Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Internet and telephone traffic between Europe, the Middle East and Asia was hampered today after three major underwater data lines were cut.
The cuts occurred between 07:28 and 08:06 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) (2:28 a.m. and 03:06 a.m. Eastern) on lines in the Mediterranean Sea that connect Sicily to Tunisia and Egypt.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
(SALEM, Ore.) - I am not surprised that the number one thing Americans are asking President-elect Barack Obama is whether or not he is going to legalize marijuana. Generations are changing and evolving and the taboos around cannabis are slowly falling away.
American industries can harness the power of this multi-billion dollar, still mostly black market business. The attitude of people in this country is in a mode of great anticipation and change. Barack Obama is already on the record saying he does not want to use the Justice Department to bust state operated medical marijuana dispensaries
Saturday, December 13, 2008
As the second hand ticked, four men — three disguised as women with long blond tresses, sunglasses and winter scarves — stood in front of an intercom and demurely requested to enter the fabled Harry Winston jewelry store on Avenue Montaigne. It was just before closing time on a chilly evening along this golden triangle of boutiques that includes Dior, Chanel and Gucci, the ornate facades and trees resplendent with Christmas lights.....
This sounds like a movie plot that has come to life. The world is getting very interesting lately. Jewel thieves and pirates etc.....it makes one wonder what might be next!
The Heist at Harry’s - NYTimes.com
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
The Kindle is a good idea, but it's not much more than an overpriced piece of crap. For $389 you could buy a laptop or tablet that would do all that and more. The Kindle can't highlight relevant text and it also has no means of making notations. It's just not practical for educational purposes. There are better approaches available today, but like the Kindle, they are hampered by outside forces.
One of the problems here is the entrnchment of the publishing and printing industries. Much like the music and movie industry, publishers are very set in their ways. They can see the world changing around them, but for some unknown reason, they are loathe to do anything about it. All one needs to do is examine the decline of the newspaper business and it's easy to see where publishing is headed. The educational publishing segment is perhaps the part of the industry that has buried their collective heads in the sand the deepest. Having a captive audience to dictate terms to, they have become so accustomed to their way they can't envision things working any differently.
I would rather see my tax dollars go to paying for IT employees to run the network at the school than pouring money down the drain on textbooks or useless things like the Kindle. In addition to the obvious benefits of replacing textbooks, every student would be learning valuable computer skills as well. Each school would aslo be perfectly set up to teach IT classes and computer repair classes. Adults displaced from their printing or paper mill jobs could be retrained at the schools to transition to tech jobs.
I'm very suprised that we haven't seen any of the computer manufacturers or software giants (ahem! Microsoft, Google, Apple, Dell etc...) step up to the plate and make school districts around the country an "offer they can't refuse" to put their products in the hands of every student in the country. Wouldn't this be the Holy Grail of marketing coups? Imagine the customer base you could build if you started grooming potential customers when they start school? One could easily envision a business model much like the cell phone industry. They subsidise the initial cost of the equipment to get you under their umbrella and the money is made by offering additional services and upgrades. A shrewd lobbyist could probably get the Federal government to kick in toward the cost of the equipment so the school district and the company aren't stuck absorbing the initial costs. We may have to trim the dfense budget or stop paying midwest farmers to not grow crops, but it would be a good use of Federal tax dollars.
If you want to look at the issue from another angle, consider the environmental angle. Think about the environmental impact of manufacturing and shipping millions of textbooks every year. If you look at the entire process from the lumberjack who cuts the tree to the bookstore clerk that delivers to the customer, there is an enourmous carbon footprint involved to distubute that book. Now consider the environmental impact of digital delivery and susequent updates. There's no comparison.
We can land spacecraft on Mars and bomb the crap out of anyone we see fit, but we're no closer to the promise of an interactive classroom than we were 15 years ago. I'm sure we'll continue on this un-eco-friendly path until we're out of trees and then some genius will come up with an idea to put a laptop in the hands of every student.
Report: A Kindle for college kids? Crave, the gadget blog - CNET
Thursday, August 07, 2008
I came accross this while reading about the useless prohibition of marijuana in the United States. There is a marijuana arrest every 38 seconds in the US. Most of them are for possesion, not trafficking. We spent over 10 billion dollars last year on these arrests. Did it make a dent in the marijuana use? Nope, in fact it stayed about the same. We could spend another month or two in Iraq for that kind of money!
Imagine what we could do if we didn't spend 10 billion dollars a year in marijuana law enforcement. We could do a lot. Then imagine the amount of tax revenue that could be generated. We would certainly want to spend some of that money on education and rehabilitation. You could also add in the revenue and taxes generated by hemp products and hemp agriculture.
