Tuesday, January 31, 2006

AT&T sued over NSA eavesdropping

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class-action lawsuit against AT&T accusing the telecom giant of violating the law and the privacy of its customers by collaborating with the National Security Agency (NSA) in its massive program to wiretap and data-mine Americans' communications.

read more | digg story

Here's my feeling about the whole wiretapping:

As for the EFF - Keep up the good work!

As for the wiretapping, its a new face to the same game. This president holds fear-mongering over all else. If something isn't going well for them, the scare the public back in line.

To quote Vice President Cheney on the wiretaps
"It’s the kind of capability [that], if we’d had before 9/11, might have led us to be able to prevent 9/11." - Nightline, Dec. 18, 2005.

Its convenient that all one needs to remind us why our rights are being trampled is due to a tragic event in our history. You know we could have prevented Pearl Harbor if we had the Atom bomb sooner too.
If someone can please give me a good reason why the FISA court was by-passed, and these warrant less wiretaps are needed *note - I'm asking why they were by-passed, not why they are doing them*

Before you answer that, I just wanted to point a few things about FISA. Founded in 1979, its goal is to regulate the collection of foreign intelligence, and be sure no laws were broken. As for the paper trail, well they are kind of ahead of you here. There are seven federal judges who sit on a secret FISA court. These judges are appointed by the Chief Justice (ie all were appointed by the late Justice William H. Rehnquist). From 1979-2002, the court issued 15,264 surveillance warrants, not a single one rejected. Since then the court as turned down 4, yes 4 cases. On top of that you are allowed 72 hours after the fact to pick up a warrant.

Now that doesn't seem like something too difficult to get through, but that is from the outside. For the stake of argument, lets say there is something wrong with the court. Why not try to fix it instead of go around it (remember we are talking about events that started soon after 9/11). Do you really think that the congress wouldn't bend to that request?

I don't know about you, but when you look at the two facts 1) the avoid getting warrants and 2) they made no effort to correct any issues with the court, if there was any problem with it. When I look at those two elements, I can only draw one conclusion. The NSA is casting out a much wider net then they are currently talking about. If you truly believe that they are actually targeting terrorists only, then I wish I had your optimism. As was described earlier, the more logical notion is that they are data mining calls for key words or statements. That would flag the call for further investigation. And if you think this is a long shot, I have another question for you. What do you think is a harder line to cross, trolling for terrorists via wiretapping, or holding on to the ability to torture individuals. If you are willing to torture, wiretapping in a mere jaywalk in my opinion.

As for any claim the Clinton did the same.. well I just don't remember any federal judges resigning off the FISA court in protest during Clinton's years.

But that's my two cents, and I could always be wrong.

PS- http://www.eff.org/Censorship/Terrorism_militias/fisa_faq.html is a great source of info on FISA

There were some good responces that I wish to share as well:

"As for any claim the Clinton did the same.. well I just don't remember any federal judges resigning off the FISA court in protest during Clinton's years."

You're right that Bush FUBed in this particular case but resist the urge to turn it into a partisan issue-- or else you'll create needless resistance for something that should concern everyone. This is not a left or right thing. This is a freedom issue. There is absolutely no reason for a President to not get warrants. He just needs to make sure everyone knows his intentions were in the right place.

My main concern is not that this issue won't be resolved (it will be). My big concern is that some bomb will go off somewhere( eventually) and dolts everyone will go "see see. We should have had no government controls. Here are some more of my rights Mr. Government".

They irrationally believe that by eliminating their own rights that it equates to eliminating threats. Didn't help the Soviets. It didn't help WW2 Germans. Didn't help Saddam. That's a quick way to turn the whole country into a police state rather quickly.

This is the problem when you engage in war. People become completely paranoid and lose touch with reality. Of course the only solution here is to make sure the 4th is followed (i.e. Warrants first) and to push forward with the "roadmap to peace" which seems to have dropped off the radar. I'm not sure what the issue is here, the problem is not going to disappear by itself.

This is off topic but it's no mystery this whole "war on terror" trip began with that friggin conflict.

Israel needs to be made secure but the Palestinians need a place they can call home too or else they are going drum up bad press against America till the end of time. The answer is for both Israel and the Palestinians to be told publicly they're misbehaving and either agree on some borders by so-and-so date--- or we are going to make them for you.

End of debate. If that doesn't work then the Arabs have run out of excuses and must face the consequences (which could get very ugly if they can't control their own people)

Hopefully it doesn't come to that and everyone can finally get back to fearing their own wacko's.

posted by there on the comments section of this story

RPG written entirely in JavaScript

nice rpg game written full in JavaScript (not to be confused with Java) making it full playable inside a browser!

read more | digg story

Band sells 120,000 copies of album thanks to online downloading.

