March 2003 Archives

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Intel CPU detection in MacOS X

Don't ask me what I was doing when I found this... :-) I just noticed that when you do a 'strings' on the MacOS X login application,, it does some CPU detection, and in part of that CPU detection it's looking for Intel CPUs.

[] rose% pwd
[] rose% strings loginwindow | grep Intel
Intel 486
Intel x86
[] rose% strings loginwindow | grep Pentium
Pentium Pro
Pentium II

The Aqua/Quartz foundation that MacOS X is built on comes from OpenStep, which once ran on x86. I wonder if this is legacy, or if Apple is really planning something... (just feeding the rumor mill) ;-p

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Hackers for peace

From BBC World Service... This conflict has seen a new breed of hacktivist, in the shape of pro-peace campaigners who have been joining pro-Islamic hackers and pro-American groups in expressing their grievances online.

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The cost of paranoia

From The Economist... While the war may help al-Qaeda’s recruiting drive, it may not lead to any more of the terror network’s trademark spectacular attacks any time soon. These, it seems, tend to require long-term planning: the September 11th attacks, after all, were years in the making. Suicide bombers, or lone fanatics who disagree with America’s policies, are more of a worry. As Tom Ridge, America’s homeland-security chief, has said, the threat can be reduced, but it cannot be eliminated.

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If you spot terrorism, blow your anti-terrorism whistle. If you are Vin Diesel, yell really loud.

The US government has a new website, It's another attempt at scare mongering in the style of the old "duck and cover" advice after WWII.

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Most Americans think the war against Iraq is linked to September 11th

This is sad. See this CNN article.

"If we don't act now to get these weapons away from him, we are going to suffer."

When the war is over, keep your eyes peeled for reports of finding those mystical "weapons of mass destruction." I have a feeling that when all this is over, the cause that everyone thought we were fighting for will have been forgotten.

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Blatant propoganda

Bush just gave his evening speech, and during and afterwards I heard two things that disgusted me:

Bush: "...we will fight in Iraq so we do not need to fight with firefighters, police, and doctors on our own streets..."
Analyst after the speech on Fox news: "...the military is now working to take out key Al Queda I mean Iraqi leadership..."

I feel sick... The war in Iraq has nothing to do with terrorism or regime change... it's about oil.

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Anti-war protest idea: Gas boycott

It would never happen, but it makes sense. Protestors: stop waving your banners in front of public buildings and start blocking the entrances to gas stations. That would send a strong message...

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Economics of war

I would appreciate it if someone could enlighten me. The economics of this war do not make sense. According to past articles I've read (see previous posts on my blog), the oil in Iraq is estimated to only be worth $20B at full production. According to part articles I've read about what this war is going to cost, both in military terms and oil infrastructure rebuilding terms (see previous posts, again), I can't figure how this war is going to cost us any less than $10B.

$10B profit, at an additional cost of:

a) the rest of the world hating us, increasing the likelyhood of terrorism against our nation => increased fear => increased "homeland security" spending and aa) decreased international investment in America.
b) continued investment into the middle east protecting the 51st state (my little joke).
c) many dead Americans and even more dead Iraqis on our hands.
d) more Americans ashamed to be American => reduced productivity
e) oil gets a 10-20 year additional lease on life

I would really appreciate a solid explanation. It doesn't make sense...

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Poll: 30% of Americans are immune to propoganda

In a shocking turn of events to Bush Administration, a recent CNN poll found that at least 30% of Americans have become immune to war propoganda, and do not support military action against Iraq. (sarcasm)

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Dear Secretary of State Colin Powell,

I have great respect for you as a leader and a politician, and I feel that you may be able to answer a question I have related to the "brain drain" that is going on this country and how it is related to the [impending] war with Iraq.

In your writing (Lessons for Leaders slidedeck, etc.) you stress America's current state and future as a "brain-based economy." I interpret this to mean that strengthening education and building core compentencies as a nation are goals we should strive for. Example: We are the #1 exporter of software and airplanes, but that lead is slipping fast; we need to find new and fund existing "brain-based" industries in this country if we want to remain competitive and ahead of the curve in the international market.

Talent scouts are coming to this nation almost weekly now and enticing our best and brightest to leave the country for jobs in other countries. Last month I heard of a group from Australia that was trying to persuade Californians to move to Australia to start new businesses.

One of Bush's first decisions in office was to impose a 30% tariff on steel imports. This allowed steelworkers to keep their jobs in a dying industry rather than be retrained in another. Owners of steel companies remain wealthy.

