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The most useless software ever


NOTE: I'll be on vacation the week of Dec. 2, and I'm not taking a laptop. So look for Compendium to return, bright eyed and bushy tailed, if not outright tanned, rested and ready, on Dec. 11. In the meantime, to get your daily weirdness fix, check out Fark and Obscure Store.

OK, so obviously, I'm in a good mood this morning, what with getting ready for spending 8 days lying, sluglike, on a warm beach, only occasionally weakly raising my arm to request another drink. Hey, here's an idea! Why not fire up the PC and enter my mood into some tracking software? Like, say, Moodstats:

Moodstats is an application that allows you to quickly record & rate how your day has been in six different categories. You can also attach comments to these values to further illustrate why your moods are the way they are.

After you've entered at least three days of data into the program, moodstats springs into action and begins to generate multi-colored graphs & statistics showing you exactly how your moods have been over the last week, month, two months, six months or year.

But wait, it gets even better. Your data isn't stored locally - it gets zapped to a Moodstats server:

You can also pull down data from other moodstats users and compare yourself with the mood of your friends, lovers or complete strangers. It's a voyeur's dream come true! (Privacy freaks, however, will be happy to hear that you can choose exactly how much data you want to share with others).

Only $15.

Is Microsoft getting ready to squash PC vendors?

Dan Gillmor notes a quote from Redmond's Steve Ballmer about the new Xbox gaming console in a New York Times article:

"We know we have to succeed but there is a broader concept there that we will pursue at some point," Ballmer said. "You can say, is it the end of the road or is there a bigger play? And the answer is yeah, there's a bigger play we hope to get over time."

To which Gillmor adds:

Can anyone doubt that Microsoft intends to compete before much longer with the PC makers? The X-Box is clearly designed to be the hub of home information and entertainment systems -- including a server for other devices.

I give Dell and the other PC companies about five years of life before Microsoft squashes them like gnats.


11/29/01

Excite@Home: The Watergate of the New Economy?

Bankruptcy is rarely pretty. The impending collapse of broadband provider Excite@Home is the latest example. Lawsuits and recriminations abound as cable providers that had offered its services gear up their own broadband offerings. Dotcom Scoop casts a skeptical eye on some of those cable companies in an article with the above title:

By admitting to customers that they have secondary networks ready to provide service in case of a total shutdown of Excite@Home's service, AT&T and Cox have seemingly confirmed that they have breached contracts. ...

I think that AT&T, Comcast and Cox have conspired to doom the company in an effort to relieve themselves of further write downs associated with their investments and to acquire the @Home broadband customer base.

No more 3Com Park. Is CMGI Field next?

3Com has decided having its name on a sports stadium isn't such a good deal after all. The company has told the San Francisco 49ers it no longer wants to pay $900,000 a year to have its name plastered on what the oldtimers remember as Candlestick Park.


11/28/01

Are you an e-bore?

Take the test and find out (I scored 40%, so I think I'll take next week off to recuperate).

Do your friends nod off or walk away when you start talking about ASP, HTML or CPM? Is the local Starbucks still the only place you can properly brainstorm with your colleagues? Are you onto your 4th PDA?

If so, you might be suffering from e-bore Syndrome. But the only way to find out is to consult the e-consultancy e-bore-ometerTM.

Via /usr/bin/girl.

This site'll have you coming and going

If it was good enough for the ancient Greeks, it's good enough for you:

Boustrophedon is a reading- / writing- style that alternates direction every line. It was originally created by the ancient Greeks. Once one gets good at reading the 'backwards' text, reading (and writing) can go much faster, as the eye (or hand) does not have to whip back to the margin when the end of a line is reached. One simply goes down a line and continues in the opposite direction.

Yes, of course there is now free software to convert text documents to be read this way.

Via MetaFilter.


11/27/01

Entertainment Weekly's loss of innocence

You can only imagine the chagrin at Entertainment Weekly, where staffers waddled in from Thanksgiving to find their online "Entertainer of the Year" poll had been hijacked by pranksters (see below). Imagine, instead of pondering whether Madonna's "mad tour" made her more of an entertainer than Julia Roberts's "stellar year," people were voting for, oh, Ensign Wesley Crusher.

EW didn't take this lying down. Yesterday, it wiped out the vote tallies and re-started the poll. Then, when people continued to insist on voting for Wil Wheaton and others of his ilk, EW reacted even more sternly: It took away the ability to see the vote tallies. So come December, when the results are announced, will we really know who won?

Speaking of those pranksters, Sean Lough fills us in on some of the names that were in the lead over the weekend (see below for the list). The Steve Gibson getting all the votes was not the security gadfly but a guy who runs a gaming site called Shacknews. Zack "Geist Editor" Parsons is a contributor to Something Awful, as is Mos.

How many ways can you output "Hello World?"

At least 359 ways, according to this site, which has examples in 114 languages of the classic beginner's programming code.

Via MetaFilter.


11/26/01

Ensign Crusher as Entertainer of the Year

In 1998, People magazine made the mistake of holding a poll on its Web site for the 50 most beautiful people in show business. Naturally, Hank the Drunken Angry Dwarf, a (now deceased) regular on the Howard Stern show, won in an avalanche.

You'd think Entertainment Weekly might've learned something from this. But, nooooooo. It's currently running an "Entertainer of the Year" competition that lets users write in entries. Over the weekend, backers of Wil Wheaon, a.k.a. Wesley Crusher, a.k.a. the most hated dweeb ever in the history of Star Trek, began stuffing the ballot box.

But as of last night, they were no match for fans of Rich "Low Tax" Kyanka. Who he? He helps run a Web site called Something Awful, which exists mainly to insult other Web sites (and Scientologists and, well, pretty much everybody whose last name isn't Kyanka). The tally:

1. Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka (563591 votes)
2. Steve Gibson (154033 votes)
3. Zack "Geist Editor" Parsons (81296 votes)
4. Mos (81242 votes)
5. Wil Wheaton (56923 votes)

Gibson is the Gibson in Gibson Research Corp., which is forever finding out how hackers are getting into your computer. He's also the guy who said Windows XP will destroy the Internet.

Oh, for the old days

Dan Bricklin, father of VisiCalc and all that, recently visited Harvard, his alma mater:

I'm told they're debating whether or not to allow 802.11b into the classrooms. Quite a change from my day (22 years ago) when all we had were simple calculators and many students paid others to type papers for them. You could see that the regular laptop is an awkward form factor for many of these meetings. Here we have a whole generation ready for tablet PC's...

RELATED LINKS

And what cool stuff have you run across? Contact Fusion Executive Editor Adam Gaffin.

Compendium archive:

Week of 01/21/02
Tracking down a stolen Mac; Dead C Scrolls; Googlewhacking; How bad is it in the Valley?; Storage lessons from the Wayback Machine; The pub-seeking handheld; Internet gang wars; Outlook XP breaks MIME.

Week of 01/14/02
Why should iMac owners have all the eye candy?; Luxo Redux; So you think your job is bad; Google as a DNS replacement? Not so fast; Nokia exec cites stock plunge in speeding-fine appeal; The tragedy of the .coms; The Google parlor game; Some people *like* Steve the Dell Guy; Ban all Microsoft attachments?

Week of 01/07/02
Dot-com to bare all; iMac Dance; Wendy's remembers Dave; Search engine bites the dust; Wendy's Web site ignores Dave's death; Geek comic strip; Youngest security expert ever; Spam poetry; Confessions of a hacker; Breathless Apple; Dave Barry does Windows XP.

Week of 01/02/02
Dropping everything to vote; The best Apple rumors, ever; Guess Steve Case isn't getting into Harvard; Make your own O'Reilly cover; Boosting your wireless juice; Telnet lives!

Week of 12/03/01
This space intentionally left blank (vacation).

