Tuesday, February 28, 2006

US and Canadian skiers get smart armour

http://www.newscientist.com/article

A futuristic flexible material that instantly hardens into armour upon impact will protect US and Canadian skiers from injury on the slalom runs at this year's Winter Olympics.
The lightweight bendable material, known as d3o, can be worn under normal ski clothing. It will provide protection for US and Canadian skiers taking part in slalom and giant slalom races in Turin, Italy. Skiers normally have to wear bulky arm and leg guards to protect themselves from poles placed along the slalom run.

I'm not quite sure how it works but I love this potential for the product

Another potential application may be sound-proofing. The propagation of sound waves should generate a similar strain to an impact, so it may be feasible to create a material that becomes more sound proof in response to increasing noise. "It could have some very interesting, unexplored properties," Green says.

Having intelligent materials at a mollecular level sounds outrageous and I'd love to know how it really works but it looks like they have real products available already
http://www.d3o.com/product

The future for product designers has to be outrageously bright with technology like this becoming available.

Cheers,
Dean

Saturday, February 25, 2006

KFC technique to fight for DVR mind share

What's the secret of that KFC commercial?
Advertisement designed to make viewers slow down -- viewing, anyway

No, not that secret.

Colonel Sanders' herbs-and-spices recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken is still safely locked away, but the chain unveiled a new TV ad Thursday that allows viewers to crack a hidden message if they play the 30 second spot back slowly on a digital video recorder or VCR. The gimmick is aimed at countering the rise of technology that enables television viewers to skip past commercials faster than ever before.

"This is taking the exact opposition approach -- rewarding viewers for taking the time to engage and be interactive with television," said Tom O'Keefe, an executive at Foote Cone & Belding, the advertising agency that created the spot for KFC Corp.

For those savvy enough to solve the secret, the prize is a coupon for KFC's new, sauce-drenched Buffalo Snacker chicken sandwich. The 99-cent Snacker debuted a year ago and is credited in KFC's earnings rebound.
http://www.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/TV/02/24/kfcsecret.ap/index.html

I wish i had balls the size of the advertising exec who pitched this to the client :)

Yes we are going to market a secret keyword to people watching our ads but btw only 20% of them have dvr's and will be able to pause the screen frame by frame to view it.

The other 80% aren't even going to know there was a keyword there.

This is an excellent advertising concept and shows how creative types really can come up with techniques to utilise the oncoming (sometimes feared) technology.
Dealing with technologies on the edge I so often that I hear "the sky is falling" or "it's the end as we know it".
This is an excellent example of how people, humans, creative types (often driven by roi or excess budget that has to be spent somewhere) ...will always overcome, will always adapt.

I think this is an excellent example of how new technologies can help us, can inspire us and even from time to time make us reach deeper inside ourselves for an even more creative solution than we would have thought of in the first place.

Next time you get stopped by something, pause, look around and think how can I take advantage of this in a way that will astound.
Cheers,
Dean
P.S. interesting article about insertion of Clues into the Lost advertisements
http://www.pvrblog.com/pvr/2006/05/tonights_lost_i.html
P.P.S Check out GE's latest PVR busting advertisement
http://www.ge.com/onesecondtheater/

Wouldn't it be great for the last 30 frames from the last second of a TV ad spot be used for advanced information delivery.
What a great opportunity to put up 30 pages of url's, graphs, phone numbers, comparison pricing...recipes using your product etc etc.
Besides worse case scenario ...think of the free press you would get just the way KFC did. Big Balls I say...definitely got to appreciate them.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Sony DRM Debacle Part 2

It’s a bit technical but this is a follow up to my post on the 11th of November last year about the Sony DRM rootkit.

Basically this article talks about how they have managed to externally query Sony’s cache servers to determine where in the world has been affected by the Sony DRM Rootkit.

Look at the Europe picture here http://drm_sony_europe.JPG

So now the hackers dont even need to do wide scale internet 'trawling' for computers that have been infected by the root kit installation, they can now query the Sony cache servers and look up your ip addresses directly and head straight for your computer to hack in via the gaping unprotected hole Sony installed.

If you haven't uploaded the patch by now you deserve what you get, you have been warned.

