April 08, 2005

Order Sixty-Six

What is Order Sixty-Six?

Order Sixty-Six is the climax of the Clone Wars.

Not the end — the Clone Wars will end some few hours from now, when a coded signal, sent by Nute Gunray from the secret Separatist bunker on Mustafar, deactivates every combat droid in the galaxy at once — but the climax.

It’s not a thrilling climax; it’s not the culmination of an epic struggle. Just the opposite, in fact. The Clone Wars were never an epic struggle. They were never intended to be.

What is happening right now is why the Clone Wars were fought in the first place. It is their reason for existence. The Clone Wars have always been, in and of themselves, from their very inception, the revenge of the Sith.

They were irresistable bait. They took place in remote locations, on planets that belonged, primarily, to “somebody else.” They were fought by expendable proxies. And they were constructed as as win-win situation.

The Clone Wars were the perfect Jedi trap.

By fighting at all, the Jedi lost.

With the Jedi Order overextended, spread thin across the galaxy, each Jedi is alone, surrounded only by whatever clone troops he, she, or it commands. War itself pours darkness into the Force, deepening the cloud that limits Jedi perception. And the clones have no malice, no hatred, not the slightest ill intent that might give warning. They are only following orders.

In this case, Order Sixty-Six.

Hold-out blasters appear in clone hands. ARC-170s drop back onto the tails of Jedi starfighters. AT-STs swivel their guns. Turrets on hovertanks swung silently.

Clones open fire, and Jedi die.

All across the galaxy. All at once.

Jedi die.

— Matthew Stover, “Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith” pages 348-349

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April 04, 2005

Outrageous Gas Prices in North Little Rock, Arkansas

On my way to work this morning, I saw this sign at a local gas station and had to take a picture to capture the moment.

The local EXXON station offers these fine choices:
Regular $21.90 per gallon
Plus $2.29 per gallon
Super $239.90 per gallon

I bought 4.5 gallons of the regular. It’s a good thing that the pumps have the decimals in the right places.

Corner of West Main Street and North Pershing ( map )

Full size image


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April 01, 2005

Using phpBB as your MovableType comment engine

In the near future, I will be moving the In The Faith blogs to this commenting system. I hate filtering through comment spam, although Jay’s MT-Blacklist, does an excellent job, the comment management is TOO tedious.

Continue reading "Using phpBB as your MovableType comment engine"
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March 03, 2005

AnySoldier.com enables all to aid troops

Web site gets needed goods to soldiers in harm’s way.

LA PLATA, Maryland (CNN) — When it comes to supplying an army in the field, there are thousands of material specialists, quartermasters and supply officers. And then there are the “special forces” — like the Horn family in LaPlata, Maryland.

“We’re a family-run effort that’s just trying to show our support, and we got a little more involved than most people,” says Sue Horn, co-founder of AnySoldier.com.

The Horns’ involvement began in 2003 when their son Brian was deployed to Iraq as a member of the Army’s 173rd Airborne. Brian, a sergeant, was assigned to a forward location with no running water and only military rations to eat. He soon grew dirty, thin, haggard.

“He finally sent us a couple of pics,” says Marty Horn, Sue’s husband and the co-founder of AnySoldier.com. “When I showed Sue the pic, she gasped.”

[ Full Story @ CNN ]

Source: CNN © 2005 Cable News Network

Related websites (not necessarily endorsed by Anthony K. Valley):

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Study: Instant Messaging is Surprisingly Formal :-)

A study takes a look at the grammar and mechanics of instant messaging

Take this with a wink and a LOL: IM is more formal than you might think. But hey, guys, your punctuation stinks.

Instant messaging (IM) is a relatively new form of communication, in which two people exchange typed messages instantaneously over the Internet. Although written, the fact that IM is more immediate and direct than email makes it seem more like speech than writing.

But a recent study of IM-ing by college students found that the communication was more formal – in use of vocabulary and abbreviations – than might be expected in a speech-like medium. The research also uncovered significant differences in how men and women use the medium.

“The most important finding is that IM by college students does not look like bad writing,” said Naomi Baron of American University.

Baron reviewed 23 different conversations and surveyed 158 students. When divided along gender lines, the messages between females were more formal – with fewer contractions and better punctuation – than those between males.

[ Full Story @ LifeScience(Study: Instant Messaging is Surprisingly Formal :-)) ]

Source: LifeScience © 2005 Imaginova Corp

Related websites (not necessarily endorsed by In The Faith):
The Unofficial Smiley Dictionary

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March 02, 2005

'Star Wars' Trailer to Premiere March 10

Coming soon to the O.C.

NEW YORK (AP) — Darth Vader is coming to “The O.C.” The trailer for “Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith” will premiere during the March 10 episode of the Fox show.

