Monday Meanderings

Mmm. Twinkie.Back to the grind... tech news never sleeps. Celluloid was patented on this day in 1869. The first animated cartoon was patented in 1906. The first movie on an airplane was shown in 1925. Hostess Twinkies were invented in 1930 by bakery executive James Dewar. Post-It Notes are introduced in 1980. Windows 3.1 ships in 1992.

Kurt Cobain died 10 years ago today. Barry Bonds went long today to help the Giants win their season opener 5-4 in Houston - he's one home run behind Willie Mays.

It's Tomb Sweeping Day in Taiwan.

  1. Got 'im. A 33-year old Nigerian man was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment in Wales for perpetrating a so-called '419' scam. The scam begins with an email claiming to be from the son of a former Nigerian official and asking for help in laundering a large sum of money. Sound familiar?

  2. Sun and Microsoft have buried the hatchet, but it remains to be seen in whose back. Microsoft agreed to pay $1.95 billion to Sun: $700 million to resolve antitrust issues and $900 million to resolve patent issues, the remainder in royalties for the use of Sun's Java programming language. At the same time Sun announced that it was going to layoff 3,300 employees. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said, "Our companies will continue to compete hard, but this agreement creates a new basis for cooperation that will benefit the customers of both companies." Uh-oh. Doesn't look good for Sun.
  3. On the other hand, maybe Microsoft is learning something from Sun. The company released the source code for WiX, its XML-based Windows installer program to SourceForge today. According to The Register, this may not be an isolated incident.
  4. California assemblyman (and former child shrink) Leland Yee is proposing a state law that would prevent minors from buying violent first person shooters like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Postal 2. Oddly enough, Governor Schwarzenegger has no position on the law.
  5. It's official, the MSBlast worm did not contribute to the big blackout last August. A US and Canadian task force investigating the blackout released a report today blaming human error and computer failure. The task force said the blackout was preventable.
  6. What do you get when you combine 660 computers, a giant network switch, Knoppix Linux, and a college gymnasium? You get Flashmob 1, an attempt to crack the list of the 500 fastest computers in the world. The project, part of the University of San Francisco's "Do-it-yourself Supercomputers" course didn't make the list, but it did hit 180 gigaflops and taught the class a lot about building ad-hoc supercomputers. And it made my G5 a little misty eyed thinking about the good old days at Virginia Tech.
  7. Microsoft Office 2004 for Macintosh will ship next month. Sales of Office X have been trending up. The company said they'd sold more copies last year than when the software first shipped in 2001.
  8. iTunes DRM has been cracked. Playfair removes the copy protection from AAC songs purchased at the iTunes music store. It's a command line program that requires you have the rights to the song. I've tried it and it works swell.
  9. The founder of Ikea, Ingvar Kamprad, claims he has not surpassed Bill Gates as the world's richest man. A Swedish business magazine is set to publish the story next week that the 77-year old furniture mogul is worth $52.5 billion, considerably more than Gates measly $46.6 billion thanks to the strength of the kronor compared to the US dollar. Ikea says that even though the company is worth that much, Kamprad is not. Apparently it's much cause for debate during the long dark Swedish winters.

Listen in tomorrow at 6:45a for my weekly news commentary on KGO 810 AM in San Francisco.