This has to go down in history as one of the ‘mistakes of the internet’ like the purchase of Petfood.com


Cheers,
Dean



http://www.doxpara.com/

They're Here...
Submitted by Dan Kaminsky on Wed, 2005-11-16 02:27.
Some pretty extensive, even mainstream coverage (New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Wired News) on this whole Planet Sony Rootkit Metrics project. Cool! Now, if only I could get the chance to look through the actual logs...

Welcome To Planet Sony
Submitted by Dan Kaminsky on Tue, 2005-11-15 09:28.

Sony.

Sony has a rootkit.

The rootkit phones home.

Phoning home requires a DNS query.

DNS queries are cached.

Caches are externally testable (great paper, Luis!), provided you have a list of all the name servers out there.

It just so happens I have such a list, from the audits I've been running from http://deluvian.doxpara.com/ .

So what did I find?
Much, much more than I expected.

It now appears that at least 568,200 nameservers have witnessed DNS queries related to the rootkit. How many hosts does this correspond to? Only Sony (and First4Internet) knows...unsurprisingly, they are not particularly communicative. But at that scale, it doesn't take much to make this a multi-million host, worm-scale Incident. The process of discovering this has led to some significant advances in the art of cache snooping. Here are some of the factors I've dealt with:

Just because you *request* the disabling of recursion, doesn't mean it'll actually happen. A full 353,200 name servers had to be excluded from the final tally because not only would recursive queries emit from them whether or not they were desired, but they'd also notify their neighbors of the results.

Low TTL names exist, and are rather difficult to catch by cache snooping (they expire before you can find proof of life). However, they may be hosted by names that last much longer -- updates.xcp-aurora.com has a lifespan of an hour, but xcp-aurora.com's NS link to resolver1.first4internet.co.uk will last 150,000 seconds.

Some hosts lie -- captive portals, I'm looking at you. Simply filtering TTL's that are divisible by 100 has a way of eliminating most of them; after that, you're left with surprisingly few NS's that lie about IP.

I also have an IP->Geographic data, courtesy of Mike Schiffman's libipgeo and the fine folks at IP2Location, who have a very impressive database. So, the first thing I did was geolocate the data. After dispensing with the raw stats gather...

What can I say? Pretty pictures. Ugly data, but pretty pictures!
USA
Asia
Europe

And the tool used to make this? Welcome To Planet Sony! (based on Partiview in general and the always awesome PlanetLab's work in particular)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Smart Sigs

You know what I mean, from time to time you see a really smart signature (or tag line) on an online posting and you just splurt out laughing, I'll post a few of them here at this post as I see them but this one cracked me up


--Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.........



BTW if you are looking for smart sigs, the epicenter of the universe has to be one of my favourite sites http://slashdot.org

Cheers,
Dean

Monday, February 13, 2006

HDCP Fiasco

Wow, this is a sleeping bomb if I ever saw one. Someone deserves to get strung up about this.

http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/ati_nvidia_hdcp_support/

Basically what this article means in plain english is that in 2007 when Windows Vista is released that every video card you have bought before today and almost every monitor you have bought before today (well there are 10 available in todays market) will only be able to display 1/4 of it's display capability.

If you want to watch movies at 1980x1080, your system will need to support HDCP. If you don’t have HDCP support, you’ll only get a quarter of the resolution. A 75% loss in pixel density is a pretty big deal – Wouldn’t you be angry if your car was advertised as doing 16 mpg, and you only got 4 mpg? Or if you bought a 2 GHz CPU and found out that it only ran at 500 MHz?

Some of these video cards cost $500 and basically they are now worthless as none of them are HDCP compliant even though they were advertised as such (and some have been for the last 2 years).

This insanity out of Hollywood has to stop - copyright protection has gone too far when it prevents us from using equipment we already rightly paid for.


Dean


P.S. UPDATE: Another article is located here it's a less technical explanation, whilst it's nice to hear that Microsoft are stating that only BlueRay and HD-DVD content will be considered DRM restricted at the moment but thats not to stop anyone else licensing this DRM (or even Microsoft itself saying all Vista content is DRM restricted forcing a wholesale update to hobbled monitor equipment).

