Friday, July 28, 2006

Doing My Best Monty Hall Impersonation

Posted by codemorse

Conservatives, Let's Make A Deal!

In all future argumentation about the War on Terror/Global-Extremism/Bad Guys, you will refrain from ceaselessly invoking the following names and terms:

1) Winston Churchill
2) Adolph Hitler
3) World War II
4) The combination of "liberal" with adjectives designed to be "funny" and/or "cutting". To wit: "Spineless Liberal," "Ivory-tower Liberal," and my personal favorite, leveled on me at Libertas, "Libtard".

In return, I will refrain from mentally dismissing your argument based upon over-reliance on said-names and terms.

I am also willing to refrain entirely from making any of the following statements:

1) Bush is stupid
2) Cheney is a "Sith Lord"
3) Everything is about oil


Spoil Your Inner Child

Posted by codemorse

If anyone asks, I bought it for my "future children." Let's not lie amongst friends, though - I really bought it for myself.

With the exception of the Simpsons, no cartoon in the 90's was as consistently hilarious and as sweetly subversive as Animaniacs. Wielding a joke-per-minute ratio up there with classic Marx Brothers movies, a distinctly-skewed view of pop-culture and adults, and an arsenal of clever tunes, the show was ground-breaking and smart enough to snag a Peabody award.

And now it's out on DVD. I picked it up today on the cheap side ($25.98 at Circuit city), and for anyone who harbors fond memories of the show it's definately worth the money. If anything, the show is funnier now that I'm older.

Karaoke Bush

Posted by codemorse

President Bush covers classic U2.

Bitch, Bitch, Bitch

Posted by codemorse

From one of Andrew Sullivan's readers:

Reading the interview with Kos made me want to throw up. As a Connecticut native (and Lieberman supporter), I wonder where he gets off trying to play God in our elections. He says, "I don't think Joe Lieberman would have anything to worry about had he tended to his constituents back home. His job is to represent the people of Connecticut." What kind of view of Connecticut's politics does he think he has from San Francisco, exactly? Representing "the people of Connecticut" is exactly what Lieberman has been doing, which is why he is crushing Lamont and the GOP candidate in a 3-way general election with over 50% of the vote. What Kos wants, of course, is for Lieberman to represent his vision of what the Democratic Party should be. He goes on to say that Lieberman would not be abiding "by the democratic will of the people of Connecticut" if he loses the primary and wins the general election. Right, because "people of Connecticut" = "20% of Connecticut's registered Democrats who turn out for the closed primary in the middle of the summer." Spare me.

Newsflash: Bill Clinton isn't a Connecticut resident. Should he cease supporting Lieberman? Most of the politicians showing support to Lieberman are out-of-state. Should they shut up?

According to this link (courtesy of This Modern World), a whopping 80% of Lieberman's contributions are out-of-state in origin.

According to this guy's logic, shouldn't we demand those contributions cease immediately?

What's the problem here, exactly? It would seem the problem is this:

People who like Lieberman don't want him to be voted out of office.

Big surprise, I know. I'm here to answer the obvious ones.

But here's the problem with that problem:

We're a democracy.

Frankly, I don't give a shit whether or not Sullivan's reader likes Kos. As a commentor on Sullivan's site notes, the effort to demonize DailyKos has shifted overnight from "painting the man and the site as ineffectual and unimportant" to "Kos-as-threat-to-American-Way-of-life".

Again, no surprise there. It's the go-to attack button for idiots everywhere.

What's depressing to me is the sheer hypocrisy of the above statement. "YOU! KOS! Stay out of our elections! You? Clinton? Well, you're okay. You agree with me. You can say something."

...and if Lieberman is "crushing" LaMont, then what's the problem here again?

Orwell Back At Ya'

Posted by Jabawacefti

From the Hammer:

The word that obviates all thinking and magically inverts victim into aggressor is "disproportionate," as in the universally decried "disproportionate Israeli response."

When the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor, it did not respond with a parallel "proportionate" attack on a Japanese naval base. It launched a four-year campaign that killed millions of Japanese, reduced Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki to a cinder, and turned the Japanese home islands to rubble and ruin. Disproportionate? No. When one is wantonly attacked by an aggressor, one has every right — legal and moral — to carry the fight until the aggressor is disarmed and so disabled that it cannot threaten one's security again. That's what it took with Japan.

Britain was never invaded by Germany in World War II. Did it respond to the blitz and V-1 and V-2 rockets with "proportionate" aerial bombardment of Germany? Of course not. Churchill orchestrated the greatest land invasion in history that flattened and utterly destroyed Germany, killing untold innocent German women and children in the process.

