Technology and the Right
Since getting their behinds handed to them in the last two election cycles, people on the Right have been taking a long hard look at why they’ve turned into such losers. One of the areas of concern that have popped up as a result of this introspection has been the role of technology in politics. Technology, many are now convinced, is super-terrifically important. "After all," they argue, "just look what Obama did with his web site. We need to do that!"So now, the politicos are
 
Two For Tierney
At his blog, John Tierney writes a brief review of the new book "Traffic" by Tom Vanderbilt, a free copy of which he offers to whomever comes up with the best answer to this question:What could be done to improve traffic in New York City? You can suggest anything except for two obvious answers: congestion pricing (the favorite of traffic engineers and economists, but
 
What I’ve been working on lately
Usual disclaimer on technology posts: our readers who don’t care about technology will probably want to skip this entry.I’ve been too busy to post at QandO for a while, and my posting will continue to be slack through the summer as I finish up pending commitments. But for the technology-minded folks in our readership, I thought I’d call out an Internet TV show that was done a couple of week
 
The Silent Revolution
Chances are that you don’t know it, but the world of publishing and news/content delivery has changed, and the future is upon us. The reason you probably don’t know it is that, unless you’re part of the rather small and insular world of e-book readers, you haven’t heard about the change yet. Or, if you have, you’ve dismissed it as a matter of interest only to the e-book geeks.Last fall, Amazon.com released their new book re
 
Suppose you’re a pirate ...
And suppose you’re sort of loafing along the coast of East Africa looking for an unsuspecting cruise liner to attack.And suddenly you see this coming at you:
 
What if there are no alien species?
Nick Bostrom at Technology Review has an interesting article in which he challenges conventional wisdom on existence of alien species. I think the conventional hypothesis could be summed up thusly: There are billions of stars (no Carl Sagan jokes please), probably billions of planets, and billions of years for intelligent life to develop. If it happened here, it must have happened elsewhere, so there must be other species
 
Mobile Phone Dangers claimed
Seems these stories pop up every 5 or so years. And frankly I don’t know enough about the amount or level of "radiation" they put off to blow them off. But I’ve gone with the bluetooth device so mine is rarely used as a handset anymore (and I’ve even gotten the voice commands down pretty well).Anyway,  
The ultimate in airbag safety
Or so it would seem:
 
Ah, technology ...
We can do this:But we can’t build  
Entering the "Terminator" era?
Interesting article about robotics, the military, war and terrorism.
 
The blackest black yet
And a natural for a certain aspect of "stealth technology":Researchers in New York reported this month that they have created a paper-thin material that absorbs 99.955 percent of the light that hits it, making it by far the darkest substance ever made — about 30 times as dark as the government’s current standard for blackest black.
 
It’s "Blu-ray"
Want to know what those "economic stimulus" checks are going to go for?Toshiba’s decision to no longer develop, make or market high-definition HD DVD players and recorders will mean consumers can start feeling more confident about buying the victorious rival technology — a Blu-ray disc player.[...]"I’d been waiting, and now I’
 
Adobe Flash CS3
Yeah, I picked up Adobe Flash CS3, as you can see from the Electoral Vote Counter, and I’m playing around with its odd flavor of Java, called ActionScript 3.0.I’m actually pretty impressed with it. The new version of ActionScript now allows you to put all of the code on its own layer in the presentation, instead of spreading it all out among the various objects in the movie. It
 
Geek Stuff
The boys at Mozilla have—finally—added a new add-on for Mozilla Thunderbird that incorporates full calendaring functionality into the Thunderbird interface. It’s called Lightning, and it makes Thunderbird a full-scale calendaring client that integrates into email, complete with meeting invitations, recurrence, and multiple calendar views.Previously, Mozil
 
The pace of innovation: more gasoline on the flames
Via Geekpress, I saw this article in The Economist on the growing use of genetic/evolutionary algorithms in innovation and design. One of the consequences of growing computing power is the feasibility of generating improvements through what you might think of as a massive trial-and-error approach. Random variati
 
The soldier of the future?
Joel C. sends along an interesting video demonstrating how technology might greatly enhance the abilities of the individual soldier in the not too distant future:
 
Why Can’t Technology Halt?
You know, it gets really irritating that every time you turn around, someone improves your favorite toy.Eventually, I’m not gonna be able to afford to keep on being an early-adapter.
 
