Ken Novak's Weblog
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Ken Novak's Weblog

daily link  Thursday, September 30, 2004

Letter from Farnaz Fassihi in Baghdad:  Bleak assessment, from a WSJ reporter no less -- in correspondence, not in his own newspaper.  Ceratinly worth reading it all. "Despite President Bush's rosy assessments, Iraq remains a disaster. If under Saddam it was a 'potential' threat, under the Americans it has been transformed to 'imminent and active threat,' a foreign policy failure bound to haunt the United States for decades to come...

Here is how it goes: criminal gangs grab you and sell you up to Baathists in Fallujah, who will in turn sell you to Al Qaeda. In turn, cash and weapons flow the other  way from Al Qaeda to the Baathisst to the criminals. ..

I asked a 28-year-old engineer if he and his family would participate in the Iraqi elections since it was the first time Iraqis could to  some degree elect a leadership. His response summed it all: "Go and vote and risk being blown into pieces or followed by the insurgents and murdered for cooperating with the Americans? For what? To practice democracy? Are you joking?"

  11:51:49 PM  permalink  

Bush debate response war room: "The Bush campaign has set up a network of Web sites to carry instant analysis of tonight's debate. The "Debate Feed" will provide the GOP spin in real time to as many as 5,000 conservative Web outlets, according to Wired News. "Our rapid response effort is based on the premise that no attack or no misstatement will go unchallenged," Michael Turk, director of the Internet campaign, told the Web site. A "war room" is outfitted with 15 computers and two TVs, monitored by two dozen staffers, ready to send out a Republican response or comment, Wired added. The Kerry campaign is not so well organized. It has e-mailed supporters who work with local newspapers and media, telling them the Kerry campaign will provide a response after the debate, Wired reported."  11:42:44 PM  permalink  

daily link  Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Iraqi schools turn away from secular teachings: Not encouraging.  "Many Iraqis are opting out of the public school system.  Under Saddam, [4-year-old] Beytool's school was only allowed to teach the strict, state-approved curriculum. But now, it's a private school and they are free to teach whatever they like. And in a sign of the changing times here, the focus is now overwhelmingly on Islamic education. Instead of teaching the alphabet, the goal in Beytool's class is to memorize 28 basic verses from the Koran, and learn how to wash before prayers.  The school's director says: "the most important thing for a child to know is religion." ..

At universities too, religious hard-liners are taking hold — at Baghdad's Mustansiriya, self-appointed morality police now guard the campus gate. They recently sent a grad student away because she was wearing pants. .. And the government has no control over hundreds of Shiite religious seminaries — known as the Howza — teaching Islamic theory and law once banned under Saddam."

  5:47:43 PM  permalink  

daily link  Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Ellsberg: Truths Worth Telling:  Great piece (background also available):  "On a tape recording made in the Oval Office on June 14, 1971, H. R. Haldeman [spoke] on the effect of the Pentagon Papers..:

"Rumsfeld was making this point this morning,'' Haldeman says. "To the ordinary guy, all this is a bunch of gobbledygook. But out of the gobbledygook comes a very clear thing: you can't trust the government; you can't believe what they say, and you can't rely on their judgment. And the implicit infallibility of presidents, which has been an accepted thing in America, is badly hurt by this, because it shows that people do things the president wants to do even though it's wrong, and the president can be wrong."

He got it exactly right. But it's a lesson that each generation of voters and each new set of leaders have to learn for themselves. Perhaps Mr. Rumsfeld - now secretary of defense, of course - has reflected on this truth recently as he has contemplated the deteriorating conditions in Iraq. According to the government's own reporting, the situation there is far bleaker than Mr. Rumsfeld has recognized or President Bush has acknowledged on the campaign trail.

Understandably, the American people are reluctant to believe that their president has made errors of judgment that have cost American lives. To convince them otherwise, there is no substitute for hard evidence: documents, photographs, transcripts. Often the only way for the public to get such evidence is if a dedicated public servant decides to release it without permission.

Such a leak occurred recently with the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, which was prepared in July. Reports of the estimate's existence and overall pessimism - but not its actual conclusions - have prompted a long-overdue debate on the realities and prospects of the war. But its judgments of the relative likelihood and the strength of evidence pointing to the worst possibilities remain undisclosed. Since the White House has refused to release the full report, someone else should do so...

The military's real estimates of the projected costs - in manpower, money and casualties - of various long-term plans for Iraq should be made public, in addition to the more immediate costs in American and Iraqi lives of the planned offensive against resistant cities in Iraq that appears scheduled for November. If military or intelligence experts within the government predict disastrous political consequences in Iraq from such urban attacks, these judgments should not remain secret. ..

[In 1964] President Lyndon Johnson might not have won in a landslide had voters known he was lying when he said that his administration sought "no wider war." Seven years and almost 50,000 American deaths later, after I had leaked the Pentagon Papers, I had a conversation with Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon, one of the two senators who had voted against the Tonkin Gulf resolution in August 1964. If I had leaked the documents then, he said, the resolution never would have passed.

That was hard to hear. But in 1964 it hadn't occurred to me to break my vow of secrecy. Though I knew that the war was a mistake, my loyalties then were to the secretary of defense and the president. It took five years of war before I recognized the higher loyalty all officials owe to the Constitution, the rule of law, the soldiers in harm's way or their fellow citizens.

Like Robert McNamara, under whom I served, Mr. Rumsfeld appears to inspire great loyalty among his aides. ..

All administrations classify far more information than is justifiable in a democracy - and the Bush administration has been especially secretive. Information should never be classified as secret merely because it is embarrassing or incriminating. But in practice, in this as in any administration, no information is guarded more closely. .. Some 140,000 Americans are risking their lives every day in Iraq. Our nation is in urgent need of comparable moral courage from its public officials."

  10:39:47 PM  permalink  

Debate advice to Kerry: "Bush is tough. But he's wrong. And America is less secure."  8:20:46 PM  permalink  

FeedBurner - Amazon Web Services Integration: "You can add the Amazon Associates service to any FeedBurner feed. Here's how the service works: FeedBurner detects your feed categories and then asks you to assign an Amazon store to any category for which you want to include the Amazon Associates program. For example, you might choose to associate the music store with your music category, DVD's with your Pop Culture category, and nothing at all with your Personal and Family categories. You, the publisher have total control over the frequency with which Amazon Associates links appear, and whether they should appear alongside really short posts or only very detailed posts."  12:26:43 PM  permalink  

Nanocarpets that sense and kill bacteria:  Self-assemling molecules that change color as they kill bacteria on contact.  " 'In these nanotube structures, we have created a material that has the ability to sense their environment. The work is an outgrowth of our interest in developing materials that both sense and decontaminate chemical or biological weapons,' said senior author Alan J. Russell, Ph.D., professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine"  12:13:11 PM  permalink  

Bloglines Web Services: New interface for more featureful RSS aggregators.  9:39:26 AM  permalink  

Topspin Communications, Inc.: "Topspin Communications today debuted Grid-to-Go, a program to deliver an open standards-based starter-kit for rapid, easy deployment of utility computing in the enterprise. Grid-to-Go can be used with commodity servers, and includes all of the infrastructure and software required for a grid architecture that unifies applications, servers, and storage. Compared with existing proprietary utility computing solutions, the Topspin solution offers comparable functionality with better performance and greater scalability-- all at as little as approximately 1/20th the cost.

Topspin server switch technology creates a scalable, flexible fabric for building a grid out of industry standard server, storage, and I/O resources. Whether attached via Ethernet, Fibre Channel, or InfiniBand, the server switch can seamlessly map these resources together into virtual servers, which can then be automatically provisioned with the right application(s). With Topspinâ019s VFrameâ122 software, the server switch can be programmed with business policies to determine the conditions for creating different types of virtual servers and with which applications to load them. "  The kits includes software,  10Gbps InfiniBand Host Channel Adapters (HCAs) for PCI-X with remote boot capabilities, and an  Infiniband switch.

  8:42:33 AM  permalink  

Prewar Assessment on Iraq: The intel community strikes back, with an i-told-you-so.  The administration was warned about the upcoming insurgency:  "The same intelligence unit that produced a gloomy report in July about the prospect of growing instability in Iraq warned the Bush administration about the potential costly consequences of an American-led invasion two months before the war began, government officials said Monday.

The estimate came in two classified reports prepared for President Bush in January 2003 by the National Intelligence Council, an independent group that advises the director of central intelligence. The assessments predicted that an American-led invasion of Iraq would increase support for political Islam and would result in a deeply divided Iraqi society prone to violent internal conflict.

One of the reports also warned of a possible insurgency against the new Iraqi government or American-led forces, saying that rogue elements from Saddam Hussein's government could work with existing terrorist groups or act independently to wage guerrilla warfare, the officials said. The assessments also said a war would increase sympathy across the Islamic world for some terrorist objectives, at least in the short run, the officials said. "

  8:26:35 AM  permalink  

daily link  Monday, September 27, 2004

Halloo - Small Business Communications: 800 Service, Auto Attendant, Internet Voicemail: Interesting computer-based telephony solution that builds on whatever voice services you currently have.  10:17:52 PM  permalink  

Kiwi Syslog Daemon:  "Kiwi Syslog Daemon is a freeware Syslog Daemon for Windows. It receives, logs, displays and forwards Syslog messages from hosts such as routers, switches, Unix hosts and any other syslog enabled device. There are many customisable options available."  Useful free version; for $99 it can do ODBC logging and more.  10:26:41 AM  permalink There are groups active in turning iPods into TiVo-like radios, filling up with content served in RSS.  8:22:25 AM  permalink  

daily link  Sunday, September 26, 2004

Bush v the facts: From Reuters: "Many of President George W. Bush's assertions about progress in Iraq -- from police training and reconstruction to preparations for January elections -- are in dispute, according to internal Pentagon documents, lawmakers and key congressional aides on Sunday. ..

Bush [said] Iraq's electoral commission is up and running and told Americans on Saturday that "United Nations electoral advisers are on the ground in Iraq." He said nearly 100,000 "fully trained and equipped" Iraqi soldiers, police officers and other security personnel are already at work, and that would rise to 125,000 by the end of this year. And he promised more than $9 billion will be spent on reconstruction contracts in Iraq over the next several months. ..

The documents show that of the nearly 90,000 currently in the police force, only 8,169 have had the full eight-week academy training. Another 46,176 are listed as "untrained," and it will be July 2006 before the administration reaches its new goal of a 135,000-strong, fully trained police force. .. Six Army battalions have had "initial training," while 57 National Guard battalions, 896 soldiers in each, are still being recruited or "awaiting equipment." .. Training has yet to begin for the 4,800-man civil intervention force.. And none of the 18,000 border enforcement guards have received any centralised training

They estimated that 22,700 Iraqi personnel have received enough basic training to make them "minimally effective at their tasks," in contrast to the 100,000 figure cited by Bush.

The status of election planning in Iraq is also in question. Of the $232 million in Iraqi funds set aside for the Iraqi electoral commission, it has received a mere $7 million, according to House Appropriations Committee staff. ..  According to a one-page election planning "time line," registration materials are supposed to be distributed in early October and initial voter lists to go out by the end of October .. So far, the United Nations has .. no more than eight [staff]working on the elections. "The framework for it (free and fair elections) hasn't even been set up. The voter registration lists aren't set. There have to be hundreds of polling places, hundreds of trained monitors and poll watchers. None of that has happened," Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State for President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, told ABC's "This Week."

With the violence expected to intensify in the run-up to the elections, congressional experts were also sceptical $9 billion could be spent on reconstruction projects within several months, as Bush asserted."

  11:52:04 PM  permalink  

Iraq: Bush administration arguing with itself:" Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said yesterday that the insurgency in Iraq is getting worse and that the U.S. occupation there has increased anti-American sentiment in Muslim countries, but he said successful elections in Afghanistan and Iraq would turn the situation around.  "We have seen an increase in anti-Americanism in the Muslim world. We'll not deny this," Powell said on ABC's "This Week." "But I think that that will be overcome in due process because what the Muslim world will see . . . is that in Afghanistan, 10 million people who have registered to vote will vote on the ninth of October and bring in place a freely elected president.  "And I think we're going to do the same thing in Iraq if we stay the course, if we defeat this insurgency," Powell said.  He acknowledged that "yes, it's getting worse, and the reason it's getting worse is that they are determined to disrupt the elections."

But he rejected the notion, put forward recently by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, that it would be sufficient to hold elections in most, but not all, of Iraq.  "For the elections to have complete credibility and stand the test of international scrutiny, I think what we have to do is to give all the people of Iraq an opportunity to participate," Powell told "Fox News Sunday." "Just as we would have difficulty with partial elections here in the United States . . . I think it has to be throughout the country."

In contrast, Gen. John P. Abizaid, U.S. commander for the Middle East, told NBC's "Meet the Press" that the goal is that "the election will be able to be held in the vast majority of the country." .. "I am not predicting victory by January at the end of the elections," Abizaid cautioned. "I am predicting that we'll have elections." ..

