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ID thieves get a breather [Feb. 4th, 2006|12:56 pm]

ID thieves are having a ball! Even as they merrily pinch sensitive
personal idntification of hapless victims and use the information to
wipe out entire bank accounts, law makers, as is their wont, are busy
quibbling about what laws to enact and what steps to take to stop these
ID thieves from laughing all the way to their banks. In the UK, the
govenment is embroiled in a bitter debate on whether to introduce
mandatory national  security cards,  and in the US  law makers thought
better of passing a new Bill to take the sting out of lost or stolen
identification. A Bill introduced by Attorney General Rob McKenna which
would have allowed people with lost identities to freeze their credit
fell through on Wednesday when the Senate Financial Institutions
Housing and Consumer Protection Committee
did not live up to its name and defeated McKenna’s bill on an
unrecorded, show-of-hands vote.

In another case
that reached the US Supreme Court, the verdict went in favour of law
enforcers, thank god, instead of  the identity thieves. In the case --
state versus Willie Mayze, the Supreme Court ruled that the accused
could be charged and prosecuted where he resides or is arrested rather
than only in the county where the crime took place. The verdict should
make it easier for law enforcers to arrest and charge identity thieves
once they are caught.

Only about 20 states in the US have come up with any meaningful
legislation to curb identity theft and clearly the time has come for
more states to enact similar legislation.  California, for example, has
found out that effective laws do help to bring down the rate of
identity theft crimes. The punishment for identity thieves once caught
and indicted should also be made much more severe than what it is at
present. As long as the state turns a blind eye to this evil menace,
identity theft will continue to be the fastest growing cyber crime in
the country.

Read more:Law makers must battle identity theft  

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When it comes to identity theft, you could be the victim of a financial or a criminal fraud [Feb. 4th, 2006|12:54 pm]

We have heard the term ‘identity theft’ and know it for a fact that the cases of this theft are rising at an alarming rate. A number of steps need to be taken to protect our identity. At the same time, to make these effective, it is important to know the types of identity thefts that exist so far.

Identity theft can basically be categorized into financial fraud and criminal activities. Both these categories can be equally detrimental for you. 

In case of a financial fraud, the thief takes advantage of your financial standing and uses your personal information to take a loan, get access to cash and so on. This theft includes bank fraud, credit card fraud, tax refund fraud, loan fraud and so on.

In case of a criminal fraud, the identity thief uses a stolen identity to commit a crime. As a result, the person whose identity is being used gets implicated, while the thief manages to get away. So, once again, a simple piece of advise… armed with the requisite information to protect yourself, stay vigilant too. 

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Friday Squid Blogging: Giant Octopus [Feb. 4th, 2006|12:52 pm]

It's not a squid this time, but an octopus.

Rare video footage shows a giant octopus attacking a small submarine off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Video here.

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HTTP Tunnels [Feb. 4th, 2006|12:52 pm]
"When people hear the words HTTP tunnels they often think quite literally. To them it is some data being transported inside of HTTP data. This line of reasoning is in actuality not far off from the truth. Data is being transported via port 80 and that port is normally associated with HTTP, but that is where the literal interpretation mentioned above ends. Typically, data is not encapsulated within the HTTP protocol itself, but merely sent over port 80. To understand the whole reasoning behind HTTP tunnels we first need to understand a few concepts and how they impact the usage of these tunnels.

In most corporate networks there is pretty good security in place to prevent breaches from occurring. Some other networks also have even better security in place. This heightened security is composed of various components. One of them is that there are only a certain small number of ports that are left open for outbound connections. Some of these ports could be port 25, 110, and port 80 so that the company employees can surf the web and check email. A lot of other ports that are associated with troublesome applications like IRC are closed on the router for outbound connections. Ports such as 6666 on are typically not allowed for outbound endpoints.

Having your system administrator put together a coherent Internet usage policy goes a long way towards helping secure your network. The router can be used as a powerful first line of defence for both inbound and outbound activity. After having put together such a policy it is not unheard of to see some employees trying to circumvent these security measures. One of the most used and often heard of ones is through the use of HTTP tunnels. All manner of programs can be used via the HTTP tunnel, and that is where the threat comes from. Seen as almost every company has HTTP 80 outbound allowed, do you really know what is going on or more specifically going in or out port 80?"

[ read full article ]

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Judge Resigns Over Bush Spy Program [Feb. 4th, 2006|12:51 pm]
"A federal judge has resigned from a special court set up to oversee government surveillance to protest President Bush's secret authorization of a domestic spying program on people with suspected terrorist ties, The Washington Post reported.

The action by U.S. District Judge James Robertson stemmed from deep concern that the surveillance program that Bush authorized was legally questionable and may have tainted the work of the court that Robertson resigned from, the newspaper said in Wednesday's editions.

The Post quoted two associates of the judge.

Robertson was one of 11 members of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees government applications for secret surveillance or searches of foreigners and U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism or espionage."

[ read full article ]

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News of Surveillance Is Awkward for Agency [Feb. 4th, 2006|12:51 pm]
"Testifying before a Senate committee last April, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, then head of the National Security Agency, emphasized how scrupulously the agency was protecting Americans from its electronic snooping.

'We are, I would offer, the most aggressive agency in the intelligence community when it comes to protecting U.S. privacy,' General Hayden said. 'We just have to be that way.'

It was one of General Hayden's favorite themes in public speeches and interviews: the agency's mammoth eavesdropping network was directed at foreigners, not Americans. As a PowerPoint presentation posted on the agency's Web site puts it, for an American to be a target, 'Court Order Required in the United States.'

In fact, since 2002, authorized by a secret order from President Bush, the agency has intercepted the international phone calls and e-mail messages of hundreds, possibly thousands, of American citizens and others in the United States without obtaining court orders. The discrepancy between the public claims and the secret domestic eavesdropping disclosed last week have put the N.S.A., the nation's largest intelligence agency, and General Hayden, now principal deputy director of national intelligence, in an awkward position."

[ read full article ]

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SIGINT and Human Rights: the Echelon Report [Feb. 4th, 2006|12:50 pm]
"No part of the U.S. government is more protected by secrecy than the National Security Agency (NSA). Founded in 1952 as the successor to wartime codebreaking agencies that attacked German, Japanese and other enemy communications, the NSA was – and remains – the largest component of the United States intelligence community.

Five years before NSA was formed, the U.S., British and British Commonwealth governments agreed to ally their peacetime signals intelligence (Sigint) agencies into a single unified global network with common procedures and standards. Over time other nations joined this network, on more limited terms than the original English-speaking participants. In the years of the cold war, this combined intelligence organization devoted the majority of its resources to seeking intelligence about the Soviet Union, China, and their allies. But the agencies, their budgets and equipment did not disappear when the cold war ended. Although there were reductions, they were redeployed and retargeted – and in some ways enlarged, to deal with new technologies.