The perversity of today's international outcry lies in the fact that there is indeed a disproportion in this war, a radical moral asymmetry between Hezbollah and Israel: Hezbollah is deliberately trying to create civilian casualties on both sides while Israel is deliberately trying to minimize civilian casualties, also on both sides.

Sad State of Affairs

Posted by Jabawacefti

The future of Lebanon does not look good, from Michael Totten via Andrew Sullivan:

What is happening in the Lebanon is a tragedy for the Lebanese, a horrible - and terrifying - conundrum for the Israelis, and a disaster for US policy in the wider struggle against Islamic extremism. And, oh yes, it is not, unfortunately, going to bring an end to Hezbollah...
“What will become of us?” is the question on everyone’s mind. No one can know what will happen after Israel lifts its siege and the temporary national unity flies apart into pieces. And it will fly apart into pieces. The only question is how far the pieces will fly and how hard they'll land.

Boop, boop, boop (part 1)...

posted by Scott Roche

I want to say a word or three about backups (thus the clever title). We take for granted that our stuff at work is always backed up (it isn't) and for some reason I suspect that most people at home are either A) ignorant of the fact that data loss happens on home PC's or B) think that it magically happens on its own. So to clarify A) does and B) does not.

Before you set to the process of backing up you should ask yourself a few questions. What do I want to back up? How much space will that take? How often should I do it? How many machines do I have to back up?

The answer to the "What" question has two answers: data and programs/os. The first is rather straightforward. "Data" consists of things like documents, mp3s, image files, etc. Decide which data you would cry about losing and at the very least back that crap up. You can't really "back up" your OS or your programs as simply as copying files to some sort of device (thanks Uncle Bill!). To do that you'll need some specialized software, but it's not a bad idea.

Once you know what you want to back up you can assess how much space that takes. And keep in mind that since your data will probably only grow that number will get bigger. This all affects what sort of media you might use.

Now for the "How often" portion. My personal belief is that you should back up at least once a month. If you are quite the photog or love your mp3s you'll want to increase that interval. Most backup solutions take some time and generally speaking if you back up more often it will take you less time (if you only backup that which has changed).

If you have a home network you add more machines and data to the mix. This will make your solution more complex, more expensive, or both depending on how you answer the first questions.

Once you have all this information you can look at your options. If you're just backing up data and don't have more than a few gigs you could probably use a writable CD or DVD. Most new computers have a writable drive or you can add one for a nominal expense. In my experience though, you'll run into headaches at least half the time. Then there's a need to store the discs and organize them and they're limited in capacity. That's why I would recommend a USB hard drive. They're inexpensive, reliable, provide plenty of space and if it's a USB 2.0 drive they're reasonably fast.

The actual back up process can be as simple as copying and pasting your files from your system to the device. You could also either write a script(though if you can do this you probably aren't my target audience) or download one like this. These methods both make it hard to do an incremental backup (just getting the new stuff), but they're free.

Monday we'll look at a few more advanced (and expensive) ways of making your data safe from the gremlins.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Ninja Internships

Posted by Jabawacefti

Dude. Never knew Ninjas could be so cool. Want a Ninja Internship?

How about a Ninternship?


Posted by Jabawacefti

How would you like to...


Posted by codemorse

I was fooling around in "Paint" last night, and threw these business cards/tiny advertisements together. Feel free to print them out and scatter them like litter over your home town/city:

And my personal favorite...

Democracy & Liberalism

Posted by Jabawacefti

Jonah has a very interesting take on the comparative importance of Democracy vs. Liberalism.

Very interesting, indeed.

Personally, I think that liberals should be having this discussion too. Or at least participating in this one, which is why I am getting you guys involved. If tangentially.

Laptops in school...

posted by Scott Roche

Nicholas Negroponte of MIT has been the champion of a project called "One Laptop Per Child", an effort to get a crank powered laptop running Linux into the hands of every kid in the third world. These things run about a hundred dollars a piece (+ $40 S/H). I think it's a pretty cool idea to a degree, but India disagrees:

"The case for giving a computer to every single child is pedagogically suspect. It may actually be detrimental to the growth of the creative and analytical abilities of the child," Education Secretary Sudeep Banerjee told a planning commission.

He added that the project is suffering from an unpredictable timeline. "We cannot visualise a situation for decades when we can go beyond the pilot stage. We need classrooms and teachers more urgently than fancy tools," said Banerjee.


I do think that laptops in the classroom can be detrimental. They're certainly a distraction in colleges that have wireless internet in classrooms. Were I a professor these days I would have a "NO LAPTOP!!!" rule in my class. You don't need to cruise whatever social networking site is the craze this week. Not sure that that's what he's talking about here though.

