Thursday, December 31, 2009

Down on a dime

My server is having issues. Seems I might have mucked something up and it's killed the mail exchange. Nothing in or out since early on the 29th. This happening now is typical; right in the middle of a holiday. Just need to find a DVD drive.
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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Voyager 2 Continues To Explore Beyond Our Solar System

Voyager 2 Continues To Explore Beyond Our Solar System December 28, 2009 by Michael Hickerson - "Voyager 2, which passed out of our solar system two years ago, continues to send back data and discoveries about the nature of our universe.

The probe is giving NASA scientists a look at the universe beyond our solar system and is currently 8.3. billion miles away from the sun. It’s giving us some news from this region, called the “heliosheath,” by astrophysicists.
"

You'll have to pardon me while I listen to the angels sing.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...
Yes, I think this is awesome. Can't help it. I am a techie, after all. I hope this little bugger keeps sending data for years to come. Or at least until it gets all tricked out and comes back.
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Friday, December 25, 2009

Hey Ubuntu, Stop Making Linux Look Bad

Hey Ubuntu, Stop Making Linux Look Bad Christopher Smart Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 - "It’s the same old story. A new Ubuntu release, a new series of pain and frustration.

Canonical releases a new version of Ubuntu every 6 months, come what may. Unfortunately what most often comes is a system full of bugs, pain, anguish, wailing and gnashing of teeth - as many “early” adopters of Karmic Koala have discovered.
"

While I am very much against distro wars, there is something to be said for "telling it straight." Right now, Ubuntu is one of, if not the, most popular Linux distributions out. If it leaves a bad taste in peoples mouths it hurts the entire Linux community. And we need to keep Linux moving forward. For obvious reasons.
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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Chinese state media reveal secret, illegal jails

Chinese state media reveal secret, illegal jails From Jaime FlorCruz CNN November 30, 2009 4:56 a.m. EST | Beijing, China (CNN) -- "Secret, illegal "black jails" exist in China, a state-run weekly has confirmed, despite official denials otherwise.

Chinese citizens in search of justice often end up in such detention centers when they file complaints against the government, the state-run weekly magazine Outlook reported last week.
"

And you thought the Communist Threat was gone.
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Swedish service performs your last online wishes

Swedish service performs your last online wishes By Louise Nordstrom, Associated Press Writer – Fri Dec 11, 11:26 am ET | STOCKHOLM – "Sunniva Geertinger was devastated when her boyfriend took his life early this year.

To make matters worse, his Facebook account proved almost impossible to put to rest, haunting her like a ghost with new wall-posts from network pals and holiday photos from the past.
"

Believe it or not this is a real concern. Over the decades I have known a number of fellow online mavens who had passed away leaving a big footprint still on the wire. In one case the BBS the guy was running ran for months after he was gone with no one attending it. His wife finally took it offline.

As for myself, I am in the same kind of situation. If I were hit by a truck (albeit one driving through my living room) there's no one who knows all the places I'm online. Hell, I don't even know all of them. I'm going to have to see how much this service costs.
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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Malware Lab's Rogue Gallery

Lavasoft has published a site that is "a resource dedicated to keeping computer users safe from rogue security software. By providing a comprehensive database of current rogue security applications, you have the ability to clearly see what programs are considered rogue – and avoid them." Basically they let you know about bad programs that pretend to be security software. This is a very good resource.

http://www.lavasoft.com/mylavasoft/rogues/latest

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Iran seizes rights lawyer's Nobel Peace medal

Iran seizes rights lawyer's Nobel Peace medal By Associated Press Writers Nasser Karimi And Ian Macdougall Thu Nov 26, 9:59 pm ET - TEHRAN, Iran – "Iranian authorities confiscated Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi's medal, the human rights lawyer said Thursday, in a sign of the increasingly drastic steps Tehran is taking against any dissent."

Just in case you were still wondering why we are "over there." I wish that everyone in The States could spend a few years overseas. Just to see what the world really looks like. Then they could make an INFORMED decision on US foreign policy. $DEITY knows the populous is clueless about the rest of the world.
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Secret copyright treaty leaks. It's bad. Very bad.

Secret copyright treaty leaks. It's bad. Very bad. Cory Doctorow POSTED AT 2:13 PM November 3, 2009 - "The internet chapter of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret copyright treaty whose text Obama's administration refused to disclose due to "national security" concerns, has leaked. It's bad."

Read this if you ever want to use the Internet for any purpose. This is the kind of stuff that keeps rational men (and women) awake at night.
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Messenger Probe Finds Seasonal Changes On Mercury

Messenger Probe Finds Seasonal Changes On Mercury November 4, 2009 by Michael Hickerson - "NASA’s Messenger space probe has discovered what appear to be seasonal changes on the planet Mercury, according to the Associated Press."

This is very interesting. It was always believed that Mercury had only a hot side and a cold side. Guess there's more to the planets than anyone suspected.
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Monday, December 21, 2009

Worms Invade Corporate Computers, Microsoft Finds

Worms Invade Corporate Computers, Microsoft Finds - "In its latest Security Intelligence Report, Microsoft documents the doubling of worms in enterprises during the first half of 2009."

Now there's a shocker. The reason that worms are on the increase in the enterprise is because Microsoft's products are for $#it! If you use any version of MS Windows, and that includes Win7, you are inviting the bad guys to do bad things to you like moths to a flame. In a world where security and functionality were considered to be important Microsoft would not be a blip on the radar in the IT industry.
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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lazy Workers May Be Deemed Hackers

Lazy Workers May Be Deemed Hackers Mark Rasch, 2009-08-25 - "From his office job at the Shelby City (Ohio) Wastewater Treatment plant, he was browsing adult Web sites, including one called Adult Friend Finder to meet women. When some of the women asked Wolf for nude pictures, he bought a digital camera, took pictures, and e-mailed them using his work computer."

Ok, the guy was dumb enough to use a work computer to send nude pics and booking online a dominatrix. He should be gigged for that. But to indict him under a "hacker" law is absurd. This is just one in a growing trend of laws being passed with such vague wording that anything and everything could be considered illegal.

Back in the old BBS days there was a case where a company in CA sold porn over a bulletin board. It was perfectly legal to do so according to the laws of their jurisdiction. Then, some idiot in the Midwest decided that, since it was illegal to do so in their state, they'd try and shut down the porn board. So they had someone, a law enforcement officer if I remember right, buy some porn then they indicted the company under the local obscenity laws. Now, the federal law says that these things are governed by the community standards. The BBS company asserted that, since they are in CA, the local community standards allowed them to sell porn. But the prosecutor held that, since the end point of the transaction was his local community, he had jurisdiction. The courts upheld his position of community standards and the BBS was shut down.

This kind of thing is so wrong that no one with two brain cells to rub together would ever think it was right. Unfortunately, the people in the positions of making and enforcing laws are often those few who don't meet the above criteria.

$DEITY help us.
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy Birthday to a brand new teen

My son turns thirteen today. Can you believe it? I'm just as excited as I am worried, though. He's a good kid but being a teen is hard enough without all the things this generation have to deal with. It's a good thing he's tougher than his mom and dad.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's alive!!!!!

Semester finished. Caught up on sleep. Time to catch up on here.

I have a bunch of backlogged things to post so I'll see about getting them in before Christmas. Some will be slightly dated but still interesting. Well, at least interesting to me.

Anyway, I'm headed off to get a few more days... Uh, I mean hours of sleep. Then, watch out!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

He was in a bind 'cause he's way behind...

My time management skills have... Ok, I don't have any time management skills. That's why I'm behind on here. I do have a bunch of things to post so I'll try and get them up a bit at a time. Of course, since hardly anyone actually follows this blog it's not like there's a crushing immediacy to get updates on.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Stunning photo: Earth and Jupiter in the same shot

From DVICE | Stunning photo: Earth and Jupiter in the same shot - "Sometimes the planets line up in such a way that you can see Earth and Jupiter in the same wide-angle shot. That is, if you were aboard the Mars Global Surveyor on May 22, 2003. When the Mars Orbiter Camera snapped this unique view, Earth was 86 million miles away, and Jupiter was 600 million miles away."

The picture is stunning. You don't get a scale of how big Jupiter is till you see it dworfing Earth from 600 million miles.
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

21 (mostly) sexy female stormtroopers (NSFW)

21 (mostly) sexy female stormtroopers (NSFW) - "Today's gallery, the seventh of our 31 specials for the 31 days of Halloween, proves that sometimes the best Star Wars stormtroopers are the ones who only remember to wear part of their costumes."

From SCI FI Wire comes a little bit of eye candy for all you guys and gals who like anything with "sexy females" in its title. Go ye and drool.
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

More fun with North Korea

Two interesting articles on North Korea this week.

North Korea fires missiles and declares "no sail" zone | Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:32am EDT | SEOUL (Reuters) - "North Korea has fired five short-range missiles off its east coast and declared a "no sail" zone in the area from October 10-20, South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted a government source as saying on Monday."

U.S. hails cooperation on North Korea, sees new steps | By Chris Buckley Chris Buckley – Wed Oct 14, 2:37 am ET | BEIJING (Reuters) – "North Korea's neighbors and the United States are coordinating closely to draw the isolated state back to nuclear disarmament talks and reviewing possible next steps, a senior U.S. diplomat said on Wednesday."

Go read these two articles then tell me they aren't contradictory. I dare ya.
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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Obama vows to end restrictions on gays in military

Obama vows to end restrictions on gays in military | By Caren Bohan and Nancy Waitz Caren Bohan And Nancy Waitz – Sat Oct 10, 10:53 pm ET - WASHINGTON (Reuters) – "President Barack Obama, speaking on the eve of a major gay-rights march, told gay supporters on Saturday he would fight for their causes and renewed a pledge to end restrictions on their service in the U.S. military."

While I am all for equality, this isn't going to happen unless the Military buys into it. Having spent 40 years growing up, working and living with the Military, things aren't going to change overnight. The gay community may have felt that the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy was a baby step, but I can tell you now it was a massively huge step for the armed forces. It will take allot of work to get things smoothed out. I anticipate decades.
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Monday, October 05, 2009

Rio wins 2016 Games

Rio wins 2016 Games as IOC rebuffs Obama | By Paul Radford and Stuart Grudgings Paul Radford And Stuart Grudgings – Fri Oct 2, 4:57 pm ET | COPENHAGEN/RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – "Rio de Janeiro won a resounding vote on Friday to stage the first Olympics in South America in 2016, rebuffing U.S. President Barack Obama, who had personally lobbied for his adopted hometown Chicago."

Gasps greet Chicago's ouster from Games bid | By Ben Klayman Ben Klayman – Fri Oct 2, 3:09 pm ET | CHICAGO (Reuters) – "Gasps and tears greeted the announcement on Friday that Chicago had lost its bid to host the 2016 Summer Games, as the city went from favorite to also-ran in the multibillion-dollar Olympics sweepstakes."

I find this reaction slightly puzzling. Did they honestly think that Chicago had any chance of winning this bid? Anyone who knows international sports and the IOC knew that Chicago was never even a blip on the radar for 2016. That has been evident for a long time. It is also why I was amused when President Obama jumped into the whole thing. Why associate you name with something that was obviously never going to happen? The first lady I can understand. Oprah had to back the city, of course. But the three of them are insignificant to the IOC.

Hell, if all the billionaires in the US backed the city it still wouldn't have had a snowballs chance on Mercury. The kind of money and "favors" that are involved with choosing a city for the Olympics are on a scale the makes them look like paupers. Then there's the political back-room stuff. Chicago, and, by extension, the US, currently doesn't have the standing in the IOC's world to give the selection committee a moments consideration.

Now don't get me wrong. I am not happy with the situation. Merit is only a small fraction of what's taken into account for picking a city. But this is the way it's been for the modern games. It's just confusing that many people don't see what is directly in front of them.
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Sunday, October 04, 2009

University of Florida Has Zombie Attack Plan In Place

University of Florida Has Zombie Attack Plan In Place | October 2, 2009 by Michael Hickerson | Category: Bizarre News - "The University of Florida may have a sales pitch a lot of other universities in the same state and around the country don’t have.

Should the zombie apocalypse occur, they have a plan to deal with it.
"

Unfortunately the page is now 404. I don't know if it was a gag or what but if they ever did have a plan they could post you know it'll draw in more applicants than they even dream possible.
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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lesbian GI Seeks Asylum in Canada

Lesbian GI Seeks Asylum in Canada September 10, 2009 | Agence France-Presse - "A lesbian who deserted the U.S. military has requested asylum in Canada, claiming she faced harassment and death threats from fellow Soldiers over her sexual orientation, media said Wednesday.

Pvt. Bethany Smith, 21, claimed she had asked the U.S. military for a discharge after being outed by another Soldier who spotted her walking hand in hand with a woman at a mall.
"

I have no idea what the rules are between the US and Canada but I hope she gets out. The main reason she's running north of the border is that the Army wants to defer her case so they can send her to Afghanistan. However, it also occurred to me that a soldier could fake being gay for the sole purpose of not being deployed to the combat zones.

In the first Gulf War there was a huge increase of pregnancies of which a goodly portion were specifically to get out of combat service. Will we see a new trend of an increase in gay soldiers being discharged?

Just something to ponder.
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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Queensryche 'Home Again' World Premiere


From Military.com's ARMY INSIDER newsletter for the week of 07 September 2009 - "'Home Again,' a song about military homecomings, showcases vocals by lead singer Geoff Tate's daughter Miranda. The video features actual photographs submitted by the Military.com audience. The result is very moving."

Whatever your feelings on the justification for the current military actions the US is involved in, we can't put our biasis on the heads of the young men and women serving in the military. They are doing the jobs they must do.
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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Six vanish in Korea flood mystery

Six vanish in Korea flood mystery | "Rescue workers in South Korea are looking for six people believed to have been swept away from a campsite in a mysterious flash flood.

Officials say they are investigating whether the surge came from a new dam in North Korea, further up stream.
"

Ok, call me paranoid but this sounds fishy to me. And I wouldn't put it past North Korea to do something like this intentionally.
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Happy Birthday, Dad

Today is my Dad's birthday. It has been seven-and-a-half years now since he passed but I still miss him. However, I have so many wonderful memories of and with him so the sadness isn't as monumental as it used to be. The family is going to church today to say a prayer so my son and I are going, too.

He would have been 78 today.

Friday, September 04, 2009

North Korea says in last stage of enriching uranium

North Korea says in last stage of enriching uranium | By Jonathan Thatcher – Fri Sep 4, 7:27 am ET | SEOUL (Reuters) – "North Korea said on Friday it was closer to a second way of making nuclear weapons, a move analysts saw as a new tactic to put pressure on the international community after a month of conciliatory gestures."

Just one more step closer to the coming apocalypse.
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Friday, August 28, 2009

Madonna booed in Bucharest for defending Gypsies

Madonna booed in Bucharest for defending Gypsies | Associated Press - August 27, 2009 1:13 PM PDT | BUCHAREST, Romania - "At first, fans politely applauded the Roma performers sharing a stage with Madonna. Then the pop star condemned widespread discrimination against Roma, or Gypsies — and the cheers gave way to jeers.

The sharp mood change that swept the crowd of 60,000, who had packed a park for Wednesday night's concert, underscores how prejudice against Gypsies remains deeply entrenched across Eastern Europe.
"

The plight of the Gypsies in Europe is centuries old. In Western Europe it's not quite as bad but the discrimination is still harsh and prevalent. Most people on this side of the pond know next to nothing about this issue. The Gypsies have had it bad for so long because the cultural and moral acceptance of the discrimination against them.

One large example of this was the Holocaust. The fact that 6 million Jews were killed is, at this point, common knowledge. The the Nazi regime murdered over 12 million people. In raw numbers the Jews were the single biggest percentage of deaths. But if you look at the percentage of those killed compared to the total number of their "group," the Gypsies were nearly wiped off the face of the Earth. Very few people know this.

Today, the news of a small group of Hispanics, Jews, African Americans, Asians, etc. being killed just because they were there would raise a media firestorm. None of us would stand for that no matter what race or religion we are. Should it be any different for the Gypsies?
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Texting While Driving PSA


Texting While Driving PSA @ Yahoo! Video
Source: uk.video.yahoo.com
Now this is an effective PSA and it certainly went on for a long time. But will people actually get the message? Pun intended. http://www.ns-knt.com

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bruntlett turns game-ending unassisted triple play

Bruntlett turns game-ending unassisted triple play | Sun Aug 23, 10:30 pm ET | NEW YORK (Reuters) – "Eric Bruntlett completed just the second game-ending unassisted triple play in Major League Baseball on Sunday, which helped the Philadelphia Phillies to a 9-7 victory over the New York Mets.

It was the 15th unassisted triple play recorded in the majors. The last was achieved by Cleveland Indians second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera in May, 2008.
"

While I am not a huge Baseball fan, unlike Alyssa Milano, I still have a love for the game, despite my MLB Boycott. And this is an unbelievably fantastic play. To get a feeling for how tremendous this is, read the article and see when the first game-ending unassisted triple play was turned.

What a great play.
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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mind-blowing Bolt lights up worlds

Mind-blowing Bolt lights up worlds | By Mitch Phillips Mitch Phillips – Mon Aug 17, 1:58 pm ET | BERLIN (Reuters) – "Usain Bolt delivered one of the most astonishing performances ever seen in athletics when he scorched to world championship 100 meters gold in a mind-blowing 9.58 seconds on Sunday.

The flying Jamaican took a massive 0.11 seconds off the previous record mark he ran to win the Olympic gold medal in Beijing one year ago to the day.
"

You have GOT to be kidding me! This is beyond incredible. These are the kind of speeds that rival anything done at White Sands or Bonneville Salt Flats (in perspective, of course). Way back when I was in high school I ran track. My best 100 meters was a 12.6, which would have made me the second fastest on the girls team.
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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Too Few Medals of Honor?

Too Few Medals of Honor? | August 02, 2009 | Associated Press - "Eight years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. About 4,000 members of the U.S. military killed in action. More than 34,000 wounded. Just six considered worthy of America's highest military award for battlefield valor.

For some veterans and members of Congress, that last number doesn't add up.

They question how so few Medals of Honor - all awarded posthumously - could be bestowed for wars of such magnitude and duration.
"

When I read this I was seriously taken aback. The idea of lowering the requirements for awarding the MOH is, in my opinion, a disservice to all prior recipients. The fact is that with the new technology and tactics of modern warfare, much of the dangerous, and thus potential opportunities for valor, have been lessened. Not that actions worthy of the medal don't happen. The case of Sgt. Peralta is an example.

But the idea of tarnishing the MOH by making it stand for less than what it truly is does not make any rational sense.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hacker-Tool Law Still Does Little

Hacker-Tool Law Still Does Little
By Mark Rasch

On August 10, 2007, a new section of the German Penal code went into effect. The statute, intended to implement certain provisions of the Council of Europe Treaty on Cybercrime, could be interpreted to make the creation or distribution of computer security software a criminal offense.

http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/502

The Scale of Security

The Scale of Security
By Adam O'Donnell

Human beings do not naturally understand scale. While we speak of financial transactions in the hundreds of billions of dollars as being something as routine as brushing our teeth, we question the value of programs that cost in the single-digit millions and quibble with friends over dollars. Similarly, there are many problems in our industry that, when explained to an outsider, sound like they should have been solved decades ago. It is only when we relate the number of systems that need to be considered in the repair that we truly communicate the difficulty of the problem.

http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/503
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Friday, August 07, 2009

Why I'm not depressed

As I type this I find myself in a difficult position. Right now I'm in my 5th term at Westwood College Online working on a BS in Game Software Development. I got a student loan for the first four terms but was refused this time. So I'm paying out-of-pocket for a portion of the tuition. This is not easy as I am behind the gun, so to speak. A quick synopsis of my situation is -
  • I haven't worked since Nov '04
  • I'm trying to survive on $16,800 a year; to much for government assistance and not enough to live on
  • I have been, according to the state of VA, homeless since Spring of '05
  • I have trouble trying to sit, stand or walk and need a wheelchair to go out and about
  • Due to the above I have become a virtual recluse
  • I'm trying to keep my son from getting into trouble; he thinks he's Tupac or Biggie Smalls
  • and lastly, I'm trying to handle all of this while in constant pain
The pain is 24/7 and it's bad enough to be the primary thought in my consciousness. It also pervades my subconscious as most of my dreams are about being in pain. So why am I not depressed?

Two reasons; one, the meds that I'm on include three anti-depressants and two, I'm really in to much pain to be depressed. In fact, it's a major undertaking to just get a bit of my schoolwork done each day. Having some kind of social life would help but it's hard to meet people if you don't leave the house. I'm living with my brother and mother in his house. She's, well, let's say past retirement age. And he's on disability do to something being wrong with his lungs. He's on oxygen all day and night. They spend their time downstairs in the family room (it has a 56" TV) while I'm up in the living room or my bedroom. My days have very little human interaction.

I just looked at the time. It's 01:45 and I really need to hit the hay. Hell, I'm already 65% asleep as it is. If I weren't I wouldn't be here all whining and feeling sorry for myself. Things will be better in the morning, though. Everyday that I wake up is a good day.
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Monday, August 03, 2009

Black Hat: Mac OS X Rootkit Debuts

Black Hat: Mac OS X Rootkit Debuts | By Thomas Claburn | InformationWeek | July 30, 2009 04:59 PM - "The development of a proof-of-concept rootkit for Mac OS X reinforces the fact that security concerns aren't just for Windows users.

