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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