My Archives: August 2005

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I'd been meaning to take the "Disaster Relief" graphic down from the top of the page for a few months. Now it's needed again. I've changed its link from the International Red Cross to the American Red Cross, because that's where you'll find how to donate to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.

I also see that has changed to That link has been fixed in the right column. They also have a link for Katrina.


Posted by brad @ 06:56 PM EST [Link]

Thanks to Steve C. for the heads-up on photos from the latest SF Worldcon in early August in Glasgow, Scotland. I wish Brad & I could have been there! To view photos Click Here.

Posted by mac @ 10:10 AM EST [Link]

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Thanks for Gordon P. for this hilarious item: the Gettysburg Address Powerpoint Presentation Now on to Cartoons! Mark Fiore's animation SuperNatural Evolution; Chan Lowe's The Future Face of Iraqi Democracy; Jeff Danziger's Base Closings; Ted Rall's Dying for a Purpose; Tony Auth's Here to Finish; and Tom Toles' No Child Left Unscathed. Enjoy!!!

Posted by mac @ 11:00 AM EST [Link]

A correspondent advises, Please check for your name and request to have your name removed. It is just unbelievable how our privacy is being invaded and by all means, pass this information to all you know. To find the e-mail submission, click Terms on the bottom and then scroll down to the bottom again, where it says: ZABAToolstm Manage your personal information. Click Here. Beginning May '05 a new database was made available to the general public, free of charge, that displays your personal information (names, addresses, phone numbers, birth dates). The database is found at I urge you to forward this email to family and friends. Check to see if your name and information is in their database. If so and you want it removed, send them an e-mail at to request it be removed. I do not know how our names are appearing there, but I checked my own and a few other random ones, and they are all in this database!

Posted by mac @ 10:41 AM EST [Link]

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Domain owners, check your web hosting logs. We just got a bandwidth warning from our web host. For some reason the Googlebot -- the program that Google uses to index web pages -- has gone berserk this month, and has downloaded our entire web site 40 times over! Others have reported this problem, too. If you're having problems, visit Google's bot FAQ. You may have to contact Google to get them to slow down.

For the time being we've set our robots.txt file to block Google entirely -- not an ideal solution, but it will get us to the end of the month.  —brad

Posted by brad @ 10:48 PM EST [Link]

Monday, August 22, 2005

This is a few days old, but still important. All versions of Adobe Acrobat Reader -- Windows, Linux, and Mac -- have a security flaw which renders your system vulnerable to a "maliciously constructed PDF file." Update to the latest Acrobat Reader...according to Secunia,

Adobe Reader (Windows or Mac OS): version 7.0.3 or 6.0.4.
Adobe Reader (Linux or Solaris): version 7.0.1.
Adobe Acrobat (Windows or Mac OS): version 7.0.3, 6.0.4, or 5.0.10.


Posted by brad @ 08:06 PM EST [Link]

Sunday, August 21, 2005

From the Spoof: "Pope Benedict Urges Muslims to Give Up Their Oil to Christian Corporations Like Exxon Mobil."

Posted by mac @ 06:02 AM EST [Link]

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Chris Tame writes...[click on 'more' for his update] [more]

Posted by mac @ 12:25 PM EST [Link]

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

At times like this, all you can do is grab some popcorn and find a comfortable chair. F-Secure reports that there are currently eleven different worms and bots exploiting the Microsoft vulnerability (MS05-039) that was disclosed last week. Some of the worms are attacking others. CNN, hard hit, could seemingly find nothing else to report last night. And all of this can be blocked by a simple firewall. I just sit, and watch, and wonder.  —brad

Posted by brad @ 12:15 PM EST [Link]

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I highly recommend Claire Wolfe's latest article in her Hardyville series, "Fat, Unfit, and Fifty: A Different Bug-Out Scenario."

Posted by mac @ 08:27 AM EST [Link]

FYI, I had the Feature Article in the Books Section of the Globe and Mail (Toronto's national newspaper) last Saturday. The article was a review of Edward Shorter's new book "Written in the Flesh: A History of Desire." (In case the link is transitory, I've attached the full text below. Just click on 'more.') [more]

Posted by mac @ 07:21 AM EST [Link]

Sunday, August 14, 2005

It is official. I have lost the ability to tell real news from spoof. This from thenewspaper The Australian: "How a cow from 1937 caused the Iraq war."

Posted by mac @ 01:05 PM EST [Link]

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Gordon P. directs your attention to two items from Claire Wolfe's blog: 1) The FCC had ruled that broadband providers must install CALEA compliant "back doors" into their hardware --- in spite of the fact that the original legislation _explicitly exempted broadband providers_; and 2) RFID chips to be implanted into License Plates.

Posted by mac @ 03:01 PM EST [Link]

Gordon P. writes, One of the first moves of Saudi King Abdullah, the newly-crowned successor to the late King Fahd, will be to recall US$ 360 _BILLION_ in Saudi foreign investments that the Saudi Gov't had made during the previous 18 months. This is a HUGE pile of dollars --- on the order of 3% of the US GDP. If not done cautiously, unloading just the Saudi's holdings of US$ 60 Billion in T-Bonds might be enough to cause the entire U.S. Bond Market to implode...Some speculate that this might be the first move in redenominating the price of Saudi oil in terms of Euros, rather than dollars. (Some have even speculated that threatening to redenominate _Iraqi_ oil in Euros rather than dollars was the _true_ "unforgivable sin" that caused His Imperial Majesty Geedubya I to decide to declare war on Iraq...).Hat tip to Claire Wolfe.

Posted by mac @ 08:07 AM EST [Link]

How are blogs like open-source software? My thanks to Hugh B. for sending me Paul Graham's latest essay.  —brad

Posted by brad @ 07:05 AM EST [Link]

Sunday, August 7, 2005

The squeeze is on. A security firm has found a serious new flaw in Windows 2000. But Microsoft ceased support for Windows 2000 in July. Will they fix the bug? Or will they leave their Win2K users hanging with vulnerable systems....and with the not-so-subtle hint that maybe they should upgrade to a newer copy of Windows?  —brad

Posted by brad @ 05:01 PM EST [Link]

Saturday, August 6, 2005

The Inquirer's Charlie Demerjian on Windows Vista breaking your PC -- and your PC manufacturer knowing this:

Won't you be surprised that in a year or so, your slightly less new, but still blazingly fast machine is now a doorstop. You won't be able to legally play content, and there is no realistic upgrade path. There are boxes, adaptors and eSwizzle-sticks(TM) that will make things possibly work, but they will cost more than new hardware, and almost assuredly will have less functionality.

So, where is the dodgy part? Well, they know this now, and are merrily taking your money on knowingly defective hardware.

I'd put off any new PC purchases until after the Vista release. If I were a Windows user, that is.

Update: some second thoughts... [more]

Posted by brad @ 08:40 AM EST [Link]

I've been thinking more about how we would cope if we suddently lost Internet service. This need not be due to an attack on Internet routers; it's just as likely that the government would shut down Internet service. (Consider this: if Tony Blair has his way, merely visiting the wrong web site will get you deported.) But the most likely cause would be an extended power failure.

So if you rely on the Internet for work, or basic communications, what will you do when the lights go out? Here's what we're doing to be prepared. [more]

Posted by brad @ 08:07 AM EST [Link]

Friday, August 5, 2005

Gordon P. writes, A cogent analysis of why Bushnev's "Official Truth" about "foreign insurgents" must in fact be a Big Lie --- just like all the _previous_ Big Lies about Iraq. Best quote: "...That's why the notion that it's all `foreign agitators' attacking us in Iraq is such crap. The whole idea of urban guerrilla warfare is to blend in with the crowd. Foreigners are the WORST candidates for urban guerrillas, because -- duh! -- they stand out in the crowd. You can pick'em out a mile away..." Hat tip to Claire Wolfe.