I think his strongest argument against them lies in his second statement. You need to recognize that solid teachers and facilities that meet your needs are more important than any whizbang gadget, no matter what the cost. Besides, it would seem that India is far from a third world country in regards to its IT power.

The Best Music Video Ever!

Posted by Jabawacefti

As it turns out, the best music video ever is from Egypt.

Found this, via Andrew Sullivan. Sweet.

Friday Filmatist Roundup! Thursday Edition!

Posted by Codemorse

I know I usually do this on Fridays, but there's so much interesting/exciting stuff out there from over the past week that I figured I'd throw it up early.

Children of Grunge unite! Chris muthafunkin' Cornell is writing the theme to the new Bond film, Casino Royale. It promises to be the coolest theme since Duran Duran's "View to a Kill" (Dun! Dun-nuh-nah!)

Check out the official teaser poster for the upcoming Iron Man flick HERE. It does the impossible - raises my interest in the film from less than zero to somewhere just above zero. The fact that Jon Favreau is directing gives it another nudge slightly upward.

Feed your whining, frankly-annoying inner child with a report from Comic Con on the Dark Crystal sequel.

Read an atrociously edited review of America: Freedom to Facism right HERE. The film starts as an examination of why we pay taxes (there is apparently no written law requiring us to do so, and we learn that our taxes go solely to paying off the National Debt) and expands from there to include some pretty disturbing information on National Identity cards, under-the-skin microchip implants, and other crazily paranoid shit you'd instantly dismiss if it weren't actually happening RIGHT NOW (Cue Theramin).

Discover - to your genuine surprise - that you are stoked to see Miami Vice after reading THIS REVIEW. Despite containing a suckhole of talent (Colin Farell, who supposedly shows real chops here), it's directed by Michael Mann. I've seen and loved every single one of his films (except for Manhunter, which I'd probably love, but still haven't seen), and I can't say that about any other director. Literally. The reviewer tries waaaaay too hard to write "interestingly," but it's still damn exciting news.

Find out what the Broken Lizard boys are up to next right HERE. Their new flick, Beerfest, comes out in August and you are a filthy, commie-loving punk if you don't plunk your money down for it.

Television Cheat! New casting for Lost.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Standing Ovation

Ovation, one of approximately 18,000,000,000,000 cable channels whose existence I've remained entirely aware of, has been running a program called "Rhythm of Life." It's hosted by Sir George Martin (he of Beatles-producing fame), and it's FASCINATING.

I rarely, if ever, recommend setting your Tivos for something, but if you get the chance to watch/listen to this extraordinary series, do it.

So far, they've discussed rhythm and melody with Billy Joel, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Noel Gallagher, and many, many others.

I repeat: It's FASCINATING.

Highly recommended.

More Wilkommen For Our Guests

Posted by codemorse

From time to time, I like to give a quick shout-out to interesting folk who've dropped by to read Codemorse. This is interesting to no one but me, probably.

Our newest guest:

Domain Name: ? (United States Government)
ISP: State of Louisiana Office of Telecommunications

As always, we welcome our elected representatives and their non-elected-yet-still-respected brethren. Stick around. You'll find much in the way of free thought, both "Liberal" and "Conservative." What you will not find is an echo-chamber.

If you want that, you'll need to look elsewhere.

Death Penalty Conundrum

Posted by Jabawacefti

Via Volokh, a Sixth Circuit case points to the difficulties of applying to law to death penalty cases:

Chief Judge Boggs wrote separately "to note the continuing oddity of the circumstances of cases such as this." Boggs continued:

To put it bluntly, it might well appear to a disinterested observer that the most incompetent and ineffective counsel that can be provided to a convicted and death-eligible defendant is a fully-investigated and competent penalty-phase defense under the precedents of the Supreme Court and of our court. That is, the primary means by which a prisoner escapes the affirmance of a death sentence in this circuit has become a finding that “ineffective” counsel was provided at the penalty phase. Thus, if counsel provides fully-effective assistance, and the jury simply does not buy the defense, then the defendant is likely to be executed. However, if counsel provides ineffective assistance, then the prisoner is likely to be spared, certainly for many years, and frequently forever.


Entering the Ring

Posted by Jabawacefti

Would you ever consider, given the prevailing political climate, to enter politics as a candidate?


Posted by Jabawacefti

Andrea Yates found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Think whatever you want about the verdict (for my part, I think it's a crock, a cop out and a horrible injustice), but the conflicting verdicts hardly instill confidence in our judicial system. Show up on Monday, you're guilty. Show up on Friday, you're insane. Pick a jury. Any jury. The whole mess has pissed me off from the beginning, and this doesn't make me feel any better.

Oh well. Sucks to be me.

Buy TV Episodes/Movies Online...

posted by Scott Roche

This may or may not be news to you, but you can now buy TV shows and movies from iTunes. Apple signed a deal with WB and for $1.99 you can get Friends, Aquaman, Babylon 5, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, or The "Best" of MadTV. That seems worthwhile for all but the last, I mean two bones for the closing credits? But I digress. You get a price break if you buy an entire season (twenty-six dollars for season two of Battlestar Galactica for instance). Granted you can only watch these on your computer, but with PCs becoming more TV friendly and monitors becoming more like (and in some cases better than) tv screens does that really matter?

If you could buy a feature length film this way for say five or ten dollars would you? It would be even better if the provider lets you burn it to DVD (I understand that maker of porn Vivid does this, once again leading the way in making bundles of cash off the net). Add to this the idea of a set top box from say Netflix that would download fifty or a hundred titles and allow you to watch them for a monthly fee. At the very least I think it would further shrink the DVD release window, if not eradicate it all together.

On the tech side, the sort of things that would make this process easier will probably resort in better compression software, faster processors, better video cards, etc. And that's just the sort of thing that's likely to happen given mergers like the one between AMD and ATI. All in all it's a pretty cool time to be alive if you love movies and computers as much as I do.

Sullivan Stirs The Pot

Posted by codemorse

From Andrew

A reader wants to know what the silence is all about:

The radio silence on Lebanon from the left-wing blogosphere (i.e. Kos, Atrios) is fascinating, and your reader from the '
Liberal Blogs and Israel' post had it about right. To sympathize with Hezbollah would expose these bloggers to a potentially career-damaging backlash. However, to take the mainstream Democratic line of say, Chuck Schumer, would be to seriously alienate a chunk of their readership....

I've actually been skeptical of beating up on Kos on this. But I just read the last three pages of posts on the
main site, and there's only one even vaguely alluding to the crisis with Hezbollah. That's just plain weird. I know we're not supposed to notice silence on blogs - people are free to ignore all sorts of stories. But the silence can be instructive (hey, I studied with a Straussian).

This is Atrios'
second-hand excuse:

I've said nothing about war in Lebanon or Ethiopia because I have nothing to add, and also because - as you may or may not be aware -the United States is actually involved in a hugely bloody war right now, and this is more of a pressing concern to me personally. I don’t know the secret formula for unshitting any of these beds - I promise I wouldn't be shy if I did - but I currently only have to sleep in one of them; and, as it turns out, that's the one bed where I actually have some miniscule chance of influencing the situation. So that’s my concern.

This would make sense if there were no connections between Hezbollah and Iran and Iraq. Are lefties unable to grapple with complex regional wars? Nah. They're just wimping out. My reader gives one plausible reason why. Is there a more persuasive one?

Up until that last bit, I was pretty much right there with Sullivan. Allow me to attempt an explanation:

I think that there are quite a few "Lefty" blogs who've essentially decided that anything supported by Bush is now automatically suspect. This is, on one level, entirely understandable to me. Bush has lied/misled/been wrong about... well... pretty much everything since the war-drums started up for Iraq. He's steam-rolled over his doubters, and ignored the views of smart, politically active people in favor of policies and actions that have been shown to be, at the very least, severe miscalculation.

So, a certain skepticism over this current conflict is to be expected. This is understandable, but also harmful. Blanket-hate is smothering, and its unjustified. Sullivan is also correct about the relative lack of posting about this conflict, at least at the sites I tend to frequent. Some of this can be attributed to the view that this isn't "World War III" (as many a news-anchor/commentator has declared), but rather an unfortunate regional conflict. Many of the "lefties" Sullivan decries are actually quite "conservative" when it comes to involving our country in the bloody, time-battered conflicts between Israel and everybody else.

Some "lefties" believe that our constant and consistent defense of Israel is misguided, and prolongs conflicts in the middle-east that we might actually be able to help settle, were we not always in Israel's corner, to the detriment of legitimate complaints and fears voiced by other countries.

I'm of the belief that trying to involve oneself in a war centered around religion is a losing proposition, no matter the side you choose. This does not mean that Israel "had this coming," or that Israel is "bad." Israel is a country, without such convenient appellations. Obviously, Israel has suffered massively under terrorist threat for far longer than our country has. Their reaction in this case is, to my mind, rather intense. But then, I don't have to worry about suicide bombings like they do, and that does make a difference in how one views these things.

They've been attacked. Constantly. Is it so strange to think that they might be a little sick of that?


To imply that silence on "the blogosphere" regarding this conflict = an inability to "grapple with complex regional wars" is ridiculous. And it furthers the most glaring trait of conservative and liberal alike in our Brave New Polarized World.

Namely, the desire to paint the opposition as idiots.

