Monthly Archives: January 2006

google and china

Okay, I might be way off base here, but why is there all this fuss about [tag]google.com [/tag] cooperating with the [tag]chinese[/tag] [tag]government[/tag] to meet their [tag]censorship[/tag] laws? granted I don’t know the whole story, nor am I familiar with chinese [tag]law[/tag]…mostly because I have no desire to go there, or especially live there.

Not to pick on one person, especially since this is probably the 40th post from various places that I have seen on the topic, but this just happens to be the one I just came across from kuro5hin.org

In hopes of increasing its China market share, [tag]Google[/tag] has announced its eagerness to be a better Thought Policeman by enforcing the PRC’s hardline censorship rules. To that end, the company has recently established a separate China domain, google.cn, which will streamline the tricky business of violating civil rights in the totalitarian Middle Kingdom. Ironically, the announcement comes as Google does battle with the Bush Administration, which is also trying to violate civil liberties by obtaining access to Americans’ Google search-results. If Google cooperates (as Yahoo recently has) with the Chinese government to spy on its citizens, then why can’t they cooperate with the US government’s efforts to snoop on its citizens? The price of doing business with China may be that our information civil liberties will be compromised throughout the rest of the world.

I happily enjoy and believe in the foundation of the U.S government, but [tag]China[/tag] is far being like the U.S. They have censorship, they have a tyrannical government. Why would a business purposefully disregard a countries laws. Sure it is a worthy cause, and sure yes, the chinese should not be oppressed, but unfortunately that is not the way their government works. If google decided to “hold its ground” and not censor anything, China would simply ban google from being seen from anyone in China. How does that help anyone? now, instead of getting a good search engine that is unfortunately censored, you would get nothing…or in googles case, you would get their biggest competitor instead. Part of my points is that why does everyone keep saying phrases like “violating civil rights” do the chinese even have civil rights? I know we do, but again, the United States is not China. Our government is quite differant, so the rules that apply here don’t apply there. So yes, Google refusing to fork over its data to the U.S government is completly differant than complying with the Chinese government. Unfortunately they don’t have the luxury of all the freedoms that the United States has.

It is simply bad business, and a bad idea in general for google to refuse to comply in China. They will just get kicked out. What incentive does the Chinese government have to not just block the whole country from ever seeing google again?

[tags]kuro5hin.org[/tags]

Priceline will arrest you

This is great. I see this happening to me some day. Probably soon too.

Priceline Has Customer Arrested for Diligent Refund Attempt

Your pet or your house?

For anyone that read any of the posts about my dog, or about the freemoneyfinance.com discussion on how much is too much to spend on a pet, this is todays tidbit.

Sell your house to save your pet’s life

If you want to catch up on the original discussion about this topic, along with my dogs past situation, here is my old post with all the links

The biggest problem I have with the whole article..and comments is how I find the parts about thinking pets and children are the same. That isn’t exactly what I meant, or I think any of the other commentors who said similar things. You shoud go read the article on freemoneyfinance.com, especially the comments. It is interesting, but still aggravating. I just can’t see the whole “gift card” point of view. Like you’re getting a pet, and attached to it is a gift card with whatever stupid made up amount of money you set on the pets life. Once the card runs out…bye bye sparky.

Here is the comment I left on that blog entry:

I can partially see the first commentors point (bruce) about the majority of the “pets are the same as children” are childless. Not clueless however. I have made that pates same as children statement a number of times, and as was mentioned in the post, most (if not all) people, probably including me would go to as extreme an extent, like selling your house, to save a pets life as for a childs life. Obviously I wouldn’t have first hand experience with making decisions like that with a child, but I am willing to bed most of the readers of this blog, including the first commentor have had to either, so you really can’t say what you would do. My point, which I have mentioned before here and elsewhere, is that if you are a responsible person, maybe even just a “humane” person, you shouldn’t have a set “death limit” for your pet. When my dog started having all the problem he did, some of which were similar to the one in this article, like the monthly fee for life part.

Your saying…as many of the commentors have, that you will just stop at $1500, and that is only if you decide it is “worth it”. So what happens when you hit $1500? do you tell your kid “sorry timmy, we had to kill sparky because if we spent any more, I would be dipping into the cable bill, and daddy would rather watch the superbowl”

That to me is irresponsible, and is just plain wrong. You shouldn’t be going into owning a pet with his death sentance already planned out. Sure, everything has its and I, just like probably anyone else that said they view their pets as children, would do whatever was necessary to say my kid. You’re not even giving your dog a chance. If your not willing to even attempt to make a sacrifice to save your pet, maybe even if it is only for another year, then you just plain shouldn’t have one. Get a fish tank, they are cheaper and don’t live as long.

