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Cost of the War in Iraq
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Tragic events and Google Earth - a new kind of fascination

Monday, August 28, 2006

fas·ci·na·tion n.
The capability of eliciting intense interest.

From the comfort of your home office or the peaceful setting in your backyard many people today have found a new way to immerse themselves today's news. Most notably tragic events combined with Google Earth which give users around the world a new kind of way to view the scene.

Google Earth launched November 17 2005 as a downloadable program residing on a users computer. You point and zoom to any place on the planet that you want to explore. Satellite images and local facts zoom into view. Tap into Google search to show local points of interest and facts. Zoom to a specific address to check out an apartment or hotel. View driving directions and even fly along your route.

Google also incorporated satellite imagery into it's Google Maps mapping service on the internet.

Hurricane Katrina was an event that really made me take note of Google Maps. When Google scrambled to take updated satellite pictures of the New Orleans after the flood their decision seem perfect. Millions of users were able to view the devastation and the enormous problem that was taking shape in downtown New Orleans. Members of the NGA ( National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) presented the "Hurricane Katrina Recognition Award" to the Google Earth team, as well as the Google Enterprise and Global Support groups, for their direct support during the Katrina disaster.

This past Sunday I found myself looking at Google Maps satellite imagery and the Blue Grass Airport in Kentucky. Comair Flight 5191 had crashed shortly after takeoff and I had seen some pictures at the NY Times online. I wanted to try to find the crash site, I knew details like the runway number and sure enough found runway number 26 using Google satellite imagery. Before I found that runway number I figured the plane tookoff using the large runway and never even considered the smaller number 26 runway. I later learned that the pilot had indeed used the incorrect number 26 runway and that is probably the reason he crashed.

Other people have incorporated Google maps into applications such as WikiMapia which lets users tag sites using google maps.

In closing these new tools will be used for years to come to get up close to an area of the world that has news happening. It allows users of the service to develop a sense of feel for what has happened and where it happened all from the comfort of your home.


Author: Dubled » Comments:

Video: A tour of Equinix - Where the internet lives

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Cnet recently released a video of a tour of Equinix which is a very massive data storage and colocation for some of the biggest websites on the internet.

Yahoo, IBM, Google, MySpace, Paypal, Goldman Sachs are some of the big names. On the security side there are 5 biometric security checkpoints to gain access to the facility. The amount of power they consume is similar to a suburban community, and the building size is around 3 football fields large. (160,000 sq ft)

A neat part of the video is when they open the doors to the fan rooms which help distribute large amounts of air to cool the facility.


Author: Dubled » Comments:

The ultimate bad day with pictures..

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Whenever you think you've had a bad day please refer back to this post. Click on images for larger ones.

Yes thats a small white car in the water.

Looks like they are getting it out.. Yay!!!

Yep looking good....

Ugh oh.....

We officially have a problem I think....

Big green truck to the rescue Yay!!!....

The saved white car looking like a cat thats just been given a bath.
Time to get the other one out.

Out comes the other truck...

In a sudden turn of events the green truck has decided to join the other one!!

**Update** Just found out this is a hoax, the last picture is photoshopped.


Author: Dubled » Comments:

California's SUV Ban

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Andy Bowers from Slate.com has a good article on how most SUV's are banned from a lot of roads in California. Of course no one enforces the law because everyone thinks SUV's are not exempt from the 6,000 lb weight limit.

He also talks about how a lot of businesses buy these over 6,000 lb vehicles to gain federal tax breaks, and how the owners then explain how they are less than 6,000 and allowed on all streets. Make up your mind people take the tax break and don't use some roads, or don't take the tax break and use all the roads.

I'll admit I have a full size Ford truck but I try to only use it when I specifically need it. I also have a sport compact car which I use as much as possible.

From the article:

It turns out every big SUV and pickup is too heavy for my street. Here's just a sampling: The Chevy Suburban and Tahoe, the Range Rover, the GMC Yukon, the Toyota Land Cruiser and Sequoia, the Lincoln Navigator, the Mercedes M Class, the Porsche Cayenne S, and the Dodge Ram 1500 pickup (with optional Hemi). What about the Hummer (aka FUH2) , you ask? Hasta la vista, baby!


