And thus endeth the shortest month.
If you think you're job is bad, check out what this guy has to do for a living.
It's not easy mutliating yourself for public safety.
Spring break begins today for me. Out of my four classes on Friday, only one was
held, so needless to say it was an easy day. I'm not planning on doing much over
spring break, so perhaps I might find time to update the website everday. But
probably not. My least favorite part of school vacations is that just about
everyone on my buddy list is offline while school isn't in session. Normally
there's like 25 or so, during a vacation I'm lucky if there's 2. Also UF's
spring break is the week before everybody's else's, so the only people free are
the same ones who I see all the time up here. And no more DDR 5th mix 3 minutes
from my room :( But regardless, I will enjoy this week of relaxation.
Perhaps Microsoft really does believe in Innovation, as it keeps innovating new ways to get your computer hacked into. Now a simple bit of XML code on a website is all it takes to execute commands on your computer. Even turning off ActiveX and scripting doesn't stop this one, it takes a registry tweak until Microsoft decides to release a patch.
Politicians are at it again, this time a canidate for California govenor used an "innovated way of using the internet" to email people telling them to vote for him. And not everyone who got emailed even lives in California, or were even US citizens. In a nice twist though, the webhoster for the campaign website took it offline for a while for violating the terms-of-use contract. Will people ever learn? I'd NEVER vote for any politician that ever spammed me.
Pioneer 10 turned 30 the other day. It's now 7.4 billion miles away, floating off toward Aldebaran which is the red star in Taurus, which is should reach in about 2 million years.
It has now been proven that a true obfuscating programs is impossible to make. There will always be some way to figure it out. This has major ramifications for software "protection" as that was one way in which companies would try to make their software tamper-proof.
And finally in a story that shows that technology isn't always the best tool for the job, a "Domesday book" that was put into digital format in 1986 is now unreadable because the hardware used to read it is now obsolete. However the original one, written in 1086, is still in fine condition. This is a concern for a lot of record keepers, as so much information today is stored electronically. But the ability to read the information depends on the programs and hardware avaliable at the time. 1,000 years from now, do you think we'll able to know how to open Acrobat files, or Excel 95 spreedsheets? It's a field of research that deserves a lot of study, as can you imagine the problems that would happen if the ancient civilizations used computers to put all their records on? We would have no idea how to extract the data, and millions of years of history would be completely lost.
Yeah, so much for updating during Spring Break. I had a really good one though,
so I cant' complain. Went to the beach on Tuesday, but it was pretty chilly and
the water was freezing cold, so just threw around a frisbee. Then became a USF student for the day while I hung out with my
friends Kathryn and Whitney (Hey!). Thursday went to the Florida Strawberry Festival with
friends and rode a bunch of rides. Friday went to Pleasure Island, and Saturday
went to a lake in Orlando to jet ski with my friend Heather and her friend
Caroline. Then went clubbing at Ybor to finish off the night. And now back up in
my dorm room chillin the night away. Life is good :)
The 2002 March Madness
brackets were announced today. Florida is seeded 5th in the Mid-West. We did
well at the beginning of the year, but then we just kept losing. Texas Tech
(where I would have gone to school if I stayed in Texas) is seeded 6th, which is
really good for them. Duke will probably end up winnign it all though.
trailer debuted today on Fox. I didn't really like it too much, but of
course I'm going to see the movie anyways.
Looks like AOL might be switching to Linux
for it's server needs, and begin using the Mozilla rendering engine instead of IE for it's
browser. One of the major reasons for the switch is that it's cheaper to run
Linux servers, and they liked the way Mozilla handles the HTTP 1.1 protocal.
Even though they still aren't making a Linux AOL client (and if you're
technically inclined enough to use Linux, why the heck would you ever want to
use AOL?) the fact that thousands of websites will now have to start to confirm
to web standards or else risk AOL users not being able to see their websites, is
a Very Good Thing (tm). No more "You must have Internet Explorer to view this
March Madness begins! Basketball is
my favorite sport, and I love watching the college games. Here's to
hoping the Gators win it all!
Mozilla 0.9.9 was released the other
day, and it's the best one yet. It's getting closer and closer to the 1.0
release, and it truly is on par with Internet Explorer. And even better in the
fact that it blocks pop-up ads without having to turn off all
According to the BBC, even Google is affected by link
manipulation. People have finally figured out how to get their sites to pop
up for certain keywords on Google. It's still the best search engine there is
Email is more
popular than regular mail. Of course, 95% of email is spam, so does that
Twas a sad sad day in basketball yesterday, as my two favorite teams in the
tourny both were defeated in upsets. The #5 Gators lost to #12
Creighton 83-82. They won on a last second 3-pointer in double overtime. I
didnt' even get to watch much of the game, since I had classes. However
inbetween one of them, I decided to go to the comptuer lab to see how much we
won by. Instead I see we're in double overtime with a minute thirty left. So I
"watched" the last minute and a half by continously refreshing ESPN.com for the latest score. Had quite a crowd too
looking over my shoulder, and there was a loud sigh as the last refresh showed
we lost by a measely one point. And I had such great hopes for the UF basketball
In the other upset, #6 Texas Tech lost to #11
Southren Illinois. Both my parents and one of my best friend's went/go to Texas
Tech, and I also had hoped they would advance far with Bobby Knight. But I guess
not anymore. Here's hoping for next year.
Business 2.0 released their 101 Dumbest
Moments in Business for 2002. Enron is featured in many of the moments,
along with a few tech companies and even the now defunct XFL. For as dumb as
some businesses are, they can still make an awful lot of money.
A new record holder for the most distant object in space from us has been set.
It's a galaxy
14 billion light years away. It also has given astronomers a glimpse into
early formation of galaxies, as they estimate this particular one to only be 750
million years old. Space is a wonderful thing.
Happy St. Patricks Day!
Salon has an interesting piece on video
game music remixes. Videogame music is unfortunatly one area of music that
gets very little professional recongnition as an art form, and is nearly
impossible to find in stores in the US. Just try finding a DDR soundtrack in a
local Best Buy, it just isn't going to happen. So it's either import them from
Japan, or download them off the net. Perhaps someday videogame music will get
the recognition it deserves, and the composers could actually go up for
Two spacecraft were launched today, to make a very accurate map of the Earth's
graviational fields. Despite what you may learn in high school physics,
gravity is not the same everywhere due to variations in density and material. So
NASA plans to use these two spacecraft to measure the tiny differences, and
create a map 100 times better than current maps. Science is amazing no?
Mandrake Linux 8.2
was released a few days ago, and I must say it is quite nice. I installed it
last night, and after some initial problems with sound and X, I got it working
just right. It's amazing how easy the install is nowdays, and all the new
programs that make using Linux so much easier than when I started 3 years ago.
Check it out for yourself.
Some photo's were recently released of Russia's attempts to get to the moon. They had their hopes
pinned on some HUGE rockets, but in every test they ran, they failed in
catastrophic explosions. Would have been interesting though if the Russian's had
been able to reach the moon. Maybe by now we'd be on Mars.
Ain't It Cool News says that they got a sneak preview of
Star Wars Episode 2, and they loved it. I'm not sure whether to believe them or
not, but they are semi-trusted on the net. But even if it is false, I'm still
gonna see the movie of course.
Here's an article on the history of the mouse. It tells the story of how they made a mouse that
was not only more accurate than the models at the time (1970's) but 90% less
expensive. And they did it, helping make the Macintosh a success. The very first
mouse was created in 1964 however, so we're coming up on the 40th
anniversary of our very useful pointing device.
A company is offering a free ferrari to
anyone who can break their encryption scheme. They say it's uncrackable, even to
brute force methods, so maybe they'll get to keep their car. Of course, once
quantum computers become reality, all our encryption may become crackable. But
that's still a fair ways off, and who knows, I may get to help define teh future
For everyone who caught the end of the Indiana-Duke game tonight: Wow!. I love
Yet another bill has been introduced into Congress trampling rights and common
sense in order to suck up to corporate media intrests. And this one is a
doosy, on the level of the atrocious free speech infringing DMCA.
It's Senate bill S.2048, also known as the Consumer Broadband and Digital
Television Promotion Act (CBDTPA). It would prohibit the
sale or distribution of digital devices, unless the device includes
copy-protection standards set by the government. The hope is to stop the
Napsterization of digital media, but all it really does it make it illegal to do
pretty much any kind of copying of any kind on your computer. This bill would
cover any kind of hardware and software that might possibly be used to copy
something, from TV's to computers. It wants to make anything that can copy a
copy-protected work illegal. If the same bill was introduced back in the 70's,
VCR's and cassette tapes would not exist, and you would not be able to tape TV
shows or record music from the radio. Other possible aftershocks of this
But that's not even the worst of it. As this Wired article
explains, the effect on coders and the open source movement could be enourmous.
