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25 June 2001

Interview with Dan Bailey
Geez, here we are, almost the end of the month, and I completely forgot to mention an event that occurred at the beginning of the month...

In my latest writing assignment for About This Particular Macintosh, I interviewed my friend, Dan Bailey, the force behind Fontosaurus Text, "the most productive font foundry on the web."

I got to know Dan via AOL Instant Messenger, when we first began talking about some of his fonts. Dan produces both TrueType and PostScript fonts, and provides them for both Macintosh and Windows. Most of Dan's fonts are $2 donationware, though he does produce the occasional Deluxe Font, and he has his own Font of the Month Club. Check out Dan's work, and be sure to reward him for his endeavors.

Long-time DigiPem visitors will note that I once used Dan's Blockhead font for my logo titles and initials. That was certainly $2 well spent. Thanks, Dan!

Privacy Guru: Watch Your Back...
U.S. News & World Report has an awesome, albeit short, interview with Larry Ponemon, formerly the nation's premier corporate online privacy policy auditor.

One of the more scary notes from the interview: there is an 85 percent error rate in customer profiles. Now that explains why you keep getting those Midol ads even though you're a guy...

22 June 2001

Sigh III
Incoming American Medical Association Chairman Richard Corlin, M.D., spouted at the AMA's annual meeting Wednesday: "There is an epidemic and it's an American epidemic of handgun violence."

Perhaps the good doctor needs to be reminded that the epidemic is one of cultural violence, not "handgun violence," as he puts it. Oh, and Doc, about the Dom Perignon you prefer? Alcohol-related deaths exceed gun-related deaths in the country by 500% annually.

Perhaps even closer to home, Dr. Corlin needs to realize that iatrogenic deaths exceed the number of gun-related deaths by 2,200% annually. Iatrogenic deaths rank 3d as the leading cause of death in America, behind cancer and heart disease.

For the illiterate, iatrogenic means "physician error-related." —Thanks, Federalist!

Linuxppc.org has an excellent site set up that tracks the aforementioned FUD War Microsoft is waging against the open source community.

Oh, and did I forget to mention that Microsoft itself uses open source software despite its denial of said movement? M$'s Hotmail site runs on FreeBSD. Granted, M$ bought Hotmail outright, and the FreeBSD system was already in place. However, if Microsoft believed so strongly in their product, why wouldn't they move in and replace all of those FreeBSD boxes with ones running Windows NT? It couldn't possibly be because FreeBSD is technically superior over Windows for such high-end, high-impact networking functions could it? —Thanks, Ric!


Iceberg thumbnailThe mystique behind the beauty of an iceberg is that it is what you cannot see that gives it its natural power. My father forwarded this picture to me of an iceberg off the Newfoundland coast.

According the email, this came from a Rig Manager for Global Marine Drilling in St. Johns, Newfoundland. They actually have to divert the path of these things away from the rig by towing them with ships!

In this particular case the water was calm & the sun was almost directly overhead so that the diver was able to get into the water and click this pic. They estimated the weight at 300,000,000 tons.

Click on the thumbnail to see the full-size, 196K image. For those of you on slow connections, it is so worth it...

CORRECTION: (17 April 2002) The above is false, and the picture is a composite creation. I was contacted by the photographer (who apparently has nothing better to do than search the web for postings of his work) who pointed me to the full explanation at TruthorFiction.com. To spare you having to go there and search for "iceberg," here's the explanation:

"I created the image as a way of illustrating the concept of what you get is not necessarily what you see. As a professional photographer I knew that I couldn't get an actual shot of an iceberg the way I envisioned it so I created the final image by compositing several images I had taken. The two halves of the iceberg are 2 separate shots, one taken in Alaska and one taken in Antarctica (neither is underwater). The only underwater part is the background taken off the coast of California. The sky is the last component. It took a lot of research on lighting and scale to get the berg to look real."

It's still a pretty cool picture, even if it is a falsehood. . .

Too Much...Time On Their Hands...They've Got...Too Much Time...
Exploding Coke Cans—a series of experiments investigating the behaviour of drink cans when placed in a low-temperature environment for a prolonged period.

The New World Odor—making scents of OTP, the new protocol that's permeating the Web. —Thanks, Brian!

New Words and their Definitions
Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts only until you realize that it was your money to start with.
Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.
Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes, and it's like, a serious bummer.
Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
...and my personal favorite—Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit, and the person who doesn't get it. —Thanks, Jan!

21 June 2001

Happy Summer!
Yes, today is the official start of summer. Enjoy.

Sigh II
Now Gates himself is jumping into the whole open source FUD bandwagon that has been pouring out of Microsoft as of late.

Um, Bill, in case you forgot from those business classes at Harvard that you dropped out of, it is called competition. I know you have gotten used to not having any, but if there is one constant in life, it is that things change...

Get used to it.

Big Brother is watching...your rental?
James Turner (no relation, but an eerie coincidence since my late grandfather shares his name) is suing his rental car agency, Acme Rent-A-Car (no, this is not a Looney Tunes joke) because they fined him $450 for speeding—even though he has not received a ticket from police.

It seems that while Acme's rental contract stipulates that they use GPS—presumably for navigation help—they fail to mention that the GPS system in question is AirIQ, which is capable of tabulating all sorts of data, including vehicle speed.

The case is still pending, as no court date has yet been set. This does not bode well for John Q. Public. I have long maintained that Orwell's 1984 could just as easily be realized through Corporate America as it could through the government. Capitalism rules, but not at the expense of individual liberty.

18 June 2001

Yep, another security bug in Microsoft's web server software.

Yep, your web server could already be under the control of someone else.

Yep, your personal information, including credit card data, that you entrusted to a vendor who entrusted his business to Microsoft, could be in the hands of a juvenile delinquent—or worse.

Yep, a patch has been issued by Microsoft.

Yep, it pretty much lets an attacker do whatever he or she wants to the server, by Microsoft's own admission.

Yep, it is part of the default install of IIS, part of of Microsoft's web server software. Yep, it is more shoddy code from the software monopoly—er, giant.

Yep, this is the same company that wants you to entrust the future of your business to their desktop and network software...

6 June 2001

Happy Anniversary, Kelly!
Today marks the ninth anniversary for me and my beloved. Here's to at least nine more, sweetheart! I love you!

And One for the Vets...
This is also the 57th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of the Normandy coast that began the Allied drive to Berlin. Take a moment to remember those who died in defense of freedom. And thank a veteran!



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