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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 elite 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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