You would really feel fine going to sleep the night after you put your dog to sleep when you hit that $1500 mark? especially knowing that their are plenty of reasonable sacrifices you could have made. It wouldn’t….and didn’t sit well with me to think that I chose cable TV, a better car, high speed internet access, a cell phone, or whatever other amenities you can think of over a pet…a companion…and a member of a member of the family, like your child, but I don’t think anyone said that they would treat both the same.

Setting a limit of $200 on a cat? many of them live a good 20 years. That is just cruel, which again ties into the whole child thing. When you read in the paper about some parent who had been abusing their kid or depriving the child in some way, that is cruel, and shouldn’t happen. Obviously not the same as with a pet, but a reasonable person can understand the differance. People spend $200 going to dunkin donuts. That is worth more than spending a little on your cat?

If you go into getting a pet with its death tally already planned out. Just do everyone who actually likes their pets a favor and just not get it.

I spent a ton of money to save my dog. He lived at least 2 years extra just because of that. The sacrifices I made were petty and insignificant. But I, am my dog enjoyed those 2 extra years. When the dog had to be put down when nothing else could be done, my younger brother had a real tough time dealing with it. The decision was all mine since it was my dog, but he lived with that dog his entire life, and now he had to watch him get put down. Fortunately he is old enough to understand why, but how do you parents that know so much more than me tell that to your 5 year old? Is the heartache and torment that they deal with worth anything? or is there a price on that too?

As I said in a previous comment on this topic, the $15,000 plus I spent just in the last 3 years of my dogs life were worth every penny. I would spend it again if it meant that I didn’t have to see how heart broken members of my family were. I would have continued the $80+/month for the shot that was stabilizing his system, and I would have gone further if it hadn’t reached the point where he couldn’t breathe on his own, and would have died…more painfully, on his own days later.

Maybe instead of setting a predetermined limit on a pets life, you should figure out what “adjustments” you could make in your life to keep him alive.

Or maybe instead just watch your kids cry when you needlessly kill your pet.

[tags]dog,finance,death sentance,spending,pets,money[/tags]

Cowboy hats for everyone

Who decided that cow boy hats arn’t socially acceptable?

I wish I was wearing a cowboy hat right now, and I wish I had one of those fake metal looking plastic deputy badges too.

I would sit at my desk…. with my six shooter and take shots at people whenever they came near me.

Better yet, I would decorate the walls of my cube “[tag]wild west[/tag]” style, and have a spitoon at the entrance to my cube, along with a piano playing that wild west music.

maybe I could have my cube just look like a big covered wagon. and every once in a while I would have to poke my head out the front to fight off some angry injuns. For lunch I could kill a [tag]buffalo[/tag], but I havn’t worked out yet how I could cook the meat.

The possibilities are endless, and it all starts with having a cowboy hat. Not that crappy one I bought before, not knowing it was “Aussie style” no one cares about Australian cowboys, but I get I could have had an excuse at that point to get a digeridooo. I would belt out sick tunes all day. Then, since the middle of my department is kind of close in, I bet we could have Kangaroo fights. None of my co-workers would go along with that, and would probably shake their heads and make their “mike is at it again” face. That is why I would have the six shooter. I would say bang! bang! and according to cowboy rules, they would have to dramatically fall backwards and break a wooden table.

Ahhh….the life. Some day [tag]cowboy[/tag] hats will be accepted by society and the old west will be back once again.

How I know I left my mark..

When writing code, editing files, or just making a quick backup copy of something before making an important edit, most people will either name the files appropriately, or a proper notation somewhere of some kind.

me? no, I find it is more fun to rename the files based on the “Severity” of the situation, or in most cases, just my mood at the time. For example, today I was moving one of the sites at my work to a new location and had to make an update to our old uploading system. So I go to edit the files and do a quick directory listing and see this:

PubMaps.pm.temp
PubMaps.pm.fucked
PubMaps.pm.old
PubMaps.pm
PubMaps.pm.shit
PubMaps.pm.shitshit

take a guess which files were a result of me

RSS feeds are killing me

I think every time I really go through all the [tag]RSS[/tag] [tag]feeds[/tag] I subscribe to, I end up subscribing to at least a couple new ones that day, which in turn leads to spending more time reading all these web sites I would have probably completely forgotten about otherwise.

I think reading all these feeds turned into some sick addiction. I log into [tag]News Gator[/tag], usually in the morning and immediately see the the massive number of unread articles. It is usually just shy of 1000, and I think that is only because of whatever article limits some of the feeds have. At that point, it is like some [tag]OCD[/tag] problem to try to get the number to 0.

The problem is, obviously as the day progresses the maintainers of all these web sites post more articles, which slowly raises the number back up. So you really can’t hit 0. It is just an illusion. So I then at some point throw in the towel and exit News Gator running. Only to come back the next day with another 1000 some odd unread articles, plus all the “saved clippings” I marked as being interesting that I slowly……very slowly go through. That number only keeps getting bigger.

