26 April 2004

PlusNet - Broadband ADSL and Unmetered Internet Service Provider for Home and Business 

Use this link to sign up for broadband. Do it now, don't delay you know it is the only way to go! Remember Rudgwick goes live on 5th May.
PlusNet - Broadband ADSL and Unmetered Internet Service Provider for Home and Business

21 April 2004


It has been a 15000 mile delivery trip from Auckland, New Zealand to Newport, Rhode Island. Both Ellen and B&Q have been tested in many varying conditions, through the Southern Ocean and the Atlantic. It is the first time Ellen has been sailing solo since the Route Du Rhum in 2002, and she is stepping up to another level on board B&Q.

"Though physically demanding, she is a joy to sail, and I really am very pleased with how she performs in various conditions and under pilot. In big waves she is unbelievable - skimming over them, haring down them - seemingly never sticking her leeward float in and stopping. She is showing everyday what an amazing boat the team has built"

Sailing the new 75ft Nigel Iren's designed trimaran has allowed Ellen to step up to a whole new challenge from her previous experiences on Kingfisher.

"Life is very different onboard B&Q, there is very little time to relax. All the time in the back of your mind is the fact that one mistake and the consequences could be really bad. On the monohull, you can make some mistakes, the boat can get laid flat and you have a good chance of coming out of ok. That margin doesn't exist on the trimaran. That makes for a stressful time 24/7. Physically, as expected, manoeuvres are tough. Re-hoisting the mainsail for example is a 35 minute full on, exhausting grind. This is a new level of physical challenge for me. I am ready for this though, and I think we have made the right choices in terms of how big a boat I can manage on my own, any bigger would have been too much"

One of the hardest issues to manage in this environment is the rhythm of life on board. In order to keep to a consistent and productive rhythm the sailors must manage their sleep efficiently and be aware of when they are becoming sleep deprived. Ellen's average sleep of just over 3 hours every 24, confirms that her ability to take short naps to recharge her energy is working again. Or several years Ellen has been a student of Dr. Claudio Stampi of the Chronobiology Research institute associated with Harvard University, their work on this project is ongoing.

"Life on board B&Q is good. She feels very much like my little home, and though I am looking forward finally to getting home and seeing my friends and family, I will also be sad to leave her waiting to go in New York. The good news is that she'll be raring to go and hopefully we'll be able to cross the Atlantic for our real homecoming together with a good turn of speed"


RED: No obvious weather window in sight, Ellen not necessarily with the trimaran
AMBER: 60 to 70% chance of departure in next 72 hours, Ellen with the trimaran in USA
GREEN: Intention to depart within 36 hours

For further information, email lucy@offshorechallenges.com

20 April 2004

AOL Madness (Warn Your Friends) via LangaList 

AOL is at it again. This time, it's reading *inside* its members' emails, and preemptively blocking any messages that contain links to sites that AOL doesn't want you to see.

Note: I'm *not* talking about simple mail blocks, where a mail is discarded if it originates from a "forbidden" address. No: AOL is parsing the content of its members' emails and blocking them even if they merely *mention* a site that AOL disapproves of.

This happened to my last newsletter issue, when I mentioned a perfectly valid and inoffensive link: http://www.codeproject.com/ . It turns out that last summer, in July, AOL put that site on its naughty list for some unexplained reason, and ever since has blocked all emails that even contain a link to that address.

When my list-host ( http://dundee.net ) noticed huge numbers of AOL emails bouncing back, they preemptively sought to find out why, and the folks at AOL then removed the block--- on that one address.

AOL's mail system is just this side of insane. Not only does it read inside member emails for links that AOL doesn't like, but--- as we've reported before--- if AOL members get a little lazy and block a newsletter like this one, instead of unsubscribing, AOL keeps track of the blocks. Last time I looked, if as few as 10 readers took the lazy way out of stopping a mailing, AOL would assume that the mail in question was spam. In my case, if just 10 AOL users out of 160,000 readers--- that's 0.00006 of my readers--- took the lazy way off the list, all AOL subscribers would have their legitimate issues blocked for some time thereafter.

AOL's user-level mail filters are nearly useless because the master filters discard emails before they ever make it to the users' mailboxes and the local filters there. That means AOL members can white-list senders to their heart's content but it will have no effect at all on the pre-filtering that's done by AOL before their mail ever gets delivered. AOL's user-level mail controls are a little like those fake thermostats you sometimes see in office buildings that are meant to give occupants the illusion of local control, when in reality, a central system is making all the real decisions.

Noted tech writer Brian Livingston also has been struggling with this, as he reported in http://briansbuzz.com/w/040408/ . Just look at the jaw-dropping failure rates he found:

I've written many times that Internet service providers (ISPs) are mishandling the growing menace of spam by imposing crude "junk-mail filters" that delete legitimate messages without notifying the intended recipients of that fact.

...AOL "bounced" about 88% of the newsletters that had been sent to subscribers who use aol.com e-mail addresses. The problem was also severe at subsidiaries owned by AOL, including cs.com (which bounced 88%) and netscape.net (96%).

...[AOL's] filter simply deletes huge quantities of mail without ever delivering it...
(click link above for full article)

If you have friends on AOL, you may wish to tell them about this ( http://www.langa.com/sendit.htm ) so they'll know why their email is so unreliable. Of course, there's no guarantee they'll see your email, just as there's no guarantee that legitimate subscribers to this newsletter on AOL will get this issue....

But there's a glimmer of hope: For the first time ever, AOL's membership has started to shrink significantly. Users are finally realizing they can get better service at lower costs from other ISPs. Perhaps if enough members vote with their dollars, AOL will wake up and meaningfully change its Big Brother-ish ways.

12 April 2004

What desktop icons do when your asleep (via The LangaList) 

The ICON's Story
It's a bit slow to load but worth it!

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