May 2007

Steve and Bill, Now

by Joey deVilla on May 31, 2007

Now that I’ve posted the “Steve and Bill, Then” video, here’s the highlight reel from their big keynote at the Wall Street Journal’s “D: All Things Digital” conference:

If you’re a “completist” sort and want to see the video of the entire talk, you can — the nice folks at the All Things Digital conference have put videos and a transcript of the entire keynote online:

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Steve and Bill, Then

by Joey deVilla on May 31, 2007

Here’s a video, courtesy of the D: All Things Digital folks that shows some key moments from a couple of times that both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates shared a stage:

  • The “Macintosh Dating Game”, from 1983
  • 1997′s “Let’s be friends again” presentation

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RAM Ain’t What it Used to Cost

by Joey deVilla on May 31, 2007

Preview of old computer magazine ad: “64K for $1495″
Click the image to see it at full size.
Scan courtesy of Miss Fipi Lele.

Wow, did RAM cost a lot back when S-100 Bus-based computers were big stuff.

As a point of comparison, consider today’s featured deal at NewEgg.com: 2 Gigs of RAM for $144.00. That’s more than 30,000 times the storage space for about one-tenth the price. The deal gets better if you expend the effort to mail in the form for the $50.00 rebate.

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“Spam King” Robert Soloway Arrested

by Joey deVilla on May 31, 2007

Let’s Go to Prison

Before I get carried away with news about Google Gears, Jobs and Gates at D5 and Palm’s why-the-Hell-did-they-make-that device, I thought I’d open with this little bit of news that shouldn’t be forgotten amidst all the current news noise.

It looks as though Robert “Spam King” Soloway is one step closer to becoming a Pruno connoisseur.

From a Yahoo! News report:

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – US prosecutors said they captured on Wednesday a nefarious Internet marketer responsible so much junk e-mail they called him “Spam King.”
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Robert Soloway, 27, was arrested in Seattle, Washington, a week after being indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of identity theft, money laundering, and mail, wire, and e-mail fraud.

Soloway is accused of using “botnets,” networks of computers, to disguise where e-mail originated and of forging return addresses of real people or businesses that wound up blamed for unwanted mailings.

If convicted as charged, Soloway will face a maximum sentence of more than 65 years in prison and a fine of 250,000 dollars.

Spamhaus has more details about Soloway’s career as a spammer:

Soloway has been a long term nuisance on the internet. He has been sending enormous amounts of spam for years, filling mailboxes and mail servers with unsolicited and unwanted junk email. In addition, he has fraudulently marketed his spam services to others as legitimate ‘opt-in’ services when they were anything but that, duping innocent users and then failing to provide promised customer support or refunds. Because Soloway spammed through hijacked computers and open proxies, he has repeatedly violated both the Computer Abuse and Fraud Act of 1984 and the CAN-SPAM law of 2003.

Soloway first appeared in the Spamhaus Block List (SBL) in 2001. In 2003, he was listed on Spamhaus’s Register of Known Spam Operations (ROKSO), a list of the world’s “worst of the worst” criminal spammers. Spamhaus spamtraps continued to receive spam solicitations from Soloway advertising his services through the weekend before today’s indictment.

Soloway’s violations of the U.S. CAN-SPAM law and various state anti-spam laws resulted in his being sued successfully by a number of plaintiffs, including Microsoft Corporation and Robert Braver, owner of an Oklahoma-based ISP. Both Microsoft and Braver received damage awards of millions of dollars. Soloway never paid these awards, claiming that he lived off of the proceeds of a family trust and was therefore “judgement-proof.” In September 2005 in Oklahoma City, after Soloway had fired his lawyers and then failed to appear to represent himself in court, U.S. District Judge Ralph G. Thompson issued a permanent injunction against Soloway, forbidding him to continue sending spam that violated the CAN-SPAM act. Soloway ignored this injunction as well and continued to spam.

For the incredibly curious (or if you’re one of those people who’s seen every episode of every variant of Law & Order), here’s a link to a PDF of Soloway’s Arrest Warrant.

