Monday, June 30, 2003
Posted By Allen at 11:57 AM
When Jenna and I went to the iPod launch a few months ago we got a couple of free T-Shirts. I sold mine last week, and now we are selling her's as well. You can check eBay for the listing. Please let me know if you have any questions.
People have been saying that the weapons of mass destruction was just a ploy so that President Bush could finish what his father started. According to this article in Ha'aretz, God told Bush to strike at Saddam. Here is the quote in question:
"According to Abbas, immediately thereafter Bush said: 'God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them.' "
Posted By Allen at 9:02 AM
If you have traveled recently you know that you are now required to leave your baggage unlocked so that the TSA can search your bags before they are loaded on a plane. Of course we are told that we can trust the TSA, they have only our safety in mind. Apparently, according to reports, the TSA is concerned for more than just the safety of the plane, but for the wellbeing of the American people. Particularly several agents in the TSA seem to be concerned for our backs. They want to make sure that Americans don't throw out their backs by carrying heavy luggage around, and so they are removing items from our luggage to help lighten the load. OK, that was a little sarcastic, but according to The Washington Post TSA agents are stealing stuff from people's bags. Here is a quote from the article:
When John Latta flew to Reagan National Airport from Miami last month, he discovered that a $1,000 pair of binoculars was missing from his checked luggage. "What can I do?" he asked an airline agent who took a report. Her answer, Latta said, was: "Nothing. Zero."You would think that maybe the TSA is cracking down on this behavior. Well they are to some degree. While the article reports that they have fired two agents for stealing, they are also working with congress to limit their liability. Thanks TSA, now instead of just being inconvenienced at the Airport, I can also be ripped off and have my rights to receive damages limited to $2500.00 per incident. I think it's time for a comeback of the great American tradition of the road trip!
Friday, June 27, 2003
Posted By Allen at 10:00 AM
Cory Doctorow rants about the fact that T-Mobile is going to end support for the games it shipped with the Sidekick mobile phone. In itself that isn't a very interesting story, but Cory says, this means that T-Mobile is going to remotely erase this data from all the Sidekicks. This is just another case of big companies sticking their faces into there customer's business. It's fine for T-Mobile to say, "We won't support X," but they should have no right to actively delete stuff from a customers device.
"Who owns your Sidekick? T-Mobile does, apparently, even if you spent full retail on it (I dropped $250 on mine). You need T-Mobile's permission to install software on their device. T-Mobile will, from time to time, decide to erase software from your device. And when you stop subscribing to their service, T-Mobile will delete all your data forever, without giving you any mechanism for moving it off the device (and without giving you the ability to design a tool that would let you do this)."Un fortunately this seems to be a trend today in high-tech. How would people react if the same logic were applied to cars? What if GM said that you could only buy GM gas. What if Ford showed up at your house one day and replaced your V-8 engine with a 4 cylendar? I'll bet you'd be pissed. T-Mobile is doing the same thing, people shouldn't stand for this kind of activity from a company they do business with. Vote with your wallet! Use a different mobile phone carrier.
Posted By Allen at 9:39 AM
Well, this has been reported everywhere, but in case you missed it, the national do not call list has gone live today. Of course the site is swamped and I am unable to actually get to it, but I'm sure the traffic will die down in the next few days. Most telemarketers are required to consult this list every three months. Once you register there is a really good chance that the number of telemarketing calls you get will decrease. There are exceptions to that rule though, like Political organizations and Charities. Hey, it's a start!
Posted By Allen at 9:34 AM
According to this article on Slashdot, Helios has crashed off the coast of Kauai. If you don't remember, Helios was Nasa's solar powered test plane. It was a huge flying wing with 62,000 solar cells. The plane held several records, and it's abililty to carry equipment up to 100,000 feet and keep it there for months had great promise. I hope that this accident doesn't force NASA to scrap the project.
Wednesday, June 25, 2003
Posted By Allen at 11:42 AM
The Washington Post has posted an article that says that RIAA is going to start filing lawsuits against everyone who is sharing music on the file trading networks, well maybe not everyone, but lots of people. According to the article the number is in the hundreds. Here is a quote from the article:
The chief lobby group of the nation's major recording labels today said it is preparing hundreds of lawsuits against Internet users who illegally trade copyrighted music files. The lawsuits will target people who share "substantial" amounts of copyrighted music, but anyone who shares illegal files is at risk, RIAA President Cary Sherman said in a conference call today. The first round of lawsuits will be prepared during the next eight to 10 weeks. They will ask for injunctions and monetary damages against file swappers, Sherman said.The reporter interviewed the president of Grokster, who said:
Wayne Rosso, president of the West Indies-based Grokster file-trading service, said the RIAA's tactics are "nothing short of lunacy." "I can't wait to see what happens when a congressman or senator's child is sued," he said. "They've taken leave of their senses. They lost their [Los Angeles] lawsuit against us and they're pissed about it, so their answer is to sue their customers. "We know this piracy is wrong and can't go on, but for God's sake, they won't work with us under any circumstances," he added.Of course, according to this memo RIAA really needs to get people who work at music companies to stop trading on these file sharing networks. Maybe they should start by suing their member companies' own employees? [via BoingBoing]
Posted By Allen at 10:30 AM
From the 24 June 2003 issue of Secrecy News, I learned that the US Supreme Court Turned Away the Reynolds Challenge. This is a case that I have had some interest in for awhile, although I haven't covered it here. This case is covered in detail by the Courier Post Online here are the highlights from the article:
On Oct. 6, 1948, it is now known, Albert Palya flew in a B-29 bomber to test secret electronic equipment. The plane crash killed Palya, three other civilians and five Air Force personnel. The crash ended Palya's life, but it began a lifetime of questions for his daughter, Judith. Why did the B-29, the same model plane trusted to deliver the two atomic bombs, disintegrate over the skies of Georgia? How is it that only four of 13 men aboard were able to parachute to safety? What information was the Air Force trying to hide when it refused to produce the accident report, even for a federal judge?Palya's family and the families of the other dead men brought suit against the Government with charges of negligence.
The widows of the three civilian victims of the crash sued the government for compensation in 1949. They believed the government had been negligent. But the Air Force refused to permit even a federal judge to review the accident report, citing national security. Three times the courts sided with the families. Then United States v. Reynolds, named after one of the other families bringing suit, reached the U.S. Supreme Court. The court ruled that the Air Force could conceal the report, given the government's concern about national security being compromised. The widows had lost. Fifty years ago today, the three widows reluctantly accepted a $170,000 settlement, $55,000 less than the judgments the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia had originally ordered. But beyond the money, the decision effectively established a new law, granting the military unprecedented power to conceal documents that it says can compromise national security. It is considered the most important case on the "state secrets privilege," and essentially allows the military to keep documents secret from anyone, even from federal judges.This precedent is in heavy use to day as the Government is claiming national security issues in several court cases.
Posted By Allen at 9:03 AM
You may remember a story I posted earlier in the week about very scary distracted driving quotes. If not you can clink on the link to refresh your memory, I'll wait.... OK, so I said that those were the scariest quotes I've seen about distracted driving. Well, this week, I saw a great piece in Randy Cassingham's THIS is TRUE email humorletter.
Excerpted with permission of the author from: THIS is TRUE Copyright 2003 by Randy CassinghamThis, strangely enough, reminded me of a story from high school. As many of you know I grew up in Southern Indiana, and spent a lot of time going to concerts in Indianapolis. I remember one Saturday night during my Senior year, I was driving home from a show that ended fairly late. My girlfriend was tired, and had put her head down on my lap to take a nap. Now, get your mind out of the gutter, that was all that happened there. As we were entering the outskirts of our town from the interstate, the street lights woke her and she sat up. Unfortunately she sat up just as we were coming up to police patrol car. I thought we would get a ticket for sure, although I wasn't really sure what the ticket would be for. Anyway, when I looked over to the officer in the car, I saw him just looking at me with a big grin and then he gave me a thumbs-up.
PERSONAL GROWTH: Sonny Morris El, 32, of Galesburg, Ill., was giving his girlfriend a ride home -- in more ways than one. As he drove, she was sitting on his lap, having sex with him. Being ...um... distracted, Morris El drifted over the center line and crashed head-on into a semi. Kristina Valerio, 25, was killed. Morris El has been convicted of aggravated driving under the influence of drugs and sentenced to 10 years in prison despite a plea for leniency by his lawyer, who says Morris El now has the mental capacity of an 11-year-old due to his own injuries from the crash. Morris El testified that the outcome of his "foolish" actions "opened my eyes not to take life for granted." (Peoria Journal Star) ...Not a bad insight for an 11-year-old. THIS is TRUE is a weekly column featuring bizarre-but-TRUE news with running commentary. To get it weekly by e-mail for FREE, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or see http://www.thisistrue.com Copyright 2003 by Randy Cassingham, All Rights Reserved.
Posted By Allen at 8:06 AM
Dave Farber posted a very interesting piece on his IP list. It's William Gibson thinking about George Orwell, and comparing the modern day to the fictional 1984. UPDATE: This piece originally appeared on the New York Times OP-ED Page Here is a quote from the article:
"Walking along Henrietta Street recently, by London's Covent Garden, looking for a restaurant, I found myself thinking of George Orwell. Victor Gollancz Ltd., publisher of Orwell's early work, had its offices there in 1984, when the company published my first novel, a novel of an imagined future. At the time, I felt I had lived most of my life under the looming shadow of that mythic year ? Orwell having found his title by inverting the final digits of the year of his book's completion. It seemed very strange to actually be alive in 1984. In retrospect, I think it has seemed stranger even than living in the 21st century. "
Tuesday, June 24, 2003
TheStreet.com isreporting that Sony Ericsson will drop it's CDMA line of phones. I'm glad I didn't wait for a Sprint PCS version of the T68i, it looks like it would never have come. According to the story:
Waving the white flag amid a heated handset battle, Sony Ericsson says it is closing its struggling CDMA business in the U.S. The move Tuesday highlights Ericsson's continuing woes and comes on the same day that the wireless gearmaker said it would outsource the remainder of its computer services to IBM.This report offers some hope for those who have grown addicted to the Sony Ericsson phones. It says that they will continue to manufacture the GSM phones. According to the story:
Sony Ericsson says shutting down code division multiple access, or CDMA, operations will eliminate 500 jobs in Research Triangle Park, N.C., and in Munich. The company will continue to make its global systems for mobile or GSM phones.Finally, however the report ends on a sad note:
Given Ericsson's growing distaste for money-losing efforts, some observers say they would not be surprised if the plug is also pulled on the remaining handset venture.The phones that Sony Ericsson creates are pretty innovative. I hope they don't have to shut down completely.
Posted By Allen at 8:49 AM
There was a great quote on Sunday night's Queer as Folk. "Mourn the losses because they are many, celebrate the victories because they are few" I can't find an attribution, though, so if anyone knows of one for this quote please email me.
Monday, June 23, 2003
Posted By Allen at 8:27 PM
The EFF has published a new report that looks at the efficacy of online blocking software in a school setting. The results are very intresting, although not that suprising given that the EFF is publishing the report.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Online Policy Group (OPG) have cooperated to study and analyze the accessibility on the web of information related to state-mandated curriculum topics within public schools that operate Internet blocking software. This study measures the extent to which blocking software impedes the educational process by restricting access to web pages relevant to the required curriculum[via BoingBoing]
Posted By Allen at 6:18 PM
Wired News has a story about drivers who are putting all kinds of stuff in their dash, like DVD players, TVs, Game Consoles, etc... The story is only mildly interesting, except for the two scariest quotes I've read lately. The Runner up is:
"Need a little help," reads one post on a Dodge Dakota message board. "I want to put DVD player in dash, however I heard that it will not work while vehicle is moving. Is there any way to get around this?"The Winner is:
"I just got an in-dash DVD player and it has a park switch," reads another post on the North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club. "I know you have to hook this up to the parking brake, but I wanna be able to use this while I'm driving. What do I have to do to make this work?"Check out the story, to read about more scary things people do with their cars while they should be driving. When you are done with that, head over to the Cartalk section of cars.com to read Actual Driver Distraction Letters.
Posted By Allen at 5:42 PM
Bruce Sterling is on Wired talking about the fact that problems are no longer localized to a single place. What we have today are really world problems, and our current infrastructure is not set up to handle these new problems. With the actions of recent administrations, and recent world events I think I am inclined to agree with Bruce on several of these issues. He says:
We denizens of the early 21st century cling to a leftover notion that anything "global" is remote, abstract. That's no longer true. A global problem is everyone's problem, often in intimate ways. Chinese germs multiply in American bloodstreams. Colombian narcoterrorists maintain branch offices in every major US city. There's only one atmosphere, and no pulldown menu for selecting a new one.Later on he talks about the fact that none of our institutions really work for maintaining order in our world, or even getting anything done. He shows that fundamentally the institutions we have set up today just can't work for the problems of the 21st century. He says:
Four types of mechanisms exist to finesse the world's world-sized problems. Unfortunately, none of them are of much use.Finally Bruce says there is a need for a New World Order, that he is calling the "Next World Order". He says:
The New World Order, proclaimed in Gulf War I, died in Gulf War II. The Next World Order has means, motive, and opportunity now. Instead of the customary 20th-century hot air and phony baloney, it might turn out to be rather hands-on, tough-minded, and practical. There are good reasons to think this will happen, with or without American cooperation. The Next World Order may well look like nothing we previously were led to expect.What I find interesting in this is that there must have been some very similar arguments made when the US was a fledgling country. If you look at the back of our one dollar bill you will see the words, "Novus Ordo Seclorum", which roughly translates to a "New Secular Order". I think it can be argued that the founding fathers felt the same way that Bruce does. They felt a new order was needed, and for a time they succeeded in their goal. But they didn't do it by creating something truly new. They just moved far away from everyone else, and that made things better. Today communication is bringing us all together again, and there are new cries for a new world order. Yes, I'm sure people will point out that the US was one of the first modern democracies and that we have many freedoms guaranteed that others do not. These are not items to be taken lightly, but I think recent times have shown us that these things do not make the world a better place on their own. People will still act according to their base desires, and that includes the desire for the majority to oppress the minority. I think what really led to the prosperity of the last few centuries in the US is the fact that we were isolated from the rest of the world geographically and informationally. That can't be said today, and we are starting to see the problems of too many people living in too small a space. Maybe it's time to seriously look into colonizing the moon. I think we need more space again.
Sunday, June 22, 2003
Posted By Allen at 5:24 PM
The New York Times has a new story about a procedure that can possibly stimulate your creativity in a non-harmful manner, without the use of drugs. Basically it's a big machine, and once you are strapped in and the machine is turned on, your brain is stimulated. Several odd things have been observed by people strapped into this machine (a transcranial magnetic stimulator) including the ability for some people to draw much better (see the picture on the NYT site). This sounds absolutely fascinating to me. I can imagine a device like this being used by people all over the world to get over creativity hurdles. Maybe writers could use something like this to get over writers block? Of course there are still many tests to perform to ensure that the device is safe. Here is a quote from the story:
In a concrete basement at the University of Sydney, I sat in a chair waiting to have my brain altered by an electromagnetic pulse. My forehead was connected, by a series of electrodes, to a machine that looked something like an old-fashioned beauty-salon hair dryer and was sunnily described to me as a ''Danish-made transcranial magnetic stimulator.'' This was not just any old Danish-made transcranial magnetic stimulator, however; this was the Medtronic Mag Pro, and it was being operated by Allan Snyder, one of the world's most remarkable scientists of human cognition. Nonetheless, the anticipation of electricity being beamed into my frontal lobes (and the consent form I had just signed) made me a bit nervous. Snyder found that amusing. ''Oh, relax now!'' he said in the thick local accent he has acquired since moving here from America. ''I've done it on myself a hundred times. This is Australia. Legally, it's far more difficult to damage people in Australia than it is in the United States.''
