31.3.08

R.I.P. iPhone DevTeam =[

Farewell to a great team:

http://iphone-dev.org/

Just in case you don't follow iPhone hacking, this is the group of people who jailbroke iPhone firmwares 1.1.1, 1.1.3, and 2.0 (and 2.0 was broken before it's release!) and provided AnySim, which would let you use an iPhone with other carriers besides AT&T.

They also were on the verge of releasing the iPhone Pwnage Tool, which would allow you to load any firmware you wanted to on the iPhone, and multi-boot the phone.

How many of you think it was Apple who bought them?

I think it's a 50/50 chance right now. Depends on if Apple had some of this software in development already, even if for their own team. But if not, it'd certainly be nice to hand out with the SDK in June...
If Apple didn't want the software, I guess they would have bought it to keep everything under lock and key.
However, there is some level of credibility to the theory that Apple, if they had wanted to stop them, would just have issued a Cease and Desist.

I guess it really depends on whether or not Apple wanted the software, or didn't want others to have it.

What's your thoughts?

Update: An April Fools joke that a LOT of people got fooled by. Me too =]; at least I'm in good company (relatively speaking =P).

I guessed something weird would happen after T-mobile trademarked magenta

http://www.engadget.com/2008/03/31/deutsche-telekom-t-mobile-demands-engadget-mobile-discontinue

My opinion: Engadget, keep the magenta.  It's not even the same shade, and no one in their right mind thinks that Engadget is a cellphone provider. 

Hmm.  Should I change my blog colors to magenta, too? =p

Happy April Fools!

Heh, Ok, I know it's a little early, but who could pass this up?

http://www.google.com/googlegulp/index.html

Enjoy.  BTW, I might have a few caps, if you're interested =]

25.3.08

I couldn't resist this follow-up post

Now, on to the humor:

http://community.livejournal.com/lolscience/35199.html

http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2008/03/pz_myers_expelled_gains_sainth.php

Laugh.  It's ok, you can still laugh, even if the people you're laughing at are people you agree with.



Just ask my sister =]

Richard Dawkins, "Lying for Jesus"

Richard Dawkins has written an article on Expelled, a movie about ID coming out soon (maybe =]):

http://richarddawkins.net/article,2394,Lying-for-Jesus,Richard-Dawkins

Now, before you read the rest of this blog post, PLEASE go read the article without my opinion coloring your view.










He raises several good questions which need to be answered by the film makers, but he made at least one logical blunder:

"The alleged association between Darwinism and Nazism is harped on for what seems like hours, and it is quite simply an outrage. We are supposed to believe that Hitler was influenced by Darwin. Hitler was ignorant and bonkers enough for his hideous mind to have imbibed some sort of garbled misunderstanding of Darwin (along with his very ungarbled understanding of the anti-semitism of Martin Luther, and of his own never-renounced Roman Catholic religion) but it is hardly Darwin's fault if he did."

Ahem.  May I please point out that you seem to be strongly implying that Martin Luther and the Roman Catholic Church were responsible for Hitler's anti-semitism? 

Another logical flaw:

"Organized complexity cannot just spontaneously happen. That, for goodness sake, is the creationists' whole point, when they bang on about eyes and bacterial flagella! Evolution by natural selection is the only known process whereby organized complexity can ultimately come into being. Organized complexity -- and that includes everything capable of designing anything intelligently -- comes LATE into the universe. It cannot exist at the beginning, as I have explained again and again in my writings. "

I could think of another source.  Maybe, just maybe, it could possibly have been a designer from outside the universe?  Maybe?  I don't argue with Dawkins on the point that organized complexity does not spontaneously come into existence.  But maybe he should have allowed for the slight possibility of another solution?


He also berates conservatives:

"I approve of looking after the poor (very un-Darwinian). I approve of universal medical care (very un-Darwinian). It is one of the classic philosophical fallacies to derive an 'ought' from an 'is'. Stein (or whoever wrote his script for him) is implying that Hitler committed that fallacy with respect to Darwinism. If we look at more recent history, the closest representatives you'll find to Darwinian politics are uncompassionate conservatives like Margaret Thatcher, George W Bush, or Ben Stein's own hero, Richard Nixon. Maybe all these people, along with the Social Darwinists from Herbert Spencer to John D Rockefeller, committed the is/ought fallacy and justified their unpleasant social views by invoking garbled Darwinism."

