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News, Pointers & Commentary: August 1997
|29 August 1997|
Read This: When News Breaks by Brooke Shelby Biggs. It's an excellent introduction to the kind of fact-checking you can do on your own rather than passively accepting media reports. Highly recommended.
Woo hoo! I've broken past the 1000 mark in the RC5 Bovine Cracking Effort. I'm in the top 1000 out of about 10000 people or teams cooperating to crack a particular encrypted message (see the Bovine Project Headquarters site for details, or search for 'wustl' to find my current ranking). With the Macs at my disposal I've checked 1.8 TRILLION possible keys in the last 52 days, and I'm now running at a rate of over 700,000 keys being checked per second. Sure, there are people with many more computers and idle processing power at their disposal, but I with my lowly few Macs have broken the top 1000 ranks. I'm tickled by that.
The top team is also Mac-based...the email@example.com team is checking 449 billion keys per second, over twice the rate of their closest competitor.
See the RC5-Mac Headquarters site for news about this and many other mass-Macintosh parallel processing efforts.
If your Mac has processing time to spare (and especially if you leave it on all night anyway!), go to RC5-Mac, download the client and run it in the background; otherwise your computer's power is going to waste! Sign up under firstname.lastname@example.org or under your own e-mail address; you may find the key and win $1000!
|27 August 1997|
Finally, after what -- 9 months? -- Microsoft has posted a beta version of the Word 97 format translator for Macintosh versions of Word. Make sure you pay attention to the Known Issues part of the page. Hoo-ah.
Food for thought: Little Crashes Lead to Big Crashes, in Salon Magazine.
|21 August 1997|
A wonderful, funny take on the underlying principles of the computing world: The Tao of Programming. Sections 4.1, 5.2, 6.3 and 6.4 are my favorites.
|15 August 1997|
It's getting old saying this, but sorry for the general lack of new stuff here... it's crunch time for the beginning of the school year, and I haven't really had sufficient time to put down my thoughts on paper (so to speak).
And by the time I think I've settled on something to say, the headlines announce a new bizarre turn of events that changes everything. So here is notice that I'm going to spend my time for the next few weeks hammering away at my Olin workload rather than being a talkative opinionated observer. Come back in September and I promise more entertaining & informative material.
In the Meantime: A couple of handy sites to visit for a good time are Stating the Obvious (smart commentary on Net-related things) and the Onion (parody and satire, often in bad taste but hilarious even more often).
Log Analysis Can Be Fun: I've started actually getting a nontrivial (to me) number of hits to this page on a regular basis. It's fun looking through my custom-extracted logs and seeing what machines have been stopping by...I can often make good guesses as to who's stopping by just from their machine's host name. It feels a bit like Romper Room: I see Lilly from Purple Moon, and Eric from Deloitte & Touche, and Bruce from Concentric, and... :) Hi everybody!
|7 August 1997|
Quick notes: The Microsoft deal is good news largely because it proves to the people who haven't been paying attention that yes, Apple has a future.
The clone issue is likely to be resolved soon rationally from all reports.
Mac OS 8 has sold 1.2 million copies in its first two weeks, with no sign of slowing down. Excellent!
For frequent updates on Mac OS sales & other signs of life, I've been finding the Mac OS Rumors site to be particularly informative. Check it out.
|1 August 1997|
Suicidal Tendencies: This is just too bizarre to be believed, but it's appearing on several news sites so I have to consider the possibility that it's true. Apparently Apple's board is considering discontinuing the licensing of the Mac OS. This would mean no more clone makers, which would mean no more direct competition for Apple. Apple probably sees this as a good thing, but I thoroughly disagree, for a whole host of reasons that I don't have time to enumerate but I'm sure plenty of people will.
If Apple indeed goes through with this particular idiocy, I think it will be hard to ever come up with a better justification than that for ousting the entire board. Expect to see a user-community and stockholder revolt the second it becomes official.
Oh, hi, sorry I haven't been posting much, been busy with my job and seeing friends off. Probably going to stay busy for a while. Don't expect too many updates in August. See y'all.
(The consensus has been that Apple's biggest mistake was not licensing its OS sooner. Ceasing the licensing of it would leave that mistake in the DUST. It will convince me as nothing else has that Apple is intent on destroying itself. Pray someone grows a brain very quickly in the Apple board room.)