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i·dle   (dl) adj.
Lacking substance, value, or basis.
See Synonyms: baseless and vain.

IDLE, not IDOL! Its a parody and social commentary, all rolled into one.  (Copyrights are �© FOX and MSN.)

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Saturday, January 05, 2002
Precursor to Photographica.org? common threads : a photolog has been around since July 2001. Its also pretty darn good.

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Weblogs by Asians. Rice Bowl Journals: "Rice Bowl Journals is a cyber-collection of online journals written by Asians and those of Asian descent.

It is a celebration of the Asian experience through online journaling and blogging, and a tribute to the wealth of Asian culture and its diversity."

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Square jPEGS and gifs, too! Some people like their links squared. square jpegs: "What about the good old square? It's perfectly proportioned, and because the height and width are identical, you only need to remember one number when writing HTML. We just happen to think the square is better, more aesthetically pleasing. We also don't fit too well on the internet for whatever reason. If you feel the same, why not come join us? Grab the square jpeg (er...gif) button, put it on your page and link back to us. Make your own square jpeg or gif for your site (50x50 pixels) and send it here with your url and we'll return the favor. We're putting all the squares together to make one big one."

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Is your computer infected? I have no idea. But, check out the Trend Micro World Virus Tracking Center map for real-time information about the top virus infections by continent.

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Searchable TV? TV That Works Like the Web: "Move over TiVo. A new startup wants to make all television content archived, indexed, and searchable."

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Online Privacy/Security: The Battle Continues. Music Software Users Installed Tracking Program Unknowingly: "Thousands of Internet users who installed popular software for sharing music and other computer files also unwittingly accepted a program that tracked their Web surfing habits.

The companies that produce LimeWire, Grokster and KaZaA have since posted new versions of their software, without the tracking program. The maker of LimeWire also issued an apology."

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Friday, January 04, 2002
FRIENDLY FIRE -- "Would unfriendly fire be less painful?" - nominator from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. LSSU's Banished Words 2002: "Lake Superior State University released its 27th annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness. The compilation draws from hundreds of nominations received from all over the world by mail and through the Internet.

LSSU forms a committee in December to review the year's entries and decide which of them will be included on the list. Word-watchers pull nominations from everyday speech, as well as from the news, fields of education, technology, advertising, politics, and more."

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AIM security holes in the corporate world. Instant Messaging. How dangerous is it?: "Instant messengers often bypass corporate security measures, like firewalls, providing another opening for hackers to the Windows client. These are open doors, and while large corporations are beginning to spend billions of dollars on security, the possibility of this open door makes it a weak link in the security chain. As hackers become more sophisticated, hackers will increasingly enter networks through the client side -- the open front door to the system."

Hopefully such problems have been repaired since AOL's recent improvements, but, alas, you never know.

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Backstreet Trouble: First AJ, now this? Backstreet's Nick Carter Arrested for Resisting an Officer: "The Backstreet Boys seem to have grown-up troubles.

Nick Carter, one of the boy band's singers, had a brush with the law early Wednesday, getting himself arrested after refusing to follow police officers' orders to leave a nightclub following a fight.

Carter, 21, was charged with a misdemeanor count of resisting/opposing a law enforcement officer without violence. He was handcuffed, placed in a squad car and then released on his own recognizance."

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Grammy Nominations. U2 Leads Nominations for Grammy Awards: 'Before the Grammy nominations were announced, pundits had already determined what the big story would be -- a certain soulful female singer with a critically acclaimed debut would score multiple nominations, including record, song and album of the year.
That scenario played out Friday -- just not quite the way many expected.

India.Arie, whose ``Acoustic Soul,'' received glowing reviews but achieved moderate commercial success, scored seven nominations, while the year's most celebrated new artist, Alicia Keys, got six.
Veteran Grammy winners U2 led all nominees with eight, including an album of the year nomination for ``All That You Can't Leave Behind.'''

BONUS ARTICLE: 44th GRAMMY Awards Nominee List.

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Poor, arthritic Dolly. Cloned Sheep Dolly Develops Arthritis: "Dolly, the world's first cloned sheep, has developed arthritis, raising fears that the cloning process may have given her a genetic defect.

Professor Ian Wilmut of the Roslin Institute in Scotland said Friday that Dolly, the first mammal cloned from a cell taken from an adult animal, had arthritis in her left hind leg.

Arthritis is not unknown in sheep but Dolly, born in 1996, has developed it at an unusually young age, suggesting it may be the result of a genetic defect, possibly caused by cloning.

``The fact that Dolly has arthritis at this comparatively young age suggests that there may be problems,'' Wilmut told BBC radio."

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RIP Buddy the Dog. Buddy, Socks's Nemesis, Is Dead: "Buddy, former President Bill Clinton's chocolate Labrador, who pulled at the leash, fought with the first cat and stuck by the side of a commander in chief weathering scandal, was struck and killed by a car here on Wednesday.

Buddy, 4 1/2 years old, met his end in the spirit with which he lived. He playfully took after a contractor leaving the Clinton home about noon and was struck by a sport utility vehicle on Route 117 at the bottom of Old House Lane, the cul-de-sac where the Clintons live.

The police have ruled the incident an accident and do not anticipate filing charges against the driver, a high school student."

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First hostile-fire death in Afghanistan. Green Beret Killed in Afghanistan in Exchange of Small-Arms Fire: "A trooper with the United States Army Special Forces was killed in an exchange of small-arms fire in eastern Afghanistan today, the head of American military operations announced.

He was the first American soldier to be killed by hostile fire in the three-month-old Afghanistan campaign.

The death was announced at a news conference in Tampa, Fla., by Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the commander of the United States Central Command, who said the soldier's name was being withheld until his family had been notified."

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I demand convergence! For Couch Potatoes, the Web Delivers: "CABLE television executives have been promising video-on-demand for years. Somebody should tell them it is already here.

The other night I hooked audio-video cables from my PC to my television. Then my wife, Emily, and I sat on our sofa and watched full-screen, full-motion videos through our broadband Internet connection. Although far from DVD quality, they looked and sounded as if we were watching regular old television."

See? It can work... make us some TV-computer machines now!

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Give me my iTV! In the U.S., Interactive TV Still Awaits an Audience: "It has become a familiar refrain the last decade: this is the year for interactive television. It has not happened.

But media and technology companies say 2002 may be it. ..

...The only problem seems to be that viewers in the United States are slow joining the parade.

So far, Americans remain largely apathetic about interactive TV, and not many even understand quite what it is."

Sounds like an interesting feature, but couldn't it be better accomplished through speeding up television-computer convergence? That's right, make us a TV-Computer one-in-all appliance and maybe you can get us to demand Interactive TV.

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Subway Recovery: Get Well Soon, South Ferry. Subway Line in Attack May Reopen Much Earlier: "Transit officials said yesterday that the subway line partially destroyed near the World Trade Center would be rebuilt and open again as early as November, more than a year earlier than originally planned.

But the improved timetable comes with reduced ambitions: The city and state have conceded that it would be too costly to reroute the line to make it more convenient for Battery Park City residents. Instead it will be rebuilt mostly as it was before Sept. 11.

The plan would reconstruct more than a thousand feet of subway tunnels near ground zero that were either completely collapsed or pierced by falling beams. But instead of regaining all three stations that were closed after the attack -- Cortlandt, Rector and South Ferry -- the plan is to open only Rector and South Ferry along what was once the 1 and 9 line."

I'll miss you, Cortlandt. I can't wait to see Rector and South Ferry, though!

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WTC: A Memorial and More. Bloomberg Vision for Ground Zero: Memorial and More: "Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the head of the commission charged with rebuilding Lower Manhattan said yesterday that the World Trade Center site was unlikely to be transformed mainly into a memorial to the victims of the terrorist attack -- an idea former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani promoted just last week."