We're missing a huge opportunity because of archic laws that were created by people who were threatened by hemp. Primarily the cotton industry. After 72 years of inneffective prohibition, it's about time we pulled our collective heads out of our asses and end the prohibition. It's just stupid....
Stoners in the Mist
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
The plane, which received its airworthiness certificate in April, features a 5.6 kWh lithium battery with a projected life cycle (the number of times it can be depleted and recharged) of 1,000 cycles. The battery has a max weight of 78 pounds and can be custom-built to fit the available space in an airplane. It provides juice for a motor driving a 45-inch superlight PowerFin propeller made of a foam core surrounded by an outer shell of carbon fiber and glass fabric.
Once in the air, the ElectraFlyer C cruises at 70 miles per hour. Top speed is 90 mph and the stall speed is 45. The plane can fly for 90 to 120 minutes before the battery needs recharging. When the battery winds down, just plug it into a 110V outlet -- your house is full of them -- and you're good to go in just more than six hours. Bump the voltage to 220 and you're flying again in two hours.
The Battery-Powered Plane Makes Its Debut
See the Photo Gallery!
This is a great idea! It's economical and environmentaly friendly. It would make small airstrips much more agreeable to neighbors. No noise, no aviation fuel storage...it's a win-win.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
What an amzingly simple concept to generate electricity with almost no environmental impact. What will tree huggers complain about? It will probably be concern for the flight paths of rare migratory birds or some crap like that. Others will complain about their view being "ruined" by kites....
All kidding aside, this technology is one worth watching as it develops!
Kite Power Could Generate Energy for 100,000 Homes
Cassingham collects and reserches real stories about stupid people and unbelievable series of events. Beyond just regurgitating what is available in feeds around the web, Cassingham injects his own dry wit and priceless sarcasm into the story.
Monday, August 04, 2008
"Certainly, I have sent a signal to both sides of where I'm headed," U.S. District Judge Michael Davis said during a 70-minute hearing in which lawyers for the Recording Industry Association of America and defendant Jammie Thomas sparred over whether a jury verdict against Thomas should be overturned.
At issue is whether the RIAA needs to prove that copyrighted music offered by a defendant on a peer-to-peer network was actually downloaded by anyone. During Thomas' trial last October, Davis, on the RIAA's recommendation, instructed (.pdf) the jury that no such proof was necessary; if Thomas had the music in her Kazaa shared folder, where it could be downloaded, she could be found liable "regardless of whether actual distribution has been shown."
But in May, long after Thomas had lost the trial and was dinged $222,000, Davis developed second thoughts. He wrote in an order that he may have committed a "manifest error" with that instruction. "I think I surprised everyone," Davis said at the outset of the Monday's hearing. As the hearing wrapped up, there was little evidence that the RIAA's lawyer had changed the judge's mind.
Judge Hints at Mistrial in RIAA v. Jammie Thomas
At this point I will pause to pat myself on the back. I was asking this very question about "availability" being the same as distribution about three years ago. As I've said before, it will be a painful lesson for the RIAA/MPAA goon squad to learn. There's no winning when one tries to pull the wool over the collective eyes of Judges accross the country. The manner in which they slid in the jury instructions regarding availability was underhanded and surely didn't go unnoticed.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
FCC set to punish Comcast on P2P blocking News - Digital Media - CNET News.com
It appears that the only thing left is for the FCC to hand out punishment. Most media outlets are reporting that the FCC isn't expected to hand down any monetary damages. The most likely outcome will be an order requiring Comcast to cease and desist filtering of traffic and full public disclosure of its network management practices.
This ruling should cause a ripple effect through the industry. It sets a precedent, and one would think the next company caught throttling bandwidth for any reason would get a pretty stiff penalty. I would imagine there are many ISP's out there that are rethinking their network management practices. To be sure, Comcast isn't the only one employing questionable network practices. Charter Communications use a device from a Arbor Networks to restrict certain types of traffic. The device, an Arbor Ellacoya, allows them to throttle bandwidth from specific programs or protocols. It will recognize the different patterns used by each "offending" program and throttle them to a trickle by using deep packet inspection. For instance, your Emule or Bit Torrent program will seem to slow down to a crawl, but your YouTube videos of someone picking their nose will stream great.
It seems that this ruling will send a shot accross the bow of the ISP's. The FCC seems to be sending a message that they intend to protect the consumer before they will cave to the bullshit being spewed from the industry. Let's hope that they continue to set policy based on the premise of true neutrality.
