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January 25th, 2004

My bout with stomach flu continues; after a morning respite, I am back up to 102 F again. Hopefully, I’ll whip this thing soon. In the meantime, I’ll try to blog a little from bed. My commentary on Bush’s state of the union speech will hopefully continue soon, when I have more energy.

In the meantime, a lot has been happening. Good news from Mars–Spirit is back on track for a recovery, and better yet, the second probe, Opportunity, has safely landed in Meridiani Planum, near the equator, and already is sending back tantalizing photos with quite interesting features (panorama, smaller shot, color image). As we saw with Spirit, the surface of Mars has an interesting reaction when disturbed. Here’s the main page. Enjoy!

On a sad not, Bob Keeshan, the longtime friend of children on the TV show Captain Kangaroo, has died at age 76. He was a friend of mine when I was young, too. Thanks for everything, Bob.

In less sympathetic news, Iraq arms inspector David Kay, apparently under pressure from the Republican party for having slipped and told the truth that there are no WMD’s in Iraq, is now claiming that it is pretty much certain that they were all moved to Syria before the U.S. took over. Um, yeah. Okay. Right. Whatever.

And Bill Gates is claiming that he has a plan to do away with all spam by 2006. Again, we at the BfAD (which is to say, me) look upon this with the same cynical eye as when Congress passed the anti-spam legislation a few months ago. I’m getting more spam than ever. And one should not that Gate’s claimed timeline almost matches up with the release of his new OS, Longhorn. PR stunt, anyone?

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  1. January 26th, 2004 at 09:12 | #1

    Again, we at the BfAD (which is to say, me) look upon this with the same cynical eye as when Congress passed the anti-spam legislation a few months ago.

    And me! hehe.. Really though, Gates imagines that spam will be stopped by a sort of e-stamp — in other words an identifier, no doubt tied to all sorts of personal information. Who will manage these stamps? Microsoft’s Passport service? No doubt they’ll try to tie stamps to credit cards or bank accounts (a field day for advertisers), and who exactly will spammers pay if they do in fact spam? Microsoft?

    As do you, Luis, I look upon this with a cynical and suspicious eye. Microsoft is selling the equivalent of the Brooklyn Bridge here. And even if it was implemented and worked, it wouldn’t stop the spam coming from Microsoft itself, and their advertising partners. I have a hotmail account I use for mailing lists, etc, and have so far been unsuccessful in blocking the “upgrade hotmail now!” emails they send, even though the filter is set on exclusive.

  2. January 26th, 2004 at 09:22 | #2

    Sorry for the clutter, but another comment seemed warranted…

    How can the tech world rely on Gates for predicting trends when it usually takes this form of something like “Microsoft will outpace Google in the search business”

    Nice to know you think so, Bill, but the only way Microsoft ever beats anyone at anything is by using its Windows monopoly to strangle them out of business.

    They really stink at accomplishing anything first. They’re like the Borg…they only know how to assimilate, not innovate.

  3. Luis
    January 26th, 2004 at 13:13 | #3

    No problem Justin. And they really will not outdo Google, they’re so far behind as it is. My stats tell me, for example, that I get more than 2,100 hits from Google, and over 560 from Yahoo. MSN comes in a distant third with 122.

    As you say, MS just assimilates–the only way they could outdo Google would be for them to buy Google. Or, more likely, use out-and-out scummy and illegal tactics to destroy them.

  4. January 26th, 2004 at 14:33 | #4

    Or, more likely, use out-and-out scummy and illegal tactics to destroy them.

    Yeah, this seems like the most likely option. It will probably follow the same pattern as the browser and media player — include it as “Windows search,” or something like that, make it the default web search, make it difficult (for the inexperienced user) to change and millions of people will never know Google exists.

    From what I’ve been able to draw out of conversations, most of my family is under the impression that the web comprises the entirety of the internet and Internet Explorer is the one and only way to access it. Oh, and Internet explorer *always* has MSN as the default homepage, and changes it back to MSN if you update I believe.

    Hope you’re feeling better soon =)

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