Book Reviews

[Day Permalink] Monday, November 4, 2002

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I downloaded some mp3 from the Shannon Campbell site, which I pointed to in a previous posting. She is quite a singer, not (yet) in the Mary Black category, but good nonetheless. It is a pity that there is a similarly named another singer, whose cd is available at Amazon. But that happens sometimes.

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How Small Sites Can Get Noticed: "Despite the prominence of e-commerce giants like Amazon and Dell, there is still abundant opportunity for less-established sites to trumpet their existence to the world -- or at least the part of the world they are targeting -- without spending millions of dollars on large-scale ad campaigns." [osOpinion]

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Nokia: Open to everyone except Microsoft: "Nokia is all for open standards as long as that doesn't include offering handsets running on Microsoft software, a company executive said here Monday at the Mobile Internet Conference." [Google Technology News]

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Nokia Unveils New Phones, Including Game Console: "Nokia unveiled seven new mobile devices on Monday, including one that doubles as a game console, as it takes aim at the traditional games industry." [Google Technology News]

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iPod tops Which?'s list of MP3 players: " The iPod, which bested competition from Archos, Creative Jukebox, Sony and others -- was praised for its fast copy times, ease of use, and software. MP3 players were scored for sound quality, performance, user friendliness and features." [MacCentral]

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Boing Boing Blog points to The American Open Technology Consortium, who have selected six fantastically bad anti-tech laws:
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), H.R.2281

1998's Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) flooded American technology with punishing legal action, jailing scientists and destroying companies. The DMCA's "anti-circumvention" provisions have trumped the First Amendment and have given copyright holders a whip hand over every use of the material they sell to their customers.

Communications Decency Act (CDA), S.314/ H.R.1004

1995's Communications Decency Act turned the Internet into a First-Amendment-Free zone. Speech that would be absolutely protected in the "real world" was criminalized if transmitted over the Internet. After a protracted court battle, a Philadelphia Federal Court zapped this buggy code, declaring the CDA un-Constitutional.

Child Online Protection Act (COPA, "CDA II"), S. 1482, H.R. 3783

After the defeat of CDA, anti-freedom groups and their lawmakers launched a second salvo, COPA. COPA was a narrower attack than CDA, limiting itself to websites hosted by commercial entities, but no less un-Constitutional. The courts stopped COPA dead in its tracks, but today, the Supreme Court is deliberating over whether to unleash COPA on America.

Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act (CBDTPA, "The Hollings Bill"), S.2048

This virulent Trojan Horse, written by Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings and friends appears to be a law that promotes technology, but it carries a deadly payload. Under this proposed law, technologists will have to come to film and movie studios on bent knee and beg for permission to ship new hardware and software. The film and music companies who worked to ban every innovative technology from the player piano to Marconi's radio to the VCR and the Internet itself would be in charge of all future innovation in America.

P2P Piracy Prevention Bill ("Berman P2P bill"), H.R.5211

Representative Howard Berman's (D-Cal.) P2P Bill opens a hole in the security of the American judicial system. Under this proposal, copyright holders are free to take illegal countermeasures against any member of the public whom they believe to be engaged in copyright infringement. A law that lets a group of people break the law sounds like an oxymoron, but it's worse than that: by affording a "right of revenge" to movie and music companies, Berman's code legalizes vigilanteism, stripping law-enforcement agencies of the ability to police attacks on Internet users.

CIPA, H.R. 4577

CIPA is a denial-of-service attack on schools, libraries and children. Under CIPA, schools and libraries that receive certain Federal funds are required by law to censor the Web, using filters provided by snake-oil salesmen that raise the cost of providing Internet access to kids while spuriously blocking informative sites that carry information that appears in our schools' mandatory curriculum.

[Item Permalink] Use of Universal Rule -- Comment()
I'm somewhat surprised by the amount of visits Universal Rule receives. This weblog averages currently about 100 page reads on weekdays, and about 50 page reads on weekends. The maximum has been about 900 page reads. This was when I posted a review of Matlab 6.5 on Mac OS X. When I posted a review of Mathematica 4.2, this generated about 600 page reads during the first day. A lot of the visits are generated by the referrals from Google and other search services. Typical searches are on Mathematica, Matlab, and assorted science topics. Sometimes really strange search terms refer visits to this weblog. And some visitors probably find something they were not expecting, for example my poem iSwitch to iMac.

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I am now using Chimera 0.5, the nightly build for 04.11.2002. Some rough edges still remain, but the speed of this browser is fine, and tabbed browsing makes web easier accessible.

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Nokia's little brother will be watching you - eventually: "NEVER MIND Big Brother, Nokia has introduced your Little Brother, a GSM based remote camera it calls the Observation Camera." See also Nokia Launches Multi-Function Mobile Gadgets and Nokia accessorizes at NMIC. [Google Technology News]

[Item Permalink] Life's Complexity Pyramid -- Comment()
The new Science magazine (Vol. 298, Oct. 25, 2002) contains a perspective on system biology. The article is titled Life's Complexity Pyramid, and it is available in PDF. Here are two quotes from the article:
Cells and microorganisms have an impressive capacity for adjusting their intracellular machinery in response to changes in their environment, food availability, and developmental state. Add to this an amazing ability to correct internal errors - battling the effects of such mistakes as mutations or misfolded proteins - and we arrive at a major issue of contemporary cell biology: our need to comprehend the staggering complexity, versatility, and robustness of living systems.


As we seek further insights, we increasingly understand that our quest to capture the system-level laws governing cell biology in fact represents a search for the deeper patterns common to complex systems and networks in general. Therefore, cell biologists, engineers, physicists, mathematicians, and neuroscientists will need to equally contribute to this fantastic voyage.

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Nokia introduced today at NMIC new mobile phones. These will become available next year. The range of new products is impressive, and there are several new innovative features in the phones.

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Today I started up Chimera 0.5, which is a fast Mozilla-based browser for Mac OS X. I have been using Chimera previously, but always returned to OmniWeb. Now Chimera has improved, and handles also SSL connections. I may be using Chimera as my favorite browser, if there aren't too many crashes. Importing OmniWeb bookmarks worked flawlessly, which makes it easy to switch to Chimera.

[Item Permalink] Google indexing Universal Rule -- Comment()
Google is getting better and better in indexing this weblog. For example, using the search word spam I now get a much better set of results than previously. Thus I now am able to find this posting about the spam filter in Apple's Mail program.

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Net Monitor is a nice too for keeping track of the network traffic on Mac OS X.

[Item Permalink] Using iPod with calendars -- Comment()
Here are a few tips for using iPod with calendars: