Save, save, save – or use DD

August 30th, 2005

The golden rule when doing any work on a computer is Save your work. Save early and save often! Yet even as a self described computer guru and security guy, I still forget to save my work at times. Luckilly, I was editing only text and had some common GNU/Linux utilities available to save me the frustration of doing the work all over again!

It was shortly after midnight, and I was up writing a quick page on my wiki about planning what to run on the website. Time passed quickly and I had now been working on it for nearly 1/2 hour, but it was not quite finished yet and I didn’t want to “save” it until I was done. The “just save it” thought came into my head (thanks God), yet I dismissed it thinking “what could go wrong? I’m just adding text”.

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Gmail invites – not for “Anyone”

August 26th, 2005

In January and possibly even up to April of this year, I was sending out my google gmail invites out to friends via the Mailinator
service. Mailinator acts like an anonymous drop box, its a place to direct emails that you expect to receive instantly (like from web-registration pages) that you can “pickup” on the website, and keep your own personal inbox clean.

I’ve just tried this test again, and now google gmail is blocking invites to (and related) addresses. I was able to send an email directly to the same account from within gmail though, so apparently they are only worried about the invite process. The reverse psychology (that entices us, along with the cool technology) and tragedy of google’s “invite only” system appears be of significant importance to them.

Big Brother Google is watching you…, see the 21C3 presentation (german) (babel de-en, google de_en)

Google controls more and more of the information we (out of our free will) access every day. With a new google single sign-on account, you now access google services who controls how you search the net, search local information, map out directions, shop online, read the news, send email, send sms, send im and chat online, write your blog, socialize with other people, etc (more) and all of these words transmitted are subject to targetted advertising (including your email). Google basically owns the Net – the Information Sphere in which modern society exists.

The GoogleOS has surpassed Microsoft’s plans for world domination of the operating system, software, game console, MSNBC, computer hardware, television, email and other markets (just now getting more into online maps, etc). The world now runs off of the Internet and web services are the tools.

Do you love Big Brother? (btw- I just finally read 1984 this summer, and I need to learn German)

Subpoena YOUR OWN call history

August 25th, 2005

You wouldn’t think, but it’s true – To follow-up on my lost/stolen cellphone story… so, when you buy something with your credit or debit card, in most scenarios you can (within a couple hours usually) verify the transaction by logging into your banking account via the Internet. Sometimes it may come up as a ‘pending’ transaction, but nonetheless it’s still there. The marvels of technology and the Internet. But… did you ever think for a minute that you could possibly do the same thing for your phone call activity? WOW – wouldn’t you be wrong!!!

Since Monday morning I’ve been trying to get a __report of the call activity from my own phone__ for 4 days now… and the response is that all I can do is wait for my billing statement to come in the mail! YES – isn’t that bizzare?! Alltel will _not_ provide me with my own call activity — the same information I will receive in a billing statement within weeks (up to 1 month possibly mind you!!!) — without a subpoena! Why do I need a subpoena for my own call activity?!

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Lost Cellphone Story, Harassment

August 21st, 2005

The Suprise – Last night after my brother’s wedding (which was great btw — future post) we went out to eat after the reception for a 2am breakfast at Perkins. Apparently then my phone slid out of my pocket and got left behind at the booth, then the next early-morning customer likely found it… and began to abuse it extensively. He made his way through calling perhaps everyone in my address book on my phone and left them terrible messages early Sunday morning or harassed them over the phone personally, eventually pretending to be me after finding out my name from the conversations. Almost all of my family and friends in town for the wedding received the nasty messages, and were a bit shocked to receive them of course. I don’t think many had even checked yet to see that they were supposedly from “me”.

My parents received the messages as well, and that morning we worked to get the phone back and get it disconnected. Calling my cellular service providor (Alltel) from their number in the phone book and the 1800-Alltel9 number, all I got was an automated machine with no option to speak with a person for technical support until regular office hours resumed on Monday. I found this perhaps the most frustrating and disturbing, even more so than the harassing calls being made on my behalf all morning, was the feeling of not being able to do anything in response. (Assuming everyone who knows me would be able to immediately conclude these calls were not from me since it is completely out of character for me and voice differences.)
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The Village

August 17th, 2005

I just finally saw The Village tonight (thanks Dan and Lauren). It’s a great film by M Night Shayamalan about a community secluded out in “the woods” from all other villages, and the townspeople are afraid to cross into the woods for the “things which we do not talk about” (scary man-eating creatures) will attack them. There’s a few themes and details hidden in the movie worth critique. I’ve just started amovie critique section on my wiki, hope you check it out and add your comments!

Great Sushi Lunch Deal

August 17th, 2005

If you happen to be in the Baltimore/Washington area close to Laurel, MD for lunch, be sure to check out Asahi Japanese Restaurant (map) for a great all-you-can-eat sushi buffet for $10! The deluxe lunheon buffet goes from 11:30am – 2:30pm in Laurel. Thanks for the 2nd farewell lunch guys!

Summer Ending, Wedding Approaching

August 12th, 2005

I now have less than 1 week left of my summer out in Maryland. Just this week we had the farewall lunch at the Silver Diner (I thought the burgers were great!) and I gave my presentations of my work for the summer. I’ve enjoyed my summer, but alas, it always seems to go so fast… perhaps that’s how we know it was great!? I have got to spend some time with old friends, make new ones, explored some of the east coast, and now it’s time yet again to return home to family and activities in Nebraska. I’ll get back just in time to prepare for my brother’s wedding! Just another time marker for new beginnings as I give closure to my summer here, and also a new beginning with graduate school classes to begin in September.

In brevity, just a few of the things I’ve gotten to experience this summer include (each a story in itself): trip to NYC (cheap bus to chinatown, great hostel, bad hostel), white water rafting, hiking the Appalachian trail and biking DC with Eric (photos), hiking Sugarloaf Mtn. with Dan, took in an Orioles game with John, the DC United vs. Chelsea game with Eric and Mark, 4th of July fireworks on the mall, some practice dancing, hike to Calvert Cliffs, memorial day in DC, young adult church group meetings and activities – including sailing!, discovered Theology of the Body, read 1984 and Boy Meets Girl, and learned a lot about working in research (yeah to gnuplot!). Photo links updated

PC Predicts Felony – Precognition?

August 1st, 2005

I’ve just had the thought of precognition on my mind tonight, because I was watching the horr(or/ible) movie Mothman Prophecies. It got me thinking about the precogs from Minority Report. Now it seems that is not far from the future, as a computer recently predicted a crime before it happened in NYC (using just statistics I’m sure). (interesting how both movies came out in 2002)

Also tonight, we got into a discussion about what makes movies good and bad, and decided there has to be some substance or meaning that the audience gets out of it – like any work of art. In this regard, I highly recommend American Beauty, or The Sixth Sense (from M. Night Shyamalan as we were talking about him tonight).