Is Sullivan serious? Is the man who supported the war in Iraq on the basis of faulty intelligence, a total misunderstanding of Iraq's probable reaction, and a (probably altruistic in his case) impulse to nation-build over any attempt to understand the "complex" regional politics of the middle-east actually wondering whether the middle-east is too "complex" for the lefties?

He's half-serious, it seems. After all, there's that hypothetical-negating "nah" there right after he asks his question. But that's sort of the equivalent of a liberal saying "Are all conservatives blood-thirsty, war-mongering, empire-building neo-fascists? Nah."

The effect is to distance yourself from the question while allowing that question to twist in the wind. It's clever, and sometimes effective (I'm sure I've done it), but it's also sort of sad.

A question or two: Wasn't the region's complexity one of the MAJOR reasons for opposing the rushing in, all willy-nilly, to liberate a people that many were concerned didn't particularly want the sort of liberation we offered?

And isn't the insistence (by those who are talking about the conflict) that Israel is not always "right" in action, even when "right" in indignation a confirmation that middle-eastern politics are damn complicated?

Perhaps the critics were right. Irony is dead.

Even less appealing is Sullivan's suggestion that the lefty blogosphere has "wimped out." Not because I happen to know whether or not that's the case, but because it's the kind of thing a drunk at a bar might ask. It's got no substance. No reason to exist. As Sullivan himself notes, "people are free to ignore all sorts of stories." Like how Sullivan ignored the enormous factual discrepancies between what the administration told us about Iraq and what every other newssource in the world told us.

The man who couldn't/wouldn't see this, and who has only recently come around to the idea that perhaps President Bush wasn't being, y'know, honest with us, is throwing around the word "wimpy" like it means something.

Remember what I said about irony being dead? Long live irony!


Posted by Jabawacefti

Quick question:

Do you think the left hates Bush more or less than the right hates Clinton?

Thoughts on the ramifications of such hatred?


Posted by codemorse

Well, almost, anyway. In a day or two I should have the physical documentation to prove it. I can now perform Weddings, Funerals, and baptisms. I'm also able to perform "spiritual counseling."

Plus, I'm apparently qualified to open my own church. I'm tempted to make some lame jokes but I'm actually sincerely stoked about this.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Ain't It Certifiable News

Posted by codemorse

From Aint It Cool News:

...if someone sat down to make a similar version of the Communist Manifesto, it would look a hell of a lot like The Ant Bully. It’s a warm ultra-liberal hug of a kids film, preaching the joys of socialism and hard work, all the while telling a story of what the world might be like in a liberal post-9/11 world.

What? You think I’m kidding? Over-reacting? Maybe that I’m
reading too much into this?

Possibly, yes.
As Lucas and Zoc sit atop a rock and stare at the human city, Zoc asks ‘Is that your hive?’ ‘Yeah, I guess it’s like a hive.’ When Zoc asks about how it works, Lucas replies ‘I guess it’s every man for himself.’ This leads to a Zoc monologue about how that just doesn’t make any sense.

Everyone has their place and don’t the humans realize that if they all work together and share in the fruits of their labor that they all can benefit?

Yeah. See. I ain’t making this shit up. Zoc falls just short of saying “Everyone open your little red books and follow along on page 57.” This is gonna play really well in China. And North Korea? Kim Jong Il is gonna flip for this.

AHHHH! Save us! Save us from the godless, communist spectre of "cooperation"!

Parents, shield your fragile children from "The Ant Bully"! And while you're at it, make sure to keep them away from "The Lion King," (Circle of Life? More like Circle-of-Sinister-Anti-Democratic-Tendencies!) "A Bug's Life," (Bugs all working together? Tell it to Joe McCarthy, sister!) and most of all, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". Just look at those Whos down in Whoville! They're without presents and baubles and boxes! They're without toys, trains and warm woolen soxes! Yet they remain so very happy! Clearly they represent the anti-materialist communists at their most vile!

Amazing Stories

From Kung Fu Monkey:

"Giannino's" owner was a young guy named Paul. Paul was a tough, wiry bastard from Holland who'd come to New York, flat broke at 16, to learn the restaurant business. He spoke with a weird, hybrid Dutch/Brooklyn accent. The sort of New York accent an actor puts on when doing a cab driver from the 30's. But on Paul it fit. He was also, as are many immigrants, fiercely patriotic when it came to the US. Zeal of the converted, etc.

So one night we get word that the Prince [of Saudi Arabia] will be visiting our place. Paul was understandably excited -- the restaurant business is all about buzz. On the night of nights, submachine-gun toting private security gave the grounds a once-over. This was less distressing than you'd think; they'd been lurking around in the parking garage and stairwells for weeks. We'd gotten pretty used to them. The Prince arrived, was seated out on the patio. I didn't see him eat, as my bar was tucked away out of line-of-sight.

