Ten Most Wanted Design Bugs

RAID 1 saved my life last night. On a related note, on the list of the Ten Most Wanted Design Bugs, the #1 computer design bug is "No safety from power failure". This goes beyond UPSs. All modern power supplies should have 45 seconds of reserve and be able to signal the OS - all modern operating systems should receive that signal and immediately be able to suspend or shut down. Currently power supplies don't because it would add $25-$50 to the system cost. Windows & OS X might be able to do it, but Linux has difficulty hibernating (although not shutting down) because BIOS & chipset manufacturers do not release enough information.

To Hell and Back

I think Dan would like Bill Stone

Tommy Douglas crowned 'Greatest Canadian'

Yay Tommy! As MediaScout points out, even though we think he's the greatest, there is no way he could be elected Prime Minister.

Neil Gaiman has amusing fans

Scroll down this entry until you reach Gilbert & Sullivan and goats.


RFID passports

Ooops, this broke 6 weeks ago. Anyway -

RFID passports are a bad idea.



Textbook disclaimer stickers

Textbook disclaimer stickers. No further commentary necessary :)

School orders boy to cover his T-shirt

A yes, a t-shirt saying "The Real Terrorist Is In The Whitehouse" is disruptive. Yup


The new Chinese counterfeit game

It seems that Chinese counterfeiters are filing utility or design patents for the products they are counterfeiting. The idea is to force extra delays in the convoluted legal process required of foreign entities to claim infringement. 100 years ago this would have happened in the US, but back then the US deliberately ignored foreign IP claims so none of this trickery was necessary.

Persistent coughs melt away with chocolate

Why am I eating this chocolate bar? Why, because I have a nasty cough. Doubting Mustapha! On a related note, the New Scientist article ID is going to roll over into 9 digits soon. I wonder what 99999999 will be.

Only One Third of Americans Say Evidence Has Supported Darwin's Evolution Theory

Yup, that's right. Dumb as posts.


Planet Simpson - Axed & Other Notes

Yeah, so I no longer appreciate Radiohead ... well their management anyway, I sure hope Thom Yorke writes this guy a cheque. OK, I forgive them, it is totally not their fault, but sheesh!

FT.com / Comment & analysis - A natural experiment by James Boyle

That bastion of leftwing anti-business commie pinko liberalism The Financial Times has an article on how well thought out US copyright policy really is. Linked to from boingboing if the ft.com link dies.

The Pirate Captain's Log

No scatalogical Star Trek jokes please. Anyway, it's really pretty funny and there is also a book. Yes, I know it's a Live Journal, forgive them father, they know not what they do.


Clientcopia : Stupid Client Quotes

Quite a nice website for you to browse through. Kinda like Stupid Pet Tricks without the intelligence.

Broken Saints

Now this, here, boys and girls, is some seriously high quality flash comic action. Check it out, co, seriously, check it out. Not only that, but they have released a 4 DVD box-set of the whole thing, with a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track. Noice. Oh, and they make a convenient little zip file available for each chapter with the flash and some extras. Also also noice.

EFF, Nonprofits Challenge Secret Government Blacklists

Are you secretly a terrorist working for a charity? Does your name sort of sound like someone who once may have looked like some guy in some grainy photo? A witch, a witch! Burn her!


Wired News: Researchers: Florida Vote Fishy

This is just another tale of woe. Sure, for the most part, voting with electronic devices went well, but as far as I am concenred, worse than if people had voted on paper. What sort of catastrophe has to happen before the agencies in charge of the elections realize that for-profit companies are _not_ the kind of organization you want controlling voting? They have a vary strong negative incentive to admit that anything went wrong, let alone actually fix anything. Open source, open hardware, a (machine & human) readable print-out that gets put into a ballot box by the voter for hand recounts. What is so hard about that? It seems _obvious_ to me. It is completely incomprehensible to me how anyone can say with a straight face that the source should be closed. And no paper trail? Hello? No justification. None at all. Zero, zip, zilch.

Letter to WIPO on stolen EFF documents

This is what copyfighters have to deal with.


Giant squid 'taking over world'

I saw a link to this article on BoingBoing the other day. I tried to find the original article, it's gone, but it's google cache remains. The bit about biomass only appears in the second sentence and no details are provided. Hrmph.

GIANTmicrobes | Ebola



The wailing of voices, wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth.

