Wednesday, December 31, 2003
From Scripting News:
Michael JacksonThe NY Times asks if CBS paid Michael Jackson $1 million for the 60 Minutes interview. "In essence they paid him" for the interview, the Jackson associate said of CBS, "but they didn't pay him out of the 60 Minutes budget; they paid him from the entertainment budget, and CBS just shifts around the money internally. That way 60 Minutes can say 60 Minutes didn't pay for the interview."
7:49:14 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
 Tuesday, December 30, 2003
From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
FedEx looks to e-deliveries with Kinko's buyout. The air and ground transport service is acquiring business services company Kinko's in a $2.4 billion cash deal. Kinko's will provide a leg up in electronic document delivery, FedEx says.
9:49:10 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From lawrence's notebook:
FedEx looks to e-deliveries with Kinko's buyout. The air and ground transport service is acquiring business services company Kinko's in a $2.4 billion cash deal. Kinko's will provide a leg up in electronic document delivery, FedEx says. [CNET News.com - Front Door]
3:49:17 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Jay Rosen: "Ordinarily we make New Year's Resolutions for ourselves, not for other people."
1:49:15 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
Victor Davis Hanson on the War and Its Critics.

In 24 months the United States defeated two of the most hideous regimes in modern memory. For all the sorrow involved, it has already made progress in the unthinkable: bringing consensual government into the heart of Middle Eastern autocracy, where there has been no political heritage other than tyranny, theocracy, and dictatorship.

In liberating 50 million people from both the Taliban and Saddam Hussein it has lost so far less than 500 soldiers ÷ some of whom were killed precisely because they waged a war that sought to minimalize not just civilian casualties but even the killing of their enemies. Contrary to the invective of Western intellectuals, the American militaryâs sins until recently have been of omission ÷ preferring not to shoot looters or hunt down and kill insurgents ÷ rather than brutal commission. While the United States has conducted these successive wars some 7,000 miles beyond its borders, it also avoided another terrorist attack of the scale of September 11 ÷ and all the while crafting a policy of containment of North Korea and soon-to-be nuclear Iran.

Thus by any comparative standard of military history, the last two difficult years, despite setbacks and disappointments, represent a remarkable military achievement.  Yet no one would ever gather even the slightest acknowledgment of such success from our Democratic grandees. Al Gore dubbed the Iraqi liberation a quagmire and, absurdly, the worst mistake in the history of American foreign policy. Howard Dean, more absurdly, suggested that the president of the United States might have had foreknowledge of September 11. Most Americans now shudder at the thought that the former might have been president in this time of crisis ÷ and that the latter still could be.


11:49:19 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
New Microsoft Office Stresses Collaboration (Investor's Business Daily). Investor's Business Daily - Microsoft Corp. (NasdaqNM:MSFT - News) is battling two forces as it tries to get businesses and other organizations to upgrade to its newest Office software products. The first is cheap alternatives, like the freely distributed Open Office or Sun Microsystems Inc.'s StarOffice. The second is the perception that older versions of Microsoft's Office are good enough.
11:49:18 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
FedEx to Buy Kinko's for $2.4 Bln Cash (Reuters). Reuters - Shipping giant FedEx Corp. (FDX.N) on Tuesday said it agreed to buy copy center operator Kinko's for $2.4 billion in cash to win more small-business customers as the overnight express delivery market matures.
11:49:17 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
Lieberman: Dean Will 'Melt' Under GOP Attacks.

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) charged yesterday that former Vermont governor Howard Dean will "melt in a minute" under Republican attacks if he becomes the Democratic presidential nominee and said it was "outrageous" of Dean to suggest that Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe step in and shield him from growing criticism by his rivals.

Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (Mo.) yesterday echoed Lieberman, as did Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.). "Howard Dean has spent the last year criticizing me and other candidates at every opportunity," Gephardt said. "Now, as he makes a series of embarrassing gaffes that underscore the fact he is not well equipped to challenge George Bush, he suddenly wants to change the rules of the game."

