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Showing posts from November, 2005

Kids songs

This is for me and Victor, links to some English kid's songs:
A Tisket a TasketThis Old ManBingoMy Bonnie
Of course there are more songs there. Just don't know the lyrics to all the kids songs, the Internet is a great resource.

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Wired News: Real Story of the Rogue Rootkit -- tagged as: [internet security toblog windows]The Penguin Machine -- tagged as: [games linux python]OmniNerd - Articles: Is a Hybrid Worth It? -- tagged as: [article toread environment hybrid]Articles -- Unsustainable software development tagged as: [article development toread]

Embarrassing Mercedes demonstration

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Here's a link to a little mishap during a demonstration where they showed the Mercedes automatic radar braking system in their S-class series. The idea is that the car is supposed to brake for you automatically, except in this case it didn't. Looks like it was because they were inside a building and it confused the radar.

Ontario Approves New Wind-Power Projects

Cool, looks like Wolfe Island near Kingston might get nearly 200 megawatts from wind power.
I can vouch that Kingston has a lot of wind.

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Looks Good Works Well: Musings on Mouse Hover -- tagged as: [ajax design javascript]SoMA Review - Betraying Jesus - Jim Wallis -- tagged as: [politics toblog toread]"Esquire" Lays the Smackdown on Creationism -- tagged as: [politics toblog]Blue Dog Coalition :: Press Releases :: Bush Administration Breaks Record -- tagged as: [politics toblog]OpenGrade -- It's in perl, but I know someone who might need it. tagged as: [linux opensource teaching tools]I, Cringely . NerdTV . Archive . Guests | PBS -- Some past shows tagged as: [internet podcast video]jpeg.py -- Read and write EXIF comments and a few other bits. tagged as: [python library picture]Maxemum TV-Guide -- Something examine my tv xml tagged as: [linux]

$USD100.00 Laptop

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Onceagain I'm going to talk about this laptop.
I think the key feature of this laptop is to supplant books and paper for children going to school. I think that very quickly more and better free textbooks will become available. Schools and governments will make some of their textbooks and class notes available under Creative Commons type copy protection allowing others to translate to their language or make audio versions available, for example.
The latest news is that the $100.00 laptop will use Linux and not Apple OS X, Sun OS or MS Windows, as some suggested.
I would be willing to devote some of my time to help bring tools or software to this platform. For example, a better version of TuxPaint.


Click image to see some more pictures.

Another interesting point that Negroponte made is that, as the technology becomes cheaper, they plan to make the laptop cost less than $100.00, rather than making a better version of the same device at the same price. If this is true it means that we …

Made me laugh

Sync has a short piece about a 34-year-old guy named "Ray Digerati" who placed an ad of Craig's list that said "WILL FIX COMPUTERS FOR SEXUAL FAVORS," and he says it's been non-stop action ever since.
Most of the calls I get are for spyware removal and viruses. One girl didn't even wait for me to finish the virus scan—she just grabbed me and gave me a blow job.

Do you have a set, um, pay scale?
No, I leave it up to their discretion. One girl didn't want to have intercourse, so she offered me a massage and then finished me off with a hand job. It's basically all about the time I spend: If I'm working for one or two hours, I'd like a blow job. An orgasm for every two hours of service is pretty fair. If it's something simple that I can fix in 15 minutes, I'd like to get a foot massage.Reminds me of a joke from a Woody Allen film, What's New, Pussycat:
Woody: I've got this job at the strip joint helping the women get in …

Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD

For those who don't know there's plans for a newer, better version of DVD, I've written a little about it before. Unfortunately, there are two competing standards: HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. HD-DVD is backed more by Microsoft, Intel, Toshiba and others and Blu-Ray is backed by Sony, Fox, Disney, Apple and others. The recent problems with Sony and their rootkit has brought to light the problems of having media companies making hardware as well. In fact, I believe that one of the biggest mistakes Sony made was to get into the movie and music making business. They had a lot of difficulties repeating their success of the Walkman because devices they made didn't support MP3, until recently. They refused to support MP3 for the longest time because it doesn't support DRM. Their media divisions insisted on DRM protected content. The irony is that Sony makes much more money from their hardware divisions than from their media divisions.
Both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray promise to ha…

Unsustainable Software Development and its Causes

Woah, this hits close to home. I've seen this type of behavior first hand, more than once. I've often wondered why it's sometimes easier to rewrite a program than trying to improve it. When it happens on projects that I join there's often a good excuse: like "we need to rewrite in a modern computer language", "that software it's based on is no longer supported", "the software was written without concern for portability", etc.. But after reading this article I've realized that these are often just excuses, rewriting from scratch is very expensive.
What's needed, in my opinion is:
90%+ automated unit test coverage90%+ automated funcional test coverageAutomated buildsGood programmers and good continuous monitoring of these programmers (code reviews, etc.)Automated tests can fix a lot of woes. Plus you can make major changes to the underlying code (refactoring) without fear. If done right the automated tests can be used as docu…

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News - KFlickr -- tagged as: [flickr internet linux photos web]BitlBee - News -- Might be better than gaim, and it supports transparency. tagged as: [internet util]Gravetat Project Homepage -- Might be fun to play with tagged as: [graphics science linux]Slashdot | Best Science News Podcasts? -- Thread on science podcasts tagged as: [podcast list]'Q' DVD-Author -- The main page for QDVD tagged as: [dvd linux tools video]QDVD-Author -- Another DVD program tagged as: [DVD linux util]Knoda database frontend -- Looks interesting for database work tagged as: [database gui linux python]Python-Hosting.com : Specialized python hosting provider -- Maybe I should change host tagged as: [linux python web hosting]

Million dollar idea

I've been listening to lots of podcasts and some of them are from conferences. The audio quality is often less than perfect especially when it comes to the question and answer period. Often people have to run around with microphones in order to record the person's question.
My idea is to have a small parabolic microphone with a laser pointer attached. When someone asks a question one of the presenters at the front points the laser at the persons chest who's asking the question and it should pick up what they are saying.
A more sophisticated version of this would be to have a system that points itself to the loudest speaker in the room. It would probably do it by having two or more microphones and will use the difference in time to calculate the position of the speaker. Then a pair of motors rotates the parabolic microphone to that position.

Politics: History of the Iraq war, told entirely in lies

All text is verbatim from senior Bush Administration officials and advisers. In places, tenses have been changed for clarity....
The fundamental question was, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer was, absolutely. His regime had large, unaccounted-for stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons--including VX, sarin, cyclosarin, and mustard gas, anthrax, botulism, and possibly smallpox. Our conservative estimate was that Iraq then had a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical-weapons agent. That was enough agent to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets.
...
link

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Beyond Fallujah (Harpers.org) -- A Year With the Iraqi Resistance tagged as: [toread article politics]wxFontView -- To try tagged as: [graphics linux tools]Gournal -- For use with my wacom tablet? tagged as: [tools linux gui]xstroke: Fullscreen gesture recognition for X -- For use with my wacom tablet? tagged as: [gui linux usability]FirefoxNewVersion - Ubuntu Wiki -- Breezy's Firefox has a few problems tagged as: [linux web]As Brazil Votes to Ban Guns, NRA Joins the Fight -- tagged as: [toblog brazil]nose: a discovery-based unittest extension -- Sniff out some bugs tagged as: [python testing unit]PyKaraoke - Karaoke for Linux -- New York, New Yoooorrrk! tagged as: [karaoke linux python Music]As Brazil votes to ban guns, NRA joins the fight. | MetaFilter -- Gun referendum tagged as: [brazil toblog]PyQe - simple and easy-to-use command launcher -- Almost a competitor to wxOptParse tagged as: [linux python tools]pysqlite -- Python…

Politics: One Laptop per Child

As I said previously I'm quite interested in the $100 .00 laptop idea from Nicolas microphones.
I think one reason I think it might be a success is that books cost money, probably pretty close to $100.00 per child per year or two. If this could be replaced with a laptop and the books downloaded for free (probably written by government sponsored authors) it could pay for itself in a year or two. And if authors knew that their "book" material was going in a certain form factor within a few years I would expect the course material to be:
searchable,
linkable - to more and deeper content - possibly on the web,dynamic - it updates itself with the most recent information,
multimedia - sound, movies,updateble - like wikipedia,feedback - you can test your knowledge of the material - right now,
interactive - show a physics experiment that you setup, for example.So, if you think of the $100 laptop only as a replacement for books it's already looking pretty good. But as you kno…

Funny: Crazy world

This joke has sometimes been attributed to Chris Rock.
You know the world is going crazy when the best rapper is a white guy, the best golfer is a black guy, the tallest guy in the NBA is Chinese, the Swiss hold the America's Cup, France is accusing the U.S. of arrogance, Germany doesn't want to go to war, and the three most powerful men in America are named Bush, Dick, and Colon. Need I say more?
Via Snopes

Security: RFID passports

The US State Department wants to put RFID (Radio Frequency ID's) into the US passports. Bruce Schneier has a recent article on the latest incantation. This version is actually a bit better than before but you have to think of why the State Department wants to use RFIDs in the passports. I can see two reasons:
The RFID chip creators are good at lobying.They want to be able to read you passport secretly.The later seems more likely. When I'm traveling I don't like to leave my passport in my room and often have it with me. If you had readers placed discretely in certain areas (train stations, mosks, churches) there's a chance you can keep track of a suspected criminal. Also, if you are looking for someone and are afraid they may fly out of the country you may be able to track them as they enter the airport (if you had readers at all the doors) rather than when they go through customs. This might give you a little extra time to mobilize your troops to capture him or h…

Oracle Passwords

There's a article discussing how you can crack an Oracle password in about 4 minutes. I've scanned the article and Oracle's password system isn't as bad as I might have thought, but it's pretty bad. The big no-nos was using the user name as the salt (instead of a random value) and forcing the password to uppercase. This greatly simplifies the process of find the password through brute force.
I like bashing Oracle, since:
When I first encountered Oracle I had to write connectivity in C++ to get to Oracle (back in 94 or so). I had already done the connectivity to DB-Library and to ODBC and found Oracle's the most problematic.
Oracle makes the most money of any database out there yet their documentation is rather pathetic.Postgres is better on low end (say 2 processor) machines than Oracle.Oracle's PL/SQL compiler is often useless for finding errors.Oracle's error messages are often useless for finding errors in SQL as well (like which column is wrong).Th…