale:

  1. Two levee breaks -- one of which is 300 feet long -- have to be repaired. You ever try to stop water from going where it wants to go?
  2. The water inside New Orleans has to be drained, to somewhere. It's filthy, deadly, where is it going to go? It might kill the Gulf, but were else can we put it?
  3. The sewer system has to be re-built, because until it is you can't get to
  4. Everything has to be hosed down, cleaned, and disinfected.
  5. Only then can you begin a true damage assessment, and chances are nearly every wooden building in the city will then have to come down. Where will all that debris go?
  6. Only then can we even talk about rebuilding.

It's the biggest civil engineering job ever attempted.


Continue reading "Logistics of New Orleans' Kidney Transplant"

August 30, 2005

The Big OneEmail This EntryPrint This Article

NOTE: I have been, and will be, criticized for "politicizing" the naton's worst-ever natural disaster. But knowing how something happened, what made it worse, how it can be made better and how it might be prevented is the only way I know to make sense of things which are otherwise beyond comprehension. My prayers to all.
wtc009.jpgEveryone knows 9/11 was a turning point. (Picture from Tales from the Teapot.)

It changed attitudes irrevocably, in ways we're still trying to deal with four years on.

Hurricane Katrina is another turning point, a different turning point, and a much, much bigger event.

The terrorists destroyed two buildings, and the center of a city. Katrina destroyed multiple cities -- Slidell, Gulfport, Biloxi, New Orleans.

We knew after 9/11 it could happen again. Know this after Katrina. It WILL happen again, and again, and again.

The civilizing process of the 20th century, with its oil-driven economy, is now driving the global environment off a cliff. Most of the world knew this before Katrina. Now even Mississippi knows this.

And this will change us.

  • We can no longer pretend to independence. We are interdependent.
  • We can no longer pretend that the environmental damage of the oil economy can be borne. It cannot.
  • We can no longer remain dependent on the oil economy. It is failing, and will fail.

One of the most maddening aspects of the Katrina coverage, for me, has been MSNBC's continued emphasis on the Casinos as the engines of the Gulf Coast economy. We drive through that area every vacation, and I have taken to calling Mississippi "Pottersville," the town Bedford Falls became in the nighbmare sequence of "It's a Wonderful Life." And Louisiana has made itself into West Pottersville.

I'm not talking about sin here. I'm talking about depending on something that's artificial, fake, phony, as the basis of an economy. Pretending that you'll get rich off others' sin, that the residue won't touch you, and you can then say "screw you" to the needs of the poor, to education, to your fellow man, to the real world, that always fails in time.

It is time for an attitude adjustment.


Continue reading "The Big One"

August 29, 2005

Fight for the New InterfaceEmail This EntryPrint This Article

feeddemon_logo.gifThe fight has barely begun for control of the new Internet interface, the RSS reader.

NOTE: We were honored to get two important responses to what follows.

Markos Moulitas says he never had an "exclusive" on Cindy Sheehan (I usually reserve the term for the first to get a story, but Sheehan's words have since been on many other blogs) and that there are RSS feeds to Dailykos diaries. (My point is the feeds are separate from the main subscription.)

Nick Bradbury, creator of FeedDemon, wrote to say that FeedDemon inserts no ads in feeds, that those ads are placed by sites. (This may mean the New York Times has a major ad campaign underway, using blogs as delivered by feeds. If you use another reader, let me know if you see Times ads.)

CORRECTION: Upon further investigation, I have learned that the Times ads come from Feedburner.Com, which is in the feed creation-and-management business. So Nick's right.

Please note that the data in parantheses does not question the honesty or truthfulness or veracity of either correspondent's words, but simply describes the responses I gave them, and the thoughts I had in writing this post.

We're always honored here at Mooreslore when newsmakers respond to our posts about them, when they correct what I write or report. Thanks again. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled post.

But already it's getting interesting.

I have written before how publishers have been placing ads in raw RSS feeds. this means my e-mail list of RSS stories is cluttered with "brought to you by" notices. This is on top of the outright advertisements sent as RSS, which if they hit a keyword you like means they're coming right at you.

What's more interesting, perhaps, is what's happening in stand-along RSS readers.

There are many in the market, but the examples here are going to be concerning FeedDemon (logo at left), now owned by Newsgator, which I have been using a few months:

  • Some advertisers, notably the New York Times, have taken to advertising within these products. I have gotten a steady stream of Times ads in FeedDemon, a reader I paid for. (Before, ads only came in shareware.)
  • Some site owners, like that of Josh Marshall, have begun truncating their RSS feeds to near-meaninglessless, in order to force users to go from the reader to the site, which then displays in the feeder's window, exposing you to their ads. Full disclsoure demands I mention that Corante is a leader in truncation. If you see Mooreslore through FeedDemon you see just a few lines of content, not enough to know what the story is about.
  • Other sites, like TPMCafe, meanwhile, publish everything in a feed, but without the paragraphing. Go figure, since TPMCafe and TPM are run by the same people.
  • Sites that use "diaries," based on Scoop, don't automatically send out RSS on what's in the diaries, only what's on the main site. Dailykos, which at first seemed to have an exclusive on the thoughts of anti-war protestor Cindy Sheehan, may have lost that because of this. (That's speculation on my part, but on a blog you speculate, and if you're wrong someone writes to correct it. Hint, hint.)

Continue reading "Fight for the New Interface"

The Killer App for BroadbandEmail This EntryPrint This Article

p2ptraffic.pngOm Malik has a wise commentary today on how peer-to-peer services (p2p) is the killer app for broadband.

He offers a Cachelogic chart showing how p2p services (but more specifically eDonkey) are driving total Internet traffic. In fact, more than half the total Internet traffic monitored by Cachelogic, according to the chart, is eDonkey traffic. (The illustration was copied from Malik's blog, but credit should go to Cachelogic.)

Then Malik makes some really key points (boldfacing is mine):


  • In the long term, however P2P traffic if not managed properly is going to become a big problem.
  • The explosion in P2P traffic is going to have an impact on the people who don’t use the P2P services as well.
  • Due to P2P’s symmetrical nature on average 80% of upstream capacity is consumed by P2P.


Continue reading "The Killer App for Broadband"

Mobile "Internet" Service Isn'tEmail This EntryPrint This Article

voip2.jpgIf you have a mobile phone, and it claims you have Internet service on it, you may not.

Mobile service providers have become increasingly aggressive in stopping access to services and sites they don't like, writes DeWayne Hendrick.

This is especially true for Vodafone, which owns half of Verizon Wireless of the U.S. (Verizon, in turn, has been the most aggressive in pursuing the "Walled Garden" approach here.)

According to DeWayne, Vodafone has summarily blocked access to all Voice over IP services, and even the main page of Skype, a VOIP procider. In the UK Vodafone is blocking access to all content that isn't "Vodafone-approved." (Translation: anything that might lose money for Vodafone.)

Continue reading "Mobile "Internet" Service Isn't"

Corante Author on WZNN in AshevilleEmail This EntryPrint This Article

If you heard me on WZNN in Asheville today, and want to know more, here is the link. Still confused? Write me.

August 28, 2005

What I'm Listening ToEmail This EntryPrint This Article

Featuring the Song for Sonny Liston.

Mark Knopfler is the reigning poet of pain. He's brilliant. Buy it.

The Other KatrinaEmail This EntryPrint This Article

While using the Web to track Hurricane Katrina (get out of New Orleans and Biloxi while you still can) I found the high-ranking site for another Katrina, Katrina Leskanich.

Don't remember her? How about her band Katrina and the Waves? Still nothing? OK, how about this:

Now I'm Walking On Sunshine (whoa oh)
I'm Walking On Sunshine (whoa oh)
I'm Walking On Sunshine (whoa oh)
And Don't it Feel Good (Hey) (All right now) And Don't it Feel Good (Hey)
(Yeah)

If you're of a certain age (anywhere from 35 to about 45) that should send you running screaming from the room. The band made a living off that for years, but by the mid-1990s even the Germans were tired of them.

So Katrina, who was an American Army Brat but has been in England since 1976, went back to the drawing board. She actually had some success, even winning the Eurovision Song Contest for England in 1997, but she wanted back in the pop game.

So how do you make a comeback in 2005?

Continue reading "The Other Katrina"

August 27, 2005

Save the Internet!Email This EntryPrint This Article

HoS-XXX-5_Front.jpgMilton Mueller and the Internet Governance Project, whom we interviewed in June, has entered the political arena with a petition against U.S. interference in ICANN. (The illustration chosen has little to do with the subject, it's the cover of an Hour of Slack CD called XXX, from Subgenius.com.)

Mueller and the IGP were moved to act by the government's unilateral decision to shut-down .XXX after it was approved by ICANN. In his note to Dave Farber's list Mueller writes, "IGP urges everyone not to let the
advocates of content regulation be the only voices
heard by the Commerce Department."

Read it carefully.

Continue reading "Save the Internet!"

AMD's Big ChanceEmail This EntryPrint This Article

amd fab36_large.jpgThanks to Moore's Second Law (complexity causes costs to scale exponentially) competition in the semiconductor business is held in an ever-thickening mud, which represents the cost of building new capacity.

The number of company-owned fabrication plants, or fabs, must decline over time, as their cost rises above even corporate affordability. The decision to build one must be taken with increasing care, with an eye toward a far-off future. It's the opposite of what happens in the product cycle, at the other end of the factory floor, where things are constantly accelerating.

While Intel has played its hand in Asia, AMD has chosen Europe, specifically the former East Germany. More specifically Dresden, firebombed during World War II, left for dead during the Cold War.

In 2003 AMD broke ground for its second Dresden Fab, AMD 36. The plant goes into volume production next year, at a point where AMD's designs seem to be excelling those of Intel.

Market share, in other words, could make a big swing next year.

At the very same time, AMD is advancing in court, forcing Intel to defend an already-fading monopoly. A few years ago Intel had knocked AMD practically out of the ballpark. With the Dresden Fab 36 that won't be true, but AMD figures Intel must still have a case to answer for, because its hyper-competitive marketing department never changed tactics.

Evidence will likely show that Intel did have a near-monopoly under Craig Barrett, and that it did abuse its position in its dealing with big customers. But a court finding for AMD would still be a mistake.

Continue reading "AMD's Big Chance"

August 26, 2005

A Modest ProposalEmail This EntryPrint This Article

burqa.jpgHere's something I haven't seen proposed anywhere. But since I'm "just a blogger" and I can't get the thought of my head, why not?

Read on. If you dare.

Many in the U.S., on both the left and right, say our enemy is Islamic Fundamentalism. One of the hallmarks of that movement (besides violent anti-Israel rhetoric) is the systematic subjugation of women.

Wherever Sha'ria (Islamic Law) is imposed, women lose their humanity. They are killed if they're raped, killed if they so much as meet with a man unchaparoned. They are ritually abused in a horror called "female circumcision" which removes their clitoris, often without anethesia.

Under Sha'ria women are treated worse than dogs. A dog who licks a stranger's hand may get a treat. An Arab woman who even looks the wrong way at a stranger will be killed by her family. (Any devout Muslim woman who wants to argue with me that slavery is freedom, please don't waste your time.)

When the Bush Administration wanted to find support for its Iraq adventure early this year the President claimed this was a war for womens' rights. He even used an Iraqi woman as a prop at his State of the Union address. (She now wants out.)

Well, it seems to me we have the wrong Muslim refugees in the West. So here's my modest proposal:

Continue reading "A Modest Proposal"

Google-ologyEmail This EntryPrint This Article

googlelogo.gifOne sad headline from this year is how Google has become so opaque and observers so suspicious that its moves are now studied the way Microsoft once was.

CEO Eric Schmidt did neither himself nor his company any favors when he cut-off News.Com reporters, after one of them questioned the privacy implications of the service by Googling him.

The launch of Google Talk (in beta) and the official launch of Google Mail (out of beta) sent this into overdrive.

I contributed with a positive comment on Google Talk, helped by a Pakistani friend. Other observers noted how Google Mail is now open to cellphones.

But not all the commentary was positive, either to myself or to Google. In fact, ZDNet colleague (and longtime friend) Russell Shaw gave me a right padding:

Continue reading "Google-ology"

August 25, 2005

Halfway Through the Decade of WirelessEmail This EntryPrint This Article

cut the wire.jpgEvery decade of computing technology can be summarized fairly simply. (That's an Apple ad to the right.)


  • The 1950s were the decade of the computer.
  • The 1960s were the decade of the mini-computer.
  • The 1970s were the decade of the PC.
  • The 1980s were the decade of the network.
  • The 1990s were the decade of the Internet.

The 2000s are the decade of wireless.

It's now clear that wireless technology defines this decade. Mobile phones are opening up Africa as never before. WiFi is making networking truly ubiquitous.

Walk or drive down any street, practically anywhere in the world, and you will find people obsessed by the use of wireless. Behaviors that in previous decades were shocking -- walking around chatting animatedly to the air for instance -- are now commonplace.

What's amazing, as we pass the halfway point, is how far this evolution has to go, and how easy it is to see where it can go:

  • WiMax to link islands of WiFi, and to make true broadband mobile.
  • Interlinks between cellular and WiFi networks.
  • Devices that truly take advantage of wireless broadband.
  • Applications that work automatically, with wireless as a platform.

Who do we have to thank for this?

Continue reading "Halfway Through the Decade of Wireless"

Hawaii Should Be TexasEmail This EntryPrint This Article

big_island_hawaii_map.jpgThere's a news report out that Hawaii wants to cap the wholesale price of gasoline, because it has gotten too high.

Of course we know that won't work. Refiners will simply ship their product elsewhere if it can get a better price elsewhere.

But ever since I visited the Big Island in 2001 I have felt that Hawaii's energy situation is, frankly, reversed. The island has immense stores of natural energy -- waves, wind, and vulcanism.

All you have to do is tap it.

See if this sounds silly.

Continue reading "Hawaii Should Be Texas"

Corruption of the ListsEmail This EntryPrint This Article

boortz book.jpgThere's a chain of bookstores in South Georgia that hold a secret.

I discovered it on the way back from a convention in Orlando one day, desperate for some present to give my book-loving wife.

Stacked floor-to-ceiling in these stores are "best-sellers," nearly every "big" title from a right-wing hack delivered over the last decade or more. There's Laura Bush's autobiography, alongside the Swift Boat attack on John Kerry and titles from the whole Fox News pantheon. There are right-wing preachers, firebreathers, and a ton of get-rich-quick books by folks who, if they really knew that much, would have gotten rich some other way.

I think about those stores whenever I see "books" like Kevin Trudeau's Natural Cures or Neal Boortz' Fair Tax Book topping things like The New York Times best-seller list, week-after-week.

Do you know anyone reading this dreck? You might not.

Continue reading "Corruption of the Lists"

August 24, 2005

Google's VOIP PlayEmail This EntryPrint This Article

NOTE: Many of the claims made in the item below have been questioned by Russell Shaw. See the full story here.

google talk_logo.gif
It's ironic, but my first invitation to use Google Talk came from Pakistan. From Karachi, actually.

Specifically it was from a long-time online friend named Tariq Mustafa (known as Tee Emm), who works in the high-tech sector there.

I am really excited on this Google IM thing (and so would be tens of millions of users very soon). I think I was ahead of you just because of the time-zone difference. Anyway, here is the summary I wanted to share with you of the excitement.

Why the excitement? IM has been around for ages.

The excitement is because this isn't really IM. Or it's not just IM. It's VOIP, integrated from the start with IM.

What this does is absolutely kill international long distance in a way Skype only dreamt of. I'm actually a naive user, but I was able to download, and load, a VOIP client (with IM) in less than a minute.

So can anyone else, anywhere else.

More from Tariq after the break.

Continue reading "Google's VOIP Play"

August 23, 2005

American Diaspora 29Email This EntryPrint This Article

NOTE: This is part of a continuing online novel. Here is the Table of Contents.

The America Diaspora is a sequel to The Chinese Century.


One thing that is hard for newcomers to understand is just how far south we’re not in Joburg.

Continue reading "American Diaspora 29"

August 22, 2005

Where Gates Bests JobsEmail This EntryPrint This Article

billgatus.jpgWhere Bill Gates bests Steve Jobs, and always has, is in his willingness to build ecosystems.

Windows is an ecosystem. Microsoft is the biggest fish in that ecosystem. Since 1995, Windows has been eating the other fish in that ecosystem, but fish do that. It's still an ecosystem.

Apple has never been comfortable with living in an ecosystem. Apple builds products, not ecosystems. There were never any second-source Macintosh hardware producers with Jobs in charge, and they were all killed off when he returned.

You will never see Steve Jobs, or any of his lieutenants, jumping around a stage yelling "developers, developers, developers, developers." It's not going to happen.

But if it did, if Jobs ever learned to share, imagine the threat he'd be then?

Here's an example of how he can.

Continue reading "Where Gates Bests Jobs"

Artificial ScarcityEmail This EntryPrint This Article

bob frankston.gifDavid Berlind, one of my bosses over at ZDNet, came up with an incredible statistic recently that deserves a lot more play than it got.

His source on this is Bob Frankston, co-founder of Visicalc and one of those great online friends I've never met personally. (As you can see by this picture, he's also well on his way to being a Truly Handsome Man (that is to say bald)).

Here's the key bit, as Berlind saw it:

By Frankston's calculations, for example, Verizon is reserving 99 percent of its government-ordained right of way (in the form of bandwidth that should be available to us as well as its competitors) for itself so that it may compete in the IPTV market.

Frankston's got the whole story, in hiw own words, here.

More on the flip.

Continue reading "Artificial Scarcity"

Verisign, Cellular a match made in heaven (Not)Email This EntryPrint This Article

crazy-frog.jpgfBirds are twittering about Verisign's moves to integrate WiFi, VOIP and cellular over campus-wide networks.

The idea is to give cellular carriers their own "triple play" -- combining paid WiFi (through controlled real estate), VOIP (long distance) and cellular service on one bill.

I understand why Verisign is on to this. What I don't understand is why the carriers are getting in bed with them.

Continue reading "Verisign, Cellular a match made in heaven (Not)"

Apple Phone or UMG Phone?Email This EntryPrint This Article

Which is more likely to come out first, an Apple iPod phone or a phone put out by the Universal Music Group? What does that say about the cellular market?

Also, how cold does Hell have to freeze before you're going to buy a phone run by a music publisher? (I think pretty cold.)

Not All HotSpot Advantages ObviousEmail This EntryPrint This Article

Krystal.gifKrystal restaurants (think White Castle with mustard, Kumar) have finished a full year with their free WiFi hotspot program, and have decided to extend it to all 243 company-owned restaurants (as well as recommend it to their 180 franchises.)

The evidence of increased sales are anecdotal, but CIO David Reid told CMO Magazine he has already tracked a bottom-line advantage.

Continue reading "Not All HotSpot Advantages Obvious"

The Best Way to Save GasEmail This EntryPrint This Article

local web.jpgThe fastest way to save energy in this country is to build-out the Local Web. (The illustration is from the PRBlog, in a story about a local Web conflict.)

Every day I find limits in the local Web. Right now, for instance, I need a USB Bluetooth connector for my laptop. It's on the Staple's Web site, but delivery is three days away, and it's not at Staple's. It's on the Best Buy Web site, but it's not at the local Best Buy. I'm going to Fry's tomorrow (a 40-mile roundtrip) and if it's not there I'll have to wait for delivery.

All this driving would not be necessary if local inventories were rourtinely tied to Web sites (as they sometimes are at BestBuy.Com). That's one Local Web application.

There are many others.

Continue reading "The Best Way to Save Gas"

August 21, 2005

Dating the Next RecessionEmail This EntryPrint This Article

recession.gifThe next U.S. recession will start in earnest on October 17. (If it hasn't already.)

That's the day the new bankruptcy law kicks-in, and credit card banks get hit by a double-whammy of their own creation. (Illustration is from Howstuffworks.) Be careful of what you ask for, because you just might get it:

  1. Borrowers must begain paying back credit card loans based on a 10-year payback, doubling many minimum balances, and
  2. New rules force borrowers to repay those debts, even after filing bankruptcy.

How can this be bad for banks, who after all pushed for the legislation?

Continue reading "Dating the Next Recession"

August 19, 2005

This Week's Clue: Beyond The Culture WarsEmail This EntryPrint This Article

This week's issue of my free weekly newsletter, A-Clue.Com, dealt with politics. (Subscribe here.) That's why the jump is so high up. Those who don't like politics, or who don't like me blogging about it, should be forced to see as little of it as possible.

But there are things I have to get off my chest.


Political generations end when a crisis emerges that they can't answer for. Then new values emerge, new myths are told, and a new generation takes power. Gradually the new formulation replaces the old until its alliances become second nature.

Continue reading "This Week's Clue: Beyond The Culture Wars"

Mo Mowlam DeadEmail This EntryPrint This Article

Mo Mowlam, praised here last week, has died, the BBC reports.

A giant for peace. We need more of her. Especially here.

August 18, 2005

Google's ChoiceEmail This EntryPrint This Article

googlelogo.gifWhen people are throwing money at you, then you're really foolish not to take some of it.

At nearly $280/share, Google is Bubble-Priced. So it makes sense for Google to take some of this money. Over 14 million shares means more than $4 billion in cash, a Microsoft-like horde (especially as earnings continue to accelerate).

How can they do better with this cash than Microsoft has?

Analysts are already speculating on what Google will do with the money. It's burning a hole in the M&A pocket. Will they buy China's Baidu? Will they take out American start-ups, like Technorati? Who will they hire next? How plush can the offices be made? (If spokesman David Krane were given enough money to buy me a beer and a nice dinner, I wouldn't object.)

Continue reading "Google's Choice"

Verizon's Futuristic "Vision"Email This EntryPrint This Article

vzone_backnew2.jpg
Verizon has begun selling one of the dumbest machines I've ever seen, a "DSL modem," (their term), wireless router and cordless phone combination dubbed Verizon One.

Essentially this ties together the obsolete telephone network with the Internet Verizon is actually selling and tells customers it's the same thing. It pushes fancy PBX capabilities on residential customers who don't need them. (Just to make things a little better, it locks them into its cellular service, too.)

The FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) can be easily seen in the phrase "DSL modem." DSL is a digital service. It doesn't need modulation or demodulation to trick an analog line into taking a digital connection, which is what a modem does. It is an oxymoron.

Dave Burstein wrote in to say this is a Westell device. Westell has a long history of making things on-demand for phone companies, so Verizon gets all the "credit" for this piece of nonsense.