The Arctic monkeys sell 120,000 copies of their first album. It is the fastest selling album in britain thanks to their internet downloading savyness. They promoted the sites that illegally played their music and they gave out demo copies which spread on the internet that gained interest.
Take that RIAA.

read more | digg story

Wikipedia blocks United States Congress IP addresses

Wikipedia has recently blocked a range of IP addresses belonging to the United States Congress due to staffers who have been engaging in revert wars regarding content associated with frequent politicians. This RFC was started to centralize the discussion on the violation of Wikipedia policy and alleged libelous behavior.

read more | digg story

Feds Want A Wiretap Backdoor In All Net Hardware and Software

hinks the federal government is too intrusive? You ain't seen nothing yet. An FCC mandate will require that all hardware and software have a wiretap backdoor that allows the government to tap into all your communications.

read more | digg story

Sunday, January 29, 2006

A few days late but here it is..

For this week I think I'll point out a little of beat group. The Fiery Furnaces are a qurky brother and sister duo that have a way of making you smile as you listen. Single Again and Tropical Iceland are two song to try out from thier album EP.

25 Words That Hurt Your Resume

Instead of... "Experience working in fast-paced environment"

Try... "Registered 120+ third-shift emergency patients per night"

Instead of... "Excellent written communication skills"

Try... "Wrote jargon-free User Guide for 11,000 users"


read more | digg story

Other dimensions might soon be detected

IRVINE, CA, United States (UPI) -- Northeastern University and University of California scientists say they might soon have evidence of extra dimensions and other exotic predictions.

Early results from a neutrino detector at the South Pole called AMANDA suggest ghostlike particles ...

read more | digg story

Friday, January 27, 2006

Senators challenge Broadcast Flag!

After getting iPods of their own, some senators are questioning the motives behind the Broadcast Flag. Read on for the detailed account...

read more | digg story

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Stolen Powerbook appears on eBay with a difference

What happen if your Powerbook got stolen? Why not post it onto eBay before the thieves does.

read more | digg story

Evidence for String Theory?

Scientist working at a neutrino detector at the South Pole report that evidence for string theory may soon be coming. Extra dimensions predicted by string theory may affect observed numbers of certain neutrinos and this is what the scientist will be looking for.

read more | digg story

101 Dumbest Moments in Business

2005's shenanigans, skulduggery and just plain stupidity. List includes: Sony BMG (of course), GTA's "adults only" cheat, Chair throwing incident at Microsoft, VOIP's lack of 911 access, and Wal-Mart's "Schindler's Shopping List" campaign.

read more | digg story

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Curious on what I used to do at Intel?

I recently found a video on the Applied Materials website that gives a breakdown on how a semiconductor is made (as seen here). At Intel, we used AMAT (Applied Materials) as the primary tool in the Fab. The area I worked in performed the CVD step. I worked with the Applied Centura HDP-CVD tool. HDP stands for High Density Plasma, and CVD stands for Chemical Vapor Deposition. In a CVD chamber a plasma cloud is established, the chemical reaction inside that cloud causes material to drift down and build up on the wafer, creating a thin film. note: we were depositing a fluorinated silicon dioxide film, not a diamond film (this was the best image I could find)

That layer of film was then manipulated by other steps to create the metal lines connecting the various layers of the microchip. What sets the HDP tool apart from basic CVD tools (or ones that only lay down an uniform thin film) is its ability to etch away at the film as it deposits it down. You might wonder why one would want to etch away at a film while it its being deposited, why not just create less film? HDP comes in when you consider the actual size of the metal lines used to interconnect the processor. While I was working at Intel, we were performing a .13 micron process, meaning the thickness of the metal lines are only .13 microns. Current generations are at .09 microns and .065 microns in the pipeline. The tricky part is, these metal lines leave an incredibly small gap between them. And when you try to lay a standard film from CVD on it, the holes do not fill completely. Think of it as if you have two houses very close together where the edges of the roofs are only about a foot apart. Now consider a huge snow storm. There will be a point where the gap between the roofs are decreased due to building snow, and the amount that ends up between the homes starts to get cut off. This is the basic principal of HDP, how do you ensure uniform filling of the small gaps between the metal lines? This is accomplished by etching and depositing at the same time. By cutting away at the edges of the metal lines, the space doesn't get cut off, and hence is filled correctly. Here is a picture of what the process ends up with:

The three items in the middle are the metal lines, and the peaking of film on top is the result of etch/deposition. I think I'll close it up for now, don't want to bore you too much, and I should also note, the video from AMAT is a bit long. Enjoy

Saturday, January 21, 2006

I see your Google Pack and raise it a Lifehack

Awhile back I posted a link to Google's Pack website. While it did a good job of offering great free programs, it did sneak in a few stinkers (real player and Norton), Lifehack has taken it upon themselves to offer the best in free software in a simple list. While its not in a single download like Google's, it still does a good job. Here are a few that I would recomend.