Within 3 years after the bill becomes law, the only code programmers will be
able to distribute will have to have embedded copy-protection schemes approved
by the federal government. Due to the very broad wording of the bill, the CBDTPA
regulates just about every program on your computer, and this includes
simple stuff like the "copy" or "cp" command on a Windows or Unix computer.
Anything that could even remotely be able to reproduce copy-righted works would
be affected by this bill. The only loophole is that you could still program
anything you want on your personal computer, you just couldn't distribute to
anyone. And since most other countries are smart enough not to make laws like
this, it would effectivly create a firewall around the US since any program
imported (read: downloaded) from a non-US country that didn't include these
standards would be deemed illegal. That would have huge affects on the open
source world, where code is collaborated on with people from throughout the
world. If this bill passes, it could lead to a "US-Linux" version that is
created independently of any other version, since incorporating non-US code
would be deemed illegal. Scary scary stuff.
- limits on "format-shifting," for example, the ability to create
mix-CDs of music you've paid for;
- controls built into hard-drives that
would allow files to be labelled as "unmovable," so they could not be backed up,
or moved to another machine, nor could the drive be effectively optimized;
- restrictions on the manufacture and distribution of devices and programs
that can play unrestricted formats, such as MP3 audio and DivX video files.
And of course the major media companies love this bill, like Disney and News
Corp. Luckly so far there seems to be a large public backlash against it. The Electronic
Frontier Foundation has a webpage set up discussing the bill and what you
can do about it. The Justice department created a web-form for
comments, though contacting your local senator would probably be a better idea.
Hopefully through public outcry we can prevent this bill from passing and
becoming law. We don't need yet another DMCA.
I've found a new hero: A girl who promises to eat pizza every day for a
whole year. As anyone who knows me in real life knows, I love pizza. But I
don't think even I could stand eating pizza every single day. For that I am in
total awe. She keeps a diary of what pizza she eats and everything. I wish her
A little old, but here's an example of some good ol' Microsoft
My registration date is tomorrow for my fall classes, and my schedule is decent,
but I'm really hating all those discussion sections and extra lab hours. I've
signed up for 16 credit hours, but will be in class 21 hours every week. Plus
this one class I need is ONLY offered on Tuesday's and Thursday's at 8:30.
8:30!!! Every other day I start at 11:45, which is pretty nice. And then classes
(with some breaks in between) till 6. So much better than 7:30 to 3:30 that high
school was. And now that I'm finally getting into the classes required for my
computer engineering major, I get to take fun courses like "Digital Logic
and Computer Systems", "Applied Discrete Structures", and "Computer Linear
Algebra". Ahhhhhh, I love college.
Nothing like spending an hour and a half working on some a small program that scratches some "itch" that you have. I've
written yet another perl script, this time one that automatically updates my AIM profile to show what
song I'm currently listening to. It only works with Gaim however, so all you Windows people
are out of luck.
Thanks to all the cellphone and Gameboy players out there, the thumb is becoming
the most dexterous finger of people under the age of 25, instead of the index
finger. It'll be interesting to see the long term effects of technology on
China is slowly catching up to the US and Russia with their space
program and may be sending up a manned mission in the semi-near future.
They've openly discussed sending Chinese men to the moon, and I think that it'll
happen one day, and it'll catch everyone off guard. But we shall see.
Codeweavers had done it again.
Before it was a plugin
program to let people run Windows only apps on Linux. And now it's a program
that runs Microsoft
Office on Linux. It's no longer a requirement to have a Windows operating
system to run Microsoft's killer app. A review of the new office product really
which isn't suprising. This is exactly the kind of thing that is needed, where
Microsoft applications become independent of the operating system. Once that is
accomplished, then people can use any operating system they want to fit the
needs and wants that they have. Just one more step down the road to Windows
Rogert Ebert has a scathing analysis of the copy protection that is beginning to show up on
CD's. So far it's only been on a few, but more and more CD's are being
"protected" in the effort to prevent piracy. Instead all it does is make end
users mad that CD's won't play on their non Windows computers, cd/mp3 players,
game consoles, or anything else that isn't a plain jane audio only CD reader.
