Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Scott Adams on voting machines.


Now dont get me wrong theres a 100% chance that the voting machines will
get hacked and all future elections will be rigged. But that doesnt mean
well get a worse government. It probably means that the choice of the next
American president will be taken out of the hands of deep-pocket,
autofellating, corporate shitbags and put it into the hands of some
teenager in Finland. How is that not an improvement? "

Statistically speaking, any hacker who is skilled enough to rig the
elections will also be smart enough to select politicians that believe in
. . . oh, lets say for example, science.

Is it too late to start selling bumper stickers that say 'I think I

Sunday, October 29, 2006

myspace hacked?

From http://news.netcraft.com/

Netcraft has discovered that the social networking site, MySpace, appears
to have been compromised by phishers who have presented a spoof login form
on the main site. This modified login form is designed to submit the
victim's username and password to a remote server hosted in France.

Netcraft has notified MySpace of the issue, although it currently remains
live. Because the fraudulent login page is hosted on MySpace's own servers
and does not exhibit any signs of external content, such as cross-site
scripting (XSS) or open redirects, it is convincing and even
security-conscious users are at risk of becoming victims.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Robert X. Cringely's Hard Drive news

Mark told me about this. It sounds pretty amazing. It sounds good. So
good that it might be vapor-ware. It is coming from Cringely and he tends
to be pretty credible.


He comments:

Who needs flash in general as a mass storage technology? Our 10-gigabyte
0.85-inch drive can spin up, read or write data, then shut down again,
all in less time than it takes to perform the same task using flash
while being just as resistant to shock damage and more resistant to
heat. That 10-gig drive will cost $24 compared to $240 for 10 gigs of
flash, so we expect that our technology will be used for any
application requiring more than 2-gigs of storage. The obvious market
here is mobile phones, which will become media storage devices.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Housing crash in the USA.

Preamble: this is about housing markets and economics. Skip it if that
bores you.

Historically in the few years following a stock market crash the housing
market booms and busts. (This might be a North American trend.)
Disclaimer: off the top of my head I don't recall where I heard this.

Stocks prices in North America took a dive in the early 2000s. There were
big things with Nortel, Enron, World Com for example.

There was also the "dot com" crash when people finally had to admit stocks
were over-valued and there is no "new economy". Okay, you don't have to
admit those things to yourself but a number of people lost a lot of money.

1) That's the first thing that kind of supports rising prices being a

A while ago I read about "the housing bubble" at

It is a very interesting argument. The problem is with too much debt
being built up in the economy. It reads:

In recent years, despite the recession, housing prices have risen by
over 43 percent. ... Mortgage rates are at a 40-year low. ... A
major sign that we are in a housing bubble is the fact that fewer people
can afford homes. ... A housing bubble needs a steady stream of
thirsty home buyers.

Just that last bit starts to sound like a "Ponzi scheme".

2) That article argues there is a bubble with housing prices.

Just now I came across an Associated Press article from a few hours ago
that reads:

Is this what a housing bust looks like? New home prices fell last month
by the largest amount in 35 years and owners are being warned to brace
for further declines, especially in formerly hot markets.


The sharp slowdown in housing follows an extended boom in which the
lowest mortgage rates in four decades powered sales of both new and
existing homes to records for five consecutive years

Read todays article over at

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Anyone in Smallville has the power to wake up.

If your team is unreasonably resistant to change, more often than not, they can be reignited. All you need to do is press on that part where they are passionate.

Epsilon-Delta » Are You on a Pleasantville Team?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sadness is just another word for not enough coffee.

I don't know if I can attach images. If not the URL to visit is

Kevin Poulsen in the news.


Police in Suffolk County, N.Y., recently caught a registered sex offender
trolling for underage boys on MySpace, thanks to some code written by
former hacker and current Wired editor Kevin Poulsen.

Poulsen wrote an automated script that scanned the social networking site
for predators, using data taken from the Web site of the Department of
Justice's National Sex Offender Registry. Poulsen claims to have found 744
sex offenders with MySpace profiles so far, including 497 who have been
registered for sex crimes against children.

