1. National Guard Deployments and Katrina Relief

    brian on 2005.08.30
    at 01:43 pm

    Despite reports that the National Guard has enough troops to respond to the growing disaster in aftermath of Hurricane Katrina around the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama region, I’d still be much more comfortable if the National Guard was, um, guarding the nation.

    About 35 percent of Louisiana’s National Guardsmen and 37 percent of Mississippi’s have been deployed to Iraq. Shouldn’t we have 100% of our Guard available at home?

    Someone had their email read on CNN yesterday asking if the world would send help to the US, like the US sent to aid Tsunami relief. Whereas I understand where he’s coming from… we send enormous amount of aid to the whole world, more than any other country, and get very little credit for it. However, there are two truths, one, we are the richest country in the world, and we can afford to give. Two, you can’t buy friends. We will be judged by our actions, not our dollars. And the world will look at our actions they don’t like before the ones they’re thankful for. And the world is looking at our actions in Iraq.

    In recent years our National Guard has seen more deployments overseas. I think that’s a role for our full-time military and reserves. The National Guard belongs at home. 100%.

    Posted in: Politics · Recent Events · Weather

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  2. Free Opera (not music) Today only.

    brian on 2005.08.30
    at 12:35 pm

    Happy Birthday to the folks at Opera, the Norwegian web browser company. As thier present to us, we can register the full, ad-free version of the Opera web browser at no cost. (It’s usually $30)

    Go here to get more information and download Opera for free.

    This offer is valid from 12 a.m. Tuesday, August 30 to 12 a.m. Wednesday, August 31 2005 (PDT).

    Posted in: Software · Web

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  3. AOL Radio Client for Mac in Beta

    brian on 2005.08.29
    at 05:16 pm

    AOL Radio for Mac InterfaceAOL is in transition. Its traditional revenue model was being America’s largest dial-up internet service provider. That is now in decline due to the significant growth of broadband in the United States. Now, they are attempting to become a portal and content provider.

    Read more for a review of the AOL Radio for Mac (Beta) Client…

    Read More

    Posted in: Apple · Music

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  4. Cyber Attacks

    brian on 2005.08.29
    at 02:57 am

    Fascinating story in the upcoming Time Magazine on the hunt for a highly organized cyber spying ring. They are after anything they can get their hands on from the US government and its contractors… and the may be Chinese.

    Posted in: Technology

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  5. Big Storm Brewing

    brian on 2005.08.28
    at 11:11 pm

    Should I get excited about a category five Hurricane with its sites on the mainland? Well, I certainly fell sorry for those who will face destruction, but I get excited even when weather catastrophes are baring down on me directly.

    Usually, I get to enjoy blizzards, but we’ve had our share of hurricanes in New England, as well. I think the worst was a Cat. Four, Bob, I believe. That was back when I was Connecticut native. And I vaguely remember Gloria, when I was knee-high to a grasshopper.

    Well, I am happy to see the Weather Channel has gone to all-Hurricane coverage, since I’m such a geek who likes to see reporters get soaked and blown around.

    I’m looking for some good webcams to checkout, since the main landfall should be both on a city and during the middle of the day.

    The downfall of my plan is the certain power loss when the storm gets good. I was thinking, if a municipality had solar powered WiFi antennae on their street lights, they could form an ad-hoc network through out a city, allowing city state and federal authorities to broadcast lots of information with their constituents and receive equally useful info.

    I realize this is a bit of a pipe dream, but imagine what could happen if this network were in place. Let’s just talk about the emergency usage. First off, officials would have a very fast connection to emergency bunkers that wasn’t dependent on wires that can be blown down. Wireless mesh networks that can patch themselves (like the internet itself) if intermediary nodes go down, would allow excellent connections for emergency personal. Real time images and maps.

    For citizenry, you could receive evacuation routes and much more specific and up-to-date info that you could listening to a radio broadcast. You could get the whole story regardless of when you tuned in. Of course, you’d have to have energy efficient portable and good wireless reception. iBook, anyone?

    It would very impressive if you could co-op private WiFi routers as nodes for the emergency, but of course, this brings up the power issue again. Perhaps a car battery plus a 12v-120v power converter… but now we’re in serious geek/hacker category. But with a volunteer geek corp, you could get some really useful webcams, uploads of still and video images. Useful for neighbors to know what’s going on, micro-casting of local news, really; and useful to emergency personnel who would have so many more eyes and ears.

    MIT has a rooftop network experiment for community networking that could serve as a model for the networking. Add WiFi routing / access points powered the way those highway call boxes are, with the little solar panels. With the close nature of housing in the northern suburbs of Boston, reception would be easy. It would be great.

    Who’s in?

    Tangentially related: NOAA Podcasts

    Posted in: Recent Events · Weather

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  6. Trees and Water

    jake on 2005.08.26
    at 05:19 pm

    Just a couple quick links relaying things about the world outside.

    • Trees don’t suck up carbon dioxide as hoped – Not a definitive result. But it does make some sense. Excess of even good things in humans is expelled. If you’re going to the gym a lot and eating a great amount of protein your body willl only absorb a certain amount. No matter how much more protein you consume. Perhaps there is a separate catalyst to discover that will allow the trees to absorb more.
    • Life Straw: All You Can Drink For A Year! – This is a beautiful contraption, only costing $2 US, all we need is someone to get these where they’re needed. It amazes me how much suffering and poverty still exists after so much money gets thrown at the problem.