OK, I thought it was clear the left-leaning rags were supposed to be firmly against "Big Business" and strongly for the "little guy" - although not, as history has shown, in any sort of positive libertarian get-gov't-the-hell-out-of-my-face way. Still I guess it was too much to expect a major media delivery system do stick to it's good-of-society principles when it comes to copyright. Oh, and Mr Naurgiad? This is how it should be done. Pricks.

BBC - ID cards: an iCan briefing

The BBC has produced a pretty decent summary page of the issues surrounding the proposed UK ID card. I mean it's a load of crap to believe that a government IT project can be delivered on time, on budget, on target and with any degree of faith that it won;t grow into a festering wound. An all-party committee delivered a pretty damning report and the best Blunkett good extract from it was "Hey, they didn't say I was as evil as Satan - they obviously love the idea" (what they said was that he was "almost" as evil as Satan). OK, they didn't actually say that but you get my point.

NoSoftwarePatents.com - Polish Cabinet Against Software Patents

Sure they were part of the coalition of the misled, but they helped kill software patents in Europe. Go go Poland!

Google Scholar

"Stand on the shoulders of giants." A google search for journals and citations.

New Scientist Article: Clouds of pollution pictured from space�

These somewhat disturbing pictures of pollution on a massive scale led me to the NASA Earth Observatory project.

GOP Pushes Rule Change to Protect DeLay's Post

Republican's are showing once again that they view themselves as above the law and deeply, intensely, corrupt.


And thaaaar they goooo.

Well, that didn't take long now did it? The US has only a few weeks of Congress left this year and what with Senator Orrin Hatch moving on out of the Chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee there is a great deal of urgency in doing as much damage as possible to fair use and non-corporate-producer's rights in the short amount of time they have. Kinda reminds me of pate de foie gras. Ram some law down the throat of society at large and then, when we are full to bursting, kill us and eat our liver.


Stupid RSS feeds

A trimmed a bunch of RSS feeds yesterday. I am adding 2 more today. Pheh. Downhill Battle and SIVACRACY.NET: Siva Vaidhyanathan's Weblog
. I ditched a bunch of peace/anti-war stuff for some anti-Copyright. Let them die, as long as software patents die with them! Umm. Anyway.

The Diebold Variations

Inspired by an image of Stalin voting, Rand Careaga presents, for your viewing pleasure, The Diebold Variations


An interesting idea: instead of looking at the species that went extinct when that big ol' asteroid hit 60 million years ago, look at the ones that survived. Check to see if they have any modern cousins and figure out how bad the temperature drop was from what we know about their environmental tolerances. Interesting conclusion.


Adam and His Eves

Over at The Loom, Corante's science blog, Carl Zimmer writes on tracking your Y chromosome back to Adam, and your mitochondrial DNA back to Eves. Plural. It's pretty interesting. I mean, why would I bother if it wasn't right? Just to waste your time? Maybe, it is always possible that sir is underestimating my sneakiness.

Words that will come back to haunt them

Fallujah operation to end Sunday: Allawi


Juno Reactor Tour & CD

From their web site:

  • Juno Reactor will be touring USA and Canada April-May 2005

  • The sixth Juno Reactor album Labyrinth will be released mid October 2004.

Ashcroft Condemns Judges Who Question Bush

What is the word I am looking for? Oh yeah, scum.

Canadian Internet Freedom.

These 2 links: Canadaian gov't committee proposes an Internet levy & Shaw lies to customers about filtering P2P protocols get their own post.
In the first link we learn that the morally repugnant Heritage Committee is pushing further ahead with its disturbing agenda. It proposes a levy to be placed on all internet access. The levy here would cover all Internet users, including institutions that have the right to re-use work without permission or payment (like schools and libraries), and it won't confer any substantial rights upon you. I would not mind a reasonable levy (say, $5-10/month) if it allowed me to do what I liked with the material I accessed (remember, although court cases are being appealed, downloading mp3s is currently legal in Canada) but this makes no sense. Who is asking for this? Who does it benefit? What problems is it trying to mitigate? The are all questions with no sensible answers.

In the second link we learn that Shaw Cable Internet recently added routing rules that drop P2P based traffic. When a poster on DSL reports revealed that, customer support denials to the contrary, Shaw was in fact blocking the traffic, Shaw sent a nasty-gram demanding their removal.

