Why is Amazon insisting that its retail sellers break the law?
Amazon.com must provide its retail sellers with the means to collect state sales tax on sales that are shipped to addresses in the retailer's state.
It is simply unbelievable that an allegedly sophisticated technology company like Amazon can not find a way to allow its retailers to comply with the law.
Why is Amazon insisting that its retail sellers break the law?
Also see this:
Orwellian? - "I'm a big fan of the Amazon Kindle, and think that electronic book readers are the future. But behavior such as that described on David Pogue's New York Times blog can do much to alienate prospective readers"
We're not fans of the Kindle because Amazon does not make clear enough that you are not buying a Kindle book, you are only renting it. And as this situation makes clear, what Amazon gives (or "sells"), Amazon can take away. We prefer other ereaders, like the Sony 505, the Sony 700, and other ereaders.
Renting books on the Kindle - "I wish they'd just call these Kindle book transactions what they are, but I guess 'Rent now with 1-Click® until we decide to take it back from you or maybe not' doesn't fit neatly on a button."
Nitrogen in tires
- "Nitrogen Tire Scam part 3," by cfeagans, Hot Cup of Joe, July 16, 2008
- "Nitrogen in tires - Q&A," Consumer Reports, October 11, 2007
- "Tires - Nitrogen air loss study," Consumer Reports, October 4, 2007
- "Is it better to fill your tires with nitrogen instead of air?" by Cecil, The Straight Dope, February 16, 2007
- "Fill your tires with nitrogen," by Wayne Cunningham, Alpha, May 1, 2006
- "Nitrogen-Filled Tires & Better Gas Mileage?" Blueprint for Financial Prosperity, October 20, 2005
- "Hot or Cold! Inflate your tires with NITROGEN for FREE at Costco! Membership required!" Fat Wallet.com, August 17, 2004
Aftermarket tire-pressure monitoring systems
- Tire Minder® Safety Pressure Indicator
- Tire Minder Max Safety Pressure Indicator - also here
- PressurePro - also available from RVPressurePro
- Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems - article from TireRack - systems available at TireRack
- Tyredog: Manufacturer | AutoDax | SigmaAutomotive
- RAM Aqua box
Piaggio MP3 - article roundup
"No Age Limit: The Lincoln Highway Ride," Bernard Rosenbaum and Bob Chase cross the USA, from San Francisco to Times Square, on MP3 500s June 13 - June xx, 2008.
"First Ride: Piaggio MP3 400 and 500," by Jeremy Korzeniewski, AutoblogGreen, May 27, 2008
"Piaggio MP3 400: Not just a third wheel," by The Car Family, May 19, 2008
"2008 Piaggio MP3 400 Review: Three-wheeled scoot always draws a crowd," by Brad Puetz, Motorcycle.com, May 15, 2008
"Piaggio MP3 500ie: MD Ride Review . . .The Italians Trike Back," by Barry Winfield, Copyright Motorcycle Daily, April 10, 2008
"Piaggio MP3 Scooter...not your father's Vespa," by Adam Richardson, cnet, March 12, 2008
"2008 Piaggio MP3 500: Legendary scooter manufacturer launches two new three-wheelers," by Arv Voss, SFGate, March 8, 2008
"Review: Piaggio MP3 Scooter," by Brett Solomon, e-Gear, March 7, 2008
"2008 Piaggio MP3 500 Test Drive: Clever Trike Delivers 60 MPG, Tons of Fun," by Basem Wasef, Popular Mechanics, February 27, 2008
"Piaggio MP3 400 Test ride," Cafe Moto Vespa Club, February 8, 2008
"Piaggio MP3 Three-Wheel Scooter Review," by Jess, Modern Vespa, December 18, 2006
"Piaggio MP3: the hooligan scooter?" The Biker Gene, December 4, 2007
"2007 Piaggio MP3: Italian scooter is three-wheeled wonder," by Arv Voss, San Francisco Chronicle, December 1, 2007
"Gilera Fuoco - Sex On Three Wheels - First Ride: Piaggio's Wet Dream," by Roland Brown, Motorcyclist (July 2007)
"Piaggio MP3 400 ie," 2 Stroke Buzz, June 13, 2007
"Review of the Piaggio MP3," by David L. Harrington, JustGottaScoot.com, June 2007
"Piaggio MP3 400," by Brad Puetz, Two Wheel Freaks, May 5, 2008
"Piaggio MP3: A love triangle you can live with," Jim Palms, Sound Rider, Spring 2007
"Piaggio MP3 Scooters Getting Good Reviews," by Paul Crowe, The Kneeslider, April 30, 2007
"A three-wheeled extravaganza! Piaggio MP3, VentureOne, KTM X-Bow and Can-Am Spyder," AutoblogGreen, February 23, 2007
"The Can-Am Spyder and Piaggio MP3 are trikes for the big kids," by Susan Carpenter, Los Angeles Times, February 14, 2007
"Piaggio's MP3 Positioned As Practical Scooter For Earth-Lovers," Marketing Daily, January 23, 2007
"The Piaggio MP3: The Three Wheeler, With Two Front Wheels!" by Tasha Crook, LondonBikers.com, January 10, 2007
"Three-Wheeled Suspense," by Matthew Conkley, Popular Science, 2007
"Piaggio MP3 Three-Wheel Scooter Review," by Jess, Modern Vespa, December 18, 2006
"3-wheel scooter for the young and hip: Piaggio's new scooter puts two wheels in front for better stability and handling." By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNNMoney.com, September 26, 2006
"Piaggio MP3: Three Wheels Better Than Two," Gizmodo, May 17, 2006
"Piaggio 3 Wheel MP3 Scooter," by Paul Crowe, The Kneeslider, May 11, 2006
- Piaggio USA web site
- Little Cars - Jonathan Brickman
- Motorcycle Rider Training Program at NVCC
- Dealers: Vespa of Arlington (VA), 703-243-8377 | Eastside Vespa (WA), 425 485-7711 | Vespa of DC, 202-333-8212
- Wikipedia article
- Piaggio MP3 250 - 3 wheel scooter on Hobnob Blog
- 2005 MP3 Manual (329 page pdf )
- 2007 MP3 Manual (335 page pdf )
- Mid-Atlantic Italian MotoFest
- MP3 Forum on ModernVespa
- Royal Bastards Scooter Club | forum
- DC Scoots
- Washington Metro Area Scooter Authority (WMSA)
- MP3 Scooter Club (UK)
- Piaggio MP3 250 on Scooter Community (AU)
- ScooterTrap Performance Parts & Accessories
- MotorSport Scooters - Scooter West
- Corbin - seats
- Kisan motorcycle safety electronics
- Comagination head- and tail-light modulator
- Biker Hiway
- ToolMonger | Siren Padlock (biz home)
- Custom Dynamics - LEDs
- Scooter Trap
- Black Stebel Nautilus Compact Motorcycle Air Horn - installing
- PJ's Parts - Fabbri Windscreens (fitting the Fabbri)
- RAM Mount for scooters - RAM mount for Brake Reservoir cover
- Posi-Tap tap connector
- Electrical Connection Universal Power Plate 02202 - from California Sport Touring
- Garmin Zumo 450 Portable GPS Motorcycle Navigator
- Garmin Zumo 550 3.5-Inch Portable GPS Motorcycle Navigator
- TomTom Rider 2 GPS Navigator for Motorcycles and Scooters
- Akuma helmets
Comprehensive list of low-cost ultraportables
Roundup of light weight ultrpaortable computers, including the Asus Eee PC, Everex Cloudbook, HP Mini-Note, and forthcoming MSI Wind and Acer.
Piaggio MP3 250 - 3 wheel scooter
The Piaggio MP3 250 is a 3-wheeled scooter with 2 front wheels, increasing stability.