My ownly hope is that all this reading will speed up my poor word reading rate. Then, maybe someday I can enjoy a book without spending 3 months reading it, even though that is partially due to “not having the time” to read, which is just a lie I use to give me an excuse to watch more tv. But now having a DVR is just as bad as the RSS feed reader. I am recording more shows than I manage to watch in a given day. On the positive side, my DVR only has 2 tuners in it, and once 6pm hits, chances are one, if not both of t hose tuners are recording some crappy show Aimee likes. Gilmore Girls, One Tree Hill, The O.C, Laguna Beach, and the likes of all similar shows should all be cancelled. However, if they are cancelled, then I will find more shows to record, which will end up being more shows I need to watch, because mentally, I cannot make myself delete a show I recorded without watching it most of the time.

That means I am not dependant on shows like Gilmore Girls to stop me from spending more time watching shows I like. Instead I sit, basking in the comforting glow of the TV, using my computer, probably reading articles in News Gator. Living the endless cycle over and over.

I got a book for christmas that I actually really do want to read, which is [tag]Secrets & Lies[/tag], by [tag]Bruce Schneier[/tag]. Christmas was a month ago and the book has not been touched. Maybe if the book was split into a long series of articles it could be stuck into the middle of my daily rotation.

Maybe all this article reading is training me to only have an attention span for 3 minutes at a time, then my eyes will just glaze over, and I’ll just be crying inside.

Reason #306 why I hate Windows and Microsoft

Late last week, one of the [tag]computers[/tag] in the design department died, and it turned out to be because the [tag]hard drive[/tag] went.

This particular person had a bunch of documents and such saved in her My Documents folder that would be sorely missed. A couple months back, I came accross a application suite that is supposed to be able to [tag]recover data[/tag] from “fucked” drives. (my words not theirs). Even to the point were the hard drive is making that deathly [tag]clicking sound[/tag]. I have used it with much success both of the times I have needed it before this.

The downside is that the application ONLY works in [tag]windows.[/tag] The suite lets you read data from a variety of file systems, [tag]NTFS[/tag], [tag]FAT[/tag](32), Mac crap, [tag]UFS[/tag], [tag]ext2[/tag]..etc. Basically it can read anything that has Windows, [tag]Linux[/tag], [tag]Mac[/tag] crap, or [tag]Solaris[/tag] on it. Why the manufacturer chose windows as the platform of choice? no idea, but hey, it works so get over it right?

So I put the [tag]IDE[/tag] drive in a [tag]USB[/tag] case and plug it into the USB port on the computer I had to install windows on, and let it run. The program takes a while to weed through the disk looking for stuff, and since by the time I had found a computer to use, installed windows plus all 567 patches from [tag]windows update[/tag], it was already friday afternoon, so the program was still analyzing the disk when I left work at 5:30.

I come in today after the long weekend, and the computer is sitting at the login screen. After it starts up, I see a pretty litty information box informing me that Windows has to install an important update, and [tag]automatically rebooted[/tag] the computer for me.

Oh thank you! I definately couldn’t have done that myself. It’s not like I updated the computer with every [tag]patch[/tag] available before I even started analyzing the drive on friday. So, now I get to start from square one again.

It takes a good 3-4 hours for this program to analyze the drive.

Microsoft is a bunch of dirty dirty [tag]whores[/tag].

And yes, I know that turning off automatic updates is an option, but that is not my point. My point is that if an application is open, maybe it shouldn’t automatically reboot the damn machine.

Also, the application suite is called [tag]Stellar Phoenix[/tag]. I highly recommend it. It hasn’t failed me once, and one time I had a 200 gig drive filled with everything I could think of, and I got almost all of it back after the drive died. It’s a bit pricey though

Microsofts stupid windows update as ISO’s idea

Security And Critical Updates Available On CD Image FilesMicrosoft now releases ISO-9660 CD image files that contain all the security and critical updates that are released on the Microsoft Windows Update Web site for Windows and for other Microsoft products. The ISO image files are released at the same time as security and critical updates are released on the Windows Update Web site. The ISO image files are intended for corporate administrators who: Manage large multinational organizations…

This just seems like a near pointless PR stunt. The only time I could see this being useful is if your Darren and are downloading files over a 14.4k internet connection.

If your involved in updating the windows machines in a “large multinational organization” and don’t have your own internal windows update server, I think Microsoft should be handing you one of those “how to write your resume” cd’s instead of all the updates on an ISO.

[tags]microsoft,updates,windows,security,ISO,stupid[/tags]

good ‘ol qmail

I decided I would start being more “vigilant” in finding some consulting work, and I came a fairly easy one that basically involves installing qmail.

That will be in another post because I have a bunch to say about consulting work and the likes.

