Wednesday, December 31, 2003

doing nothing but boosting my confidence in airport security when twice in one week people have been found to smuggle themselves into airplanes..... wonder if that means that they could stash an explosive or something like that in there. ya think???

Dead body found in British Airways jet in US
The Village Voice: NYC Annual Manual

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Looks like the Isreali's are realizing that the simple math of their occupation plans doesn't work.

Israeli Leader Warns of Settlement Fight
French Move against Headscarves Ridiculed as Missing the Point

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Israel May Move Some Settlements
It seems to me to be a stretch to go from "Saddam poses an imminent threat and has WMD in hand" this quote:

"Pressed to explain why his administration had asserted Saddam possessed weapons, when at best fragmentary evidence of programmes had been found, Mr Bush replied: 'So what's the difference? 'If he were to acquire weapons, he would be the danger,' he said in an interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer."

what a suprise.... NOT!:

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

more horror stories from the world of e-voting. i mean, all the idiots have to do is hook up a little printer and give us a printed record! what is so hard, why are they fighting it tooth and nail?????

Voting machine maker dinged
hmmm, we put our young people's lives at risk, get shit on by the rest of the world, and now they want to ride our train to SUE SADAM?!?!


Iraq's Aggrieved Neighbors Line Up to Sue Saddam
So, on the one side of the coin you have stories about ballplayers like Joe Horn using his cell phone to celebrate a touchdown and guys like Gary Sheffield holding out for an extra million a year.... and then there are sports stories like this one.

Convicted felons worked for electronic voting companies

Monday, December 15, 2003

wonder why the writers feel threatened? just look at the average quality of writing on television today!

Fans Helping to write the shows they love
didn't realize this, and don't really like the sounds of it.

of the 22 players who started in the season finale against Pitt - 10 were seniors and another 4 juniors will most likely leave early.

Big East Season review - Miami

Friday, December 12, 2003

yet one more reason to hate the telecom companies!!

Not Switched, but Still on Hold
Pettitte's departure major blow
wow - a pretty strong look at what pettitte had to offer the yanks

Yanks better with Brown
more spectacular work by the US government in it's quest to screw up the rest of the world as much as possible

New Iraq army hit by resignations
you gotta read it to believe it

China orgy suspects go on trial

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Voting Machines Gone Wild!
John Chambers @ Cisco - "cautious optimism".... wouldn't that be sweet?

Catchphrase of the Recovery
these guys are science superfreaks

Scientists freeze beam of light

Monday, December 08, 2003

first game of his second season after breaking a leg - Vick records third highest scrambling number for a QB in the history of the NFL..... sick, just sick

Atlanta vs Carolina

Sunday, December 07, 2003

interesting. first phone to have MS Windows Smartphone OS. Wondering when Sprint will have one. They are such morons about Samsung and Sanyo phones though - I don't have alot of confidence. The one Sprint phone that would compete against this uses the Palm OS and is about $500 - way overpriced.

Motorola MPx200
Miami playing FSU in the OB

Saturday, December 06, 2003

hmm, what a surprise that the isreali's screwed up their estimates about iraq, i can't believe it!!

Israelis 'misread' Iraqi threat

Friday, December 05, 2003

Thursday, December 04, 2003

fascinating idea

Innovator pushes undersea energy source
i think this means that the chinese are nto joking around here

China Threatens War over Taiwan Referendum
yet anothe reason that JetBlue rules over ALL OTHERS!!!!!

wireless hotspot - JetBlue
just make sure you have the volume turned up

Joe Cartoon : Gerbil in a Light Socket

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Monday, December 01, 2003

I...... LOVE...... TIVO......

Tune in to the new TV religion
OK, the voting is over. Tiger is not only the most talented golfer but the luckiest of the male species ON THIS PLANET!!!

Helping Tiger avoid wedding hazards
something strange is afoot at ESPN Page 2

Broncos DQ'd; Michigan wins bracket
when you need that Miami fix!!

University Wallpapers
Hurricanes shut down Fitzgerald
So, the Canes are the de-facto Big East champs... regardless of what any other school thinks!!

Big East Tie-Breaking Procedure
New Format War Looms as DVD Forum Chooses Standard
may not be a glamorous consulting gig - but it sure seems interesting.

Accenture Makes A Market On EBay
the DoD looking for converged communications

Urge to Convergence
An interesting side note here is what Steinbrenne will do since he broadcasts Man U games on the YES Network

Man Utd confirm Glazer's stake
nothing like a good political scandal to freshen up my day - especially when it involves FRANCE

Book delves into frigate scandal

Monday, November 24, 2003

Thursday, November 20, 2003


Roast Your Rivals!
a review of the eight memorials submitted for the WTC site.

The Eight Memorial Finalists

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Trump is such a prick - I LOVE IT!

Trump vs. Time Warner

Monday, November 17, 2003

we may have ourselves a REAL center playing for the canes!

OCSN Interactive
How A-Rod's 'value' was determined
I only have one question about this story.

It closes by"After all, if Google conducts an auction and the price proceeds to plummet, investors will blame Google, not its bankers."

My question is - wouldn't they blame Google either way? Who was standing there and yelling at the I-banks when Webvan and TheGlobe were tanking? No one complained about the i-banks till much later in the game and not for their lack of support for the shares but instead for portioning out shares to their friends. I think that Google will be a big enough deal that they will find a way to make one of the big bankers into Google marketmakers along the way, the only difference is that they will have to work for their money instead of skimming it all off the top.

Will Google be giggling?
Go Vote!!

Vote for best rivalry

Thursday, November 13, 2003

i never would have believed it if i hadn't read it - i am still a little skeptical that this is some kind of hoax of a press release. a place like this doesn't really exist, does it??

College Holding First Dance in 143 Years
intereseting point of view.... and i agree with parts of it

Winslow given unfair treatment
interesting. don't know what it really means, but interesting none the less.

Saudi Blast Drives Push for Democracy
Advances in car technology bring high-class headaches
Bus Bunching

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Monday, November 10, 2003

Saturday, November 08, 2003


Lost city near Machu Picchu found
excellent move by Dean - campaign finance reform isn't done yet and if he didn't do this then the republican cash machine would have crushed him.

Dean skips public funding for White House bid
this sucks ass - now we know Clemens won't be working it in athens!

US baseball is stunned, fails to make Olympics

Friday, November 07, 2003

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

shitty career move #2 for Mr. Lowe. First time he gets himself caught on camera making whoopy with an underaged girl, now this. Good call rob, time to get a new agent!

NBC axes 'Lyon's Den,' 'Coupling'
i think i have found nirvana...

Premiere Home Theatre Surroundings

Saturday, November 01, 2003


Michigan's Winged Helmet
I would LOVE to see Google do an online sale of stocks to get around working with the big investment banks. That would be wild - totally turning Wall Street on it's head!

Microsoft 'explored Google tie-up'

Friday, October 31, 2003

where is the hope.....

Top Israeli Officer Says Tactics Are Backfiring
yeah, even my company is being painted with this brush, i really wish they weren't....

Study: Bush donors rake in contracts

Girls pummel man who exposed himself
ahh, the pleasant stench of corporate welfare going bad again as the politicians and team owners go back and decide to screw over the fans once again!! Yeah, traffic in downtown Miami during rush hour will be a breeze!!

North-of-Dade fans: Drive to Miami stadium would be too far
What is the last time you heard about a kid being this straight up and honest? Impressive, I would want to look at recruiting him based on this act alone.

High School QB record erased
I've been talking about this since they first started the insane bidding wars on 3G licenses. Unfortunately for the wireless companies, they have actually been TOO successful since that bidding war happened, so many people have signed up and customer penetration rates are so high (85% in UK and 94% in Italy) that the only way to get people to move from their current phone/plan is to offer something truly compelling, and that isn't even close to happening yet.

3G - A Network too far?

Monday, October 27, 2003

What does SAIC do?
please Miami, please please please don't give away the farm and prove yet again that you are a bunch of local yokels when it comes to politics and give the Marlins the key to the bank when it comes to financing a new stadium. it's simple, a ball club doesn't generate more income for the area and Miami needs revenue like no one can imagine!!

talking new marlins stadium after winning the WS
Big decisions await Marlins
let us hope. if the marlins gut their team again, baseball may have to leave south florida.

Gammons: Marlins not one-year wonders
pretty good summary of the situation with the yankees.

Yankees entering winter of discontent

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Road to the BCS
UM will remain perfect
Schedule will bite Canes
more proof of Miami's status of a bacwards ass political shithole
I think that one of the most telling parts of this article is at the end - where Miami is considering giving free tuition to private schools for the people working at the Freet Trade zone headquarters. Isn't that kind of a negative marketing message? We want you so bad that you don't have to deal with our own crappy educational system??

Miami as the center of the Western Hemisphere??

Saturday, October 25, 2003

nothing like turning an important process into a political cluster f$ck.

The Globe and Mail
some chicks are just so damn cool!


Friday, October 24, 2003

McKeon is either going to be brilliant or a goat for this decision.

Beckett to Start Game 6 for Marlins
it had to happen eventually.

Pat Riley Resigns As Miami Heat Coach

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

ahhh - the joys of scut work for a senior partner at an NYC law firm - it's the SUSHI MEMO!!

Very interesting artical about supercomputer project @ Virginia Tech. Them Hokies aren't THAT dumb!

Low-Cost Supercomputer Put Together From 1,100 PC's

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 21 — A home-brew supercomputer, assembled from off-the-shelf personal computers in just one month at a cost of slightly more than $5 million, is about to be ranked as one of the fastest machines in the world.

Word of the low-cost supercomputer, put together by faculty, technicians and students at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, is shaking up the esoteric world of high performance computing, where the fastest machines have traditionally cost from $100 million to $250 million and taken several years to build.

The Virginia Tech supercomputer, put together from 1,100 Apple Macintosh computers, has been successfully tested in recent days, according to Jack Dongarra, a University of Tennessee computer scientist who maintains a listing of the world's 500 fastest machines.

The official results for the ranking will not be reported until next month at a supercomputer industry event. But the Apple-based supercomputer, which is powered by 2,200 I.B.M. microprocessors, was able to compute at 7.41 trillion operations a second, a speed surpassed by only three other ultra-fast computers.

The fastest computers on the current Top 500 list are the Japanese Earth Simulator; a Los Alamos National Laboratory machine dedicated to weapons design; and another weapons oriented cluster of Intel Pentium 4 microprocessors at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.

Officials at the school said that they were still finalizing their results and that the final speed number might be significantly higher.

"We are demonstrating that you can build a very high performance machine for a fifth to a tenth of the cost of what supercomputers now cost," said Hassan Aref, the dean of the School of Engineering at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. The computer was put together in a virtual flash. Scientists from the school met with Apple executives two days after the company introduced its new 64-bit desktop computer in June.

Apple agreed to put the school at the head of the line for the new machines. Starting when they returned to school in September, student volunteers, who received free pizzas for their labor, helped with the assembly of the system, essentially an array of large refrigerators to keep the computers from overheating. Virginia Tech's president offered free football tickets to the technicians who were spending long hours on the project.

"When you have a small budget," said Srinidhi Varadarajan, a leader of the project, "you have to take risks."

The ranking is a coup for Apple, which for several years has lagged behind, in terms of raw computing speed, the PC world controlled by Intel and Advanced Micro Devices microprocessors. It is also an indication that the supercomputer industry, which has been in eclipse since the end of the cold war, is again playing a more vital role.

"On the surface this is a pretty impressive machine," Mr. Dongarra said. "It shows that the processors are getting to the point where this kind of performance will be quite common."

The performance of the new computer highlights the challenge to highly expensive custom-designed machines — like the Earth Simulator of Japan, which is assembled from 5,120 custom processors that have special circuitry for performing long strings of mathematical operations — from computers put together by linking more common off-the-shelf components in fairly simple ways.

The Japanese computer was measured at 35.8 trillion operations a second last year but American computer experts estimate that it cost as much as $250 million. By contrast, the fastest cluster machine, the Lawrence Livermore system consisting of 2304 Intel Xeon processors, is capable of 7.63 trillion operations a second, at a price estimated at $10 million to $15 million. The Virginia Tech computer makes the cost-to-performance equation even starker.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

me want, me want bad....

New Tiny Treo Has Big PDA Storage
$1 Billion Dollar fundraising campaign for the University of Miami.

Momentum Miami

Sunday, October 19, 2003

great review of the new iTunes music store.

Slashdot | iTunes for Windows Reviews

Saturday, October 18, 2003

More High-Tech Firms May Drop Options
The question must now be - why wasn't this taken more into account?

State Dept. Study Foresaw Trouble Now Plaguing Iraq

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 — A yearlong State Department study predicted many of the problems that have plagued the American-led occupation of Iraq, according to internal State Department documents and interviews with administration and Congressional officials.

Beginning in April 2002, the State Department project assembled more than 200 Iraqi lawyers, engineers, business people and other experts into 17 working groups to study topics ranging from creating a new justice system to reorganizing the military to revamping the economy.

Their findings included a much more dire assessment of Iraq's dilapidated electrical and water systems than many Pentagon officials assumed. They warned of a society so brutalized by Saddam Hussein's rule that many Iraqis might react coolly to Americans' notion of quickly rebuilding civil society.

Several officials said that many of the findings in the $5 million study were ignored by Pentagon officials until recently, although the Pentagon said they took the findings into account. The work is now being relied on heavily as occupation forces struggle to impose stability in Iraq.

The working group studying transitional justice was eerily prescient in forecasting the widespread looting in the aftermath of the fall of Mr. Hussein's government, caused in part by thousands of criminals set free from prison, and it recommended force to prevent the chaos.

"The period immediately after regime change might offer these criminals the opportunity to engage in acts of killing, plunder and looting," the report warned, urging American officials to "organize military patrols by coalition forces in all major cities to prevent lawlessness, especially against vital utilities and key government facilities."

Despite the scope of the project, the military office initially charged with rebuilding Iraq did not learn of it until a major government drill for the postwar mission was held in Washington in late February, less than a month before the conflict began, said Ron Adams, the office's deputy director.

The man overseeing the planning, Tom Warrick, a State Department official, so impressed aides to Jay Garner, a retired Army lieutenant general heading the military's reconstruction office, that they recruited Mr. Warrick to join their team.

George Ward, an aide to General Garner, said the reconstruction office wanted to use Mr. Warrick's knowledge because "we had few experts on Iraq on the staff."

But top Pentagon officials blocked Mr. Warrick's appointment, and much of the project's work was shelved, State Department officials said. Mr. Warrick declined to be interviewed for this article.

The Defense Department, which had the lead role for planning postwar operations and reconstruction in Iraq, denied that it had shunned the State Department planning effort.

"It is flatly wrong to say this work was ignored," said the Pentagon spokesman Larry Di Rita. "It was good work. It was taken into account. It had some influence on people's thinking and it was a valuable contribution."

The broad outlines of the work, called the Future of Iraq Project, have been widely known, but new details emerged this week after the State Department sent Congress the project's 13 volumes of reports and supporting documents, which several House and Senate committees had requested weeks ago.

The documents are unclassified but labeled "official use only," and were not intended for public distribution, officials said. But Congressional officials from both parties allowed The New York Times to review the volumes, totaling more than 2,000 pages, revealing previously unknown details behind the planning.

Administration officials say there was postwar planning at several government agencies, but much of the work at any one agency was largely disconnected from that at others.

In the end, the American military and civilian officials who first entered Iraq prepared for several possible problems: numerous fires in the oil fields, a massive humanitarian crisis, widespread revenge attacks against former leaders of Mr. Hussein's government and threats from Iraq's neighbors. In fact, none of those problems occurred to any great degree.

Officials acknowledge that the United States was not well prepared for what did occur: chiefly widespread looting and related security threats, even though the State Department study predicted them.

Senior said the Pentagon squandered a chance to anticipate more of the postwar pitfalls by not fully incorporating the State Department information.

"Had we done more work and more of a commitment at the front end, there would be drastically different results now," said Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, the senior Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Feb. 11, Marc Grossman, the under secretary of state for political affairs, said the working groups were "not to have an academic discussion but to consider thoughts and plans for what can be done immediately."

But some senior Pentagon officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that while some of the project's work was well done, much of it was superficial and too academic to be practical.

"It was mostly ignored," said one senior defense official. "State has good ideas and a feel for the political landscape, but they're bad at implementing anything. Defense, on the other hand, is excellent at logistical stuff, but has blinders when it comes to policy. We needed to blend these two together."

A review of the work shows a wide range of quality and industriousness. For example, the transitional justice working group, made up of Iraqi judges, law professors and legal experts, has met four times and drafted more than 600 pages of proposed reforms in the Iraqi criminal code, civil code, nationality laws and military procedure. Other working groups, however, met only once and produced slim reports or none at all.

"There was a wealth of information in the working group if someone had just collated and used it," said Nasreen Barwari, who served on the economy working group and is now the Iraqi minister of public works. "What they did seems to have been a one-sided opinion."

Many of the working groups offered long-term recommendations as well as short-term fixes to potential problems.

The group studying defense policy and institutions expected problems if the Iraqi Army was disbanded quickly — a step L. Paul Bremer III, the chief American civil administrator in Iraq, took. The working group recommended that jobs be found for demobilized troops to avoid having them turn against allied forces as some are believed to have done.

After special security organizations that ensured Mr. Hussein's grip on power were abolished, the working group recommended halving the 400,000-member military over time and reorganizing Iraqi special forces to become peacekeeping troops, as well as counterdrug and counterterrorism forces. Under the plan, military intelligence units would help American troops root out terrorists infiltrating postwar Iraq.

"The Iraqi armed forces and the army should be rebuilt according to the tenets and programs of democratic life," one working group member recommended.

The democratic principles working group wrestled with myriad complicated issues from reinvigorating a dormant political system to forming special tribunals for trying war criminals to laying out principles of a new Iraqi bill of rights.

It declared the thorny question of the relationship between that secular state and Islamic religion one "only the people of Iraq can decide," and avoided a recommendation on it.

Members of this working group were divided over whether to back a provisional government made up of Iraqi exiles or adopt the model that ultimately was adopted, the Iraqi Governing Council, made up of members from a broad range of ethnic and religious backgrounds. The group presented both options.

The transparency and anticorruption working group warned that "actions regarding anticorruption must start immediately; it cannot wait until the legal, legislative and executive systems are reformed."

The economy and infrastructure working group warned of the deep investments needed to repair Iraq's water, electrical and sewage systems. The free media working group noted the potential to use Iraq's television and radio capabilities to promote the goals of a post-Hussein Iraq, an aim many critics say the occupation has fumbled so far.

Encouraging Iraqis to emerge from three decades of dictatorship and embrace a vibrant civil society including labor unions, artist guilds and professional associations, could be more difficult than anticipated, the civil society capacity buildup working group cautioned: "The people's main concern has become basic survival and not building their civil society."

The groups' ideas may not have been fully incorporated before the war, but they are getting a closer look now. Many of the Iraqi ministers are graduates of the working groups, and have brought that experience with them. Since last spring, new arrivals to Mr. Bremer's staff in Baghdad have received a CD-ROM version of the State Department's 13-volume work. "It's our bible coming out here," said one senior official in Baghdad.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

now, this could be INTERESTING. barry bonds is a client of the company being investigated.........

Doping watchdog finds huge steroid conspiracy
so - the letters didn't come from as high as i had originally thought - though the fact that the spokesman for the battalion had originally said that there wasn't an organized effort to put these out to the various news sources.

that means one of two things - either the sargeant/spokesperson lied or the lt. colonel taking responsability for it lied....

up to you to decide on who.

fake letters
an all time favorite!!

i had snot bubbles coming out of my nose the day i read this in the computer lab and was trying not to laugh out loud.

* 200 Monkeys *

Monday, October 13, 2003

White House trying new public relations approach on Iraq
Bush's war defense relies on old strategy
White House moves fast to manage the debate
Senators rap administration's PR effort on Iraq - Oct. 13, 2003
And the boys from Kazaa are back - threatening the multi-trilliion dollar communications industry instead of the multi-billion dollar entertainment industry this time!


To Whom May I Direct Your Free Call?

IN the fall of 2000, Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis had not yet earned any powerful enemies, at least so far as they were aware. They were just two obscure Swedish entrepreneurs who had worked with three Estonian programmers to write a file-sharing application called Kazaa. At the time, the free program was merely one of Napster's several weak stepsisters, lumped together in news reports with the likes of Snarfzilla and ToadNode.

But a few months later, the record industry and its lawyers swatted down Napster. And Kazaa, with its easy-to-use interface and reliable technology, quickly began scooping up users. Kazaa does essentially everything Napster did, with one important difference.

Because Kazaa's file sharing relies on routing requests through individual users' computers instead of central servers, the record industry has been unable to shut down the service in court - but not for lack of trying.

As their legal bills mounted, Mr. Zennstrom and Mr. Friis decided to sell the company to Sharman Networks last year. But the two have since hatched a plan that has a chance at causing another, potentially bigger uproar.

Mr. Zennstrom and Mr. Friis have reunited with the same team of Estonian programmers who wrote the code for Kazaa and have created a way to allow people to make high-quality phone calls over the Internet without having to pay a penny.

On Aug. 29, their new company, called Skype, released a preliminary version of the program. Already, more than a million people have downloaded it, the company's Web site says.

It is "a real opportunity to do something that is disruptive in a very positive way," Mr. Zennstrom said. "We have a big ambition with Skype: it is to make it the global telephone company."

Skype, which rhymes with "hype" and has no particular meaning, allows free calls between any two users who have downloaded the software. It is simple to use and provides clear connections to anyone with a broadband connection and a basic headset.

The program relies on a technology called "voice over Internet protocol,'' or VoIP. By routing calls over the Internet, VoIP essentially turns computers into phones. It is the core technology driving a number of small phone companies and is causing headaches for traditional providers, who are trying to fend off new rivals even as they attempt to integrate VoIP into their own systems.

Everyone, it seems, is getting into the act. Cable companies like Time Warner Cable are starting to offer VoIP calling plans; Microsoft and Yahoo are using the technology to power their instant-messaging programs; and Cisco Systems is selling hardware that allows businesses to convert their internal phone systems to VoIP.

What makes Skype so special? Well, it's free.

And unlike other VoIP offerings, Skype's software and audio connections are based entirely on the same peer-to-peer infrastructure that powers Kazaa. For example, if two users want to call each other, the call can be routed directly between their computers instead of having to pass through central servers. Peer-to-peer routing also frees the company from having to buy and maintain much equipment, because its system relies entirely on the computers of individual users.

Even Mr. Zennstrom, 37, and Mr. Friis, 27, say they are surprised by how fast Skype is catching on. Based in Stockholm, the company is controlled by a privately held holding company called Skyper Limited. It has spent no money on marketing the software.

The company does not earn any money right now, but is betting that consumers will eventually pay for premium services, like voice mail. This winter, Skype plans to introduce a feature that will enable users to call people on regular telephones - for a fee it says will be "substantially lower'' than current phone service. That means that Skype wouldn't just allow computer-savvy users to call one another; it would allow them to call anybody with regular phone service.

IN a recent report on the telecommunications industry, Daiwa Securities wrote that Skype "is something to be scared of, and is probably set to become the biggest story of the year'' in the telecom sector. "We think the Skype offering (and whatever may follow it) is akin to a giant meteor hurtling on a collision course toward Earth," the report said.

Other analysts are more skeptical. Eventually, they say, Skype's growth will depend on customers who do not understand peer-to-peer networking or have computer headsets. Moreover, the program works best over broadband connections, which just 16 percent of Americans have at home, according to a May report from the Pew Research Center.

