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24 September 1999

From Russia, with ...

  • Russia works to avoid nuke misfire on Y2K [CNET]
    Moscow froze contacts on ... Y2K ... in late March over U.S.-led NATO bombing of Serbia, a Russian ally.

    U.S. officials are eager to get Moscow on board for fear that Y2K-related glitches could shut down or confuse Russia's own early warning system and somehow spark a preemptive Russian missile launch.

    Russia and the United States, each with about 2,500 nuclear-armed missiles poised for immediate firing, are alone among world powers able to trigger a nuclear holocaust on very short notice.

That was September 2. This is more recent:

  • U.S., Russia support joint warning center [FCW]
    U.S. and Russian Federation officials last week signed a statement supporting the creation of a joint warning center that would help avoid an accidental launch of nuclear weapons resulting from system malfunctions caused by Year 2000-related computer problems.

    "The greatest Y2K danger comes not from the threat of an accidental launch, but from the threat of Y2K glitches being misinterpreted by personnel on either side of the Atlantic," Bennett said. "The establishment of the Colorado Springs center is a well-written insurance policy against Y2K-induced conflict among the preeminent nuclear powers."

Hope everybody stays calm.


So, let's say I get myself a Wintel box. Or, more likely, Virtual PC 3, which is the same thing for my purposes. Let us further speculate that I need access to Microsoft Office apps such as Access & Excel.

I see that a couple of vendors are still selling Office 97 (surprisingly, to me). Given the fairly underwhelmed and in some cases downright negative reviews Office 2000 has received, should I:

  1. Buy Office 97 and give 2000 a pass?
  2. Buy Office 2000's license to be legal but install Office 97 instead? (assuming I can get access to the media somewhere) (which, to be honest, I can)
  3. Buy Office 2000, install it and just deal with it (Hail Microsoft)?

I'm inclined to do 'b', because I feel morally (if not strictly legally) in the clear about installing an older version if I have the license for a newer version (and if I haven't installed the newer version anywhere), and I know I can do what I need to with Office 97; why buy trouble and risk the bugs? Also, if I eventually do want to upgrade, I've bought the program already...

Agree? Disagree?


"Steve? Bill. Could you stop by my office when you get a chance?"

  • Market applauds Ballmer intervention [The Register]
    Microsoft president and ace publicist Steve Ballmer knocked five per cent of his own share price and made a substantial dent in the Dow Jones yesterday by describing the overvaluation of technology stocks as absurd.


Memo to Virginia: Sure, you've got some reasons you could claim the distinction, but you just disqualified yourself! It would have been fine to call yourself the Internet Capital if you hadn't substituted '@' for 'a' on the plate. Now you're going to have to be the 'Clueless Oh-so-clever Newbie Capital'.

Not to mention the proposed '.com' after the plate number. Why, that just screams "Ah's an Innernet DOOD. Duh-HAH!" Also, '.com' makes so much more sense to put on a state government artifact than '', doesn't it?

I know, how about putting periods between the plate numbers? 'HT.Y7.12' would be funny too, right? Right? How about some holograms that change when you view them from different angles? You know, like animated GIFs? Could they play sounds, too? And pretty please, can you make 'em turn blue when you crash?

Okay, I'm being overly snarky. They certainly would know if they were being tacky, wouldn't they, being the capital and all?

Genuflections to the Capital of Our Fair Global Network. Don't arrest me.


Copyrights...overemphasized?: I've heard a lot about this viewpoint in the last few months; here's a nice concise take on it:

  • Consumers being forgotten in the copyright debate by David Moschella [Computerworld]
    First, we need to dispense with the current propaganda that copyright owners are entitled to extract as much value as possible from their ideas. Instead, we should be asking: What is the minimum amount of protection required to ensure that creators have sufficient incentives? Those are two very different starting points.

    For most of the 19th century, America routinely ignored European copyrights, arguing that they were nothing more than a way to extract money from the developing world and that they significantly impeded the flow of societal knowledge.

    Were we right then, or now?

For instance, does Bil Keane need to shut down the Dysfunctional Family Circus in order for him to have an incentive to keep writing and drawing it? If not, how is the DFC violating the spirit of copyrights? Hmmmm.

RG: He told 'em they 'ad nice hair. They told 'im he wooz pretty old 'n' oogly fer a shremp.
Bear: Ouch. That'd do it, all right.
RG: Yeh -- boot a moonth?! Et bespeaks a salf-absorption that vuhges on the pathalogical.
-- Bear and Richard George (or is it Harrison Starkey?) in Cerebus: Guys by Dave Sim & Gerhard

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