Anyway, I was looking through the Makefile for qmail, and saw line and it made me laugh:

OS_SPECIFIC=#-DSOLARIS_STUPIDITY
yes, this entire post was disjointed, ran all over the place, and probably has spelling errors, but that is what makes me special.

[tags]qmail,consulting[/tags]

One of the many reasons nothing has changed (for the better) since 9/11

[tag]Bruce Schneier[/tag] is a smart guy. I only caught on to his existence a few months back, but I think almost everything so far of his that I have read I either completely agree with, or had never thought of.

Not like any of that matters, but he wrote an article today about how security through verifying a persons credentials means nothing if the people verifying them don’t know what the [tag]credentials[/tag] look like.

Like this:

Imagine you’re on an airplane, and Man A starts attacking a flight attendant. Man B jumps out of his seat, announces that he’s a sky marshal, and that he’s taking control of the flight and the attacker. (Presumably, the rest of the plane has subdued Man A by now.) Man C then stands up and says: “Don’t believe Man B. He’s not a sky marshal. He’s one of Man A’s cohorts. I’m really the [tag]sky marshal[/tag].”

What do you do? You could ask Man B for his sky marshal identification card, but how do you know what an authentic one looks like? If sky marshals travel completely incognito, perhaps neither the pilots nor the flight attendants know what a sky marshal identification card looks like. It doesn’t matter if the identification card is hard to forge if person [tag]authenticating[/tag] the credential doesn’t have any idea what a real card looks like.

The real scary part is that this whole conversation was brought up because of how there is a rise in the number of fake officers pulling people over. I have had quite my fair share of times being pulled over, and I don’t think I have even once thought to somehow verify if the [tag]officer[/tag] pulling me over was even an officer.

You see some form of flashing lights, you pull over, and some guy comes to your window and yells at you for something. What if this guy is pretending to be an officer and steals your car, rapes you, mugs you, or kills you?

I think the thing that tops it off is that from my own experience, if you question an officer when they pull you over, they tend to not be happy about it. I got yelled at by a female officer once because when I pulled over, I shut my car off, turned the dome light one, and put my hands on the top of the steering wheel (in clear view). She started yelling at me saying completely insane unrelated things like “what, do you hate cops or something?”

In my mind, I was making a shaky situation a little more comfortable. If your an officer approaching an unkown person in an unknown dark car, at night none the less, and you are also on patrol by yourself, you approach the car with caution, and usually with your hand on the handle of your gun ready to pull it out on a moments notice.

I am not sure about most people, but I don’t like guns being pointed at me, just like I am sure most officers do not like that either. If I make the situation as comfortable as possible for the officer, the chances of an accident happening are much slimmer, it puts the officer at ease, and maybe, because of that you might also get a warning instead of a ticket. I did get a warning that particular time, but how do you even respond to insane comments like that from a person that can take away your license, or for that matter accidentally kill you. Sure, getting killed is a bit far fetched, but it happens. This officer was apparantly on edge that night, and for some reason me “setting the scene” in such a way set her off.

Another time I was driving home from a late night out. No drinking involved, just aimless driving around with 2 friends. It was like maybe 2am, and I missed my friends steet. I stopped in the middle of the street and debated just backing up the 20 feet or so and turning onto his street, or going around the block instead. In that few seconds I was stopped, a car came into site behind me which obviously made backing up a bad idea, so I drove away to go around the block instead.

The car behind me happened to be an officer, he decided I was acting suspiscious, pulled me over, and individually interrogated all 3 of us along with running all of our licenses and my registration to see if their where any warrants/problems. There wern’t any problems, so he hands us all our licenses back and tells me to get back in the car and leave. Me, being a bit upset about being pulled over and interrogated for 20 minutes without any reason calmly said something along the lines of “would you mind telling me why exactly you pulled me over?” the cop flipped out, snatched my license back, screamed at me and told me to get into the car, then called for backup, and they then when over the outside of my car looking for any reason to give me a ticket. Then eventually told me to leave and go home.

Yes, in both stories the officers were real officers, but what happens when someone is in a situation where the officer is a fake? The lesson I learned over my past experiences is not question anything they say, say as little as possible, take the ticket and if you feel you got it unjustly, appeal it and deal with it in court instead. If a cop starts yelling at me and tells me to get out of the car, even if he says it over the PA from inside his car, yes, I am going to get out of the car because I know what happens if you don’t. Now I have just completely exposed myself and left myself in a real vulnerable position.

Sure I kind of veered way off course from Bruce Schneiers story, but he raises a real good point, and it is a legitimate real problem. People who look and claim to have authority normally are assumed to actually have authority. If they are faking it, you’re not going to realize it until it is too late.

So how are we any safer? Either on a plane or anywhere else?

[tags]imposter,abuse of power,indentification,authentication,fake officers,criminals[/tags]