Saturday, July 29, 2000
7/29/2000 9:13:07 PM
Friday, July 28, 2000
7/28/2000 1:05:13 PM
Coiner of the term "software" dies.
John W. Tukey was a Princeton University statistician credited
with coining the word "software." He died yesterday of heart failure in New
Jersey. He was 85.
[NY Times obit]
Tukey first used "software" in a 1958 article in the American
Tukey is also credited with coining the term "bit." Here's a
piece of computer history I've not seen documented anywhere -- the
fight to establish the terminology for what we now call a "bit." In
the early 1970s I heard Edward Teller speak at Livermore Labs. In
that temple to the supercomputer, Teller took as his theme the sheer
unnecessisariness, for any computation whatsoever, of any computer
larger than 4K of 8-bit memory. But Teller did not say "bit" -- he
contrarily said "bigit" (pronounced "bijit") every time. My
guess is that Teller, a man for whose eyebrows alone the word
"irascible" might have been invented, some time in the 1950s had
championed "bigit" as the proper term for "binary digit," but lost
out to Tukey's more elegant coinage.
7/28/2000 8:28:53 AM
Thursday, July 27, 2000
7/27/2000 11:38:31 AM
7/27/2000 11:13:18 AM
Semi-anonymous sites simplify email mischief.
The International Herald Tribune carries this
on two Web sites,
that make it relatively simple to send email that appears to
originate from someone else.
It appears that ManicMail has tightened up its access since the
above article appeared yesterday. To use the service now you need to
submit your name, email address, and reason for wanting access, and
ManicMail promises to get back to you. (They haven't gotten back to me yet.)
Note added 2000-07-31:
Antony Robbins, the ManicMail.net administrator, informs me that
the above paragraph (retained here in grey type) is incorrect. In
the article as initially posted I got the ManicMail URL wrong --
they're .net and not .com -- and therefore misrepresented them.
At ManicMail.net we have not tightened up any security measures and
still allow the sending of emails from the site for free and without
ManicMail forces the sender to acknowledge that bad things may befall if the
message is harassing or otherwise illegal. A savvy recipient can easily determine,
by examining the headers, that the message is not what it seems; but nothing in
the message body tips off the unwary.
Zoubidoo takes no such precautions against casual mischief. The
service does seem to have added a footer to outgoing mail containing
its URL -- this should significantly reduce the liklihood that you'll
be fooled when a cow-orker impersonates your boss to tell you that
you've been fired.
Thanks to Irregular Monty Solomon for the forward.
Wednesday, July 26, 2000
7/26/2000 8:14:31 AM
Privacy hunter Richard Smith gets backing.
Smith will be working with a new organization based at the
University of Denver. The
will be funded by a nonprofit agency underwritten by Denver
entrepreneur Peter Barton. Smith will work with University
of Denver researcher David Martin and three associates.
Tuesday, July 25, 2000
7/25/2000 12:41:40 PM
Monday, July 24, 2000
7/24/2000 8:40:42 PM
The roving_reporter returns.
After a months-long hiatus, Ted Byfield has revived his
roving_reporter column on the
TBTF site. At present r_r is looking rather like a Web log.
Check in from time to time to see
what's new. Ted and I are working on ways to make r_r content
more visible from TBTF's top page.
7/24/2000 8:30:54 PM
ICANN: a failed experiment?
Lauren Weinstein and Peter Neumann have come out of the blue with a
arguing strongly that ICANN, in its current incarnation, needs to
be scrapped as a noble experiment gone bad. The two authors,
moderators of the respected forums
suggest establishing a new international organization that truly
balances the interests of the commercial Internet, private users,
not-for-profits, governments, and the disenfranchised on the wrong
side of the digital divide. It wouldn't surprise me if this manifesto
had real impact on the debate over ICANN.