As this report reveals, throughout the cold war, and even in the years of greatest east-west tension, the Soviet Union was far from the only focus of NSA and its allies. Part of this report is concerned with the ECHELON project. ECHELON is a system for intercepting civilian and commercial communications carried by satellite. Planning for ECHELON began as early as 1966, in an era when the communications satellites being targeted were run solely by the West[1] and carried no Soviet or Chinese military communications. Plans for the massive extension of the system were drawn up in the early 1980s, and put into effect in the 1990s. The system continues in existence. Although some commentators (responding in part to exaggerated accounts of its capabilities) have suggested that the system is an invention, this view became untenable when U.S. government documents released under the Freedom of Information Act confirmed the status of four U.S. Sigint stations as 'Echelon Units' and identified the nature of their tasks.[2] ECHELON still predominantly intercepts ordinary commercial and private communications between friendly western nations.

No part of NSA’s Sigint operations has ever been willingly made public."

[ read full article ]

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Spy Agency Mined Vast Data Trove, Officials Report [Feb. 4th, 2006|12:49 pm]
"The National Security Agency has traced and analyzed large volumes of telephone and Internet communications flowing into and out of the United States as part of the eavesdropping program that President Bush approved after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to hunt for evidence of terrorist activity, according to current and former government officials.

The volume of information harvested from telecommunication data and voice networks, without court-approved warrants, is much larger than the White House has acknowledged, the officials said. It was collected by tapping directly into some of the American telecommunication system's main arteries, they said.

As part of the program approved by President Bush for domestic surveillance without warrants, the N.S.A. has gained the cooperation of American telecommunications companies to obtain backdoor access to streams of domestic and international communications, the officials said.

The government's collection and analysis of phone and Internet traffic have raised questions among some law enforcement and judicial officials familiar with the program. One issue of concern to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which has reviewed some separate warrant applications growing out of the N.S.A.'s surveillance program, is whether the court has legal authority over calls outside the United States that happen to pass through American-based telephonic 'switches', according to officials familiar with the matter.

'There was a lot of discussion about the switches' in conversations with the court, a Justice Department official said, referring to the gateways through which much of the communications traffic flows. 'You're talking about access to such a vast amount of communications, and the question was, How do you minimize something that's on a switch that's carrying such large volumes of traffic? The court was very, very concerned about that.'

Since the disclosure last week of the N.S.A.'s domestic surveillance program, President Bush and his senior aides have stressed that his executive order allowing eavesdropping without warrants was limited to the monitoring of international phone and e-mail communications involving people with known links to Al Qaeda.

What has not been publicly acknowledged is that N.S.A. technicians, besides actually eavesdropping on specific conversations, have combed through large volumes of phone and Internet traffic in search of patterns that might point to terrorism suspects.

Some officials describe the program as a large data-mining operation."

[read full article]

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Tracked by cellphone [Feb. 4th, 2006|12:48 pm]
"Recent court cases in the United States raise the question of the standard required when the police want to know exactly where you are, using your cell phone to track you down. The issue again raises the question of how new technologies can invade privacy rights, and how quantitative changes in the type and amounts of data collected and stored result in qualitative changes in privacy rights. These require a reexamination of even established laws of privacy and of probable cause. These precedents also apply to entities like ISPs and telephone companies that routinely collect massive amounts of data about individuals which may be subject to eventual discovery or disclosure. It is important that we establish and apply the correct legal standard for obtaining this information now.

Whenever you carry (much less use) a cell phone that is turned on, the cellular network is constantly 'scanning' to determine where you are so that it can route telephone calls to the appropriate cell location. By examining the relative signal strength of three of these cells, through a process called 'triangulation' the cell provider can determine - with relatively low level of precision, where you are at any point in time. Other technologies employed by cell providers, such as those employed with E-911 services, can determine your location with greater precision. Finally, some cell phones are also equipped with GPS capabilities, which passively receive certain data from geosynchronous satellites to enable the phone (but not the provider) to determine its precise locations - often within a matter of feet."

[ read full article ]

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US probes eavesdropping leak [Feb. 4th, 2006|12:47 pm]
"The U.S. Justice Department is investigating who disclosed a secret domestic eavesdropping operation approved by President George W. Bush after the September 11 attacks, officials said on Friday.

'We are opening an investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of classified materials related to the NSA,' an official said on condition of anonymity.

Earlier this month, Bush acknowledged the program and called its disclosure to The New York Times 'a shameful act.' He said he presumed the Justice Department would investigate who leaked the National Security Agency eavesdropping operation to the newspaper.

Justice Department officials would give no details of who requested the probe or how it would be conducted."

Comment: so instead of investigating the current administration for multiple and continuing federal civil rights and wiretap offenses, the USDOJ has now decided to pursue an investigation of the "culprit" that leaked information regarding this illegal spying operation on United States citizens. Careful analysis of statements made by the White House this past week empirically shows that the current administration is not defending widespread voice telephone call wiretaps - indeed, the type of wiretap referred to by the White House are data wiretaps gleaned from Internet traffic capture and analysis.

The design of the Internet, which was originally conceived as a Department of Defense information sharing network, makes gratuitous use of distributed and shared access points where Internet service providers "peer" and exchange subscriber traffic. Virtually every interconnectivity point, including private network peering arrangements, happen at colocation facilities inside of the United States. As such, the United States government - at the behest of the Bush Administration - has now claimed de facto authority and jurisdiction for virtually all Internet traffic, based on the fact that regardless of the point of origin or destination for network traffic on the Internet, at some juncture it traverses through U.S. soil and falls within the jurisdiction of the U.S. federal government.

Building a global surveillance capability into the existing Internet infrastructure is not rocket science, and would require little more than off-the-shelf components and commodity hardware. One example of such a network would be CAIDA, short for the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis, which "...provides tools and analyses promoting the engineering and maintenance of a robust, scalable global Internet infrastructure." Without a doubt, CAIDA is one of many U.S. government controlled entities which already have elaborate protocol capture and analysis equipment in place on the existing Internet, at strategic interconnectivity points where corporate service providers peer and exchange subscriber Internet traffic.

The Bush Administration has carefully skirted public requests as to how, or even what, type of warrantless "wiretaps" are being collected on unsuspecting American citizens. Given the fact that most, if not all, existing telephone companies and voice service providers have migrated to Voice over IP telephony solutions, anyone with access to Internet traffic also has complete access to voice telephone calls, local and long distance toll records, and subscriber calling patterns, by proxy. The term "wiretap" has now morphed into some vague and anomalous term which seemingly denotes voice telephone calls - yet is now being used to legally describe global Internet traffic capture and analysis, with the unlawful acquisition of voice communications as a bonus side product.

The Bush Administration is performing warrantless surveillance of the global Internet, using advanced keyword recognition, voice recognition, pattern analysis, and social networking technology to spy on unsuspecting American citizens - without any form of oversight or accountability in line with the United States Constitution.

Those responsible within the Bush Administration, including the president himself, should be impeached and criminally indicted for such blatant abrogations of the United States Constitution - and I say that as a card carrying member of the Republican Party.

[ read full article ]

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Why Times Ran Wiretap Story, Defying Bush [Feb. 4th, 2006|12:46 pm]
"On the afternoon of Dec. 15, New York Times executives put the paper’s preferred First Amendment lawyer, Floyd Abrams, on standby. In the pipeline for the next day’s paper was a story that President George W. Bush had specifically asked the paper not to run, revealing that the National Security Agency had been wiretapping Americans without using warrants.

