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This is the TBTF Log, an experiment in reporting important breaking news in a more timely way than was possible with the Tasty Bit of the Day. The TBTF newsletter continues unchanged. The current issue is TBTF for 1999-11-21: Shameless.

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Previous weeks' logs table of contents.

Saturday, 1999-11-27
  • NSI suspends its dispute-resolution policy. (published in TBTF)

Thursday, 1999-11-25

Tuesday, 1999-11-23

Saturday, November 27, 1999

11/27/99 10:16:04 AM

Thursday, November 25, 1999

11/25/99 10:20:20 PM

  • The roving_reporter on "viral regulation." Ted Byfield's roving_reporter was introduced here in TBTF for 1999-11-21. Byfield now writes on the unsettling tactic that may lurk behind the draft crypto-export regulations released by, or leaked from, the Clinton administration. The big idea:

    By linking export regulations to the type of license that governs a given piece of software, it may be able to "infect" derivative software.

Tuesday, November 23, 1999

11/23/99 10:45:46 PM

11/23/99 12:12:44 AM

  • Cool stuff found at Comdex, part 1. David Gessel <gessel at black-rose dot org> sent this list of what caught his fancy at the recently concluded grandmother of all industry trade shows.

    • Biometrics: Lots of scanners, the best seemed to be SecuGen, with lots of products including a home door lock with a fingerprint scanner.

    • Coolest Micro-Tech: Hitachi Maxell, Toshiuki Kaneko was showing a tiny chip with a new technique whereby a copper RF coil is put on the chip itself, 14uM wire, 4uM gap. Application was micro transceiver (2mm square) w/ many bytes of EEPRAM. The chip is remote powered, talks over a gap of 3mm and can be co-molded into plastic (approx. 300 C max. temp.).

    • Cool Thermal Tech: CoolPoly has a specially filled polymer with a thermal transfer rate of 10 W/mK (= stainless) to 100 W/mK (= die-cast aluminum).

    • Best Palm Accessory: Pocketscience -- Anywhere modem using acoustic coupler technlogy (yes, like from 1970, except fast) and a flat-rate 800 service to enable email from any phone, including cell.

    • Coolest Camera: the Axis 2100 network camera. Light in, IP out. Built-in Linux Web server. Or the Sony mega MD video camera 640MB MD disks, ethernet port. Even smaller than the Axis 2100, but less programmable (no Linux server inside).

    • Display Technology: Sanyo and Kodak showed (in the Sanyo booth) organo-luminescent displays. Basically glowing LCDs. No backlight, no polarizer, beautiful color.

    • Wireless: to say that Bluetooth is way behind is like saying that Microsoft is unloved. Ericsson showed a cool phone (P28) with a working Bluetooth audio I/O module and a working Bluetooth headset.

    • Linux: the Linux expo was kinda weenie. More distribution vendors than app vendors.

11/23/99 12:12:10 AM

  • Cool stuff found at Comdex, part 2. More David Gessel's best-of-Comdex.

    • Battery Tech: Maxel and Sanyo were showing polymer Li-ion batteries, but electrofuel may have won the race with their Powerpad, at 180% more watt-hours/kilo (their numbers).

    • Printers: I found the HP 970C's output really unbelievable. Much better than any other sample I could find and sharper and more vibrant than most dye-sub. Best workgroup laser: Tektronix 780 color laser looked good. (Neither of these opionions results from a comprehensive survey.)

    • Multiboot Made Easy: boot as many OS's as you want (100+) on your PC.

    • Best Motherboard: Supermicro PIIIDM6. In an ATX factor -- Dual PIII 733, 840 chipset, 4-GB PC133 SDRAM, 2x 64-bit 66-MHz PCI, 4x 32-bit, 1 AGP Pro, dual Ultra3/160, dual Ultra DMA IDE, dual USB...

    • Best Palmtop: Psion 7. Sorry 3com heads, the Psion wee plastic pal has a color browser and kicks. Seems the Ericsson investment was a good thing.

    • MP3 Players: Sony and Sanyo both showed very cool stick players, Sanyo's with removable media like little palm pens. But the best is the MP-TRIO by Digitra Systems, 2 multimedia cards (MMC, up to 32MB each), 27 grams, smaller than a zippo. And it records. Up to 320kbps quality, FAT compatible. Complaints: no audio I/O jack (it records so...), buttons on surface, parallel port not USB.
      http://www.digitra.com/ -- so far 11,000 whole hits on their homepage

    • Special Interest: PC room link. Hospitality service, in room PCs.

    • Commerce Systems: E-cash. Not clear how useful from either the demo or the cutsheet, but theoretically versitile, emailable, Palm Pilot beamable cash.

    • B2B Systems: Not clear without trying them if they work, but:

11/23/99 12:11:43 AM

  • Building a black hole in the laboratory? The BBC reports that an astrophysicist, Murat Ozer of King Saud University, has worked out how to create an electron black hole in the laboratory. I've never heard of an electron black hole, have you? It would be about half a meter across and would trap electrons only, letting light and other matter pass unaffected. The article gives no indication how it might perform this trick. As to what else this homemade black hole would do, such as swallowing every electron on Earth, no-one knows.

    For this item thanks go to TBTF Irregular Eric Sheid, who inhabits even more peculiar mailing lists than I do.

About this Web log

This venue represents an experiment in more timely and less "cooked" TBTF news coverage. You'll read here things that came through my desktop machine mere minutes before. The TBTF Log replaces the Tasty Bit of the Day feature.

The week's TBTF Log entries will be mailed to TBTF subscribers on Sunday evenings.

The email and Web editions of Tasty Bits from the Technology Front represent my best effort to present engaging, cogent news and analysis on what matters to the life of the Net. TBTF will continue as before, but on a schedule closer to twice-monthly than to weekly.


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Most recently updated 1999-12-16