MIT Technology Review is running an article that states that U.S. President Bush has ordered plans for temporarily disabling the U.S. network of global positioning satellites during a national crisis to prevent terrorists from using GPS technology. Bush also instructed the Defence Department to develop plans to disable, in certain areas, an enemy’s access to the U.S. navigational satellites and to similar systems operated by others. The European Union is developing a $4.8 billion (euro3.59 billion) program, called Galileo.
Assuming this does happen, does it mean they will “scramble” the signal for the general public and only the US military have it? What are the implications for the rest of the world who rely on this service – especially the essential services in other countries such as Police or an Ambulance getting to a life-saving situation? So, what is next on the line, shutting down the DNS servers so the terrorists cannot send emails across?
I don’t know if I should shake my head or laugh out loud.
Lapdeep pointed this one my way. BBC has a very funny report on the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan and how they are coping with the fighting! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Before you start reading this story, if you have a serious laughter problem, then please stop!
This is pretty idiotic (and funny). Since I recently moved from US to UK, I wanted to buy a adaptor for the 240v (and funny plugs) that are there in the UK for my Linksys router. So I find out their sales number here in the UK and give them a call and say I just want the power adaptor as mine is “broken”. Guess what they tell me? Sorry, can’t have one mate. Huh? What? Seems, like they don’t sell power adaptors, I would either have to buy a new router, or if mine is covered in warranty (which it is), then that would need to be replaced under that. Grrr….
Now, is that funny or what? Don’t you think it would be cheaper for them to sell just the power adaptor instead of just changing the whole thing within warranty! I honestly Now I am scared to call Dell also for the local power adaptor for the laptops.
*SIGH*, I long for the days when common sense is common!
It seems that a routine software upgrade knocked out 80% of the UK govt. PC’s at the Dept. for Work and Pensions. Though the article mentions Microsoft and EDS, it does not mention the real reason for the issue, just says that “Staff at the DWP found that they were unable to use their desktop computer after a number of technical glitches knocked out 80,000 of the department’s 100,000 terminals.“
Update: The Independent reports that is was only 40,000 machines and says the experts are still baffled as to the real issue. I personally probably trust the Independent more! If you want you can read all the related stories.
Extremetech has an article evaluating the US release of Bow-Lingual which aims to translate “dog” to “English”, i.e. converting simple dog barks to phrases. There is a wireless mic that hooks up to the dog’s collar and a unit that you hold to see the result. When the dog barks or whines, the recording device is triggered which then records raw, unfiltered sound for the next three seconds. After recording, the sample is segmented into four equal length audio components, each coming in around .75 seconds in length, each of which is broken down into voice prints and matched again a “database of voice prints”.
The Bow-Lingual then attempts to match this short segment against a voice print in the database. If the system finds a match, the bark is interpreted into one of six emotional categories: Happy, Sad, On-Guard, Frustrated, Assertive and Needy. Apparently your complex dog is only capable of six emotions. If there’s no match, then the unit fails by displaying a sideways-tilting dog head. Oddly, the emotion indicated by that dog posture – questioning – isn’t one of the identifiable categories.
I have of course not used this (don’t have dog or the money to waste on this), but to me this seems just a load of baloney! If someone has used this out there, what do they think?
Ah, the political heat is in the air here in the US and the mudslinging is in full swing. Here are the Top 10 Bush Tax Proposals:
10. No estate tax for families with at least two U.S. presidents.
9. W-2 Form is now Dubya-2 Form.
8. Under the simplified tax code, your refund check goes directly to Halliburton.
7. The reduced earned income tax credit is so unfair, it just makes me want to tear out my lustrous, finely groomed hair.
6. Attorney General (John) Ashcroft gets to write off the entire U.S. Constitution.
5. Texas Rangers can take a business loss for trading Sammy Sosa.
4. Eliminate all income taxes; just ask Teresa (Heinz Kerry) to cover the whole damn thing.
3. Cheney can claim Bush as a dependent.
2. Hundred-dollar penalty if you pronounce it “nuclear” instead of “nucular”.
1. George W. Bush gets a deduction for mortgaging our entire future.
This is really funny and I am probably getting someone in trouble. I get pretty good logs for this blog, who gets on it from where, how long, etc. you know the drill. If your hold time with Dell Support (most of which is outsourced to India) is longer than normal then it is probably because of me *grin*. As you can see in the image below, seems like those guys are just too busy reading my blog and at last count had spend close an hour and a half here! You can click on the image to see the full size.
Anatoly has a pretty funny post to which I can totally relate. I login to my MSN account because of the various passport accounts and also messenger. If it was not for those service I would totally ditch Hotmail. Yahoo and GMail have so much user experience, though I gotta admit I love Outlook 2003 if you have not seen the new interface its worth a spin.
My friend Wai pointed me to this and you will knock you socks off listening to it. Make sure your speakers are turned on and all the way up. 🙂
Found this of Karan’s post. Max Min (with way too much time on his/her hand) created IMHO an awesome Flash Application that can make George W Bush deliver a speech you always wanted to hear. Just type in an alphabet and pick one of the suggested words which later you can move around or delete. You can also save your creations and let others vote on it!
PS – Don’t try this at work, otherwise you would have spend a better part of your work-day goofing time off … err.. investing time in this. 🙂
Not long ago, one of those earnest-freshman puppydogs on the Net declared that there was “no such thing as American culture.” Right. Fish have also been known to doubt the existence of water.
The following is a first crack at an ostensive definition of ‘American culture’– things shared by the vast majority (let’s say 90%) of native-born Americans. Many of these won’t sound ‘cultural’ at all to Americans; they’ll sound like just descriptions of the way things are. But each one of them would be contested in one or more non-American cultures.
If you’re American…
- You believe deep down in the First Amendment, guaranteed by the government and perhaps by God.
- You’re familiar with David Letterman, Mary Tyler Moore, Saturday Night Live, Bewitched, the Flintstones, Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, Bob Newhart, Bill Cosby, Bugs Bunny, Road Runner, Donald Duck, the Fonz, Archie Bunker, Star Trek, the Honeymooners, the Addams Family, the Three Stooges, and Beetle Bailey.
- You know how baseball, basketball, and American football are played. If you’re male, you can argue intricate points about their rules. On the other hand (and unless you’re under about 20), you don’t care that much for soccer.
- You count yourself fortunate if you get three weeks of vacation a year.
If you died tonight…
- You’re fairly likely to believe in God; if not, you’ve certainly been approached by people asking whether you know that you’re going to Heaven.
- You think of McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC etc. as cheap food.
- You probably own a telephone and a TV. Your place is heated in the winter and has its own bathroom. You do your laundry in a machine. You don’t kill your own food. You don’t have a dirt floor. You eat at a table, sitting on chairs.
- You don’t consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, or guinea pigs to be food.
- A bathroom may not have a bathtub in it, but it certainly has a toilet.
- It seems natural to you that the telephone system, railroads, auto manufacturers, airlines, and power companies are privately run; indeed, you can hardly picture things working differently.
- You expect, as a matter of course, that the phones will work. Getting a new phone is routine.
- The train system, by contrast, isn’t very good. Trains don’t go any faster than cars; you’re better off taking a plane.
- You find a two-party system natural. You expect the politicians of both parties to be responsive to business, strong on defense, and concerned with the middle class. You find parliamentary systems (such as Italy’s) inefficient and comic.
- You don’t expect to hear socialism seriously defended. Communism, fuhgeddaboudit.
- Between “black” and “white” there are no other races. Someone with one black and one white parent looks black to you.
- You think most problems could be solved if only people would put aside their prejudices and work together.
- You take a strong court system for granted, even if you don’t use it. You know that if you went into business and had problems with a customer, partner, or supplier, you could take them to court.
- You’d respect someone who speaks French, German, or Japanese– but you very likely don’t yourself speak them well enough to communicate with a monolingual foreigner. You’re a bit more ambivalent about Spanish; you think the schools should teach kids English.
- It’s not all that necessary to learn foreign languages anyway. You can travel the continent using nothing but English– and get by pretty well in the rest of the world, too.
- You think a tax level of 30% is scandalously high.
- School is free through high school (at least, it’s an option, even if you went to private school); college isn’t, unless you get a scholarship.
- College is (normally, and excluding graduate study) four years long.
Everybody knows that
- Mustard comes in jars. Shaving cream comes in cans. Milk comes in plastic jugs or cardboard boxes, and occasionally in bottles.
- The date comes second: 11/22/63. (And you know what happened on that date.)
- The decimal point is a dot. Certainly not a comma.
- A billion is a thousand times a million.
- World War II was a just war, and (granted all the suffering of course) ended all right. It was a time when the country came together and did what was right. And instead of insisting on vengeance, the US very generously rebuilt Europe instead, with the Marshall Plan.
- You expect marriages to be made for love, not arranged by third parties. Getting married by a judge is an option, but not a requirement; most marriages happen in church. You have a best man and a maid or matron of honor at the wedding– a friend or a sibling. And, naturally, a man gets only one wife at a time.
- If a man has sex with another man, he’s a homosexual.
- Once you’re introduced to someone (well, besides the President and other lofty figures), you can call them by their first name.
- If you’re a woman, you don’t go to the beach topless.
- A hotel room has a private bath.
- You’d rather a film be subtitled than dubbed (if you go to foreign films at all).
- You seriously expect to be able to transact business, or deal with the government, without paying bribes.
