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Anyone who attends technical conferences knows that some are very good, and some are not so good. Often, the authors at the not so good conferences are just collecting publication credits, presenting lightly edited versions of work already announced at the better conferences. But some of the papers are real gibberish. Turns out that at least some of the gibberish is intentional. Who knew?
As much time as I spend online and at my computer, I'm always on the lookout for useful software gadgets. I'm still evaluating these, so I can't vouch for their stability or long term usefulness. They're more in the "check this out if you need what it does" category.
Slickrun is a floating command line. It lets you assign "magic words" to frequently used programs, web pages, and so forth. For example, you could type "mail mom" instead of launching your email program, typing in your Mom's address, etc. You can replace all your hotkeys, browser toolbars, and deskbars with appropriate magic words, too. Very helpful if you're trying to replace mouse actions with keyboard actions. Free. Windows only.
Visual Thesaurus builds a map showing the relationships between synonyms and your original word. Click on a synonym, and the map recenters around it. Word nuts could get lost for hours, so be careful. Available as standalone software or as an online subscription service. Free online demo. Windows or Mac.
Connected DataProtector remote data backup and recovery. Runs automatically on a schedule, or you can force a backup. Data is encrypted in transit and at Connected's computers. Free 30-day trial, pricing depends on amount of data. Windows only.
According to Zeiss, the company has finished five of the six lenses needed for ASML's alpha-version EUV stepper. Delivery of the stepper is scheduled for the end of 2005.
Writing? What's that? 8050 words since my last update. Only 14,400 for March, which is not good at all. 4150 for April so far, which isn't much better.
47,050 for the year. To reach my goal of 300,000, I'll need to average just over 28,000 per month, including 28,000 more in April. Onward!
"Orphan" works are, for me, one of the most compelling arguments against long copyright terms. Orphan works are those which are still technically under copyright, but for which it is impossible to locate the copyright owner. These works are not earning income for their owners -- if they were, they wouldn't be orphans -- but are not available for use in other cultural works, either. There are a lot of them: when the copyright term was 28 years, renewable for another 28, less than half of works renewed.
Apparently the Copyright Office has been deluged with comments about orphan works, and is trying to find solutions that will help creators who want to build on these works without undermining the rights of copyright owners. The public comment period runs through May 9, and hearings are also possible.
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