Now We’re Talking… a Personal Jetpack!

Now this looks cool! Think of it as a “Jet Ski” for the sky… sorta! At any rate, looks like it would be fun!

Jet pack makes maiden flight at Oshkosh air show

“The first public flight of a futuristic personal jet pack on Tuesday didn’t exactly conjure up images of ‘The Jetsons’ flying saucer car, the power and grace of Superman soaring faster than a speeding bullet or the heroic Buck Rogers fighting evil warlords in outer space. But the maiden launch of the Martin Jetpack, at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture show here, nonetheless provided a lift to the dream that ordinary people could one day fly free, albeit not as naturally, as a bird. And without wings or a pilot’s license. The rocketlike human flight machine, offered at the introductory price of about $100,000, is being marketed by the Martin Aircraft Co. of New Zealand as ‘the world’s first practical jet pack.'”

Today is NASA’s Birthday!

NASA“Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to NASA! Happy birthday to you!” 50 years… and a big part of my childhood memories… I have been a space nut as long as I can remember! Sitting on the edge of my seat through the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs… and watching the interest the Space Shuttle and International Space Station… cool stuff! Happy birthday NASA!

NASA Web Site

“The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA, pronounced /ˈnæsÉ™/) is an agency of the United States government, responsible for the nation’s public space program. NASA was established on July 29, 1958, by the National Aeronautics and Space Act.” – Wikipedia

New Search Engine – Lot’s of Hype – NO Substance!

I have never seen such hype over a new search engine… NPR to Fox News covered it with lot’s of gushing prose about how much “better” it was. But, I tried it… totally lame! As my son, Ben, would say, “Epic Fail!”

Ex-Googler creates ‘Cuil’ search engine, but results fall short of rivals

“New search engine Cuil has opened to the public, and with it, the requisite comparisons and challenges to Google, former employer of Cuil’s engineering team. But the site is experiencing much downtime in its first day. Built with $33 million in venture capital from Greylock Partners, Madrone Capital Partners, and Tugboat Ventures, Cuil is made up of an all-star team of Web technology veterans. The husband and wife founders are Tom Costello, creator of Xift, and Anna Patterson, creator of Recall, a technology now used by Google. Rounding out the team are ex-Google engineers Russell Power and Louis Monier, also the ex-CTO of AltaVista. Cuil’s claim to fame is that its search index contains over 120 billion sites, which it says is more than Google. The search engine features a homepage that shares Google’s minimalist design ethic. Query results are returned in a columned and tabbed window not unlike the “GluePage” Yahoo tested earlier this year in India. Recent remarks made by Patterson to the media that challenge Google are a definite misstep for the parvenu engine. She has been quoted as saying she believed Cuil’s index was at least three times the size of Google’s, a number which would otherwise have been difficult to substantiate, as Google does not regularly advertise the size of its index. However, responding to inquiries about this statement, Google came out in its blog Friday, saying it regularly scans through over a trillion unique Web links, but doesn’t index duplicates or inferior results. A further challenge to Google, the Cuil team also touts superior user privacy, as the site does not use cookies or record user IP addresses. Google has faced considerable criticism from privacy advocates for its data retention policies. Undoubtedly the most important aspect of a search engine is user experience and the quality of query results it yields. In BetaNews tests this afternoon (access to the site has been sporadic, with frequent ‘unavailable’ messages), Cuil came up short in both areas.”

I tried searches that covered a lot of my sites that come up easily on Google… but “Cuil” found zip, zero, nada! As I said, “Epic fail!”

“The Virus Alert Edition” of Dr. Bill’s Podcast #146

Dr. Bill Podcast – 146 – (07/26/08)
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Features in Windows XP that AREN’T in Vista? Yep. 10 Essential tricks for Linux admins, a DNS security flaw and a VIRUS Alert… as well as Weird Al’s song about it. More Global Warming thoughts…spammer stories, Geek Software of the Week: Inkscape! And MUCH more!

World’s First System Analyst Dies at Age 92

David CaminerThe world’s FIRST Computer Systems Analyst passed away last month. He was quite an industrious fellow! He computerized a British Tea Company back in the 50’s!

World’s First Systems Analyst Dies at 92

“David Caminer, the world’s first systems analyst who is credited for first discovering how to use a computer for business purposes, died on June 19 in London. He was 92. Caminer was one of the brains behind LEO (short for Lyons Electronic Office), the world’s first business computer, a distinction certified by Guinness World Records. It was 16 feet long with 6,000 valves and could store more than 2,000 words—a major accomplishment in 1951. In fact, it was a major breakthrough in business practice, and he was promoted to director of LEO computers. New Scientist best summed up this accomplishment: ‘In today’s terms it would be like hearing that Pizza Hut had developed a new generation of microprocessor, or McDonald’s had invented the Internet.'”

Geek Software of the Week: Inkscape!

InkscapeDo you know what is SO cool about “vector graphics?” Simple… have you every worked with a bitmap graphic and then tried to enlarge it? Oh, you can do it… but it looks terrible! All pixelated and fuzzy… blah! But VECTOR GRAPHICS scale! Oh yeah! You can create an image and then just scale it up as large as you want, with no loss of detail! It ROCKS! But vector graphics packages (like Adobe Illustrator) are SERIOUSLY expensive! BUT… dewd! This one is Open Source and (of course) FREE!

Inkscape Vector Graphics Package

“An Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format. Inkscape supports many advanced SVG features (markers, clones, alpha blending, etc.) and great care is taken in designing a streamlined interface. It is very easy to edit nodes, perform complex path operations, trace bitmaps and much more. We also aim to maintain a thriving user and developer community by using open, community-oriented development.”

And… while I am a it… here’s a great link to a tutorial on taking an existing bitmap image, and converting it to vector using Inkscape… of yeah! THIS is cool!

Tracing Using Inkscape

Try it… you won’t go back! (And, actually, I don’t have the ready cash to get Illustrator anyway… but Inkscape works for me!)

One Spammer in Jail, Another Escapes… Call Out the Dogs!

Oh yeah! Spammers getting jail time! We need more stories like this one! But ONLY four years in prison?! Why not MORE? Throw the book at ’em!

One spammer sentenced to prison as another escapes

“One Internet spammer was sentenced this week to nearly four years in prison, while another fled a correctional facility and is currently on the run. Robert Soloway, who ran Newport Internet Marketing Corp. and pled guilty to mail fraud, e-mail fraud, and tax evasion in May 2007 received his sentence yesterday: 3 years and 11 months in federal prison. The sentence was handed down by Judge Marsha Pechman in the District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle. The prosecution asked for a seven to nine year sentence, similar to the one Jeremy Jaynes received in 2005 for his spamming activity, believed to be the first case of felony spamming. In May, self-proclaimed ‘spam king’ Sanford Wallace was hit with the maximum fine allowable under the CAN-SPAM act: $230 million, to be paid to Myspace. Soloway is no stranger to the courts: Microsoft won a $7 million judgment against him two years ago, and an Oklahoma ISP a $10 million judgment. However, he continued to spam even after these decisions, authorities say. Microsoft said that Soloway was one of the top 10 spammers in the world, saying he was ‘a huge problem for our customers.’ Authorities said some were spending up to $1,000 per week to fight the spam he was sending out. Though his sentence was shorter than the one handed down to Jaynes, and less costly than the one given to Wallace, it’s at least more serious than the one given to another self-proclaimed spam king.”

Global Warming… Amen! Can I get a witness?!

I saw this on the Internet, and thought I would simply post it with no comment:

“Global Warming is a ‘Religion;’ its stated goal is to convert all the World’s peoples into adopting their beliefs so that all can achieve ‘Salvation.’

