Archive for May, 2006
I have noted previously how Symantec seems beset with problems and mismanagement. On top of all of their other issues, they are going to slip the original ship date of their next version of the antivirus program called “Norton 360.” This could be bad in that Microsoft just released their OneCare program and McAfee is expected to release a new version of their AV this summer.
From CNET here:
Symantec’s next-generation security software is officially named Norton 360 and faces a possible delay from the original September due date.
Word of the potential delay comes as Microsoft is starting to ship its Windows Live OneCare security product and a day after McAfee announced its Falcon project for new, integrated consumer security software, slated for delivery this summer.
Symantec unveiled plans for its new software, then code-named Genesis, in February. The product is to rival Microsoft’s OneCare and Windows Vista security technology, and will integrate components of Symantec’s current security, PC optimization and backup products, the security company has said.
On Wednesday, Symantec announced that Genesis will be called Norton 360 and that the product is slated to ship by the end of March next year, a change from the original September due date. However, a company spokeswoman said a delay isn’t certain.
When it ships, Norton 360 is planned to be available worldwide with support for both Windows XP and the upcoming Windows Vista operating system.
This is a six month delay. Sure, Vista got delayed too, and this may contribute to the delay of Norton 360, but Symantec is suing Microsoft to block the release of Vista anyways due to the inclusion of legacy veritas software bundled into the new operating system.
Lawsuits, bad acquisitions and failure to innovate does not bode well for a business. Remember what happened to Netscape? They quit competing and cried instead about unfair practices, and they were dusted by the competition. Symantec will soon fall into the same state if they do not quickly right their erratic business.
The new top emailed photo on Yahoo today is that of a three-armed baby in China named Jie-Jie. Doctors in China are trying to figure out which arm to cut off because both are fully developed, and they can’t tell which one will be less functional.
I say that Jie-Jie should keep his arm, as it will give him amazing abilities later in life. Among the new skills:
- He can salt and pepper his steak while he is cutting it.
- He can play impossible chords on the guitar.
- Instead of making snow angels? Yep, Snow Starfish.
- Its always more fun with three hand puppets!
- He can applaud and finger-whistle at the same time.
- Morning grooming is a snap. He can use two QTips and brush his teeth at the same time.
- The Triple-Bird Flip would be the best picture on MySpace.
With most of the Hollywood critics creaming their jeans over Gore’s movie Inconvenient Truth, you would think that people would be flocking to see it. Its the most important film in the history of cinema acording to Reverend Al and his sactimonious crew of eco-religionists, and just the mere purchase of a ticket would earn eco-sinners less time in Carbon Purgatory.
So everyone went to see it, right? Not everyone could get into the sold out theaters showing X-Men 3 and Davinci Code, right? Surely some dummies stuck around to eat popcorn in a dark room and at least accidentally saw Gore’s eco-flick right? Wrong.
According to the weekend Box Office Results, Gore’s Inconvenient Truth came in 19th out of the top 20 movies, beating only Art School Confidential, and it only earned 283 Thousand Dollars. Given the average price of tickets, this translates into less that 35,000 people that wanted to see Gore’s doom-and-gloom version of what is going to happen to the world.
So the real Inconvenient Truth that Gore should get to understand is that no one believes his chicken-little version of science. And if they do, no one wants to pay to see his power point presentation about it. And if his box office take is this low, his DVD sales will be abyssmal too. I guess his movie will go from the silver screen straight to YouTube where it belongs.
Virginia has its own renaissance festival located at the Lake Anna Winery. Its on the small side, but for a winery, this festival should be a major attraction. They have several food vendors, lots of games for the children and some nicely priced crafts and clothing.
It was so hot when we went, we skipped the wine tasting, so there is no review on the wines at the Lake Anna Winery.
But I bought a kit for making mead, along with 2 pounds of honey. The term “honeymoon” has been associated with drinking mead during the month long celebration following a wedding in pagan times.
I cooked the stuff up last night, and it takes about a week to complete its fermentation. I’m looking forward to finding out how this goes. I will be sure to update with the results.
The making of the mead seemed pretty simple. I took a gallon of distilled water, brewed a tea made from cinnamon, spice seeds and dried blueberries. I added 2 pounds of honey to the rest of the distilled water, and shook it hard for about 5 minutes until the honey was completely dissolved in the water. Once the tea cooled, I added that to the water jug and then added the yeast. I took a piece of filtering cloth and tied it around the top to allow the gas to escape, and set it in a dark place to ferment for a week. I am supposed to do a sample taste on Thursday or Friday to see if its at the right sweetness/dryness, and when its right, I am supposed to cap it and put it in the fridge.
