Bourne Again

Oh the joys of Saturdays when you’re just in the mood to get out of the town that you live in. Get away from the city and go to the suburbs. Oh wait, I live in the Northern Virginia area where the suburbs can sometimes be characterized as a mess in comparison to the streets of Washington, D.C.

Alas, life is good when you’re able to call up a friend and say, “Hey, let’s do lunch” and go spend two hours at Bob Evan’s munching on lettuce and the wildfire chicken while discussing different topics ranging from women to war to X-box gaming.

And then if things couldn’t get any better to meet up with another friend and his wife and go do a little more shopping as well as going and getting some kickin’ Italian food and watching the Bourne identity.

Ahh, the good life. Gotta love it :o)

Advertisements

Microsoft offers CD and DVD

Microsoft offers CD and DVD copy-protection
New Scientist: “The software lets media companies tailor digital rights management by putting a second, protected, layer of data on disks” – of course it’s essentially like opening up your chest and selling your soul to the devil. Oops, did I say that aloud? My bad.

Seriously though folks, if you read about this, it’s pretty funny the way Microsoft says, “Oh we have the solution. We can make it so that the music files will only play on our software.” Gee, does that sound like a monopoly? Somehow I doubt that Microsoft would share the source code. Granted, with enough Linux and Mac folks out there, I doubt that this will live all that long considering that with all the pressure Microsoft is under right now about things like this, it simply won’t be tolerable.

Nice try Microsoft! 😛

Laundry Gone Bad

NewScientist.com“Discarded and recycled computer drives can reveal financial and personal information even when apparently wiped clean, MIT researchers have found.” — Wow, can we say that I’m not too shocked. Considering that the average person thinks that once they’re finished with their computer and they throw it away that all of their data is suddenly no more.

WRONG!

In fact, I’m almost shocked that there isn’t more of an uproar about this sort of thing. Think about it, this is almost as bad if not worse than identity theft. Just go rummaging through trash and find old harddrives or go to computer shows where “old” products are being sold and you’re guaranteed to find something that’s of worth. Whoever said that you can’t get anything for nothing is wrong in this case (though I guess with the time required to go through and attempt to recover dating and the software, there is some cost involved).
Overall, I have to admit that this story is pretty interesting, granted, I work in the information systems security world, so this is the stuff that I live for :o) If you ask me, whoever it was that just f-disked and formatted the harddrive that they then discarded from an ATM they should be fired or have their rights to touch computers taken away. What’s interesting to me is that these companies, banks, et al. don’t have some sort of standard operating procedure for discarding drives. If I’m getting rid of a harddrive, even if its brand new out of the box from Western Digital or some other fine producer of harddrives, and I’ve only loaded RedHat or some other flavor of Linux onto it before running f-disk and then formatting it, you’re darn right that I’m going to be running a wiping utility on the drive if not sticking it in between two rather large magnets to have it degaussed. Even if the drive is clicking I’ll try to use some utility like BCWipe to destroy anything on the disk. What people don’t realize is that with a simple hex editor, someone can take a drive that’s been “formatted” and thrown away and look at the data that’s there on the drive. Pretty neat huh?
So how do these wiping utilities work? Typically they work by writing some random hexdecimal characters all over the drives contents multiple times. What’s even cooler is that with some utilities you can “destroy” the engineering bit of the drive, there by rendering it useless unless it’s sent back to the manufacturer to be refurbished where upon some guy named Joe presses a button and reprograms a drive to know what it is again (ooo ahhh, fireworks appear here).
In closing, please do not attempt to wipe your drives by the way, unless of course you’re intending to get rid of it and sell it on e-bay or donate it to a church, otherwise you probably won’t be too happy with the results.

Astronomers find objects

Astronomers find most distant objects
BBC Science & Nature: “They are bright and powerful – quasars that can be seen at a time when the Universe was very young.” – Of course now that the Universe is quite mature and educated it’s shunning these little quasars off, flinging them off into the Universe at unbelieveable velocities, hoping that we won’t see them. But guess what Universe, we’ve got your calling card. And even more so, let’s see, they’re finding objects – yippity doo! I’ve been finding objects since I was a few days old… and after taking CS101 in college I was writing them and creating them and instantiating them! How about you Mister Universe?

What cracks me up though is that these astronomers are so distant minded that they continue to just look outward away from the planet. And yet they are unable to find things such as all of the left socks that I’ve been looking and searching for for years.

I do find it quite interesting however that they are seeing these things zoom off into the distant sky. The only question I have for them is whether or not there is a chance that the red shift that they have in the lens is due to something in the air. When I lived in Hawaii we used to have the sky turn red all the time due to the clay seeping into the air.

Speaking of things that are red, my hair… now is this a shift because I’m moving off into the distance or is this some other phenomena that I should be clued in about? I bet that they would rate my hair as being something like a 6.3. I’d get into all the record books 😉 Nonetheless, back to reading about TCP/IP packets.

Sparkling Pearls…

Study Shows Oscillating Power Toothbrushes Superior
In Reuters: Science – Well, that settles it for me. I’m going to go and buy one of the Braun 3D Excel motorized toothbrushes and leave it hanging out of the side of my mouth at all times. I figure that will cut down on cavaties and any chances of needing another root canal.

Of course, this brings up the subject of what sort of health effects might be involved. For instance, there have been studies of some motorized toothbrushes actually chipping away at the enamel of teeth (apparently this is an issue in the sonicare line). Plus, there’s also the issue of powerlines being near your gums. But hey, as long as it would gaurantee a sparkly white smile everyday, I’d be willing to take the risk 😉

Transdermal Nutrients…

Transdermal Nutrient Delivery System (TDNDS) – Apparently the military has been watching ThinkGeek.com’s Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap and realized that if you can absorb caffeine through your skin in your wake up shower, then why can’t you just absorb your food too.

As for my thoughts though, I think that it will actually be a great dieting tool if anything. Think about it, if they’re able to give you a patch that has some sort of depressant mixed into it, thereby taking away the urge to eat as well as giving you all the nutrients that you need. Or perhaps they could make it the SlimFast of the future.

Bolt Your PCs Down!

Lock Down Those PCs: Four New Windows Worms Are On The Loose
In TechWeb – It would definitely seem like someone out there is trying to piss me off. Yes, I know that my mother would cringe if she read this, however it’s true. There are four viruses running around out there. What does that mean to me? Basically that friends, family and associates at work are probably going to “contract” this virus on their computer thinking that the e-mail attachment from their friends that they haven’t heard from is probably a letter or a family picture or something of that nature. The next thing that happens is a week later they’re starting to wonder why their computer doesn’t work as fast as it did and they start asking questions about why they’re getting these bills for things that they didn’t pay for. So much for information security. Please use common sense when you’re opening attachments, maybe even take the time to get the latest antivirus definitions (signatures/updates) and run them on your PC so that you’re not shaking your head at yourself next week.