Welcome to The Funny/Alerts Newsletter. Sometimes when you have a stressful day or week, you need some silliness to break up the day. Here is your dose... Follow these instructions to find your new name. The following is an excerpt from a children's book, "Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants", by Dave Pilkey. The evil Professor forces everyone to assume new names...

Use the third letter of your first name to determine your New first name:
a=poopsie b=lumpy c=buttercup d=gidget e=crusty f=greasy g=fluffy h=cheeseball i=chim-chim j=stinky k=flunky l=booger m=pinky n=zippy o=goober p=doofus q=slimy r=loopy s=snotty t=tulefel u=dorkey v=squeezit w=oprah x=skipper y=dinky z=zsa-zsa.

Use the second letter of your last name to determine the first half of your new last name:
a = diaper b = toilet c = giggle d = burger e = girdle f = barf g = lizard h = waffle i = cootie j = monkey k = potty l = liver m = banana n = rhino o = bubble p = hamster q = toad r = gizzard s = pizza t = gerbil u = chicken v = pickle w = chuckle x = tofu z = stinker 

Use the fourth letter of your last name to determine the second half of your new last name:
a = head b = mouth c = face d = nose e = tush f = breath g = pants h = shorts i = lips j = honker k = butt l = brain m = tushie n = chunks o = hiney p = biscuits q = toes r = buns s = fanny t = sniffer u = sprinkles v = kisser w = squirt x = humperdinck y = brains z = juice 

Thus, for example, George W. Bush's new name is Goober Chickenshorts. Bill Clinton's name is Booger Liverchunks. Now when you FORWARD THIS... use your new name as the subject. And remember that children laugh an average of 146 times a day whereas adults only laugh an average of 4 times a day.

Put more laughter in your life!!!

[thanks to Pat Stewart for this one]

Signed,
Zippy Girdletush
Co-Conspirator To Make The World A Better Place

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GRINS & GIGGLES:

Once some burglars broke out in the bank. One of them pointed his gun at the cashier said, "Give me all your money, or you'll be GEOGRAPHY!"

The cashier laughed and said, "You mean to say 'HISTORY.'"

The burglar answered, "Don't change the subject."

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CYBERSPACE ALERT:
IBM, Microsoft plot Net takeover
By David Berlind

IBM and Microsoft have been quietly busy behind the scenes for the last two years building a toll booth that could position the two companies to collect royalties on most if not all Internet traffic.

While the technologies that form the foundation of that toll booth have yet to be officially recognized as standards by an independent standards body, the collective strength of IBM and Microsoft could be enough to render Internet standards consortia powerless to stop them. 

The potential for the two giants to erect a toll booth is tied to the likelihood that Web services protocols such as SOAP, WSDL, and UDDI--and the related ones to which the two companies hold patents or other intellectual property rights-- will one day be as important as the standard protocols (such as TCP/IP and HTTP) on which the Internet is based today. Web services and the protocols that make them possible are destined to play a major role in most if not all electronic commerce as well as other Internet traffic. 

If the protocols do become standards, either by virtue of an independent standards organization's imprimatur or by attaining a de facto status, IBM and Microsoft--or any other company that maintains the intellectual property rights to them--could legally impose royalties on that traffic. In fact, any protocols that become a part of the core Internet infrastructure without having been made available on a royalty-free basis could guarantee the owners of the intellectual property the right to place a tax on the Internet traffic that depends on those protocols. 

That tax could show up in both direct and indirect ways. Web sites that use non-royalty-free protocols--to which IBM and Microsoft claim intellectual property rights--could be subject to per-use or annual licensing fees. Competitors to IBM and Microsoft could be forced to pay royalties before they are allowed to sell tools and products for developing those sites. These vendors, in turn, might decide to pass on their additional costs to customers, or they might decide not to develop and sell their products--thereby reducing the number of competing alternatives. In the least likely scenario, users of Internet applications that depend on the protocols could be asked to pay based on metered use of those protocols. Currently, no plausible or globally scalable mechanism exists for doing so. 

No standard policy
For the most part, standards-setting for the Internet and Web has taken place within the working groups of two organizations: the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Until recently, neither organization had maintained a policy requiring vendors to make the intellectual property (IP) they contribute to the standards setting process available on a royalty-free basis. According to W3C Patent Policy Working Group Chairman Danny Weitzner, "Despite the lack of a policy, there has always been an understanding amongst the various contributors that the Internet and the Web wouldn't be possible or scalable unless their contributions were available to everyone on a royalty-free basis." 