Over the past few weeks, Dean's rivals have grown more pointed in their attacks, and Dean has been forced to explain or clarify several controversial remarks.

Lieberman said he believes the attacks are prompting many Democrats to rethink their support of Dean.


10:49:11 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
A picture named parkingMeterSmall.gifLast year on this day was my first trip to Harvard. It was cold and snowy. Harvard Square was empty, I got lost, but found my way to Berkman, had a great meeting with John Palfrey, and that led to me becoming part of the team there. Today it's warm and spring-like, the square is empty, the campus quiet. It's been a wonderful year. Thanks to everyone who made 2003 so productive, fun, so unusual.
7:49:14 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
BBC: "More people looked for information about the file-swapping program Kazaa than anything else on the net in 2003."
7:49:14 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Wired: "Gibson's maverick CEO wants to shove Ethernet up your ax and rock the music world."
7:49:14 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
InfoWorld: "Phil Goldman, the founder and chief executive officer of Mailblocks and one of the founders of WebTV Networks has died at age 39, according to a statement released by the company on Sunday."
7:49:14 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
SF Chronicle: "A fitness nut, Mr Goldman seemed in excellent health, said those who knew him. After a long night of programming, Mr Goldman often headed over to Gold's Gym to lift weights, Perlman recalled. He was also notoriously careful about his diet."
7:49:13 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
 Monday, December 29, 2003
From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
Holiday e-shopping sets record. Online spending, excluding travel, reached a record $15.8 billion from Nov. 1 through Dec. 19, according to the most recent "eSpending" survey by Goldman Sachs, Harris Interactive and Nielsen/NetRatings.
9:49:17 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
Boeing Gets $9.5 Billion U.S. Navy Deal (Reuters). Reuters - The U.S. Navy on Monday said it had ordered 210 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet attack jets worth $8.5 billion from Boeing Co. and would pay Boeing $979 million to develop and demonstrate a new variant, the EA-18G, with upgraded weapons.
9:49:17 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
[Scripting NewsThe Scotsman: "Every political animal -- from George W Bush downwards -- began to notice the potential for communicating directly with voters without irritating media types getting in the way. The political weblog was born."
9:49:17 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
Dave Winer's new Gig Profiled in Harvard Magazine.

Welcome to Weblogs at Harvard Law, an experimental community where more than 350 students, faculty and staff members, and alumni have signed up to publicly express their thoughts about everything from social issues to software, from literature to love. Based at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, the initiative is free and available to anyone with a Harvard.edu e-mail address. And except for a few private blogs limited to specific classes, all Harvard-hosted blogs can be read by anybody on the Web.


