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Current Topic: Technology

Movie of NASA's Socially Interactive Robot
Topic: Technology 9:10 am EDT, Apr  8, 2005

Now this is just plain ________.

a. cool
b. freaky
c. playing God
d. all of the above

17MB, so don't bother unless you're on a decent connection. Very interesting video, though.


Movie of NASA's Socially Interactive Robot

Futurismic: Fiction
Topic: Technology 9:05 am EST, Jan  4, 2005

] Reenie's head chip woke her by steadily increasing
] the perceived volume of a song by a British comedy
] troupe. Lots of trippy dreams last night. She
] couldn't remember them all this morning, but she was
] sure they were cool. She rolled out of bed and prepared
] for her "Commute" to the adjoining room. Reenie
] loved her job, well, as much as she could love any job.
] She got to work from home as much as she liked.
] Avoiding the mirror, she slipped on her jeans from
] yesterday and a sweatshirt. She had bought some new comfy
] clothes over the past week. For some goofy reason, all
] she seemed to have in her closet were suits and foreign
] yuppie wear, which were just not her. Maybe she could
] donate them to the homeless.
] Reenie's home workspace was a chaos of unwashed
] laundry, cola cans and papers. As she savored her morning
] A-1 Cola, she decided to interface with the office, make
] sure nothing was going on. "Good morning, Beth.
] How's things?"

If you liked "Ownz0red" by Cory Doctorow, which many of you did, you will definitely like this quick little 10 minute read. Futurismic is collecting short sci-fi stories and putting them on the web.


Futurismic: Fiction

Ankle band tracks DUI offenders
Topic: Technology 9:23 am EST, Dec 21, 2004

] The anklet, called a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol
] Monitor (SCRAM), will stay attached to the 46-year-old
] man for at least 90 days, testing his perspiration for
] the presence of alcohol every hour and transmitting the
] results to a monitor/modem device once a day.
] The modem then sends the information to a company in
] Colorado that puts the results on the Internet so
] England's probation officer can see if he's consumed any
] alcohol.

On one hand, I can see this as being a great alternative to someone that has made a huge mistake, such as driving drunk. On the other hand, though, it's promoting a prohibition era type of mentality in that drinking is targeted as the offense, not drinking and driving. It seems like a much better mechanism would be a cut-off device for a vehicle that requires the owner to blow into it before it will start - I've read of these before. It also doesn't address alcoholism in a logical manner, because alcoholism is a disease rather than a simple choice. Drinking and driving can easily be stopped cold turkey, so to speak, by taking away the driving privelege. Then there's the issue of privacy - it's one thing to pay for your crime, it's another to potentially have your identity online just waiting to be duplicated by an ID thief. There's no detail as to what information is available to parole officers, but if it's online, it becomes a potential target for thieves.

Oh, well, enough ranting on this one topic for now. I'm sure others will jump in and carry the torch.

Ankle band tracks DUI offenders

Videos from PhreakNIC 7 Online
Topic: Technology 9:19 pm EST, Nov 10, 2003

PhreakNIC, for those of you raised by wolves, is an annual technology and culture exhibition (the kinder, gentler name for "Hacker Convention") in Nashville, TN. This year's event is all over, except for a few blood tests that we're still awaiting results on, but if you missed it you can catch some of the events through the video feeds. Wilpig was nice enough to set up a recorder on ConTV, but unfortunately it crashed a couple of times. Some of the best attended talks were lost.

Seriously, just download the .avi files, as they are smaller (DiVX Format) and have been edited. The raw .wmv files are labeled based on the original schedule, not the actual execution of such schedule. For instance, the cable feed wasn't set up for the Welcome, so if you download it you'll be cursing at the fact that you have an hour of Nashville Tourism commercials.

Videos from PhreakNIC 7 Online Technology | An open invitation to election fraud
Topic: Technology 7:19 am EDT, Sep 23, 2003

] Activists have also questioned the political affiliations
] of the leading voting companies. Late last year, Harris
] found that Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican, used
] to run the voting company that provided most of the
] voting machines in his state. And in August, the
] Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that Walden O'Dell, the
] CEO of Diebold, is a major fundraiser for President Bush.
] In a letter to fellow Republicans, O'Dell said that he
] But the problems Harris found in Diebold's system are
] perhaps the best proof yet that electronic voting systems
] aren't ready for prime time. Indeed, the vulnerabilities
] in the software, as well as the internal memos, raise
] questions about the legitimacy of the California recall
] election. In its ruling, the 9th Circuit Court put the
] election on hold until the six counties that currently
] use punch-card systems -- six counties that comprise 44
] percent of the state's voters -- upgrade their systems.
] On Monday, 11 judges on the 9th Circuit reheard the
] recall case; they may very well allow the election to go
] ahead on Oct. 7. If the recall vote is put on hold until
] March, however, many may wonder whether to trust the
] results: Four of the six punch-card counties -- including
] the largest, Los Angeles and San Diego -- have plans to
] upgrade to Diebold machines by March.

