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Wednesday, June 16th, 2004

Old News is Good News

British history students and researchers will be pleased to find their favourite 19th century newspapers are being scanned and put online by the British Library in a £2,000,000 project. The Library has set a goal of putting over 1Million pages from the last century of news publishing online within 18-months. Currently anyone wishing to see this material has to visit the Newspaper Library in North London.

Once online, the Newspaper Library will provide access to articles written by icons of English literature including works by Charles Dickens, W.M. Thackeray, Samuel Coleridge and William Wordsworth.

This collection is particularly important as the time period spans several social eras, including England’s transition from being an agricultural economy to a modern, industrial economy. Anyone interested in England’s history and by extension our own should look forward to the completion of this site.

One of the absolute joys of this job is virtually meeting some of the nicest people and new StepForth client Ron McIlnay is one of them. Ron is a formerly retired mechanical and electronics engineer living in western Washington State who runs a home-based consulting business specializing in electronics. From PCB design, materials and process to manufacturability consulting, Ron brings decades of experience and integrity to every job.

Ron’s website, www.amgencon.com presents a lengthy list of his expertise and personal accomplishments. If you are in the design or pre-manufacturing process, or are looking to improve your current products, a quick visit with Ron McIlnay might save your company time, money and headaches.

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Thursday, June 10th, 2004

One Royal Pain in the ATM

“I swear to you, it must have been a computer error! The money is in my account.”…

How many times do you get to hear that old line in a year? If you are a landlord, collections agent, or bill collector, chances are you hear it nearly as often as a school teacher hears, “I swear the dog ate it…” Read more…

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Thursday, May 27th, 2004

AOL Grows towards Broadband

On Monday, AOL announced plans to increase its subscriber list by targeting US broadband users in its first massive advertising campaign of the year. Beginning on June 1, visitors to the NYTimes website, Washingtonpost.Com, RollingStone.Com and other multimedia sites can expect to see advertisements touting AOL’s Sports Channels, Homework Helper, Parental Controls, and access to Time Warner content exclusive to AOL. “The campaign is designed to persuade prospective members that a broadband connection alone is not enough,” said John Lane, vice president of online marketing. AOL is looking to attract new users to grow the current 4-million broadband AOL subscribers list by the beginning of the third quarter. AOL boasted 3-million broadband users as of December 2003.

In a dramatic election year about-face, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson recently stated he would recommend President Bush endorse a congressional bill making the importation of Canadian pharmaceuticals legal. Due to many factors, including public sponsorship of Medicare, Canadian drug prices average 44% to 78% lower than American prices for the exact same medicines. While the shift in the U.S. administration’s attitude is good for American consumers and Canadian online pharmacies, it could have a surprising effect on stocks of drugs north of the boarder. According to today’s Globe and Mail, “A recent study at the University of Texas at Austin found that if all U.S. residents bought their prescription drugs north of the border, Canada’s drug supply would be exhausted in 38 days.”

There have been a great deal of news since last week’s issue on the advent of Google’s controversial Gmail system created to compete with Yahoo! Mail and MSN’s Hotmail. The news can be summarized quickly; upheaval.

Here are some examples of what has occurred since our last newsletter (April 7):
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We couldn’t let this one go past without sharing it. Apparently, the Sicilian village of Canneto di Caronia has experienced three weeks that could have come from a Stephen King novel. Their cyber-appliances such as refrigerators, toasters and televisions have been mysteriously exploding, for no reason whatsoever. If the explosions were isolated incidents or had only happened in one home, there might be an explanation for the things that go boom in the night, however, twelve houses have been ravaged by fire and the entire town has been evacuated. Read more…

Some watch the Super Bowl for the excitement of a winner-take-all battle of gladiators. Some people watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. As almost everyone knows, those of us who watched the Super Bowl this year got to see something a little more revealing than the lingerie bowl. During the MTV organized half-time show, singer Justin Timberlake tore Janet Jackson’s top off, exposing her right breast on live TV. Read more…

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Wednesday, January 21st, 2004

Google Email – Google going portal

Google Going Portal? That’s how it looks from the outside as Google announced it is thinking about introducing a Google Email feature along the lines of Yahoo, MSN and Lycos. Google has taken the concept a step further however and will likely use the new offering as a delivery vehicle for paid advertisements. This move might disappoint long-term Google users who have become accustomed to the clean interface that characterizes Google for many. Given the battle between Google, MSN and Yahoo however, it should come as no surprise that Google is looking to ensure brand-loyalty from its users.

Q. What is more annoying than hearing Wagner’s Flight of the Valkyrie played in midi music style on a website over and over again?

A. Hearing it come from your friend’s pocket over and over again. Read more…

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