Saturday, June 21, 2003
Posted By Allen at 7:44 PM
Jenna and I went to the product launch for the new Apple iPod back in May. We got some shirts and posters at the event, but have no place to keep them. We decided to try selling them on eBay. So, if you are interested you can find the link here. The first T-Shirt is an XL, it's all black with a stenciled iPod on the front.
Friday, June 20, 2003
PCWorld.com has a story discussing an initiative by the Boys and Girls club of America to put WiFi in all of their clubs. The interesting part of this story is that they are doing this to facilitate desktop computer use. This is one of the first articles I've seen talking about the benefits of WiFi for computers that don't move around. Of course the benefits are easy to see when you think about it. With WiFi you don't need to run cables all over your building. You can have all of your computers up and running in a single day, as opposed to the several days it would take to run cables and get things set up. Here is a quote from the story:
IBM is installing wireless LANs in more than 600 Boys and Girls Clubs of America facilities across the U.S., one of its largest deployments of the 802.11b wireless networking technology so far. Instead of stringing wires in the clubhouses, many of which only had one computer for Internet access or none at all, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America decided to go wireless, says Pal Normark, client manager at IBM. "To hardwire a lot of these facilities would be a tremendous cost, so the wireless capability fit their need nicely," he says.
Thursday, June 19, 2003
Posted By Allen at 8:23 AM
Wired News news has an article where the author speculates about why Palm bought Handspring. Here is a quote from the article:
Even though handheld-maker Handspring was struggling financially, industry analysts could understand why Palm wanted to buy it: the Treo 600. The sleek new combination cell phone, personal digital assistant and e-mail device, which is expected to hit store shelves in October, turned heads at a Sprint PCS developers conference in Dallas earlier this month. According to analysts, the Treo 600 is the smallest handheld to include digital camera, cell phone, PDA and BlackBerry-like e-mail capabilities.
Wednesday, June 18, 2003
Posted By Allen at 8:03 PM
Wired has a story by Xeni Jardin about phonecams. You know, those little cameras that are popping up on cell phones everywhere. I'm pretty excited about phonecams, but I want one that is at least a megapixel, with pretty good color balance. At one point I was thinking about buying a small digital camera to carry with me all of the time, but when they started coming out with better phonecams, I decided to wait. Here's a quote from the article:
Whipping out a cheap phonecam at the height of a late-night bash, a Michigan frat boy snaps his own Girls Gone Wild shots and instantly uploads them to an online gallery accessible by anyone in the world. At a Los Angeles convenience store, a woman witnesses a holdup - and with the press of a button, she captures the thief's image and zaps it to 911. In Hong Kong, a mobile phone user photographs the apartment complex of a neighbor suspected of carrying SARS. He posts the pictures, details, and GPS coordinates to an unofficial database designed to do what the government won't: collect and provide data about the spread of the virus.
Posted By Allen at 8:05 AM
infoSync World is reporting that Agere Systems today announced a combo 802.11b/Bluetooth wireless chip. Neat!
Posted By Allen at 8:02 AM
So far this week there have been three new products running the PalmOS introduced. First Sony introduced the NX80V and the NX73V. Both of these products are huge (in size) and come with everything (in features). The high end NX80V has a "1.3 Mega pixel camera with a "Captuer Light", Palm OS 5, 200mhz processor, 32MB of RAM, backlit thum keyboard and a CF type II card slot," according to Palm Infocenter The main difference between the two models seems to be in the camera. Also, neither model has any integrated wireless. Handspring, a recent Palm acquisition, has also announced a new Treo. The Treo 600 is very small, and like most Treos it has an integrated mobile phone. This palm seems about the size of a traditional candybar style phone, which makes it very appealing. Palm Infocenter had this to say about the new Treo, "The Treo 600 runs Palm OS 5.2 with a 144 MHz Texas Instruments OMAP processor. It will have 32MB of RAM and a SD/MMC/SDIO expansion slot. There is also a Five-way navigation dial for one handed operation. ZDNet reports that the device will use a 160x160 pixel color screen. " It also appears that the Treo has a built in digital camera, but no one has said, what it's resolution is. The Treo will be available on CDMA 1XRTT and GSM/GPRS networks.
Posted By Allen at 7:44 AM
Lawrence Lessig is working to create a new law to help enable the public domain. The Reclaim the Public Domain Petition is the first step. Currently they have 13,000 signatures on this petition, and I highly encourage everyone who hasn't signed it to do so.
Posted By Allen at 7:36 AM
According to Ramblings Senator Orrin Hatch is suggesting that copyright holders have the ability to remotly destroy the computers of people they suspect to be trading intellectual property. The AP Story that started all of this quotes Hatch as saying:
"If we can find some way to do this without destroying their machines, we'd be interested in hearing about that," Hatch said. "If that's the only way, then I'm all for destroying their machines. If you have a few hundred thousand of those, I think people would realize" the seriousness of their actions, he said.
