Now blogging at diego's weblog. See you over there!

google news

While I was traveling, Google launched Google News (I was far enough in another world that I didn't even find out until I came back). Now I found a couple of articles and comments, here, here and here.

As with any new technology there's been the usual profecies of "the Death of XXX" XXX being, in this case, News Editors.

How ridiculous. What caught my attention was that no one whatsoever was mentioning the fact that Google is pooling news from sites that have editors. In a sense they are simply choosing what editors are choosing, more or less. So how does this make editors obsolete? If you ask me, it makes them more necessary. But you can't stop the hype machine...

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on October 1, 2002 at 10:32 PM

Today I found this New Media/Arts community site: Still have to explore it more, but it looks interesting.

Categories: personal
Posted by diego on October 1, 2002 at 7:55 PM

more on patents

On my previous entry on the subject of patents, Chris pointed at two articles from The Economist (here and here). One of them I had seen before, one I hadn't. I also spent a bit of time reading other related material, and found two more articles from CNET that are the most relevant to the patent situation as it relates to the W3C (here and here).

It's still not clear to me what is the best solution. Patents are (supposedly) good for smaller companies, since they can be used to defend their property. However, smaller companies, by definition, won't have the resources to fight a long, drawn-out battle in the courts. In that sense the smaller companies might benefit more by making the idea public and becoming the main implementors. Because the idea is public, it will encourage other developers to do implementations and further the technology.


Categories: technology
Posted by diego on October 1, 2002 at 7:43 PM

blade desktops

A new trend: since PC makers can't seem to design a computer that can compete with Apple in terms of style, a new company has decided that people should just get rid of the boxes and put them in the back room. Probably useful in some environments (e.g., huge call centers, where your "desk" is shared with other people) but less so in offices where people consider the computer something that is part of their tools, and thus something they have to be able to see, touch, plug, unplug, modify, etc.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on October 1, 2002 at 1:55 PM

secular humanism

From an excellent Salon article on Salman Rushdie (with a related Interview):

Rushdie the cosmopolitan is a defender of an idea even less fashionable, at the moment, than moral relativism -- secular humanism. It's a cause some of our best thinkers, such as Hitchens and Martin Amis, are increasingly taking up. Though hardly politically expedient, the fight against religion's tyranny makes intellectual and emotional sense right now. It could even replace the struggle against first-world imperialism as the organizing principle of radical thought, encompassing as it does the fight against the lunatics of al-Qaida, the butchers in Gujarat, the hard-line settlers in the West Bank, the rapists in the Catholic Church, the bombers of abortion clinics and, of course, our own attorney general.

Amis said it best in a June essay for the Guardian: "Since it is no longer permissible to disparage any single faith or creed, let us start disparaging all of them. To be clear: an ideology is a belief system with an inadequate basis in reality; a religion is a belief system with no basis in reality whatever. Religious belief is without reason and without dignity, and its record is near-universally dreadful." Rushdie echoes this sentiment -- as he writes in an enraged reaction to the killings in Gujarat, "[I]n India, as elsewhere in our darkening world, religion is the poison in the blood ... What happened in India, happened in God's name. The problem's name is God."

But elsewhere Rushdie goes beyond mere denunciation, turning atheism into a celebration rather than a rejection. In a delightful 1997 letter to the newly born 6 billionth person in the world, he encourages us to join Voltaire's battle, "the revolution in which each of us could play our small, six-billionth part: once and for all we could refuse to allow priests, and the fictions on whose behalf they claim to speak, to be the policemen of our liberties and behavior." He ends hopefully, "Imagine there's no heaven, my dear Six Billionth, and at once the sky's the limit."

Right on!

Categories: personal
Posted by diego on October 1, 2002 at 1:51 PM

fraud in science

Remember cold fusion? An article from Salon (and a related op-ed from the New York Times) that describes the latest scam to make the rounds in the world of physics. This time, however, the fraud originated at Bell Labs, with papers published in the scientific journals Science and Nature among many others. Shows how broken the current system is.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on October 1, 2002 at 9:18 AM

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