Bank to Seizers: Drop Dead .
Jan 26th, 2006 by Ken Hagler

Bank to Seizers: Drop Dead. Comments stalwart Douglas Fletcher notes that Winston-Salem, NC-based bank BB&T Corp. (as Jacob Sullum discussed yesterday) has announced it will... [Hit and Run]

Good for them!

Crane Museo Silver Rag .
Jan 26th, 2006 by Ken Hagler

Crane Museo Silver Rag. Pete Myers report appearing here at the end of February will tell the tale of this paper in greater detail. But if you're a fine art printer looking for a new paper that has the look of traditional fiber prints, and a tonality in B&W printing similar to Platinum, Crane Museo Silver Rag may be the paper for you. My 17" test roll is almost used up, and I can't wait till the paper becomes commercially available so that I can start printing with it in earnest. [Luminous Landscape]

I'm planning to try this paper as soon as it becomes available. I shoot mostly black and white, and print on Epson Enhanced Matte paper. It does a good job, but this paper sounds even better, and has the added benefit of being archival (Enhanced Matte is slightly acidic, so it will turn yellow eventually).

New York’s Security .
Jan 25th, 2006 by Ken Hagler

New York’s Secu­ri­ty. ‘Ring of Steel for New York?’, WSJ, 25 Jan­u­ary 2005. New York’s police are look­ing at London’s approach to secur­ing crit­i­cal finan­cial dis­tricts (via a ‘Ring of Steel’). Closed cir­cuit TV net­works and entry choke points are being con­sid­ered. The… [John Robb’s Weblog]

I believe the phrase they’re look­ing for is “Iron Cur­tain.”

LA Times Columnist Doesn’t Support the Troops .
Jan 25th, 2006 by Ken Hagler

LA Times Colum­nist Doesn’t Sup­port the Troops. Los Ange­les Times colum­nist Joel Stein admits that he grew up with mon­ey and hasn’t so much as served jury duty for his coun­try. I, on the oth­er hand, grew up with no mon­ey and have served in the Marines and the Nation­al Guard. We do have one thing in com­mon though: we don’t “sup­port the troops.”
Stein has no prob­lem with peo­ple who are for the war sup­port­ing the troops. “But I’m not for the war,” he says. “And being against the war and say­ing you sup­port the troops is one of the wussi­est posi­tions the paci­fists have ever tak­en — and they’re wussy by def­i­n­i­tion.”
I don’t believe for a New York minute that Bar­bara Streisand, Michael Moore, John Ker­ry, et al. real­ly sup­port the troops. They only say they do for polit­i­cal expe­di­en­cy, which just goes to show that the anti-war left is no more trust­wor­thy than the war­mon­ger­ing right. If you think invad­ing Iraq was wrong, why would you “sup­port the troops?”
The Amer­i­can mil­i­tary has been all-volunteer since 1973, and as Stein observes”…when you vol­un­teer for the U.S. mil­i­tary, you pret­ty much know you’re not going to be fend­ing off inva­sions from Mex­i­co and Cana­da. So you’re will­ing­ly sign­ing up to be a fight­ing tool of Amer­i­can impe­ri­al­ism, for bet­ter or worse. Some­times you get lucky and get to fight eth­nic geno­cide in Koso­vo, but oth­er times it’s Viet­nam.”
Stein goes on to say,“I’m not advo­cat­ing that we spit on return­ing vet­er­ans like they did after the Viet­nam War, but we shouldn’t be cel­e­brat­ing peo­ple for doing some­thing we do’t think was a good idea.”
Click here to read the rest of Joel Stein’s fun­ny, per­cep­tive arti­cle, and here to read my pre­vi­ous post on the same sub­ject.

[Police State USA]

Independents Push For Second Firefly Season .
Jan 25th, 2006 by Ken Hagler

Inde­pen­dents Push For Sec­ond Fire­fly Sea­son. ovan­klot writes “It seems that Bril­liant Screen Enter­tain­ment is look­ing to see if there is an audi­ence for a sec­ond sea­son of the sci­ence fic­tion show Fire­Fly. From the arti­cle: ‘It’s pos­si­ble that sub­scribers may choose one of three play­back options; month­ly DVD deliv­er­ies, TV On-Demand using your cable or satel­lite provider, or com­put­er view­ing via Stream­ing Down­load.’” They are ask­ing folks to fill out a short sur­vey to gath­er demo­graph­ics for sup­port in their efforts to get Fox to release the show to them. The site also stress­es that they want nei­ther mon­ey nor con­fi­den­tial per­son­al infor­ma­tion. [Slash­dot]

I’ve read that Fox is pret­ty deter­mined for the series to stay dead, so I’m not get­ting my hopes up, but it would be nice if this worked out.

Here’s an amusing inquiry sent to a Nikon mailing list I subscribe to: I bought a D1X used recently.
Jan 25th, 2006 by Ken Hagler

Here’s an amus­ing inquiry sent to a Nikon mail­ing list I sub­scribe to:

bq. I bought a D1X used recent­ly. Great cam­era.


Any lens sug­ges­tions appre­ci­at­ed. I have no Nikon glass.

With­out any lens­es, I won­der how the author arrived at the con­clu­sion that it’s a “great cam­era?” Per­haps he meant that it’s great as a real­ly expen­sive paper­weight.

Department of Homeland Stupidity to Confiscate Safe Deposit Box Contents .
Jan 24th, 2006 by Ken Hagler

Depart­ment of Home­land Stu­pid­i­ty to Con­fis­cate Safe Deposit Box Con­tents. Notepad at Bel­la­ciao reports on a secret Home­land Stu­pid­i­ty pro­gram to con­fis­cate safe deposit box con­tents:

A fam­i­ly mem­ber from Irvine, CA (who’s a branch man­ag­er at Bank of Amer­i­ca) told us two weeks ago that her bank held a “work­shop” where the last two days were ded­i­cat­ed to dis­cussing their bank’s new secu­ri­ty mea­sures. Dur­ing these last two days, the work­shop includ­ed mem­bers from the Home­land Secu­ri­ty Office who instruct­ed them on how to field calls from cus­tomers and what they are to tell them in the event of a nation­al dis­as­ter. She said they were told how only agents from Home­land Secu­ri­ty (dur­ing such an event) would be in charge of open­ing safe deposit box­es and deter­min­ing what items would be giv­en to bank cus­tomers.

At this point they were told that no weapons, cash, gold, or sil­ver will be allowed to leave the bank — only var­i­ous paper­work will be giv­en to its own­ers. After dis­cussing the mat­ter with them at length, she and the oth­er employ­ees were then told not to dis­cuss the sub­ject with any­one.”

Bank employ­ees have been told not to talk to about this to cus­tomers. Click here to read the rest of notepad’s report.
[Police State USA]

This is hard­ly sur­pris­ing, as the Feds went through bank safe deposit box­es back in the 1930s to steal gold from them. Any­one who trusts their valu­ables to an Amer­i­can bank is ignor­ing the lessons of his­to­ry.

Google v.
Jan 20th, 2006 by Ken Hagler

Google v. Feds. The New York Times reports, “The Jus­tice Depart­ment has asked a fed­er­al judge to com­pel Google, the Inter­net search giant, to turn over records on mil­lions of its users’ search queries as part of the government’s effort to uphold an… By Casey Khan. [ Blog]

Good for Google! Of course, we can expect the Jus­tice Depart­ment to sud­den­ly dis­cov­er numer­ous anti-trust vio­la­tions by Google in the near future.

Anonym.OS .
Jan 20th, 2006 by Ken Hagler

Anonym.OS. This seems like a really important development: an anonymous operating system:

bq. Titled Anonym.OS, the system is a type of disc called a "live CD" -- meaning it's a complete solution for using a computer without touching the hard drive. Developers say Anonym.OS is likely the first live CD based on the security-heavy OpenBSD operating system.

OpenBSD running in secure mode is relatively rare among desktop users. So to keep from standing out, Anonym.OS leaves a deceptive network fingerprint. In everything from the way it actively reports itself to other computers, to matters of technical minutia such as TCP packet length, the system is designed to look like Windows XP SP1. "We considered part of what makes a system anonymous is looking like what is most popular, so you blend in with the crowd," explains project developer Adam Bregenzer of Super Light Industry.

Booting the CD, you are presented with a text based wizard-style list of questions to answer, one at a time, with defaults that will work for most users. Within a few moments, a fairly naive user can be up and running and connected to an open Wi-Fi point, if one is available.

Once you're running, you have a broad range of anonymity-protecting applications at your disposal.

Get yours here.

See also this SlashDot thread. [Schneier on Security]

I've tried these "secure Unix" things running from a live CD several times, but none of them worked with my PC. I'll give this a try too, when I get around to it, but I'm not optimistic about it being any different.

DHS Declares Bali Aiport Unsafe .
Jan 19th, 2006 by Ken Hagler

DHS Declares Bali Aiport Unsafe. Jan­u­ary 19, 2006 [Cryp­tome]

The KGB’s endorse­ment is a bit vague, though. It could mean, “This air­port is almost as oppres­sive and Soviet-like as we want it to be, but not quite. The secu­ri­ty check­point grop­ers sex­u­al­ly assault­ed 1% few­er women than required by our quo­ta.”

But it could also mean, “This air­port was com­plete­ly unwill­ing to oppress peo­ple, and when we com­plained they start­ed talk­ing about some­thing called the ‘Bill of Rights’ that they seemed to think we should know about.”

Maybe they should have a rat­ing sys­tem, where an air­port that com­plete­ly meets their stan­dards gets five hammer-and-sickles, while an air­port that com­plete­ly dis­re­gards all of them gets none.

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