About a year ago, Cyrusoft, maker of a (not that great) email program called Mulberry, closed its doors and liquidated. This was likely because large portions of the commodity software market are now free (or at least bundled with other things people need) -- in the past, there was a time many people paid for their browser (I never did), their email client (I paid $40 for PMMail for OS/2), and various other things. Whether it's Microsoft's plot to knock out aplication software markets that changed this or the work of the open source community, those times are long past, and a commercial email program with a shoddy interface, trying to compete with Outlook Express, Mail.app, or the next-generation webmails, is simply doomed. Programs are labours of love (or they can be) -- very recently, the original developer of Mulberry dug up the cash to buy the software rights from the creditors on the corpse of the company, and he's offering it for free. Having occasionally been close to people in similar situations, I can say that he's lucky that the creditors were willing to deal with him -- I've seen people who had high aspirations to de-business-ise their work after a company fails only to have it tied up for many years afterwards. In one sense, I've always felt it was their fault -- getting one's ideas too close to business-types is a recipe for disaster, but, like watching a lifelong smoker wheeze painfully, some part of me did feel bad for them.
Rage of the Stage Players are putting on a dark stageplay interpretation of Alice in Wonderland. I'm thinking about going to the showing on the 8th or the 9th. It sounds bizarre and interesting... their summary:
In this dark, gritty, and mature interpretation of a childhood
classic, you'll join a Catholic school girl named Alice, as she
wanders through a city of questionable virtue. Along the way, she'll
encounter a host of re-imagined, real-world counterparts to Carroll's
classic characters, including...a skater punk, a victim of
Alzheimer's Disease, a drug-addict with a smile that just won't quit,
and a dominatrix with her own bondage club.
- MC Frontalot redid his website, and has some new mp3s to download.
- On the upside, Somalia's government-less state of affairs is beginning to come to an end. On the downside, large portions of the state are coming under Sharia. On the upside, they're protecting the environment a bit from looters. I'm not sure if this is more because they don't like looters or because they actually care for nature.
- The IRS is to privatise tax collection, although they're admitting that it's not what they really should be doing -- it would be considerably more efficient to hire more revenue officers, and there would be no conflict of interest involved in doing so while with private companies, any public interest is penalised by the competitive system. I don't find the urge to privatise for efficiency reasons to be generally a good idea in most markets where it's a concern. Privatisation does, compared to the way state systems do now, provide certain benefits -- more flexible exploration of alternatives for efficiency, motivation, etc, but there is no principled reason an enlightened society with a carefully structured could not do those and more. Keeping things in-government also ensures a certain amount of lower overhead as venture capitalists do not need lucrative returns, and of course a concern for the good of the people can be built into the system without market force penalisation or the distraction of lucre. There is nothing about being in the private sector that inherently suggests greater efficiency -- in the end, people do necessary labour, regardless of the systems around them.
- Kurds call for Saddam's blood as he's in trial again, blaming him for all their woes. Perhaps, just perhaps, if they had been interested in avoiding all of that, they might've tried not continually attempting to overthrow the government? I don't pass judgement on whether civil war is good in some external sense, but it is a known path of blood.
- Hmm. It seems to me that it would've been very amusing to fly off without the Brits (but with their baggage) than to handle things as they were handled.