See also "Article Roundup," June 21, 2008
- "Piaggio MP3 Three-Wheel Scooter Review," by Jess, Modern Vespa, December 18, 2006
- "Piaggio 3 Wheel MP3 Scooter," by Paul Crowe, The Kneeslider, May 11, 2006
- "Piaggio MP3 Scooters Getting Good Reviews," by Paul Crowe, The Kneeslider, April 30, 2006
- Piaggio MP3 250 mfrs page
- "A three-wheeled extravaganza! Piaggio MP3, VentureOne, KTM X-Bow and Can-Am Spyder," AutoblogGreen, February 23, 2007
- "Piaggio's MP3 Positioned As Practical Scooter For Earth-Lovers," Marketing Daily, January 23, 2007
- "2007 Piaggio MP3: Italian scooter is three-wheeled wonder," by Arv Voss, San Francisco Chronicle, December 1, 2007
Technology in emerging economies
So how well are emerging economies using new technology, really? Hitherto, judgments have had to be based largely on anecdotes. Now the World Bank has supplemented the snapshot evidence with more comprehensive measures.
Take-off to tomorrow, and to yesterday
The bank has drawn up indices based on the usual array of numbers: computers and mobile phones per head, patents and scientific papers published; imports of high-tech and capital goods. In addition, it uses things such as the number of hours of electricity per day and airline take-offs to capture the absorption of 19th- and 20th-century technologies. It tops this off with measures of educational standards and financial structure, which show whether technology companies can get qualified workers and enough capital. The results, laid out last month in the bank's annual Global Economic Prospects report, measure technological progress in its broadest sense: as the spread of ideas, techniques and new forms of business organisation.
Technology so defined is fundamental to economic advance. Without it, growth would be limited to the contributions of increases in the size of the labour force and the capital stock. With it, labour and capital can be used and combined far more effectively. So it is good news that the bank finds that the use of modern technology in emerging economies is coming on in leaps and bounds.
Between the early 1990s and the early 2000s, the index that summarises the indicators rose by 160% in poor countries (with incomes per person of less than about $900 a year at current exchange rates) and by 100% in middle-income ones ($900-11,000). The index went up by only 77% in industrialised countries (with average incomes above $11,000), where technology was more advanced to start with. Poor and middle-income nations, the bank concludes, are catching up with the West.
The main channels through which technology is diffused in emerging economies are foreign trade (buying equipment and new ideas directly); foreign investment (having foreign firms bring them to you); and emigrants in the West, who keep families and firms in their countries of origin abreast of new ideas. All are going great guns.
"Of internet cafés and power cuts," The Economist, February 9, 2008
Amazon reviewers and Web 2.0
I had imagined Amazon's customer reviews as a refuge from the machinations of the publishing industry: "an intelligent and articulate conversation ... conducted by a group of disinterested, disembodied spirits," as James Marcus, a former editor at the company, wrote in his memoir, Amazonia: Five Years at the Epicenter of the Dot.Com Juggernaut.
Given Amazon's lack of greater transparency, it's hard to judge the merits of the vote-swapping claims. What is clear is the corruptibility of democracy, Web 2.0-style.
. . .
This is not to say that a Top 10 ranking doesn't come with some sub rosa incentives for the reviewer. Free books, first and foremost; in an e-mail, Grady Harp told me he was "inundated with books from new writers and from publishers who know I love to read first works." This fall, when it invited select Top Reviewers to join its Vine program--an initiative, still in beta-testing, to generate content about new and prerelease products--Amazon extended the range of perks. "Vine Voices" like Mitchell and Harp can elect to receive items ranging from electronics to appliances to laundry soap. As long as they keep reviewing the products, Amazon's suppliers will keep sending them.
"Who Is Grady Harp? Amazon's Top Reviewers and the fate of the literary amateur." By Garth Risk Hallberg, Slate, January 22, 2008
- "Frequently Asked Questions about Reviewers" - from Amazon
- Top Reviewers on Amazon
- Top Reviewers on Amazon UK
- "The Fakery Behind Amazon's 'Top 10 Reviewers'," The Consumerist
- "The Write Stuff: Interview with Freelancer, Powerseller and Amazon Reviewer Jane Corn," by John Brougher, FreelanceSwitch, October 19, 2007
- Amazon Vine Voices Begins 8/15 - free books or movies for reviews - Bargain$hare.com
- "The following are excerpts from actual one-star Amazon.com reviews of books from Time’s list of the 100 best novels from 1923 to the present. - from The Morning News, October 21, 2005
- "Customer Reviews Get Hijacked," Varien, August 31, 2006
- "Writing Amazon reviews," Pete the music and horse racing fan, June 28, 2007
"Wi-Fi Users, Beware"
Next time you are sitting in a hotel lobby checking email on your laptop, be careful: The "businessman" in the next lounge chair may be tracking your every move.
