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February 28, 2005

Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Enhance Open Government

'The OPEN Government Act would add teeth to the FOIA by encouraging agencies to release information in a timely manner. The law would require agencies to assign tracking numbers to requests within 10 days of receipt. Agencies would also be obligated to create telephone or Internet services to allow individuals to track the status of their requests and estimated completion times for processing. Agencies failing to respond to a request within 20 days would lose the right to withhold information unless they could show good reason for the delay, or if disclosure would endanger national security, reveal personal or proprietary information, or violate the law.'

For more info on the above-mentioned bill, click here.

For more info on the Freedom Of Information Act, click here.

(Source: Electronic Privacy Information Center bulletin)

February 26, 2005

Ah, if all spam were like this...

What to make, ladies and gentlemen, of this?

'From: "Isidoro Curtis"
To: "Wislaw Bowden"
Subject: MTW Drrugs
Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2005 21:11:06 -0500


though he had not the latter's magnetism. He's been tellin' me
the properties behind them. If you will give me fifteen days or
exchange, many curious figures had been pointed out to him--State
and she sang only when he was there. There was something about
and aboveboard. It's true I am very fond of her and she is very
in her manner decided him to speak before she left; and after
Cowperwood's cell for a week if the visiting-hours of the peniten
political loyalty stuff cloud your judgment. You're in a very
in regard to the sixty-thousand-dollar check and his personal
anyhow you can't afford to be now. We're in this thing together.

Have a nice day.'
So... What the fuck is going on? Uh? This is not the first time that I get spam this weird, and once again there is no link to buy anything anywhere whatsoever.

Frankly, it's hard to see this as anything other than an Imp of the Network babbling away in some weird dialect of Burroughs-cutup-ese. But if you think you have a rational explaination, by all means post it below... comments are open for this one, uh, until the other spammers find it.

February 21, 2005

RIP: Hunter S. Thompson

'DENVER - Hunter S. Thompson, the hard-living writer who inserted himself into his accounts of America’s underbelly and popularized a first-person form of journalism in books such as “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” has committed suicide.

Thompson was found dead Sunday in his Aspen-area home of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, sheriff’s officials said. He was 67. Thompson’s wife, Anita, had gone out before the shooting and was not home at the time. His son, Juan, found the body.' (MSNBC News story)

UPDATE: Here's also the NYT article Disinfo links to, and a SF Gate article as well. I don't really have any words to add that wouldn't be banal. My response to this will simply be to make some bartender's day. I know Dr Gonzo would approve. Over and out.

February 17, 2005

Microsoft.com: A parent's primer to computer slang

Somebody, uh, had to do this, I guess... In all seriousness, though, it's pretty ridiculous, considering the sheer amount of variations on the leetspeak theme that kids have created and continue to create. "Not difficult to translate"? Bah. Good luck "protecting" your children...

'While it's important to respect your children's privacy, understanding what your teenager's online slang means and how to decipher it is important as you help guide their online experience. While it has many nicknames, information-age slang is commonly referred to as leetspeek, or leet for short. Leet (a vernacular form of "elite") is a specific type of computer slang where a user replaces regular letters with other keyboard characters to form words phonetically—creating the digital equivalent of pig Latin with a twist of hieroglyphics.

Leet words can be expressed in hundreds of ways using different substitutions and combinations, but once one understands that nearly all characters are formed as phonemes and symbols, leetspeek isn't difficult to translate.' (Microsoft.com article)

February 15, 2005

Paul Ford: The Banality of Google

'Of course, you don't arrive at a morally profound motto like “don't be evil” without some serious thought. Here are some of the mottoes that Google tried out and rejected:

* Google! Dance with the devil, but go home before it gets serious.
* Google! We won't commit genocide in most circumstances.
* Google! Don't eat no babies.
* Google! We could do good, but we're like, whoa.
* Google! Begone, demon!

Those suck! So how did Google come up with “don't be evil?” If you do not know the answer, you clearly did not attend an Ivy League business school like the author of this article. So I will tell you: they did focus group testing of their mottoes. They tested the evil brand concept one day, and the good brand concept the next. On evil day, they brought in vampires, werewolves, Satan, and a kraken.' (Ftrain.com blog entry)

February 09, 2005

Spammers Fuck Off

The comment spam had become way too much stress, so I disabled comments and trackback pings sitewide. I hate doing this, but the truth is that spammers have been almost the only ones to post comments in many, many weeks. And, my MT-Blacklist plugin seems to be broken (weird error about the MySQL server having "gone away" -- which is fairly ridiculous as it clearly still works for the rest of the MT installation).
Just more signs that this blog is in dire need of some maintenance and cleanup. Then again, so is the rest of my life, not to mention the rest of Creation. More on that some other time.

Anyway, long story short, I am temporarily withdrawing from confrontation with the spambots. At least now I can say that this site doesn't serve to prop up the Google rankings of cheap viagra pushers and similar scum. Of course the goal is to restore comments and pings to their full functionality, but I don't have time to fully get into it right now, and with MT-Blacklist not functioning, the fuckers were really taking advantage of me full blast.

I am considering several options to fix this issue and at the same time revamp the Corridor a bit. For instance, upgrading to the latest version of Movable Type would allow me (almost certainly) to keep the custom design with little or no effort, but frankly I'd rather switch to some truly Free software. I've tried and liked Drupal recently, so that might be another possibility.
If you know how to get in touch with me, feel free to send suggestions and ideas. Till soon,


Smart projectors do not require artificial canvases

This is cool:

'"We have developed a fully automatic image correction technique that supports projections of real-time graphics or video content onto everyday surfaces. The output appears as being projected onto artificial (white and planar) canvases. The actual surfaces, however, can be geometrically complex, arbitrarily textured and colored," said Prof. Oliver Bimber.'


'Researchers developed a correction methods implemented in software that amend all geometric and color distortions caused by absence of white canvas. The system automatically determines all parameters required for real-time geometric pre-distortion and color correction of video frames delivered by PAL/NTCS compliant devices like DVD players or game consoles, or real-time monoscopic or stereoscopic graphics. Neither the geometry of the surface nor internal or external parameters of projector and camera have to be known for calibrating the system.' (PhysOrg story)