HP withdraws support
Against the backdrop of the W3C's emerging plan to adopt a primarily royalty-free-based patent policy, the royalty-free vs. RAND controversy reached full boil last October when Hewlett-Packard withdrew its support as a sponsor of IBM and Microsoft's W3C WSDL submission on the basis that WSDL might not be royalty-free. According to a statement by HP's director of standards and industry initiatives and W3C advisory committee representative Jim Bell, "HP resigned as a co-submitter of the otherwise excellent Web Services Description Language (WSDL) proposal to W3C solely because other authors refused to let that proposal be royalty free." 

According to the W3C's Weitzner, "the Internet community, which includes developers and users, has voiced their opposition and the W3C is responding with a policy that enforces a royalty-free framework in all situations with few exceptions, and Web services isn't one of them." 

Weitzner also acknowledges that, in addition to HP, Apple and Sun are wholeheartedly behind the royalty-free movement too. According to Sun's Manager of XML Industry Initiatives Simon Nicholson, "Anyone should be able to use the specifications that define the Internet infrastructure without charge. We believe the best route to ensuring this is that such specs be licensed under royalty free terms." Sun backed that position up when it relinquished a set of IP rights it had--a move that cleared the way for the royalty-free use of the W3C standard for Xlink. 

IBM: patent defense
IBM and Microsoft, however, appear to be digging in their heels with respect to the contributions they have been making to the standards process. In a document filed with the W3C, IBM opposed the move to a royalty-free-only framework partially on the basis that companies must be allowed to maintain their patents in order to defend themselves against potential patent infringement suits by other companies. 

Unstoppable duo
To accomplish that, IBM and Microsoft would need to shove aside the W3C and turn their intellectual property into de facto standards. The imprimatur of something that portends to be a standards body--like the governing body of the WS-I or UDDI (also formed by IBM and Microsoft)--could help that along. By themselves, neither company is powerful enough to execute such a power play. But taken together, not much can stop them. 

While Web services is still in its infancy, IBM and Microsoft are looking to the future. Competitors, collaborators, and customers of the two giants will be looking to see if their future includes paying a toll or getting a free pass to use the protocols underlying the next- generation Internet. 

http://techupdate.zdnet.com/techupdate/filters/specialreport/0,14622,6022499,00.html

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MEATSPACE ALERT:

BABY YOU CAN DRIVE MY CAR: When an unnamed 8-year-old boy in Temple Terrace, Fla., missed his school bus, he popped into his uncle's car and drove himself to school through rush-hour traffic. The 18-year-old uncle, who had been teaching the boy how to drive, was being questioned by police after police found the car was stolen. The boy was not arrested, but he was suspended by Riverhills Elementary School for endangering himself and others. Fellow students were wowed. "How could a second-grader know how to drive?" wondered a 10-year-old girl. "I thought maybe he'd be like a third grader or something." (St. Petersburg Times) ... It's not always the older men who are so impressive, dear.

"FART GUY" LOSES BIG: Geremino T. Ranallo, 65, and Warren G. Jacoby, 50, have been convicted of disorderly conduct in Franklin Township, Penn., after the two used a can of joke "fart spray" in a local supermarket. "It smelled like somebody had let a real stinker in there," said one witness. "It was pretty nasty." Customers ran from the store, leaving their purchases behind as Ranallo and Jacoby were "snickering and laughing." Police found the can of spray, plus a "remote-controlled fart machine used to mimic the sounds of flatulence." Municipal Court Judge Joseph W. Steinhardt, noting that Ranallo "has a fart fixation," handed down a $502 fine plus court costs, and gave the bubbly duo the choice of 30 days in jail or 90 days of community service. "I don't want to be known as the fart guy," Ranallo complained. (Easton Express- Times) ... Too late, bub.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE II: Betrice Gonzalez runs a hot dog stand outside the Clarence Mitchell Jr. Courthouse in Baltimore, Md. People going into the courthouse see the stand as the last place they can hide things from the authorities inside. "I've had people offer me money to hold their bags," she says, and they "get rude" when she says no. It happens so much that she has posted a sign on her stand: "Absolutely no holding: weapons, bags, radios, drugs, etc. while in the courthouse!!" (AP) ...Undercover police officers have offered to man her booth on her day off.

