Democratic decline, interrupted

Veerrry interresting. Michael Barone, editor of The Almanac of American Politics for many years, writes an in-depth article on the psephology of the 2010 midterms titled Dems retreat to coasts as GOP rules vast interior. I read this and had a feeling of deja vu.

Categorized as Politics

Was Stuxnet a work of hackers?

My friend Jay Maynard has successfully incited me to blog by asking me the following question: “Would you call the perpetrators of the Stuxnet worm `hackers’, rather than crackers”? He’s actually raised an interesting question of definition, culture, and ethics, and I’m going to tackle it.

The Golden Age of Wargaming is Now

I’m what people in the strategy-gaming hobby call a grognard. The word is literally French for “grumbler”, historically used for Napoleonist diehards who never reconciled themselves to the fall of L’Empereur even after 1815, and nowadays refers to guys who cut their teeth on the classic, old-school hex-grid wargames of the 1970s. As a grognard,… Continue reading The Golden Age of Wargaming is Now

Categorized as Games

A Digital Video Primer for Geeks – Three Thumbs Up!

About an hour ago I watched A Digital Video Primer for Geeks. This is, hands down and no exceptions, the best instructional video I’ve ever seen. It takes a complex, dry, detail-filled topic and presents it with lucid clarity and a sense of fun.

No apology needed

A few moments ago I received email from the Iranian who first asked me to try to help the dissidents fourteen month ago. I reproduce his email and my response in its entirety, except that I omit information that might identify him.

Categorized as Terror

Fourteen months of carrying

It is now about fourteen months since, after receiving my second death threat, I started carrying a firearm almost constantly. This experience has taught me a few truths, some merely amusing but others with larger implications. The major lesson: people are amazingly oblivious to what they don’t expect to see. When I carry using a… Continue reading Fourteen months of carrying

Categorized as Firearms

Needling Haystack

In mid-2009, just after Neda Soltan was shot down on a Tehran street, I was working with a group of hackers attempting to provide covert communications support to the Iranian dissident movement. I blogged about it at the time, received my second death threat as a result, and had a couple of interesting conversations with… Continue reading Needling Haystack

Categorized as General

Pessimistic anarchism

I received email recently asking me to respond to an article in the Huffington Post, No Safe Harbor on Gulf Coast; Human Blood Tests Show Dangerous Levels of Toxic Exposure. Questioner’s English wasn’t very good, but the question he was trying to pose was how market anarchists like myself can oppose government action to mitigate… Continue reading Pessimistic anarchism

Categorized as Politics

The smartphone wars: What Gassée has to say

This is interesting. Jean-Louis Gassée, former head of Be Inc. and now a venture capitalist, has spotted what may be another prong of Google’s strategy; break the carriers’ term-contract system by driving the price of smartphones so far down that customers don’t need or want a carrier subsidy.

The smartphone wars: Google goes Taoist, Microsoft uses the farce

A few days ago, I observed that Google is not pushing back against cell carriers’ lockdown of Android phones as vigorously as I had expected in the wake of the Android 2.2 announcement. If this Twitter rumor is true, Google locked horns with the carriers and lost that confrontation, leading to the semi-discontinuance of the… Continue reading The smartphone wars: Google goes Taoist, Microsoft uses the farce

Engineering history

On a mailing list I frequent, a regular expressed doubt about the possibility that very small subgroups of a society (less than 5% of its population) can cause large changes in the overall direction of its evolution without long historical timespans to work in. But I know from experience that this can happen, because I’ve… Continue reading Engineering history

The smartphone wars: a cautious cheer for T-Mobile

T-Mobile announced the G-2 yesterday. They were, of course, the first carrier to ship an Android phone when they released the G-1 back in 2008. I think this announcement signals yet another phase change in the smartphone wars, in which carriers begin to back off the proprietary skins that have disfigured recent Android releases.

More dispatches from the smartphone front

Four days ago I blogged about upgrading my old G-1 to CyanogenMOD and complained that the mod’s home site contained no high-level overview of the modding process to help pepople understand all the details in the modding instructions for individual devices. It took some days of research, but I have now fixed that problem. I… Continue reading More dispatches from the smartphone front