Sunday, 04 June 2006

Diet-coke-and-mentosI know, I know - it's sooo lame to link to Internet videos, blah blah, but seriously I only link to the ones that make me go WOW... This one certainly got me to play it more than just once.

The Extreme Diet Coke & Mentos Experiments:

What happens when you combine 200 liters of Diet Coke and over 500 Mentos mints? It's amazing and completely insane.

This has to be one of the better orchestrated Intarweb videos I have seen in awhile. Two guys take 200 bottles of Diet Coke, drop a bunch of mentos in the bottles, and end up with a terrific - albeit kinda messy - display. It does cause one to wonder, though:

If I eat Mentos and drink Diet Coke will I blow up????

Watch it here. Some of the earlier tests are also viewable online. Heh.



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Sunday, 04 June 2006 07:29:08 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Not able to register and sign up for college classes and hike on down there to learn some useful crypto skills? No problem. The University of Washington's crypto course is available online for anyone to access. And this is some truly decent content.

Practical Aspects of Modern Cryptography - course description

The full semester of class content is available online - slides, video of each class session, audio in MP3 format (there's even a podcast link) - great stuff. You'll spend some real time working through the class presentation, which means you'll be spending the time it takes to actually learn the content.

By far the best way to view the content online is with a special app you can download from the UofW web site for free. If you install their WebViewer application you can get the video and slides and instructor annotations playing all together in one nifty package. Quite excellent since they teach with - get this - a Tablet PC in real time. It's kind of like Monday Night Football for geeks. Heh.

Web-viewer-crypto-class

There's a whole slew of math and number crunching stuff in the first class sessions, but it's information that is fundamental to a complete understanding. Then the instructors move into protocols and more practical, real-world applications.

There's a TON of presentation content here. Anyone who wants to learn about cryptography for real will likely find this worthwhile. Kudos to the instructors and the University of Washington for providing this online class content. We need more complete educational stuff like this on the web. Like MIT's OpenCourseWare. Excellent.

(via Digg)



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Geek Out | IT Security | Tech
Sunday, 04 June 2006 06:34:15 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Saturday, 03 June 2006

Steve Knopper took a new Dell computer and spent 18 days infecting it with all the malware and viruses he could get his hands on. His account if the whole thing is published at Wired.

"What kind of idiot buys a computer and willingly – even eagerly – exposes it to all the malware and viruses he can? Me. I bought a Dell Dimension B110 ($468! Cheap!) and tried to kill it for more than two weeks. I clicked on every pop-up and downloaded the gnarliest porn, gambling, and hacker files I could find."

And then he returned it to Best Buy on the 18th day. Classic. Read Steve's account here.



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IT Security | Tech
Saturday, 03 June 2006 20:55:18 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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If there is one thing I have learned lately, it's that I have been wrong all along about how to solve problems between businesses. It's become very clear to me over the past few days of industry observation that the only way way to solve a problem is to serve some form of aggressive legal notice just as soon as humanly possible. So, as part of my top-secret role as a representative of an organization I am not actually allowed to tell you about, the following notice has been formally served on America Company and its CEO.

Background: America Company has infringed on the property rights of the organization I represent, and it's obvious they have done so intentionally and without even asking or offering to cook dinner or anything. That phone call back in February where they asked if it "would be cool" to use the trademark doesn't really count - it was purely a discussion of hypotheticals and whatever was said was certainly not really meant.

So, I regret even having to go this far. It is a very difficult thing to have to do. Unfortunately, it's now officially the only acceptable way left to solve real problems...

Dear AMERICA COMPANY and RORY BLYTHE, CEO:

I am counsel to AMERICA THE OTHER COUNTRY LLC (herein referred to as "SHADOW AMERICA"). Working closely with THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (and its predecessor, THE COMMONWEALTH OF SALEM) as well as its various divisions and entities, SHADOW AMERICA is the creator and producer of of the ATM/NIGERIAN SCAM MACHINE and ATM/NIGERIAN SCAM CONFERENCE, and has been constructing and distributing these machines, and conducting these conferences, since 2004. As a result of our investment of time, energy and resources in the production of the ATM/NIGERIAN SCAM MACHINE and related conferences, and the associated ATM/NIGERIAN SCAM MACHINE service-marks and product trademarks, members of the industry and interested members of the public have come to associate the mark "ATM/NIGERIAN SCAM MACHINE" and the ATM/NIGERIAN SCAM MACHINE conferences with SHADOW AMERICA and THE COMMONWEALTH OF SALEM.

It has come to my attention that you have marketed a service and/or device entitled in whole or part ATM/NIGERIAN SCAM MACHINE. Through this title, you are misinterpreting and misrepresenting, and recipients are given the direct and false impression that you are providing them with SHADOW AMERICA'S ATM/NIGERIAN SCAM MACHINE device. We have received numerous complaints related to confusion among our highly confidential and sensitive list of customers surrounding your marketing materials published on or about June 3, 2006, and other similar items.

