Thursday, April 28, 2011

DC Comics breaks new ground.

Yeah, they break new ground in the "trying to go bankrupt as fast as possible" direction. Dig it, baby:

After recently undertaking a journey to walk -- not fly -- across the United States in the "Grounded" storyline and reconnect with the country and everyday Americans, Superman appears to be taking another step that could have major implications for his national identity: in Action Comics #900...

...Superman announces that he is going to give up his U.S. citizenship. Despite very literally being an alien immigrant, Superman has long been seen as a patriotic symbol of "truth, justice, and the American way," from his embrace of traditional American ideals to the iconic red and blue of his costume. What it means to stand for the "American way" is an increasingly complicated thing, however, both in the real world and in superhero comics, whose storylines have increasingly seemed to mirror current events and deal with moral and political complexities rather than simple black and white morality.

From what I saw in the comments section, this idea appears to have very, very few supporters.

Clearly, the problem DC has is not the recession or management or any of that. Their problem is they have too many old Leftists working in the place, bitterly clinging to their no-guns and no-religion schtick.

Enjoy Chapter 11, assholes.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spy-Apple Update: Stevie Jobs is sorry.

From the "Easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission" file:
Hoping to put to rest a growing controversy over privacy, Steven P. Jobs, Apple's chief executive, took the unusual step of personally explaining that while Apple had made mistakes in how it handled location data on its mobile devices, it had not used the iPhone and iPad to keep tabs on the whereabouts of its customers.

"We haven't been tracking anybody," Mr. Jobs said in an interview on Wednesday. "Never have. Never will."

Mr. Jobs said that Apple would fix the mistakes in a free software update that it would release in the next few weeks.

Yeah, they haven't been tracking anybody.  They've been tracking EVERYBODY.  Nice that they promise to stop, now they've been caught red handed.
And people wonder why I'm pro-gun.  Jeeze.

The Phantom

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spy-Apple update, Google spies too!

Google and Apple have admitted today that yes, your phone does spy on you.  Furthermore, not only does your phone spy on you, THEY DO TOO.  All that location data gets downloaded to Apple for iPhones and Google for Android OS phones.

Apple Inc.'s iPhones and Google Inc.'s Android smartphones regularly transmit their locations back to Apple and Google, respectively, according to data and documents analyzed by The Wall Street Journal—intensifying concerns over privacy and the widening trade in personal data.

Google and Apple are gathering location information as part of their race to build massive databases capable of pinpointing people's locations via their cellphones. These databases could help them tap the $2.9 billion market for location-based services—expected to rise to $8.3 billion in 2014, according to research firm Gartner Inc.

And open source types call Microsoft the Evil Empire.  Ha!  Gates never dreamed of a ripoff this huge.  These bastards are using their customers as nothing other than remote sensing drones, sniffing out data for the companies to use as their bottom line sees fit.  This is amazing!

I can't wait to see if RIM is collecting location data from the BlackBerry.  If not, I'm never switching to anything else.  BlackBerry forever.

The Phantom

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gun control not enough for Nova Scotia!

In news today, Nova Scotia has decided that not only are you not going to be able to shoot back, you better damn well DIE when they shoot you.

Nova Scotia is going to regulate the sale and possession of body armour.

Justice Minister Ross Landry says it's a reasonable safety measure because more people involved in criminal activity are wearing armour.

He says the legislation will be based on laws in British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba where only people who legitimately need body armour can have it.

People without a permit or licence to possess or sell body armour can be charged and the product seized.

Canada is a frigging stupid country.   License to own BODY ARMOR?!!!  WTF?!!!  Its a passive protective device, it has no offensive use!

What if you have a freaky neighbor and you can't get a GUN PERMIT?  What if your ex says he/she is going to KILL YOU and you can't get a GUN PERMIT? What if you are the counter clerk at 7/11 and you get robbed twelve times a year?  And you can't get a GUN PERMIT?

We have to be the biggest imbeciles in the world to let guys like  Ross Landry run things.

Your Apple product is spying on you. Right now. For real.

Yes my friends, from the massive, huge, monstrous "...but am I paranoid -enough-?" file, we have this new story about Apple products remembering exactly where they've been.

Security researchers have discovered that Apple's iPhone keeps track of where you go – and saves every detail of it to a secret file on the device which is then copied to the owner's computer when the two are synchronised.

The file contains the latitude and longitude of the phone's recorded coordinates along with a timestamp, meaning that anyone who stole the phone or the computer could discover details about the owner's movements using a simple program.

For some phones, there could be almost a year's worth of data stored, as the recording of data seems to have started with Apple's iOS 4 update to the phone's operating system, released in June 2010.

Oh and by the way, its legal.  You said they could.

Apple can legitimately claim that it has permission to collect the data: near the end of the 15,200-word terms and conditions for its iTunes program, used to synchronise with iPhones, iPods and iPads, is an 86-word paragraph about "location-based services".

Call me picky, but one paragraph of abstruse legalese hidden among 15,200 words of same does not seem like sufficient notification for something like this.  I'd be happier with a big red label on the front of the box that says "ATTENTION!!!   WARNING!!!! This device will record your every movement, forever, and you can't delete it!!!"
Warden and Allan have set up a web page which answers questions about the file, and created a simple downloadable application to let Apple users check for themselves what location data the phone is retaining. The Guardian has confirmed that 3G-enabled devices including the iPad also retain the data and copy it to the owner's computer.
Go check that web page out ASAP if you have an Apple iAnything and don't want Steve Jobs to know exactly  where you  you were at 2:10 pm yesterday.
Now, this next article is where we all get to see that we are nowhere near paranoid enough.
The Michigan State Police have a high-tech mobile forensics device that can be used to extract information from cell phones belonging to motorists stopped for minor traffic violations. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan last Wednesday demanded that state officials stop stonewalling freedom of information requests for information on the program.

ACLU learned that the police had acquired the cell phone scanning devices and in August 2008 filed an official request for records on the program, including logs of how the devices were used. The state police responded by saying they would provide the information only in return for a payment of $544,680. The ACLU found the charge outrageous.
A US Department of Justice test of the CelleBrite UFED used by Michigan police found the device could grab all of the photos and video off of an iPhone within one-and-a-half minutes. The device works with 3000 different phone models and can even defeat password protections.

"Complete extraction of existing, hidden, and deleted phone data, including call history, text messages, contacts, images, and geotags," a CelleBrite brochure explains regarding the device's capabilities. "The Physical Analyzer allows visualization of both existing and deleted locations on Google Earth. In addition, location information from GPS devices and image geotags can be mapped on Google Maps."

Your TomTom GPS unit remembers where its been too.  I'd wager the police community has known about this iPhone location file for a while now.  They've also known for a while that your car GPS makes an EXCELLENT witness against you in court, as does the OBDII engine management computer in your car.  You can almost do lap time analysis with an OBDII download, it records throttle position, engine speed, braking events, what gear your transmission is in, all kinds of things. 

You may think you have nothing to hide, but against an all-seeing eye that knows where you parked illegally 18 months ago, you probably do.  Your GPS plus your iPhone plus your car's computer and a bit of data minning from customer loyalty cards and such, a reasonably competent data analyst could probably guess if you have a mistress, and what her taste in deserts runs to.

If the cops are going to start vacuuming portable electronics during a routine traffic stop, I'm going to start digging into the best way of blanking a phone and GPS.  Older cars don't have computers.  And as always, cash is king.

Additionally, it occurs to me to wonder if the Kindle ebook reader remembers where its been.  Those things are 3G enabled, they do phone home too.   Hmmmmn.....

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

From our bulging "I couldn't make this up" file:

Newsflash, Minnesota, "where the corn grows as high as an elephant's eye" and not one other damn thing can be seen for hunnerts of miles in all directions: a story so fundamentally stupid I couldn't have made it up.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. -- The Minnesota Department of Transportation is looking for 500 people to test technology that could someday be used to collect a mileage-based user fee.

Mn/DOT anticipates a fee on road usage might someday be necessary as more fuel efficient and hybrid cars are on the road, decreasing revenue from the gas tax.

Because toll booths on the highway would just be too easy.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

No evidence of intelligent life on Planet Liberal

You know, sometimes election campaigns really do tell you something about the candidates.  These two pictures tell me Mr. Ignatieff:
  • Has never been in a Home Depot before.
  • Has zero upper body strength.
  • Has never split a single piece of firewood.
  • Bought a brand new work vest for this photo op and wouldn't be caught dead in one otherwise.
  • Can't hold his face still to save his life.
  • Employs morons to advise him on his PR and campaign, people who can't even set up a photo op that makes their guy look good.
Imagine what these geniuses would do if they controlled Canada's monetary policy.

Hat tip to Kate at Small Dead Animals.

Waterloo proves the Lefty rot has spread to engineering school.

Two posts I spotted at Five Feet of Fury today prove that the Ivory Tower in Canada today is ruled over by humorless, incompetent peckerheads who are also utter hypocrites.

Item: Victorian prudery isn't dead!

The University of Waterloo in Canada has suspended a team of students who built a racecar after a female member was photographed posing next to the car in a bikini and high heels.

University spokesman Michael Strickland said the temporary suspension is in response to an "inappropriate and denigrating" photograph that appeared online, as well as in Tuesday's edition of the Waterloo Region Record.

"The decision also considered the guidelines in place to ensure the safety of students," Strickland wrote in an email to "The university's engineering design centre, where the photo was taken, has rules covering the type of equipment that can be brought in as well as the manner in which it can be used." 

Students on the Formula SAE team will now be unable to enter the car in an international contest to be held in Michigan next month since the suspension lasts until June 1, the Waterloo Region Record reports.

Translation:  The token females in the Eng department were jealous of both the girl's brains AND her "equipment", so they stabbed her in the back the best way they could.  If the kids on this team have any stones they'll tell the UofW to shove that suspension up their ass and go compete anyway.  I'd haul their car to Michigan as a public service.

Item: When criminals do this we call it "collusion".

It's reported that student debt in the USA is approaching a trillion dollars, five times what it was ten years ago.

Are those in debt buying more education or are they seeking better branding in the form of coveted diplomas? (…) 

Neither.  They're reacting to the fact that large companies and all GOVERNMENT AGENCIES require specific accreditation degrees and courses for all jobs.  You can't get a government job cleaning computers without being A+ certified.  Certification is the craze which has swept private and public orgs alike, as they require not just evidence that the job applicant in front of them is competent, they require a guarantee.  And as this demand for people to be certified competent has risen, so universities have jumped on the chance to SELL COURSES to the poor bastards trying to get certified.  Often in cooperation with government and industry, because certification goes hand in hand with regulation.  With the enthusiastic applause from banks.  Student loans pay pretty good.

Example, American universities in the last ten years have started offering a "Doctorate" in Physical Therapy.  Which doesn't mean the graduates have done and defended some original science in a thesis. nonono!  They took some COURSES, and got a PT-PhD -certificate-.  Which is utter bilge, from a science/scholarship perspective.  But of late, hospitals, schools and companies have started requiring a PT-PhD for management positions, where previously a Masters was considered sufficient. (Masters in PT is also bullshit IMHO, and I have one.)  So who's in PT-PhD courses?  Older PTs who need to get into management because their bones are starting to hurt from lifting fat fugly patients all day. Do they need these courses to do a management job?  No.  Do they need it to -get- a a management job?  Oh yeah.

I believe the certification craze will shortly come to an end on its own, as big industry all moves off-shore and governments go stony broke.

Friday, April 15, 2011

By popular demand, The Phantom losing it. Again.

I post a lot of comments at Small Dead Animals.  This is one I posted earlier today in response to Kate's linking to this article about what bastards the French are for banning the burka, that tent-like garment some Muslim women wear.

It kinda hit my button:

Anybody who uses the term "scapegoat" in an article like this is a leftist idiot. In one breath this genius warns of dire consequence from banning the burka (which garment is an offense against his very own views of women's rights), in the next breath if asked he will surely support a 100% ban on firearms.

Therefore one may assume he thinks its is bad for government to ban things, except those things he doesn't approve of.

Me, I think its a bad idea for government to ban the burka too. It gives them ideas.

I propose it would be sufficient to RETURN the right of shop keepers and private property owners to refuse access to burka wearers, a la "no shirt, no shoes, no service". Serve them if they loose the tent, otherwise no.

We don't need Big Brother to protect us from the scary dangerous tent-ladies, unless we have already lost all our rights to determine our own culture and control who enters our own property.

People who want to wear the tent can wear it at home. Maybe they can start tent colonies, the way weirdos have had nudist colonies all these years.

Governments don't decide what Canadians will or won't tolerate. WE DO.

Nothing to add. 

Friday, April 08, 2011

Who IS this John Galt guy?!!!

And why has he taken away my hockey sticks?!!!

Sher-Wood Hockey Inc., Canada's storied hockey stick manufacturer, is leaving home ice for good at the end of this year, moving the last of its stick production to China to slash costs.
Yes my friends, from here on out the national sport of Canada will be played with sticks imported from CHINA. Why, you ask?

 Mr. Rodrigue would not provide details of how much lower costs are in China, but he said there are other competitive advantages as well, such as the potential to develop new products in the region.

He cited competition from larger, more aggressive rivals in the consolidating hockey equipment industry as a key factor in the company's shift to Asia, which followed the lead of all the major players, including top dog Bauer Performance Sports Ltd. and rivals Easton and Reebok.

Sher-Wood's dwindling wooden-stick manufacturing was outsourced five years ago to a local company.

In other words, they nearly went bankrupt from trying to stay in Sherbrooke PQ, and if they don't get the hell out of Canada there won't be a Sher-Wood Hockey Inc. by this time next year.  The competitive advantage is unbeatable. A 60 year old Canadian company has to start making hockey equipment in China, a country where nobody ever heard of hockey, that has to IMPORT all the raw materials from halfway around the world, and then ship the finished product back half way around the world, if they want to stay in business.

Question for Count Iggula, Smilin' Jack Layton, RinTin Lizzy and the frickin' Separatiste Bloc-head guy who ought to be all over this: What kind of of bullshit is this, that I can't buy a f-ing HOCKEY STICK that's made in Canada?

The Phantom

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Where on Earth is The Phantom?

Here's where I was at sundown tonight, Scottsdale Pavilions car show. Yep it was warm, with cool cars. ~:D

Friday, April 01, 2011

3D printer with ~0.001" resolution, very cool!

This is a link to Junior Veloso's blog, where he's documenting his 3D printer build.  Its a very impressive achievement.  He's using a photo-setting resin with a DLP projection light source to make the image, and has managed to tweak this thing to very high resolution.  He can print at about 3.5 cm/minute, reportedly.

By the way, if there was ever a case where lawyers are holding back progress for all of us, this is it. The reason he hasn't released his whole build so far is he's afraid of getting sued for IP infringement.  I expect the DLP chip or controller has some kind of bullsh1t  legal verbiage attached, and he can't afford to hire a lawyer as part of his development.  Obviously!  Who hires a lawyer when they want to hack the guts of an expired color TV?

The Phantom