"Will Skype be important and influential? It absolutely has the potential to be that and to drive regulatory debates and to be a financial disruption," said Blair Levin, a former chief of staff at the Federal Communications Commission who now works as a senior telecommunications analyst at Legg Mason. "But I don't think it's as scary to the phone companies as Napster and Kazaa were to the record companies." If the phone companies are scared, they're certainly not showing it. "Skype has a couple of challenges,'' said Vint Cerf, senior vice president of technology strategy at MCI. Most of all, he said, Skype "needs to deal with the fact that there are a lot of people who need to be reached who are not on the Internet.''

Skype, which has been around for only a month, doesn't dispute that. But the company says that enabling its users to call regular telephones is one of its chief priorities.

And even skeptics who do not think that Skype is much of a threat agree that the basic technology that drives it - VoIP - will lead to fundamental changes in the industry.

"VoIP is going to change everything," says Jeff Kagan, a telecommunications consultant based in Atlanta.

"The big telecom companies worry that VoIP could completely undermine their business within 12 months," says Berge Ayvazian, a senior research fellow at the Yankee Group.

With VoIP, when someone speaks into the telephone, or microphone, the sounds are broken down into ones and zeros, sorted into packets of information, and then shot across the worldwide network of fiber lines, just like e-mail messages. At the designated end points, the packets of binary code are reassembled and turned back into sounds. In the regular phone network, calls initially pass over less efficient copper wires and the phone companies must maintain dedicated connections between users, instead of just mixing the information in with the rest of the Internet.

The first VoIP companies were established in the mid-1990's, but they were plagued by confusing technology and connections that made users sound as though they were talking in caves, and with mouths full of cotton candy. Now, though, new engineering, faster connections and agreements on standards have solved many of those problems. All the interviews for this article were conducted either using Skype or an alternate VoIP service.

A few start-ups - most notably Vonage, based in Edison, N.J. - offer customers complete VoIP calling plans for a fee, using standard telephones connected to VoIP adapters. Vonage already has 55,000 subscribers and offers unlimited calls within the United States and Canada for $35 a month. The presidential campaign of Howard Dean has installed Vonage's system in several of its field offices.

THE major phone companies have responded with a two-pronged strategy. On the one hand, they are rapidly building the technology into their own offerings. MCI expects to have made a complete transition to VoIP by 2005. AT&T will offer a major digital voice service to businesses in 2004 and has begun a consumer pilot program, based mainly in New Jersey.

On the other hand, the regional Bell companies are arguing for new regulations that would tie up VoIP companies that let consumers make calls to customers on the regular phone network, as Skype hopes to do soon.

According to critics, VoIP companies receive an unfair advantage because the F.C.C. and state governments regulate them as information, not phone, companies because they rely completely on the Internet. That frees them from multiple tax and regulatory commitments, like directly paying into the federal "universal service fund" that subsidizes rural telephone access. Some state governments are considering that issue; in Minnesota last week, a federal judge overruled a decision by the state's Public Utilities Commission to force Vonage and other VoIP companies to submit to the state's traditional phone regulations. The F.C.C. and Congress will almost certainly take up the issue soon, too.

"When Congress looks at it, it will be an interesting collision of two mantras: One, you shouldn't regulate the Internet; and two, there should be regularity parity," says Representative Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the House telecommunications subcommittee.

UNLIKE their experience with Kazaa, Mr. Zennstrom and Mr. Friis said they did not see any fundamental problems on the legal front for Skype, a contention that major phone companies agree with. Skype's main use will almost certainly be social - making phone calls.

Ultimately, Mr. Zennstrom said, Skype will have to deal with regulations once the company allows users to call the existing public phone network. But he said he hoped that the Internet service providers that give subscribers access to Skype would end up paying the universal service fees.

For the most part, Mr. Zennstrom is taking the same position with Skype that he adopted with Kazaa. He says that the company is just providing software; that users can do with it what they want; and that there are too many potential legal issues internationally to worry about them all.

"We don't know if Skype will be banned in Bhutan," Mr. Zennstrom said. "The only thing that we know for sure is that we are providing something very competitive that is very good for the consumers using it. If a country were to ban it, that would be very bad for consumers there."

Skype also faces a potential standoff with the F.B.I. Because traffic over Skype is strongly encrypted and distributed over wide-ranging sources, it could hamper authorities' ability to wiretap.

Paul Bresson, an F.B.I. spokesman, said, "It is legal; it is a concern; and it is something that we are looking into."

For now, Mr. Zennstrom and Mr. Friis are charging ahead. "I am here to have fun and to have some challenges and try to achieve them and to make an impact,'' Mr. Zennstrom said. "Of course, I want to make money, too."

Does Mr. Zennstrom relish the idea of causing trouble for the telecom industry? He laughed, then said, "Yes, that's fun."
this has simply reached a new low - the depths of scumminess that the administration and the pentagon are going to now to try and put a positive "spin" on Iraq is disturbing at best, immoral at worst. that they are "spinning" an event in which more and more soldiers are dying every day... it makes me ill.

Newspapers sent same letter signed by different soldiers

Sunday, October 12, 2003

looking good in the preliminary BCS projections.

Road to the BCS
and it's done - we will continue to have BC road trips!!

Boston College must pay the price
Parrish to hospital after hit

Friday, October 10, 2003

Gobal Eye -- Red River
my favorite line from the story - "locals have been debating the artistic merit" of the butter-filled shoes. Guess the sun has gone down for the winter up there and they have nothing better to do?

Swedes Puzzled by Discovery of Butter-Filled Shoes
So, the doctoral student posts a paper that says defeating the encryption simply takes pushing on the "Shift" key. When the news first broke - the company said they weren't going to sue.

Now that this piddly little OTC company has lost $10mm in market cap - geez, what a surprise, they are pissed and have changed their minds.

I personally think that the real question is - why did they put out such a piece of shit product??

Princeton Student Sued Over Paper on CD Copying

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

now, if this would only result in faster speeds and lower prices...

Ruling Opens Cable Lines
thank god they went with the local cell phone standard. if the US coalition would have pushed through a US based standard that would be uncompatible as iraqi's travel outside the country - it would have been a moral, ethical, and PR disaster.

Iraq Awards Mobile Telephone Contracts
holy cow...

Jordan as a Laker? Jackson might make call
You must be registered to access this. Registration is free and the NY Times is one of the worlds best newspapers - so just do it.

The New York Times: Italy
The day I get my Tivo, I need this book!!!!!

Hacking TiVo

Monday, October 06, 2003

ahh, the soft and subtle smell of failure, how pleasant!!

American run TV in Iraq
This can't be good for either side. I think I am going to skip any trips to the Greek Olympics. Wonder what the odds are now on a serious terrorist incident over there?

2004 security at risk
yup - believe it.

Backfire Ignites Dog, Dog Sets Grass Fire
interesting investment strategy

most admired companies
Excellent article on iTunes vs. MusicMatch

Mac.Ars takes first-mover advantage (10/06/2003)
I just have one thing to ask - would the real Miami Hurricanes please stand up this Saturday??

message thread at re: Miami vs. FSU
FSU trying even harder to come into our backyard to get better

Organizing With Upgrades

Sunday, October 05, 2003

I am actually sad today as I have come to realize that I can place no faith - at all - in the people in Washington DC. I had, for whatever screwed up reason, kept in the back of my mind this thought that maybe they would be honorable at some level. Unfortunately, that hope, that belief, it's been totally shredded.

The first time around, it was the lies about the "yellow cake" uranium. They sent someone over to Africa to investigate. When he didn't bring back what they wanted to hear, they dismissed him and said the opposite. Then, when he said that they were lying, the White House (or someone it controls) exposed the name of both his CIA agent wife as well as the name of the front firm that she works for - possibly exposing a number of other agents as well.

So this time around, several groups started making estimates of how much oil revenue Iraq was going to be able to generate to offset the cost to the American taxpayer. We have been told all along that the Iraqi reconstruction would be virtually self-sustaining based on their oil revenues. Unfortunately, the White House HAD BEEN TOLD before this all started that it wouldn't work. The administration was given numbers - from multiple sources - saying that it simply wasn't going to happen. Now, several months down the road, these numbers are proving to be right.

