Category Archives: Technology

‘Murder In The Skies’

Asia, Technology, Terrorism

Sadly, it would seem as though the Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai spends his days explaining why the national carrier is so careless. He offered this non sequitur, about the downing of Malaysian Airlines Boeing Co. (BA) 777 over a war zone (Ukraine): “The carrier had followed the same journey plan many times. I think since it’s an approved route it is safe and that’s the reason why we have been using this route.” The many AIDS researchers killed on Malaysian Airlines Boeing Co. (BA) 777, shot down over Ukraine, must have been trusting souls to board a Malaysian plane.

According to The Atlantic, “Nearly three months ago, on the ‘Special Rules’ section of its site, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration put out an order prohibiting American pilots, airlines, charter carriers, and everyone else over whom the FAA has direct jurisdiction, from flying over southern parts of Ukraine. … the FAA ‘Special Rules’ section tells U.S. pilots and aircraft not to fly over trouble spots ranging from North Korea to Yemen to Syria to Iraq. And since last April it has told them not to fly over certain parts of Ukraine.”

Garry Moore: “Murder In The Skies”:


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Surface Pro 3: Perfection

Business, Intelligence, Technology

Surface Pro 3: It is perfection. Congratulation to my pepes on the project—they must remain anonymous as only the Big Dogs get the credit. First and foremost is the spouse, Sean. Next is The Other Oracle, sage of the antenna. Especially ingenious is the Surface Pen, which sports a tiny clip into which an even tinier antenna has been fitted. So spectacular is Surface Pro 3, that one can pardon Mr. Panay’s perversion of the English language to describe its ergonomic functionality: “Lapability.” Speaking of biotechnology: Kudos too to “Tigger” on keyboards.


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Again: ‘Thank You For Your Service, Mr. Snowden’

Constitution, Criminal Injustice, Homeland Security, Technology, Terrorism

“I think patriot is a word that’s — that’s thrown around so much that it can be devalued nowadays. But being a patriot doesn’t mean prioritizing service to government above all else. Being a patriot means knowing when to protect your country, knowing when to protect your Constitution, knowing when to protect your countrymen from the — the violations of an — and encroachments of adversaries.” So said Edward Snowden to “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams, to whom he spoke in a hotel in Moscow.

And:

“… there have been times throughout history where what is right is not the same as what is legal. Sometimes to do the right thing, you have to break a law.”

The guy is the real deal. Again: “‘Thank You For Your Service, Mr. Snowden’”


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‘Collect It All’

Homeland Security, Intelligence, Journalism, Technology, Terrorism

It’s his biggest revelation so far. Glenn Greenwald says he has been “saving the best for last”: names of Americans targeted by the National Security Agency. Greenwald’s book, No Place To Hide, is purported to contain scans of the many secret documents he has published. At the top of each document is the NSA’s motto: “Collect It All.” (Via Fox News.)

One question the journos interviewing Greenwald across US studios have failed to ask: The US government had promised to arrest Greenwald if and when he returned to the US. What happened? Why don’t media ask?

To ask a question about why the chronically incurious are chronically incurious is to answer it.



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Will Microsoft’s New CEO Kill Surface?

Aesthetics, Business, Internet, Technology, The Zeitgeist

Forbes’s Gene Marks contends that Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s New CEO—whom Marks thinks is way cool because, wait for this, Nadella is a “decade younger than his predecessor and looks young for his age”—has effectively killed the Microsoft Surface.

Let me unpack Marks’ “logic”:

Even though The Surface is “a powerful little laptop, lightweight with a Windows 8 touchscreen and a long battery life”; and though this product is “both tablet and laptop and integrates tightly with other Microsoft applications”—Cool-Because-He’s-Young Nadella is to be hailed as brilliant too for sabotaging the future of a magnificent product. It is alleged that Nadella wishes to end Microsoft’s foray into hardware (Surface), and take the company back to the business of software.