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July 17th: Guitar Hero Encore Rocks the 80s

by Joey deVilla on May 30, 2007

Guitar Hero 2 Rocks the 80s

I was 12 when the 80′s began and 22 when they ended, so the music of that decade is pretty much seared into my consciousness. Hence my jumping for joy when I found out that a new Guitar Hero game featuring 80s rock is due on July 17th. Here are the tracks known to be included with the game:

  • Asia – Heat of the Moment
  • Billy Squier – Lonely Is the Night
  • Bow Wow Wow – I Want Candy
  • Dio – Holy Diver
  • Eddie Money – Shakin’
  • Extreme – Play With Me
  • Faster Pussycat – Bathroom Wall
  • Flock of Seagulls – I Ran (So Far Away)
  • Poison – Nothin’ But A Good Time
  • Police – Synchronicity II
  • Quiet Riot – Bang Your Head (Metal Health)
  • Ratt – Round & Round
  • Skid Row – 18 And Life
  • Twisted Sister – I Wanna Rock

As far as I can tell, it’s a PlayStation 2 exclusive. Since I am the owner of a PS2 (a Christmas present from my lovely and very understanding wife), I am left with one complaint: Where the Hell is the AC/DC?!

Party at my house on July 17th!

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Mesh Conference 2007

by Joey deVilla on May 30, 2007

Mesh Conference LogoIn all the hubbub about the D: All Things Digital conference, you may not be aware that the Mesh conference is taking place today and tomorrow in Toronto at the MaRS Centre, pictured below:

MaRS Centre in Toronto, close up.

Mesh is Canada’s premier web conference and features some big names for its keynote speakers. This morning, Mathew Ingram had a “fireside chat” with Michael Arrington, and tomorrow Stuart McDonald will do the same with Richard Edelman.

It looks as though the conference has already had its share of interesting moments. During his keynote, when Arrington spotted Ted Murphy, CEO of PayPerPost, he pointed him out and called him “the most evil person in the room”. I’m certain that the stuffed shirts at D5 (the popular shorthand for the D: All Things Digital conference) are too WSJ-run-event genteel to get into discussions this colourful.

There were a very limited number of tickets to the Mesh conference, so many people — your truly included — missed out as they sold out rather quickly. For those of you who still want to get in on the networking action at Mesh, thereare a couple of options:

  • There’s an unofficial unconference taking place in the open-to-the-general-public food court of the MaRS building. I may check it out tomorrow.
  • There’s an open-to-anyone-interested dinner tonight taking place at the Boiler House in Toronto’s Distillery District. The fun starts at 7 and I plan to be there, probably with wife and accordion.

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Yesterday, I wrote about how the “cyberwar” in Estonia seemed rather different from the way William Gibson depicted cyberattacks in his “Sprawl series” novels, most notably Neuromancer. I thought that as long as I was comparing speculations of what future tech would be like against how the future actually turned out, I should tie it in with the hot news of the moment, Microsoft Surface.

Microsoft Surface’s Promo Videos

In case you haven’t seen the promo videos for Surface yet, I’ve posted them below. Here’s the first one: Microsoft Surface – The Magic:

Thos one’s called: Microsoft Surface – The Power:

And finally, Microsoft Surface – The Possibilities:

Sun’s Starfire Concept Video (1992)

I mentioned Sun’s Starfire project in my post about Surface, but thought it deserved a front-and-centre mention. Starfire wasn’t a project to develop an actual platform, but to develop concepts that would eventually find their way into future platforms when the technology made it possible and show them in a video. The video is available online in MPEG-4 format, but you’d better have a good connection: it’s 270 megs in size:

Still from Sun’s “Starfire” video.
Click the image above to view the Starfire video.

Apple’s Knowledge Navigator Video (1987)

If the Starfire video gives you a sense of deja vu, it’s probably because you’ve seen Apple’s Knowledge Navigator concept video, shown below:

If the Starfire and Knowledge Navigator videos bear similarities to each other, they should; Apple UI guru Bruce “Tog” Tognazzini helped create both.

Next…

I’m going to post some notes on some of the concepts in the Starfire video that appear to have come to fruition with Surface as well as my notes on what they thought 2004 would be like back in 1992.

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