Archive for October 20th, 2003

Windoze Users Flock to iTunes


reports from Apple Computer’s foray into Windows-based online music indicate
exuberance among consumers for the company’s iTunes service. Apple has
sold more than one million songs to iTunes for Windows customers since
the service was launched last week, and computer users have reportedly
downloaded more than one million copies of the Windows version of iTunes
software in the past three days.

Apple launched iTunes for Macintosh-based
computers in April of this year, and since then the company has sold
14 million songs at 99 cents each. The company said it hopes to have
sold 100 million songs by the first anniversary of the service next April.

the BBC

iTunes review from C/Net

Massachusetts Goes Open Source


Eric Kriss, administration and finance secretary for the State of Massachusetts, has directed the state’s chief technology officer to choose open-source and open-standards technologies whenever possible. Applications from vendors such as Microsoft that do not allow access to their source code can only be bought in cases in which a cost-effective, open-source alternative is not available.

from News Factor Network

Rare Magic Charms Discovered at Harvard


who believes in magic, even a little bit, can’t help but be excited by
today’s announcement out of the University of Cincinnati. It seems
that John Brolley, a professor of Religious Studies there, has been hard
at work for over a year translating four little books of Syriac charms
he came across at Harvard’s Houghton Library (who knew?). And he has
discovered between 200 and 400 authentic magic charms, including such
extremely practical ones as charms designed to correct a disobedient
child, a charm to ward off gunfire, and a charm to make the
judge favorable to you when you have a court appearance. I suspect that
the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense are competing for the
anti-gunfire charm, but I bet the rest are up for grabs.

If that Professor Brolley has a lick of business sense he’ll forget
about "publishing his results" and sell off these charms one at a time,
perhaps in some sort of worldwide Dutch auction, with sealed bids coming
in from around the globe. Or E-bay, which is basically the same thing.
limiting supply to just ONE of each charm, demand will go through the
roof.  Price will follow. Trust me, I teach business, I know about
these things. Why, the competitive bidding for the Favorable-Judge charm
alone will set you up for life.

Anyway, here are the details:

John Brolley, University of Cincinnati program director for Religious
Studies, has been at work for more than a year translating four little
books of Syriac charms that are among the rare collections at Harvard
University. Brolley believes the leather-bound books, dating back to
the 17th and 18th centuries, may have once belonged to a priest who would
have lived in Urmia, a region in Kurdistan that is one of a handful of
Aramaic-speaking regions worldwide. Syriac, though now used almost exclusively
in church liturgy, is one dialect of Aramaic.

the University of Cincinnati via Eureka Alert

Kofi Annan Denies “Puppet” Acusations


Characters from Sesame Street are being used
to promote peace in the Middle East.

78 Episodes of the long-running television series are being
produced in Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories with the help
of a $3 million grant from the European Commission.


Rush Limbaugh Sings


One of America’s great strenghts is the freedom
it grants its citizens to reinvent themselves in the face of failure,
discredit and ruined reputations. After bombing on the talk-show curcuit
and in his short-lived career as an NFL analyst, Rush Limbaugh is trying
to make a public comeback as a singer.

Rough cuts of the demo from his debut CD have recently
surfaced on the web. The Dowbrigade is no music critic, so I’ll let my
readers judge for themselves….

Rush Limbaugh Sings

Endangered or Converged?


Another article on Gadget Convergence, this one in the Economist.
In accord to their general mistrust of technology they take a negative
spin and focus on "the Death of the PDA". Isn’t it obvious to everyone
by now that only the hopelessly geeky see it as an ADVANTAGE to carry around
27 different Gizmos to handle different aspects of your cyber-life.

My price-performance sweet spot is a device for under $200 that can
keep track of my appointments and contact info, send and receive email
and basic web pages, can carry and playback a decent amount of music, and
is an easy-to-use phone. Cameras, GPS, and biorthyms I don’t need, but
could be add-ons for those whose tastes differ.

Anyway, here is the Economist article.