Who you gonna call? Ghostbloggers!

Doesn’t ghostblogging – hiring someone to write your blog – defeat the whole purpose of a blog – a hodge-podge of personal thoughts, nuggets of knowledge, opinions and musings?

Of course, the main issue is time. No one has time to write a dang diary.

A killer app would be a IP-enabled voice recorder that could convert speech into text and then publish into your blog. Or maybe an intelligent spider to pore over your Outlook calendar, vmail and email and formulate a witty entry du jour.

In any case, with the mainstream use of blogs, the usefulness of blogs will deteriorate. Investors will be peering at CEO’s blogs, CEO’s at underlings, adversaries at each other.

Ghostblogging is just the beginning. People are already being sued or fired for things they’ve written. How honest can you be?

I believe eventually, content in blogs will homogenize into emotionless corporate-approved boilerplate.

The night has a thousand eyes

Mozilla 1.3 introduced a nifty new Mail feature – a junk mail filter. But not just your run of the mill, “delete all emails with the word ‘sex’ in them” filter, a Bayesian spam filter. The first kicker is that it uses statistical analysis on words in the headers, body and HTML code of email, making it deadly accurate. The second kicker is that it can learn; You can teach Moz what is good and what is bad. The more spam you get, the smarter it gets (This is just one of a few Mozilla projects that involve machine learning algorithms, btw). This per-user customization is a Good Thing, because a doctor may get legitimate email with, say, the word “sex”in them. However, email that has the words “sex” and “webcam” and “girls”? Not so legitimate. Once they get going, Bayesian filters offer a near-100% detection rate, and most importantly, near-0% false positives.

That’s the only disadvantage. It was difficult, at first, to be certain that it was working. You have to teach it, remember? So, for several weeks, I would still get spam appearing in my inbox. Patience is a virtue here: 30-40 junk mails later, it’s finally picked up a full head of steam.

However, recently I’ve been getting email that has been successfully thwarting the filter once again. They are spam that only contain one or two words and a hyperlink. For example, “click here”. With so little words to work with, these emails have been slipping through the cracks.

But all is not lost! Such spam cannot be particularily profitable, since it lacks pizazz. In addition, the filter can adapt and start looking at emails with two word hyperlinks with more discretion. The filter can analyze message headers as well. Already I am seeing these emails being caught and tossed into the bit bucket. The battle continues on.

Spammers seem to think they are providing a public service, like snail junk mail. Not true. First of all, spam is often for offensive, illegal, even potentially dangerous products and services. Every spam that I receive also costs my service provider money and bandwidth. On the other hand, that Domino’s Pizza flyer I get in my mailbox is for a legitimate product, it didn’t cost me to receive it, and I get some good coupons to boot.

Netscape is dead, long live Mozilla

Netscape Then...

First, it was the maintenance workers taking the Netscape letters off the AOL-Netscape buildings in Mountain View. Then, a new jazzed-up Mozilla.org website announces that the Mozilla open-source code and developers will be spun off from AOL as the Mozilla Foundation.

Today, the shoe finally drops – AOL dissolves Netscape, the web’s first techno-pioneer, the creator of the modern WWW browser, the cradle of Silicon Valley’s first dotcom millionaires. All staff are laid off.

Seems AOL has got what it wanted from the big N – a bargaining chip in lawsuits against Microsoft to get a favourable deal on IE engine licensing with the AOL browser. Mission accomplished.

So AOL gives the Foundation $2 mill as severance pay, no hard feelings, and they are still free to use Mozilla open source for Compuserve or AOL for Mac. Except they don’t have to pay for development anymore.

Asa Dotzler is keeping pretty mum. Ben Goodger has (half-jokingly?) posted a PayPal fund toward the purchase of his new G35 coupe.

Car of the Future

They probably won’t fly, but they’ll have some neat toys on them.

The Volvo SCC concept vehicle has some smart ideas: adaptive headlights that narrow and swivel depending on if you’re turning, and how fast you’re going. An infrared eye scan that automatically adjusts the wheel and chair to your dimensions. And something I had proposed in Gr. 8, a rear-mounted camera view for when you’re backing up.

There have been other interesting ideas coming from other cars, such as alternative fuels (fuel cells, hybrids, hydrogen). Who wouldn’t want a multimedia-equipped, Bluetooth enabled car with electrorheological gel suspension?

Benz SLR ignition switch

But what is really cool is the ignition switch on the new Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. The shifter knob flips up, like a missile launcher switch, and you can start the car with your thumb.

In the D drive

Star Trek: Elite Force II

I liked this game. It was the best Trek game in what, six years?


  • interesting environments. As an old fan of TNG, it was pretty fun to walk around the Ent’s decks and Starfleet HQ.
  • nice detail. Generally everyone to talk to has something interesting to say. Funny conversations (like the plant fetish lady, the tribble smugglers, “Tholian figurines” etc.) ala NOLF
  • Trek lore. In-jokes about the Gorn, and TNG episodes like “Masks” and “Relics”. Anyone see the Enterprise NX-01 logo in the shuttle bay prep room?


  • Not very good AI. Bad guys are kinda dumb. Teammates never help you properly. Your teammates even crack jokes about you as a one-man team.
  • Didn’t like the “exomorph” plotline. Insect-like swarming aliens has been done to death. Fortunately we do get to shoot Romulans, Borg, etc.

In other news, Bill Cosby reveals he is black

Remember when every new version of Internet Explorer brought a slew of improvements and enhancements to the world wide web? No? Maybe that’s because Microsoft had stopped improving anything in the overall user experience of IE back in 1998 with IE 4.0, non-coincidentally the first IE to be surgically welded into the Windows operating system (in this case, Windows98). Microsoft claimed that Windows 98 heralded a new age of innovation on the Internet.

Obviously, this is not true. In a recent chat about IE in Windows Server 2003, MS admits that much by stating they are dropping support for the standalone version of Internet Explorer. The only way you will see a “new” IE is to go down to Best Buy and buy yourself the next new Windows OS. “Legacy OSes have reached their zenith with the addition of IE 6 SP1,” they claim.

Strategically, MS gains little for continuing to innovate IE and support it for “legacy OSs”. There is no real competition, every Windows PC gets shipped with IE au gratis, in your face on the quick launch bar and Start Menu. Financially, a standalone IE makes no money for MS – so why support it? IE probably just gets its budget from the Explorer component of Windows development.

Obviously, this goes against MS’s public statement that it stands for “innovation”, but this is no surprise. MS probably wouldn’t have supported IE6 this long if the security watchdogs weren’t watching them like hawks.

Now, IE brings value into several MS projects, such as MSN Explorer and Windows, so MS’s logical move is to focus on these things, and not IE itself, which makes no money by itself.

I first switched to Mozilla because I was sick and tired of MS. Now I use Mozilla because it’s just so much more flexible and innovative. I think Opera and Safari users would agree; MS stopped trying years ago. They are simply admitting the

In the D drive currently: Star Trek: Bridge Commander, Command and Conquer Generals.