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Sunday, August 31, 2003

deashcroft scores in germany

my little political statement-that-hasn’t-really-caught-fire just made the blogiverse (and i don’t mean mine!)

it’s here, auf deutsch, even. danke, mein freund.

posted by roj at 10:33 pm  

Sunday, August 31, 2003

monetizing weather feeds

chris has rolled out the latest cool machine-readable syndicated data distribution widget, the rss weather feed.

now, this is all geeky and glorious in its own right, but what would the Business Model Of The Hour be without taking geeky things and turning them into crazy business schemes?

so, here’s the model for this hour. take this rss-weather feed and get everyone subscribed and using it. then slowly introduce minor errors – nobody will really notice, and nobody will blame the “syndicator” – after all, we all know that weather forcasts are.. well. imprecise.

then, you roll out the new subscription-fee-supported uberweatherfeed, which is more precise, because it blah blah… blahblahblah… blah. and thus, improves the accuracy of your individual weather feed. from there, you just back up the money truck…

posted by roj at 5:27 pm  

Saturday, August 30, 2003

patriot act summer tour

this speaks for itself (literally, it’s flash).

posted by roj at 10:15 am  

Friday, August 29, 2003

the deep blue beryl (revised)

the edmonton journal is reporting the potential discovery of a whole new kind of blue gemstone.

way way up in the yukon, and prompted by the re-discovery of a sample collected in the 70’s, the official press releases are at the true north gems website.

i do hope this turns out to be a new kind of stone. blue rocks are sexy.

[update: title changed to limit spam targeting]

posted by roj at 11:32 pm  

Friday, August 29, 2003

spammed product list

this may stretch the business-model-of-the-hour concept a bit far, but…

today’s idea is to compile a list of products advertised in spam, matched them to their corporate parents, and created a “spam-free” shopping engine. i’m pretty sure there are “cruelty-free” engines out there, and “green” engines, and such, so this may already be done, but if it is, i couldn’t find it fast enough to write this.

posted by roj at 8:29 pm  

Friday, August 29, 2003

the recurring geek paradigm

every geek knows best how something should be done.

posted by roj at 4:36 am  

Thursday, August 28, 2003

the patriot act has a website?

a law with an OFFICIAL, SANCTIONED website?

[i really should do more homework on these things, but i find a hook and hang myself on it – and i do it for you!]

not only is the department of justice [probably] spending tax dollars promoting the victory act (jail time for ashcroft?), they’ve built a whole web site to promote/support the usa patriot act. can anyone, anywhere, point me to a prior situation where a united states government executive department has created a website to support and defend an existing law or appopriation? is this unprecedented?

i don’t know if this falls into the realm of 18 U.S.C. §1913, since the patriot act is already passed, but it certainly doesn’t sit well with me. (and i haven’t done my homework to find out if there’s another law out there that might apply).

doesn’t ashcroft have a war on terror to win? and a war on drugs? and a war on naked statuary? and a war on crime? and a war on poverty? (ok, maybe that’s not his department). does he really have all this time to take off [unpaid, on leave, of course]?

posted by roj at 7:02 am  

Thursday, August 28, 2003

jail time for ashcroft?

so, attorney general john ashcroft is still in the full swing of his “charm offensive” and pushing for the “victory act” (that’s the “Vital Interdiction of Criminal Terrorist Organizations Act of 2003”) as a follow up to the usa patriot act (that’s the “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001”).

[i’m saying this a lot lately…] i’m no lawyer. but i did dig this up , and it says:

“No part of the money appropriated by any enactment of Congress shall, in the absence of express authorization by Congress, be used directly or indirectly to pay for any personal service, advertisement, telegram, telephone, letter, printed or written matter, or other device, intended or designed to influence in any manner a Member of Congress, to favor or oppose, by vote or otherwise, any legislation or appropriation by Congress, whether before or after the introduction of any bill or resolution proposing such legislation or appropriation; but this shall not prevent officers or employees of the United States or of its departments or agencies from communicating to Members of Congress on the request of any Member or to Congress, through the proper official channels, requests for legislation or appropriations which they deem necessary for the efficient conduct of the public business.

Whoever, being an officer or employee of the United States or of any department or agency thereof, violates or attempts to violate this section, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and after notice and hearing by the superior officer vested with the power of removing him, shall be removed from office or employment.

i read this this way:
if ashcroft is spending congressionally-appropriated money on his victory tour, like, for example, he’s still being paid and not on vacation leave without pay these three weeks – or if he’s using justice department stationary, we’ve met the first criterion. and if congress didn’t authorize this tour (and i’ve seen nothing to suggest that this is a congressionally-authorized trip, but i could be wrong), that’s #2. and finally, since he’s talking about specific legislation – that being the victory act – that would certainly meet the standard (in my mind, anyway), of intent to influence congress to favor legislation.

of course, my opinion isn’t worth much, since this is a violation of the criminal code of the united states, i think the attorney general would have to decide if this is a prosecutable offense. whoups.

posted by roj at 3:29 am  

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

tj knew

Thomas Jefferson, 1785, correspondence with John Adams

The superiority of chocolate, both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the same preference over tea and coffee in America which it has in Spain…

posted by roj at 9:23 pm  

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

getting back a secret?

today, i heard someone compare the decss legal mess on trade secrets to the formula for coke, which, of course, is a classic trade secret.

i’m paraphrasing here, but the statement was made that in the interest of business, and of consumers, who obviously want coke to be available, the formula must be protected. and even if someone were to “get the formula” that coke should have the ability to “get it back” to protect their secret, their business model and their consumers.

my question is (and this is a classic observation of knowledge and human nature), how, precisely, do you propose to “get back” a secret? disinformation? fud? neuralyzer? even hollywood was forced to bring in the “deneuralyzer” to make a sequel. it can’t be done. (and a quick tour of the web reveals that many, many people think they have the formula for coke).

now, there’s a lot to be said for coke keeping their formula secret, but that hasn’t (and shouldn’t) stop people from trying to “out-coke coke” – be it pepsi, new coke, or opencola. this is, after all, one of the ways that progress is made. (new coke, of course, is evidence that even with access to the trade secrets, you can screw up in dramatic form.)

posted by roj at 9:21 pm  
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