Vol. 6 No. 9

May, 2007







Comic: Rapter Agent


Review: Digital Camera

Comic: Dr. Philistine

Web 2.0?





Don't forget to check out the







Forty-four percent of blogs have not been updated for more than one month. That is the latest report from the internet traffic cops. If you look to the past, technology advancements have brought millions on the fashionable bandwagon of Cool. Remember when desk top publishing was new? Any person with a computer and a printer was suddenly a newsletter publisher. Remember when web publishing was new? Any person with a computer and a few bucks could buy a domain name and suddenly become an international personal publishing guru. The blog concept was merely a prepackaged format of web page design designed for those who wanted to publish scribbles in diary form with links to their photographs, video links and friends web sites. The webites concerned about this figure should dust the cobwebs from common sense if they want to know why.

It is simple to see why blog updates are down. First, even the simplest blog takes time to update. One has to have something to write about. Writer's bloc is not confined to professionals. Second, a blog is probably not the most important thing to do on a daily basis. For example, work, family, food are more than just concepts to the average human being. Third, time is an increasing commodity people cannot afford to waste. If one has kids with scheduled events that take car pooling to NASA mission standards, time is an uncontrollable beast. Fourth, some bloggers are in need of reaction. Comments on most blog sites are few and far between. Some sites are ghost towns for feedback. Fifth, since everybody was saying the same thing somewhere, a blogger may feel what's the point? Individuals like to have a creative outlet, whether it be reading, writing, working a hobby - - - to music and entertainment. The reward of blogging may not have the lost its currency over time.

Finally, the new fads of the Internet have taken people in new directions. Bloggers, the writers were converted to the podcasters, a different way of saying the same thing. It added another level of technical expertise that some webites like to flaunt at their office parties. Soon, podcasts were overtaken by the next tech advancement, the video-podcast. Add pictures to your words. Now the world can see you crouched over your computer keyboard as you rant about the world. Now, the stagnant screen has turned a person's video camcorder into an independent film studio. YouTube is the next vehicle for the ex-bloggers with too much time on their hands. Some may have the delusion of being found by Hollyweird, but that is a different storyline.

The only way to make a dime in this cycle of boom-bust is try to figure out what the next great Internet fad will be before someone else thinks of it.


Inspired by the world being on the verge of the wide world of professional video gamers,

there will be the same kind of professional sports weird craziness, like prima donna players and strange pro agents.

And the with the term, Rapter, we defer to the Japanese anime spelling just to be difficult/different.






In the past year, the newspapers were filled with stories of lost laptops. Stolen or misplaced laptop computers that contain massive amounts of personal information such as social security numbers, credit card numbers and financial account information. Examples included a database of teacher retirement information, the VA's veterans personal information, and credit card processing records. It is a disturbing trend that sensitive personal data can be freely lost in public. Congress has been sniffing around the issue with new privacy laws. But it does not address some of the basic questions-concerns about these laptop landmines being lost by employees.

Why do employees have this private information on their laptops in the first place?

With the privacy rules in place, an employer would be foolish to allow employees to copy customer personal information on laptop computers which are allowed to leave the secure work place. Companies have a general duty to secure their customer records. Companies have a financial incentive to protect their own trade secrets (including customer information and financial records).

Most employers have a policy that such information does not leave the office. Once it leaves their control, it could fall into the public domain, or be misused by competitors. The company would be weakened by their employee negligence.

So why does an employee have this cache of personal information on his or her laptop in the first place? If the job is to process this information into reports, account ledgers or financial analysis, why can't that been done during normal business hours on work stations on the company's own secured intranet? And if an employee cannot finish the work assignments during work hours, why can't they log in to a secure network from home? It would seem more appropriate than having the personal data to walk out the front door each evening.

And if your an employee, what belief do you have that you can finish your work load with the additional distractions of your home environment? It seems counterproductive to believe that the homestead is better environment to get business done than in your work place.

Then why is all this information concentrated on a hard drive? The business of data mining all business-customer information is a business in itself. If your employer has you data mining your own files, fine, but that does not explain why an employee needs to have the information 24/7 on his/her laptop. One could put an evil motive on employees who are data mining for their own benefit. Identity theft is growing illegal enterprise. Another motive could be that corporation lay-offs have created a work-heavy culture where an employee is actually doing the work of three employees so some of the work load has to come home each day in order to keep their job. But that begs the issue that highly sensitive data is put at risk by harried employees shuffling to and from work who can forget about the laptop bag on the train, at the airport gate, or in their car as vandals break in to steal the car stereo system.




Instead of lugging around a camcorder with a still feature, I decided to take the plunge and buy a small digital camera. A quick tour around the local electronics megastore found that all the major manufacturers have similar camera choices. The real difference is the execution of the interface controls. I liked the large LCD screen on one model, but the store was sold out, so I got the brand's other model which had a slightly smaller LCD screen.