Thursday, July 03, 2008
According to Britain's Car magazine, VW has approved a plan to build a limited number of One-Liters in 2010. They'll probably be built in the company's prototype shop, which has the capacity to build as many as 1,000 per year. That's not a lot, but it's enough to help VW get a lot of attention while showing how much light weight and an efficient engine can achieve.
VW unveiled the slick two-seater concept six years ago at a stockholder's meeting in Hamburg. To prove it was a real car, Chairman Ferdinand Piech personally drove it from Wolfsburg to Hamburg. At the time, he said the car could see production when the cost of its carbon monocoque dropped from 35,000 Euros (about $55,000) to 5,000 Euros (about $8,000) -- something he figured would happen in 2012. With carbon fiber being used in everything from airliners to laptops these days, VW's apparently decided the cost is competitive enough to build at least a few hundred One-Liters.
Laugh at High Gas Prices With a 235-MPG VW
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Before you know it, we'll be zipping around like the Jetsons! Personal flying vehicles may be way off in the future, but the navigation and anti-collision technology to make the highways safer is not far away. Some companies like Volvo are already incorporating these technologies into models you can buy at your local dealer. It's a bit sad, but the fact is, a computer can probably drive better than most people out there.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
While this is an impressive announcement, I'll wait until I hear more details before I get downright giddy. I do think we're starting to see a fundemental change in the attitudes of the automakers as a whole. We are starting to see degrees of seperation between the auto industry and big oil. It would appear that a huge lobbying war in Washington is underway as the two industries jockey to get favorable legislation. In one sense, we live in exciting times where the business landscape is changing, but the other side of that is the slow and agonizing process of change, inhibited by the unwillingness of old businesses to sucumb to the new ones. In the end, nothing much will really change. It's just a re-shuffling of wealth and power at the top of the food chain that has no financial benefit for the average person.
EcoGeek - Technology for the Environment
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Inhabitat : Antro Solo gets 150mpg
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
No longer. Under the new law, for example, a board meeting may be conducted “in person or through the use of [an] electronic or telecommunications medium.” A “‘virtual company’ will be, as a legal matter, a Vermont limited liability company,” said Johnson. And other states are required to recognize the corporation as a legitimate LLC. So while in the past many companies registered in Delaware to take advantage of that state’s business-friendly policies, with this law, Internet-driven startups may find Vermont even more ideal.
Vermont OKs the Creation of Virtual Corporations
This appears to be along the fuzzy business lines like the "captive insurance" industry. A lot of revenue flows through these corporations, and a tiny percentage stays in the state. I think Vermont needs to create whatever business advatages it can, to bring new revenues to the state. We should also be focusing on attracting green technology businesses, but our digital infrastructure is ancient or non-existient. So far the private sector has been unable or unwilling to bring us out of the information stone age. Perhaps it is time for the state to find the funds and a partner to provide statewide broadband and cellular coverage. The only way we can retain our way of life is by being connected to the rest of the world in order to compete in the global marketplace.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
RIAA Setback: Making Music Available May Not Be Copyright Infringement
Thursday, May 08, 2008
It will take between 10lbs to 14lbs of sugar to produce 1 gallon of ethanol. The MicroFueler is capable of producing 5 gallons of ethanol per day once fermentation is complete.
Imagine how much you could reduce your carbon footprint by running your own ethanol in your Prius or other hybrid vehicle. And you wouldn't have to give your cash to all those greedy oil bastards! Just look out for the greedy sugar bastards....
EFuel100, Earth's First Home Ethanol System, a Product of E-Fuel Corporation
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
I think the MPAA/RIAA lawsuit machine is starting to unravel a bit. The bench is finally catching up to the shenanigans the lawyers have been pulling. Common sense is starting to close in on them quickly and I'd bet you'll see more rulings against them and more legal blunders as the pressure mounts. The next few months should be interesting to watch as more of these legal battles that have been festering all come to a head.
MPAA Talks Turkey; Pirating Costs Based on Futuristic Fantasy Threat Level from Wired.com
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
Safety concerns have dogged Chinese cars in their attempts to break into the United States and Europe. The latest in a string of crash test failures came last year with the Brilliance BS6, billed as a premium sedan at a budget price.
"An ice cube stands a better chance of survival in the Sahara than the driver of a BS6 does in a severe front or side impact", Car and Driver magazine said on reviewing the test results.
Chinese cars out to conquer world
I'm no big anti-everybody protectionist or anything, but don't we still have a huge trade deficit with these jokers? I'm pretty sure we don't need them trying to cut in on our already sagging auto market and flodding us with crappy, cheap and unsafe vehicles. Even if they built the nicest cars on the road, I don't think they should be allowed to sell cars in this country until China seriously addresses the trade imbalance they have benefitted from for years now. They could also use this issue to highlight China's poor human rights record. I hope some politician has the balls to step up and finaly tell the Chinese, No!
