Critical Section

Wednesday,  06/18/03  04:04 PM

It's all happening...

Old news, kind of, but Linus Torvalds is leaving Transmeta to work fulltime on the Linux kernel; the Open Source Development Lab will be funding him.  [ Later: apparently it is a leave of absence, not strictly a departure... ]

Speaking of Linuses, Linus Pauling's research notebooks are now available online, spanning 1922 - 1994.  Dr. Pauling was a true giant in science; not only a Nobel-prizewinning chemist but a thoughtful philosopher who guided scientific practice throughout the 20th century.  My father was privileged to work with him as a post-doc at Caltech, studying the structure of Vitamin C.Fossil PDA Watch

Nerd alert: The Fossil wristwatch is now available from Amazon.  This is the watch with a Palm pilot built in...

Tim Bray discovers that Nasdaq makes stock quotes available online via XML.  Pretty soon he's going to discover OFX, and then he'll start thinking about SSL encryption and authentication and stateful servers :)

Another Tim Bray note, from a historical series he's doing; On Search: The Users.  The two biggest lessons:

  1. Nobody uses "advanced" search.
  2. People only view one page of results.

These both feel right to me; although I sometimes use advanced search I dislike it, the syntax varies with every site, and you never quite know what to do.  I do often view more than one page of results, but just as often if I can't find what I'm looking for on the first page, I change the search string.

Boo hoo dept.; Wired reports MLB umpires are complaining about QuesTec, a camera-based system which tracks pitches and rates umpire calls.  Personally I think the subjectivity of calling balls and strikes is not part of the game's charm, especially since the zone as defined by the rules is quite different from the zone as defined by the average umpire.  (Umps typically give pitchers an extra ball width on either side of the plate, but take away the high strike.)

Pre-hype about the as-yet-to-be-released Handspring Treo 600 is overflowing.  TreoCentral has some good pictures and diagrams.  If you're a regular visitor you know how much I like my Treo 300, but the one drawback is its size; small for a PDA but still big for a 'phone.  Looks like maybe the Treo 600 solves that...

Graeme Foster has built PopHeadlines, an RSS->POP3 gateway.  This allows you to receive RSS feeds as email.  Similar in effect to NewsGator but done differently; NewsGator integrates into Outlook, whereas PopHeadlines pretends to be a mail server.  Interesting...

You heard about Orrin Hatch's comments, right?  He wants to develop technology that will destroy the computers of people running file sharing software.  "Mr Hatch said damaging computers 'may be the only way you can teach someone about copyright'."  This actually speaks for itself, but boy, is this stupid.  And I thought Orrin was a reasonable politician.

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