28 February 2003
If you can fiddle with code files, Dive Into Mark has instructions on how to block spambots, spiders, and other annoying virtual scavengers.
4:15:09 PM  #   your two cents []
P2P doesn't hurt record sales. Analysts Ipsos-Reid has just completed a comprehensive study of music downloading, a study whose results put a lie to the recording industry's claims that P2P filesharing nets are harming their business. Check out this interview with an Ipsos-Reid research director:
* Over 50% of teenagers download music.

* About two-thirds of teenage boys download music

* Surprisingly, teenagers are the most receptive demographic toward the concept of paying for online services.

* Surprisingly, downloaders appear to buy more CDs

Link [Boing Boing Blog]
3:40:34 PM  #   your two cents []
Minister Dermot Ahern launched the build-out of a 3.75 broadband network in Mayo today. From the press release: "Work on rolling out of the 20kms network will be completed by July. It will be the first of the national projects to be finalised. The Mayo project is part of the 65 million 19 towns national broadband initiative, which is 90% funded by the Government."
3:38:13 PM  #   your two cents []

America is from Mars, France is from Venus. Hilarious, by Catherine Warren in the Vancouver Sun. As she notes, "It is possible to have more positions on the Axis of Evil than in a ménage à trois. Absolument!":

America and France are at odds over issues of war and diplomacy. Ever since the U.S. referred to "UN Weapons Inspector Clouseau" and the French retaliated with an inferior vin rouge, things have pretty much gone off the rails with Ameri-Franco relations. The French lobbed a bioweapon: the truffle. The Americans shot back by supersizing it. Now, the French are eschewing reruns of "Les Amis," in a pique of sanctimony. For their part, the Americans are boycotting cheese and champagne, in a self-flagellating binge of -- what else -- sanctions.

2:39:28 PM  #   your two cents []

Then they came for... the Canadians? From new-daddy Danny O'Brien's blog. This would be funny if it weren't so... weirdly scary:

The US detained Maher Arar, a Canadian telecoms engineer who had a connecting flight from New York after a family holiday in Tunis. They deported him to Syria. That was in September of last year. They got around to telling his government in mid-October. Eventually Maher's family tracked him down to a Syrian jail. He's still there, being held without charge. It seems that the US was a bit suspicious because the Mounties interviewed him once about the Syrian community in Ottawa. Perfectly understandably, the Americans accused him of being a member of Al-Qaeda - then sent him straight to a country on their own Axis of Evil shortlist.

What is this, Wheel Of Habeas Corpus Fortune? He's a Canadian citizen. You have a problem, you send him back to Canada. [and there's more, if you follow the link at the top]

1:02:32 PM  #   your two cents []

I've done the business Story of the Week for Friday's Irish Times: New data proposals could scare off business [sub only, or read for free here]. It's extraordinary that the Irish Government has not realised just how unattractive a business environment they would create in Ireland (heavily reliant on trade and foreign investment) if they bring in this ludicrous proposal:

The object of growing concern is the Department of Justice's proposed data retention bill - a piece of legislation that would require telecommunications operators to store traffic information about every fax, mobile and phone call, as well as email and internet usage, for three years; longer than any other EU state. Traffic information includes data about who sent and received calls and emails, where the sender and receiver were located, how long calls lasted, the size of emails, what web pages were visited, when and for how long. The content of calls and emails is not preserved.

"This is a really bad idea and makes no business sense whatsoever. In all dimensions this will have a very negative impact on Ireland's competitiveness as an e-business location," said Mr Annrai O'Toole, chairman of the Digital Business Council of the Chambers of Commerce of Ireland. He is also executive chairman of Cape Clear Software and one of the founders of Iona Technologies.

ICT Ireland, the information and communications technology industry group, is also worried. "The member companies are most concerned at developments at a national level regarding this proposed legislation," said director Mr Brendan Butler. "There has been little or no consultation with industry." He worries that such a bill could "damage Ireland's international reputation as a location of choice for foreign direct investment".

"Any legislation should mirror what's happening across the EU and not put Ireland at a disadvantage," said Mr Joe Macri, general manager of Microsoft Ireland, one of the largest multinationals operating here.

12:05:32 PM  #   your two cents []
Is vigilante hacking legal?. A technology lawyer tells security experts that striking back at computers that are attacking a company or home network could be legal under federal nuisance laws. [CNET News.com] ...Roland Piquepaille got slashdotted a while ago for his neat summary of a perspective along these lines. Interesting...
11:57:20 AM  #   your two cents []
If this isn't a spoof, then truly, Life Meets Onion once again: Stalinland: the dullest place on earth [from Boing Boing Blog].
Massine Productions GmbH hopes to recreate a 10,000-square metre (107,600 sq ft) replica of East Germany, complete with surly border guards, rigorous customs inspections, authentic East German mark notes, and restaurants with regulation bland East German food.

"The aim isn't to make big joke out of East Germany," said Susanne Reich, a spokeswoman for the company which is expected to invest several million euros on the project, slated for the southeastern Berlin district of Koepenick.

11:54:25 AM  #   your two cents []
J. W. Eagan. "Never judge a book by its movie." [Quotes of the Day]
11:52:50 AM  #   your two cents []
Fiorina takes home $3 million bonus. Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina got a bonus of nearly $3 million last year on top of a $1 million salary, according to a regulatory filing. [CNET News.com]
11:52:16 AM  #   your two cents []

Jamie Smyth has a good piece [sub only] today in the Irish Times on the status of the Irish govt's Global Crossing deal:

Eircom's annual return shows it cannot find a use for the massive amounts of telecoms and internet capacity that it agreed to purchase under the State-backed deal. The collapse of Formus Communications, Worldport, and the sale of Metromedia Fibre Networks, have also undermined the deal, vastly reducing the amount of international capacity used by Irish firms...

The IDA is now trying to sell on this capacity to telecoms firms, internet service providers and large data centre operations. But at least 50 per cent of the capacity remains unsold and, as Eircom's results shows, little of its allocation is actually being used.

Much more; the consensus from his sources, however (and I'd agree) is that the deal was hugely important as a similar fibre link to the US would not be built now, and the capacity is now here. Incredible, though, that there's capacity, capacity everywhere and not a drop to drink (as twere).

11:51:47 AM  #   your two cents []
Ouch: (Big) Red Faces At Cornell Over E-Mail Error. When Cornell University sent welcoming e-mail letters to 1,700 early decision applicants, it included nearly 550 who had already been rejected in December. [New York Times: Technology]
11:43:08 AM  #   your two cents []

I wrote a piece for the Times this morning that touches on the difficulty of finding hotels in Dublin with anything better than 28.8 dial-up, much less ethernet or wireless (though I was told this week that Bewley's in Ballsbridge has ethernet on ISDN for *free*). Here's the picture in the US from 80211b News: Marriott pushes further.

11:34:20 AM  #   your two cents []
CONGRATULATIONS to Danny and Quinn and little Ada (oh, WHY does this name delight and not surprise me?! [grin]) on a job well done.
3:06:05 AM  #   your two cents []
What the...?! Pentagon spy database funding revealed. Millions of dollars are going to 26 research projects linked to the Total Information Awareness program, which aims to compile electronic dossiers on Americans. [CNET News.com]
2:52:12 AM  #   your two cents []
Key states bow to pressure. Security council waverers change tack. [Guardian Unlimited]
2:49:17 AM  #   your two cents []