Wednesday, October 25, 2006

My friend Scott loaned me his XM Satellite Radio for my recent road trip to Minnesota and back (2,000+ miles each direction). Wow. Way Cool.

Nothing makes a long, long drive half way across the country and back bearable like non-stop stand up comedy and 70's era music that just plays all the way across the country. Throw in some CNN, BBC and a little FOX News for balance and let's just say it's a great way to travel.

I went to Minnesota last week to help a friend move, among other things. It's been that and weddings (lots of weddings) recently. The satellite radio - combined with a pair of GMRS handie talkies - made for an enjoyable journey back to Oregon. If you ever drive across the country and your travel companion is in another car, take a pair of 10-mile radios with you and get off Channel 1. You'll be glad you did.

Anyhow - back to the XM radio. This was (believe it or not) my first experience using a satellite radio unit. I've looked at them before, but honestly I have never really liked the form factor of the receivers. On this trip I used the built in FM transmitter to get the audio out of the receiver and over my audio system, since I don't have a cassette player in my car. I wish they could make the transmitters a bit more powerful since I had to change the FM channel on my car radio periodically whenever the frequency selected was in use by a local radio station (too bad there's not a frequency set aside and used for low power in-car type transmitters). But that's really just nit-picking. I guess if I was constantly listening to XM or a similar service in Portland all the time, I'd get frustrated with the FM transmitter since the stations are so many and since they bleed out of band so badly in some cases. But for a cross-country trip it was pretty cool.

I like the ability to take the radio from one car to another, so although built-in receivers would obviate the need for a low power transmitter, that's not really what I'd want.

I noticed that some channels have considerably better fidelity - a compression-related effect, I am sure - than did others. I have been told that XM started compressing a lot of programming pretty heavily early this year, and that Sirius has better audio quality. Anyone done some detailed listening comparisons? I've not yet listened to the Sirius broadcasts, so I cannot compare myself. I know there are differences in programming, as well as a significant overlap in the core channels. Too bad Sirius doesn't have the "decades" channels. I liked those a lot.

Do you use XM or Sirius satellite radio? What do you think and how well does it work for you?



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Mobile | Tech
Wednesday, October 25, 2006 1:30:41 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I just finished reading For One More Day, the latest book by Mitch Albom, on flight from Providence. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone. Everyone, in fact.

Albom has a way of writing things that hit life's most important nails right on the head, whether fact or fiction. His Tuesdays with Morrie had some great life lessons, and the Five People You Meet in Heaven was also a terrific story that will make a person think.

For One More Day takes the premise that many - probably most - of us have lost loved ones and had things left unsaid, unasked and unanswered. Unfulfilled and unresolved at times. The book asks the question, "What if you had one more day with that person?"

And from there builds the story. An important and emotional one that the majority of us can almost certainly relate to, each in our own unique ways.

There are people who have gone before me, one or two in particular who - if I am being completely honest - I would have questions for, things to say to them, and answers to provide. I know that can never happen, but Albom's journey in this story lets us process some of those conflicted feelings - including guilt, loss, despair, happiness and others - that can tear at our souls from time to time.

Read For One More Day. Take the lessons and apply them in your life today. I can say that after losing someone so close to me a few years ago, I have tried to do some of that, and this story simply reaffirms the importance of doing so all the more.



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Random Stuff
Tuesday, October 24, 2006 9:55:19 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

If you happen to be looking for me over the next month or so and can't find me, don't panic or anything. It's probably because I'm not around. Seems to have been that way for the past several months now. Not much is changing in that regard. Anyhow, I'll be all over the place for next next while...

I've was gone on a (great) trip to Minnesota and back for more than a week until this past Friday, and then was back home for two nights, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Then I was back on the road again, at the Marriott in Newport, Rhode Island (nice hotel) where I was speaking Monday at a conference on the topic of multifactor authentication and security. Then I flew whirlwind-style back home Monday night. Next I'm off to New Mexico on Wednesday for a work meeting, and back home late Thursday night and off again to Europe on Saturday very early in the morning. Hopefully on Friday I can work from home a little and then get ready for the Europe trip.

The European jaunt is a couple weeks long and will include Vienna, Austria as well as visits to a variety of places in southern Germany, Austria, Switzerland and northern Italy for a week plus a couple days of vacation time, before I have to be back in Austria for a few days of work stuff.

