Gator exec appointed to gov't privacy commitee

Adware maker joins federal privacy board | CNET News.com When I first saw this headline I thought it must have come from theOnion.com. Sadly, this is for real. The Department of Homeland Security is forming a privacy board and one of the appointees is D. Reed Freeman, vice president of Claria, formerly known as Gator. Unless you've been very careful you've probably had some of Gator's software installed on your computer without your permission. Once it's installed, their spyware serves ads and reports back to the company about what you're doing. That doesn't sound like the type of company that I want involved in forming privacy policy.

More cat pictures

There are some more pictures of Bearmicks in his gallery. He's done several interesting things, including watching the fish, sleeping, sleeping in Emma's bed, sleeping in my bed and sleeping in a drawer.

Ticket to Ride

Sara and I played Ticket to Ride last night and she beat me, 127-122. She did really well, especially for her first time. She built the longest route, going from Vancouver to Toronto by way of Santa Fe and Atlanta. She got all four of her high-point destination cards, while I had six lower point cards and missed one of them. Check the gallery for a picture of the gameboard.


another quote

Our democracy is but a name. We vote? What does that mean? It means that we choose between two bodies of real, though not avowed, autocrats. We choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledee . . .
You ask for votes for women. What good can votes do when ten-elevenths of the land of Great Britain belongs to 200,000 and only one-eleventh to the rest of the 40,000,000? Have your men with their millions of votes freed themselves from this injustice?
--Helen Keller, 1911 (A People's History of the United States, page 345.)

A quote

. . . this year is going to be a year of patriotism and devotion to country. I am glad to know that people in every part of the country mean to be devoted to one flag, the glorious Stars and Stripes; that the people of this country mean to maintain the financial honor of the country as sacredly as they maintain the honor of the flag. --William McKinley (People's History of the US p. 295)

Four ways in which my life is just like Pac-Man's

McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Four Ways in Which My Life Is Just Like Pac-Man's. by John Crownover

1. Ever-present wail of sirens
2. Relentlessly pursued by ghosts
3. Four special pills daily keep ghosts at bay
4. Occasionally eat some fruit

I'm so proud

My three year old daughter, Emma, is very particular about her radio habits in the car. Luckily, she does not make me listen to Radio Disney. Here are some of my favorite musical moments of the past week:

1. Emma saying, "Mom! (She is in the backseat of our SUV, a '95 Trooper which doesn't do much to reduce the wind noise outside--hence the exclamation point.) Play the 'Jitterbug' song! (This is what she calls 'Wake Me Up Before You Go Go', one of her favorite songs on my 80's mix.)

2. Much like number one: "Mom! (still noisy in the backseat) Now I want 'Radio Staw'. ('Video Killed the Radio Star').

3. After driving to work on Monday (which takes about one minute), Emma had an important question. "Mom, why did they say 'The Planet'? They are supposed to say 'The Buzz'. (I had turned the radio to a different station during commercials. Apparently she shares my affection for Lazlo.

I love that kid.

Firefox hits 25M, Bill Gates interview

25000000_firefox.pngLess than 100 days after the 1.0 release, Firefox has reached 25,000,000 downloads. Most of my readers have heard me talking about how great of a browser Firefox is and how much better it is than Microsoft Internet Explorer. But if you're a new reader, or you've never tried it before, then by all means, get Firefox.

Bill Gates sat down with Peter Jennings in an interview recently. Jennings brings up Firefox:

JENNINGS: I read an article coming up here on Firefox (Web browser) and its perceived ability to do this better than you. Is that fair?

GATES: Well, there's competition in every place that we're in. The browser space that we are in we have about 90 percent. Sure Firefox has come along and the press love the idea of that. Our commitment is to keep our browser that competes with Firefox to be the best browser — best in security, best in features. In fact, we just announced that we'll have a new version of the browser so we're innovating very rapidly there and it's our commitment to have the best.

The fact that Gates admits that Firefox is even worth being called a competitor is fairly impressive. I think their public strategy has been to write Firefox off. He uses a very Bushian style when he sort of dismisses Firefox's popularity and blames it on the press. Gates and Jennings go on to discuss open source software in general.

In other Firefox news, I've switched a few people over at the office, and my dad has started telling his coworkers about it, too. I'm just waiting for the day when computer manufacturers start preinstalling it.


News from the left

My dad feeds himself a steady diet of conservative talk radio. I keep telling him that he needs more balance, and he said I should send him some links. So I'm looking for some left-leaning news sources that don't go so far as to freak him out. He's used to liberals being the butt of jokes, and I want him to be able to take the left seriously, so extremists need not apply. If you have any links, post a comment or email me.

Learning Computer Basics

Today a co-worker told me she wanted to learn how to do more on her computer. She just learned about Google, which will help her find a lot of information. She's still afraid to mess with her computer much because she doesn't want to ruin it. So, I'm looking for some online tutorials that can give someone some basic skills to build on. I looked at About.com, which usually has good stuff, but I wasn't impressed. I looked through several directories at DMOZ.org and found a lot of crap, but not much that would be useful. I know that the internet is roughly 93% worthless junk, but there's also a lot of good, free information out there. If you know of any good tutorials on the basics of using a computer and the intetnet, let me know.

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