Many Wi-Fi users don't know that hackers posted at hot spots can steal personal information out of the air relatively easily. And savvy criminal hackers aren't settling for just access to credit cards, bank accounts and other personal financial information; they love to sneak into your company's network, too.
Whether you're using a Wi-Fi hot spot at a hotel, airport or cafe, "you've got to assume that anything you are doing is being monitored," says Shawn Henry, deputy assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's cybercrimes division.
"Wi-Fi Users, Beware: Hot Spots Are Weak Spots. That Guy Across the Lobby May Be Invading Your Laptop; How to Go Online More Safely," by Joseph de Avila, The Wall Street Journal, January 16, 2008 ($ - subscription required)
Very small cars - Peel from the Isle of Man, Moonbeam from Maine
Top Gear Peel P50 Report - The Smallest Production Car
Peel Trident & P50
- Microcar Museum, 2950 Eatonton Road, Madison, GA
- Peel Microcars
- Peel P50 - Wikipedia
- "The Peel P50 - the one car you can drive ALL the way to work!" from AutoblogGreen, November 11, 2007
- "How to build Moonbeam, a 100 MPG microcar," by Jory Squibb
Design for the Other 90%
On view in the Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden, this exhibition highlights the growing trend among designers to create affordable and socially responsible objects for the vast majority of the world's population (90 percent) not traditionally serviced by professional designers. Organized by exhibition curator Cynthia E. Smith, along with an eight-member advisory council, the exhibition is divided into sections focusing on water, shelter, health and sanitation, education, energy and transportation and highlights objects developed to empower global populations surviving under the poverty level or recovering from a natural disaster.
Design for the Other 90% is an exhibition at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.
"The real stars of the show, though, are the stories behind the designs." microscopiq, May 17, 2007
They don't need a handout. What they need is an opportunity.
. . .
A poor person actually only cares about one thing: making more money. If they have more money, they can get ahead, take their family out of poverty.
-- Martin Fischer, Kickstart International
The introductory video also provided an opportunity to explore an additional range of themes that may not be as apparent, running through the exhibition and this area of design: open source options, leapfrog technology, economic impacts, community building, testing and end-user research, low-cost innovations, social enterprise, humanitarian entrepreneurship, improved democracies and multiple calls to action.
"In Their Own Words," Design for the Other 90% blog, May 14, 2007
Design for the Other 90% (web site), an exhibition at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum through September 23, 2007. Cooper-Hewitt, web site, 2 East 91st Street, New York, NY, M-Th 10 am - 5 pm, F 10 am - 9 pm, Sat 10 am - 6 pm, Sun Noon - 6 pm. $ Admission fee.
- "Design for the other 90%: A review of the Cooper-Hewitt exhibition," by Natalia Allen, Core77, May 2007
- Design for the Other 90%, FastCompany, May 10, 2007
- "Alice Rawsthorn on design for the unwealthiest 90 percent," The International Herald Tribune, April 29, 2007
How do you order a burger, fries, and a milkshake in a library?
How do you order a burger, fries, and a milkshake in a library?
An excellent use of YouTube for marketing.
Creative Zen Vision:M
A friend asked for advice on an MP3 player. Although we don't own one, we have read many positive reviews of the Creative Zen Vision:M. Froogle prices. Don't forget to get the silicone skin, AC adapter, and some screen protectors.
eBay buyers beware
There is a new scam on eBay. Analagous to phishing scams, except these are on eBay itself.
We have seen 2 listings that when clicked, took us off eBay and to an eBay sign in page that looked identical to the eBay sign in. Except the sign in page was hosted on a non-eBay site.