If it turns out well, this can be a fun distraction for me and I will try to experiment with other recipes.
North Mountain Vineyard is located about 15 miles southwest of Winchester in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. The house features a tasting room and a large shaded deck for relaxing with a bottle, and the small kitchen can prepare a nice cheese plate for a good price on request.
After spending the early afternoon at the nearby Shenandoah Museum, we stopped by the vineyard for a tasting and a picnic lunch, and even though the winery was very busy, we were able to find a nice shady spot by the garden for lunch.
All of the wines are very good at North Mountain, but unfortunately, we were unable to try the Chardonnay since it had already sold out. In addition, the prices are very reasonable, averaging about 13 dollars per bottle.
The Virginia Claret is a dark red wine that is slightly sweet, but crisp and refreshing. We also really liked the Mountain Sunset wine, which is an apple blush wine with a sweet apple taste with a hint of cinnamon. We purchased each of these to take home.
Our favorite was the Tom’s Brook Red, which is a blend of the red and the white, and we drank that one with the lunch. It went amazingly well with summer sausage, and it was absolutely savory with dessert chocolate. It was so good in fact, that I tried to buy an additional bottle to take home, but it sold out while we were eating. I have a list of local vendors, and perhaps I can get lucky and find a bottle at the store.
If you enjoy winery tours, and are in the Winchester Area, be sure to put North Mountain Winery on your list.
The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley is located in Winchester, VA, and is a new, 20 Million dollar museum which features the sounds, the art and the stories of the people who inhabit the region. The museum is run by a foundation setup by the descendant of the founder of Winchester, James Wood, adjacent to the historical home of Glen Burnie.
The museum features masterpiece miniature doll houses, and a large collection of handmade Virginia Dulcimers. There are also collections of folk art, quilts, handcarved toys and puzzles, and antique furniture.
It was Memorial Day weekend, and experiencing the museum and thinking about the families that tamed the region and imprinted their culture upon America, made me realize how proud I am to be a Virginian. Long before the United States existed, there was a Virginia, and brave families faced Indian raids to transform the lush valley of the Shenandoah into farms and communities. They created their own music, culture, and there are mailboxes on rural routes that have had the same last name on it for over 200 years.
It struck me that it was no surprise, that after only 87 years of the existence of the United States so many Virginians chose to take the side of defending Virginia first over the prospect of the Union. Virginia is beautiful and is a place well worth fighting for. So not only do I remember the fallen soldiers of the United States on Memorial Day, I also keep the fallen soldiers of Virginia in mind.
The Gardens of the Glen Burnie estate was worth the price of admission. There are several different types of gardens, each with its own statuary nestled among the hedges, and each section of the garden had a “folly” which is an outbuilding that can be used for entertaining guests.
The roses were in bloom when we went, and the colors and aromas were beautiful. The Chinese garden featured bamboo, Chinese statuary, babbling streams and flowering ground plants. The water garden featured moss-covered natural stone walls, waterfalls, fountains, and a pool stocked with large golden trout.
If you are in the Winchester area and have two hours, you should make it a point to stop by and experience the museum and the gardens.
It is an amazing sight to see tens of thousands of motorcycles swarming downtown Washington DC to celebrate Memorial Day. Bikers from all over the country converge on Washington DC to remember the fallen heroes of the country, and it is a sight to behold. I was driving down Constitution Ave in the SSR, and bikes were lined up as far as the eye could see.
The Godspeed, the mid-sized of the three ships that first sailed to Jamestown from England 400 years ago pulled into the wharf at Old Town Alexandria today.
It will travel to Baltimore next before making its way further up the coast. Check it out if you get a chance.
Also, the Williamsburg Fife and Drum Corp was on hand to celebrate the arrival of the ship.
Over at Hot Air is a great video documenting Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” that he is a hypocrite who demands that lowly commoners go without or make do with less, while he and his eco-religious bishops, cardinals and other annointed “GreenMasters” are allowed to burn as much fuel as they please.
The reason it costs me more money to fuel my car is the insistence of liberals in Congress to not get more oil out of US territories, not build more refineries, and ridiculous regulations regarding the contents and mixture of the fuel. Oh, and the taxes on gasoline is the real sin.
Huge data breaches at these universities have exposed well over a quarter million social security numbers and other personally identifiable info. This is what happens when you spend your tuition at schools that refuse to invest in proper information security practices, including monitoring for attacks and a strict official usage policy.
Both Universities are trying to lock the barn doors now that the horses have had their identities turned into mules.
From CNET Here for OU.edu:
An unprecedented string of electronic intrusions has prompted Ohio University to place at least one technician on paid administrative leave and begin a sweeping reorganization of the university’s computer services department.