The President had made the request in person, nine days before, in an Oval Office meeting with publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., executive editor Bill Keller and Washington bureau chief Phil Taubman, according to Times sources familiar with the meeting.

That Dec. 6 session with Mr. Bush was the culmination of a 14-month struggle between The Times and the White House—and a parallel struggle behind the scenes at The Times—over the wiretapping story. In the end, Mr. Abrams’ services were not needed. The piece made it to press without further incident."

[ read full article ]

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TTFN [Feb. 2nd, 2006|10:08 am]
It's been fun, its been real, but it hasn't been real fun.
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Isolationism [Feb. 2nd, 2006|10:01 am]
Yglesias starts to knock down this silly isolationist idea which has been obsessing Peter "prime fighting age" Beinart and now apparently George W. Bush. Go figure.

There have long been isolationist strains on both the far right and far left. In addition, massive foreign policy interventions of any kind are generally complicated and costly and messy with unpredictable results and it's perfectly understandable that people on the left are a wee bit more likely to expect a Democrat to handle these things a bit better and those on the right to expect a Republican to handle it better. Call that bias or partisanship or whatever, but that's the way it is.

So, anyway, even in normal times it would be expected for isolationism on the left to have a wee uptick and isolationism on the right to be reduced. But, now, in addition to that we're at a time when George W. Bush lied to take us into war and then totally fucked it up. Fucked it up more than even I imagined they could fuck it up. Fucking it up so badly that we're constantly having to come up with new words to describe the degree of fuckingupness.

I opposed the Iraq war, in part because I thought the Bush administration was pretty much prone to fucking just about everything up. Call it bias or partisanship or simply a well-informed opinion, but I did. It wasn't the only or most important reason I opposed the war, but much as "fake WMDs" was the "reason for war" all the Bushies could agree on, "everything they touch turns to shit" should've been the reason all the liberal hawks could agree on to not support the war. So much for that.

As I was saying, if you combine standard every day "I don't trust their party's president to do the right thing" with pretty much ironclad proof that "everything Bush touches turns to shit" it's perfectly understandable that those of us to the left of Joe Lieberman are pretty wary of Commander Cuckoo banana's further attempts to stride across the Risk board in his majestic codpiece.

And, when Peter "prime fighting age" Beinart's book appears to tell us how horrible it is that Bush's Iraq's war has made us liberals isolationists, whatever that means, we will just have to remind him that he should've thought of that before he supported the damn thing.

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SOTU ejections [Feb. 2nd, 2006|09:58 am]
We all know that Cindy Sheehan was ejected from the SOTU address. She tells her own story at that link. </p>

But she wasn't the only one kicked out. The wife of a Republican congressman also got the boot:

The wife of Rep. C.W. Bill Young said she was ejected during President Bush's State of the Union address for wearing a T-shirt that said, "Support the Troops Defending Our Freedom," a newspaper reported Wednesday.

Beverly Young said she was sitting in the front row of the House gallery Tuesday night when she was approached by someone who told her she needed to leave, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

After reluctantly agreeing, she said, she argued with several officers in an outside hallway.

"They said I was protesting," she said in a telephone interview with the newspaper Tuesday. "I said, 'Read my shirt, it is not a protest.' They said, 'We consider that a protest.' I said, 'Then you are an idiot.'"

Glenn Greenwald argues both ejections violate the law.

This is nothing more than a naked attempt to stifle dissent and to create a criticism-free bubble around George Bush. Presidents routinely use all sorts of propagandistic imagery at the State of the Union to decorate their speeches with an aura of regal patriotism. We always see weeping widows and military heroes and symbolic guests of all sorts who are used as props and visuals to bolster the President's message both emotionally and psychologically. The State of the Union speech is hardly free of visual messages and propaganda of that sort; quite the contrary.

But we apparently now have a country where the only ideas allowed to be expressed in our Nation's Capitol while the President is speaking are ones which glorify the Government and its Leader and where dissenting views are prohibited and will subject someone to arrest. Message cleansing of that sort belongs at a political rally in North Korea, not in Washington, DC [...]

In Bynum v. U.S. Capitol Police Bd. (Dist. D.C. 1997) (.pdf), the District Court found the regulations applying 140 U.S.C. § 193 -- the section of the U.S. code restricting activities inside the Capitol -- to be unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds. Bynum involved a Reverend who was threatened with arrest by Capitol Police while leading a small group in prayer inside the Capitol. The Capitol Police issued that threat on the ground that the praying constituted a "demonstration."

This is no longer a partisan affair. Bush will restrict the free speech rights of anyone that might upstage his carefully constructed propaganda efforts.

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Olbermann vs O'Reilly [Feb. 2nd, 2006|09:52 am]
Holy shit is this funny.</p>

Watch the video of Olbermann tearing O'Reilly apart.

Update: Oh, and Chris Matthews is still a wanker.

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Fitzgerald Reveals Someone's Been Tampering With Evidence? [Feb. 2nd, 2006|09:51 am]
It's only February 1st, but Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is already having a bad month.  First, he has Feingold breathing down his neck about his apparent perjury at his confirmation hearing. Then, Senator Leahy sends him a letter challenging him to explain why the Patriot Act should be reauthorized if the President claims he already has the authority to act unilaterally in the War on Terrorism.  Then, Google still refuses to hand over Americans' porn data. And just when poor Alberto thought it couldn't get any worse, Patrick Fitzgerald resurfaces with a startling revelation: someone's been having fun with the delete button at the White House.</p>

Scooter Libby's attorney has requested access to basically all of Fitzgerald's evidence. Mind you, this is an obstruction of justice charge. Yet Libby wants access to essentially all the transcripts and evidence so he can "prove" that he really did just forget about certain conversations. Well, in denying one of Libby's requests, Fitzgerald, in an oh-so-subtle manner, drops a bombshell:

"In an abundance of caution," he writes, "we advise you that we have learned that not all email of the Office of the Vice President and the Executive Office of the President for certain time periods in 2003 was preserved through the normal archiving process on the White House computer system."

How does Fitzgerald know of the existence of emails which have been deleted? Speculation leads us to conclude that either someone told him about the emails, or someone has copies of them.  Notice Fitzgerald refers to multiple emails in both the Vice-President's and President's office. Were the emails communications between the two offices? It's also important to note that Fitzgerald states that no evidence "pertinent to the charges against the defendant" have been destroyed.  This is a beautiful move by Fitzgerald, because remember, the charges against Libby are obstruction of justice and perjury.  

So how does this make the sweat glisten on Gonzales' brow? We all know about the 12 hour gap, that twilight zone between the evening of September 23, 2003 (when Gonzales was informed of the order to preserve evidence) and September 24, 2003 (when Gonzales actually gave the order to retain evidence).  But it's not just a 12 hour gap that provided a chance to tamper with the evidence.  It's a two week gap.  Recall that Gonzales and the rest of the White House lawyers screened every communication before handing it over to Fitzgerald. Democrats at the time cried foul:

Read their reaction on the flip...