Posted by mac @ 09:15 AM EST [Link]

The Watchful Investor discusses McFlation.

Posted by mac @ 08:13 AM EST [Link]

This is the latest missive from Downsize DC -- one of my favorite sites: The cats are away (Congress is in recess) so the mice should play (DC Downsizers). Let's eat some Congressional cheese. (smile)... For the full Downsize message, click 'more'. [more]

Posted by mac @ 07:58 AM EST [Link]

Reuters reports, "CNN took veteran political columnist Robert Novak off the air late Thursday after he uttered an expletive and walked off the set of 'Inside Politics' while it was still on the air. Novak's outburst happened 10 minutes before the end of the show in the midst of an exchange among Novak, fellow analyst James Carville and 'Inside Politics' anchor Ed Henry."

But was Novak's temper tantrum and walk out staged to allow him to avoid being asked about the Plame scandal? For those who have lived in a cave for the last year or so, Valerie Plame was a CIA operative whose identity was disclosed in one of Novak's columns in July 2003. It is widely assumed that the disclosure was intended to punish or discredit her husband -- Bush-critic and former U.S. ambassador Joseph Wilson.

Arizona Central states, "Two other reporters connected to the case openly fought the revelation of their sources, and Judith Miller of The New York Times has been jailed for refusing to cooperate with prosecutors. Novak has repeatedly refused to comment about his role in the federal investigation. After Novak walked off on Thursday, Henry said that Novak had been told before the segment that he was going to be asked on air about the CIA case." Indeed, Henry stated that he had been just about to ask when the explosion occurred and cut off that possibility.

Or, rather, according to the Los Angeles Times, after uttering the expletive, Novak "appeared ready to continue the discussion. But after another moment he rose from his chair, removed his microphone and walked off the set." If it was Carville's needling he was trying to avoid or protest -- rather than Henry's impending question -- then wouldn't he have left immediately after uttering "Bullshit". (That was the expletive BTW.) Moreover, a lot of bloggers, who seem to have poured over clips of the incident which are already posted across the Internet, have remark on how mild Carville's needling of Novak actually least, compared to exchanges on other shows during which Novak's posterior managed to stay solidly in his seat.

My opinion: Novak staged the walk out BUT his co-host James Carville is so damned annoying that the "blow up" theory cannot be fully discarded. And I echo a question asked by another blogger: will the Federal Communications Commission fine Novak for indecency? And, as usual, I like the Wonkette's take on the incident: "Novak Takes His Lack of Balls and Goes Home."

Posted by mac @ 06:27 AM EST [Link]

Cartoons: David Horsey's "Unintended Consequences"; Ted Rall's "The Parable of the Bus"; Mark Fiore's "Eminent Domination"; and my favorite -- Mike Thompson's "Overflowing". Enjoy!

Posted by mac @ 05:28 AM EST [Link]

Thursday, August 4, 2005

Well, someone is getting the message. Argonne National Laboratory, tired of Microsoft licensing fees, is now distributing open-source software to their employees. [more]

Posted by brad @ 05:45 PM EST [Link]

Don't say I didn't warn you. Microsoft's new Windows, "Vista," will require you to buy a new monitor. At least if you want to watch video on your computer. If your monitor doesn't have "Digital Content Protection," the operating system will make your video all fuzzy.

Who does this benefit other than Microsoft, the MPAA, and the makers of computer hardware? Why on earth would you pay money for this?  —brad

Posted by brad @ 11:53 AM EST [Link]

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Update on Chris Tame: I received the following update from Sean Gabb in last night's email..."Dr Chris R. Tame, the Director of the Libertarian Alliance, remains in hospital. I was with him all day yesterday, and can say he is in good spirits, despite the apparently grim nature of his condition. He had an operation last Saturday, and has made a good recovery so far. We are still waiting for the final diagnosis and prognosis. We are also waiting to now when he can leave the hospital I will update you on any changes. I have received so many e-mails of sympathy that I am unable to reply to them all. I have printed them out and given them to Dr Tame, who sends his greetings in general form. He will be back on line as soon as he comes out of hospital. He can then spend the following month sorting through all the forwarded messages and replying in person."