What's ironic is I happen to know Verizon was talking to Netopia two years ago about a massive contract for DSL gateways that would have been far superior to this piece of nonsense. (Here's a 2001 press release, delivered in the early days of the relationship.) I have one of these gateways in my house now, a review unit. What would have made them powerful was a promised co-branded service providing full security to home users, saving them as much as $200/year on "security suites" from various software vendors. (There are currently no Netopia press releases, going back to 2002, referencing Verizon.)

More on what a truly clued-in person feels after the break.

Continue reading "Verizon's Futuristic "Vision""

August 17, 2005

The Value of CredibilityEmail This EntryPrint This Article

chris kimball.jpgMark Glaser has an OJR piece up about Cook's Illustrated, which has drawn 80,000 paid subscribers.

Glaser credits "cross-promotion and deep research" with the site's financial success.

The truth is simpler, and comes in one word -- credibility. Glaser sums it up this way, "the Consumer Reports of food." (That's publisher Chistopher Kimball, from an appearance on CBS.)

It's an apt description. I pay for Consumer Reports online. I don't use it often, but when I face a big purchase, I get my money out. Because CR is absolutely, 100% credible. There are no ads. There are no conflicts of interest. Everything they do is about earning my trust -- mine, not any vendors -- and they succeed at that.


Continue reading "The Value of Credibility"

August 16, 2005

The Emperor is Naked! The Empire is a Lie!Email This EntryPrint This Article

casey_sheehan_714.jpg Cindy Sheehan has been able to demonstrate just how naked the Emperor is, and thus demonstrate the lie of Empire.

No one else could, because everyone else was afraid. Howard Dean said "we broke it, we own it." John Kerry supported it and couldn't back away from it.

This is how Democrats felt forced to respond, because they'd been stuck into a political wilderness for a generation by Vietnam. They were afraid to equate Iraq with Vietnam, fearing that political wilderness, and its chains, which bound liberalism and the cause of human rights for a generation.

Well, Cindy Sheehan broke through that fear. She lost her son. It transformed her. (It didn't transform her husband , but everyone's journey is different.)

By putting that transformation in our face, and in the face of George W. Bush, Cindy Sheehan is also making a change in us. Damn the past, damn the present, our kids are dying. Scales fall from the eyes.

There is no way at this point for the Emperor to appear clothed again, and his supporters know it.

That's why they're acting as they are toward Sheehan. It's like the crowd in the story, at first. Of course the Emperor's New Clothes are beautiful. You're just a stupid little boy. You just can't see the big picture.

Stupid. Little. Boy.

Stupid Little Boy, says Cindy Sheehan? Look at him, look at the Little Boy. Look at Casey. You call him Stupid, you call me Stupid?

Maybe we were. We were stupid because we believed in you. And look at what it's gotten us. My son is dead! And this is no fairy tale.

Continue reading "The Emperor is Naked! The Empire is a Lie!"

Bush Cuts Off DNS IntelligenceEmail This EntryPrint This Article

signposts5.gif
The Computer Science and Telecommunication Board has released a fairly Clueful report on the Domain Name System that manages the Internet.

Unfortunately the Bush Administration has, on the very day the report came out, moved to undercut its key recommendation.

Here's the key bit:

Before completing the transfer of its stewardship to ICANN (or any other organization), the Department of Commerce should seek ways to protect that organization from undue commercial or governmental pressures and to provide some form of oversight of performance.

The report, in other words, supports ICANN under the U.S. government because it sees this as keeping ICANN independent of government or commercial interests. Moving toward ICANN's independence is desireable, the report says, in order to minimize the perception that the U.S. government is controlling the Internet.

So far, so good.

Continue reading "Bush Cuts Off DNS Intelligence"

Refusing to LearnEmail This EntryPrint This Article

washington canard.jpgPeople often ask me what's wrong with journalism.

The answer comes down to one word -- arrogance. Even junior members of the trade think they're in a profession, whose job it is to rule on what's true and what's not, all decisions final.

Take William Beutler of The National Journal, for instance. Beutler just got a pretty amazing gig. As editor of the Hotline Blogometer he spends the day scouring the political blogosphere and tallying up the points. (He is still listed as writing The Washington Canard, but he doesn't update it often anymore. The picture is from that Web site. Beutler's a shy fella.)

It's hard work, as some in Washington might say. And mistakes will happen. Journalists complain that bloggers won't spend 5 minutes on the phone to get something right. Well, journalists won't spend 20 seconds on Google to do the same thing. And Google's improving much faster than the phone.

Anyway, Beutler's August 15 missive began by referencing Cindy Sheehan as an "alleged" gold star mother. I went ballistic. Whatever you think of Sheehan's protest, no one can argue that she is, in fact, a Gold Star Mother (all caps), this being " an organization of mothers who have lost a son or daughter in the service of our country."

After considering my e-mail for some time, Beutler made a slight change. He didn't acknowledge the mistake. He just took the alleged out. And gold star is still lower case, still in quotation marks.

Now, before you click below, get out your hankies.

Continue reading "Refusing to Learn"

August 15, 2005

A Basic Threat To The WebEmail This EntryPrint This Article

cavebear.gif
The recent contretemps over Google's Digital Library plan proves that the essential conflict between copyright and connectivity has not been resolved.

I was chilled by this comment from Karl Auerbach, (right, the cartoon featured on his home page) former ICANN governor and certified "good guy" of Internet governance, to Dave Farber's list:

I've become concerned with how search engine companies are making a buck off of web-based works without letting the authors share in the wealth.

I've looked at my web logs and noticed the intense degree to which search engine companies dredge through my writings - which are explicitly marked as copyrighted and published subject to a clearly articulated license.

The search engine companies take my works and from those they create derivative works.

Continue reading "A Basic Threat To The Web"

The Real Estate Bubble Pops HereEmail This EntryPrint This Article

249 winter avenue.jpgA post card came in the mail, from a Keller-Williams agent. (Is it just my imagination or have they taken over the market lately?) It was about the Gary house, down the street from me.

