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Archive for May, 2007

Newspapers Go People Mining

Antennas and satellite dishes
Knowledge is power.

Over a year ago I expressed my concerns about newspapers that wish to know too much about us. I mentioned the New York Times, in particular for its required registration process. These concerns now seem justified.

Barely a year after their reporters won a Pulitzer prize for exposing data mining of ordinary citizens by a government spy agency, New York Times officials had some exciting news for stockholders last week: The Times company plans to do its own data mining of ordinary citizens, in the name of online profits…

DRM in the Kernel

Power Naps and Sleep

Here is some crazy little scientific development.

Scientists have found a way to turn on deep sleep using a machine that magnetically stimulates the brain.

Such a device worn on the head could in future squeeze the benefit of eight hours’ sleep into just two or three hours.

Some months ago I read about medication that has the same effect, but anyone brave enough to consider this probably just plays a role in some big experiment. With Second Life gaining traction and now this, the future could soon become bizarre. The press is getting filled with the negative effects of cutting-edge science such this on people’s lives.

Tux 500 — Help Support the Penguin

The Land We Once Had

Beach in Maui

Gloomy outlook (click to enlarge)

M ORE scary stuff from the ‘climate department’: on the face of it, throughout my lifetime, I shall see the Arctic sea ice thawing entirely, raising the global water levels in the process. The solution is not a simple one. Technology needs to be found which addresses the issue.

Space-earth elevators and pumping of water out of earth is of course a laughable idea. All we can do, other than control the temperatures somehow, is move soil from one place to another (e.g. higher mountains grafted) or simply accept the fact that our landscape gradually shrinks, leaving many cultures under water for good. This type of problem may become more serious than any political issue that we can think of, nuclear weapons aside. It doesn’t appear as though colonies on other planets are a possibility, not any time soon. Human civilisation could become the victim of its own selfish expansion.

Windows Vista Not Selling, So Microsoft Lies

What else would you expect from a company with such a shady track record?

Microsoft’s Record Quarter: Shareholders Paid for Most of the Upside Surprise

“Said another way, Microsoft achieved record breaking earnings during the Vista launch quarter by taking money out of its assets, not through amazing sales of Vista and Office.”

Guess what? Microsoft delivered headlines which attribute this ‘success’ to nothing but Office and Vista sales. On several occasions, Microsoft has refused to say how many units they actually sold. They seem to just be emptying their savings in order to create an illusion which they are comfortable with. According to the following, the company has lost over half of its cash reserves in just two years, but it is all happening very quietly.

Software Notebook: Microsoft’s cash pile isn’t what it used to be

But Microsoft has taken a series of steps to reduce its cash balance. Specifically, by Microsoft’s count, the company has paid out nearly $100 billion through dividends and repurchasing its own stock in the past five years.

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