Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Friday, March 24, 2006

Bathroom Mania


I don't know about you, but I'd have a difficult time going #1 into one of these. Too reminiscient of Rolling Stones / Mick Jagger...

BTW, I had to rewrite to avoid at least four thematic unintentional puns. I guess Freud's theories may still be alive and well after all.

Congress trying to soften data breach notification laws

Call your representatives now to get them to oppose this legislation. This is the bill that passed out of committee and would seriously weaken the gains that have been made over the past few years in data breach notification, as well as preventing people from preemptively "freezing" their credit file from being used to open new accounts--something that itself could curb much of the ID theft problems (and perhaps some consumer credit problems...)

It is such BS that Republicans are all about state's rights...except in this case...and that case...and this other case... Hypocrites!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Wacky World Records - The Wackiest World Records You Will Ever See

Oh, and just to throw this in since it's somewhat related: George W. Bush gets my vote for Worst President...Ever. He's wacky.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

SafeDisc DRM update for Windows XP reduces online gaming risk

This update starts the driver secdrv for SafeDisc from Macrovision at boot time to allow you to run games as a non-admin, lower-privilege user. Games that use SafeDisc otherwise require you to play the game as Administrator in order to have the rights to start the Manual service. Now, if only PunkBuster were to do the same...

Have I mentioned that DRM and copy protection sucks?

Zphone: Encrypt your VOIP

Boing Boing: Encrypted VOIP from PGP creator Zimmermann: Zfone

Encrypted VOIP from PGP creator Zimmermann: Zfone

Good reason to switch to VOIP instead of traditional phones to protect yourself from Big Brother Bush.

Jerry Falwell issues correction, Jews ARE all going to hell

Jerry Falwell issues correction, Jews ARE all going to hell

It must be nice to be in a religion where you can be a callous, holier-than-thou prick and still get into heaven. It also must be nice that all you have to do to get into heaven and avoid eternal damnation is to believe in some shit. The world is such an amazing place where you have free will, but if you process information about that world incorrectly and decide to not believe in Jesus as your saviour, you can suffer for all eternity. Nice. And they get out of having to be Jesus-like in this life in order to get into heaven. Do-gooders need not apply to heaven! Sounds more like the lazy, judgemental person's religion.

RIAA Says Future DRM Might "Threaten Critical Infrastructure and Potentially Endanger Lives"

Freedom to Tinker � Blog Archive � RIAA Says Future DRM Might “Threaten Critical Infrastructure and Potentially Endanger Lives”

Yet another reason DRM sucks. But unbelievably, the "BSA, RIAA, MPAA, and friends" actually are objecting to DRM exemptions for critical systems!

I was also reading recently about how much extra processor and battery life is sucked up when playing DRM files that have to constantly be checking for a valid license and other cruft.

Boggle on web = Weboggle


This is a great use of AJAX and is also VERY addicting. You have been warned... I'm core24 if I'm playing. But I suck compared to the others. I think they are just monkeys typing random letters and waiting for the squares to light up.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Microsoft is the reason the "little guys" cannot play DRM-encumbered files

Boing Boing: MSFT: Our DRM licensing is there to eliminate hobbyists and little guys

It has been freaking annoying that I can't play DRM encumbered WMA files on my Neuros or even on Linux. Now we know why: Microsoft's business practices.

Compiling a list of all of the stupid stuff Bush has done

AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth

"Let's create a list of every idiotic thing George Bush has done in the past five years"

This is a great idea. I've wanted to at least put together a list of the biggest scandals.

Great timing for this kind of fun. On the heels of a new set of (dis)approval rating results that show that Bush's popularity has fallen AGAIN, to its lowest level. So, I'll add his claim that he was given a "mandate" to the list of stupid shit he has said or done.

The single word most frequently associated with George W. Bush today is "incompetent,"and close behind are two other increasingly mentioned descriptors: "idiot" and "liar." All three are mentioned far more often today than a year ago.

DHS adds another "F" to Chertoff's record

DHS Gets Another F in Computer Security

Is anyone surprised? They can't even manage a disaster in the physical world (Katrina), what makes you think they can manage the disaster that DHS is? Another black mark for Chertoff and the Bush administration.

Why does the public still think that the Bush administration is strong on defending America?

Most federal agencies that play key roles in the war on terror are doing a dismal job of protecting their computers and information networks from hackers and viruses, according to portions of a report to be released by a key congressional oversight committee Thursday.

The Department of Homeland Security, which is charged with setting the government's cyber security agenda, earned a grade of F for the third straight year from the House Government Reform Committee. Other agencies whose failing marks went unchanged from 2004 include the departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, State, Health and Human Services, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Effective electronic communication requires a human touch

The finest set of recommendations will be rejected if the form in which they are received is seen as hostile or belligerent. I recently received a copy of an unsolicited report sent to a firm that seemed unimpressed with the writer's efforts. The reasons why are instructive to us all.

Good reminder to not forget the human element in human communications. Pick up the phone every once in a while instead of just IM or email and you'll be surprised by the results. Also, if you build human trust in non-electronic means first, it makes understanding nuances in electronic communications easier.

Along the same lines, check out The Art of Schmoozing for some tips on how to build human trust. Hint: it requires human interaction.

Another Bush Administration Inconsistency: Dubai but no Israel

Well, at least they're committed to national security consistent conservative... I give up.

"The same Bush administration review panel that approved a ports deal
involving the United Arab Emirates has notified a leading Israeli
software company that it faces a rare, full-blown investigation over its
plans to buy a smaller rival.

The objections by the FBI and Pentagon were partly over specialized
intrusion detection software known as "Snort," which guards some
classified U.S. military and intelligence computers."

