Ray Sun has a blog

raysun-tinsel.jpg My friend Ray Sun, longtime MSFT employee and all-around kewl guy, now has a blog.

I set him up with my tool of choice: MovableType. I didn’t even bother to run uname -a or perl -v. I just unpacked it, tweaked mt.cfg, and the thing just worked.

Ray used to be a program manager for MSIE and MSN Search, but these days he’s working on getting MS technology in next-generation cell phones.

Mmm…. Catherine Zeta-Jones…

YHOO is buying INKT

inktomi-logo1.gif In a not-so-surprising turn of events, Yahoo! is buying Inktomi for $235M.

There has been a lot of discussion both outside and inside the company about search engine competitor Google, so clearly Yahoo! is doing this to stay competitive in the search space. Whereas Yahoo! has something like 74 different properties in 25 countries, Google does one thing and they do it well. But search is an important part of a portal. Very important. And Yahoo! knows this, or it wouldn’t invest a pile of cash.

I just hope that this acquisition goes smoothly. Peter Lynch wrote in One Up On Wall Street that after a M&A goes through, the new combined business is usually worse off than if the two companies had remained separate. And I think Yahoo!’s track record has been better than average. On the one hand GeoCities seemed to go pretty well, but whatever happened to all that great content from broadcast.com?

Will McDonald’s follow United Airlines?

One of the nation’s biggest airlines recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Now I read this headline from Investor’s Business Daily: McDonald’s Expects Its First-Ever Loss As Chain Retrenches Amid Weak Sales. Another sign of the weak economy? Hardly. Maybe McDonald’s is losing money because they’re not vegetarian-friendly.

I completely stopped giving Mickey D’s my business about two years ago when I read an article in the Atlantic Monthly entitled Why McDonald’s Fries Taste So Good. Although they are fried in canola oil, the fries themselves contain “natural flavorings” as one of their ingredients.

“The company will not reveal the exact origin of the natural flavor added to its fries. In response to inquiries from Vegetarian Journal, however, McDonald’s did acknowledge that its fries derive some of their characteristic flavor from ‘an animal source.’ Beef is the probable source, although other meats cannot be ruled out. In France, for example, fries are sometimes cooked in duck fat or horse tallow.”

Maybe if McDonald’s came clean with the vegetarian community and dropped animal additives from their food, they’d find themselves with a growing market opportunity. Burger King introduced a Veggie Burger this year, and their fries have always been 100% veggie-friendly.

FTC do-not-call list

NDNCR_biglogo.gif I always love it when government goes above and beyond the private sector. The Direct Marketing Association already provides a do-not-call list called the Telephone Preference Service (which I discovered via Operation Opt-Out). But only telemarketers that belong to the DMA actually use the TPS list. The FTC wants to make a mandatory do-not-call list for all telemarketers:

F.T.C. Issues Rules Restricting Telemarketing Calls. The F.T.C. issued rules restricting telemarketing calls to consumers, including plans for a nationwide registry of consumers who do not want to receive such sales calls. By Barnaby J. Feder. [New York Times]

Looks like we consumers will need to wait until this spring to put our names on the list. When the time comes, I’ll be one of the first to sign up.

DMCA and Instant Messaging Patent

Free Dmitry Sklyarov! A couple of interesting developments in the IP space today:

  1. Russian Company Acquitted of Digital Piracy. In the first test of digital piracy law, a jury acquitted a Russian company accused of selling software that allowed users to circumvent security features in an electronic book. By Matt Richtel. [New York Times: Technology]
  2. Patent creates IM wrinkle. America Online quietly secures a patent that could potentially shake up the competitive landscape for instant messaging software. [CNET News.com]

Stripping: it’s a living

Ivy League Stripper I was having an IM conversation with a co-worker this evening and somehow we managed to get a little off-topic.

In talking about my my alma mater, I was reminded of the book Ivy League Stripper by Heidi Mattson, who started stripping to pay her college tuition.

Brown University — the ultimate small-town girl’s dream come true… until she got the bill.

My co-worker mentioned another amusing story about a mother was stripping to help make ends meet and the church that kicked her child out of the religious school she was attending.

“Silvas said Cole told her that not only would her 5-year-old daughter be expelled, but also that as long as she strips, neither can attend the church.”

Ah, the irony.