Saturday 302

Low-tech ball check

Filed under: Politics — Tags: — zundel @ am

For the First Time, the TSA Meets Resistance

Assume the position: TSA begins new nut-busting pat-downs

From the comments:

Wear a kilt or a skirt.

Don’t wear underwear.

Be hard, or wet.

Do not break eye contact the entire time.


I, for one, welcome our new overlords.

We get so much for our tax dollars. Thanks.


Friday 301

Open source value

Filed under: Open source — Tags: — zundel @ am

The Widening Value Gap Between Open Source and Commercial Software

A good, short post on why open source beats commercial software.

Businesses learn to not trust the likes of Microsoft or Adobe to produce quality safe software.

Adobe again. Flash exploit, again.

Filed under: Computers, Security — Tags: , — zundel @ am

New Adobe Flash Bug Being Exploited

Security Advisory for Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Reader and Acrobat

malware hazard

Just discovered — another great big hole in Flash.
If you use Adobe’s software, someone can do bad things to your computer.

This effects everybody.

Never trust your security to someone else’s software.

You must secure your own system.

You have been warned.

Thursday 300

Ubuntu 10.10

Filed under: Computers — Tags: , , , — zundel @ am

Ubuntu 10.04 is a lovely operating system: fast, stable, elegant, and easy to use. If you need a new operating system, use it: there’s nothing better. And as a long term support release, coming every two years, it will have update support for three years.

Ubuntu 10.10 was released over two weeks ago on 10.10.
I tested it for two weeks. It offers no great improvement over version 10.04.
But, I now run 10.10 on my primary machine (Ubuntu makes a netbook rock).
It’s better.

Software Center is much improved in 10.10, and I use it often. With thousands of tested and free programs available, when I need to do something, I go looking for a program.

And 10.10 looks better in ways that improve productivity.
It’s All In The Looks
Mighty Minutiae
This is not eye candy for the sake of eye candy or to show off whiz-bang. (You can make windows wobble if you want to, but don’t). (But I have a netbook doing some very fancy animations for task switching: I like it that way.)

The folks making Ubuntu understand how good design can make using software easier and pleasurable. They understand it better than anyone has since Apple once did. They now surpass Apple. My Mac began to bug me a couple of years ago. Now, Ubuntu gives me little moments of pleasure at its elegance. If you like good design (and performance and stability) try Ubuntu.

Wednesday 299


Filed under: Computers, Security — Tags: , — zundel @ pm

Firesheepmalware hazard

If you use an insecure website, like Facebook, from an insecure wi-fi connection, like in a cafe or airport, anyone can easily hijack your identity. (The tool is now a Firefox extension.)

Known problem for a while.
Now well demonstrated.

You have been warned.

Monday 297

Taco Bell Programming

Filed under: Computers — Tags: — zundel @ am

Taco Bell Programming

Pfft, fuck that noise:
32 concurrent parallel parsing processes and zero bullshit to manage.

Moving on, once you have these millions of pages (or even tens of millions), how do you process them? Surely, Hadoop MapReduce is necessary, after all, that’s what Google uses to parse the web, right?

Pfft, fuck that noise:

find crawl_dir/ -type f -print0 | xargs -n1 -0 -P32 ./process

32 concurrent parallel parsing processes and zero bullshit to manage. Requirement satisfied.

It may not get you invited to speak at conferences, but it will get the job done, and help keep your pager from going off at night.

Saturday 288

Porn, HIV, and AIM

Filed under: Medicine, Politics — Tags: , — zundel @ am

Anyone who has worked too closely with sexual health and government public health knows how political this can get — tragically.

Recently a porn actor got a positive result on an HIV test. And again a media and political storm erupts.

AIM does better testing and education than anyone in public health.

I quote from AIM‘s press release:

AIM HIV Press Release Oct. 13, 2010

The misfortune of a patient testing positive for HIV has been turned into a tragic farce by the efforts of groups to exploit the patient for their political and financial gain.

Under law, reporting to Los Angeles County HIV Epidemiology Program can only occur upon the return of a Western Blot test. That test was taken immediately upon the first indication of a potential infection, but the results take one week to return. Los Angeles County does not, and cannot under law, accept any other test results. […] AIM cannot, under the California regulations, provide any information to other state entities or private individuals.

Earlier this year, the State attempted to violate Federal HIPAA and related privacy laws by demanding personal, identifying information from a patient who tested positive for HIV in June 2009. The California judiciary, specifically Judge Winifred Smith of Alameda County, rejected those lawless efforts and issued a preliminary injunction last summer. Through the press, the State is making the same unlawful demands again, while knowing that the State is under a binding injunction barring it from demanding access to those kinds of records.

The industry is behaving responsibly and cautiously, as it always has, by placing a moratorium on filming any person one or two generations removed from sexual contact with the current patient. Upon completion of testing that cohort, in about ten days or two weeks, as well as highly sophisticated analyses of the genetic components of the infection, the nature of the exposure will be determined.

A little background:

Watch a video interview with AIM founder Sharon Mitchell. It’s worth watching the longer interview.
X-Rated Health: An Interview With Sharon Mitchell
also at http://aim-med.org/news/2010/04/28/1272486586/

Latest HIV-in-Porn-Panic: Rumor Control Central Re-Opens for Business

Unfortunately, irresponsible gossip bloggers, a sensationalistic local press and various activists with different agendas have already begun spinning the few facts thus far made public to their own ends, with potentially disastrous consequences. Before that process whirls out of control, let’s have a look at what we actually know so far.

Pfizer sued over Viagra ads

Friday 287

Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10

Filed under: Computers — Tags: — zundel @ am

I tested Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10 on a Dell netbook.
The new Unity interface runs slower than desktop Ubuntu. And you cannot modify how the interface works.

Use the Ubuntu Desktop Edition on netbooks. Set the top and bottom panels to automatically hide when not used: right-click on the panel, go to Properties, the General tab, and check Autohide. And use Google’s Chromium browser.

Thursday 286

Thanks Microsoft

Filed under: Computers — zundel @ am

Microsoft Gives its Blessing to OpenOffice.org

Just as it did in 1999 for GNU/Linux, Apache and Samba, the company has now clearly announced that OpenOffice.org is a serious rival to Microsoft Office, and should be seriously considered by anyone using the latter.

Thanks Microsoft.

I suggest using either of these versions:

Monday 283


Filed under: Politics — Tags: — zundel @ pm

Perhaps his name doesn’t mean what you’d think. Perhaps it means something else. Dan?

On Sunday, Mr. Paladino, speaking to a group of Orthodox Jewish leaders in Brooklyn, said children should not be “brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option — it isn’t.”

Unrepentant, Paladino Calls Gay Parades ‘Disgusting’

Friday 280


Filed under: Politics — Tags: — zundel @ am

Double-plus-good, y’all.

Caught Spying on Student, FBI Demands GPS Tracker Back

We know real subversives only ride public transportation.

Patch Tuesday Hell

Filed under: Computers, Security — zundel @ am

Umm…malware hazard
I normally ignore Microsoft hell, but this gets interesting, well, perhaps schadenfreude.

The largest patch Tuesday ever will come next week, even bigger than last month.
Four critical exploits that allow remote code execution will get fixed, and a bunch of other stuff. Restart required.
Take control of your machine and do it manually or….

October 2010 Patch Tuesday will come with most bulletins ever

Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification for October 2010

Followed by Exploit Wednesday — do update your systems.

Beyond Microsoft’s usual problems, lots of security problems have surfaced recently. I ponder why.

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