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A Numbers Tea Party

May 11th, 2007  · stk

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0 - What's with this number? Plenty, it turns out, as it's the key to defeat the Digital Rights Management solution for motion picture movies written on high-definition digital video discs.

Social Networking Overpowers MPAA Legal Arm-twisting

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

The number above is the HD-DVD processing key that circumvents the AACS copyright protection (DRM) for a motion picture digital video disc. That the AACS protection had been defeated, has been known for some time (last September or so). But at the beginning of the month, the number was posted to DIGG, a social networking website.

The MPAA and AACS both tried to quell the public leak of this number by legal means. Using legal strong-arm tactics, they tried to erase every occurrence of this number from the Internet - asking DIGG (and other sites) delete posts, suspend user accounts, etc.

Internet users resisted by replicating the number as far, as wide and as fast as possible. At the end of the day, DIGG caved-in to it's users. (Which is why you see it here). While I have no immediate use for this number (wouldn't know what to do with it), I do recognize its significance.

It's a modern-day tea party! Someone even made song of the number, called "Oh Nine Eff Nine".

Digital Rights Management, which is an oxymoron of sorts, has become a sticking point between the MPAA (an industry that wants to keep a choke-hold on content) and users of new technologies (who want fast, easy access to digital content). The MPAA and RIAA should reconsider their goals, tactics and positioning on this issue. Draconian legal moves aren't winning them many friends and supporters.

The world is changing via technology and globalization. The RIAA and MPAA need to adapt to the changing landscape. Handled correctly, they can continue to profit in unimaginable ways, but handled improperly, someone else will step in and take over.

Wonder how long it will be till I get my 'Cease-and-Desist' letter?

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Updated: 22-May-2007
Web View Count: 16304 viewsLast Web Update: 22-May-2007
Filed in:Noteworthy

A Slice of Life

May 4th, 2007  · stk

What's the World coming to? Slice TV ... that's what. Sad to see that the dumbing down trend is alive and kicking ...

Slice™ Channel - Calling All Dummies

slice tv

With highly addictive, must-see entertainment, Slice™ is the juicy channel women have been waiting for ... With guilty pleasure viewing, Slice™ will become every woman's vice.

There's a new cable channel in town and in keeping with the 'Dumbing Down of Audiences' everywhere, it launched with a print advertising campaign that caught Rachel's attention. Why try to hide what you are? Just give the people what they want!

Geez. When she showed me the print ad, I could barely believe my eyes.

Slice TV ... proud sponsor of public voyeurism and the "Just say 'No!' to Education" campaign.

Have a look and you decide .... (print ad shown on next page to protect the innocent).

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Updated: 7-May-2007
Web View Count: 19590 viewsLast Web Update: 7-May-2007
Filed in:Noteworthy
Web Dev

Mapping the Sciences

March 20th, 2007  · stk

An intriguing "Map of Science" shows the relationships between research topics & reveals how scientific disciplines are interrelated. Scientists will be interested to see where their specialty lies & non-scientists will be interested to compare the scientific focus of different countries. An excellent intellectual exercise in data-mining and visualization (or a grand waste of time?) You decide


Visualizing the Topical Inter-connectivity of Scientific Research -or- (Where's Dr. Waldo?)


This intriguing illuminated diagram is either an accurate portrayal of the bond that ties various scientific topics (and fields) together, or it's a result of someone having too much time on their hands.

The premise: Examine roughly a million published scientific papers for keywords, sort them by topic (or "paradigm") and note the authors that are cited, with papers from different fields. Then plot the topics as "nodes", the size of which is directly related to the number of papers published. Distribute the nodes by applying a universal repelling force between them. Then bind the nodes with an attracting force, the strength of which, is determined by the number of overlapping authors.

The result is the two-dimensional graphic shown here. There are 776 topical paradigms (nodes) with a distribution separates the purest of scientific fields and shows how sub-disciplines interrelate.

If you click on the image, above, you'll be taken to an interactive map, where you can compare the data by discipline, country (U.S. -vs- Japan), city (Paris -vs- Boston), selected industries, govt. institution [US-DOE -vs- US-NIH), or University (Harvard -vs- MIT).

Some of the comparisons are very interesting. For example, the U.S. has a real focus on medical research, while China is more prolific in physics and Japan - chemistry.

For more information on the technique, the data, resources and a detailed keyword map (find out where you sit in the scheme of things) ... read on.

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Updated: 1-Dec-2007
Web View Count: 33702 viewsLast Web Update: 1-Dec-2007

Canadian MERs - An Outrage

February 28th, 2007  · stk

Canadian investors pay the highest mutual fund management fees of any country in the developed world. Not a little bit more - a LOT more. Find out why, the real cost to Canadian investors and what they can do about it

2008 Update

  • The IFIC responds.
  • Updated Report (Jun 2007)
  • Canadian Discount Brokers

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Mutual Fund Management Fees Take Canadian Investors on an Expensive Ride

I have been investing in U.S. mutual funds since the early 1980's and have extensive experience with U.S. no-load mutual fund companies such as Vanguard, T.Rowe Price, Scudder, American Century & Janus, among others.

I recently had the opportunity to investigate Canadian mutual funds and what I saw, absolutely shocked me. Canadians pay more for their mutual funds than any other developed country. Not a little bit more - a LOT more! More than any of the other 18 industrialized nations that were the focus of a joint Harvard and London Business School study, published last year (Source: Mutual Fund Fees Around the World - Feb. 2006 Draft).

The study found that Canadians pay a TER of 2.68%. Compare this to U.S. investors, who pay 1.42%. The next closest country was Luxembourg, at 1.75%, which is still over 90 basis points less than the Canadian mean.

A 0.93% to 1.26% difference in management fees may not sound like a lot, but it's nearly 1.9 times more than what U.S. investors pay and the dollar value, over the lifetime of a typical RRSP, will add up - both in terms of direct fees and loss of investment return. It's an albatross around the neck of Canadian mutual fund investors.

To learn why Canadian investors pay the highest MERs of any country, see how much money this can cost them on a typical investment and what they should do to stop it ... read on.

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Updated: 26-Jan-2009
Web View Count: 67275 viewsLast Web Update: 26-Jan-2009


January 22nd, 2007  · stk

"Pugwis" is the name of the 18-foot, 'Fraser Raider', double-hulled aluminum ocean-worthy boat that's now sitting in our front yard. It may be ugly, but it's a bloody tank! Come round for a peek at the newest addition to the family ...

The New Yard Ornament

Maternal grandparents visited Alex recently, bringing something with them - a boat named "Pugwis". "Pug-the-Tug" is an 18-foot Fraser Raider, built in the early 80's. It's a double-hulled, welded aluminum, shallow-veed 'landing craft'. It's substantially more sturdy than it is aesthetically pleasing.

Originally used as a work boat for hauling supplies and equipment to the 40-acre family property and cabin on the east-facing shore of Indian Arm, it's been some time since it's seen service. With rising moorage costs, it was relocated to dry storage, but with rising Vancouver-area land prices, even this was becoming expensive.

During the evening in which "Pugwis" arrived, we were treated to an oral history of the steadfast aluminum craft and the beauty of the property (which I've not yet visited). Lubricated with vintage grape nectar, we learned that the original name was going to be "Modnoc", a basackwards name that describes perfectly, a vessel which holds sea-fairing chaps. ;)

For more information and pictures about "Pugwis", read on ...

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Updated: 24-Jan-2007
Web View Count: 20581 viewsLast Web Update: 24-Jan-2007