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Updated: 3/2/2003; 9:42:13 AM.

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 Thursday, February 20, 2003

Something Military Happening in Boston???

I just heard from a friend who was driving on Storrow Drive in Boston and he told me that he saw "20 to 30 soldiers in fatigues going over one of the foot bridges crossing the Charles River with weapoons in hand -- not slung but actually out".  Anyone local know anything?  George W taking out those Harvard Liberals perhaps?

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Brilliant: Small, Light and Runs Linux

Damn!  While I generally don't have many good things to say about Lindows, introducing this was just plain brilliant:

At just 2.9 lbs, the $799 Lindows Mobile PC is a featherweight, but it weighs in with such features as LindowsOS, a 933mhz VIA processor, 256MB RAM, USB 2.0, Firewire, Ethernet, and a crisp 12.1" TFT display, plus a PCMCIA slot to add even more functionality such as wireless networking.  No other computer is as ideally suited for carry-around mobility as the affordable, under 3lb, Lindows Mobile PC.  You'll find yourself taking it with you everywhere!

Its a pain in the ass right now to run Linux on a notebook and this isn't a big, heavy notebook, its about as small as you really need.  Nicely done.  I can't wait to see reviews on this puppy. The really surprising thing to me is that it isn't running a Transmeta processor.  Huh?  [_Go_]


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The Spam Reply You Want to Actually Send

This is quite a chuckle:

The Brooklyn resident recently posted an "automatic business reply generator" on his games site,, giving Web surfers a witty answer to the notorious Nigerian spam scam. The generator lets people enter the name, title and other details about the sender's saga in order to create a customized, tongue-in-cheek response that perfectly skewers the officious tone of the well-known e-mail fraud.

"I would appreciate you getting back to me at your earliest convenience to let me know why you, and the estate of your esteemed Father, are more worthy of my aid than Mr. Chuichui Boondwaka Jr.," part of the letter reads, in all mock-seriousness. [_Go_]

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Calling it Like it Is

Its always nice when even people whose bottom line depends on Microsoft are honest:

It is a shame really.  Internet Explorer hasn't had any revolutionary features for over 3 versions now.  And it's now surprise why.  No outside push.  Not to say Internet Explorer is bad.  But I use it more because it's always there not because it's necessarily better than other alternatives that I would have to download and install. [_Go_]

It does make me wonder if they realized what they said before they blogged it.

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Heh.  Wall Street, Microsoft and Open Source

I've mostly laid off lampooning Microsoft in recent months since it was just too much like shooting fish in a barrel.  And while some watchers like Scoble think great things are coming down the pike, I'm skeptical.  So is Wall Street:

In a report inspired by the advice of a departing Microsoft manager, a Merrill Lynch technology analyst wrote that the software company must "notch up the innovation component" if it wants to succeed in an era of networked systems and increased pervasiveness of open-source applications.

The report, released Wednesday by Merrill tech strategist Steven Milunovich, analyzes points raised in an essay recently published by retiring Microsoft program manager David Stutz. [_Go_]

The referenced essay is outstanding and recommended.  I do think that if Wall Street puts pressure on Microsoft then it could lead more quickly to the innovations that Scoble hints at.  Still even if Microsoft does roll out great new things, a huge problem is that customers don't deploy new technologies quickly -- and that's particularly true for client side technologies, Microsoft's raison de etre.  MS has always been best on client side apps and not only is large scale deployment nightmarish these days but customers also don't want to pay for it.

Bottom Line?  Open Source is utterly changing the entire technology business. While we all knew this, Wall Street seems to finally be accepting it at a level more fundamental than "Let's get rich off VA Linux".

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PHP CGI Vulnerability

I don't know how many folks are actually doing php as a CGI but if so ...

[17-Feb-2003] The PHP Group today announced the details of a serious CGI vulnerability in PHP version 4.3.0. A security update, PHP 4.3.1, fixes the issue. Everyone running affected version of PHP (as CGI) are encouraged to upgrade immediately. The new 4.3.1 release does not include any other changes, so upgrading from 4.3.0 is safe and painless. [_Go_]

I have to commend the php team for NOT including any other changes thereby making it much more likely that affected systems get patched.  Good going!

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Also from Meg: Suffer Not a False Blogging Tool to Live

Sorry for the title; couldn't resist.

Ask yourself when looking at "blogging" software: Was it designed with weblogging in mind (i.e. easy updating through simple posting interface, archives for posts, permalinks, templating control, comments, RSS output, etc.) or has the label "blogging" been slapped onto an existing publishing system designed around outputing web pages? That is, can your content be chunked up into posts, so that content can live in many places at once (your front page, your archive, your by-category page) or is the tool outputting pages, trapping your words in the page paradigm? (For more on posts vs. pages, see my megnut column, What We're Doing When We Blog.) [_Go_]

Given that I wrote "blog entries" this summer using VI under Linux, I can totally agree -- you can blog with anything but a blogging tool just makes it painfree.

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Search Engine Watch on Google

Really good analysis:

Though this statement says little directly, it's possible to infer a few of the "synergies and future opportunities" between Google and Pyra Labs.

First, Pyra has over 1 million registered users, with about a quarter of those actively publishing weblogs.  For the most part, these blogs are ad-free, offering an appealing distribution channel for Google's AdWords text based ads.  

Second, Google could use the links created by webloggers to enhance its news service.  Even though Google's news crawlers are constantly updating Google News' 4,000 sources of information, alternative internet sources are gaining a reputation for breaking important news stories more quickly than traditional media sources.

For example, the New York Times reported that the first hint of problems that doomed the space shuttle Columbia appeared on an online discussion eleven minutes before the Associated Press issued its first wire-service alert.  [_Go_]

Found via Meg.  Thank you.

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