The Water Cooler

Science, Technology, Business, and Politics

Friday, August 20, 2004

IceRocket SearchMark Cuban Funds a New Search Engine

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Grokster Wins Big in 9th Circuit. More coverage on the Grokster win today - including an interesting comment about how some centralization of services is okay. For example, maintaining lists of peers is okay because it doesn't directly cause infringement... However, I imagine that keeping a directory of files around that you KNOW are infringing is bad.

Some have taken a broad reading of the Napster decision to mean that any centralization would be impermissible in a peer-to-peer network. The decision narrows such broad interpretations, permitting a variety of centralized services, within bounds:

The Copyright Owners have not provided evidence that defendants materially contribute in any other manner. StreamCast maintains an XML file from which user software periodically retrieves parameters. These values may include the addresses of websites where lists of active users are maintained. The owner of the FastTrack software, Sharman, maintains root nodes containing lists of currently active supernodes to which users can connect. Both defendants also communicate with users incidentally, but not to facilitate infringement. All of these activities are too incidental to any direct copyright infringement to constitute material contribution. No infringing files or lists of infringing files are hosted by defendants, and the defendants do not regulate or provide access.

EFF wins Grokster! Software doesn't have to be easy for Hollywood to wiretap!: This is a huge huge victory... I'm sure there will be years more of lawsuits going back and forth between these guys, but the important part is that a precendent is being set for not limiting the restriction of information. I hope Hollywood is able to one day embrace P2P and turn it into another piece of their business model. Hats off to the EFF.

EFF has won its Grokster case in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals -- this is the case that establishes that if you make truly decentralized P2P software -- like Gnutella -- you can't be held liable for any copyright infringement that takes place on their networks. This is the "Betamax principle," from the famous Supreme Court case that established that Sony wasn't responsible for any infringement that its customers undertook with their VCRs.

Now let's just hope that the INDUCE Act does pass, since I really like my office's fax machines and copy machines...

HBS Working Knowledge: Leadership: Perplexing Problem? Borrow Some Brains corrected link, stupid blogger url-encoding....

Wednesday, August 18, 2004



Bear pounds three dozen beers, passes out. Lightweight.

Measuring the Value of an Ivy Degree New (well from the year 2000) study questions the economic benefit of attending elite institutions. David, all you need to do is aspire to go to an ivy-league school. You're already taken care of the hard part - now sit back, and let the good times roll.

Here is where my new pad is in Bellevue and also my old pad as well as where Andrew works. I've lived in downtown Bellevue (some people call it Swellvue) since summer 2001 and moved to my new place summer of 2004.

New technology blog. Referred by Reason.com - should we add this to the blogroll, Drew? Looks promising.

What is the value of an MBA or any other higher Master's/PhD programme? While I agree that a 4-year undergraduate degree is critical to one's success, would I benefit much more from an MBA from a top tier school? I feel that the value of an MBA has decreased recently as schools have increased enrollment rates and also 2nd tier ivy league schools have greatly enhanced their business schools (I'm also not on a finance or ibanking career path). An ivy league MBA does still carry quite a bit of weight overseas in Europe and Asia.

My plan right now is to still pursue an MBA program at Harvard with Stanford as a backup--I don't think an MBA from lower levels school would offer much value given that a 1.5 year MBA programme costs $100k + the $150k that I will lose in salary. However, if I was in a great situation at a startup in the next few years, then I might just skip the whole MBA degree. Thoughts?


Paris putting up dog posters-"She's like a child to me" This is a hilarious set of pictures from a forum, where Paris is putting up pictures because she lost her dog... (She found "Tinkerbell" later, BTW) This is like the moment in a celebrity reality TV show where you see them wake up in the morning with their hair sticking out in every direction, and as they take out the trash, you then realize that they're just sad little people, just like us.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Why the U.S. men's gymnastics team is un-American. A moronic article by Slate's Josh Levin. I'll call my retort "Whe Slate's columnists are frickin retards." He is arguing that having identical twins on the team is un-American because "we're just letting nature do all the hard work for us." Gosh, Josh, I wonder why legit researchers all go to the trouble of comparing identical twins who were SEPARATED AT BIRTH to determine the influence of genetics. I mean, aren't those kind of hard to find? Maybe it's because identical twins who were raised together share both "Nature" and "Nurture," and there is no way to differentiate between the effects of these on their adult characteristics.


What's the deal with all these innovative Vietnamese food places? There's a place a block from work called "What the Pho?" which is pretty fun. They just need to create a Pho place where you can play pilliards called "Pho Cue."

Monday, August 16, 2004

MSNBC-Mind Reading Arts & Letters Daily (see right bar on the blog) asks:

Despite centuries of progress in economic theory since Adam Smith, people still refuse to behave logically in economic contexts. Why, dammit, why?.

Simple: It's because people, even smart people, are actually retarded. For proof, see academic researcher assholes below.

The Paper Napkin email rejection service: David, with so many girls jumping on you all the time, you may find some use for this service:

"Paper Napkin is a service to help passive-agressive cowards avoid people who would like to date them. If someone random asks you for your email address so they can contact you for a date, give them an email address @papernapkin.net (write it on a cocktail napkin for maximum effect) and we will send them a rejection message. You can put anything before the @ sign in the address, so feel free to use a real-sounding name so that they'll believe it. If they actually send a message and it's funny and/or desperate enough, it might get posted on the best-of page for us all to laugh at."

Yahoo! News - Kerry's Blue Blood a Winner, Say Royal Researchers: I love it when a bunch of history retards that don't understand statistics come up with a stupid model that supposedly "predictive." Just read the premise of this article:

"So say British researchers who predict Democratic challenger John Kerry (news - web sites) will oust President Bush (news - web sites) on Nov. 2 simply because he boasts more royal connections than his Republican rival.

After months of research into Kerry's ancestry, Burke's Peerage, experts on British aristocracy, reported Monday that the Vietnam war veteran is related to all the royal houses of Europe and can claim kinship with Czar Ivan 'The Terrible,' a previous Emperor of Byzantium and the Shahs of Persia."


Does ANYONE understand the most basic statistics? I'd love for every 7th grader to have their heads stamped with "Correlation does not equal causality" so they'd remember the most basic premise of statistics.

Sunday, August 15, 2004


Sweet, I'm running Nutch, my own personal search engine. I loaded up a couple hundred random links from DMOZ, which is like open source Yahoo!. Then using those links, I crawled 3 layers of new internet sites. After fetching and indexing all of these pages, I can do a simple search... for this example, I use "cake." Here's the search screen.


These are the results of the "cake" query.

CRAIGSLIST / On the record: Craig Newmark from slashdot