When I get back from there, it'll be just two or three days back at home, then I'm off to Las Vegas for a few days (again for work). And - if all goes as planned - after that I can stay home for a while. I sure hope so, anyhow.

So, there ya go. If you work with me you'll probably hardly see me until mid-November (sorry). I guess that's why we have cell phones, though.

For those that are wondering where all the tech posts went, I've been wondering the same thing. I'll try to get back to them again. I guess I have been a bit burned out lately on technology stuff, but it's not gone from my mind.



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Personal Stories | Random Stuff
Tuesday, October 24, 2006 9:52:28 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Sunday, October 22, 2006

Today was not my coffee day.

First of all, I got one halfway decent cup of coffee all day, and that was the one at the filling station on Industrial Ave in Longview Washington at about 6:30 a.m. on the way to the airport. I drank less than a quarter of that and left it in the truck when my friend dropped me off for my flight.

My next cup was on the plane, the first one that is. As the flight attendant handed me the filled-to-the-rim styro cup, we hit a bump and the hot coffee splashed all over me  in 14B and the nice, attractive woman sitting in 14A (note: reference edited because I realized I found it slightly distasteful myself upon re-reading...). Just my luck. It provided an opportunity for me to apologize several times, but that's not exactly the optimal way to get to know someone. Plus it was strong coffee, so I am sure that coffee-soaked clothing smell was just wonderful for her. Ugh. When offered coffee later on the flight I turned it down. I couldn't bear the idea of a second assault on my seat neighbor.

I got to Chicago and had an hour-and-a-half to wait for the next flight to Providence, so I went to the Red Carpet Club to get online, check a few emails, grab some snakes, and put down a safe cup of coffee sans-turbulence.

Someone had procured the little floor table near the chair I sat in, so I set the coffee on the arm rest and stated watching the Pittsburgh/Atlanta football game. It was fourth quarter and tied up - deja vu kind of situation. Anyhow, I ate my snacks, reached to pick up the garbage, and knocked my coffee straight into the leather chair I was sitting in. The cup dumped its contents right between me and the arm rest. Wonderful, I thought. Then I realized I was sitting in hot coffee and jumped. The lady across from me cringed. Well, at least she didn't laugh.

After that, I gave up on coffee for the rest of the day. OJ only for me. Until tomorrow, that is.



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Personal Stories | Random Stuff
Sunday, October 22, 2006 6:07:30 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

Some things just bug me. Sometimes I write them down. :)

For example - What is it that makes the concept of putting stuff into the overhead bins on airplanes so freakin' complicated? People just don't seem to get it, despite the repeated intercom begging performed by the flight attendants to put rollaways in wheels first, wheels first, WHEELS FREAKIN' FIRST.

Even worse, there's a subset of people who, when asked to move their bag to the optimal position in order to accommodate others, can get downright indignant. What is it with these people? Move your bag, sit down and shuddup already. They didn't build that bin - or this whole airplane - just for you. Jeez.

I dunno why this bugs me so much. I guess it's because the underlying message from such people is that they don't really care how their behavior, stuff or actions affect others. We have enough of that kind of problem already in this day and age. We really don't need it when a couple hundred people are jammed into a metal tube with wings and a couple engines hanging off a few bolts hurtling said flying torpedo through the air at a few hundred miles an hour.

Okay, I feel a little better now. Heh.



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Random Stuff | Things that Suck
Sunday, October 22, 2006 5:51:35 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Thursday, October 19, 2006

Today we made it to the Grand Teton National Park, which is just south of Yellowstone (which is where we were yesterday, but the pics will have to be out of order since I don't have those copied yet).

We stayed at the snow lodge at Old Faithful in Yellowstone and woke up to snow on the ground. So, we threw the truck (with new all-terrain and snow tires) into four wheel drive and headed south for the Tetons. Honestly, I was worried the low clouds would prevent us from seeing much of anything. I was wrong, thank goodness.

Here are a few pics from our drive through the Tetons. As you can see, the clouds lifted. In the couple days we spent on our way through the Yellowstone and Grand Tetons parks, we saw lot of wildlife, including a grizzly bear, elk, reindeer, moose and more.