Academics everywhere are banding together to oppose the war with Iraq. Many are threatening walkouts. Students are striking. Entire univeristy faculty bodies are issuing statements against war. Meanwhile state's budgets are hurting, education spending is decreasing, and the cost of tuition is skyrocketing.

People all across this nation, including myself, have come to the conclusion that America is not a place they would want to raise children. Who wants to bring a child into a world where they can not get a decent education?

Is this Administration attempting to implode the United States of America by stripping it of it's "brain based" resources?

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Crypto export lawmakers are RETARDED

I just read this on a piece of ipsec software I'm downloading... The web form makes you agree to the following: Do you certify that you are not located in, or a national or resident of, any of the following countries: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Serbia, Sudan, Syria and the Taliban Occupied Part of Afghanistan?

If I was, would I tell the truth? And if I'm not telling the truth, what would you do about it? Lawmakers: are you freaking retarded?

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Cosmic Encounters... online?

This is one of the best board games every made; I can't possibly see how it would work as an online computer game. With the group dynamics gone I don't see how this would be any fun. I'm gonna have to give a preemptive thumbs down on this one.

Speaking of board games: Peurto Rico is an excellent new game from Rio Grande Games. If you haven't played it, run out and buy it, you won't be disappointed.

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Beastie Boys speak out against the war

Way to go B-Boys!

Unfortunately The Slate had a much less positive reaction, calling it a "meek protest song." The Slate and MSNBC has been really pro-war lately (actually that goes for basically all American news sources), I despised their comments they made about the Pope earlier this week, I thought it was totally innappropriate. I’m not surprised they took this opportunity to take a small stab at the Beastie Boys.

It made me happy to hear their song. Their last two tracks they've published ("Alive", and now this song), both have mellow super-positive lyrics. I've always been a B-Boys fan, so I can appreciate their progression to where they're at now, musically speaking. Dip dip dive; so socialize; open up your ears and clean out your eyes; if you learn to love you're in for a surprise; it can be nice to be alive.

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Peephole viewing a PDA screen

This is the same thing that X11 can do: You set the screen resolution to particular size, say 640x480, but then your desktop larger, say 1024x768, and then use the mouse to move around the display, giving you a "peephole" view of your desktop. This article proposes a technique for implementing this on a PDA, except without the mouse.... :-)

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US INS sitting on 700,000 change-of-address forms backlog

Thanks Ashcroft, for enforcing laws we don't have the resources to enforce...

Hey! Maybe Total Information Awareness won't be so bad if we just don't fund the program... ;-p

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US firms fight over post-war Iraq-reconstruction contracts

The American government is on the verge of awarding construction contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild Iraq once Saddam Hussein is deposed.

Halliburton, one of the companies in the running for the deals, was headed by the US vice-president Dick Cheney between 1995 and 2000. Halliburton has already been awarded a lucrative contract, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, to resurrect the Iraqi oilfields if there is a war.

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Heading in the wrong direction

IN 1962 the apartheid regime in South Africa, no respecter of civil liberties, picked up a suspected terrorist leader who had just returned from training in bomb-making and guerrilla warfare in Ethiopia. It marked the start of 27 years in jail, but Nelson Mandela was given access to lawyers and his prosecutors had to follow rules of due process. Last year, the world's foremost democracy, the United States, detained one of its own citizens, Jose Padilla...

If you accept, as most do, that the war on terrorism justifies wider powers of surveillance and detention, then two principles still need to be applied. First, the government's new powers should, where possible, be enacted in clearly-worded terrorism laws, passed by Congress. Second, wider powers should be balanced by wider review. Spies, now less constrained, should be more answerable for their actions; suspects, deprived of their lawyers for longer periods, should eventually have more opportunity to present their case to a judge and, where possible, a jury; and the whole process should be subject to political and judicial review.

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I just finished writing my first MacOS X app! It's a simple little X11-style load grapher that sits in your dock I like to call dockload. Check it out! :-)

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Macintosh Open Firmware (OFW) boot password

Neat article from O'Reilly about hacking the Mac's OFW to support a boot password, and other ways to secure your Mac. (Not like I would ever actually use any of these techniques, I hate dealing with security... you can always pull out the CMOS battery to reset the NVRAM).

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Advanced pr0n website advertising techniques?

I just noticed the most bizarre thing I've ever seen in my web server logs: 3 of my top 30 site referrers were porn sites. Over 500 web visitors passed in their HTTP headers that the previous site they were visiting was a porn site. Guys, guys, please settle down before you visit my website ;-p

(don't worry--the link above just goes to my web statistics page)...



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