So beware: before signing in to your eBay account after clicking on a listing on eBay itself, check the URL in your browser address line to make sure it is www.ebay.com. Plus, a genuine eBay listing does NOT require that you sign in again to view the listing.
Bottom line: be careful when looking at listings on eBay and be sure you only sign in to eBay on the eBay web site.
Ethanol / Back Up Energy Usage
[Vinod Khosla, who helped found Sun Microsystems] is particularly enthused by “cellulosic” ethanol, a highly efficient way of making fuel from agricultural waste. President Bush touted this new technology in his recent state-of-the-union speech, suggesting that it may come to market in six years. In typically impatient form, Mr Khosla wants to halve that gestation period.
. . .
Mr Khosla is convinced that “this fuel is greener, cheaper, more secure than gasoline--and this shift won't cost the consumer, automakers or the government anything.” There are undoubted attractions to ethanol. But making the switch will surely not be as easy or cheap as he suggests. Retail distribution is one obvious problem: fewer than a thousand petrol stations in America sell the most desirable blend of ethanol fuel today. Expanding infrastructure will cost money and take time, and the oil industry is not exactly enthusiastic. And cellulosic technology, which seems so promising today, may take much longer than expected to achieve commercial scale, or might fail altogether.
What is more, the OPEC cartel is suspected by some of engineering occasional price collapses to bankrupt investment in alternative energy. Mr Khosla concedes that after he made his ethanol pitch at this year's Davos meeting, a senior Saudi oil official sweetly reminded him that it costs less than a dollar to lift a barrel of Saudi oil out of the ground, adding: “If biofuels start to take off we will drop the price of oil.”
"A healthier addiction: Vinod Khosla, a Silicon Valley billionaire, who wants to save the world from oil," The Economist, March 23, 2006
Back Up Energy Usage
Strange though it seems, a typical microwave oven consumes more electricity powering its digital clock than it does heating food. For while heating food requires more than 100 times as much power as running the clock, most microwave ovens stand idle—in “standby” mode—more than 99% of the time. And they are not alone: many other devices, such as televisions, DVD players, stereos and computers also spend much of their lives in standby mode, collectively consuming a huge amount of energy. Moves are being made around the world to reduce this unnecessary power consumption, called “standby power”.
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
- Standby Power FAQ - from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
- Cellulosic ethanol - Wikipedia
- Ethanol - Wikipedia
- Energy Star - Wikipedia
- CRS Reports
- "Fuel Ethanol: Background and Public Policy Issues," by Brent Yacobucci, RL33290, March 3, 2006 (26-page pdf )
- "Agriculture-Based Renewable Energy Production," by Randy Schnepf, RL32712, February 28, 2006 (41-page pdf )
- "Renewable Energy: Tax Credit, Budget, and Electricity Production Issues," by Fred Sissine, IB10041, February 17, 2006 (19-page pdf )
- "Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Legislation in the 109th Congress," by Fred Sissine, RL32860, February 9, 2006 (48-page pdf )
- "Energy Policy: Historical Overview, Conceptual Framework, and Continuing Issues," by Robert Bamberger, RL31720, January 18, 2006 (17-page pdf )
- "Alternative Fuels and Advanced Technology Vehicles: Issues in Congress," by Brent Yacobucci, IB10128, January 6, 2006 (14-page pdf )
- "Energy Efficiency: Budget, Oil Conservation, and Electricity Conservation Issues," by Fred Sissine, IB10020, January 20, 2006 (19-page pdf )
"First Hill Hearing To Be 'Live-Blogged'"
The rise of blogs within Washington made this breaking news inevitable: A House subcommittee for the first time will make room for citizen journalists to "live-blog" a congressional hearing.
The International Relations Subcommittee on Global Human Rights, Africa and International Operations will hold the hearing Wednesday at 10 a.m., and the topic is most appropriate. The panel will examine the role that U.S. companies like Google and Yahoo play in filtering Internet content in countries like China.