Thursday, April 17, 2008
The dispute arose when they tried to serve a homeless man by attaching service in "a conspicuous place" at known bogus addresses. The freakin' guy was homeless! Of course this whole scenario shouldn't shock anyone who is familiar with the over the top behavior of the RIAA goon squad.
Recording Industry vs. The People
Monday, April 14, 2008
A MAC vendor's website appears to have had their servers swamped and crashed shortly after their arrival was introduced to the blogosphere. As the news spread around the Internet that they were offering rock bottom deals on an off the shelf machine that would run the Leopard OS from Apple they suddenly disappeared. As of this writing, they seem to be back up and running. The machine they are offering more than doubles the specs of a Mac Mini at $100 less. The systems are also upgradeable. The Open Computer sports a faster processor (2.2GHz vs. 1.83GHz), double the memory (2GB vs. 1GB), three times more hard drive space (250GB vs. 80GB). The "Open Computer", as it is called, even comes with a power cable so you can start working with it out of the box.
Mac enthusiasts have been experimenting on running the new Apple operating systems on commodity PC hardware ever since the Intel-based Apple computers were introduced in early 2006. This effort came to be known as OSx86 Project. The "Open Computer" has evolved from the original OSx86 Project into a working commercial product.
Conventional wisdom will tell you that it is only a matter of time before the lawyers from Apple will have them shut down. Apple, who is notorious for heavy-handedly enforcing their intellectual property rights, is likely filing the necessary paperwork as you read this post. This may be a short lived glory for the folks at Psystar, but they have effectively uncorked the genie bottle and probably cemented themselves into Internet lore. One can assume that somewhere, Steve Jobs is having a meltdown.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Has Media Sentry (The RIAA investigating unit) been conducting illegal investigations in dozens of states? We may soon find out as several lawsuits in several states have been filed that allege they have. The suits claim that Media Sentry has been operating private investigations without first getting proper state investigators licenses. The Massachusetts State Police have issued them a cease and desist order prohibiting them from operating in the state until licensed.
It will be interesting to see how these cases play out over the months to come. The RIAA folks claim that any evidence they've obtained, even if it was done illegally, is still admissible in a civil court case. They are also claiming that getting licenses in all 50 states would be too expensive for someone to simply enforce their copyrights. But apparently 20,000 lawsuits does seem to be a cost-effective move....
Sunday, April 06, 2008
The Virginia program is attempting to safeguard the children by educating the students as well as the parents. To the children, they are trying to explain never to meet anyone you meet solely online, as well as trying to remember that anything you post today could come back to haunt you years from now when applying to a university or a job. For the parents, they are trying to explain that they should install filtering software as well keeping computers in common areas of the home so they can monitor their child’s activities while online.
Virginia Schools Start To Teach Internet Safety
I think it would be a wise choice to enact a program like this in Vermont. Kids and parents should be alarmed at the amount of sleaze on the internet. Many kids are exposed to crap and never tell an adult. This makes it difficult to get accurate data. I would bet that the numbers are probably higher. I've seen most everything on the web there is to see, but every once in a while a teenager will out do me with a ..."check this out!". I'm always amazed at the maturity of some of the subject matter, but honestly, it's usually pretty funny...
If courses in school do nothing more than raise awareness of internet safety and security, they have done a great deal. It's amazing how many people are oblivious to any level of protection beyond what came on their computer out of the box. By keeping trends and issues at the front of an educational program, it would help insulate our real world lives from the net world by adding a layer of education to protect us all.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
The way the story was presented, it struck me at first as a educational and well presented look at the state of torrent traffic and an informative overall piece. In fact it really is. Very nice work guys! Its a "twofer"....
BitTorrent Sites Show Explosive Growth - TorrentFreak
Friday, March 21, 2008
Ponder that for a minute. Exxon is the largest publicly traded company in the energy business. In fact, it's the most profitable company in the history of capitalism, earning a record $40.6 billion last year on sales of $404 billion. Yet even with crude oil prices near all-time highs, Exxon isn't planning on producing any more oil four years from now than it did last year.
What if Steve Jobs said Apple wasn't going to sell any more iPhones than it did in 2007? What if Howard Schultz said latte production at Starbucks would stagnate, at least until the next U.S. president embarked on his or her re-election campaign? Shares of both companies would plummet.