9:49:16 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
Experts See Rise of 'Enterprise' Software (AP). AP - The corporate spending that drives the technology sector is as strong as it has been since the end of the 1990s boom, giving the industry optimism as it heads into 2004.
9:49:16 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
Dell CEO Sees Capital Spending Up in '04 (Reuters). Reuters - The world's largest personal computer maker, Dell Inc., expects large companies to resume spending on information technology in 2004, Chief Executive Michael Dell was quoted as saying on Monday.
9:49:16 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Today's movie -- Big Fish. One word review: Wonderful.
8:49:25 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Mike Walsh: "I wish there were a Universal Story ID Number in the blogosphere."
8:49:25 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Andrew Grumet: "The first Getting Started with Weblogs class will be held a week from tomorrow at MIT Sloan, building E52."
1:49:01 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Harvard Magazine profiles our humble little community.
10:49:20 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Edwards received the endorsement of Hootie & the Blowfish.
9:49:02 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Over the Christmas holiday I started a new moderated mail list for people who use RSS. It's off to a great start. No flames of course, and lots of good ideas, and a discussion about feeds with excerpts.
9:49:02 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Taegan Goddard: "If you have ever wondered why a campaign can spend $1,000,000 or more on television advertising and still be in the single-digits in the polls, you need to read this."
8:34:29 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
USA Today: "This will be the year downloadable music goes legitimate," says Dave Fester, general manager of Microsoft's digital media division.
8:34:29 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Betsy Devine: "On December 13, President George W. Bush signed a big chunk of Patriot II into law -- but the 'major media' were focused on Saddam's spider hole."
8:34:28 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Betsy, something to think about -- did any of the Democratic Presidential candidates alert us?
8:34:28 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
THINK!BTW, Wired News had an article about it in late November, I pointed to it and Jason Lefkowitz got angry and went into motion. I've heard Republican spin masters say that we need a positive optimistic vision for the future, not people who are angry about the past. Remember, when you hear that bullshit, they're not wanting you to think about the Fourth and First Amendments which are being dismantled. Do you think Uncle Sam didn't get angry about Pearl Harbor or the Nazis? Yeah I'm angry. And that's the correct way to be.
8:34:28 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
The Scotsman: "Every political animal -- from George W Bush downwards -- began to notice the potential for communicating directly with voters without irritating media types getting in the way. The political weblog was born."
8:34:27 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
A rambling essay on friendship, the Dean campaign, ping-spam.
8:34:27 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
With any luck, glossary elements are now expanded as the RSS feed is being generated. If so, this should show up as a smiley when you read it in your aggregator.
8:34:27 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
 Sunday, December 28, 2003
From Scripting News:
mobileRSS is a "Web-based client for reading RSS feeds."
9:49:22 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
For 10 points, write a caption for this picture of a moose kissing a kitten.
9:49:22 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
A picture named howard.jpgTwo years ago today: "The people who do the standards work at the BigCo's can be great engineers, some of them are very smart and experienced people, but as you can see in specs like UDDI and WSDL, they also have to work with low-road idiots who carve out political power in their companies by polluting simple ideas with incomprehensible compromises."
6:49:09 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Also on that day: "In the end the only teams that matter are the Cubs, Red Sox and of course the Mets."
6:49:09 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Scoble: "Why didn't Silicon Valley happen in Kansas?"
3:49:15 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
The Wikipedia, an incredible resource, needs $20K to stay afloat.
1:49:13 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Kaye Trammel: "You don't have to try be gendered on your blog -- chances are that it just happens naturally. After all, that is what being gendered is all about."
7:49:24 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Sarah Leonard, spokeswoman for the Dean campaign: "What you're seeing is a career politician desperate to save his political career."
7:49:24 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Here's a question. When the campaigning politician talks to the press they do it separately from their pep rallies for voters. Why? I'd like to hear what they say to the reporters. Wouldn't a grass roots campaign like Dean do that? Jim Moore, I wonder what you think about this. Is that true to the Second Superpower concept, which you developed?
7:49:23 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
 Friday, December 26, 2003
From Scripting News:
At a restaurant in Queens today an Asian woman lugging a suitcase goes from table to table offering DVDs for $5. Movies that are currently in the theaters. I had never seen this before. I found it disheartening. Calling this piracy is totally fair, imho.
8:49:15 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
The audio from my talk at Stanford is available.
7:49:15 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Jim Moore, the "newly appointed Director of Internet and Information Services for the Dean campaign" responds to my Wednesday editorial. Note that Jim and I are both fellows at Berkman Center.
6:26:25 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
Optimistic Bush vs. Pessimistic Dean. President Bush's campaign has settled on a plan to run against Howard Dean that would portray him as reckless, angry and pessimistic, while framing the 2004 election as a referendum on the direction of the nation more than on the president himself, Mr. Bush's aides say.

As a Bush strategist put it, Dr. Dean's rivals are "doing a great job for us" with their increasingly tough attacks on him.

"Voters don't normally vote for an angry, pessimistic person to be president of the country," Matthew Dowd, a senior Bush adviser. "They want somebody, even if times are not great, to be forward looking and optimistic."

As the second part of a two-part strategy, Mr. Bush's aides said, the president will set out upbeat themes and policy ideas that would be part of a drive to buttress what polls show is a growing feeling among voters that the country is on the right track.