Those statements contain information that is proprietary to Shaw and have been disclosed in breach of an employer/employee contractual relationship.
This summary from the BoingBoing entry does a good job:
Here's the facts, then:
1. Shaw is indiscriminately censoring its customers' Internet feeds. It's not blocking infringing files (hell, Shaw can't even know for certain what files are and aren't infringing for each customer), it's blocking protocols, applications used to transmit and receive tens, hundreds of millions of public-domain, copylefted and non-copyrightable works.
2. Shaw is lying about censoring its customers' Internet feeds.
3. Shaw is threatening to sue people who tell the world about its lies.
Now Shaw is offering a private subscriber service. I would say that it has the right to offer its customers whatever it wants. On the other hand, Shaw has been granted a monopoly by the CRTC as far as cable delivery goes. Customers who are dissatisfied are forced to go the DSL route. Why is it that Bell needs to share its network and allow 3rd party reselling of services but cable providers don't? Shaw, Rogers, Cogeco, and Videotron all need to be brought to heel, slapped about a bit and taught the joys of competition. The CRTC needs to be brough to heel, slapped about a bit and told in no uncertain terms that the Heritage Committee are being jerks, intruding on it's turf, and that the future lies in innovation and openness, not in a committee room where politicians belly up to the corporate donation trough and monopolists and luddites set the agenda for our future.


Today, instead of one post per link, we experimenting with what I call "too many damned links to treat individually".
This post is also strong evidence that blogger really should have topics.

Subject: EU fishery policies directly linked to bushmeat activity in Ghana
Tag:: stop with the over-fishing already
Link:: http://news.bbc.co.uk

Subject: What's the problem with e-voting?
Tag:: you should read the ever erudite Bruce Schneier
Link:: http://www.schneier.com

Subject: Some people who were there on 11:00 am, 11 Nov. 1918
Tag:: no Tag: necessary

Subject: Music and language - the nature article is about how composer's compositions follow the tonality of their language. The Scientific American article is about how people who speak tonal languages are 5 times as likely to develop perferct pitch.
Tag:: Singin' in the brain. Yes, I am quite proud of that one :)

Subject: Science & Journalism - Science strives for accuracy and the triumph of one theory over another. Modern main-stream journalism strives for fairness and balance. This results in poor science reporting.
Tag:: Fair and unbalanced
Link:: http://www.cjr.org

Subject: Disclaimers everywhere. In Georgia, evolution text books have a disclaimer about how evolution is a theory and needs to be examined closely. Now, I cannot actually complain about the disclaimer, it says only that when studying science, we should follow the scientific method. A proposal to offer a similar disclaimer to the Bible is proposed.
Tag:: What's good for the goose ...
Link:: http://www.boingboing.net

Subject: In which the US government tries to deny Indymedia standing in a court case to sue for information concerning the earlier seizure of their servers. The reason? Well the subpoena was served to Rackspace San Antonio, don't cha know, not some rable-rousing Brit!
Tag:: Papa knows best, now go to your room.
Link:: http://www.theregister.co.uk

Subject: BlogsNow - I added a new badge over to the right. The most up-to-date blog aggregator I've found.
Tag:: Badges? We don't need no stinkin' badges.
Link:: http://www.blogsnow.com

Subject: George Bush is elected on the morality ticket. And then appoints Gonzalez to replace Ashcroft. Attorney for Enron. Right.
Tag:: Moral values? Them's good eatin'!
Link:: http://www.theleftcoaster.com

Subject: Wired does these photoshops of every-day things of the future. Here for your viewing pleasure they present, an e-voting printout. Obviously I have some issues with it. Like the real-time results.
Tag:: Oh, and not so much saved personal voting history, thanks.
Link:: http://www.wired.com

Subject: In a similar fashion, futurefeedforward presents news articles from the future. Really good, funny sci-fi. Today's entry is "American Medical Association Recommends Warning Tattoos for Children". Like "Do not put in eye" on the thumb.
Tag:: It's always about the witty little taglines with you isn't it? Well, you can't have one this time.
Link:: http://www.futurefeedforward.com

Subject: 10 x 10 and Wordcount - Jonathan J. Harris makes some very interesting web sites.
Tag:: All the news that's fit to click.