Open Office: Ever feel like a few hundred on the newest Microsoft Office suite was too much? Well, run to pick up this program fast then. Compatible with microsoft file formats, you can't beat its price at $0.00

Ad Aware: If you haven't installed an anti-spyware program yet, install this now.

The full list can be found at Lifehacker's site

Clerks II

Check it out

Friday, January 20, 2006

Band of the week

Hey everyone. Going to see if I can keep this trend going from last week. I pointed to Le Tigre last week, a grrl punk band with plenty of kick. This week is going along a of trend mixing straight rock wrapped electrionica. Ratatat's Seventeen Years is a great portal into the band's album self named album. I've been listening to them for over a year now, and highly recomend trying them out.

The ultimate Google command list

Did you know you can search for any phone number with just [phonebook: name here], or can find the weather in any city with just [weather: city name]? Try out the filetype: command with mp3 or avi and see what you get.

read more | digg story

Futurama to return in DVD form!

According to Billy West (via his forum), there are going to be 4 new Futurama movies released on DVD! Try not to destroy his server =)

read more | digg story

Google will fight Bush Administration demand for search records

The US Government is taking legal action to gain access to Google�s vast database of internet searches in an historic clash over privacy.
The Bush Administration has asked a federal judge to order the world�s most popular internet search engine to hand over the records of all Google searches.

read more | digg story

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Vatican says 'Intelligent Design' is Not Science and Creates Confusion!

The Vatican newspaper has published an article saying "intelligent design" is not science and that teaching it alongside evolutionary theory in school classrooms only creates confusion.

more to come later...

read more | digg story

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

College Textbooks 2.0 Style

College students have long been subject to price-gouging by textbook publishers. Now they can fight back, 2.0 style. A new social-networking type of book-swap lets students decide prices for themselves.

read more | digg story

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Facts are simple... don't mess with Chuck Norris

You can't deny the facts, Chuck Norris is a bad mothe.. What' you say? I'm talking about Chuck Norris!! Here are a few little known facts about the Chuck Norris.

  • Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.
  • Chuck Norris counted to infinity - twice.
  • Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.
  • When Chuck Norris sends in his taxes, he sends blank forms and includes only a picture of himself, crouched and ready to attack. Chuck Norris has not had to pay taxes ever.
  • To prove it isn't that big of a deal to beat cancer. Chuck Norris smoked 15 cartons of cigarettes a day for 2 years and aquired 7 different kinds of cancer only to rid them from his body by flexing for 30 minutes. Beat that, Lance Armstrong.
For more gems check out Chuck Norris top 30, and vote on your favorites.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Holly Crap! This is what the start of an atomic bomb looks like.

In photos (as found on nevadasurveyor.com/atomicbomb)taken by Harold Edgerton with a camera on 1/1,000,000,000 of a second shutter speed 7 miles away, using a 10 foot lens. These pictures are insane, enjoy!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

So... what's on your iPod these days?

I don't know about you, but I' ve always had a keen ear for good music that may be mainstream or it could be a little rough on the edges, it doesn't really matter, its the passion that moves me. The past several years have really turned me from the recording industry as a whole. I'm not quite sure if its the absurd price of CD's these days, the poor quality of releases, or the pumping out of utter crap (see Ashlee Simpson). The whole industry has taken the perspective that they need to tell us what to listen to rather than letting us decide. If you look at what's happened in Radio you can see just what a mess it has become. In 1996 the telecommunications Act removed the cap in place for radio station ownership. At the time ownership was limited to 40 stations. Since its removal, several companies started gathering small empires of stations. Currently, the reigning champion is Clear Channel, sitting on top with a whopping 1194 stations. Want to know who sits behind Clear Channel? Well lets put it this way, the next top five combined doesn't touch Clear Channel. The nearest competitor is Cumulus Broadcasting Inc, which happens to be 900 stations behind with 305. As far a markets, Clear Channel reaches 188 markets, triple the number Cumulus does. [reference: journalism]

So that leaves us a behemoth of a company direction a large portion of what mainstream America listens to. As their defense, Clear Channel sites the The Herfindahl-Hirschman Index, which evaluates market concentration, and is used for a tool to review a possible monopoly. For their defense, they state that the top-5 music companies account for 85% of that industryÂ’s market share, where the top 10 radio companies account for 43%. [reference: Clear Channel] The music company issue aside, numbers are a funny thing. When you compare Radio to the other industries, Music: top 5 at 85%, Movies: top 8 at 84%, Cable: top ten at 65%, 43% starts to not look so bad. But then we break those numbers down and combine the total stations owned by the top ten radio companies. The total comes in around 2469, 48% of which are owned by Clear Channel. So in a totally non-scientific, off the cuff number, one could guess that the market share for Clear Channel is more like 20.64%, kind of nice to be hidden in that 43% by the top ten huh?

