Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ok - I believe the 2.1 update is real.

However I couldn't stand to wait to get it OTA so I downloaded and installed thanks to the Droid Life blog.

Here's the goods:

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GTOD (geek tip of the day)

Manpacks  - new underwear ever three months.  No more shopping.  Why didn't I come up with this? <facepalm>

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Droid update today... Believe it when it's installed and running.

Break TrueCrypt hard drive encryption quickly

And Bitlocker, PGP archives, Windows passwords, Internet passwords, Excel spreadsheets... YIKES!!!

The only thing that appears to be safe are PGP encrypted files that require the presence of both the passphrase and the encryption key. That would of course mean that you would still need to separate the two - like keeping your keyring on a separate USB stick or CD.

In a nutshell the software scans the target computer's memory via firewire or USB connections and plucks the password directly from it's memory. For $800 law enforcement (or anyone with $800) can violate your 4th amendment rights, steal your identity, or capture the secret to grandma's salad dressing.

Break TrueCrypt hard drive encryption quickly

Apparently this is a well known exploit in the Truecrypt universe. This excerpt from the Trucrypt documentation warns about it, and gives tips on how to mitigate the threat:

Monday, March 29, 2010

Advantage: Cyborgs

I've written several posts over the years about differences between geeks and normals, dogs and wolves, etc. Now Clive Thompson has a really well written piece in this month's Wired Magazine about cyborgs. He has a fantastic way of getting at the root of some of what I've been trying to eek out.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Oil master's brain

Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain

One of my major health related changes has been to almost totally cut out HFCS from my diet and especially from my son's diets.  The worst part of it is convincing the fast food drive through attendant that I don't want a drink with my fried cow and carbohydrate sticks.

Easiest - buying Pepsi and Mt. Dew "Throwback".  Jones Soda also makes a really good real sugar cola.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Way to go Google

Personally I think that (for a huge company) Google has shown a great deal of class in this whole issue.  Bravo!

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How Health Insurance Reform will effect you.

Aggravation of the day.

Canceling XM radio.  This has been coming in stages.  Since my discovery of Pandora and the release of the new Android client for Slacker (that caches stations) - I've really got no use at all for my XM subscription.  A couple of months ago I turned off two of my three radios.  I logged into their online system and discovered that there is no way to do this without calling them. That call took about 20 minutes and resulted in 3 calls a day for two months straight - plus, numerous emails and junk postal mailings.  In case you are wondering how a geek handles this - I now have a "Pound Sand" group in my Google voice configuration that results in a no-ring transfer to a message playing the disconnected number tone twice and a message that says "please remove me from your calling list".  I do this for all annoying tele-marketers.  Very handy.

I kept the radio attached to my GPS activated thinking that I might use it in the car or on the bike.  Hasn't turned out that way.  I got another mailing from XM today that made me go look at my bank statements and realized that it was about time for them to charge me for another quarter.   I tried to log into my online account to verify and discovered that by turning off my other two radios it had somehow made my online account unmanageable.  What???

Shaking my head and steeling myself for another marathon, I called the customer service number on the XM webpage and was immediately transferred to on hold purgatory with the message that they were "experiencing higher than normal call volume"...  I hung up and called the number that they had been calling me from. (a sales number I'm guessing) and immediately got a real human.  Maybe everyone is canceling today and no one is subscribing.

I had to produce my telephone number so she could pull up the account and then verify all of my info for her including my name address and email.  Then repeated I wanted to cancel.  She asked me why and I told her.  Then she transferred me.  After a very reasonable hold (about a minute) I got another cheerful person on the line who asked me the exact same questions again.  Tried to sell me on a cheaper rate.  Made me hold for about a minute and then asked if she could to anything else.  At this point I asked if she could put me on a "no contact" list.  She said she would do that and I thanked her.  Not holding my breath.  I bet the calls start again.

The irritating parts:  1) When someone cancels your service, becoming a stalker is not a way to win them back.  2) Don't be a dick and offer me a better rate only when I am calling to cancel.  3) Do not ask your customer to give you a ton of info that you will not pass on to the next level.  This just pisses them off and makes them rant on their blogs and tell the bad customer service story to their friends...  (and not even link to you to boot)

It took almost 3 hours to get the first "We want you back" email. Two more today already. Sigh.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

This too shall pass

Just click play. You will be glad you did.

Ohh Baby!

This plucks the Porsche / horsepower / testosterone heart string and tickles the granola chewing / bike riding / beard growing bare feet of the tree-hugger in me at the same time! Be still my heart!

198mph - 0-62pm in 3.2 seconds - 78 mpg!

Via Engadget

Update: Porsche is actually going to build them!!!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Tsunami voyeur

I just had to relay an interesting experience I had this weekend.  I think it's at least moderately interesting considering all of the recent discussions about the future of news reporting.

Saturday, in the aftermath of the quake in Chile as the world awaited the arrival of the tsunami in the Hawaiian Islands I found myself watching news feeds from the local TV stations on the islands as well as feeds from webcams and even individuals streaming from cell phones.  Then I pulled up a search on Twitter to see what the locals were posting.  At almost that same moment one of the local stations AND CNN both admitted to watching Twitter for eye-witness accounts.  They were all (CNN and the stations) using Skype almost exclusively to speak to their remote reporters.  A few were on (crappy sounding) cell phones.  They also showed Ustream feeds openly.

A couple of years ago this would have been reported almost exclusively via telephone - with a few satellite connections to the local stations studios and maybe some live reports from government offices.  Certainly no video within the evacuation zone.  With the rise of broadband, web cams, and streaming (and Twitter) in the hands of nearly everyone we now get to witness news as it happens. 

No conclusions or comments from me today.  Just recognizing the moment.  

Caltech Researchers Create Highly Absorbing, Flexible Solar Cells with Silicon Wire Arrays - Caltech

Caltech Researchers Create Highly Absorbing, Flexible Solar Cells with Silicon Wire Arrays - Caltech

This could be HUGE... Caltech has come up with solar cells that are A)Flexible. B)Use 2% of the Silicon of conventional cells - and wait for it - are 90 to 100% efficient!

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