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Abramoff and gaming Indians: Just the tip of the iceberg [Updated] [Feb. 2nd, 2006|09:50 am]
(From the diaries -- kos)</p>

For a couple of weeks now, I've been writing about what I've come to view as the much bigger scandal involving everyone from Jack Abramoff to Gale Norton to Richard Pombo to Grover Norquist, and generally every major Republican in between.  It too has to do with Indians, but not only those with gaming operations.  In fact, the real actors in this drama are the poorest of Indians, mostly in the West and Plains.

This morning, I tried to summarize the issues in a comment thread at MyDD.   It was the first time since starting my research that I've tried to put the "story" down in as few words as possible.  Because the fact is, unless people can actually grasp the basics of this scandal, and how it effects not just a few hundred thousand Indians, but everyone in this country, I think it will never make it past a few interested links on Technorati.  

So below the jump is my best try to do just that.

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Happy Groundhog Day! [Feb. 2nd, 2006|09:49 am]
Yes, today is the day when the most famous groundhog in the world, Punxsutawney Phil, briefly emerges from his cozy winter home in Gobblers Knob to make his much anticipated annual forecast. As the story goes, if the famed rodent sees his shadow it means six more weeks of winter; if he casts no shadow it means an early spring is on the way. But we may not need Phil for much longer:</p>

[Link] Sadly, it appears that global warming may soon add Phil to the ranks of the unemployed. With the warming of 4-8 ºC (7-14 ºF) predicted over North America by the end of this century if we continue to increase greenhouse gas concentrations at current rates, the answer will become simple. Spring will come early every year.

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Bush Speech Virtually Ignores Largest American Natural Disaster [Feb. 2nd, 2006|09:48 am]

-- Hundreds of thousands of American families have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina. -- 1,300 Americans are so-far counted amongst the dead. -- 3,200 Americans are still wholly unaccounted for...

Blogged by Brad On 02/01/06 at 03:42 PM

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FBI Subpoenas Ballots from Contentious 2004 Arizona Republican Primary Election! [Feb. 2nd, 2006|09:48 am]

Guest Blogged by John Gideon As we reported in January the Maricopa County, AZ elections officials and county attorney have done all they can do to keep anyone from looking...

Blogged by John Gideon On 02/01/06 at 04:39 PM

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Pittsburgh eats pierogis, part 1 [Feb. 2nd, 2006|09:46 am]

Filed under: Lunch, Dinner, Hors D'oeuvres, Snacks, Vegetarian, Grains, Vegetables, Dairy, Beef, Poultry, Cheese, Eastern Europe, Recipes, Boiling, Eggs, Comfort Food

As you know, Sarah G. and her Seahawks are going head to head this week with me, Sarah G. and the Steelers in
for the Super Bowl
. Sarah Gilbert is a die-hard Seahawks fan, and has already started to show us the super foods
of Seattle with oysters.
Pittsburgh is easy - with a fairly large population of Polish people, I'm doing

Pierogis are a typical, comforting, Polish food that
are similar to Italians' ravioli and Asian dumplings. However, they're not just Polish - virtually every
culture in central and eastern Europe have them, just spelled or pronounced slightly differently. The usual,
primary ingredient for pierogi filling is potato. Mashed potatoes inside pasta? Dr. Atkins obviously wasn't Polish.

Pierogi dough is a basic pasta dough, though many recipes include sour cream or cream cheese to make it
richer. They are shaped most commonly in crescents, but sometimes as squares. The filling is not only, nor always,
potato. Pierogis can be filled with onions, cheese, meats, sauerkraut, and mushrooms. If you fill them with hard
boiled eggs, I guess you have a breakfast pierogi!

My first Super Bowl foray into the world of pierogis this week starts with Mrs. T's potato and cheese pierogis.

mrs t&quot;s pierogisMrs. T's pierogis come in a variety of flavors, and as proudly proclaimed on the
box, are all low in fat. I dropped them into boiling water for about five minutes until the floated to the top. The box
also suggests sauteing, baking, grilling (I have no idea how grilling would work for these things), and best of all,
deep-frying. If you deep fry, they certainly won't be lowfat anymore.

I ate them plain just to see how they tasted, because oftentimes, tossing with butter and adding sauce can make me
love anything.

The pierogis tasted alright, though I felt a little cheated by the rather skimpy filling. It was certainly cheesy,
but not enough. If you don't have the time to make them yourself, these will probably work out fine. I even found a
"recipe" on the Food Network that includes Mrs. T's frozen pierogis
as an ingredient. And if Sara
Moulton goes a little semi-homemade
, I guess it's okay!

Next pierogis up: from a Polish restaurant and homemade.

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Why Lindh is in jail [Jan. 31st, 2006|10:58 pm]
Frank Lindh, father of John Walker Lindh, does an excellent job of telling his son's story. John Walker Lindh is now serving twenty years for being:

  1. the poster boy for Bush's war on terror; and

  2. an American eye-witness who could tell of how the United States allowed its ally, Northern Alliance warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, to commit war crimes, and in fact participated, through American Special Forces, in the illegal slaughter of a group of Afghan prisoners.

The way that Lindh was tortured and railroaded is just another piece of evidence of wrongdoing by the Bush Administration. They can't let him out of jail as they can't let him tell what he knows.

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IRAQ TO GIVE AWAY $194 BILL IN OIL PROFITS [Jan. 31st, 2006|10:55 pm]


Control of Iraq's future oil wealth is being handed to multinational oil companies through long-term contracts that will cost Iraq hundreds of billions of dollars, according to a new report published today.

... current Iraqi oil policy will allocate the development of at least 64 per cent of Iraq’s reserves to foreign oil companies. Iraq has the world’s third largest oil reserves. Figures published in the report for the first time show:

- the estimated cost to Iraq over the life of the new oil contracts is US $74 to US $194 billion, compared with leaving oil development in public hands. These sums represent between two and seven times the current Iraqi state budget.

- the contracts would guarantee massive profits to foreign companies, with rates of return of 42 per cent to 162 per cent... [*]

Who was responsible for this giveaway? Well, interestingly, Iraq's oil minister resigned today [*], apparently because the new rules prevent Iraq from being able to afford its extensive oil subsidies to its citizens, which allows them to buy gas at the Saddam-era price of 5 cents a gallon [*].

You'll never guess who was named to replace him....

Well, it's our old buddy, Mr. WMD himself - Ahmed "Talltale" Chalabi!

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NSA Surveillance: How It Puts You in Danger [Jan. 31st, 2006|10:50 pm]
Polls are all over the place on Americans' views on the NSA program, depending on the precise wording of the question, but for the sake of argument, I'll grab the recent CNN poll that claims roughly half of the population thinks it's okay for the feds to conduct surveillance and collect data without a warrant. Based on this, I assume most of us have friends, family members or co-workers who've uttered the words: I have nothing to hide, so why should I care about NSA surveillance?</p>

Here's a primer on why they should care.

It puts you at risk for identify theft ... and IT'S ILLEGAL

From all reports we've heard about the secretive NSA program, it's a vast vacuum operation that collects data, stores it and shares that information with other agencies, all without a warrant. Anything that's done with electronic transmission is trackable in practical terms - meaning online credit card purchases and bill paying, ATM transactions, paying for groceries with a debit/credit card. PINS, passwords, Social Security numbers, driver's license identifier information, bank account numbers, all are available ... all in the hands of federal agencies and their employees.