The White House is seeking to counter Democratic efforts to play to sharp anti-Bush sentiment among Democrats. Dr. Dean, a former governor of Vermont, has repeatedly said that the key to victory next year is heavy turnout among Democrats alienated by Mr. Bush.


9:49:14 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Six years ago today: "A new Scripting News feature. Soooon, you'll be able to hook up to the news flow thru XML."
7:49:02 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Boston Globe: "McGovern, now 81, places himself, and Dean, 'right in the mainstream of the Democratic Party' on all issues besides the wars each have opposed."
7:49:02 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Paul Krugman: "I don't know why some journalists seem so concerned about politicians' clothes as opposed to, say, their policy proposals. But unless you're a fashion reporter, obsessing about clothes is an insult to your readers' intelligence." Bing!
7:49:02 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
 Thursday, December 25, 2003
From Scripting News:
Microsoft has announced a unique approach to stopping spam. "For any piece of e-mail I send, it will take a small amount computing power of about 10 to 20 seconds. When you see that proof, you treat that message with more priority." Normal email senders won't notice the delay and filters on your mail client will be able to tell high priority mail from low priority spam. Very clever. I was briefed on it a few months ago, and as long as they are making the technique freely available I support it. If it's another patent gateway I'm afraid we're just trading the evil of spam for another evil. Which is lesser is a good question.
9:49:22 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
The RSS-User mail list is a miracle. It's the first time, to my knowledge, that there's been a discussion of RSS that wasn't dominated by developers. All I'm doing so far is approving messages, I just posted a couple at the start. I won't let through messages that are developer issues or ad hominems. Should have done this a long time ago. BTW, on some blogs they're saying my stint at Berkman is about to run out. Although I've asked them to run corrections, they haven't. So I'll correct it here. My fellowship goes through the end of next semester, and we're working on plans that go beyond that. Nothing in life is certain of course, but I hope to be employed by Harvard for quite some time, Murphy-willing of course.
9:49:21 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
BBC: "The prospects for the Beagle 2 lander on Mars look increasingly gloomy after a radio sweep of the planet failed to detect any sign of the UK-built probe."
9:49:21 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Steve Pomeroy: "Another fun (though scary) computer-generated Xmas song is this MBrola test file."
5:49:03 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Dare Obasanjo: "My day job involves reading or writing specs all day. Most of the specs I read either were produced by the W3C or by folks within Microsoft. Every one of them contains contradictions, ambiguities and lack crucial information for determining in edge cases. Some are better than others but they all are never well-defined enough. Every spec has errata."
3:49:14 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Demo of the Creative Rhomba for my parents. Here's me singing Let It Snow (it's not snowing in NY today). Happy holidays boys and girls!
3:49:13 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Today's song: "Oh the weather outside is frightful.."
12:49:19 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
Domain Names Once Again Fetch Top Dollar (AP). AP - One more sign the technology sector is rebounding: An Internet domain name is again commanding seven figures.
12:40:40 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
Critical Path May Go Out of Business, Auditor Says (Reuters). Reuters - The auditor for Critical Path Inc. (CPTH.O), once one of San Francisco's most celebrated Internet start-ups, said on Wednesday the digital communications software company's survival is in question. [Yahoo! News - Technology]
12:40:40 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
Critical Path May Go Out of Business, Auditor Says (Reuters). Reuters - The auditor for Critical Path Inc. (CPTH.O), once one of San Francisco's most celebrated Internet start-ups, said on Wednesday the digital communications software company's survival is in question.
12:40:40 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
Santa-tracking Web site takes up the watch. Some people no doubt raise an eyebrow that North American Air Defense Command, or NORAD, for the 49th consecutive year is undertaking the annual task of tracking the global progress of Santa Claus starting Dec. 24 and continuing through the early hours of Christmas Day.
12:40:39 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
Six Flights from Paris to Los Angeles Canceled.

The U.S. government had information that Al Qaeda infiltrated an Air France flight, Reuters news service reported.