Paul pulled out all the stops. Our chef was amazing to begin with, and they put on a hell of a banquet for the event. Paul called in our best waitress, Kate, to do the dinner. If you've ever worked in the restaurant/bar business, you know that the staff is a roiling blend of high school drama class emotions and Desperate Housewives style intrigue. If you've worked the business, you also know that there is always that one person everyone actually likes. Sweet, sincere, working their way through college ... that was Kate on our staff. Even the heroin addicted commie waitress liked her.

Near the end of the meal, I heard a buzz from the wait-station. Kate was in a corner, pretending not to be freaking out. Paul came out from the kitchen. The Prince had been playing grab-ass with Kate all night. The other servers had seen it. She'd tried not to make a big deal of it, but when it became plain that she wasn't into Captain Handsy, our visiting dignitary had launched into a particularly nasty set of comments.

A bunch of us followed Paul out as he crossed onto the patio. He nodded to the Saudi. "Yeah. I gotta ask you to leave."Objections arose. Paul shook his head. "She works for me. I don't allow that for any guest. Now I gotta ask you a second time, please leave. Meal's on the house."

The Saudi's lackey starts to yell: "You can't talk to him like this! This man is Prince --"

Paul cuts him off with a whistle, a New York cab whistle. Sets his shoulders and says:"This is America, which makes you the Prince of absolutely fucking nobody."



Posted by codemorse

1. You sink Death's Battleship in a high-stakes battle of wits. As a reward for your victory, Death gives you a choice:

You can live for 300 years, as an average, everyday Joe, or you can live for 30 years as the Rock/Jazz/Film/Literary/Corporate Superstar you've always harbored a desire to be. If you choose to live for 300 years, you'll never get sick, you'll age at a protracted rate, but the rest of it is up to you. If you choose to be a Superstar, you'll have all the fame, wealth and power you could ask for, but be susceptible to disease, aging, and everything else.

Which do you choose?

2. While spending the day at the beach with your lover/friend/whatever, you find an ancient bottle washed up onshore. Uncorking it, a Djinn (Genie) emerges. You grants you one wish, with a catch: your wish cannot be selfish in any conscious way.

What do you wish for?

Home Networking...

posted by Scott Roche

Nearly everyone I know has a little Linksys router hooked up to their hi-speed network connection thus giving themselves a home network. Typically these also have a wireless component. What people may not realize is they have in most cases left a sign on their virtual front door that says "Please abuse my bandwidth!!". There are a few ways to prevent this from happening.

1) RTFM* - This is a rather simple rule of thumb that applies to any electronic device. I know it's time consuming. I know it may not be exciting. But if you consider what's at stake then it's really not a bad idea. The details of the rest of my suggestions may require this first and most important step.

2) Change the default Administrator password. This is one of those pieces of advice that is good for anything with a password. Since routers have the same password out of the box it's a simple matter of a cracker following the first rule to know what yours is. With it they can cause all kinds of havoc.

3) Use MAC filtering. No this does not prevent Apple computers from logging onto your network. Every network card has what is called a MAC address, a unique identifier. Most routers will give you the option to allow (or disallow) specific MAC addresses. It means a little typing on your part, but it's worth it.

4) Enable Wireless Security. This can be a little tricky so I'll refer you to rule one for your particular hardware. Look for terms like WEP or WPA (WEP is best). It basically requires your computer to authenticate itself to the router with a password. And once this is set up on both ends you usually don't have to enter the password again.

If you have kiddos most routers also have parental controls. They would allow you to close certain ports used by chat clients, games, and other problem areas. You can also block websites by name though there are software packages that would give you more control in those areas.

Disclaimer These things will not prevent determined crackers from breaking into a system, but it's a good idea to do it anyway.

FYI - Why I use the term cracker and not hacker.

* "Read the Fucking Manual"

Walkin' In A Wiki Wonderland

Posted by codemorse

If you've got the time, there's a fascinating article on Wikipedia up on the New Yorker's site.

Monday, July 24, 2006

ABA Gold

Posted by codemorse

The other day in this post, I wrote the following:

While I don't share Sullivan's comfort level with programs like TIA, I agree entirely that programs like TIA can be maintained within Constitutional boundaries. That the President has consistently and consciously chosen to disregard and/or test those boundaries is really the base, elemental source of my dislike for his administration.(emphasis added)

Always a welcome foil to my rampant liberality, Jabs responded with this:
In what sense do you think "the President has consistently and consciously chosen to disregard and/or test those boundaries"?