Bill Sams, Ohio University’s chief information officer, said he initiated the reorganization on Friday. The Athens, Ohio-based university is reacting to recent discoveries that data thieves compromised at least three campus computer servers.
In a disclosure that hasn’t been widely reported, one of the compromised servers, which held Social Security numbers belonging to 137,000 people, was penetrated by U.S. and overseas-based hackers for at least a year and possibly much longer, Sams said in a phone interview Sunday with CNET News.com.
Ohio University only became aware that a problem existed after the FBI discovered someone had remotely taken control of one of the school’s servers.
Sacred Heart Screws its students and former students in this article here:
Sacred Heart University is the latest school to be victimized by hackers, according to a message posted on the school’s Web site.
The university said in the post that it discovered the intrusion on May 8, and notified police and the FBI, which have launched investigations. Sacred Heart offered no details on when the hackers may have entered the system or the kind of information that may have been exposed. School officials could not be reached.
But television news channel WTNH, reported on Thursday that the school has notified about 135,000 people that their personal information, including Social Security numbers, may have been compromised. Some of the people notified, according to WTNH’s report, have never been associated with Sacred Heart.
The news channel quoted an unnamed source who said that the school told him that his name, address and Social Security number were obtained by the university from information he provided when he took his college entrance exams eight years ago. The report didn’t say why Sacred Heart would collect such data, but schools often gather such information for recruiting purposes.
Video on the Sacred Heart Breach is Here.
Sounds like a great deal for Dell. Im not too sure what Google gets out of this, unless Google is engineering its software with hooks in it for adware that it plans to enable in the future. This article also mentions “Targeted voice advertising service” in which Google will try to insert targeted, intelligent ads for streaming media, internet radio, and other audio-based keywords.
So essentially, if you buy a Dell, does it mean that Google is eavesdropping on what you listen to and then serving up ads based on that content? People got pretty worked up over the possibility that the NSA was eavesdropping on Americans. How will America feel knowing that Google, which is already uploading desktop content via their desktop search, is now going to listen in on what people play on their PC’s?
From CNET here about the deal:
Google and Dell have agreed to a first in a series of deals to preinstall Web and desktop search software on the PC maker’s computers, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said Thursday.
Under the deal, millions of Dell PCs will be loaded with the Google toolbar for Web and PC search, along with a co-branded home page, before they’re shipped to consumers.
Financial details were not disclosed, but Schmidt said the companies will share revenue from search-advertising fees.
Google plans to introduce a targeted voice advertising service for Internet radio in the coming months, Schmidt said. The company is working to convert technologies for creating radio ads to complement its own advertising platform.
Stephen Baker, an analyst at NPD Techworld, said: “It strikes me as a great deal for Dell, as they are basically selling dead space, and a bad deal for Google, as I doubt that they will collect many incremental eyeballs beyond the ones they have now.”
The software used to provide targeted advertising? Google bought it; details here:
Google Gets into Radio Ad Biz with dMarc Purchase
Google announced Tuesday that it has acquired privately held radio advertising firm dMarc Broadcasting Inc. in a deal that could be worth up to $1.24 billion, including an initial payment of $102 million, writes Reuters. dMarc connects advertisers to radio stations through an automated advertising system that simplifies the selling, scheduling and delivering ads, said Google, which plans to integrate dMarc technology into AdWords, creating a radio ad distribution channel.
“Google is committed to exploring new ways to extend targeted, measurable advertising to other forms of media,” said Tim Armstrong, vice-president of Advertising Sales, Google.
Wade Roush at MIT points to an “intriguing possibility” having to do with contextual ads (which dMarc doesn’t do): “Perhaps Google is working on technology that would ‘listen’ to the word-stream in a radio program, parse its meaning, and insert ads related to those subjects…. And if such a system works for radio, what’s to stop Google from entering the TV advertising market, or even outdoor advertising? If there’s a context to work with, the distribution of any ad can be tailored.”
Two idiots, angry that they were banned from MySpace, threatened to expose vulnerabilities on MySpace’s network that would allow anyone to steal personal information. Their price for silence? MySpace had to cough up 150 Grand.
So MySpace says, “Okay, your elite hacking skills have impressed me. You must fly to Los Angeles to collect your money.” The two idiot hacker wannabes boarded a plane and flew to LA to meet an FBI agent. Heh.
From the AP here:
2 teens charged with MySpace.com extortion
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two New York teenagers were in police custody Wednesday facing illegal computer access and attempted extortion charges after they allegedly threatened to shake down the popular Web site MySpace.com unless its operators paid them $150,000, prosecutors said.
Shaun Harrison, 18, and Saverio Mondelli, 19, of Suffolk County, N.Y. allegedly hacked into the social networking site and stole personal information from MySpace users.
After MySpace booted them from the site, the pair threatened to distribute a foolproof method for stealing information unless MySpace paid them $150,000, said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
Mondelli and Harrison were arrested Friday when they traveled to Los Angeles to allegedly collect the payoff. Instead, they were taken into custody by undercover officers from the multi-agency electronic crimes task force who posed as MySpace employees.
They are now facing charges for felony computer tampering, extortion and attempted extortion. Lotsa Luck, Fellas. Really L33t H4x0rz don’t hack MySpace. Thanks to TechDirt for the tip.
Of particular interest to me, a PE teacher at my old High School, was nabbed in a Kiddie Porn ring. He had been trading in photos since 1996. How he managed to elude capture for so long is puzzling considering that he is described by his students as a loser and a retard.
Kecoughtan High School teacher arrested on child porn charges
Child pornography charges has landed a Hampton High School teacher behind bars.
Robert Hatcher was arrested Tuesday at his home in Hampton. Hatcher is a physical education teacher at Kecoughtan High School.
The charges relate to the receipt and distribution of child pornography. According to an affidavit filed in federal court, Hatcher has been involved in receiving and distributing explicit images of minors over the internet since 1996.
Hatcher is being held without bond pending a preliminary hearing and detention hearing Thursday.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI and the Hampton Police Department.
I know students that still go to school there. Hatcher is a misfit assistant coach, claims to be legally blind, and rides to school everyday on a noisy moped, wearing a gigantic white space helmet. According to the video, his screen name was “Creampie” and this information arose during the bust-up of a New York child porn ring.
Hatcher is now in jail. Rot, you stupid sick bastard.
The UN is getting closer to stuffing unwanted, non-working laptops down the throats of the world’s poor. Too bad these laptops don’t come with a sanitation package, good food or sturdy shelter, which would be a better use of the 1 BILLION dollars the UN is throwing away on this ridiculous do-gooder scheme.
Now, however, the OLPC laptops come in ORANGE.
Look! Its a worthless tool that you can see from hundreds of yards away!
You can see my previous story on this here.
According to logs, security devices the world over are seeing evidence of a reflective Distributed Denial of Service attack against www.yahoo.com.cn
The site is staying up despite the attack, but the effort to bring down Yahoo’s Chinese portal is significant. The top “attacking IP’s” for the past 24 hours on my network are the Chinese hosts.
The way this attack works is scores of computers, most likely a botnet, sends spoofed http requests to the chinese hosts, making it appear to be originating from systems all over the world. Yahoo will then attempt to reply to the requests. What security devices on networks then see are http acknowledgements directed to the spoofed IP addresses. Many security devices then send tcp resets back to the yahoo servers since they think this is a mistaken connection.
The end result is Yahoo gets flooded by both fake requests and subsequent tcp resets, making the site struggle to stay afloat.
This attack may be some type of hacktivism because Yahoo has cooperated with Chinese law enforcement to jail two dissidents that were using Yahoo’s blogging services to criticize the Chinese government.
This is huge. An idiot Veterans Administration employee took data to their home in Maryland. The data in question was the socials and dates of birth of all of the veterans still alive today. The data was stolen in a burglary.
From Homeland Stupidity Here:
The Department of Veterans Affairs reported Monday that a laptop computer containing the names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers of over 26,000,000 veterans was stolen from the home of an employee who had taken the data home without authorization.
In response, the VA is sending the following letter (PDF) to veterans whose names were on the list. It has also published a list of Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) about the data breach, as if they already know what questions will be frequently asked.
I smell a rat in this incident. It is common knowledge that data of this type is extremely valuable on the cyber underground. I would not be surprised to learn that this whole “burglary” was staged. While home invasions and burglaries are a bit more common in parts of Maryland than my home in Virginia, it is still much more rare than, say, breaking into a car to steal a laptop. Im glad they got the top cops on this one and I hope the catch the criminal soon.
There are media and internet pundits that are proclaiming the pending demise of MySpace. They may be right, but they may also speak too soon….
Is the tide turning for MySpace? Like all social-networking sites, its biggest risk was that it would be little more than the latest blip on fickle surfers’ online radar, like so many of its predecessors. It looks like the tide might be turning for MySpace, with a growing number of stories saying it’s not cool any more, and plenty of papers looking to pile on, and talk up MySpace’s myriad competitors. It’s similar to how they all fell in line with the “dangers of MySpace” stories, but really, this cycle shouldn’t be surprising to anybody that remembers Friendster, Orkut or any of the other hot new social-networking sites that came before.
