Archive for May, 2005

Vets Memorial Greenville Style

May 31, 2005 Comments off

North Carolina Vets Memorial Sports Goofs – Yahoo! News:

GREENVILLE, N.C. – A 7-foot granite slab that for 16 years has honored Pitt County’s armed forces veterans has carried unnoticed errors in the Latin creeds engraved in the stone’s burnished surface.

I ashamed to admit that I actually went to college in Greenville (East Carolina University – BSBA c/o 1999). Country Bumpkins.

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US court overturns Arthur Andersen conviction

May 31, 2005 1 comment

MSN Money – Financial Times Business News: US court overturns Arthur Andersen conviction:

The decision comes too late to help Andersen, which now has only 200 employees, mostly lawyers and administrators.

The ruling stressed that withholding information from the government was not itself a crime. “Under ordinary circumstances, it is not wrongful for a manager to instruct his employees to comply with a valid document retention policy, even though the policy, in part, is created to keep certain information from others, including the government,” he wrote.

Robin Conrad of the US Chamber of Commerce said the case highlighted the consequences of overly aggressive fraud prosecutions “This is an instance where the collateral damage of over-aggressive enforcement takes its toll on the average citizen,” she said, noting that thousands of people lost their jobs after Andersen’s conviction.

As one of the guys I work with said this morning, “…and all of the king’s horses and all of the king’s men could not put Humpty Dumpty back together again.”

Gee, nice to know now that the government has destroyed a company, burned millions of taxpayer dollars to completely destroy the investments of those same taxpayers, and trashed thousands of careers that it was all based on a bad ruling by some bungling judge. Shit people, way to go.

I mean under the prosecution’s way of thinking I shouldn’t shred my old credit card bills, etc. – I should post them on the Internet for all to see lest I destroy them and somebody want to see them (like a thief).

Friggin lawyers.

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Some ideas for news aggregators

May 29, 2005 Comments off

Some ideas for news aggregators:

Speaking of moving on, if I want to switch aggregators, OPML is definitely great. You export the OPML from one news aggregator and import it into your new news aggregator. One problem, your reading data doesn’t move. For instance, in my aggregator sometimes I leave things as “unread” because I want to come back to them later. It’d be interesting to see if I could also export my readership details.

Do you have any ideas for how to make news aggregators better?

Absolutely Scoble, I want readers to have better integration into POSTING articles onto my own blog. Onfolio is the only one so far that I’ve found to do this in a decent manner – I can use the newspaper view but still have per-item action buttons (email, blog, etc.). All the other readers I’ve seen I’d have to get out of the newspaper view and find the post I’m interested in at the feed item level. LAME. But I’m completely sold on Onfolio because it just sits in IE – call me old fashioned but I likes me a full client local app.

I also want to have embedded pictures saved with the post for offline viewing. Example: I sync all my feeds and then get on a plane without a Net connection. I want to read all my news and still have the pretty pictures from Engadget in the articles.

Lastly, and don’t really come under the topic of readers but since we’re talking about it, I want a WYSIWYG editor for creating posts. Note: having a preview button doesn’t count! I also want to be able to ping Technocrati or other serivces via Blogger. What’s up with only being able to ping

I’ll get down off the soap box now. Thanks for the chance to pontificate. 🙂

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Disney World costumed characters horsing around

May 29, 2005 Comments off

Disney World costumed characters horsing around:

Cory Doctorow: This is a video that apppears to be castmembers from Walt Disney World horsing around in character costumes — Belle performing a striptease, Tweedledee and Tweedledum administering a beatdown to Pooh, and so forth. Pretty mild stuff, and reasonably funny. Mostly notable for the fact that the characters, especially the "head" characters are pretty sacrosanct when they’re onstage. 5MB Quicktime Link (via MeFi)

It’s the last 5 seconds that are the best! 🙂

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w00t! is a favored non-word in Merriam-Webster’s books

May 29, 2005 1 comment

w00t! is a favored non-word in Merriam-Webster’s books:

Cory Doctorow: Merriam-Webster has published a list of favorite non-words, w00t! Is number three. w00t!

