Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Leo Laporte's daughter going to her Senior Prom..

As soon as I heard Leo mention (on his TWiT [This Week in Tech] podcast I think) the fact that his daughter was going to her senior prom, my thoughts immediately went to this image* of the two of them that I saved from the 'TechTV' days.

I think Leo's got a couple of great kids, and they have a great dad.

* It's been 'altered' with various effects like Paint.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Earth To Bush Administration.. No More! No Torture. No Exceptions.

This article in The Washington Monthly is about the use of torture by the US and seeks to end the "debate" about it's use, effectiveness, effects on those who engage in it and those who experience it, and the effects on the United States, it's allies and it's adversaries.

The article has links to 37 (if I counted correctly) individual articles on this subject by contributors like Jimmy Carter, Wesley Clark, Peter Bergen, Lee H. Hamilton & Thomas H. Kean, Chris Dodd, Kenneth M. Duberstein & Richard Armitage, Bob Barr, and Chuck Hagel.

I was alerted to it through Wesley Clark's newsletter. I think he put it well where he wrote:

"Torture is illegal, ineffective, and morally wrong. The United States has signed numerous treaties condemning torture and abjuring its practice. Those treaties are the law of the land. And, yes, waterboarding is torture: in the past, we convicted and punished foreign nationals for torture by waterboarding. There are no legal loopholes permitting torture in "exceptional cases." After all, those were the same excuses used by the torturers we once condemned.[...]"
(bold emphasis mine)
(The rest of Wesley Clark's article can be read on this page at The Washington Monthly)

I think it's a sad state of affairs that this issue is even considered "debatable". Too many people mixing the fiction of TV shows like "24" with reality, and in some cases the main stream media contributing to that confusion.

Reality and what's 'right' aren't factors that the Bush administration seem to consider. Morality is not an issue. And I don't think any group of notables, no matter how distinguished or how right they are, will change the course of this administration. Especially in the short time left.

In the scary proposition that somehow McCain was elected President, I'm not at all sure if much would change for the better. I'd like to think that [he] would change the policy on torture, but as far as the 'my way or nothing' belligerent attitude of our current foreign policy, and towards the legislative branch (so long as it has a Democratic majority), I have serious doubts.

I don't see that being *much* of a possibility, but Bush did get elected twice..

Let us all work towards a Democratic victory in the fall, then the work can begin in earnest repairing the Constitution and the rule of law, our international reputation, the health of our military, the health of our economy, and so much more.

Other things high on my wish list are things like refocusing our "representatives" attention on their individual constituents and limiting the influence of lobbyists. And speaking of 'health', how about the health of [all of] our citizens!

Take some time and read the individual articles, then think (and work) towards a time in the not so distant future where ideals like those of the authors can be our common reality and not something from the past.

A .PDF file containing all the individual articles is available for download on the page containing the main article "No More - No Torture. No Exceptions.", along with individual links [along the left side of the page] .

*Image used above is from The Washington Monthly article.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

ALERT: This Program Steals Your Login Credentials!

I just read this article by Robert Vamosi over at about programmer Dustin Brooks who discovered that the program "G-Archiver" sends the login credentials of everyone who signs up for the program to the email account of it's author John Terry.

Brooks was looking for a program to back up his Gmail account when he discovered G-Archiver.

"He signed up for a program called G-Archiver distributed by Mate Media of Miami, Fla. Brooks says that after installing the program, it didn't do all he was looking for so he decided to reverse engineer the source code using a program called Reflector for .Net.

Inside the source code Brooks found the program author's e-mail address and account password for Gmail. Thinking that was a little strange, Brooks used the hardcoded information to open John Terry's Gmail account. There, Brooks alleges he found 1,777 messages, all of which had username and passwords for people who signed up for the G-Archiver, including his own. In other words, whenever anyone signed up for the program, as Brooks had, a copy of his or her username and password was sent to John Terry's Gmail account.

Hardcoding e-mail addresses isn't new. In a presentation at Black Hat D.C. 2008 a few weeks ago, researchers Nitesh Dhanjani and Billy Rios reported that phishing site creators frequently hardcode e-mail addresses into the code in order to receive copies of the personal information submitted independent of where the Web form is being sent."