The flickr photoset from the trip is here. I'll add some more later, probably after I get home Friday night.

Grand Tetons National Park

Grand Tetons National Park

Elk in Grand Tetons National Park



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Photography | Random Stuff
Thursday, October 19, 2006 9:52:35 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I'm helping a friend move from the upper-Midwest out to Oregon, and that means a long road trip. We decided to take a scenic route back, and yesterday we stopped at Mt. Rushmore in Wyoming. That was after driving in 40-50mph headwinds on an interstate at about 75mph. My truck does well on the road, but a combined 120 mile per hour head/crosswind is a bit of a pain, not only in terms of driving between the painted lines, but also on fuel.

Good thing fuel's cheap in South Dakota. In South Dakota they also have hotels with these water parks inside. You know, water slides and pools and stuff. We stayed at one the other night and had a blast. Felt like I was 10 again (which is especially weird when I look in the mirror).

At any rate, the real point is that we went to Mt. Rushmore yesterday afternoon. I'd never been there before. My friend Cory had been there (he says) like 25 times, because he has family down the highway and he lived nearby for a while. So I had a tour guide of sorts. We grabbed cameras and took some shots and walked the trail loop.

Mount Rushmore is an amazing work of art, demolition and commemoration all rolled up into one.

The flickr set including these pics (and some more) is here. The last one on the page was shot by Cory (who has quite an eye for pictures).

Rushmore1

Rushmore3

Rushmore2

Washington and Lincoln



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Personal Stories | Photography | Random Stuff
Wednesday, October 18, 2006 6:01:02 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Friday, October 13, 2006

Trees Changing in MontanaToday I drove half way to my destination in Minnesota. I saw a lot of amazing stuff and places, but since I am on a bit on a mission to get to my destination (and plan to take the leisurely route back), I didn't stop much.

The leaves are just now changing along the mountains of the Continental Divide in Montana and Idaho, so on the return trip the view should be pretty darn spectacular in that stretch.

We're likely to spend some time at Yellowstone. Never been there, always wanted to. And there are a bunch of other interesting places to go in these parts. Should be a fun week. No real plan, no set schedule, no real rules...

Especially the no set schedule part. Heh.

Nice. :)



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Friday, October 13, 2006 7:22:49 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Thursday, October 12, 2006

Well, I have about 2,000 miles ahead of me (and I'm later getting started than I'd hoped due to a few unplanned items that came up in the past 24 hours), followed by a couple days hanging out in once place and then 2,000 miles back home.

This will be the first time I've had the opportunity to drive across the northern states out west, like Montana and North Dakota, so I am looking forward to it - and it's the perfect time of the year. I'll be doing the quick drive out and the scenic drive back.

So, blogging here will be light for the next week or so. Unless i get some great pics along the way, of course.



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Personal Stories | Random Stuff
Thursday, October 12, 2006 12:35:22 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Monday, October 09, 2006

Everyone and their brother's going nuts over the announcement this afternoon that Google is buying YouTube. I think we all knew it was coming, and yeah it's a big deal. What was really interesting to me was that I was about to do a between-flights phone interview (on an unrelated tech topic) with a national newspaper reporter (who shall remain nameless), when the interview was suddenly (and rightfully, heh) postponed due the the Google announcement (which had not been publicly made at that time, but I just happened to hear about it third-person before it was actually announced in public).

Anyhow, it's an interesting consolidation acquisition, especially since Google already has their Google Video (which I like), but adding YouTube (which is pretty awesome) does round things out very nicely, especially with the deals YouTube has recently made with some major media labels. How much did that jack up the value in the past couple days?

It's time for Microsoft to find a way to make some sort of serious, serious push on it's Soapbox offering. I have not uploaded any videos yet to my Soapbox profile, but I will soon in order to do some comparing. First thing for MS to do? Probably best to drop the blue color theme and get back to web UI basics. Also probably best to rethink the name. Seriously. I'm not kidding. Google Video makes it blatantly clear what you're using and it's easy to remember. YouTube is a household name and I know what I am doing based on the name, as well. And to be honest, each time I wanted to write something about Soapbox on MSN, I had to go back to my email and search to figure out what the service was called. That's not exactly memorable, or usable.

Actually, truth be told I'm on the fence on the color thing. But the standard, proven blue-text-on-white-background model is safe, expected and generally accepted - and that might just be a good thing right about now.


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Random Stuff | Tech
Monday, October 09, 2006 6:31:32 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Sunday, October 08, 2006

So, clearification.com is now active online. Looks like a Windows Vista viral marketing piece for... well... I dunno what the heck this actually is. It's random, for sure. Not exactly, well, clear.

But hey, it made me watch and I'm typing this, so yeah - it's viral, all right.

Heh, it's funny. I'm really not sure what demographic this is supposed to play to. Maybe kids or young adults. Or people who step in dog poop. Trust me on that one.

An RSS feed is available, and there are "webisodes" being posted periodically. The first one is already up. It's funny. Again, I have no idea what this has to do with Vista, but hey - it's funny. Or at least weird. And stuff.

Here it is:

YouTube? Huh?? Hmm. Heh.



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Geek Out | Random Stuff
Sunday, October 08, 2006 7:54:17 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Thursday, October 05, 2006

Vista_logoWell, honestly, it's about time.

Bloggers are all over the story, and are espousing a variety of opinions, but I have wondered for years when Microsoft would finally crack down on software thieves and simply not allow their software to run unless it was legitimately licensed. I'm responsible for cutting a big check each year to Microsoft to pay for the software we use at the company I work at. It costs me more, in effect, because others are taking without paying.

So, Windows Vista will detect piracy and take action. In Microsoft's words:

"Collectively termed the Microsoft Software Protection Platform, the new technologies will introduce improvements in how Microsoft software activates, is validated online and behaves when tampering or hacking is detected."

Thinking about this from a security guy's perspective, one thing bothers me: Turning off the anti-malware capabilities on unlicensed copies? Are you kidding me? That means the rest of the world falls victim to everyone out there that's running pirated Windows? Please, please, please change this one - Microsoft might be a victim, but no need to invite the rest of the world into that club. And it looks like Richi Jennings agrees with me on that one. That's just poor prioritization. Hopefully someone will rethink the approach in that specific area...

Elsewhere, Ed Bott at ZDNet has written a very good piece describing the changes and his thoughts on the matter. He has some important point, ones that Microsoft should make sure they have thought completely through and have a plan for - especially where it comes to Volume License customers. Those are the people you don't want to aggravate, for sure.

Among Bott's comments:

Microsoft denies that this is a "kill switch" for Windows Vista, even giving it a separate question and answer in its mock interview announcing the program. Technically, they're right, I suppose. Switching a PC into a degraded functionality where all you can do is browse the Internet doesn't kill it; but it's arguably a near-death experience. The accompanying white paper describes the experience in more detail:

By choosing "Access your computer with reduced functionality," the default Web browser will be started and the user will be presented with an option to purchase a new product key. There is no start menu, no desktop icons, and the desktop background is changed to black. The Web browser will fully function and Internet connectivity will not be blocked. After one hour, the system will log the user out without warning. It will not shut down the machine, and the user can log back in. Note: This is different from the Windows XP RFM experience, which limits screen resolution, colors, sounds and other features. [emphasis added]

My head practically exploded when I read this sentence describing the new, improved punishment regimen: "Windows Vista will have a reduced functionality mode but one that is enhanced." Enhanced reduced functionality? Orwell would be proud.

Snarky as ever, Engadget reports:

Well, Microsoft has fired the first salvo in this war on pirates -- according to The Associated Press, the Redmond crew will be taking "much harsher steps to curtail piracy" than in years past. First, the company will "deny access" to some of the "most anticipated features," including Windows Aero, the new GUI. Then, Vista will start issuing ransom demands (we're not kidding about this part), demanding that a legitimate copy be bought within 30 days, or else. What would such consequences entail? How about limiting Web access to an hour at a time? Further, what about not being able to open documents from the desktop or "run other programs such as Outlook e-mail software" ? However, the article goes on to say: "Microsoft said it won't stop a computer running pirated Vista software from working completely, and it will continue to deliver critical security updates." So for those of you keeping score, Microsoft wants to make using your computer as miserable as possible, while keeping it as "safe" as possible, ok?

