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Archive for the ‘Webtech’ Category

The closer we get to the November elections the more play electronic voting will get in the US media. As far back as Novenber last year I wrote of problems with E-Voting in Ohio, and the extreme case of self denial on the part of the US Military when confronted by experts detailing security flaws in their E-voting experiment.

In early November ’03, I wrote how the Australians used an open source E-voting system that proved very effective, and lacking the apparant security holes in the American systems. Now months later, and ever closer to our elections an American teenager is planning to develop a new electronic voting system based on the same open-source software created in Australia.

19 year old Scott Ritchie appeared in Sacramento in early January before the California secretary of state’s Voting Systems Panel express his views on the current state of US E-voting systems. He plans to modify the Australian code to meet California election standards and offer it free to any vendors that want to implement it in their systems. The young man has shown the brashness of youth, and also a level of civic pride that is sadly lacking in many.

“The major cost with voting machines is in development and support contracts,” Ritchie said.
Ritchie said U.S. voting systems are too expensive. He joked to the panel that Florida’s Broward County spent $17.2 million on touch-screen voting machines, “and they all suck…. You give me $17.1 million, I’ll take the Australian code (and) make a machine that doesn’t suck.”

At this point hundreds of millions have been spent by various States and the Department of Defense on failed attempts, its time someone else had a shot at it.

Source: Wired News

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Free Rent at Visitorville

VisitorVille Map
I just love toys. Model trains, remote control cars & planes, 35mm cameras, home theater systmes, and this Blog are among the many toys that have caught my interest at one point or another.
Pictured is my latest Blog related toy. Most Blogs have a visitor stats function in one form or another. I have two, Site Meter, and Extreme Tracker. Now I have a third, VisitorVille that has a graphic display very much like the popular Sims video game. It is a stand alone program (7mb for Windows XP) that tracks referrals by utilizing the houses, busses, and taxi’s depicted in the graphic. Houses represent each page of your site that are choosen at setup. My configuration has each catagory, and each individual page archive represented. Buses are used for the top 15 rated search engines, and taxi’s are visitors that surf from one page to another. Its all pretty wierd stuff as you watch the ‘traffic” move around your site. A “VCR” function allows you to play back any point from its past history, and even has a chat feature that allows you to chat to visitors as they visit.

Just like all toys, they cost. I have “free rent” for the first two weeks, after that it can be fairly expensive. For a site that averages 100 hits a day the cost is $9.95 US a month. If your Blog is in the InstaPundit class the cost can sky rocket to almost $40 a month. I’ll enjoy my “free rent” for the next two weeks and then find something else to play with.

Here is one oddity I noticed. VisitorVille has a function that tracks by country, and it seems that here in the Philippines the favored search engine is Yahoo Philippines. Here are the numbers covering the last 200 search hits.

MSN US 100%
Google US 80% Philippines 20%
Yahoo US 36.36% Philippines 63.64%

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Just Another Stupid Politician

Pres. Bush signed into law, effective Jan. 01.04 the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Its two major flaws are its opt-out provision, a consumer must request to be removed from spam lists. It has also over ridden stronger laws already on the books in several states.

Given this background you have to ask yourself just what the hell is Tulsa (Ok) Representative Chris Hastings thinking. He has introduced House Bill 2215 in the State Legislature that would make it easier to reply to unsolicited spam.

He filed a bill Wednesday that would require any unsolicited commercial e-mail to include an automatic return mechanism so the recipient could reply without typing the sender’s e-mail address.

What the hell is an “automatic return mechanism.” My first thought was its the “reply/reply all” function contained in all Email clients, I could be wrong, I’ll defer to the higher power of a State Representive. The question I have is why a bill is introduced that is already rendered useless by the Federal CAN-SPAM Act? My second question is, just how dumb is this guy? Its painfully obvious he hasn’t been near a computer since they used punch cards for programing, if ever. Its also plain to see in his world Email has all the relevancy of a message in a bottle thrown to the mercy of high tide. Maybe Oklahoma residents will opt-out in sending him back to the State House in the next election!

For those concerned about server security and the spread of spam can get information and links to state and international agencies and organizations at the Federal Trade Commision website. Also any spam received can be forwarded to Email address: uce@ftc.gov They are currently getting over 300,000 a day so its problematic if each one will be acted on but they say they are all being entered into a database.

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I Got My “Titty Hits”

Janet’s breast sets Web search record, screams the headline in the Toronto Star newspaper. It goes on the say the 24 hour period after the Super Bowl people turned its attention from the game to what it calls, “the nitty gritty on the titty.” The Janet Jackson unveiling produced 60 times the number hits than did the previous record holder Paris Hilton.</span

Such a fuss over a plastic enhanced mammary gland. She got what she wanted, her latest CD single was released the next day. And hey, my hits almost tripled the daily average for the same period due to hits on my Super Bowl post. Thanks Janet, on both counts!

UPDATE: I was checking my hits by country. Before the “Janet thing” I had about 7-8 different countries. Post “Janet thing” there are 67 countries listed. They run the gamut from 7-8 Middle Eastern countries, to almost all those in Europe, including Latvia and tiny Lichenstein. American Samoa, Sri Lanka, and Mongolia round out the list of the most unusual. No sign of the Vatican which would have warranted a screen capture to accompany this post. Again Janet, thanks for the mammaries, even though they are grabage search hits.

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Search Engines Are Strange

I was just going thru a list of referals from search engines and found this search, “diane sawyer nude pictures,” that refered to this page, a post I made yesterday on the history of nude photography in China. Certainly the “nude” fits the search terms, but where does ABC reporter Diane Sawyer come into the picture? Did she ever pose nude in China?

Beyond strange.

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More Electronic Voting Failures

As I left the US Military 3 years ago their was consideration being given to allowing overseas military and civilian employee’s the ability to vote in US elections via the internet.

Apparently that idea has not only grown sour fruit but the Defense Department may continue eating it. The system, called the Secure Electronic Registration and Voter Experiment, (SERVE) has drawn critics that claim it is vulnerable to denial of service attacks, the insertion of fake web pages between the voter and the authentic server, and viruses that would alter a voters selections.

The outlook for a quick solution to the problems are not encourageing. Here is what the authors reported.

“Because the danger of successful large-scale attacks is so great, we reluctantly recommend shutting down the development of SERVE and not attempting anything like it in the future until both the Internet and the world’s home computer infrastructure have been fundamentally redesigned, or some other unforeseen security breakthroughs appear.”

And while whistleing thru a dark graveyard at night and protecting his phony baloney job department spokesman Glen Flood defended the integrety of the system.

“This is a minority report from one of the peer-review groups we invited to look at the SERVE system.” “Out of this group of about 10 or 11 members, only four of them decided that concerns were warranted.

“We respect what they’ve done,” Flood said of the dissenting members. “They have excellent credentials, but we stand by the SERVE program.”

As I said, whistleing in the dark and protecting his job. If you were to cross a busy street 11 times and knew before hand that a heavly laden truck would transform you into hemoglobin pizza would you chance it?
Nada, Nyet, Hinde, NO, yet these guys are attempting to utilize a system that may invalidate 100,000 votes of the very people that defend the Democratic principal in the first place.

The reports authors aren’t exactly the teenage hacker from next door. They are respected scientists from University of California at Berkeley, Johns Hopkins University, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Ahh… the Department of Defense I grew to know and love. Well maybe not love exactly… just glad to be away from.

Source: CNN

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A Joke From Steve

Steve who is the “Flagman” for the Rodent Regatta noted this joke that apparently has been around a while.

A helicopter was flying around above Seattle yesterday when an electrical malfunction disabled all of the aircraft’s electronic navigation and communications equipment. Due to the clouds and haze, the pilot could not determine the helicopter’s position and course to steer to the airport.
The pilot saw a tall building, flew toward it, circled, drew a handwritten sign, and held it in the helicopter’s window. The pilot’s sign said “Where am I?” in large letters.

People in the tall building quickly responded to the aircraft, drew a large sign, and held it in a building window. Their sign said “You are in a helicopter.”

The pilot smiled, waved, looked at his map, determined the course to steer to Sea-Tac airport, and landed safely.

After they were on the ground, the co-pilot asked the pilot how the “You are in a helicopter” sign helped determine their position.

The pilot responded “I knew that had to be the Microsoft building because, similar to their help-lines, they gave me a technically correct but completely useless answer.”

The US Navy operates under the same fog. A query elicits a thousand “book answers” but little of common sense value.

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Year end Google Stats

Google has posted its year end statistics that can be accessed here.

Do you want to see an example of how pervasive/invasive American Pop Culture is? Check out the stats from foreign (non-U.S.) countries under favorite movies, popular men/women, etc.

I would suggest the exportation of Britney [Splitsney?] Spears, Eminem, Michael Jackson, or Paris Hilton are not prime examples of what America has to offer.

NOTE: To Sassy, did you find an up-tick in hits during Sept at The Radical Chef?

Fun Fact…Oct. – Nov. 20
October and November are prime months for hosting parties and get-togethers, which explains the increase in number of recipe-related searches from September

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Via Forbes comes the top ten list of spam E-mails of 2003.

Viagra.
Lowest mortgage rates.
Hot XXX action.
As seen on Oprah.
online pharmacy
get bigger
online degree
lowest insurance rates
work from home
get out of debt
Here is the real scary part.

During calendar 2003, AOL blocked nearly 500 billion spam messagesfrom reaching user inboxes, an average of 40 fewer such messages per day per subscriber account. The company said it regularly blocks 75 percent to 80 percent of incoming mail as spam.

Just think what a single Blogger could do with 1/10th of 1% of the bandwidth wasted on this garbage!

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That was [is] a Nightmare !

As you can see their is a one week gap previous to this post. The server at my host crashed hard early Wed. morning.

As restored all entries after 17th Dec are lost into “dataland” somewhere. Such is life !

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