"First Hill Hearing To Be 'Live-Blogged'," Beltway Blogroll, February 13, 2006
- Committee on International Relations, U.S. House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations
- Hearing: The Internet in China: A Tool for Freedom or Suppression? February 15, 2006, 10:00 am, Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2172
- CRS Reports
- "Internet: An Overview of Key Technology Policy Issues Affecting Its Use and Growth," by Marcia Smith, John Moteff, et al., 98-67, December 20, 2005 (53-page pdf )
- "Internet Development and Information Control in the People's Republic of China," by Michelle Lau, RL33167, November 22, 2005 (15-page pdf )
- "Internet Privacy: Overview and Pending Legislation," by Marcia S. Smith, RL31408, October 19, 2005 (25-page pdf )
- "Google, Yahoo Accused Of “Irresponsible” Chinese Censorship," by Brittany Thompson, webpronews.com, July 28, 2004
- "Yahoo, Chinese police, and a jailed journalist," by Robert Marquand, The Christian Science Monitor, September 9, 2005
- "Criticism of Yahoo!'s role in prosecution of journalist Shi Tao," Chinese Law Prof Blog, September 10, 2005
- "China’s Control Over Search Engine & Blog Content," by Loren Baker, Search Engine Journal, January 14, 2006
- "Google agrees to China censorship," AP via CNN, January 25, 2006
- "Google Now Censoring In China," Search Engine Watch, January 25, 2006
- "Comparisons of Google China and Google," BoingBoing, January 26, 2006
- "No booze or jokes for Googlers in China," Declan McCullagh, CNET News.com, January 26, 2006
- "Microsoft, Yahoo, Google Call For Help Against Chinese Rules," by Axxel, Playfuls.com, February 2, 2006
Congressional Directory 2006
How NOT to use the Internet
The staff of U.S. Rep Marty Meehan wiped out references to his broken term-limits pledge as well as information about his huge campaign war chest in an independent biography of the Lowell Democrat on a Web site that bills itself as the "world's largest encyclopedia," The Sun has learned.
The Meehan alterations on Wikipedia.com represent just two of more than 1,000 changes made by congressional staffers at the U.S. House of Representatives in the past six month.
"Rewriting history under the dome: Online 'encyclopedia' allows anyone to edit entries, and congressional staffers do just that to bosses' bios," by Evan Lehmann, The Lowell (Massachusetts) Sun, January 27, 2006
Wikipedia relies on its readers to create, expand and correct its one million entries on a variety of subjects, but the site's managers also keep track of the Internet addresses of those who make changes.
. . .
It has often been said that Congress acts like a bunch of high school students with a trillion-dollar budget. Now it appears that it also employs some staffers who haven't gotten over the locker-room prank phase of their adolescence.
"Congress Is an Internet Virus," by John Fund, OpinionJournal, January 31, 2006
And kids, don't do it from home, either.
If you want to learn about some of the proper and effective uses of the Internet ...
- "Leveraging Technology: Effectively Using E-Newsletters, Email Alerts, and Your Website," telephone seminar, Tuesday, March 7, 2006, 2pm ET/1pm CT/12noon MT/11am PT
- The In's and Out's of Blogs and Blogging, audio CD, ISBN: 1-58733-028-8
- Also see Chapter 6, Web-Based and Online Communications, in "Media Relations Handbook for Agencies, Associations, Nonprofits and Congress," by Brad Fitch
Media Relations Handbook for Agencies, Associations, Nonprofits and Congress, by Brad Fitch
Back up your data ....
When Linda Cerniglia went back to school, it took her almost seven years to get through all the prerequisites, the labs, the research. And it took a thief just moments to grab her purse, with the only copy of her master's thesis stored on a tiny jump drive inside.
For anyone who's ever obsessed about a project but forgotten to back up the data, watched a computer screen fizzle just before a deadline or left crucial documents in a cab -- here is a story about backing up, and moving forward.
It's about how Cerniglia almost went crazy, then took a deep breath and thought like a crook, acted like a cop and ended up in a big trash bin -- all in pursuit of her master's degree.
