Wednesday, March 29, 2006

On the Value of Web 2.0

I know, I know, Web 2.0 is a fad, a fraud, a fettish….how many more f-words can I string here.

Anyway, this is a nice entry on the topic which reflects what I am feeling about the trend. And the author has a good response to the Anti-Web 2.0 crowd.

Joshua Porter talks about listening to James Surowiecki’s talk on the Wisdom of Crowds and the most profound aspect of Web 2.0. It’s not about the technology, it’s about the social elements, the trends that people follow. Witness the explosive interest in blogging and podcasting, the MySpace thing and all those various new web toys we've grown to love.

Why have these things become so popular and will they endure?

Good questions.

Oh, and read the comments as well. I know who Huey Long was, do you?


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Laptops are Conspiring to Take Over the World

It’s true.

I just read an article in PC Magazine which confirms what I have suspected for some time. The laptops are talking to each other. What could they be saying, and, are they talking about me?

I’m not paranoid; I just read it in PC Magazine a qualified trade magazine read by geeks and technology cuckoos around the world.

The scoop is when a laptop with a wireless card installed cannot find a local wireless network to “talk” to, it apparently gets lonely and starts to send out laments to anyone who will listen. And if there is another laptop in the area, it will try to connect to it.

During recent travel, researcher Mark Loveless started poking into the reasons why a large number of laptops at any given airport were broadcasting common network names, or service set identifiers (SSIDs), such as "linksys" or "dlink." He gathered similar data on four flights. He found a significant portion of laptops are configured by default to seek out and connect to common SSIDs. If no such network is around, many computers create their own wireless network using one of those names. Without any sort of malicious intent, wireless laptops were connecting to each other, he found.

“…without malicious intent…” can we be sure?

Maybe they will get so lonely they’ll start to attack their owners like in the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. It’s just a matter of time.

Shhh, what’s that. It’s my laptop. It’s, it’s looking at me. The lights are blinking, it’s, it’s, it’s……aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagggggggggg.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Beware the Ides of March

Most people are getting tuned up to celebrate St. Paddy's Day on the 17th, but today is the Ides of March - so beware.

The term comes from the early Roman Calendar and the expression, "Beware the Ides of March" was supposedly said to Julius Caesar.

According to the About website:

The ominous warning, "Beware the Ides of March," originated with the Roman ruler, Julius Caesar, who was assassinated on the Ides of March - March 15, 44
B.C.E. If you've heard the ominous warning, then it's most likely due to William Shakespeare and his play, Julius Caesar.

The warning itself was made famous in Shakespeare's play on Julius Caesar, when an unidentified soothsayer tells Caesar, who is on his way to the Senate (and his death), "Beware the ides of March." Caesar replies, "He is a dreamer; let us leave him. Pass."



Sunday, March 12, 2006

I'm Losing My Memory

Well not in the neurological sense, thank goodness.

The HP Pavilion is sick and apparently getting sicker. It started a few weeks ago with an unusual boot error - "...Cannot find the hard drive..." but it was still there and working. F2 and we boot fine. Hmmm.

The Maxtor people say it's the computer - probably the BIOS. HP says it's not covered by warranty and probably a IDE cable. The PC Doctor in town thinks it was "flaky memory." The HD test that Maxor gave me says the hard drive is fine - how convenient. None of the Windows diagnostics find anything wrong with the hardware or software.

I think it's gremlins.

This happened almost exactly a year ago. I know because I was trying to do my income tax return when the whole thing got up and died. That time it was clearly the hard drive - a Seagate no less - and a few dollars later I was back up and reloading the multiple gigs of programs and files. Fortunately I had purchased an external hard drive and had all the "mission critical" stuff saved. Except of course the tax stuff so I spent some time recreating all that. Ugh.

So it's tax time and here we go again.

Tax gremlins.

The memtest that the doctor gave me turned up one error after 8 test cycles and nearly two hours of looking. According to the documentation, there is no proof this means I have bad memory. Thank God the memtest people don't make cancer detecting equipment.

Today, we had FTP problems that I think were probably Verizon's problem, but I did start to get some hard drive errors and suggestions to run chkdsk, which is what I'm doing now while I blog on the laptop. And, I am also multitasking by doing the laundry.

Ain't technology great?


Friday, March 10, 2006

I Hate The Cable Company

Ever since I met that company in Pennsylvania, the one that lost their founder Phil, I've hated them.

My first encounter was in Indiana, PA in 1994 when I tried to have cable installed in my new apartment. "No, we cannot come to install it..." the curt customer service rep said. In fact, they wanted me to drive 20 miles to their office to pick up the unit and drive 20 miles back to install it myself. And on top of that, they wanted an installation fee and a deposit. I don't remember the exact amounts, but it wasn't chump change.

After holding for the supervisor to get on the line, I succeeded in getting the installation done by them and not paying the deposit. But when I ended service and moved a year later, I still had to return the box and put up with the 40 mile round trip.

It seems the city of Indiana is a "college town" and they assumed I was just another college a*hole who would do it their way, pay up and not complain. Hey, I was born in Brooklyn, watch out, I know a rip off when I see one.

When I returned to my beloved Maine, I discovered the complete opposite in the local, family run State Cable right here in beautiful downtown Augusta. Four years later, my happiness was turned to pain when I learned that Adelphia - those cretins from PA - were taking over.

Umpteen fee increases, crappy quality and horrid customer service, I am now paying over $75 per month for the worst crap to travel our airwaves. I don't have the time to rant about the 200 channels I never look at, but my sentiments are reflected in an article I read today in the newspaper (yes, the newspaper which still costs only 60 cents).

Cable Firms Prefer One Choice - was published by the Free Market Project. I'm not sure about the FMP, they may be coo-coo's too, but at least I agree with Dan Gainor on this one.

Read it and weep.