Swimming with the Razorfishes

Saturday, February 26, 2005

The private firm in charge of security at San Francisco International Airport cheated to pass tests aimed at ensuring it could stop terrorists from smuggling weapons onto flights, a former employee contends.

The allegations have prompted a federal probe into security at SFO, a spokesman for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration said.

In a wrongful-firing lawsuit filed Friday in San Francisco Superior Court, Gene Bencomo, 39, a former supervisor for Covenant Aviation Security, said the company devised an elaborate system to alert security checkpoints when undercover federal auditors, called decoys, arrived at the airport last year to conduct unannounced tests.

Posing as passengers, the decoys try to take dummy bombs, unloaded guns and other contraband through the airport's security checkpoints. But the lawsuit said Covenant tracked the decoys via closed-circuit television cameras and tipped off workers at security gates to expect a test. [via the San Francisco Chronicle]

Looking back ten years from now, how much of this administration's policy will be seen as window dressing or simple wastes of time and money? Worse, how many will we realize did nothing but provide a false sense of security, allowing us to let our guard down?

Google Maps now works with Safari (and Opera).

The Hospital. Freaky.

Friday, February 25, 2005


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Oh my God I need three of these.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

A fire swept through B&H's Brooklyn warehouse this evening. For those of you not in NYC, B&H is the largest, most kick ass photo store in the city. I'm tempted to run down to the Navy Yard to see if I can swipe a singed 1Ds.

As reported by CBS News,

"Eyewitness News is told that some type of tool, like a sauldering iron or torch, caught cardboard boxes full of television monitors on fire."

Damn kids and their sauldering.

"Workers said they were surprised how fast it spread. They tried to put it out with fire extinguishers, but it quickly grew out of control."

Of course the fire spread quickly. There was all that saulder.


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He suggested that I should visit strawberry fields.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

I don't know how they do this, but I'm glad they do. God damn freaks.


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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Sony kills the Clie.

In other geeky news, Apple is selling the LaCie Porsche FireWire drive for $199. That is a pretty good price.

Are there better deals for large-capacity FireWire drives out there? I need more disk for my photos.

[Update] Thank you, Apple, for making deep linking absolutely impossible. To see the drive, go to http://store.apple.com/, and click through to "storage", then find the LaCie 250GB Porsche drive. The links are along the left side.

Late last year I upgraded my PowerBook, replacing an old Titanium 15" model with an Aluminum 15" model.

Probably the best Apple laptop I've owned. Some of the best new features are the small details, like the little lights under the keyboard.

Unfortunately, the last OS update (10.3.8) left another of the cool features, the automatically dimming display, not quite working correctly. The display automatically dims according to ambient light. It seems the sensor that determines ambient light is under the left side of the keyboard, close to the tab key.

After the last update, the OS is changing screen brightness a little too aggressively. If you have your hand over the tab key, as one might when tabbing between settings in Photoshop, dammit, the screen flickers.

Paul Baily isolated the changed component, a kernel extension. Rolling it back seems to fix the problem. Lets hope this issue gets noticed and is addressed in 10.3.9.

Monday, February 21, 2005


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I just joined Ryze. Does anyone know why I did this?

Very cool: FlySketch.

Hard to describe. Kind of a wacky, twisted drawing application. From the guy who wrote VoodooPad; his mind must be wired in a different way. Check out the "highlight and capture" movie.

I might get this.

If the New York Times purchased About.com because of their expertise in search engine optimization, does that mean that The Times will start opening their archives to search? Does it mean that the archives will be free?

GoogleFight? I'm constantly amazed at the amount of free time some people seem to have.

A CEO of a corporation starts a blog, anonymously. Interesting.

He speaks like such a CEO:

[...]But I also feel that this study is yet another example of IT propaganda. The IT industry is always trying to convince those outside of IT that IT matters, that if you don't spend enough money on IT it will hurt your company.

But most of us are not convinced. IT is not a profit center, it's a cost center. Once your IT department grows past the minimum size needed to maintain your company, additional money spent on IT is a loss. But IT is always trying to shake down extra unnecessary money in order to bleed away profits.

Talking about President Bush's last State of the Union address:

[...]But Libertarian Girl wrote, "I started losing attention because I see right through that phony Oprah Winfrey stuff."

What Libertarian Girl forgets is that we live in a democracy, and people like Libertarian Girl, who are intelligent and logical about things, are in a minority at the voting booth. Bush has to sell his speech to the average American who is probably an Oprah Winfrey viewer.

Responding to an accounting student who aspires to senior management in a company:

[...]First off, I commend you for being interested in senior management. So many kids these days have impractical ideas about becoming actors or artists. I'm glad to see your head is grounded in the realities of our economy.

I find it terribly interesting to understand a person's worldview (to borrow a phrase from Ignatius Reilly). I'm guessing that to the author of CEO blog, a world filled with people focused entirely on accumulating wealth and power seems like a good place. I'm imagining the author would say something about the efficiency of market-driven economies. I imagine that to the author of CEO blog, having a college student "aspire to senior management" seems like ambition.

I see it as a sad development. A death to be mourned.

The student writes, "The thing that I have always wanted to do is run a company or at least a profit center." Who talks this way? I aspire to run a profit center? Good God.

Aspire to help people. Aspire to create beauty, or to seek truth. Aspire to happiness. Dream of something worthy of dreams.

But "run a profit center?"

Lest someone accuse me of hypocrisy, yes, I'm in management, too. But I don't want to work with people who rate as their greatest aspiration to run a profit center. And I certainly don't want to work for someone like that. Someone with such goals may well achieve them, but with what ethical grounding, by what means? If control of a company is the goal, if wealth is the only end, what means will a person be able to justify? What collateral damage would be justifiable while achieving these ends?

This is where I disagree with the author of the CEO blog. Aspirations should be large. They should be world-changing and for the public good. I'm disappointed that the author doesn't acknowledge this.

Baby Got Bible. One hopes this was done in jest.

RIP: Hunter S. Thompson

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Dotty Lynch at CBS News examines a Jeff Gannon / Karl Rove connection.

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