Yeah, that's right -- the more is office space, of course.

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NYU to Anthony: "You are financially cleared for this semester." Yeah, how exciting. So when will I get a chance to buy that digital camera I've wanted for forever?

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What do you think about NYC crime levels? Well, they have gone down under Giuliani. Read Do Police Matter? An Analysis of the Impact of New York Citys Police Reforms.

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Thursday, January 03, 2002
New York's NEW mayor. Long-running show closes on Broadway; new one previews: "Times Square is a good introduction to Mr Giuliani's bequest to Mr Bloomberg. Eight years ago, when Mr Giuliani came to power, the square was seedy, violent and dilapidated. By last summer, Mr Giuliani's policies had transformed it. Illegal scam-artists had been replaced by sophisticated legal ones (investment bankers, fashion writers), strip-joints by theme stores. A certain raffish charm had gone and a few liberties had been eroded, including the right to perform naked, but midtown was far safer and more prosperous.

Then came September 11th, the war against terrorism and an economic downturn. Broadway shows have closed, the hotels still seem empty. To enter Times Square on New Year's Eve, you had to pass through a metal detector. Mailboxes were removed, man-hole covers sealed. Officers with Geiger counters and sniffer dogs patrolled. Yet hard times have also generated a civic spirit unthinkable five months ago. There was a lot of hugging at the handover, even of policemen."

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AIM Problem Fixed. AOL Fixes Security Flaw in IM: "As AOL Time Warner engineers opened their presents and spent time with their families, a team of young hackers planned a holiday surprise: a major security hole in one of the company's flagship programs.

The international group released a program that turns AOL's Instant Messenger into a key that could unlock many home computers. Now the hackers are being criticized by security experts for not giving AOL sufficient time to react.

The group, founded by a 19-year-old Utah college student, discovered a security hole in AOL's Instant Messenger program that could have let a hacker take control of a computer. AOL fixed the problem at its central networks Thursday."

BONUS ARTICLE: PC World: The Ultimate Guide to Instant Messaging

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MusicNet and PressPlay will make money, but ultimately fail. Who wants to pay to rent music for a year, only to pay again to rent different music the next year? PressPlay and MusicNet to Launch: "Unless MusicNet and PressPlay radically revisit their pricing scheme or until they eliminate the Napster clones, we think their products are doomed too. Of the two choices, eliminating the Napster clones is by far the most challenging, a task possibly beyond the grasp of the worldwide record industry.

Many Napster clones have wisely set up operations overseas away from any negative US court rulings against Napster. The Record Industry Association of America (RIAA), with the help of their international counterpart the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), plan to stop these Napster clones. But in a world where a third world country like Afghanistan is watching hundreds-of-thousands of its citizens flee to the borders for fear of US retaliation, it's hard to see many countries putting file trading over national security on the top of the to-do list. The major European and Asian countries will eventually act first, but that may only chase Napster clones to countries with significant economic uncertainties and a desire for technology business that has the potential to create jobs and funnel in money. "

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Why Napster Will Fail. The new Napster pay service will not succeed because Napster has decided to introduce their own, controllable version of mp3 files.

"Will I be able to play the music I get through Napster on my portable player?

Yes and no. Some music will be shared in MP3 format, and you'll have all the freedom with those files that you do with any MP3s. In order to give artists and copyright holders choices about how their music is shared, we've created a new secure file format that defines how the file can be used. You won't be able to play those files -- called NAP files -- on your portable player at the launch of the new service. Our goal is to obtain licenses that allow you to play that music on your portable player; we'll get there as soon as possible.

Without the control offered by the NAP format, some artists and rights holders wouldn't share their music -- so the NAP format means that more music will be available on Napster. Still, we know you'd rather have more freedom with all your music files, and we're exploring ways to bring that to you."

