1. Writing about music now considered identical to pirating it.

    18 February 2010

    It seems like everything is being steadily reduced to one of three categories these days: terrorism, child pornography, or piracy. Mention of any of them will stop intelligent discourse with the rapidity of a falling watermelon striking the ground, and within the halls of government will derail legislation as surely as 1+1=2. When the categories begin to blur, however, is when the trouble really starts. In the past week that I know of (and probably a bit before, because this sort of shitstorm takes a while to ramp up) blogger.com was forced to delete six music blogs …

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  2. Wow. BBSes are as old as I am.

    18 February 2010

    Thirty-two years ago (plus a day or two - real life happens) two computer hobbyists stuck at home in a blizzard not unlike snowpocalypse named Randy Suess and Ward Christenson created something wholly new, which geek history remembers as the bulletin board system. At the time, the idea was revolutionary - with a computer, an auto-answer modem, and some disk space you could set up forums for people to leave public and private messages to one another. As disk space became less expensive, file archives were often added for people to trade files. By the mid-1980's boards were all over the place …

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  3. TSA at PHL raising eyebrows; travelers consider taking Amtrak.

    18 February 2010

    I've only been to Philadelphia a couple of times, all of them by driving to and from there. After reading about some of the stuff going on there not only do I not particularly want to visit that city, but I'm not entirely certain that I really want to fly again.

    This particular news story leaped out at me for its sheer WTF factor even though the incident seems to have taken place in March of 2009. Bob Thomas, a 53 year old Camden police officer, his wife Leona, and their four year old son Ryan were flying down to …

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  4. High school issues laptops, uses them to spy on students.

    18 February 2010

    An article hit Boing Boing today that raised the hackles on the back of my neck as I read it. The Lower Merion School District just outside of Philadelphia received a grant a couple of years back for laptop computers to issue to its students to use as part of their coursework. In November of last year, the parents of student Blake Robbins received a disciplinary notice pertaining to something unspecified (referred to as "improper behavior") in the affidavit. The disciplinary notice was accompanied by a photograph of Blake while he was at home. The laptops issued by Lower Merion …

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  5. Blind, but still with eyes to see.

    15 February 2010

    The first time I read through this article it threw me for a loop: a patient at a hospital in Geneva, Switzerland referred to by the initials 'TN' suffered two strokes a couple of weeks apart. Each CVA damaged one half of his visual cortex, thus rendering him completely blind for all intents and purposes. While he was recovering, physicians discovered that TN still had the ability to read the facial expressions of people around him and correctly interpret their emotional states. Some tests showed that his amygdala was still operational, which lead neurologists to wonder what else he was …

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  6. VMware Server, Firefox 3.6, and you.

    12 February 2010

    Something that VMware quietly changed with the release of VMware Server v2.0 was that they deprecated the use of their stand-alone management console application - if you try to use it to connect to a v2.0 server it just won't work. What you need to do is plug the URL http://vmware-server-host:8222 or https://vmware-server-host:8333 into your web browser and log in with a user account that has admin privileges (which basically means that the account is part of the vmware group). If you're using Mozilla Firefox v3.5.x, the web interface will ask you to …

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  7. Information exposure in Google Buzz.

    11 February 2010

    Regular users of Gmail have no doubt noticed the new entry just below their Inbox tag called Buzz - if you haven't yet, chances are you will soon. From what I can tell it seems to work a lot like Twitter and Facebook status updates do: there's just enough room to post two or three sentences, links to other pages, comments on Buzz posts, and other stuff like that. It also hooks links to other sides listed in your Google Profile (if you've set one up) so that if you update one of them, it automatically posts a link in your …

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  8. Smithsonian warehouse damaged; roof collapsed under the snow.

    11 February 2010

    Around 0700 EST5EDT today, one of the warehouses maintained by the Smithsonian Institution sustained damage when its roof collapsed under the weight of all the snow. Technically referred to as the Smithsonian Museum Support Center in Suitland, Maryland, the warehouse is used to store artifacts not currently on display at any of the Smithsonian-related facilities. Some of the photographs taken today show that the walls of the warehouse buckled as the roof gave way. It is said that the artifacts stored therein are packed in protective containers but a full report is unavailable at this time because the building itself …

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  9. Eclipse Phase: The Brown Jenkin

    11 February 2010

    Biomorph: Brown Jenkin
    Concept: Horde of malevolent ferrets with distributed intelligence. Optimized for havoc, mass extermination, and piecewise theft.

    Aptitude Maxima: 20
    Durability: 20
    Wound Threshold: 4
    Advantages

    • Limber (level 2)
    • COO +5
    • SOM +5
    • Climbing +5
    • Fray +5
    • Freerunning +10
    • Infiltration +5
    • Palming +5
    • Tactical Network software (designed to coordinate swarms of semi-autonomous units)
    • Small, nimble targets (-20 to hit)
    Disadvantages
    • Low Pain Threshold (small mammal)
    • Neural Damage (dysfunction) (hyperactivity)
    Implants
    • Basic Biomods
    • Basic Mesh Inserts
    • Cortical Stack
    • Cyberbrain (puppet sock)
    • Cyberclaws
    • Enhanced Senses
      • Direction Sense
      • Electrical Sense
      • Enhanced Hearing
      • Enhanced Smell
    • Grip Pads
    • Multitasking
    • Poison Gland (BTX)
    • Prehensile …

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  10. Snowpocalypse shenanigans.

    11 February 2010

    The DC metroplex is still snowed under, so it's been a pretty slow day for everyone. Around the time that the snowfall slowed to a manageable level (near the end of it, actually) we headed outside to clear away the latest eight inches or so of powder. It was fresh and still fluffy, so we made pretty short work of it. The car's been brushed off and moved a bit so we know that we can get out of the parking space if we need to (whether or not we could escape the complex is another matter entirely) and the …

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