Monthly Archives: November 2001

I guess I’ll find out for sure later tonight when I get home but ZDNet doesn’t think I’m at a huge risk of losing my fast internet.

Analysts don’t expect the service to be closed, putting the odds Friday at about 35 percent that Carlson will rule that Excite@Home can shut down, leaving its cable partners and 4.1 million customers in the lurch.

I think I need to find out who this guy has his insurance with.

A man who says he uses marijuana for medicinal purposes received $5,525 from his insurance company after arguing that the backyard crop police ripped up was covered by his homeowner’s policy.

It’s only been within the last few years that astronomers have been able to find evidence of other planets outside of our own solar system. Due to the nature of one of these planets atronomers were actually able to see the planet rather than just infer its existence from the wobble of the star that the planets gravitational pull caused. Well, some clever scientist figured out how to analyse the atmosphere of that planet and CNN gives us this headline: – Atmosphere detected on distant planet – November 28, 2001

It’s a straight forward and interesting read. However, compare it to the headline about from Guardian Unlimited which states:

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | New planet sparks hopes for alien life.

Now which story would you rather read. :^)

I went to sleep with the tv on last night. At some time, I’ve never known exactly when, the all night news comes on and I often wake up just enough to get bits and pieces of news stories. One of the stories that sunk in and invaded my dreams was George Harrison dies.

He was probably the Beatle I had the most respect for. Though he was a follower of a different religion than me, Harrison was a Godly man. Harrison’s family issued a statement saying: “He left this world as he lived in it, conscious of God, fearless of death, and at peace, surrounded by family and friends.” There isn’t a much better way to leave life. Rest in peace, George.

Excite@Home Playing Games with AT&T

Well, this is disheartening. Excite@Home is playing games with AT&T and it could likely lead to an outage for me @ my home. My service is through Comcast and their assurances to me aren’t very assuring:

Comcast: Spokeswoman Jenni Moyer said the company was “continuing to talk with Excite@Home and working to try and reach a resolution.” She would not comment on the company’s plans in the case of an outage.

In a letter sent to customers, Comcast said it was working “to develop a Comcast-managed network” to provide service. The letter also gave customers phone numbers and Web sites for more information, and stated that the company would automatically credit customers’ accounts for time without service.

The really sad part is that I think my modem is out.

Dori’s having a little surgery tomorrow. She’s someone that I’ve never met, and probably never will, but I read her and Tom’s stuff over at Backup Brain somewhat regularly. I don’t think she would mind a prayer or two.

I’ve been listening to a lot of boasting from football fans lately. I’ve also been listening to a lot of excuses being made after the boasting fell short of its mark. You see, football is all about coming up with a good plan and working the plan. If the plan is good and it’s implemented to perfection then you’ve got a win. A lot of coaches can come up with winning plans but when going head to head only one of the two teams is going to win, regardless of how well both sides plan.

It all boils down to the implementation of the plan. Even a poor plan can result in a win given good implementation if the otherside fails to implement their plan properly. Planning is only half of it. Remember that.

Now let’s look at what this has to do with IT security software firms cooperating with the FBI and their Magic Lantern program. From what I’m understanding, Magic Lantern is a way for the FBI to covertly plant keylogging software on a suspect’s computer without ever physically entering the suspects location of operation. The keylogging software is used to grab passphrases used with encryption software the suspect may be using on his computer. This software isn’t new, building into it the ability to covertly install it over the internet is. This could well be one of the promised uses of viruses for the “good” of mankind.

But wait a minute. Even if it is a virus for the good of mankind, the bad guys aren’t going to view it as such. Are they? So off go the bad boys to the local Software, Etc. to purchase anti-virus software from McAfee and Symantec. This is some good software and it should catch those virii before they can do their damage. Won’t they? Well, they should and this should pose as a stumbling block for the FBI because even though those G-men are just as clever as the hackers they are sometimes after in building a virus or a trojan horse to install their keylogger software, as soon as the exploit they have found becomes known McAfee and Symantec owe it to their customers to close that hole and detect that virus.

At least one would think so.

Symantec’s chief researcher, Eric Chien, says:

“If it was under the control of the FBI, with appropriate technical safeguards in place to prevent possible misuse, and nobody else used it – we wouldn’t detect it,” said Chien. “However we would detect modified versions that might be used by hackers.”

That’s their plan. Of course, Nebraska really planned to beat Colorado last week, too. The problem is I see no guarantee that Symantec can successfully implement their above stated plan. There are going to be clever hackers who are going to be able to figure out how to present themselves as FBI approved software. What is Symantec’s plan then?

Just something to think about.

Montgomery County, Maryland, wanted to do something about indoor air pollution so they set about to enact an ordinance that would fine folks for pollutants that left their property and bothered someone else on their property. Tobacco smoke was included as one of those pollutants. Well after global ridicule, they changed their mind regarding the anti-smoking portion of this bill.

Now, I haven’t read the actual bill but I have been reading, here and there, about it and based on what I’ve read, I could have supported this bill. Instead of diminishing property rights it would have enhanced those rights. There was only a problem when the pollutants crossed a property line and became an irritant to a neighbor. Isn’t that what property rights is all about, protecting one’s property from incursion by other’s? I missed one aspect of this though.

“Upon further consideration, however, it has become clear that the tobacco smoke provisions will be nothing more than a tool to be used in squabbles between neighbors, and that significant resources will be required to address these complaints.”

While I don’t see how someone in one house could credulously claim that they were being bothered by the cigarette smoke eminating from another house, I hadn’t considered apartment dwellers. Still if I smoke and live in an apartment I should be considerate of my neighbors and my non-smoking neighbors would have every right to expect to not have their home invaded by cigarette smoke. I agree with the above, though, the actual aggrevation would not matter if neighbors just didn’t like each other.