Monthly Archives: April 2004

Spinning Wheels

Most new ideas aren’t new. So when I heard someone was
coming out with a
six-wheeled car
my thoughts went back to the 1970s and
the Tyrrell P34 Formula 1 car. But as this site
notes
, there were others before that.

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In Your Eye

You may have heard about security devices that do retinal
scans to determine who you are. But have you heard of a
laser-projection device that projects an image
directly on to your retina
? In this case, the image is
the shop manual for Honda vehicle mechanics. The system
leaves the mechanics hands free to work on the vehicle while
they “see” the repair instructions seemingly floating in
front of their face.

This Must Stop

The AviationNow site has
a story
on someone by the name Dan O’Dowd who is saying
Linux and all OpenSource applications are security threats to
the U.S. Department of Defense. O’Dowd is quoted in the article saying:

If Linux is compromised, our defenses could be disabled,
spied on or commandeered,” O’Dowd said at an April 8 panel
during the NetCentric Operations 2004 conference sponsored
by the Association of Enterprise Integration and held in
McLean, Va. “Every day, new code is added to Linux in
Russia, China and elsewhere throughout the world. Every
day, that code is incorporated into our command, control,
communications and weapons system. This must stop.

It may not be a coincidence that O’Dowd works for a
company that sells a proprietary operating systems supposedly
designed for defense systems. But that is not to say people
don’t have to audit changes made to OpenSource initiatives
for security concerns but, in my opinion, it’s a long way to
saying all OpenSource is less secure than his or any other
proprietary offering.

Inspired Inspiron

Yesterday was a Good_Day(tm) at the Seto Shack. The Dell

Inspiron 1150
came in as well as the Linksys WRT54GS
wireless 802.11g router. You better believe I was up late
playing with these toys last night.

Even though the Inspiron 1150 is a “cheap” laptop, it
looks like it will do just fine for what I need it for.
Namely, running spreadsheets and doing memos/reports. As
noted earlier, the trade-off for cheap is that the 1150
weighs so much my shoulder was sore from carrying it after
walking only two blocks to the parking garage.

The Linksys was also fun to play with. I have to make sure
I understand how to secure the wireless network but so far
it’s up and running and I can’t tell any difference in web
surfing speed between being wired and wireless. Web sites
come up just as fast as when I have a CAT-5 cable plugged in
as when I have the Linksys card plugged in the card slot.

Anyway, this will be a good weekend for me…

Have a Great Weekend Everyone –
Aloha!

Chance Meetings

When I was in high school, as was the custom then, the
MorningNewspaper would list notable accomplishments of young
people around the state. Mostly, it was listings of students
who had gotten scholarships or won awards for various skills
such as speech or math. But one day, I read the name of a
fellow student who was in the Boy Scouts. It seems he
had attained the rank of Eagle
Scout
, the highest advancement rank in Scouting. This is
indeed a high accomplishment as only about four percent of
all Scouts ever reach this level and something, I would
think, to be proud.

But, I guess, each person deals with life in different
ways. Let me explain. I saw the student the day after his
name was published in the paper and congratulated him on his
attaining Eagle Scout status. His response sadden me. What he
did was threaten me saying he did not want his friends to
know that he was an Eagle Scout. I can only speculate as to
why he would not want his friends to know what he had
accomplished. Was he fearful that his friends would think
less of him? I don’t know but, if so, one wonders what kind
of friends he had.

I was reminded of him in relation to the recent national
controversy over whether photos of flag draped caskets of
U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq should be published. It seems
the current administration, for whatever reason, feels that
no one should see such photos. In fact,
someone who published some photos
was fired from her
job.

I think I can understand how the grieving family of some
soldiers may not want any publicity about their son or
daughter’s casket coming home and I’m certainly not going to
stand in judgment of them. But I think these people could
perhaps take some comfort if they understood the depth of
caring and grieving we all feel when one of our young men and
women falls in battle. I wish they could understand that the
these mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters do not stand
alone. That a country proudly stands beside them, whether
they support the war or not, and that the healing process can
be easier when they can accept the love of others.

There is
a posting from U.S. Marine Lieutenant Colonel Strobl that is
an account of escorting home the remains of one Lance
Corporal Chance Phelps who died in Iraq recently
. I don’t
know if the post is apocryphal or not, but even if it is, it
doesn’t matter. What matters is it tells the powerful truth
of who we are. If you can read that post and not have a tear
come to your eye then something is wrong with you.

I know the story is true, even if the details may not,
because I have seen the respect and reverence paid to the
returning remains of soldiers who died in the Vietnam War. To
this day, when the unidentified remains, in those same flag
draped caskets are brought to Hawai’i for identification at
the Army Lab, there is a solemn ceremony, usually televised
on local TV news.

I know the story is true because when my father-in-law was
laid to rest, the Honolulu Police force turned out by the
hundreds to honor him. They even shut down the main highway
through town to give a clear road to his motorcade to the
cemetery. Once at the grave site, a U.S. Marine Corps
detachment provided full military honors to their fallen
comrade.

I want every grieving parent to know that they don’t stand
alone in their sorrow. That “from these honored dead we take
increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the
last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve
that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation
shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government
of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not
perish from the earth.”

Aloha!

Watching and Waiting

As noted yesterday, things have kind of slowed down around
here. I’m still waiting for the Legislature to drop the axe
on the Judicial Salary Commission recommendations but other
than that, nothing of importance is going on.

Aloha!

In Transit

Things have kind of slowed down here at the Seto Shack.
But I have a couple of things on order that are “in transit”
so I hope to be able to report on them when they come in. The
first is a wireless network based on the Linksys
WRT54GS
802.11g router with what they call “SpeedBooster”
technology.

The second is something to work with the wireless network.
Namely, a Dell
Inspiron 1150
laptop computer. Up to now, I’ve avoided
getting a laptop because the cost just didn’t justify the
benefits. I mean what one paid for a
middle-of-the-road laptop would buy a desktop speedster that
would run rings around any laptop. Well, the future is here
and the cost of the cheapest laptops have finally fallen into
the range where I’ve decided to get one.

The Inspiron 1150 is a cheap laptop. If you understand
what that means, you know what the tradeoffs are. For
example, there’s the weight. This one starts at 7.2 lbs.
(~3.3kg). This is by no means a lightweight. Lugging 7
pounds, plus A/C adapter and nylon case around an airport
will not be fun.

Second, this is not a speed demon. The CPU is an Intel
2.4GHz Celeron. While having such a processor a few years ago
would lead to envy, now a 2.4 Celeron won’t get you into bed
with a Baywatch Babe (or able to watch her pr0n video).

Third, the screen is a 14.1-inch display rather than one
of those snazzy 17-inch wide-screen jobs that everyone seems
to be falling over themselves trying to snag.

But the bottom line is I got one for about $750, which is
about what a cheap desktop goes for. So now I will be able to
take the laptop to meetings and run spreadsheets or write
minutes, as things happen. When SWMBO goes to the
neighbor islands she can take it with her.

And lastly, when not used at work, I can use it at home to
surf the net from the comfort of the living room sofa while
watching those bouncing babes on Baywatch [ducking and
taking cover].

Aloha!