1. Restaurant review: Bombay Masala

    07 August 2007

    Earlier this evening, one of my cow-orkers and I decided to try a restaurant a bit closer to our hotel. Off and on all last week, we kept seeing the Bombay Masala (8825 Greenbelt Road; Greenbelt, MD 20770; phone 301-552-1600) in a nearby strip mall, but hadn't had a chance to pay it a visit for dinner or lunch, partially due to the size of the group that usually went. But, this was one of those nights in which everybody else was off doing something different, so deciding where to go was a simple matter.

    The Bombay Masala is a …

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  2. Your American tax dollars (and login credentials) at work.

    07 August 2007

    Earlier this year, pen-testers hired by the Internal Revenue Service attempted a time-worn attack as part of their assignment: They phoned up 102 people who work at an IRS office while pretending to be tech support and asked them for their usernames. The people called were also asked if they could temporarily change their passwords to something simple (love? sex? secret? god?) as part of a troubleshooting effort.

    61 of the 102 people complied with the request of complete and total strangers. If this hadn't been a pen-test, those office networks would have been sitting ducks. Only eight people called …

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  3. The vulnerability of children to images these days is frightening.

    07 August 2007

    Recently, an experiment was performed at Stanford in which children aged 3 to 5 were presented with various foods (including vegetables and milk, which a vanishing number of kids like anyway at that age), some wrapped in McDonald's packaging, and some in plain packaging. The children were asked to state which tasted better to them after trying the foods. Somehow unsurprisingly, they liked the foods that they thought were from McDonald's better, which says a lot for conditioning to particular images as well as the power of suggestion. People start assimilating ideas presented by advertising at an extremely young age …

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  4. Fun and games in the dark.

    06 August 2007

    If you've read my website for any length of time, you're probably aware of the fact that I am very much a privacy advocate - I think that it is none of anyone's business what you search for on the Net, what you read, or where you go. Furthermore, it is also a closely held belief of mine that so long as you aren't bothering anyone, aren't causing trouble, and aren't doing anything to anyone of legal age in your country of residence that's hurting anyone (or if it is, it's consensual and has been negotiated for in advance), it is …

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  5. Damn, it's good to be a gangsta.

    05 August 2007

    I'm back in Maryland on week two of (possibly two, possibly three) of my field assignment. I'm in another hotel in the same general vicinity as before and approaching dead tired after a long weekend of hot weather, running around, and pulling all nighters of one sort or another. I was running rather late today because I had a number of errands to run, which I took care of before starting the laundry, but now it's academic because it all worked out. Thankfully, the headache and aftermath of heatstroke last night went away while I slept, so I woke up …

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  6. Kite Day 2007, and other things.

    05 August 2007

    Yesterday afternoon, downtown Washington, DC saw a number of brightly coloured rainbow kites of all shapes and sizes added to it sky for LGBT Kite Day 2007, the local LGBT community's way of tugging on the sleeve of the people in power to remind them that we're here, we pay our taxes, and we vote.

    Because I just about pulled an all-nighter Friday night I wound up sleeping until 1100 EST5EDT on Saturday morning, so I didn't get the early start that I hoped to have. In fact, I left the apartment shortly after noon local time and hiked to …

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  7. Restaurant review: Bennigan's Grill and Tavern

    02 August 2007

    During my tenure in Maryland while on assignment, I've been given the opportunity to try the cuisine of not a few restaurants in the general area (I don't have much of a choice, having neither microwave nor refrigerator in my hotel room), much to the chagrin of my wasteline. At any rate, some days my colleagues and I are in the mood for something near the top of the ladder in terms of quality, and sometimes we're after something more down-home and tasty... proximity to our hotels is also a nice thing.

    On Tuesday evening we found ourselves at Bennigan's …

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  8. An open letter to the NASCAR-wannabes of Washington, DC.

    01 August 2007

    Dear jackasses drag racing on the highway a fraction of a block away from my hotel:

    Please stop driving like you're trying out for NASCAR. Yes, you've probably sunk a couple of thousand dollars American into your cars. The rest of us don't care. You don't seem to understand that the purpose of a muffler on a vehicle's exhaust system is to quiet the noise that your vehicle's engine makes. Your cars don't sound more powerful, they sound like they need a trip to the garage because they're malfunctioning. If you continue weaving in and out of traffic like you're …

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