Archive for the 'Tech' Category

Clueless Comcast

( Stupidity andTech )

I’ve been dealing with Comcast, aka Xfinity, for almost 15 years on a fairly regular basis thanks to friends and family, including my brother-in-law and Ellie’s family. I’ve seen some stupid problems and bad installations, but the installation at my friend’s house i fixed last night takes the cake though. My friend has had Xfinity’s […]

WiFi Networking for Cruising Sailboats

I was over on s/v Itinerant, helping Joe with his WiFi setup, and decided to write what I did. Joe had bought a NanoStation2 based on my recommendation and was having some trouble with it. The equipment I’ve been recommending for cruising sailboats are either the NanoStation2 or the Loco2 for monohulls and the Bullet […]

The SPOT Messenger

( cruising andSailing andSecurity andTech )

This past Christmas, I received a SPOT Messenger. I didn’t activate it until just recently, when I was helping deliver a sailboat from Annapolis to Marion, Mass. The reason I decided to activate the SPOT service was so that several of the families and friends of two of my fellow delivery crew would be able […]

Marine Sealants in a Nutshell

One thing you have to do on boats is bed hardware. This has to be done on a regular basis, especially with hardware that is under heavy cycling loads, like cleats. However, using the right sealant can make this task much simpler. Most people are familiar with silicone caulk, since it is the most commonly […]

Solar Power on Boats

Recently, I wrote a post on a sailing forum about the 25 Watt solar panel I added to the s/v Pretty Gee to act as a maintenance charger for the boat, while it is stored on the hard for the winter. On one of the forums, I was asked if a charge controller was needed. […]

LED Lights

One thing that I’d highly recommend for all cruising sailboats is upgrading to LED-based lights. This is for two reasons. The first is that upgrading to LED lights can reduce the electrical load on a cruising sailboat significantly. The second is that LED-based lights are lower maintenance and lower cost over the long run. You […]

The Next Generation Automobile

( Essays andNews andTech )

The average passenger car requires about 25 horsepower for 90% of its operation.  The only time more horsepower is really needed is when the vehicle is accelerating. Unfortunately, current automotive technology has to design the engine for the 10% requirement of relatively high-horsepower, rather than the 90%—leaving the engine running fairly inefficiently 90% of the […]

Drunk Driving and Personal Breathalyzers

( News andSecurity andStupidity andTech )

Recently, some companies have come out with personal breathalyzers. People are supposed to buy these small, portable, battery-powered devices so they can find out whether they’ve had too much to drink or not. Will using a personal portable breathalyzer help reduce drunk driving? No, I actually think it may make things worse. Personally, I think […]

iPod Classic

( Mac andTech )

I recently received a new iPod Classic. This is the latest generation of the full-sized, hard-diskdrive-based iPods. I’ve noticed a few things about it that I believe are a key reason that Apple has managed to retain the bulk of the MP3 player market share, even after all of these years. First, the hardware user […]

Comcast HD DVR vs. Tivo

( Mac andTech andThoughts )

Over on John Battelle’s Searchblog, is a post about the new Comcast HD DVR and how it compares to a Tivo. Some of the commenters have mentioned a few other technologies in their comments. One is the Windows Media Center-based Home Theater PCs. Another is the Macintosh computer. I commented on his blog, and this […]

Again More E-voting Problems

( News andPolitics andSecurity andTech )

According to this Freedom to Tinker blog article, a month ago, Princeton University released a paper describing how the Diebold electronic voting machines could be infected by a computer virus that could alter the vote tallies via their memory card. According to Edward Felten, Professor of Computer Science and Public Affairs at Princeton University, “Diebold […]

More Diebold Problems

Apparently, Diebold has issued a quiet recall on the motherboards in their insecure electronic voting machines. This article from the freedom to tinker blog has the details. One interesting detail in the story is that according to a Diebold internal memo, the flaw was known in March of 2004, and yet Diebold allowed the faulty […]

More Diebold E-Voting Problems

( Politics andSecurity andTech )

On the Freedom to Tinker blog, there is an article discussing the Diebold electronic voting machines. Apparently, the keys to many hotel minibars are capable of opening the Diebold voting machines. The access panel that these keys open allows access to the memory card, which can be used to alter the votes recorded by the […]

The Wrong Approach to Security

( News andPolitics andSecurity andStupidity andTech ) has an interesting article on the controversy created by Christopher Soghoian, a security researcher, who had created a website application that allowed one to generate authentic looking, but completely bogus, Northwest Airline Boarding Passes. He created the application in hopes of getting Congress to take a real look at the security vulnerabilities of the […]

New MacBook Pros Announced

( Mac andNews andTech )

I had a conversation with a friend of mine about a month ago. She was asking about what laptop to buy. I told her to get a new MacBook Pro, but to hold off, as I felt that Apple would be announcing upgraded machines around the end of October, which would have the Core 2 […]

Really, You Don’t Say

( News andStupidity andTech andThoughts )

Well, scientists are stating the obvious again. In a recent NYT article, they publish the results of a study, which concludes that listening to music at too loud a volume will lead to hearing damage. Umm…this is news?

More RFID Insecurity

( News andSecurity andStupidity andTech )

The New York Times has a good article on how easy it is to hack some of the new “touchless” RFID-based credit cards. My favorite quote from the article: And because the cards can be read even through a wallet or an item of clothing, the security of the information, the researchers say, is startlingly […]

Bad Tech Blogging

( Rants andTech )

I occasionally read Gizmodo, as one of the blogs I use to keep up to date on electronics and technology. Recently, I’ve found that their reporting appears to be fairly poor, if not outright ridiculous. For instance, their recent article on the Samsung GX-10 DSLR mentions the Canon Rebel XTi and the Pentax K10, but […]

Picasa 2.5 Released

( News andPhotography andTech )

Good news for the PC users out there. Google has released Picasa v. 2.5. This is great for Windows-based PC users who are into digital photography, since the PC platform doesn’t really have anything like iPhoto on the Mac. There are higher-end programs, like i-View Multimedia Pro, and Lightroom, but i-View is fairly expensive for […]

Apple Update

( Tech )

Apple has finally completed the switch from Motorola/IBM PowerPC processors to Intel-based processors for all of its computers. Now, all of the Mac line are available in Intel-based versions. The MacMini was among the first to be replaced, with an Intel version. The iMac was replaced by a very similar appearing Intel-based iMac. The 15“ […]

WordPress Upgrade

( Security andTech )

WordPress has just been updated.  The new version, 2.04, is a security release, and has over 50 bug fixes.  You can get it at

Cell Phone KIA

( Events andMisc. andMy Life andStupidity andTech )

Well, I did go out sailing on Wednesday. While the day was pretty good overall, my cell phone was killed in action. It fell out of my shirt pocket, and into the water along side the Pretty Gee, when I was tieing off one of the docklines. So, if you’re trying to reach me at […]

Phishing E-mails

( Security andTech )

My previous post on the pharming scam attempt on one of the more popular sailing on-line forums led me to write about another common way to get ripped off. One common phishing technique used by today’s criminals is the faked e-mail. Here is a good example of one, posted as JPG image. Things to look […]

Web-based Scam Targeting Sailors

This post mixes two of my favorite topics: computer security and sailing. On one of the many sailing boards I visit, there was a posting for crew positions on the Team Compass Point boat for the 2006 Sydney-Hobart and Gosford-Lord Howe Island Races. I was curious about this, so I requested the information—sending them an […]

Corporate Ethics

( News andTech )

In a recent Fox News story, Geek Squad, a subsidiary of Best Buy, the national electronics retail chain has been accused of using pirated software. This isn’t really surprising. Reuters, the financial information and news wire service, constantly pirated software for use at special events. So do many other large corporations. What is surprising is […]

More Corporate Disloyalty

( News andTech andThoughts )

In a recent Security Focus article, there is a discussion about Blizzard, the DMCA, and the use of lawyerbots to prevent copyright infringement. Unfortunately, this is corporate bullying at its worst—the book they’re preventing from publishing isn’t a matter of copyright infringement, but of lost corporate profits and licensing fees. Quoting from Mark Rasch’s article: […]

Gateway and Customer dis’ Service

( Rants andSecurity andTech )

I was reading a post over at Cavemonkey50 technology blog. It was about bad customer service from Gateway computers. I’m really not surprised. I had a run-in with the quality of their customer service a few years ago—I’ve posted the story here again, from my website archives. Customer Disservice Saturday, December 13th, I spent the […]

2006 Sailing Season Approaches

( My Life andSailing andTech )

It is mid-March, and the sailing season in New England is fast approaching. I will be sailing in about two weeks. I’m hoping to get Pretty Gee in the water during the first week of April. Right now, I plan on driving down to Annapolis the first week of April to hold a christening ceremony, […]

Poverty and the Bush Regime

I recently received an e-mail which states that the Bush regime is spending money at the rate of $1 billion every eight hours and twenty minutes. This means that Bu$hco is spending a little over $33,000 per second. This is over twice the $16,090 poverty-level income for a family of three—per second. This wouldn’t be […]

Mac OSX Security

( Mac andNews andSecurity andStupidity andTech )

Recently, there was an article from ZDNet about how a Mac was “hacked” in a mere thirty minutes. Much was made about how insecure Mac OS X is because of this article. However, one very important fact that was never mentioned in the ZDNet Wintel propaganda article was that the person who “hacked” the machine […]