Archive for June, 2004

Greedy billionaires, corrupt politicians & the loopholes they create

June 30th, 2004, 1:47pm by Jake

Sorry to infuse The Board with politics again, but this one just really ticked me off, and this is the only soap-box I have. Anyways, read here (original LA Times article) about the unfortunate dilemna we put California’s luxury boat owners in– it’s a real tear-jerker. Then read the cogent response composed by one surly Yahoo! user, who raises some points unaddressed by the article.
After reading this article, I decided we should implement the following to end all of our tax loopholes at once:

A Modest Tax Proposal

  1. Eliminate all income taxes
  2. Impose a national sales tax
  3. Since the ultra-wealthy will manage to avoid these taxes (thus costing our country jobs), exempt all purchases of luxury items (i.e., anything over $50,000, except only houses over $1,000,000; the middle class don’t know how to evade taxes).

That’s it! We solve all our tax problems in 3 easy steps. Who’s with me?

Free McDownload

June 28th, 2004, 6:07pm by Kelvin

I know it’s tough to get excited about saving 5 cents, but just in case anyone wants to scout the competition, here’s the free download code printed on the side of my lunch…
redeem at
BTW, new Cure album comes out today. Hasn’t appeared at, iTMS, or Rhapsody, yet. Guess I’ll swing by Tower records later in the day… (anyone interested in catching the concert at PacbellPark in August?)

Don't use Internet Explorer!

June 27th, 2004, 1:30pm by Jake

Well, it’s finally come to this. The CERT (quasi-government computer security group) have recommended that Windows users stop using Explorer on Windows due to the latest virus threat. This one is a doozy– it infect MS serves, which add codes to their webpages (such as Kelley BlueBook), which then surrpticously redirects the user to a website which downloads a trojan horse onto the user’s computer. This program records keystrokes, and it is theorized that the hackers are trying to steal financial passwords.
The exact quote from the article is, “CERT recommends that Explorer users consider other browsers that are not affected by the attack, such as Mozilla, Mozilla Firefox, Netscape and Opera. Mac, Linux and other non-Windows operating systems are immune from this attack. For people who continue to use the Internet Explorer, CERT and Microsoft recommend setting the browser’s security settings to “high,” but that can impair some browsing functions.”
I personally recommend Firefox from, as I’ve now migrated from Mozilla on my work PC to Firefix– it even imported all my bookmarks, cookies, which sites to block images from, etc. It’s really fast, and works on pretty much every website out there. Virus software (thanks Serena!) has been updated, but my understanding is that this exploits an unpatched flaw in Windows & a similar attack could be created. In some ways, this flaw is similar to the one Apple patched (within 2 weeks) before any exploits were written for it. Not to bash Microsoft, but I honestly wonder why they cannot patch this crippling flaw.

Office Space Wars

June 25th, 2004, 7:21pm by Jake

Just watch it.
Via BoingBoing and this site.

Obligatory "Ace" post

June 25th, 2004, 12:53pm by Mike

By now, we’ve all had our morning coffee, and I’m sure that we’ve all hit up the story at Treocentral on the “Treo Ace,” aka the Treo 610. Looks like the device I’m waiting for — high res screen, bluetooth, 1.3 MP camera. Since this must be discussed on The Board, let’s get the conversation started:
— What are the odds that these features will all be on this device, should it see the light of day?
— When do you think it might ever see the light of day?
— Do you think that it’ll support EVDO or EDGE?
Just to make the list of links more comprehensive, the non-story is also covered at gizmodo and engadget — not that you haven’t already looked there.

The Discovery "Science" Channel

June 25th, 2004, 12:31am by Jake

So I was watching an episode of the TV show “Building the Ultimate” called Sky Scrapers/Suspension Bridge on Discovery’s Science Channel. It’s a (generally) decent show that discusses massive engineering projects (like Boston’s Big Dig, rebuilding Berlin, the Chunnel, Hong Kong Airport, etc.). They showed an experiment where they loaded a solid column of bricks & and a stell I-beam (of apparently the same width). The brick fails at a load of 45 tons, the steel doesn’t fail until it reaches 90 tons. After about 1 minute of butchering the terms “stress” and “strain,” the narrator finishes with this gem:

The column easily passes 45 tons with no signs of stress. As the compression increases, the peeling paintwork is the first indication of strain. But it’s not until 90 tons of pressure is applied that the steel begins to buckle. So steel gives twice the strength of brick , and it does it for a quarter of the weight, which means that there is much less stress on the structure.

How many errors can you identify in the above paragraph? The narrator completely misunderstands how pressure, stress (or here), strain and strength are defined for engineers. I know engineering terms may be beyond the grasp of most reporters, but on a show about engineering, it’s inexcusable. When have you seen worse?

FrameMaker for OS X

June 24th, 2004, 4:46pm by Jake

As you guys are well aware, I tried my luck with petitions in the past. The Yahoo! Yellow Pages petition was an unmitigated failure, while the Jacknote petition made some waves, albeit ultimately unsuccesful.
Anyways, I’m now throwing my weight behind the petition to Adobe which asks them to develop an OS X version of Framemaker. As you may know, I wrote my dissertation in FrameMaker. Despite the 109 figures, 8 tables, 64 sections, 106 references, countless cross-references and dozens of externally called files, I never once had a problem with the software and I spent almost no time fiddling with any formatiting. It’d be nice to get an OS X version of FramMaker, as it would make my thesis more accesible to me, and there’s a good chance I’d use it again. So, if you think having FrameMaker on OS X is a good idea, just sign it.

My iPod Crashed!

June 23rd, 2004, 2:12pm by Kelvin

Title says it all! I went out to my car where I’d been keeping my iPod in the glove compartment, and all our songs and settings were gone! Not battery related, as I had about 50% charge.
I’d spent hours (maybe minutes) ripping old CDs that I put on the iPod and then deleted from my hard drive. Also, so much for the great music raid this past weekend. Do you think the RIAA had anything to do with this?
Oh well, my fault for not researching backup options more agressively.

See-Thru PortaPotty

June 23rd, 2004, 11:56am by Kelvin

This is hilarious (from There’s a portable toilet in Switzerland (and apparently London) in which the enclosure is a one-way mirror. The comments to the story include these gems:
People would walk by, point and laugh, creating the effect that they were laughing at you while you’re on the toilet, even though they can’t see a thing. Sily.
G3K | 22.06.2004 – 10:19:13
Hihihi… That’s a great idea! When you know someone’s in there, to point at the glass an burst out laughing!!! Great post DocX!
Roderick | 22.06.2004 – 12:42:57


Wireless internet sharing

June 23rd, 2004, 11:29am by Kelvin

Interesting device which takes a 3G PC card and shares the connection as a WiFi access point/router. You can do this already using a laptop, but this is much more consumer-friendly.

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