    Posted in: Nature · Science

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  7. More Google Product Goodness.

    brian on 2005.08.24
    at 11:54 pm

    Not only has Google come out with another innovative product, Google Talk, but they’ve also added a key feature to an existing product, GMail.

    Perhaps you loved the features of Google Mail but have your own domain. If you forwarded your email to GMail you could use their innovative webmail interface and large storage, but you couldn’t use GMail to send mail, or else you’d loose your domain name in the replies.

    Now you can set the ‘From’ field as well. Thanks Google. I don’t see using this personally, as I have both dotMac and pretty good squirrelmail interfaces. But it’s nice to have options.

    A little more on Google Talk, if you haven’t seen it. It utilizes the open-source Jabber protocol, and can be used with any client that supports it. I’ve used it in Apple’s iChat and it works well, and you can be online with your AIM network at the same time.

    It also has voice chat. Hope to try that out soon. Rumor has it that it works through iChat as well.

    Of course, all of this isn’t without a downside. Whereas I would probably always use this with iChat (if I have any use for another IM network) it is unfortunate that yet again Google has launched a piece of software that is only written for Windows. As with all their other software, they make vague claims of other OS compatibility (I for one have stopped holding my breath for Google Earth for Mac).

    If Google’s pushing for the Internet OS, they’re doing an awfully good job of supporting their major competition.

    Update: See this from Scott at Salon. He agrees with me on that last point.

    Posted in: Web

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  8. Work Road Trip

    jake on 2005.08.18
    at 12:25 am

    Well I’m off on my first ever work related trip. I’m meeting with the IT guys of one of our divisions to discuss web related things. After a nice four hour drive I made it to Sidney, New York. The drive out here was beautiful and relaxing.

    The town I’m staying in is about twenty miles away. Oneonta is a bit more developed than Sidney. It has a nice little main street that could be developed with some work. I’m not sure there’s a population to support it, but it’s charming and I wouldn’t mind seeing the community strengthen.

    The Autumn Cafe is a great place to eat if you visit. I had a nice healthy sandwich and offset it with a Bass ale. Can’t be too health conscious.

    Oneonta is the home to the National Soccer Hall of Fame. I didn’t even know it existed. It’s terrible I cannot visit it this time.

    Speaking of soccer (football), I was upset to miss the first US Mens Connecticut match at Rentschler field this evening. Luckily it’s being aired on ESPN2. I’ll have to get tickets next time.

    Have a good night Internetland…

    Posted in: Rant

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  9. Somatic

    brian on 2005.08.17
    at 09:10 pm

    Soma FM out of San Francisco is one of my favorite internet radio outfits. Secret Agent may be my all time favorite stream. They offer a ton of different types of feeds (mp3, aacPlus, 3GP, and the format which won’t be named) over their many channel selections. Additionally, I listen to Groove Salad and Indie Pop Rocks! occasionally, as well.

    I mention this because someone has produced a widget for Tiger’s Dashboard for Soma FM fans. Check it out. (via.)

    Posted in: Apple · Music · Software

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  10. The Pirates of Silicon Valley

    brian on 2005.08.17
    at 08:51 pm

    Whenever people ask me about the back story of Apple, and Microsoft and how things got where they are today in the world of personal computing, I often suggest they try to find a copy of The Pirates of Silicon Valley at their local video store. It was a fairly well made-for-TV movie that aired on TNT back about six years ago.

    Now, Amazon has it on DVD. So add it to your collection. It’s never going to win any awards, but Noah Wyle (as Steven P. Jobs) and Anthony Michael Hall (as William H. Gates) are entertaining while teaching a good-enough history of the personal computing revolution.

    Posted in: Apple · Technology

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  11. Of Google and Dark Fiber.

    brian on 2005.08.17
    at 01:20 am

    There have been persistent rumors about Google buying large amount of so-called dark fiber or fiber optical cabling that is strung across the country, but unused, much of which was pulled during the Web 1.0 bubble.

    Perhaps this is just people taking small bits of information and projecting their desires… or maybe its true.

    Read on for more on Google and Dark Fiber…

    Read More

    Posted in: Technology

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  12. Get Your Own iBook

    brian on 2005.08.16
    at 09:55 pm

    If you didn’t hear about this this weekend, apparently people are willing to urinate on themselves and beat others with folding chairs in order to get an four-year-old used iBook from the Henrico Country, VA School System.

    In more peaceful news, I helped my future sister-in-law and two dear friends into new iBooks this weekend. Both seem very happy with them as well.

    Posted in: Apple · Hardware

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  13. Tipped Off

    brian on 2005.08.10
    at 11:54 pm

    I completely agree with this article.

    It basically says that tipping in restaurants is a stupid idea. Let’s give these hard working people a standard wage. Tipping benefits no one except the restauranteurs who get to pay their employees much less than minimum wage and expect the patrons to make up the rest.

    Posted in: Rant

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  14. Guitar Solos, Storm Harvey, Fictional Critic, How to respond to jerky emails

    jake on 2005.08.04
    at 12:44 am

    In this installment of link dumping we have some interesting tid-bits for all you readers out there. I’ll try and give my thoughts on the latest Harry Potter book if I get a chance. I finished reading it today.

    Posted in: Movies · Music · Recent Events · Web

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  15. Boom

    brian on 2005.08.02
    at 03:16 am

    To anyone in the Boston and North Shore area tonight… have you ever heard thunder so loud? I mean WOW.

    Posted in: Weather

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