Friday, March 23, 2007

Links from the Gregg Zone!

1) A quick up date to start things off, if you were fascinated by the crystal caves last week, here is a link to some more and later pictures, I can’t seem to get enough of this, would really like to go and see them.

2) Anyone catch the story about the hole in the earth, seems there are thousands of square miles of missing earth crust in the mid-Atlantic ocean. There is a scientific team headed out there to investigate, and study the phenomenon. Here is a site where you can follow the expedition, information about what and why they are there, a daily log, and interactive links to ask questions.

3) I found a site here that has some rather stunning star related photos, it is called the “Astronomy Picture of the Day” they post a new picture every day, with an explanation, and they have endless archives of days past.

4) One more star related site, this one for a solar system simulator. You can look at Earth from the Moon, or Neptune, fly through the solar system and out to the stars at warp speed. Kind of fun, true scale as to size, distance, and color, but not the best graphics.

5) For the Art Bell types out there in the event you have not heard yet France is the first country in the world to completely open their x-files on UFO’s, this happened Thursday, I have been trying to get in, but the site is being slammed 24 hours a day right now, here’s a link to the site And here is a link to the news story

The 10 Worst PCs of All Time

I know. Lists are a bore. Usually they are. But anyone who aspires to geekhood gets into contact with machines that can drive you bonkers, no matter your skill level. Users have it worse for not being familiar with more esoteric remedies which might be available.

I had a PC Jr. Paid an incredible amount of money for it and it never did do the job for which it was purchased. It simply would not stay up long enough to run the problems we posed to it. Within an hour or two of an intended 12 hour run, it would crash, or simply load the meager RAM to the point where none was free, refusing to release any of it, whether it was still needed or not, and grind to a halt. It got hot. It would lose contact with the floppy drive, making the job untenable.

I returned it and had the retailer refused it, I was perfectly willing to see whether or not the manager was capable of eating it. Such was my mood. We bought a replacement (an early clone) and got the work done.

Remember as you read this list; The "good old days" are the reason all us older guys are bald and have ulcers.



LinuxMCE is a free, open source add-on to Ubuntu including a 10' UI, complete whole-house media solution with pvr + distributed media, and the most advanced smarthome solution available. It is stable, easy to use, and requires no knowledge of Linux and only basic computer skills.
I might have to put a TV card in my Ubuntu box!
Thanks RickinFl from our chat

Thursday, March 22, 2007

bLaugh | Are You a Twitter Ninja?

I thought this was funny. Do you know what twitter is???

bLaugh | Are You a Twitter Ninja?

Symantec's Latest Internet Security Threat Report

Symantec puts these out a couple times each year. They are generally informative and this one is no exception. Plus, they have instituted a synopsis for those of us too lazy to read through the entire thing.

There is something surprising in this report. Symantec, though not friendly to Microsoft any more, rates MS operating systems as having greatly improved their security. This applies to server and desktop OSs, and reflects changes to XP and the coming of Vista.

It's worth a read.


Nuance you've lost a customer.

Pardon me but, I need a bit of a rant. I've been using Paperport software for quite a few years. I've got version 11 pro now. There is a PDF creator in Paperport. When I upgraded to Vista it stopped working. So, I go to their site. Eventually I find a link for a supossed Vista version of paperport. I install everything OK. Now PDF creator does work but, I get a watermark on all PDF's created saying I have a trail version. So, I email them. They tell me to try a few things none of which work. They tell me I must now contact technical support. I go to email tech support and they want to charge me $9.95!. Granted not a large sum. Paperport cost me over $100. I don't Think I should be charged. Also there is no 800 number for tech support and they want $19.95 for phone support. Well they just lost a loyal customer. I've been using this program since version 5.3.

FBI Confirms Contracts with AT&T, Verizon and MCI

We all know that there is no privacy on the internet, who knew that there was so little in toto. Read on to find out how bad it is.

The FBI's general counsel, Valerie Caproni, testified today on Capitol Hill that the FBI entered into contracts with AT&T, Verizon and MCI to harvest phone records on American citizens under a national security letter program that has come under fire from Congress and the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General for circumventing privacy laws.

Caproni confirmed during a House Judiciary hearing that AT&T and Verizon, which bought MCI in 2005, had and continue to have contracts with the FBI that compensate phone companies for turning over the toll records of customers connected to counterterroism investigations. The telecoms entered into the contracts in May 2003, according to the report issued last week by the DoJ Inspector General.

"The contract essentially pays for the man hours or the personnel cost for the people who have to do the work," said FBI Assistant Director John Miller in an interview with Wired News last night. "We want dedicated people who handle our requests or do nothing else."

UPDATE: 27B looks into the FBI's use of "exigent letters" to bypass privacy laws and request information from phone companies during terrorism-related emergencies. In less than three years, the FBI sent out at least 739 of these letters. Were there really that many emergencies? We also hear back from AT&T. Read more here.

WIRED Blogs: 27B Stroke 6


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Kernel Designs Explained

It is a 5 page PDF and at 1500 words, something of a masterful compression. Still, it will tell the less geeky just what an operating system kernel does and the different ways of setting one up and building it. It's well enough written and quick by any standards.

What's not to like?



