Monty Python’s Holy Ale

Monty Python's Holy Ale

Every New Year’s Eve I pick out some interesting beer to try out during the night’s festivities. This year, while completing a quest at BevMo, I came across Monty Python’s Holy Ale, which is “tempered over burning witches”. It is brewed by The Black Sheep Brewery located in Masham, North Yorkshire, England and was commissioned to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Monty Python. Of course it is also a tribute to one of the greatest films of all time, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. Legend has it that drinking this beer it may cause the French to “fart in your general direction”.

photo credit: Scott Beale

Windows Experience Index for Acer Ferrari 1000

Windows Experience Index

I just wanted to follow-up on something people have been discussing. On my original post about the Acer Ferrari 1000 laptop with Windows Vista that was sent to me, I included a screenshot of the computer information section of the control panel. eWeek’s Microsoft Watch and OakLeaf Systems both blogged that on that screenshot they noticed that the laptop had a low Windows Experience Index score of 2.8. In the comments of that post Zen suggested that I click on the “Update my score” to see if that rating would improve. I went ahead and tried that, but the score remained 2.8. I’ve included a screenshot of the full Windows Experience Index breakdown for those who are interested.

The Windows Experience Index measures the capability of your computer’s hardware and software configuration and expresses this measurement as a number called a base score. A higher base score generally means that your computer will perform better and faster than a computer with a lower base score, especially when performing more advanced and resource-intensive tasks.

Each hardware component receives an individual subscore. Your computer’s base score is determined by the lowest subscore. For example, if the lowest subscore of an individual hardware component is 2.6, then the base score is 2.6. The base score is not an average of the combined subscores.

You can use the base score to confidently buy programs and other software that are matched to your computer’s base score. For example, if your computer has a base score of 3.3, then you can confidently purchase any software designed for this version of Windows that requires a computer with a base score of 3 or lower.

For more information, check out Nick White’s Windows Vista blog post: “Windows Experience Index: An In-Depth Look”

Windows Vista Laptop Auction Traffic

Apache accesses

I though some you server geeks might be interested in seeing our Munin graph for Apache accesses during the last 24 hours to get an idea of the kind of traffic being generated by the Windows Vista laptop auction for EFF post. Xeni posted the story to Boing Boing around 1pm yesterday. Next it hit the top of the front page of digg at around 8:30pm last night (that’s the big spike on the graph). Then at about 1am this morning, CowboyNeal posted it to Slashdot. Also a fair amount of traffic is also coming in from Groklaw, Daring Fireball and Linux Today.

Mint Referrers

Shaun Inman’s excellent blog statistics script Mint has been a great tool for watching referrer links almost in real time as they’ve been coming in.

I’m glad we run our own servers. The server hosting is really being put to the test this week, but doing quite well so far.

Alexa Traffic Graph (12/23-12/29)

UPDATE: Here’s a screenshot of our Alexa traffic graph from this week.

Windows Vista Laptop on eBay, Proceeds Going To EFF

Acer Ferrari 1000 with Windows Vista

So regarding my infamous Acer Ferrari 1000 Windows Vista laptop (one of several sent to bloggers which are stirring up a quite a bit of controversy), I think the best thing to do at this point is auction it off on eBay and donate the proceeds from the auction to one of my favorite non-profits, The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

Honestly, I’m not really the right person to do a proper review of Windows Vista and at this point, it is still unclear why I was even selected to receive it, not to mention the fact that there has been quite a bit of inconsistency regarding what Microsoft, AMD and Edelman wanted people to do with the laptop after they were done testing it. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate being included, but now I think it’s time to move on. I’ll purchase the Windows Vista upgrade when it comes out as I had originally planned on doing (here’s more on how I use Windows).

I’m starting the auction today (in the US only) and it will end in 7 days on January 4th. This will give me some more time to test out the laptop some more and see what Windows Vista is like, before it is sold to someone who will really benefit from having it, possibly even someone who will be able to give it a proper review.

Here is the eBay auction.

So why am I choosing EFF as the recipient? They are an amazing 16 year old member supported, nonprofit organization based in San Francisco that has been fighting hard to help defend digital rights and freedom. I’ve asked attorneys at EFF for free advice on numerous occasions and most recently Jason Schultz helped me out with the whole Michael Crook false DMCA claim situation, which ultimately lead to EFF’s lawsuit against him. This is my way of saying thanks to EFF and to help support them in their continuing efforts.

To sweeten the deal, Laughing Squid will cover the shipping costs and throw in a Laughing Squid t-shirt and stickers.

Brian Solis has donated a Cruise FE Sling bag to be included with the laptop.

Here’s some more coverage on the auction:




Thomas Hawk

Daring Fireball

Linux Today




Download Squad

I’ll announce the winner of the auction here on January 4th. Happy bidding!

UPDATE 1: Here are what some of the other bloggers are doing with their Windows Vista laptops. The majority of them have decided to keep theirs.