My answer's in the linked post above. One of the areas I cited as raising Constitutional issues? President Bush's ongoing love of "executive exceptions," or "bill-signing statements;" wherein laws that apply to everyone else magically don't apply to the President. Because he says so.

It's absurd. Apparently, the American Bar Association Task Force agrees:

President Bush's penchant for writing exceptions to laws he has just signed violates the Constitution, an American Bar Association task force says in a report highly critical of the practice.

The ABA group, which includes a one-time FBI director and former federal appeals court judge, said the president has overstepped his authority in attaching challenges to hundreds of new laws.

The attachments, known as bill-signing statements, say Bush reserves a right to revise, interpret or disregard measures on national security and constitutional grounds.

....The task force said the statements suggest the president will decline to enforce some laws. Bush has had more than 800 signing statement challenges, compared with about 600 signing statements combined for all other presidents, the group said.

Get that? 800 exceptions, compared to approximately 600 signed by every other President in history.

Certainly other President's have exercised this power, and I'm not presumptuous enough to say that this power shouldn't exist. But the sheer enormity of statements that Bush has brought into being is ludicrious.

In 5 1/2 years, Bush has eclipsed the rest of the American Presidency by far more than the proverbial country-mile.

How do you feel about that?

Electronic Calendars...

posted by Scott Roche

Trying to keep organized in the bizarro world of ours is a lot like dribbling a football. I know that I'm constantly bombarded with demands for my time from my legions of fans and it would be nice to have a calendar that I could easily share with them to let them know when I'm available to sign autographs. Problem is that we'd all have to be using the same type of calendar software/website because interoperability is a real bear.

This was the topic of an Inside the Web podcast that I listened to this morning on the way into work (loving my new IPod, oh yes!). Leo Laporte and Canadian hotness Amber MacArthur talked to Scott Mace of Calendar Swamp about his efforts to rectify this situation.

This is one of those problems that I didn't realize was a problem until I listened to this and put my brain to it. There are a variety of services/plugins/software packages than can start you down the right path, but they're far from perfect. Imagine of email were like this, only being able to message people if they're using a specific software. IM'ing is this way to a degree, but there are things like Trillian that can allow you to monitor the major chat clients. There are no real answers to this dilemma yet. It's all a snake pit and he (Scott) said it's up to us as consumers to make some noise to our calendar providers.

What do you use? Work forces me to use Outlook which isn't too bad, but without a Palm or some other (inferior) PDA I don't have the portability I'd like. I toyed with Google's calendar, but I can't synch the two and I'm lazy. Amber said that she was tempted to go back to pen and paper and even uses that on occasion. Are you there yet? I've considered it (Hipster PDA), but my handwriting is atrocious. Maybe you have the answer. If so it could make you a rich man.


Posted by codemorse


1. You are out walking late on a weekend night. A man approaches and demands that you give him your wallet/purse. He is holding a gun in his hand, but the gun is obviously fake. Nevertheless, he is clearly batshit-crazy. Do you give him your money?

2. In a random 1%-of-the-sky search, SETI (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence project) picks up an unmistakable signal. It's a clearly focused transmission beamed across space in much the same way that SETI and other programs have been transmitting for decades. What's more, it's alien. While the transmission is recognizable as "intelligent," there is no way to translate or understand it. The contents of the transmission are completely unknown.

One bright woman at SETI manages to trace the signal, and reports that she has located the point of the signal's origin.

We can transmit back, or remain silent. You are in charge of the decision. What do you do?

3. You are told that your mother is being held hostage at an undisclosed location. The kidnappers inform you that they will cut off every one of her fingers and toes, individually, unless you agree to tell every third person you meet over the next week that you enjoy molesting children. You may give no indication of saying this under duress. You must be sincere and convincing in the telling. Most importantly, you cannot inform the Police of your deal.

It's possible that the Police could find your mother in less than a day. They have their best people on the case, and they've assured you that they'll have her back to you within 24 hours. You have no way of knowing whether or not this will turn out to be the case, however.

What do you do?

4. You are asleep (not currently, one hopes). In the middle of a particularly vivid dream, Jesus Christ appears. He tells you that the End is near, and that you've been chosen to be his Prophet. He tells you that he will send you a sign to guarantee the truth of what he says. He tells you to make contact with the world, and tell them He is coming. Then he walks over to the bar where a pre-skeletal Jennifer Connelly has been waiting for you, does a shot of Jaegermeister, and leaves.

You wake up, and in the middle of your bedroom floor is the shadow of an enormous cross. You've never seen it before in your life, but it turns out to be the shadow of two trees that have blown over in the night.

Do you treat your dream as a vision?

Water Is Wet, Fire Is Hot

Posted by codemorse


"Sex education may get adolescents to delay sex"

After participating in a two-week sexual education program designed and implemented by an academic medical center, more middle-school students said they would hold off on having sex for the first time, Texas researchers report....

