|Ken Novak's Weblog
Purpose of this blog: to retain annotated bookmarks for my future reference, and to offer others my filter technology and other news. Note that this blog is categorized. Use the category links to find items that match your interests.
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Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Streamlining Software Testing with IBM Rational and VMware Test Lab Automation
: "Software test teams that have deployed Rational TestManager to improve productivity are still challenged by the difficulty and expense of testing in multiple system configurations. Testing on all necessary combinations of hardware, operating systems and installed software normally requires labor-intensive setups on many dedicated test machines. The only alternative has been a large investment in banks of test machines. VMware virtual machines vastly simplify configuration management and eliminate the need for a physical machine .. IBM Rational
and VMware have jointly developed the IBM Rational and VMware Test Lab Automation Solution to address the challenges of configuration testing. " 11:03:40 PM
Nepal in turmoil
: "19 August 2004 - Threats from Maoist rebels in Nepal brought business in the Himalayan kingdom to a halt yesterday, as traffic blockades kept supplies from the capital, Kathmandu. There is only about 10 weeks' worth of food in the city, and many travellers are stranded. Army convoys escorted the few vehicles that ventured on the country's two main highways. The roads to the temple-studded tourist hub of Kathmandu, ringed by lush, green hills, were nearly empty because the rebels said they would enforce the first blockade of the capital. In Kathmandu, the management of the Soaltee Crowne Plaza hotel, which defied rebel orders to close on Monday, capitulated and shut after the building was rocked by four blasts. No guests were injured." 10:02:31 PM
Crypto researchers discover flaws: "MD5's flaws that have been identified in the past few days mean that an attacker can generate one hash collision in a few hours on a standard PC. To write a specific back door and cloak it with the same hash collision may be much more time intensive. Still, Hughes said that programmers should start moving away from MD5. "Right now the algorithm has been shown to be weak," he said. "Before useful (attacks) can be done, it's time to migrate away from it." " SHA-1 still looks good, but there are new approaches suggested toward cracking it.
Technology Review: Fingerprinting Your Files has a c lear and simple explanation of MD5 and SHA-1 hash functions, and how they can be used in applications, system security, and compression. 10:01:10 PM
Fortune Magazine Backs Renewable Energy
: "The cost of the plan is modest, about $7 billion to $9 billion per year, much of which can be offset by eliminating current subsidies and giveaways. "Will it be enough to kick our longtime oil addiction?," asks [editor] Varchaver. "Of course not. Even a far more radical plan is not going to solve this problem in ten years. Progress will be incremental and will take decades. But with the hole we have to climb out of getting deeper every day we wait, this plan at least promises what we need right now--a good start."
Fortune's plan consists of four approaches:
1. Improving fuel economy.
Hybrids... [and] drop the exemption that allows SUVs to be considered light trucks instead of passenger vehicles.
2. More spending on alternative fuels.
Fortune estimates that a $3.5-billion-a-year investment in two key areas.. [hydrogen fuel cells, and] biomass fuel called cellulosic ethanol, which can be blended into gasoline with minimal modifications to current engines and gas stations.
3. Redoubled commitment to efficiency.
4. Getting serious about solar and wind.
For Fortune's plan to work, the government will have to do its part; when it comes to transformation on this scale, Washington needs to jump-start the process. Still, In Fortune's plan, government intervention would be modest.. "That 20 percent [cut] might sound like a modest figure," concludes Varchaver. "But that percentage turns out to be more than the portion of our imports that come from the Persian Gulf. If we do nothing, you can be sure Americans will pay more than just the price at the pump." 9:54:26 PM
Bruce Sterling SIGGRAPH 2004 speech "When Blobjects Rule the Earth": Fastastic speech connecting memes from all over (open production, new media, sci fi, cluetrain, sustainability) into a new techno vision. An update of Bucky Fuller, maybe an "As We May Think" for this generation. Too much to summarize, I'll quote just a few bits that stuck out for me.
"We are facing a future world infested with digital programmability. A world where our structures and possessions include, as a matter of course, locaters, timers, identities, histories, origins, and destinations: sensing, logic, actuation, and displays. ..
[There were products, then gizmos, now spimes] A spime is a users group first, and a physical object second.. A Spime is today's entire industrial process, made explicit. That is the whole shebang, explicitly tied to the object itself. A Spime is an object that ate and internalized the previous industrial order. Some of this information might be contained inside the Spime, and some of it might be conjured up on the Web by, say, a barcode or an RFID chip -- but in practice, you wouldn't notice the difference ..
The natural world should be better for our efforts and our ingenuity. It's not too much to ask. You and I will never live to see a future world with those advanced characteristics. The people who will be living in it will pretty much take it for granted, anyway. But that is a worthy vision for today's technologists: because that is wise governance for a digitally conquered world. That is is not tyranny. That is legitimacy. ..
The question we must face is: what do we want? We should want to abandon that which has no future. We should blow right through mere sustainability. We should desire a world of enhancement. That is what should come next. We don't need more dead clutter to entomb in landfills. We should want to expand the options of those who will follow us." 7:40:06 AM
: "an Open Source (GPL) application that lets you record streaming mp3 to your hard drive." It divides the mp3 webcast into separate files for each song. Instructions online
. 6:59:57 AM
New Cooperation and New Tensions in Terrorist Hunt
: NYT reporters now say it was Pakistani, not US, sources that outed Khan as an agent. "The release of Mr. Khan's name - it was made public in The New York Times on Aug. 2, citing Pakistani intelligence sources - drew criticism by some politicians, like Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, who charged that this leak might have compromised the search in Britain and Pakistan for Mr. Khan's Qaeda partners. (No officials in Britain, Pakistan or the United States have told The Times on the record that identifying Mr. Khan had such an impact)." Juan Cole
maintains it did have an impact, and that the root cause was the administrations media efforts using Khan's information. 6:48:53 AM