People out there will whine and complain and say it's not fair, that it's all a bunch of red tape and people will be inconvenienced (and they might be right about that one point), and a million other things that go along with the typical victim mentality (sorry guys, but possession of stolen goods is illegal, even if it's inconvenient, and possessing stolen stuff unknowingly doesn't make the goods any less stolen). And Microsoft needs to make sure that legitimate users are not impacted in a truly meaningful and workable way. But the fact of the matter is that Microsoft is right on this one. In fact, it seems to me that if I ran a company that created software for use by consumers and businesses, and if I wanted to make sure it was being legitimately used and paid for, I'd just keep it from working at all if it was obviously stolen.

But the politics of huge-mega-corporation-attacked-by-angry-mob is a multi-billion-dollar business, apparently.

Glad to see they're finally doing something about it, though.

Some Techmeme-tracked discussion on the topic:

Technorati tags: , , , ,



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IT Security | Safe Computing | Tech | Things that Suck
Thursday, October 05, 2006 6:51:25 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

Google Labs has deployed Google Code Search, which allows regular expressions to be used to search public source code on the Internet. You can also restrict searches by language, license or filename. Earlier this year, Krugle launched a source code search engine, too. I'll need to think about the potential IP, license and security implications of this (there are many software licenses being used in the world, so how do they respect those that don't allow republication, for example, or what if they don't detect a license in the crawl?), but I suppose if it's out there, it's out there. At any rate, it's interesting what you can do. I bet a lot of people will get a lot of mileage out of this:

Google crawls as much publicly accessible source code as their system can find, including archives (.tar.gz, .tar.bz2, .tar, and .zip), CVS repositories and Subversion repositories. And there's also a GData API available to allow mashup apps access to the functionality.

Syntax and Examples (more about regexp syntax)

regexp
Search for a regular expresion
go{2}gle hello,\ world ^int printk

"exact string"
Search for exact string
"compiler happy"

file:regexp
Search only in files or directories matching regexp
file:\.js$ XMLHttpRequest file:include/ ioctl
file:/usr/sys/ken/slp.c "You are not expected to understand this."

package:regexp
Search packages with names matching regexp.
(A package's name is its URL or CVS server information.)
package:perl Frodo package:linux-2.6 int\ printk

lang:regexp
Search only for programs written in languages matching regexp
lang:lisp xml lang:"c++" sprintf.*%s

license:regexp
Search only for files with licenses matching regexp.
license:bsd int\ printf -license:gpl quicksort

(via Google Blogoscoped)



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Tech
Thursday, October 05, 2006 6:00:53 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I just submitted my name at the BerryWare site to get information about availability of the "bimmerberry" line of custom-finish housings for Blackberries.

From the BerryWare site:

“Available in 6 colours - Red, Pink, Green, Blue, Midnight Black, and Silver, these replacement houstings are not the clip-on cases you find everywhere, but an actual refinished housing for your Blackberry painted by a certified professional refinisher using high quality paint and clear coat.”

You have to admit, that's kinda cool. And with my Cingular 8700c and the not-so-cool finish Cingular chose, a metallic black or red finish sounds good to me.

Blackberry Cool says: "Pretty neat, but we’re really hoping the combination of this and the adoption of the BlackBerry in celeb-world doesn’t result in a 'Pimp My ‘Berry' scenario. That would not be pretty."

Ummm... Oops. :)

via Blackberry Cool - Disguise your BlackBerry



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Geek Out | Mobile | Tech
Wednesday, October 04, 2006 9:46:14 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

(the one where I ponder the personalness (or is it personality? (both?)) of blogs and notice how level the playing field really is...)

I was glancing at Techmeme.com this evening to see what I have been missing the past day or so, and I started browsing the names of the weblogs listed there. I noticed mine was listed, which was pretty cool, and a whole slew of others. For those that don't know, Techmeme lists current online news and blog entries about - you guessed it - technology. Where a topical post appears, the author is attributed and when others write about the same topic, those weblogs or news sites will sometimes also get listed under the main entry. You can click on each one and see what each author has to say about the topic at hand. It's really very slick, and it's all automated. You can blame Gabe Rivera for it's creation. It's really pretty much virtual ice cream for a geek's hungry mind.

