I was reading the leaked memos from Microsoft and as I was reading the first few paragraphs, I could not stop thinking that nobody on their right mind writes internal company memos like this. Nobody puts this kind of history background.
Consider the recipients: "Executive Staff and Direct Reports; Distinguished Engineers".
I could not stop thinking that these memos were written to be leaked. They read like ads.
Update: Alex points out that Cringely made the same observation. The difference is his article is actually interesting. Here is a tidbit:
But I have to say that Gates or Ozzie or whoever actually wrote these documents has done a very effective job of differentiating the company roles in a way that makes Google appear to be the bad guy, and Microsoft appear to be the good guy. Google is going to develop and deploy Internet services while Microsoft is going to ENABLE the deployment of such services BY ITS DEVELOPER PARTNERS. This makes Google the would-be monopolist.
Looking deeper, though, we see that the only way Microsoft can achieve its vision is by continuing to own the platform. They want us to be GRATEFUL, in fact, that such an enlightened outfit is running the store. And this will work to an extent, but only to an extent. Then what happens? All hell breaks loose as Microsoft again changes the game. Here's how: read the rest
Posted on 11 Nov 2005
The Italian documentary about the use of chemical weapons in Fallujah can be downloaded here.
A guy which sounds pretty upset about it is here.
Robert Fisk described the use of Phosphorus bombs on the civilian population of Beirut, you can read a couple of pages with Google Print: here.
Update: A reader points that the official page for the RAI documentary contains more download options and formats. The page is here.
Posted on 11 Nov 2005
Jakub has done a screencast of the new tagging feature in F-Spot.
Posted on 11 Nov 2005
Nat recently implemented tag-typing for F-Spot, our new photo management software. For those of us with large picture collections this is probably one of the best interfaces for tagging.
Send copious amounts of email to Nat until he does a screencast of this new feature. You have to see it to appreciate it.
On the hacking side of things, the beauty of this patch is that it was coded in two afternoons after long busy work days for Nat.
Posted on 10 Nov 2005
The Washington Post yesterday ran an article that claims that the CIA has a network of secret prisons where they have been incarcerating suspects. The CIA denies such prisons exist:
The CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al Qaeda captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe, according to U.S. and foreign officials familiar with the arrangement.
The secret facility is part of a covert prison system set up by the CIA nearly four years ago that at various times has included sites in eight countries, including Thailand, Afghanistan and several democracies in Eastern Europe, as well as a small center at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, according to current and former intelligence officials and diplomats from three continents.
Mid-level and senior CIA officers began arguing two years ago that the system was unsustainable and diverted the agency from its unique espionage mission.
"We never sat down, as far as I know, and came up with a grand strategy," said one former senior intelligence officer who is familiar with the program but not the location of the prisons. "Everything was very reactive. That's how you get to a situation where you pick people up, send them into a netherworld and don't say, 'What are we going to do with them afterwards?' "
The plot line should be familiar to students of the Abu Ghraib atrocities. Interrogation tactics originally developed and/or authorized for use against "high value targets" at Guantanamo were exported first to the broader Gitmo population, and then to Iraq, where they were put into mass production by a group of half-trained or entirely untrained intelligence officers and MPs. The result was an entirely predictable moral and political disaster -- one which may have cost the United States whatever slim chance it had of establishing a popular, pro-Western government in Baghdad.
Likewise, the CIA's mini-archipelago seems to have grown like a poisonous weed in the absence of any coherent strategy for fighting Islamic terrorism, other than the initial impulse to hunt down the "evildoers." But now, like a dog who chases cars and actually catches one, the war cabinet faces the awkward question of what do with its secret prisoners and their secret prisons, even as the media finally starts to peel back the layers of secrecy. This story is going to cause something close to panic in more than one Eastern European capital, I suspect, and a relatively quick exit from that Soviet-era "compound." Where will the CIA take its human contraband now?
It seems to me that the Cheney administration has been trapped -- both by its ostentatious rejection of the "law enforcement" model of counterterrorism, and by its complete, willful failure to understand the limits of hard power and the steadily rising importance of soft power in a struggle that will last years, if not decades. Policies based on the adrenaline rush of war fever (circa 2002) were never likely to be sustainable. They also haven't brought us any closer to capturing Osama or prevented the transformation of Al Qaeda from an organization to a movement, one that is much more difficult to fight with dirty war tactics.
In other news, Mexico joined the International Criminal Court which upset a few people in the US:
Washington had warned Mexico that if it ratified the ICC and refused to sign an accord exempting U.S. nationals from the court's jurisdiction, it would cut 11.5 million dollars in funding from aid programs for fighting drug trafficking, according to human rights groups. The amount is equal to almost 40 percent of the economic aid Mexico receives from the United States.
Posted on 03 Nov 2005
Nat makes an observation about the Linux Desktop.
Posted on 02 Nov 2005
Imeem uses Mono on their servers and also they use it on their MacOS port to reuse the same codebase that they had on Windows. Like iFolder, they are creating a native Objective-C interface using Cocoa and communicating with Mono to call into the engine.
My understanding is that Imeem uses Mono's cryptographic codebase extensively.
Someone should do an interview with Dalton Caldwell founder and CEO of Imeem.
Posted on 31 Oct 2005
Michi Henning participates in a discussion at Steve Vinoski's blog.
Posted on 30 Oct 2005
AN INGENIOUS fraudster is believed to be sunning himself on a beach after persuading leading banks to pay him more than Euro 5 million (£3.5 million) in the belief that he was a secret service agent engaged in the fight against terrorist money-laundering.
The man, described by detectives as the greatest conman they had encountered, convinced one bank manager to leave him Euro 358,000 in the lavatories of a Parisian bar. "This man is going to become a hero if he isn’t caught quickly," an officer said. "The case is exceptional, perfectly unbelievable and surreal."
Posted on 28 Oct 2005
A few weeks back, when I was in LA I left the TV on as I read my email. I catched a stand up comedy show on HBO from a band called Flight of the Conchords on HBO's One Night Stand. You should watch it if you have a chance (it is available with cable on demand in a few places).
Posted on 26 Oct 2005