Tuesday, June 17, 2003
Posted By Allen at 7:32 AM
I've been looking for a new camera bag that is suited to the kind of photography I'm doing these days. Basically I'd like to find something that can accomodate an SLR, two lenses, a flash, and a laptop with cables. To me, this seems like a pretty standard setup for someone who is taking digital pictures, but I haven't had much luck in finding the right bag yet. Today, I ran accross M Billingham and Co in the UK. They seem to have a wide range of very sturdy photo bags. The nice thing about these bags is that all of the internal seperators can be removed, and then you have a nice general purpose business case as well. I found out about this bag from a blog about the Palm Tungsten T (Thanks Tom). Of course this comes with a catch. The company appears to operate mostly in the UK, and I don't know if they ship to the states. If anyone has some expierence with these bags, or this company, I would love to hear from you. Just email me at email@example.com.
Sunday, June 15, 2003
Posted By Allen at 9:58 PM
I spent last weekend in Santa Barbara, CA to watch my sister-in-law graduate from UCSB. Here are some pictures from Bonnie's Graduation. There are also quite a few shots of the wonderful scenery in Santa Barbara. Click on the image to see pictures of the moon over the ocean, downtown Santa Barbara, Mission Santa Barbara, and a few pics from the wharf at night.
Posted By Allen at 5:15 PM
I spent some time last weekend in Santa Barabara with my Wife and her family. During one of our car rides my mother-in-law asked if anyone knew why men are supposed to take their hats off in buildings. No one knew. We discussed different places to search, and even discussed mens hat etiquette for awhile, but the conversation ended with us all acknowledging that we didn't know how this practice evolved. I spent some time searching this afternoon, and found several web sites that discussed hat etiquette, but very few that actually discussed the evolution of this practice. I did find one site, however, that offered this explanation:
The hat is removed as a sign of respect; this gesture dates back to the ancient times. The actual point of origin is not exactly known, but the earliest stories date back to the days of chivalry. The knights would remove there helmet in the presence of the king to show that he trusted the king not to kill him and that he felt safe in his presence from any enemy. In the church, as well, a helmet would be removed as the knight felt protected in church. It is also said a knight was always bareheaded in the presence of a lady. This is believed to be the origin for a man raising the hat from his head on the street as he addressed a woman. Today, even with a baseball cap, a man should remove it if his final destination is in the presence of women. Since then, the removal of garments of clothing in different cultures through time has been a gesture of respect in the presence of a king. This has evolved down to the removal of hats, coats, gloves, shoes, etc. to show respect for the host.
Thursday, June 12, 2003
Posted By Allen at 10:07 PM
Digital Fortress is the last Dan Brown book for me to review. I really enjoyed all of his books, but the did start to feel very formulaic at the end. I'm glad I'm done with them. Here is a quote from the review:
In Digital Fortress we have a heroine who must stop the evil / powerful people from ruining the world for everyone else. This book is based around a Government organization that many people have never heard of called the NSA. Our hero is a top code breaker for the NSA and she is engaged to a professor at the local university. She just wants to go on a vacation but her soon-to-be has been called out of the country on an emergency, where he is repeatedly shot at. Digital Fortress is stock Dan Brown. It's fast-paced and fun to read.
Posted By Allen at 10:05 PM
Deception Point is my latest review. This is yet another Dan Brown book, and while I gave it high marks, it's about what you would expect. Here is a quote from the review:
NASA makes a huge find under a glacier in the North Atlantic, but everything isn't as it seems. The characters in Deception Point have to find out the hard way, but you can do it from the comfort of your closest easy chair. I'm learning that Dan Brown's books, while entertaining, are somewhat formulaic. There is a big secret, and really powerful people who are going to kill the smart heroes to keep it that way. Deception Point basically follows this same formula.
Posted By Allen at 9:12 PM
Last week I posted a story referring to John W. Dean's commentary on FindLaw about the missing weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Today, Richard Bennett points out an article from Right Wing News that contains quotes from leading liberals about the same subject. Richard Says, "Right Wing News has a nice collection of quotes on Saddam's WMD program from prominent critics of the Bush Administration.... " [via Richard Bennett's Omphalos] Here is a quote from the article he is referring to:
"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs." -- From a letter signed by Joe Lieberman, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara A. Milulski, Tom Daschle, & John Kerry among others on October 9, 1998 "Saddam's goal ... is to achieve the lifting of U.N. sanctions while retaining and enhancing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. We cannot, we must not and we will not let him succeed." -- Madeline Albright, 1998 "The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retained some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capability. Intelligence reports also indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons, but has not yet achieved nuclear capability." -- Robert Byrd, October 2002 "What is at stake is how to answer the potential threat Iraq represents with the risk of proliferation of WMD. Baghdad's regime did use such weapons in the past. Today, a number of evidences may lead to think that, over the past four years, in the absence of international inspectors, this country has continued armament programs." -- Jacques Chirac, October 16, 2002
Posted By Allen at 8:58 PM
"Cabinet Magazine has a great graf that shows the stagnation of the public domain, as well as an interactive version showing the same. If the numbers are right, then this battle to restore (in effect) a renewal requirement is the most important battle to reclaim the public domain that we could wage." [via Lessig Blog]
Wednesday, June 11, 2003
Posted By Allen at 10:32 PM
I just posted a review of the Dan Brown book Angels and Demons. I really enjoyed this book, and gave it four out of four stars. Here is a quote from the review:
Angels and Demons combines an ancient cult, CERN, The Vatican, and a string of murders. It has a great twist at the end, and just when you think you have the book figured out, it throws you another curve.
Posted By Allen at 9:44 PM
Cory Doctorow gave a talk tonight at the Silicon Valley WebGuild Meeting. I had the oppertunity to attend, and take some notes, which follow. Overall this was a standard talk about EFF issues, it was a good introduction to what the EFF is doing, and Cory is an entertaining speaker. However, there wasn't a lot of new information, and the audience didn't seem very engaged. The roundtable after the meeting was very disappointing. Below you'll find my notes. Mostly they are a summary of what I heard and thought. The places where you see quotation marks are where I was trying to write down exactly what Cory said. Notes from Cory Doctorow's Talk at the Webguild on 2003-06-11 Cory is the Outreach Coordinator for the EFF. Started off with basic history (info also on EFF site): 1. Email Privacy 2. Crypto Wars Tonight is about Civil Liberties and the Web. Walled gardens are bad. The web has been a fantastic success. The web is the greatest repository of human knowledge ever created. Today our freedom is being threatened, as the consequence of some very poorly thought out security policy. Primarily due to the Patriot and the Homeland Security Act. Today: A high school principal can go directly to an ISP and convince them to hand over a user's email. Copyright is the really sneaky way that we are loosing our freedoms. 80% of people who are talking about copyright don't understand it. In Europe copyrights are just like property rights. In France, if you paint a painting and I buy it and I hang it next to a bad painting you can sue to have it moved. WSJ article last year talked about every successful country in the world spending about 100 years ripping off other country's stuff (IP). The tragedy of the commons. "In the Napster world you had a commons where the sheep shit grass". Bit Torrent, Tornado Network are both doing interesting things with p2p networks that enhance the publics use of networks. Ben Franklin quote about knowledge being like a torch. If I light a torch from yours you don't end up with half as much light, together we have have twice as much light. Copyright has been extended 11 times over the last 40 years. Four Factors: Commercial Use the Whole Work Disrupt the Authors Monopoly Betamax case from 1976 to 1984 (8 years!!!) The Supreme Court ended up saying any device that is capable of a substantial non-infringing / lawful use is not illegal. Sony got chased out of the walkman business because they made the wrong decision, with regard to MP3. Superbit DVD = 10X the resolution of normal DVDs. "If you are a software hacker, you can be a hardware hacker too." Read Bunny's book on hacking the X-Box. "The idea that a business would pay engineers to make their product suck more is astonshing." DMCA: anti-circumvention etc... Berne and Copel bill "Right of Revenge" This is an astonishing concept given that rape and murder victims don't get a similar right. There is a guy asleep behind me, he's actually snoring. What's at stake here: Freedom to make a link Freedom to create a large database of data (google) Freedom to develop the tools that make the internet work People can make a difference. This is the future of democracy.
Tuesday, June 10, 2003
Posted By Allen at 12:22 PM
The Guardian has a story talking about the state of affairs at the Iraqi National Museum. It is starting to look like there wasn't nearly as much looting as was first described, furthermore it the article implies that the majority of looting that did occur was done by insiders from the Iraqi Government. Over the last week or so we have seen several articles about the recovery of items thought to be lost. I hope that this continues to be the trend. Here is a quote from the story:
Cruikshank also tackled George directly on events leading up to the looting. The Americans had said that the museum was a substantial point of Iraqi resistance, and this explained their reticence in occupying it. Not true, said George, a few militia-men had fired from the grounds and that was all. This, as Cruikshank heavily implied, was a lie. Not only were there firing positions in the grounds, but at the back of the museum there was a room that seemed to have been used as a military command post. And it was hardly credible that senior staff at the museum would not have known that. Cruikshank's closing thought was to wonder whether the museum's senior staff - all Ba'ath party appointees - could safely be left in post. Furious, I conclude two things from all this. The first is the credulousness of many western academics and others who cannot conceive that a plausible and intelligent fellow-professional might have been an apparatchiks of a fascist regime and a propagandist for his own past. The second is that - these days - you cannot say anything too bad about the Yanks and not be believed.
