These guys are selling… uhh… domains? Yeah, domains.



In his lated book, Beyond Fear, security guru Bruce Schneier goes beyond cryptography and network security to challenge our post-9/11 national security practices. Here are some quotes:

“We’re seeing so much nonsense after 9/11, and so many people are saying things about security, about terrorism, that just makes no sense.”

“Homeland security measures are an enormous waste of money.”

“If the goal of security is to protect against yesterday’s attacks, we’re really good at it.”

“More people are killed every year by pigs than by sharks, which shows you how good we are at evaluating risk.”

“Did you ever wonder why tweezers are confiscated at security checkpoints, but matches and cigarette lighters– actual combustible materials– are not? If the tweezers lobby had more power, I’m sure they would be allowed on board as well.”

“When the U.S. Government says that security against terrorism is worth curtailing individual civil liberties, it’s because the cost of that decision is not borne by those making it.”

“People make bad security trade-offs when they’re scared.”

Amen, brother!


The stupid lawsuits in this country never really seem to end. Today Apple Computer released its latest version of the OS X operating system, called “Tiger”. They were prompty sued by Tiger Direct, a company that sells computer hardward (including, ironically, Apple products). Apparently Tiger Direct thinks they should have exclusive rights to the word “tiger”, and they’re dismayed that if you go to any web search engine and type the word, they’re not in the top of the results any more– Apple’s operating system is.

What a crock. Apparently we’re not allowed to use regular English words any more, because in so doing we might mess up someone’s marketing plan. Luckily “cyberschroeder” hasn’t been infringed upon yet– a Google search on the word turns up four results for my web site, and one for my friend Myles’ site, which is simply referring to mine.


“If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.”

— Rene Descartes


In a classic e-mail “oops”, someone at Hain Celestial accidentally sent a meeting reminder (notice?) to a local Linux user’s group– with membership in the thousands. Boy, there’s nothing like blundering in front of a huge audience like that.

The funny thing is that I know this guy, since I worked with him on a project a long time ago. He’s pretty savvy, so I can only imagine it was a complete accident and right now he’s wondering what to do about it…

But perhaps the best part of the message is the classic idiotic legal disclaimer:

“This e-mail is sent by The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. or one of its subsidiaries, and may contain information that is privileged and/ or confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, please do not review, disclose, copy or distribute. Please delete the e-mail and any attachments and notify us immediately.”

So… I’m thinking I’m not the “intended recipient”. But of course by the time I’ve read the disclaimer I’ve already violated it, since I’ve “reviewed” the message. Dang. Now the Hain lawyers are going to be all over me. And, of course it makes me wonder whether I should follow the last instructions and notify the guy… imagine having a couple thousand Linux users on the newsgroup all writing to you to basically inform you that you’re a doofus.


“Maybe we hyped it up a little bit too much,” Microsoft group product manager Greg Sullivan told Information Week in an interview before the WinHEC conference being held this week. He added, “We’re set up to pleasantly surprise people who don’t have super-high expectations for


“Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.”

— John Benfield


“If there is no God, who pops up the next Kleenex?”

— Art Hoppe


I’m in the process of organizing my digital music collection– it’s been “in process” for well over a year now– and as things are becoming more stable I’m at a point where I have everything in a huge directory structure. For fun, I created a playlist called The Big List o’ Everything, loaded it into XMMS, and hit “random play”.


Now I get this crazy mix of music… a piece of classical music, perhaps, followed by some hard rock, a chapter out of the “Harry Potter” audio book, and some obscure song I’ve never heard from one of Laralee’s old CD’s. Wild, wacky stuff.


Chalk up another win for the RIAA and MPAA, with a corresponding loss for sanity in our legal system.

Congress approved a new bill today that would make the possession of a digital copy of a pre-release movie a federal felony punishable by three years in prison and a fine of up to a quarter-million dollars. The fine would be levied even if no one actually “shared” the file.