Author: Dubled » Comments:

Live Rattlesnakes Released In 'Snakes On A Plane' Theater

Two live diamondback rattlesnakes were released in an Arizona movie theater during a showing of the new film "Snakes on a Plane," according to Local 6 News.

Authorities said pranksters released the young venomous rattlesnakes in a dark theater at the AMC Desert Ridge near Tatum and Loop 101 in Phoenix.

Talk about being scared in a movie theater while watching a movie about snakes.... I am not really scared of snakes but if one slithered by me in a dark theater while watching that movie I would be scared as hell.


Author: Dubled » Comments:

Think twice about glass entertainment centers

Monday, August 21, 2006

I stumbled onto an article at the AVS forums about a couple and their glass entertainment center that exploded. They had a plasma TV on it when it exploded but they got lucky and were able to make sure the plasma didn't crash to the floor.

Looking at the stand it seems like it needs more support in the middle, also tempered glass or safety glass is not supposed to explode and go everywhere. Looks like there was a shortcut taken in the manufacturing of this.

A poster on the AVS forums mentioned what if there was a small child in front of the tv?.. Yea no shit about that.

The company that made the entertainment center is not responding to any calls or e-mails so they are dodging responsibility for it.

Here are the companies to avoid:

Avdeco Inc (maker of the entertainment stand)

The online dealer who sold it to them: Threshold Concepts


Author: Dubled » Comments:

Keeping that new laptop safe

Well the calendar says August 21 so that means that millions of students will be heading back to schools all over the country very soon. As the students stroll onto those campuses I am guessing many will be in possession of a brand new laptop computer daddy just paid for, or was paid for with hard work they did over the summer months.

While laptop computers have certainly gotten cheaper over the past couple years the ease of someone snatching that laptop is just as easy. Also the rise in identity theft can be contributed in part to laptop theft around the world. That is why I have decided to write this article about laptop theft / identity theft prevention.

I will spell out the usual mumbo jumbo laptop theft prevention stuff here:

  • Never leave your laptop computer unattended in any public location (i.e. The Library, study lounges, public benches, the all night kegger being held at your dorm, etc.)
  • Always lock offices or dorm rooms where the laptop is left.
  • If possible use a security device such as steel cable locks to secure your laptop computer. Most computer stores sell a number of security devices. Also the laptop manufacturer may recommend and sell overpriced security devices on their own website.
  • Always contact the cops in the event of a theft. Keep a copy of the serial number in a safe place that is easily accessible in the event of a theft.
  • Homeowners insurance may cover the loss of your laptop outside the home (contact your agent or insurance company for more information). People living in apartments should consider getting renters insurance.
  • Register your laptop with your university program.
  • Consider buying a small personal safe that your laptop can fit in along with other important items.

Now onto the fun stuff.

  • Targus sells a laptop computer alarm that senses motion and puts out an ear bleeding scream sure to wake that passed out roommate of yours. Find them cheap at Ebay for around $15-$20 shipped.
  • Thanks to biometrics IBM sells a laptop computer with a fingerprint reader. What this means is when the stupid criminal that takes your laptop tries to use it he will have no luck whatsoever because the laptop will need your fingerprint to boot up. Hopefully the thief will realize this when they are about to take your laptop and move onto an easier target.
  • There are a number of laptop computer tracking services that allow you to hunt down the thief and give him or her a good beating. Ok maybe not quite like that but they can detect what ip address the laptop is using while on the net and then let you know.
  • Use passwords for all logins. Bios password, Hard drive password, user name password, administrator password, and the user tag enabled. Yes this requires entering password hell but if you make one password that fits all of these it should make it easier. Here you can make a password with a Secure Password Generator. Even though random number and letters are hard to remember I remember them by where they are on the keyboard and in relation to each other. It seems to help me.
  • Many of the newer laptops have webcams on them. Here is a sweet webcam security system article if you were lucky enough to get a Mac. There is also something similar for Intel/ Windows based computer with TinCam Video surveillance software which detects motion and then alerts you.
  • Consider buyng a small USB Jump Drive to store sensitive information on. Also backups of important school documents can be saved on them. Nothing would be worse than having your laptop stolen and then be a victim of identity theft.

