I’ve been keeping an eye on Vonage. The deal is pretty simple: $40/month gets you flat-rate, unlimited local & long distance phone calls over your high-speed Internet connection using your ordinary phone. You get a phone number in any area code you choose (kewl!), voicemail, caller ID and all the goodies. Your phone plugs into a special adapter. You kiss Qwest goodbye.
While Vonage is not (yet?) offering service to businesses, this seems like it would be a great deal for someone working from home who has to make a lot of long-distance phone calls.
Like many people, I often wish I could access my Web bookmarks when I’m not at my desk, or that I could easily share my bookmarks with colleagues. My friend Beth Kanter just steered me towards Backflip which does exactly that. It lets you easily add bookmarks to an online database, and optionally, to make chunks of your bookmarks publicly available. It’s very slick, and I think I’ll find it very useful.
This was an honest laugh.
(Thanks to boingboing.net)
I am pleased to report that not only did King County GIS Center hold a GIS Haiku Contest, but my very own sweetie, Molly Curtz, took second prize. (Her reward: a copy of the New Yorker’s excellent New Yorkistan cover poster.
IBM’s Web site has a great background article on various Spam Filtering Techniques. While it does not discuss specific spam-fighting tools, it provides solid background on the approaches of different spam-blockers.
The San Jose Mercury News just published a very disturbing and eye-opening story called Where Computers Go To Die which tells the story of how waste computers are being exported to China, where their improper disposal is a major toxic waste and human health catastrophe in the making.
The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition first documented this in their report Exporting Harm.
Want some things you can do about it? For starters — buy greener computing gear. You can also endorse SVTC’s “Electronics Take It Back! Platform” which calls for manufacturers to take more responsibility for post-consumer electronics waste.
Well, it looks like the Monorail won — by 800 votes out of 200,000 cast. (If I ever hear “My vote doesn’t count again….”) More amusingly, even Slashdot covered the story. Some pretty interesting comments from the high-tech crowd… worth reading if you’re interested in understanding techie attitudes towards transit (suprisingly favorable). My favorite comment:
[Anonymous Coward] I hear those things are awfully loud.
[Article] It glides as softly as a cloud
[Enginerd] Is there a chance the track could bend?
[Article] Not on your life, my Slashdot friend
[Frequent poster] Why Seattle, those braindead slobs?
[Article] There were only so many Starbucks jobs
[Oil Companies] Were you sent here by the devil?
[Article] No, good sir, I’m on the level
[Cowboy Neal] I feel attracted to a man.
[Article] Go outside and get a tan!
I swear it’s Seattle’s only choice
Throw up your hands and raise your voice!
What’s it called?
[Poster] But our educational system’s all cracked and broken
[re;] Sorry, man, the mob has spoken
[All] Monorail! Monorail!
[Homer] Mono- d’oh!
Noted with pleasure: TomPaine.com just published a great parody of Apple’s “Switch” campaign — targeted at moderate Republicans. A serious message that goes down easy with a dose of humor. Check it out.
The Case for OpenOffice is a pretty interesting and balanced account of why OpenOffice, might or might not be a feasible alternative to Microsoft Office for some users.
Quite a few nonprofit techies are starting to perk up their ears about this. I’ve tested it out a bit and found that it works pretty darn well. Not sure I’d strongly push groups towards it, but I’d definitely use it for personal stuff, and if a small organization was interested in experimenting at the leading edge, I’d go for it.
Qualcomm has just released Eudora 5.2. Not a major upgrade, but if you’re a Eudora user, it’s always worthwhile to download the latest version. Eudora 5.2 Download
The San Francisco-based company on Monday is set to unveil Contribute–a stripped-down version of its Dreamweaver Web design tool–which allows ordinary office workers to make text changes and other minor fixes to Web sites.
The New York Times ran a short opinion piece called Time to Meet the Exurban Voter, in which David “Bobos in Paradise” Brooks argues that Democrats have thus far failed to understand the attitudes and interests of folks who live in “fast growing exurban counties.”
Consumer WebWatch (an arm of Consumer Reports) has just published an interesting study about how people evaluate the credibility of different types of Web sites.