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Showing posts from 2004

Caller ID spoofing a la carte

Caller ID spoofing a la carte is now available, thanks to Camophone's "Privacy Guard" service. This extends to the private individual what call centers, telemarketers and other users of large phone systems have had for years, as well as illustrates the Caller ID data on your phone may be right, but if it's vague, it's probably not your Aunt Minnie calling.

More PDA advice: Latest PalmOne PDAs not suitable for amateur packet radio, or to cable to cell phone for Internet service

Earlier this month, I posted a few tips about PDAs. I had a question today at AllExperts.com about PalmOS connectivity which leads me to enhance my earlier suggestions. Someone asked about using the Tungsten E from PalmOne to connect to a cellphone, so they could get e-mail and browse the web.

The T|E* does not have PalmOne's Universal Connector, or the serial connector of earlier Palms. It only has a USB connection (with a mini-USB socket), plus does not have adequate intelligence on board to control a USB device, such as a USB-serial adapter.

Therefore, unless PalmOne's support line can tell you another way to do this, the T|E, or any PalmOne device with the mini-USB connector, does not seem suitable to cable to a cell phone for connectivity, or to a TNC for packet radio. This also applies to the T|5.

Any PalmOS device which has a serial hot sync cable should, AFAIK, work. These include many models of the Zire, and Tungstens up to the T|3.

Now, browsing from a Palm is …

Free MobileDB for PalmOS

PDA software distributor Handango is offering free software (registration is required for the download), and this week's offering for PalmOS is Mobiledb, a database with a decent rep and significant presence.

There are over 1,800 databases available for download at the publisher's home web site and a small Yahoo Group for informal support has spring up.


Packet interface for HT and featherweight notebook PC

I've got a one-kilo featherweight notebook, a Fujitsu P1032 (700 MHz Transmeta CPU, about like a Pentium III-450MHz) I picked up for travel. It has no serial port, and the thought of adding a serial->USB adapter plus a spendy TNC has kept me from adding packet to my Yaesu VX-5R. I'd have to tote around:
1. HT
2. HT's power brick
3. HT's antenna
4. Cable into HT
5. Laptop computer
6. Laptop's power brick
7. USB to serial adapter
8. Serial cable to TNC
9. TNC
10. TNC's power brick

I suppose I could add the $67 Tigertronics Signalink ( QST review here with its cable kit and then add the fitting for the four-pole 3.5mm connector and a $10 power brick for it... but I wanted portable operation.

There's a comparison chart of other sound card interfaces here and here. The $80 USB RigBlasternomic appears to be the simplest but does require a USB-serial adapter as well as a tangle of cables plus an adapter cable for the four-pole Yaesu VX-5 cable.

Here…

WiFi security: WEP no longer very secure (updated)

WEP is the simple security method of closing your wireless network to outsiders, advocated by the well-meaning popular press. That was then, but this is now, and WEP is no longer enough.

Robert Bruce Thompson, author of O'Reilly's PC Hardware In a Nutshell, revealed this morning cracks for WEP security of WiFi wireless networks are, if not trivial, easy enough for crackers with rudimentary skills (i.e., anyone who has studied cracking for over an hour- Ed. note). After explaining some (not all) of the most dire implications of poor network security, he refers to a Security Focus article which documents the process and tools involved.

Thompson advocates moving from WEP to WPA as a security solution, which may require updating the 'firmware' in your WiFi cards and routers, or replacing them. Therefore, if you are planning to buy wireless gear, make sure it offers WPA.

BTW, There's another WPA: Windows XP Product Activation. We're talking about Wi-Fi Protected …

Major National ISP tells FCC BPL not "Commercially Viable"

from the ARRL (paraphrased for brevity):Officials of Internet service provider EarthLink told the FCC that broadband over power line (BPL) cannot compete with the dominant cable or DSL technology today or in the near future. EarthLink President and CEO Garry Betty and other company officials met November 16 with FCC Chairman Michael Powell and Commission attorney Aaron Goldberger to deliver an ex parte presentation on several Wireline Competition Bureau and Common Carrier Bureau proceedings.

"EarthLink discussed that it has invested in and is in trials with several potential 'third wire' broadband transmission paths to the home, including WiFi, WiMax, MMDS and broadband over power lines," EarthLink Counsel Mark J. O'Connor informed FCC Secretary Marlene Dortch in a November 17 letter. "However, EarthLink pointed out that cable and DSL still account for virtually all consumer broadband connections and that none of these alternative technologies offer a commer…

Updated: Freeway Speed Map

The ODOT Freeway Speed Map is now available (or, you can just use a shorter link, http://tinyurl.com/6pyty. A full-scale version's also available.

I had been hoping for something like this, and have a version for my PalmPhone which works for the Seattle area. Fortunately, the ODOT version does, too, although the Washington equivalent is clearer on my PalmPhone, with wider color stripes. You can also see when comparing desktop versions the version for Pugetopolis offers more detailed speed information.

Also, here's another traffic link, for the PDXinfoNet Traffic Report web page, a plaintext page easily read by cellphone browsers.

Helen, Sweetheart of the Internet

May I commend to you all, one of my favorite comics the Oregonian does not carry? Helen, Sweetheart of the Internet.

PDA advice

Thinking about buying a PDA? Here, have some free advice.

If you are willing to buy used or 'factory reconditioned' (Overstock.com and eBay come to mind, as does Craigslist), then virtually any PDA can be had for less than retail.

I prefer the PalmOS, but must admit Windows Mobile 2003 (formerly known as Windows CE and Pocket PC) is less sucky than its predecessors (although it still has a long way to go). PDAs with other operating systems (i.e., Linux and Symbian) just don't have the wide diversity of programs available for me to recommend them to a new user.

Avoid the Blackberry and the Sidekick. They have *very* limited software available, and Blackberry's company just lost an important court appeal which will slow down its acceptance further.

FreewarePalm.Com is a great source for free programs for PalmOS PDAs. There are Palm-compatible PDAs from folks other than PalmOne (over a dozen makers), and I will recommend them to many folks based on need, as they al…

Some darned good suggestions for personal computing safety

From an article originally posted at C|Net, Some darned good suggestions for personal computing safety.I am regularly asked what average Internet users can do to ensure their security. My first answer is usually, "Nothing--you're screwed."

But that's not true, and the reality is more complicated. You're screwed if you do nothing to protect yourself, but there are many things you can do to increase your security on the Internet.{snip}

Wi-Fi Cloud over Umatilla raining profit?

WiFi update

Thinking about adding WiFi to your gadgetry?

Best wireless base station/router: Linksys WRT54G, because you can easily upgrade the software. More software is info here, and web pricing here.

Best wireless network adapter: The Buffalo USB external? Prices
here.

Best really cheap antenna: A wok scoop with 15db gain.

Grant expanded for Bone Marrow testing for Hillsboro FD doc

The grant to cover the costs of Bone Marrow Registry signup I mentioned Wednesday over on Clackablog for the Hillsboro FD doc has extended to cover all the costs. This is slated for next Wed. evening; let's all do our part!

New Forum for Support at PalmOne

PalmOne, the folks who created the Palm series of PDAs, now has a new support forum which will make it easier for Palm users to find answers. When added to USENET's comp.sys.palmtops.pilot and the other support websites, PalmOS PDA users have excellent support choices.

And, BTW, if you haven't heard, PalmSource (the independent spinoff from Palm which does the PalmOS operating system), announced today future versions of the PalmOS will run on top of the Linux core OS. This is insanely great news for Palm users and folks about to buy a Palm, as it assures the long term domination of Palm as the leading PDA system.

Need WiFi really, really, urgently?

Dropzone has created IntelliEdge, a WLAN in a box; a Linux server, but with the unnecessary bits of Linux stripped of, for an extremely reliable (many more times than Windows) host for communications. It distributes Internet access by WiFi (802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, et al.) over a local area.

It connects back to the Internet by WiFi, WiMax, 3G cellular and other kinds of connections, and only needs 9W at 12VDC. There's a solar-power/battery option, and multiple can be solar powered.

Applications can be run on the server, with its own GPS, so you could mount one on a 4X4 doing SAR work, and let it not only provide data connectivity, but keep feeding map updates (e.g., showing which sectors have been searched) to wireless PDAs and notebooks.

PDX now free WiFi hot spot

Most of Portland Airport is now a free Wi-Fi hot spot. That means anyone with a wireless-enabled portable device (laptop, Pocket PC, Palm handheld, cell phone or whatever) can access the Internet, e-mail or corporate networks in 70 percent of the airport terminal's main level. Using the service requires an 802.11b-capable wireless network card. PDX says the service will remain free for at least one year. The service provider is XO Communications of Reston, Va.

Wired travelers can find dial-up Internet access, for a fee, at service centers on concourses A, B, C and D; at the PDX Conference Center and at an Internet kiosk on the terminal's upper level. Questions? Call PDX Customer Service at 877-739-4636.

PDX has company in offering free Wi-Fi. Here's a Web site that lists airports with free access.

Fighting Crime Smarter, not harder

Here's a good example of recent research into automating the search for patterns of criminal behavior. Crime data is analyzed by software which looks for patterns, and then maps the linkages between evens visually for detectives and crime analysts to see.

This is the kind of thing a regional task force, or even the Oregon State Police, might use to connect-the-dots and point to criminals operating in multiple jusisdictions.

For the Aquaman who has everything

The SwiMP3 and the The SwimMan are solid-state MP3 players with waterproof connections and earphones. If you've got $250 and already have fins or gills, this looks like an interesting gift.

MP3 players which work from USB memory drives

Found a few MP3 players which work from USB memory drives. Here's one I bought, and its review.

It works well in her '99 Subaru Impreza. My '95 Toyota 4Runner has too much RF noise for it to work well, but, then, as a ham, I have a few more transistors in that truckette than many third world nations.

Here's an earlier version, reviewed.

And, BTW, here's a very neat stocking-stuffer kinda gizmo I'm asking Santa for.

Rural Internet Broadband sufffers from Intelsat-7 failure

The Intelsat-7 satellite, in Clarke orbit over the equator hovering at 129 degrees west, failed Sunday due to an 'electrical fault', leaving about 20,000 customers out of service. If you know someone who used a StarBand satellite rig for broadband Internet in the boonies, well, they're down for the count and on dial-up now. You can track this issue and alt.satellite.starband on USENET.

Slashdotter Pundit Roblimo Talks Linux Wednesday

Slashdot is a massively anarchic and rather nerd-centric institution, part of the Open Source Technology Group, funded by IT industry heavyweights.

Well, one of their Linux gurus, Robin Miller AKA 'Roblimo', a prolific tech writer, will be in a Washington Post on-line interview Wednesday at 10 AM Pacific, 1PM Eastern.

He will be talking about his new book, Point and Click Linux, which includes a CD intended for anyone, even the proverbial Aunt Minnie, to get started with the free, reliable and secure alternative to Microsoft Windows.

If you have any interest in Linux, this on-line discussion and the links above would be worth your time.



Bubba the Bomb-Blowing-Up 'Bot Goes to Iraq

I recall reading earlier this year about GIs using R/C controllers to safely jam or pre-detonate IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in Iraq. Now, Slashdot posted an article on a 1.1 kilobuck Improvised Anti-Explosive Device, based on an off-the-shelf R/C truck.
During the summer of 2004 Tackle Design co-founder and principle Jonathan Kuniholm was called to serve in Iraq as Platoon Commander in the Marine's 4th Combat Engineer Battalion.

Jonathan and Howard's goal was to build a low-cost remote reconnaissance device that could provide close-up video of possible explosives, allowing the platoon to increase their vigilance in protecting themselves and civilians from danger while reducing the
number false alarms requiring EOD support. In addition to reconnaissance they also wanted to provide the possibility of safely delivering an explosive charge to detonate and disarm explosives in circumstances where required to do so.
Not only anti-IED, but anti-spendy too, when compared to th…

HD TV tips

I posted this over on the Oregonian's Tech forum on 11/28/04, and then decided it needed expansion.

1. Craigslist's electronics section can be an excellent source for used HDTV gear, as videophiles will be trading up and selling their old gear. You can look on eBay and Froogle to get an idea of prices for comparable gear and what used equipment's market price is.

2. You can get HDTV
a) off the air with an antenna
b) with cable (Comcast, et al.)
c) with a dish (DirecTV and DISH network). Some of their receivers may not work with off-air or have all the features available for off-air use - so check carefully).

3. Sets (whether tube, projection, LCD or plasma) often do not have the receiver built in. Make sure you get a receiver in whatever you buy.

4. Recording: There are Tivos and Tivo-like PVRs & DVRs to record HDTV, and you can get a DVHS (Digital VHS) recorder to give you the ability to record and keep or record and watch later. However, HDTV requires a *lot* mo…

Fireproofing Your Tower's Coax

Here, a publicly-spirited ham (and isn't that redundant?) shows the flammability of some kinds of coax, and how to reduce or eliminate the risk.

Twelve kilobucks later, stupidity found no excuse for jamming ham radio

Gmail! Gmail!

Gmail! Gmail!

Yes, Google has POP3 access to Gmail now. They're rolling it out slowly over the next two weeks.

If you have Gmail, log in to your account., click 'Settings' at the top of any Gmail page, then look for 'Forwarding and POP' in the orange 'Mail Settings' box. If you have 'Forwarding' only, you're not invited yet.

No, I don't have an invite, yet. I'm just getting ready to roll when they do give me POP3 access, and looking for SSL (aka STARTTLS) compatible clients for my Palm Tungsten dub-ya.

When I have more invites, I will post them to the local Craigslist.

Of course, some e-mail marketers are concerned it will be easier to filter out their commercial messages. Oh, shucky-darn.

So, M$ drops free POP3 Hotmail access, Yahoo charges $20/yr. for it, and Gmail gives it away. Who loves ya, baby?

And, one wonders whether the 'accidental' terabyte of storage some Gmail users have discovered was an accident in the lab, or if it…

Dumb Law for Smart Guns

I sure would hate to be a cop in Jersey after smart guns make their appearance. You gotta know that version 1.0 will be a little scary.. will they work after mud, dirt and blood clog the sensors? Will there be a brisk market in gun sensor jammers? Not to mention the first schmo who gets charged for murder on the basis that his gun was hacked.

Somehow, I doubt the crooks' guns will be fully standards-compliant.

Ford not a good choice for hams

This emergency responder found Ford won't honor their extended warranty on multiple pretexts, including the installation of a two-way radio.

Gee, with all those Crown Vics running around with 2-way radios in them, you'd think Ford could find a more creative excuse.

Free Basic Internet via WiFi

Verilan
now offers free basic Internet access via 802.11b WiFi to a large segment of Portland. They don't give you NNTP or e-mail, but just plain web access will suit many people perfectly well.

Forex, you can use Google Groups to search the entire history of USENET (sans binary groups), even post to USENET once you establish a free account with Google.

Or, you can download Free Agent, a very useful USENET newsgroup reader/e-mail client, and use that with HotPOP which offers free POP3/SMTP e-mail access, if you're still waiting for your Gmail invite.

A WiFi Cantenna (WiFi primer and antenna review here) on top of a bamboo pole feeding a good* WiFi card could provide basic access for a laptop from many homes and other locations. For field ops with line-of-sight to the KGW tower, this could be very useful.

Also, here's a WiFi HOWTO from Wikipedia, with more here, and more than you ever wanted here.

I will put my card back in my laptop and do some experimenting.

* A 'good&…

Got Batteries?

Source: Canada NewsWire, 9 Oct 2004, excerpted

British Columbia Institute of Technology cyber security research leader Eric Byres testified for the U.S. Congressional Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census in Washington D.C. on 1 Oct 2004, warning that hacker attacks on North America's critical industrial infrastructure [power, etc., and of course the information technology on which they all depend] could soon become as commonplace as the practice of hacking Web pages.

Particularly vulnerable are the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems used ubiquitously for operation and maintenance. They efficiently enable the collection and analysis of data and control of equipment from remote locations.

There is a growing concern that this reliance on computers and computer networks raises the vulnerability of critical infrastructures to attack by cyber terrorists. A recent National Research Council report has identifie…

Be A Lert, for America Needs More Lerts

CBS News reports our national warning system is very, very lame.

It's also optional. Yes, optional, for local or regional alerts. The huge megalithic radiocorp that owns the majority of stations people listen to can decide whether to alert you to volcanic eruptions, flash floods, tornadoes and the like.

Of course, if you're listening to satellite radio, or watching tapes, DVDs or satellite TV, you would not hear it anyway, as Uncle Sam never required the incredibly cheap ability to listen to an alert frequency at all times to be built into TVs and radios... but, it can require that you be nannied with the V-chip.

Sleep tight tonight! Me, I got a All-Hazards alert receiver that's SAME-compliant.

Anything you Graffiti can be used against you...

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), those atomic clock people, has a step-by-step guide for law enforcement investigators to find and preserve digital evidence so that it stands up to scrutiny once cases are tried.

And, Uncle Sam wants your help in being the best he can be: A draft version of such rules for collecting evidence for PDAs is now available for review and comment.

It neglects the Symbian OS and Linux (??), but at least my first comments to ditch the section on PQAs (a dead letter now that Palm.Net's gone forever) got listened to, and the guide is a useful primer on the architecture of PDAs.

How, years ago in days of old, when magic filled the air....

Windows for Warships

A British software engineer was pinkslipped for documenting Windows insceurities in a combat context. As a result, Her Majesty's Royal Navy will be running on Windows. Yes, Windows for Warships, even including the UK's sole remaining nuclear deterrent.
"Sorry, Captain, we canna fire, tha server has crashed. Again."
WWST? (What Would Scotty Think?)

Palmtops - the next computing craze

Here's a quick review of upcoming palmtop PCs; machines which will fit in a coat pocket, and maybe pants pocket, but not a shirt pocket, and run Windows and/or Linux to give you all of your programs while out in the field.

I've actually used two of these, the OQO and the FlipStart, as well as a lot of other mobile computing gear. Since I've just had the touchscreen on my Fujitsu one-kilo notebook fail, with a probable repair cost of 75% of a new unit, I appreciate that the Vulcan folks might have left ouff the touchscreen for ruggedness reasons.

This is the best solution for really portable packet radio, as well as being tremendously useful in general. Palm has got to be sweating over this one, and it explains why Sony retreated from the PDA market.

Time required for viruses & worms to hack your machine drops 50% in a year

Computer Security: Getting through Day One without getting hacked

This guide from the non-profit and respected SANS, Windows XP: surviving the first day, shows how to set up a PC and get it ready to connect to the INternet without getting hacked in the process. Highly recommended.

Neat Windows Safety freeware

If you are using Windows XP, 2000 or NT, this freeware will alow you to make multiple backups of your Registry, and to 'optimize' (reorganize) it for best running. Windows 98 does this automatically, as does ME, and it's easy to do with Windows 95(and here's a script which does it, using the previously described PKZIP25 program)

: REGBACK.BAT - (C) 2004 John Bartley K7AAY
: Archives five last Registry files
c:
echo off
md \data
: (delete the first line above once run for the first time)
cls
cd \data
if exist back-reg.5 del back-reg.5
if exist back-reg.4 ren back-reg.4 back-reg.5
if exist back-reg.3 ren back-reg.3 back-reg.4
if exist back-reg.2 ren back-reg.2 back-reg.3
if exist back-reg.zip ren back-reg.zip back-reg.2
cd\windows\system
PKZIP25 -a -max c:\data\back-reg.zip SYSTEM.DAT USER.DAT
cls
dir back-reg.*
echo Registry backup successful if you see
echo BACK-REG.ZIP above with today's date
pause
exit


If your Registry is corrupted, your PC will either behav…

Fear and Loathing in Iraq

Here's how I protect myself from data loss when syncing my Palm

I use PKZIP25.COM from PKWARE, and call it within a script ('batch file'). If I accidentally delete data I don't discover as gone until after the next sync, I can go to an old data archive made with PKZIP 2.5 for DOS and recover it.

BTW, if anyone knows of a freeware archiving utility which can be invoked from within a DOS script, please do let me know at johnbartleyTHREE@yahoo.com (please change THREE to 3 before sending). I obtained my PKZIP25 through purchase, but believe I'd like to try an Open Source or Freeware solution if there's one which works scripted within DOS.

I created this batch file which I place in C:/WINDOWS (or somewhere else in the path) and call it every time Windows reboots by adding COMMAND /C PALMBACK.BAT within C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT on my 98 machines. NT-based machines would place the file in C:/WINNT instead and use CMD instead of COMMAND.

Before use, Palmists must go to C:\Program Files\Palm and find the name of their data subdirectory. Most u…

Moport: An independent event-driven mobile blog network

I grew up on the Gulf Coast, and spent some time in Tornado Alley as well. Now, I live on the Ring of Fire. All three have their disasters; hurricanes, twisters and earthquakes.

I also know many volunteer disaster workers who had Ground Zero assignments. They found low-bandwidth texting (often through paging networks, since cell nets were down for many days) their best source of information.

Howard Rheingold's Smart Mobs website led me to this article on Moport, a text blogging net for mobiles, which will make its debut during the Republican National Convention in the Big Apple at the end of this month.

Why not establish a Moport for Hurricane Charlie, and then create protocols for quick deployment of other Moports for other natural disasters?

My motivation is that people deal with disasters better when they have a sense of being informed. Traditional disaster relief organizations, however, have to do that through the commercial media, who are rather cumbersome and have their own int…

This is a spoof, this is only a spoof...

A recent analysis of the Emergency Alert System, which replaced the Emergency Broadcast System (itself heir to CONELRAD), shows the hackability of emergency alerts.

The EAS was launched in 1997 to replace the cold-war era Emergency Broadcast System known best for making the phrase "this is only a test" a cultural touchstone. Like that earlier system, the EAS is designed to allow the President to interrupt television and radio programming and speak directly to the American people in the event of an impending nuclear war, or a similarly extreme national emergency. The system has never been activated for that purpose, but state and local officials have found it a valuable channel for warning the public of regional emergencies, including the "Amber Alerts" credited with the recovery of 150 abducted children.

As first reported by SecurityFocus nearly two years ago, the EAS was built without basic authentication mechanisms, and is activated locally by unencrypted low-sp…

Pentagon Abandons Microsoft for "Commander's Digital Assistant"

Here's a BargainPDA report on how the new ruggedized PDA (whoops, CDA, or "Commander's Digital Assistant" will use Linux, instead of Microsoft's PocketPC. I can see that; I would not want to have my CDA hacked by a virus or stuck in a reboot cycle when out on a mission.

430 ELE NEAs documented, more on their way; but, wait, there's more....

> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3553368.stm

ELE = Extinction Level Event

NEA = Near Earth Asteroid


So: when do we expect that particular doom?

Well, I don't know when it will occur, and neither do the experts, beyond 'soon' (in geological terms). But, then I moved from Collier County, Florida (where the highest point is 17' above mean high tide) a dozen years ago, after I read LUCIFER'S HAMMER, right after I read ON THE SLOPES OF VESUVIUS.

I think Dr. Pournelle and The Admiral both provided a Clue.. and now, I live in cheeful, happy, mountainous Oregon, with in-laws who have a spread at 2,200' on the other side of the Cascades.

> And is there a way to trigger such things?

The article suggested a volcanic eruption would be required, and we don't know how to trigger those any more than we know how to set off an earthquake. There may be some Russians still around who worked on their equivalent of PLOWSHARE, or maybe some Chinese know (shall we sen…

Add-ons for Gmail

Funny du jour

De-gunking your PC

Here's a very useful summary of how to maintain your Windows PC's software. Of course, you have to clean your desktop machines to remove the dust, lint and hair which accumulate within and block the cooling air flow, but this is a good start for all Windows users.

Scary

Randomness, but for a good deal

Originally posted 2004-06-18:
Here's a site (was: http://gmailmachine.mmgn.com - gone now); which, if you like the 1 in 30,000 odds and don't mind the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome, allows you to gamble on winning a Gmail account. Groovy.

And, here's another similar site. It's cheaper than the Oregon Lottery, and to my mind, more entertaining.

Secunia reports still yet another critical IE security vulnerability

This month's M$ Security Updates show multiple security patches. Please make sure to apply all the relevant patches, today.
Secunia reports yet another IE security vulnerability. Solution: Find another web browser or turn off JavaScript and ActiveX.

There are security bugs in Word and Messenger as well.

Bill Gates: "Our software should be so fundamentally secure that customers never even worry about it."Uh-huh.

Nerd Radio

If you enjoy listen to folks talk about tech, this web link leads to a list of radio and Internet talkshows on technology.


Inexpensive Extended WiFi

Looking for a way to make WiFi reach further? Here's the improvizations of a New Zealand ham who's done rather well with off-the-shelf hardware.
In spite of wind susceptibility & carrying weight, pressed steel parabolic woks have also emerged as suitable homemade WiFi dishes.

Sunspots highest in millenium, global warming 'data' was fudged

The BBC (hardly a bastion of conservative thought) here reports the Sun is at a 1,000-year high of sunsports (a key indicator of how much radiation the Sun emits). Gee, if the Sun's hotter than usual, could that explain 'global warming'?

Perhaps it can, if it's really happening... for the key study which claims it's underway has been 'corrected' because of
collation errors, unjustifiable truncation or extrapolation of source data, obsolete data, geographical location errors, incorrect calculation of principal components and other quality control defects... poor data handling, obsolete data and incorrect calculation of principal components.
So, we're actually no warmer now than in the 15th Century, according to the true data.

This surprises me not, for I remember from history class the Perfidous Brits hauling cannon on sledges across the frozen Hudson River to defend Staten Island in 1779... and, when was the last time the Hudson froze that solidly, that …

Homeland Security recommends Internet Explorer users consider other browsers

YAIESR (Yet Another Internet Explorer Security Risk):
OWIE (Outlook, Windows, and Internet Explorer)!

(updated 7-07, original post 6-30)

As per Robert Bruce Thompson, author of O'Reilly's extremely useful PC HARDWARE IN A NUTSHELL:
The SANS Internet Storm Center has announced yet another critical exploit against Internet Explorer, this one related to the Browser Helper Objects (BHO) commonly used by banks (Note: and other web sites) to extend the functionality of IE. This exploit subverts SSL and HTTPS security to give the malefactor access to passwords and other account information. For details, see:
SANS (SysAdmin, Audit, Network, Security) Institute report

Tech Republic report
This exploit is still more confirmation that the focus of these attacks has changed. Until recently, most viruses/worms/Trojans were mere vandalism perpetrated largely by teenage script kiddies looking for a cheap thrill. Most malware/spyware was, if sometimes skating gray areas of the law, at least in…

BPL demonstrated as interference source, trials end early

This story shows how one of the allegedly more 'helpful' power companies could not make BPL work without significant interference to amateur and other bands.

And, here's the Slashdot discussion thread with more facts, innuendo and mudslinging.

Blue Windshield of Death

Those wacky engineers at Toyota have evidently created an accellerator pedal replacement which drives Camrys into snowdrifts. That, and more car-computer horror stories, are documented at WIRED.

Daddy, can I have your '56 Bulgemobile for graduation?

Grid Square Conversion

Grid Square Conversion. Need we say more?

Test Pilot Earned His Paycheck

Burt Rutan, designer of SpaceShipOne, revealed multiple glitches in Monday's first private flight to space.
"As I came out of the atmosphere I no longer had any attitude control," (63-year old test pilot Mike) Melvill told reporters. "If that had happened earlier, I would never have made it and you all would be looking sad right now."

SpaceShipOne, GovernmentZero

Here's the best story by any observer of the SpaceShipOne first flight into space, today.

More coverage with video and photos here.

Here's the CNN story, too.


Wow. This project (financed by Paul Allen, co-founder of Micro$oft) makes up for every time I cursed M$ for Windows.

My new page at PalmSource

Here's my new page at PalmSource, the folks who write the Palm operating system for Palm and other PDAs and smartphones.

If you have ham content, devices or PalmOS software you would like Palm users to see, drop me a note at
johnbartley3 {at} yahoo {daht} com
or the usual address which follows from a callsign,
and I would be very happy to look into it.

I am especially interested in doing packet from a Palm, and have directed Minions to scour SeaPac for a PicoPacket. Anyone who can find me that or a ShineMicro Springboard packet module for the Handspring Visor, please e-mail me at the above address.


Obfuscationator

Do you create web pages?
If you don't and ain't gonna, move right along, nothing to see here, folks.

However, if you do, you face the problem of how to put your e-mail address on a page without it being harvested by bots, evil software programs which (among other things) crawl the web, look at web pages and harvest e-mail addresses (including yours) to sell to spammers.

There are two traditional methods to deal with this:


1. Mung your address by injecting spaces and substituting words for the tradtional punctuation,, e.g., johnbartley3 {at} yahoo {dot} com - which, unfortunately, does not give you a link whereby folks can easily click on your name and it appears in a Create an E-mail window of their e-mail client program.

2. Use the ASCII codes which correspond to the characters of your e-mail address, instead. Forex, the letter a is instead represented with a & # 9 7 ; (spaces between the characters added to keep Blogger's software from actually turning it into an

All Experts - got a question on PalmOS PDAs?

Just thought I'd mention I offer support through theAll Experts website for problems with, and questions about, PalmOS PDAs.

LA lawsuit filed vs ATT Wireless, T-Mobile for 'locking' cellphones

Class Action Lawsuit Filed in California Against Major US GSM Carriers for Subsidy Locks

If you have a cellphone, it was probably 'locked' to the cellular company which provides you service. T-Mobile will unlock phones on request after three months, and a few carries don't lock them in the first place, replying on their quality of service to keep you with the company (Verizon comes to mind, IIRC).

It's a little easier nowadays to change from one cell phone carrier to another, as a result of Number Portability (more info here). You can file with your new phone company to have your old number move to your new company (and this applies to wired phone companies as well, like if you decided to change from Qworst to Vonage for your phone service. A few small telcos are exempted; see this list.

That ease of changing is nicknamed 'churn', and it drives the cellular companies berzerk. It requires them to actually provide service to make you want to stay with them. So…

Extending the Internet in emergency field operations

Start with a backpackable 802.11b/g relay station, suitable for providing Internet connectivity at disaster operations. Preferably, it's been upgraded with the Sveasoft optimized firmware for much better performance.

Draw a feed from Verilan via either 802.11 or 802.16 over a directional antenna, and voila! 802.11 coverage, wherever you need it, for WiFi phones, laptops and PDAs.

Having full Internet at a disaster site is getting to be extremely useful, and hams can make this happen better than anyone if we learn the lingo.

Of course, the Personal Telco Project is doing this right now in the core of the city, a Seattle City Councilcritter is looking at subsidizing it all over Pugetopolis, and there is much buzz at Slashdot on the subject.

Trunked radio frequency and talkgroup information

"Wise" soldiers sought

US Army wants "wise" G.I.s

..the Army would like to find leaders "who possess the wisdom to extend their expertise and values beyond service interests." But right now, it doesn't have an efficient way to find out who's wise and who's not.

Gee, why not just screen all recruits, and add their Wisdomscore into their 201 file? I'm sure Hasbro could have someone at WOTC run down I-5 to Ft. Lewis and talk to a procurement officer for a screening system to run during induction, before boot.

Blimps in space. No, not pigs, blimps.

MSNBC reports a California company with an alternate launch site in Texas, JP Aerospace, is on their third test article of a blimp system specifically designed to fly to space.

Blimps. To Space. At payload costs around a dollar a ton-mile to LEO. This compares rather favorably to NASA's $155,555 per ton-mile with the Shuttle.

Their concept, first unveiled at the Space Access '04 conference in Phoenix last month (with a blog report here, include the Ascender, a ground-to-near-space blimp, which docks to a helium-inflated two-mile-long station at the edge of space, over 20 miles up. Another ship, also a blimp but specifically designed to reach orbit, takes the payload from there to LEO, using well-proven electric propulsion (AKA 'ion drive').

That trip to LEO would take up to nine days, but that's a good thing; for, what goes up fast, must come down fast, and speed is energy which must be bled off by either massive amounts of expensive and explosive rocket fuel, or thr…

Radio noise levels before earthquakes

A story in the Fall 1990 WHOLE EARTH REVIEW #68, pp. 101-104, documents a 1984-1987 USGS study which showed a 70% correlation between radio signals on 200 Hz - 100 KHz (signals which BPL, if permitted by the FCC, will largely block).

Multiple citations are included to other research at the end of the article.

I think I will build one, even though when I bought my new home, it was built in Zone Green.

Wireless Internet tips for the Portland area

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One Freecycler asked on 2004-05-20:
OK, can someone tell me the deal with WiFi? I have two pretty ancient (1996? and 98?) PC laptops that I want to have wireless access on at home and at coffeeshops, school, etc. I know I need to have a wireless card?

Do they have PCMCIA Type II or III, or PC Card Type II or III card slots? That's needed for wirelessing.

and get a router at home, right?

Probably, not necessarily; there are exceptions (A3 and A5).

I don't have cable or anything, so I need to order something for the house that gives me this type of access?

A: THE BIG CONNECTION FOR HOME

If, at home, all you have is a dial-up modem, you owuld need broadband, and there are five ways to do that without getting obscenely spendy:

A1. DSL from Qworst. You can get 'business DSL' from them, including the things an ISP does (e-mail, USENET), or you can pick a DSL-capable ISP and pay Qworst for the DSL connection and pay the ISP for the ISP stuff.

A2. Cable modem (from Comcast?) costs abou…