P.P.S. UPDATE: ATI are now being sued for HDCP complain claims (and rightly so)
http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2006/05/09/ati_sued_over_hdcp_claim/
I hope they aren't the first hardware vendor to be sued for doing so.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Snow Storm

BTW biggest snow storm to hit NY state since 1947 hit this weekend, didn't seem to be that bad (or damaging) just lots and lots of continuously falling snow (26" in 24 hours).

We all rugged up around about 11am and ventured out to play, had a blast, lou lou as well already know loves the snow regardless of the photo.
Cheers,
Dean

Schroder Joins Gazprom
















Just so we know government in Australia isn't the only one 'pushing the rort limit' check out this story in Russia.....hmmm as I was saying to a good friend of mine in NY yesterday maybe the worst thing that can happen for government is that the general public get fat and happy and spend none of their time doing anything but paying the mortgage and watching their flat screen tv's.

Cheers,
dean

Saturday, February 11, 2006

AWB Kickbacks

Man this makes me angry, when something like this happens from people in public office should be met by an extreme example of jail time so that anyone else in public office who even contemplates breaking the law is aware of the consequences.

If something like this happened in private industry jail time would be a given.

Howards response so far has been straight out of the George W book of deny deny deny.

Whether you believe the Food for Oil program was politically correct or not (or a sham from the very beginning) this example of government slush funds leads me to believe the wool is being pull over someones eyes yet again (the public or joe government for thinking we still believe them? who knows)

Ful background article below but a pretty good video compilation is available in the article as well.



http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,18086345-37435,00.html

AWB engulfs third minister
By Steve Lewis and Cath HartFebruary 09, 2006


Police inquiry... after The Chaser satirists pursued a witness.
A THIRD senior minister, Warren Truss, has been dragged into the wheat scandal, following revelations that a commonwealth agency examined the illegal kickbacks to Iraq in 2004.As Labor continued to pursue the Government over the oil-for-food affair, the Wheat Export Authority was forced to admit that despite earlier denials it was aware of the commercial arrangements between AWB and a sham trucking company.
The admission prompted Labor demands to know what Mr Truss was told, because he was the minister for agriculture at the time and the WEA was a government body that reported to him.

WEA chairman Tim Besley, a well-known business figure who chaired the 2000 inquiry into bush phone services, admitted the Government agency examined the alleged "kickbacks" in 2004 as part of its regular performance monitoring activities.
But AWB - which paid $300 million in kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's regime - "denied any wrong" when grilled by WEA staff, Mr Besley said.
Instead, AWB staff told the agency of the "unique circumstances of Iraq sales ... to explain why it was necessary to pay a Jordanian trucking company and why prices may appear above global benchmarks".
Mr Besley, a former chairman of the Commonwealth Bank, originally gave evidence to a parliamentary inquiry in November last year. He told the Senate committee on rural and regional affairs there was "no evidence" of commercial arrangements between AWB and Alia based "on the documents we saw".
But in a letter sent this week to committee chairman, Liberal senator Bill Heffernan, Mr Besley admitted his answer in November was "factually incomplete". He said the agency's 2004 monitoring included examining "agency facilitation payments". But the WEA found "no payments recorded for Iraq wheat sales".
Last night, Mr Besley - who chaired a WEA board meeting in Adelaide yesterday - denied the agency was negligent for failing to identify the kickbacks.
Asked if he believed the agency had been misled by the AWB, Mr Besley said: "I have been turning that over in my mind ... I have been considering that."
Established in 1999, the WEA monitors AWB's performance.
Mr Besley's embarrassing about-face triggered a fresh bout of claims the Coalition must have known of the kickbacks paid by AWB. Greens senator Rachel Siewert, who grilled Mr Besley during the November hearings, yesterday said the WEA's admission "puts the problem clearly on the minister's desk".
"Here again is a Government agency which heard of allegations of kickbacks and knew of the payments to Alia," Senator Siewert said. "Did they tell the minister? And if not, why not?"
Mr Truss, now Transport Minister, last night declined to comment on whether he received advice from the agency about AWB arrangements. But Labor said Mr Truss and current Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran both had a case to answer.
"(Mr McGauran) and ... Warren Truss must come clean on what they were told by the WEA," Labor's agriculture spokesman Gavin O'Connor said.
Mr O'Connor said it "defied belief" that the ministers were not made aware of the payments to Alia. But Mr Besley said the information given to the minister contained no evidence of wrongdoing. Instead, the minister was told the WEA had given AWB a "clean bill of health".
In a statement last night, Mr McGauran said all relevant documents - between the WEA and AWB - had been provided to the Cole inquiry.
The minister said the WEA report, sent to Mr Truss, was confidential because it contained market-sensitive material.
The Opposition has been labouring to find evidence of a "smoking gun", showing that the Government knew of AWB's kickbacks to Saddam's regime.
In parliament yesterday, Labor focussed on allegations Trade Minister Mark Vaile and members of his department had met with AWB and BHP over a "donation" to Iraq through an AWB subsidiary called Tigris.
Mr Howard staunchly defended Mr Vaile and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer over other allegations bureaucrats approved AWB's use of Jordanian trucking company Alia to pay transport fees - a company now believed to be a front for bribes.
"I'm confident what (Mr Vaile) said is true and I'm confident what Mr Downer said is true," Mr Howard said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has rejected suggestions raised at the Cole inquiry that former bureaucrat Jane Drake-Brockman had told AWB the department had looked into Alia.
Ms Drake-Brockman has given evidence to the Cole inquiry in secret and has refused to comment directly. At her home yesterday a friend said Ms Drake-Brockman's only comment was "she strongly believed in letting the process take its course".

Friday, February 10, 2006

Inviticus

If anyone out there knows the 'recent dark history' about this poem dont read too much into it as to why i like it, it's just a great poem.

I was editing out my 'notes' section of my Handspring Treo and came across it after not seeing it for a few years.



Invictus
by William Ernest Henly

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;

I am the captain of my soul.



Cheers,
Dean
P.S. lol for all of you finding this via google because of the movie.... thats not the 'dark reference' you sheep.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Microsoft .....Lumbering Juggernaut Or A Leaping Jaguar?

You know the old adage about don't poke a sleeping bear....people never say the reason you poked it in the first place was you didn't know it was a bear.

Well the question that's been on my mind lately is.... Is Microsoft A Lumbering Juggernaut Or A Leaping Jaguar?

Everyone has been saying oohh wow look at Google...how smart is Google...Google the stock market wunderkids....

Well before Larry and Sergey there was Bill.

And Bill didn't get to 90% domination without having a good idea once or twice. Want to see the scariest page on the Internet for Google





















You can click on the image to make it larger or just head over to http://ideas.live.com for yourself.

WOW!!!

First of all does the 'look and feel' that page look like it's been designed by Google or what?

Secondly where the hell have all these new applications come from all of a sudden...whats with releasing a new application every week practically, that's not the lumbering juggernaut we know Microsoft to be.

I could post a separate blog on almost each and every application but I'll run through them really briefly.

Windows Live Mail - basically just the new version of hotmail except that it now has drag and drop functionality...just like outlook, it has folders...just like outlook, it has more storage than any other web mail offering..... hmmm gmail - I thought that was your crown.

The other thing is that you can only get access to it via invitations (al la gmail), I guess there's no Google patent on marketing your new product via exclusivity .... and yes there are some people already selling their invitations via ebay.

Windows Live Care - look out Mr Symantec & McAfee, having said that I think everyone has been asking why Microsoft didn't get into this space a long time ago, it makes sense.

Windows Live Messenger - some neat new tricks, basically revised voice capability (no more NAT issues), better video codecs. BTW Can anyone really believe that Ebay paid $2.6 billion dollars for Skype (yep that's billion with a 'B' )...It's a great technology and all but lets face it check out my friends www.freshtel.com.au they'll build you a white label voip service for a couple of hundred thousand outright....you can spend the other $2 billion dollars in marketing.

Windows Live Local - I haven't tried the mapping service yet, lets just say I'm sure people at Google are pouring all over it right now to see what they can do (BTW I love Google Earth here is the kmz link for my apartment in New York GoogleEarth.kmz).

Live.com - can you say.... one stop aggregator for both rss and html, who needs a Yahoo home page as your aggregator when you can configure your own - this throws a spanner in the whole home page aggregator concept.