Very good article, with links to Diebold's internal memos, on the electronic voting systems. Technology | An open invitation to election fraud

Drunken Coding Competition @ PN-7
Topic: Technology 3:51 pm EDT, Aug 26, 2003

Following are the few defined rules for Drunken Coding:

* All contestants must be 21 years of age or older, as proven by a State or Federal issued ID, just like if you were in a bar, buddy.
* If you drove, don't be an ass hat. Give us your keys.
* Judging is far from fair and impartial, just so you know.
* Each contestant is responsible for getting into "Game Condition" on their own. Also known as BYOB.
* Before entry, each contestant must declare their topic and language, just in case they need to be reminded later what in the hell they are trying to do. You can always change it later if so desired. Any language and topic will be allowed.
* At each checkpoint within the contest, each contestant must qualify by blowing a 0.08 or higher on a blood alcohol content breath analyzer (provided by the contest). Don't worry, the alcohol will sterilize the tip.
* Late entries will be accepted from those with entertaining excuses, just remember that the judges will also be drunk, so "entertaining" is subject to change.

come on guys, you know you all want to enter...

Drunken Coding Competition @ PN-7

Truncat - A New Short Story by Cory Doctorow
Topic: Technology 7:19 am EDT, Aug 26, 2003

What if you could file-share someone's consciousness? Would it be a violation, or the ultimate communication therapy?

That's all I'll quote. You go read the rest.

Truncat - A New Short Story by Cory Doctorow

Microsoft Is Using Linux To Protect Its Own Web Site
Topic: Technology 2:03 pm EDT, Aug 21, 2003

According to a post on the Netcraft Web site, Microsoft changed its DNS settings on Friday so that requests for no longer resolve to machines on Microsoft's own network, but instead are handled by the Akamai caching system, which runs Linux.

Microsoft using a Linux service is ironic, given that Microsoft has identified Linux as its biggest competitor. In a conference call with analysts last month, company CFO John Connors ranked Linux as the #2 risk faced by the company. The #1 risk was the general economic environment, Connors said. Nearly one in five small and mid-sized businesses are using Linux on the desktop.

Heh, first the problems with switching from FreeBSD to Windows NT at, now having to eat crow and use Linux as a front end with the Blaster worm. I really hope that IT Directors figure out how much crap they've been fed by the marketing machine. Oh, wait, never mind. Peter principle.

Microsoft Is Using Linux To Protect Its Own Web Site

Air Osama
Topic: Technology 11:31 am EDT, Jul 23, 2003

Tonight's flight, like so many others, has been pure routine. We were wheels-up right on time out of LAX, air traffic control hasn't delayed us in holding patterns or vectored us to Hoboken and back, and the 320 Airbus we're driving is a snappy bird that more or less flies by itself -- pilots call it the "bionic budgie." The Flight Management and Guidance Computer, programmed with the same route American Pacific always uses for this haul, has handled all the navigation, and I haven't touched the stick since 10 seconds after takeoff.

Except that a few things are very wrong. First, my gin and tonic is tinkling softly on the center console. Second, my copilot is an orange-and-white tabby. Third, a car alarm keeps going off nearby. Fourth, I don't have a pilot's license. Fifth, I'm not wearing pants.

An article raising the question that I've been wondering for quite some time - why bother taking flying lessons on a Cessna and asking how it differs from a 727 when you could just get the lastest copy of Flight Sim and see for yourself?

So far, The FBI doesn't seem concerned about the threat posed by flight-simulation games, but that may be because they've been focusing their attention elsewhere. The bureau's Civil Aviation Unit doesn't actively patrol the industry, relying instead on tips from concerned citizens. When I called the public relations office to ask them about the realism of my A320 simulation experience, an agent fielded the inquiry with a slightly patronizing tone until I directed her to a Web site featuring several screen shots of the virtual A320 flight deck.

There was a long pause. Then, with a nervous laugh, she said, "I've never seen this before."

Air Osama

RE: Spam Filtering
Topic: Technology 12:06 pm EDT, Jul 20, 2003

Decius wrote:

] What systems are you using? How effective are they?

Personally, I'm using SpamAssassin with both the Bayesian Filters and Vipul's Razor. Razor is the implementation that creates a checksum on the message and compares it against a database of reported spam from others. This may be the collaborative system you were trying to remember the name of.

I have only once gotten a false positive with SpamAssassin, and that was in a message from Network Solutions. Go figure. Their email asking me to confirm that I wanted to transfer my domain away from them was ridden with spam-terms.

I still get about 10 spams per day that make it through the filters. If you're concerned about legitimate mail not making it through, you can change the sensitivity level of SpamAssassin from the default, which is 5.0 on a 10.0 scale, I believe.


RE: Spam Filtering

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