At the Black Hat security conference on Wednesday, security researcher Dino Dai Zovi revealed a proof-of-concept rootkit that runs on Apple's Mac OS X operating system, underscoring the fact that all software has flaws.

Rootkit software is designed to covertly run code, typically malicious, on affected systems. It can be used to steal information or control a compromised system. Rootkits are typically installed by other malware.
"

This isn't a surprise, really. The fact is that there are rootkits and other tools to break into any OS. And if you make a new OS it will be cracked eventually. That's a garuntee. But it's the accessability and construction of the OS's innards that determin whether it's easy to crack or not.

First, if it's connected to a network, especially the Internet, it's already an open target for anyone. If you can't access the system you can't break into it. But it's not just network access you have to guard against. It's physical access that is the method behind most of the major breakins.

Another important feature is the way the OS works with it's environment. If the system doesn't easily let you have access to the internal workings of the OS you have allot more work to do before you can crack into it. Given time and resources any system can be breached. But why put forth a lot of effort when there are easier targets out there?

So if you are running Mac OS X you don't need to panic right away. Just keep an eye on the Apple/Mac security threads and follow standard network and system security practices and you should be fairly good.

If you are running a Microsoft OS, well, that's a different story.
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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Black Hat: Android, iPhone SMS Flaws Revealed

Black Hat: Android, iPhone SMS Flaws Revealed By Thomas Claburn | InformationWeek | July 29, 2009 07:08 PM - "In a presentation at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas on Thursday, security researchers Charlie Miller and Collin Mulliner are scheduled to discuss SMS vulnerabilities that affect various mobile platforms, including Android, iPhone, and Windows Mobile."

If there is one thing certain about technology it is the fact that nothing is secure. Especially in the realm of access and communications.
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Saturday, July 18, 2009

You know you're getting old when. . .

I like porn. Not all the time and my tastes run pretty "vanilla" (or so I've been told). It's a nice break when there's nothing better to do. Once or twice every couple of months, rent a DVD and you're good. It also helps when, like me, you're without companionship and not likely to ever find any. But this isn't the point of this post.

Recently I've noticed that I prefer to watch movies with some kind of plot or story. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. But there are more movies out there with actual scripts and wardrobe and even decent production values than you might think. But, again, this isn't why I'm posting. It is to finishing the sentence in the title. So...

You know you're getting old when you are watching porn and find yourself fast forwarding the sex scenes so you can get to the dialog/acting scenes.

That's what I've been doing lately. I get more enjoyment out of the "movie" parts than the sex. Here is an example of what I'm talking about...

In 2005, a movie was made called Pirates. It's a spoof of the Pirates of the Caribbean films. It was a huge hit and Digital Playground even made an R rated version. In 2008 a sequal, Pirates 2: Stagnetti's Revenge was made. While most porn films are shot over a weekend and a long shoot is maybe a week, Pirates 2 took something like 3 months to make with Hollywood style sets, digital special effects, sword training and costumes you wouldn't believe. And, again, they made an R rated version of it. There is even work being done for a Pirates 3.

The point of all this is that, while I still have a normal (some might say boring) sex drive, as I get along in years external, voyeristic pursuits have much less of an attraction for me.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

North Korea army behind South web attack: report

North Korea army behind South web attack: report | Posted on - Fri Jul 10, 2009 11:03PM EDT | SEOUL (Reuters) - "North Korea's military is behind a series of cyber attacks against South Korean and U.S. websites that slowed or disabled access by saturating them with traffic this week, a South Korean news report said on Saturday."

Sometimes I think I'm the only one who sees that North Korea is the flashpoint. There's got to be someone out there who understands the gravity of what's happening there.
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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Microsoft Warns Of New Secruity Threat

Microsoft Warns Of New Secruity Threat | July 7, 2009 by Michael Hickerson | "If you’re using Internet Explorer on a system running Microsoft XP or Windows Server 2003, Microsoft warns there is a serious security flaw. The flaw allows hackers to take control of your computer according to a report in USA Today. All you have to do is visit a web site infected with a tiny bit of code that taps into the security hole."

Windows has another security flaw. That's like saying the universe has another star. It is annoying to me that Microsoft hasn't or can't fix security problems that the UNIX world fixed 20 years ago.

Ok, ok... I know I'm being grumpy. I didn't sleep well last night. That still doesn't change the issue.

Microsoft != Security
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Saturday, July 04, 2009

North Korea defies U.S. with new missile launches

North Korea defies U.S. with new missile launches | By Jon Herskovitz Jon Herskovitz – 7/1/09 | SEOUL (Reuters) – "North Korea fired seven ballistic missiles on Saturday, South Korea's defense ministry said, in an act of defiance toward the United States that further stoked regional tensions already high due to its nuclear test in May."

This is starting to get very serious. The Middle East and Asia may be where the fighting is happening but here is where WW III will start, if there is one. Don't think a nuclear war is possible? You willing to bet your life on it?
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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Is “Transformers” Racist?

Is "Transformers" Racist? | June 25, 2009 by Michael Hickerson | "After opening to the second largest midnight showing in box-office history, "Transfomers: Revenge of the Fallen" began its theatrical run yesterday on a high note.

However the hot opening may not be what’s generating the most heat for the potential summer blockbuster. Instead, fans and critics are labeling the movie "racist" for some character portrayals during the two and a half hour running time of the film.
"

I have been trying to hold my tongue on this but I can't any longer.

THIS IS BULLS**T!

The political correctness police have completely eroded everyone's right not to be offended. If you go out of your way looking for something that will offend you then you are definitely going to find it. If these two fictitious, imaginary, non-existent characters are offensive then every rap & hip-hip artist over the last 35 years is just as offensive. And sticking with music, Country music as a genera definitely offends me. All the singing about cheatin' hearts, gettin' drunk and line dancing is immoral and the work of the devil.

If these whack-jobs really wanted to stop racism, bigotry and hate they would stop giving all this power to words and phrases. I have previously posted about the word "nigger" and the fact that it is people who give the word all of its power over us. Every time someone uses the phrase "the N-word" it diminishes us all. Black, white, red, yellow, whatever.

It is ironic that the majority of people don't even know the origins of the word. Nigger is just a bastardized pronunciation of the word black as used in some romance languages.
  • Catalan = negre
  • Galician = negro
  • Italian = nero
  • Spanish = negro
All it would take to end a large part of hate in this world is if people stopped being ignorant and giving meaningless words power over us. When we stop being offended by everything nothing will be offensive.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Army Lab Finds 9,200 Uncounted Vials

Army Lab Finds 9,200 Uncounted Vials | June 18, 2009 | Associated Press | HAGERSTOWN, Md. - "An inventory of deadly germs and toxins at an Army biodefense lab in Frederick found more than 9,200 vials of material that was unaccounted for in laboratory records, Fort Detrick officials said Wednesday."

At least it's better than finding 9,200 vials missing.
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I need a little help

Due to circumstances that I can't figure out how they happened, I find myself in a situation where I need to make a nominal income. By nominal I mean between $150 and $300/month. Of course I have no idea how to go about making this a reality. It'd be easy if I were physically able to do regular manual labor. But at the moment it's a task to just sit in the chair and type this. In fact, after I post this I'm going to have to lay down for a bit.