UPDATE 2: In less than 24 hours, the auction has already passed the $3000 mark. It looks like I’m going to be able to present EFF with a pretty sizable donation.

UPDATE 3: There seems to be quite a bit of misinformation floating around regarding this issue, especially on digg and Slashdot. As I mentioned in my original post on the laptop, the only communication I received about this was an email from Edelman (I have never been contacted by Microsoft regarding this laptop). The email stated that Microsoft was sending me a “present” with “no strings attached” (those were the exact words used in the email). They did not include any instructions at all regarding what to do with the laptop. Also, I did not receive the same email as the other bloggers, including the follow-up email that was sent by Microsoft to Marshall Kirkpatrick asking him to return or give away the laptop. I have asked Edelman for an explanation regarding this inconstancy, but have not yet received one. So just to be clear, I was never sent any kind of instructions on what to do with the laptop and I did not sign anything, including an NDA.

UPDATE 4: A bidding war has started on the auction and has drove the price up over $20,000. We have had some fraudulent bids already on this auction, so we are currently looking into these as well. Jonathan Eric Rosen of ReliaBid has offered up their services at no charge to help reduce the the possibly of non-paying bidders.

UPDATE 5: Ok, the two fraudulent bidders who took the auction to $20,000 have been removed. The auction is now proceeding normally.

EFF letter for laptop auction

UPDATE 6: Per eBay’s guidelines for charity listings, I have updated the auction with a letter from EFF stating that they will be the recipients of the proceeds from the auction.

UPDATE 7: Sheyenne York has won the laptop auction on eBay and over $3450 will be donated to EFF.

Update on Windows Vista Laptop Blogger Controversy

Acer Ferrari 1000 with Windows Vista

Earlier this week, Microsoft & AMD via the PR firm Edelman, sent me and several other bloggers an Acer Ferrari 1000 laptop with Windows Vista as a “present” with “no strings attached” (that’s the wording that they used in the email they sent me). There has been quite a bit of controversy related to this issue.

Just to be clear, I never had any intention on keeping this laptop. I’m a Mac user and open source person and I’ve actually been in the process of purging all of my old PC’s. I use still Windows, but mostly for troubleshooting hosting issues with our Windows customers (I run a small web hosting company), IE compatibility testing for our websites, to try out Windows only betas and to play the occasional Windows only game. The way I run Windows XP now is with Parallels Desktop for Mac or Boot Camp and I will do the same with Windows Vista. I plan on purchasing the Windows Vista upgrade for our company like I have in the past with previous versions. Regarding the Acer Ferrari 1000 laptop, I will be unloading it in an interesting fashion. Stay tuned.

PR blogger Brian Solis wrote a great post about this issue over on PR 2.0. Jeremy Pepper of POP! PR also has a write-up about the ethical implications. Both are from the perspective of bloggers who work in public relations. I’m still curious to see what Tara Hunt think about all of this.

UPDATE: I’ve decided to auction off the laptop on eBay and donate the proceeds to EFF.

photo credit: Scott Beale

10 Zen Monkeys Call For Michael Crook DMCA War Stories

10 Zen Monkeys, the blog hosted by Laughing Squid which is currently at the center of the EFF lawsuit against Michael Crook, has just put a call out for Michael Crook DMCA war stories in order to help in the case against him.

Are you a blogger or webmaster who tried to cover the story of DMCA fraudmeister, Michael Crook, only to be served a DMCA takedown notice by him? Maybe you covered the antics he’s performed with websites he owns such as,,, or

Did you choose to comply with his DMCA notices in order to avoid the possibility of legal action? If so, then your story could help 10 Zen Monkeys and the Electronic Frontier Foundation in our civil lawsuit against Crook.

Please take some time to tell us your story. It’s the best way to help ensure that nefarious griefers like Crook are no longer able to use the DMCA to violate Free Speech and silence critical commentary.

Help Michael Peppe Find His Glasses

SubGenius Reunion on Puzzling Evidence

San Francisco performer and SubGenii Michael Peppe lost his beloved glasses at last month’s Laughing Squid: Decade 2 event. Here’s more info from John Law:

Infamous anti-performance artist Michael Peppe is bereft of clear vision! That’s right, the inventor of Behaviormusik, a contemporary of Laurie Anderson, San Francisco art scene fixture Michael Peppe is without his glasses! An attractive young lady walked off while wearing them at the Laughing Squid 11th Anniversary Party last month. Perhaps she didn’t want him to have eyes for another, perhaps she was careless, perhaps she was a common thief. It matters not: these black-framed glasses are the esteemed Mr. Peppe’s most cherished possession. They are the heart and soul of his personality; he is naked, lost and incomplete (not to mention near sighted as hell) without them. We here at Laughing Squid beseech you to return these mandatory ocular equalizers to this already tormented enough artist. Call the Poet at: 415-P-R-O-M-F-U-K (776-6385) or mail the glasses to: 400 Hyde St., #507, S.F., CA. 94109 or deliver them in person if your heart is pure.

photo credit: Scott Beale