Even if the government has the noblest intention of protecting you from terrorists in mind, do Americans really trust that every employee in every agency that has access to this personal information will not sell it, abuse it or steal it? We could be talking dozens or hundreds or thousands of people. We don't know. We don't know who has access to this information and what they're doing with it now or what they will be doing with it in the future.

Think this is a loser approach to appealing to Americans?  Think again. From an October 2005 CBS poll:

Nearly nine in ten Americans say they are concerned about identify theft, including more than half who are very concerned. Concern about the theft of personal numbers such as Social Security, phone card or bank account numbers has been high since March 1998.

When you've got 90 percent of Americans expressing concern about any issue, you've got potential for a major unifying message. Forget calling this an abridgement of civil liberties. Call it what it is: an invasion of privacy that puts your personal information in the hands of total strangers. Trust us, we're from the government and we're here to help. Right.

It's ineffective ... and IT"S ILLEGAL

Common sense should tell you that looking for clues to potential criminal activity at the local dump is going to yield less pertinent information far less efficiently than searching the office of a reasonably targeted suspect. That's where a warrant comes in. Prove to a court that a specific person has a possible connection with terrorist activity, then go for it. Sifting through the electronic and telephonic detritus of the lives of thousands of Americans whom you don't have enough verifiable leads on to justify a warrant is a recipe for failure. Instead of looking at the warrant process as a hindrance - and it's really hard to look at it that way with the 72-hour warrantless grace period offered under FISA - Americans need to understand that the court process helps as a sifting mechanism; it narrows the haystack down when looking for the needle.

Yes, I repeat: IT'S ILLEGAL

Sadly, this is probably the least concern for Americans who've been scared out of their gourds by the president. The mindset of "protect me at all costs" - even if the cost is illegal - is going to be tough to alter. Some have offered the "will you be comfortable with Hillary having these powers?" argument. If that works with your acquaintances, go for it. I'll offer up another: If the president can suspend the Fourth Amendment, what's to prevent him from suspending the Second Amendment? Are you comfortable with the thought that if you ... say ... gripe about the president's handling of the budget deficit while you're in line at the post office, you could get a knock on your door a couple hours later from the feds asking you to turn over your guns?

Can't happen here? Maybe not. But do we really want to set a precedent that not just this executive, but any future executive we may elect, can decide on his or her own what portions of the law and the Constitution need to be followed?

Our founders had a great and wise distrust of government and its inherent tendency to overreach. Most Americans, when not being jerked around by terror alerts and propaganda, share that distrust. Perhaps the upcoming NSA hearings will give us an opportunity to have a national conversation in an official setting about the values and protections afforded us by the Bill of Rights. One step in a more rational direction seems to me to be framing this discussion around the identity theft issue - which obviously concerns many Americans - and the inefficiency/incompetence angle of this administration, reminding citizens that even with very specific warnings ahead of time, Bush failed them with Katrina. God only knows how clueless this administration could be when inundated with too much information, most of it useless.

And oh, yeah. By the way, it's illegal. And in 2002 the administration fought the chance to make it "easier for FBI agents to obtain surveillance warrants in terrorism cases, concluding that the system was working well and that it would likely be unconstitutional to lower the legal standard."

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CNN is now reporting... Antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan -- who was invited to attend President Bush's State of the Union speech -- has been arrested, Capitol police say. Invited by...

Blogged by Brad On 01/31/06 at 05:52 PM

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Alito lessons: Overthrow or over and out [Jan. 31st, 2006|10:48 pm]


Post Alito: I hate to see people spin their wheels in a state of emotional agitation all the time. Alito is not a real surprise, given the corruption in the system that hamstrings so many, and he himself is a personaal embarrassment. And BTW, Congress has ignored Supreme Court decisions before. Bush v Gore was so effin ridiculous that we need a society formed to deal with it forever as an example of utter mental corruption.

The REAL offense was that there was even a debate on ANY nomination from a man who should have been frogmarched out of the White House years ago, who should have been served papers the week before 9/11 telling him he was not the winner of the election and should pack his bags, and who should have been tried and convicted of criminal negligence the week after 9/11. A MAJOR CITIZENS' ARREST SHOULD HAVE TAKEN PLACE YEARS AGO. Wes Clark: Thanks for the email, hon, but do you honestly expect me to write bush and ask him to be a better president? Let's get real with the language. The lies, corruption, incompetence, thievery of this regime is out of control and beyond sustainable. We can start with a new language. THESE CRIMINALS ARE DESTROYING AMERICA AND WAR PROFITEERING - LET'S CALL IT WHAT IT IS - THEY ARE PARASITES FEEDING OFF AMERICAN AND IRAQI DEAD. WE ARE TIRED OF BEING THREATENED BY BUSH AND HIS GOONS. WE ARE TIRED OF THIS VIOLENCE AGAINST US, OF BEING TOLD DO THIS OR ALQAEDA WILL PULL A 9/11 ON YOU.

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Eyephedrine iTunes visualizer [Jan. 31st, 2006|10:46 pm]

Filed under: Audio, Software, iTunes

So the built in iTunes
visualizer just isn't doing anything for you? Check out Eyephedrine, the visualizer plug-in that makes use of OpenGL 3D.
Enjoy the multiple layers blending, realtime cube
mapping, reflections, motion blur and light bloom fun across more than 70 visualizations. It also displays
album art and track information. Who knew the Crystalline Entity could
move like that?

Eyephedrine requires Mac
10.3.9, iTunes 4.7, a G4 400MHz or above and a GeForce 2 / Radeon 32DDR, though the recommendations
OS 10.4.3, iTunes 6.x, G5/Intel 1GHz or above,
GeForce4 / Radeon 8500 or better) are a bit higher. Eyephedrine is $8US shareware.
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Mac Software Round-up [Jan. 31st, 2006|10:43 pm]

  • VLC
    Controller 5.0
    – Salling Clicker plug-in that gives you complete control over VLC Media Player from your
    Bluetooth enabled phone or PDA. ($6)

  • Sketsa
    Cross-platform vector drawing application based on SVG. Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is a graphics format and
    technology based on XML developed by W3C. ($29)

  • I
    Can Animate 1.1
    (U) – Allows you to work with different video layers so that you can create an animation from
    video captured from a camera, pictures you have drawn yourself or both together. (£35.00)

  • Finale 2005 – A music notation program that gives you
    control over every aspect of the printed page and provides control over MIDI I/O. ($600.00)

  • Final Log allows you to search your transcription or script and view the
    corresponding shots. ($99)

  • DVD_sphere
    – stores and organizes your DVD-Video's. Single DVD's or boxes show up as one line in the same list. Boxes can
    contain multiple single DVD's. ($15)

  • AbsoluteDeNoiser
    –  Noise reduction filtering for digital images. (Free for non-commercial work)

  • Switch Sound Converter 1.05 – The software converts a variety of formats
    (WAV, MP3, ogg, flac, aac, wma, au, aiff, ogg, msv, dvf, vox, atrac, gsm, dss, and others) into MP3 or WAV, with MP3
    support for constant or variable bit rates from 8 to 320kbps with optional error correction and stereo modes. (Free,
    Pro $20)

(U) means Universal Binaries
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MacGyver Tip: Dishwashing liquid ice pack [Jan. 31st, 2006|10:41 pm]

A reader writes in:

My wife pulled her sciatic nerve last week. An ice pack was recommended but one of our friends gave us a great tip.

