Just a few loose ends, quickly.

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Can anyone answer a question for me?  In the little conference paper
about "The Internet and Public Discourse" that I circulated here
the other day, I mentioned that "[a]s Nathan Myhrvold puts it, with
Windows you can get $100 million worth of software for $100 ...".
But that's only an approximate rendering from memory of Myhrvold's
point.  Does anybody have the original source or the precise quote?
If anybody comes up with the correct answer, I'll send it back out
to the list.

I've been urged to remind everyone that the draft European Parliament
report on Technologies of Political Control that I sent out the other
day is still very much a draft.  I sent it out largely because I once
met its author, Steve Wright of the Omega Foundation, and at least on
that occasion found him to be a serious person.  On the other hand,
one individual whose judgement I normally trust has pointed out a
couple of factual errors in the draft, attributable to its having been
pulled together in a rough way from many sources.  One view is that
the report is just a political device for whacking the US whether it's
fair or accurate or not, but I have no hard facts to support or refute
that view, and if I had wanted to discredit the report then that's
the kind of hearsay that I would report.  So we'll have to see what
happens with it.

As if any more proof were needed of the fabulousness of RRE's readers,
some of them have started sending me pens.  Ralph Laube in Australia
sent me a few copies, in 0.5 mm black, of the Staedtler Liquid Point,
a German pen that I haven't seen in the US or in Europe.  (I haven't
looked in Germany, however.)  I've now exhausted two of them.  It's
a good pen that delivers a lot of ink at a wide range of angles with
only a little bit of the "scratching" sensation that I often get with
0.5 mm liquid-ink pens.  It has a robust cylindrical tip and a cool
bumble-bee black-and-yellow color scheme.  It does have a couple of
drawbacks: the cap isn't designed to be stored on the back end of the
pen when you're writing, and the barrel is too narrow for my hands, or
at least for the way I hold pens.

Even more fabulous, if that's possible, is Pete Kaiser in Zurich.
Pete was very helpful to the students in my Internet class a while
back, and lately his family has helped marvelously with my quest for
fresh copies of the Reynolds Ink Ball pen.  I had sent him the name
and phone number of the shop in Nice where I had managed to acquire
them (Sorbonne 2, 04 93 13 77 88), and he now reports:

    "Contact 2", my wife, returned from Nice on Friday with some
    pens for you, and they should go into the mail today.  She tells
    me it was like pulling teeth to buy them at the Sorbonne shop,
    because they had only a few out at a time and refused to check
    their inventory for more -- yet she went back three times, and
    every time found a few more out, even though each time they told
    her "No, Madame, all our pens are out in the display and we have
    no more."  That behavior is very familiar, I must say, and there's
    not a damned thing one can do about it.  My wife is French and was
    BORN in Nice, and even SHE can't budge them.  Incidentally, she
    did check elsewhere, without success.

I'm sorry I missed out on that particular French Cultural Experience,
although I do remember the overall vibe in the shop that Pete's wife

Some other RRE subscribers tell me that copies of their own favorite
pens are in the mail, and I will report on these when I get a chance
to test-write them.

I did, by the way, finally make it to WalMart on Glenn Stauffer's
recommendation to acquire a couple of copies of the Avery EverBold
Hi-Liter.  (Avery has a rebate offer that, as Glenn explains, makes
the pens free less the cost of the envelope and a stamp.)  I will
have to gather my thoughts on the exploding world of highlighter pens
and make a fuller report another time.  For the moment, the relevant
point is that WalMart has a remarkable variety of high-quality pens.
You can't test them and they mostly come in packages of two or three,
but the price is right.  On the other hand, I caught the flu during
that particular trip to WalMart, so I suppose the price wasn't quite
as right as all that.

A couple of people asked about Robert Parry, whose "Consortium for
Independent Journalism" blurb I sent out.  Parry was a major-league
reporter for (I think) Newsweek in the 1980's when he made the mistake
of reporting on the wrong side's massacre in Central America.  He
was hounded out of work by the Reaganistas, whereupon he set up shop
doing investigative reporting on the folks who done him wrong.  You
can call it conspiracy theorizing if you like.  Or else you can say,
as conservatives so often do when referring to their own propandists,
that he "provides balance".  In any case, the particular articles he
was advertising in that blurb should not be evaluated on their own,
since they mostly summarize reporting he has been doing over a long
period.  Much of that reporting is available on better newsstands in
his crudely produced and somewhat obsessional but always interesting
magazine, IF.

Some useful URL's:

Creating Flexible Structures of Academic Work, 12-14 March 1998, Tuscon

Mother Jones article on Microsoft's privacy policies
(interesting enough, but I'm not sure if it's entirely reliable)

NSF's Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence (KDI) solicitation

"eWatch: Comprehensive, Accurate, Trusted Internet Monitoring"

Army of God

Discussion Draft: "A Proposal to Improve Technical Management of Internet
Names and Addresses"

Salon -- consistently excellent; the best publication on the Internet
(so why doesn't it get 3% of the publicity of the egregious Matt Drudge?)