Posted By Allen at 9:40 AM
Last week I posted a story pointing to a BBC article about Quantum Cryptography. This week I read on Dave Farber's IP list that there is a group in Boston, that is already using Quantum Crypto to protect a dark fiber VPN. Here is the quote from the IP post (slightly edited):
We've had an Internet protected by quantum cryptography up and running in our lab since Dec 2002. It's a full Virtual Private Network (VPN) protected by our own quantum cryptography apparatus running through dark fiber. This is a DARPA project, in collaboration with the BU Photonics Center and Harvard University Applied Physics Dept, and next steps will be a build-out in metro Boston to link our campuses. We'll be announcing our work at SIGCOMM 2003 later this summer. Chip Elliott Principal Engineer, BBN
FindLaw has posted a commentary by John W. Dean discussing whether or not lying about the reason for a war is an impeachable offense. While the author comes to the conclusion (and I agree) that there is very little chance that President Bush would be impeached over his stated reasons for the war in Iraq, Mr. Dean does provide a very helpful list of the President's statements about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Take a look at the whole article, for some very interesting reading. Below you will find the list of quotes:
Readers may not recall exactly what President Bush said about weapons of mass destruction; I certainly didn't. Thus, I have compiled these statements below. In reviewing them, I saw that he had, indeed, been as explicit and declarative as I had recalled. Bush's statements, in chronological order, were: "Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons." United Nations Address September 12, 2002 "Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons." "We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have." Radio Address October 5, 2002 "The Iraqi regime . . . possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons." "We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas." "We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVS for missions targeting the United States." "The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his "nuclear mujahideen" - his nuclear holy warriors. Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past. Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons." Cincinnati, Ohio Speech October 7, 2002 "Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent." State of the Union Address January 28, 2003 "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised." Address to the Nation March 17, 2003
Monday, June 9, 2003
Posted By Allen at 10:04 AM
MSNBC has a story from June 5, that I'm surprised I haven't heard about until now. Perl Jam has decided to leave Sony. Now this in itself isn't really big news, bands change labels all of the time. However, in this case, the band has decided that the don't need a label any more. They are going to pursue an internet distribution scheme instead. The article states that Perl Jam has made close to $100 Million for their label over the last few years, and unlike most bands has probably recouped their up-front loans from the label. If Perl Jam is able to make this work, I think this will be an extremely important event in the history of the music industry. You can find the bands web site here. Here is a quote from the article:
THIS IS ONE institution leaving another, the most popular and important American rock band of the ’90s voluntarily rejecting the grandest label heritage — the longtime home of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Santana, Miles Davis and Tony Bennett — because the band may no long require the services of a major label. If Pearl Jam — now touring the United States to wildly enthusiastic crowds — is able to create a successful business model mobilizing its fans via the Internet and engaging in such “crazy” stunts as releasing live double albums of every show it performs, this could be the beginning of a stampede away from the lumbering dinosaurs that the major labels have become.
Posted By Allen at 9:47 AM
Gizmodo has a great piece showing the start of the art in gadgets in 1983. Included in the list, with pictures, are the first AMPS cell phone from Motorola, a new digital calculator from Casio which lets you store phone numbers (oh my God!!), and the GRiD Compass 1101 laptop which had a whopping 384KB of memory, and a 1200bps modem.
Friday, June 6, 2003
Posted By Allen at 1:52 PM
PCWorld.com has done a fluff piece on the Hotel of Tomorrow, or at least how Hilton sees it. I just doubt that most of this tech will ever make it into a normal hotel room. Here is a quote from the article:
EL SEGUNDO, CALIFORNIA -- Admittedly, the Hilton Garden Inn's gadget-crammed Room 267 is not your typical lodging. But stay just one night there, and you'll want it to be. The invitation-only "Room of the Future" is housed in a special Hilton University wing of the property near Los Angeles International Airport. It comes furnished with a legion of next-generation products to enhance guests' business productivity, comfort, and entertainment.
Posted By Allen at 11:44 AM
Gnutella News has a report about the recent Indy music conference/meeting with Apple. It looks to me like Apple is trying to be fair about how they deal with Indy labels. I'd be really excited to see some of this music on the iTunes store. With the Indy labels, then I would have access to almost all the music I listen to between Apple's iMusic, and emusic Here is a quote from the article:
I got an invitation to go to Apple's office for a presentation/meeting today (June 5, 2003) about how to get independent artists into the iTunes Music Store. There were about 150 people there, representatives from the best independent record labels and music services, in this invitation-only conference room. Steve Jobs came out and started a two and a half hour presentation/seminar/Q&A about iTunes and the benefits of independent labels making their music available there. I type fast and had my laptop, so I wrote down all the major points of their presentation as they went.
Thursday, June 5, 2003
Posted By Allen at 1:45 PM
The BBC NEWS has a story about some exciting new breakthroughs in quantum cryptography. My friend Paul, a real crypto expert, says that this is impractical because it relies on unbroken fiber cables. I agree that the current cable-based implementation is impractical, but think of this. If you design a small powered box that can contain the photons in order (like a capacitor for light). Then you ship this box to the recipient. The photons are an encoded key for the data you will send over the net. Once the box arrives the sender and recipient will know if the key is intact because the first time it's inspected it will be altered by the fact that it was inspected. This alteration would be enough to render the key inoperable. So, once it arrives you inspect the key and use it to decrypt a test message. If the decryption works, you know that your key is OK, and you can start communicating with the sender. If the decryption of the test message fails, you know that the key has been tampered with, and the sender needs to prepare another key. Here is a quote from the article:
Contemporary encryption algorithms ensure sensitive data stays secret simply because it takes so long to work out which mathematical key was used to scramble the information. But companies could soon be turning to quantum physics to help them swap the keys they use to turn meaningful messages into scrambled characters. "It is a radically different approach to computer security," said Andrew Shields, leader of the Quantum Information Group at Toshiba's Cambridge lab where the encryption system is being developed.
