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Mike the Usurper
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Current Topic: Technology

Saudi Muslim cleric warns that biofuels could be sinful |
Topic: Technology 7:53 pm EST, Feb 23, 2009

A prominent Muslim scholar in Saudi Arabia has warned that those using alcohol-based biofuels in their cars could be committing a sin.

What, my car is going to get drunk? Hey, I'm against ethanol because it doesn't work, sure, you can run a car on it, but you're pumping a gallon of gas into the tractor to make the gallon of gas out of the corn. That doesn't make a lot of sense. But this? This is heading into "My imaginary friend can beat up your imaginary friend" territory.

Saudi Muslim cleric warns that biofuels could be sinful |

When Your Credit Card Signature Fun Backfires
Topic: Technology 5:03 pm EST, Feb 12, 2009

I started out modest by signing with a line or an "X". Occasionally I would do last name first. After a couple of months, I became bolder. I wrote goofy shit, drew pictures, etc. Here's a list of some of my favorite signatures over the past few months:


Today I went the extra mile. When it came time to sign my name, a thought popped in my head. I should draw a picture. But what picture should I draw? I smirked as something completely juvenile came to me. This is a rough drawing of the signature that I provided:


gold star

Made me laugh on a conference call

Thank you for making me spray my keyboard.

When Your Credit Card Signature Fun Backfires

Study: Heart devices can be hacked -
Topic: Technology 2:49 pm EDT, Mar 18, 2008

In the model researchers studied, transmissions from the defibrillator to the bedside monitor are not encrypted, which means that someone intercepting the transmissions could retrieve such data as the patient's birth date, medical ID number and, in some cases, Social Security number.

Okay... Let's start with, what the hell is a pacemaker doing with that information? I can see where some of that information might be in the monitor, but I can't see ANY reason someone's SSN would be in it.

Now, they do bring up a better issue later on, someone could hack the machine to kill someone with one. That's an excellent blackmail plot, kill a couple of people and then do "send us this much cash or we'll shut yours down" or if you're of a terrorist bent, build a bollix to trigger every single one in the transmission radius. I imagine that could cause complete havoc.

(and yes, I know it's not a pacemaker, not the point)

not really an update: Please don't send DHS crawling up my ass over this, if I could think of this without even blinking hard, someone else could too, and they likely have the networking know how to actually do it, which I don't, so please DHS, go bother the people actually looking at stuff like this.

Study: Heart devices can be hacked -

Time Warner to test Internet billing based on usage - Yahoo! News
Topic: Technology 2:47 pm EST, Jan 17, 2008

The second largest U.S. cable operator said it will test consumption-based billing with subscribers in Beaumont, Texas later this year as a part of a strategy to help reduce congestion of its network by a minority of consumers who pay the same monthly fee as light users.

Way to go. Let's take a step back to how things worked 12 years ago. Riiiight.

Time Warner to test Internet billing based on usage - Yahoo! News

BBC NEWS | Technology | US backing for two-tier internet
Topic: Technology 10:34 pm EDT, Sep  7, 2007

The US Justice Department has said that internet service providers should be allowed to charge for priority traffic.

The agency said it was opposed to "network neutrality", the idea that all data on the net is treated equally.

Okay, I'm a bit confused here. I can see where FCC, ICC or hell even the DoD, or SEC might espouse an opinion on this, but WTF is DoJ doing sticking their ASS in on this one?

BBC NEWS | Technology | US backing for two-tier internet

FTC abandons net neutrality -
Topic: Technology 4:02 pm EDT, Jul  6, 2007

The FTC said in a report that, despite popular support for net neutrality, it was minded to let the market sort out the issue.

This means that the organisation will not stand in the way of companies using differential pricing to make sure that some websites can be viewed more quickly than others. The report also counsels against net neutrality legislation.

So much for equality.

FTC abandons net neutrality -

PC World - Seagate Ships Super-Secure Hard Disk Drive
Topic: Technology 2:15 pm EDT, Mar 12, 2007

Putting encryption into a hard drive is no mere security window-dressing. According to Seagate, any U.S. company that loses a laptop using the Seagate drive in conjunction with the launch security management system from Wave Systems, will not have to give public notification of the loss, even if the data is of a highly confidential nature.

This is cool. Next question, is there a government mandated backdoor that will mean it's all for naught?

PC World - Seagate Ships Super-Secure Hard Disk Drive

Boing Boing: UK RFID passports cracked
Topic: Technology 5:13 pm EST, Nov 17, 2006

UK security experts have cracked the sooper sekure new UK biometric passports. It took 48 hours. With 174 worth of sniffer hardware, attackers can read all the personal information off of any of the three million new UK passports in circulation

Boing Boing: UK RFID passports cracked :: Some convinced insects could be used to detect bombs
Topic: Technology 5:18 pm EDT, Aug  4, 2006

The researchers believe they are on the verge of perfecting a briefcase-size system that can be carried around and deployed easily, using laser technology to track bees that have been trained to find explosives.

I'm not sure how the hell you train bees, and the 150 yards the laser system works to isn't all that far when you're talking about a mine field, but if it's actually doable it sounds cool. :: Some convinced insects could be used to detect bombs

The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time - Yahoo! News
Topic: Technology 2:24 pm EDT, May 26, 2006

Though America Online has shown some improvement lately--with better browsers and e-mail tools, fewer obnoxious ads, scads of broadband content, and innovative features such as parental controls--it has never overcome the stigma of being the online service for people who don't know any better.

Heh. No punches really getting pulled here.

The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time - Yahoo! News

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