- If a politican has been cheating on his wife, you would question his ability to govern.
- Just about any store will take your credit card.
- A company can fire just about anybody it wants, unless it discriminates by doing so.
- You like your bacon crisp (unless it’s Canadian bacon, of course).
- Labor Day is in the fall.
Contributions to world civilization
- You’ve probably seen Star Wars, ET, Home Alone, Casablanca, and Snow White. If you’re under forty, add Blazing Saddles, Terminator, Jaws, and 2001; otherwise, add Gone with the Wind, A Night at the Opera, Psycho, and Citizen Kane.
- You know the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Elvis, Chuck Berry, Michael Jackson, Simon & Garfunkel, Linda Ronstadt. If not, you know Frank Sinatra, Al Jolson, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Tony Bennett, and Kate Smith.
- You count on excellent medical treatment. You know you’re not going to die of cholera or other Third World diseases. You expect very strong measures to be taken to save very ill babies or people in their eighties. You think dying at 65 would be a tragedy.
- You went over US history, and some European, in school, Not much Russian, Chinese, or Latin American. You couldn’t name ten US interventions in Latin America.
- You expect the military to fight wars, not get involved in politics. You may not be able to name the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
- Your country has never been conquered by a foreign nation.
- You’re used to a wide variety of choices for almost anything you buy.
- You still measure things in feet, pounds, and gallons.
- You are not a farmer.
- Comics basically come in two varieties: newspaper comics and magazines; the latter pretty much all feature superheroes.
- The people who appear on the most popular talk shows are mostly entertainers, politicians, or rather strange individuals. Certainly not, say, authors.
- You drive on the right side of the road. You stop at red lights even if nobody’s around. If you’re a pedestrian and cars are stopped at a red light, you will fearlessly cross the street in front of them.
- You think of Canada as a pleasant, peaceful, but rather dull country, which has suddenly developed an inexplicable problem in Québec. You probably couldn’t explain why the Canadians didn’t join the other British colonies in rebelling against King George.
- You consider the Volkswagen Beetle to be a small car.
- The police are armed, but not with submachine guns.
- If a woman is plumper than the average, it doesn’t improve her looks.
- The biggest meal of the day is in the evening.
- The nationality people most often make jokes about is the Poles.
- There’s parts of the city you definitely want to avoid at night.
Outside the Beltway
- You feel that your kind of people aren’t being listened to enough in Washington.
- You wouldn’t expect both inflation and unemployment to be very high (say, over 15%) at the same time.
- You don’t care very much what family someone comes from.
- The normal thing, when a couple dies, is for their estate to be divided equally between their children.
- You think of opera and ballet as rather elite entertainments. It’s likely you don’t see that many plays, either.
- Christmas is in the winter. Unless you’re Jewish, you spend it with your family, give presents, and put up a tree.
- You may think the church is too powerful, or the state is; but you are used to not having a state church and don’t think that it would be a good idea.
- You’d be hard pressed to name the capitals or the leaders of all the nations of Europe.
- You aren’t familiar with Mafalda, Lucky Luke, Corto Maltese, Milo Manara, Guido Crepax, Gotlib, or Moebius.
- You’ve left a message at the beep.
- Taxis are generally operated by foreigners, who are often deplorably ignorant about the city.
- You are distrustful of welfare and unemployment payments– you think people should earn a living and not take handouts. But you would not be in favor of eliminating Social Security and Medicare.
- If you want to be a doctor, you need to get a bachelor’s first.
- There sure are a lot of lawyers.
- If you have an appointment, you’ll mutter an excuse if you’re five minutes late, and apologize profusely if it’s ten minutes. An hour late is almost inexcusable.
- If you’re talking to someone, you get uncomfortable if they approach closer than about two feet.
- About the only things you expect to bargain for are houses, cars, and antiques. Haggling is largely a matter of finding the hidden point that’s the buyer’s minimum.
- Once you’re past college, you very rarely simply show up at someone’s place. People have to invite each other over– especially if a meal is involved.
- When you negotiate, you are polite, of course, but it’s only good business to ‘play hardball’. Some foreigners pay excessive attention to status, or don’t say what they mean, and that’s exasperating.
- If you have a business appointment or interview with someone, you expect to have that person to yourself, and the business shouldn’t take more than an hour or so.
From the last time, when DARPA issued the grand challenge, the cameras were there, the million bucks were there (drool), the people were there, the hype were there and the robots were there. So what was missing? Well the Robots followed my example and forgot their “brains” and were half blind and stone dumb! So instead of learning from that and letting the existing teams push on they want to try LAGR. As I say, common sense is not very common!
Quite funny check it out if you got the time. 🙂 If you rate the movie, you can get a FREE copy of Visual Basic.NET
If you have had enough of Clippy, check this out. Not suitable for those with an aversion to profanity!