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Faster than Google?!?!? Dave's Quick Search Taskbar Toolbar Deskbar: "You type your search and hit Enter for a regular Google search... Now you can do searches no matter what you are doing - email, word processing, programming, whatever... You're not a captive to Google. Do Yahoo searches with a "question?", get Merriam-Webster definitions with a "colon:", get Bloomberg stock quotes like this "msft intc csco$", and find Switchboard phone numbers by saying "Lois Lane#". You can search real "news." search "newsgroups," check "weather*", or "comparison shop$$". There's a built in calculator when you need to know "pow(1.0625, 30)" is 6.1640785. And so on." Best of all, its FREE!

[via antenna]

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A new, simpler ALPHABET. Alphabet 26: "It was Mr. Thompson's idea to combine the best upper- and lowercase letters into one simplified, unified alphabet using only 26 symbols.".

[via antenna].

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The Simpson's Guide to Springfield, USA. A disturbingly detailed and amazingly accurate(?) map of Springfield. Simply amazing!

[via antenna]

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New Hole in AOL Instant Messenger. According to this AP article: "A security hole in AOL Time Warner's Instant Messenger program used by millions of people worldwide can let a hacker take full control of a victim's computer, according to security researchers and the company.

An AOL spokesman said the problem will be fixed soon, and users won't have to download anything...

...Discovered by a loose team of international researchers called 'w00w00,' the hole is a ``buffer overflow,'' like the problem recently found in Microsoft's Windows XP...

...w00w00 released details - and a program that takes advantage of it..."

You might also be interested in w00w00's technical explanation.

BONUS ARTICLE: Business Week: IM Vulnerable.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2002
How obviously true... and sad. Terrorist Attacks Make 2001 Deadliest Air-Crash Year: "The world aviation industry had its worst year for crash-related fatalities in 2001 because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S.

There were 34 plane crashes that killed 1,118 passengers and crew members, including 265 in the attacks, the Netherlands-based Aviation Safety Network said. Another 2,945 people died on the ground, all but 10 in the attacks, according to the organization and a Bloomberg list of New York and Washington fatalities in the September incidents."

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"Uh... you want fries with that?" World, not just US, wants 'fries with that': "Add another item to America's ballooning trade deficit: the French fry.
As with cars, steel, and toys, the United States now imports more frozen potato products than it exports. It's a blow to the prestige of the nation that commercialized the frozen French fry."

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Need help choosing a digital camera, digital camcorder, DVD player, or MP3 player? Check out On Magazine.com's How to Buy Guide to get started. Find out what requirements you should be looking for and how much you should be paying.

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Cybersquatter or Reverse Domain Name Hijacking? Chip Rosenthal is being sued by a corporation over his rights to the Unicom.com domain name. The catch is that he registered the name in February of 1990, before the World Wide Web even existed in the United States. Will he be able to win against the California corporation? Follow Chip's plight at Save Unicom.com.

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Second Annual Weblog Awards! I just submitted my nominations in a variety of categories for the 2002 Bloggies. Get over there right now and nominate your favorite weblogs! Just in case you wanted to nominate my humble weblog for one or more categories, here's my information: anthony's weblog @ CityCynic.com http://www.citycynic.com/

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Mets Trades and Deals. New York Mets: Offseason Player Movement: Keep up with the Mets' trades and signings on the ESPN site.

Yankees Update. I was surprised to see that the Yankees will be starting this season without several familiar players -- OF Paul O'Neill (retired), 3B Scott Brosius (retired), INF Luis Sojo (retired), 1B Tino Martinez (Cardinals), and LF Chuck Knoblauch (Royals). Check out the New York Yankees: Offseason Player Movement.

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The New York Mets December to Remember... Mets had December to remember: "It was a month of magnanimous proportion for the Mets and their fans who will remember December of 2001 for a long time to come. In a whirlwind four weeks that saw a frenzied flurry of trades and signings, the Mets undertook a major offseason overhaul that left them with a drastically changed team, including the addtions of some of the best names in the game.

