Monthly Archives: December, 2003

How to spot Arial

[Original Link] If you have some spare time over Christmas, you can impress your friends by learning how to distinguish that young upstart Arial from good-ol’ Helvetica.

How to win friends and influence people

[Original Link]

Darl McBride, the CEO of SCO, recently managed to turn his company into one of the most disliked in the high-tech world by saying to Linux users, in essence,
“You’ve infringed our copyright. We’re not going to show you how, but you have to pay us anyway”.

This would be completely idiotic if it weren’t the last struggles of a dying company sufficiently desperate to try anything. And the really tragic thing is what has happened to the SCO share price as a result of this tactic:

Perhaps realising that public relations disasters can still be be profitable, and that corporate image and customer satisfaction are much harder work than having a dodgy patent infringement claim, he has gone on in this open letter to spread evil rumours about how free software is anti-American:

“The 1976 Act grew out of Congressional recognition that the United States was rapidly lagging behind Japan and other countries in technology innovation….
Congress adopted the DMCA in recognition of the risk to the American economy that digital technology could easily be pirated and that without protection, American companies would unfairly lose technology advantages to companies in other countries through piracy, as had happened in the 1970’s…
However, there are a group of software developers in the United States, and other parts of the world, that do not believe in the approach to copyright protection mandated by Congress. In the past 20 years, the Free Software Foundation and others in the open source software movement have set out to actively and intentionally undermine the U.S. and European systems of copyrights and patents….
…do you support copyrights and ownership of intellectual property as envisioned by our elected officials in Congress and the European Union, or do you support “free” … intellectual property envisioned by the Free Software Foundation, Red Hat and others? There really is no middle ground. It is no understatement to say that the future of the global economy is in the balance.

Well, Mr McBride – there is a middle ground. We’re not going to show you how, but you’ll have to believe it anyway.

Update: Larry Lessig responds

Quote of the day

Very nice quote seen on somebody’s email signature:

“Never ask a man what computer he uses. If it’s a Mac, he’ll tell you.
If it’s not, why embarrass him?” – Tom Clancy


[Original Link]

Ever wondered how to pronounce a word? The American Heritage Dictionary at can speak the word for you.
this example and click on the little speaker icon.

Actually, it’s a good reference site in general – thesauri, quotations, encyclopedias…

Walkie-talkie telephonie

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I had seen the so-called ‘PTT’ phones (Push To Talk) in the US but hadn’t realised how they worked until reading this article by Ashley Norris. They’re a wonderful combination of past, present & future technologies – walkie-talkies, cell phones, instant messaging, IP telephony.

(I found this, along with many other good things in the past, on the Guardian’s which is maintained by Neil McIntosh. Recommended.)

The Guts of a New Machine

[Original Link] A rather nice NYT article on the design of the iPod.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser