Saturday, October 15, 2005

Critical Windows Patch May Hose PC

Blue Screen of Death
From cNet -- A Microsoft patch meant to fix critical security flaws in Windows products is causing trouble for some users.

Microsoft on Tuesday issued fixes for 14 flaws in Windows, including a security hole that one expert says is ripe for exploitation by a major worm.

Installing the patch can cause serious problems, Microsoft said in an advisory posted to its Web site Friday. The patch could lock users out of their PC, prevent the Windows Firewall from starting, block certain applications from running or installing, and empty the network connections folder, among other things, the software maker said.

Read full story.

Geek Tension: Some
Gravity: Not so heavy

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Friday, October 14, 2005

Gingrich: "Religion key to American identity"

Newt Gingrich
"A secular America would not be America"

Former U.S. House speaker addresses supporters of the University of Mobile

MOBILE, Ala. -- Potential presidential candidate Newt Gingrich urged University of Mobile supporters Thursday night to help the country hold on to its religious underpinnings, saying it was key to American identity and to ultimate success in defeating Islamic extremists.

Gingrich told the audience that the United States is engaged in a "long war with the irreconcilable wing of Islam." He said that a key asset in that struggle is the belief embodied in the Declaration of Independence that American citizens receive their human and political rights from the creator, and that such rights are inalienable, meaning a civil government can't take them away.
"The most important thing will be the moral fiber and depth of commitment that we bring to defending our civilization and our way of life," Gingrich said.

Read full story (free registration required).
Also see:
Gingrich Says President Run Possible.
Also see: Condi vs. Hillary? For The Black Vote, All Bets Are Off.

Liberal & Democrat Tension: Rising Blood Pressure
Gravity: 50

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Fix iPod Screen Scratches

New iPodIt worked for me.

Quite by accident I found something that worked to remove minor scratches from the screen and face of my iPod Photo.

Yesterday, while not secure in its Otterbox, I accidentally yanked my iPod off my desk. The naked iPod fell on the floor and a pile of CD cases landed on top of it -- scratching the iPod's face and screen in a few places.

Darn. I needed something to fix the screen. I had read about the Brasso and toothpaste fixes. Surely, no toothpaste was ever going near my iPod. The Brasso may shine the back but I am not so sure what the long-term effects would be of a metal polish on the plastic face of an iPod. Who knows? The iPod may one day turn into a wedge of sticky goo.

Fellowes CD/DVD Repair KitI had an idea. I wanted something that was formulated to remove scratches from and protect clear plastic. I looked around in my CD junk box and found an old Fellowes CD Scratch Repair Kit. (Compact disks are made of almost pure polycarbonate plastic, a type of plastic commonly used for making clear products such as iPod cases.) The kit is basically a set of two moist wipes. One wipe removes scratches with a very mild solvent that softens the disc surface. The other wipe polishes and protects the disc. Since I have had awesome results restoring CDs with the kit, I figured I'd try it on my iPod.

Here's the fix. I rubbed the iPod face for 15-30 seconds with each wipe, starting with the restoring wipe and finishing with the polishing wipe. Between and after wipes, I buffed the iPod's surface with a soft cloth.

The process removed all but the deepest ding on the white body of the iPod. The screen is unscratched and looks brand new.

I guess you could say the Fellowes kit is a 'two-fer' ... a two for the price of one solution. Not only does the kit give new life to old CDs, it also polishes up my iPod and keeps me from sweating the little scratches that always seem to get on the screen.
EDITOR'S NOTE: It's been three years since I originally authored this article and I am happy to report everything is fine with my now ancient but serviceable iPod. All the minor nicks and scratches I originally removed with the repair kit are still gone; my iPod hasn't melted down into a gooey puck. Best of all, the OtterBox has allowed my iPod to escape unscathed from further damage and the ravages of time. And amazingly, the battery still holds a charge.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you and the hundreds of thousands of folks who have visited the blog to read this post. So here it is: thanks!

The blog has evolved somewhat since 2005 and I no longer post technology topics -- unless they are related to national defense -- as the site has matured into a fully devoted milblog.

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FEL99763 CD Scratch Repair Kit

TDK Repair and Cleaning Kit

ICLEANER Ultra Pro Kit for iPod or iBook

PodShop iDrops: Cleaner, Polish, Scratch Remover for iPod, iBook, eMac, Power Mac, and iMac

Also check out:

iPod Store at

Sony MDR-EX51LP Fontopia Headphones, (White)

Sony MDR-EX71SL/WK Fontopia Headphones (White)


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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Gingrich Says President Run Possible

Newt Gingrich
"Anything seems possible."

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Thursday he may run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 - unless some candidates promote his ideas.

"There are circumstances where I will run," Gingrich told a news conference before a speech at the University of Mobile.

Read full story.
Also see: Condi vs. Hillary? For The Black Vote, All Bets Are Off

Political Tension: 50
Gravity: 100

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Hurricane Damaged Vehicle Salvage Business Booming

Flooded Car
But some area residents are saying not in my backyard

Mobile, Ala. -- (From WPMI) Casualties of Hurricane Katrina have been the tens of thousands of cars, trucks and other vehicles destroyed by the storm's flood waters. Now, those vehicles are being salvaged for auction by businesses popping up almost overnight in backyards and existing businesses expanding into empty lots.

Such businesses become a problem when there are no zoning regulations to keep the operation from setting up shop next door to private homes.

Watch video.
Read full story.

Local Tension: 50
Gravity: 50

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Area Disaster Recovery Centers Closing Oct. 21

Mobile and Foley centers set to close

MONTGOMERY, Ala. –- The Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) located at the Mobile Civic Center and the Foley Events Center will close down at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct 21 after providing disaster-related information to nearly 5,000 local residents and displaced evacuees in the past month.

The Mobile Civic Center is located at 401 Civic Center Drive and the Foley Events Center is at 20801 County Rd 20 in Foley. The centers are open Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. All centers are closed Sundays.

Local Tension: 0
Gravity: 50

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Tax Bills Slam Hurricane Victims On Gulf Coast

Orange Beach property before and after Ivan
Alabama Coast Residents Slammed by Post-Hurricane Ivan Property Tax Increases

MOBILE, Ala. -- The Mobile Register reported Tuesday that land owners along Alabama's Gulf coast are still getting hit more than a year after Ivan blew away their homes: A post-hurricane real estate boom combined with quirks in the tax law led to sharp increases in tax bills for personal real estate where, in many cases, houses no longer exist.

As coastal property prices have climbed dramatically after Hurricane Katrina, property taxes have also risen. Add to that the fact that, while private residences are assessed at 10 percent of their appraised value (the rate applies both to homes before the storm and to piles of rubble left on private land after Ivan passed), commercial or undeveloped property -- including land recently cleared of wrecked homes -- is assessed at 20 percent. That means tax rates are twice as high for people who cleared debris from their land but still haven't rebuilt.

Read full story (registration required).

Alabama Gulf Coast Tension: 70
Gravity: 100

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How Hillary Became A Storybook Villain

Congresswoman Clunkton and Mayor Leach
Help! Mom! There are Liberals Under My Bed!

Hillary Clinton becomes the wicked witch of left in the conservative picture book for kids. The book, Help! Mom! There are Liberals Under My Bed! has become the surprise publishing hit of the year. Sales have rivalled even the latest Harry Potter novel, with the book racing up the best-seller charts after it was published three weeks ago.

Steeped in Republican values, the book was written as an alternative to Left-leaning children's tales such as King and King whose royal hero finds true love in a gay marriage and Heather Has Two Mommies about a little girl with lesbian parents.

Read full story.

Political Tension: Kid stuff
Gravity: Weightless

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Blogs Shrink News Cycle

Test Pattern
The CBS News blog, Public Eye, recently discussed the shrinking news cycle

The Lexicon of New Media Terms defines news cycle: The rhythm of news services' deadlines and methods of reaching audiences (5 a.m. newspaper delivery, 5-6-10 p.m. news broadcasts, etc.)

The CBS News blog, Public Eye, states: "The news cycle is shorter than it's ever been. If news happens at noon, savvy news consumers often know about it by 12:01. By 6:30, they've already absorbed news analysis, talking head debates, and endless reports about the event. "

A large part of this challenge comes from the blogosphere which presents media professionals with the opposite challenge. Blogs continue to fragment the media landscape, creating more opportunities for placement.

