Sunday, June 24, 2007


The folks at ThinkGeek have struck while the marketing iron is hot with the LOLCATS meme:


Wash and wear your favorite lolcat meme today!

Update: Your lolcat t-shirt collection would be incomplete without DO NOT WANT! in it:

O HAI. I can has t-shirt?!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

France: Paranoid and Hilarious

...for banning Blackberry usage by its government employees.

Why? Supposedly they're worried about intercepted email, because RIM's servers, where the emails pass through, physically reside in foreign countries. With such a restriction, you'd think these countries might be hostile to France. Only if you think with a Gaullic perspective:

E-mails sent from "Le BlackBerry" pass through servers in the United States and Britain, and France fears that makes the system vulnerable to snooping by the U.S. National Security Agency, Le Monde reported.

France, our staunchest ally, right?

"It's not a question of trust," French lawmaker Pierre Lasbordes told The Associated Press. "We are friends with the Americans, the Anglo-Saxons, but it's economic war."

Sure. Where's the lack of trust?

France. Showing once again that its national pride is connected to a competition with Britain and America. A contest in which France is the lone competitor.

Update: PC World's take on this story provided more technical information on why other countries have approved usage of Blackberries in secure data transmission.

France's government, of course, has made bone-headed IT decisions before.

Spammers Get Sneakier with Image Links

The arms race continues between spammers and spam filters.

That's a pretty underhanded tactic, using image hosting sites like Photobucket or ImageShack to store the image files, then pumping out spam emails with inserted html links to these images. Unless your email settings block these websites netnanny-style, you'll see the image, and the spam offering. People like seeing shared photos embedded in email, so the option of changing your message format to text-only (with the embed links as attachments) isn't a preferable one.

Spam filtering software can analyze the photo in the link to determine if it's a legitimate image file, but not very well. And, as the article points out, spammers can vary the meta-info of the image file to thwart those efforts currently. The spam wars continue.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Backlash Gains Momentum...

...Against the "Jesus Phone." That's a lot of hype for the iPhone to live up to for what is essentially a $600 cell phone.

Any takers on how soon the backlash against the backlash will start?

I've got the line at 12 seconds.

Update: That didn't take long. h/t ZDNet.

More updates: And yes, I can see how using all of iPhone's features will be very, very expensive, considering how telecoms charge cell phone customers for bandwidth.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I'm back in Chicago from my trip out to my bro's monastery, but still on vacation from work (yay!), so just taking it easy. The flight out was less eventful than the flight in. The less eventful a flight, the better! I'm already missing these guys:

"Oh. Right. From this angle, too."

For the other angle, go see my bro's post. No internet connection while we were out there (I know, right!?), so just catching up here. Thanks for the kind comments.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Blogging Hiatus

No really! Not like you could tell with the frequency of my blog output, lately.

For details, go here.

Real World Study on 5 Second Rule

...shows it could be extended to 30 seconds for wet food and up to a minute for dry food.

Now that's a study people can use! Not like I was ever really concerned about eating food I just dropped on the floor...although I should point out that the cafeteria in the study gets cleaned once a day.

My floor? Two points to be aware of:

I'm a bachelor.

Who lives alone.

Right. I'm lucky the dust bunnies haven't hatched a plan for a preemptive strike against me while I naively slumber on the off chance I might one day take them out.

Still, it's good to know that a reasonably clean floor is not going to kill you if you eat food you just dropped on it.

Germany's First Spouse Shuns Spotlight

Funny article on the "sour" husband of Chancellor Merkel of Germany.

If Hillary! gets elected, I can't imagine a more polar opposite story being written about Bill as the First Gentleman.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Area of Brain Responsible for Deja Vu Found

A couple of previous studies have been tantalizingly close to identifying just what the phenomena of deja vu and other memory mix-ups like false memory, UFO abduction, and past lives, really are.

A new study in mice seems to have found the exact area in the brain responsible for the feeling of familiarity that arises in similar situations. According to the study, when the dentate gyrus is damaged or impaired, the brain has difficulty distinguishing between two similar but different situations. It will be interesting to see if the same relationship occurs in humans, and would certainly go a long way towards understanding the susceptibility some people have to memory errors.