Instead of an ice pack, partially fill a strong zip lock bag with Dawn dishwashing detergent and freeze it. (I don't know if other brands would work just as well.)

Just to be safe, we double-bagged it!

The detergent stays cold much longer and it can be re-frozen over and over. It also molds to your back better than ice.

Good one! Thanks, Scott!

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Great kGTD tips [Jan. 31st, 2006|10:35 pm]
The Kinkless GTD System

We love kGTD and are always eager to see neat ways to improve it. Merlin Mann has a few that could come in very handy.

The beauty of kGTD lies in its single-minded focus on managing your tasks in the context of the projects with which they’re associated. Add too much else (or get lazy with your level of commitment to what you’ve added) and the system starts to fall apart. And yet it’s so useful to have easy access to the people, websites, and documents that you’d like associated with your tasks and projects. OS X to the rescue, because OmniOutliner makes it very easy to drag and drop virtually any kind of Mac data object into a given OO document — and, consequently, to keep the non-task corners of your world never further than a click away.
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Neo/J 2.1 [Jan. 31st, 2006|10:34 pm]

I see Simon Phipps held forth on the goodness of NeoOffice; probably not by coincidence, release 2.1 showed up today. On top of all its other virtues, Neo has really slick & quick update packages, all per OS X standards. I’ve been slinging them a few bucks now and then, and if you’re on the Mac you should give the software a try too. Remember, C-$2MS.

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Turning old music into digital [Jan. 31st, 2006|10:31 pm]
 41264164 Lps 203BBC's article on turning that old record collection to MP3s "With all the talk of MP3 and digital formats, it is easy to forget that music started off as analogue, on records. Chris Long shows how you can drag those magic vinyl masterpieces into the digital age." [via] Link. Also check out what our Makers posted about this here.

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HOW TO - Simple DC Motor Controller [Jan. 31st, 2006|10:30 pm]
MogotutHandy how to for getting started with DC motor control - "This article explains the basics of how to get your motor to give feedback to a microcontroller and then control the speed of the motor with a good deal of precision (well... good enough for our robots). You can select any speed you want the 'bot to go and it will try to go that speed - even if it runs into difficult terrain. It will apply more power when it senses a slow down and the power will continue to be increased until the wheels turn at the selected speed (or until you run out of battery juice). In fact, it is quite interesting to command the robot to turn at a low rpm and then watch it crawl very slowly across the carpet. If you put your hand on it to stop it, it 'hunkers' down and starts pushing harder until you let it go. It then quickly settles into its slow and straight crawl." Link.

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DIY Homelink [Jan. 31st, 2006|10:29 pm]
39518758 74094B03BfPatrick Keane writes "Here's how to add a homelink to your car: 1) Buy homelink visors from ebay as cheap as you can get them from any car you like. 2) Tear them apart, and remove the Homelink module. 3) Cut small opening in headliner / dash panel / or opt to rewire the buttons and creatively locate them. 4) Attach +12V (black) and GND (brown) wires to nearby power source (overhead lamp). 5) Train it using your garage door opener(s) (see homelink.com). 6) Admire your $25 (maybe less) homelink installation. 7) (optional) Deprogram your old battery powered garage door openers and sell them on ebay for a profit." Link.

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Extend America prepping balloon-based cell service for North Dakota [Jan. 31st, 2006|10:23 pm]

Filed under: Cellphones, Wireless

It's no "Stratellite",
but Ed Schafer, former Governor of North Dakota, is betting on some hot air balloons to provide cellphone service to
the vast wasteland expanse of his state, instead of the 1,100 cell towers it would take otherwise. The system
only takes three balloons, 20 miles up, to provide coverage for the entire area, but since the balloons drift, it takes
around 9 balloons total to keep service aloft at all times. Once a balloon floats out of state, it will eject its
parachute-equipped communications pod, to be recovered for a bounty (similar to the SkySite program we just brought you)
and sent back into service over the state. Extend America is about to start testing the tech, and if successful they
plan to license their bandwidth to existing wireless carriers.
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Let Dr. Who read your text messages [Jan. 31st, 2006|10:22 pm]

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets

If you live in the
UK and use BT's text-to-voice system to get your SMS messages delivered to your landline, you'll be hearing a familiar
voice at the other end of the line for the next few months. BT has scrapped the computerized voice the company had been
using for the system, and replaced it with the voice of Tom Baker of Dr. Who fame. Baker spent 11 days recording nearly
12,000 words and sounds, which were then processed by BT engineers for five months in order to be usable by the
text-to-speech system. We're not sure who BT will tap next after Baker's three-month stint is over. They can, of
course, just rotate through Dr. Whos; that'll give them enough choices for about 20 years.
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Flying windmills could provide limitless power [Jan. 31st, 2006|10:21 pm]

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets

We're going
to try not to get too excited about the idea of flying windmills as a source of power. After all, the idea of tethered
35-foot rotors, floating 35,000 feet in the air and drawing endless power from the jetstream at a cost of less than 2
cents per kWh seems pretty far-fetched. But as winter drags on and we take another glance at our heating bills, we're
rooting for Sky WindPower Corp. and its dream of Floating Electric Generators. Here's hoping they aren't just tilting
at windmills.

[Via BoingBoing]
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Artificial gills extract oxygen from water [Jan. 31st, 2006|10:20 pm]

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets

An Israeli scientist has developed an
"artifical gill" that is able to extract oxygen from seawater, potentially allowing divers to breathe
underwater without a tank. However, many details still remain to be worked out before the device is suitable for
regular underwater use. The device, called LikeAFish, lowers the pressure of seawater using a high-speed centrifuge.
Oxygen is then separated from the water and stored in a bag for breathing. While the system may be a technical
breakthrough, it imposes its own limits on divers, including the need for a heavy-duty battery and confidence that the
water being processed isn't polluted or lacking in oxygen. For those reasons, the developer, Alon Bodner, is focusing
much of his efforts on underwater habitats, theorizing that they would already have a reliable energy source, and would
be located in spots where the oxygen levels in the water are consistent.

[Via the Raw Feed]
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Cellphones to Further Ruin Airplane Travel [Jan. 31st, 2006|10:18 pm]


As if flying wasn't miserable enough already, soon you'll have to cope with the “cell phone yell” up close and personal on airplanes. Starting in December of this year, the US feds will allow onboard satellite uplinks on airplanes, threatening to eliminate that last bastion of chatter-free existence. If you thought that crying, pooping baby kicking the back of your seat from New York to L.A. was bad, now you'll have to cope with the ring tones and yackety-yak of fellow passengers, surrounding you with a vengeance only heretofore seen inside THX-certified theaters equipped with Dolby 7.1. Never mind that 61% of business travelers are against cell phone use on planes, according to a CWT Business Travel Indicator survey. Tough. There's money to be made; get out of the way, peon traveling cattle. So now, you get to pay premium prices to wedge yourself inside an uncomfortable sub-sonic tin can, with about 20% of the oxygen you need and 150% of the noise. Videoconferencing, anybody?

