Monday, November 21, 2016

Lest we forget what the election was really about

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I've referred to this speech in casual conversation many times in the past and most of my Leftie friends have insisted that no such thing was ever said. I assume they'll assume that this video is also a forgery, but for everybody else, here is Jim Moran, former Congresscritter from Northern Virginia, speaking in 2008. In this clip, he summarizes the American Left more succinctly than I've heard any pundit ever do:

Now, in the last seven years we have had the highest corporate profit ever in American history. Highest corporate profit. We've had the highest productivity. The American worker has produced more per person than at any time. But it hasn't been shared and that's the problem. Because we have been guided by a Republican administration who believes in the simplistic notion that people who have wealth are entitled to keep it, and they have an antipathy towards the means of redistributing wealth. And they may be able to sustain that for a while, but it doesn't work in the long run.

And that's ultimately what the entire divide in this country is about. The Left (all of the Democrat leadership, along with many Republicans, and an unknown percentage of ordinary Americans) believe that if you work and slave at a job for 50 years in order to make yourself wealthy, you have no right to keep it, but the government has a mandate to confiscate everything you've earned and give it to other people who (as determined by the government) deserve it more.

We may disagree about how much charity wealthy people and corporations give, and we may disagree about how much we think they should give and to whom they should give it, but that's nothing compared to the Left's belief that these people should not even be allowed to decide, or even to voice an opinion on the subject.

This is flat-out communism. Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao couldn't have said it any clearer. This is what Obama and Hillary are all about. This is what Bernie Sanders is about. This is what Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and all the rest of the DNC leadership is about.

Everything else you may hear is a distraction calculated to prevent you from thinking about this one simple fact: The Left doesn't believe you have a right to keep any of your property. Period.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

TouchBar NyanCat!

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Nyan Cat on Your TouchBar Is the Easiest Way to Justify Buying a New MacBook Pro
Andrew Liszewski 11/07/16 8:43am

Apple packed its latest event with countless examples of why the new TouchBar feature on its updated MacBook Pro will make your life inconceivably better. But the company should have just started and finished with this Nyan Cat animation that flies across the new touch-sensitive display strip.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

MOMA acquires original set of emoji

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Emojis are now being displayed in the Museum of Modern Art, this is how it all began in 1999
, by Milen Y

The first emoji was created in 1998 or 1999 by Japanese designer Shigetaka Kurita, who was at the time working on a mobile internet platform, called i-mode, at Japanese carrier NTT. Kurita was inspired by the way weather forecasts and street signs used simple, but universally recognizable, symbols to convey meaning, and decided to adopt this approach for his project. The first set of emoji was comprised of just 176 pictograms, each with resolution of 12 x 12 pixels, and was aimed to differentiate i-mode's messaging features from other such services.

A fascinating bit of history. Many different news outlets have written different stories about this event, each telling something else interesting about the history of emoji:

Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

MacRumors: Microsoft Announces Surface Book i7, Desktop PC 'Surface Studio,' and Windows 10 Creators Update

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Microsoft Announces Surface Book i7, Desktop PC 'Surface Studio,' and Windows 10 Creators Update
Wednesday October 26, 2016 9:48 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard

At its media event today in New York City, Microsoft announced a new update coming to Windows 10 devices that's focused on creativity and productivity tools, as well as two major new pieces of hardware: the Surface Book i7 and Surface Studio. The Surface Book is the second generation of last year's original model, while the Surface Studio is the company's all new, all-in-one desktop PC that's aimed at the high-end, enterprise market with a starting price of $2,999.

Nice systems. (And unlike Samsung's latest offerings, these are distinct Microsoft designs and are not knock-offs of what other companies are shipping.)

I especially like their large Surface Studio. The idea of being able to quickly fold a desktop-style workstation into a flat drafting-board-like surface for pen-based interaction is great. I've seen concepts like this, but I think this is the first time the concept will ship in an commercial product. And I love the concept of the Surface Dial - hopefully we'll see some great apps that can take advantage of this device.

AppleInsider: Samsung's cylindrical ArtPC Pulse computer apes design of Apple's Mac Pro

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Samsung's cylindrical ArtPC Pulse computer apes design of Apple's Mac Pro
By Mike Wuerthele Monday, October 10, 2016, 03:25 pm PT (06:25 pm ET)

Samsung, in conjunction with Harman Kardon, has quietly revealed the new cylindrical consumer-grade ArtPC Pulse line powered by the sixth generation Skylake processor, which has already begun to draw many comparisons to Apple's 2013 Mac Pro design.
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A configuration with a dual-core 2.7 GHz Kaby Lake i5 processor, 256GB of NVMe storage, 8GB of RAM is up for pre-order at Amazon for $1199.99.

Gee, can't Samsung sell anything that's not a copy of some other company's product? Nobody in the world was shipping or even talking about a small-black-cylinder form factor before Apple released the 2013 Mac Pro and now Samsung ships one. And don't get me started on their iPhone clones. Don't they have any product designers capable of original thought?

Friday, October 07, 2016

Backblaze: What SMART Stats Tell Us About Hard Drives

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What SMART Stats Tell Us About Hard Drives
October 6th, 2016

What if a hard drive could tell you it was going to fail before it actually did? Is that possible? Each day Backblaze records the SMART stats that are reported by the 67,814 hard drives we have spinning in our Sacramento data center. SMART stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology and is a monitoring system included in hard drives that reports on various attributes of the state of a given drive.