**Update 8-22-06** Beaumont Hospital in Detroit loses 28,473 patient records in a stolen / missing laptop.


Author: Dubled » Comments:

Turning old tires into a sidewalk

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Business Week has a neat slideshow / Article about turning old car and truck tires into a material ready to be used for a sidewalk.

Recently one of Michigan's largest tire piles has been cleaned up in nearby Martin. Here is an article talking about it, and how the stupid land owner thought he could get away with dumping them there. When you get new tires on your car you pay a disposing fee of $1.50 per tire which is supposed to go towards disposing of the tires in the correct manner.

I have always though that this kind of stuff is really cool when you can recycle something that has been previously used, and turn it into something useful again.

Also whoever can invent a road that last 100 years or more and is fairly cheap to build will become instantly famous and incredibly wealthy. Just think of all of the orange road construction barrel's you wouldn't have to see ever again.


Author: Dubled » Comments:

Best Deal Websites on the net

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Over the years I have scoured the internet for the best deals and I have gathered a list of my top deal websites. These websites are made strong by the community that is behind them and their ability to dig up great deals.

Here are my top sites:

http://www.fatwallet.com/ - Their home page doesn't really impress me but their forums really blow me away. The fatwallet community has a real knack for finding great deals and spreading the news through the forums. The forum "Hot deals" is where I go first if I am looking for something, as well as a good laugh with the stories that are told. Visit this site around "black Friday" and you will read some funny stuff about the strategy of getting a deal. Also Fatwallet search function is a real timesaver if you need to find a keyword for a deal in the forums.

http://www.dealspl.us/ - This site has quickly climbed my ladder of best deal sites. It is about 2-3 months old I believe and has a great layout that is neat and uncluttered.

http://www.techbargains.com/ - A good site that updates quite often. If you can handle all of the ads that they have on the home page you can find some really good deals here.

Honorable mentions:

http://www.spoofee.com/ - A good site to skim down to see if anything interests you.

http://www.slickdeals.net - Not as many deals per day but still a good deal can be found here.

http://www.deals2save.com/ - Used to have a good variety of deals but lately it seems they have gotten a bit lazy and are featuring deals all from the same store.

http://www.gotapex.com/ - They should have named this site "GotDell" instead of gotapex since 70% of these deals are for Dell products. Other deals can be found but you usually have to scroll down through the Dell deals.

http://www.xpbargains.com/ - I like the ability to search by store to find a coupon.

Safe bets when in doubt and you don't have time to look for a deal:




http://www.resellerratings.com/ - An article like this should not be written without telling you about Reseller Ratings. This is a site that helps you find the scumbag stores that will string you along or deliver a defective product 30 days after you pay for it. It is user driven and you can read all of the complaints or praise a store gets here. They also have some deals listed on the main page.

And finally if you are in the market for a high priced electronic item or camera make sure to browse these wonderful Brooklyn storefront businesses (with online presence) before you buy, you may change your mind about where you spend your hard earned money.

Here is a photo of AgA Electronics Inc., d.b.a. 5StarsElectronics.com,
BestSalePrices.com, US1Camera.com and PCandPlasma.com.

You get what I mean by looking at that picture.


Author: Dubled » Comments:

AOL to dig for gold in spammers back yard

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Looks like AOL is good for something after all.

They have decided to dig for gold and platinum in a convicted spammers backyard after winning a judgement against him. The e-mail spammer once admitted that he bought gold and platinum because it would be harder to sieze in a lawsuit.

It is beleived that the e-mail spammer was making around $600,000 per month in the height of his spamming.

It would be sweet if the spammer buried 100's of boxes of AOL cd's all around his property, that would be some revenege for all of us that have received hundreds of them in the mail.