TOR is having a summer of coder for students around the world, all the information is available at the link in the title or below. Location doesn't matter, just getting the job done. If you know of any students that this might interest, please pass it on. I am going to show it to my kids. :)

TheOnionRouter/SummerOfCode - Noreply Wiki

Google Operating System Blog

I saw this link at Mike's Tech Show, and since Jack's under the weather, I thought I may actually beat him posting this. ;-) (Get well SOON! Jack) Google has an Operating System Blog?!?!?!?! It didn't reference the OS, on first glance, though the most recent post is about an Easter Egg in the new personalized home page themes. (Is "home page" one or two words... I notice that Google makes it one word, hmmm. Opinions? leave them in comments). The themes are pretty neat, I picked the beach one, and if you give it your location, the light will change based on your local time. (Initially, I thought that they should base it on available info from the home page (yes, I persist in the 2 words), ie., weather. Upon reflection, its probably a nod to privacy and the glass wall between what they know about you already...). If you have a personalized google page, themes is a new option in the upper right hand corner, Go check it out.

Back, to the Google Operating System Blog (yes, the original topic of the post, and I almost got lost in twitter, but refocused on my task. :P), it doesn't refer to an operating system, as in Windows or Ubuntu or OS X (how egalitarian of me, eh?) but more of a peek inside the "system" of google. For instance, how to improve your search, the easter egg in themes, etc., etc. Enjoy!

Google Operating System

Monday, March 19, 2007

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 03-18-07

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 03-18-07. You can listen live every Sunday from 10AM to 1PM Pacific thats 1PM to 4PM Eastern. If you prefer, you can download the same MP3 file here via ftp.
Don't forget to send in your email if your coming to Boston for Geek Meet to

Sunday, March 18, 2007

What really happened at the Microsoft MVP Global Summit 2007 - istartedsomething

This was too funny. Now, I understand why Tony Linguini isn't an MVP. ;)
You have to go check out the pictures. I Started Something is a blog about MS, that I've been reading for a couple months, I believe the Vanishing Point Game
to promote Vista, may have been what led me to his site. But its a fun perspective on Microsoft, with a tilt towards Vista.

This is why Microsoft forces MVPs to sign strict non-disclosure agreements before entering the summit.

The MVP summit was this past week, and now that I've seen the pictures, I understand why Tony Linguini isn't an MVP. ;)
You have to go check out the pictures.

What really happened at the Microsoft MVP Global Summit 2007 - istartedsomething

Links from the Gregg Zone!

1) Well to start off the week, during my cruising I found a link to the discovery of the largest crystals ever found anywhere in the world. They were found in a natural cave completely enclosed in bed rock adjacent to the Naica Mine, which mines silver, zinc, lead, and gypsum, in Chihuahua Mexico. They described the experience like walking around inside of a giant geode, with crystals up to fifty feet in length, a diameter of four to five feet, and estimated over ten tons. The story about the discovery accompanying the pictures is fascinating, seems the temperature is over one hundred fifty degrees, with 100% humidity. One of the miners working there tried to sneak in through a small opening to steal some crystals, they found him a few days later thoroughly baked.

2) The next link is to a Google replay of a BBC, Channel four movie (1 hr. 13 min.) that essentially debunks Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”. I like to investigate both sides of an issue to develop my opinion, one which I am usually willing to admit is inaccurate, because I believe it is close to impossible to find enough unbiased information that will illustrate both sides of a politically charged issue in a manner that is clear and concise enough for some one like myself, an admitted non-expert on most of these issues, to develop a truly informed opinion. Given that disclaimer, I found this movie really challenged some of my basic understandings of the whole Global Warming issue, and while I thought several of the arguments had merit, and caused me to change my perspective related to the science used to explain the causes of Global Warming, and I’m now reconsidering my opinion in general. I did find the movie as blatantly politically bias as they claim their perceived opposition. I find it unnerving that on issues of this importance to all of us there is such a lack of cohesiveness, and a unacceptable amount of divisiveness’, and self serving agendas putting us all at risk for generations. Enough soap box, sorry, interesting movie, worth watching, very informative in many ways.

3) The link for Art Bell types this week, one of the better net movies I have found on 2012 as related to the Mayan Calendar, and there are actually three movies in segments totaling a little over five hours. The sequence is not correct watch them 1 3 2, I enjoyed it very much, found it to be easier to understand than some of the others I found. If you are interested in this subject this is a must see, well worth the time.

4) Last week I noticed a link to a little helicopter game in the chat, it drove me crazy for a while, so I thought I would return the favor. The object here is to click on the red box, avoid the black squares, without hitting the edges. The email I got along with it said that the air force uses it to test pilots, and said they are expected to last two minutes, if that is true, I would be surprised there are ant planes in the air.

5) One more for any car fans out there a link to the Bugatti Veyron tested to see if it really can do 407 km/h. not your daddy’s Oldsmobile for sure.

6) A late link added for those who need to check your pet foods due to the recent recall, tens of thousands of cans of cat and dog food are being recalled because of being a suspected cause of kidney failure. Here is a link to the company in Canada that has caused the problem. There are two lists one for dogs 48 different brands, and one for cats 40 brands, also the company press release explaining their reasoning, along with contact information.