This is my favorite quote - ""I think when it is all said and done," said Lawrence Di Rita, the Pentagon's chief spokesman, "prewar estimates that may be borne out in fact are likelier to be more lucky than smart." By this, does he mean that the people doing the estimates were stupid? And that's why the government didn't listen to them? Hmm, guess that would make sense, eh?

Report Offered Bleak Outlook About Iraq Oil

WASHINGTON, Oct. 4 — The Bush administration's optimistic statements earlier this year that Iraq's oil wealth, not American taxpayers, would cover most of the cost of rebuilding Iraq were at odds with a bleaker assessment of a government task force secretly established last fall to study Iraq's oil industry, according to public records and government officials.

The task force, which was based at the Pentagon as part of the planning for the war, produced a book-length report that described the Iraqi oil industry as so badly damaged by a decade of trade embargoes that its production capacity had fallen by more than 25 percent, panel members have said.

Despite those findings, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz told Congress during the war that "we are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon."

Moreover, Vice President Dick Cheney said in April, on the day Baghdad fell, that Iraq's oil production could hit 3 million barrels a day by the end of the year, even though the task force had determined that Iraq was generating less than 2.4 million barrels a day before the war.

Now, as the Bush administration requests $20.3 billion from Congress for reconstruction next year, the chief reasons cited for the high price tag are sabotage of oil equipment — and the poor state of oil infrastructure already documented by the task force.

"The problem is this," L. Paul Bremer III, the top civilian administrator in Iraq, asserted at a Senate hearing two weeks ago: "The oil infrastructure was severely run down over the last 20 years, and partly because of sanctions over the last decade."

Similarly, Bush administration officials announced earlier this year that Iraq's oil revenues would be $20 billion to $30 billion a year, which added to the impression that the aftermath of the war would place a minimal burden on the United States. Mr. Bremer now estimates that Iraq's total oil revenues from the last half of 2003 to 2005 will amount to $35 billion, running at a rate of about $14 billion a year.

The administration now plays down the report's findings.

Senior administration officials said that Mr. Cheney, Mr. Wolfowitz and Donald H. Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense, were aware of the oil group's overall mission, but that they could not say whether they knew of its specific findings.

"I think when it is all said and done," said Lawrence Di Rita, the Pentagon's chief spokesman, "prewar estimates that may be borne out in fact are likelier to be more lucky than smart."

Mr. Di Rita added that earlier estimates and statements by Mr. Wolfowitz and others "oozed with uncertainty."

Iraq's Most Valuable Asset

In the months leading up to the war, administration officials said little in public about oil, partly because they were "encumbered by fear" that their actions would be seen as helping the American petroleum industry, said one administration adviser. But behind the scenes, officials were studying how to handle Iraq's most valuable asset.

It was evident from much of the information they received that Iraq's oil was not a ready resource for reconstruction.

One expert consulted by the government, Amy Myers Jaffe, who heads the energy program at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston, said her group concluded in a report last December that "oil revenues would not be enough and that the expenses of reconstruction would be huge."

In addition, United Nations reports dating back to the late 1990's documented the deterioration that occurred in Iraq's oil system as a result of trade embargoes, which curtailed Iraq's access to technology and equipment.

The administration's examination of the subject began last September when Douglas J. Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy, asked an adviser to oversee plans for Iraq's oil industry in the event of war, according to a Pentagon official involved in the project.

The result was the Energy Infrastructure Planning Group, whose existence has not been previously disclosed. It drew on the expertise of government specialists including the Central Intelligence Agency and retired senior energy executives. It planned how to secure the oil industry during the war and, afterward, restoring it to its prewar capacity.

The task force's job was not to make a direct assessment of how much money the oil industry could contribute to rebuilding Iraq. But determining Iraq's actual oil production capacity was important. First, it could help other administration officials gauge how much revenue might be generated for the reconstruction effort. Second, the administration was concerned that it did not want to be seen as profiting from invading an oil-rich nation and giving oil production levels a boost.

The task force concluded that although Iraq's stated production capacity was just over 3 million barrels per day, the system was only producing 2.1 million to 2.4 million barrels, panel members said.

"I think most people would agree that the 2.4 was a little high and the average for 2002 was 2.1," said a Pentagon official on the task force who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The "condition of the Iraqi oil infrastructure was not particularly good," the official said. "That would be evident to anybody who realized the country had been under U.N. sanctions for many years."

The United Nations produced reports on Iraq regularly from 1998 to 2001. The documents painted a picture of a troubled system and cited the need for improvements, some of which are now being proposed by Mr. Bremer, like the $125 million repair of the Qarmat Ali water plant in the south.

In April, when Vice President Cheney was asked about Iraq's oil during an appearance before newspaper editors, he cited higher numbers rather than the task force's more sober findings.

While noting that Iraq's oil fields were in "bad shape," Mr. Cheney said, "With some investment we ought to be able to get production back up on the order of 2.5, 3 million barrels a day, within, hopefully by the end of the year."

An aide to the vice president said recently that those estimates were "consistent with prewar capacity," but could not say whether Mr. Cheney was aware of the task force's different assessment.

An Optimistic Vision

The administration was also optimistic when it came to public estimates of Iraq's oil revenues.

Shortly after the war began in March, the administration's budget office provided Congress and reporters with a background paper on Iraq. It said that Iraq would "not require sustained aid" because of its abundant resources, including oil and natural gas.

On March 27, Mr. Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, told the House Appropriations Committee that his "rough recollection" was that "The oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 billion and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years."

Testifying in the Senate that same day, Mr. Rumsfeld emphasized that "when it comes to reconstruction, before we turn to the American taxpayers we will turn first to the resources of the Iraqi government." He noted that the war's costs were not knowable, but he also said an important source of money for reconstruction would flow after the United States worked "with the Iraqi interim authority that will be established to tap Iraq's oil revenues."

At the outset of the war, the administration had asked Congress for $62 billion for Iraq, which included $1.7 billion for reconstruction and $489 million for oil-related repairs.

In a televised interview in late April, Andrew S. Natsios, head of the United States Agency for International Development, the group overseeing Iraq's reconstruction, said that amount was "it for the U.S." He said any other reconstruction money would come from elsewhere, including other countries and future "Iraqi oil revenues," which he predicted at "$20 billion a year."

In an interview this week, Mr. Natsios said he had based those comments on "the discussion in the interagency process at the time," adding, "That's what the Office of Management and Budget was telling us."

Trent Duffy, a budget office spokesman, said this week that "the administration was very clear that the $1.7 billion in initial reconstruction was for the beginning stages and that it was necessary to get a better understanding of the fuller, comprehensive needs going forward."

Last week, appearing again before the Senate committee, Mr. Rumsfeld said, "I don't think I did misjudge" Iraq's oil capacity. According to current projections, he said, the country's oil revenues will grow to $12 billion next year from $2 billion this year; they should reach $19 billion in 2005 and $20 billion in 2006.

"So, their oil revenues will be contributing," Mr. Rumsfeld said.

Yet Mr. Bremer, in his remarks to legislators two weeks ago, said that for the next two years, whatever revenue was reaped from oil production would not exceed the cost of Iraq's day-to-day operating expenses. In 2005, he said, there would be a surplus of only $4 million to $5 million.

As for Mr. Cheney's projection in April that oil would produce as much as $20 billion a year, a Cheney aide said last week that "there was much more extensive damage due to looting and sabotage, so we're not going to get there when the vice president anticipated."

Reassessing Revenues

The public revenue estimates made in the spring were in line with the very top range of projections made by the Pentagon task force.

According to the Pentagon official who served on the task force, its projections for yearly oil revenues were $25 billion to $30 billion "in the very best case, no sabotage and little or no battle damage," and about $16 billion in the "worse than best case."

The worst case was no revenue for a few years, if there was "major sabotage and some significant battle damage."

Last December the Baker Institute estimated that even if there was no war damage, "Iraq's total oil revenues would still only likely average around $10 billion to $12 billion annually."

Yet even after the war, some officials in Washington seemed to cling to an optimistic view of Iraq's oil production.

In July, Mr. Wolfowitz told a group of senators that production had reached "over a million barrels per day." Although Iraq was having electrical power problems, Mr. Wolfowitz said the oil was flowing "because we brought in portable generators to provide electricity" and planned to bring in more.

But Philip Carroll, a retired petroleum executive and the senior American oil adviser in Baghdad, said in an interview that Iraqi oil production "experienced a terrible month in July because electrical problems cut us back to half of what we should have produced." Those problems, including the need to import considerable fuel, he said, led him to arrange new generator leases in late July.

Mr. Carroll said that although gross production for the week of July 25 was a million barrels a day, 350,000 barrels had to be injected back into the ground, because of a lack of storage or distribution infrastructure.

An aide to Mr. Wolfowitz said he believed that the oil information came from a briefing and that Mr. Wolfowitz's testimony was "sober and nuanced."

Once the war ended, and United States officials gained access to Iraq's oil records, they got a more complete picture.

"When we actually got their production figures for 2002, we were able to make a distinction between productive capacity and what they were actually producing," said Gary Loew, an Army Corps of Engineers official, reducing their capacity figures by 20 to 25 percent.

That reduction roughly corresponded to the Pentagon task force's cuts before the war began.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

And Bush says that he was right after all becaue one vial of a common source of food poisoning is found in a refrigerator. I wonder what the difference is between and a weapons program??

Theories Abound for Failure to Find WMD
Rush, are you upset about getting dogged in the media? Come on buddy, can you push it but not take it??

Rush: 'Trust me'

Tiger gashes Siegfried's Roy
that delightful smell of irony is in the air!!

Telemarketing Execs On Do-Not-Call List
Thumbs up to those morally pure folks over at the White House that are pushing farther and farther, faster and faster, to prove that they have the common sense of a crack head child molester.

They get upset about something and decide - let's expose an undercover CIA agent and see what happens!! Good choice. I hope the bastards that did this go to a REAL prison and are Bubba's bitch by dinner time....

Leak of Agent's Name Causes Exposure of CIA Front Firm
Tiger has a monster day at the AmEx

Tiger opens five-shot lead at AmEx
Isn't it an oxymoron that someone that attempts suicide not once, but TWICE, in the past year is emotionally stable?? You have got to be freakin kidding me!!

Also - the budget for the DA to prosecute Kobe was already $2.1mm - and it's going up?!?! I would think that if your case was that good that you wouldn't NEED to spend that much money!

Bryant's accuser attempted suicide twice, but is emotionally stable
SSWEEETTTTTT - but where is TimeWarner?!?!

Cable Web Services Get Faster

Thursday, October 02, 2003

i wouldn't mind this at all!!

Big East awaits ACC decision on Boston College
Leading Cardinal Says Pope in 'Last Days'
Interesting part of this is that, in theory, any adult Roman Catholic can be elected pope, while for centuries it has only been a cardinal.

The great question is which will happen first:
1 - black pope from Africa
2 - Latin pope from South America
3 - Anglo pope from North America

The Papacy
Please remember reading this article the first time that one of the planes flying into or out of Iraq is shot down - and realize that it most likely could have been prevented if the President gave two shits...

Sept. 27, 2003 | Even as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made headlines this week by announcing that up to 20,000 fresh troops may be called to Iraq, President Bush and members of the congressional leadership were quietly abandoning a plan to protect troop-transport airliners from missile attack by terrorists or Saddam loyalists.

The measure, first advanced by the Pentagon, would have begun an ambitious program to equip the commercial airliners that are used for troop transport with advanced technology to protect them from the shoulder-fired missiles. Confused by disarray in the administration's plans to protect airliners from missile attack, the House of Representatives slashed the original $25 million request to $3 million. Congressional officials say the Bush administration did nothing to win approval of the full measure -- despite recent missile attacks on U.S. military craft flying near the Baghdad airport.

The outcome shocked many in the Defense Department and, critics said, it clearly could leave troops vulnerable. "I am appalled," said one Defense Department official who asked to remain anonymous. "We are setting ourselves up for a fall. We are paying lip-service to force protection and instead are digging a deeper hole in which to bury our head."

The $25 million measure was approved by the U.S. Senate, but slashed to $3 million in the powerful House Appropriations Committee, chaired by U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, a Florida Republican. The lower sum, part of the proposed $400 billion defense budget for 2004, was approved in negotiations between the two chambers and is all but certain to be in the budget sent for approval to the president.

No president in recent memory has been a fiercer ally of men and women in uniform. "We will not cut corners when it comes to the defense of our great land," Bush said last year. Even Ronald Reagan, one of the most forceful proponents of a strong military ever to inhabit the White House, never donned a flight suit and flew onto the deck of an aircraft carrier aboard a Navy plane. But this week, officials said, the Bush administration offered no support to protect the troop-transport planes.

"The administration never made the case for why it needed the money," said John Scofield, a spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee. "It was never clear what they were going to do with the money." An aide to a Republican senator, who asked to remain anonymous, said the full funding would have been approved if Bush had pressed for it. "If the president says that something is important, he will get the funding from this Congress," the aide said. "All he has to do is ask."

In a series of stories since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Salon has disclosed that the proliferation of shoulder-launched missiles has alarmed airline security officials and many congressional officials. The launchers are small, light and easy to hide, and they are known to be in the hands of al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations. Late last year, suspected al-Qaida terrorists fired on a charter jet filled with Israeli travelers at Mombassa, Kenya, but the missile narrowly missed its target. Top national security officials began meeting last year to assess and address the risk, and some have suggested it would cost around $15 billion to equip 5,000 U.S. jetliners with anti-missile technology. But to date, critics say, the federal government has done almost nothing to prepare for the possibility -- some call it a probability -- that terrorists will use shoulder-launched missiles against American commercial jetliners, either within or outside the United States.

Contrary to the images portrayed in movies, most combat troops and other military personnel do not cram into the back of military transport planes when deploying around the world. Like the rest of us, they usually fly in commercial jets both within the United States and abroad.

Through the Civilian Reserve Aviation Fleet program, the Defense Department contracts with commercial airlines to provide jets and air crews during times of crisis. In return for participating in the program, airlines are guaranteed peacetime business with the Defense Department. The reserve aviation fleet "forms the majority of the DoD's passenger airlift capability," according to Navy Capt. Stephen Honda, spokesman for the Pentagon unit responsible for airlifting military personnel and equipment. By some estimates, over 90 percent of the military personnel moved by the Defense Department are transported on aircraft operated by CRAF carriers. And like every other commercial airliner in this country, these airliners are completely unprotected from the threat from shoulder-fired missiles.

But military craft flying in and out of Baghdad have been targeted at least three times since May by anti-U.S. forces with shoulder-launched missiles. All of those aircraft likely had sophisticated anti-missile countermeasures, and all of the shots missed their targets. Still, the threat of shoulder-fired missiles remains so great in Iraq that the Baghdad airport has remained closed to all but essential military and aid aircraft. That is the risk facing the planes that would ferry up to 20,000 reserves and National Guard troops to the Iraqi capital if Rumsfeld goes ahead with the call-up.

Pentagon documents show that shoulder-fired missiles are the single greatest killer of military aircraft, accounting for well over 50 percent of all combat losses in recent decades. Additionally, Pentagon documents show that these missiles have successfully hit 41 civilian aircraft and destroyed at least 30 of these. In the process, about 1,000 passengers and crew have been lost. Air Force Gen. John W. Handy, head of the U.S. Transportation Command, recently said that the danger posed by shoulder-fired missiles "is perhaps the greatest threat that we face anywhere in the world, and the proliferation of MANPADS is well documented."

Some in Congress are deeply concerned about the elimination of funding to begin protecting the troop-transport aircraft. U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, a New York Democrat and outspoken proponent of federal spending to protect commercial jetliners, blasted the Bush administration in an interview this week for failing to take care of troop-transport planes. "Out of a $400 billion defense budget, $3 million is completely inadequate, particularly against thousands of shoulder-fired missiles in the hands of terrorists including al-Qaida," Israel said. "We have simply got to stop shortchanging this glaring threat to American airplanes."

