Archive for June, 2008

Bill Gates’s Last Official Day at Microsoft

After today, Bill Gates will no longer be a regular employee of Microsoft, the software company that he founded in 1975. Gates will be focusing his efforts on his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, but he will still spend twenty percent of his “retirement” working on Microsoft projects.

In the linked article, Dan Farber says, “The planet will be better off with Gates focused on technologies and strategies for saving lives rather than defeating Steve Jobs.” I agree wholeheartedly. Bill Gates can do far more good and is a much better person as a philanthropist than as a monopolist.


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North Korea Will Be Removed from the List of State Sponsors of Terrorism

George W. Bush is giving North Korea the benefit of the doubt after the communist country released a declaration of its nuclear program for outside review. This is one day after the fifty-eight anniversary of the start of “The Forgotten War.”

I pray that the “carrot” approach works with North Korea and that the hostilities between it and the rest of the world can finally be assuaged.

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The Supreme Court Upholds the Second Amendment

American citizens have a Constitutional right to own a gun. I always knew that to be true, but now the United States Supreme Court has affirmed it.

Expect the anti-gun crowd to go crazy over this ruling and the mainstream media to paint it in a negative light.

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The Carabinieri: Faithful in Their Marriages

Sometimes, it is not a news story itself that is particularly noteworthy, but it is how a news agency chooses to present that story. Such is the case with a brief Reuters article about the Carabinieri, Italy’s military police force.

The Supreme Court of Cassation passed down a ruling stating that the members of the Carabinieri should not have extra-marital affairs so as to eschew any tarnishing of the force’s reputation. After all, the Carabinieri motto is Nei Secoli Fedele (in English, “Faithful throughout the Centuries”). A policeman can’t claim to be faithful if he is cheating on his wife, can he?

The story itself is slightly interesting but not really all that important, although it is nice to see Italy’s highest court affirming the importance of people in the public eye keeping their marriage vows.

But the reason I am talking about this story at all is Reuters’s reporting of it. I found it curious that Reuters chose to place its report of the Italian court’s ruling in the “Oddly Enough” category. Reuters regularly features quirky stories under that category; I have blogged about a few of them before (such as here and here). But should a court ruling that says military police must not “bring discredit to the armed forces with extra-marital relationships” really be classified as “odd”?

Even worse, the article’s headline, “Court says military police can’t have lovers,” is entirely inaccurate. The Court of Cassation declared that members of the Carabinieri could not have mistresses; it said nothing about lovers in general. Surely, Reuters is not implying that the policemen were ordered to be celibate. Or does Reuters think that spouses cannot be lovers?

The article’s reporting is credited to Deepa Babington and the editing to Giles Elgood. Both should be embarrassed by the sloppy choice of words.

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President Bush Goes After Bin Laden One Last Time

George W. Bush has enlisted the help of Britain’s special forces for one final, large-scale attempt to capture the terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden before President Bush’s term ends in January.

I hope this last-ditch effort to find bin Laden, who is presumedly still hiding in northern Pakistan, will be successful. Not only will bin Laden’s capture make the world a safer place, but also Gary Weddle really, really needs to shave.

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Banning the Associated Press

The Associated Press has gotten on the bad side of Michael Arrington of TechCrunch for going after bloggers who quote portions of AP articles, and Arrington is now banning all AP stories from the TechCrunch Network.

Despite the Associated Press’s often blatant liberal bias on political news, I have quoted from the AP on many occasions in the past. But now that the news agency is attacking the fair use rights of bloggers by sending out DMCA notices, you won’t be seeing AP content (or links to AP content, for that matter) in any of my posts in the future.

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Google Browser Sync Will Not Be Updated

The one obstacle that has prevented me from using the release candidate of Firefox 3 as my primary web browser has been that Google Browser Sync, the extension which synchronizes my bookmarks and history among all my installations of Firefox, has not been upgraded to work with the latest version of the browser. But that is no longer a hindrance since Google has divulged that the programmers which developed Browser Sync have moved on to other projects and will not be making the extension Firefox 3-compatible.

I have used Browser Sync since at least October of 2006 and have come to rely on it pretty heavily. I really liked how the extension allowed me to close a browser session full of open tabs on one computer, and restore all those tabs on a different computer. For those like me who cherished the features of Browser Sync, Google recommends a handful of alternatives, none of which fully duplicate what Browser Sync does: Mozilla Weave, Google Toolbar for Firefox, and Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer.

I am glad that Google finally told Browser Sync fans that support for the extension was ending, but I do wish the company had announced the news month ago. At least, now there is nothing keeping me from taking part in Firefox’s Download Day tomorrow.

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