As you can see, my needs and my abilities don't easily match up. Plus my brain is fried with all the school work I have to do. I got a week behind due to the a fore mentioned circumstances, but this week is mid-terms. I have a handful of days to get three weeks of research done, write five essays and hack some serious code.

Why is it I can never seem to catch a break?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Normandy Vets Look to One Last Remembrance

Normandy Vets Look to One Last Remembrance | Stars and Stripes | Steve Mraz | May 28, 2009 | "The ranks of living D-Day veterans have long been thinning.

As the 65th anniversary of the World War II Allied invasion of Europe approaches, even the youngest men who survived the bloody beach assaults, night parachute drops and glider landings into northeast coastal France now find themselves in their 80s.
"

I'm a little late with this post but it's something I feel is worth commenting on.

I think my generation, i.e. Baby Boomers, are the last to have any real understanding of what these men did. My Boomerness is at the tail end of said Boom so I'm about as far removed from WWII as kids in there teens and twenties are now from Vietnam. But the world moved slower back then. The most immediate news source we had was Television. Information then seemed glacial compared to the 'Net and text messaging. Twenty years for me is like five years for today's youth.

It is, in my opinion, up to us to do for them what our parents did for us. Educate them about our history. Help them understand that history isn't just some boring words in a class textbook. There are some very good programs on the History, History International, Discovery, the Military and The Learning Channels that can really help with this. My son knows more about WWII than most people my age.

Otherwise, as George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Iran - The street protests mount

The street protests mount | By Anonymous [Editor's note: For reasons of personal safety, the author chooses to remain anonymous] | June 15, 2009 | "Now, three days after the election, a pattern is emerging. There is unstructured protest on the streets beginning in the late afternoon. Then, at night, it escalates.

In my own apartment complex on Monday morning we were woken up to screams and shouts. Kids from the building and elsewhere had been engaging in political rock fights in the adjoining street and had run into the complex (a typical urban apartment "tower" found in almost all of the developing world). Families went out to the fire escape to look down to see what had happened. It turned out that special police had rushed into the complex, followed by "basijis" or paramilitary forces, basically thugs on motorbikes with helmets and batons. It also turned out that they had electric rods and, to the shock of many, machetes. Several people were wounded and taken away and much of the first floor and entrance of the complex was destroyed.
"

This is a situation to watch closely. Will it bring the country an open and democratic government, like Germany,) or will it just be a blip on the radar, like Tienanmen Square?

Time will tell.

I know that North Korea is welcoming these protests, though. It takes the focus of the worlds media off of them for a while. Don't believe me?

Time will tell.
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Monday, June 15, 2009

Bad text messaging, e-mailing manners can be costly

Bad text messaging, e-mailing manners can be costly | By Ellen Wulfhorst - Thu Jun 11, 2009 5:57PM EDT | NEW YORK (Reuters) - "A political coup in New York's statehouse can be traced back to an incident in which a top lawmaker so enraged a wealthy backer by peering at e-mails on his BlackBerry that his patron engineered his ouster.
[...]
"One should not play with one's BlackBerry (or anything else) when billionaires who have helped elect you have traveled to your office to talk to you," Henry Stern, former head of New York City's parks department, wrote on a Yonkers Tribune blog.
"

So, not only can you wreck your car, you can also get sacked.

I'm a techie. I live by email and the 'Net. But there's one thing I've learned in nearly 30 years of geekdom; If it's truly important it's not going to be delivered via email, Twitter, Facebook or any other non-immediate form of communication. At least not yet.

The technology isn't advanced enough but, more importantly, the culture isn't ready either. When the teens of today grownup into the middle aged people of tomorrow their teens might, and I stress might be able to have and handle real time digital messaging.

I doubt it, though.
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Sunday, June 14, 2009

North Korea responds to U.N. with nuclear threats

North Korea responds to U.N. with nuclear threats | By Miyoung Kim and Jon Herskovitz Miyoung Kim And Jon Herskovitz – Sat Jun 13, 2:29 pm ET | SEOUL (Reuters) – "North Korea said on Saturday it would start a uranium enrichment program and weaponize all its plutonium in response to fresh U.N. sanctions, which the United States said it would work vigorously to enforce.

Pyongyang also threatened military action if Washington and its allies tried to isolate it.
"

Anyone think they are bluffing?

Here's something to chew on... Will North Korea start WWIII before the Mayan Doomsday Prophecy comes?
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Oh my aching guts

Last weekend I had a trip to the ER with what turned out to be an infection of my large intestine's. It was not fun. I'll spare you any details but just wanted to say I'm back.

More or less.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Bad Behavior: The Conficker Worm

Bad Behavior: The Conficker Worm | Erin Early, May 28, 2009 | "It was hard to miss the headlines in March and April bringing news on Conficker, the computer worm that has received extensive media coverage, due in part to Microsoft's offer of a $250,000 bounty in return for information leading to the arrest of the malware's perpetrators. April 1, the highly anticipated date for the Conficker botnet's activation, passed by without the activation of the Armageddon-like payload that some reports touted. Yet, Conficker continues to be a threat the world is watching. Keep reading to find out what exactly Conficker is and how you can avoid it -- with information straight from the experts at Malware Labs at the online security company, Lavasoft."

Here's some info for helping keep this bugger at by. But, if you are really tired of crashes, virusis, spyware and all the rest of the badguy stuff, give Linux a spin. It's not the do it yourself platform it used to be and has support for just about anything you might want.
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

U.S., South Korea raise military alert on North

U.S., South Korea raise military alert on North | By Jon Herskovitz – Thu May 28, 3:50 am ET | SEOUL (Reuters) – "South Korea and the United States raised the military alert level for the peninsula on Thursday after the communist North warned the truce ending the Korean War was dead and it was ready to attack.

North Korea ramped up tensions this week with a series of provocations rarely seen since the 1950-53 Korean War, including war threats, missile launches and a nuclear test that puts it closer to having an atomic bomb.
"

Speaking of North Korea, see why I fear it will be the epicenter of the next global war? Someone needs to figure out how to stop all these "out for blood" idiots from destroying the planet. While the Green Movement is all well and good, it doesn't matter if we reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 10% if the world ends up as an irradiated, cratered, lifeless ball in space?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Myanmar: Suu Kyi pleads not guilty at trial, party says

Myanmar: Suu Kyi pleads not guilty at trial, party says | updated 3:03 p.m. EDT, Fri May 22, 2009 | YANGON, Myanmar (CNN) -- "Aung San Suu Kyi declared herself innocent of charges she finally heard in court for the first time Friday, the fifth day of her trial on allegations of subversion."

More fun in South East Asia. I recommend that everyone who thinks they live with a screwed up Government research news about Myanmar (aka Burma), Pakistan, Thailand, and especially North Korea. I am giving a talk to a local high school in a few days about my experiences during the Cold War. While preparing for it, I was thinking about the potential for the next big war. The epicenter, in my opinion, will be North Korea.