Now, I understand where he's coming from, and his problem is that he doesn't see the whole picture.  He's looking at everything like a good liberal: the government will fix all our social ills, etc., etc., ad nauseum.  Actually, that's not the responsibility of the government (as can be seen from the bungling of things like Social Security and most welfare plans), but instead the responsibility of the church and community.  Yeah, I know that's politics, but still, Dawkins, look at the whole picture of the other side before criticizing them like this.

And, man, this isn't very academic or scientific, or even dignified:

"So, bending over backwards to accommodate the IDiots..."

Name-calling is rude and, dare I say it, juvenile.  I had hoped Dawkins was above this, but unfortunately not.  If there were two laws of academia, they would be "Cite your sources" and "Don't call names".  By calling people names, you turn them off to what you're saying and keep them from being able to accept what you say is true. 

And, finally, to provide a different perspective on the whole Crosssroads became Expelled thing,

"
Could Mathis have been sincere when he originally told PZ and me the film was an honest attempt to examine evolution and intelligent design? The evidence that they had already purchased the Expelled domain name argues against this."

Well, that could be true, but (and I say this not knowing a whole lot about the top-level protocol of film producers) couldn't they have been thinking Expelled might be a good title and bought the domain to keep it available to them?

Those are my thoughts on Dawkins' post. 

21.3.08

To explain the controversy over Safari 3.1 for Windows

In case you are not aware, Apple finally declared Safari for Windows to be out of beta, and also put it into the Apple Software Update list for everyone, not just those who had it installed.  This is causing a great ruckus in the 'blogosphere'.  I've found an article that explains it to some extent:

http://blech.vox.com/library/post/windows-invasion-translation.html

Yeah.  I really don't care; it's Apple, what did you expect?  Although it would have been nice for them to have left it unchecked for those of us who don't pay attention.

Note: probably the reason why this doesn't bother me is that I've already been using the beta for over 6 months, so it's actually an update for me.

Evernote for free!

Today only, get a free full copy of Evernote:

http://www.giveawayoftheday.com/evernote-beta/

I've been meaning to blog about Evernote, but I'll save a full review for later.  Let me just say that it's the best note taking app I've ever seen.  Pretty, functional, intuitive (it took me ~10 seconds to figure it out), what more could you want?  And free, too =]

How to run an ISP on Macs in the 90's

Ran across this story:

http://lowendmac.com/myturn/2k0623.html

It's great to read about hacking and stuff like this, and is probably why I have a fair-sized collection of old computer books.  I especially liked this guy's approach to impressing his corporate customers with his impressive mail sever.

20.3.08

Ever wonder what a "trondhjemite" is?

Any leucocratic tonalite, esp. one in which the plagioclase is oligoclase, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

http://blog.oup.com/2008/03/ammon_shea/

Other definitions of note:
self-feeling: used to render coenaethesis
occupatio: preterition
disghibelline: To distinguish, as a Guleph from a Ghibelline
murinoid: Resembling the mouse or its allies
unpoetic: cf. next
unpoetical: cf. prev.

19.3.08

Abandonware

Abandonware is software that is officially not supported by companies anymore.  This basically means that it's now a light grey area concerning downloading it for free (definitely the older stuff, but a case could be made that Windows XP SP 0/1 is abandonware...).  So you can visit this site:

http://www.vetusware.com/

and download Windows 1.0! I'm currently trying to get it up in a virtual machine =] and I'll post back, maybe with screenshots. 

It's not just hardcore stuff for nerds, though; there's office suites, graphics, design, and games.  Ever wanted to play SimCity 2000?  Ever wanted to play The Incredible Machine 2 (TIM 1 runs on a 286 @ 10 MHZ with 1 MB of RAM!  Yes, I do have an IBM PC AT-286, and am proud of it =])?  You can get them here, too.

Using Google to hack websites

http://johnny.ihackstuff.com/ghdb.php

Ever felt like hacking a site, but lacked knowledge and/or tools?  Google, as always, is your friend, and sometimes it's VERY friendly =].  Just run a specific search and it coughs up links to files that may not be directly accessible, but are there nonetheless, and not secured in any way.  This guy also has a tool so you can attempt to hack your site and learn of potential vulnerabilities. 

Lying

I ran across this (courtesy of Cryptogram), and found it to be pretty interesting (it's a long read, but worth it):

http://nymag.com/news/features/43893/

It explains, to some extent, why people lie, and raises the question if it is right for us to teach our kids to lie to be polite (e.g. saying we like a present that we don't, etc.).  After reading this article, I seriously am not so sure of my opinion (that it was ok), and covet your thoughts.

