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Tuesday,  12/02/03  09:46 PM

Bad things happening on my hard drive, I'm crossing my fingers and performing other pagan rituals...

A couple of visitors suggested gently that I was out of my mind for agreeing with godless' thoughts on fashion.  The gist of their objection was that it is bad to judge women by their external beauty, and shallow to consider overweight women ugly.  Hey, it is what it is.  Bad or good, men judge women by their beauty, and shallow or deep, overweight women are unattractive.  Deal with it.

Cory Doctorow considers the "Analog Hole", and big media's efforts to plug it.  "The second section [of the MPAA's Content Protection Status Report], 'Plugging the Analog Hole,' reveals Hollywood's plan to turn a generic technology component, the humble analog-to-digital converter, into a device that is subject to the kind of regulation heretofore reserved for Schedule A narcotics."  Not good.  I can't believe these people actually believe they can put the digital genie back in the bottle.  [ via John Robb ]

YAMPA, from Wired.  (Yet another micropayments article.)  Will BitPass and PepperCoin supplant PayPal.  No.  The way is shut.

Joel Spolsky hits another nail on the head: Craftsmanship.  "It comes down to an attribute of software that most people think of as craftsmanship.  When software is built by a true craftsman, all the screws line up."  This is what I strive for, every day.  Lining up those screw heads...

At Slashdot a post linked this Christies auction of a 2,000 year-old 20-sided die, known to D&D gamers as a "D20".   This is an icosahedran, a regular solid with 20 equilateral triangular faces.  These fascinating objects have five-fold symmetry with edges forming regular pentagons.  So I have to ask - what is the plane section with the greatest area?

Scoble discusses the state of Tablet PCs.  "I think the problem is that most people buy on screen size and quality and the truth is that Tablets look weak when compared to a 15-inch high resolution monitor."  That nails it for me.  Give me a high-resolution screen (like that found on my laptop), and sure, I'd be interested.  In 2003 nobody settles for 1024x768 anymore.

Matt Haughey reviews the Gateway connected DVD Player.  "Overall, I'd rate this unit very highly as a capable network media device.  With a simple setup and easy operation, it was painless to use all the files from my PC on my home entertainment center over the wireless network."  There are going to be more and more of these things, until finally a network connection becomes a must-have feature.

And a big part of every home will be their media server.  The Mirra is out, billed as the "first truly personal server".  Among other things, it can be set to automatically backup and synchronize files from all the computers in your house.  I wish I had this :\

Here's a cool new group blog: Blogging L.A.  No RSS feed, yet.  [ via Xeni Jardin, who comments "and then, in an unguarded moment, they loosened their standards and let me in" ]

Wired thinks Secret Energy Haunts Coral Castle.  Check out the Coral Castle website.  A friend who's seen it firsthand says it really is pretty amazing, especially the 25' lensless Polaris telescope, constructed from a 30-ton coral slab (see pic at right).  Even if it wasn't done with some secret energy source :)

I'll leave you with the Wired Geek Gift Guide.  A lot of terrific stuff here, for the geek on your list, or if you happen to be a geek, for your own list!