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Jef Raskin .
Feb 27th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Jef Raskin. The DigiBarn Computer Museum reports that Jef Raskin, the man who originated and inspired the Macintosh revolution, passed away peacefully yesterday. [MacInTouch]

Ramadi residents flee city after latest US-led attacks .
Feb 27th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Ramadi residents flee city after latest US-led attacks. Residents of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province some 100 km east of Baghdad, have started to flee the city following the latest offensive launched by US Marines and the Iraqi army.

The military have carried out raids in the province over the past few days in an attempt to crack down on insurgents, with the main focus of operations being Ramadi, a rebel stronghold.

Worried that the offensive could proceed as it did in nearby Fallujah, where the majority of the city’s population was forced to flee during a near three-month long campaign, many Ramadi families are taking personal effects and food supplies and heading to relatives’ houses in the capital, or to the same camps where residents from Fallujah fled.

A number of checkpoints have been set up around the city of 400,000 and a curfew has been established. It runs from 20:00 to 06:00. Vehicles are being inspecting carefully and any suspect is being taken for further interrogation, Marines’ spokesman Lt-Col Paul Brathen told IRIN.

“Many insurgents have escaped Fallujah to this area but they won’t have time to take the city and our early operation will prevent that. People have started to flee the city but it’s too early for that,” Brathen added.

But citizens, exhausted by ongoing violence, are afraid and are choosing to leave before the situation worsens. “They want to destroy the whole area and build a New York City there, and for that they are tearing down everything. We want to live in peace. We are tired of fighting and bombs. God, please protect us,” Muhammad Farhan, a father of five, who was fleeing the city with his family, told IRIN.

Government offices and shops have closed and people are having difficulties getting food supplies as the offensive came quickly and without warning, giving them no time to prepare.

A government official from the city, who wished to remain anonymous, told IRIN that he expected the situation to get much worse, especially in some areas of Ramadi where insurgents were putting up a strong fight. He added that most government officials had already left the city.

Firdous al-Abadi, a spokeswoman for the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS), told IRIN that many people had been trapped in the university and inside mosques for over 48 hours as fighting raged outside. (link)

What’s going on in Ramadi that the news isn’t covering. [Al-Muhajabah’s Islamic Blogs]

I expect that in the coming months the Feds will destroy the city, killing hundreds or thousands of innocent people in the process, and then proclaim a great victory over the “terrorists.” Meanwhile, the rebels will have moved on to some other city, strengthened by hundreds of previously neutral Iraqis who will want revenge for their murdered friends and relatives, and their destroyed homes and businesses.

DOES ANYBODY ELSE FIND THIS DEPRESSING AND DISCOURAGING? .
Feb 27th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

DOES ANYBODY ELSE FIND THIS DEPRESSING AND DISCOURAGING?. But about halfway down the linked page is a boxed poll question with this result reported:

bq. It IS necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values.
Yes: 51%

[…]

The sheer ignorance displayed by that 51% isn’t the only problem. If that poll result reflects reality, then 51 percent of Americans are openly, blatantly bigoted against non-believers. They’re saying we’re inherently not good, decent human beings, every last one of us.

If you said that all blacks, Jews, gays, name-minority-of-your-choice were inherently not good, decent human beings, you’d be rightly nailing yourself as the ignorant, ugly bigot you are. But say it about people who live their lives cleanly because of their own internal ethics … and apparently that’s just dandy. [Wolfesblog]

I certainly find it depressing and disgusting, but not at all surprising–I’ve encountered bigots like that myself. Also, I strongly suspect that a not-insignificant part of that 51% actually are also bigoted towards some or all of those minorites.

Gunman kills ex-wife, bystander in Texas shooting spree; four wounded .
Feb 26th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Gunman kills ex-wife, bystander in Texas shooting spree; four wounded. A man angry about being sued for unpaid child support opened fire with an AK-47 assault rifle outside a courthouse, killing his ex-wife and a bystander who intervened to protect the couple’s 23-year-old son.

[…]

Authorities credited the bystander who died, Mark Alan Wilson, 52, with saving the son’s life.

Wilson, a gun enthusiast who had a concealed weapons permit, intervened after Arroyo started shooting, witnesses said. Swindle said Wilson shot at Arroyo several times but his rounds didn’t penetrate the body armour. [CBC News]

Naturally the US media coverage I’ve seen only mentions that a “bystander who tried to intervene” was killed. The fact that the bystander was armed and (as a result of being armed) succeeded in saving the son’s life have been conspicously absent.

pop-up advertisers have finally defeated the pop-up blocking functionality found in many browsers .
Feb 21st, 2005 by Ken Hagler

pop-up advertisers have finally defeated the pop-up blocking functionality found in many browsers. The Return Of The Pop-Up Ad.
SYFer writes “Shortly after upgrading my Macs to OS X 10.3.8, I noticed
that I was getting pop-up ads on Safari. It had been so long since I’d
seen a pop-up, I completely forgotten how annoying they can be. I went
over to Apple’s Support site to see if there was a relationship, but
learned that the timing is just a coincidence (even though there’s a
lot of the usual FUD and flailing of arms in the discussion forums). In
fact, it turns out that the pop-up advertisers (what’s the proper
denigrating term here?) have finally defeated the pop-up blocking
functionality found in many browsers. MacFixIt is running a front page
article on the topic and says ‘Contrary to initial reports, this
problem isn’t limited to Safari; subsequent reports have noted
pop-under ads victimizing a number of browsers that provide
pop-up-blocking features, including the latest versions of Safari,
FireFox, Mozilla, OmniWeb, and Camino.'” [Slashdot] [Privacy Digest: Privacy News (Civil Rights, Encryption, Free Speech, Cryptography)]

I’ve just started to see popups making it through from certain sites in Firefox, although the AdBlock extension has thus far removed the ads, leaving just empty popups. The Slashdot discussion includes various tips on how to deal with these ever more insidious ads.