"Student Finds a Stolen Thesis by Thinking Like a Thief," by Susan Kinzie, The Washington Post, December 22, 2005
What's in a SmarTrip card
dcist took a SmarTrip card apart and found:
the SmarTrip isn't just an RFID tag. It's also a Smart Card: an electronic identification card that performs calculations on its own. In SmarTrip's case, this means keeping track of the balance on your card — that's how the card can work on MetroBus. Because the balance is stored on the chip, there's no need for a network connection to a central database.
. . .
the rest of the card acts as an antenna — the card needs a pretty big one in order to gather enough charge for its return transmission. We estimated the antenna's length at around 40 inches.
"Dissecting the SmarTrip," dcist, December 14, 2005, with photos.
We think we'll keep using ours in the card format....
Not sure how to use the subway in DC? See our page on "How to Use the Subway (Metrorail or "The Metro") in Washington, DC"
Paperless Hill offices?
The National Taxpayers Union (NTU) tracks lawmakers’ spending habits, as well as the amounts each congressman returns from his or her MRA to the U.S. treasury at year’s end. The NTU will release its most recent study later this month.
Citing an early finding of the report, NTU spokesman Peter Sepp told The Hill that total House spending on printing and document reproduction rose to $16 million in 2004 from $11 million in 2003.
“This is a strange trend in a Congress that is supposedly committed to information-age technologies like BlackBerrys, e-mail and websites,” said Sepp.
"Lawmakers spend on big screens, popcorn," by Jonathan E. Kaplan and Mandy Kozar, The Hill, November 8, 2005
The paperless office has been discussed for years and hasn't arrived yet.
Far from ushering in a "paperless office," for example, computers, e-commerce, fax machines, and other information technologies have fueled paper demand, creating more "information consumers" who routinely print web pages, e-mails, and other verifications of electronic information.
"No End to Paperwork," Editor, Wendy Vanasselt, 1998, updated June 2001
- "Pining for a Paperless Office? Some tips for minimizing your paper glut," by Robyn Aber, Entrepreneur.com, October 13, 2003
- "The papeerless office - In praise of clutter:Leave my desk alone. It works," The Economist, December 19, 2002
- "We’re on verge of the paperless world, says Gates," by Joe Bolger, The (London) Times, October 29, 2005
- "5 tips for a paperless office," by Joseph Anthony, Microsoft Small Business Center
Cool Tool - Flight Tracking from FlightAware
FlightAware is "A free and powerful flight tracker that will change how you think about flight status, tracking, and analysis."
Check out this very cool movie ... "Animation of all flight movements tracked by FlightAware during a 24-hour period in September, 2005"
Live Flight Tracking: "View schedule and track activity for any private (IFR) or commercial flight. See scheduled, enroute, and recent flight activity for any airport."
Politics and the Internet - potpourri
Reports and Articles
- "Some General Comments about Democracy, Web-based Decision Making Systems, and the GPC's 'Living Platform'," by Bill Hulet, Green Party of Canada, June 17, 2005
- "The Internet and Democratic Debate: Wired Americans hear more points of view about candidates and key issues than other citizens. They are not using the internet to screen out ideas with which they disagree." by John Horrigan, Kelly Garrett, and Paul Resnick, PEW Internet & American Life Project, October 24, 2004 (48-page pdf )
- "The Internet and Campaign 2004: The internet was a key force in politics last year as 75 million Americans used it to get news, discuss candidates in emails, and participate directly in the political process," by Lee Rainie, John Horrigan, Michael Cornfield, PEW Internet & American Life Project, March 6, 2005 (33-page pdf )
- "Commentary on the impact of the internet on the 2004 election," by Michael Cornfeld,PEW Internet & American Life Project, March 6, 2005 (7-page pdf )
- "Under the Radar & Over the Top: Online Political Videos in the 2004 Election," by Carol Darr and Julie Barko, a study by the Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet (IPDI), The George Washington Unibversity, October 20, 2004 (25-page pdf )
- "Fold, spindle, mutilate: how the American political campaign got computerized," by G. Tracy Mehan, III, The Weekly Standard, December 27, 2004
Photos through a microscope
BoingBoing describes the winner of this year's Nikon Small World Photomicrography Contest: "this first-prize entry of a fly's face at very high magnification is magnificently squicky." October 27, 2005.