Before the sex education program, 84 percent of students said they would delay having sex until after high school. This figure rose to nearly 87 percent after the program....

Sulak and her colleagues note. "By placing medical emphasis on risk avoidance and primary prevention of disease," they conclude, "encouraging adolescents to delay sexual onset can lead to significant health benefits."

In other news, teaching children how to catch a ball leads to children not getting hit in the face.

Since sex is "sinful," expect people to treat this scientific data the same way they treat evolution - by ignoring or denying it.

Catching Up With The News

Posted by codemorse

Yes, this is a little "late." But it's still amusing/worth noting.
White House Reporter: "Is there a reason President Bush has decided to speak to the NAACP this year?"

Tony Snow: "Because he wants to."

(reporter responds)

Tony Snow: "I just told you. 'Cause he wants to."

Has the President's entire agenda ever been so accurately and succinctly put?

Jabawacefti Appreciation Thread

Our resident Conservative Badass deserves a little love. Show him that love here in the comments section. Not too much love, now - the man's spoken for.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Opening Our Borders

Posted by codemorse

If you've enjoyed your time here at Codemorse, it's time to let someone know about us. If you're coming here on a daily/semi-daily/more-than-once-type-schedule then perhaps we're writing something worth reading.

If you're feeling generous, or bored, why not send a friend, relative or spouse a link to one of your favorite posts? Or simply the link to the site? It's the sort of thing that take a literal moment to do, and helps to spread the word a little.

In the meantime, scroll down. More fresh-baked goodness directly below.

Hitchens: From Anti-Imperialist To Great Liberator To What?

Posted by codemorse

From Red State Son:

In the final spasms of our friendship, Hitchens and I exchanged numerous emails about his apparent lack of interest in the continuing woes of Palestinian life. At that time, Hitchens was consumed with all things Iraq, trying to get others (like me) to share his lust for war and for brutally wiping out whoever Hitch deemed an enemy of civilization.

He droned on and on about the "debt" we owed to the Iraqis for once backing Saddam, and how duty-bound we were to invade their country and spread some of our high-minded ideals their way. After listening to him play this same tune again and again on his battered accordion, I asked him if we owe that much to the Iraqis, and Kurds, that we must directly enter their lives via military force, then what did we owe the Palestinians, whose fate we helped seal long before Saddam rose to power in Iraq?

If you applied Hitchens' rationale for war in Iraq to the issue of Palestine/Israel, then we should have immediately deployed troops to Gaza and the West Bank in order to liberate our Palestinian brothers and sisters from the oppressive Israeli boot. Of course, that would never happen, which led me to suggest to Hitch that perhaps all the high minded rhetoric about "liberating" Iraq wasn't so sincere to begin with. That maybe his once-keen anti-imperial eye was fogged with romantic nonsense. Hitch would hear none of it.

The US, he insisted, was no longer imperialist, but now used its military to further freedom. This was the New Radicalism, and by insisting that the US remained imperialist, I was doomed to be on the wrong side of history. Couldn't I see that the likes of Ahmed Chalabi and Halliburton contractors were today's Mandelas? And so on.Amid all this bluster, Hitchens never really answered why he was largely silent on Palestinian suffering. He'd pipe up now and then in interviews here and there, but his main focus was the glorious war unfolding in Iraq.

Recent events have forced Hitchens to return to the topic for which he was once renowned and often cited. He appeared on Hugh Hewitt's
reactionary radio show on July 12 to talk about Israel, Gaza and Lebanon; and while Hitch showed that he still remembers the basic argument, doubt and trepidation emerge:

HH: Do you think they're morally equivalent, Christopher Hitchens, Hamas, Hezbollah and Israel?

CH: No. I couldn't say that I did, but you can hear the reluctance in my voice as a yes/no question. No, it seems to me that especially the suicide bombing campaign that took place, for example, against Jewish old people's homes in Natanya, on the Israeli coast on Passover, quite clearly suggests that these one blows themselves up for a compromise.

HH: Exactly.

CH: And that has, of course, helped to ruin everything. But the Israelis have supreme power, locally, politically. They have supreme power economically. They've, for a long time, had absolute supreme power militarily. For them not to say where they think their border should be, and to keep fooling us and building strange walls that go outside the perimeter of any likely state, makes the moral equivalence thing a little harder to decide with an absolute.

There's a lot more over at Red State Son. I encourage you to read it, especially if you're a fan of Hitchens (past or present).

(heads-up courtesy of This Modern World)

Venom Revealed (Sorta)

Posted by codemorse

Hot. Damn.

More please, Mr. Raimi. Now.