1. Even bigger bada boom!

    29 January 2008

    Remember around this time last year when the US Navy started testing railguns as ship-mounted weapons? BAE Systems has developed an even more powerful magnetic linear accelerator weapon for testing called the 32-MJ LRG (which stands for "32-megajoule Laboratory Rail Gun" - I guess the person in charge of naming experimental weapons was hired by the federal government to name the PATRIOT Act). The experimental weapon is about the size of an airport x-ray machine, and probably masses about as much. It doesn't fire explosive rounds but then again it doesn't have to. If you can throw a projectile at eight …

    Read more...

  2. Bruce Schneier on the false dichotomy between privacy and security.

    29 January 2008

    If I ever get around to having children, I might name my first boy after Bruce Schneier because he's got a lot more on the ball than I ever will. This time around, Schneier has weighed in on the privacy versus security debate in US policy and why it's not really debatable in the manner it's being presented in because personal privacy and national security are not, in fact, opposed to one another. His commentary was provoked by Michael McConnell (Director of National Intelligence) stating in the 21 January 2008 edition of the New Yorker that he wanted to monitor …

    Read more...

  3. Microsoft admits that Vista is bloatware.

    29 January 2008

    If you've ever installed Microsoft Vista yourself (or looked around in the hard drive of your brand new box), chances are you'd be surprised to find that it's a hog for disk space. An install of Vista can take up anywhere from seven to fifteen (!) gigabytes of disk space, which most people can eat because hard drives these days are typically in the hundreds of gigabytes. Still, that's a hell of a lot of binary; maybe if you've installed a load of applications and patches over a year or so, I can see that, but when you factor in everything …

    Read more...

  4. Cisco ups the ante on data networking once again.

    29 January 2008

    Yesterday Cisco announced its new product, the Nexus 7000 network switch, which will be their highest-end data switch to date. Attempting to push the state of the art in buzzwords (Web 3.0 already?), the Nexus 7k switch is designed to shuffle packets to the tune of... you know, the article isn't really clear. Marketwatch's news article doesn't give the reader any hard values because it's geared more for management types rather than techies in the trenches. Instead, there are passages like "would be able to copy all the searchable data on the Internet in 7.5 seconds" and "download …

    Read more...

  5. Is No Such Agency now the Network Security Agency?

    28 January 2008

    Earlier this month, George W. Bush authorized a classified government directive that authorizes the National Security Agency to monitor the data networks of other US government agencies as well as monitoring the communications traffic of American citizens and foreign countries. The specifics can't be released due to the security classification but it is known that the US government is very concerned about its information security posture (no jokes, please) and their first remediation step involves understanding what's going on inside their networks. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is charged with coordinating efforts to track down the sources …

    Read more...

  6. Sacrificing spam when you can't sacrifice spammers.

    28 January 2008

    Due to the fact that Rending the Veil hasn't finished restoring older articles from backup since the last server migration, I'm reposting my last article they published on harvesting the energy spent by spammers in trying to get us to buy their crap.

    Spam. Junk e-mail. Things you can't say in mixed company.

    No matter what you may call it, we're talking about the same thing: E-mail that you didn't ask for and don't want filling up your inbox, sometimes making it impossible to find real e-mail. It's a nuisance that netizens have been fighting for years. In terms of …

    Read more...

  7. It seems that I'll be in town for a while, so I'll actually be able to post.

    27 January 2008

    This is week four of my "three weeks out, one week in" work cycle, so I'll have much more constant net.access for at least a couple of days. I may as well take the time to write a couple of updates. My off-the-road workload has been sizable lately, enough so that even working from home means a day of solid work, with little to no socially acceptable goofing off at work stuff going on, such as reading Slashdot or checking one's e-mail. Work aside, I haven't been doing much of anything at all. Yesterday morning, Lyssa and I drove …

    Read more...

  8. More biotech: Cloning from cell samples?

    21 January 2008

    Cellular biologists working for the company Stemagan, based out of San Diego, California, have claimed something amazing: That they've managed to produce human embryos using skin cells from men instead of gametes (NY Times link - use Bugmenot if you need access). The embryos thus produced didn't develop very far, only to the blastocyst stage, but that in itself is a breakthrough. It wasn't necessary to force the division of the third stage for example (which is thought to have happened by accident under laboratory conditions at least once in medical history), for example. However, because embryonic stem cells weren't part …

    Read more...

  9. Explosive post queue flush in three.. two.. one....

    21 January 2008

    As one might expect, it's been a busy couple of days (a week, really), which has kept me from being able to post anything. I got back from Philly around 1700 EST5EDT last Friday, and I've been offline pretty much the entire weekend because I've been too tired to do much of anything. After I got back, Lyssa made a wonderful hot dinner (all the more special because temperatures in the tri-state area have been averaging in the mid-twenties Fahrenheit), and then we decided to get together with some friendly faces to hang out for the evening. To that end …

    Read more...

  10. Helllllooooooooo.... Philadelphia!

    15 January 2008

    Well, I'm the field again, back in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to fight the good fight.

    Or get myself so worked up that I'll blow through an incarnation, I'm not sure which. It's too early to tell.

    My cow-orkers picked me up around 1000 EST5EDT on Monday morning (so written because it'll be well after midnight when I get around to posting this) - apparently my vehicle is distinctive enough that they found my apartment building without too much trouble. Apparently they like the magnets on my car, something that I find endlessly amusing because so few people mention them. After a quick …

    Read more...

145 / 207