Tech Week in Review

Microsoft can't lose, Googol and the Web, alternative browsers, the H-Paq merger, and four degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Head-Shaking News

Microsoft just can't lose, can it? After all this press surrounding the antitrust trial, which has now (I was recently reminded) been dragging on since something like 1997 (boy, that seems like a long time ago), the DoJ has decided to just give up. Do what? You come all this way, you get Microsoft convicted of anticompetitive practices, and you give up? Gee, this couldn't possibly have anything to do with Bush, could it? Joe Carson thinks so.

What a Googol Really Is

You math-oriented readers out there are probably familiar with the number "one googol," which is one followed by a hundred zeros. Bet you didn't know that it was named by a mathematician's 9-year-old kid, though. That brings me to the point: you can find a lot of stuff — almost everything you need to find — with Google (that's the search engine, not the number). And since Google is such a great search engine, perhaps it would make sense to use Google as the default search engine for Web browsers when you type a misspelled domain name or such. This article (scroll down to "The Google Client") has some interesting ideas on that topic, and I'd like to add that on the Mac, this sort of thing is often configurable with ResEdit if you know what you're doing. Oh, and while you're there, read Google Upgrades the Web, too.

Alternatives, Alternatives, Alternatives, Alternatives

I'm terribly sorry to have brought back the mental image of Steve Ballmer — a very sweaty Steve Ballmer — chanting.

No, that's a lie. I meant to do it. I just didn't mean to scar any of you for life.

Anyway, Charles W. Moore just had an interesting article on alternative browsers for the Mac, and David Nelson has his own take on the future of one specific browser, Mozilla/Netscape.

Consider this a call to action: Get thee to and download the latest release, if you can. Mozilla needs all the help it can get. I, for one, refuse to be held in the palm of Microsoft's hand. Remember, any time Microsoft wants to stop writing IE for the Mac, it can be done without any significant impact to the company.

Inelastic Collisions, Part Two

Remember two weeks ago when I wondered about the viability of the HP-Compaq merger? Well, Pat Dorsey, an analyst at Morningstar, is wondering the same thing. Best quotes from that article: "the PC industry isn't innovating because PCs are just boxes stuffed with components that run software" and "Apple sells a differentiated product; the Wintel crowd sells a commodity." Alas, how true it is.

Random Link of the Week

If you don't know what the game "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" is, you've been away from American movies too long. I don't claim to be anything more than an unwashed amateur at it, but it's a great waste of time on car trips. At least on those car trips where other people in the car are amateur movie buffs too. (Which brings to mind a totally off-topic question: are there professional movie buffs? How do you get those jobs?) I challenge all the readers to find any reasonably-famous person with a Bacon Number of more than 4. My definition of "reasonably famous" is someone who meets these criteria:

None of the connections to Kevin Bacon have to meet these criteria, but the original "reasonably-famous" person does. The only two I could find with a Bacon Number of 4 were Selena (the Mexican singer) and the guy who played one of the Dukes of Hazzard (forgot his name). Bacon Numbers of infinity don't count. Now, go waste some time at the Oracle of Bacon (which, by the way, is a very cool example of what a few determined CS students coupled with the Internet are capable of).

Th-th-th-that's all, folks.

copyright ©2000-2004 by Chris Lawson