You can read the rest over at, but I have to say that reading this makes me wonder what other programs out there do this. It certainly makes an argument for Open-Source software. Being the healthy skeptic and cautious person that I am, I've wondered about this in the past. The only thing protecting most customers is the reputation of the company/author, and inquisitive (and skilled) people like Dustin Brooks.

Friday, February 15, 2008

My Best Friend in 1963

Pepsi, daughter of Taffy. Maybe close to a year old in this picture. The Pilgrim Fellowship group at Dad's church in Monterey named her. The Tryons raised beautiful Golden Retrievers, and I think we picked the best of the litter.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Something's Different

Yes, I finally changed over to the new template. I decided to mirror my other blog's appearance. As I find the time I'll add more links and some different page elements.

I've been trying to concentrate on my BlogsNH blog "TechAlert", and I've got a new post there called "Parents And Kids 'Growing Up Online'". If you haven't seen the PBS - Frontline program "Growing Up Online" you should, especially if you have kids still in school.

I've been concentrating on computer security and other tech-related stuff lately and avoiding politics as much as I can, so that's one of the main reasons the posts here have been sparse.
One of the other reasons is the topic of my latest post over at The Endicott Dispatch.

The nature of campaign politics and the way it being covered by most of the media turns me off.
I'm counting the days until this group of criminals is out of the White House and we can start to repair the damage they've done.

As that time gets closer I'll have more to say. In the mean time, my posts here might change from the political rants to other topics...Inside Tom's Brain.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Who Knew? (probably everyone but me....)

In news relating to "Daggett's", brought to my attention via my "Daggett"
Google News Alerts and The Pueblo Chieftain Online:



On Saturday, get out your can opener and give thanks for the brainchild of Ezra Daggett and Thomas Kensett. On this date in 1825, the men obtained a patent for the process of storing food in tin cans. And all the beans lived happily ever after.


Aside from the lead poisoning associated with the solder, this was really significant.

And I'm really thankful that my parents named me Thomas and not Ezra!

Monday, January 07, 2008

After Tomorrow

Things will be quieting down here in New Hampshire (until November).

For me (and my neighbors here at the Endicott Hotel on Main St. Concord) that means figuratively and literally. Over the past several days (since the Iowa Caucus) the political supporters have been out on the streets like I've never experienced since I moved here in 1979.

The morning of the Iowa Caucus I was awakened by someone beating a snare drum out front. I assume it was a Ron Paul supporter as they were the only ones out that day. It was a frigid day but sunny, and the Paul faithful were out en masse here in Concord.
Since then it's been crazy and noisy, starting around 8 AM and lasting all day long. Horns honking, sometimes blaring all the way down Main Street, groups of supporters chanting or yelling, sometimes to cars going by, other times at each other.

As I said, I've never seen enthusiasm like this here in Concord before the primary, or before the general election. Despite the noise I think it's great to see so many (mostly younger) people out participating in the political process and working for their candidate.

Much of this enthusiasm is undoubtedly due to the unprecedented failure of President Bush and the 'torturous' last seven years. The combination of an unnecessary war that many were fooled into supporting until the truth became evident, an unduly secretive and deceptive President and Vice President, seemingly endless scandals in the Republican party, and a Republican leadership that either looked the other way or was complicit in a plan to dominate and marginalize the opposing party, all the while rubber stamping everything the President asked for, whether legal or not.
With the price of oil and gasoline tripling, real estate in trouble, the NSA allowed to spy on Americans uncontrolled, billions of dollars spent in Iraq but unnaccounted for, New Orleans neglected, incompetant political appointees heading critical agencies, the Justice Department politicized, and much of the rest of the world now fearful and wondering how far down the road to crazytown Bush will drive the war wagon. Oh, and I almost forgot the disregard and obvious contempt for the Constitution, the Geneva Convention, and the rule of law in general as it pertains to Bush's imperial presidency, and the disdain for the poor and the social programs that help them, not to mention the neglect of the veterans that Bush needlessly sent into harms way. Is it any wonder that there is this massive call for change?

As I've heard others say, the President promised to unite the country. Of course it didn't happen the way he said it would (did anything?), but in the end he succeeded in uniting 80% of the country in opposition to him and his failed policies.

After all that has happened over the past seven years, why would any sane, caring person even consider voting for another Republican?