Anyhow, as I was passing through Techmeme during my end-of-day, finally-got-home-from-work, just-have-to-see-what-the-rest-of-the-world-is-thinking time, I realized that not many people with tech blogs use their own names in the title. That got me to thinking that tech blogs are often "properties" by name, rather than direct representations of the people that author them, which is interesting to me since one of the things I like best about blogs is that they are uniquely personal.

Then it also occurred to me that except for certain specific blogs I already know (Engadget, TechCrunch, big names like that), I am naturally drawn to blogs that have someone's name in them. I had not thought about it before, but often I want to know what other people think about something. So, I guess when I see a person's name, I am drawn in. Interesting.

SO I went back and looked for examples at TechMeme. There are some people names scattered around. My name is right there, listed as "greg hughes." Robert's is listed as "Scobleizer," which is a play on his name. And Ed Bott's name is part of his weblog's title. But look at all these other names - most are some pithy or cool geeky blog name. Here's a partial representation of what's on there this evening:

Download Squad, Engadget, TechBlog, The PC Doctor, Ed Bott's Windows Expertise, Todd Bishop's Microsoft Blog, Guardian Unlimited, Silicon Valley Sleuth, Blackfriars' Marketing, Tech Digest, Ed Bott's Microsoft Report, Microsoft News Tracker, Gearlog, Slashdot, Under The Stairs, TechCrunch, Search Engine Journal, Office Evolution, Download Squad, Screenwerk, ContentBlogger, InsideGoogle, Black Voices, paidContent.org, 21talks, GigaOM, robhyndman.com, Between the Lines, Silicon Valley Watcher, Good Morning Silicon Valley, Valleywag, Googling Google, Search Engine Journal, Google Blogoscoped, Download Squad, Mashable!, Digital Inspiration, Google Operating System, digg, Scobleizer, Beet.TV, AdJab, IP Democracy, TechEffect, Search Engine Journal, ClickZ News Blog, Bloggers Blog, Digital Micro-Markets, Techdirt, rexblog, CNNMoney.com, E-consultancy, Web Worker Daily, StrayPackets, rexblog, greg hughes, Gadgetopia, Scripting News, digg...

Quite the mix of properties, blogs, new sites, names and sources there. Also quite a group to be associated with, to be honest. Often individuals who post on personal weblogs are listed right alongside pro bloggers from big organizations and companies. That's proof that the playing field is as level as you care to make it. Listed in the same context as CNN Money, Todd Bishop, Michael Arrington and Om Malik? That's a level field, alright. Heh.

And another thought... I find that even though I subscribe to Techmeme via RSS, I prefer reading and using it via the browser because of the way it positions and presents information on the page. You just don't get the same dimensional organization in RSS, and not everything works best in "river mode."

Do you read Techmeme? You should. Really.



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Blogging | Tech
Wednesday, October 04, 2006 8:52:54 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

Rob Bushway over at gottabemobile.com has posted some pre-announcement specs about the forthcoming ThinkPad X60s Tablet PC, which is highly anticipated as the next big Tablet PC thing from Lenovo (the company that now makes those ThinkPad notebooks we all love).

Supposedly, from what people are saying, the actual announcement is not scheduled until next month, but here's what Rob says he hears we can expect (go to his site for the details). If it all holds true, this looks like a very interesting machine. I have to hope the graphics and DualTouch will support Vista. In fact, one has to wonder when Vista will be the default OS on these things. When you consider RTM is likely to happen early next month for the new OS, the stars do seem to align. Hmmm...

Anyhow - back to the geek-out specs:

  • Intel 945GM chipset

  • Intel Core Solo and Core Duo Processors Low Volt Processors

    • Core Duo ( L2400 (1.66ghz) and L2500 (1.83 ghz)

    • Core Solo (U1400 (1.2 ghz) to announce in January 2007

    • new 2.5" SATA high-speed, standard models with 5400rpm, up to 120gb capacity and optional 100gb 7200 rpm HD available

    • 128mb of Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950

    • Up to 4gb of PC2-5300 DDR2 memory (667 MHz) - 3.2gb available to the operating system

