NJ Motorsports Park – Thunderbolt

This is Theo and I at Thunderbolt at the end of May 2010.

Interesting details on government worker cost…

The Millionaire Cop Next Door

Facebook perspective.

“Hey, someone made a skinner-box that teaches you to undervalue your privacy . Cool.” – Cory Doctorow

Simple as that.

Our old HX4 contents…

Are now back up. Just go the the “OLD HX4” page link to see it.



Funny, true and soooo sad.

From http://xkcd.com/

Uptimes a year later.

I must have a hardware clock in me because it seems like strange coincidence that I thought to make this post today; which turns out to be the day I made the same post last year. I wonder if this will happen next year too.

michael@X:~$ uptime
10:21:53 up 229 days,

mhanson@X:~$ uptime
10:22:33 up 502 days,

michael@X:~$ uptime
10:38:46 up 113 days,

michael@X:~$ uptime
10:39:51 up 443 days,

[michael@X ~]$ uptime
10:44:09 up 186 days,

Thats 1,473 days of uptime on 5 boxes. Are Windows servers staying up like that these days? I remember back in the dark ages I could go for about 90-100 days before I would need to reboot our NT 4.0 server, and that was pretty long for a server back then.

Thoughts on open formats and kids…

Recently my oldest son was accepted to a private high school that he has been wanting to go to for the last few years. How a 5th grader knows where he wants to go to high school I’ll never know but such was the case. Needless to say I am very pleased for him. I am not so pleased for our budget.

His acceptance however, was not achieved without the written and verbal recommendations of some very kind and generous mentors he has garnered some admiration from. Their influence was significant. So over the last week I my wife and I began urging him to put some brain power into what he will say in the thank you letters to each of those individuals. He made his rough draft last night and sat down to his iMac this afternoon to finish the task. As I passed by in the hallway and saw him sitting at his keyboard I wondered the process he would use to go about writing and saving each file in a technical way. I used the opportunity to give him some advice on being efficient and this led me to thinking about how young he is and how he will over the remainder of his live amass a great deal of digital content and history. I thought about how much I have accumulated over the years and pondered the huge amount a young person today will have later in their life. I guess being a Linux user and firm believer in OSS and free software philosophy led me to consider how the data he creates and uses may or may not be of any use to him in the future. Of course now you rightfully question why he is using a Mac and not an open system; I have no legitimate answer to that other than its mostly related to my laziness and my kids desire to participate in the mainstream in a way that open systems sometimes don’t afford i.e. WOW, iTunes etc…

My intent here is not to start a flame-war or debate on Linux vs. x bur rather to simply raise the question of long term viability of our digital assets, and to consider how I should counsel my kids on things they should be doing regarding what is becoming their past saved in bits. I have attempted previously to relate some of these concerns but appropriately, given their age, that advice has fallen on deaf ears.

Do we as technically inclined parents have an obligation to include these lessons along with what has been more traditional child rearing values? Do we live in an era in which we should be teaching our children what they do on-line with their computers and cell phones can and will have immutable lifelong consequences? I’m sure the answer is yes, we must be guiding our kids on these technical and digital matters. But, what is the lesson plan, how do we do it? We are pioneering in this regard, we are ‘those that came before us’.

And what about asset viability and longevity? My grandfather recently passed away and I am aware of the huge amount of his life he left behind in the form of paper archives. Everything from photos, checkbooks and bank statement, notepads with doodles and thoughts scribbled in them, tax returns and business contracts, gas receipts and letters, real estate documents and construction material invoices. These are physical, tangible memories, they can last for a very very long time sans some sort of disaster. Anyone who gains access to them will be able to understand them. What will the equivalent be for my grandkids, what will they reminisce over after my kids are gone? Whatever that is, will they be able to see it, be moved by it, or learn things about mom and dad they never knew? I don’t think we know, but I’m pretty sure the chances are far less if we continue archiving our history and documenting our lives in proprietary data formats. I’m comfortable betting that all the Microsoft Office or iWork documents created today will not be usable in their original form and intent on Feb. 9 2060. Contrarily, I’m not at all convinced that the opposite is true of any document created in an open format. I suspect an open format document will fare the test of time better but only time will tell. I think for now, open formats are our best chance for a digital legacy.

Voicemail needs to die.

From http://www.thedoghousediaries.com/

Dont let Google fool you…

I have heard much praise or Google over the last week exalting their decision to discontinue their filtering of search results for searches originating in China. In case you didn’t know, Google has a large corporate presence in China and in order to do business there had agreed to go along with the state controlled censorship for search results. However, last week Google announced that it came under a cyber attack by Chinese attackers back in December of 2009. Then last week in response, Google made this statement, in which a couple things struck me. They state:

we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google


Second, we have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Based on our investigation to date we believe their attack did not achieve that objective. Only two Gmail accounts appear to have been accessed, and that activity was limited to account information (such as the date the account was created) and subject line, rather than the content of emails themselves.

What I find most interesting and unfortunate is that the bulk of the coverage looks like this in which he coverage focuses largely on how

The final straw, it said, was the hacking of information stored on its servers that targeted human-rights activists.

Google effectively has the largest distributed computer network in the world and undoubtedly knows a thing or two about cyber warfare/security. Out one side of their mouth they claim a “highly sophisticated and targeted attack”. Then out the other they say “Only two Gmail accounts appear to have been accessed”. Do they expect us to believe that their decision to fundamentally change the way they do business in the most populous country in the world is about hackers gaining “limited” access to account information of two users? Either Google does not know what a highly sophisticated attack is or they’re not being honest.

Make no mistake about it. This decision by Google is not a morally based stance against a communist regime controlling its dissonance. It about the intellectual property and being spied on and stolen from. Google cares about dollars not detractors. Google got punched in the wallet and they’re pissed off.

Thankfully later in the LA Times article referenced above Jessica Guynn gets to the heart of the matter, perhaps a bit late but nonetheless points out:

Siva Vaidhyanathan, associate professor of media studies and law at the University of Virginia who is writing a book about the Internet giant, cautioned that Google wasn’t so much taking a stand against censorship as a stand against cyber-spying.

“Google deserves tremendous thanks and applause for standing up for the integrity of the Internet. But the free-speech part of this story is merely window dressing. We have to be careful about what we applaud Google for.”

The bottom line it that Google in now doing more right in China than they were before. That is a good thing. But don’t be confused or misled about why they are doing it.

More on less; privacy that is.

I’m not sure if I am overacting about this but this just makes me indescribably mad. Today on /. was an article about a speech given by the founder of Facebook in which he [Jowitt] states:

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and chief executive of Facebook has said that people no longer have an expectation of privacy thanks to increasing uptake of social networking.

Given the recent actions of Facebook summarily altering all users privacy settings away from their defaults to a completely open setting, I must agree that Zuckerberg thinks we don’t expect privacy. What is so frightening is that there are plenty of people that will tow this line and resign their rights to their own privacy. These individuals, I trust, know not what they do. But in the end what they do is to pave the way for for our lawmakers to legislate away our rights because heck, we don’t want them anyway. Zuckerberg is myopic. Not all people use Facebook. Not all people that use Facebook discard the expectation of privacy and many people will never use Facebook because they cherish their privacy.

Is Zuckerberg educated beyond his intelligence or was early American history missing from his curriculum at Exeter and Harvard?