Singing the Bite Me Song

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August 31, 2003

Macromedia Contribute vs Blogs?

This is an interesting article, but the thing that struck me most when Macromedia first sent out the announcement for Contribute was: anachronism.

I mean, Contribute is the tool we needed as part of Dreamweaver 6 years ago, or more, when the web was still largely "dumb" html. The brave new world is all content management systems, XML, RSS feeds, smart web pages, in other words.

If Contribute is a poor person's CMS (as opposed to some of the in-house company-created CMS's out there, which are often even more frightening), what are blogs?!

Blogs are more flexible than most CMS's I've seen, and with feed readers, more powerful for klogs and intranets, so why should folks use Contribute OR in-house home-grown your-favorite-or-not-so-favorite-IT-dept CMS? The horror, the horror!

Besides, I just gotta give JD Biersdorfer a hard time. It's a good story. I've loved Macromedia for years. But I'm ticked off. Contribute is 6 years too late, and unless it allows people to create blog-style content management, it's a step backward, a distraction.

I could be wrong. Feel free to add comments and disagree.


If the Webmaster's Busy, Everyone Else Can Pitch In. The latest version of Contribute, software from Macromedia that can help nonexperts update Web page content, allows Macintosh users to contribute shoulder to shoulder with their Windows co-workers. In addition to being compatible with Mac OS X, Contribute 2 has several new features for the Windows side, including the Macromedia FlashPaper function, which can be used to convert any printable type of document into an embedded Web page element. By J.d. Biersdorfer. [New York Times: Technology]

August 31, 2003 at 09:09 PM in Cyberculture | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What to use for a computer when you go off the grid

A Little Current Goes a Long Way. The low power demands of digital ink displays have much to do with how the basic technology works. By Michel Marriott. [New York Times: Technology]


he low power demands of digital ink displays have much to do with how the basic technology works.

In the case of E Ink, for instance, images are created by microcapsules suspended in a clear liquid plastic. These clear capsules contain positively charged white pigment chips as well as black pigment chips, which are negatively charged. By applying an electrical charge to the capsules, the pigments can be moved, bringing either white or black to the surface and forming text or graphic images.

The amount of power to achieve this, Darren Bischoff of E Ink said, is minuscule.

The same is true, said Ran Poliakine of Magink, of his company's imaging technology, which uses microscopic helix structures. They, too, are clear, and are suspended in a clear liquid sandwiched between glass or plastic.

August 31, 2003 at 08:50 PM in Singing the Bite Me Song | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 26, 2003

Back harping on RFID tags again

I should make a category just for that topic, I think.

Anyway, Mike at TechDirt is putting forth an interesting counter-strategy. I think it is worth spreading around.

Blocker RFID Tags Solve The RFID Privacy Problem

Contributed by Mike on Tuesday, August 26th, 2003 @ 02:25PM
from the solutions-to-the-privacy-problem? dept.

Someone who prefers to remain anonymous sent in a link to a story about how RSA is working on special RFID "blocker" tags. Just like regular RFID tags, except that they broadcast every possible RFID number, making it impossible to figure out what specific RFID tags are available. Now, despite the counter-productive spamming from a misguided anti-RFID type around here yesterday, there are certainly issues that should be discussed surrounding RFID and privacy issues. However, instead of just complaining about it, it's good to see companies working on technology solutions to the problem. The article isn't entirely clear, but it appears the system works by letting the owner of the blocker RFID tag easily select which RFID tags around them can be read at any particular point. This way, you get the benefit of using RFID tags without having to worry about how they're being used outside of their intended purposes. Also, if I understand this idea correctly, any individual would just need a single "blocker" RFID tag, and could then control every other RFID tag. This is smart. Earlier solutions to the RFID privacy problem were proposals for new reprogrammable RFID tags that would let users turn them off. However, that would be expensive and there's no guarantee that all manufacturers would use those RFID tags, as opposed to the cheaper, non-reprogrammable ones. This solution avoids all of that with a fairly simple, inexpensive solution.

I think I'd approach this sort of thing from the "culture-jamming" standpoint, however. I'd put one of these RFID "jammers" on my person and walk all over the place in retail stores and jam up their inventory. Or better yet, activists could build cheap nano versions of these things and mass produce them. Then we could go around all over the place, sticking them under our chairs or shelves with gum, shit like that.

Damn the torpedos. Jam up the RFID signal so bad it becomes a completely unreliable source of information!