U.S. officials and military personnel told Fox they've theorized that the greatest threat to airlines could involve plans using "complicit crews" ÷ which could either be bogus crewmembers wearing stolen uniforms and bearing false identification or existing trained pilots and flight attendants aboard foreign carriers who agree to participate in a terror plot.


12:40:39 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
A picture named xmasTree.gifFinal challenge for the morning -- hooking up a Ceiva digital picture frame. It has to connect to the phone line. The phone cable they gave us with the unit, with standard phone jacks at either end, doesn't fit into the back of the unit. We spent a half-hour trying different angles, it just doesn't fit. Then we tried taking the cord that connects the base unit of an old Princess-type phone to its handset, and that fits. Unfortunately that won't fit into the wall. I'm afraid this one has me licked. (For now.)
12:40:33 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
My next challenge -- figure out how to get my Sony DSC-P9 camera to connect to my IBM laptop over USB. In the past, when I used a Sony laptop I could just pop the memory stick out of the camera and plop it into the laptop. The IBM, as far as I know, doesn't have a memory stick slot. So when I plug the USB cable in, nothing shows up on the desktop. I assume this means I have to install some software on the laptop. (Postscript: I just had to turn the camera on. D'oh!)
12:40:33 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
A picture named rhomba.jpgDriving from Boston to NYC my Creative Rhomba went kaput saying things like English Font Only and get new firmware from creative.com. I didn't have a chance to look it up till now, doing a quick search on Google turns up lots of people getting the same messages. Where do you get new firmware? If you got it how would you install it? Geez Louise. It's not heavy enough to be a boat anchor. (Postscript: A pointer to the answer was on Creative's European support forum. Users to the rescue. Bing.)
12:40:33 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Philadelphia Inquirer: "Air France canceled six flights between Paris and Los Angeles yesterday after U.S. intelligence reports indicated that al-Qaeda might be planning to hijack aircraft for a Sept 11-style suicide attack, US officials said."
12:40:32 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Channel Z status -- I'm using it every day, in fact I'm using it to write this post. At some point I plan to put in another month or so of intense work, not sure exactly when. Now I'm gaining experience as a user. And my experience as a developer with thousands of users of new Web authoring software has taught me to go slow at this stage. Once deployed, the demands of users get overwhelming quickly.
12:40:31 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
B52s: "I am living on Channel Z." Me too!
12:40:31 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Followup on yesterday's editorial.

There's been a bunch of comment on my editorial yesterday, most of it missing the point, widely. Candidates have to earn my vote, and they won't if they say one thing and do another. They don't stand a chance competing with commercial software developers, yet that's exactly what two leading candidates are doing. Further, the software market in America is depressed, and I think that's partly caused by people expecting to get software for free.

A candidate who wanted to help software jobs come back to NH, a high-tech state, could do something right now to help. No need to wait till they're elected. And I don't agree with people who say the candidate's job is to get elected. Sure, that's probably the way the candidate views it. But I'm not a candidate, I'm a member of the electorate and a taxpayer. I've yet to vote in a presidential election that means something. I'd like to, someday. I honestly don't think this is the year, but I'm doing my part to shift the focus to the voters and away from 60-second TV commercials. What are you doing?

BTW, Dean is a very average candidate. His handlers ought to tell him to answer questions frankly. He got a question about the airplane they were using and tax dodges. He was asked if the story was true and he said No, and didn't comment further. He said some really nasty personal things about George Bush and John Kerry, kind of schoolyard stuff. Not something you'd expect from a Presidential candidate. That people are rallying around this guy gives you an idea how desperate we are for leadership. I think we can do better, much better.

About open source being un-American --> wrong. It's almost totally American. Think about all the big open source titles, projects all led by Americans (or Fins living in America). Sometimes I wonder if these people even bother to read the things they critique.

Some critics have pointed out that I've done plenty of software for free. True. In fact, since 1988 I've only done software for free. Did it make me happy? No. I yearn to be paid for software again. I've learned, the hard way, that people don't appreciate stuff they get for nothing.

Jay McCarthy: "The point should not be to get elected to office. The point should be to be the person who the people want to be in office. Don't convince them, be their voice."


12:40:31 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
 Wednesday, December 24, 2003
From Scripting News:
MyWireService "delivers the headlines and summaries to you in an easy to scan page."
6:49:14 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
Went to a Broadway matinee, it was great, a musical, lots of fun!
6:49:14 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scripting News:
The RSS-User mail list is off to a great start with 79 members. It works because it's moderated. All the posts have been about feeds and howtos, no politics, no personal attacks.
6:49:13 PM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
Small Company Hiring Picking Up.

After a long dry spell, hosts of small firms across the country are starting to take on workers again -- a significant step in an economic recovery that hasn't seen much job creation. The nation's 23 million small businesses employ an estimated 57.1 million workers -- more than half of all private-sector employees -- and create more than half of the nonfarm private gross domestic product, according to the Small Business Administration.

A wave of small-business hiring could help sustain consumer confidence and tide the economy over until larger companies regain the will to significantly boost payrolls -- and begin restoring the 2.4 million jobs lost nationwide since the recession began in March 2001.

The hiring has been spurred by Bush administration tax incentives and a new eagerness by banks to court small firms. But the biggest factor is improving sales. Low interest rates have kept home sales high, meaning lots of work for the small construction companies that make up the bulk of the industry. Baby boomers are retiring and laying out lots of money for specialized health-care services, which are mainly the province of small clinics. And as big companies shed jobs, they outsource more work. Even with productivity gains, small companies are finding they simply can't meet escalating demand with the workers on hand.

"Smaller companies have less of a cushion, so when demand picks up, they have so little fat there, they have to hire. So they will be the ones to generate jobs," says Mark Zandi, chief economist for Economy.com, a West Chester, Pa., research firm. 

WSJ    December 4, 2003


11:49:10 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
AP Poll Finds Majority Back War in Iraq.

No war should be pursued merely because it is popular, but in light of the current political debate in America it is important to note that Americans support President Bush's policies in Iraq by a 2 to 1 margin

Democrats can continue to insist that the American people are wrong, but there does not seem to be much of a political future in arguing that position.  We may not be as enlightened as are they, but we do get to pick our own leaders.


11:49:09 AM  #    leave your own ramblings []  trackback []
From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
Washington Post on Radio: "The program, its templates and other elements work smoothly, and you can go from downloading the program to publishing your thoughts on the Web during a coffee break." Thanks!
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From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
New feature: Mail-From-Aggregator. "Some people like to read the news that the aggregator gathers in email. This can be useful if you travel a lot, or want to share news with a group of people who may not use Radio."
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From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
The Scobleizer political predictions.

ASIDE: I usually stay away from politics. If you don't like the topic, ignore this post.

The presidential politicians this year have caught onto the Internet and have whipped up evangelists by using it (every politician has RSS feeds and weblogs, for instance). There are many many lessons that business and political students will be learning from this campaign for years to come.

My take? Howard Dean won't be elected. He's too liberal. He's an old-school liberal tax and spender who wants to reduce our military offensiveness. That simply won't get someone elected in today's America.

BUT, what is Dean doing? By staying to the left, he's energizing the traditionally liberal democratic base. Getting them involved in politics again. Getting them to build new social structures and new channels to deliver information.

Who's the real winner here? Hillary Clinton.

Why?

Because in 2008, she'll take advantage of Dean's efforts to reenergize the democratic base. She'll move toward the center while keeping those folks energized, but that'll get centrist Republicans to switch over. Last time we had an election we had a virtual tie. The only way to win is to get a few percent of "the other side" to switch over, while also keeping your base energized enough to go out and vote. Dean is reenergizing democrats in a way I haven't seen since Bill Clinton kicked George Bush Sr. out of office. While I think he's fighting a hopeless fight, I'm sensing a smarter and more practical Hillary Clinton is rebuilding her image as a straight shooter going for the center. The question is, who'll challenge her in 2008? Another question: if Dean gets the democratic nomination, will Hillary join as a Vice Presidential candidate?

One thing that'd ruin my predictions is if the economy took a big hit. I don't see that coming at this point.

OK, back to tech stuff. I am watching the campaigns closely, though. The lessons I'm learning for Longhorn evangelism are interesting.


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From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
Apple's Wide Angle (Ziff Davis). Ziff Davis - Apple Computer Corp. finished 2003 with a bang, innovating on both the notebook and desktop fronts.
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From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
Researchers Outline Microsoft's Top 10 Challenges For 2004 (TechWeb). TechWeb - Even giants have problems--and gigantic software maker Microsoft has at least 10 of them.
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From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
Susan Estrich - Is Dean the Liberal Reagan?. For many Dean supporters, as important as the war was and is as an issue, it has always been equally significant as a measure of Dean's character. His willingness to take what seemed, at least at the outset, to be a risky position politically, and stick to it because he believed in it, was such a relief after years of Gore/Kerry-like political calculation that it almost doesn't matter if the issue disappears. "I'm sick of namby-pamby politicians who are afraid to take a stand," one of my friends, a careful and judicious lawyer and former Gore supporter, said, in explaining why he had signed on with Dean.
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From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
NYT Op-ed by William Saffire.

There are now three de facto political parties in the U.S. In order of present strength, these are:

(1) The Republican Party, in control of all three branches of government and most of the statehouses, fat and sassy because the economy is rising and the war is being won.

(2) The Dean-Internet Party, its Bush-despising base so energized as to be frenetic, its leader happy to be the apostle of anger, its bandwidth bandwagon gaining momentum with each pulse of its cursing cursor.

(3) The Old Democratic Party, its base off base, its leadership fractured, its third-way ideology ÷ vainly espoused by the Clintonian Democratic Leadership Council ÷ a lost cause without a rebel voice.


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From Scripting News:
Bush officials tell holiday stories, including Karl Rove reading Santa's New Reindeer. Requres Real (video).
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From Scripting News:
NY Times: "Gephardt's aides say he has to win Iowa to have any hope of gaining the Democratic nomination."
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From Scripting News:
Editorial.

Wired: "If we're still in the race in a few months, I think you'll see a tremendous amount of development."

Wouldn't it be great if Dean and Clark went after Viacom, ClearChannel and Time-Warner, instead of the tiny companies that make blogging and social networking tools.

I find myself hoping they get their asses kicked, hard. I don't expect much of Bush, but I doubt seriously that he would undermine the mostly American software industry by competing with it with free software. Makes the Dems' pitch about exporting American high-tech jobs to India fairly hollow (NH is a high-tech state, so it has been an issue).

One of the reasons American programmers aren't competing here (in America) is that users expect to get software for free, and in that environment little new stuff gets created, and we have to keep creating to justify the greater amount of money we make (over Indians). But if all we make are commodities, then Indians working for low pay beat Americans working for free. (People who work for free have no incentive to please users, or even create usable software.)

How sad to see two leading Democrats fall for, even feed the lie that they can create user-oriented software for free. Shame on both Dean and Clark. They went after the little guy. Who wants a president who does that. Not me. Still looking for someone worth supporting.


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From Scott Shuda's Radio Weblog:
Latest Theory on Iraqi WMDs. British officials are circulating a story that Saddam Hussein may have been hoodwinked into believing that Iraq really did possess weapons of mass destruction.

The theory, which is doing the rounds in the upper reaches of Whitehall, is the result of an attempt to find what one official source called a "logical reason" why no chemical and biological weapons had been found in Iraq.

According to the theory, Saddam and his senior advisers and commanders were told by lower-ranking Iraqi officers that his forces were equipped with usable chemical and biological weapons.

The officers did not want to tell their superiors that the weapons were either destroyed or no longer usable.


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