WOULD YOU LIKE FRIES WITH THAT? Patrons at a McDonald's restaurant in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, England, "watched in horror" as the store manager used a broom to beat a loose rat to death. The rat, apparently a pet, was released by kids as a prank. "There were screaming kids running everywhere," said one witness. "The last thing I wanted my granddaughter to see was an animal being clubbed to death. I don't want to go back to McDonald's." A McDonald's spokeswoman urged calm, saying the manager had "acted quickly and effectively." (London Mirror)
...Settle down, people, settle down! Cooking kills all the germs.

YOU CAN'T WIN: "Race Cyclists Caught Speeding" -- Reuters headline

ENDLESS INVESTIGATIONS, I see the police in California have arrested actor Robert Blake, charging him with being the "trigger man" in the murder of his wife last year. The cops apparently learned something from the O.J. Simpson case, taking a year to gather evidence before pointing the finger. Blake's attorney learned something from O.J. too: "I believe that the real killer is out there," Harland W. Braun says, claiming Blake had nothing to do with the shooting death using the same words Simpson used, though O.J. hasn't said anything lately how living in Florida is helping to find the "real killers" of HIS wife, who was also murdered in southern Cal. Blake, who played the detective "Baretta" on TV, should have remembered the mantra of that show: "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time (no no!)" (Of course, Blake IS innocent, as "innocent until *proven* guilty" is the operative rule here. Luckily for him, Blake won't be tried in "The People's Court".)

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TRUE STORY:

A group of students were asked to list what they thought were the present Seven Wonders of the World. Though there was some disagreement, the following got the most votes: 

1. Egypt's Great Pyramids 
2. Taj Mahal 
3. Grand Canyon 
4. Panama Canal 
5. Empire State Building 
6. St. Peter's Basilica 
7. China's Great Wall

While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one quiet student hadn't turned in her paper yet. So she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list. The girl replied, "Yes, a little. I couldn't quite make up my mind because there were so many." The teacher said, "Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help." The girl hesitated, then read, "I think the Seven Wonders of the World are: 

1. to touch 
2. to taste 
3. to see 
4. to hear

She hesitated a little, and then added 

5. to feel 
6. to laugh 
7. and to love

The room was so full of silence you could have heard a pin drop. Those things we overlook as simple and "ordinary" are truly wondrous. A gentle reminder that the most precious things in life cannot be bought. 

[thanks to Donna and Mala Chizek for this one]

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FUN SITE:
Play Mancala online

Many Historians believe that Mancala is the oldest game in the world. The word Mancala means "to transfer" in Arabic. That is exactly what you do; you transfer, or move, playing pieces from one bin to another.

Mancala represents the diversity of Africa. Some version of Mancala is played in nearly every African country. It is enjoyed by royalty and commoners, adults and children, in cities and villages of every size.

Mancala has lasted for so many years because each past and present culture has been able to enjoy it in it's own special way: as an important family game, a ceremonial right of passage, or a form of recreation among friends.

The type of Mancala board varies, the wealthy may play on carved ivory boards covered with gold, or it could be just a few holes in the ground with pebbles as playing pieces.

http://imagiware.com/mancala/

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GREAT UTIL:
Away we go... again.

Recently overheard: "I visited a web site and it hosed my browser. I have looked through my Registry and reinstalled Internet Explorer, but I can't uninstall or remove this junk. Any help would be greatly appreciated." Go directly to a Lavasoft mirror and download Ad-aware. The latest version will wipe the 'lop' junk off the face of your system (and then some). It's really sad that we have to resort to such measures. Some folks sure know how to take the fun out of functionality, eh? The Web wasn't invented for marketers; it was invented to share information. I don't mind anything that's sponsor-supported (programs, newsletters, Web sites, television shows, radio shows, etc.), but I draw the line when they hijack my personal bubble.

Lavasoft mirror site:
http://www.majorgeek.com/index2.html

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HARDWARE:
Bigger is better - TiVo

Perhaps you already own a TiVo Personal Video Recorder - a next-gen recording device that eschews traditional analog tape, and actually records your favorite TV shows to a hard drive in the MPEG-2 format. The only problem is that your TiVo just doesn't hold enough TV. Well, here's the how-to you've been waiting for.

This site contains information and utilities to use to hack your TiVo. It should be noted that most of the things detailed here will void your TiVo's warranty. You do this at your own risk.

http://www.tivofaq.com/hack/
http://www.tivocommunity.com/

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QUICK WIT:

A great mentor is one who aims for others' abilities to surpass his own.

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