TechnoMagician's Weblog
(aka Tim Aiello)
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic - Arthur C. Clarke.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2003
Apparatus Of Lies

A pretty decent write-up on IRAQI propaganda appropriately named Saddam's Apparatus Of Lies (pdf document). Found this while looking up what WMD IRAQ previously admitted to having but conveniently have misplaced or cannot provide any proof whatsoever of their destruction.

I was also searching for a list of UN resolutions on IRAQ and found this excellent list. I'm also very tired as Juan Paxety pointed out that this latest resolution on IRAQ being put forth is the 18th or 19th not the 2nd or 3rd or 4th or 5th. What good are these resolutions if there are no consequence to ignoring them like IRAQ has for the most part.

12:37:44 PM    

Monday, February 24, 2003
Why Saddam Will Never Disarm
A good article on why Saddam will never disarm.
9:08:09 PM    

Sunday, February 23, 2003
Network Solutions Dirty Tactics

Network Solutions/Verisign have done it again. I thought one week was enough time to transfer a domain to a new registrar as is my practice with every domain I have that comes up for renewal with NetShits. At least 5 others have transferred smoothly in a few days with no glitches. This time, I suspect they figured they were jerk me around until the domain became expired and therefore the only recourse I would have is to renew with NetShits. That seems to be their tactic for keeping customers.

Here is roughly how things went:

  • Feb 18th, 9:31am - I initiated a transfer of the domain on another registrars site. Similar process I've done a few times before.
  • Feb 18th, 10:02am - Confirmed the transfer from the new registrar by an email they send out.
  • Feb 18th, 11:06am - Transfer request sent from the new registrar to Network Solutions.
  • Feb 21st, 10:14am - Phone call to Network Solutions. This rep. said that he did not have any evidence that Network Solutions received a transfer request from the new registrar and suggested that I contact them to have them send it again.
  • Feb 21st, 1:44pm - Phone call to Network Solutions again after discussing with the new registrar (the new registrar said that they cannot send another transfer as they have not receive a cancel or expire event from Network Solutions and were able to give me the details on when various events happened (that is where the first 3 items on this list came from). This time NetShits admits that they did receive a transfer request and supposedly sent out a transfer request to my email on Feb 19th. Don't know why their great automated system takes 24 hours to send out an email but I'm sure its part of their delay tactics. All the rep. could do according to him was to trigger the system to send out another transfer. He said however that it could take up to 24hrs for it to get to me. So suggested I wait 24hrs before calling back.
  • Feb 22nd, 7:22pm - Phone call to NetShits once again since I did not receive the transfer request. The rep. says he can escalate this so that someone will manually get the transfer to happen immediately. However, their system is conveniently down at the moment so he will have to escalate this in an hour when the system is back online. The suggestion was to wait the hour or 24hrs (not sure why I would have to wait 24hrs if it was going to be done manually right away).
  • Feb 23rd, approx 2:15pm - Phone call to NetShits once again. I didn't want to waste much time with the first rep. on the phone but did argue with this person for about 20 minutes since they said now that the domain is officially expired that they can not transfer it. He said even if they re-trigger the transfer request and I actually get the email to respond to it will eventually be rejected as a transfer cannot take place when the domain is expired. Conveniently though, one can easily renew the domain during this period. After getting a supervisor on the phone he basically just told me the same total bullshit. He said I had 2 options. One was to renew the domain with NetShits and then do the transfer (like that does me any good). The second was to let the domain be released into the available pool and re-register it with the new registrar. Once again a ridiculous option which I told him so about 5 times during the rest of the conversation. He also said that by the rules of (and supposedly in their policy statement - which I haven't checked yet), domain transfers can only be guaranteed if they are requested earlier than 30 days before expiration. He also said that since the domain is expired he could not do anything about it. Of course I challenged him on both of those and made him feel completely ridiculous and powerless.
  • Feb 23, 2:43pm - Received an email from NetShits with the subject "Change of Registrar - Request to Change Not Confirmed/Denied". I didn't notice this come in while I was actually on the phone with the 2 morons described in the previous entry. Apparently their system can send emails out to me no problem when it is convenient to them.
  • Feb 23, 3:11pm - Email confirmation from NetShits that my renewal is successful. I had to give in and renew with NetShits online. Once again, when they are collecting money from people their system can very easily reach me by email.

Its amazing the kind of stuff these guys are getting away with. I suspect they won't be in business much longer. Just found some stats at

The following are total domains registered at Network Solutions:

  • Oct 2001 - 14,714,361
  • Aug 2002 - 9,186,457
  • Sep 2002 - 9,043,790
  • Oct 2002 - 8,887,839

Hopefully they will keep this trend going and will be out of business sooner than I thought!!

I'm obviously not alone in this. See

Brent was right, don't wait till domain is near renewal (which has worked fine for me up till now), just transfer no matter how much time is left. All my other domains will now be transferred immediately and I'll be Verisign/Network Solutions free.

6:04:57 PM    

Thursday, February 20, 2003
Charging for Email
This entrepreneur probably hasn't received a single piece of email since! Who is going to signup and pay to send this person email? I'd guess not many at all if anyone. So I suppose he has solved his SPAM problem but created a much bigger problem.
Spam blocker charges for e-mail. An entrepreneur has created what may be the first spam-blocking service that lets its users charge for the privilege of sending them e-mail. By Declan McCullagh, Staff Writer, CNET [CNET]
12:21:44 AM    

Monday, February 17, 2003
Way Too Pushy

If someone needs to push this hard for people to look at their product there must be something wrong with it. And this is the reason I haven't bothered looking at ActiveWords and probably never will.

My boss's boss, Larry Miller, is at Demo. He just wrote to say he met Buzz Bruggeman, who promptly pitched him. Don't worry Larry. I've know Buzz for years now and he still pitches me too (even though I've been sold on his ActiveWords product for years too).

[source: Robert Scoble: Scobleizer Weblog]
8:27:12 PM    

Just found these commercials that were broadcast during the super bowl. I could definitely have used Terry in many situations at various offices. You'd need a howl team however at certain offices!!

6:45:21 PM    

Saturday, February 15, 2003
War For Oil
As Dave points out, there is an excellent article in the NY times to make you think.
War for oil?.

There was an excellent op-ed piece in the NY Times a few days ago, by Max Boot, that disassembles the theory that the US wants to go to war with Iraq to somehow control the oil.

First, he pointed out that Jimmy Carter, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, who is opposed to going to war, says that he knows his country and government, and knows it's not true. Then Boot explains how we already control the oil, with our dollars. Hussein would sell us as much as we want. He doesn't have an exclusive on oil, and as long as that's true he has no control (that's probably why he took over Kuwait and was starting to move on Saudi Arabia, and went to war with Iran -- to get control of all the Middle East oil reserves).

And we all know what he does with the oil money -- he uses it to build nukes, missiles to deliver them, etc etc. He is one major asshole, a dangerous one. Why anyone would stand up for him is beyond me. Yet that's what the French, Germans, Russians and Chinese (and others) are doing. This makes no sense. (Unless you consider the possibility that they have conflicts of interest.)

Then in the last few pargraphs the author explained that the Germans and French and other European countries with long histories of starting brutal hypocritical wars over things like oil, sometimes even proclaiming themselves the master race, might not understand a country like the US where we're more likely to go to war to save the free world. Stupid ole US, no good deed goes unpunished. Of course. We knew that.

[source: Scripting News]
11:53:32 AM    

Friday, February 14, 2003
NASA Shuttle Columbia Wing Sensor Readings
Interesting interactive time-frame on the Shuttle Columbia wing sensor readings can be found here.
11:15:27 AM    

Monday, February 10, 2003
BlackBerry Wireless Synching
I returned my BlackBerry about 2-3 years ago. Not because it wasn't a great device, just that I wasn't using it much since I've been near enough to a computer at all times that it wasn't worth paying my monthly fees. I can't believe it has taken this long (and I guess a little longer) to come out with this feature. If I was in charge of product development this feature would have been out when the BlackBerry hit the streets. I could never understand the need to sync tied to the cradle when the thing could communicate with my desktop wirelessly!
BlackBerrys get in wireless synch. Research In Motion says its pagers will "soon" be able to use cellular networks to wirelessly synchronize data with remote computers, a feature already offered by rival Good. By Ben Charny, Staff Writer, CNET [CNET]
8:13:54 PM    

Sunday, February 09, 2003

Yet another excellent use for blogchat. They mention:

In addition, and in keeping with the immediacy and interactivity of blogging, members of the event audience are encouraged to blog live and direct from the Electronic Orphanage using an ad-hoc community WiFi network built exclusively for this event by the Southern California Wireless Users Group

I can't see myself refreshing a bunch of blog pages or my aggregator every 2 minutes waiting for someone to post a new entry not knowing when or if they will actually post never mind knowing if they are actually at the event. If there were a couple of blogchats setup for this event then everyone can just chat away in a single place and everyone would know where to look. It would also actually be live.

1:02:37 PM    

Wednesday, February 05, 2003
Good Bye IRAQ
After listening to Colin Powell's presentation to the UN today, if anyone has any doubt as to why the regime in IRAQ needs to be removed should have their head examined. Its very unfortunate that they had to compromise their intelligence gathering techniques to show this kind of stuff.
11:18:48 AM    

Tuesday, February 04, 2003
BlogChat Goes To Harvard
Another perfect use for BlogChat. Come on Dave, what are you afraid of, BlogChat doesn't bite!!
If you're in Boston, please mark your calendar for Tuesday evening, February 11, 6PM. We're going to do a live version of this weblog in a classroom at Harvard Law School (details to follow). It's open to anyone who has a weblog, not just people from Harvard. I'll start with a few comments, basically the kind of stuff you read here, probably something about how cold it is, and how thin my blood is. Let's figure some things out. How should we do weblogs at Harvard? Will the Red Sox ever win the World Series? How to use the technology in law, medicine, education, government, business. These sessions are always fun, they last about 1.5 hours or so, sometimes not so long, sometimes longer. No one falls asleep. [source: Scripting News]
12:14:21 AM    

Monday, February 03, 2003
Groove Ink Update

Well, it doesn't look to me like Groove Ink actually works on NON-Tablet PC's. I think Jeroen was referring to the tool working in the way that he can actually receive messages in digital ink and can reply back with regular text. I just tried my Wacom tablet with the Groove Ink Tool and it doesn't work. That is extremely bogus.

On the other hand, I'm not sure Ink support in Groove is of any use anyway. It seems to just be available in the Ink Chat Tool which isn't too useful. Ink support in any tool would be worthwhile.

12:22:28 PM    

Groove Ink
Either I was wrong in the first place or somebody listened to me when I made this post.
Ink Chat for Groove 2.5 is available. Inkchat for Groove 2.5The Groove Ink chat tool can now be downloaded from Groove's website.
Althought this tool is developed for use on the Tablet PC it also seems to work fine for non-tablet users.  
I can't wait to testdrive it with someone using a Tablet PC. [Jeroen Bekkers' Groove Weblog]
8:13:36 AM    

Sunday, February 02, 2003
Shuttle Disaster

Its seems a little odd to me that it takes approximately 6 minutes and the failure or significant changes in about 9 indicators (all on the left wing section) before a warning appears in the cockpit of the Space Shuttle Columbia. Now perhaps there is no need to be warned of every single indicator but you would think that there would be some indication on some screen that something was abnormal. Also, the ground crew should have picked up on this knowing that there was a potential problem on the left wing caused during takeoff. Unfortunately they deemed that a non-issue and probably did not have that in their minds on landing. It does seem odd however that they dismissed this issue without actually having any decent evidence.

I'm not attempting to blame anyone for this disaster but just making some observations for discussion. Knowing all of this information could they not have attempted to do something? Should the ground crew have alerted the shuttle crew to do something? Could anything have been done? Apparently the shuttle makes a bunch of S-turns to bleed speed and for heat management on the wings. Knowing that there was excessive heat on the left wing could they have had the shuttle bear most of its heat on the right? Probably not but worth finding out.

11:39:05 PM    

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