Week of 11/26/01
The most useless software ever; Is Microsoft getting ready to squash PC vendors?; Excite@Home: The Watergate of the New Economy?; No more 3Com Park. Is CMGI Field next?; Are you an e-bore?; This site'll have you coming and going; Entertainment Weekly's loss of innocence; Ensign Crusher as Entertainer of the Year; Oh, for the old days.

Week of 11/19/01
The Museum of Broken Packets; Just in time for Thanksgiving; Tourist Guy found; Why virtual offices suck; A domain ruling that sucks; Hacking the iPod.

Week of 11/12/01
Why you shouldn't ship computers via UPS; When .Net requires Java; High-tech grafitti artists; Spam from beyond the grave; New group tries to oversee the whole Internet; Paging Dick Tracy; Students use PDAs to cheat; Windaz for Aussies, Newfies; Another alternative to Passport; A virtual honeynet

Week of 11/05/01
Bill Gates: Father of open source; Verizon exec: Monopoly is good; Weird molecule names; E-mail: too much of a good thing?; A cluster of one; More woes for dot-bombers; Spam as weapon in the war on crime; Just when you think the Web can't get any better; Just when you think the Web can't get any worse; More proof I shouldn't be a wiseass; Using your Web logs to ID hacker attacks; Help save the FAQs; Who do you trust, baby?; Powerpuff Girls powerless against virus; Big IP pipe between US, Europe.

Week of 10/29/01
The profit of turning thugs into programmers; Work Name Generator; A programmer's lament; The world's best ATM; Are anti-spammers killing people?; Web services and storage; Get your Aerons here; Perl for the XXI-imum century; Microsoft's blocking of non-IE browsers.

Week of 10/22/01
Government info taken off the Web since 9/11; Beware hackers who talk too much; A contest you can enter sitting down; Now don't try this in the office; Bob Patterson must die; Finally, a useful 404 page; Tech calls from hell; Teletubbies XP; More XP fun; Anthrax and e-mail; Larry's ID card; World's longest gum-wrapper chain.

Week of 10/15/01
Let's drop PDAs on Afghanistan; Voice control? Try grunt control; Spam gets back to business; A content-management portal; Share your system tray with the world; Would you let the recording industry onto your network?; Al Queda's low-tech high tech; 9/11 archive; Shoe company gets open source after all; Pod people, coming soon to a cube near you.

Week of 10/08/01
Larry and Scott's dueling ID cards; Cringely: Broadband is dead; The dangers of Photoshop; The dangers of copy protection; Microsoft mining whois for telephone solicitations?; How to REALLY throw a LAN party; Good fences don't make good 'Net neighbors; How Google adapted to 9/11 news; Web services as over-hyped hooey; Why shoe guys shouldn't do open source; Online air hockey.

Week of 10/01/01
AT&T waives 9/11 wireless charges for some; Shifting gears; Craig Burton on the Novell/Microsoft suit; In search of the post-PC interface; Vibrating PDAs and wearable phones; Gary Condit's Web site; No, that isn't a real photo of a WTC tourist; How to throw a LAN party; How sucky is your intranet?

Week of 9/24/01
For grizzled 'Net veterans; UK ISP forced to pull deceptive ads; Pretty Good encryption controversy; Are you as smart as Miss America?; Really securing your computer; Still lots of insecure IIS servers; Kids, don't try this at home; Anthrax Kills; Larry's national database; Nimda hysteria?

Weeks of 9/10/01 - 9/17/01
Attack and post-attack items.

Week of 9/3/01
999,999,999 bottles of beer on the wall; Finally, a wind-up cell phone; Enough with the ringing!; The VoIP calculator; 802.11b insecurity; Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf explains IOS DHCP; Is ENUM the mark of the devil?; AOL gives user permanent demerit; The Ballmer music video; Cleveland news flash: Y2K was last year.

Week of 8/27/01
Re-routing around censorship; Us vs. them in scripting; The boss button; Fighting off the hackers for fun; Peer computing as a weapon of war; Unix poetry; The Windows Fatal Exception Decoder; New Fusion widget: Getting rid of spyware; The sound of 200 cell phones going off at once; Taleban Web site hacked; Hey, sysadmin, remember Sircam?