18.3.08

What do you do when you drop your $1800 laptop?

At least to one person, you sacrifice your body for it:

http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/03/17/charlie-rose-face-plants-to-save-his-macbook-air/

I don't blame the man for what he did, as it was far from a stupid decision.  I'd instead tell him to get a laptop bag =]

10.3.08

National Hemmingway Imitation Competition

We were young and our happiness dazzled us with its strength. But there was
also a terrible betrayal that lay within me like a Merle Haggard song at a
French restaurant. [...]
I could not tell the girl about the woman of the tollway, of her milk
white BMW and her Jordache smile. There had been a fight. I had punched her
boyfriend, who fought the mechanical bulls. Everyone told him, "You ride the
bull, senor. You do not fight it." But he was lean and tough like a bad
rib-eye and he fought the bull. And then he fought me. And when we finished
there were no winners, just men doing what men must do. [...]
"Stop the car," the girl said.
There was a look of terrible sadness in her eyes. She knew about the
woman of the tollway. I knew not how. I started to speak, but she raised an
arm and spoke with a quiet and peace I will never forget.
"I do not ask for whom's the tollway belle," she said, "the tollway
belle's for thee."
The next morning our youth was a memory, and our happiness was a lie.
Life is like a bad margarita with good tequila, I thought as I poured whiskey
onto my granola and faced a new day.
-- Peter Applebome, International Imitation Hemingway
Competition

Lawyers

Q: How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Whereas the party of the first part, also known as "Lawyer", and the
party of the second part, also known as "Light Bulb", do hereby and forthwith
agree to a transaction wherein the party of the second part shall be removed
from the current position as a result of failure to perform previously agreed
upon duties, i.e., the lighting, elucidation, and otherwise illumination of
the area ranging from the front (north) door, through the entryway, terminating
at an area just inside the primary living area, demarcated by the beginning of
the carpet, any spillover illumination being at the option of the party of the
second part and not required by the aforementioned agreement between the
parties.
The aforementioned removal transaction shall include, but not be
limited to, the following. The party of the first part shall, with or without
elevation at his option, by means of a chair, stepstool, ladder or any other
means of elevation, grasp the party of the second part and rotate the party
of the second part in a counter-clockwise direction, this point being tendered
non-negotiable. Upon reaching a point where the party of the second part
becomes fully detached from the receptacle, the party of the first part shall
have the option of disposing of the party of the second part in a manner
consistent with all relevant and applicable local, state and federal statutes.
Once separation and disposal have been achieved, the party of the first part
shall have the option of beginning installation. Aforesaid installation shall
occur in a manner consistent with the reverse of the procedures described in
step one of this self-same document, being careful to note that the rotation
should occur in a clockwise direction, this point also being non-negotiable.
The above described steps may be performed, at the option of the party of the
first part, by any or all agents authorized by him, the objective being to
produce the most possible revenue for the Partnership.

About hacking and privacy, to some extent

On a more serious note, I ran across this information on G-Archiver:

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001072.html

I don't mean to preach or anything, but this is pretty serious.  People automatically assume that when they pay they get something that's secure, etc.  That's not always true. 

And here's a story about a scam the company publishing the above software hosts:

http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/So-You-Hacked-Our-Site!.aspx

Don't forget to read the comments!

The federal government can be so funny at times...

Here's the story from a gaming company hired to write a new flight simulator for the Air Force:

http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/Very,_Very_Well_Documented.aspx

I guess that's about the best documentation you can get...

8.3.08

Google is doing WHAT?

This had never occurred to me:

http://blog.topix.com/archives/000011.html

I don't even feel like doing the math, but it makes my plans to start up a webserver here with 8GB of hard drive and 512MB ram seem tiny (even with the possible PowerMac that might be repurposed as a sever, too).

7.3.08

I didn't know people were this dumb...

This is rather humorous... 

http://www.engadget.com/2008/03/06/padded-lampposts-for-distracted-texters-being-tested-in-london/

Personally, I'd leave the posts uncovered and hope that people learn from their mistakes.  Gotta love the comment, "I've run into a lot of things before, but I never thought to blame the post."

1.3.08

Yet another blast from the past

http://www.engadget.com/2005/08/22/engadget-1985/

Yeah, so it's not really what their BBS would have looked like in '85, but it's still a great way to see how far we have come...