Windows Live Saftey Center - not sure what the difference between this and Live Care is.

Windows Live favorites - love it love it. Basically it allows you to keep the same favorites at both home, work, laptop wherever you are.

More importantly it doesn't offer it yet but will allow you to keep a collection of favorites, eg - you might set up a favorites list for the Sales Team, or for the Accounting Team. This favorites list can be managed and updated centrally but distributed remotely, trust me keep an eye on this, there will be more to come from this area of Microsoft.

Windows Live Search Mobile - pretty funky though I still prefer to use Opera Mobile browser with pre download encoding for most of my mobile browsing.

Windows Live Domain - Hotmail but for teams using your own domain....lol - where is all of this going? I'm sure there is a hosted voip service along similar lines in the wings like the Packet8 virtual office.

Windows Live Expo- I thought originally this was just a craigslist or ebay revenue spoiler until I dug a little deeper and looked at some of the cooler less obvious functionality. How about the ability to invite people into your expo, in other words you could have a group of 1000 Imogen Cunningham photography fans but only allow online bidding between recognized members of this group, this puts online community groups like Frappr onto a whole new level.

More Live Stuff - where the freak is this going to end? Who knows but that's what happens when you poke a bear. For the consumer it can only be a good thing. I've integrated 4 of these into my daily life and I'll probably play with another 1 or 2 but to be honest that's not the point.

The point is point is that now would be a really good time to sell your Google stocks, Microsoft has shown google don't have a lock on new ideas and certainly shown they remain a very viable competitor.

It must be an exciting time to be working at Microsoft, I'm sure the developers are falling over themselves to get their ideas implemented while the going is good. Leaping Jaguar....you bet.


Cheers,
Dean
p.s. lol - I swear I didn't know this when I was bloging about distributed favorites this morning but del.icio.us has just been bought by Yahoo for $US30M

Not bad for a 31 year old guy who worked for Morgan Stanley during the day and was coding at night until fairly recently.

More details here smh article

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Transcending photo

I'm reticent to include this picture after yesterdays somewhat anti-American post....I'm not anti American just anti-current political direction...

I had to include this photo as I think it amazingly captures the moment of a relative sitting on the dock waiting.

I think it transcends global views regardless of where you are coming from.

Thanks,
Dean


Red Sea Ferry Survivors Say Captain Abandoned Ship








Ben Curtis/Associated Press
Relatives of passengers from the sunken Egyptian ferry prayed and wept as they sat on the dock at Safaga, awaiting the return of rescue boats.
Full Article (I've actually copied the entire article here as it fell into the paid for archives of NY times).