Cabir mobile virus found in U.S.. .
Feb 21st, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Cabir mobile virus found in U.S... Cabir mobile virus found in U.S.. Virus appeared in two phones in a Southern California shop window, possibly infected via Bluetooth wireless. [CNET News.com] [Privacy Digest: Privacy News (Civil Rights, Encryption, Free Speech, Cryptography)]

Part of my job at Symantec is providing configuration management support for our wireless products group, which develops software for (among other things) virus protection on Symbian-based phones from Nokia.

First Grader Punished for Bag of Dirt .
Feb 20th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

First Grader Punished for Bag of Dirt. Her mom, Michele, says after Michaela put the mixture into the bag, she tied the top with a purple ponytail holder and gave it to her friend saying,”here’s a bag of dirt.”

After recess was over the student gave the bag of dirt to their teacher.

Michele says after meeting with the teacher and principal, she was told that the bag of dirt, “looked like a bag of weed.”

[…]

Michele says she doesn’t deny what her daughter did. But she does disagree with the two-day in-school detention. “They said it would be on her school record as far as disciplinary that she made a look alike drug but I don’t feel like that’s right. Because she didn’t do anything wrong.”

Michele says her daughter served her two day, in-school detention last Thursday and Friday. And while she’s still upset with the schools actions, Michele is not considering moving her daughter to another school. [KFVS 12]

Another example of why it’s a terrible mistake to subject children to government schools. Unfortunately, it seems this poor girl’s mother is to stupid to learn that lesson even after having it shoved down her throat. Well, we can only hope that the girl grows up to have a healthy contempt for authority because of this.

Reuters .  Of course, if Bush lied about this as part of a basic security clearance process, he would lose his clearance.
Feb 20th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Reuters.  Of course, if Bush lied about this as part of a basic security clearance process, he would lose his clearance. [John Robb’s Weblog]

Sure he would. And if you believe that, I have a bridge for sale.

PGP Algorithm Migration .
Feb 19th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

PGP Algorithm Migration. According to Callas, “We’ve been planning for just this sort of event for some time.” All PGP products are architected to allow for rapid and non-disruptive migration of all encryption, hash, compression, and signature algorithms. PGP Corporation began planning the migration to more secure hash algorithms after MD5 was compromised last year. Callas addressed the company’s design philosophy in a September 2004 CTO Corner article entitled “Much ado about hash functions.” At the same time, PGP engineers began implementing a shift from SHA-1 to the stronger algorithms (SHA-256 and SHA-512) while preserving interoperability with existing software. [PGP Corporation]

I may be wrong here, but it seems to me that simply increasing the number of bits in an algorithm that’s already been proven vulnerable isn’t the best idea. Are there no strong algorithms available that aren’t derived from MD4?

Arabs: ‘it’s the foreign policy, stupid’ .
Feb 18th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Arabs: ‘it’s the foreign policy, stupid’. This has been said many times before, but it bears repeating. Arabs and Muslims don’t “hate our freedoms”. They hate our foreign policy:

A new regional study identifies Arab reactions to Western, and most specifically US, foreign policy in the region as being the single most important factor influencing Arab attitudes about ties with the West.
The study also shows that contrary to what some observers, particularly in the US, have suggested, Arabs do not see “the West” in entirely negative terms.

Conducted by the Centre for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan in collaboration with research centres in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and the Palestinian territories, the survey shows that respondents do not perceive “the West” as a unified whole. Rather, they differentiate substantially between countries, particularly on politics.

The Arab public views France much more positively than it does the United States and United Kingdom, primarily because there is a more positive perception of French political policies in the Middle East, the study shows.

Entitled “Revisiting the Arab Street: Research From Within,” the study also reveals that the Arabs value many of the attitudes of Western states and societies.

“Significantly, and again in contrast to some popularly held Western views, Arab public opinion does not perceive the tension between the Arab world and the West in either religious or cultural terms. Despite views often expressed on Western talk shows or in popular books… there is little evidence that Arabs perceive the West as a Crusader force, intent on destroying the Islamic world in a battle over religious beliefs. Indeed, the Arab world sees the vast majority of Westerners, and those in the US in particular, as not strongly influenced by religious motives,” an executive summary of the research states…

…According to the researchers, the evidence consistently emphasises that the Arab public disagrees with the foreign policies of the US and UK, and that it is these policies which are at the root of anti-American, and subsequently anti-Western, sentiments.

The survey targeted attitudes regarding the US, UK and France, as well as attitudes regarding the place of Islam in politics, the definition of terrorism, and the importance of Arab satellite TV in the formation of regional opinions.

“Findings indicate that viewing the Arab world as uniformly hostile towards the West, locked into an inevitable cultural clash, will lead policy makers in both East and West to miss important opportunities for improving relations. At the same time, such a simplification may also lead to underestimating the magnitude of the problem,” according to the summary.

The study warns that positive attitudes towards the US and UK will continue to plummet unless major changes in their foreign policies are implemented. It points specifically to attitudinal data from youth, university students and national sample populations that suggests that a process of radicalisation is taking place in those sectors, fuelled by widespread economic and political frustration, both domestically and regionally.

[Al-Muhajabah’s Islamic Blogs]

I’m not surprised. All the talk about a “clash of civilizations” comes from Crusaders, who are comitting the common mistake of believing that everyone else thinks the way they do.

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