From the signing of Japanese pitcher Satoru Komiyama on December 1 to the acquisition of Gary Matthews, Jr on the 27th, the Mets made an 'Amazin nine transactions of significance, 10 if you count the re-signing of Benny Agbayani. New to the roster are the aforementioned Komiyama and Matthews Jr, pitchers Shawn Estes, Mark Guthrie and David Weathers, the club's single-season stolen base leader Roger Cedeno and oh, by the way, 12-time All Star Roberto Alomar and mega slugger Mo Vaughn."

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Tuesday, January 01, 2002
2001: Search Trends. For the first post of 2002, I present the Year-End Google Zeitgeist:
Search patterns, trends, and surprises. Find out who, besides Britney Spears and Osama bin Laden, are in the top ten for searched people for the year and also check out the interesting search timeline for the year!

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Monday, December 31, 2001
Happy New Year 2002! I just want to take this time, in the last few minutes of 2001, to thank each and every one of my friends and family who taught me something this year, through your actions and your advice. In such a trying year, with unconceivable horror and one set of surreal experiences after another, your help has been needed and, above all, appreciated.

I even want to thank someone who hurt me greatly, but, at the same time, somehow, taught me a few important life lessons along the way. Thanks and good luck with everything.

So to everyone who has influenced or touched me in some way during 2001, I say thanks. Here's to an excellent and fulfilling 2002!

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Notes to Self #1314 and 1315: 1) Sometimes things aren't what you think or how they seem, in a variety of ways -- even though they may be painful or confusing now, they are for the best, as proved by the final goodbye/apology that happened at the front door today. 2) Sometimes parents really do know what you're going through, despite the feeling that they couldn't possibly understand what you are going through.

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Note to Self #1313: Remember that it only took one phone call to remind me what a great decision I made back in October. Also remember that it is okay not to continue to futily try to be nice to anyone who does not appreciate it.

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Sunday, December 30, 2001
The Media Tribunal. The Village Voice: Nation: Press Clips: Midnight Confession by Cynthia Cotts: "Since it first aired on December 19, CNN's hospital-bed interview with "American Taliban" John Walker has been heavily hyped, but no one has pointed out what it truly displays: the power of media to indict a man more efficiently than any prosecutor.

Bush has yet to announce this man's crime, but the world has already decided he's guilty. He hasn't talked to a lawyer, but he's already a scapegoat who can be spit upon and molded into anything you want him to be. Welcome to the latest weapon in the war on terror: the media tribunal.

Of course, a cable channel is not a court of law, but CNN seems to have leaped at the opportunity to prosecute a symbolic prisoner of war. Even though Walker was being pumped with morphine and did not consent to be interviewed, CNN edited and broadcast the footage as if it were a confession that would be admissible in court. Even after a Larry King guest criticized the tape as "inflammatory" and "prejudicial," CNN kept playing snippets for days, inviting pundits to convict Walker hypothetically."

Read this excellent article by Cynthia Cotts, who is brave enough to tell it like it really is...

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George 'Dubya' Bush: Year One. How do you think 'Dubya' is doing through the end of his first year in office? This is what he had to say -- At First Year's End, Bush Cites Both Victories and Challenges: "President Bush said today in his weekly radio address that his first year in office was ending with progress on foreign battlefields and accomplishments at home, but he said the coming year "will require our sustained commitment to the war against terrorism."

"We cannot know how long this struggle will last," he added.

Mr. Bush, in what amounted to a brief radio review of his triumphs and disappointments in 2001, said that American forces were successfully fighting "a new kind of war" in Afghanistan and that Americans were safer at home because of actions his administration had taken.
But he acknowledged that he had failed to push some of the most important parts of his domestic agenda through Congress. Mr. Bush blamed the Democratic-controlled Senate."

Right, well maybe you should try to pay a little more attention to domestic issues. I know the 'War on Terrorism' takes up much of your time (besides vacations on your ranch), but there are some serious problems developing with, say, the US economy. Might want to check things like that out for yourself before just blaming the Democrats.

