Saturday, March 08, 2008

Links from the Gregg Zone!

1) First up for the week is a news item I ran across that fits my interest in robotics, DYI, new inventions, technology changing society, humor, and the just plain cool. A guy in Atlanta Georgia made a Robocop from a barbeque smoker, and is using it to patrol his neighborhood. This has the smell of a trend to me; evidently, he is being quite effective with controlling the turf he patrols with it. It seems to me there are several advantages to having a robot-vigilante type tool; it keeps the operator away from possible violence. Also offers the possibility of collecting photographic, and audio evidence in these on street type environments, make them small like the radio controlled AVT toys, you have a paparazzo’s dream. I am totally confused about how I feel when it comes to the ethics, and legality of all this, but then every time I walk into a casino I am being secretly filmed from hundreds of cameras, ATM’s, convenience stores, banks, parking lots, even my front gate at the condo’s where I live. Anyway, here is the link

2) Next up a tax I can vote for, I ran across something about Ireland taxing plastic bags, I do not remember the source, but it spurred my interest so I started looking into it. It seems that in Ireland they have started a 15 cents tax each on plastic bag, in an attempt to help control pollution. I thought this was a great idea it is in effect a voluntary tax, but serves two purposes, raises monies to pay for environmental projects, while reducing pollution. The trees here in Las Vegas are bearing a strange fruit these days, plastic bags waving in the breeze everywhere. The “Ireland Solution”, is being watched in many other countries around the world, while several countries have banned them altogether. I could also get behind that idea. Link to the BBC story

3) This link is related to the last one just in case you thought the subject trivial, I have one here that might bring things into focus. I had no idea six months ago that this was going on, and I am sure most of you have not been aware of it either. It seems there are islands of trash in the Pacific Ocean the size of continents. These are putting toxins into the human food chain, destroying, fish, bird, and sea mammal populations. Just for starters, increase your awareness and check out this article.

4) Now for something a little lighter, I really liked this link about a candle cannon it is a short video. If you like Myth Busters stuff you will really enjoy is one, I know I did. Not going to get into it to much other than to say just how far away do you think you can blow out the candles on a birthday cake.

5) Now to wind up here is a link to the smallest production car ever made, from way back in 1963 the P-50. Was said to be cheaper than walking, the car cost less than 200 pounds, and gets over 100 mpg. If you are wondering how small, think about small enough to pick up and bring into the building set it next to your desk. Very cool video, about a very cool car, be sure to check it out

Friday, March 07, 2008

Microsoft slates four patches for next week

Looks like the patches are mainly concerned with Office, this month.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

JAVA Updates

It's time to update your Java again, whether the runtime environment or the development kit. Here's a list of some of the security problems fixed and many of them are serious enough that we all need to do the update in a hurry.


Whistle-Blower: Feds Have a High-Speed Backdoor Into Wireless Carrier

So can you hear me now?

Sorry, I couldn't resist. This comes on the heals of the revelation that the FBI has gathered more information than it was authorized to. See: More FBI Privacy Violations Confirmed

Feature List for Internet Explorer 8

Straight from Microsoft. I don't see anything in there that will shake the world. It's just a good solid list of evolutionary growth in the feature department.

The crash recovery feature is probably the most important. If you're going to start using web apps via your browser, you don't want to lose work if something goes wrong. This feature is directed toward that need and though details of how it is accomplished are not yet available, we are told it is fairly zoomy. There are several ways of going about this sort of thing and it will be interesting to see how MS chooses to do it because there is room for a better way.


Open Letter to Steve Jobs: In Support of an iPod reader

Mac TidBITS has an idea. They want Apple to make an ebook reader. They think Apple can do a better job than Sony or Amazon has. They may be right.

I wonder how many people would buy this reader over the others? Surely the market is much bigger than that defined by Kindle sales. Perhaps Apple would price theirs realistically and try to make the real bundle on downloads, instead of gouging at both ends. And perhaps Apple's reader would be fully usable.

It could happen.


Know Your Enemy

Message Labs has taken code from some of today's Internet threats and given it to an artist, Alex Dragulescu, who used the code to generate images. They're kinda cool and definitely offbeat enough to make good desktop backgrounds.


