Saturday, January 3, 2009

Debka offline

Looks like DebkaFile is offline. Since I'm getting a timeout and not an error I'm assuming it's Denial of Service attack. I guess not really surprising as debka is a pretty (in)famous Israeli intelligence source.

Obviously that with trend of serving vital information through the internet, these sort of low-tech attacks are going to become and more widespread.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Comments on the Palin aftermath

I really love how all the commentators on CNN and other stations are in a state of mock shock at the fact that the McCain campaigners are saying Palin was utterly and shockingly unqualified, not to mention plain ignorant. "How could they mislead the population!? It's unconscionable!"

Of course the McCain campaign knew how ignorant she was. Maybe not when they chose her but I'm sure in a few weeks they realized her level of knowledge....or lack there of. How about some truth in media. Political campaigns lie to get us to vote for them. How shocking!!

In any case I think it's poetic justice for McCain. He went looking for someone to appeal to the far right, religious conservatives. and what he got was a horrible caricature of everything that the religious right is accused of being.

An ignorant, self-righteous, arrogant cook, who believes in witch doctors and 'fake Americans'. Someone who thinks that wisdom is not something to be earned by learning but is as a gift from God granted to the faithful. Someone who believes that faith is an excuse for ignorance and predestination means everyone is either with them or against them.

Someone who will forever remind McCain of that famous saying...Be careful what you wish for, you may just get it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Elections and Hackers

Hot on the trail of the Obama win we get these little tidbits of information. Both his and McCain's servers were compromised. The FBI believes this was a foreign party (read China) intent on getting intel for future negotiations.

The funniest part is Obama's view on global warming :)

The debates unnerved both candidates. When he was preparing for them during the Democratic primaries, Obama was recorded saying, "I don't consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, 'You know, this is a stupid question, but let me … answer it.' So when Brian Williams is asking me about what's a personal thing that you've done [that's green], and I say, you know, 'Well, I planted a bunch of trees.' And he says, 'I'm talking about personal.' What I'm thinking in my head is, 'Well, the truth is, Brian, we can't solve global warming because I f---ing changed light bulbs in my house. It's because of something collective'."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

USB stops working in Ubuntu

For the last couple of months I've been having a problem connecting usb devices to my Ubuntu PC. Everything seems to be working fine when I bootup but if the machine stays on for a day or so, usb just stops working. I couldn't even charge my iPhone.

After looking around Ubuntu forums and Googling the only helful hints I could find was adding noacpi to my boot options. Since I sort of like my ACPI based soft shut off functionality I tried a different way, which actually worked just as well.

I call this the windows way of fixing software glitches since this pretty much just restarts the usb modules:

sudo rmmod usbhid && sudo rmmod ehci_hcd && sudo rmmod uhci_hcd && sudo rmmod usbcore
sudo modprobe usbhid && sudo modprobe ehci_hcd && sudo modprobe uhci_hcd && sudo modprobe usbcore

A word of caution first. Killing uhci, not to mention usbcore, will most likely temporarily disable your usb 2.0 devices like the mouse. They should come right back when you modprobe the modules back in.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Obama as the conservative darling

You can now add Colin Powell to the growing number of conservative/Republican endorsements of Obama. A moderate Republican with military and foreign policy credentials, Powell and his endorsement have been the target of multiple campaigns including Hillary's and McCain's. However, neither serving under Clinton nor his two tours in Vietnam and friendship with McCain were enough to put him in either camp. Coming out in support of Obama, Powell mentioned what, I think, are the most important qualifications that Obama has:

...[Obama] displayed a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge and an approach to looking at problems . . . a definitive way of doing business that I think would serve us well...

Imagine that, an intelligent president in the White House who actually doesn't think that reality has no bearing on his actions or decisions.

This latest event just further emphasized my view that there is a growing break in the Republican party. At first it started with Kathleen Parker's article at NRO, raising doubts about Sarah Palin. Sure, that article came after such an awfully cringe inducing interview that only the most rabidly partisan hack could have closed their eyes at Palin's obvious lack of simple intellectual curiosity. Or even the wherewithal to understand the basic ideas of national governance. However, even that seemingly obvious conclusion generated a backlash of those on the right who are so far stuck in their arrogance that even a well reasoned explanation from someone in their own ranks is rejected outright. Then came the Buckley bombshell of an endorsement that, in the end, cost him a position with the National Review. We had a well thought out view from someone who had actually taken the time to actually meet and talk to the person and once again it's met with derision and hate.

You can't help but feel that the coalition of fiscally conservative intelligentsia and the socially conservative religious right, that Goldwater and, coincidentally Buckley's father founded is in some way fracturing. Maybe it's not nearly the end of the incessant culture wars and partisan hackery that has permeated politics for the last 15-20 years. Maybe, if elected, Obama will abuse his mandate just as much as Bush did and will re-light the fire that could meld the alliance back together. However, you can't help but think that we could be looking at a brand new chapter in American politics. It's completely conceivable, that if Obama actually delivers or even makes some significant progress on things such as merit pay for teachers, charter schools or infrastructure improvements. If he stays away from protectionism and some other policies favored by the fringe left.

Then we could actually have a new species of political animal. A technocratic, socially liberal and fiscally moderate leader. Someone I would call an "Economist Conservative", after the eponymous magazine. Someone who just might take the best ideas and the brightest people and let them do what works, regardless of their political slant or views on abortion. Someone who wouldn't scream about welfare reform killing innocent children while at the same time understanding that basic scientific research cannot be effectively outsourced to a stock price obsessed private sector. Someone who would reason intelligently and act decisively. Someone who would be pragmatic enough to play the political game while at the same time idealistic enough to keep the long-term score in mind. Someone, who wouldn't cynically gamble the future of the country on an Alaskan bumpkin with a beauty pageant education to shore up his base. Someone who could inspire people to actually value intelligence and learning instead of denigrating and devaluing brains. Someone to lead a shaken, divided country back to prosperity and confidence.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bird Rolling

For anyone who watched Sunday's Family Guy episode all I have to show is this:

Registrar..: (
Created on..............: 06-OCT-2008
Expires on..............: 06-OCT-2009
Record last updated on..: 06-OCT-2008
Status..................: ACTIVE

I mean seriously this is internet speed.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Save to SIM card on Samsung Plum

Most Samsung phones have an option that allows you to copy all the phone numbers to the SIM card. Except for the one Samsung phone I decided to get, the Plum. I have about 10 ways to get online on a tiny Samsung screen, but absolutely no easy way to copy my phone book to the SIM card.

Edit: Looks like there is a way that I managed to find via Google.

1. Go to the phonebook and select a contact
2. Navigate to the contact phone number and choose Option
3. You should now have an option to copy the phone number + name to the SIM card.

Unfortunately I had to do this number by number for about 50 of them. Now I know how gold miners feel....