BUSINESS

Serious squatting

With everybody and their brother trying for the past couple years to bust into the the online calendar market, how is it that calendar.com is sitting there with one of those stupid fake-search-engine advertising pages? Way back in the ’90s, Skip Montanaro of Music-Cal fame put it to good use. Digging through the archive.org history it looks like he may have sold it to mail.com. I had to do a whois to see that mail.

Good web hosting

Each year I spend some time doing research on inexpensive web hosting options for my students. It’s virtually impossible to find a cheap hosting company whose name doesn’t produce copious results for a Google search on “FoobarHost.net sucks”. The predominating mood for me at the end of this research is always: I’m really glad I have more than $10/month to spend on hosting. Since fall 2003 I’ve had a FreeBSD VPS with JohnCompanies, and it’s really quite excellent.

Microsoft steps up FUD campaign against Linux

Here it comes: “Novell pays us some money for the right to tell customers that anybody who uses SUSE Linux is appropriately covered,” Ballmer said. This “is important to us, because [otherwise] we believe every Linux customer basically has an undisclosed balance-sheet liability.” I’ve been working on slogans for this new campaign. For a reasonablelicensing fee I will allow Microsoft to use this one: “Don’t get sued – get SUSE!

Eudora goes open source

The venerable Eudora e-mail client is going open source, Mozilla style. I was a devoted Eudora user in the ’90s, but I’m not sure what their, you know, unique value proposition is today. It seems like even the developers don’t quite know what it’s going to be, but if you want to stay in the loop keep checking the Penelope project (including the discussion page) at Mozilla.org. Via ArsTechnica

International Freedom From Stupid Software Patents Day

LZW – that is, the formerly patented Lempel-Ziv Welch compression algorithm – is free today. The footnote on the Free Software Foundation’s GIF history page says: The Unisys patent expired on 20 June 2003 in the USA, in Europe it expired on 18 June 2004, in Japan the patent expired on 20 June 2004 and in Canada it expired on 7 July 2004. The U.S. IBM patent expired 11 August 2006, The Software Freedom Law Center says that after 1 October 2006, there will be no significant patent claims interfering with employment of the GIF format.

Remember the town of Half.com?

I was wondering today what ever happened to the town of Half.com when I discovered a recent post at designobserver.com that answers this very question. The backstory, in case you missed it, is that during the first dot-com boom the company Half.com (since absorbed by eBay) got the town of Halfway, Oregon to rename itself as a publicity stunt. I gather there are mixed feelings about the way it worked out, and the town seems to have reverted to its former name for the most part.