Archive for the 'news' Category

When Shouting Fails and Shooting Isn’t the Best Plan…

January 26, 2007

Technology truly has no surprises as the US Military has unveiled their first “Heat ray” weapon for use on battlefields and city streets as early as 2010. The weapon is called the “active denial system” and it fires an unseen energy beam that is supposed to cause a sudden burning / tingling feeling. The range of the weapon at 500 metres is a great deal further than other non-lethal weapons used for crowd control such as rubber bullets. The weapon result is known as “the good-bye effect” on the target as they run or dive for cover almost by instinct. The military told reporters that this weapons “would bridge the gap between shouting and shooting” in crowd control.

When I was in school I used to read all the military books we had in our library, most of them being out of date by years and I remember reading about “future weapons” that could be common place on the battlefield by the year 2000. One of them was the battlefield laser that would be able to fire a beam of light that would have a great deal of stopping power. The argument against such weapons was the fact that they required so much power to actually make use of them. The book said that the weapon would need a battery the size of a semi-truck trailer to make effective use with present day technology.

It would seem that the battery theory has been worked on in R&D as the new “heat-ray” is expected to be used by the US Military for crowd control and various other mission descriptions by as early as 2010. The vehicle that carries the apparatus is a hummer and it is not pulling a semi sized battery. There were some reservations raised that this weapon may not be effective on a target person who is used to extreme heat conditions but I disagree as the supposed “intense tingling effect” is far more than you get standing outside in the desert.

I am however concerned about this weapons effectiveness on crowds. Although it does appear not to have the soldiers testing the device (On BBC Report) writhing around in pain on the ground, it might have a greater effect on a child, especially an infant. You might argue that a infant is not likely to be in a setting where they would use such a weapon. If people are rioting in the streets and the military choose to use this tactic against them what happens if they use the wrong setting and cook people, for real. What happens if this device penetrates a wall of someone’s home who is not involved in the fight? There has been no mention as to how pinpointed this weapon is and what the effect on the people around the targets is.

The actual workings of the weapon give me similar pause as it doesn’t just give you a tingling feeling that is a total understatement. It actually raises the temperature of your blood. The military said “it penetrates the skin to a tiny depth, but not enough to leave lasting harm” – I question this as, what kind of time period is lasting to them and if this weapon is so new how do they know if it causes lasting harm? For all they know they could be causing problems inside your body that don’t show up right away. We all know what happens when a kitten is put in a microwave, some sick person does that about once a year. We should think a little more about lasting effects and the poor cooked kittens before we turn giant Microwaves on fellow man, non-lethal or not.

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Windows Vista Requires Purchasing…Not Pirating

November 12, 2006

Windows Vista LogoI am no saint. As many of the online community have done, I have used software of various types that have been cracked or less than legal, and I have downloaded music. Just about a year ago, I stopped doing anything remotely illegal online with new regard for the law. I am an advocate of fair use, which means if I buy music on my desktop’s iTunes, I want to be able to use that music on every music player I own, forever.  I am extremely vocal about DRM forcing us into a “one use per download” methodology.

Windows Vista like Windows XP, ME, 98 and even 95 will have a product key that you have to use to install the OS. The difference between the product key in Vista and the one in earlier OS’s like Windows 98 is Vista’s will actually do more than allow you to install the OS. Vista’s product key will regulate the amount that you are able to use the operating system, decide whether or not you are eligible for updates and will help Windows Genuine Advantage decide where it is going to stop you from using your computer sometime two months down the road.

As I have been advocating fair use I can not very well turn around and recommend that you pirate an OS, especially one that is not even public yet. Someone has come up with a registry hack that will allow you to do just that. This new hack will allow you to hack into Vista and use the product key you got with your Beta version of Vista and apply it to the RTM version.

My first reaction to this is. Why?  Why should any of these software companies listen to us when we ask for looser restraints on music and software so that we are able to use it for our own purposes more easily? How can we expect them to be compliant when we are talking about cracking the OS that they have been taking so much time to release?  I am not a Microsoft apologist, I am not apologizing that they have been wasting our time for months while they “work further” on Vista but I can say that Microsoft are people and they will respond as people.

At this juncture you might be wondering how I think Microsoft might “take this out on us” and I would point you to the upcoming Zune. Zune has reduced functionality, it won’t be able to play music that you have bought on the iTunes music store, if you share music you can only keep it for three days, there are countless reasons Zune is counter play to fair use advocates. Microsoft might very well decide that

“If they are going to screw with the OS…we’re going to tighten the DRM on Zune to prevent anyone from using anything but Microsoft licensed music….”

Don’t get the wrong idea, this is speculation of Microsoft’s “feelings” if Vista is pummeled by the same hackers who go after everything else they should be paying for.

If you want to use Vista, you should buy it, legitimately.

Lisa Ling Lays Her Life on the Line for US!

October 16, 2006

Lisa LingFor those of you who do not know who Lisa Ling is take a look at the picture on the left. Aside from being super-model worthy in photos she is a cutting edge, reporter who has worked on the popular talk show, The View, and has recently been working with National Geographic. She is the brave soul who took the personal risk of infiltrating North Korea posing as a “Medical Administrator” knowing full well that if she was caught, she would most likely be charged with espionage and executed.

The terrifying story of this adventurous reporter’s trip into North Korea earlier this summer, before the recent tensions between the UN and NK, will hopefully be airing at the end of this year. As you will see in the video the North Korean civilians have been told by their government that they are in a state of war with the United States and have been for the last 10 years! That certainly surprised the hell out of this transplanted American in the UK.

I was most pleased that the interviewer did not attempt to demonize the North Korean families or government in any way, which of course is a standard ploy when the media cover a story concerning a country with which we are currently struggling to get along with. I will continue to monitor Lisa’s adventurous reporting and keep you apprised.

I would love to get ahold of Lisa for an interview before she is saturated with media attention.

Also of interest, for those who haven’t had a chance to read it, I did an interview with Artie Wayne on the Web the other day.