SAFAGA, Egypt, Feb. 4 — Within hours of leaving shore, as smoke began to fill the upper decks of the ferry and the crew tried desperately to calm passengers, it became clear to many on board that something had gone terribly wrong, survivors said on Saturday.
Passengers begged the captain and his crew to turn the ship around, survivors said, but the ferry continued into the choppy waters of the Red Sea on its way from Saudi Arabia to Safaga, Egypt. By 2 a.m. Friday, the ship had sunk, killing at least 180 people and possibly hundreds more in what may prove to be Egypt's worst maritime accident in years.
Rescue workers on Saturday continued the search for survivors, but hopes dimmed for most of the 1,400 passengers and crew members who had been on board.
By Saturday evening, only 389 survivors had been rescued by the Egyptian Navy, and more than 180 bodies had been pulled from the sea. About 800 more people, most of them Egyptian workers returning from Saudi Arabia, were still missing.
The 35-year-old ship, Al Salam Boccaccio 98, flying under a Panamanian flag, left the Saudi port of Daba shortly after 7 p.m. Thursday bound for Safaga, 120 miles across the Red Sea. Sometime around 2 a.m. another ferry heading in the opposite direction reported seeing lifeboats in the water.
Egyptian maritime authorities said Saturday that the catastrophe had been caused by a fire that initially broke out in one of the vehicles below deck and spread throughout the boat, eventually causing it to capsize and sink about 100 miles from the Egyptian shore.
At Hurghada military hospital, where most of the survivors were being treated, many recounted how things began to unravel shortly after the ship left port, when the fire began to spread.
"Two hours after we left, smoke started coming out," said Nazih Zaki, 27, who was returning home from his job as a cook in Saudi Arabia. "They tried to put it out but it kept going. The crew told us it was nothing, but then they got us life vests to wear. We stayed cruising six hours at sea, and then the boat started to tip."
Water began flooding the ship, and the vessel soon listed, lurched and began to sink, Mr. Zaki said.
"The ship is five stories tall but it took less than 15 minutes for it to go down," he said. "Then there was nothing at all, no rescue, nothing."
As he swam in the dead of night, Mr. Zaki said, he grasped onto a life raft and pulled himself in, then floated with others for about 24 hours before they were rescued by the Egyptian Navy. An Egyptian Navy official, speaking on Egyptian television, said the first survivor was picked out of the water about 3 p.m. on Friday, more than 13 hours after the ship went down.
Other survivors described a tense standoff between the captain and many on the ship, as passengers and even some crew members began demanding the ship be turned around and return to Saudi Arabia as smoke poured out of the lower deck.
"By midnight there was serious fire on the bottom and smoke rising up to the fourth floor, and they kept saying we have control over the situation.," said Nabil Taghyan, 27, who survived by wearing a life jacket and boarding an inflatable raft.
Despite pleas to turn back, the captain insisted it would be better to steam ahead to Safaga, Mr. Taghyan said.
Mr. Taghyan said he ultimately saw the captain and crew flee using the lifeboats, while some passengers in life jackets tried to hang on to the ship and the debris. "The captain took the first speed boat, even though he should go last," Mr. Taghyan said. "There was yelling and screaming and people dying and there were people dead in their life vests, and there were huge waves."
The head of Al Salaam Maritime Transport Company, the ferry operator, Mamdouh Ismail, told Egyptian television on Friday: "The weather was especially bad. The wind was blowing at 65 miles."
The stories from survivors, however, raised tempers, as hundreds of family members thronged the gates of Hurghada's general hospital and thousands of others held a vigil outside the port of Safaga. As the day waned, quiet frustration erupted into bouts of anger, as many blamed the government and the ship's owners for an accident they argued could have been prevented.
"The government should resign when something like this happens," shouted Salem Ibrahim Ashry, 30, who stood outside the hospital all of Saturday asking for any details about his cousin Atef Hamdoun al-Sayyid, who worked in Saudi Arabia. "Look at these people who have been sitting here for two days. They still aren't able to guide us or tell us anything."
Throughout the day, a hospital official came out to read a list of survivors who were being treated, reciting just a few names at a time. The crowd would then sigh in frustration once all the names were read.
A similar scene played out at the Safaga port, where many had arrived Friday and continued to wait, growing increasingly angry at the lack of information. At one point, family members scuffled with police officers as a rumor that a boatload of survivors was headed into shore caused many to try to get past the cordon to get a glimpse.
Abdel Salam Shoeib, 32, stood all day waiting for news of his sister, Fatima Shoeib, who was nine months pregnant and was traveling home to Egypt to give birth.
"We are people suffering a calamity," he said. "They should feel for us, be concerned and provide a place for us to sit and wait. They are covering our eyes. We are like the dead waiting for the dead."
In a brief speech on Egyptian television on Saturday night, President
Hosni Mubarak expressed his condolences to victims' families and promised the search for survivors would continue. Mr. Mubarak also visited survivors at the Hurghada military hospital.
"The truth is we have done everything we can do," the transportation minister, Muhammad Mansour, said on Egyptian television.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Blowjobs and Terrorists

Helloooo Mr AT&T ........who's the customer....














EFF Sues AT&T to Stop Illegal Surveillance
Telecom Collaborated with NSA to Spy on Customers

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class-action lawsuit against AT&T Tuesday, accusing the telecom giant of violating the law and the privacy of its customers by collaborating with the National Security Agency (NSA) in its massive and illegal program to wiretap and data-mine Americans' communications.