SciAm on "The Rise of Crimeware"

Crimeware coverage by Scientific American

Crimeware coverage by Scientific American. Several good stats and comments from attendees of the RSA Conference. Why the increase in crime on the Internet? Well, it's where the money is and there is very little risk of getting caught. Job security for a security guy like me though.

3D panoramas from around the world

Arounder - Travel and Lifestyle in 360-degree Quicktime VR - Virtual Reality Full Screen panoramas: lugano, milan, milano, barcelona, monte carlo, roma, rome, zermatt, parma, koeln, cologne, zyprus, firenze, florence, pisa:

Wow. Tour cities before you go there. Might come in handy for planning the upcoming honeymoon...

I want to be able to make these with my digicam!

Luckiest Tree

cinthia-moura-gm_l1.jpg (JPEG Image, 400x500 pixels)

Can you actually fly without providing ID?

IDP : Investigation

Help us help you determine whether the TSA told the 9th Circuit the truth. Can you fly without ID? According to what the government told the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the Gilmore case, you can – you need only submit to secondary screening in order to fly anonymously.

I am just reading a Lee Child book from 1999 (pre 9/11) where the main character flew under president's names. Would be fun if you could get away with this. Might try it on my next flight...

I almost laughed when I went to the Westin building in Seattle and the guard was going to let me in but I had to show him my ID to get a badge, presumably. But it was funny that someone who worked in the building that I was coming to see happened to come by at the same time and was able to take me in without showing ID or getting a badge. Go figure. So, how important for security _is_ showing an ID then? And, if your threat model includes suicide bombers, what does an ID buy you in terms of protection?

Defeating Censorware

If your employer or corrupt, undemocratic, dictator-based government uses a filtering service such as Secure Computing's SmartFilter to block access to, you can try the following workarounds...

Boing Boing's Guide to Defeating Censorware

Of course, good network admins take evasive action for these evasive actions, but the reality is that there are always ways to get around proxies. Especially when they do stupid shit like "Smart" filter does. Smartfilter will often block an entire domain in a category for one single page that may fit in that category. They blocked under "criminal skills" and several other security sites. I recall them blocking or something like it when only some of the pages met the criteria. Why don't they block specific URLs or URL patterns instead of an entire domain?

DRM: Annoying Mistake

The big DRM mistake

Digital Rights Managements hurts paying customers, destroys Fair Use rights, renders customers' investments worthless, and can always be defeated. Why are consumers and publishers being forced to use DRM?

I have to say that DRM is really on my s*it list these days. I was excited to find out that the Seattle Public Library had three separate e-book and digital audio book relationships so you can access content without even leaving the house. However, I quickly found that one uses WMA files with DRM (which won't play on my Neuros) and the other uses a proprietary software player that somehow integrates with Windows media player. I can't even play these files on Linux, let alone on a portable media player. And I can't burn most of them to CDs to play in the car. What do they expect you to do--play hours of audio books while sitting at your PC??? Retarded.

I'm going to go back to getting the CD audio books and then ripping them so that I can listen to them on the bus on my Neuros.

Note to content producers: you are reducing the play that your clients are getting by using DRM. I will be less able to learn of new authors because it is much more of a hassle to actually listen to the content.

When translators go bad

I laughed so hard at these mistranslations found on menus in China.

One of my favorites:

"Benumbed hot vegetables fries fuck silk"

Read the comments for a good explanation of how this malicious literal translation gives rise to such humorous groupings of words. I guess you may be able to place an order even with these being so muddled, but I'd stay away from the "sour and sweet bone" and "cowboy meat". But I hear the "Assorted Fuck" is a real delicacy!

May I take your order?


theist v. atheist on studying religion

Web exclusive: 'How should we study religion?' by Daniel Dennett | Prospect Magazine March 2006 issue 120

Daniel Dennett was just in Seattle, but I missed him. But my colleague saw him and filled me in. His fundamental point is that we need to remove the stigma attached to scientifically studying religion, which I agree with. He also has a different take on the role and origin of religion as a "natural phenomena" rather than what I have typically seen as more of a "tribal tendency" theory in terms of evolutionary advantage of religion. An interesting claim that is often made by religious people is that without religion, there an be no morality. So, Dan suggests that we should empirically study questions like these--put them to the test. I hardly believe that in the overall scheme of life that religion generally makes people more "moral" than nontheists. There are a lot of atrocities done in the name of religion that will deduct from that tally.

Favorite quotes from the debate:

Presumably this same foresighted creator anticipated the amusement the unbelievers would feel when contemplating the recent declarations by Pat Robertson to the effect that Ariel Sharon's ill health was God intervening to punish him for ceding Gaza. I'm sure you'll tell me that our expectations about what a good creator would want, and do, don't extend to such particulars as these, but why are your expectations any better grounded than mine? You haven't told us what the rules of this game are.

You find it improbable that there would be a multiverse of all physically possible universes, including ours. Is it less improbable than that there would be an omnipotent, benevolent universe-creator? I don't think so, and here Bayesian probability theory gives no leverage, so far as I can see. Both are mind-boggling prospects—but that doesn't give yours the edge.

I see no reason to go along with your hypothesis that we're just what to expect from a perfect and omnipotent creator.

Another reason to buy a cross-cut shredder

The Torn-Up Credit Card Application

They tore up their own credit card application, then changed the address and phone number and still got the card!

I always shred the applications I get in the mail.

And the good thing is that in Seattle, you can either recycle your shreddings or put them in your yard waste container.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Welcome to Bizarro World: Oracle has "the security problem solved"!

Australian IT - Oracle on track of secure search (, MARCH 07, 2006)

"We have the security problem solved. That's what we're good at, and that's the hard part of the problem."
-- Larry Ellison

Hell has not frozen over so I don't believe him.