And of course the real pirates have no problem still getting the tracks in
digital format, so it's really not accomplishing much except to make listeners
disgruntled. It's not a good idea to treat your customers like theives.
A videogame store owner decided to share his experiances with having to deal
with stupid people everyday, by creating a website detailing all the dumb questions,
shoplifters, and brain dead liers that the poor guy has to deal with everyday.
He does seem overly cruel at times but there are some good stories none the
Yes, finally many of the word's I've been using as slang are now in a
"dictionary" and are
henceforth "real" words. Chilaxin (which I first
heard from a friend of mine who is one of the funniest people I've ever heard)
is now a glorified word since this dictionary takes words that people have made
up and assigns definitions and parts of speech to them. It's essentially a
create your own dictionary type of thing of made up words. And then this all
boils down to what is a "legal" word? How to words become "real" words in the
first place? I make up words all the time, but what makes them official ones
that won't get me F's on English papers? That is the real question. The
discovery of this dictionary has made me lipadoodly.
Fox (sworn enemy of Time Warner which owns Cartoon Network) has a piece about
Cartoon Network refusing to air
Speedy Gonzales cartoons. They see Speedy as portraying an offensive ethnic
sterotype of Mexicans, and since kids are impressionable people, they won't air
it. I watched a fair amount of Speedy Gonzales when I was a kid on Nick (which
on a totally different tangent here, is it just me or does Nick seem a whole
lot worse now than it did when I was a kid? What the heck is this the Nick Cannon
crap? Talk about portraying racial sterotypes) and I don't think I was harmed by
it, it was just cartoon fun. Also interesting to note that Cartoon Network has
exclusive rights to the cartoon, so they can do whatever they want with it, even
if it means that no one can see it.
Pizza good. Sleep good. Life good :)
surfing losing it's fun? I've got to agree a little bit with the conclusions
that this article gets at, as during the great internet boom of 1999-2000 there
were just so many websites out there and they all were trying to do something to
get people to visit them. But even today I'm still completely addicted to the
net (and being in college lets me have more time than ever to be on the
computer), and while sometimes I do find myself thinking that there is nothing
new to read or see (ie: Slashdot/Salon/CNN hasn't updated in the last 20
minutes) it usually passes fairly quickly as I read some obscure news story and
then go search for more info on that. And the same thing happened way back when
I first started surfing the web in 1995. The main thing is just that the novelty
has worn off, the ability to instantously retrive information is so common place
now that it's just taken for granted. Every once in a while though, something
will make me remember just what makes the Internet so unique and
Salon has an article about how the DMCA is being used to wipe out
internet radio by making the licensing fees far too expensive for the small
internet station owners. Instead of the $1,000 a year it currently costs, it
would end up to be about $1,000 a day. I especially like the second to last
question that Salon asks, where the guy points out that internet radio and mp3's
are a great way to discover new music. I know I"ve bought a WHOLE lot more music
after Napster (and the like) came out than before. It's given me a way to sample
new music (especially techno/trance/dance since radio almost never plays it) and
decide for myself if a CD is worth buying. Why music companies don't relieze
this, I'll never know.
AdCritic is back! After being shut down a
few months ago, they have new owners, and a new business plan. It's being
targetted at advertising managers, and to view the commercials you'll have to
pay a monthly fee. Yeah, it doens't make much sense to me either, to make people
pay to watch commercials for products. But that's the marketing industry for
A member of the Kentucky House of Represenatives has an interesting bill to
deal with riverboat casinos. I wonder what the odds of it passing are.
And speaking of bad bills, a reader at Kuro5hin wrote an article with an
in depth look
at the CBDTPA.
He talks about the possibilities that this bill could lead to, including the
elimination of open source and even leading to a Nazi like state where only
certain types of information is allowed to be disperesed. Interesting
Can't say the H word without
someone misunderstanding anymore. A computer camp in Denver was originally going
to be billed as a "Hacker Summer Camp", with the original
meaning of the word "hacker" which is "A person who enjoys exploring the details
of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities". A kid who wants
to go to a computer camp for the summer is most definitly a hacker. But of
course the good ol' media gets a hold of it, and makes it seem like the camp
will teach kids how to break into computers (see "cracker"). I love the quote
from the parent who says "Isn't it just teaching kids things they might not have
figured out on their own?" Gee, isn't that the point of a educational camp? Some
people. Anywho, just gives an example about connotations of words and how a
"good" word can turn "bad" with enough bad publicity.