1. ginormous (adj): bigger than gigantic and bigger than enormous
2. confuzzled (adj): confused and puzzled at the same time
3. woot (interj): an exclamation of joy or excitement
4. chillax (v): chill out/relax, hang out with friends
5. cognitive displaysia (n): the feeling you have before you even leave the house that you are going to forget something and not remember it until you’re on the highway
6. gription (n): the purchase gained by friction: "My car needs new tires because the old ones have lost their gription."
7. phonecrastinate (v): to put off answering the phone until caller ID displays the incoming name and number
8. slickery (adj): having a surface that is wet and icy
9. snirt (n): snow that is dirty, often seen by the side of roads and parking lots that have been plowed
10. lingweenie (n): a person incapable of producing neologisms

Link (via /.)


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WA State will make art collectors pay use tax

May 26, 2005 Comments off

State will make art collectors pay use tax:

The Department of Revenue said yesterday that it will begin to aggressively pursue art collectors who do not pay the taxes they owe on works purchased out of state. The agency said it will first launch an educational campaign to make sure collectors know they owe the tax, then vigorously enforce a law that has been largely ignored by the art world since it went on the books in 1935.

The DOR also decided yesterday that collectors must pay taxes on their out-of-state purchases even if they are on display in museums.

As the son of an artist this is simply appalling. Art is an aesthetic enhancement of an area, just like a nice couch or piece of furniture. I can understand a sales tax, but a “use tax”. WTF? If you want to get more technical you can also view art as an investment vehicle. Look at the auction houses – you don’t see the prices of major works falling do you? Nope.

If you click on the “sound off” link there’s some interesting responses from folks … most of which I completely disagree with. This idiots complain about folks trying to duck taxes where possible and use loopholes. Right, and I’m sure NONE of those people who wrote have ever fudged a deduction figure on their taxes for how much they donated to Good Will last year. Nope, they all LOVE paying taxes and do it with glee. BULLSHIT.

My dad and I had a conversation when he was out visiting a few weeks ago about the future of art collecting and what the demographics are of folks who are buying these days. Now don’t get me wrong, I love art and have a bunch of it hanging on my walls (mostly from my dad but we have made a few purchases) but I’ll be damned if I am going to pay a friggin’ use tax for the privilege of the government letting me look at art I already own!

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Woman Calls 911 With Pizza Complaint

May 25, 2005 1 comment

Woman Calls 911 With Pizza Complaint – Yahoo! News:

An 86-year-old woman was jailed after police said she called 911 dispatchers 20 times in a little more than a half-hour – all to complain that a pizza parlor wouldn’t deliver.

DAMN I miss living in Charlotte. This lady calls 911 20 times about a pizza, but when my dad called 911 to report bullets wizzing through the tree outside our apartment right after we moved to town 12 years ago they didn’t answer the phone…. Glad to see they’ve got their act together to assist with Domino’s customer service. Bastards.

Anyway, I’d hate to be the arresting officer. You KNOW he got crap for this at the station house the next day. 🙂

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When slang changes, bad things happen to good comix

May 25, 2005 Comments off

When slang changes, bad things happen to good comix:

Xeni Jardin:
As "BoingBoing’s queen of all matters related to rumpy-pumpy," it is my obligation to alert you to this breaking news.

Link (via Joey "Accordion Guy" deVilla!)

Previously on Boing Boing: Old comic book panels taken out of context = lotsa laffs

Heh – had to post this. 🙂

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Good advice that’s going to get slammed

May 23, 2005 1 comment

Microsoft security guru: Jot down your passwords | CNET

Companies should not ban employees from writing down their passwords because such bans force people to use the same weak term on many systems, according to a Microsoft security guru.