American Civil Liberties Union : Speak Out: Flag Amendment Passes House - Thank or Spank Your Representative
Posted By Allen at 12:55 PM
The American Civil Liberties Union has posted the news that the house has (yet again) passed a Flag Burning amendment. As they point out this legislation, if passed, would be the first time that the first amendment is altered. Follow the link to send a message to your representative. Here is a quote from the article:
On June 3 the House of Representatives narrowly voted to approve the so-called flag protection amendment. This amendment would alter the First Amendment for the first time in its history and allow Congress to outlaw the physical desecration of the flag. Instead of standing true to the principles for which the flag stands, the supporters of this legislation want to restrict free speech and limit the right to protest the actions of the government. The dramatic campaign by the Bush Administration to erode our freedoms in the name of national security has produced a climate in which those who disagree with the government are labeled unpatriotic, disloyal or even traitors. It is essential during these dark days that we continue to defend freedom of speech and the right to dissent.
Wednesday, June 4, 2003
Posted By Allen at 1:14 PM
In a recent issue of the CIA Studies In Intelligence James B. Bruce proposes that media outlets who publish classified material be subject to prosecution under espionage laws. MSNBC has written an article about this paper, and how it could effect the state of public discourse in our country. Dave Farber's IP List has hosted an excellent discussion on this issue. You can find the articles here, here, and here. Here is a quote from the MSNBC article:
The proposal to treat leaks of classified information as a criminal act is, in itself, is not unusual or particularly controversial. Virtually every president, at one time or another, demands that his cabinet investigate the source of particular leaks to the media — usually those that prove politically embarrassing, but also some which are judged to be potential violations of the Espionage Act of 1917. But Bruce’s memorandum goes far beyond that, proposing to target the media itself, which Bruce sees as part of an “unholy alliance” of officials with security clearances and their journalist accomplices. “That’s a dramatic change,” says Tom Rosenstiel, a former Newsweek and Los Angeles Times correspondent who is now vice president of the Committee of Concerned Journalists. “Let’s be blunt. These guys really don’t believe in the 1st Amendment,” he says. “They believe in secrecy, not sunshine, they believe in control, not pluralism. They want to intimidate and chill the press, and they want to criminalize the free flow of discussion, and they want to use September 11 as the lever to do this.”
Posted By Allen at 12:53 PM
This May 22, 2003 EE Times Article is about a new policy being put forth by the US. This policy states that the US needs to own all low orbit and polar orbital routs, and the US will work to ensure that it is the only country with intelligence access in space. This, it seems to me, would blow several treaties out of the water, and elevate a new type of arms race in space. Would the US go so far as to shoot down other countries satellites and spacecraft? Earlier this week the European Union launched the first in a series of missions to mars. China, India, Japan, and the EU are all aggressively pursuing space projects of their own. Does the US really belive that we can maintain our control of earth orbit? Here is a quote from the article:
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — While much of the talk around the Pentagon these days focuses on "transformation" of the military, some of the United States' closest allies worry about another buzzword being used in subtler ways at the National Reconnaissance Office: "negation." The nation's largest intelligence agency by budget and in control of all U.S. spy satellites, NRO is talking openly with the U.S. Air Force Space Command about actively denying the use of space for intelligence purposes to any other nation at any time—not just adversaries, but even longtime allies, according to NRO director Peter Teets. At the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs in early April, Teets proposed that U.S. resources from military, civilian and commercial satellites be combined to provide "persistence in total situational awareness, for the benefit of this nation's war fighters." If allies don't like the new paradigm of space dominance, said Air Force secretary James Roche, they'll just have to learn to accept it. The allies, he told the symposium, will have "no veto power."
Posted By Allen at 7:27 AM
Casey West has written a great article over at perl.com. He talks about all of the "Hidden Treasures" in the perl core modules. It's a pretty informative article, and I picked up a couple of tips from it. The article covers blib, diagnostics, benchmark, cgi, class, cwd, env moduels and more. If you are a perl person, this article is worth a read. Here is a quote from the article:
The Perl Core comes with a lot of little modules to help you get thejob done. Many of these modules are not well-known. Even some of the well-known modules have some nice features that are often overlooked. In this article, we'll dive into many of these hidden treasures of the Perl Core.
Posted By Allen at 7:20 AM
According to this story on infoSync Palm is going to acquire Handspring. My first thought when I read this is that it might be some kind of joke, but that doesn't seem to be the case. If you remember, Handspring was started when a bunch of people at palm got sick of the direction it was taking. They decided to go form their own company. Here is a quote from the story:
Palm's acquisition of Handspring is the latest chapter in a now decade-old story revolving around Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky, whom originally founded Palm in 1992. Palm went on to be acquired by U.S. Robotics in 1995, which in turn was acquired by 3Com in 1997. The following year, Hawkins, Dubinsky and Colligan left Palm to found Handspring, and two years later Palm separated from 3Com.
Monday, June 2, 2003
Posted By Allen at 9:54 PM
Jenna and I spent the last four days in Seattle. This was my first trip to the city, and I really had a great time. We got the oppertunity to connect with family and see many of the great attractions the city has to offer. The following link: Pictures From Exile :: Seattle -- May 2003 has some highlights from the pictures I took over the trip. Enjoy.