The NSA program came to light in December, when the New York Times reported that the president had authorized the agency to intercept telephone and Internet communications inside the United States without the authorization of any court. Over the ensuing weeks, it became clear that the NSA program has been intercepting and analyzing millions of Americans' communications, with the help of the country's largest phone and Internet companies.
http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2006_01.php#004369


Well where do I start with this, it is wrong on so many levels, I think these lines out of the article sum up the entire proposition of what is wrong with US politics at the moment

In the lawsuit, EFF alleges that AT&T, in addition to allowing the NSA direct access to the phone and Internet communications passing over its network, has given the government unfettered access to its over 300 terabyte "Daytona" database of caller information—one of the largest databases in the world.

"AT&T's customers reasonably expect that their communications are private and have long trusted AT&T to follow the law and protect that privacy. Unfortunately, AT&T has betrayed that trust," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien. "At the NSA's request, AT&T eviscerated the legal safeguards required by Congress and the courts with a keystroke."


I'm still in "Shock and Awe" that the US President was caught spying on the US population illegally without court orders and that the US media has pretty much swept it under the rug in under a few weeks.

This certainly isn't the general public (or congress) of the Nixon era...if tricky dick was in politics today he wouldn't even get a censure...let alone booted out in shame.

Clinton gets a blowjob in the oval office.....gets in trouble big time,
Bush breaks the law on a massive and unpresecedented scale - no one says a word because that would be seen as aiding and abetting the 'bad guy' terrorists.

Makes me want to move to Canada.


Cheers,
Dean


Full Legal case submission

p.s. If you want to support the EFF click here.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Bumper Stickers (divided) cars = Cumulative IQ (multiplied) population

You know there are a lot of smart, funny and off the wall people in the world, especially in New York as the gravity of living here is strong for the 'above average' American (it also means you get a lot of wannabe dickheads in New York as well).

I think the measure of wit in a society is directly related to their intelligence in their bumper stickers and as such I've uploaded a few of my favorites here. http://www.collins.net.pr/cool_stuff/bumper_stickers/









If you have any you would like to add, email it to me along with the location and date.


Cheers,
Dean

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Amazing AC/DC Charity tribute concert in Finland

How cool is this


All AC/DC songs to be played in Finnish charity eventAC/DC Marathon.
Trumpeted by its Finnish organisers as the first and grandest event of its kind in the world, is to see the Australian heavy rock band's entire discography played in chronological order.The charity concert is estimated to last about 17 hours.The Finnish lineup includes Leningrad Cowboys, Quintessence, Emmi, Ismo Alanko and Freud, Marx, Engels & Jung. Live Wire, voted in the US as the top AC/DC tribute act, is also expected to perform at the concert.The organisers promise surprise performers and impressive pyrotechnics. The event is to take place at Club Teatria in Oulu on 18 February.Proceeds from the concert will go to the Finnish Association for Mental Health.---Organiser Pertti Havas was interviewed on ABC radio last night. He said each band will perform an entire AC/DC album. The exception will be Fly on the Wall which no band is prepared to do because, in his words, "It really sucks". However he did say they would include Fly on the Wall if an Australian band offered to come to Finland and do it.Of interest, they are trying to organise a live webcast of the entire concert so watch this space.

Now if you are like Jodie you might be asking....why is AC/DC so big in Finland...Who knows but what a cool concept (and yes the charity receiving the funds is just too cool for school).

Dean

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Falls under the "I Want It Badly !!!" category

Just a cool looking wireless keyboard right ?........ so so so very wrong.











































































http://www.artlebedev.com/portfolio/optimus/

This keyboard without a doubt falls under the coolest, geekiest toy I have seen this year (the year is still very young as noticed by yesterdays post).

What you are looking at is a pre-production model of a soon to be released (feb 2006 supposedly) keyboard.

Each key is a single individual oled display (basically like a mini lcd screen). Yep thats right each and every key is a mini lcd image.

A software application can change what is being displayed on each key at any time including multiple languages, specialised games layout (as per the Quake version in photo 3) even scrolling images are possible.

Dont like the font on your keyboard, no probs just download a new version, want your keyboard lettering to match your decor, sure easy done.....want to type at night and pretend you are the coolest geek on your block ....open your wallets wide price expected to be around $US1,000.....now how can I pass this off as a tax deduction :)


Cheers,
Dean