The Canon Powershot SD1000 is about the size of a pack of cigarettes. The compact size is what I was looking for; something that was really pocket portable. It fits nicely in a jacket or shirt pocket. It has little more heft than the standard thin cell phone.

The Powershot features include: 7.1 megapixel resolution, 3x optical zoom, 2.5 inch LCD screen, autofocus settings, ISO override features, 30fps movie capture mode, and photographic retouching software.

The Powershot has straight forward, user friendly, controls. A switch controls photo, movie or playback modes. The top shutter button is surrounded by a responsive zoom ring which can be set to wide angle or telephoto. Autofocus is made by slightly pressing the shutter halfway, with picture taking on full depression.

The LCD screen is large enough to see the image capture. It has separate display and menu buttons which is a nice feature. Another button panel can quickly reset ISO settings, turn on/off flash or set other camera functions.

The camera came with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. It took about three and half hours to fully charge out of the box. Which is enough time to thumb through the two owners manuals, and the multiple language disclaimers contained in the box.

There was a notation in the manual that purchaser should do some test shots to get a feel for the camera's capabilities. Well, I figured the best trial run would be taking this camera to the Cubs-Cardinals game at Wrigley Field to put it through its paces. Now sports-action photography can task any camera's abilities. But this Canon Powershot worked better than expected: stop action frames of batters swinging at pitches without blurry limbs and pitchers hurling without mosiac arm action.

The great thing about a digital camera is the lack of down time in traditional 35mm film reloads. A roll of 35 mm shots is like ordering a Christmas present; you don't know what you have until you get the developed pictures from the Walgreens. With the digital camera, there is no break in the action for reloading film. The ease of point and shoot led to 223 pictures taken at the game. (With an upgrade 1.0 GB memory card; with any computer purchase always go for the upgrade in memory/storage. You won't regret it.)

Downloading photos from the camera was easy. The Canon USB cable to computer interface was direct and the software did all the work. The program contained a feature to stitch together a series of photos into one panoramic shot. From the third base line, I stitched together a panorama of the right field bleachers. It worked, but the final image was jagged in parts so any final, square image would have to be photoshopped to fit/fill in the blanks. But the resolution quality was outstanding for such a small zoom. The fans in the distant bleachers were clear and recognizable. No Monet landscape here.

In summary, I found the camera's compact size and ease of use an excellent investment. I may never buy another roll of film.



Inspired by the souls being lost in the sink holes of cyberspace, comic commentary cyberbarf style.






Hey, wasn't the concept of the Second Web the next consortium of universities creating a new research intranet outside the current server base since the current World Wide Web is so so crowded with commercial and individual traffic? That is probably still on the drawing board, but the lingo may have been seized by the general media to describe something else.

Web 2.0 has morphed into several definitions. 1) user generated content, collaboration and social networking sites; 2) the next generation on-line companies and software.

The start-up Internet companies have latched onto the term Web 2.0 as something being NEW and DIFFERENT in order to get first and secondary IPO financing. The glory days of napkin billionaires in Silicon Valley are few and far between in today's matured web world.

The boosters of the Web 2.0 calling are only selling micro-niche services such as blog tools, secondary ticket brokering traffic sites, peer to peer small business connections or social gathering theme sites. The promoters tout these start-ups as breaking the boundaries of current technology with new ordering technology, deeper access into application custom programming or new-narrower community issue sites. How breakthrough the hype is has yet to have taken root. It is like adding another layer of paint on an existing fence.

The web is the web. Users are users. Sites are the porch lights for the moths (users). The game is still the same: find a way to drive traffic for advertisers or find the media darling, the next myspace or YouTube lottery ticket. But this business model relies heavily on the free creative content from its users. When a block of cheddar cheese in England is commanding a million user hits a month, the lowest common denominator in user-content is a tricky thing to micromanage.

But this Web 2.0 user inspired content is the management buzzword for the media which is losing circulation, ratings and advertising revenue. The fragmented electronic content market makes it more difficult to predict what people want or want viewers like. But it is cheaper to have users create the unwatchable than Hollywood studios test market high priced talent in pilots. Trial and error test marketing is where the Web 2.0 is heading in the near future.




The Sultanate of Clintonia-Rogstaden

The global on-line gaming experience has quietly exploded into a a bandwidth python of multi-hour, multi-kingdom game spheres. Whether it is the team combat arena, or the total simulated fantasy genre, more and more men and women are using their free time to escape to a virtual world. As a result of our tech guru's prodding suggestion, has created Sultanate of Clintonia-Rogstaden. Readers will have a running update of the status of this virtual country; get the backstories outside the game's program. For example, check out the images of the national currency. There will be inside jokes, satire, humor and pulse of a real bizarre country. New features will be added on a regular basis. So check out the cyber-soap opera of nation building here at

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