The asking price is $334,900.

I remember the Garys, from back in the day. Nice people. Salt of the earth. He was a deacon at the church. She loved him desperately. The mantle was already filled with pictures of grandchildren when I met them, in the early 1980s. I went there regularly for block meetings. They said we were crazy to pay $49,000 for our house.

Mr. Gary passed away in the late 1990s. (God rest his soul.) She finally moved out with some of those grandchildren, a few years later.

They had gotten an unbelievable offer.

Continue reading "The Real Estate Bubble Pops Here"

August 12, 2005

A Great Woman Lies DyingEmail This EntryPrint This Article


Mo Mowlam is dying.

Americans who have never heard of her should remember her name. Hers is one of the great peace-making stories of our time.

By the late 1990s, Northern Ireland had been at war with itself for nearly 30 years. As Northern Ireland secretary, in 1998, she saw that the peace process could never get off the ground without the support of radicals, then held at Maze Prison.

She went to Maze Prison.

Mo Mowlam spent an hour in that prison, talking to prisoners face-to-face, eventually persuading them that the para-militaries should send representatives to peace talks.

The result was the Good Friday Agreement.

It wasn't perfect then. It's still not perfect. But it is holding. The killing has stopped. The IRA has stood down. A cycle of life is replacing the cycle of death.

Continue reading "A Great Woman Lies Dying"

Grow Up, EugeneEmail This EntryPrint This Article

At 17 I hung out with a kid named Eugene Delgaudio in a right-wing nut group called YAF. I grew up. At 50 Eugene is exactly the same jerk he was then. So some advice. Grow up. Same goes for your big brother, who I remember as being hot for 16 year old girls. Fine when you're 20. We have another name for it at our age.

American Diaspora 28Email This EntryPrint This Article

NOTE: This is part of a continuing online novel. Here is the Table of Contents.

The America Diaspora is a sequel to The Chinese Century.


“There is something quaintly British about a miner’s strike,” I’d written in my daily column, after gold miners had shut down 12 mines in early August.

One of the dumbest things I ever wrote.

Continue reading "American Diaspora 28"

Why Is Oil So High?Email This EntryPrint This Article

peak oil.pngOil, like other commodities, is priced based on a contunuous auction, demand measured against supply. (The picture is from a primer on peak oil, courtesy Energybulletin.net.)

Supply has become inelastic. Not just the oil, but its refining. No one is building new refineries (not in this country). When supply gets really tight we actually import gasoline.

The problem is that demand has also become inelastic. I'm talking to you, mister. No one seems willing to make a change, to reduce their demand for oil, gas, and electricity. Back in the 1970s people switched to smaller cars, they didn't drive as much, they even boosted the thermostat. Now, nothing. We get in our SUVs, we take the freeway 40 miles to work and back, we drive all over hell-and-gone for various reasons (kids, shopping, etc.) and we usually leave the A/C on high while we're gone.

So we have an episode of the BBC's show Cash in the Attic.

Continue reading "Why Is Oil So High?"

August 10, 2005

Wireless Business ModelsEmail This EntryPrint This Article

Looking for wireless business models? Start here, with "Personal, Portable, Pedestrian," and leave your "yeah, buts" at home.

In Search of...Wireless Business ModelsEmail This EntryPrint This Article

A number of items have come across my desk today advertising cool mobile stuff, but failing to offer anything resembling a business model.

Here is one of them -- Navizon.

It's advertised as a "peer to peer location service" combining "WiFi, cellular and GPS." But what exactly are you supposed to do with it? Where are the applications that will get Navizon's money out, let alone a profit? No clue.

Continue reading "In Search of...Wireless Business Models"

What blogging does to JournalistsEmail This EntryPrint This Article

Blogggerman.jpgThere's an interesting case study up right now about what blogging does to journalism.

In simple terms, it reduces the distance. You're no longer a star. They're no longer the audience.

The example today is that of MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann, who has been writing a blog (actually, a series of columns) for about a year now. When Peter Jennings died, Keith didn't think (like most careerists) "wow, now there's a job opening for me!" He was genuinely moved.

Then he looked for the hidden lesson -- smoking. Olbermann was once a smoker, and it gave him a tumor. Fortunately the tumor was benign. So he blogged about it. And given that the non-distancing becomes a habit to one who enters the blogosphere, he talked about it on his show as well.

Continue reading "What blogging does to Journalists"

August 09, 2005

Fox Calls for Better Henhouse SecurityEmail This EntryPrint This Article

michael-pousti.jpgSMS.Ac is hoping for a PR boost from a press release offering a cellular customer bill of rights. (The release went out over the signature of CEO Michael Pousti, right. from sms-report.com.)

But this had many of us falling out of our chairs laughing. As Oliver Starr of the Mobile Weblog notes (and my experience is identical) the business of SMS.AC is built on spam.

Here's Oliver's charge:

This is a company about which DOZENS of websites have multitudes of individuals complaining of things such as spamming everyone in their personal address books, which they exposed to SMS.ac during what can only be described as a deliberately deceptive sign-up process where unsuspecting people, many of them young or speaking English as a second or third language unwittingly provide the username and password to their primary email accounts, thus making it possible for SMS.ac to scour their friends and family member's addresses and solicit them with messages that look as if they come not from SMS.ac directly but from the known individual that subscribed to the service.

Continue reading "Fox Calls for Better Henhouse Security"

HIPAA and Unintended ConsequencesEmail This EntryPrint This Article

hipaa-lock.jpgLike many protective laws, the HIPAA law covering the protection of your medical records comes with a small business exemption.

The exemption works both ways. Small businesses who fund their own plans don't have to comply. Neither do medical providers who don't computerize. As an NFIB alert on the law states, "Health-care providers -- such as doctors, nurses, on-site clinics, etc. -- are exempt from these regulations if they do not transmit electronically, but this exemption applies only to providers, not to group health plans." (Boldface is mine.)