Maybe the brain-trust that is Congress was seduced by the warm-and-fuzzy name of the bill (the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act), or maybe they were just paid off by the idiots running the media industry. It’s hard to tell, but the outcome is frightening. It’s just another draconian rule in the ever-expanding circle of ridiculous copyright “protections” that are really only protecting the absurd profits of a few media moguls.

As with the recent nine-year prison term for a guy who was a notorious spammer, this bill levies penalties that are terribly disproportionate to the crime committed. But hey, the entertainment industry seems to enjoy instilling fear and hatred in their consumers. Go figure.


Today was a red-letter day in my life– a real tragedy.

For the first time ever since I’ve owned a car (about twelve years) I paid more than twenty dollars to fill my gas tank.

Shocking, I know… what’s happening to this country? Surely we can start a war with some third-world oil-producing nation or something, and drive (hah!) gas prices back down.


Today’s science question is brought to you by… my freezer.

So we have ice cube trays, which we fill with water (duh) and drop in the freezer. Every now and then, when I take the tray out, I find one or two ice cubes that have a mysterious spike sticking up into the air. Note that nothing is above the trays, so it’s not like there’s dripping water to make this “inverse icicle”.

The question: how and why does this happen? Why only occasionally?

I expect some research and answers from the handful of science geeks who I know read this. (Yes, Tad, this means you.)


Part of the fun of making Rice Krispie Treats is that everything sticks together into a huge mass of marshmallows and krispies… meaning as you stir it you get a gigantic sticky ball. Whee!


As reported by The Register:

“The Bush Administration plans to extend its mighty neural networks to international banking in hopes of discovering terrorist activity. The scheme would allow the US Treasury Department to maintain databases of international money transfers to and from the USA. The result of this additional data mining will be a flood of largely irrelevant data to federal agencies already awash in irrelevant data. But the Administration’s overall approach has been to get all the data it can now, and figure out how it might be used to catch terrorists later.

“Since the Administration’s grand schemes for monitoring the public’s every move, such as the MATRIX and Total Information Awareness (TIA), fell into disrepute, it appears to be taking a piecemeal approach, building its surveillance society one step at a time. The government hopes that the public will perceive them as discrete elements in the so-called war on terror, and not contemplate the eventual, cumulative effect of all this activity.”



So Donald Rumsfeld dropped in on the new Iraqi government today, in a surprise visit where he counseled them about how to run their country. His visit was punctuated with such sage advice as:

“Anything that would delay that or disrupt [the organization of the government] as a result of turbulence or incompetence or corruption in government would be unfortunate.”

Thank you, Rummy! I’m so glad my tax dollars are paying to fly you around the world and offer advice even a ten-year-old could grasp. I’m sure the Iraqi leaders are most grateful too.


Brawny (the paper towel company) has a new line of ads that are pretty funny. Unfortunately they’re all done in Flash (why?) and while you’re waiting for the file to load you’re treated to a nice little animation showing your progress.

Of course, the animation looks pretty much like someone tearing off sheet after sheet of toilet paper…


Saturday, April 9 : wore shorts and t-shirt, went on bike ride.

Sunday, April 10 : wore heavy coat and gloves, shoveled foot-deep heavy wet snow.


Mmm… new speakers…

It’s hard to believe the factory speakers in my Saturn lasted ten full years before one of them finally blew up and started rattling badly enough to wake the dead. Since I listen to music almost every time I’m driving somewhere, it was really hard to hear that rattle, so I decided to (gasp!) get some new speakers installed.

After a rather lengthy and annoying process involving a friend’s car audio shop, I had four new Alpines in place. Wow, the difference is amazing. All those years I was listening to the el cheapo speakers, and now I’ve got high-fidelity sound. My ten-year-old CD changer never sounded so good…


Today’s riotous spam:

“If you wana have the latest disc for computer operation system or functional discs with least expense, this store is your chance! The discs are provided to you at less expense while supplies you with stable performance! Access to the world of discs with office operation, computer diagnostics, graphic design and commerce!”

Umm, what?