Why women live longer

A photo essay.


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I set up a wiki for my sister-in-law about the rare genetic disease, Prader-Willi Syndrome. I used Mediawiki, which is quite impressive. The hardest part of the configuration was rewriting the URLs so that pwsnotes.com, www.pwsnotes.com, and pwsnotes.org would all point to www.pwsnotes.org. This improves cacheing and search order ranking, and also looks better. The following Apache .htaccess file did the trick:
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Airport Express woes

It only took me over two hours to install my two new Airport Expresses. The problem is that Airport Express Assistant is not compatible with XP SP2 (it keeps giving an error about Windows not managing the wireless and then doesn’t see any of the networks). The solution was to configure the units with Airport Admin Utility instead. Further, this is the page the explains setting up printing from XP. The units now work great.


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Latest travels

Just back from a delightful trip to Bora Bora and New Zealand. (Click the links for pictures.)


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Buying a Treo 600

Several friends are buying or thinking about buying a Treo 600. So, here is my advice in doing so:

1) First, don’t buy the Sprint phone. It’s cheaper and has good coverage, but is completely unusable as a primary phone. The problem is that when the 1x data link is active (such as when you’re checking email or the web), all incoming calls are sent to voicemail. This is so egregious as to be absurd in a shipping product, and makes the device completely unusable, except as a glorified data-enabled PDA.

2) I highly recommend the AT&T Wireless phone. Until 2 weeks ago, coverage was somewhat poor. However, AT&T just signed a roaming agreement with Cingular as part of their upcoming merger, and so I find the coverage is now superb.

3) Crack the GSM lock as described on my blog or this FAQ. Now, if you’re in a foreign country, you can buy a cheap prepaid SIMM card at any gas station and not pay international roaming rates. (If you want to be clever, you can get an ISP account and configure the phone to dial up over circuit GSM, since prepaid GPRS is not yet available.) Then, update the firmware to 3.04 to get the camcorder functionality.

4) Top software apps:

a) WebPro is much, much better than the built in browser, since it uses a proxy to drastically reduce download time and displays incrementally as the page is loading.
b) I use Good software for complete integration with Exchange. It works great but is very expensive. My portfolio company Sproqit should have a Treo-compatible single-user Outlook-connected product soon. I understand from Walt Mossberg that for POP/IMAP, SnapperMail is the best software.
c) Ptunes. Buy the deluxe version, as being able to use shoutcast to listen to tens of thousands of radio stations around the world is particularly cool.
d) Audible for the Treo
e) zLauncher is a replacement application manager that moves applications to the SD card with a single click. This is essential if you want to install extra software and not run out of memory.
f) Bob’s Clock to make the device an alarm clock. (click files under the Yahoo Group for pay $5 through Handango.)
g) PdaNet
h) miniSync cable
g) Zap!2016, Tetris


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I got married!

Here’s some info, or you can jump right to the pictures.


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Morroccans on failed utopian ideas

The WSJ has an article titled “Morocco’s Fragile Democracy Tests U.S. Prescription for World”:

A onetime Marxist who endured torture and 16 years in jail, Driss Benzekri was ushered into a lavish royal palace late last year to meet the son of his tormentor during Morocco’s “years of lead,” grim, gray decades of brutal oppression.

Mohammed VI, Morocco’s monarch since the death of his autocratic father in 1999, wanted to talk about human rights, democracy and what he called “the thorny issue” of the past.

As a result of the unusual encounter, Morocco this month launched the Arab world’s first “truth commission.” Led by Mr. Benzekri, the former political prisoner, it already has a mountain of files to examine detailing 13,000 cases of abuse, from beatings to disappearances.

Mr. Benzekri says the country has “made a fundamental rupture with the past.” He contrasts it with what he says were often cosmetic changes in the early 1990s. Then, newly freed from prison, Mr. Benzekri says he attended an antitorture meeting in Switzerland and found that Morocco’s official delegation included an interior ministry official who, years earlier, had personally supervised his own torture.

Mr. Benzekri, the truth commission’s 53-year-old chief, says the fervor of Islamic radicals recalls the Marxist zeal of his own youth. The Islamists, though, outlasted all their rivals: “All other utopian ideas have failed,” he says. “Islamists are the only ones left.”

I’ve argued in the past that having defeated totalitarian fascism and totalitarian communism, the West is now fighting totalitarian fundamentalism. Utopian ideals require totalitarian implementations. (I took the terms totalitarian fascism and totalitarian communism from one of the best pieces the Economist ever published.)

War & Its Impact

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The coolest map ever

I collect maps, although just prints so far. One of my favorites has been this universe map from National Georaphic.


One of the authors of that map has collaborated to develop a map of the entire universe where essentially all interested features of space, from specific satellites in Earth’s orbit to the edge of the Milky Way and the limit of the visible universe, can be easily viewed on one flat surface. The trick was to to follow the same perspective as Saul Steinberg’s famous “View of the World from 9th Avenue”:


Here’s a great NYT essay describing their accomplishment. And their paper itself is quite readable.

Here is the actual map. On Internet Explorer, push F11 to display it full screen.

And here are a bunch of other formats, in case you want to print it out and frame it, as I plan to do.

Technology and Science

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Unlocking your GSM Treo 600

My GSM Treo 600 with AT&T Wireless service is, IMHO, the first essential smartphone. Even with the amount of effort to get it configured, it’s a net benefit to your daily life. However, international travelers know that one of the great features of GSM is being able to buy prepaid cards with a local number in whatever country you’re visiting (Croatia, Ecuador, Morocco…). That way, people you’re interactining with in the country don’t need to call a long distance number in the States, you pay reasonable prices, and you don’t get waken in the middle of the night with an office worker calling about a minor issue.

AT&T locks their phone to make this impossible, which is especially ridiculous since I already signed up for a year service package. Thankfully, people on treocentral have figured out how to crack the lock.

The file is currently available from here (updated). If this link breaks, go to TreoCentral and search for “patched.zip”.
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My fiancée and I spent the holidays in Antarctica. Here are some pictures.


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