The result of this is that small practices now have a major incentive not to computerize, and not to transmit anything electronically. Thus, they don't.

Continue reading "HIPAA and Unintended Consequences"

A Better Move for CiscoEmail This EntryPrint This Article

broadcom_logo.jpgI was giving more thought to yesterday's rumors of Cisco buying Nokia (or part of it).

The more I thought about it, the more I realized there is a very smart M&A move Cisco could make on today's technology board, something that would give it an infusion of both technology and backbone, plus get it into the mobile markets it seems so hot for.

Buy Broadcom.

Broadcom is worth over $14 billion, but that's barely 10% of what Cisco is worth today. Institutions hold two-thirds of Broadcom's shares.

But what's in it for Cisco? Plenty.

Continue reading "A Better Move for Cisco"

August 08, 2005

Time of ConfusionEmail This EntryPrint This Article

mystery.jpgWhen old business patterns die, those who lived by them become confused. They often start throwing money in a variety of different directions, many of which they probably know are Clueless, in hope of picking up the scent of profit. (This picture, from Pravda, came up in Google Images when I entered the keyword mystery.)

It's unusual for many industry leaders find themselves in this position without a full-on economic panic ensuing. In fact, the economy is in pretty good shape right now.

But the tech portion of the U.S. economy is in full-on crisis mode, as you can easily see by looking at a few headlines:

Continue reading "Time of Confusion"

Intel Fights the PowerEmail This EntryPrint This Article

Intel_Logo.gifIntel holds the telecommunications balance of power in its hand.

Here's how The Register puts it, with its usual hyperbole:

Intel is throwing its financial, technical and lobbying weight behind the rising tide of municipally run broadband wireless networks, seeing these as a way to stimulate uptake of Wi-Fi and WiMAX and so sell more of its chips and increase its influence over the communications world.

And Intel is not going to back down. As ZDNet notes today, there's money to be made.

Continue reading "Intel Fights the Power"

August 07, 2005

The WiMax ImperativeEmail This EntryPrint This Article

kevin martin.jpgCoke and Pepsi do not represent competition. It's a shared monopoly, the Drinks Trust.

The same is true for Wal-Mart and Target, Home Depot and Lowe's, and, to cut to the chase, your phone and cable companies.

By endorsing duopoly calling "competition" what is in fact a Trust, new FCC chair Kevin Martin has shown us clearly where the Bushies stand. Those who believe in competitive markets that can compete in the world need to digest this.

china.map.gifAnd Martin's model for the Internet policy? China.

So, do you want to be an ISP?

There is only one way to do it now. You have to be a WISP. You have to connect WiFi to WiMax, and reach competitive fiber.

Otherwise you're officially dead.

The FCC ruled, over Friday and Saturday, that Bell companies no longer have to wholesale their lines to competitive ISPs. They don't even have to charge competitive prices for backhaul to the Internet. They essentially repealed the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

Those phonr lines that were built with government-controlled monopoly powers over decades? They're now the sole property of four corporate entities. And they can do with this monopoly power whatever they want.

Continue reading "The WiMax Imperative"

August 06, 2005

Outgrowing the GrownupEmail This EntryPrint This Article

larry page and sergey brin.jpgBack in the 1980s, Wall Street played a game on Microsoft's duo of Gates and Ballmer, demanding "grown-up supervision" for the then 20-something computer software duo.

Fortunately, Bill and Steve did not take the hint (get lost). They kept their stock, kept control, isolated a succession of adults, and finally came out the other side, billionaires and still in control to this day.

Well, I think Google has now outgrown its grownup.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin not only founded Google, but set many of its most important standards. They understand Google's corporate direction in their bones. But, like Gates and Ballmer back in the day, they were forced by Wall Street to get "adult supervision" in the form of Dr. Eric Schmidt.

Schmidt is, at heart, a computer scientist, and a good one. He is known as the "Father of Java," for his work on that language while at Sun. Then he went to Novell, and nearly rode the thing into the ground. (This should have been a hint, boys.)

Continue reading "Outgrowing the Grownup"

August 05, 2005

Wi-Fi and Real EstateEmail This EntryPrint This Article

logan_airport.jpgThe question of Wi-Fi and real estate is about to come to a head, at Boston's Logan Airport. (Picture from MIT.)

Declan McCullagh reports that the Airport is trying to close Continental Air's free WiFi service, based in its Frequent Flyer lounge, in favor of a paid service on which it gets a 20% cut of revenue.

Continental has appealed to the FCC under the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Massport, which runs the airport, is making bogus arguments about security (its paid service uses the same spectrum as Continental so if one goes under its argument, both go).

If this thing goes to trial it will be a very important case. Here's why.

Continue reading "Wi-Fi and Real Estate"

The Mystery of Overstock.ComEmail This EntryPrint This Article

sabine-ehrenfeld.jpgThe mystery is, how are these people still in the game?

Overstock is a money-losing Amazon clone which seems to spend its entire marketing budget on cable television.

Maybe it's the salt water. Overstock is based in Utah, former home of Novell, current home of SCO, the place where me-too tech ideas get a family-friendly makeover, then die.

The TV ads are mostly image pieces, a spokesmodel in her 30s oohing about the various departments -- clothes, office supplies, video, jewelry. (Her name is Sabine Ehrenfeld, and she's actually 42. She's done some other work, but she's best known for these ads.)

Continue reading "The Mystery of Overstock.Com"

Gangs of New BlogEmail This EntryPrint This Article

the crucible.gifOm Malik's pointing to Robert Scoble's friends hammering Andrew Orlowski over the IE7 beta got me thinking about blogging social structures. (The image is from the archives of Johnstown, New York's Colonial Little Theater.)