Abizaid said he found the CIA's recent assessment of Iraq's future over 18 months to be "overly pessimistic." .. Powell, on Fox News, said the CIA report "wasn't a terribly shocking assessment. It was something that I could have written myself."  The assessment contrasted with President Bush's and Allawi's more optimistic portrayal of Iraq's short-term future. "

  11:43:43 PM  permalink  

Violence in Iraq Belies Claims of Calm, Data Show: "Attacks against U.S. troops, Iraqi security forces and private contractors number in the dozens each day and have spread to parts of the country that had been relatively peaceful, according to statistics compiled by a private security firm working for the U.S. government. .. A sampling of daily reports produced during [the past 2 weeks] by Kroll Security International for the U.S. Agency for International Development shows that such attacks typically number about 70 each day. In contrast, 40 to 50 hostile incidents occurred daily during the weeks preceding the handover of political authority to an interim Iraqi government on June 28, according to military officials.  ..

On maps included in the reports, red circles denoting attacks surround nearly every major city in central, western and northern Iraq, except for Kurdish-controlled areas in the far north. Cities in the Shiite Muslim-dominated south, including several that had undergone a period of relative calm in recent months, also have been hit with near-daily attacks.  .. In number and scope, the attacks compiled in the Kroll reports suggest a broad and intensifying campaign of insurgent violence that contrasts sharply with assessments by Bush administration officials and Iraq's interim prime minister that the instability is contained to small pockets of the country. "

  11:24:56 PM  permalink  

Iraqi civilian casualties mounting:  How we lose the hearts and minds.  This is attributed in part to US troops using more air power to limit US casualties.  "Operations by U.S. and multinational forces and Iraqi police are killing twice as many Iraqis - most of them civilians - as attacks by insurgents, according to statistics compiled by the Iraqi Health Ministry and obtained exclusively by Knight Ridder. According to the ministry, the interim Iraqi government recorded 3,487 Iraqi deaths in 15 of the country's 18 provinces from April 5 - when the ministry began compiling the data - until Sept. 19. Of those, 328 were women and children. Another 13,720 Iraqis were injured, the ministry said. .. During the same period, 432 American soldiers were killed. ..

"Anyone who hates America has come here to fight: Saddam's supporters, people who don't have jobs, other Arab fighters. All these people are on our streets," said [Dr.] Hamed, the [Health] ministry official. "But everyone is afraid of the Americans, not the fighters. And they should be." ..

Iraqi officials said about two-thirds of the Iraqi deaths were caused by multinational forces and police; the remaining third died from insurgent attacks. The ministry began separating attacks by multinational and police forces and insurgents June 10.

From that date until Sept. 10, 1,295 Iraqis were killed in clashes with multinational forces and police versus 516 killed in terrorist operations, the ministry said. The ministry defined terrorist operations as explosive devices in residential areas, car bombs or assassinations. The ministry is convinced that nearly all of those reported dead are civilians, not insurgents. Most often, a family member wouldn't report it if his or her relative died fighting for rebel cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia or another insurgent force, and the relative would be buried immediately, said Dr. Shihab Ahmed Jassim, another member of the ministry's operations section. "People who participate in the conflict don't come to the hospital. Their families are afraid they will be punished," said Dr. Yasin Mustaf, the assistant manager of al Kimdi Hospital near Baghdad's poor Sadr City neighborhood. "Usually, the innocent people come to the hospital. That is what the numbers show."

  4:39:36 PM  permalink  

An Inventory of Iraqi Resistance Groups: As of Sept 2004, translated from a Baghdad newspaper.  12:13:39 AM  permalink  

daily link  Saturday, September 25, 2004

Five Across:  InterComm:  A new product that provides the essential tools of Groove, in a lightweight package that works for both Windows and Mac.  4:59:44 PM  permalink  

Wireless Sensors Monitor Volcanic ActivitiesRoland Piquepaille provides a summary of a new sensor net:  "a wireless array of sensors has been deployed to monitor the eruptions of an active volcano in central Ecuador, the Tungurahua. An international team of computer scientists and seismologists installed a small wireless network of five nodes to record 54 hours of continuous infrasound data transmitted over a 9 km wireless link back to a base station at the volcano observatory. As the results are very encouraging, and because these wireless sensors are very cheap, this installation will soon be duplicated to detect eruptions of other active volcanoes. The team expects to deploy larger infrasonic arrays consisting of up to 50 nodes in the next six months either on Tungurahua or elsewhere in the world."  4:50:58 PM  permalink  

Musharraf on Iraq:  So it's not just Kerry saying it.  "ZAHN: Is the world a safer place because of the war in Iraq?

MUSHARRAF: No. It's more dangerous. It's not safer, certainly not.

ZAHN: How so?

MUSHARRAF: Well, because it has aroused actions of the Muslims more. It's aroused certain sentiments of the Muslim world, and then the responses, the latest phenomena of explosives, more frequent for bombs and suicide bombings. This phenomenon is extremely dangerous.

ZAHN: Was it a mistake to have gone to war with Iraq?

MUSHARRAF: Well, I would say that it has ended up bringing more trouble to the world. " [via Steven Clemons]  11:46:19 AM  permalink  

daily link  Friday, September 24, 2004

Many setbacks on road to an effective Iraqi force: Further evidence of the lack of preparation or experience of the Pentagon in nation-building, on top of a very difficult situation to begin with.  "Out-of-shape recruits, equipment shortages, and "unbelievable" retention problems are just some of the myriad challenges facing Sergeant Nunn, tasked with leading a 16-man team to train an Iraqi National Guard (ING) battalion of 1,000 men from scratch.  ..

In June, the Pentagon assigned Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, who led the 101st Airborne Division in invading Iraq, to overhaul the training operation. Across the country, more than a dozen battalion-sized units and headquarters had to be reconstituted, and others started from scratch, military documents show.

One of those units was Mosul's 106th Iraqi National Guard battalion. On May 5, Nunn of the Stryker Brigade's 1-23 infantry battalion was given the job of leading training for the Iraqi unit. On May 8, lacking training materials, equipment, or a single interpreter, he took charge of the first 194 Iraqi recruits at a soccer stadium in Mosul.  .. With no training manual, Nunn wrote one himself and later found translators to produce an Arabic and Kurdish version. ..

According to Pentagon figures, only 90,000 Iraqi security forces have been trained of the more than 270,000 needed. These include police, ING, Army, and border-control forces. This summer, US and Iraqi officials sharply increased the number of security forces they believe are required in Iraq: from 16,000 to 32,000 border guards, 45 to 65 ING battalions, and 90,000 to 135,000 police.

NATO announced Wednesday that it would increase its number of military trainers in Iraq, from 50 to up to 300."  If each 1000-recruit battalion needs 16 trainers, the 270,000 trainees need 4300 trainers, plus support.  The NATO support is minor.

  9:47:28 PM  permalink "Bemused is a system which allows you to control your music collection from your phone, using Bluetooth."  Interesting how some people want to use their cell phone as a universal remote control.  9:33:08 PM  permalink  

Develop, Test, and Deploy Faster with VMware Software:  This whitepaper claims that VMware is very widely used in large enterprises.  "Used by 80 percent of the Global 100 companies’ IT organizations, VMware virtual infrastructure software simplifies test configuration management and eliminates the need for a physical machine for each configuration to be tested."  8:40:26 AM  permalink  

daily link  Thursday, September 23, 2004

VMwarel Case Study at the Spring Independent School District: Replacing 40 Novell and light-duty Windows servers with four VMware multi-processor systems.  "VSM: How has server virtualization affected hardware purchases?

PD: The first six servers were old 933 MHz/1GHz boxes with 1GB of memory. We were in the process of getting rid of them. We were able to use them for VMware GSX servers. We added an additional processor and they work great for hosting four VMs each. Later, we added an additional 1GB of memory and reduced the number of physical servers to four, hosting 6-7 VMs each.

We recently decided to purchase two quad Xeon servers with four 73GB HDD and 12GB of memory to host up to 32 VMs each. Instead of buying additional servers for new projects that require low usage servers, we can make VMs on the ESX servers or use the old dual 933/1GHz servers with 2GB RAM. "  11:40:31 PM  permalink  

How News Portals Serve Up Political Stories:  Why Google News shows so many second-tier conservative news sites. Google won't fully explain it, but Harvard fellow Ethan Zuckerman offers likely explanations.  First, they are organized as alternative news networks, rather than just 'blogs'.  Second, they use more specific phrases like "John Kerry" rather than standard journalism's tendency to use just "Kerry" after the first mention.  The more specific term is considered a better match.

""You have to wonder why some of these wacky sites make the cut..". With an occasional exception, Weblogs are generally not found among the Google News results, so Zuckerman had some advice for aspiring political publishers who want to game the search engines: Don't blog -- start an alternative news network. Use terms like George Bush and John Kerry frequently, rather than their last names alone, in both your text and headlines. Publish new works frequently.  What Zuckerman calls gaming the system, others call optimizing your site."

  11:21:54 PM  permalink  

Flip-flopping charge unsupported by facts / Kerry always pushed global cooperation, war as last resort: Marc Sandalow surveys the record.  Several quotes from Kerry included in the article.  "No argument is more central to the Republican attack on Sen. John Kerry than the assertion that the Democrat has flip-flopped on Iraq. .. Yet an examination of Kerry's words in more than 200 speeches and statements, comments during candidate forums and answers to reporters' questions does not support the accusation.  ..

Over and over, Kerry enthusiastically supported a confrontation with Saddam Hussein even as he aggressively criticized Bush for the manner in which he did so. Kerry repeatedly described Hussein as a dangerous menace who must be disarmed or eliminated, demanded that the U.S. build broad international support for any action in Iraq and insisted that the nation had better plan for the post-war peace. ..

"Let there be no doubt or confusion about where we stand on this. I will support a multilateral effort to disarm (Hussein) by force, if we ever exhaust ... other options,'' Kerry said 23 months ago on the Senate floor before voting to authorize the force, imploring Bush to take the matter to the United Nations.  "If we do wind up going to war with Iraq, it is imperative that we do so with others in the international community," Kerry said, insisting that Bush work with the United Nations. "If he fails to do so, I will be among the first to speak out,'' Kerry said.  "Congressional action on this resolution is not the end of our national debate on how best to disarm Iraq,'' Kerry said on the eve of the vote. "Nor does it mean we have exhausted all of our peaceful options to achieve this goal.''

Yet in the fall of 2002, several months before the air strikes on Baghdad began, Bush himself insisted the vote was not the same as a declaration of war but instead gave him the hand he needed to negotiate the peace.  "If you want to keep the peace, you've got to have the authorization to use force,'' Bush said in September 2002. "It's a chance for Congress to say, 'we support the administration's ability to keep the peace.' That's what this is all about.''"

  11:12:57 PM  permalink  

'Smart Dust' for Monitoring Ready for Sale: Nice intro to new products from Dust, Inc.  About $5000 for a starter kit with 12 motes.  10:19:15 AM  permalink  

Nurses Bid Online for Extra Shifts: Using auctions to fill off-hours work schedules.  10:15:54 AM  permalink  

Dell bundles VMware on PowerEdge: "Dell also announced yesterday that it would be pushing VMware's ESX Server virtualization product on its PowerEdge 1850 (1U) and 2850 (2U) Xeon-64 servers. While Dell has had a partnership with VMware for quite some time to sell its GSX Server and ESX Server, this offering goes a little bit further in that Dell is selling pretested systems (but not preconfigured) that have been certified to run specific VMware virtualization software and offering front-line technical support for the whole shebang. Dell is only offering ESX Server as part of this deal, which is the low-level virtualization software from VMware that has the best isolation between virtual machines, in that it runs on the bare metal server, not within another operating system that could, in theory, fail and take down all of the virtual machines. Dell is selling ESX Server 2.1.2, which has been tweaked to support the 64-bit "Nocona" Xeon processors, as well as VMware's Virtual Center Management Server. Dell is also supporting the CX300 and CX500 SAN arrays that it makes in conjunction with EMC. Dell pricing for ESX Server starts at $4,688 for these two PowerEdge servers, including Dell support, which is backed by VMware's Platinum support. Dell is also supporting the Virtual SMP features of ESX Server (which allow a single virtual machine to span across two physical processors) and VMotion technology, which allows the workload running inside one virtual machine on one physical machine to be transported across the network to another partition on another machine. This offer is available in the United States and Europe.

Dell is not, by the way, offering pretested GSX Server configurations on these machines, although GSX Server will work on it. GSX Server allows multiple virtual machines to run inside a host operating system."  7:44:35 AM  permalink  

Iran's bloggers in censorship protest: "Earlier this month, three reformist websites - Emrooz, Rooydad and Baamdad - re-appeared in a stripped-down form after having been blocked by the authorities. One of them moved the content of its site onto a blog as a means of getting around the block.

It is thought that the number of Iranians keeping blogs is now between 10,000 and 15,000.

However, some recent reports have now suggested that Iranian authorities are considering the creation of a national intranet - an internet service just for Iran - which would be separate from the world wide web. This would potentially mean that users would not be able to access anything the authorities do not want them to see. But Mr Derakhshan said he and his fellow bloggers are working on a strategy to get around the intranet, using email subscription services. "

  1:01:52 AM  permalink  

Bloggers as disruptive innovation for media: "disruptive innovations--those destined to change the structure of an industry--tend to attack from below. They usually first appear in a form that is in some ways inferior to the existing dominant technologies, and hence are unlikely to get the attention or respect of industry incumbents. They provide examples in industries ranging from steel to semiconductors. In steel, for instance, the challenger technology was "mini-mills" using electric arc furnaces to melt scrap. At first, the steel produced in these mills wasn't as good as the steel produced with the incumbent technology, the gigantic integrated steel plants, so they focused on an unglamorous and relatively low-margin market: reinforcing bar (rebar). Big-steel executives could afford to disregard the mini-mills and to focus on higher-end business.

