October 2005 Archives

Tales of the Darkside

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I had stated that I was very disgusted with the main stream media coverage of the Katrina debacle in an earlier post. As I suspected, the bitter tales of misdeeds, as described by the media have been dispelled. It appears that some of the evacuees, and guardsmen unknowingly aided the media in perpetuating these unsubstantiated myths of raping and murder within the Superdome and Convention center.

Know the truth.
More Katrina follow up:Malik Rahim Part I || Malik Rahim Part II

For more info on grassroots NOLA rebuilding efforts see Common Ground


The Colorblind Society: Blame and Criminalize the Victims: A Katrina Retrospect

Rosa Parks remembered

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rosa_parks.jpg
We lost one of our great matriarchs of the Civil Rights era. I'm reminded of her contributions quite frequently, as she was a resident of Detroit. Rosa Parks also became a powderkeg for boycotts and other measures of economic pressure, which helped dismantle segregationist practices.

There were other Civil Rights matriarchs (ie. Shirley Chisholm, thanks Biz), but Parks was recognized as a leader of change for everyone.

Biodiesel innovation

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I discussed biodiesel in an earlier post. The application has great potential, however, it would appear for the moment that it would be hard pressed to get traction in the US auto industry. Perhaps if oil prices do not stabilize in the forseeable future, the utility of this alternative could be realized. The truth is that consumers drive the market paradigm, not the manufacturers.

Vegetable oil Benz

Wireless for all

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If you're a frequent business traveller, I would imagine that you've been faced with the daunting task of gaining internet access in airports and other public areas. Yes, I know that you can use your cell phone as a wireless modem, but the average user is likely ill-equipped, and unaware of how to get it working correctly.

Many airports have adopted a pay-for-use Wi-Fi, through partnerships with larger companies. Everyone wants a piece of the action for a service that really costs little to maintain. Airports aren't the only places that are charging for Wi-Fi, the local bookstores(ie Borders, Barnes&Nobles, etc).

So, I'm estatic to learn that some municipalities are lobbying for freee Wi-Fi. In fact, many politicians have made it point to place it on their campaign agenda.

Universal Internet Access“ Not Just A Campaign Theme (Gotham Gazette. October, 2005)

Houston we have a problem

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My beloved and once proud Knickerbockers have become perennial losers in the NBA. In the past several years I've watched the Nets(soon to be B'klyn Nets) catch and surpass them. Although, Houston did play with some the Knicks' more notable players, Ewing, Starks, Oakley, and Mason. He only experienced one trip to the NBA Finals in 1999. In fact, he was the last such member from that team which was defeated by the Spurs in five games. I suppose the fact of the matter is clear.. After Ewing's departure, the Knicks never again were a real threat to compete for a championship.

houstonpic_051017.jpg

Nonetheless, I did appreciate Alan's talents and professionalism on and off the court. Although, I never really thought he had the ferocity required to play on the very physical, yesteryear Knicks. Alan's game was all about finesse, and he could score points in bunches. Perhaps, the bigger picture is that his exit will free some salary cap room, which the Knicks sorely need.

Gosh, I must be getting old. See Goodbye Alan

Gothamist: Allan Houston Retires

Comic relief

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I always wondered how talented one must be to have been a leading politician and also an accomplished athlete. In fact, there have only been a handful (ie. Bill Bradley, Arnold Schwartzenagger, etc). Well, what if former president, Bill Clinton was an accomplished athelete? What would be his sport of choice? Funny stuff.

Blogcritics.org: If Sports Figures Were In Politics

Short films for the third eye

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I came across two short films which captured events that had a profound affect on me.
Just wanted to share them with you.

Some of you hip-hop headz will recognize Mos Def and Jadakiss vocals in Tell the Truth about the Towers. The extended track also includes KRS1 and Chuck D.
Of course, this particular Katrina segment should be familiar,Kanye.

Don't Drink the Water

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Harvard University has the dubious distinction of having lost its president due to some ill-advised remarks. In contrast it has also been recognized for socio-economic research.

The fear of the alleged health hazard of chromium 6 or hex chrome, has caused of panic within local government. In fact, many automotive companies have also been forced to remove the material from all subcomponents, to be totally compliant by 2007CY. The article raises the question that Harvard is mixing politics with science and the outcome is not favorable. Has anyone ever tested for traces of chromium 6 ? If so, what are the hazards to humans?

OpinionJournal - Don't Taste the Water

Budgeting

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From the wealth accumulation department. Some fairly good tips that could help you put a thumb in the proverbial dike.

Fix the Leaks in your Budget - Lifehacker

D.O.S attacks probable for SMS

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Don't be surprised that some day very soon, you will be unable to use your cherished SMS service due to Denial of Service(DOS) attack.

As customary with any network, security and access is a very delicate balance. Unfortunately, most wireless carriers opt to disregard the former to accomodate customers. The article below describes the threat.

Bonus: For those who are interested, my buddy Ejovi also weighs in on this issue in an interesting podcast

Text Hackers Could Jam Cellphones, a Paper Says - New York Times

Technorati kung-fu

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Lately, I have cleaned up my blog and fixed a few items which have been broken far too long(ie. style-sheets, Type-key identity, trackbacks). Even decided to poka-yoke the commenting process(hold the applause). Those of you who visit my site frequently will notice the differences immediately.
I've also added some new pics to my external photo journal. Once I reclaim some disk space on the server, I'll add a few new pics to the gallery.

I have also been playing around with Technorati tags: Auto discovery. I believe this is the next wave of coolness for finding relevant content on blogs. For those of you who are familiar with flickr, tags should be old hat. Don't worryMTisn't the only publishing engine that utilizes this great feature, there are plugins for all the major blog publishing engines.

Update: What's all this tagging stuff anyway?

90% Crud: TechnoratiTags

M$ DRM debacle

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As many of you know, I'm a devout Yankee fan. So, I purchased the video from MLB.com. The Yanks vs Bosox (Sept 4)Yanks defeated Bosox 1-0 behind a stellar pitching performance by Randy Johnson. So, I promptly purchased the previously recorded game and downloaded for later viewing. Once I copied the windows media video file to the fileserver(Beast), I then fired up mplayer, and to my chagrin, I get bunch of pixels.

I immediately began cursing Gates, Balmer and MLB. What idiots, I thought. I paid for the damn video, and now you guys are telling me that I can only play in our shyty OS. How repulsive and criminal. Well, after I finished brooding, I did what every motivated engineer would do I decided to S.T.E.A.L. (Seek Technical Expertise and Learn).

Actually, I realized that many other people have been faced with same situation. Moreover, I remembered the much publicized DeCSScase. A young European student, was faced with a similar ridiculous circumstance while attempting to play an encrypted DVD media which he'd purchased on his Linux box. So, as I suspected there were many people who have reversed engineered the stupid DRM that M$ have sold to its licensing partners. I will never understand why people use technology to incumber people. IMHO, most end-users are honest, but they are forced to violate silly laws, because extremely aggressive vendors seek to dictate what is right and exact computer use. Hell, I own the bandwidth which comes into my home, I also own the hardware which plays this media. How dare you tell me how I must use the technology.

This is why Open Source is so important. It levels the playing field for people who are willing to cut the umbilical cord. I refuse to suck the nipples of the Redmond gorilla..

Mtools and Parted save the day

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I've been struggling with a weird computer problem, so I've not had the time to post anything lately. Besides the other distractions (Pinstripes || Tang Soo Do). Suffice to say, that I have it under control now. I think it might be instructive to discuss it here, as some of you might find it helpful. Additionally, there are still pieces of the problem which have me baffled. That is I'm still having issues with my dual CPU setup. I've had this box for since 2003, and the dual CPU setup worked fine using the earlier 2.6.5 kernel. Once I decided to add another 512MB DIMM (unbuffered), and upgrade the kernel to 2.6.11, all hell broke loose. I've posted my question to LKML, but to no avail. It really seems that I have a hardware issue and not a kernel bug.

Basically, if I enable the MP table within the BIOS, I get all of these weird IRQ vector (AB, AC,AD) trapping errors. I've tried passing 'noapic' 'noirqdebug' and of host of other workarounds to the kernel at boot time, but none of them have worked. I even removed the additional DIMM and I still get these problems. I also ran 'memtest86' and the test did not reveal any problems that would indicate bad memory. So for now, I'm stuck with a crippled uniprocessor box.


Lord of War

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I figured I would treat myself to rare mid-week flick. Took in Nicholas Cage, starring in Lord of War. A compelling tale that will certainly open your eyes to corruption and manipulation of so-called third world nations. Although, the film was morbid and surreal, it clearly painted of vivid picture of how private wars are fought and financed. Have you ever wondered how the 'war on drugs' was carried out? How about Afghanistan's defeat of the Soviet Union? Don't misunderstand me, the film was not a documentary, but it did reveal some of the aspects of how assault rifles and ammunition are used to encourage unrest and stifle advancement in developing countries.

I would also venture to guess, that these same tactics are used here on US soil. I believe the term is coined 'counterintelligence'. I believe the FBI used this same method to severely cripple the NOI. Lastly, the film reminds of a classic KRS1 joint. I believe the chorus was "I've got a hundred or two hundred clips, goin to NY, NY." Hmmm. I think that was off the "Blueprint" album. If I gave away anymore details, it would spoil the film. Suffice to say, it is well worth loot and time.

Battle for new DVD standard

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Yeah, I know it's old news. Nonetheless, it smells like lock-in, but I'll have to take a closer look. By default, I typically side with the underdog camp. In this case it's Sony.

DVD Fight Intensifies: Microsoft and Intel to Back Toshiba Format - New York Times

Game of inches

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2005-6 Yankee Season Over - Postmortem:
While I'm pleased by the grit the Yanks showed in their pursuit of postseason and the AL East title. Especially, considering the 11-19 (9.5 games behind the O's) start. Nonetheless, NY sports and expectations are quite different than say Atlanta, DC, Chicago, and Detroit (just to name a few). Our teams and fans expect to win championships. Our teams are equipped to compete at a very high level. Obviously, I'm not very pleased by an early ALDS exit. The Halos defeated us 5-3 in a contest which was full of various subplots. I'm still suffering from sleep deprivation and the ridiculous TV schedule.

Why study engineering?

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I found the article below to be very insightful. Before I begin to dissect the article and apply my uniquely qualified opinion, allow me to digress for a moment.

It occured to me that there are not enough commercial entities which offer encouragement, much less romanticize the field of engineering. Instead, you're more likely to find shows which emphasize the high drama of the doctors or lawyers. Why is that?

Actually, some of you may recall the show called MacGyver, it depicted a guy who was a great problem solver. I have no idea if he was an engineer but he clearly was resourceful and inquisitive, both of which are attributes of many engineers. The show aired for about seven years and was pulled off the air. I don't believe it has received much syndication. In fact, it was the only show of its type. In contrast, there have been a never ending deluge of court, hospital and lately business shows. To reiterate my point, it was the only show which glamourized what I consider 'engineer-like' traits. Don't misunderstand, I do believe that law and medicine are admirable professions, and both require a certain amount of discipline, but it is clearly not engineering.

I suppose the stereotypical stigmas associated with engineering (ie. taped glasses, exaggerated overbite, etc) are partly responsible. Yeah, just like the popular sitcom Family MattersUrkel. I'm sure everyone remembers Animal House too. It has been said that most engineers are anti-social and lack essential communication skills. While I do know some that fit that description, I would argue that these are largely myths. The problem I have with all of these misguided perceptions, is that it has become a deterent to aspiring scientists and engineers. These days the term nerd or geek isn't nearly as offensive to some. However, a youngster may not understand and begin to develop self hatred and a disdain for fascinations that really describe their interests and ultimately define their personality. The sad truth is there aren't enough high schools that foster excellence. Fortunately, I attend BTHS, and it did have its share of very talented, err shall I say nerdy teenagers.

Countdown to 2nd Dan - Revisited

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Yesterday, I completed testing for the 2nd Dan requirements. In our system, whenever a Dan test is given. Our federation president typically offers a seminar to help sharpen the skills of the senior instructors and also introduce any nuiances or subtle changes that he may have introduced to some of the hyungs or forms. The day started off in an odd fashion, only because I arrived to the seminar approximately 30min late. This is not good thing for a Dan member, as we usually occupy the first two rows when we line up. Additionally, it also a sign of disrespect to interrupt class once it has begun. Because our school is merciful, and perhaps less militant than others, I wasn't subjected to much embarassment or additional push-ups. I quietly spoke with Saul, bowed me into class and I assumed my position in the last row. Once there was a break in class Grandmaster Kim(GMK) seemed to make it point to walk the back row, and growled,"Why you back here?" He then slapped me on my rump and told me to fall into my proper position, amongst the othe other 1st Dans(prounounced Don like Don Juan). I would later apologize to him in private for arriving to seminar late.

Countdown to 2nd Dan

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My regular posts will return, I promise. In fact, I've got a few entries cued up, but I have just been quite busy with coursework and training. Stuff should settle down by the weekend. I had a great class this evening. You may recall that I mentioned that I was preparing for my promotional exam, which takes place this weekend. It's hard to believe that it has been 18months since I earned my 1st degree black belt. The enthusiasm and focus has returned, I am really amped about my training. Still, the excitement does pale in comparison to the preparation and coronation of the 1st Dan. I spoke with one of my instructors regarding the more subdued approach to the 2nd Dan testing.

Essentially, he made the following analogy: He compared two shallow streams of water, which from a distance appear to be equal in depth. However, you really don't know how deep the water is until you wade in it. I imagine that I'm doing a pretty poor job of paraphrasing and articulating his point. Basically, he was explaining the fact that the martial arts are a continuous life experience. Thus, it is natural to go through periods shallowness and depth. The desire for higher learning will usually create a balance during these times of uncertainty.

Well, after last night I feel invigorated and very prepared for the Saturday exam. As is customary, I do plan to capture the experience, and share it with you at a later date.

Cure for spam

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I've been using Spamassassin for quite awhile on my server, but never really understood its true power until I began playing with the Bayesian classifier. SA uses the 'sa-learn' utility which deploys a Bayesian algorithm. You need not be a mathematician harness the power of the Bayesian classifier, but for those interested in an explanation of the mathematics I've included it here.

Essentially, you simply have to make sure that you're running SA on your mailserver. If you don't have access to your server, ask your ISP to install it. IMHO, it is far better than the crap that some of the commercial packages that are in use today.

On my server, I simply run the 'sa-learn' script in this fashion;

sa-learn --showdots --mbox --spam ~/mail/bkaeg.org/xxx/spam (Learns about the bad stuff)
sa-learn --showdots --mbox --ham ~/mail/bkaeg.org/xxx/inbox (Learns about the 'real' mail)

I get virtually zero junk, as I run a cron routinely to improve the learning. Basically, the algorithm learns about the behavior of good email versus the hated spam.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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