It sounds like a pretty impressive script but it looks like it might have
just searched for the first and last names of known offenders.


Apple iPods now come with viruses

Apple says that a "small number" of video iPods, produced after September
12th 2006, were infected with the RavMonE.exe virus.


Am I the only one that is struggeling to work from home?

If you work at home or are thinking about doing it check out this thread.


It starts out:

Here are my symptoms:
- A complete lack of structure of the day
- F*c**d up sleeping pattern... Getting up way to late, staying up way
to late.
- Don't know when work begins and don't know when it ends.
- Lack of motivation...
- Extremely hard to build discipline
- Loneliness
- Can't concentrate during the day... alot better at night...
- Feelings of frustration because you can't get to it...

Hyperscope - a high-performance thought processor

The HyperScope is a high-performance thought processor that enables you to navigate, view, and link to documents in sophisticated ways. It's the brainchild of Doug Engelbart, the inventor of hypertext and the mouse, and is the first step towards his larger vision for an Open Hyperdocument System.

- http://hyperscope.org/

I wonder how many people would buy this shirt.

The shirt reads "This shirt cost $100".


If someone buys one you make around $85.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

ESR's take on Python


This is probably the third time I've run across this article, but every time I skim it and smile at how well he sums it up for me:

So the real punchline of the story is this: weeks and months after writing fetchmailconf, I could still read the fetchmailconf code and grok what it was doing without serious mental effort. And the true reason I no longer write Perl for anything but tiny projects is that was never true when I was writing large masses of Perl code. I fear the prospect of ever having to modify keeper or anthologize again -- but fetchmailconf gives me no qualms at all.

The same things happen to me: About half way through my masters degree, I realized that I couldn't stomach writing significant amounts of new code in C++. So I switched to python for a few projects. I rarely code anymore, it's just thesis writing. But sometimes I need to generate new results, new figures, something that I can't generate with my current programs. When this happens and I can use my python program ... I don't have any concerns about doing it. I fear the day that I have to maintain my C++ program that I wrote.

Pythonic Success after PHP Failure


From the article -
After a couple of years, the result was a big, un-maintainable mess of thousands of PHP pages and modules that had been written and maintained primarily by one person. The limits of PHP (then version 3) had been stretched thin, the system was too much for one person to maintain, and it was difficult to bring in new people to help with it.
Our first attempt to update the system came when PHP version 4 was released. This release promised better object oriented capabilities, and the time was right for Rackspace to dedicate more people to the project.

Memory leaks, inconsistent interfaces, inconsistent internal data model, randomly freed objects, multiple object copies despite explicit use of references, internal PHP errors, and untraceable code failures all but made the task impossible to accomplish in PHP.

Even after we achieved a relatively stable code base, we were nowhere near our goal of Core Objects Reused Everywhere because we had to depart from pure object-oriented methods just to work around the problems inherent in PHP. It became clear that PHP was unsuitable for our large scale, mission critical projects. A new solution had to be found.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I've said it before and I'll say it again... I *HEART* Google

Yes yes, you all know how much I love Google, but docs.google.com is really cool!
... Multiple people can view and make changes at the same time. There's an on-screen chat window for spreadsheets, and document revisions show you exactly who changed what, and when...

You can publish your documents and spreadsheets online with one click, as normal-looking web pages, to just a few people or no one...

Even if they didn't continue providing me with the tools I've always wanted, what's not to love?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Female Web Gamers Outnumber Males 2 to 1

"Female Web Gamers Outnumber Males 2 to 1". Or at least that is what the headline reads. I find it surprising if not hard to believe.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

How do python people get by without sigils?

Just a thought but a lack of sigils makes python code look a bit funny. :)

I also wrote some C code today and that looked a bit odd too. :)

Indian physicist puts a PC with a high speed internet connection in a wall in the slums.