I would bet that the comments made by some big-steel execs about their mini-mill counterparts were quite similar in tone to the comment recently made by a CBS exec about bloggers in their pajamas. After all, they (the big steel guys) had the vast facilities, stretching out for miles. They had the globally-recognized brand names. They had the big cash balances and large market capitalizations...

This kind of thing happens all the time. Manufacturers of mainframe computers--and their corporate IT customers--tended to discount the personal computer, which was initially a toy for hobbyists. Most incumbent telephone companies did not intitially perceive the Internet as a threat. And so on."

  12:57:36 AM  permalink  

Speech Code From I.B.M. to Become Open Source: "I.B.M. plans to announce today that it will contribute some of its speech-recognition software to two open-source software groups. .. The software for speech-recognition applications once had to be custom built, but now packages of reusable and standardized tools are becoming available. The speech software can now be added to a Web application so that programmers can use familiar tools and need little additional training. ..

I.B.M. is donating code that it estimates cost the company $10 million to develop. One collection of speech software for handling basic words for dates, time and locations, like cities and states, will go to the Apache Software Foundation. The company is also contributing speech-editing tools to a second open-source group, the Eclipse Foundation.

I.B.M. has contributed code to open-source programmers in the past. In August, for example, the company contributed Cloudscape, a database written in the Java programming language, to the Apache Foundation. And I.B.M. is a leading corporate sponsor of open-source projects like the Apache Web server and the Linux operating system. "It's our usual play," Mr. Mills said. ..

Microsoft has developed its own standardized tools for making speech recognition applications, and in March it introduced Microsoft Speech Server 2004 for running speech-enabled applications. More than 100,000 software programmers have downloaded Microsoft's free software developers' kit for building speech applications on its Windows .Net technology."

  12:17:10 AM  permalink  

Microsoft Community Blogs: How to find bloggers within MS.  There are reportedly over 1000 bloggers at MS now.  12:12:25 AM  permalink  

daily link  Wednesday, September 22, 2004

A Guide to the Patriot Act: Excellent, not-too-detailed look at specific provisions of the Patriot Act.  11:59:09 PM  permalink  

VOIP in development: Good review of VOIP progress from Brian King of Interaction.  Among several cases noted was a national developing country provider:  "Eguitel Communications in Guinea-Bissau, the only company in Africa with an unrestricted VOIP license, included CrystalVoice software as a key technology in their plan for rural telecenters. The company plans to buy software licenses to support 24 simultaneous phone conversations. CrystalVoice offers a broad range of approaches and prices and reportedly will help clients identify the optimal solution and best return on investment. Eguitel will deploy Pentium III computers and handsets that run from USB ports into the phone booths. The telecenters will be connected via an existing 11 megabyte, fixed-antenna microwave network. The company expects the investment to be amortized very quickly, through mostly in-country traffic."  11:24:36 PM  permalink  

20-20 Foresight: Christopher Dickey reviews several sources who publicly predicted the current mess in Iraq (State Dept, Rice Uni, French diplomats, himself), and concludes: "I don't blame most of us Americans for being in denial; I can't blame people who pin their hopes on anybody who tells them it's all really OK. But somebody has got to face reality in the face of persistent lies and delusions. So here's the question looking ahead: What happens if those who refused to know such important things in the past continue to set our agenda for the future? "  11:09:17 PM  permalink  

Even in eager Kosovo, nation-building stalls: Many subtle issues in nation-building.  "five years after the world's first "humanitarian war," Kosovars say the promises of democracy and European integration now seem to be slipping further away, rather than getting any closer..

the West worried what message an independent Kosovo might send around the world: if you want independence, insurgency pays. .. So the UN opted for a familiar tack - kick-the-can diplomacy, as analysts describe it - putting off hard decisions until later. ..  The UN has adopted a process it calls "standards before status," requiring Kosovo to meet satisfactory levels of democratic governance, rule of law, and multiethnic tolerance before beginning discussion of permanent status. Review of Kosovo's standards-before-status progress is slated for mid-2005.  But the standards process is seen as an unreasonably high threshold for a war- ravaged region with little to no tradition of democracy .."

  9:17:04 AM  permalink  

IBM mulls blade desktops: "Blade desktops were pioneered by US company ClearCube, which sells racks of blades, each one containing a motherboard, processor, memory and hard disk. ClearCube's solution has a small user port sitting on each desk, to which as many as four monitors, plus a keyboard and mouse are connected, with a Category 5 Ethernet cable running back to the blade where all the work is done.

IBM already resells ClearCube hardware, but is now looking at the possibility of manufacturing its own as it looks for an ever larger market for its blade server infrastructure .. [one way] "would be to virtualise the whole blade centre and give a piece to everybody." Wandarugala said IBM is looking to VMWare for virtualisation software.

IBM was a relative latecomer to the blade market, but since its first launch has grabbed 44 percent of the market, according to analyst firm IDC. ..  Last week, IBM and Intel announced that they have opened their BladeCentre specification, meaning that anyone can now make blades to fit in the company's chassis. However, development of the BladeCentre technology remains firmly in IBM and Intel hands; although the plug-in interfaces have been openly published, the chassis design remains closed, meaning that only IBM, Intel and their business partners will be able to sell them."

  9:10:02 AM  permalink  

BBC in Basra: How bad can things get? "the most worrying development of the August fighting was that none of Basra's 25,000 police officers came to the aid of the British soldiers. Some even helped the gunmen. 

I met one of the senior civilian political advisors to the military command.  Every time he came to Basra things seemed a "step change worse", he said. The best thing to happen, he went on, would be for a new Islamic government to be elected in January which would ask multi-national forces to leave.  I don't think he was being facetious.

Elections do form part of the exit strategy, but not in this way.  The hope is that national elections in January will produce a government with the authority and the legitimacy to face down the gunmen on its own.  But in local elections in the British sector this week, turnout was just 15%.  A government election with that much backing would be just one faction in the civil war which some American intelligence officials believe is brewing.

That is very much the worst case. But whatever happens, British officers no longer have any illusions that the southern corner of Iraq they run will be immune from the violence. "

  8:59:18 AM  permalink  

British-occupied port of Basra calm, but not truly stable: "August was a bloody month in Basra.  As militiamen loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al Sadr faced off against U.S. troops in Najaf, his forces in Basra launched coordinated attacks on British convoys, seized the old compound of Hussein's Baath Party and rained mortar shells and rockets on British bases.  Three British soldiers were killed, one of them in a 21/2-hour battle in downtown Basra that resembled the movie Black Hawk Down, Wilde said.

British troops held back, choosing to nibble at the edges of militant strongholds rather than risk extensive civilian casualties.  The restraint appears to have paid off. In late August, when Iraq's most revered Shiite religious leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali Husseini al Sistani, came to Basra, the fighting stopped immediately. There've been sporadic conflicts in the weeks since, but nothing to match the violence of August."

  8:56:42 AM  permalink  

Editors on the Future of Energy: A couple useful facts: "By 2007, there should be 22 hybrid car options in the U.S., and some of these will have the strong hybrid qualities", ie, "able to run around town at speeds of say 35 to 40 mph on  electricity and not go to fuel unless it had to run at higher speeds for a long distance trip."

"In the U.S. now, three units of energy come from [natural] gas for every five from oil."

  8:54:55 AM  permalink  

What if the US were Iraq?  Ouch.  8:44:12 AM  permalink  

Marines Bide Their Time In Insurgent-Held Fallujah: Interesting dynamic reported inside the city:  "In what may be the strongest sign of tension between residents and foreigners, the head of the Shura Council, Abdullah Janabi, who had invited foreigners to the city in April, issued a statement on Friday calling Zarqawi a "criminal."

"We don't need Zarqawi to defend our city," said Janabi, who sought to draw a distinction between what he called "Iraqi resistance fighters" and foreign fighters engaged in a campaign against Iraq's infrastructure, foreign civilians and Iraqi security forces. "The Iraqi resistance is something and the terrorism is something else. We don't kidnap journalists and we don't sabotage the oil pipelines and the electric power stations. We don't kill innocent Iraqis. We resist the occupation." Zarqawi's actions, Janabi said, have "harmed the resistance and made it lose the support of people."

Residents have reported skirmishes between residents and foreign fighters in recent weeks. The fighting has broken out after residents, fearful of airstrikes, have sought to evict foreigners from their neighborhoods, the residents said. "

  7:40:14 AM  permalink  

daily link  Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Going after Iraq's most wanted man: If they get him in October, it could help Bush.  Background:  "Mr. Zarqawi's Iraq-based group, Tawhid and Jihad, claims responsibility for beheading hostages, kidnappings - including two Americans and a Briton last week - attacks on churches, and the bombings of Iraqi police stations that have left more than 400 people dead. US bombs rain down almost daily on Fallujah, targeting alleged Zarqawi associates and killing roughly 70 people this month. But some terrorism analysts, and old associates who spent time with Zarqawi in a Jordan prison, say he runs an organization separate from Al Qaeda. They say that killing the poorly educated, tattooed Jordanian - or many of his followers - will do little to slow the wave of terrorist attacks inside Iraq.

"Just like with Osama, if you were to kill him today, it wouldn't make a difference at all to these networks he's helped create,'' says Rohan Gunaratna, a counterterrorism expert and author of "Inside Al Qaeda." "While much of the suicide bombing in Iraq is coordinated by his network, it's being driven from the bottom up. Regional and local operational leaders plan and execute attacks. Zarqawi probably doesn't know much about them ahead of time and he doesn't need to."

This doesn't mean the shadowy Zarqawi isn't an important contributor to Iraq's instability. But analysts such as Mr. Gunaratna say that .. Zarqawi is just the most visible figure today in a tight-knit group of operatives, many with guerrilla and terrorist training gained in Afghanistan. If this analysis is correct, the damage is already done. While Zarqawi may be captured or killed, his network is now largely autonomous [and] civilian casualties brings more Iraqis and foreigners to the cause.

The US has "killed some important individuals but the power of the network is such that they're able to replace them. They're living in a war zone where the generation of new members is easy,'' says Gunaratna, because of the conviction of many that they're fighting an infidel invader. "Iraq has clearly become the new land of jihad, like Afghanistan produced the last generation of Mujahidin, Iraq is creating the new generation." ..

analysts - as well as German and Italian government court documents in cases against Zarqawi associates - say it's clear now that while Zarqawi has had contact with Al Qaeda members in the past, he has sharp tactical differences with the organization and appears to be operating a wholly separate network. Shadi Abdallah, a Zarqawi associate arrested on charges of running a terrorist cell in Germany, has told interrogators that Zarqawi saw himself as a rival of Al Qaeda, not an ally.US officials now say they don't believe he lost a leg, and analysts such as Gunaratna say there is no evidence he had ties to Hussein's regime.

After failing to find work that year in Jordan (at one time he told friends he wanted to open a small fruit-stand), he returned to Afghanistan, where European court documents allege he founded a training camp for his group, Tawhid and Jihad (which roughly means "Oneness of God and Holy War.")

After the US invasion of Afghanistan, he fled to northern Iraq, where he began putting his Iraq network together with the help of Ansar al-Islam. The first suicide attack in Iraq attributed to him occurred in August last year, against the Jordanian Embassy."

  6:13:20 PM  permalink  

VMware ACE: Interesting new application of virtualization:  Give end-users a virtual computer that is locked down by the IT department (e.g., standard software, no USB ports, VPN, virus and intellectual property control).  It runs on top of whatever personal computer the user has.  It can be provided for a single job or project, and can auto-expire when the project is complete.  6:02:07 PM  permalink  

Lisencing under Virtual Server: "This brief describes virtualization and alternative technologies, covers several volume licensing issues related to virtual machines"  5:53:16 PM  permalink  

BBC NEWS on distributed micropower: Nice review of various small-scale technologies.  Interesting figure: "ground source heat pumps extract stored solar energy from the ground to run a home's central heating, and can cost as little as an oil-fired boiler to install. Widely used in the rural US, they produce three or four units of heat for every unit of electricity they use, and can be reversed to provide cooling."  I wonder if new materials for the underground piping can make the energy transfer more efficient, reducing the installation costs of these heat pumps.  9:57:51 AM  permalink  

A Liberal Strategy: Nice rhetorical formula. "George W. Bush: Out of Touch. Irresponsible. Unconcerned. Wrong for the American People."  8:24:31 AM  permalink  

Terror report revision arrives: "In April the U.S. government released its yearly report called "Patterns of Global Terrorism." This edition showed a welcome decrease: the number of people wounded in terrorist incidents in 2003 fell to 1,593 from 2,013 the year before. The decrease in injuries, as well as in deaths and in terrorist incidents, prompted Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to say, "You will find in these pages clear evidence that we are prevailing in the fight."