Bad reception awaits in-flight phones [CNN]

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Hover Scooter=Class Action Lawsuit [Jan. 31st, 2006|10:18 pm]


Leave it to Hammacher Schlemmer to come up with a ridiculous product with a ridiculous price tag. For just $17,000, you too can hover just a few inches in the air and up to 15 mph with this insane Levitating Hover Scooter. Runs for about an hour on a tank of gas and can only go on solid ground. To accelerate, you simply lean forward on the handlebars and to brake, you'll need about 20 feet of coasting. To turn, it's sort of like skiing, just lean left or right. I'll pass, thank you, but if you do decide to drop the nearly 20K, please, buy yourself a good helmet, will you? And get your head checked.

Levitating Hover Scooter by Hammacher Schlemmer [Gadgetreview]

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Related: Cellphone Jammers on the Way?
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OTA HD demystified [Jan. 31st, 2006|09:58 pm]
The image “http://www.primehacks.com/e107_images/newspost_images/january/pole.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Everyone knows that it's possible to watch TV with an antenna, but most people today don't understand why anyone would want to. We have all read the horror stories about how difficult it can be to receive a good OTA (Over the Air) signal, especially with DTV. There are a few benefits to OTA today that we didn't have before the US started the DTV transition. Some of the best picture quality possible can be obtained with an antenna, at least until High Definition DVDs are released. It's FREE, it's recordable on some computers like Windows Media Center Edition and it works sometimes when cable and Satellite doesn't.

Click here to read this article

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How to turn vinyl to digital [Jan. 30th, 2006|11:17 pm]

The BBC News' Chris Long covers how to convert vinyl recordings into digital music.

Could there possibly be vinyl albums out there that are not available on CD or download?

Yes, of course there are, so unless you have a device like a Teac player - which is a turntable and CD recorder combination - you are going to have to cross a couple of hurdles if you want to turn vinyl into digital.

Long covers converting songs to digital format, removing the inevitable "crackle and pop" and tagging the digital files with the correct song, album and artist information.

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7 things I like about Path Finder for OS X [Jan. 30th, 2006|11:16 pm]

I’ve received a minor surfeit of email since yesterday asking me to talk a bit more about Path Finder and why I think it’s so swell. Here’s a few fast reasons for my own affection.

The Drop Stack

PF - Drop Stack

The Drop Stack gives you a functional temporary pocket into which you can dump a pile of folders and documents, then amble over to someplace far away on your Mac, add a few more items, then walk to someplace else on your drive and drag all the contents to their new location. You can even choose to compress the contents of the Drop Stack, email them to a friend, or even burn ‘em to a CD. This rules.

Think about the Fridays when a package needs to go out to FedEx in 20 minutes and you’re tearing ass all over your Network collecting assets. This makes that kind of sprinting stress-free and convenient as heck. One of several bits in Path Finder that will soon be tantamount to introducing a microwave oven to your life. You’ll wonder how you did without before.

Finder Previews

PF - Preview

Select any text file, HTML, PDF, RTF, audio file or movie and view it in the “Preview” drawer of any PF window.

Great for listening to a download before adding it to the iTunes library, checking a bit of documentation, or for seeing if a given document is actually what you think it is (or the correct version of what you think it is). Best of all this is more than a preview. There’s a scroll bar, so you can read a whole book or watch a movie that way if you like.

This seems so crazy obvious once you use it that, again, you’ll puzzle over how you used to get by without it.

Integrated Shell

Sometimes there are little tasks that are much faster and easier to do in the UNIX shell. And it’s nice to not have to fire up iTerm to perform them.

A fresh shell session is a click away in any window — and, of course, you automagically “cd” to the current directory to make things even easier on you. Bash comes to the desktop whenever and wherever I need it.

Filter by Name

PF - Filter by Name

At the risk of Tiger heresy, I miss “searching” my Mac. Sometimes I really don’t want the big production numbers that Spotlight puts on; I just want to see the files in a given area of the Mac that match a string in the name (yeah, I know I can do this and that to do that with Spotlight, but I don’t want to have to do “this and that” — I just want my results).

Each PF window has a handy little box for finding whatever you need — in the selected area or the whole computer etc. — by using Spotlight, Search, or (God how I love it) Filtering. Just want to see everything in your Home directory with “finance” in the title? You got it. And fast as hell without that weird mystery meat non-window Spotlight spawns.

Create new text files in any folder

You know me and the text files. I love that I can option-command-n in any folder and create a new text file. Again, yes you can and usually do perform the same work in other place. But once the option is there, you’ll find it really useful not to have to change modes.

Compression options

Select any file in PF and control-click to zip it. Or tar it. Or bz it. Or binhex it. Or whatever. I use this constantly.


I love that so many of the bazillion tools of Path Finder are available from the traditional menu bar, from a key command, or from the very configurable control-click menu. Much of the beauty of Path Finder is that, as feature-packed as it is, it’s just a pleasure to navigate (IMHO) and can be configured and re-configured in ways that just aren’t there in the current OS X Finder

I’m really just scratching the surface of what Path Finder can do here, and that’s some people’s legitimate beef with the application; it can reasonably be argued that Path Finder is in fact so overstuffed with buttons, utilities, menus, commands, and functionalities that it’s antithetical to the “one-button” approach to the Mac.

I definitely get that criticism, but I think the option for folks who feel strongly about this is simple; save your thirty-some bucks, and stay with the standard OS X Finder. Which is, of course, not to say that the Mac’s Finder is the responsive model of efficiency that it was in, say, System 6. But not everyone needs all the stuff that Path Finder has, and for them, the stock Finder (with the addition of, say, Quicksilver) is probably plenty enough functional power. So, yeah, Path Finder is definitely not for everyone. I don’t think it’s intended to be.

But if you’re looking to fix a host of the Finder’s numerous deficits, extend its functionality beyond your imagination — and if you want a boon companion to Quicksilver that’s tuned for fast machines and fast users — then Path Finder is most definitely worth a look.

I know I’d feel lost without it.

Tags: pathfinder, cocoatech, macs, apple, FixTheFinderAlready

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HOW TO - IR remote control [Jan. 30th, 2006|11:10 pm]
IremitterSans writes "The cheapest way to remotely control a device within a visible range is via Infra-Red light. Almost all audio and video equipment can be controlled this way nowadays. Due to this wide spread use the required components are quite cheap, thus making it ideal for us hobbyists to use IR control for our own projects. This part of my knowledge base will explain the theory of operation of IR remote control, and some of the protocols that are in use in consumer electronics." Link.

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TUAW Tip: Quit applications using Application Switcher [Jan. 30th, 2006|11:09 pm]

Filed under: OS, Software, How-tos, Tips and tricks, TUAW Tip

of the key combinations that I use most on my Mac is Command Tab, which brings up the Application Switcher, as seen
above (in most versions of OS X that is). This allows me to switch from one application to another just by hitting the
Tab key to cycle through the running applications.