We also like the 15th place winner:
The 2006 Small World Calendar is available for purchase here.
- "Macro & Micro," by Charles Krebs - more photos
- "Photomicrography setup," by Charles Krebs
- "Krebs 'Flies' Away with Grand Prize," by Hank Russell, Advanced Imaging Pro, October 7, 2005
- "Microscopy in the Home Shop : Electronic Flash System for a Microscope," by Ron Neumeyer, Modern Microscopy, January 11, 2005
- "Mama Don't Take My Microscope," by Aaron Dalton, Wired News, October 14, 2005
- "Adapting a Canon 300D (Digital Rebel) Camera for Photomicrography Through a LOMO Multiscope Microscope," by Ken Verno, 2005
"Block Flash popups in Firefox"
Here’s a great tip from Pete Bevin (via Dvorak) if, like me, you’ve been seeing a rash of popup windows in Firefox recently. It turns out these are being generated via Flash and escape the popup blocking in the browser.
”It turns out that some clever people figured out that you could launch popups from Flash, getting around the Firefox default settings.
Fortunately, you can get around it:
To find out how to turn these annoying Flash popups off, read the post "Block Flash popups in Firefox," theofficeweblog, October 19, 2005
How many Members of Congress have blogs? We count nine.
We have a list here. If you know of others, please post in the comments or send us an email: hobnobblog -at- gmail.com
Also See"How Congress Uses Blogs," from Congress Online Newsletter (Congressional Management Foundation), July 1, 2005
"A Capitol Hill Presence in the Blogosphere: Lawmakers Try to Balance Value of Openness With The Medium's Blunt Tone," by Brian Faler, The Washington Post, October 11, 2005; Page A15
Google Print - AAP Sues Google
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) today announced the filing of a lawsuit against Google over its plans to digitally copy and distribute copyrighted works without permission of the copyright owners. The lawsuit was filed only after lengthy discussions broke down between AAP and Google’s top management regarding the copyright infringement implications of the Google Print Library Project.
The suit, which seeks a declaration by the court that Google commits infringement when it scans entire books covered by copyright and a court order preventing it from doing so without permission of the copyright owner, was filed on behalf of five major publisher members of AAP: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Pearson Education, Penguin Group (USA), Simon & Schuster and John Wiley & Sons.
"Publishers Sue Google Over Plans To Digitize Books," press release, Association of American Publishers, October 19, 2005
We are experimenting with Google Print and have made four titles available:
- "Common Sense Rules of Advocacy for Lawyers," by Keith Evans
- "Media Relations Handbook for Agencies, Associations, Nonprofits and Congress," by Brad Fitch
- "Legal Spectator & More," by Jacob Stein
- "Congressional Deskbook," by Judy Schneider and Michael L. Koempel
We are cautiously optimistic that the increased exposure online will lead to more sales of our books.
"Air Force testing new transparent armor"
The US Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is testing a new kind of transparent armor, clear aluminum aluminum oxynitride, that can stop hardcore .30 and .50 caliber armor-piercing bullets.
"Transparent armor," BoingBoing, October 19, 2005 (with link to AF press release)
SAFE: Design Takes On Risk - at MoMA
Just in time for the wave of catastrophes plaguing our fragile planet, some top designers unveil a series of aesthetically pleasing objects that could be handy in dangerous situations, from the banal to the apocalyptic. . . . Directly inside the entrance to the exhibit stands a paper home that could withstand the huffing and puffing of the breathiest big bad wolf. Two people can assemble the fire-resistant Global Village Shelter in 15 minutes, unfolding it like a giant work of origami.
"Designer Gear for the Apocalypse," by Aaron Dalton, Wired News, October 17, 2005
SAFE: Design Takes On Risk, the first major design exhibition at MoMA since its reopening in November 2004, presents more than 300 contemporary products and prototypes designed to protect body and mind from dangerous or stressful circumstances, respond to emergencies, ensure clarity of information, and provide a sense of comfort and security. These objects address the spectrum of human fears and worries, from the most mundane to the most exceptional, from the dread of darkness and loneliness to the threat of earthquakes and terrorist attacks.