Global Warming has a Pope (Al Gore)
Global Warming has a Holy Book (IPCC Report)
Global Warming has Priests (Climatologists)
Global Warming has Heretics (Climatologists who disagree)
Global Warming has Dogma (‘The Science is Settled’)
Global Warming has Sin (CO2 emission)
Global Warming has Penance (Carbon Offsets)
Global Warming has a Holy Day (Earth Day)
Global Warming has Prophecy (‘An Inconvenient Truth’)
Global Warming has Evil (The Oil Companies)”

DNS Data Security Flaw

There is a big security exploit that is “in the wild” that can compromise DNS servers. Since the Internet is based on DNS giving us the real address (TCP/IP Address) for an “easy-to-remember” site name, we all have to use DNS! If you are using a PC, you really need to be using OpenDNS as your DNS server. They are patched and safe! Check out OpenDNS here:


OpenDNS is free, and is easy to implement if you are a DNS user. If you RUN a DNS server, you need to do the patch. Now, for some details on the exploit:

Details on DNS flaw inadvertently leaked; researcher says patch now

“The cat is out of the bag before Black Hat. That isn’t a passage from a Dr. Seuss children’s book, but a description of what happened on Monday when a Web site accidentally posted details about a DNS flaw uncovered by security researcher Dan Kaminsky earlier this month. Kaminsky, who plans to discuss the flaw at the forthcoming Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas next month, had wanted to keep the details private until then, in hopes of preventing the flaw from being used for malicously redirecting Internet traffic to phony Web sites for large-scale phishing exploits. But on Monday, Matasano Security, which knew the ins and outs of how the flaw could be used for DNS cache poisoning, inadvertently publicized the details by confirming a complex speculative theory raised in a blog entry by Halvar Flake, a specialist in reverse engineering and the CEO of Zynamics. ‘The cat is out of the bag. Yes, Halvar Flake figured out the flaw Dan Kaminsky will announce at Black Hat,’ responded a post on the Matasano site, since taken down but still residing in Google’s cache, at the time of this writing. Matasono has since apologized for the glitch. ‘Earlier today, a security researcher posted [a] hypothesis regarding Dan Kaminsky’s DNS finding. Shortly afterwards, when the story began getting traction, a post appeared on our blog about that hypothesis. It was posted in error,’ wrote Thomas Ptacek, principal of Matasano security, on the company’s site. ‘We regret that it ran. We removed it from the blog as soon as we saw it. Unfortunately, it takes only seconds for Internet publications to spread,’ according to Ptacek. ‘Dan told me about his finding personally, in order to help ensure widespread patching before further details were announced at the upcoming Black Hat conference. We chose to have a story locked and loaded for that presentation, or for any other confirmed public disclosure. On a personal level, I regret this as well.’ ‘Patch. Today. Now. Yes, stay late,’ Kaminsky warned on his own Web site after the Matasano post. Kaminsky has added a ‘DNS checker’ to his site, for use in determining whether a server has been patched for the flaw.”

IBM: Ten Essential Tricks for Linux Admins

A neat little tutorial from IBM on Linux Admin tricks… I like their sense of humor as well!

Lazy Linux: 10 essential tricks for admins – How to be a more productive Linux systems administrator

“Learn these 10 tricks and you’ll be the most powerful Linux® systems administrator in the universe…well, maybe not the universe, but you will need these tips to play in the big leagues. Learn about SSH tunnels, VNC, password recovery, console spying, and more. Examples accompany each trick, so you can duplicate them on your own systems. The best systems administrators are set apart by their efficiency. And if an efficient systems administrator can do a task in 10 minutes that would take another mortal two hours to complete, then the efficient systems administrator should be rewarded (paid more) because the company is saving time, and time is money, right? The trick is to prove your efficiency to management. While I won’t attempt to cover that trick in this article, I will give you 10 essential gems from the lazy admin’s bag of tricks. These tips will save you time—and even if you don’t get paid more money to be more efficient, you’ll at least have more time to play Halo.”

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