    • 2 memory slots - memory is no longer soldered to the mother board

  • connectivity

    • 802.11 a/b/g

    • Embedded Wireless WWAN

    • Bluetooth options

    • Integrated modem and Gigabit

  • 12.1" XGA Wide angle display ( 170 degrees) comes standard with

    • Anti-glare / anti reflective coating, now with dynamic screen orientation that adapts the screen to how you want to work ( we are assuming this is like the M200 and M400 accelerometer that auto rotates based on the angle you hold the screen)

    • Plus two other new screen options

      • Optional models available with SXGA ( max res of 1400 x 1050)

      • Optional models available with indoor / outdoor viewing capability with touch screen for enhanced ease of use and flexibility

        • MultiTouch screen allows either finger or pen touch to move cursor for ease of use and more natural interaction with tablet

        • MultiView display provides better screen technology for viewing indoors, outdoors, and from wide angles ( 170 degrees )

  • UPDATE: The pen has an eraser on the end of it



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Tablet PC | Tech
Wednesday, October 04, 2006 4:50:42 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

Jeremy Zawodny's been looking at options to replace his traditional home backup server with something a little more modern and potentially better from a cost and maintenance perspective. He's looking at Amazon S3 for that purpose.

Not too long ago, Amazon released their Simple Storage Service (or "S3" for short). It provides a hosted storage platform which developers can build all sorts of applications on top of. Smugmug, a popular photo sharing web site, is using it to store and host pictures.

I've been considering using S3 as the backend to an on-line backup, since I'd been beating that for a while (see: Swimming Pools and Hard Disks and Cheap On-Line Storage Coming Soon).

In a few days I'll write about how to do this--I'm only partially through the process right now. But right now I want to lay out the motivation for doing this.

I'll be keeping my eye on this, since I was thinking about trying something similar. The idea of buying yet another piece of hardware, which could sit at home on a slower connection and potentially break on me over time, is less appealing than a sufficiently secure system that I could get to from literally anywhere. And as I work more and more with larger pieces of personal data, the need continues to grow.

Source: Replacing my home backup server with Amazon's S3
Originally published on Wed, 04 Oct 2006 04:51:36 GMT

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Tech
Wednesday, October 04, 2006 3:04:59 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, October 03, 2006

My job is all about catching bad guys, building great software to help do that, protecting information, and a variety of similar things. the company I work for builds software than somewhere around a third of the country uses in some manner to conduct financial transaction on the Internet, so the topic of security is important to me.

I'm regularly participating these days in interviews with members of the media, and recently one resulting story was published that I thought did a nice job of covering the bases regarding security in financial services and the human elements. What has to be recognized in order to succeed in this fight is that the user is not predictable, accountable or reliable. It's the truth, it's important to know, and it's a fact we have to plan for and design into our security models.

Read the story here: Finance on Windows - "For Your Eyes Only"



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IT Security | Safe Computing | Tech
Tuesday, October 03, 2006 1:05:14 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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From the "Department of You've Got To Be Kidding Me" comes word that BlackBerry users are blaming others for their problems:

"CrackBerry addicts: Why the workers who can't switch off are suing their employers"

... now these discreet handheld gadgets, which provide workaholics with constant email updates, are being blamed for chronic insomnia, relationship break-up, premature burn-out, and even car crashes.

British employers are being warned they could face multi-million-pound legal actions from BlackBerry-addicted staff on a similar scale as class law-suits taken against tobacco companies. Research by the University of Northampton has revealed that one-third of BlackBerry users showed signs of addictive behaviour similar to an alcoholic being unable to pass a pub without a drink.

The report found that some BlackBerry users displayed textbook addictive symptoms - denial, withdrawal and antisocial behaviour - and that time with their families was being taken up with BlackBerry-checking, even at the dinner table.

That's awesome. So what this means, basically, is that I am set for life. I have a guaranteed lawsuit at this rate, I mean you should see me with this thing - I blame the world for my addiction! Who can I sue next?

What ever happened to plain-old, self-assigned-responsibility? Jeez.

And, for your related viewing pleasure (note the video contains some video-blurred nakedness):



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Mobile | Tech
Tuesday, October 03, 2006 10:26:07 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Sunday, October 01, 2006

As I mentioned before. I recently acquired a Nikon D200 camera (new) and along with it a used but immaculate lens - the Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 ED AF-S model. Both the body and the glass are exceptional pieces of equipment. I can't say enough about them. I also added the MB-D200 batter pack and extension to the body, which allows more battery time as well as vertical shooting trigger and wheels (mandatory in my book - I spent too many years with F3's and F4's not to have that capability).