Then, in June, the State Department updated the original document's incorrect statistics and revealed that terror-related injuries in 2003 in fact totaled 3,646. This number, according to mathematicians, is higher than 2,013. The updated report also revealed more deaths [625 instead of 307] and terrorist incidents in 2003 than had the first document. The new data raise a question: If the interpretation of the original report led the deputy secretary of state to the conclusion that "we are prevailing in the fight," has the corrected report compelled him to announce that we are losing the fight? "

  12:38:05 AM  permalink  

Chris Dickey: Frequently Unasked Questions: "you can tick off the disaggregated triumphs [after 9/11]: Using conventional war against the Taliban, Bush ended a loathsome, fanatical regime that had provided shelter to an organization openly at war with the United States. Using the full resources of the C.I.A. and other agencies, the Bush administration then hunted down, with great success, most of  the key Al Qaeda operatives who had planned and facilitated the attacks on New York and Washington. By January 2003, the shooting war and the covert actions against those terrorists had been won. Job well done. .. But in its quest for absolute security against all enemies real and imagined, whether powerful or impotent, the Bush administration found its own victories impossible to acknowledge. ..

Wise policy would have been to intimidate and isolate Saddam Hussein, who posed a separate problem. And in fact he was isolated, he was intimidated. Another triumph. .. [In Jan 2003,] the goal should have been to calm the international scene and build cooperation. The cancer of Al Qaeda had largely been cut out. The challenge was to keep it from metastasizing. This was the moment for the war of ideas to begin in earnest and international cooperation to be at its height. This was the time when terrorist recruiters could have been isolated and their lies exposed.

Instead, our impulsive, almost petulant invasion of Iraq did just what so many of our friends and allies warned it would do. It created a whole new hot-bed of fanaticism, and an inspiration to terrorist recruiters everywhere.

By pretending the War on Terror is one all-embracing fight, Bush has created a war he has no idea how to win. At the same time, he’s succeeded in pulling together many separate enemies. No, terrorism is not a force of nature. But we have done a lot to create the perfect storm."

  12:00:14 AM  permalink  

daily link  Monday, September 20, 2004

Genezzo: A multi-user, multi-server distributed database, written in perl (!), still under development.   4:38:13 PM  permalink  

Classic guerrilla war forming in Iraq:  Plenty of depressing reading this morning.  "Defense analyst Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute sees two basic defects in the US-led counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq today. "First, policymakers wrongly assume that Sunni Arabs can be induced to join in a democratic government where they are assured of permanent minority status," says Dr. Thompson, who supported the US invasion of Iraq. "Second, policymakers insist on viewing violence through the prism of the war on global terrorism, which obscures the sources of conflict and requirements for victory." Thompson's controversial answer would be to partition Iraq into three countries: Sunni Arab, Shiite Arab, and Kurd. ..

Even if the insurgents dwindle to a handful of terrorists, their impact on security and stability in Iraq could far outweigh their numbers. RAND's Hoffman points out that just 20-30 members of the Baader Meinhof Gang terrorized the former West Germany for two decades; 50-75 Red Brigadists did the same in Italy; and some 200-400 IRA gunmen and bombers required the prolonged deployment of tens of thousands of British troops in Northern Ireland. ..

Is it possible to prevail over the Iraqi insurgency?

First, says John Pike of the group, enemy combatants must be killed, captured, or demoralized faster than new ones can be recruited, and the majority of the population must come to see the insurgency as illegitimate and its defeat as inevitable.  It's a tough job, one that's likely to take years - as long as 10 years, says Dr. Metz at the Army War College. And the outcome is by no means assured.  "The government must appear to be legitimate, inevitable, and effective at providing security and services," says Mr. Pike. "As long as Iran does not stir the pot, these objectives could be approached by the end of this decade, with luck."

Here's another review of several pessimistic military voices, including retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, who "remarked that the tension between the Bush administration and the senior military officers over Iraqi was worse than any he has ever seen with any previous government, including Vietnam. "I've never seen it so bad between the office of the secretary of defence and the military. There's a significant majority believing this is a disaster. The two parties whose interests have been advanced have been the Iranians and al-Qaida. Bin Laden could argue with some cogency that our going into Iraq was the equivalent of the Germans in Stalingrad. They defeated themselves by pouring more in there. Tragic."

  10:10:53 AM  permalink  

daily link  Sunday, September 19, 2004

Don't rely on polls to pick this election: "The emergence of hot-button issues on the ballots of many swing states .. probably will draw droves of less-likely voters to the polls because these issues are powerful in terms of economic and cultural values. These people are largely disregarded by most pollsters because it's wastefully expensive and misleading to survey people who usually don't vote. But if they show up to vote in large numbers, they'll make many a poll prediction useless ..

[Also,] pollsters using phones can't reach many of the nation's 165 million cell-phone subscribers [because of FCC regulations.  Another] technological factor is that users of wired telephones screen out unwanted calls from pollsters and survey researchers with caller-ID and computer programs that filter out calls from any unrecognized phone number.

So, read the poll numbers for entertainment. Just don't rely on them for decision-making. "

  12:36:09 AM  permalink  

Why You Should Ignore The Gallup Poll: "the Gallup Poll, despite its reputation, assumes that this November 40% of those turning out to vote will be Republicans, and only 33% will be Democrat. .. the Democrats have been 39% of the voting populace in both 1996 and 2000, and the GOP has not been higher than 35% in either of those elections. ..  Folks, unless Karl Rove can discourage the Democratic base into staying home in droves and gets the GOP to come out of the woodwork, there is no way in hell that these or any other Gallup Poll is to be taken seriously."  12:26:56 AM  permalink  

IT-led innovation in health care delivery:  Interesting story of how networked medical records and nurse follow-up improves results and cuts costs overall.  But, reimbursements are not worked out and result in doctors taking losses.  "When, as with the Whatcom County program, medical care is improved, and money saved, there are winners: in this case, insurers, including Medicare, which could save millions, and pharmaceutical companies. And there are losers: general practitioners and hospitals, with each doctor standing to lose at least $2,000 a year, according to projections, and some doctors reporting that their costs are already much higher.

The program is considered a model for how health care can be improved .. But participating in the program is costing each doctor in the group $500 a month for four years for the electronic medical record system. Other innovations, like group office visits and e-mailing with patients, are poorly compensated, if at all. Nor are the follow-up calls by a nurse checking on patients when a doctor changes a medication or recommends a different regimen.  "I've been in practice for 25 years and I've made less money this year than I ever did before," Dr. Safford said. But, she said, she will not return to her old ways when the county's grant ends this year and will accept less income if she has to. "We made the culture change and there's no going back," Dr. Safford said. "It changes everything. I look at this as a wonderful blessing."

  12:20:06 AM  permalink  

Electoral College Graph: A race driven by events.  12:03:14 AM  permalink  

daily link  Saturday, September 18, 2004

Terrorism works: Dave Pell says it well.  "there is a much more important and much more troubling lesson in all of this. It has to do with the effectiveness of terrorism. A limited number of people in Iraq have managed to throw that country into instability and by all evenhanded accounts, the very idea of a democratic and peaceful Iraq is now at stake.

Terrorist acts will rearrange the government in Russia. They've impacted elections in Europe and largely dominated the airtime in our own election. They've thrown the Middle East peace process into what seems like an endless backwards spiral (and remember, Israel is the country with the by far the most expertise when it comes to dealing with terrorist threats).

The lesson of these times is that relatively small groups of people can have a major impact on world leaders and populations. And we should be spending a much more significant amount our debate time trying to come up with better ways to defuse this growing threat."  7:52:09 AM  permalink  

vmktree for VMWare ESX server: "vmktree is a free web tool that shows you the graphs of resource usage of VMWare ESX Server.  .. While vmkusage does a descent job of collecting performance data, vmktree is presenting this information in a slightly different and more flexible way. vmktree generates graphs interactively as needed while vmkusage generate static graphs every five minutes.  Screen shots are available here: Screen shot 1 Screen shot 2"  7:47:14 AM  permalink  

daily link  Friday, September 17, 2004

VMware q&a: "What are the best practices for creating copies of my Windows 2000 virtual machines?"  11:37:05 PM  permalink  

Magic Bike :: Wireless Access Bike: Fun combination of 'art' and tech:  "magicbike is a mobile WiFi (wireless Internet) hotspot that gives free Internet connectivity wherever its ridden or parked. By turning a common bicycle into a wireless hotspot, Magicbike explores new delivery and use strategies for wireless networks and modern-day urbanites. Wireless bicycles disappear into the urban fabric and bring Internet to yet unserved spaces and communities. Mixing public art with techno-activism, Magicbikes are perfect for setting up adhoc Internet connectivity for art and culture events, emergency access, public demonstrations, and communities on the struggling end of the digital-divide."  11:15:31 PM  permalink  

Groove app-launcher:  3-part mini-tutorial on extending Groove.  "In part one I showed a Windows application using Groove Web Services to talk (in a very minimal way) to Groove's collaborative workspace services. Note that this is how Groove File Sharing works too: in that case, yes, GFS is a shell extension which talks SOAP to the local Groove instance.."  11:10:29 PM  permalink  

Indian state rolls out wireless broadband: "An Indian state has launched wireless broadband to provide connectivity in rural areas unreachable by traditional telephone lines or cellular phone services. The community Internet kiosks, named Akshaya, have been set up by the Kerala State IT Mission Department. More than 550 of the kiosks have been opened in the Mallapuram district, spread over 3,500 square kilometers. .. Five Wi-Fi hotspots have also been established around government offices and a tourist resort. "This is the world's biggest rural wireless network," H.S. Bedi, managing director of Tulip IT Services," an Indian IT services provider that developed the project. 

The gear comes from the Canadian Wi-Lan: "its Versatile Intelligent Network Environment technology deployed in India is designed to "line of sight" limitations, using network nodes as repeaters and routers for other nodes that either do not have line-of-sight or are too distant to have direct connectivity to the Internet node. VINE networks can cost less than conventional cell-based networks, particularly when covering large, sparsely populated areas, the company said. WiLan is also setting up a statewide WLAN in another state, Gujarat.""

  11:08:38 PM  permalink  

Jon Udell says it: This is exactly my motivation for this blog:  "as I process my daily RSS inflow in Bloglines, it's very much in my own interest to put the few items of most value in a place where I can find them later. That I'm also putting them someplace where you can find them, that you may be doing the same thing for me, that we may collectively move toward standardized use of shared topics as we iterate this process, that reputation-based filtering may then begin to operate on the emergent set of topics -- all this is goodness, and may ultimately matter, but my participation (and yours) does not depend on these outcomes. Pure self-interest is a sufficient driver. "

Also like my authoring tool, Jon uses a "bookmarklet, so that selected text on the target page is used for the (optional) extended description of the routed item. This makes the items I route easier for me to scan. And for you too."  At least twice a week, I search my blog to find collections of links for friends or colleagues.  Cut and paste into an email, super quick. And the few that use news aggregators or bloglet for email delivery already get it as I write it.

  11:03:51 PM  permalink  

Reddy's PCTVt: "a $250 gizmo that does a whole bunch of things: a computer, a TV, a DVD player, a videophone -- a PCTVt. "I kept asking myself, What would the device have to do for someone on the other side of the digital divide, to be desirable?"wondered Raj Reddy, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. The answer, he decided, was a simple device that would offer entertainment. This November, Reddy hopes to begin installing the first 100 prototypes of the PCTVt in India and possibly several other countries. Reddy is hoping his project -- with backing from Microsoft and TriGem, the Korean computer maker, and in partnership with the Indian Institute of Science, the Indian Institute of Information Technology and researchers at the University of California, Berkeley -- can prove that it is possible to bring IT to impoverished communities without depending on philanthropy. Because his low-cost computer doubles as a TV and a DVD player, Reddy believes that he will be able to use it as a vehicle to take computing to populations that until now have been excluded. "  10:52:53 PM  permalink  

Foreigners prefer Kerry:  "If the world could vote, the global majority would overwhelmingly elect Democratic challenger John Kerry over incumbent George W. Bush in the upcoming U.S. presidential election. So say two recent polls that reveal the extent to which American foreign policy has galvanized international public opinion. .. Kerry was the clear choice for 30 of the 35 nations surveyed from regions around the world. According to a BBC report on the poll, “Only Filipino, Polish and Nigerian respondents clearly backed Mr. Bush.” ..

another survey taken by the German Marshall Fund that found 76 percent of Europeans disapprove of current U.S. foreign policy -- bad news for the 60 percent of Americans who favored strengthening ties across the Atlantic. .. "

  10:15:05 PM  permalink  

daily link  Thursday, September 16, 2004

U.S. in the World:  160-page resource book for promoters of bipartisan multilateralism.  12:26:35 AM  permalink  

daily link  Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The Australian: In Iraq's wasteland, total chaos looms: Aussie and British journalists are pessimistic.  "Over the past three days Iraqis have found themselves plunged back into the front lines of a full-scale guerilla war, with the thin-stretched forces of the US-led coalition attempting both to maintain order in Baghdad and to conduct offensive campaigns in rebel cities such as Fallujah.   There have been attacks on American soldiers and Iraqi troops and police as far north as Kirkuk, and in the southern city of Hilla, while Baghdad itself has exploded, with unrest near-continuous in the Sadr City district and the central Haifa Street neighbourhood.

Much of this upsurge stems from the fact that both sides in the fight want to press their advantage now: the Americans so as to prevent a disaster before their presidential elections, the insurgents because they feel they have gained the critical advantage.  This has become clear from the increasingly bold pronouncements by the key figure behind the terror, Musab al-Zarqawi, who has even begun claiming responsibility for attacks through internet statements in his own voice.

Over the past two months, the scale and nature of the unrest has changed. Previously, even at the height of the bombings in Baghdad, there was an improvised feel about the attacks. Many observers now see a more concerted kind of direction to the terror, and the ability of the attackers to move freely is striking. ..

What lies behind the bleak picture is a catastrophic failure of intelligence – one so deep as to cast doubt on the viability of the US-backed Baghdad Government.  US and Iraqi forces and their coalition allies neither know where the next attacks against their interests will fall, nor who is conducting them – nor who is carrying out the hostage-kidnapping operations. The Allawi Government has been alternately trying to stifle its enemies and to reach out to them with offers of ceasefires and local deals.

According to Middle Eastern intelligence websites and Western officials, one of the central initiatives of the Baghdad Government and the US, aimed at stopping the conflict in the Sunni triangle around Fallujah, has just foundered after prolonged negotiations. The aim had been to broker a peace deal with Sunni rebels and prominent figures from the old Baathist regime. Extensive talks progressed on several fronts but collapsed over Sunni demands for more power in the Baghdad Government. The murky security climate is matched by constant political infighting in the capital, where Western diplomats are becoming frankly pessimistic about the capacity of the present Government to keep the country together. "

and, Autumn in Iraq, when death grows on trees: "Against this sound and fury, pro-war critics complain that good news is being ignored, and they are right. So, too, is a lot of bad news. Kidnapping, looting, criminal opportunism and xenophobia make it simply too dangerous for Western journalists to visit many areas. 

As recently as last (northern) spring we could travel relatively freely throughout Iraq, even to hotbeds of Sunni resistance such as Fallujah or Ramadi. We could eat in Baghdad's restaurants and shop in its markets. We lived in a suburban house until the day we received death threats. Today, we live in fortified hotels and move around the capital with extreme caution.  A year ago every fatal attack on coalition forces, or suicide bomb, made news. Today they are so common we report only the really big ones.

Diplomats and officials remain as upbeat as they can. One thing on which everyone agrees is that, in the skeleton that holds Iraq together, the security bone is connected to the election bone, the election bone is connected to the legitimacy bone and the legitimacy bone connects right back to the security bone. "

  11:55:53 PM  permalink  

Low cost email over satellite: Nice analysis of RBGAN costs by Humaninet.  Result is 12-18 cents per average message.  5:27:55 PM  permalink  

Electrovaya - Powerpad:  Laptop extender batteries that fit under the unit and supply power for "up to 12 hours" when fully charged.  $200-500.  5:21:22 PM  permalink  

SunWize Portable Energy System: "The SunWize Portable Energy System converts sunlight into electricity, allowing the user freedom to recharge a handset or other portable device anywhere the sun shines. The system is lightweight, weather-resistant, highly durable, .. UL listed, CE certified and has a system output of 8.5 watts.  Built into the product is the patented SunWize OPTI-Meter LCD metering system that instantly measures sunlight intensity and allows optimum placement of the panel.  The SunWize Portable Energy System is designed for daily field use. The 9.9 watt solar panel is constructed using a proprietary process in which the highest efficiency, single-crystal photovoltaic cells are permanently encased in rugged, weather-resistant urethane plastic. The panel’s nine-foot cord winds on a spool recessed into the back of the panel. A hinged metal stand folds flush into the panel’s back side. "  Can output a variety of voltages.  Can be combined with a second panel to double output.  Price currently about $360.

Or, on a larger scale, The EN-R-Pak solar-powered portable power generation system, 50w panel bundled with battery to deliver 200w maximum, for about $2200.

  5:17:07 PM  permalink  

DIGITAL LITERACY FOR DEVELOPMENT PROFESSIONALS: Announcing a new online course, "Digital Literacy for Agricultural Professionals":  "A growing number of agricultural professionals now have Internet access but many are not quite sure what resources this makes available, how to best access these resources, or how to use the Internet in support of their work or to develop themselves professionally. This course is designed to help learners overcome these uncertainties"  10:29:27 AM  permalink  

Design that Matters: "DtM acts as bridge to bring problems identified by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and the communities into the classroom for university engineering and business students to tackle in their courses and research. "  Affiliated with MIT and a design course there.   10:27:56 AM  permalink  

TechSoup Skillsoft online training:  Tech courses available to nonprofit staff at cut rates ($35-150) until end-2004.   10:24:15 AM  permalink  

KwikiKwiki: "Kwiki is perhaps the simplest to install, most modular, and easiest to extend Wiki. A Wiki allows users to freely create and edit web pages in any web browser. Kwiki is Open Source Software written in Perl, and is available on CPAN."  9:53:30 AM  permalink  

What is ecto?: "ecto is a feature-rich desktop blogging client for MacOSX and Windows, supporting a wide range of weblog systems.."  9:52:42 AM  permalink  

Let Your Mobile Do the Pointing: Magnetic sensors make an electronic compass, at low cost.  Added to GPS, you can point at things and get info about them.  9:50:49 AM  permalink  

Spyphones:  Collection of phones that support eavesdropping:  "The telephone is programmed with a telephone number and when anyone calls the spyphone, it rings and operates as a normal telephone but when the phone is called using the previously programmed spyphone number, it automatically answers without any ringing or lights and the display appears as if it is on ordinary standby"  9:17:31 AM  permalink  

The Man in the Snow White Cell: Interesting short history of the interrogation and torture of a key prisoner in the Vietnam War.  9:14:44 AM  permalink  

Unpatched PCs compromised in 20 minutes: "According to the researchers, an unpatched Windows PC connected to the Internet will last for only about 20 minutes before it's compromised by malware, on average. That figure is down from around 40 minutes, the group's estimate in 2003.

The drop from 40 minutes to 20 minutes is worrisome because it means the average "survival time" is not long enough for a user to download the very patches that would protect a PC from Internet threats. ..  The time it takes for a computer to be compromised will vary widely from network to network.  If the Internet service provider blocks the data channels commonly used by worms to spread, then a PC user will have more time to patch

[One] school is now checking the status of computers before letting them connect to the Internet. If a machine doesn't have the latest patches, it gets quarantined with limited network access until the PC is back up to date. "

  8:58:40 AM  permalink  

A Model for When Disclosure Helps Security: "Open Source and encryption [communities] view that revealing the details of a system will actually tend to improve security, notably due to peer review. In sharp contrast, a famous World War II slogan says loose lips sink ships. Most experts in the military and intelligence areas believe that secrecy is a critical tool for maintaining security ..  this Article provides the first systematic explanation of how to decide when disclosure improves security, both for physical- and cyber-security settings..

many computer and network security problems appear different from the traditional security problems of the physical world. The analysis focuses on the nature of the first-time attack or the degree of what the paper calls uniqueness in the defense. Many defensive tricks, including secrecy, are more effective the first time there is an attack on a physical base or computer system. Secrecy is far less effective, however, if the attackers can probe the defenses repeatedly and learn from those probes. It turns out that many of the key areas of computer security involve circumstances where there can be repeated, low-cost attacks. For instance, firewalls, mass-market software, and encryption algorithms all can be attacked repeatedly by hackers. Under such circumstances, a strategy of secrecy - of security through obscurity - is less likely to be effective than for the military case."  It seems to me this model also applies to many types of public facilities where probes and attacks can be rehearsed.

  8:53:47 AM  permalink  

Shred, Burn, Erase: "I've purchased thrift-store PCs and junk-shop hard disks [and] I've scanned through their contents before repartitioning the drives. I've seen personal letters and business correspondence, contracts and legal papers, Social Security numbers and other customer data. All you need is to scan a few recycled hard disks to gain a healthy paranoia about junkers that contain valuable information. .. I've also seen the results of projects by researchers such as Simson Garfinkel at Sandstorm Enterprises, who found high-tech vendor source code, financial information from investment firms, thousands of credit card numbers and even internal Microsoft e-mails on secondhand hard disks he bought at swap meets and used-computer stores and on eBay. ..

Then there are recordable CDs and DVDs, the bane of any IT shop that's trying hard to keep from leaking data. They're high-capacity, unerasable, tough to destroy and easy to drop into the wastebasket -- which makes them easy pickings for anyone who decides to dig through your Dumpster. "  The author recommends both in house erasure and use of a commercial recycler that charges $10-30 to erase, to elminate single points of failure.

  8:49:57 AM  permalink  

Website offers Caller I.D. falsification service: "Slated for launch next week, would offer subscribers a simple Web interface to a Caller I.D. spoofing system that lets them appear to be calling from any number they choose. .. Caller I.D. spoofing has for years been within the reach of businesses with certain types of digital connections to their local phone company, and more recently has become the plaything of hackers and pranksters exploiting permissive voice over IP systems. But appears to be the first stab at turning Caller I.D. spoofing into a commercial venture. The service will charge a twenty-five cent connection fee for each call, and seven to fourteen cents per minute.

SecurityFocus took the site for a test drive, and found it worked as advertised. The user fills out a simple Web form with his phone number, the number he wants to call, and the number he wants to appear to be calling from. Within two seconds, the system rings back, and patches the user through to the destination. The recipient sees only the spoofed number displayed on Caller I.D. Any number works, from nonsense phone numbers like "123 4567" to the number for the White House switchboard. ..

Jepson and his partners believe that collection agencies in particular will find the service invaluable for getting recalcitrant debtors to answer the phone. .. The service does not appear to violate any federal criminal law, says Orin Kerr, a law professor at the George Washington University Law School, and a former Justice Department computer crime lawyer. "It doesn't violate the Wiretap Act or the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act or anything like that," say Kerr. But Rozanne Andersen, general counsel at the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, believes collection agencies would be barred from using a Caller I.D. spoofing service under two federal civil laws: the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which prohibits false or misleading representations and unfair practices in collecting debts, and the FTC Act, which outlaws deceptive trade practices in general."

  8:41:48 AM  permalink  

BRUCE SCHNEIER on the no-fly list: "Imagine a list of suspected terrorists so dangerous that we can't ever let them fly, yet so innocent that we can't arrest them - even under the draconian provisions of the Patriot Act. This is the federal government's "no-fly" list. First circulated in the weeks after 9/11 as a counterterrorism tool, its details are shrouded in secrecy.  .. It has been a complete failure, and has not been responsible for a single terrorist arrest anywhere. ..

People can be put on the list for any reason; no standards exist. There's no ability to review any evidence against you, or even confirm that you are actually on the list. ..
security is always a trade-off .. the problem is that the no-fly list doesn't protect us from terrorism. It's not just that terrorists are not stupid enough to fly under recognized names. It's that the very problems with the list that make it such an affront to civil liberties also make it less effective as a counterterrorist tool. ..

Any watch list where it's easy to put names on and difficult to take names off will quickly fill with false positives. These false positives eventually overwhelm any real information on the list, and soon the list does no more than flag innocents - which is what we see happening today, and why the list hasn't resulted in any arrests. .. Watch lists can be good security, but they need to be implemented properly. It should be harder than it currently is to add names to the list. It should be possible to add names to the list for short periods. It should be easy to take names off the list, and to add qualifiers to the list. There needs to be a legal appeals process for people on the list who want to clear their name. For a watch list to be a part of good security, there needs to be a notion of maintaining the list.

This isn't new, and this isn't hard. The police deal with this problem all the time, and they do it well. We do worse identifying a potential terrorist than the police do identifying crime suspects. Imagine if all the police did when having a witness identify a suspect is ask whether the names "sound about right"? No suspect picture book. No lineup."

  8:38:09 AM  permalink  

Vote Drives Gain Avid Attention of Youth in '04: "After dismal turnout by young voters in 2000, surveys this year show that interest in the election among the young is near the highest level it has reached at any time since 18- to 20-year-olds were given the vote in 1972. And state election officials say registration of new young voters is coming in at levels they have not seen in years.

Over 30 years, there has been a steady decline in youth turnout, with one big uptick, in 1992. The last presidential election featured a particularly low showing for those 18 to 24 - just 37 percent voted, compared with 64 percent for those 25 or older, surveys of voters leaving the polls say...

The pool of potential young voters is substantial - about 40.6 million Americans ages 18 to 29, or one in five eligible voters .. larger by 25 percent than the generation that preceded them..

Young voters, who split evenly between Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush in 2000, are also notoriously fickle, according to those who study them... Young voters flocked to Ronald Reagan. In 1992 - the year of Bill Clinton's "boxers or briefs" answer in a youth voter forum - they swung to Democrats. In 1996, Mr. Clinton beat Bob Dole among young voters by nearly 20 percentage points."

  8:04:54 AM  permalink  

Slippage of control in Iraq makes a mockery of power hand-over: "To see how the situation has deteriorated one only needs to be reminded of the bullish confidence of coalition commanders in Iraq a year ago. Back then reporters were admonished if they talked of "no-go zones": the coalition presence, and with it the rule of law, extended to every corner of the country.   Nowadays, by comparison, even British troops in the relatively quiet southern sector have all but conceded certain hostile towns.

The prospect of a "super rogue state", as raised in recent days by Iraq’s new UN ambassador Samir Sum-aida'ie, is no longer a distant nightmare but an approaching possibility.

Alas, it is no use expecting "ordinary Iraqis" - the God-fearing, Saddam-hating, violence-abhorring majority to whom the coalition constantly appeals - to rally round to stop the worst-case scenarios unfolding.  As the falls of Fallujah, Najaf and Samarrah have shown, Iraqis’ popular support - explicit, tacit or otherwise - tends to go to whoever wields the biggest sticks in town.  For the first year after the fall of Saddam, that pretty much meant the United States Army.  Now, however, as the half-way point of year two approaches, it is a role that is increasingly up for grabs."  12:48:15 AM  permalink  

VERITAS First to Deliver Wide Area Disaster Recovery Capabilities for Microsoft Virtual Server 2005: "VERITAS Software Corporation (Nasdaq: VRTS) today announced that VERITAS Storage Foundation™ HA for Windows software is the first to deliver the combination of enhanced high availability and wide area disaster recovery capabilities to Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 customers (see today’s Microsoft news release). VERITAS Storage Foundation HA for Windows integrates VERITAS Volume Manager™, and VERITAS Cluster Server™ the industry’s leading1 independent heterogeneous clustering and availability software, to help ensure continuous availability of mission-critical applications and data."  12:45:39 AM  permalink  

Nanotechnology improves superconductors: "University of California scientists working at Los Alamos National Laboratory with a researcher from the University of Cambridge have demonstrated a simple and industrially scaleable method for improving the current densities of superconducting coated conductors in magnetic field environments. The discovery has the potential to increase the already impressive carrying capacity of superconducting wires and tapes by as much as 200 to 500 percent in certain uses, like motors and generators ..

Superconducting wires and tapes carry hundreds of times more electrical current than conventional copper wires with little or no electrical resistance. Superconducting technology is poised to bring substantial energy efficiencies to electrical power transmission systems in the United States. Much of the excitement caused by this discovery is due to the fact that the process can be easily and economically incorporated into commercial processing of the superconductors. ..

Dean Peterson, leader of the STC, said, "This is a significant technical advancement because it means we are now beginning to understand how to control defects in these superconducting materials and use them to our advantage. This was the first time we have been able to control the structural defects and in doing so, better engineer the material's structure to optimize performance." .. Scientists discovered that small, nanoscale defects are required to maintain high current densities in superconductors, particularly in the presence of high magnetic fields. "

  12:38:57 AM  permalink  

Spammers using sender authentication too, study says: August 31, 2004: "2.8 % of legitimate e-mail passes SPF checks, compared with just 3.8 % of spam, CipherTrust's survey showed.  .. spammers have been faster to adopt the technology than legitimate e-mail senders, Judge said.  "Spammers are now better than companies at reporting the source of their e-mail," he said.  ..

Only 31 Fortune 1000 companies publishing SPF or Sender ID records, and only 6 % of CipherTrust's customers publish SPF records, despite the fact that the company's products can check for and validate SPF records, he said.

But Wong, who co-authored both the SPF and Sender ID standards, said that stopping spam was never the intention of SPF or Sender ID. The technology is merely a way to stop one loophole spammers use: source address spoofing. Evidence that spammers are publishing SPF records is a good sign, Meng said. "Spammers are buying into a future that will wipe them out," he said.

In theory, when all spammers are forced to publish SPF records, along with all legitimate e-mail senders, it will be easy for legitimate companies to develop e-mail reputations for Internet domains that do and do not send spam, he said. ..

Meng said that SPF was never intended as an antispam cure-all, likening the difference between SPF and antispam technology to the difference between "flour and food."  "There are about 12 things that we need to do to fix e-mail, and this is one of them," Meng said, paraphrasing comments by Nathaniel Borenstein of IBM Corp., another antispam expert. "When we have all 12 in place, we'll start to win the war." "

  12:29:08 AM  permalink  

Self-sustaining robot powered by flies in a fuel cell: "To survive without human help, a robot needs to be able to generate its own energy. So Chris Melhuish and his team of robotics experts at the University of the West of England in Bristol are developing a robot that catches flies and digests them in a special reactor cell that generates electricity. Called EcoBot II, the robot is part of a drive to make "release and forget" robots that can be sent into dangerous or inhospitable areas to carry out remote industrial or military monitoring of, say, temperature or toxic gas concentrations. Sensors on the robot feed a data logger that periodically radios the results back to a base station.

The robot's energy source is the sugar in the polysaccharide called chitin that makes up a fly's exoskeleton. EcoBot II digests the flies in an array of eight microbial fuel cells (MFCs), which use bacteria from sewage to break down the sugars, releasing electrons that drive an electric current.  In its present form, EcoBot II still has to be manually fed fistfuls of dead bluebottles, but the ultimate aim of the UWE robotics team is to make the droid predatory, using sewage as a bait to catch the flies.

.. With a top speed of 10 centimetres per hour, EcoBot II's roving prowess is still modest to say the least. "Every 12 minutes it gets enough energy to take a step forwards two centimetres and send a transmission back," says Melhuish.  But it does not need to catch too many flies to do so, says team member Ioannis Ieropoulos. In tests, EcoBot II travelled for five days on just eight fat flies - one in each MFC.

So how do flies get turned into electricity? Each MFC comprises an anaerobic chamber filled with raw sewage slurry - donated by UWE's local utility, Wessex Water. The flies become food for the bacteria that thrive in the slurry.  Enzymes produced by the bacteria break down the chitin to release sugar molecules. These are then absorbed and metabolised by the bacteria. In the process, the bacteria release electrons that are harnessed to create an electric current."

  12:20:22 AM  permalink  

daily link  Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Afghan vote threatens Bush's credibility: "After voter registration centres closed across Afghanistan on the weekend, election officials acknowledged the number of voting cards issued far exceeded the estimated number of eligible voters — and that the illegal practice of multiple registrations is widespread... With seven weeks to go before the Oct. 9 poll, the Star has found the practice of multiple registrations is rife. ..  United Nations officials overseeing the elections admit that more than 10 million voting cards have been issued — surpassing the estimated 9.8 million eligible voters..

Observers also claim the ground work necessary for a free and fair election — security, reconstruction and political stability — has not been established in Afghanistan and that the U.S. hurriedly pushed the country into elections to further its own agenda. ..

In a country where the average income is $2 a day, some Afghans who heard that political parties and presidential candidates would pay up to $150 for voting cards, gladly lined up at registration centres several times to get multiple voting cards.  In separate interviews, two Afghans told the Star it was easy to obtain more than one card. One man who registered six times, using his real name and photograph, said U.N. election workers asked him only once if he had previously registered. A woman said her nephew had been approached at school numerous times to sell his laminated voting card and that she knows a woman who obtained 40 cards while cloaked in a burqa.

The blatant violation of election rules has prompted two presidential candidates — Latif Pedram, leader of the Congress Mili Afghanistan Party and independent candidate, Ahmad Shah Amadzai — to call for an investigation. Overall, the registration process has been rife with many problems: 12 election workers were killed; Afghans confused their voter ID cards for food rations and prescriptions; men forbade wives, sisters and daughters from getting voting cards; and many uneducated people simply don't understand what their first election is about. Originally scheduled for last June, the election has twice been postponed — first due to low registration turnout and later because of security concerns. ..

Mustafa Durani, country representative for the International Republican Institute in Kabul, believes more than 1 million Afghans have registered twice. But he shrugs it off. "Illegal things happen," said Durani, whose Washington-based group is associated with the U.S. Republican Party. He stressed that it does not matter if someone registers one or 30 times because they are only allowed one vote."

  8:56:31 AM  permalink  

daily link  Monday, September 13, 2004

GSX Server review: Short note, interesting comment:  "There are no hard limits to the number of concurrent virtual servers outside of available RAM and disk space, and I had no trouble running four to five concurrent virtual servers on a dual 2.8GHz Xeon server with 4GB of RAM. Individual server performance can definitely suffer when other virtual servers are heavily engaged, but at no time did any virtual server suffer systemic problems. For host servers running multiple processors however, there is a caveat; if Intel processors are used with hyperthreading, a guest OS can only use a single CPU thread rather than the entire CPU. On a four-CPU system, this limits each guest OS to 12.5 percent of the host OS CPU resources. Therefore, it is generally best to disable hyperthreading on VMware host servers."  11:58:24 PM  permalink  

Microsoft Virtual Server Migration Toolkit (VSMT):   Microsoft "announce the release candidate of the Virtual Server 2005 Migration Toolkit (VSMT). You can download the release candidate from the VSMT beta site.  The release candidate includes support for migrating VMWare GSX virtual machines to Microsoft Virtual Server as well as fixes to bugs encountered with the beta build.  Sign up for Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 Migration Toolkit Beta. 

Details:  "VSMT automates the migration of an operating system and installed applications from a physical server to a server running within a virtual machine that is provided and managed by Virtual Server 2005."  Primary usage scenarios involve general server consolodation, esp for legacy Windows NT systems.


  11:54:10 PM  permalink  

Powell said what?:  "respected British journalist James Naughtie [reports that] Powell, in a conversation with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, called Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz "f ----g crazies."

Powell denies it, and Straw backs him up, but Naughtie stood his ground, telling the New York Post: "Whatever the statements issued from the two offices concerned, I stand by the quote.""

  10:35:20 PM  permalink  

TIME Magazine: Who Left the Door Open?  So much for homeland security.  "The U.S.'s borders, rather than becoming more secure since 9/11, have grown even more porous. And the trend has accelerated in the past year. It's fair to estimate, based on a TIME investigation, that the number of illegal aliens flooding into the U.S. this year will total 3 million—enough to fill 22,000 Boeing 737-700 airliners, or 60 flights every day for a year. It will be the largest wave since 2001 and roughly triple the number of immigrants who will come to the U.S. by legal means. (No one knows how many illegals are living in the U.S., but estimates run as high as 15 million.) "  10:28:56 PM  permalink  

Hurricane gets Nader on ballot in Florida: "Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader's name can appear on Florida ballots for the election, despite a court order to the contrary, Florida's elections chief told officials on Monday in a move that could help President Bush in the key swing state. The Florida Democratic Party reacted with outrage, calling the move "blatant partisan maneuvering" by Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's younger brother, and vowed to fight it. ..

Maddox noted that Tallahassee, the state capital where Davey sits, is not expected to be directly hit by the hurricane. He said the circuit court could hear the case as scheduled on Wednesday and rule immediately.  In addition, the case is before the Florida Supreme Court, which could also rule at any time, he said."  The state's rationale for allowing Nader's name is that the issue is before the court, which may not be able to meet as scheduled due to the hurricane (!).

  10:16:50 PM  permalink  

After the election, Bush will cut what he'll promise to fund: Mark Shields:  "Look at the new fiscal year begins Sept. 30, that's the fiscal year that we'll be dealing with for this presidential election.  The president has asked for increases in job training as he spoke of last night [in the convention], for the next fiscal year. But over the next four years, his administration and his budget calls for cuts of $1.7 billion in job training. 

In other words he's going to increase it just for this year, the same thing in elementary and secondary education, he's increasing it by $834 million, but he will cut it by five and a half billion over the next four years. Those are the administration's own budget documents for 2006 through 2009..

What it says is he made promises he can't keep. The president got the biggest cheer in the hall when he said I'm going to make permanent the tax cuts. He didn't address the deficits anyway.  And he said we're going to cut this runaway federal spending."

  2:10:53 PM  permalink  

Rebutting the fly paper thesis:  Josh Marshall is on a roll this morning.  "The recent run of denial on Iraq has brought back to the fore what a year ago was known as the 'fly paper' thesis.   Namely, that the outbreak of chaos, terrorism and insurgency in Iraq is actually a good thing since it allows us to kill 'the terrorists' in Iraq rather than wait for them to come to our own shores.  Thus the 'fly paper' analogy. ..

Logically this is nonsensical; strategically it is moronic; morally it is close to indefensible.  ..

The key fallacy, as so many have pointed out, is the notion that there are a finite number of 'terrorists' who we can kill and be done with.  Added to this, is the idea -- as antiquated as it is ridiculous -- that fighting 'the terrorists' in Iraq prevents them from hitting us in the United States. Have these fools heard about globalization? Can't [bin Laden] spare a couple dozen jihadis to come over here to spring another 9/11 on us? ..

As a TPM reader put it to me both hilariously and brilliantly more than a year ago, this 'fly paper' thesis is like saying we're going to build one super dirty hospital where we can fight the germs on our own terms.   ..  It is the classic case of dousing the fire with gasoline.

Of course that leaves untended the fact the guerillas we're blowing up in Iraq aren't the folks running the safe houses in Karachi and Peshawar who constitute the real threat. Adrift as well is the straightforward matter that turning Iraq into a killing field isn't really compatible with making it into a redoubt of democracy, prosperity and western values."

  11:40:11 AM  permalink  

Iraq in this election:  Josh Marshall on Iraq's Sept 12 Bloody Sunday:  "Iraq has quite simply become a disaster for the United States. And while people disagree over why this has happened, no thinking person can now fail to see that it has happened.  ..

In the last two months, all of this has been pushed to the side of the election debate -- either by rhetorical tangles over 9/11 and terrorism, or attack politics centered on the two men's war records or lack thereof. That is the reason for the president's resurgence in the polls. It's really that simple. ..

Recently, President Bush has sought -- with real success -- to edge Iraq out of the campaign dialogue by putting the issue back on to Kerry, asking what he would do differently and how it would produce a better result.   This puts Kerry in a bit of a bind because the politically-unspeakable answer here is that there are no good solutions anymore. A year ago, even six months ago, there were. Now, there really aren't.  President Bush at least has a straightforward approach: denial. Pressed to come up with a soundbite-able and practical policy, Kerry is, well ... hard-pressed.   (As I said, President Bush, in this way, has managed to derive political advantage from the magnitude of his own failure.) ..