Miasma <----a bad smell is a form of "scent-jamming"

August 26, 2003 at 11:15 PM in Privacy & Free Speech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 25, 2003

Andy "The Fox News Channel Can Bite Me" Borowitz Trademark Infringement?


Andy Borowitz has a hilarious riff on Ann Coulter spontaneously combusting (hmmm, no permalink there, so the link will probably go dead after a while).

Particularly notable in it is the reference to a new book marketing schema that will soon be in all the textbooks, but in order to describe this schema, Borowitz may have inadvertently violated my as yet untrademarked trademark here at "Miasma in the House of Bite Me." Here is the offending passage:

Meanwhile, outside the Fox News Channel's New York headquarters, thousands of publicity-starved authors congregated, begging Fox to sue them.

Since news of Fox's lawsuit against comedian Franken promptly sent his new book to the top of the bestseller lists, a lawsuit from Fox is now widely regarded in the publishing industry as the most coveted seal of approval, even surpassing inclusion in Oprah's Book Club.

One of the authors gathered outside Fox was Stanley Dixon, an author of several poorly-selling works of literary fiction who is so eager to be sued by Fox that he has had his name legally changed to "Fox Newschannel."

Mr. Newschannel said that his latest novel, a coming of age story set in rural Indiana entitled "A Sudden Fall," would now be retitled, "The Fox News Channel Can Bite Me."

I'd probably file a lawsuit if I weren't laughing so hard. Pity, I could use the money.

Dude, would you get a permalink?


August 25, 2003 at 08:18 PM in Singing the Bite Me Song | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 20, 2003

Bruce at the River with a pointer to Greg Palast

I'm down with Greg Palast too, and hit that wonderful section of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy on power traders and how they have affected Britain and parts of South America. Also a very interesting notion in that book, of looking outside the First World for belweather indicators of what the Enrons of the world have in store for the US.

Anyway, I'm liking Bruce's voice quite a lot, so he goes on my blogroll. Might be in Atlanta, too. Yo Bruce! Thanks for the link love.


The River

The Dark Ages of Deregulation

This Greg Palast article, Greg Palast being about the only real journalist I can think of, deserves to be a front page story. Knowing what we do about THE MEDIA, of course it won't.

But let's make it a Front Blog Story. Come on lefties, if any of you have found me yet, push this one. We have a printing press, let's use it for exposing folks to REAL journalism.

I can tell you all about the ne're-do-wells that put out our lights tonight. I came up against these characters -- the Niagara Mohawk Power Company -- some years back. You see, before I was a journalist, I worked for a living, as an investigator of corporate racketeers. In the 1980s, "NiMo" built a nuclear plant, Nine Mile Point, a brutally costly piece of hot junk for which NiMo and its partner companies charged billions to New York State's electricity ratepayers.

To pull off this grand theft by kilowatt, the NiMo-led consortium fabricated cost and schedule reports, then performed a Harry Potter job on the account books. In 1988, I showed a jury a memo from an executive from one partner, Long Island Lighting, giving a lesson to a NiMo honcho on how to lie to government regulators. The jury ordered LILCO to pay $4.3 billion and , ultimately, put them out of business.

And that's why, if you're in the Northeast, you're reading this by candlelight tonight. Here's what happened. After LILCO was hammered by the law, after government regulators slammed Niagara Mohawk and dozens of other book-cooking, document-doctoring utility companies all over America with fines and penalties totaling in the tens of billions of dollars, the industry leaders got together to swear never to break the regulations again. Their plan was not to follow the rules, but to ELIMINATE the rules. They called it "deregulation."


August 20, 2003 at 08:17 PM in Singing the Bite Me Song | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 18, 2003

WorkingForChange-Marketing the invasion of Iraq

WorkingForChange-Marketing the invasion of Iraq

On the book: Stauber and Rampton's "Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq" (Tarcher/Putnam, $11.95).

New book documents Bush Administration's use of PR firms to sell war to the American people

Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber's new book will not sell as many copies as Hillary Clinton's memoir, the latest Harry Potter book or Ann Coulter's most recent bestselling work of fiction, "Treason." There won't be a major motion picture deal and there's no made-for-tv flick in the works. Unlike Jessica Lynch, Stauber and Rampton haven't received a massive multimedia financial proposal from CBS -- or any other network. And thus far, they haven't been asked to co-host MTV's Doggy Fizzle Televizzle with Snoop Dogg.


