Monday, 05 September 2005

Bill Whittle is an expressive genius. He has a way of bringing out common sense and putting things in perspective, for me anyhow.

Rather than race, rather than religion, this time Bill focuses at length on a concept we all need to think about: Tribes.

"Courage isn’t free. It is taught, taught by certain tribes who have been around enough and seen enough incoming storms to know what one looks like. And I think the people of this nation, and those of New Orleans, specifically, desire and deserve some fundamental lessons in courage."

There's no way to concisely describe what he's written - so go read it for yourself. Yes, it's long and there's some harsh language, but the message is clear. Whether you agree with Bill on every point is not nearly as important as whether or not you take the time to read.

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Helping Others
Monday, 05 September 2005 11:07:44 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Now that Hurricane Katrina has devastated the South along the Gulf Coast, Joel Comm, author of AdSense secrets and general AdSense guru, has launched - where you can donate your AdSense revenues to the relief efforts. It's not a collection site - it's a place where you can pledge to donate to the agency of your choice.

Earlier this year, when the Tsunami hit, I joined a few friends in asking Google to enable people participating in their AdSense program to have a mechanism built-in to donate their AdSense revenues directly to tsunami relief efforts. I got some response from Google, but not what you'd hope for - they were not able to set anything up at the time (of course, they did have donation links right on the Google home page).

Google - Can't you please find some way to allow us to make donations directly through your AdSense program??? Here's a little history (more linked from these entries):

Joel's idea is great - and I have just signed up my pledge. But if Google could enable direct donations as well, it just makes sense that so many more people would find it easier to participate in helping.

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Helping Others
Monday, 05 September 2005 09:18:41 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Jeremy Wright's got something cool going on. He's a bit of an electronic entrepreneur, and posted this partial image on his weblog a week or so ago as a hint of what's up his sleeve.

So, I started poking around during an extended semi-bored period, and eventually figured it out - but it took quite a bit of creative thinking and searching (Google's pretty amazing, you know?). Jeremy then let me in on the secret a little - but since it's a secret, I won't tell. But you can guess all you want. 

It's basically all right there in the image though - you just have to use your eyes and brain a bit more than usual.

And - from Jeremy's blog today:

"The news? It’s a blogging network. The details are still largely under wraps, but we’re expecting to unveil it in the next 3-4 weeks. That said, if you can figure out what the name is from the logo, there are already a number of blogs live. In fact, if you can only figure out the first 2 characters in the logo, there are a number hidden links on Google to the new network."

Neville Hobson interviewed Jeremy on his podcast that was posted today, too.

It will be a cool business, when it happens. And no - that's not a swastika in the image.

Can you guess?

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Random Stuff
Monday, 05 September 2005 08:34:24 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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One of the things that keeps some companies from patching computers in a timely fashion is the potential for data loss if a computer being patched restarts and data open on the desktop is lost.

Windows Vista promises to fix that problem by "freeze-drying" any work open on the PC at patch time, allowing the user to reconstitute the work when the computer restarts.

Even better, they're making the patching process better, so restarts will be necessary much less often. Many apps can be patched while they're running, and are replaced at next restart. We have some of that now, but will have more of it in the Vista release.

Read more - Tech News at ZDNet

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IT Security | Tech
Monday, 05 September 2005 07:29:07 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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I rented Sin City the other day. Now, I was prepared for the fact that it was going to be a violent, even offensive film. What I wasn't ready for was the fact that it's an incredibly well-made, artistic film.

This movie, like no other made to date, truly feels like a dark comic book. It's all about the thousands of little details. From Bruce Willis' long coat blowing in the breeze in a way that could never quite happen in real life, to the stylized color (usually red) details on black and white film, it's all a fairly amazing visual experience.

That said, the comic-book-like style is more a description than an audience defining mechanism. This is not a movie for kids. It's completely and totally R-rated, all the way to the far edge of the rating system. It's violent, crude, sexual and doesn't hold back.

I don't know how many people get knocked out from a single punch to the face or have their heads shoved into an unflushed toilet in this film, but it's plenty.

If you're squeamish, don't watch this one. If you're into dark, dark, dark comic books and get into visual blood, gore and guts stylized somewhere between comic-book-fake and real-as-life, you'll probably like this one a lot. You're also likely a borderline sociopath, but hey - that's beside the point. Enjoy.

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Monday, 05 September 2005 05:57:39 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Saturday, 03 September 2005

We all know it was predicted before, in terms of the potential impact of a large hurricane on the City of New Orleans, but what I did not realize is how accurately professionals in the area had come in their estimations.

There are excerpts from an article in The Natural Hazards Observer called "What if Hurricane Ivan Had Not Missed New Orleans?" that was written by Shirley Laska of the Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology at the University of New Orleans in November 2004, after Hurricane Ivan:

"Approximately 120,000 residents (51,000 housing units x 2.4 persons/unit) do not have cars. A proposal made after the evacuation for Hurricane Georges to use public transit buses to assist in their evacuation out of the city was not implemented for Ivan. If Ivan had struck New Orleans directly it is estimated that 40-60,000 residents of the area would have perished...

"Regional and national rescue resources would have to respond as rapidly as possible and would require augmentation by local private vessels (assuming some survived). And, even with this help, federal and state governments have estimated that it would take 10 days to rescue all those stranded within the city. No shelters within the city would be free of risk from rising water. Because of this threat, the American Red Cross will not open shelters in New Orleans during hurricanes greater than category 2; staffing them would put employees and volunteers at risk. For Ivan, only the Superdome was made available as a refuge of last resort for the medically challenged and the homeless...

"In this hypothetical storm scenario, it is estimated that it would take nine weeks to pump the water out of the city, and only then could assessments begin to determine what buildings were habitable or salvageable. Sewer, water, and the extensive forced drainage pumping systems would be damaged. National authorities would be scrambling to build tent cities to house the hundreds of thousands of refugees unable to return to their homes and without other relocation options. In the aftermath of such a disaster, New Orleans would be dramatically different, and likely extremely diminished, from what it is today...

"Should this disaster become a reality, it would undoubtedly be one of the greatest disasters, if not the greatest, to hit the United States, with estimated costs exceeding 100 billion dollars. According to the American Red Cross, such an event could be even more devastating than a major earthquake in California. Survivors would have to endure conditions never before experienced in a North American disaster..."

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Random Stuff
Saturday, 03 September 2005 15:57:14 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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