The emphasis should be on the undeniable fact that though the way forward may be murky, the last person you want to lead the country down that foggy path is the guy who screwed everything up so badly in the first place.  As my friend John Judis noted recently, the key to winning an election is often simply a matter of bringing to the surface of the public consciousness what voters already really know. They know Iraq is a disaster. They know it's President Bush's fault."

  11:31:17 AM  permalink  

Microsoft releases virtual server, sets low price: "VMware may have gotten a three-year head start on Microsoft with its server virtualization software. But Microsoft is aiming to make a splash based on price.  ..  Eric Berg, a Microsoft group product manager .. said Microsoft evaluates customers' needs based on workloads, focusing on three areas: software testing and development, legacy application rehosting and targeted production workloads, such as Active Directory domain controllers, networking and departmental applications.

Berg said Microsoft has a Component Object Model application programming interface that can be used to create scripts to automatically deploy new server builds and "great integration" with its server management tools, so customers don't have to buy a specific tool to manage both virtual machines and physical servers.  

Tom Bittman, an analyst at Gartner Inc., predicted that VMware will keep 80% market share for the consolidation of servers to run production-ready applications. But he added that Gartner expects Virtual Server to command at least 50% of the market for test and development workloads by the end of 2005.   "The price differential is going to kill [VMware] unless they change it," Bittman said.  ..

Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst at Framingham, Mass.-based IDC, said the underpinnings of what Microsoft is doing are different than what VMware is doing. He said Microsoft is using its Virtual Server technology to help customers running older stacks of applications on Windows NT 4 migrate to new hardware rather than continue to run them on separate machines.  Kusnetzky said VMware's focus is to help users move to a highly virtualized environment "so they can tune what they do to their business needs" and assign IT resources as needed. "

  10:58:30 AM  permalink  

Microsoft Announces General Availability of Virtual Server 2005: "Sept. 13, 2004 -- Microsoft Corp. today announced the general availability and pricing of Microsoft Virtual Server 2005. .. Virtual Server 2005 Standard Edition supports up to four processors, with an estimated retail price of $499 (U.S.). Virtual Server 2005 Enterprise Edition supports up to 32 processors, with an estimated retail price of $999 (U.S.). Both versions will be available within 30 days through retail and volume licensing and will be licensed on a per-physical server basis."  System images are compatible between the two editions, and with a small change to virtual PC 2004 images.  Enterprise edition is available for 180-day downloadable evauation. FAQ is helpful.  10:55:58 AM  permalink  

Hardware: IBM, Intel Open Blade Server:  " IBM and Intel jointly announced that the design specifications for the eServer BladeCenter platform would be made widely available to other vendors to encourage hardware support [and] more third-party hardware and software. The companies said they will both provide technical support to assist product development, including design guidelines and fee-based support. ..

IDC analyst Jean Bozman told TechNewsWorld that the lower-end blade server market has typically had high numbers of shipments and lower revenue figures in the overall server market, where blades accounted for an estimated 8 % of server sales in 2004.  By 2006, that market share is expected to be at 18 %, with wider adoption, more solutions from more vendors and announcements such as the one from IBM and Intel, according to Bozman."

  8:49:59 AM  permalink  

SAVVIS offers Egenera/VMware virtual computing service: from WSJ: IBM, EDS and others "typically employ a team of consultants to evaluate and manage a client's infrastructure. While most clients still find that less expensive than running an in-house information-technology department, the consultants don't come cheap. ..

Savvis doesn't send a team of consultants to evaluate a company's infrastructure, although it does have staff on call to help clients with questions. "I can have a new server up for you in a minute, not a month," Savvis Chairman and Chief Executive Rob McCormick says. "Now it's just a simple software command to bring someone online. We give you a slice of a big carrier-class" machine.  ..

Gartner's Mr. Chamberlin [says] the cost reduction from Savvis's service could reach 70%. The consulting-heavy model used by IBM and others saves only 15% to 30%, the analyst estimates. IBM and EDS declined to comment. Savvis's low-cost model lets it consider contracts too small for IBM to bother with, contends IDC analyst Melanie Posey. "There's a certain contract level where it's not worth IBM getting out of bed."  ..

The new Savvis service, unveiled earlier this month, runs tasks for all clients on the same set of powerful computers. Running everything on Savvis's own hardware and doling out resources as needed — as opposed to clients having their own dedicated machines — eliminates waste.. Savvis can activate programs that run a wide variety of applications, including e-mail, Web sites and billing software. Savvis can also activate a large-scale network, complete with software defenses against security breaches. The company guarantees that data from different clients will remain separate and secure. ..

Savvis has built a platform whose core, the processors that drive the system, doesn't care what software it is running. These so-called blade servers are made by Egenera Inc. The brains that tell the blade servers what to do reside elsewhere on the Savvis network. .. 

Getting potential customers to trust Savvis to handle their critical technology infrastructure may be a tricky proposition, given its financial history. Savvis, which was split off from Bridge Information Systems Inc. in February 2000, has had $534 million in losses on $918 million in sales from that year through 2003."

  8:43:15 AM  permalink  

daily link  Sunday, September 12, 2004

Key General Criticizes April Attack In Fallujah:  Another debacle from the chickenhawks:  "March 31 [marine general Conway] was confronted in Fallujah with the killing of four U.S. security contractors, whose bodies were mutilated or burned by a celebrating mob. Conway said he resisted calls for revenge, and instead advocated targeted operations and continued engagement with municipal leaders.

"We felt like we had a method that we wanted to apply to Fallujah: that we ought to probably let the situation settle before we appeared to be attacking out of revenge," he said in an interview with four journalists after the change-of-command ceremony. "Would our system have been better? Would we have been able to bring over the people of Fallujah with our methods? You'll never know that for sure, but at the time we certainly thought so."  He echoed an argument made by many Iraqi politicians and American analysts -- that the U.S. attack further radicalized a restive city, leading many residents to support the insurgents. "When we were told to attack Fallujah, I think we certainly increased the level of animosity that existed," Conway said.

He would not say where the order to attack originated, only that he received an order from his superior at the time, Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the overall commander of U.S. forces in Iraq. Some senior U.S. officials in Iraq have said the command originated in the White House. "We follow our orders," Conway said. "We had our say, and we understood the rationale, and we saluted smartly, and we went about the attack."

The Marine assault on Fallujah in April ended abruptly after three days. Conway expressed displeasure at the order he received from Sanchez to cease offensive operations, a decision that culminated in the formation of the Fallujah Brigade.  "When you order elements of a Marine division to attack a city, you really need to understand what the consequences of that are going to be and not perhaps vacillate in the middle of something like that," he said. "Once you commit, you got to stay committed." ..

Marine officials say they believe that threats, tribal ties and other influences led many of the soldiers to tacitly support the insurgents. The leaders of two National Guard battalions, which had been working with the Fallujah Brigade, were kidnapped. One was beheaded and the fate of the other is unknown. A video of the killing has circulated in Fallujah to dissuade people from working with security forces.

Eventually, the 800 AK-47 assault rifles, 27 pickup trucks and 50 radios the Marines gave the brigade wound up in the hands of the insurgents, according to Marine officers. Marines manning a checkpoint on the city's eastern fringe were shot at by gunmen wearing Fallujah Brigade uniforms."

  11:43:24 PM  permalink  

Michael Helfrich describes a mobile WiFi cloud experiment during Strong Angel II:  "The Pony Express was nothing more than a Chevy SUV, housing a Groove Relay, a yagi mast, and a 5-watt in-line linear amplifier between the PC's WIFI card and the yagi. The vehicle was driven in a large circle linking three camps, much like the [refugee] camp described above, spread across the big island. These camps had personnel with laptop computers and WIFI capability, but no uplink to the internet. As the Pony Express was driven into each camp, the devices would detect the mobile cloud and dispense their locally cached Groove payloads, while taking in messages that were housed on the relay from the other camps and from others around the world. The Pony Express moved from camp to camp, and to the base camp where the internet was available. ..

Actual applications were distributed to these far flung camps. From the base camp in Kona, we created a Rapid Assessment capability using the Groove Forms tool. The Pony Express was able to actually DELIVER the application to those in the field without any IT intervention. The space was created; the form added; and invites sent. Upon acceptance in each camp, messages were delivered back to the inviter and the space/application was delivered using the Pony Express. Subsequent data was delivered back to base camp automatically. It just worked."

  11:31:52 PM  permalink  

Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC): "A software platform for distributed computing using volunteered computer resources." An outgrowth of SETI@Home, it now supports 4 volunteer grid projects: SETI, Climate Prediction (which used to have its own client framework), a protein predictor, and the group designing CERN's latest accelerator.  Participants can enroll in more than one project.  11:03:18 PM  permalink  

Port Reporter (PortRptr.exe): "Port Reporter logs TCP and UDP port activity on a local Windows system. Port Reporter is a small application that runs as a service on Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003. On Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 this service is able to log which ports are used, which process is using the port, if the process is a service, which modules the process has loaded and which user account is running the process. On Windows 2000 systems, this service is limited to logging which ports are used and when. In both cases the information that the service provides can be helpful for security purposes, troubleshooting scenarios, and profiling system's port usage."  3:58:12 PM  permalink  

daily link  Saturday, September 11, 2004

DOE AND OPIC Form Partnership to Promote Environmentally Sound Economic Development in Emerging Markets: "Under this agreement, both agencies will work to create an Efficient Energy and Renewables Program focused on innovative financing and creative partnerships that will lead to environmentally-sound economic growth in developing countries throughout the world.   .. , DOE and OPIC are currently engaged in an effort to gather information regarding wind and efficiency opportunities in developing countries to determine the most promising targets for investment. "

  4:15:03 PM  permalink  

Renewing America's Economy: The Union on Concerned Scientists modelled the results of a national renewable electricity standard (RES) with a gradually increase in US renewable energy from about 2.5 percent today to 20 percent by 2020, with net benefits of $49B in that period.

  4:12:23 PM  permalink  

Energetech: Another wave energy company, based in Australia with one plant there and another planned in Rhode Island.  4:09:14 PM  permalink  

September 11 and Its Aftermath:  Juan Cole's assessment.  And, James Fallows' "Bush's Lost Year" in the Oct 2004 Atlantic.  Depressing.   8:38:44 AM  permalink  

daily link  Friday, September 10, 2004

Wikipedia Reputation and the Wemedia Project: The rationale for the value of Wikipedia and other open-modification resources.  Describes one test where a dozen errors were introduced, and all were corrected within 3 hours.  Reminds me of "single text" conflict resolution, open source intelligence, and the codification of traditional knowledge.  As long as there are enough authors paying attention, it may work for capturing collective knowledge.  11:23:24 PM  permalink  

Rick Klau explains FeedBurner:  How it cuts bandwidth costs, records usage, and cleans up RSS, all at once.  10:58:04 PM  permalink  

Microsoft's Virtual Server coming Oct 1: "The technology will ship on 1 October, according to Microsoft officials, and a 180-day evaluation copy will be available next week.  Virtual Server 2005 runs on Windows Server 2003 ..

The analysts firms consistently say we are anywhere from 18 months to three years ahead of Microsoft," says Michael Mullany, vice president of marketing for VMWare. "There are a lot of features and a lot of work to be added to this virtualisation layer over time to take the technology where it can be and we are trying to push the envelope in terms of technology innovation." Other people in the market include SW-Soft, which develops a product called Virtuozzo and will deliver a version for Windows this month, the Xen open source project and User-Mode Linux.  ..

Virtual Server 2005 features Multi-threaded Virtual Machine Monitor to isolate virtual machines from each other, CPU and memory resource allocation, virtual networking, Active Directory integration, a Web-based management interface and a COM API, which includes 42 interfaces that let scripts control every aspect of Virtual Server 2005. ..

Virtual Server 2005 ships in a Standard Edition that supports up to four processors and is priced at $499. An Enterprise Edition that supports up to 32 processors costs $999. Both versions will be licensed on a per-physical server basis and support an unlimited number of virtual machines. "

  10:50:06 PM  permalink  

VMware Community Discussion Forums: Discussion site for public tech support.  Includes section on API programming.  10:43:29 PM  permalink  

Poll finds Europeans and Democrats think alike: "While 69% of Republicans said they did not think a United Nations mandate would be necessary for future Iraq-style operations, 81% of Democrats said they thought it would be essential - as did 80% of Europeans.  The same pattern emerges in attitudes about the war in Iraq: 79% Republicans say the results were worth the loss of life and other costs, while 81% Democrats and 80% Europeans disagree. Democrats and Europeans also harbor the same sorts of doubts about whether military action is the most appropriate tool to fight terrorism. While 86% Republicans believe so, only 49% Europeans and 52% US Democrats agree, the poll finds. ..

The Marshall Fund poll [finds] majorities in France (63%) Germany (57%) and Spain (66%) support the idea of sending their soldiers to Iraq if the UN approved a multinational force to help secure and rebuild the country. ..

At the same time, the survey reveals the limitations of European ambitions for an independent global role. Though 71% Europeans say they would like the EU to become a superpower like the US, nearly half of them drop the idea if it requires increased military spending.  Nor should Washington see Europe's superpower aspirations as particularly threatening, the poll suggests: 30% respondents said they wanted to boost Europe's political clout to compete with the US. 63% said they wanted a bigger EU role in the world to cooperate more effectively with the US."