September surprise

"From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August," White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card Jr. told the New York Times in September 2002. Rampton and Stauber write: "Card was explaining what the Times characterized as a 'meticulously planned strategy to persuade the public, the Congress and the allies of the need to confront the threat from Saddam Hussein.'" From that point forward, the administration rolled out a heavy arsenal of misinformation, disinformation, and highly dubious intelligence to sell the war to the American people. The late-March invasion of Iraq was the culmination of this campaign of "perception management."

Post-war planning was obviously not nearly as attentive to details. After manufacturing pre-war consent, the administration has been confronted with a number of unexpected challenges including chaos and instability, a burgeoning guerilla resistance, and mounting U.S. casualties. At home, the Bush Administration continues to receive criticism about ginned up intelligence and the failure to find Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

Among the lessons gleaned from "Weapons of Mass Deception" is how this administration readily pulls together a dream team of spinmeisters and story tellers -- government agencies, highly paid public relations firms, political hacks, and a willing media -- to market its message.

In the coming months, expect the Bush Administration to launch a campaign to convince the American public that it has found Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, or what it now prefers to call "weapons of mass destruction programs." In light of Andrew Card's words, the campaign will likely not be unveiled until September. Conservative columnist Robert Novak has already provided a sneak preview: In a short item in an early-August column Novak wrote: "Former international weapons inspector David Kay, now seeking Iraqi weapons of mass destruction for the Pentagon, has privately reported successes that are planned to be revealed to the public in mid-September."

August 18, 2003 at 07:26 PM in War/Terrorism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 16, 2003

Bare and valanced, now picture that!

List of "Fair and Balanced" weblogs is huge. Today is "Fair and Balanced" Friday, and the list of participating blogs and websites is growing. Link to partial list of participants (which includes the freakin' 1108th AVCRAD, a Mississippi-based unit of the Aviation Maintenance Team for the US National Guard!). previous BoingBoing post, Discuss [Boing Boing Blog]

August 16, 2003 at 01:41 AM in Intellectual Property | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 15, 2003

THE BEST picture of a massive whale fart

You must take the link to see it for yourself! It is in Antactica. And we wondered about that hole in th ozone down there...

Herald Sun: Whale flatulence stuns scientists [14aug03]

IT'S one of the unfortunate consequences of being a mammal - flatulence.

And, more unfortunately for a group of whale researchers, nature took its course right under their noses - literally.

The researchers claim this is the first photograph of a minke whale letting one go in the icy waters of Antarctica. It was taken from the bow of a research vessel.

"We got away from the bow of the ship very quickly ... it does stink," said Nick Gales, a research scientist from the Australian Antarctic Division.

August 15, 2003 at 02:32 PM in Favorite Links | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 14, 2003

Just passing this on: Public domain needs your copyright horror-stories!

Public domain needs your copyright horror-stories!. Have you had your creativity and expression crushed by intellectual property law? Did you have a business, a work of art, a blog entry or some other form of endeavor that was squashed by the threat or reality of a trademark, copyright or patent suit?

Public Knowledge, Creative Commons, and The Center for the Study of the Public Domain are putting together a public-education campaign to disseminate IP law horror-stories to help people understand what the expansion of copyright and related doctrines has cost us all. They want your stories for the collection.

We'd like to hear stories from artists, authors, musicians, filmmakers, computer programmers, entrepreneurs, librarians - or anyone with a personal story involving intellectual property law. Your stories are important because American copyright, trademark and patent law, grounded in Article I of the Constitution, are designed to promote individual creativity and innovation: we need to make sure they're functioning in this way.

Unfortunately, the recent expansion of intellectual property laws has had the opposite effect. New laws are discouraging creativity and innovation rather than encouraging it, and stifling other important values such as freedom of speech. Longer copyright terms, the end of copyright registration requirements, stronger trademark laws and the expansion of patent eligibility are some of the changes that have spurred this trend.


Discuss [Boing Boing Blog]

August 14, 2003 at 02:16 AM in Intellectual Property | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 13, 2003

Which Sci-Fi Character Are You?

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Can't I be Ivanova? Please?

OK, I'm biased because I went home from a night out 2 years ago with a hug, kiss, and bit of Claudia Christian's perfume still on my cheek. Sigh.

Susan Ivanova

Fiercely dedicated to bringing an end to corruption and exploitation, you are a strong-willed and courageous force of light.

Ivanova is always right. I will listen to Ivanova. I will not ignore Ivanova's recommendations. Ivanova is God.

Susan is a character in the Babylon 5 universe. You can read her biography at the Worlds of JMS fansite.

August 13, 2003 at 07:36 PM in Singing the Bite Me Song | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack