Ten Most (Un)Wanted Design Bugs

Here's a great list of the Ten Most (Un)Wanted Design Bugs. Many of these candidates have persisted for more than 30 years.

Topic Maps: The Next Big Thing in Search?

Will topic maps be the next big thing in information search:
Databases and search engines provide instantaneous access to endless information about anyone or anything, but the search results often include as many misses as hits. To generate more-relevant answers, organizations including the federal government are using topic maps to index their data.

Topic maps are smart indices that improve search capabilities by categorizing terms based on their relationships with other things. For example, William Shakespeare is a topic that would be mapped to essays about him, his plays and his famous quotes.

This sounds like a variation on semantic (meaning) based clustering. Sure sounds handy!

IE Share Drops Below 90% Firefox Gains

Firefox Gains, IE Looses, User Share:
Tallies released last week by Dutch Web traffic analyst OneStat.com showed that IE had dipped below the 90 percent market share mark for the first time in years, confirming a downward trend seen in other surveys released since millions of Web surfers started trying out Firefox. OneStat's survey indicated that Firefox has picked up what market share IE has lost.
I've been using Firefox for several months now. It is a solid performer. Recommended.

The Internet as a No-Weenie Zone

Glenn Reynolds sets Bill O'Reilly straight::
Bill O'Reilly still doesn't understand that the Internet is a no-weenie zone. Apparently, even journalists who (at best) recklessly report stories based on unchecked fake documents are too important to be criticized by the 'little people' on the Internet.
O'Reilly's attempt to justify Dan Rather's behavior is baffling, at minimum. At best, this defense of Rather affords an interesting portal into the standards by which O'Reilly desires to be held accountable.


Target Now A Target Needs Salvation

In banishing Salvation Army bell ringers from its stores this holiday season, Target has become a target for justified criticism. Most retail stores, Target included, rake in approximately 2/3 of their annual revenue between Thanksgiving and Christmas. As more than one commentator has pointed out, in booting the Salvation Army, Target is biting the hand that feeds it.

Here's a sampling of well Targeted commentary:

Hugh Hewitt observes:

UPDATE: Carol Platt Liebau blogged on Target as Scrooge more than a week ago. Wagonboy blogged on it tonight. And I am told that by tomorrow, www.dontshoptarget.com will be up and running. Here is another take on the effects of the target decision. It isn't just lost donations:

Fred Barnes on The Beltway Boys and Kate O'Beirne on The Capital
Gang both "knocked Target tonight for exiling the Salvation Army. There's still time to change your mind, Mr. Ulrich.

Try this Google News Search for recent articles on the Salvation Army backlash.

I think Target made an expensive decision that will have lingering consequences.

Update: The MSM have entered the Target hunt.


Digital Music Diffusion ... The CD will be with us for a while linger

The Register reports
But still a healthy sum to share among the likes of Apple's iTunes, Napster, Virgin Digital, Wal-Mart, Tesco and co., surely? Well, not quite. That figure represents not only sales of digital downloads and subscription revenue, but CDs purchased from Amazon and co.
Digital downloads will account for half of the total - $3.1bn.
That amounts to 7.7 per cent of total music sales, leaving CD, DVD and their successor physical formats taking 92.3 per cent of the market.
Those figures look to a market five years off. Closer to today - next year, in fact - sales of digital downloads will total $422.7m, more than double the $179.5m that will be spent this year, IMG reckons. Subscription revenue in 2004 will total $103.7m, the researcher estimates, rising to $191.7m next year. For the two methods of delivery, those figures represent growth of 135.5 per cent and 84.9 per cent, so clearly IMG believes that punters will increasingly prefer one-off downloads over tethered subscription packages.

The numbers cited in this article strike me as overly pessimistic toward digital downloading. Given that digital photography gained traction in the marketplace quicker than Kodak and other photo giants expected, I anticipate digital music will follow a similarly rapid ascent.

Holiday Shoppers Skip the Lines and Shop the Net

CNN Reports:
NEW YORK, Nov 26 (Reuters) - More U.S. 'Black Friday' shoppers were turning to the Internet for discounts this year to avoid long lines and crowded parking lots as the holiday shopping season got underway after Thanksgiving.

Online retailers reported steady or surging traffic on Friday and with the strong start were poised to grow sales by 20 or 30 percent this season compared with a year ago.

Yep, the Web is now a full-fledged alternative channel. Retailers ignore it at their peril.

US Exit Poll Data Confirms Net Suspicions ... or not

The release of complete exit poll data for the 2004 US presidential election has wags like this and this are peering into the discrepancy between exit poll data and actual poll and perceiving scandal (at the extreme) or anomaly:

I've a lot of respect for Lessig. His work in the copyright arena is thought provoking. Unfortunately, a keen understanding of copyright law doesn't translate to survey sample research. The creative presentation of the sampling discrepancy -- arrayed as it is, creates the illusion of some mysterious invisible hand at work. I believe the graph reveals little more than normal sample bias. If so, sampling bias is indeed on display here, this bar chart displays nothing unusual or untoward; just the artifact of random errors doing their thing to "bias" the estimate. That's why we call it an estimate, after all. End of mystery.

That said, it may be interesting to obtain similar data from past presidential elections and create similar displays. My hunch is that the observed patterns will be fairly consistent. Sure, the states will likely change places, but that's what one would expect from an analysis of sampling error ... unless, one could identify a factor that introduces systematic bias into the estimates.

Are these estimates outside what one would expect statistically? A question that could be answered definitively.

Again, exit poll data are estimates and should be regarded with all the cautions they are thus due.

Phishers automate attacks

Expect more phish: Phishers tap botnets to automate attacks | The Register:
Computer criminals are making phishing more potent by automating attacks. Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) analysts reckon fraudsters are using automated tools and botnets to ramp up attacks. It estimates attacks grew by an average of 36 per cent a month between July and October.
Scam emails that form the basis of phishing attacks often pose as 'security check' requests from well-known businesses. These messages attempt to trick users into handing over their account details and passwords to bogus sites. The details collected this way are used for credit card fraud and identity theft. First seen more than a year ago, phishing emails are becoming increasingly sophisticated, directing users to bogus websites which accurately reproduce the look and feel of legitimate sites.
I'm so sick of this stuff. More than 800 pieces of uninvited email flood my inbox daily.


Home Cooked No More: Pre-Made Holiday Meal Sales Skyrocket

Further evidence of consumers crimped for time and short on talent: Sales of Pre-Made Holiday Meals are going through the roof:
RALEIGH, N.C. — Everyone likes a nice Thanksgiving spread on the table, but not everyone has the time — or culinary skill — to cook the traditional turkey, dressing, veggies and desserts. Enter the grocery store.

More people are buying complete Thanksgiving meals to take home, according to retailers and food-trend experts. Nearly every grocery store with a deli now offers the meals, which consumers can order in advance and pick up on Thanksgiving eve.

Last year, Fresh Market's (search) 44 stores from Florida to Virginia sold a few hundred complete meals.

"This year, we sold several thousand. We actually sold out," said Eric Blaesing, spokesman for the Greensboro-based chain.
While I welcome the option of take-out Thanksgiving meals, I find this very sad.

Mobile Tech and the Classroom

Mobile and PDA technologies and their future use in education:

by Paul Anderson and Adam Blackwood.

In recent years there has been a phenomenal growth in the number and technical sophistication of what can loosely be termed 'mobile devices' such as PDAs, mobile phones and media players. Increasingly these devices are also internet-enabled. This JISC report reviews the current state of the art, explores the potential uses within education and discusses some of the trends in technological development such as wireless networking, device convergence and 'always-on' connectivity.

The section on "Staff Training and Awareness" rings especially true.
Staff in HE/FE are likely to need training and awareness in mobile and PDA technologies. Staff who are less technically aware may have little, if any, comprehension of what is possible with newer mobile devices. As an example, experience from the University of South Dakota suggested staff training was a key issue to the successful use of PDAs (Smith, 2003). Pressure for adoption is likely to come from the student body, who will increasingly be handling such devices and using them as support tools in an ad hoc fashion during courses.
PDAs were distributed in our shop. No training was provided. Approximately 25% of the devices were never unboxed. Each term I observe more students using wireless devices in class. Either we integrate these tools into the classroom experience or loose relevance.

Grab the report (MS Word).

Rebrand Democrat

Rebrand Democrat: An example of the power of Internet wags in action.

It's contageous and spreading:


Market Maps and Value Chain Tool

Check out this Market Maps - Demonstration.

LBM is Here ... well ... in Japan

Amazon.com launches cell based LBM in Japan
While Amazon has been indirectly skirmishing with traditional retailers since they started, their new move in Japan is tantamount to a direct declaration of war.

Their "Amazon Scan Search" product allows users to download a free application onto their camera-enabled mobile phone. This allows them to scan barcodes of ordinary products and then search Amazon.co.jp for it.

Not only does this allow them to make an instant price comparison, but they can decide to purchase the product instantly, from Amazon via their phone.
Hat tip: Smart Mobs. See also this article.

Thanksgiving is a time to ... Thank God

A reminder that Thanksgiving is a time to pause and thank God:
Washington: NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and affign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanksfor His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

Lincoln: I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.
Hat tip: Blogs For Bush

Censoring the Declaration of Independence ... Not!

The mentality exhibited by this school administration illustrates nicely why the left doesn't get it:
A California teacher has been barred by his school from giving students documents from American history that refer to God -- including the Declaration of Independence.
Yep, that Declaration of Independence is one scary document, all right. This example reinforces why the left's "censorship is the solution" is such a weak position.

Update: Teacher Steven Williams interviewed by Hannity & Colmes.

Google Scholar Review

Preliminary results of a test in which Google Scholar is compared with other academic literature search tools.

More commentary on Google Scholar is available here.

Grilled Virgin fetches $28,000

From BBC NEWS we learn:
A decade-old toasted cheese sandwich said to bear an image of the Virgin Mary has sold on the eBay auction website for $28,000.
Hmm ... a decade-old?

CutOut Tech Slows Speeders

WALB reports:
ALBANY, Ore. A man sick of speeders zipping through his neighborhood has found a novel way to slow the leadfoots down.
Rick Pyburn has set up a decoy deputy that sits in a painted plywood cruiser stuck in some bushes near his house in Albany, Oregon.

The pretend patrolman is so effective, Pyburn says, he plans to market copies of the car for residents in both city neighborhoods and rural areas.

The Benton County Sheriff's Office doesn't mind the imposter.

But they do say they would like to have more deputies on duty so residents don't have to resort to such ingenuity.
Ya gotta love it! This puppy must be driving nuts the guys with their Valentines and Escorts.


Is Your Printer Watching You? Part 2

Yahoo! News Reports that the Government Uses Color Laser Printer Technology to Track Documents:
According to experts, several printer companies quietly encode the serial number and the manufacturing code of their color laser printers and color copiers on every document those machines produce. Governments, including the United States, already use the hidden markings to track counterfeiters.
What other forms of identification technologies are built into devices that we use daily and we haven't yet discovered?


DVD Disruption in Hollywood

Brand Autopsy provides a nice abstract of a recent NYT article documenting the impact of DVDs on the talkies industry:
In a recent NY Times Sunday Magazine article (Box Office in a Box Nov. 14, 2004), I was struck by just how much DVDs have moved from playing a supporting role in driving revenues for studio released feature films to playing the leading role. I had no idea DVDs now claim 63% of a film’s revenue (as generated through wholesale DVD sales to retailers) while box office receipts only account for 21% of a feature film’s revenue.

Other interesting takeaways from this article include:

  • For consumers buying DVDs, 30% saw the movie in the theater, 30% saw it on cable, and 40% have never seen the film.

  • Despite being a critical purchase factor for consumers, the DVD extras (actor commentary, behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes, alternative endings, etc.) are only viewed by 20% of DVD buyers.

  • ‘Eventize’ is the marketing idiom du jour being used in Hollywood. Eventize … as in, “We need to eventize the hell out of this release.”

  • Studios generate around $9.00 cash flow per DVD sold. [COST BREAKDOWN: Studios incur about $6.00 in costs (from production to marketing to royalty fees) to produce one DVD and they charge retailers a wholesale price of approx. $14.95 … leaving slightly more/less than $9.00 as positive cash flow per DVD sold.]

  • Given the profitability of DVDs, an unnamed Hollywood executive referred to DVDs as being, “… the corporate A.T.M. machine.”

  • Mega retailers dominate the consumer sales of DVDs with Wal-Mart capturing 22% of all DVD sales in the US. Best Buy, Target, Costco, Sam’s Club, Circuit City, and Blockbuster combined are responsible for 42% of DVD sales.

  • With greater frequency, more films are receiving only a two-week theatrical run and then disappear only to reappear on the DVD market to exploit the ‘home-cinema’ market.

  • The emergence of the ‘home-cinema’ market is having a profound effect on how consumers experience motion pictures. Mark Rance, a DVD producer, explained this effect by saying, “What we’re used to is the 19th century theatrical experience: you go to a theater with a large group of people, you see a movie and enjoy it with a crowd. That’s being replaced now by, like, 20 people in your living room, like a book club watching a film they might not have heard of.”

Which raises the question: How much disruption will the expanding reach of on-demand video delivery inflict on this industry?

Disintermediating the Main Stream Broadcast Media

David Hornik has a nice piece on how bloggers are disintermediating the main stream broadcast media.

My Prediction: Communication patterns and tools that dominate election 2008 will be very different than what characterized 2004 and prior elections. I predict that the 2008 election will have us firmly in the post-blog post-MSM era. What form will that take? Only time will reveal.

LBM is Here ... in your ...

Here are some interesting developments in location based marketing (LBM):
“Seeker Wireless have developed capabilities that use existing GSM, CDMA and 3G handsets to enable the location of a mobile subscriber to be made available as an opt-in, permission based service to help drive the adoption of mobile marketing and mobile content offerings”, said Dr. Drane.

Oh, the fun one could have with LBM ... to say nothing of the potential for creating all sorts of location-based value offerings.

Ethically Challenged Mobs: Students held for SMS exam scam

Cell phones create new possibilities such as this Korean Text Message exam scam
According to The Korea Times, police are expanding an investigation into what appears to be 'the largest cheating scandal involving high school seniors after securing evidence suggesting about 100 students allegedly used cell phones to cheat during the national college entrance exam held on Wednesday'. (Hat-tip: SmartMobs.com)
What will they think of next. Sigh.

Data on International Students in the US and US Students Studying Off-Shore

Here's a nice connection to fact sheets on international students.

Bush the "dissident among the leaders of the free world"

Joel C. Rosenberg quotes Natan Sharansky:
"I told the president, 'There is a great difference between politicians and dissidents. Politicians are focused on polls and the press. They are constantly making compromises. But dissidents focus on ideas. They have a message burning inside of them. They would stand up for their convictions no matter what the consequences.'

"I told the president, 'In spite of all the polls warning you that talking about spreading democracy in the Middle East might be a losing issue — despite all the critics and the resistance you faced — you kept talking about the importance of free societies and free elections. You kept explaining that democracy is for everybody. You kept saying that only democracy will truly pave the way to peace and security. You, Mr. President, are a dissident among the leaders of the free world.'"

Interesting that it takes an Israeli cabinet member to state the obvious that so many cannot (are are not willing to) apprehend. This also reveals why the left so much despises Bush. The left thrives on policies of oppression. Bush's efforts to encourage freedom abroad encourages domestic freedom, too. Such freedoms are inconsistant with the dependent culture created and perpetuated by the left. Hat tip to Best of the Web.

Sick: JFK Reloaded

From the too sick to believed universe comes JFK Reloaded, a video game that allows you to
take part in the world’s first interactive reconstruction of John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
This leaves me speechless.

Follow-up: I've gone back and taken a second look at the site. Objectively, the purpose of the activity is to allow interested individuals to test, via simulation, the conclusions of the Warren Commission report. As such, the simulation presumably allows participants to test alternate hypotheses regarding the assassination of JFK.

From this perspective, there are at least two distinct issues. One is the development and use of simulations as a learning tool. The second is the context that is simulated. I'm a fan of simulations as a learning tool. I've used the Marketplace eCommerce simulation to great success in my ecommerce classes.

As to the context of the JFK Reloaded simulation, I suppose it is a matter of taste. I find this context distasteful. Just as I find distasteful violence-centered action adventure movies, books, and video games.

It does make me wonder: Is an Arafat Reloaded simulation in the near future?

Bottom line: This is sick.

Recording Industry Punishes More Music Consumers

The Register reports:
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is suing 761 people for alleged illegal filesharing. University students are a particular focus of the legal action with 25 people named for using university networks to distribute music. The individuals are accused of copyright infringement for using peer-to-peer networks like Kazaa and eDonkey to share music.

Cary Sherman, RIAA president, said there had been positive developments in partnerships between colleges and legitimate file sharing services. He said: "During the fall, we have seen a flurry of additional agreements between schools and legal online music providers. That’s exciting news for the university, students, and all those involved in the creative chain of making and distributing music.

Here's my favorite part:
"The lawsuits are an essential educational tool. They remind music fans about the law and provide incentives to university administrators to offer legal alternatives."

