Monthly Archives: January, 2003

Axle of Evil

[Original Link] “…in an accident, you and your family are more likely to die if you are riding in an SUV rather than in a car…”

What’s good for General Motors is bad for America. [Thanks to John for the link]

Linux in Space

[Original Link] A little glamour for those who have been working on Mobile IP for so long! And great advertising for RedHat.

I’m starting to come up with new Star Trek movie plots.
“What is it, Uhura?”
“Well, Captain, I’m receiving reports that Earth has been targetted by a SQL Server-related virus, thought to be coming from somewhere near the Horsehead Nebula. They’re shutting down the terrestrial firewall, and all global critical systems are being rebooted. We’re going to lose all contact with Earth for the next 18 hours…”

Ireland to ban smoking in the workplace

[Original Link] Had to check my calendar to make sure it wasn’t April 1st.

A warning for the UK

[Original Link] Surveys in todays New York Times report that only a little over half of US students reckon that the loans they had to take out for their education were worth it.

“Indebtedness was becoming more and more of an issue,” said William Wright-Swadel, director of career services at Harvard. “We kept hearing, `I’m going to go work in industry for a few years, then I will return to what I care about.’ Frankly I’m not sure how many of them were able to make the return trip.”

Soon education will be the reward for those who have already had a successful career, rather than the means for achieving one.

As Linux Nips at Microsoft, Its Advocates Talk Numbers

[Original Link] The thrust of this article, despite the title, is that Linux is causing more problems for traditional Unix vendors at present than for Microsoft. Interestingly, however, the largest Unix vendor is now Apple, and is perhaps the only one winning converts from Linux.

Why the net won’t dampen record sales

[Original Link] Victor Keegan’s article compares music to water. Eh? Have a read… (Thanks to JenWeb for the link)

What’s the (Power)point?

A year ago I wrote about Tom Stewart’s old Fortune article “Friends don’t let their friends use PowerPoint” (now on the Business 2.0 site). John Naughton’s recent column has brought to light several other good commentaries on the phenomenon. In particular Julia Keller’s piece from the Chicago Tribune is highly recommended.

Get back in control

If I had to take away one thought form LinuxWorld this time, a common theme which occurred in several talks I attended, it would be this: Open Source software gives you back control over your business decisions.

With proprietary software, it is often somebody else who tells you when you need to upgrade your hardware, when you need to switch operating systems, when you must re-train your staff. If you have a network now which runs very happily on Windows 3.1, or NT 3.51, or even NT 4, you will not be able to keep it that way for long. What about Office 95? Try buying extra new licenses for these systems. Try getting support for software that runs on them.

With Linux & Open Source, you have no need to upgrade until you want to. If you have a very old system and the original suppliers won’t support it for you, you can maintain it yourself or pay somebody else to do so. The point is that the choice is yours.

SMTP made, well, complex

If you’re at all like me, you move regularly between mutiple different networks: home, office, dialup, wifi hotspots, hotels, and, just now, any of the 15 or so wifi links I can see on the exhibition floor at LinuxWorld. For web browsing and reading mail this is normally fine, but when it comes to sending mail you often have to switch SMTP servers for each network you connect to. (This is because most ISPs only provide SMTP to machines on their network, as a spam-reduction measure. Move to another service provider and your home SMTP server probably won’t want to talk to you.)

There are ways around this. If you’re lucky enough to have an email server that supports authentication it’ll probably let you connect from anywhere, but not many do, and not all email clients support it.

I’ve found a solution which works well for me. If you have a machine somewhere that you can connect to using SSH, you can arrange to forward a port on your local machine over that link to whatever SMTP server that remote machine uses. Then you just tell your mail client to use ‘localhost’ as the SMTP server, regardless of which network you’re on. If you’re not familiar with SSH the details are a little tricky to describe here – email me for more info – but on OS X I’ve found a neat little app called SSHTunnelManager which makes it trivial to make and break the link.


[Original Link] This is quite a good idea for a service. You register your past and present email addresses with them, and then when anybody goes to the site and types in one of your old addresses, you get notified and can choose whether or not they are given your new one. If it reaches a critical mass it will be very helpful, provided, of course, that they remain squeaky clean and are seen to be trustworthy.

If You Love Your Data, Set it Free

[Original Link] A highly abridged version of this article appeared in the IEE Review, Jan 2003. Unfortunately, as a result of the editorial process, significant typos and non-sequiturs were introduced, to the extent that I do not really wish to be associated with the published result. The original, however, makes much more sense and can be downloaded as a PDF here.

Lessig outvoted.

[Original Link] Bad news, this. A triumph of legal confusion and commercial influence over common sense.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser