It's time for another round of Microsoft-bashing -- you know how much fun that is. It's been a bad...

It's time for another round of Microsoft-bashing -- you know how much fun that is. It's been a bad week for Bill, even if the only source of news you read is Slashdot. First comes the news that XP -- which, what with big brother-style product activation and that whole scary .NET idea already isn't too popular -- is also 11% slower than Windows 2000 -- at best. Having recently switched to Win2K from WinME, I have to say I've noticed the improvement, so I'm buggered if I'm slowing back down again just so that Microsoft can give away my credit card number. That being the second item -- apparently, the .NET Passport used by Hotmail has already been cracked. All you have to do is open a malicious e-mail sent to you in your hotmail account, and all your passport information -- including your credit card numbers, if you've entered them -- gets sent back to the hacker. Nice. So in case you were considering it, keep the hell away from .NET, and avoid Microsoft products if you possibly can.
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Worrying: Osama bin Laden makes a televised statement, and five major US networks agree not to...

Worrying: Osama bin Laden makes a televised statement, and five major US networks agree not to broadcast it because the White House says it could contain "anything from incitement to coded messages". Can you say state censorship? At the same time, they hit back with propaganda, dismissing the contents of the address. War is such shit, and it's increasingly clear that there is no obviously desirable outcome to this war. Depressing.
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Okay, so a few random funny things. Firstly, Office XP apparently no longer has clippy, that...

Okay, so a few random funny things. Firstly, Office XP apparently no longer has clippy, that ****ing paperclip. Hurrah. Even Microsoft is glad to see it go, and has made a number of flash movies and an absolutely apalling song to say so, all of which plug XP furiously. They're not very funny, but they were produced by marketing weenies, so I suppose they get points for effort. This was brought to my attention by J Littlewood's humour page, which is quite funny, also featuring the best way to get around a big company and get exercise at the same time. Which actually is funny.
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Wow, Ralph Nader has done something! In his first impingement on my consciousness since election,...

Wow, Ralph Nader has done something! In his first impingement on my consciousness since election, he has written a letter to the DOJ complaining about their completely wimpy settlement with Microsoft. It roasts them thoroughly -- as it deserves to, since the settlement is awful and has clauses that are specifically written to lock out open-source software from the Windows API because it doesn't have a "viable business model" (it doesn't have any business model, stupid!). Yay, Ralph! A really oh-wow article from the Guardian about Internet2 and Geant (the latter being the EU version, and faster since it was built later) including fun speculation about new uses of ridiculously high bandwidth. How long until Society of the Mind becomes reality? (Good book, by the way.) And finally, here's a girl who really should be a lesbian, if only because it would be such a waste otherwise.
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I had forgotten.

I had forgotten.
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An interesting argument and counter-argument about how computer security should work. One side...

An interesting argument and counter-argument about how computer security should work. One side argues that publishing information about security problems, including step-by-step code on how to exploit them, increases the number of attacks, although publicising the problem means that more users will hear about it and apply a patch when it becomes available. The other side says that keeping security flaws secret means that people find out by other means, but because the flaw isn't publicised, fewer people fix it, so you get a greater number of attacks but spread over a greater time. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I think both approaches are extreme. The vulnerability should certainly be publicised, but I think providing five-step guides to causing damage to systems are also a bad idea.
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All hail the cut-and-paste grafitti artists of this world. Also, nobby the northern dinosaur's 50...

All hail the cut-and-paste grafitti artists of this world. Also, nobby the northern dinosaur's 50 things wrong with the modern world is quite amusing, as is most of Martian FM.
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It's official, I love Beautiful Garbage. The first album was good, Version 2.0 was better, and this...

It's official, I love Beautiful Garbage. The first album was good, Version 2.0 was better, and this one is the best yet. The lyrics are great as usual, my favourite so far being the oh-very-me Androgyny. I just pray to god they play this song somewhere when I'm wearing my "Nobody Knows I'm a Lesbian" t-shirt. Perhaps I should bribe a DJ. Equally fantastic is Cherry Lips, the lyrics just make me laugh and wish I'd written them.
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Well, it's time for a bookmark dump. Things I've bookmarked recently but not mentioned here: A...

Well, it's time for a bookmark dump. Things I've bookmarked recently but not mentioned here: A pertinent chronological history of Afghanistan An explanation of how port forwarding works in Windows 2000 (useful if you're sharing Internet connections and one of you wants to run a server) The interesting fact that keyboard shortcuts are not quicker than using the mouse. They seem to, but never really do -- the explanation is interesting. SmartGroups is a free mailing list provider with an enormous number of features; quite cool. The World Flag Database came in handy when making a presentation the other day Rocksteady is a plugin for Winamp that keeps the volume level constant across multiple MP3s (which tend to vary widely in volume) Go on, Quiz your friends Or, alternately, gross them out. And I mean, really gross. Don't click that link, you have been warned. You can also enjoy the random but interesting delights of exploding dog. No, I don't know why it's called that either. Detonating canines are...
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Thanks to Simon Miles for this link to GagPipe -- why bother with one satirical website when you...

Thanks to Simon Miles for this link to GagPipe -- why bother with one satirical website when you can have them all? And also for helping decide my future career path :-)
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Scary chart of worldwide HIV/AIDS cases since 1980. Aaargh! It's World AIDS day on December 1st,...

Scary chart of worldwide HIV/AIDS cases since 1980. Aaargh! It's World AIDS day on December 1st, and there's no end of depressing statistics to go around, with lots relating to sub-Saharan Africa (28 million infected, 2.8 million will die this year). It's just stupid that an easily preventable, sexually transmitted disease can infect 6 people in every 1000 worldwide. Sigh.
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Think you know how big companies are? This list of who owns what will surprise you. Okay, so you...

Think you know how big companies are? This list of who owns what will surprise you. Okay, so you knew AOL Time Warner was big -- but that big? And can you name the company that owns more than 600 radio stations across the US?
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Perspective please, people. Okay, so one of the less-popular members of a pop group that split up...

Perspective please, people. Okay, so one of the less-popular members of a pop group that split up more than more than 20 years ago has died. But George Harrison's death should not be front page news! Not when there's a war going on, not when there's still an epidemic. This is what happens when news outlets begin to think the most important thing is their ratings, not telling the news. Not all news has to be of war and famine, but surely his death affects fewer people than most recent events? You could argue that people are interested, and that's what defines news, but the fact is that if news outlets didn't report it, most people wouldn't have cared. News outlets now create the news, and define what's important, because people can't be bothered to find the other sources or look for themselves. Which gives them the responsibility of maintaining a sense of perspective.
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