Why Google is at $700 per share
Over at Daily Pundit, they’re having a discussion about Google, and why their share price just hit $700.One of the commenters doesn’t understand Google’s model, and asks:How does g**gle produce? Where does the profit come from? Is it advertising? I pay them nothing. I receive a free search engine and free email. Sounds like a bursting bubble.This is a reasonable question, be
 
Oh, nice — Invisible Tanks
The British have developed a technology that may make military vehicles and troops invisible:But the Ministry of Defence has just revealed it is testing prototype technology that can make tanks and troops disappear.It is developing special cameras that film the surrounding scenery and project it on to the men or their vehicles clad in reflec
 
Web Hosting
So, I click on over to Captain’s Quarters, and, once again, I see that Hosting Matters is having yet another horrific problem. I always wonder, why don’t their customers ever get tired of them?I mean, first, it seems like they have some sort of problem
 
Don’t fear the Reaper
Unless, of course, you’re a bad guy:The airplane is the size of a jet fighter, powered by a turboprop engine, able to fly at 300 mph and reach 50,000 feet. It’s outfitted with infrared, laser and radar targeting, and with a ton and a half of guided bombs and missiles.The Reaper is loaded, but there’s no one on board. Its pilot, a
 
I guess Sprint has all the business it needs
Jon touched on customer service yesterday. From the realm of customer unservice, this from a soldier who happens to use Sprint found on a Sprint User’s forum:I have been a Sprint customer for over 5 years now. Just shortly after my unit returned from Iraq, we recieved notification that we would be redeployed to West Point to train cadets over the summer. With almost 1/3
 
Computer Customer Support
I can identify with Megan McArdle’s frustration in this post about Sony VAIO customer service. I’m currently waiting on a latop - less than one year old, still under warranty - to be repaired by Acer. So far, it’s been relatively painless, but I’ll withhold applause until I get back a working laptop in the promised time. Experience suggests one should never underestimate the ability of computer and
 
The future of computing?
Pretty impressive even if it is from those nasty Micro$oft people [/sarcasm]
 
I’m not the only one who talks to my computer gear
My family has learned that they don’t need to worry when I’m cursing or shouting at my computer. Sometimes I just have to talk firmly to it, so that it will do what I want.John Scalzi does it too. But he talks more nicely to his hardware than I do.
 
How much influence do blogs have?
How about four billion dollars worth?Yesterday Engadget posted that the iPhone was going to be delayed several months, relying on what turned out to be a bogus email for the story. Four billion dollars in market cap was wiped off of Apple’s stock price in six minutes as the “news” hit the market. Engadget quickly corrected the story and the stock recovered within twenty minutes, but many investors had lost a s
 
Microsoft’s Silverlight announcements (with update on Linux status)
This is one of those technology posts that political junkies may not care about. It’s about Microsoft’s announcements this week, and what they might mean for Internet software in the next few years.
 
More on Office 2007
You know the more I think about the high-handed way that Microsoft is treating customers on Office 2007, the more ticked off I get.Surprisingly, though, much of my ire is not directed against Microsoft.First off, the new interface isn’t bad, per se. Let’s face it, Microsoft did have a problem when it came to the interface, which is that for all the core programs, Access, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, the old interface styl
 
Office 2007 First Look
Because I am a participant in the Microsoft Partner Program, I have access to something called the Action Pack. It’s actually a pretty good deal for small businesses like mine that work with Microsoft technologies. For an annual subscription fee of $299, you get 10 desktop licenses for all of the Microsoft Office Enterprise applications (Including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Infopath, Groove, Visio, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, Project, MapPoint, etc), a
 
F-22: "I can’t see the bloody thing!"
The new F-22 trots out its stuff at Red Flag, and apparently was quite impressive:"Undercover" is an understatement for the F-22A Raptor.A point clearly illustrated by pilots of the 94th Fighter Squadron, who delivered an aerial sucker punch to the seasoned Red Force opponents during the F-22A’s debut at Red Flag here Feb. 3 -16.Among the Blue Force
 
Cool Tech Stuff (Updated)
A couple of techie items have caught my attention, and I thought that some of you might be interested.Mozilla Firefox is my web browser of choice, and it has been for a couple of years, ever since I somehow got to a web site that used malicious code to hijack IE and trash my computer. I can’t trust IE and the security vulnerabil
 
Another milestone in the DRM wars (with update)
According to this article, the copy protection for both HD and Blu-Ray movies has been broken. Apparently there is a master decryption key that works for both, and by snooping around in memory, a hacker found it.I’ve worked in commercial software for much of my career, so I understand the psychology of those who want copy protection on their product. But I still don’t like copy protection. It has bitten me a
 
Buy this for me!
I have been a long-time eBook reader. I have owned various handheld PCs for almost a decade, used for no other purpose than to read eBooks. Right now, I have a personal e-book library of over 1,000 books.There have always been drawbacks to e-books, of course. Using a handheld PC is OK, but the small screen means you have to turn pages constantly. The backlighting eats a lot of power, too, meaning that you either have to be able to plug in frequently,
 
For the software developers in the audience...
I’m the guest this week on the .NET Rocks Internet radio show, hosted by Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell. If you do .NET development and you don’t know about .NET Rocks, you should. If you can stand to listen to me talk in my southern drawl for an hour, head on over there.
 
Mining the Moon
Sean Brodrick lays out a schedule for us:On April 17, the Chinese are blasting off an unmanned lunar orbiter. Next year, they will send astronauts up to orbit the Earth …Two years later (2010), they’ll aim to put a rover on the moon ...And by 2020 — 13 years from now — China plans to bring back lunar samples. Unlike our
 
Europeans Whining About Microsoft Again
I need to do a bit of technical exposition before beginning this post. Otherwise, it would be difficult to get my point. If you like your blog commentary uncontaminated by techno-speak, then you’ll probably want to skip this entry.You’re almost certainly reading this in a browser, and this content was sent to your browser as HTML. Fine, and HTML does a good job of presenting hyperlinked content for you to read. No surprise, since that’s what it was designed for.
 
Frikkin’ laser beams
Today the US DoD "unveiled" a system that I’ve been discussing with my friends for years now, a nonlethal directed-energy weapon (DEW for short; here’s the Wikipedia entry and here’s a short Space.com overview) that, erm, strongly motiv
 
A revolution in battery power or hype?
I guess we’ll find out later this year:A secretive Texas startup developing what some are calling a "game changing" energy-storage technology broke its silence this week. It announced that it has reached two production milestones and is on track to ship systems this year for use in electric vehicles.EEStor’s ambitious goal, according to patent documents
 
Another Threat to Blogging...and the Internet Itself.
I suspect that Federal judges, for the most part, ain’t got them too much book learnin’ about high technology. That suspicion is confirmed by rulings like this:U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay in the northern district of Texas granted a preliminary injunction against Robert Davis, who operated Supercrosslive.com and had been providing direct links to the live audioca
 
The iPhone
Okay, I want this. The only question is whether to switch to Cingular to get one later this year, or wait until Motorola, Nokia, or Samsung to come out with a knock-off for Verizon subscribers.
 
The Birdman of Switzerland
Shades of Icarrus or Buzz Lightyear? Whichever, a Swiss man is as close as anyone to perfecting flying like a bird:For those who are bored with hang-gliding or find skydiving just too dull, a Swiss airline captain has devised the ultimate aerial thrill: flying like a bird.Thanks to high technology and nerve, Yves Rossy has come closer than anyone to reali
 
Kodak Cameras
Last year, my wife bought me a (seemingly) nice little Kodak EasyShare C330 digital camera for Christmas. Now, two days before Christmas — and despite only using taking about 40 pictures in the past year — the camera is broken. Merry freaking Chrismas, Kodak. That’s the last time I buy one of your worthless cameras.
 
Anywhere in the world in 60 minutes
A hypersonic cruise missile? Time for a little "gee whiz" stuff:Within 2 minutes, the missile is traveling at more than 20,000 ft. per second. Up and over the oceans and out of the atmosphere it soars for thousands of miles. At the top of its parabola, hanging in space, the Trident’s four warheads separate and begin their screaming descent down toward th
 
More Geek Stuff
My day-to-work consists mainly of building software applications that add, edit, and delete data from databases. Most often, I use SQL Server or Microsoft Access as a data store. Since we switched over to a .Net shop a few years ago, I created a standard data access class to handle all of the heavy lifting of grabbing adding, or changing the data.I know there are a lot of developers, both professional and hobbyist, who do programming who read the blog,
 
The IT World
You know, in many ways, the IT world is like a like a big Geek High School. Instead of the jocks, nerds, stoners, and populars, there’s the Windows, Mac and Linux people.Yesterday, when I posted about my WWII project, a commenter replied to my invitation to check it out:Well, I would. Except you’re using a version of Flash later than 7. No Linux support.Heaven forbid
 
I Love C#!
Well, it’s 9:00pm here on the West Coast, and I just got home after a workday that started at 7:30am. My days have been jammed full of stuff for the past several days, and probably will through next week, too.But a couple of things happened I wanted to write about.The highlight of today’s very long day was using the first real, operational C# application I ever built.I’ve been a Visual Basic guy for several years
 
BMW: Hydrogen power is here
Hello OPEC?BMW will roll out the world’s first hydrogen-burning car in serial production early next year, the German premium automaker said on Tuesday, eager to put its stamp on cars with green credentials.The specially equipped 7-Series executive cars emit only water vapor when running on hydrogen.The car hits the market next April and will be shown at the Los Ang
 
Our over-reliance on technology effects our ability to respond
Among other things, Ralph Peters talks about intelligence expectations and reality in his latest piece. I want to use that to talk about one of the problems we face right now in that and other areas of our national defense.Peters points out that as a general rule our expectations about the capabilities of the intelligence community are unreali
 
.Blog v2.0 Bug Fix
A user of .Blog—the blogging software I designed that runs QandO, and which I sell here—has reported a problem with the Bookmarklet feature of .Blog.This bug has been fixed, and a new evaluation version and full install are now available.
 
Houston, We Have a Problem
For some reason, early last week, my new laptop’s performance slowed to a crawl. I haven’t installed any new software, changed the configuration, or anything else, but all of the sudden, it takes forever to boot up. And, I can hardly play any kind of audio or video file without it constantly stopping and skipping. Most other things work OK, albeit a little slower than before.But I absolutely cannot record or play sound files without skippi
 
Firefox Spell Checking
One of the frustrations that many people express about dealing with posting comments or what have you using the Firefox browser is that they can’t spell check their posts. Internet Explorer, of course, has long had a dedicated spell-checker with the free IESpell application.Well, as it turns out, there is, in fact, a free spell check extension for Firefox/Mozilla that’s been around for a while
 
Net Neutrality, Again
Lawrence Lessig and Robert McChesney have an op-ed piece on Net Neutrality in the Washington Post today.Net neutrality means simply that all like Internet content must be treated alike and move at the same speed over the network. The owners of the Internet’s wires cannot discriminate. This is the simple but brilliant "end-to-end"
 
Go Big Green
Who says the military doesn’t benefit us in any way? As most know, most of our advances in trauma medicine come by way of treating combat casualties. And there are many more conveniences we now enjoy which were initially developed for the military. Heh ... OK, I won’t go as far as to point to the Hummer. But I will point to the Aggressor, an "alternative mobility vehicle":
 
Geeky Tech Stuff
My schedule has prevented me from blogging a lot lately, and, looking out over the next 6 months, I’m not sure how much that will change. I enjoy blogging—indeed, I’d do it full-time if I could—but paying the mortgage is always the priority. I’ll be around over the next 6 months or so, with varying degrees of frequency, but the old level of blogging, i.e. 4-5 items a day will, for me, at least, probably not happen.Still, so
 
Net Neutrality and the Free Market
Dale Franks has weighed in a few times on the side of Net Neutrality, but I’ve remained somewhat less convinced (or at least agnostic) that further regulation of the market would be a good policy. I’m very unconvinced by arguments that we wouldn’t like "a tiered Internet", if only because I don’t think it’s our place to tell a company how to conduc
 
NET Neutrality in the News
TThere were two Op/Eds on Net Neutrality today, one in the New York Times, and another in the Washington Post.The NYT version, is a fairly uninspired pro-neutrality editorial. The WaP
 
Net Neutrality II
My fellow blogger Jon Henke appears to object to the suggested solution of my previous post on this subject:I certainly see the argument — both economic and libertarian — for deregulation of providers. More of a free market in access provision would be beneficial to everybody.I can also see the economic argument for net neutrality, but I’m having trouble seeing how it’s co
 
Net Neutrality: Think Outside the Box
This month, Congress has been debating the concept of Net Neutrality, and whether the FCC should regulate Net Neutrality as a principle. In general—although not strictly so—Democrats have been in favor of Net Neutrality, while Republicans have been against it.What is Net Neutrality, and why should we care?What is Net Neutrality, and why should we care? Wikipedia  
Back to the moon
I still find it hard to believe that after reaching the moon over 30 years ago, no one has been back (and everytime I see Apollo 13, I realize that they went to the moon with analog instrumentation ... yikes).It now appears that the moon is again a target, this time of many national space programs:Lunar missions planned by nations worldwide
 
In Defense of Google
Led in part by Glenn Reynolds, a substantial portion of the blogosphere is attacking Google for bowing to Chinese pressure to self-censor Google results. High dudgeon is what bloggers do best, but I think it might be misplaced in this case. The crux of the story is  
"Good news" for Blackberry owners
OK, I’m obviously being sarcastic:The Supreme Court yesterday rejected a petition from BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. for a rehearing of its patent-infringement case, setting the stage for a possible court-ordered shutdown of most of its 4 million e-mail devices in the United States.Developing. But if your crackberry gives a long, loud squeal today and then goes blank, you’ll know why.