While it's difficult with the current cultural mores, particularly in the US, to think beyond oneself, if we are going to prevent WWIII then everyone needs to learn about and understand the rest of the world. Preferably with an objective and open mind.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sri Lanka's long war in bloody final climax

Sri Lanka's long war in bloody final climax | By C. Bryson Hull and Ranga Sirilal | COLOMBO (Reuters) – "Tamil Tiger rebels launched suicide attacks on Sunday against Sri Lankan troops fighting in the final battle of Asia's longest modern war, the military said.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa returned to the country early on Sunday, the day after he said the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had been defeated militarily in the 25-year civil war, even as combat still raged in the island's northeast.
"

I hope this is a real ending to the civil war and not just more talk. It's not like Sri Lanka couldn't use some pieciful years after all that has happened.

P.S. Technically the longest modern war in Asia is the Korean War. It's in its 64th year.
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Monday, May 11, 2009

Another "famous" woman to meet

A couple of years ago I commented on some "famous" women I'd like to meet. I'm adding one more to the list; Stormy Daniels. She's in the same entertainment genera as Chloe but, again, that's not why I'd like to meet her.

Stormy is a very strong, independent woman who runs her own multi-million dollar business as well as working for one of the top companies in the industry, Wicked Entertainment. She not only acts, and believe it or not she is a very good actress, she writes and directs movies as well. Most of all, though, she's one of the funniest people I've seen. Her sense of humor is one I can relate to well. Stormy is a beautiful, smart, capable, funny, sexy, independent woman. What's not to like?

Of course, just like the others on my list, I will likely never get a chance to meet her. Not unless she comes to visit my house.
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Monday, May 04, 2009

Boy, 6, Accepts Dad's Silver Star

Boy, 6, Accepts Dad's Silver Star | May 01, 2009 | Salt Lake Tribune - WEST HAVEN, Utah -- "Often, when the skies above Kanesville Elementary School are clear, children on recess can look up and see a fighter jet from nearby Hill Air Force Base slicing a sharp white contrail into the blue.

Some of those jets have cut similar trails across Afghan skies. And that's as close as most of this suburban school's students will ever come to the ongoing battle in south Asia.

But, the war flew much closer to home on Wednesday. In a morning assembly before hundreds of teary-eyed students, a stoic 6-year-old named Jase Spargur accepted the Silver Star -- the U.S. military's third-highest medal for valor -- on behalf of his fallen father.
"

I have known boys like Jase and men like Lt. Brostrom. This story, and the thousands like, should be told and retold to everyone. Seeing it on the six o'clock news is one thing. Seeing the people involved and honoring them for their sacrifice is the only thing that can help people understand how much is given to keep the tides of war and destruction from inundating not only the US but the world.
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

BumpTop makes MS Windows more usable

I hate MS Windows.

It's no secret, just do a search with my name and Linux to see plenty of evidence. In the summer of 1995 I switched all of my computers to Linux, both at home and at work. I even got my mother to switch.

Unfortunately, since I started University, I've had to do all my classwork on MS Windows. It has been frustrating at best and down right crippling at worst. I still have no idea how anyone gets anything done with this operating system. It has been torture.

But just the other day I stumbled on a shell for MS Windows that has gone a long way towards making it tolerable to use. It's called BumpTop. Here is a vid of how it works -



The only downside I've found (so far) is that it puts everything on your desktop under your $HOME/Desktop folder. It would be better if it kept all of this under a separate folder. Something along the lines of $HOME/BumpTop or or the like.

Anyway, give it a whirl and see if you like it. You got nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain.

Friday, April 24, 2009

U.S. to create cybersecurity military command: report

U.S. to create cybersecurity military command: report | Posted on - Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:31PM EDT | WASHINGTON (Reuters) - "The Obama administration plans to create a new military command to focus on Pentagon computer networks and offensive capabilities in cyberwarfare, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing current and former officials familiar with the plans.

The initiative will reshape the military's efforts to protect its networks from attacks by hackers, especially those from countries such as China and Russia, the newspaper said.
"

This is one of those two-edged swords, I believe. On one hand we do need a coordinated cybersecurity plan/implementation for not only the Pentagon but the entire .mil net. Currently the way the Pentagon is monitored works well, and as someone who has been "caught" by them, I know just how solid their NOC is. But their current implementation wouldn't scale well at all.

On the other hand, putting the security of the .mil network under a coordinated military organization could easily end up being a launching point for total 'Net monitoring and control. Don't believe it could happen? Two words: Patriot Act. It wouldn't be an easy thing to do but it is doable.

On the gripping hand, maybe having a strong military organization making sure bad things don't happen will finally get the world to understand how dangerous Microsoft Windows truly is. If this country were to switch to Mac and Linux 98% of all the viruses, worms, flood attacks, breakin's, DoS attacks, and thefts would be stopped. The 'Net wouldn't be 100% secure as that's an impossibility for a public accessible network. But imagine how much more productive and effective everyone would be.
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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Oracle Buys SUN; MySQL is Forked

Oracle Buys SUN; MySQL is Forked | Bryan Richard | Monday, April 20th, 2009 | "With the announcement of Oracle’s intent to acquire Sun Microsystems (and with it MySQL) for $7.4B coming at roughly the same time that the 2009 MySQL Conference & Expo was just spinning up, it didn’t take long for individuals to begin airing their thoughts..."

While most of the focus of this buyout is on MySQL, the loss of Sun as a company and Solaris as a product will just mean the OS world is getting smaller and smaller. Solaris and MySQL might survive in their Open Source versions but I don't trust Oracle.
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Celebrity Viruses Improve Security

Celebrity Viruses Improve Security | Adam O'Donnell, 2009-04-21 | "Every so often, a computer virus becomes more than just a novelty for anti-virus researchers and moves into the consciousness of the mass media, even if it's not a grave threat.

The recent Conficker outbreak is a fantastic example of this. While only a small fraction of all PC users were infected with the worm, a great deal of media coverage was devoted to the outbreak.
"

There was also one very good thing that happened with the media coverage of Conficker; it was identified as a PC virus. Since the term PC has become synonymous with MS Windows, people are starting to realize that all these virus and worm attacks are, in fact, specific to MS Windows and Microsoft products.

Hopefully, people will start to realize that if they ran Mac's or Linux they would see a tremendous increase of productivity and security.
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Woodbridge High School Students Blaze New Pathway with Record Release

Woodbridge High School Students Blaze New Pathway with Record Release | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Date: 4/17/2009 | "This has been an extremely productive year for songwriters and performers at Woodbridge High School. Students in the Polyphonix Records club have once again written, produced, and released an album of original music. The album, “Salmagundi,” features a wide range of genres including rap, folk, pop, rock, and hip-hop."

This is from one of my local high schools. The album is also available on "iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, and a myriad of other music download websites." Check it out, it's pretty cool.

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WWII Medal of Honor Recipient Dies

WWII Medal of Honor Recipient Dies |
April 10, 2009 | Associated Press | ST. LOUIS - "Russell Dunham, an Illinois man who was awarded the Medal of Honor after killing nine German soldiers and taking two others captive while wounded during World War II, has died. He was 89."

An honored man has passed. Like the other men who have been awarded the Medal of Honor, he never considered himself a hero. But you can make up your own mind. Read why he was awarded the medal and see what I mean.
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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Two killed in Thai protests, army opens fire

Two killed in Thai protests, army opens fire | By Martin Petty – Mon Apr 13 | BANGKOK (Reuters) – "Troops fired at crowds of anti-government protesters who fought back with petrol bombs and rocks in Bangkok on Monday, in violence that killed two people, injured dozens and pushed Thailand deeper into political crisis."

