Maybe I should write about things other than myself for a while.

If you're involved in the retrocomputing or PC history scenes, chances are you've heard of double-sided floppy disks that are formatted for one system on side A and another system on side B. For example, I've got a copy of the game Ninja which had the C-64 version of the game on one side and the Atari port on the other. At the time this was a pretty straightforward thing to do because drives only read one side of a disk at a time. A couple of weeks back, PC historian Trixter came across a highly unusual 5 1/4 …

Read more...

Were they looking for terrorists or a Grateful Dead concert?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is so hot to uncover dastardly plots of domestic terrorism in this country that, for at time at least, they were mining such fields of data as who bought what from middle eastern grocery stores to determine who might be a religious extremist and terrorist. Yep - they thought sales of falafel might help them generate the results that they're pressured to produce for the people on high. Thankfully, common sense prevailed (did they hire a four year old to check their logic or something?) and they spiked the plan in 2006. The article makes a …

Read more...

Microsoft patents the end-all-be-all of spyware; open source community gears up in response.

A couple of days ago it came to light that Microsoft, everyone's favorite software powerhouse took out a patent on what very well could be the spyware to end all spyware - a system which scans information stored on a workstation and sends it Someplace Else for analysis... to generate advertising specifically geared for the person logged into the box. The patent describes a system integrated not only into the operating system and user interface, but all of the applications linked against this functionality that would look at every document on the machine, every e-mail sent or recieved, multimedia files' metadata …

Read more...

US government mines even more personal information than previously suspected.

Ever since 9/11, the US government has been an informational vacuum cleaner that sucks up information on just about everyone in this country, or who happens to enter or leave the country (as some people with laptops have discovered). What they do with it and where they put it all is a matter of some speculation; suffice it to say that the network attached storage system companies are making a killing selling RAID systems to them... at any rate, it's come to light that they're mining more than just terrorism-related information to generate profiles on people. In fact, there …

Read more...

ADVISE - The TIA Project Strikes Back.

Back in 2003, the US Government formed a project called TIA - Total Information Awareness, with a logo that made about half of the country cringe in fear, anger, and disgust, and sparked off a firestorm in the news media because it constituted a major violation of the right to privacy of US citizens. The project was very publically shelved for the edification of the public, though it wasn't actually terminated.

As with many government projects are are shelved due to public outcry, it was renamed, reclassified, and worked onapace - the data mining software that TIA was supposed to be based …

Read more...