Well where am I going with this, outside of bashing Clear Channel with theequiviantt of a pebble thrown at the Nile? I'm going to try and do my part to get the word out on good bands that you may or may not have heard of, and in turn bands you may or may not like. But hey, I do what I can, and I'll try to key the few smattering of people who swing by my nook in the web with a heads up on at least what I happen to be listening to.

The plan is to try and post a band of interest on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. To start off, I think I'll do the honors to a Le Tigre a "feminist punk electronic music" band trio of riot grrls that leave a punch that leave you nodding your head to the beat. TKO fromtheirr album This Island released in 2004, happens to find its way up the list on my iPod. In true punk fashion, they come at you fast and leave you quickly. Check them out if you get a chance, and swing by to let me know what you think.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Email error leads to all U. of Alabama students being told they're dropped

Over 21,000 University of Alabama students collectively freak out.

read more | digg story

PriceRitePhoto and Digg Hit the New York Times

What started out as a rant on my blog and was amplified by Digg to the most Dugg story ever today hit the New York Times. The Times offers a strong overview story on the PriceRitePhoto case and says that they would now appear to be out of business. This may be the last PriceRitePhoto update. Thanks to all who helped with this.

Very interesting saga that started out as an upset customer who had enough with a scamming internet camera shop. He purchased a $5000 camera, and they delayed its shipment in order to solicite extra junk. He posted it to his blog, and to digg.com. Facinating story on one man's words and the repercussions that followed.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

"One More Thing" - Macbook pro - Intel Based Apple Laptop - 2 processors!

"One More Thing" - Macbook pro - Intel Based Apple Laptop

The "Fastest notebook ever" will sport 2 processors....

read more | digg story

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Test to see: are you really unbiased?

Participate in an academic project run by Harvard researchers, and discussed in the book, Blink. It can provide some pretty scary insight about how you associate race and either positive or negative ideas. In addition to learning something about yourself, you can add to Harvard's pool of data.

read more | digg story

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Optimus Keyboard February 1st!

Yes, The Optimus Keyboard, has been announced to be released February 1st 2006! Take a look, this is a awesome keyboard with great use of OLED technology!

Damn coolest keyboard I have seen, will probably land between $150 - $300, but probably worth it!

read more | digg story

Google Pack, bundeled all the fun stuff, and a few stinkers

Google Pack
All the google programs that I have been playing with for months or in some cases over a year.
Download it an play around with it, I think you'll enjoy it.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

1 In 10 Now Use Mozilla's Firefox

"Firefox is very close to hitting a critical mass of 10 percent, which could mean a more rapid adoption rate," said Vince Vizzaccaro, vice president of marketing at NetApplications, in a statement.

Been using FireFox for about 6 months or so, been very impressed, its one thing I recomend you try out.

read more | digg story

New iPods To Arrive with Wireless

No more wires will be needed to connect your iPod to your car stereo. The patents indicates that this technology will send music and ID3 tags to your car stereo.

Sounds like a combo of an iTrip and an iPod

read more | digg story

Best of 2005 Fark Photoshop contest

Here are a few of the entries that made me laugh.. enjoy!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

AllPeers Is The FireFox Killer App?

techcrunch's take on the new firefox extension

read more

One of the primary reasons I love Firefox is the innovative third party extensions that allow you to expand the way you surf. AllPeers sounds damn cool in the sense that it will allow friends and family to check out media files, photos, and what ever else you would like them to check out. This is a model that I had a feeling p2p would take in which it would move from a large network to one that you know who the other person is at the end. I signed up to hopefully be included into the beta, if I get in, I'll post my feeling on how it works. And if it does work, look out IE.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Futurama Movie in 2007

Good news, everyone!

read more | digg story

One of my favorite shows that got canceled too soon, have been enjoying it on Adult Swim though. Glad to see it coming back, hope they can pull a Family Guy and get back on.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Years 2006

Happy New Years!!
I want to wish everyone the best in '06
would type more, but just too tired to type