You're saying, 'We know this already, Scott, what a lame
tip!' Well, did you know that you can quit an application without leaving the Application Switcher? It is true. Simply
hit Command Tab to bring up the Application Switcher and Tab to the application you want to quit. Once it is
highlighted, without lifting your finger off of the Command button, hit the Q. Poof! The application quits (assuming
that there are no unsaved documents currently in the application).
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NetNewsWire to iWeb applescript [Jan. 30th, 2006|11:07 pm]

Filed under: Software, Cool tools, Internet Tools

I think I've finally found the last reason I need to move my
personal blog over to iWeb, thanks to a Ranchero blog
. The NetNewsWire to
iWeb Applescript app bundle
is pretty simple to set up: download the script and place it wherever you want. In NNW,
simply chose this script (NOT iWeb) as your external weblog editor, and *bam* - you can now use Apple's slick new
WYSIWYG iLife web app to blog NNW headlines to your heart's content.

At the bottom of the post,
the script's author mentions the possibility of creating similar scripts for Blogger.com and iBlog, just in case iWeb
isn't your blog tool of choice.
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Location X - automatically adjust settings on the go [Jan. 30th, 2006|11:06 pm]

Filed under: Software, Cool tools, iBook, Internet Tools, PowerBook

If you're an iBook/PowerBook user who is constantly fiddling with various settings depending on where you are,
point your mouse towards Location X for the solution
to all your preference-changing woes. I only played with this for about 5 minutes before plunking down my $20 for it,
as I am already in love. This app makes me cry out "why doesn't OS X do this already??" Then I realize I'm
alone in my apartment right now, which just makes me feel weird.

Anyway, Location X is essentially a
management app for all the various settings you might have to constantly set and reset, depending on which networks
your Mac connects to throughout the day. For example: in between classes, I use wifi at Starbucks since all of the
networks on my campus have most of their ports restricted. Well, Starbucks' wifi treats SMTP servers that require
authentication in an odd way, so I'm constantly having to change my SMTP server when I sit down for a cup o' joe. But
Location X, as you can see in my screenshot, can do so much more. Not only can this latest v2.5 do automatic network
detection, it can set default printers, adjust energy settings, change browser homepages, run applescripts, change
security preferences and so much more. It even has a plugin architecture, opening the doors for anyone else
to build in even more settings and functionality.

I highly recommend this app for any of you mobile warriors
out there who are tired of constantly adjusting settings like these, simply because you're on the go during the day.
Location X is shareware which costs $20 (a bargain, if you ask me), while a demo that allows for 8 location switches is
available here.
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Blender 2.41 released [Jan. 30th, 2006|11:06 pm]

Filed under: The Little Guy, Software, Post-production, Intermediate, Pro

Feels like a dream, I feel like I keep saying this: Blender has a new release out. It seems like the last two
releases have actually been pretty big
according to Victor Agreda, Jr from the Download Squad: "The Blender 2.40 release was huge. Seven months
in the works, it revealed a ton of new features including better character animation tools, a modifier stack, fluid
effects, hair, and physics. The Blender 2.41 release was pretty hot on the heels of 2.40, but it adds a bunch of
improvements to something I've been wanting for a long time: the Game Engine." BTW, for you newbies, Blender is a
free cross-platform, simply awesome, 3D creation software.
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A Leather Slave Only Knows How To Be a Leather Sla... [Jan. 30th, 2006|10:59 pm]

A Leather Slave Only Knows How To Be a Leather Slave:
Karl Rove has a funny fantasy about his leather slave.

Karl Rove keeps his leather slave in the basement of the White House, chained to a radiator right behind Lyndon Johnson’s scalp collection of "Asians What I Killed" and just across the floor from Calvin Coolidge’s novelty joke collection (including his famous “bladder of the flatulence” he used whenever Indian chiefs visited the Capital). Karl Rove pays nearly nightly visits to his leather slave, and the leather slave can tell whenever things are good or bad: if Rove breaks out the metal dildo he calls “Steely Ann,” the leather slave knows that his master has received another letter from Patrick Fitzgerald or that Tom DeLay has called, weeping, threatening; if Rove lubes up the plastic strap-on or just straight fucks him the ass, the leather slave knows that a bill has passed, a nominee’s been confirmed, or a poll has risen. Rove allows his leather slave to watch only Fox “News,” the basement television locked onto that blissful channel.

The fantasy Rove has about his leather slave (and they are legion, these fantasies, usually ending in Rove fucking Lee Atwater’s skull’s eyehole, an act Rove’s mentor would have appreciated in the pre-brain cancer days) is of releasing his leather slave. See, Karl Rove believes he’s so well-trained his leather slave that the leather slave doesn’t remember a time when he wasn’t being tied down and fucked in the face and sodomized by various bottles, kitchen utensils, and items large and small. He bets that the leather slave can’t understand that life might be possible without Michael Hayden, Dick Cheney, and Alberto Gonzales coming down to the basement for an unsubtly-named “Hey, Guys, Wanna Fuck My Leather Slave?” poker night, where he’s the first ante in the pot and whoever wins him on each hand gets to take him behind Andrew Johnson’s “Cabinet o' Nigra’ Miscellany,” and whip him, jack off on him, or put his balls in a tight leather nut cozy.

Yes, Rove laughs when he fantasizes about the leather slave, out there on the cold streets of D.C., looking around, wondering wondering where the next fucking is going to come from, for all he knows is fucking, or, to be more precise, getting fucked. If one is constantly fucked, even if one is a leather slave, then of course everyone around you is a potential fucker. Indeed, it would take a mountain of non-fucking kindness to convince you the world is different, that it’s possible to exist without your ass cheeks being spread open like a butterflied pork chop every other night while a screeching insane Karl Rove, wearing an ill-fitting black leather vest, savagely plunges his demi-tumescent cock into you until he howls in a mad, gibberish-ridden orgasm as Bill O’Reilly wags his finger at you, telling you that you are not behaving correctly.

In other words, if you expect to be fucked, if you live your life thinking that fucking is just the way of things, if you think there's nothing you can do so you may as well just shut up and take the fucking, if you believe that those who want to rescue you just want to fuck you themselves, then you may as well return to the basement, chain yourself back to the radiator, and wait for Karl, just like Karl knew you would.

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Spicy and Sweet Fruit Salsas [Jan. 30th, 2006|10:53 pm]

Filed under: Parties, Dinner, Hors D'oeuvres, Snacks, Fruit, Raves & Reviews, Trends, New Products

Fruit salsas are not the on culinary cutting edge as they were only a few years ago, but they are as popular
as ever. Instead of being found topping lightly grilled fishes and elaborately stacked entrees at high end restaurants,
they are on supermarket shelves and being whipped up in homes. They provide a great alternative to the more ordinary
tomato based salsas, with added variations and flavors. The fruits provide a sweetness that really livens up the dip
and tempers the heat of the peppers. Trader Joe’s Roasted Peach salsa is a current favorite of mine. It is smoky,
sweet and has a definite kick to it. Soft-firm fruits, like peaches, mangos, papayas and avocados typically make the best choices
for salsas, as they hold up well and have strong enough flavors to compliment other spices, without overwhelming them
or being overwhelmed. The salsas are great for dipping tortilla chips, pita chips and veggies and would be well
received at any party (football,
anyone?). They can also be mixed into a salad as a spicy alternative to regular dressings.

[Photo by Nicole Weston]

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