Screwing with Echelon

This is definitely old news, as I remember taking the forty-seven words (or whatever it was) that a New York Post reporter had put in an article as “keys” that would be picked up by the “Echelon” project that swallows all transmissions and scans it for possible terrorist activity, crime, etc., and putting it in like 1pt font as a footer in all of my emails. I probably ended up on a hotlist somewhere, but no one ever came knocking on my door, so whatever.

This morning, MetaFilter has a post about adding these so called “spook words” to your meta tags on your web page in order to “drive” traffic to your site. I’m not sure that’s an optimal idea, but amusing nonetheless, in a sort of fill a highway with high-bouncy balls way.

Verisign Gives the Finger

Looks like Verisign really doesn’t care that ICANN came out against their SiteFinder b-s, nor do they seem to care that there are other companies out there who aren’t using some sort of monopoly power to redirect all traffic to their site. There’s a big difference between registering all the names yourself and redirecting to your site and just doing so because you can. Apparently, V/S doesn’t care and doesn’t seem to be budging on the subject. If you’re interested in topics like this, apparently there’s a service called ICANNWatch which is a blog type deal where you can read up on this stuff.

Verisign is going to get the big smackdown on this, I have a feeling. They keep quoting chapter and verse about how they’re basically masters of the universe, but even Al Gore didn’t go this far. And he INVENTED the Internet, don’tcha know.

[via MetaFilter]

Like your computer?

Well then you need to read this article and the attached threads from Slashdot regarding Microsoft updating your Windows software with their “Rights Management Services”, or RMS. This post by racermd at Slashdot has a good sum-up. If you want to do something smart at this point, I would suggest not taking this “patch” that MS is offering.

Also – could this be the first step in alternative OS use by current Windows users? The post makes a couple good statements of fact in that direction. I think this might be a turning point in the OS “race” or whatever you want to call it at this point.

Technological Marvels

Well, last weekend I signed up for Sirius satellite radio. I already have DirecTV, and had an unfortunate experience with DirecWay satellite internet service. (DirecWay gets the gasface!) I figured I would give it a shot, and had received a free hardware deal, so what the heck. You have to sign up for one year by the terms of the deal, but it’s $140 for the year (or somewhere thereabouts), but you get 60 channels of tunes with no commercials, and 40 channels of news/sports/etc. that do sometimes have commercials. Either way, not a bad deal. So I got the house kit to hook it up, and will eventually pick up the car kit.

I received the hardware this week, and activated the service. So far, my only complaint is that I’m having a bit of a hard time finding the perfect spot facing Westward to put the antenna (it can go in a window or outside). Probably because the way my audio systems are set up make it too far away for the wiring. So I’m trying to figure out that situation. I’d like to permanently wire the antenna somewhere, so perhaps that’ll help. Plus, the wire needs to be a bit longer. This one is like 10-12 feet, and I need to have some more. Maybe Best Buy or someone will have it. If anyone knows about this, let me know.

Otherwise, when I have it set up (not being blocked by trees or hurricanes) it works great. I’m definitely happy with how it sounds (as compared to FM), and the variety that they offer. Definitely worth the loot, if you ask me. I’m curious to see how it runs in a car, however. No listening to the radio in the tunnels and whatnot, I would suppose.

All in all, it gets a thumbs up from me.

Pets, Pets, Pets.

Gizmodo.com posted earlier today about a new toy called the ISeePet, which allows you to check on your pet over the Internet, dispenses food or water at your command, no matter where you are – as long as you have a broadband connection. Click here for the full article about the item as reviewed by ABCNews’ TechTV folks. Oh, by the way, the ISeePet is only $500 and won’t come out until October of this year in the States. If you pamper your pet, this is something you need to do. Now I wonder if you can put up multiple ones in your house… Hmmm…

Mobile Phone Stuff

So I generally like adding stuff to my mobile phone, and ever since I got Motorola’s T720 earlier this year (which has polyphonic ringtones and backgrounds), I’ve gotten a few free items and paid for a few. I kind of like the option, and don’t really mind the nominal $.99-$1.99 fees for such. But they tend to run out when you’re only looking at your provider’s site.

So this afternoon, I was searching for stuff in Google, and I came across two sites that are pretty good. The first one, Pimptones is there to “pimp out” your telephone… It’s pretty good, has a decent selection, and has good pricing.

But then I came across Zingy. Their site is pretty darn cool. They’ve got a lot of ringtones, and the best feature they have is letting you chop a piece out of your own photo, and based on the screen size of your phone, send a message to your phone to pick it up on the wireless Web, and set it as a background. I know there is software to do this on your own, but most people have cut the dialup connection from their computers, and don’t have a modem anyway, so they don’t do it. Others don’t have an infrared point either. For $1.99, you can put a photo of your kids, your significant other, or your pet, or whatever – on your phone. Pretty cool if you ask me. They also offer a $2.99/month subscription whereby you can get 5 ringtones or backgrounds per month, instead of $1.99 each. Check it out if you’re into that sort of thing.

To the extreme

And no, I’m not talking about Vanilla Ice’s old album. I’m talking about this story, where Bruce Schneier, CTO for Counterpane Internet Security Inc. (whom I previously quoted, unfortunately), thinks it might be a good idea to “test” Internet surfers before they can surf. This is all to stop the flow of viruses, downloading of music, et al. If this isn’t the biggest crock ever, I don’t know what is. If this were to happen, I don’t know where I’d want to move to, but it would be somewhere else. And you thought the PATRIOT Act was bad. I almost wish it were April Fool’s Day.

Utah Tech Watch

Added the Utah Tech Watch to the news on the side. I’m probably going to make a link for “Pundits” or something along those lines, for non-book Author specific websites. If you’re interested in technology, sometimes from a Utah-based perspective, but with global reach – it’s a good column to keep up with. David Politis, the author, is the big boss at Politis Communications, a firm that handles Public Relations, Investor Relations, and the like.

New Blaster Worm?

This afternoon, Microsoft is sending out a warning to customers that a new flaw, much like last month’s Blaster worm, could be used to take over your PC and use it for unruly things, like bogging up traffic, sending virii, or just whatever else someone wanted to do. Security companies are definitely coming down hard on MS, because not only does it make their jobs harder, but MS keeps missing things when they fix one problem. You can get the patch at Microsoft.com or windowsupdate.microsoft.com. Enjoy!

[update: 9/11/03] 100% chance of Blaster worm coming again, says Counterpane Internet Security CTO Bruce Schneier. Get your updates, kiddies, if you happen to be running MS.