This kind of crap has been going on for a long time now. Corporate America has been playing this game for years. It's all about the bottom line, with no real concern for the effect it has on the rest of the economy. Big oil did the same thing in the 1970's oil crisis. Everyone cried that they would never let this kind of outrage ever happen again. Then we elected Bush and all his oil cronies to lead our country. Everyone knew who they were voting for the first term, and then they went and did it again. Perhaps, but not likely, we will learn our lesson from all this.
It would be easy to think that this kind of corporate plundering is only happening in the realm of big oil companies, but the fact is this kind of profiteering is happening in other sectors as well. This type of activity is all too apparent in the financial sector as well. Banks, mortgage companies and Wall Street all knew the risks of shady lending practices should have outweighed the lure of huge profits, but when they saw the dollar signs, they ignored the fact that this behavior would decimate our economy and took the easy money. Now they want the government to bail them out. It makes one yearn for the much simpler days of Enron and Worldcom.
It's not easy to not see the writing on the wall here. As the economy tanks, and energy demands decline, soon big oil will be lobbying Congress to give them tax breaks. They'll cry about Opec and countries like Venezuela flooding the market with cheap oil, coupled with the high costs of producing alternative fuels, as the reason for their shrinking bottom line. When in reality, the bottom line was artificialy inflated (by them) in the first place. If this sounds familiar, it's because it is a very similar equation to the one that has led us to the current housing/mortgage crisis.
Why Exxon won't produce more oil - MSN Money
Thursday, March 20, 2008
With any luck, the Change Congress will take hold and affect a change on both sides of the aisle. If nothing else, if successful, it will give us an effective yardstick to determine which candidates are truly commited to real change in Washington.
Stanford Law Professor Larry Lessig Bets 'Wikipedia' Approach Will Transform Congress
Monday, March 17, 2008
1.1 For nearly three years of her life, Tanya Andersen and her young daughter were subjected to an outrageous series of baseless accusations and unrelenting threats of financial ruin. The world’s four major recording studios had devised an illegal enterprise intent on maintaining their virtually complete monopoly over the distribution of recorded music. The enterprise is conducted with total disregard for innocent individuals. Dead people have been sued. Children have been sued. People without computers have been sued. As a senior RIAA spokeswoman explained: “When you fish with a net, you are going to catch a few dolphins”. By their own early admission, they were knowingly engaged in a “driftnet fishing” operation and “innocent dolphins” were the collateral damage in their “nets”.
Nationwide Conspiracy of Crime 1.2 -In 2003 and before, the Big 4 recording companies conspired with the enforcement/lobbying arm of the music cartel -- the RIAA -- and MediaSentry to devise an investigation scheme that was both illegal and seriously flawed. The scheme was based on secret private investigations by unlicensed, unregistered and uncertified private investigators. These private investigators claim to have illegally entered the hard drives of tens of thousands of private American citizens to look for music recordings stored there. This personal invasion is a crime in virtually every state in the country. If music was “discovered” through this illegal process, the private investigators would then sell the identity of the computers’ internet protocol address to the RIAA and the Big 4 record companies.
You can follow this story and more at the Recording Industry vs The People website. If you are into reading all the gory legal details of the RIAA lawsuit witch-hunt, this is the best place to do it. While it can be a bit dry at times, it will give you excellent insight into the legal arguments presented by both sides of the debate. If you pay close attention, you can gain some insight into how to stay out of the sights of the RIAA/Media Sentry folks.
For instance, one of the common themes I've seen is the majority of these cases involve Kazaa users. Does anyone even use this crappy client anymore? If you do, I suggest you find a better alternative and/or educate yourself on how other dumbass people are getting caught!
I think the RIAA's demise is inevitable and I've been advocating major artists to sue these jokers for quite a while now. Set aside this revelation (no surprise really) that they haven't shared a dime with the artists and consider the scenario where a major artist sues them for not doing enough to protect their royalties. Also, reverse the "made available" argument against the RIAA. Weren't these the same people who helped develop the digital format in the first place? 20+ years ago, the RIAA members were promising us audio nirvana in the form of CD's that were cheaper to produce and never wore out. They told the public and the artists that the cheaper production costs would translate into less expensive products for the consumer and higher returns for the artists.
In reality, the price of music went up, and the artists share of profits decreased. This is the business model the labels are trying to preserve in the "download age".
Just think of how much more profit we can make when we get rid of all this pesky packaging and disc pressing. We'll just tell the artists we need to keep screwing them because of the high cost of digitizing music and the prohibitive cost of digital distribution.....ummmmmm yeah, that's the ticket!
I thought the rant from the member of the Cocteau Twins in the posts from the story were very interesting. Anyone who doesn't understand how badly artists get screwed and how greedy the labels are should give this a look. There are thousands of stories from artists just like this...or worse.
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