This leaves the nightly newscasts with a challenge: Should producers assume their viewers haven't seen the headlines, and orient their coverage accordingly? Or should they assume they have, and try to do something new?

Read full story.
Also see: Weblogs Threaten and Inform Traditional Journalism, and, The Power and Politics of Blogs

Media Tension: growing
Gravity: 50

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Some Katrina Victims Hit With High Utility Bills

Hurricane Katrina
Once postal service is restored in a disaster zone, some victims are receiving estimated use bills for unavailable utility service

Some Hurricane Katrina victims say they're getting a power bill that's either a two-month bill or an estimated bill based on previous usage.

Read full story.
Watch video.

Social Tension: 100
Gravity: 50

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Monday, October 10, 2005

Bombing, Suspicious Devices On Campuses Ignored By National Press

Bombing, suspicious devices on college campuses go largely unnoticed by the mainstream media.

Michelle Malkin has been covering the recent explosion at the University of Oklahoma and the discovery of explosive devices at Georgia Tech and UCLA last week.

In the Oklahoma bombing, officials were quick to call the incident a suicide, but there are rumors and reports of the bomber's attempts to buy large quantities of ammonium nitrate and ties to the Muslim community.

Explosive devices found at a Georgia Tech dorm Monday morning were part of a "terrorist act," an Atlanta police official said.

Wednesday, the Los Angeles Police Department bomb squad inspected and detonated an explosive device at a Midvale Plaza apartment.


For more information, visit the links below.

Michelle Malkin
CBS News Blog Public Eye
News 11 -- Explosives Found Near Tech Dorms
Daily Bruin -- Explosive found at Midvale Note: site is slow to load

News Tension: 50
Gravity: 65

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Sunday, October 9, 2005

Vermont US Senate Candidate Oft Published In Al-Jazeerah

Steve Moyer is an Internet Programmer and Liberal and an Also-ran for a U.S. Senate seat in Vermont. He is not Me.

A 48-year old internet programmer from Warren, Vermont is always running for a U.S. Senate in that state. Steve Moyer ran against the retiring Senator Jeffords in 2000 as an independent.

Moyer says, "I am running against the Republican party and for the cause of virtue in society." Yet, when you visit his campaign Web site, Steve Moyer for U.S. Senate, the first thing you see is the quoted link, "Ex-UN weapons inspector compares Blair and Bush to nazis." I guess calling the leaders of the free world Nazis is Moyer's view of what passes for virtue in Vermont.

Come on now Steve, you say you're an Internet man, you should know by the rules of Internet message boards, the first one to throw down the Nazi card simply ends any logical discussion had.

I came across Steve Moyer in a Google search on my own name, which also happens to be Steve Moyer. Imagine how appalled I was to find my name on Al-Jazeerah. Not to mention how totally aghast I was when I read Moyer's anti-American rhetoric posted there.

I won't take the time to debug Moyer's ideology other than to say that his ideas are the reason why people choose lawyers and business owners over programmers to be their government leaders.

Steve Moyer says that he grants anyone permission to post on the Intenet anything he has written. (see Fountainhead) However, having a bunch of name-calling, anti-administration ideas posted on Al-Jazeerah's Web site doesn't really help the causes of equal rights (most Arab countries treat 1/2 of their populations as female property); separation of church and state (most Arab countries governments are Islamic theocracies); or freedom of speech.

What help is it for an American to write negative things about our lifestyle, then approve of the way it is used by the mouthpiece of those who hate us.

In Why the US Must Leave Iraq, Moyer says the war in Iraq has been waged not for WMDs, or for freedom for the Iraqi people, but rather he says that the U.S. has gone to war because, "the United States government is bankrupt." Moyer goes on to talk about how US deficit has caused the United States to become a world agressor, saying that the U.S. is, "terrorizing the world into giving us more money to cover our increasing debts. The United States government is the biggest financial terrorist on the planet." Updated

For more of Steve Moyer's political writings published on the Al-Jazeerah Web site, see the links below:

Energy Conservation is a virtue
Fuel Shortages Coming Soon
How Kerry Can Demonstrate Good Leadership

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