It's becoming gang warfare, done on a psychological level.

Every top blogger has a gang of toadie blogs that will do its bidding. I got a little taste of that with the Ev Williams mistake (not that I didn't deserve the hammering) When a top blogger identifies a target for ridicule, others can jump in like wolves.

It works the other way, too. When an individual becomes a target a mob of bloggers may take them down, unled. This is what happened to Dan Rather. The story about Bush being a chickenhawk was sound. There was a problem on one of the sources. But a mob of bloggers brought him down, and now they celebrate this, daily.

Continue reading "Gangs of New Blog"

August 04, 2005

Dumb PredictionsEmail This EntryPrint This Article

market research.jpgTwo really stupid predications crossed my desk this morning. (The image is by Katie Guenther. From the University of Vermont.)


  1. Laptops are about to be replaced by mobile phones.
  2. Mobile phones are going to take the music download market from the iPod.

While a straight look at technology and the desires of consumers could lead you to these conclusions, they're dumber than dirt.

Let's start with the first one.

Even if people start leaving their laptops at home, laptop sales are not threatened by mobile phones, because laptops are replacing desktops. It's basic ergonomics. Where does your lap go when you stand up? If you're standing, or walking, you can't use a laptop, you have to use some sort of handheld device. As PDA functionality moves into phones, as the two markets merge, then, yes, phones become the handheld of choice. But that doesn't mean they replace laptops. It means they replace PDAs.

Now for the second prediction.

Continue reading "Dumb Predictions"

Above the LawEmail This EntryPrint This Article

chambers.jpgThere is no way to put this nicely.

Cisco Systems considers itself above the law. (Did you know Cisco chairman CEO John Chambers (right, from USA Today) was an alumnus of West Virginia University? I didn't, until now.)

Justin Rood of Congressional Quarterly looked into the recent Black Hat incident and shared his story with Dave Farber's Interesting People list.

Apparently Cisco didn't even tell the Department of Homeland Security about the bug in its software that leaves the Internet as we know it vulnerable to hacker attack. This despite the fact that Cisco's notification would have been confidential, and that it is required.

DHS learned of the flaw just like you and I did -- through the presentation of Michael Lynn at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas. Before his talk, Cisco sued to prevent it, Lynn's employer (ISS) demanded he desist, and Lynn quit his lucrative job at ISS.

In other words, had Lynn not been willing to quit his job, the Department of Homeland Security would still not know about a critical flaw in Cisco equipment impacting the entire Internet, a flaw the vendor was supposed to notify it of.

Continue reading "Above the Law"

August 03, 2005

American Diaspora 27Email This EntryPrint This Article

NOTE: This is part of a continuing online novel. Here is the Table of Contents.

The America Diaspora is a sequel to The Chinese Century.


You can’t really run away. But you can try.

Continue reading "American Diaspora 27"

August 02, 2005

The Moore's Law DialecticEmail This EntryPrint This Article

gordon moore.jpgToday's politics is cultural.

Even economic and foreign policy issues are, in the end, defined in terms of social issues. This creates identification, and coalitions among people who might not otherwise find common ground -- hedonistic Wall Street investment bankers and small town Kansas preachers, for instance.

I am coming to believe the next political divide will be technological. That is, your politics will be defined by your attitude toward technology.

On one side you will find open source technophiles. On the other you will find proprietary technophobes.

It's a process that will take time to work itself out, just as millions of Southern Democrats initially resisted the pull of Nixon. Because there are are divisions within each grand coalition we have today, on this subject.

  • On the right you see many people who work in open source, or who worry about their privacy, asking hard questions of security buffs and corporate insiders.
  • On the left you see many people who consider themselves cyber-libertarians facing off against Hollywood types and those who create proprietary software.

This latter split gets most of the publicity, because more writers are in the cyber-libertarian school than anywhere else.

Initially, the proprietary, security-oriented side of this new political divide has the initiative. It has the government and, if a poll were taken, it probably has a majority on most issues.

But open source advocates have something more powerful on their side, history. You might call it the Moore's Law Dialectic.

Continue reading "The Moore's Law Dialectic"

August 01, 2005

What's a Brother Gotta Do (to get fired around here?)Email This EntryPrint This Article

armstrong-williams.jpgNews that Armstrong Williams is making a comeback, that he is back on the air (that he hardly ever left), leaves a nagging question in my mind.

What do you got to do to get fired around here?

The question is serious. Unless we have a way of getting rid of those who violate some ethical standard, why should anyone believe any of us? Why have any standards if we can't get rid of violators?

For those who don't know, Williams got caught in January taking bribes from the Bush Administration for touting its education policies. Yet the next month, WWRL in New York put him back on the air, in afternoon drive. Now he's got a book coming out, one which calls liberals like myself racists.

If being a racist means hating crooks who happen to be black, I'm a racist. (It doesn't mean that, so Armstrong, take your black skin outta my face.) Armstrong Williams is a crook, corrupt. He should be on an unemployment line alongside Jayson Blair and hundreds of others -- of every color -- who can't be trusted. Yet he's heard loud and clear while honest men (and women) aren't. Including honest black, male conservatives, many with great speaking voices and stories to tell. Just look around the blogosphere for five minutes if you don't believe me.

Williams tells The Hill that he's "changed," that he doesn't harrangue Democrats anymore.

But that wasn't the point of the scandal. It's like a bank robber telling me he doesn't beat his wife anymore. It's irrelevant.

Armstrong Williams put himself out as a journalist, as an independent voice, when in fact he was in the pay of the government. That was the scandal. That remains a scandal.

But there is no way to fire people who violate even such basic ethical precepts anymore. If nothing else, he could go out and blog -- make big bucks like Andrew Sullivan. Who'd know? Who'd care?

Continue reading "What's a Brother Gotta Do (to get fired around here?)"