"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Secret Firefox Config Hacking: Fix the Backspace Bug

My man (and Firefox engineer) Tony Chang just answered one of my biggest problems with FF. When you hit backspace on a page, it's equivalent to hitting the back button. This is especially annoying on forms, as I'll often hit backspace one too many times and end up going off the page, which kills whatever other work I've done on the form. Raaar!

Luckily there's a fix for this. You type about:config into your browser bar, and search for "backspace." Then double-click on the browser.backspace_action line, and change the value to -1.

Problem solved. Thanks, Tony.

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Robot Overlord Watch

Perhaps it will be the Koreans who first develop giant Mecha solders...

Apparently these are designed for deployment along the DMZ. Still kind of creepy though.

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Talk Nerdy To Me

The Chap3 boys are up here now and we had a good morning of meetings. Seems like we'll have a real business and even be able to pay ourselves decent.

Also, Firefox 2.0 is out. Go get 'em, especially if you can ditch IE.

Finally, shiny new core-duo 2 lappy from Apple, though I'm holding out for the consumer-grade version. Lighter, smaller, plastic... all the things a boy wants.

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Googlebombs Away!

Fly my pretties! Fly!

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Moyers on Net Neutrality Tonight

If you're into or curious about Net Neutrality, Watch Bill Moyers tonight. His show will include a live (east coast) debate between Lying Telco Shill Mike McCurry and Ben Scott, policy director of Free Press.

McCurry was truly scurrelous the one time I saw him in a debate, back in May at the Personal Democracy Forum. Like, maddening. By the end I was heckling from the crowd. I don't know how Ben Scott is, but I've been pretty disappointed that none of the reps on our side can seem to make a convincing argument that doesn't get lost in legal or technical mumbo jumbo.

It's fucking simple: do you want the future of the internet in the US to be up to individual people, or up to huge, monopolistic, slothful corporations?

Sadly, this is an issue with very little public profile, so it will likely be decided internally by congress, which gives the edge to the corporations and their sweet sweet campaign contributions.

Anyway, the show's at 10, but I won't watch it. Just get my blood pressure up, and anyway I'll be at the Vagabond Opera show down at Humbrews.

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Datacenter in a Shipping Container

Sun Black Box
Saw today on slashdot that Sun Microsystems is working on a datacenter in a box. Google's been rumored to have a similar plan.

The idea is simple and smart: you take a shipping container and retrofit it with racks, HVAC, security and networking/electic cables, then you drop it on some dark fiber line, throw in a grip of servers and you've got a local datacenter. Build a national nodal network; give a city blazing-fast access to content via local caching; the possibilities are many.

Back in the 90s, at my first tech job, we were working on plans for stuff like this. It was a wild and shady outfit: the bosses played fast and loose and smoked tons of pot, but they had a vision and a few talented people (not me: I was just a young padwan learner at the time) and for a little while they even had money (of which I got none). But it all went up in a puff of bad management, shoddy/nonexistant planning, and a double-dose of being a decade ahead of your time. C'est la vie.

Anyway, at the time we were calling the concept "Microproperty" and the idea was that there would be all sorts of buisness for geographically localized data services. This was before the Big Bells broke the backs of the so-called CLECs (Competative Local Exchange Carriers -- smaller business that were supposed to be able to compete w/the likes of Verizon), so the initial applications were around telephony. There were also plans for all sorts of verticals: cable tv, electricity, even goods and services. It was a nice dream for world domination, but sadly world domination doesn't usually work out and this was no exception.

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Sweedish Darknet

Fucking cool. Swedish Pirate Party Launches Massive Darknet:

Today, the Swedish Pirate Party launched a new Internet service that lets anybody send and receive files and information over the Internet without fear of being monitored or logged. In technical terms, such a network is called a “darknet”. The service allows people to use an untraceable address in the darknet, where they cannot be personally identified.

“There are many legitimate reasons to want to be completely anonymous on the Internet,” says Rickard Falkvinge, chairman of the Pirate Party. “If the government can check everything each citizen does, nobody can keep the government in check. The right to exchange information in private is fundamental to the democratic society. Without a safe and convenient way of accessing the Internet anonymously, this right is rendered null and void.”

Emphasis mine, because I fully aggree.

The service is called Relakks. I dunno if it's open to international participation (looks like it is), but a $7/mo fee for truly anonymous internet connectivity sounds like a winner to me.

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"Confessions" is by far the most interesting category for me to read on my own blog. I don't usually re-read this stuff to be honest, but I just dug the first two pages of posts there (looking for a link to send to a girl, natch) and I really liked some of it.

I re-read my paper journal quite often. Maybe I should review my own blog too. Like, posts from 18 months ago that are still right on...

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Photo Of The Day

Fedel and Hugo

The Cuban Communist Party newspaper headlines it An Unforgettable Afternoon Among Brothers and a "Three Hour Emotional Exchange." Spanish is a more passionate languate, I realize, but still... the object Fidel and Hugo are clutching here is apparently "Bolivar's Dagger."

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BioAlgae For Power Plants

MIT program that's awesome. Using the waste CO2 from a power plant to grow algae for biofuel. It cuts down power plant smog, and recycles the waste carbon into another fuel.

Some neat tricks too:

Berzin and his coworkers “tailor” algae to perform well at a specific power plant. They use a terrestrial cousin of a miniature bioreactor designed for the International Space Station. As algae grow inside the bioreactor, their environment is gradually shifted to conditions they will encounter at the plant. Within three months, the tailored algae are thriving on flue gases instead of air. No genetic engineering is involved. “We just use the natural tendency of algae to adapt to any environment,” said Berzin.

I think there's going to be some huge overlap soon between bioengineering and energy applications. All non-nuclear non-geothermal energy we have is solar at the root.

Fossil fuels come from fossils (well, mostly old algae), which get their biomass from the sun. Getting some crazy plants to jack up the photosynthesis and/or create electricity directly will be a coup, and it should be totally possible.

I'm hoping we'll see cool new stuff from The MIT Energy Research Council soon.

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