Ken Hagler's Radio Weblog
Computers, freedom, and anything else that comes to mind.

Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Thought for the day:

An adventure is an expedition gone awry.

Royal Geographical Society
comment () trackback ()  10:59:22 PM    

It turns out there is a Tip Jar type service for people with e-gold accounts--it's called Two-Cents-Worth. I've seen it used on the e-gold mailing list, but not really anywhere else.

The way it works is people can put a link like this one in their email, web page, etc.: Someone who wants to make a donation follows the link, and can donate some amount of gold--the default is two centigrams, or .02 grams. So the name of the service is actually a little misleading, since that's worth about 20 cents.
comment () trackback ()  10:56:39 PM    

The State vs. The People by Claire Wolfe and Aaron Zelman. [Jews for the Protection of Firearms Ownership]

Some say the U.S. is already a police state. Others watch the news for signs that their country is about to cross an indefinable line. Since September 11, 2001, the question has become more urgent. When do roving wiretaps, random checkpoints, mysterious "detentions," and military tribunals cross over from being emergency measures to being the tools of a government permanently and irrevocably out of control?

I'm adding this to my list of books to read. It's a pretty long list right now!
comment () trackback ()  10:32:47 PM    

I'm watching the men's figure skating event tonight, and there's something I've been wondering about. All the Russian skaters whose homes have been mentioned turn out to live in the US. In fact, the guy skating now lives right here in Southern California. It seems silly to call people Russian skaters if they only maintain Russian citizenship to be on the Russian team in the Olympics.

What's more, the American skaters often (usually?) have Russian coaches. This leads me to ask, why bother with silly national distinctions? Is it supposed to appeal to national pride? Personally, I'm going to feel more "national pride" towards a "Russian" from Lake Arrowhead (which I've visited many times) than towards an American from Michigan (which I've never visited).
comment () trackback ()  10:18:55 PM    

PayPal's IPO Woes Continue. The online payment company is facing new troubles in the form of a lawsuit and an order from the state of Louisiana to stop doing business there. By Joanna Glasner. [Wired News]

Louisiana is saying that PayPal is an unlicensed bank. Of course PayPal is not a bank, and that's the whole point of the state's action. Real banks see PayPal as competition, and are trying to use the government as a club to squash it.

I don't personally have any sympathy for PayPal, which deserves to go out of business for they way they treat their customers. If the banks had any sense they would just wait for PayPal to fail naturally and then buy up what's left in a year or two.
comment () trackback ()  3:53:39 PM    

News.Com: EU OKs law for higher tax on Net sales. The law, applying to online sales of software and computer games, as well as to some radio and TV services, helps close a loophole that let Europeans avoid paying value added tax on products and services bought from non-EU Internet sites. [Tomalak's Realm]

If I were a US company affected by this law I would simply continue making my software available for download (which the EU can't stop). If any EU thugs complained I'd point out that my ancestors came to this country to get away from thugs like them, and it would be pretty silly of me to voluntarily subject myself to them now.
comment () trackback ()  3:37:20 PM    

SafeWeb's Holes Contradict Claims. The once-ballyhooed anonymizing Web service that received CIA funding is shown to have flaws. The company downplayed the recent discovery. Declan McCullagh reports from Washington. [Wired News]

The article contains this explanation of the flaw:

They say, and SafeWeb has acknowledged, that flaws in the company's architecture allow a website to use JavaScript to obtain the concealed Internet address of the visitor.

No privacy or security technology can protect against user errors. Leaving JavaScript (or Java) enabled when trying to browse anonymously is just plain stupid, like using your first name or "secret" as a password.
comment () trackback ()  1:59:05 PM    

TestTrack Pro 4.6 adds Visual Studio .NET support, more [MacCentral]

Does this means that it's possible to access TestTrack via SOAP? I've used earlier versions of TestTrack on the Mac, and at one time it was used for Mac development at Blizzard.
comment () trackback ()  10:10:23 AM    

Audiovox Thera 1xRTT Pocket PC Phone exposed []

"Thera" is a strange name for a product. It's the volcano in the Aegean which blew up around 3500 years ago. Some archaeologists believe that it destroyed the Minoan civilization and started the Atlantis legend. So why would anybody want to name a product for something like that?
comment () trackback ()  9:49:55 AM    

Three magic little words. Steve Rubenstein at The San Francisco Chronicle - Three magic little words - how to kill telemarketing. Looks good to me. Think I'll give it a try next time I get an unsolicited call. [picks]
Whenever a phone solicitor calls in the middle of dinner, don't get sore. Don't slam down the receiver. Don't hang up.

Just say, "Hold on, please." Then gently set the receiver on the table and go about your business.
[End the War on Freedom]
comment () trackback ()  9:33:08 AM    

Child soldiers banned by UN law. A UN treaty comes into force banning children being drafted into combat, in an effort to reduce the estimated 300,000 currently fighting. [BBC News: world]

It's worth pointing out that the child pictured in the article is holding his rifle in a safe direction with his finger off the trigger, thus demonstrating greater responsibility and education than most adult Hollywood actors.
comment () trackback ()  6:36:40 AM    

Languages in the palm of your hand. A pocket-size translator could take the place of all your foreign language phrasebooks when you go on holiday. [BBC News: sci/tech]

Instead of thumbing through a dictionary, you just say a phrase in English, the device translates it and then repeats out loud in the foreign language in a robotic voice.

This sounds like the universal translator from Star Trek, and in fact it's even called that. There's one obvious weakness, though--if it can translate from English to the foreign language, what happens when the person you're talking to answers? Is he supposed to have his own UT?
comment () trackback ()  6:28:57 AM    

Greens Force Strategic Mine Out of Business. The world's largest lanthanide mine in the Mojave Desert between Barstow, California and Las Vegas, Nevada was regulated out of business by twenty-nine local, state and federal agencies and by elected and appointed government officials.

The People's Republic of China becomes the principal source of these strategic minerals. [Sierra Times]

The area where this mine was located is a barren wasteland.
comment () trackback ()  6:12:55 AM    

The deposit to my e-gold account went through. I now have 7.6725 grams of gold--which points out a difficulty of the system. I was trying to buy 8.5 grams, but between the transaction fee and price fluctuations, it's hard to get an exact amount.

I then spent $15 worth to register some Newton software. The spending process is pretty easy--I did have to enter my account name and passphrase again (I was already logged in), which is nice. That means I don't have to worry about someone walking up to my computer and robbing me if I forget to log off.
comment () trackback ()  12:06:04 AM    

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