The Beatles are dead (brain dead)

Filed under: — menk @ 10:07 pm

As far as I can tell the Beatles are dead. (at least two of the four of them are) So why then would they sue Apple Computer? Apple Corps the shell of an entity that remains of the Beatles record label is taking Apple Computer to court (for the third time) over trademark infringement.

Given that the whole issue of trademark infringement is designed to protect consumers who might be confused why is this even being considered by the courts? Who would confuse Apple Records with Apple Computer? In fact no Beatles music is even legally downloadable from anywhere since Michael Jackson actually owns the entire portfolio.

Are Paul MacCartney and Ringo Starr so cash starved they need to sue Apple Computer to keep themselves out of the gutter?

Britain, UK news from The Times and The Sunday Times - Times Online


Apple vs. France

Filed under: — menk @ 10:35 pm

Now the French want to dictate to the world that all digital media formats be open and interoperable. The fact that this approach is damaging to the innovation that digital media market requires to truely come of age is clearly not understood by French politicians.

France say goodbye to the iPod while the rest of the world leaves you behind.

Apple vs. France


OS X hacking contest - Pointless

Filed under: — menk @ 11:29 am

Apparently some misguided Swede decided last week to set up a Mac Mini as a server and invite users to “hack” the machine. The articles on the web (particularly the coverage at ZD Net) tout the machine was hacked in 30 minutes. The key facts they mention but do not actually explain is what ‘hacked’ means in this context.

The set up of the machine itself was totally non-standard. The Mac was intentionally configured up so that users connecting from the Internet could set themselves up as a local user. They could give themselves an account on the machine. Please note that no-one with a brain would actually set up a system that way.

Then users were encouraged to try (as local users) to gain root access to the machine. The sucessful hacker was able to gain root (or superuser) access in 30 minutes.

What does this mean to the normal user as far as implications of the system security? It means that if you were to set up a user account for any hacker who requested it and then let them in your home to access your Mac directly that one of them might be able to compremise your system and delete files outside that user account if he/she was smart enough.

So this contest is basically irrelavent to most users. It is as pointless as testing the fact that “I gave my house key to everyone who asked for it and then I got my Television stolen!”

To demonstrate how lame this supposed swedish challenge was Dave Schroeder at the University of Wisconsin has set up a Mac OS X with ports open on the Internet. More typically Dave did not configure the mac to allow users to set up themselves as local users. He has issued a challenge to hackers to actually again some sort of access to the machine in this scenerio. It is still far more open and less secure than any typical Mac given the SSH and HTTP ports are open and there is no Firewall in place. During the 38 total hours that the test ran, no successful attempts to hack into the host were reported or claimed by potential hackers. The test was scheduled to run longer but the University of Wisconsin decided to intervene and shut down the system although it was perfectly safe. The school newspaper reported that Dave might face disciplinary action.

link to poorly written and confusing article on ZDNet


Intelliden is Number 1 - Not quite

Filed under: — Ian @ 11:21 am

Today Intelliden, (one of Opsware’s lesser known competitors in the network device management space) issued a press release touting an IDC study that named them the leading network configuration management tool ahead of Opsware and others in the space. Interestingly the IDC report number referenced in the press release, #3372, doesn’t actually exist. Check it out for yourself here.

I can only assume that the reason Intelliden is referencing a study that doesn’t exist is that the data doesn’t actually support their claim to be a leader in anything. Doing a little digging it appears the document Intelliden actually meant to reference is IDC report 33762. If you have access to IDC you should download it and look at how Intelliden is doing it’s best to spin the data and protect against the coming Opsware/Cisco wave.

A few points to consider:

First, the report in question was released back in August 2005 by an analyst named Vincent Lui. Vincent hasn’t published anything since late fall 2005 and apparently is no longer employed by IDC.

Second, in assessing the Network Configuration Management Space Vincent sources data from CY 2004 as the basis for determining total market size and individual market share. As anyone who is involved in this market place knows 8 month old data is basically irrelevant.

As an example, in 2004 Rendition Networks was a small privately held company. In February 2005, Opsware acquired them and rebranded their product the Opsware Network Automation System. Over the 8 months between the data cited in Vincent’s report and the release date Opsware put it’s large and successful sales force behind the excellent product and drove considerable revenue in the space. As evidence you can actually read Opsware’s most recent financial statements. Check out the ticker symbol OPSW or see the press release about the FY 2006 earnings

Third, why is Intelliden putting out press releases in March about an IDC study released in August based on data collected from 2004? It seems to me that the Cisco distribution agreement announced a few weeks back has Opsware’s competitors running scared.

Finally, Vincent did get 1 part of the document correct. His final comments point out that Partnership, Scalability, and Sales strategies are going to define the successful company in the space. Opsware’s products are currently used to manage the largest IT environments in the world, Opsware’s partnerships with Cisco and others are driving strategic value for our customers and Opsware’s Sales organization is dominating the competition.

Check with Intelliden to see how their 2005 finished up and ask what the outlook is for ‘06. My guess is you can sum it up in one word “Bleak”


FDA access to birth control politicized

Filed under: — menk @ 7:23 am

Susan Wood the former assistant commissioner of women’s health at the Food and Drug Administration, voices her confusion as to why the FDA is stonewalling on approval of an effective birth control method for adults. Apparently the reasoning given by the FDA is that it is a creaky bureaucratic agency whose formerly scientific basis for such decisions has been tossed out in favor of making only decisions that are politically expeditious for the Administration.

When Politics Defeats Science


Plumbers lobby against No-Flush Urinals

Filed under: — menk @ 3:37 pm

The plumber’s union in California is up in arms. They are touting the dangers of No-Flush urinals as consideration of a possible change in the California plumbing code is contemplated which would support widespread use of these devices. In areas where water is scarce these devices can save over 40,000 gallons of water a piece per year.

Why would the plumber’s union be so concerned about these devices? Perhaps the lack of moving parts and ease of installation both concern “the butt crack army”. They are paid per hour to fix and install fixtures such as these so they would view this as a potential negative impact on revenue.

In any case I suspect that over the long haul the No-Flush urinals will prevail as it just makes good sense versus the waste of water brought on by using a gallon of water per flush in high volume locations.

NPR : California Plumbers Stall Plans for No-Flush Urinals

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