Hussein sent me this link the other day. I finally got around to reading it. (It's also now on reddit.com.)

It's really interesting. Brilliant. Go read it at http://www.greenstar.org/butterflies/Hole-in-the-Wall.htm .

I tried another experiment. I went to a middle-class school and chose some ninth graders, two girls and two boys. I called their physics teacher in and asked him, "What are you going to teach these children next year at this time?" He mentioned viscosity. I asked him to write down five possible exam questions on the subject. I then took the four children and said, "Look here guys. I have a little problem for you." They read the questions and said they didn't understand them, it was Greek to them. So I said, "Here's a terminal. I'll give you two hours to find the answers."

Then I did my usual thing: I closed the door and went off somewhere else.

They answered all five questions in two hours. The physics teacher checked the answers, and they were correct. That, of itself, doesn't mean much. But I said to him, "Talk to the children and find out if they really learned something about this subject." So he spent half an hour talking to them. He came out and said, "They don't know everything about this subject or everything I would teach them. But they do know one hell of a lot about it. And they know a couple of things about it I didn't know."

It appears adults did not learn as much about the computer as the children did.

The only reaction we got from adults was, "What on earth is this for? Why is there no one here to teach us something? How are we ever going to use this?" I contend that by the time we are 16, we are taught to want teachers, taught that we cannot learn anything without teachers.
- Sugata Mitra

Parents "object to the language" used in Fahrenheit 451

Disclaimer: I feel Fahrenheit 451 is an important book for students to read and understand. I happen to like the book. If you haven't read it in a few years I recommend reading it again.

I'm not sure why I didn't find anything in the book offensive when time and time again I hear people complaining about it. Maybe people don't like how the book describes the popular desire to purhcase more and more televisions and spend time watching television with your "family" who are just characters on the screen.

Anyhow another family is complaining about the book being read in school.

It's just all kinds of filth," said Alton Verm, adding that he had not read "Fahrenheit 451." "The words don't need to be brought out in class. I want to get the book taken out of the class."

He looked through the book and found the following things wrong with the book: discussion of being drunk, smoking cigarettes, violence, "dirty talk," references to the Bible and using God's name in vain.

By chance:
Alton Verm's request to ban "Fahrenheit 451" came during the 25th annual Banned Books Week. He and Hines said the request to ban "Fahrenheit 451," a book about book burning, during Banned Books Weeks is a coincidence.


vmware player


One of Tavis's friends posted this earlier. I thought someone might find it interesting.


I Rock at BASIC

How in the world wide web did I not know about the 'I Rock at BASIC' t-shirt?

So crazy it just might work!

Applying Test-Driven Development principles to your life?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Magnetic resonance imaging of male and female genitals during coitus

Today I was looking for magnetic viewing paper. If you don't know what that is I recommend looking at the pictures over at http://www.matchrockets.com/ether/magfilm.html.

Related to magnetic viewing paper is something called ferrofluid. Read about it at http://www.wondermagnet.com/ferro.html

When I googled for "magnetic viewing paper" it returned a link to some research that showed "[t]aking magnetic resonance images of the male and female genitals during coitus is feasible and contributes to understanding of anatomy."

I didn't know that. In fact I had never given it any thought.


Loopt launches

loopt turns your cell phone into a friend finder
with detailed maps that show exactly who is where.
Put your friends on the map. See where they are & what they're doing.
Put yourself on the map. Show your friends where you are and what you're doing.


I think it's kind of dumb idea and by that I mean I can't imagine using this. I'm busy enough as it is, why would I take time to type into my cell phone to update where I am and what I'm doing?

That said it's kind of a neat idea. I imagine some kids will use it. It might be popular. I can't say for sure.

The other day I was driving and my phone started to ring. I was rather occupied and not about to go digging in my pocket to get my phone. I had the thought that it might be nice if my phone knew when I was in my car and could customize my voice mail message. Then again that just tells someone why I might not have answered the phone. I'm not sure what value that really adds.

Cringely on "unlmited" internet access.