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Tomorrow is Mayor Giuliani's last day in office. Will you be sad to see him go? Giuliani is a man of few regrets -- only one actually -- Giuliani Looks Back With Just One Regret: 'Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani has very few regrets about his eight years in office in fact, the only thing he wishes he did is win his fight to abolish the Board of Education.

On Friday, in his last sit-down interview with reporters, Mr. Giuliani listed many of his administration's achievements, including what he said were improved race relations despite protests by many in minority communities against the police and the mayor.

Most of all, he said, he had no regrets other than being unable to persuade the State Legislature to put the schools directly under mayoral control, a goal he pursued for both of his terms. "I honestly think I did the best I could," Mr. Giuliani said. "I'm a human being, I have my limitations."'

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$800 million new home? Mets, Yanks get tentative deals for new stadiums. The deal sure sounds amazing, but let's see if our new mayor, Mr. Bloomberg, can pull through on his end in 2002...

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Mets sign Vaughn. Mo' Better Mets: Vaughn comes to Shea: the Mets playoff chances keep getting sweeter and sweeter!

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Ahoy, young Internet Pirates! Trying to Keep Young Internet Users From a Life of Piracy: "As children have access to computers earlier and earlier in their educational careers, experts in piracy, hacking and other forms of Internet mischief say that any effort to tackle the illicit trade in digital goods including video games, computer software, music and even movies should be looking at a younger crowd."

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Languishing Legos. Lego Tinkered With Success, and Is Now Paying a Price: "In part, Lego is suffering from the malaise affecting many of the world's biggest toy makers as they adjust to age compression the demand for more sophisticated toys from ever younger children and the licensing costs connected with high-risk toys, often linked to books and movies like Harry Potter and Star Wars.

Moreover, with the recent terrorist attacks casting a pall over economies around the world, the current year turned into a particularly challenging one for the industry. While some forecasters expect sales of toys to end up considerably higher this holiday season as parents seek to comfort their children, others forecast little growth because of the overall weakness in consumer confidence."

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TAXI!!! Digital Technology Is Reconfiguring the Taxi: "The cab, the workhorse of urban living, seems to be getting a technological makeover. Electronic screens have appeared atop New York cabs, projecting news and sports scores. Wireless organizers have been put into back seats, giving passengers a chance to send e-mail or visit Web sites. Television screens, satellite-based locating devices and surveillance cameras are being installed, all to enhance safety or passenger enjoyment. (Not to mention, in some cases, new ways to deliver advertising.)"

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NYU in the New York Times. The press has discovered our General Studies Program (GSP) and they like it. N.Y.U. Program Offers Students 'a Chance to Perform': "At a selective and highly sought-after school like N.Y.U., the General Studies Program provides advantages both for students and institution. For the student, it offers a second chance at entry to an institution of choice. For N.Y.U., it helps mitigate the effects of attrition as some of the 15,000 students in the College of Liberal Arts and Science or other four-year undergraduate schools drop out."

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Anthrax traces in NY. Anthrax Found on N.Y. Mail Machine: "Traces of anthrax have been found again on a mail sorting machine that tested positive in October, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service said Saturday."

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A Christmas Carol at Theatre Three. Today, after deciding I just couldn't attend Marian's funeral at St. Mark's (too upsetting), my family brought Margaret and met up with Shannon (Katelyn's best friend) at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson. We enjoyed another masterful and inspiring performance of the Dickens classic. We go to the show every Christmas, so this year was no exception. Tonight's show was pretty significant, as it was Jeffrey Sanzel's final performance (and also his 542nd) as Ebeneezer Scrooge. He is an excellent actor (and also the Creative Director at Theatre Three), who has always portayed one of the most convincing Scrooges I've ever seen. My family and I are already planning on attending the show next Christmas and, although I will miss Sanzel's Scrooge, I know I can look forward to another excellent production!

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Anthony who?
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