Paul Murray's weblog, with news you may have missed and my $0.02 worth on a number of topics.

"You can't make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it."
- Art Buchwald

I bet you don't have a friend who's an acupuncturist

E-mail me: pmurray [at]

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Wednesday, May 29, 2002
Behold the slow, ugly death of a once-great company. Some people think that Compaq will ruin Hewlett-Packard -- oops, I mean HP. (They changed their name to just the initials, a la "Kentucky Fried Chicken" to "KFC"; I'm sure the fact that the Hewlett and Packard families opposed the merger had nothing to do with the name change. Honest.) I think HP is already ruined. The old HP would never resort to sleazy marketing tricks like selling half-full inkjet cartridges as "economy cartridges."

On a side note... I've been insanely busy and distracted with things like the event depicted below. In case you're wondering, I'm fine.

Thursday, May 23, 2002
my car as of 5:15 todaySo how was your day?

Wednesday, May 22, 2002
The FUD factor. That would be fear, uncertainty and doubt, a strategy upon which Microsoft frequently relies. Now they're lobbying the Defense Department to avoid open-source software in favor of their products.
In what one military source called a "barrage" of contacts with officials at the Defense Information Systems Agency and the office of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld over the past few months, the company said "open source" software threatens security and its intellectual property.

Interesting. Do you think the MS lobbyists ever mentioned this to the Defense Department? (emphasis added)
A senior Microsoft Corp. executive told a federal court last week that sharing information with competitors could damage national security and even threaten the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan. He later acknowledged that some Microsoft code was so flawed it could not be safely disclosed.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002
Good news/bad news. A poll found that nearly 40% of AOL users plan to leave the service. As someone who appreciates the real Internet, I'm thrilled. As an AOL Time Warner stockholder, it scares me. Did people suddenly realize how much AOL sucks?
"We have done more than 100 surveys and reports since late 2000 and this survey has the most overwhelming, and negative, response to a company or technology we have ever seen," said Michael Shulman, director of research at ChangeWave, an investment and research firm whose clients include hedge funds.

Good news/??? news. The U.S. Copyright Office has decided not to implement the CARP recommendations on royality rates, which would have effectively killed Internet radio. The question is, what will they do? We'll know in 30 days.

Friday, May 17, 2002
Experience California. (via Flutterby)

Tuesday, May 14, 2002
Prof. George PickeringR.I.P. Former University of Detroit Mercy Prof. George Pickering (left), one of my favorite college professors, has died. He had retired only last month. Most of you never heard of him; those who did probably know him from his many years on "Ask the Professor," the school's syndicated radio program that I had the privilege of producing for a short time. But there was a lot more to him than that; read the obituary and you'll see. I want to write more about him, how I met him and so on, but it's late and I'm damned tired and I can't do him justice right now. I will come back to this, and I'll try to dig out some better pictures of him, too. Obits: Detroit Free Press | Detroit News

Thursday, May 09, 2002
Plant vines. presents The World's Ugliest Buildings. I'm no expert, but I can't disagree with any of their choices.

Wednesday, May 08, 2002
German military helmetDeutschland über America? "Germany under Kaiser Wilhelm had drawn up detailed plans in 1900 for an invasion of the United States centered on attacks on New York City and Boston, according to documents in a military archive published on Thursday." Wish I could find more about this.

The solution to all your information needs. You can download the Internet here.

And don't think that John Ashcroft won't enforce them. Inspired by recent statements from Turner Broadcasting CEO Jamie Kellner (see below), LawMeme presents the Top 10 New Copyright Crimes.
Your contract with the network when you get the show is you're going to watch the spots. Otherwise you couldn't get the show on an ad-supported basis. Any time you skip a commercial or watch the button you're actually stealing the programming....

I guess there's a certain amount of tolerance for going to the bathroom. But if you formalize it and you create a device that skips certain second increments, you've got that only for one reason, unless you go to the bathroom for 30 seconds. They've done that just to make it easy for someone to skip a commercial....

Big organization carelessly ships dangerous free gifts to new customers. Those greedy, uncaring, heartless, soulless corporations, at it again. Oh wait... this time it was Consumer Reports that did it.

Tuesday, May 07, 2002
The next best thing to a new Randy Newman album is a remastered and reissued one with previously unreleased tracks. Later this month, Rhino Records does that with Sail Away and Good Old Boys, plus the never-on-CD soundtrack for the 1981 movie Ragtime. These are the best nuggets from this Washington Post review of a Newman concert.

Monday, May 06, 2002
Vote the buggers out. It's that time of year when I'm getting lots of proxies. Among my guiding principles this year will be to vote against anyone who served on Enron's Board of Directors. Here's a handy list of them.

Deep Hype. I can't believe all the hype and poorly-reported news stories regarding Deep Throat (the Watergate source, not the movie) over the past few days. Somehow the fact that John Dean's upcoming article for Salon will be his opinion has gotten lost in the shuffle; local TV news reporters in particular seem to garble this as "John Dean will reveal Deep Throat's identity." But Dean can't "reveal" it because he doesn't know; he's just taking a new guess.

Slate's Timothy Noah points out that Dean has already guessed twice before (and suggests that Dean may be wrong this time too). Noah agrees with this May 1992 Atlantic article by James Mann that suspects W. Mark Felt, then the #3 man at the FBI. (Felt has denied it.) Noah's follow-up the next day adds some new circumstantial evidence.

What they don't brag about. Someone at TV Barn linked to this interesting article, which talks about all the things the TV networks are not bragging about during their self-congratulatory specials.

Sunday, May 05, 2002
My silence this weekend has had three causes:

1. No news to get incensed or overjoyed about.
2. Our Internet connection has been somewhat spotty (thank you, Comcast).
3. We've been having a new roof put on the house, and it's rather tough to think when three guys are pounding away only a few feet above or next to your head. They're done, thank goodness.

Friday, May 03, 2002
Big Brother is on your TV -- and I don't mean the program. Privacy advocates maintain that if data can be collected, there will eventually be a reason that it will be collected. So you could forgive them from being skeptical when Personal Video Recorder (PVR) companies said, "yes, we could track what you're doing with our equipment, but we won't." That time has arrived for ReplayTV 4000 users, but it's originating from an even more disturbing source: A federal magistrate has ordered SonicBlue to monitor what its ReplayTV 4000 users record, skip and send to others, and to turn that information over to film studios and TV networks that are suing it for copyright infringement.