Subject: Internation Networks Archive - INA is a project initiated by Professor Miguel Angel Centeno of Princeton University yada yada yada he makes really cool infographics.
Tag:: Ooo, oo oo! Oo. More maps! Yay.
Link:: http://www.princeton.edu/~ina/

Subject: The first 100 Strong Bad emails on a DVD. How do they do the easter eggs I wonder. It's 3 DVD's so it can't just be a DVD-ROM with all the flash movies.
Tag:: <sings>Christmas is coming ...</sings>
Link:: http://www.homestarrunner.com via http://www.boingboing.net

Subject: How the internet affects and is affected by exclusion politics. By William Davies, author of You Don't Know Me, but... Social Capital & Social Software.
Tag:: This one is for Lucky. OK, it's really for me, but he'd probably get off on it.
Link:: http://www.theregister.co.uk

Subject: The Register presents for your enjoyment: New Democrat Outreach Program
Tag:: Reach out and sneer
Link:: http://www.theregister.co.uk

Subject: In which a company proposes to set up a system where people use P2P to stream music over the interent. The company proposes to insert advertising into the stream to cover the streaming radio costs mandated by the lapdogs in Washington. The company proposes that people use the system to gather music over a P2P network. Legally.
Tag:: This would be pretty sweet.
Link:: http://news.com.com


No no no no no

Please please please help stop them.

NZ's future on the table

Stuff.co.nz reports that

The Government has won agreement for a review of the constitution and the role of the Treaty of Waitangi – which could include a discussion on making New Zealand a republic.
They are expected to set up an all-party select committee to consider the make-up of the constitution, including statutes of constitutional significance, the Treaty, and the roles of the Queen and the governor-general.


Economist.com | The music industry

Nyah nyah nyah nyah:

"According to an internal study done by one of the majors, between two-thirds and three-quarters of the drop in sales in America had nothing to do with internet piracy. No-one knows how much weight to assign to each of the other explanations: rising physical CD piracy, shrinking retail space, competition from other media, and the quality of the music itself. But creativity doubtless plays an important part."

CBC News: Iran has deal on nuclear program, negotiator says

Apparently the Iranians worked out a deal with France, Germany, and the UK. Strange, I don't see the helpful hand of El Shrub in there.

Best map so far

Per county, weighted for population, purple

Now I want to see a 3-D distortion of this map for 2 things:
1) Taxes paid vs federal spending.
2) % over GDP on a per-capita basis.

This would show who is getting the pork and who is making the pork.

This page was the source of those maps. There are 2 new ones at the bottom that scale non-linearly (a 70% vote is considered enough to be pure red or blue).

This conversation is continued over at Adam's Emergent Chaos where he brings up the US 16th amendment and a reasonable point. Good God man, can't you let me whine in peace? ;p

P.S. Joke, joke. I read rational stuff too.

CBC News: Hezbollah drone plane enters Israeli airspace

It seems that QNE's (I think it is safe to call Hezb'allah a terrorist organization whenever they operate outside of Lebanon but this time they were playing in their own house) are getting their hands on some interesting tech.

"A lttle patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over ... "

Bill always finds the best quotes.

Thought for today: show me where it uses the words "National Security" in the U.S. Constitution.


Windows admin made easy

Jon Udell reports on MSH. Hmmm. I hope this kids over at Mono and OO.o and Gnome and KDE (and Linus/Red Hat/Novell/Apache/IBM/Mozilla) are paying attention. I see an opportunity for gash and kash.

The Big Picture: We've gone Map Crazy!

U.S. mapaliciousness

Save Canada's Internet from WIPO

This is important. Please read this and if you are Canadian, contact whoever you can (your MP, Liza Frulla, the Heritage Committee, all of the above). Canada does _not_ need a take-down notice law that panders to copyright holders and allows no recourse or dialogue.


Part of the problem ...

More post election strategy.

Informed Comment

To more than 70% of America’s eligible votes--that is, the approximately thirty percent that voted for Bush and the forty percent that didn’t feel this situation was compelling enough to warrant their taking the time to vote--none of it really matters. America is great and strong and can do what it wants, and to hell with anyone who gets in our way, especially if they fight back.

Anti-terrorism fight eroding privacy, watchdog warns

Mmmm hmmm



Well, Mark Frauenfelder at Boing Boing is posting a modest proposal to relieve the conservative majority in the U.S. of the horrible drag that is presented by the libruhls. All sorts of interesting things are being posted today. Take a look at the ratio of fedral funding to federal taxes broken down by state:

Current deadbeat states who went for Bush: (those getting >110%+ of their tax money back)

Mississippi,Missouri,Montana,North Dakota,Oklahoma,South Carolina
South Dakota,Tennessee,Utah,Virginia,West Virginia,Wyoming

Non-deadbeat states for Bush:

Colorado,Florida,Georgia,Indiana,Nebraska,Nevada,North Carolina

Deadbeat states for Kerry:


Non-debeat states for Kerry:

New Hampshire,New Jersey,New York,Oregon,Pennsylvania
Rhode Island,Washington,Wisconsin

One last thing, does this map look familiar? Kind of makes you wonder if Lincoln would have bothered if he knew how things would turn out.

