Ken's Brain Drain
Monday, December 22, 2003
  Real Media alleges monopoly abuse
Yes, I know I sound like a broken record but this is an important issue that those concerned with protecting freedom and openness on the Internet need to be aware of.

From a statement by RealNetworks: "We're accusing Microsoft of engaging in a broad range of predatory practices to protect their operating system monopoly and to try to create a new monopoly in the digital media space," said David Stewart, deputy general counsel for RealNetworks, in an interview. Full story....

Combined with this information from the newly re-designed MSNBC website:

"To use MSNBC Video, your computer must have Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 or later on a Windows operating system," the site now says. "The Netscape internet browser is not sufficiently compatible with Windows Media Player 9 to play MSNBC Video content and no plug-in software is available. MSNBC video is unable to support the Macintosh or other operation systems." ref: MacMinute

It is apparent that Micro$oft is trying to control how you will receive your news, how you will view video and listen to music. Once they have control of the software, it is easy to see how they can control the commerce (where and how you purchase music and video) and even the content.

The Federal Courts let Microshorts off the hook with an Anti-Trust settlement that has no teeth, and M$ is taking full advantage of that. Support Alternative OS's and Software... it is important to our future as more of our information, news and entertainment is derived from computer driven sources!

Friday, December 19, 2003
  Farewell to a legend of the Internet
At the end of the year JenniCam will be shutting down. Those who haven't been long-time enthusiasts of the Internet probably cannot appreciate the impact of JenniCam on the history of the Internet. She is indeed a Legend. The first famous webcam was the 'FishCam', than there were others. The Webcam trend, as one might expect, became exploited for sexual purposes. But JenniCam was different. Jennifer Ringley created a visual live artform. This was LIFE ONLINE. Yeah... OK, once in a while you caught her nekkid... but 99 out of 100 times you would see her watching TV, chatting on the computer, eating take-out chinese, sitting around with friends... or mostly, nothing at all. Yet you were compelled to check in on Jenni, read her journal (the original Blog), find out what was going on in her life; her interests, lovers, jobs, apartments. I actually learned a lot from Jenni, much of which influenced this website. Some of the things I can thank Jenni for are:
-got a webcam going on my personal web site
-Blogger and this weblog
-a Photo Gallery
-an appreciation of Peter Gabriels music
-I have my own little life-online... though no one is really interested in an old man computer geek with no life.

Jenni-cam got an incredible amount of notoriety. There were articles in several major publications, webby awards, Internet conventions, interviews on radio and TV. It was an incredible ride. Jenni, you are a Legend.
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
  PowerPoint Makes You Dumb
How true...
Sunday, December 14, 2003
  A defining moment for Iraq
Fantastic, momentous news; The capture of Saddam. Truly a defining moment for our mission. Now, perhaps we will see celebration and appreciation by the Iraqi people for the US actions. I am anxious to see how this will change our mission. Will the US now wind down our presence and turn over security and government back to the Iraqi people? This should be the beginning of the END GAME for our mission in Iraq. (if it is not, it will be an indication of our real intentions are in the region). Congratulations to our troops and to the people of Iraq!

Of great interest will be to follow the blogs coming from Iraq
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
  Benjamin Franklin: Blogger
If Benjamin Franklin was alive today, he most certainly would be a Blogger. Just finished reading the autobiography of Franklin by Walter Isaacson. He was an amazing figure, and had all the makings of a true blogger. He was an opinionated individual with a penchant for publishing. His politics were firmly against the elite establishment. As a printer he believed strongly in a free press. He often wrote under anonymous names, was fond of publishing satire and hoaxes. His roots were that of a populist and a common man who was most proud of being an Artisan and a Printer (I can relate). His philosophy, writing style and politics were often snubbed by many as being common and lacking intellectualism. His biographer at one point even described Franklin as being 'Geeky' in his obsessive attention to detail in many of his writings, which could range from designing a ship's hull, to descriptions of how to reduce the odor of farts (really!). Check out this editorial, Apology For Printers. The writing style of a true Blogger... for sure.

While on the topic, I have to give credit to BF's other contributions to civilization. This was one great man.
Scientist and inventor- He was a practical scientist, not a great mathematician or theorist. Yet his scientific work with electricity was renowned and resulted in practical inventions that tamed the destructive force of lightning (lightning rods). He also invented bifocal lenses, and the Franklin Stove.
Philanthropist and Public Servant- Franklin started or contributed to many great civic institutions. He founded the University of Pennsylvania, hospitals, fire departments, libraries and post-offices. He served two terms as 'President' of Pennsylvania after being nominated by both political factions and nearly unanimously elected into that office. Franklin edited Jefferson's wording on the Declaration of Independence to read 'We hold these truths to be self-evident...', rather than the original text that had religious overtones. As a member of the Constitutional Congress, Franklin's compromise of two houses (senate with equal representation and House of Reps with varied representation based on population) broke a stalemate between large and small states that threatened to break up the convention.
Diplomat - Ben Franklin was among this countries greatest diplomats, negotiating the peace with England and treaties with France and Spain. He tried desperately to avoid war with England, by fighting for American self rule and independence from the British parliament while remaining loyal to the King. It was only after being publicly vilified by the British government as a traitor that he favored the revolution. He forged an alliance with France, without which we may have not won the Revolutionary War. As a diplomat he had the star-power of Henry Kissinger, and the admiration of leaders throughout the world. One of his famous quotes is 'there is no good war and no bad peace'.
Thoughts that flow through an ethernet cable connecting my brain to the World Wide Web.

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Name: Ken Laster
Location: Connecticut, United States

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