28 May

Web Services, For Real


"A growing number of companies are taking advantage of Web services, and some early examples demonstrate the technology’s potential in real-world terms. Here are profiles of how five companies are putting Web services to work, what benefits they’re gaining–and what’s holding them back from doing more."

Update: I sent this link to someone I thought might be interested in it. It happens that she was just reading my blog at the very same time! Can we be the Borg, not know it, and still be happy?

28 May

Nick Denton, anti-American

Nick Denton:

"I don’t know what’s happening to me. I’ve always loved the US. The history, the Federalist Papers, science fiction, Hollywood, quirky independent movies, Central Park, bagels, the familiarity of the Upper West Side, the West Wing, the New York Times on a Sunday, New York, all the more after September 11th, drinking places without carpets, strange food and strange sex, landing men on the moon, digital technology, the nations come together, the scale, the presumption of liberty, the sense of possibility, the eager embrace of the future. […] I love it all, and not as a phenomenon to be observed from a distance, or contained within the USA. I want the whole planet, the whole solar system, the whole galaxy, to be full of bustling humanity, and if the price of that is a McDonalds on Pluto, I’ll close my eyes, think of a Tuscan trattoria, and order a Big Mac and fries. […] But here’s the confession: in the last few months, I’ve become one of those carping Europeans."

"[C]arping Europeans"! Nick has a knack for nicknames, and a talent for telling how we Americaphile Europeans feel about the US. We crave the Frontier Culture of the Land of Opportunity, yet we cringe when reality doesn’t match up to theory. Typically idealistically European, you might add. We want to embrace the ambitious yet pragmatic New World extropy, yet we have a hard time shaking off Old World stationary perfectionism.
We Europeans who love America, carry the rift between the two continents within us. We despise Bush for his tariffs on steel, and how they betray the "Promise of America", yet we find the demonstrators in Berlin or Paris misguided if not ridiculous. Like Moli

27 May

Our tax euros at work

CNet: EU probes Microsoft over privacy law:

"The European Union’s executive arm announced its investigation into Microsoft’s free .Net Passport service in a written response to a question from Erik Meijer, a Dutch member of the European Parliament. […] Meijer had raised questions about .Net Passport service, which is designed to collect personal information from Internet users via an e-mail address or other sites while they are engaged online in a purchase, a game or a bank transaction. He said that failure to register with .Net Passport results in exclusion from many sites’ services and that de-subscribing is not possible."

"[E]xclusion from many sites’ services" (emphasis is mine)? No fucking big deal! The very concept of online private property (and people might even have to pay for them?) seems foreign to this (socialist, what else) Euro MP. Of course the Commission is listening to him as a matter of "priority." More on this at The Register. I’m not defending Microsoft’s track record on pricacy, but this request is disingenuous at best.

26 May

What is metalinker?

"Metalinker takes a very simple approach – every time you put a link into your website, metalinker uses javascript to add a link to the page on blogdex that lists other people talking who have mentioned that link. And so with just a couple of mouse-clicks people reading your site can read a webful of opinion and debate…"

This script automates the "other linkers" links I manually add from time to time. However, Blogdex should be an API to make this application more compelling. The metalink wouldn’t appear if you’re the only one to have posted any given link (I hate links to emptiness), and the number of other referrals to that link (e.g. [3]) would be more useful than just a link to the list of other links (ain’t it getting too meta to make sense?)

25 May

Wireless LANs ‘critical’ for GM


"Viewing wireless LANs as a mission-critical infrastructure for its manufacturing operations, General Motors Corp. by year’s end will have installed them in all 25 of its North American assembly plants. GM will initially use the massive in-plant wireless LAN infrastructure to track materials and replenish parts at stations on its assembly lines. But once the wireless LANs are in place, according to Clif Triplett, global information officer for manufacturing and quality at GM, they can be used to support a wide range of other applications. Those include access to computer-aided design drawings and plant configuration information, which Triplett called a "virtual factory" database."