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July 2005

Sunday snippets

The Sunday Tribune's coverage of the "Blogosphere" this week descends into trivial excerpts from a selection of eight blogs not worth repeating. But a half-page article by David Usborne about blogger Nadine Haobsh makes compelling reading about how to blog and keep your job. Some other items noted below, carried in the Sunday papers today, have generated bloggers' interest for weeks ahead of mainstream media coverage.

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Whitehat Spotlight

OREILLY -- After Business Week totally warps the story about Michael Lynn's expose of a vulnerability in Cisco routers, you have to think of the importance of whitehats in technology. Whitehats give a sanity check to ebullient technologists and puff pieces from IT firms, often by pointing out when the emperor has no clothes. In the case of Michael Lynn, he pointed out an insecurity problem with Cisco routers, a problem Cisco says it generic to all routers. Whan he fingered the problem, he planned to resign from his job with a consultancy service tied to Cisco products. Some people, like Business Week blogger Steve Hamm, think Lynn is a "smartass researcher" while others like O'Reilly blogger Marc Hedlund think Hamm "is protecting the Internet, and deserves our praise".

Marc Hedlund -- "BusinessWeek blows the Michael Lynn story"
Steve Hamm -- "The Blackhats must be gloating"
Bruce Schneier -- "Cisco harasses security researcher"
Antoin O Lachtnain -- "Spin spin spin"


With peripherals

LIVING OUTSIDE of the range of GPRS coverage and without a hope of broadband in my temporary accommodation, I have become more dependent upon my peripherals. I'm using a scanner to digitise three banker's boxes of stuff. I'm using an external hard drive to catalogue my images, videos and sound clips. I have a sling sack with my Nokia 9500 and Fuji S602Z on my back when the craving for external data calls--but I have to walk away from the house to get a good signal or a good picture.

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Reflecting at the Tidal Basin

IN THE SUMMER of 1985, I was one of a million visitors to pay my respects to Thomas Jefferson by walking up the marble steps of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. Like hundreds of others on the humid July day when I visited, I looked up to the four inscribed panels on the walls and murmured the famous phrases to myself. The first panel contains the most famous and familiar words in American history: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that amng these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." These are the core articles of faith in the American Creed.

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Librie Crack

LibrieFROM MY MOBILE FEEDS I see Scythic has a crack for the Sony Librie out in the wild now. The crack allows people to produce their own e-books and then read them on the Sony Librie. Scythic converted HG Wells' The Time Machine from text to LRF (Librie's book format without the DRM). The Windows binary and source code for the conversion tool have a few glitches (i.e., pagination and formatting issues), but the core work has been done.

Colin Dustan -- "Too good to be true"


What picture of Ireland?

FORTUNE -- In a special advertising section of the current Fortune magazine, readers can view 10 pages of "Ireland: A global growth leader". Since I was pressed for time, I didn't read the text. Instead, I just glanced at the 28 pictures in the section, ignored the 12 images of smiling male heads and itemised the pictures that purportedly represent Ireland's growth.

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Coffee Centre in the folio

CASHEL -- I have to work smart because we have another 28 work days before powering up Mellifont, the Cashel homestead. My internet access is through my Nokia 9500 most of the time and my desk is my weather-beaten Hidesign zippable A3 folio. Spilling out of the folio today: coffee centres. I like freshly ground coffee and all the ceremony accompanying its presentation.

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Digital household media federation initiative

WHILE STANDING inside a dark house (because it has no power at the moment), I pulled a post from LiteFeeds written by Gary Turner where he talks about consolidating his stuff in a "digital household media federation initiative" so if he's listening, I need to know whether he's snapping pictures or writing short pieces on archiving vinyl, cassette tapes and optical discs. I've got a disparate collection and it begs for some semblance of order.

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Since moving to Europe

SINCE MOVING TO EUROPE in 1986 and living 17 miles from a French village for five years, I have watched the decline of France. I remember taking day trips to Metz and Verdun where my purchasing power was 20% greater than the locals. Now I have around 35% greater buying power compared to an average Frenchman, according to Nicholas Bavarez's bestseller La France Qui Tombe.

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