Thailand has not had the best of times these last few years. Since the coup in September 2006 there's been fighting, protests and killing as the citizens of the country try to take back their government. The world doesn't need more military dictatorships.
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Friday, April 10, 2009

Time Article Suggests Teen Vegetarians May Have an Eating Disorder

Time Article Suggests Teen Vegetarians May Have an Eating Disorder | Denise's Parenting Teens Blog | Thursday April 9, 2009 - "Time covered a study by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The study suggests that many teens who become vegetarians overnight are doing so more to lose weight than for health reasons or the belief that man should not eat meat. I can believe this, it seems plausible."

Personally I don't think anyone younger than 21 should partake in an extreme diet at all. Let the body finish growing and maturing before messing around with it.

There's something I've always been a bit confused about on this topic. Human beings developed/evolved into being omnivores. Our bodies need everything, including meat, in order to be healthy. The best thing anyone can do is to keep a good balance of every food group in their diet. Any extreme shift one way or the other will only end up damaging to ones health.

Vegetarianism isn't as extreme as, say, being a Vegan so it's not as dangerous. All you'd need is a few vitamins and supplements to make up for what's missing and you should be ok. Being a Vegan (or a pure Carnivore, for that matter) puts you at serious risk because you have to maintain a very complex regimen of supplements, vitamins, and often medication, to keep from ending up in the hospital. Or worse.

Anyone contemplating an extreme diet should first check with a doctor and a nutritionist so they will know what needs to be done and what risks are involved.
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Sleepless in my room

More insomnia. Can't get to sleep for nothing. And if I do conk out I wake up after only a few hours. There's got to be a way to get some sleep without having to take sleeping pills. I take to many pills already, I don't need more.

$DEITY! I am so tired.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Conficker Worm

From the Symantec Norton site:
If you’re still worried about the Conficker threat from April 1st, here is some additional information. On April 1st the Conficker worm was potentially going to take steps to protect itself. Beginning on April 1st, the worm would have used a communications system that would have been more difficult for security researchers to interrupt.
This is the first worm/virus alert that I have had to monitor and take precautions for in the last 15 or so years. Why? Because up until now all my systems were running Linux.

Due to my attending Westwood Online for university, I must run an MS Windows system in order to interface with the classes and do my assignments. Thus I am now vulnerable to all the nastiness and evil doers out there. That's not to say there aren't security issues with Linux. No computer system is 100% secure. But, due to Linux's UNIX heritage and the fact that it's based on the Open Source development model, it is infinitely more stable and secure than anything Microsoft has developed.

Thankfully, it seems I wasn't effected by this worm. One reason is because I have Norton AntiVirus & Security Scan as well as Uniblue's RegistryBooster installed and checking my system. Even so I still have to keep an eye on the security alerts to try and stay ahead of the bad guys. After this semester I'll only have two more years to go for my degree. Once that's done I'm wiping this box and putting Linux on it. It's just to dangerous not to.

Oh, in case you were attributing this to my Linux zealotry, here's the first line in the above referenced warning:

Target: All users of Windows XP and Windows Vista.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Teen Arrested for Sending Nude Pictures on Myspace

Teen Arrested for Sending Nude Pictures on Myspace | By Denise Witmer, About.com Guide to Parenting Teens since 1997 | Monday March 30, 2009 - "The AP is reporting that a 14-year-old New Jersey girl has been arrested for child pornography after posting nearly 30 explicit nude pictures of herself on MySpace.com. These charges that could force her to register as a sex offender if convicted, which is ridiculous in my humble opinion."

I agree with Ms. Witmer, for the most part. How can someone be both the perpetrator and the victim of a "sex crime?" Even the mother of the girl whose name is on the sex registration law, Megan’s law, agrees.

The current fad for teens and preteens is called sexting. It's when you send sexual text or images by phone using SMS. Sending these images on MySpace has been old hat for years now. But what is needed is a way to educate and help our children understand why this is dangerous. Making a 13 or 14 year old child register as a sex offender for being clueless is way overboard. Better to spend the time and money to realign the perceptions of sex for our kids. After all, when a 14yo girl thinks she has to send sexual pictures to her boyfriend there's something out of balance.

Society, and the law, need to get their act together and start using some common sense.
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Monday, March 30, 2009

Why is war fought?

War! Huh! Yeah!
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing!
Say it again.

Recently I have been watching some shows on cable like Warriors on the Military Channel and Battles BC on the History Channel. I have always liked the history of WWI and WWII from a military aspect but now, seeing the wars and battles from ancient history, it got me thinking. Why are wars fought?

Since the beginning of sentient mammals on this planet, war has been about land[1]. Oh there are always other reasons that are used to go to war, the two most prominent being religion and revolution/independence. However, when you get to the bottom line it is always about conquest. The US War of Independence was a fight to determine who would "own" the land in North America. The Crusades, while being touted as a holy war, what simply about who would control the "Holy Land." Every war that has been fought anywhere has been about land. Until now.

In the last half of the 20th century, the tactic of organized, international terrorism as a means of combat became popular. The idea wasn't to fight a war but to cause so much fear that war would not happen. The terrorists could "win" without having to field and support an army. There were still wars, but after the fall of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Block nations, these became smaller and more localized. International war has now become passé. Conflicts are now fought with the weapons of terror.

Since September 11th, 2001, war hasn't been waged over land. The reasons most often used are religion, racial hatred and to "drive the evil ones from our land." However, when you dig through all the hype and rhetoric the only thing left is the need to kill the proverbial "Them." This makes countering the attacks difficult at best. In terror, there is no land to defend. There is no army to fight. There is no economy to build or destroy. How do you fight an enemy who is not trying to conquer you? What do terrorist groups really want? While they may claim this or that outcome as terms for a secession of violence, the only thing that will quench their fire is blood. For example, Al Qaeda is only going to stop killing when there's no one left to kill. So again, the question is how do you fight this kind of enemy?

I honestly wish I knew.

[1] Economy and money are just the fruits of conquering land.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Barbara Liskov Wins Turing Award

Barbara Liskov Wins Turing Award | March 10, 2009 - "Barbara Liskov has won the Association for Computing Machinery's A.M. Turing Award, one of the highest honors in science and engineering, for her pioneering work in the design of computer programming languages. Liskov's achievements underpin virtually every modern computing-related convenience in people's daily lives.

Liskov, the first U.S. woman to earn a PhD in computer science, was recognized for helping make software more reliable, consistent and resistant to errors and hacking. She is only the second woman to receive the honor, which carries a $250,000 purse and is often described as the "Nobel Prize in computing."
"

This is quite an accomplishment. It also reemphasizes the role women play in the computer world. Grace Hopper, Ada Lovelace, and now add to that Barbara Liskov.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

What's your favorite movie quote

"If we get separated, meet at the platform for Union Square. That's where we change trains."
The whole movie is a great quote.

It's hard to pick just one.

Three songs to get over a break-up

Gonna Hitch a Ride by Boston

Great head clearing music.

Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Cryin' at the beginning but kickin' ass at the end.

Paranoid by Black Sabbath

No one can feel down listening to Sabbath.

I'm going to try this Plinky thing out. Let's see if it's worth having.