I shot a few pictures out in the yard this afternoon to post here, since people have been asking me to do so. What I didn't realize until I uploaded them was that I had the ISO set to 800, which is ridiculously high for daylight, heh. So the image noise is a bit higher than it should be. But anyhow, they still look pretty good. The pictures below are clickable and will take you to my flickr feed, where you can see them in their full-size glory if you want to.

I highly recommend the D200 - I have not found a single thing I don't like about it yet (well okay it eats batteries for lunch, but hey - what can ya do?)

Japanese Maple leaf, backlit:

Red Maple Leaf

Diogi, my friendly (and spastic) chocolate lab:

Diogi, October 1 2006

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Photography | Random Stuff
Sunday, October 01, 2006 3:12:04 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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So, this is a pretty cool find. I recently acquired a Nikon D200 (which, by the way, is super-sweet and I still need to write about it and the lens and stuff I picked up), which has (or will soon have) a cable that can plus into a GPS device to record your position on the face of the earth in the image EXIF data. I may just make my own cable -we'll see.

Meanwhile, Jelbert has this nifty new thing called GeoTagger:

"The Jelbert GeoTagger connects to a Garmin Geko 301 GPS device and fits into a DSLR's flash shoe. Every time you take a photo the camera triggers the geotagger, which records the precise position and heading of a camera using the GPS device."

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Geek Out | Photography | Tech
Sunday, October 01, 2006 1:26:35 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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So let's say, not quite so hypothetically, that I was going to be in Vienna, Austria for a week in the late-October and early-November timeframe (for work-related stuff). Let's also say that I happened to have an extra week of vacation time available, so I went ahead and got the plane tickets on the cheap(er) and I am arriving in Austria a week before I have to start the work effort. Meaning I have an extra week to see an area of the world I have never visited.

Since that means eight days to do pretty much whatever I want (and to travel wherever seems best) before spending five or six days in Vienna proper, I wonder what people think would make for a good plan? I don't have to stay in Vienna for the extra week, mind you - and I think I'd prefer to get away for that week and see some other places in the region.

I was thinking that maybe a Eurail pass that lets you cross into a couple other countries might be good? So - Where to go and what to do? A friend of mine will also be with me, so we were thinking the "saver" pass for the train system is a good idea.

I've done a bunch of Internet searches to see what others have done, and I have found some interesting and helpful information. But I figured maybe someone who reads this has been there before and will have some ideas. Plus, the bulk of the Internet information I have found is commercial search-optimized generic content meant to drive click revenue, and I am looking for some real-world advice and experience here.

Anyone? :)

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Random Stuff
Sunday, October 01, 2006 11:24:54 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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On10.net has a video demonstrating the forthcoming Zune media players (the guys there got a couple pre-release models to mess around with). The video demo shows sharing pics and music between devices wirelessly.

I think I'm-a-gonna get me one of those... Looks like it will be a even better option than my iPod for video on airplanes maybe.

Watch the video here.

the Zune is scheduled to be available November 14th for $249.99. It includes a whole host of cool features:

WMA, MP3, AAC, JPEG,WMV, MPEG-4, H.264 media playback
Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g) connectivity
30 GB Hard Drive
3 inch video LCD 320x240
White, Black, and Brown Colors
FM Radio
TV output connectivity 640x480
Dedicated song download site (Zune Marketplace)
DJ Mode
Podcast playback
Updateable Firmware
Estimated 12 hr battery life for audio, 3.5 hr video
3 day playback of Wi-Fi transfered songs from friends (hmmm...) 
XBOX streaming
XBOX (Microsoft) points compatability
Preloaded music videos
Over a dozen accessories at launch
5.6 ounces in weight, 4.4 x 2.4 x 0.58 inches size
Metric: 158 g, 112 x 61 x 14.7 mm size
Custom background images
WiFi transfer of photographs
Tag based storage system (Will not appear as drive)
PC Compatability (no Mac client at launch)
Zune tag enabled
Horizontal and vertical video orientation

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Sunday, October 01, 2006 9:53:32 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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