  10:24:57 PM  permalink  

Lantronix XPort and WiPort : Tiny interfaces that contain an embedded web server.  Xport converts a serial device to ethernet; WiPort does wifi.  Parts cost $100-150 qty 1 from distribution, developer kits $350.  10:14:48 AM  permalink  

Power Supply Wattage Calculator:  Tool for estimating power requirements for desktop computers.  9:34:00 AM  permalink  

daily link  Thursday, September 09, 2004

Automated Tree Drawing: XSLT and SVG: XSLT code to convert a compact text syntaxes for a tree into XML, and from there into SVG for rendering in documents or onscreen. 

  8:47:06 AM  permalink  

Spammers given boot by net host: "US firm Savvis was allegedly earning up to $2 million a month from 148 of the world's worst spammers, a former employee had claimed. .. in January it bought C&W US, the American arm of the British telecommunications company Cable & Wireless, for $155 million (£87.4 million). Along with C&W US's 3,000 business customers, Savvis inherited 95 major spammers who make their money by sending out millions of unsolicited e-mails a day with the standard mix of Viagra and porn offers."  Savvis says it is now committed to kicking out their current list of 148 spammers.  12:24:05 AM  permalink  

daily link  Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Internet prods Asia to open up: "in China, where the government has mounted a huge effort to filter Internet content. The "Great Firewall of China" is manned by at least 30,000 censors who blocked as many as 50,000 websites in the first half of 2002, according to a US State Department report on China's human rights. Just this week, Beijing introduced stringent penalties against purveyors of Internet pornography, including life imprisonment for those behind major sites that receive more than 250,000 hits. "Pornographic" is left undefined. ..

China's massive firewall is already showing cracks under the weight of the Internet's expansion. The pressure has come from innumerable sources, including an onslaught of weblogs, open-source directories, and projects like Wikipedia, an "open-content" encyclopedia.  Five years ago in China, most Western newspaper websites were blocked from viewing. Today, the Chinese censors who watch the Internet target more specific sites - chat forums on ultrasensitive topics like Tibetan liberation and the Falun Gong religious movement.

So while the average Chinese still can't walk into an Internet cafe in Ningbo and pull up  the homepage of the Taiwan government, he can read The New York Times. Even some sensitive topics, surprisingly, are readily available in China. A quick browse through Wikipedia's Chinese-language version for the "June 4, Tiananmen" entry offers a broad look at the Democracy movement of 1989 and its violent end. Without using any special software or proxy servers, a Chinese web user can view the famed photo of a lone man facing down tanks outside the square 15 years ago in Beijing. ..

Despite its firewall efforts, the Chinese government is not stopping people from buying PCs or signing up for cheap Internet access. The country has an estimated 87 million Internet users this year, nearly four times the number in 2000, according to the data website"  Of the world's internet users, 32.1% are now estimated to be Asian, 28.1% European, and 27.9% North American.


  10:30:42 PM  permalink  

Fewer Asians live on less than $1 a day: "In a new report, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) says the number of people in Asia living on less than $1 a day fell by 223 million between 1990 and 2002. China accounted for 3 out of 4 of those whose incomes rose above a level classified as "extreme poverty" by economists. ..  Ifzal Ali, chief economist of the ADB estimates that by 2015, provided this growth is sustained, the number of Asians living extreme poverty could fall as low as 150 million, down from 690 million in 2002. ..

The growing gap [between rich and poor] is particularly evident in India. A booming software industry has sprouted office towers and gated communities, while the number of people living on under $2 a day actually rose 17 percent to 840 million through 2002. ..

Access to land, clean water, education and healthcare are also crucial to the fight against poverty. The ADB chides South Asian governments for failing to invest in public services. .. "People are no longer willing to be patient for trickledown growth. They want a better life and they want it now," says Ali. "Governments must be sensitive to their issues or they will be tossed out.""

  10:21:45 PM  permalink  

Converting Between Julian Dates and Gregorian Calendar Dates: has formula and sample fortran code.  9:22:07 AM  permalink  

daily link  Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Bush Unlikely to Fulfill Vow on Deficit, Budget Office Projects: "In the last independent assessment of Mr. Bush's fiscal legacy before the elections, the Congressional Budget Office said that if there were no change to existing law, the federal deficit would decline only modestly from a record of $422 billion in 2004 to about $312 billion in 2009. If Mr. Bush persuades Congress to make his tax cuts permanent, he will fall even farther short of his promise. The federal deficit could reach nearly $500 billion in 2009 and the federal debt could swell by $4.8 trillion over the next decade. The new estimate is the first time that the Congressional agency has projected that President Bush will not be able to fulfill his promise, made last February, to cut the deficit by half. .. The new report is sobering because it arrives at similar conclusions even when analysts made extremely optimistic assumptions about war costs in Iraq and robust economic growth. "

  5:27:28 PM  permalink  

Overture- Search Term Suggestion Tool: Neat, to compare with Google AdWords.  12:11:37 PM  permalink  

iTunes could hurt RIAA majors:  "The power of the RIAA and its members has always lain in money and marketing. The big record companies were able to pay large advances to top acts, and their marketing organizations were able to make small bands into bigger bands by aggressively promoting them and supporting tours. That was then. Today, technology has taken a lot of the cost out of recording music .. the RIAA's advantage still lies with their ability to take a local group and push it to a national audience.

But then Apple announced its iTunes affiliate program, .. paying a nickel to me if through my web site, you download some song I say is great. .. Apple in the last year has signed deals with more than 300 independent record labels, most of them not big enough to do much promotion. But now they don't have to because that promotion will be handled by and every music web logger, now that they have a material incentive to make recommendations and print lists. "

  10:26:38 AM  permalink  

Disney's Social Software Service: Magical Gatherings.  Description of Disney's travel planner app, allowing groups to share a schedule, chat, vote, and browse together online.  10:00:34 AM  permalink  

The unwinnable war: "There is the single most troubling aspect of the war in Iraq. We launched it against the wicked Saddam Hussein, yet the majority of so-called "insurgents" against whom our forces are arrayed hated Hussein more than we did. We are killing people by the thousands who threaten absolutely nothing of ours."  9:12:27 AM  permalink  

daily link  Monday, September 06, 2004

Responding to the Rumsfeld Memo:  Excellent summary on national security from Steve Clemons at the New America Foundation.  10:19:58 AM  permalink  

daily link  Sunday, September 05, 2004

Stuck on The Fence: Interesting focus group profile of undecided voters in Erie Ohio:  "They are the true swing voters who do not so much swing between candidates as between voting and not voting.  .. In the next two months, these voters want the candidates to drop the flags, fireworks and florid freedom talk -- we're onto that game. Lose the negativity. More specifics, fewer ads -- and more debates.  And please: Beginning right now, start talking about something other than 9/11 and Iraq."  11:12:47 PM  permalink  

daily link  Saturday, September 04, 2004

On the drift in non-proliferation policy: South Korea's admission of nuclear enrichment experiments sparks a review of the current situation:  "When one considers Libya's rescinded efforts to acquire a nuclear weapons program; the revelations about North Korea's warheads and Iran's presumed intention to build a program; Hussein's unconsummated interest in nuclear weapons development; al Qaeda's clear efforts to acquire a warhead and/or nuclear fuel; South Korea's admission of nuclear play to the IAEA; Israel's undeclared but known program of 200 plus warheads; and Pakistan's role in providing nuclear weapons technology to Iran, Libya, and North Korea -- one sees powerful proliferation forces eroding what used to be a fairly stable non-proliferation regime. ..

The fact is that American intelligence had known for years that Khan was engaged in these activities. Why was nothing said? I happen to know that the intelligence community was well informed about Khan, well before the public revelations, through two instances. ..

For those of you into proliferation questions, check out Jon Wolfsthal's article yesterday about the Russians dispatching troops to deepen the security around Russian nuclear arsenals. After the tragic end to the Russian school hostage crisis in which so many died, Wolfsthal speculates that the government is worried about Chechen terrorist attempts to acquire a nuclear weapon."

  12:24:36 PM  permalink  

daily link  Friday, September 03, 2004

Al-Jazeera TV brings GOP to the Arab world: "For 40 million viewers in the Arab world, Al-Jazeera, a Qatar-based satellite television channel, provides a window into the intricate world of American politics. This week, its 16 reporters and staff will air 13 hours of broadcasts from the convention -- more time than the combined coverage of America's major television networks, ABC, CBS and NBC..

the Al-Jazeera coverage might help America's 500,000 Arab-speaking voters, who get the channel through the Dish Network, al-Mirazi said. In 2000, nearly 70 percent of Arab Americans voted for Bush because they "could identify with Republicans on conservative issues," Ghadbian said. But since then, the Bush administration has "done so many things they cannot accept -- the Patriot Act, the way Muslims are being treated, the war in Iraq," he said. "

  8:29:59 AM  permalink  

daily link  Thursday, September 02, 2004

Molly Ivins:  "ANOTHER RECORD. We have already lost more American soldiers (488) in Iraq in 239 days of this year than we did in 287 days last year (482), when there was a war on and before our mission was accomplished.

The grind of the numbers is so relentless. Price of oil — pressing $50 a barrel. Poverty rate — increased again, third year in a row. Number of Americans without insurance — increased again, third year. Part of the “vibrant economy” Bush touts daily now. And the news from Iraq just keeps getting worse and worse.

Then, to liven things up, someone from Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith’s office is accused of passing classified information to the Israelis via the lobby group American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Be interesting to see whether Laurence A. Franklin, the alleged spy, gets as much publicity as Clinton’s former NSC adviser Sandy Berger did for allegedly taking notes on classified documents for his 9-11 Commission testimony. The Justice Department has announced no charges will be filed against Berger, and the matter is closed."

  9:18:01 AM  permalink  

New Ideas for Emerging Markets: Cellphone micropayments for the BOP:  For cell phone operators, "mature markets [are] near saturation, and carriers must develop new strategies to reach low-earning customers. Carriers in emerging markets often find quick early success by catering to customers at the upper end of the local income scale, but at some point, they have to start looking a little lower down. While they'll still go all-out over those top-tier customers, operators must also figure out a way to remain profitable at the low ARPUs generated by low-income subscribers. ..

Smart Communications in the Phillipines and several other Asian carriers have proved, raising subscriber figures and revenues by letting users refill their prepaid accounts with electronic micropayments.  Smart users used to have to buy refills of a minimum of 100 pesos (about $1.75), but the lower limit is now just 30 pesos. .. Now, users buy the smaller refills from one of Smart's 500,000 resellers across the country, who then updates the user's account with an SMS.

The smaller refill amounts, along with the negated need to print scratch-off refill vouchers, cut Smart's costs by 300 million pesos ($5.3 million) in its first six months and helped the company add a record number of subscribers in the second quarter. Indonesian carrier Indosat is also using the electronic micropayments, and says it will add more subscribers this year than it first estimated since the system helps attract new lower-income users."

  12:12:20 AM  permalink  

daily link  Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Philly considers wireless Internet for all: "For about $10 million [to install and $1.5m/yr to operate], city officials believe they can turn all 135 square miles of Philadelphia into the world's largest wireless Internet hot spot.  The ambitious plan, now in the works, would involve placing hundreds, or maybe thousands of small transmitters around the city, probably atop lampposts. Each would be capable of communicating with the wireless networking cards that now come standard with many computers. Once complete, the network would deliver broadband Internet almost anywhere radio waves can travel, including poor neighborhoods where high-speed Internet access is now rare. And the city would likely offer the service either for free, or at costs far lower than the $35 to $60 a month charged by commercial providers..  [Similar efforts include:]

  • Chaska, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis, began offering citywide wireless Internet access this year for $16 a month. The signal covers about 13 square miles.
  • Corpus Christi, Texas, has been experimenting with a system covering 20 square miles that would be used (for now) only by government employees.
  • Over the past year, Cleveland has added some 4,000 wireless transmitters in its University Circle, Midtown and lakefront districts. The service is free, and available to anyone who passes through the areas.  Some 1,016 people were logged in to the system at 2:20 Tuesday afternoon, said Lev Gonick, chief information officer at Case Western Reserve University, which is spearheading the project and paying for a chunk of it. "We like to say it should be like the air you breathe, free and available everywhere," Gonick said. "We look at this like PBS or NPR. It should be a public resource."
  • In New York, city officials are negotiating to sell wireless carriers space on 18,000 lampposts for as much as $21.6 million annually. T-Mobile USA Inc., Nextel Partners Inc., IDT Corp. and three other wireless carriers want the equipment to increase their networks' capacity.

One part of the 15-year deal is cheap Wi-Fi phones for neighborhoods where less than 95 percent of residents have home phones. IDT, which has agreed to market the cheaper phone service in those neighborhoods, would pay lower rates for poles there than other companies would in wealthier areas. .."

  2:11:09 PM  permalink  

June 2004 Phishing attack report:  Useful background data from,  9:23:03 AM  permalink  

Must-download TV:  "In recent months, a host of developers and TV enthusiasts have been working on ways to improve the TV trade online -- they're building sophisticated trading networks to record and encode and distribute shows, and they're improving peer-to-peer transfer systems to make downloading easier. The hottest new improvement is made possible by the merging of two of the Internet's newest innovations, the p2p protocol BitTorrent and RSS, the popular Web syndication standard. Together, these systems allow a computer to automatically find and download a user's favorite shows -- something like having a TV station designed just for you. "  Examples: TV RSS Linux Client: "Gtk2-Perl Torrent RSS feed reader for linux."; and Buttress: "will be a Application to automatically download and run .torrent files from RSS feeds, without user input"  12:20:11 AM  permalink  

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