Week of 8/20/01
On the importance of flame wars; Bill Gates sees dead people?; A markup language for grunts and groans; Is Microsoft leaking those Ballmer dance videos?; Good Samaritan not so good?; Steve Ballmer works up a sweat; Open-source wireless cracking; When technology goes too far; Another dumb computer arrest?; Is Cisco Communist?

Week of 8/13/01
Moron marketers threaten 'Net users; Finding free wireless access; Complete wastes of time; OS holy war flares in North Carolina; Are programmers weird?; Somebody actually buys an X10 camera; We're number, uh, two!; Those after-hours computer discussions; An entire city running on Linux; Distributed spam fighter under development; Could a Warhol virus infect the entire 'Net in 15 minutes?; Tell AOL what to do with its CDs.

Week of 8/6/01
Fusion shatters a myth; Bridging .Net and Java?; AT&T Broadband cuts off non-IIS servers to fight Code Red; Bluetoothless; Tennessee town bites into Apple; And you thought TI-99/4A fans were over the edge; Biometrics coming to your local supermarket; Steve Ballmer a-hootin' and a-hollerin'; Speaking of Web images; Just how far PC prices have fallen; Does Starbucks' CEO get his own wireless strategy?

Note: Compendium's entire staff took the week of 7/30 off.

Week of 7/23/01
Crackers getting more sophisticated; Sex and Microsoft Office; The wonders of science, part MXXII; Finally, a useful virus; A shocking game controller; Big Ball of Mud school of programming; Two vitally important new resources; Adobe: Ooops; Eudora Welty, dead at 92; Centralizing Unix administration in Perl; Spellchecking the entire Web.

Week of 7/16/01
Worm turns on Microsoft Web servers; The day the ISP died; Cell-phone users have no shame; Even Internet consultants can screw up the 'Net; Symphony for Dot Matrix Printers; The ultimate cup of coffee; The solar-powered ISP; Everhost; Internet VCer: Oops; The Lego Palm and the pink fuzzy laptop; The Microsoft-English dictionary; Putting a loved one in the home.

Week of 7/9/01
Saving those all important VoIP calls; This site is a bright idea; Could wireless end messy divorces?; How much will that software really cost you?; Ghosts of failed dot-coms; The spy's guide to securing your Cisco routers; Oprah for Internet czarina?; What's Microsoft doing at an open-source conference?; Like a big pizza pi; Cyber-bullies; Better check your phone bill; Have some birthday pi.

Week of 7/2/01
How HP wastes energy to save energy; New toy for the bored and lonely; Weird programming languages; When sponsors are speakers; The case of the disturbing backwards monitor; Congress to ICANN: Drop dead; Yet another video game made into a movie; Smile, you're on Candid (Police) Camera; High-speed hotels; Network Solutions blocking name transfers?

Week of 6/25/01
One of the fathers of Usenet dead at 45; Are you ready for insta-spam?; Diary of a site collapse; Skirting the issue; Assimiliating the Web; Trolling for help; Software wars; Rating the rater; True tales from the help desk; How about spam embedded in your mail?

Week of 6/18/01
Unix diapers; A beautiful waste of time; A P2P taxonomy; This page is too stupid; Homeless dot-commer bogus?; Whee, Linux is fun!; Blue Screens everywhere; Forget viruses: This fungus eats CDs; Microsoft revises Smart Tags a bit; Homeless dot-commers.

Week of 6/11/01
Slashdot crashes the NSA; They may be Smart Tags, but they're not Original Tags; What open source and California wines have in common; Jakob Nielsen no tyro; How to make Windows 2000 really, really secure; Where the Internet begins; A useful computer bug; The clothes make the geek; The end of the Internet; Why PDF bites; Novel use of a wireless phone; Hidden info; When Web sites tell too much.

Week of 6/4/01
DSL modems are so '90s; Bye-bye Netscape; Get ready to upgrade those mail servers; The anti-.Net; The real reason to buy a Palm; Anatomy of a DDoS attack; Pain is good.


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