Los Angeles is one of the most liberal cities in the country. Aren’t liberals supposed to be the ones that care so deeply about the homeless? Havent they found a cure? It seems like the current cure to the homeless problem in Los Angeles is murder.
I don’t know how this popped onto my radar, but I have noticed a bizarre news trend lately involving stabbing and murdering homeless people in or around LA’s skid row. Its a bad trend.
First up: Woman stomped to death on Skid row. By someone that just got parolled from prison. It seems that when you get out of jail in Los Angeles, you get dumped on skid row. I guess LA does this with the intent to eliminate the common urban outdoorsmen.
Next, two homeless guys get stabbed on the same day. The stabbings were not related. Maybe instead of supplying homeless people with shopping carts, LA should supply body armour.
Next, some psycho puts on real steel bladed Freddy Kruger gloves and stabs a homeless man in the chest. As if being homeless doesnt suck enough, movie fans come to hunt you down.
Finally, there is a strange story about how two elderly women are murdering homeless men with their cars in a bizarre insurance scam. They give homeless men apartments in exchange for them signing 19 insurance policies. Once the policies are in place for 2 years, the old ladies run over the men with their cars! And they were arrested when they were selecting their next victims.
One article mentions that there are around 50,000 homeless people in Los Angeles. This liberal town does not really care about the homeless or else they would find a way to deal with the issue. But they refuse to help them. They allow these people to rot in open view of the public.
Mayor Rudy Guiliani cleaned up New York City of its homeless by getting those people help. He got services for the mentally ill. He helped find homes for those that were down on their luck. He sent addicts to drug counsellors. And he outlawed the practice of sleeping on the streets. As he said in a speech here, “A civilized society tries to move people in the direction of self-sufficiency and independence rather than allowing them to deteriorate before our eyes.”
Los Angeles needs to follow New York’s example.
The Xray was published showing the 25 screws that are helping to hold the bone splint in place on Barbaro. The Kentucky Derby winner shattered his rear leg during the Preakness, placing this animal’s life at risk.
Chances of survival is still around 50-50. It was a heartbreaker to see this animal come up lame during the race, and it will also be heartbreaking if its owner is unable to make the millions in stud fees Barbaro was expected to bring.
From the AP here:
KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. – Barbaro underwent more than five hours of surgery Sunday to repair rear leg bones he’d broken in the Preakness, calmly awoke from anesthesia and “practically jogged back to his stall” for something to eat. His survival, however, is still 50-50.
“Right now he’s very happy,” Richardson said after the surgery at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center for Large Animals. “He’s eating, he’s doing very good. But I’ve been doing this too long to know that day one is not the end of things.”
The strapping 3-year-old colt sustained “life-threatening injuries” Saturday when he broke bones above and below his right rear ankle at the start of the Preakness Stakes.
Unbeaten and a serious contender for the Triple Crown, Barbaro broke down Saturday only a few hundred yards into the 1 3-16-mile Preakness in Baltimore. The record crowd of 118,402 watched in shock as Barbaro veered sideways, his right leg flaring out grotesquely. Jockey Edgar Prado pulled the powerful colt to a halt, jumped off and awaited medical assistance.
Barbaro sustained a broken cannon bone above the ankle, a broken sesamoid bone behind the ankle and a broken long pastern bone below the ankle. The fetlock joint the ankle was dislocated.
Richardson said the pastern bone was shattered in “20-plus pieces.”
Tarara Vineyards is a large vineyard north of Leesburg, VA. The vineyard is nestled among large orchards and farmland for tomatoes, asparagus, blackberries and apples. The vineyard also has vast tracts of open field which they use to host wine festivals and other large events.
Tarara had the Winds and Wine Festival this past weekend, which featured live music, arts and crafts vendors, kite flying demonstrations and of course, wine tasting. The afternoon was cool and breezy, and the festivities made a great way to spend a Sunday.
Tarara’s wines are affordable and varied. Most of the whites and reds were unremarkable, but this may be due to the vintage. 2003 was a very rainy summer, which seems to have washed out much of the flavor from the wines. One exception is the white table wine they call “Charval” which is a crisp, floral scented wine with a sweet after taste, which made for a great sipping wine on .
Tarara also has a sweet red wine called Wild River Red that is quite fruity with a blackberry taste. It would be an excellent dessert wine, or it would go very well with chocolate.
If you are looking for a winery that offers lots of activities for family, this is a great and fun place. If you are looking for finer wines, Tarara has a line of Reserve Wines which is a bit pricey, but comparable wines can be found at other vineyards for a better price.