Posted by mac @ 08:50 AM EST [Link]

Humor? The images are sometimes more horrifying than funny: " Cartoon and Image Gallery".

Posted by mac @ 04:36 AM EST [Link]

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

An interesting article that discusses the reasons why the newsletter has been suspended. And...oh, it quotes me!

Posted by mac @ 06:20 PM EST [Link]

All you unfortunates who remain locked into Windows will soon be paying more. Microsoft is raising prices for Office, Windows, and server software. Supposedly this is worth it, according to Steve Ballmer, for "all of the premium work that we're doing in management, and security and e-mail".

Security? Is this the same Microsoft that just tried to block pirated copies of Windows from software updates, only to have their security cracked four days later?

This isn't about premium products. This is about shrinking revenues. Next you can expect that Microsoft will get more aggressive about cutting off support for older products.

This would be a great time to start switching your Windows document processing to OpenOffice, or, if you simply must have vendor support, the compatible StarOffice. Not only will you save money, it will be that much easier to move to Linux when you need to.  —brad

Posted by brad @ 10:10 AM EST [Link]

Hilarious. Visit the site of Mrs. Betty Bowers, "America's Best Christian". You might want to start with her movie review of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone", which is entitled "A $7 Ticket Straight to Hell." Then read her considered analysis of the Potter phenomenon, entitled "Has Satan Hired a Better Ad Agency than the Lord?" in which Bowers is brutally candid. She writes, "Let's be honest for a brief moment: All successful religions use two things to entice would-be believers to embrace their brand of faith. The first marketing gimmick is magical novelties and parlor games, such as "raising people from the dead." This has always stuck me as a singularly misguided shopper-incentive. After all, what prudent person would risk embracing a god inconsiderate enough to rip you from the sublime comfort of Heaven simply so that He can show off to a pack of ignorant onlookers?" Hat tip to David K.

Posted by mac @ 04:47 AM EST [Link]

Monday, August 1, 2005

Gordon P. answers the question "Do you think China is a threat to the US?" Click on 'more' to continue... [more]

Posted by mac @ 04:46 PM EST [Link]

Cartoons: Chuck Asay's "Bandwagon Desertion"; Mike Luckovich's "Drafting Iraq's Constitution"; Tom Toles' "Subject to Change Without Notice"; Ted Rall's "No Credit Required" and "War On Hypocrisy"; Stuart Carlson's "Big Brother"; and, Doonesbury's "Summer Daydream".

Posted by mac @ 02:20 PM EST [Link]

I heard from Jim Peron who "slightly" corrects the news story that I posted yesterday on his liquidation sale. Jim writes, "What we are doing is slightly different. We are trying to reduce inventory as much as possible. I am working to find someone in NZ to take over the book sales there albeit maybe not in a shop itself. Also remaining inventory and my library have to be prepared for shipping to me." He also corrects the news story's claim that he is Mexico. Jim is currently in the States where he is scouting locations for a new bookstore.

Posted by mac @ 02:05 PM EST [Link]

Can anyone out there tell me whether this is a spoof site? ACC Studios is announcing the launch of a new comic book: "LIBERALITY FOR ALL #1. It is 2021, tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of 9/11 It is up to an underground group of bio-mechanically enhanced conservatives led by Sean Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver North to thwart Ambassador Usama Bin Laden's plans to nuke New York City ...And wake the world from an Orwellian nightmare of United Nations- dominated ultra-liberalism." Hat tip to David K.

Posted by mac @ 02:55 AM EST [Link]

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