Critical Section


Tuesday,  05/27/03  09:19 PM

SARS Cases Per DaySARSWatch.org has a great new feature - a graph showing the number of new SARS cases each day.  This is probably the best metric for monitoring our progress.  The image at right is "live" to their site; refresh to get the latest version.  Clicking the image takes you to Disapoir.net who are providing the data.

SARS emoticonsSign of the times - SARS emoticons for the Chinese version of MS Messenger.  [ via Boing Boing ]  It is so amazing how this infection has just permeated society in China so quickly.  Boing Boing has been doing a series on "SARS digital folk art", and it is fascinating.  Check it out...

BusinessWeek has a special report: Five Hurdles for Biotech.  Hurdle #1 is Decode the Causes of Diseases.  Interesting reading...  { A big part of this is Pathology.  Hey, we ought to automate pathology! }

Interesting analysis on Wired: Let Someone Else Do It, about Sony's and Universal's decision to sell their Pressplay service to Roxio (acquirer of the Napster brand).  "We are in the content business. We don't have to own the highway necessarily unless it is strategic to do so."  This makes sense to me.  Apple has shown the way - there is a market for a well-designed online music store.  The problem Roxio will have is whether the store will have only Sony and Universal music, limiting its appeal.

In other online music news, Apple tunes iTunes.  Cory Doctorow is not amused.  Basically there is a new release which restricts iTunes file sharing to a local network.  This doesn't seem horrible to me, Cory.  True, it was a capability which has been taken away, but this was never the service's selling point.  By preventing this sort of file sharing Apple stays on the side of big music, and without those relationships and all that music, the iTunes store would lose its appeal.

And finally, Real is dropping MusicNet to promote Rhapsody, which it bought from Listen.com.  They also dropped their prices; burning a track now costs $.79.  Yippee, competition!  MusicNet was EMI, TimeWarner, and Bertlesmann's lame counterpoint to Pressplay; each of these services only had the half of the music the other did not.

Slashdot reports Kazaa is on track to become the most-downloaded program ever, surpassing ICQ.  It has been downloaded over 220M times - amazing!  CNet notes File Swapping Shifts Up a Gear, and discusses eDonkey and BitTorrent, two newer P2P file sharing services.  ZDNet reports ISPs reel from P2P bandwidth hogs, and estimates 60% of 'net traffic is file sharing.  That doesn't seem hard to believe.  Apparently the Matrix Reloaded is available online, less than two weeks after the film was released.

Scoble: "All of you who are asking 'Is IE dead?' are asking the wrong question."  So what's the right question?  I have no inside information, but let's consider.  If 'Is IE dead?' is the wrong question, that means the answer doesn't matter.  The answers could be "yes" and "no".  If "yes" doesn't matter, that means IE is no longer the way you surf the Internet.  If "no" doesn't matter, it means all the functionality of IE is available elsewhere.  These answers mean something is taking IE's place.  Perhaps MS went ahead and built IE into Longhorn?  But would that be different?  There is already an ActiveX control with IE's functionality which can be plugged into any application.  IE is already in the desktop (the under-used but reasonably cool "active desktop").  IE already has access to the .NET CLR.  IE can already run ActiveX controls.  One could imagine a little deeper integration - maybe a URL input line on the taskbar.  Maybe the entire OS GUI is really just a browser window, with all OS "views" being web pages.  Stay tuned.

[ Later: Scoble posts an update, but does not answer the question... ]

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