Archive for July 2008

The Question I Can Answer

July 31, 2008

Open Source and Cloud Computing

Why did the WWW end up with hundreds of millions of independent information providers while centralized sites like AOL and MSN faltered?

It had little to do with Open Source, pal.

There were hundreds, if not thousands, of Bulletin-Board Systems (BBSs) well before there was an Internet the general public could hop on.

These BBSs were scorned by the Suits who ran mainframe national systems such as The Source and CompuServe. They were scorned by Knight-Ridder and IBM-CBS-Sears and Times-Mirror, who were spending upwards of half a billion dollars on stupid Command and Control One-to-Many videotex systems.

This was their sentiment back then, from by Kara Swisher:

[. . .] Indications pointed to little chance of developing a mass consumer interest in the medium. Times Mirror Company pulled the plug on its efforts in the spring of 1986. The media giant’s videotex services president, James Holly, declared that online consumers were odd. “They’re different, they’re weird,” said Holly. “There’s no reasonable profit in the future.” Knight-Ridder executives agreed and junked their costly Viewtron effort soon after.
— pg. 47

Emphasis added by me.

(It’s still their sentiment today, as they clutch their pearls in horror at the thought of blogs!)

All those people who were basically running free electronic fanzines centered around their passion and expertise, were held back because of the price of hardware, telephone-line access, and the cost of long-distance toll calls for users (though services such as PC Pursuit tried to ameliorate as well as capitalize on that). Not all BBS software was free, either. TBBS cost money and was the first pro-level BBS software. FidoNet was the first free software to tie together distant sites and resemble an early form of the Internet in limited aspects.

There was already an established “underground” of electronic publishing that was already better than the “professional” efforts. Once the Internet was open to the public and investors hopped on board to provide affordable website hosting, the floodgates were open to what had already been waiting there. I’m certain most of that hosting software was not Open Source. Not even the original Mosaic browser was Open Source.

So, it’s a nice little self-serving delusion to think that Open Source = Internet, but that’s not the history I lived through, O’Reilly. FAIL! And by the way, Sticker Daddy, when did you come to this party?

Germany Smoking Ban Banned

July 31, 2008

German court overturns smoking ban

The ruling came after a case brought by the owner of two small bars, who claim that their business has been unfairly hit by the smoking ban.

Introduced in patchwork fashion across the country’s 16 federal states earlier this year, Germany’s smoking ban has been poorly received by often tobacco-friendly Germans, about a third of whom smoke.

The laws have often been ignored or barely enforced, with the owners of small bars and restaurants claiming that their businesses were threatened by the legislation.

Among them were the owners of two separate one-room pubs in Berlin and the south-western state Baden-Wuerttemberg.

They claimed that their bars small size prevented them cordoning off a smokers’ area, as other bars have been allowed to, putting them at a competitive disadvantage. The constitutional court agreed.

Previously here:

Sweden’s Smoking Ban
Chantix Warning
Quitting Smoking Can Make You Die

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #181

July 31, 2008

Greenspan Says Housing Prices Not Yet Near Bottom (Update1)

July 31 (Bloomberg) — Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said falling U.S. home prices are “nowhere near the bottom” and the resulting market turmoil isn’t showing signs of abating.

While the odds of a recession are 50-50, achieving stable markets will “take a while,” Greenspan said today in a CNBC interview.

Emphasis added by me.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the largest sources of money for U.S. home loans, are a “major accident waiting to happen,” Greenspan said. “The solution” is the “nationalization” of the companies, he said.

Emphasis added by me.

And would that “nationalization” mean what it should: letting the investors drop dead as the good risk-takers they pretend to be?

Greenspan is now out of the government (don’t quibble about the Fed being private). So why won’t he speak freely? He did so once, behind closed doors:

“There’s been too much gaming of the system until it is broke. Capitalism is not working! There has been a corrupting of the system of capitalism.”

If he really did say there’s a fifty-fifty chance of a recession, then he’s being as mealy-mouthed as when he chaired the Fed. We don’t need more of that. We need the truth, goddammit!

Previously here:

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #166
The Coming Big Bank Grab: Get Your Money NOW!

An Idea Running For President This Year

July 31, 2008

It’s a video I can’t embed here.

Go to the Blogger backup blog to see it.

Reference: MSI Wind Upgrades Video

July 31, 2008

Upgrades to an MSI Wind

This is an MSI Wind subnotebook which is running leopard 10.5.4 from a single custom installation disk.

An interesting video that shows how to upgrade all three components: RAM, hard drive, and WiFi card. Replacing the WiFi card apparently seems to be necessary to enable WiFi under OS X.

All Writers Must Read This!

July 31, 2008

Read Giles Coren’s letter to Times subs

Oh my God.

It just about gives me an orgasm!!!

— via Daring Fireball


July 31, 2008

Why there has been no discussion of OS X on any Asus EeePC at the usually must-go-to EeeUser forum: It’s not allowed.

No, really.

Stop that laughing.

They’re serious.

Yes, really.

Can you believe it?

Like what fucking planet do they live on, right?

Like allll the people shoving Vista onto an EeePC flounced out to buy a copy instead of violating the single-machine EULA and using the disk they already had.

Hello, McFly!

Yeah, I’m deleting that place from my Bookmarks. And the other site run by the Eeejit.

Anyone who acts like a Suit deserves this little bit of banishment.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #180

July 31, 2008

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall

Exxon Mobil Corp. reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion Thursday, the biggest quarterly profit ever by any U.S. corporation, but the results were well short of Wall Street expectations and its shares fell.

The world’s largest publicly traded oil company said net income for the April-June period came to $2.22 a share, up from $10.26 billion, or $1.83 a share, a year ago.

Revenue rose 40 percent to $138.1 billion from $98.4 billion in the year-earlier quarter.

Excluding an after-tax charge of $290 million related to an Exxon Valdez court settlement, earnings amounted to $11.97 billion, or $2.27 per share.

Analysts on average expected Exxon Mobil to earn $2.52 a share on revenue of $144 billion, according to a survey by Thomson Financial. The estimates typically exclude one-time items.

The record-setting results were largely expected, given that crude prices in the second quarter were nearly double what they were a year ago. Natural gas prices were significantly higher too.

But investors expected even bigger profits Thursday, especially after Europe’s Royal Dutch Shell reported a 33 percent jump in second-quarter earnings to $11.6 billion, which fell just shy of Exxon’s own record earnings from 2007.

Exxon Mobil shares fell $2.24, or 2.6 percent, to $82,14 in morning trading.

Setting U.S. profit records has become commonplace for Irving-based Exxon Mobil. The $11.68 billion topped its own U.S. record of $11.66 billion, posted in the fourth quarter of last year. Right behind that was the $10.9 billion it reported to start 2008.

Emphasis added by me.

Keep feeding the hunger for Revolution, you greed-infested sociopathic bastards.

Writer Max Barry Gives A Laugh

July 31, 2008

House of Cuteness & Horror

The other way parenting is like a horror show is how you periodically stumble past dolls arranged as crime scenes.

Go read. It’s soooo funny!

Previously here:

Free Short Story From Max Barry

OS X: MSI Wind Vs. Asus 1000H

July 31, 2008

The mystery has driven me to a desperate measure. I’ve registered at the EeeUser forum to post this set of questions.

Update: I’ve deleted the link because I’ve asked the mod there to delete my account. See why here.