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Singularity: Microsoft's research OS available for download

Time for a little geeking out.

"Singularity" is strictly a research project, and not the next version of Windows, as has been stated by folks who don't read the entire document. However; it may point the way to the future in many ways. I found this article interesting and will likely attempt to make my way through some of the research papers. I hope you find at least this article of interest, as well.


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

IE 8 Will Default to Standards Mode

The cynics among us will simply say that Microsoft has seen the way the wind blows in the European Union and realizes they will lose this newest complaint from Opera over standards. The Microsoft boosters will say they are doing something good for us, as is their way.

You know what? I don't care who is right. I'm just happy it is happening. If MS sticks to this course of action, every single one of us will win. That's all there is to it.

The link is to the IE 8 blog at MSDN. It is worth a careful read.


Monday, March 03, 2008

Apple: Macbook Air Selling Like Extremely Expensive Hotcakes?

Whether you are bummed because you can't afford one, or don't want one for perceived inadequacies, the Macbook Air is selling out. For all the criticism, I believe that Apple has taken the pulse of the marketplace and has produced something that people want.

This article questions whether the shortages are a supply problem, or a demand situation and Apple isn't telling. I think it is a little of each.

Exploitation is Still Possible as Third-Parties Neglect to Implement Vista Security Features | Zero Day |

Exploitation is Still Possible as Third-Parties Neglect to Implement Vista Security Features | Zero Day | "Consider this, Microsoft spends huge amounts of dollars and manpower creating protections for the Vista operating system, yet we still have old school vulnerabilities. Why? The answer is simple really, third-party created code is not stepping up and taking advantage of these powerful protection mechanisms."

People say this is Microsoft's fault!
What is wrong with this picture?


Sunday, March 02, 2008

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 03-02-08

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 03-02-08. You can listen live every Sunday from 10AM to 1PM Pacific thats 1PM to 4PM Eastern. Join us for the live show and chat. If you prefer, you can download the same MP3 file here via ftp.

Links from the Gregg Zone!

1) To start off the week I received an email yesterday accepting me to a beta test for the Hulu site I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, when revisiting my online T.V. investigation. I was very impressed with my first visit. While I did not have very much time, because I had to prep for today’s show and I was only there long enough to watch an episode of Hero’s. The site was easy to navigate, there seems to be quite a lot there, right now mostly United States, but they say they are going to be adding much more. There were a couple of commercial breaks in the show, but only about 30 seconds each. I think there were only two, so that would be one minute, for a one-hour show, well less than an hour because of the lack of other commercials. The quality was top notch, no buffering, looked to be high definition, I’ll bring you up to date in a week or two when I have had some more time with it. If you sign up for the beta, let me know what you think.

2) Link number two for the week falls into that to good to be true file, but someday just maybe, one will pan out. I have had an extremely busy week for some reason, so I have not had time to dig into the why not’s of this whole thing, but I am looking forward to it. Convert your car to run on water, and the guide is only $49.97, however it seems there are several companies offering the same, so you might want to shop around. Sounds like fun to me, any way if you get into it let me know, after all I just bought a truck.

3) Well it is official today, March 1st 2008, Netscape has passed away, BBC’s eulogy link here, complete with firefox’s logo in the story. Anyway as I am sure we will be discussing this on the show, I am not going to go into much detail, just an interesting article information wise.

4) This is one site that I am very interested in Riley’s opinion of; I have run across many sites dealing with visual illusions. This is the first time I have found one that deals with auditory illusion. You need to read the text to understand what you are listening for. It was illuminating for me to realize just how visually oriented I am. A very interesting site, spend a few minuets here it is worth the time.

5) AS most of you know by now I love to read about conspiracy theories, the big ones, little ones and all those in the middle. I believe the best way to improve your mind, and understanding is to open it to all possibilities. Ask your self just why is a good novel so interesting, is not all fiction born from the same spirit as conspiracy. The main difference is in the perception of fact and fiction, this last link for the week is aimed in that direction. The thing I like about this one is the lack of tedious detail. The site covers the concepts without the need to explain all the facts, in the usual defensive manner I find distracting. It is an excellent source to start surfing from, I like these places that get me off looking into how diverse we really are.