While we’ve looked at SMART stats before, this time we’ll dig into the SMART stats we use in determining drive failure and we’ll also look at a few other stats we find interesting.

This is a really interesting article about some parts of SMART and how the statistics may be used to heuristically predict drive failure.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

MacRumors: Facebook Now Testing Autoplay Videos With Sound in iOS App

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Facebook Now Testing Autoplay Videos With Sound in iOS App
Tuesday August 23, 2016 6:18 AM PDT by Joe Rossignol

Starting today, Facebook will begin testing autoplay videos -- including ads -- with sound in its iOS and Android apps. Facebook told Mashable the test will be limited to Australian users and rolled out in two different ways to gauge how users react. In both versions of the test, sound will only play if the iPhone's volume is turned up, and sound can also be turned to "always off" in Facebook settings.

I've been ticked off at Facebook for quite some time now. I suspended my account briefly in 2010 and then for real in 2013. Mostly because of policies that make the site less and less interesting to users and more and more ruled by advertisers.

At this point, I really wonder why it exists or should be used by anyone. You are forced to work in a straightjacket. There's almost no opportunity for personalization anymore (aside from a banner image), they censor what you're allowed to read and write, and now they're going to be forcing auto-play videos with sound on you, despite the fact that users have overwhelmingly said they don't want this.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Time: Read Donald Trump’s Ohio Speech on Immigration and Terrorism

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Read Donald Trump’s Ohio Speech on Immigration and Terrorism
Daniel White @danielatlarge

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gave a new policy speech on immigration and terrorism Monday in Youngstown, Ohio.

In the fiery speech, Trump said that he would institute “extreme vetting” of visa applicants, citing domestic terrorism incidents like the shootings in San Bernardino and Orlando as examples of a failed immigration policy.

I'm no particular fan of Trump (although I think he's far better than the other choices we will have to choose from in November) but this speech is spot-on.

I've been hearing these opinions for many years from conservative national security sources (like the Secure Freedom Radio podcast) but most of the public is probably hearing about this for the first time, thanks to media outlets and politicians that prefer to pretend that (depending on the day of the week) there is no war, the enemy has no relationship to Islam, we can't possibly win, and it is morally wrong to take even the slightest steps to do something about it.

Now, if only we could get people to actually read the full text of Trump's speech instead of just repeating the media mantra of "he's a racist bigot homophobe evil rich white man so you should ignore everything he says no matter what it is."

But that's never going to happen, will it?

h/t to the Dry Bones blog for giving me the link to the full text of Trump's speech. Until now, all I heard was a few clips on the Mark Levin Show.

(Given the fact that half of Republicans and almost all Democrats hate Trump with a passion, I'm expecting more comments than usual (meaning more than zero) here. Please remember to keep your points civil and factual. Anything insulting or abusive or off-topic will not be posted.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Krebs On Security: Data Breach At Oracle’s MICROS Point-of-Sale Division

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Data Breach At Oracle’s MICROS Point-of-Sale Division
Brian Krebs, August 8, 2016

A Russian organized cybercrime group known for hacking into banks and retailers appears to have breached hundreds of computer systems at software giant Oracle Corp., KrebsOnSecurity has learned. More alarmingly, the attackers have compromised a customer support portal for companies using Oracle’s MICROS point-of-sale credit card payment systems.
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MICROS is among the top three point-of-sale vendors globally. Oracle’s MICROS division sells point-of-sale systems used at more than 330,000 cash registers worldwide.
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Oracle’s own statement seems to suggest the company is concerned that compromised credentials for customer accounts at the MICROS support portal could be used to remotely administer — and, more importantly, to upload card-stealing malware to — some customer point-of-sale systems. The term “on-premise” refers to POS devices that are physically connected to cash registers at MICROS customer stores.

Avivah Litan, a fraud analyst at Gartner Inc., says ... "I’d say there’s a big chance that the hackers in this case found a way to get remote access" to MICROS customers' on-premises point-of-sale devices.
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This is really ugly. If criminals have managed to use the manufacturer's maintenance access to remotely install card-skimming software into point of sale terminals worldwide, then nothing is safe.

All the more reason to use a merchant's chip reader or Apple Pay wherever possible. These technologies work with device-specific account numbers, one-time pads and encryption to make it difficult (if not impossible) for a captured transaction to be used to create a fake card or initiate new transactions. (I am aware that there are many more virtual-card technologies in use but I don't know enough about them to have an opinion about their security.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

NASA: The Moon crossing the face of the Earth

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From a Million Miles Away, NASA Camera Shows Moon Crossing Face of Earth
August 5, 2015

A NASA camera aboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite captured a unique view of the moon as it moved in front of the sunlit side of Earth last month. The series of test images shows the fully illuminated “dark side” of the moon that is never visible from Earth.

The images were captured by NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC), a four megapixel CCD camera and telescope on the DSCOVR satellite orbiting 1 million miles from Earth. From its position between the sun and Earth, DSCOVR conducts its primary mission of real-time solar wind monitoring for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Read the whole article for more details and an animated image of the Moon making transit across the Earth's face.

h/t to John Kovalic's Twitter Feed for a funny tweet that made me look up this awesome image.