**Update** Article

Mom says her son is crazy as a "junebug" and possibly hid gold in the Rocky Woods hiking reservation in Medfield and in New Hampshire's White Mountains.


Author: Dubled » Comments:

Cool videos I have seen lately

Saturday, August 12, 2006

With the recent emergence of video sites I have rounded up a few gems I think are pretty cool:

All of you freestyle bikers that think you are good think again. This video was filmed in the year 2000 or 2001 in Wuerzburg, Germany,

P.S. music by Vanessa Mae

This video demonstrates what happens when you mix a 12 pack and bowling together.

DO NOT TRY THIS. Stupid kids doing very stupid things.

You probably should not try this either.



Author: Dubled » Comments:

The aftermath - the release of search records by AOL

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

One more reason to avoid using AOL / Time Warner products. Sunday night AOL released web search data of 658,000 members. It is a list of 20 million search inquiries collected over a three-month period. The info is chock full of social security numbers, phone numbers, and the ususal "how to kill wife" searches....

You may be thinking what the big deal is about this. Well lets say hypothetically you are the mayor of a medium sized city and you have searched for a tracking number for a package headed to your house. This would easily allow someone to find out who you are. Then all of your search data can be mined to find anything offensive in it. The local paper does a story on it and you have a major embarrassment on your hands.

Here are some tools to search the data:

http://dontdelete.com/ <---------- Has a random button that is fun to use.


AOL is now apologizing for the release calling it a "screw-up," which they're upset and angry about."

Isn't that nice of them that makes everything better.

**Update** AOL Executives Heads roll because of this.


Author: Dubled » Comments:

Fight 419 scammers and Con men with Muguito

If you leave your computer running for long periods of time and have a high speed connection to the net you can help fight Fake banking sites, 419 scammers, and the like.

The Artists against 419 proudly present a new tool in the fight against fraudulent bank sites, the Java based Muguito. This tool is operating system independent. In other words: you can use it under Windows, Linux, Mac or any other OS that supports Java.

Click here to start Muguito as a Java Web Application.

You can either turn it off when you want to use the web or leave it on, it will take up some of your bandwith just so you know.

For more 419 fun see the scam-baiting post below.


Author: Dubled » Comments:

R.I.P. Say goodbye to picture tube TV's

Monday, August 07, 2006

A recent article in the New York times tells of the quickly falling market of picture tube tv's.

I for one am glad they are on the way out, if you ask me it can't happen soon enough. The amount of materials needed and the electricity consumed by the picture tube tv's is quite a bit more than the new lcd tv's or plasma sets.

I am guessing that by 2010 it will be very hard to find a high end picture tube tv. All that will be left in the picture tube market is budget junk bought at walmart.

This year will be the last year for Panasonic picture-tube TV’s,” said Andrew Nelkin, a Panasonic vice president.

**Update** A good article of the battle between LCD and Plasma.


Author: Dubled » Comments:

Scam baiting - Best computer sport ever...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I'm sure all of us have received Nigerian 419 scam emails in the past. Basically they are a plea for money and in return you will get 100x what you originally invest. The upfront money you invest is for tying up loose ends usually in government fees or lawyer fees.

Well it has recently come to my attention (thanks to Wired) that there is a wonderful community of people that do scam baiting for sport. That is when they are propositioned by email for a Nigerian 419 scam they play along with it and make the scammers do crazy stuff in hopes of completing a scam.

I have only read a little bit so far but here is some of the things they have gotten scammers to do:

  1. How about fill out a questionnaire that is 2000 questions long
  2. Make the scammer get a permanent tattoo before you agree to release funds
  3. Make the scammer carve intricate wood artwork for you and make them pay all shipping costs.
  4. Make them pay shipping charges on a junk washing machine shipped from the USA to Nigeria
  5. Making them pay shipping charges and duty fees of around $1000 for 300 pounds of junk.

Here are the sites that specialize in scam baiting:





Author: Dubled » Comments: