October 23, 2014 archive

No one ever dresses as crippling self doubt.

5 Halloween Cat-Safety Tips for Families With Kitties

Angie Bailey, Catster

Oct 16th 2014

  1. Keep kitty calm and indoors
  2. Make sure kitty has proper identification
  3. Remind costumed kids to be gentle with kitty
  4. Keep candy out of kitty’s reach
  5. No real candles with kitties

In Theaters Now: Citizenfour

So, do you have the guts to join the die Weiße Rose?

“At this stage I can offer nothing more than my word. I am a senior government employee in the intelligence community. I hope you understand that contacting you is extremely high risk … This will not be a waste of your time.” This was one of the first messages Edward Snowden wrote to filmmaker Laura Poitras beginning an exchange that helped expose the massive surveillance apparatus set up by the National Security Agency. Months later, Poitras would meet Snowden for the first time in a Hong Kong hotel room. Poitras filmed more than 20 hours of footage as Snowden debriefed reporters Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill. That footage – most unseen until now – forms the backbone of Poitras’ new film, “Citizenfour.” She joins us to talk about the film and her own experience with government surveillance. The film is the third installment of her 9/11 trilogy that also includes “My Country, My Country” about the Iraq War and “The Oath” about the U.S. military base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Poitras’ NSA reporting contributed to a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service awarded to The Guardian and The Washington Post. We also speak with Jeremy Scahill, who appears in the film reporting on recent disclosures about NSA surveillance from a new, anonymous government source. Scahill, along with Poitras and Greenwald, founded The Intercept, a new media venture to continue investigating whistleblower leaks.


Laura Poitras: “I knew this was going to piss off the most powerful people in the world”

Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 08:30 AM EST

Poitras convinced Snowden to let her film him beginning on the day when she and journalist Glenn Greenwald first met him in a Hong Kong hotel. So what you see in “Citizenfour,” for the first time, is not the clichés or assumptions or tabloid-style reporting on who Snowden was and why he chose to reveal an enormous trove of classified documents revealing much of the NSA’s worldwide spy campaign, but the man himself.

You are perfectly free to agree or disagree with Snowden’s reasoning and his decisions, but any argument that he was a foreign agent or a naïve hothead or an arrogant narcissist pretty much falls apart. We are confronted with a calm and reflective adult who has thought deeply about his life-changing and history-shaping decision, and is prepared to face the consequences. As you’ll see in “Citizenfour,” Snowden did not appear confident that he would escape prosecution and imprisonment, and pretty much expected those things. The admittedly ironic fact that he is now a gilded-cage émigré in Russia – America’s longtime global rival, and a vastly less free and open society – is surely not lost on Snowden. But that came about by accident, as the denouement of a chapter of the Snowden story we don’t really know yet: His involvement with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, who would seem to have bungled his escape plan, albeit with noble intentions.

“It’s not about that information, but about Glenn and Snowden and the fact that other people have come forward and will continue to come forward. That’s always been Snowden’s perspective. He’s not the first, and he’s not the last. I definitely felt that the film shouldn’t end on any kind of closure, because there is none. The programs continue and the risks continue. There’s the danger that once a story or an event becomes kind of book-ended, that it looks as if the choices were easy and the risks were minimal, where in fact none of that was the case.”


The Breakfast Club (Retro Tech)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgSo, almost a Million for an Apple 1.

Did I mention I have a 2C new in the box?  I do, actually.  Also a Commodor 64 (not in the box), 3 TS 1000s (1 in box), couple of XTs (with Monitor, try finding an MDA today), an all ISA AT, a P-386 500 driving 98 SE and 4 x 8MB drives, and various other spare parts that I could assemble into different configurations of different vintages.

I started out playing Star Trek over a 300 Baud Modem on an ADAM 3A Terminal using CompuServe and did my first programing in COBOL and RPG on Holerith cards.

So I’m not old, I’m well connected.

I started out in the biz with a translation of an Insurance Rating program from TRS-80 to Apple Basic (anyone remember Romar?  It was like the very first clone).

The machine that’s missing from my collection is a Kaypro 10.  64K and 10 Mb of C/PM goodness that I developed my bread and butter XTab app on that I have ported through a variety of iterations of MS-DOS, CCPM, DesqView, OS2, and Windows.

I’ll tell you this- there is no money in poetry for machines or maintaining them either.

I’ve ended up with a skill set that includes 7+ languages- COBOL, RPG, FORTRAN, BASIC, C (and about 5 variants), Postscript and HTML, and MS Macro as well as a heap of hardware that I’m willing to let good homes adopt as well as friends and family who accuse me of being a cat lady who never met a stray I didn’t like.

I have a friend who collects rarer hardware than that.  He has a Poly-88 with full OS source directly from one of the developers.  It’s good for what a 4K 8088 with a hard sectored floppy and an S-100 bus can do.

I also ended up with bookshelves of Bytes, PC Mags, Dr. Dobbs, and Computer Shoppers.

Sigh.  It all ought to go to a museum.  My current main ride (down at the moment after a voltage surge) is a Asus M4A88T-V EVO USB 3.0 with 16 Gb and a 3.7 6 Core AMD Athlon II.  Because it’s not working I’m on my laptop, an HP 6475b sporting the same 16 Gb and a 2.5 Dual Core AMD A4 so don’t cry for me Argentina.  I think the voltage surge screwed up my Windows virtual memory file, but I haven’t tested that yet.  If I have to replace the Motherboard it’s $120.  If I have to replace the CPU it’s $170.  If I have to replace the memory it’s $130.  I think the hard drives are recoverable (already have the important data) but they’re $80 for 2 Tb.

This is why there is no money in computing.

The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations – then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation – well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.

Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (1927)

Science News

Henry Ford Museum acquires 1976 Apple-1 computer

Dearborn Press & Guide

Published: Wednesday, October 22, 2014

“When acquiring artifacts for The Henry Ford’s Archive of American Innovation, we look at how the items will expand our ability to tell the important stories of American culture and its greatest innovators,” said Patricia Mooradian, president of The Henry Ford. “Similar to what Henry Ford did with the Model T, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs put technology directly in the hands of the people with the creation of the Apple-1, completely altering the way we work and live. The Apple-1 was not only innovative, but it is a key artifact in the foundation of the digital revolution.”

Only 64 of the originally produced 200 Apple-1 computers are known to exist – with 15 of this group known to be operational. In addition to the central Apple-1 motherboard, the acquisition also includes a hand-built keyboard interface, power supply, facsimile copies of the owner’s manual and schematics, Sanyo monitor and Apple-1 Cassette Interface.

Just as an aside, the part about “first pre-assembled personal computer ever”, not true.  Altair 8800, IMSAI 8080, Poly-88.  What these all lacked was an integrated video terminal and keyboard.

I was there and I bootstrapped a paper tape reader from front panel switches and I swore I’d never, ever touch a computer in my life.


Tech News

Science Oriented Video!

The Obligatories, News, and Blogs below.

On This Day In History October 23

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

October 23 is the 296th day of the year (297th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 69 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1921, in the French town of Chalons-sur-Marne, an American officer selects the body of the first “Unknown Soldier” to be honored among the approximately 77,000 United States servicemen killed on the Western Front during World War I.

According to the official records of the Army Graves Registration Service deposited in the U.S. National Archives in Washington, four bodies were transported to Chalons from the cemeteries of Aisne-Marne, Somme, Meuse-Argonne and Saint-Mihiel. All were great battlegrounds, and the latter two regions were the sites of two offensive operations in which American troops took a leading role in the decisive summer and fall of 1918. As the service records stated, the identity of the bodies was completely unknown: “The original records showing the internment of these bodies were searched and the four bodies selected represented the remains of soldiers of which there was absolutely no indication as to name, rank, organization or date of death.”

The four bodies arrived at the Hotel de Ville in Chalons-sur-Marne on October 23, 1921. At 10 o’clock the next morning, French and American officials entered a hall where the four caskets were displayed, each draped with an American flag. Sergeant Edward Younger, the man given the task of making the selection, carried a spray of white roses with which to mark the chosen casket. According to the official account, Younger “entered the chamber in which the bodies of the four Unknown Soldiers lay, circled the caskets three times, then silently placed the flowers on the third casket from the left. He faced the body, stood at attention and saluted.”

Bearing the inscription “An Unknown American who gave his life in the World War,” the chosen casket traveled to Paris and then to Le Havre, France, where it would board the cruiser Olympia for the voyage across the Atlantic. Once back in the United States, the Unknown Soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C.

The World War I Unknown lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda from his arrival in the United States until Armistice Day, 1921. On November 11, 1921, President Warren G. Harding officiated at the interment ceremonies at the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery. During the ceremony, the World War I Unknown was awarded the Victoria Cross by Admiral of the Fleet Lord Beatty, on behalf of King George V of the United Kingdom. (The Victoria Cross being the highest award for valour issued in the UK, on par with the Medal of Honor. Earlier, on March 4, 1921, the British Unknown Warrior was conferred the U.S. Medal of Honor by General of the Armies John Pershing.) In 1928, the Unknown Soldier was presented the Silver Buffalo Award for distinguished service to America’s youth by the Boy Scouts of America.

Late Night Karaoke

2014 World Series Game 2: Giants at Royals

So, what happened last night?  Madison Bumgarner dominated and James Shields not so much.  Now everyone may be right about the extraordinary quality of the Royal’s Bullpen but by the time they got the call in the 4th Inning the game was already 5 – 0 and there was no saving to be done.

In the top of the 1st, Leadoff Single, Sacrifice, Single, Runners at the Corners, Double, Caught advancing, 2 RBI HR, Giants 3 – 0.

In the top of the 4th, Leadoff Double, Wild Pitch, Runner at 3rd, Walk, RBI Single, Shields pulled for Duffy, Sacrifice, 2nd and 3rd, Walk, RBI Walk, Giants 5 – 0.

In the top of the 7th, Leadoff Walk, RBI Triple, Pitching Change, Line Out, RBI Single, Giants 7 – 0.

In the bottom of the 7th a 2 Out Solo Shot, 7 – 1 Giants.

Game Over Dude.

Now I heard the announcers make some kind of remark about how it’s not so bad, that in Series where the Home team got blown out (and it was a blowout, make no mistake) the last 4 out of 5 times that team came back to win it.  I wish I could be more encouraging.

With this loss (and it was Ace against Ace on full rest) the Royals surrender Home Field Advantage and will have to win at least one game at the Giants to prevail whereas the Giants could sweep at Home and never have to visit the Royals again after tonight, win or lose.  Also Bumgarner is a rubber arm who threw only slightly more than 100 pitches and could easily make 3 appearences in this Series.

So either the Royals come up with a solution or the Giants only need 1 more game from somebody.

Now lest you think I’m just a heartless bastard who hates the Royals (and I am a heartless bastard, but I don’t necessarily hate the Royals any more than every team that’s not the Mets) I have a smidge of sympathy since it’s been so long for them.

But it’s Chicago Cubs sympathy.

Starting tonight for the Royals is Yordano Ventura (R, 14 – 10, ERA 3.20).  He’s a rookie with 3 appearences but no decisions Post Season and an ERA of 4.61 based on 13 Innings Pitched with 12 Hits, 2 Home Runs, and 7 Runs Scored.

He will be matched for the Giants by Jake Peavy (R, 7 – 13, ERA 3.73).  Post Season he is 1 – 0 in 2 appearences with an ERA of 1.86 based on 9.2 Innings Pitched with 6 hits, 1 Home Runs, and 2 Runs Scored.

This is really a pick ’em.  Peavy’s had a better Post Season but has played fewer innings and he sucked during the regular season.  It all depends on if the Royals bring their bats to the park tonight.

8 pm Fox.