SHADOW AMERICA has a pending application for the registration of ATM/NIGERIAN SCAM MACHINE as a service mark for the production, marketing and sale of devices, namely combination ATM-scam machines, associated devices and services related thereto in various fields of technology and services. You use of the ATM/NIGERIAN SCAM MACHINE mark without our authorization or consent directly violates our exclusive rights. Selecting this title can only been seen as a deliberate attempt to trade off the good will of SHADOW AMERICA and causes confusion in the market. You mis-use, ironically, is exacerbated by your use of the term "AMERICA COMPANY" in your marketing material, which is close in language and terminology to SHADOW AMERICA, and due to the little-understood yet existing connection between SHADOW AMERICA and THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, your company's name further complicates matters for consumers. Moreover, such actions contribute to unfair trade practices, unfair competition and are a flagrant violation of SHADOW AMERICA'S trademark rights.

SHADOW AMERICA hereby demands that you immediately cease and desist from utilizing ATM/NIGERIAN SCAM MACHINE at the name or title of your products and/or services, and from making any further use of our mark, or any mark that is confusingly similar to it. SHADOW AMERICA further demands that you provide us written assurance within ten days that you have ceased to use such name and title and that you will refrain from using and SHADOW AMERICA marks in the future.

Any further actions by SHADOW AMERICA will depend on the nature and promptness of your response. SHADOW AMERICA will retain and reserve all of its rights with respect to your actions to date.

Very Truly Yours,

Sosu Mie
SHADOW AMERICA
(AMERICA THE OTHER COUNTRY LLC)

Rory, you've been served. Again, I blame you.

Ok. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...



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Saturday, 03 June 2006 20:07:34 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Adobe, which released it's PDF format as an open format a while back, has apparently shoved Microsoft with a heck of a legal mess regarding Microsoft's plan to include PDF output support directly in the Office 2007 programs.

Brian Jones, a program manager in the Office team at Microsoft, explains that they're going to have to pull PDF output support out of Office 2007.

Let me see if I have this right. Adobe opens up the PDF format and establishes a standard that needs to be adhered to. Other companies and organizations, commercial and otherwise, pick up on that and add PDF creation support to their programs, with no hassle or complaint or legal action from Adobe. Then Microsoft adds it as an output format option to the next-gen Office programs, and Adobe complains and calls out the lawyers.

That stinks. No more Adobe for me. Don't try to convince me that it's different when it's Microsoft that's involved. Adobe's been spiraling toward an almost certain death for some time and this is just another example of that. The ISO:19005-1 standard pretty much spelled out PDF as a standard, it was opened, and now the lawyers are lining up. It's too bad. I guess Adobe didn't think through the definition of "open" when they "opened" the format standard. the only things that's clear is that some portion of Adobe's team of attorneys doesn't have a clue.

So, for people who want to do PDF in Office 2007 directly, it looks like it mean a separate download and installation. At least it won't mean being forced to use Adobe Acrobat, which is and has always been a buggy, bloated piece of junk in my experience. It fails more often than it works. I was rather looking forward to native support in Office right when I installed it...

Brian Jones' blog posts on the subject are here:



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Saturday, 03 June 2006 14:00:48 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 30 May 2006

I was in Washington DC today (in fact I still am - our flight through Chicago is delayed by a few hours) for a business meeting at the OCC. After the meeting ended we had some time to spare , so my coworker Milind and I spent an hour or so checking out a few spots around the city.

Grandfather Fremont Stanley marker at Arlinton National CemeteryOur last stop before heading for the airport was Arlington National Cemetery. Milind had not been there before, and it had been more than a year for me. The last time I went, they were just closing for the evening, and also at the time I did not get a chance on that trip to find out where my grandpop and grandmom are buried.

But today we had plenty of time, so I went to the location office and the nice people there pulled out the old rolls of microfilm (seriously - someone should digitize all that for the cemetery, for free, as a donation. It's sad that they have to use Microfilm for anything before 1999) and found my grandpop's burial location.

I'd hoped our flight in on Monday would arrive in time to let me go there on Memorial Day, but no such luck, so today - Memorial Day +1, so to speak - was a good day to go.

He served in the U.S. Army - including service during World War Two and Korea. My grandmom and their three kids - my mom and her two younger sisters - traveled to Germany when he was stationed there. I'm told they moved around a lot. Probably typical army family style.

At any rate, what I remember of Grandpop was bouncing on his knee when I was very small. That and him singing "Little David Play on your Harp" to my little brother (David, of course). Of my Grandmom I remember much more. She was a very nice lady and a good person.

Grandmom Stanley marker at ArlingtonAnyhow, it was good to go there and spend a few minutes. Their marker (it's a shared one, because they intern couples together at Arlington) is under a big tree, and it's just a beautiful place. I snapped a few pictures before I left. I'm sure I will go back again, hopefully soon.

Arlington National Cemetery is simply an amazing, thought provoking, emotional place.

Milind and I went to the U.S. Capital building earlier in our trek, and walked in the east-coast summer heat for a while and took some pictures. The capital city has moved into that hot and muggy phase of the early summer, and today was a perfect example. We just don't get that kind of humidity in Oregon. Thank goodness.

UA Capital Building
   The Capital Building

milind-capital1
   Milind's presentation style pose



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Tuesday, 30 May 2006 16:55:17 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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