According to Pentagon budget documents obtained by Salon, the missile defense program for aircraft in the military reserve program would have leapfrogged the lethargic anti-missile efforts currently gearing up at the Department of Homeland Security. In its first year, the Defense Department program would have measured the "heat signatures" of the commercial airliners used to transport troops, and then begun devising anti-missile measures to protect those planes. Measuring the heat signatures is a critical step, since shoulder-fired missiles are "heat seekers" and home in on the infrared radiation given off by aircraft. Currently, the DHS has no plans to conduct similar measurement efforts.

With $3 million, defense officials will be able to record those heat signatures, but little work on missile-jamming equipment will be possible unless money can be found elsewhere in the Pentagon budget.

Should terrorists begin targeting the troop-transport aircraft, there likely will be widespread political and economic effects. "The ability to rapidly deploy military force across the globe is a key element of American power and influence in the world and helps to create the stability and security that is the basis for investment and trade on which the prosperity of the U.S. and others depend," says James Bodner, former undersecretary of defense in the Clinton administration.

A research study currently underway at the RAND Institute estimates that the direct cost of one plane's being shot down - for the loss of life and the cost of the aircraft -- would be $1 billion. The ripple effect of such a loss would likely be enormous, as people reassess the wisdom of traveling by air.

The military has taken a multi-pronged approach to protecting its combat jets and the Air Force's large transport aircraft. It uses intelligence to uncover threats, conducts missions to capture shoulder-fired missiles from terrorists and other groups, and has installed sophisticated systems on its aircraft to jam attacking missiles and direct them away from the targeted aircraft. As a backup, since no electronic countermeasures system is 100 percent effective, the military also designs its aircraft to be able to withstand the detonation of a shoulder-fired missile warhead.

Shortly after the failed missile attack in Kenya last year, the administration formed an interagency task force to seek solutions to the shoulder-fired missile threat. Soon, however, that effort was being criticized for focusing on window-dressing solutions that cost little -- and provide little protection. Confronted by congressional pressure, the administration pledged to put together a plan for combating terrorist missile attacks.

In March, Transportation Security Administration head Adm. James Loy seemed to call for an expedited push to address the threat. Speaking to CBS News' "60 Minutes," he said, "I think the right thing for us to do is to continue the methodical study process that has been undertaken by the National Security Council, not with years of study to come but with weeks of study to come." Still, the administration failed to act. During congressional deliberations leading up to the vote to fund ongoing operations in Iraq, Congress ordered the Department of Homeland Security to come up with a plan to counter the threat from shoulder-fired missiles.

The department delivered a report in May that proposed spending $2 million this year to set up an administrative office to coordinate the anti-missile activities and up to $60 million next year. The White House, however, failed to seek any funding to implement the plan. Instead, the Department of Homeland Security began a much-hyped program that was supposed to have identified one or two promising technologies before the end of this month. Instead, the program petered out. In recent days a department official told Salon that the program "was never going to solve the problem [because] it lacked the necessary funding." Still, despite the department's dismal track record on this issue, the official insisted that a new Homeland Security program -- funded in the first year with $60 million that the Congress appropriated after the White House failed to request any funding at all to address the threat -- will begin the process of finding a solution. In early October, the Homeland Security officials will brief defense contractors on its goals and requirements for a missile countermeasures system for use on commercial airliners. But the program won't yield significant progress before 2006.

"We're heading out on a long, slow jog, when a faster pace is warranted," says Israel. "I am convinced that the threat of shoulder-fired missiles to our commercial airplanes is serious enough to merit significantly more energy and resources."

In the meantime, U.S. troops are being transported around the globe on aircraft that are unable to ward off a missile attack and have not been designed to take a missile hit. For the families of the troops about to be called up and sent to Iraq, this must be a chilling proposition.
Dartmouth Intros Wireless VoIP
Cisco's newest snack?
I sincerly hope that the US Government remembers that successful PR means actually doing something - not just blasting out the same message over and over again:

U.S. Must Counteract Image in Muslim World, Panel Says

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 — The United States must drastically increase and overhaul its public relations efforts to salvage its plummeting image among Muslims and Arabs abroad, a panel chosen by the Bush administration has found.

"Hostility toward America has reached shocking levels," the panel stated in its report, which will be released Wednesday. "What is required is not merely tactical adaptation but strategic, and radical, transformation."

The report added that "spin" and manipulative public relations "are not the answer," but that neither is avoiding the debate. A copy of the report was made available Tuesday to The New York Times.

The panel warned that the war in Iraq and the intensified conflict in the Middle East had increased anger at the United States, and that people throughout the world were ignorant of or misinformed about American policies.

"A process of unilateral disarmament in the weapons of advocacy over the last decade has contributed to widespread hostility toward Americans and left us vulnerable to lethal threats to our interests and our safety," said the panel, the United States Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy for the Arab and Muslim World.

Led by Edward P. Djerejian, an Arab specialist and former ambassador and White House spokesman, the panel spent several months surveying the American efforts to promote the United States' views to the world's 1.5 billion Muslims. Its 13 members, including academics, diplomats and writers, traveled to the Middle East, Asia and Europe.

The committee found that the State Department spent about $600 million last year on its programs to advocate American policies, and $540 million more for the Voice of America and other broadcast networks.

If the $100 million to expand economic aid in the Middle East is included, the report notes, the total is about three-tenths of a percent of the Defense Department budget.

Examining those figures, however, the panel found that only $150 million of the "public diplomacy" budget was spent in Muslim-majority countries, and most of that went to exchange programs, overhead and salaries. The government spent only $25 million on "outreach programs" in the entire Arab and Muslim world.

"To say that financial resources are inadequate to the task is a gross understatement," the report concludes.

Senior State Department officials said that they were very pleased with the report and that they hoped it would pave the way for increased financing for these activities.

The panel's recommendations — including the establishment of a special White House coordinator for public relations efforts abroad — come at a time when some American officials acknowledge that programs even in the last couple of years have been confused and fitful.

The Bush administration, for example, started a program called "shared values" last year, a series of television commercials showing that Muslims in the United States lead lives of dignity and equal rights. The advertisements were suspended after several Arab countries refused to show them.

Many in the administration were privately critical of the commercials, agreeing with Arab and Muslim spokesmen who said they were irrelevant to Muslim concerns about American policies toward Iraq and Israel.

The advisory panel said that it recognized that American policies might well be the root of the problem, but that Washington could do far more to present its side of the issues and rebut widespread misinformation among Muslims overseas.

In an interview, Mr. Djerejian, a former ambassador to Syria and Israel, pointed to the power of Arab satellite television, and the absence of American perspectives there. He said he was struck during a recent visit to Cairo when he saw a panel discussion on Al Arabiya television about the "Americanization" — a code word for corruption — of Islam.

"It was their version of our saying that extremists have hijacked Islam," he said. "But during that whole two-hour program, there wasn't one person who could in any way convey the American context."

Another panel delegate visited some of the worst slums in Casablanca, Morocco, Mr. Djerejian added. "She said it was your worst nightmare," he said of the delegate. "Those hovels all had no plumbing, but they all had satellite TV dishes. You know, Woody Allen said 90 percent of life is just showing up. In the Arab world, the United States just doesn't show up."

Mr. Djerejian said that compared with the early 1990's, spending on "public diplomacy" had dropped more than 30 percent in dollars, and probably closer to 50 percent in real terms. Compared with the high spending levels in the 1980's, at a peak in the cold war under President Ronald Reagan, the drop has been far sharper, he said. Mr. Djerejian was a deputy White House press secretary for foreign affairs from 1985 to 1986 in the Reagan administration.

The panel's recommendation may get traction, in the view of some of its officials, by invoking the crisis of the cold war. Its members and supporters note that the State Department has requested sharp increases in financing for its "public diplomacy" activities but has been rebuffed by President Bush's budget aides.