Refreshingly honest

Now, if only they could talk like this all the time. Especially on television. Over and over again.

Never Forget: Internets Vets for Truth

How very, very funereal.


[IP] more on Statistical Question

I haven't seen any follow up to this.

E-Voting News and Analysis, from the Experts

This and this show that this is not as important today as it was on Monday. Still, work needs to be done.

Sensor System Enables Real-Time Imaging of Audiotape Tampering

Very interesting news about an obsolete technology.

Novus Ordo Mundi

Of course, according to this map I don't need to worry about where I buy my wines.

FT.com Op-Eds on OSS

Richard Epstein's piece Why open source is unsustainable is now followed by a counterpoint by James Boyle: Give me liberty and give me death?

South o' the border

With every passing day several US deficits increase: trade, budget, and goodwill. This election may become the turning point in the US empire, the point where they begin their long slow painful slide into global irrelevance, eclipsed by the rising star of Asia.

I can only hope.

One question remains. Do I still buy Californian wines?

Yanks continue wiping their bum with the rest of the world.

The United States has a significant inventory of retired ships, including at least 125 obsolete military vessels in its 'ghost fleet.'

'The U.S. government fought this decision all the way,' said Townsley. The U.S. has not ratified the Basel Convention that went in effect in 1992 and is not obligated to follow its rules.

Spamusement! Poorly-drawn cartoons inspired by actual spam subject lines!

Because today you need to laugh.


Strange Horizons Fiction: The Great Old Pumpkin, by John Aegard

I always thought that there was something fishy about Peanuts.

Because governments should be fair and balanced :)

Responding to proposed bill C-17, Senator Joseph Day has introduced S-9, an attempt to grant copyright of all photography (including domestic and personal images) to the photographer. That's right, I hope you have received authorization to post those wedding photos.TheStar.com - Who should own your wedding pictures?

Bill C-17

John Ibbitson at the Globe and Mail writes this opinion piece: Let's remember Prohibition -- and legalize marijuana. C-17 is a start but needs to go further. The whole crop cycle should be legalized. No country which allows the sale of alcohol and tobacco has a moral leg to stand on when it comes to marijuana. I say nothing (here) about other drugs but let us just say that I am something of a libertarian on the issue. C-16, which allows road-side urine or saliva tests is a bit disturbing, but at least the saliva test is no more intrusive than a breathalyzer.

Whatdya mean, free software?

Robin Bloor has an article listing the perils of an OSS IT solution. My problem with the article is that it lists problems as if they would not apply in the closed-source world. Not true I say:

# Open source quality is not guaranteed.
Whereas close-source is? The bug-free Microsoft OSes is the obvious shining example of that I guess.

# There is no standard open source license. The Open Source license is not a commercial contract and this may mean that the user is exposed to some legal risks.
No license is a contract. It is a license. As you point out there are as many close-source licenses as there are close-source companies. At least in the OSS there is one license much more common than others.

# Open source does present some legal risks.
# Legal Indemnification.
I'll take these together. Read all of the closed-source click-through licenses that you agreed to when installing all of your windows software (assuming that you use it ... take someone elses if you don't). Count the number of times that those click-throughs disclaim any responsibility or liability. Count the number of times that they offer indemnification. What is that you say? You can see no mention of indemnification in any of them? Shocked, I say shocked!

# Vendor support.
Have you ever actually tried to get support from a software company? In my experience the user community is the best place to look for help. Bean-counters and lawyers like a safety net, sure, but you can get that in the OSS world too ... an expensive contract with someone that you never use because they are mostly clueless.



1-Box to serve them all

An interesting story to keep an eye on. Using a simple x86 box with multiple KVM support running linux to support multiple simultaneous users. Popular in educational/library circles.

Environmental good news/bad news

Environment Minister Stephane Dion wants to plant trees and flowers on the roof of every federal building, and wants the government to consider tax incentives to dissuade Canadians from driving gas-guzzling cars.

The federal and provincial environment ministers arrive in Ottawa Monday to talk about the implementation of the Kyoto climate change accord, a document Quebec has not signed. Only four Canadian provinces and territories have agreed to the proposed climate change protocol.

The Mystery of the Coca Plant That Wouldn't Die

See, I think that some Saskatchewan farmers should head down to Columbia to pick up some of this Roundup resistant coca and cross breed it with their grain crops. That would sure piss of Monsanto now wouldn't it?

Google plugs hole