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Iraq: A Nation of “Goo-Goo“s? .
May 26th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Iraq: A Nation of “Goo-Goo“s?. The Iraqis don’t hate the occu­pa­tion for what it’s done, they hate the occu­pa­tion for what it hasn’t — pro­vid­ing good gov­ern­ment, free of cor­rup­tion and pet­ty humil­i­a­tions. [Back to Iraq 3.0]

The cor­rup­tion angle is some­thing I haven’t seen cov­ered much else­where.

Chalabi’s home and office raided by US troops.  Political figure or “mafya boss?”  After tens of millions in DoD funding, why is this so difficult to figure
May 24th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Chalabi’s home and office raid­ed by US troops.  Polit­i­cal fig­ure or “mafya boss?”  After tens of mil­lions in DoD fund­ing, why is this so dif­fi­cult to fig­ure out?  Update:  Andrew Cock­burn in Salon shows that Cha­l­abi was in the process of devel­op­ing non-state terrorist/criminal enter­prise bent on under­min­ing the pro­vi­sion­al gov­ern­ment.  Peo­ple don’t real­ize that you can make mega-bucks in a failed state.  It looks like Cha­l­abi respond­ed to the allure of that non-state entre­pre­neur­ial wealth.  As Chalabi’s old acquain­tance told me today, “I think the U.S. moved against him because they real­ized he is a gam­bler, ready to bring it all down.” [John Robb’s Weblog]

Of course he’s both, as are many polit­i­cal fig­ures.

&"> PM .  The US fatalities in Iraq are low because of one thing:  body armor .  Upwards of 80% of life threatening injuries are to the arms and legs.&
May 21st, 2004 by Ken Hagler

PM.  The US fatal­i­ties in Iraq are low because of one thing:  body armor.  Upwards of 80% of life threat­en­ing injuries are to the arms and legs.  The low KIA (killed in action) num­bers enabled by body armor con­ceal the lev­el of vio­lence in the coun­try.  Of course the élite guer­ril­las (the core fight­ers that have learned from the mis­takes of the can­non fod­der thrown at us over the last year) are start­ing to use body armor too. [John Robb’s Weblog]

The pic­ture is a good catch by John Robb. Who­ev­er wrote the cap­tion didn’t get the sig­nif­i­cance of the gueril­la wear­ing armor–or even that he’s wear­ing US mil­i­tary armor.

New Post to Global Guerrillas .
May 21st, 2004 by Ken Hagler

New Post to Glob­al Guer­ril­las. Home­made Microwave Weapons.  New forms of war­fare often require the devel­op­ment of new weapons (instead of the oth­er way around).  For glob­al guer­ril­las it will be direct­ed ener­gy weapons (par­tic­u­lar­ly microwave weapons) that destroy com­put­er­ized sys­tems.  These weapons are inex­pen­sive, (built with) com­mon equip­ment, pow­er­ful, non-lethal, fast, light-weight, easy to use, and quick­ly replen­ished.  With­in the con­text of glob­al guer­ril­la swarm­ing on infra­struc­ture, they are the per­fect weapon. [John Robb’s Weblog]

I note that this sort of weapon would also be very use­ful for ordi­nary, decent peo­ple try­ing to defend them­selves from some of the larg­er and more dan­ger­ous ter­ror­ist groups. In fact, I remem­ber read­ing a short sto­ry on a web­site some­where in which some­thing like this was done, but I can’t remem­ber the site.

AgroWaste Oil Plant Starts Production .
May 21st, 2004 by Ken Hagler

AgroWaste Oil Plant Starts Pro­duc­tion. An anony­mous read­er writes “Yahoo, and oth­ers has a sto­ry about the first Waste-to-Oil plant going online, and sell­ing the oil com­mer­cial­ly. Using TCP (Ther­mal … [Slash­dot]

I wrote about this about a year ago. So far it’s not pro­duc­ing very much, but then it’s only the begin­ning.

Moleskines .
May 19th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Moleskines.

Lots of Tinderbox users also like to keep a handy paper notebook. And their favorite notebook seems to be the Moleskine.
So, I spent yesterday working to learn about stationery, and shortly Eastgate will be selling Moleskine notebooks to go with your Tinderbox. [Mark Bernstein]

I'm constantly amazed by how many people who work with computers every day on the desktop still use old-fashioned paper for notetaking. This "Tinderbox" user would rather use a Newton.

Notes and Tips: Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X? .
May 19th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Notes and Tips: Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X?. Is switch­ing from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X worth $12,000? [Mac­In­Touch]

Not at all. How­ev­er, as my exist­ing Macs wear out, and it’s no longer pos­si­ble to buy a new com­put­er that will run the Mac OS, I could see being will­ing to spend $12,000 to switch from OS X to the Mac OS.

5 Million Skype Softphones? .
May 19th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

5 Mil­lion Skype Soft­phones?. I was doing a lit­tle Skyp­ing today try­ing to get a line on the impend­ing roll-out of the PSTN inter­con­nect which for all I know was announced at VON Cana­da today.