At the beginning of the cold war, the United States Information Agency was created to explain and promote American policies. The Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and other related entities were filled with programs and news reports.

There was no recommendation to revive the information agency itself, which was dismantled in 1999 and folded into the State Department. Rather, the panel recommended that steps be taken to coordinate public relations efforts with other agencies.

The advisory group's report, titled "Changing Minds, Winning Peace," was issued only four months after the panel was created in June 2003 at the request of Representative Frank R. Wolf, Republican of Virginia and chairman of a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.

Mr. Djerejian, director of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, said he tried to pick a bipartisan cross-section for members of the panel. Among them are Shibley Telhami, a scholar at the University of Maryland, and John Zogby, an expert on public opinion in the Arab world.

The group's major recommendations, besides creating a new White House director of public diplomacy, were to build libraries and information centers in the Muslim world, translate more Western books into Arabic, increase scholarships and visiting fellowships, upgrade the American Internet presence, and train more Arabists, Arab speakers and public relations specialists.

A photograph in the report, showing a picture of the Cairo opera house, said the structure had gained credit for the Japanese for its construction, while the United States got no credit for building the city's infrastructure. A new consulate in Istanbul, it said, "satisfies important security concerns" but looks like a "crusader's castle" atop a mountain.
wondering if services like this foretell the coming acceptance and explosive growth of VoIP in a similiar way that email started off as a kitchy side note and became the net's killer app....

Talking In The Free World
State keeping quiet on flaws in machines

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

he isn't entirely inaccurate in the review of our scoring this year.

Miami scoring
This falls under the heading of things that you can't make up!!

I think that my favorite line is "He added later that he made a major mistake in judgment."

School Apologizes for Nazi Display by Band

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

this isn't good...

Pope's Health 'In a Bad Way'
The next office that they have to check out is the new pseudo CIA that Rummy created when the others (NSA, CIA, etc.) wouldn't give him the answers he wanted regarding Iraq.

Congress Shuts Pentagon Unit Over Privacy

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 — A Pentagon office that became steeped in controversy over privacy issues and a market in terrorism futures was shut down by Congress today as the Senate passed and sent to President Bush a $368 billion military measure that eliminates money for it.

The Pentagon spending plan for 2004 adopted by the Senate says that the office, the Information Awareness Office, which had been headed by Adm. John M. Poindexter, should be "terminated immediately" while a few projects under its control could be shifted elsewhere within the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The House passed the measure on Wednesday.

"They turned the lights out on the programs Poindexter conceived," said Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, who led opposition to the office. "From a standpoint of civil liberties, this is a huge victory."

Congress first turned its attention to the operation headed by Admiral Poindexter, who had been a central figure in the Iran-contra scandal of the 1980's, because of the proposed Total Information Awareness program, a sweeping computer surveillance initiative developed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. Critics challenged the program as a potential invasion of privacy.

Pentagon officials renamed the effort the Terrorism Information Awareness program and said it would be devoted to analyzing foreign intelligence data. But the Senate still imposed restrictions on its operations.

Then, in July, Mr. Wyden and Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, disclosed that the Pentagon office was about to open an Internet trading market to test the theory that traders could help predict the probability of events like terror attacks, missile strikes and assassinations of foreign leaders. Outraged lawmakers called for the program to cease, and it was closed within a day.

The furor surrounding the terror market gave momentum to the effort to cut off money for the office entirely, and the legislative report accompanying the spending measure said Congress wanted it shut.

"This was a hugely unpopular program with a mission far outside what most Americans would consider acceptable in our democracy," said Timothy Edgar, a legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union office in Washington.

Admiral Poindexter resigned last month, though he defended the initiatives under his control and said the plan for a terror futures market had been sensationalized.

Mr. Wyden said the programs that survived were mainly training initiatives like war-gaming software that helped agencies analyze evidence and communicate with one another. The legislation said Congress allowed the use of "processing, analysis and collaboration tools" developed by the disbanded office for foreign intelligence operations, but it did not specify agencies that would be using it.
The joy of powerpoint!!

The Level of Discourse Continues to Slide

Is there anything so deadening to the soul as a PowerPoint presentation?

Critics have complained about the computerized slide shows, produced with the ubiquitous software from Microsoft, since the technology was first introduced 10 years ago. Last week, The New Yorker magazine included a cartoon showing a job interview in hell: "I need someone well versed in the art of torture," the interviewer says. "Do you know PowerPoint?"

Once upon a time, a party host could send dread through the room by saying, "Let me show you the slides from our trip!" Now, that dread has spread to every corner of the culture, with schoolchildren using the program to write book reports, and corporate managers blinking mindlessly at PowerPoint charts and bullet lists projected onto giant screens as a disembodied voice reads

• every

• word

• on

• every

• slide.

When the bullets are flying, no one is safe.

But there is a new crescendo of criticism that goes beyond the objection to PowerPoint's tendency to turn any information into a dull recitation of look-alike factoids. Based on nearly a decade of experience with the software and its effects, detractors argue that PowerPoint-muffled messages have real consequences, perhaps even of life or death.

Before the fatal end of the shuttle Columbia's mission last January, with the craft still orbiting the earth, NASA engineers used a PowerPoint presentation to describe their investigation into whether a piece of foam that struck the shuttle's wing during launching had caused serious damage. Edward Tufte, a Yale professor who is an influential expert on the presentation of visual information, published a critique of that presentation on the World Wide Web last March. A key slide, he said, was "a PowerPoint festival of bureaucratic hyper-rationalism."

Among other problems, Mr. Tufte said, a crucial piece of information — that the chunk of foam was hundreds of times larger than anything that had ever been tested — was relegated to the last point on the slide, squeezed into insignificance on a frame that suggested damage to the wing was minor.

The independent board that investigated the Columbia disaster devoted an entire page of its final report last month to Mr. Tufte's analysis. The board wrote that "it is easy to understand how a senior manager might read this PowerPoint slide and not realize that it addresses a life-threatening situation."

In fact, the board said: "During its investigation, the board was surprised to receive similar presentation slides from NASA officials in place of technical reports. The board views the endemic use of PowerPoint briefing slides instead of technical papers as an illustration of the problematic methods of technical communication at NASA."

The board echoed a message that Mr. Tufte and other critics have been trying to disseminate for years. "I would refer to it as a virus, rather than a narrative form," said Jamie McKenzie, an educational consultant. "It's done more damage to the culture."

These are strong words for a program that traces its pedagogical heritage to the blackboard or overhead projector. But the relentless and, some critics would say, lazy use of the program as a replacement for real discourse — as with the NASA case — continues to inspire attacks.

It has also become so much a part of our culture that, like Kleenex and Xerox, PowerPoint has become a generic term for any bullet-ridden presentation.

Dan Leach, Microsoft's chief product manager for the Office software, which includes PowerPoint, said that the package had 400 million users around the world, and that his customers loved PowerPoint. When early versions of Office for small business did not include PowerPoint, customers protested, he said, and new versions include it.

"We're proud of it," he said, pointing out that the product is simply a tool — "a blank for you to fill in" with ideas and information.

"I feel like the guy who makes canvas and the No. 2 green viridian paint," Mr. Leach said. "I'm being asked to comment on the art show."

His point is shared by plenty of people who say the criticism of PowerPoint is misdirected. "The tool doesn't tell you how to write," said Bill Atkinson, the creator of HyperCard, an earlier program considered by many to be the precursor to PowerPoint. "It just helps you express yourself," he said. "The more tools people have to choose from the better off we are."

It's likely, then, that PowerPoint is here to stay — everywhere. And not always for the worse. At the wedding reception of Lina Tilman and Anders Corr last year in New Haven, guests made two PowerPoint presentations. They were everything that slide shows usually are not: wry and heartfelt works that used the tired conventions of the form to poke fun at the world of presentations and celebrate the marriage.

NASA apparently still lacks a similar sense of irony. Earlier this month, the space agency held a three-day workshop in Houston to give reporters a firsthand view of its return-to-flight plans. Included in the handouts were dozens of PowerPoint slides.