Speaking on the opening day of a conference hosted by Australia’s national Computer Emergency Response Team, or AusCERT, Microsoft’s Jesper Johansson said that the security industry has been giving out the wrong advice to users by telling them not to write down their passwords. Johansson is senior program manager for security policy at Microsoft.

‘How many have (a) password policy that says under penalty of death you shall not write down your password?’ asked Johansson, to which the majority of attendees raised their hands in agreement. ‘I claim that is absolutely wrong. I claim that password policy should say you should write down your password. I have 68 different passwords. If I am not allowed to write any of them down, guess what I am going to do? I am going to use the same password on every one of them.’

I don’t visit Slashdot anymore (and I’m not going to link there) because I’ve found them to be extremely negative on just about everything, especially MS technologies. It’s just not a balanced discussion. And for that reason I’m guessing that this statement from a MS person, while actually good advice if you think it through, is going to be slammed. What we have here, in the case of passwords, is a MAJOR problem. I’m guilty of doing exactly what this guy talks about – using the same relatively weak password in many places.

I disagree with his solution, though. Writing down your passwords, or storing them in an encrypted format on your Blackberry or Scoblephone, isn’t going to solve the issue (and creates new ones). We need some sort of federated, independent seciurity model that uses some form of two-factor authentication. RSA tokens, smart cards, biometric readers, etc. are all in play. The kicker is that we need a system that is (relatively) universally accepted and used, and not one organization (corporate or government) out there has the reputation to be trusted by all of us. Plus I don’t think we can get away with just one way of doing the two-factor authentication.

For example if I’m here at my house I can use a smart card in my laptop (my Dell Latitude D610 already has a reader in it) but I can’t use that same card in my home desktop PC because when I take the card out of my laptop it would lock the system. So I’d use a biometric reader on the desktop. Then if I want to do a transaction online how does that biometric info get passed along to, say, Amazon? That’s where a token makes sense – a device that gives you a personalized password every 60 seconds. But a token still requires a personal memorized PIN code to add to the digits it gives you … plus right now the technology is 1 token per service. RSA is moving in the right direction with their mobile device soft-tokens (I can put up to 10 tokens on my Blackberry) but I’d still have to remember which one is for which service … plus it would take “forever” to get the key. And then we have to make all of this so easy and fool proof that my 90+ year old grandma can use it to authenticate herself with her bank at the ATM and so we don’t have 500,000 people get a letter in the mail saying “sorry we let a hacker have your identity.”

And all of these methods of authentication should be linked to one master identity, just like real life. I have a unique fingerprint; I have a smartcard with a memorized PIN code; I have a token generator with a memorized PIN code. ME. The single ME needs to be recognized to be a single ME across all the entities I come in contact with, as opposed to today where I am a completely different customer on Amazon from MSN from CDW from my office from my voicemail…. Get the picture?

So, Robert Scoble, master of the blogging universe and marketing (just kidding), how does this conversation get discussed in the open in an UNbiased and thoughtful manner without getting blown up into a hissy fight between “pro-MS” and “anti-MS” people. I wonder, was the speaker’s original intention to really have folks write down all their passwords on a piece of paper, or was he trying to jump-start the discussion?

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An (almost) happy ending to the Apple story

May 18, 2005 Comments off

An (almost) happy ending to my Apple story:

Based on some excellent advice from Jan in a comment to my post last night about the horrific experience I had trying to buy an iPod for one of my customers in Norway, I contacted Apple Customer Relations and spoke with a representative named Dan. I explained the situation to him and he immediately opened my order which is being processed by the Apple Norway store. He was prepared to correct the quantity (I ordered one, they made the order for two) and resolve the situation for me. Bad news: The order has already shipped. [continues…]

Now it’s great that Apple was ablel to, in the end, solve the issue. But wouldn’t have been even better if they’d handled thie issue right in the first place? Wouldn’t have been better if they’d never drawn the ire of their community?

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