When­ev­er Skype launch­es their PSTN inter­con­nect which I assume will use a pre­paid card for­mat and pro­pri­etary inter­con­nect agree­ment (for they have no advan­tage going to SIP direct­ly) some­things will hap­pen…

Five Mil­lion Soft­phones will be launched. Has any­one else ever achieved that sort of num­ber? They are claim­ing 5 mil­lion reg­is­tered users now. If their inter­con­nect deal is sweet they will pro­vide some cents worth of free call­ing with each upgrade. Then Skype will infect many more house­holds. I’m call­ing you on Skype on my dime.… cost us noth­ing if you start Skyp­ing.…

Five Mil­lion peo­ple get their first PC soft­phones (most of these have nev­er seen one before, or com­plete­ly giv­en up on ear­li­er exam­ples). At least 10% will buy a $10 pre­paid card (say 500 min­utes any­where on earth) even if just for good­will and sup­port for Skype. If the ratio is right and they can pro­tect mul­ti­ple iden­ti­ties through the cred­it­card num­ber then a $.50 free offer will come with every PSTN soft­phone upgrade. Sweet­er would be options to incent Skypers to sign up new con­nec­tions. Pay­Pal did this at launch.

The Skype­Soft­phone will like­ly look noth­ing like the oth­er soft­phones out there. It’s name dri­ven. Sim­ply key the num­ber in and dial. Even if they add an addtion­al dialer tab, the mes­sage “click on the per­son” to dial will be clear.… nev­er enter a num­ber again.

bq. “Skype isn’t about mak­ing cheap­er phone calls it’s about com­mu­ni­cat­ing bet­ter. It’s much more con­ve­nient, has supe­ri­or voice qual­i­ty, instant mes­sag­ing and con­fer­ence call­ing.” Niklas Zennstrom Glo­betech­nol­o­gy

An that is poten­tial­ly where this strat­e­gy has the biggest prob­lem. Inter­con­nects will result in low­er sound qual­i­ty. The ques­tion thus remains will Skype’s sound qual­i­ty remain dis­tinc­tive enough in an inter­con­nect­ed world?

Final­ly the guess is that you will be able to dial out or bridge a non Skyper into a con­fer­ence call how­ev­er this inter­con­nect won’t allow inbound call­ing at this time. Nei­ther will you have any pres­ence infor­ma­tion for these out of net­work callers. That will only come lat­er if / when inte­grat­ed with SIP.

Time will tell if I am right.

On the com­pet­i­tive front Italk2U was relaunched in beta — lousy sound qual­i­ty does it get through all fire­walls now. Don’t both­er. Then today I saw Pee­rio which wasn’t down­load­able when I vis­it­ed. See Ted Sheldon’s com­ments re the open source aspects.

[Unbound Spi­ral]

I would cer­tain­ly pay for the $10 card he sug­gests. 500 min­utes would last for years, as rarely as I make phone calls.

Dave is releasing the Frontier VM as open source. .
May 18th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Dave is releas­ing the Fron­tier VM as open source.. Dave is releas­ing the Fron­tier VM as open source. “Prod­ucts that Mani­la and Radio com­pete with don’t have their own ker­nels, they build off devel­op­ment envi­ron­ments cre­at­ed by oth­ers. For exam­ple, Mov­able Type is writ­ten in Perl. Word­Press is PHP. Blog­ger is Java. UserLand’s prod­ucts are dif­fer­ent because they build on a pri­vate plat­form. For a long time we saw this as an advan­tage, the User­Land run­time is very rich and pow­er­ful, and offered per­for­mance ben­e­fits. … But expe­ri­ence in the mar­ket said that, to suc­ceed, User­Land didn’t need to own its ker­nel. In fact, that it was the only devel­op­er using this ker­nel may well have been a lia­bil­i­ty for User­Land.” My phi­los­o­phy is that you want to be on a plat­form that has a big ecosys­tem around it. The ecosys­tems can come from a com­mu­ni­ty (Python, Perl, PHP) or Big­Cos (Java, .NET). If you’re a Big­Co you can even build your own ecosys­tem, but if you’re small you can’t afford it. These days Fron­tier is way behind the oth­er VMs in per­for­mance, libraries, porta­bil­i­ty, etc. The ODB is great, but it has its prob­lems, like how putting code in the ODB kills inte­gra­tion with exter­nal ver­sion con­trol sys­tems. [Hack the Plan­et]

I’m afraid this is too lit­tle, too late. Fron­tier once had a thriv­ing com­mu­ni­ty around it, but this was pret­ty much killed off when Fron­tier 5 was released for a huge amount of mon­ey and miss­ing impor­tant capa­bil­i­ties of Fron­tier 4. I still have Fron­tier 4.2.3a on my machine, but all my pro­gram­ming these days is in Python.

Iraqi Governing Council President Killed .
May 17th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Iraqi Gov­ern­ing Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Killed. From the Wash­ing­ton Post:

bq. The pres­i­dent of the Iraqi Gov­ern­ing Coun­cil was killed ear­ly Mon­day in a huge explo­sion set off by a sui­cide bomber out­side the head­quar­ters of the U.S.-led occu­pa­tion author­i­ty here.

At least 10 Iraqis were killed and six were wound­ed, and two U.S. sol­diers were slight­ly injured, in a dev­as­tat­ing attack on Iraq

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