“A Windows First policy,” argues Marks, “was the reason behind products like the Surface.”

If, as I understood this terribly hip article, The Surface is more than the software it runs—why reduce the best Tablet in the business to its bits? What about the “Big Idea”?

Not being a techie, I have no idea if Forbes’s Gene Marks is being plain silly, or if silly is the new norm in the media’s tech coverage. I suspect the two are not mutually exclusive. (“A silly society is a youth-obsessed society.” Youth-obsessed U.S is silly.)

In its hipness, the Forbes article reminds me of that grating, pretentious Cisco ad, in which a female with a deceptively soft voice waffles about the Internet of All Things (WTF?!).

But I guess I’m still from the Book Age. Behold a throwback: a wall-to-wall library, or half of it, as I could not get the entire thing in the frame. Sean made this solid maple thing to my mid-century American, Heywood-Wakefield design specs (more):

Bookcase I


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UPDATED: Putting Lipstick On The Pigs At NSA*

Constitution, Democrats, Homeland Security, Propaganda, Republicans, Technology, Terrorism

We’re doing the right thing; we’re not doing anything illegal,” said Four-Star General Keith Alexander to Fox News’ Bret Baier. An otherwise good reporter, Baier has been asking some poignant questions of the very clever, dissembling, outgoing director of the National Security Agency’s unconstitutional, naturally illicit and all-round reprehensible spying programs. However, Baier, another bright lad, seems to be merely going through the motion; making sure he does journalistic due diligence without any forceful follow-up. A less than obligatory follow-up would be: “I know that what you do is probably ‘legal,’ but is it ‘moral’?”

The occasion of the interview? Obama’s likely bogus “calls for an end to NSA’s bulk phone data collection.”

“What would you do to Edward Snowden if you were alone in a room with him” was more revealing of Baier’s sympathies. Alexander vaporized about the assorted entrapment operations to which hoovering up trillions of messages have led. (More about “The Dynamics of Entrapment.”)

BAIER: Former President Jimmy Carter saying he writes letters instead of sending e-mails because he’s worried that you’re listen — you’re reading his e-mails.

ALEXANDER: Well, we’re not. So he can now go back to writing e-mails. The reality is, we don’t do that. And if we did, it would be illegal and we’d be found, uh, I think accoun — held accountable and responsible. Look at all the folks that have looked at what we’re doing, from the president’s review group to Congress to the courts to the DNI, DOD, Justice. Everybody reviews what we do to see if anybody is doing anything illegal like you suggest. No one has found anything, zero, except for in 12 cases where people did that and we had already reported those.

* With apologies to pretty pigs.

UPDATE (3/26): The great Glenn Greenwald seems surprised that, much like Republicans, Democrats are opportunistic, lying, bottom-feeders. He notes that “what rational people do, by definition, is” this:

if a political official takes a position you agree with, then you support him, but when he does a 180-degree reversal and takes the exact position that you’ve been disagreeing with, then you oppose him. That’s just basic. Thus, those of us who originally defended Obama’s decision to release the photos turned into critics once he took the opposite position – the one we disagreed with all along – and announced that he would try to suppress the photos.
But that’s not what large numbers of Democrats did. Many of them first sided with Obama when his administration originally announced he’d release the photos. But then, with equal vigor, they also sided with Obama when – a mere two weeks later – he took the exact opposition position, the very anti-transparency view these Democrats had been attacking all along when voiced by Bill Kristol and Liz Cheney.
At least for me, back then, that was astonishing to watch. It’s one thing to strongly suspect that people are simply adopting whatever views their party’s leader takes. But this was like the perfect laboratory experiment to prove that: Obama literally took exact opposition positions in a heated debate within a three week period and many Democrats defended him when he was on one side of the debate and then again when he switched to the other side.

“The Leader is right when he does X, and he’s equally right when he does Not X. That’s the defining attribute of the mindset of a partisan hack, an authoritarian, and the standard MSNBC host. …”

MORE.


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