Thoughts on MS, .mail, T-Rex and sooty footballs

And we are blasphemers, but y'all knew that

Letters This week's big news hit was the European Commission's decision to fine Microsoft a small fortune, or a pittance - depending on whether or not you have $51bn in the bank - and to force the galactic software superpower to un-bundle media player from its OS.

Plenty of people had thoughts about this one, starting with Sun and going on to include just about everyone else in the universe:

[Hewitt] Pate, [head of anti-trust at DoJ] does not know his rear from a hole in the ground.

Please disregard all that our monopoly-loving administration says.

Had a democrat been elected to the presidency last time, MS would now be two companies (maybe 3) and would finally be reined in from their illegal tying.

I hope the commissioner does not yield on this one.

On the other hand:

Hi John

Just my tuppenceworth, but is it just me or is this whole thing with Microsoft "bundling" functionality into their operating system and getting beat round the head for it by the EU and US authorities just
getting slightly annoying?

I had to reinstall my PC on Saturday morning, on went windows XP, in went the drivers - all the stuff you do on autopilot which for me includes installing Winamp, BSPlayer, Cdex and Nero.

If users don't like Media Player or IE or any other program/feature Microsoft supplies there's nothing stopping them going and downloading something better and free. If (like 99 per cent of the dunderheaded sheeplike users out there) they're not the kind of user who likes doing this, surely they'll appreciate the extra functionality just being there?? My point is, how does the EU's action in this case actually benefit the user? Indeed some of the kelt microsoft supplies with windows (WMP in particular) is surely and advert BEGGING users to go and install a 3rd party app.

That's my take on it anyway!!

Anyone who wants to go into the details of how bundling and abusing a market monopoly is bad for the consumer is kindly asked not to do it here. Thank you.

Also in the news this week was Spamhaus asking ICANN to set up a .mail domain. We quoted the registration fee as "over $2000". This provoked a couple of worried responses, for example:

We are a small ngo and can not possibly afford $2,000 for a .mail domain name. also, as a private individual, i can not afford that fee.

These are two good reasons why the idea is a non-starter.


In this posting to Steve Linford of Spamhaus says: "the $2000 quoted in the application is the highest estimate, given at the deadline because ICANN rules don't allow you to increase a price later."

So "up to $2000" instead of "over $2000" would have been more accurate. Our apologies.

Moving on. More in the debate over the Jurassic/Cretaceous erratum that was a recent headline. We think this might be the final word on the subject.

Your dino facts are all wrong, obviously you are possessed by the devil. Go to this site and learn about dinos straight from the source: the Bible.

I quote:
"After the Flood, God gave people official permission to kill animals for food and eat them. Man could now eat everything, green plants and animals (Genesis 9:2,3). This means that people from Noah's family could have eaten dinosaurs, if they tasted good."

So obviously dinos did not live tens of millions of years ago. In fact, they lived alongside that guy with the rifle in the graphic.

A faq for anything else you need to know on the subject, blasphemer.

So, is everyone clear on that? We hope so.

On the subject of God's creatures, this week we also covered research which involved mice growing human breast tissue. While some readers wondered about the IT angle, others got busy with Photoshop:

Our artist's impression of how we believe a mouse with human breasts might look

News also broke this week that a fifth form of carbon had been discovered.

Hi Luce

I hesitate to nitpick, especially at this time of day, but haven't you left out the basic, messy, sort of carbon, i.e. soot/charcoal? I suppose you could argue that the new nanofoam is just a variant on the nanotube theme, but it would probably upset our antipodean chums if you did...

So, do we now have six forms of carbon? Blimey.

Well, fortunately someone else has the answer:


If I remember my chemistry right strictly speaking this is a fifth form of crystalline carbon as carbon exists in two allotropic states, crystaline and amorphous.

Its the amorphous forms that most people will encounter carbon in as soot and solid fuels with little of no regular crystaline structure.

Carbon is pretty cool stuff!

And finally: never mind the physics, can we just get the sports' terminology right, please?

Coming from, I expected better. A buckyball is football-shaped.

You don't have to use the USAmerican "soccer ball" More people globally recognise the hexagons and pentagons as a football - only residents of the USofA and Canada think of the gone-wrong rugby ball as a football.


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