To be clear: I am a strong advocate of copyright and the rights that it provides the creator or owner of a creative work. Those who invest time, energy, resources in creating something that others enjoy have a right to compensation for those efforts. What I find contemptuous is how that entertainment industry is treating their best customers. Consumers communicating clearly that the industry is making entertainment too difficult to acquire (either by poor distribution and/or extreme pricing). Rather than treating their best customers as criminals, the entertainment industry's efforts would be better invested in activities that increase the value offered to entertainment consumers.

Here's what the RIAAA has to say.

Google Scholar Brings Relevance to Scholarly Search

Google Scholar is another great tool provided by Google. Scholar searches the domain of academic literature. Results are returned ranked relevance. Very handy. Certainly much better than the usual list returned ordered by date of publication.

Many returned paper citations include a Cited by xx link. Click the link and a list of articles that have cited the work are returned. Snazz!

Google Scholar assumes you have access to an article delivery service, such as EBSCO; only rarely are links to downloadable versions of the papers returned. Over all, Google has launched another tool that is darned handy.

Speaking of search, check out A9, if you haven't already.


IMsmarter. Is it Really?

Engadget has a nice Interview with David E. Weekly, Founder of Coceve and www.IMsmarter.com
What is IMsmarter?

It’s a new kind of IM enhancement. Go to www.IMSmarter.com to check it out. Geeky people would call it a “proxy”, but the easiest way to think about it is as a secretary that helps you out by sitting between you and the rest of the world, letting you know about things that are interesting and taking notes of your meetings so you can recall what was said later. In the same way that you don’t need to change your phone or mail systems when you get a secretary, IM Smarter doesn’t require you to change anything about your current IM habits - after a thirty-second configuration (not requiring you to install any software), you’re good to go. You just keep on using your favorite client on your favorite OS: AIM, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, MSN Messenger, iChat, Trillian, whatever! It works on Windows, OS/X, and Linux!

Give us some example of IM Smarter in action.

It’s 4pm; you’re at work and you remember you were going to meet your buddy for dinner tonight, but you’ve forgotten where. He’s not online, but you had IMmed with him last night from home to discuss where you’d meet up. Without IM Smarter, you’d be screwed - with IM Smarter you just log in to the web site, click on your buddy’s name, and see the chat you had last night.


You’ve got a lot going on and are feeling a bit scatterbrained; you’ve just put the clothes in the wash and need to remember to move them over to the dryer in 40 minutes, plus the casserole needs to come out of the oven in 30 minutes. You’re doing a million other things and you know you’ll forget when you need to do what. A “calendar” is the wrong tool here. With IM Smarter, you just send two IMs:

bug me in 40 minutes about the clothes in the wash
bug me in 30 minutes about the casserole

And presto! Even if you log off and log back in, you’ll get an IMmed reminder - even if you log on from a different location and with a different screen handle! And even if you sign on with a different protocol!
I'm off to www.imsmarter.com to check it out.

The Promise of RFID Tags

This Slashdot post provides a very nice summary of innovative applications of RFID tags. I strongly suspect this is just the tip of the iceburg; that in the coming 18 months the number of RFID applications will explode.

Worst Jobs in Science

Looking to put your life in perspective? Check out Popular Science's list of the Worst Jobs in Science

Fair Use Rights May Persist: Intellectual Property Protection Act Gets Flack

Rather than getting creative to solve their financial woes, the entertainment industry is trying the legislative route. The Intellectual Property Protection Act (IPPA) is federal legislation under consideration that, among other things, could severely curtail the "fair use" provisions granted by current copyright law. The proposed change would limit our ability to copy music and other works for personal use. The bill contains lots of other goodies for the entertainment industry that are not consumer friendly. Ars Technica has a nice summary.


Sad News: Academia Still Fixated on John Kerry

From the "This is Too Rich to Believe" department:
Yahoo! News reports Internet buzz that perhaps the exit polls were correct and the actual returns might be flawed grew louder this week when sociology graduate students at the University of California at Berkeley went public with an analysis arguing that Florida results in counties using electronic ballots differed from historical voting patterns.
What makes this especially rich is that these "graduate students" are so convinced their conclusion is correct that they don't realize that their data suggest otherwise.


Too Much Blue in Academia?

NewsMax reports:
One national survey of more than 1,000 profs shows that Democrats outnumber Republicans by at least 7 to 1 in the social 'sciences' and humanities.
I wonder why the author(s) of this study excluded professional schools from their study. Do they assume that colleges of business house hoards of Republicans? My experience as an academic suggests that faculty at colleges of business mirror this blue pattern. As one that subscribes to a rosier view of the world, the dominance of blue perspectives makes my day to day professional life rather interesting.

Kerry Wants to Help John O'Neill Sell More Books

John Kerry, ever restless, isn't satisfied with the publicity he's already generated for John O'Neill's book, Unfit for Command. In a stroke of pure genious, it is reported that Kerry is considering suing John O'Neill for libel. That would provide a brilliant post-election boost for a book that Kerry has already promoted so effectivelly that over 800,000 copies have sold to-date.

Election PESTs

Oh, this is way too rich:
The Boca Raton News reported last week that more than 30 distraught Kerry supporters in South Florida contacted the non-profit AHA following their candidate’s Nov. 3 concession to President Bush. AHA officials have diagnosed the disorder as Post Election Selection Trauma (PEST) and have scheduled the first of several free group therapy sessions for just after Thanksgiving.
Folks like this give psychothreapy a bad name.


1 struggling retailer + 1 struggling retailer = ?

1 struggling retailer + 1 struggling retailer = ? My Way News reports: "CHICAGO (AP) - The discounter Kmart Holding Corp. (KMRT) is acquiring one of the most venerable names in U.S. retailing, the department store operator Sears, Roebuck & Co. (S), in a surprise $11 billion deal that will create the nation's third largest general merchandise retailer."


Poptarts and Beer: Wal-Mart Uses Predictive modeling to Inventory Stores

The NYT has a nice article about Wal-Mart's use of predictive modelling on their 460 terabytes of data (link requires free NYT registration) to determine what to stock in their stores.
"HURRICANE FRANCIS was on its way, barreling across the Caribbean, threatening a direct hit on Florida's Atlantic coast. Residents made for higher ground, but far away, in Bentonville, Ark., executives at Wal-Mart Stores decided that the situation offered a great opportunity for one of their newest data-driven weapons, something that the company calls predictive technology."
Who'd a guessed that beer and strawberry poptarts are best sellers in anticipation of a hurricane?


Is Your Printer Watching You?

Computer usage raises myriad privacy concerns. The latest privacy concern stems from the discovery that Lexmark printers appear to monitor your activities
Lexmark, makers of printers and scanners, has been caught monitoring users’ printer, scanning, and ink cartridge usage. Apparently, users on the comp.periphs.printers newsgroup found that the Lexmark installation software embeds itself in the registry and monitors printer activity via a file located at c:\program_files\lexmark500. While Lexmark originally denied the allegations, the reality of the spyware is pretty straight-forward, and they have come forward to admit their wrongdoing. Better late than never? It’s not clear what they are monitoring, though: Lexmark say they’re just tracking printer and cartridge usage, but the registration information and packets being sent say otherwise.

Unsettling stuff.


Graphic: The Marginalization of Kerry's Presidential Campaign

This 3-D Graphic representation of the 2004 Presidential Election results is simultaneously a great example of how to effectly present complex data, it also demonstrates how marginalized the Kerry campaign really was.


The Full Fury of Bush's Victory

Electoral-Vote.com has a county-by-county map of the U.S. showing "who won where. From looking at the map, you wouldn't know that almost half the population voted for Kerry. It shows very clearly how Kerry's base is in highly-populated urban areas and Bush's base is more in suburban and rural areas."

My take: Kerry's support is highly concentrated amongst the "metrosexual" psychographic.

Here's a smaller version of the map (Courtesy USA Today):


Young (Democratic) Cell Phone Users Prefer Bush

In a surprise result, C|Net spins Democratic pollster Zogby as follows :
The young cell phone crowd backs Kerry for president, according to a novel poll taken exclusively over mobile phones.
Digging deeper C|Net reports
Among 18- to 29-year-old likely voters, 55 percent favored Democratic candidate John Kerry, while 40 percent preferred incumbent George Bush, according to the study, conducted by polling firm Zogby International and nonprofit group Rock the Vote.
That is an interesting spin. The real story is that 40% of this presumably democraticlly inclined sample plans to vote for Bush.

In other news, Zogby has demonstrated that SMS may be a way to collect opinion data from the increasing proportion of the U.S. population (currently at 7%) that has cut the wire and gone wireless.