In the mean time, what three songs would you pick to help get over a break-up?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My first 'F'

Well, ok... It's my first unintentional 'F'. Back some 25 or so years ago I would randomly (but rarely) fail classes just because. Call it the idiocy of youth.

Anyway, I did end up failing my Programming class. This isn't a catastrophe as I'll just have to retake it next semester. It will move my graduation back a semester, though. That's not a real problem either, just annoying. With Spring coming the weather should have less of an impact on my health so I have no real fear of not passing again.

But on the bright side I passed the other class I was taking.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Internet seen a growing weapon in Asian radicalization (Reuters)

Internet seen a growing weapon in Asian radicalization (Reuters) Posted on Fri Mar 6, 2009 8:32AM EST | "The number of radical and extremist websites in Bahasa and Malay rose from 15 in 2007 to 117 in 2008. Of those, sympathetic websites rose from 10 to 16 and sympathetic blogs and social networking rose from zero to 82.

Between 2006 and July 2007, radical regional websites have disseminated al-Qaeda and Southeast Asian militant group Jemaah Islamiah propaganda videos, pictures and statements, it said.
"

If only the "good guys" were as 'Net savvy. Instead of doing everything to effectively counteract the hatred and propaganda these sites spew the forces for peace and human advancement seem to prefer working with the governments, organizations and corporations only interested in attaining and keeping all the money and power they can get. How do you combat hatred and terror on the 'Net? By filling it with the antithesis of everything they are promoting.
  • Understanding instead of hatred.
  • Rational thought instead of mindless rhetoric.
  • Help and caring for others instead of pain and death.
We know places like China and North Korea are trying to lock down access to the world but when the Western nations inhibit communication and the exchange of ideas it is just as bad. It's the free flow of information that will bring down the terrorists and hate mongers.
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Friday, March 06, 2009

Alert First Grader Finds Mistake, Reaps Reward

Alert First Grader Finds Mistake, Reaps Reward Friday, March 06, 2009 - "Emilio Lemeni, a student in Marcie Abel’s first-grade class at Rosa Parks Elementary School, noticed an error in a book that he had borrowed from the school library. His mother confirmed the error in the book, “Scutellosaurus and Other Small Dinosaurs,” and notified the librarian, Jane Frowert. The error Emilio spotted was the wrong color of an icon on a page in the book."

A cute little story about a very observant kid. Just goes to show that if you pay attention you get rewarded.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

The 1,234,567,890th second approacheth

Well, actually, it already passed. I didn't catch this until after it happened but even so it's one of those fun trivial things that us techies like. At least this time there wasn't all the hysteria like when the 1236388191st second passed.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Can militias contain the Taleban?

Can militias contain the Taleban? By Ian Pannell | BBC News, Paktia province, south-east Afghanistan - "The insurgency has raged and grown in this part of the country. Paktia borders Pakistan and is a route for insurgents coming into the country. The Taleban and al-Qaeda have a growing presence here and clashes between them and government and foreign forces have escalated.

But Ahmadabad district is an exception, thanks to the gunmen of the Arbakai, a tribal militia that has protected this area and its people for centuries, making it something of a safe-haven from the violence all around.
"

This is an interesting article on how one district in Afghanistan has been able to keep the violence and bloodshed out. There's some debate as to whether this is a good or bad thing but I think people there want to live without the fear and death. With a little help they could have a good chance at it.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

He didn't but he will now

Well, I really blew last week. I didn't get anything done for last week but it all ended up helping me out in the end.

With the way the last few weeks have been I was worried I wouldn't pass the programming class this semester. But I'm finally feeling better physically, which is the biggest problem, and I lucked into a way to finish out the semester strong. The Computer Applications class is, well, beyond easy. I can get the entire weeks work done in one evening. That's what I did this week. Then I tried doing most of the programming classwork the next evening. I was able to read the material, take the quiz and start the programming assignment. This gives me plenty of time to work on the assignment. With some elbow grease I can finish out the semester strong enough to get a B grade.

This looks like something usable for the rest of my time in school, too.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Will he or won't he?

Good question.

I haven't done anything at all this week for school. Not a damned thing. If I don't get something done my grade will be zero and I'll end up tanking this semester. That's not a good thing. Especially with the amount of money the student loan racked up.

So what's to do?

I will need to get as much done as possible tomorrow. Tonight is shot; my brain is toast. Burnt toast. Thus the afore asked question. So...

Will I or won't I. Will I get anything done tomorrow?

I'm giving 20 to 1 against.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lost In The Wilderness

Man In The Wilderness - Styx

"Ten thousand people look my way
But they can't see the way that I feel
Nobody even cares to try

I spend my life and sell my soul on the road
And I'm still in the dark
'Cause I can't seem to find the light alone

Sometimes I feel like a man in the wilderness
I'm a lonely sailor lost at sea
Drifting with the tide, never quite knowing why
Sometimes it makes no sense at all
"
Thirty years ago I went through some of the worst times a 17 year old boy could endure. It was about a girl, of course. Since then I have known good times and bad times which put everything in perspective. But when you're 17 and in love for the first time it can hurt like hell. It's the kind of pain that is unique; nothing else will ever feel like it. It felt like I was the protagonist from "Man In The Wilderness" by Styx, off of their Grand Illusion album. I listened to that song over and over.

Fast forward to today. This last week or two I have felt like that man, lost in the wilderness again.
"(I'm alive)
Looking for love, I'm a man with emotion
(And my heart's on fire)
I'm dying of thirst in the middle of the ocean
(I'm alive)
"
This time, though, it's not because of a girl. In fact I'm not sure what has been happening to me. My life isn't anywhere near as bad as it has been. I'm getting along wonderfully with my ex, I'm relating to my son almost as good as when he was eight, my pain hasn't been that sever overall, I'm going to University to get a degree which will help me provide a much better life for my son. I even look better than I have in a long time. So what's the problem?

I honestly don't know.

Maybe I'm afraid of succeeding.
  Maybe I'm terrified of failure.
    Maybe I'm not fated to be happy.
      Maybe I'm carrying a curse.

Right now, I don't care. I just want to crawl into a hole and, well, not die... hide. If there was a deserted island with electricity and a 'Net connection I would go and spend the rest of my days alone on the beach. I simply don't care.
"Sometimes it makes no sense
Sometimes it makes no sense
Sometimes it makes no sense at all
Makes no sense at all, at all
Can't find the meaning of it all
Can't find a...
"
No sense whatsoever.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Star Trek communicator actually communicates

Star Trek communicator actually communicates | By Charlie White | 3:07 PM ON 02/05/09 - "Will somebody just go ahead and make this timeless design into a regular cell phone?"

I WANT this!

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Saturday, February 07, 2009

Falling behind

Things aren't going well in my programming class. I got behind a couple of weeks ago and it's just been snowballing. Tomorrow (Sunday) I will have to do some serious reading, coding and take the weeks test. Plus I also have to take the test in the other class. It's extremely unlikely I'll get an A for this class, but all I need is a passing grade.

In order to get that, though, I need to figure out what's getting in my way. I think it might be the remnants of the defeatist in me. Or it could be fear; fear of trying and failing. It's always easier to not try and fail. The most aggravating thing is that I know I can do this. Yes, the material in the programming class is difficult. But it's not beyond me.

Time to fake some self motivation and discipline. Like the saying goes, "Fake it 'till you make it."