The final installment of the “Star Wars” saga will open in theaters on May 19. The new trailer will be released in movie theaters beginning March 11.

“Revenge of the Sith” is the third prequel to the original “Star Wars” trilogy. It continues the chronicle of young Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), who eventually turns to the dark side and becomes Darth Vader.

[ Full Story @ Associated Press ]

Source: Associated Press © 2005 Associated Press

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January 23, 2005

FireFox continues gains against IE

The popularity of alternative Web browser FireFox continues to rise at the expense of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, according to a new study.

From the beginning of December through mid-January, 4.78 percent of Internet surfers studied by online measurement company WebSideStory used the Mozilla Foundation’s FireFox browser, a gain of 0.88 percentage points. At the same time, IE usage declined 0.7 percent to 92.7 percent, the firm reported. WebSideStory said IE use has declined from 96.7 percent since June.

The study measured market share by embedding sensors on major Web sites such as those of the Walt Disney Internet Group, Best Buy, Sony and Liz Claiborne. Previous studies from WebSideStory tested all operating systems, but the company said its Windows-only numbers are more accurate because new configurations in Apple Computer’s Safari browser inadvertently skewed results. WebSideStory retrieves data from 30 million Internet users a day passing through its monitored sites. The company then takes a snapshot of two days and compares the growth.

Mozilla, an open-source software foundation formed by Netscape, launched FireFox 1.0 in November, after recording more than 8 million downloads of its test version. As downloads continued to surge, measurement firms such as WebSideStory and Dutch market researcher OneStat.com began releasing data tracking FireFox gains and IE declines. In December, OneStat reported that IE’s market share had slipped to 88.9 percent, a figure Microsoft disputed.

[ Full Story @ CNET.com ]

Source: CNET.com © 2005 CNET Networks, Inc

Related websites (not necessarily endorsed by Anthony K. Valley):
Mozilla FireFox
Microsoft Internet Explorer

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December 20, 2004

Rhys Davies' "The Complete Guide to Isometric Pixel Art"

For those who are looking for another really good example of Isometric Pixel Art, take a look at Rhys Davies’ The Complete Guide to Isometric Pixel Art

Rhys covers basic isometry, outlines, highlighting, texturing, and a lot more. Visit Rhys at http://www.rhysd.org .

Great work, Rhys!

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December 19, 2004

TorrentBits.org and SuprNova.org Go Dark

The lights are off at TorrentBits.org and SuprNova.org , two of the largest bittorrent file sharing networks. At the moment, no explanation has been provided, however, rumors abound.

Why do I care? The bittorrent protocol is a wonderful medium of distributed computing, however, its being misused to share copyrighted material is illegal, unethical, and regrettable.

Many open source projects are distributed using bittorrent, a trend which is sure to continue.

Here’s the story per Slashdot.org:
Numerous people wrote in with similar stories: “Without providing a reason, both of these sites have shut down: SuprNova.org and TorrentBits.org.” We mentioned a few days ago that the MPAA was going after Bittorrent sites.

[ Full Story @ Slashdot ]

Source: Slashdot © 2004 Slashdot

Related websites (not necessarily endorsed by Anthony K. Valley):
MPAA Hunts Down Bittorrent sites
The Unofficial SuprNova Closure FAQ

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November 04, 2004

Linux Sux? -- Study: Linux "Most Breached" OS

Hmm… It looks like I am getting a MAC…

Apple Computer’s OS X and the open-source BSD operating system provide the “world’s safest and most secure” computing platforms, according to London-based security firm mi2g. The report also describes Linux as the world’s “most breached” online computing environment, followed by Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

According to mi2g, the firm’s Intelligence Unit study analyzed more than 235,000 successful attacks against “permanently connected — 24/7 online — computers” worldwide between November 2003 and October 2004. According to the study, computers running Linux accounted for about 65 percent of all recorded breaches, while Microsoft Windows-based systems accounted for about 25 percent of such attacks. Successful attacks against OS X and BSD-based online systems accounted for less than five percent of the worldwide total.

“More and more smart individuals, government agencies, and corporations are shifting towards Apple and BSD environments,” said D.K. Matai, executive chairman of mi2g. Technology professionals, he said, “don’t have time to cope with the umpteen flavors of Linux or to wait for Microsoft’s Longhorn when Windows XP has proved to be a stumbling block” due to persistent security flaws.

BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution), which includes three related open-source variants, each with its own source tree and kernel, are frequently used to run Web severs and other types of Internet infrastructure servers. Mac OS X, which uses a proprietary user interface and other extensions built on top of a BSD-based core, has been distributed on all Apple Computer desktop systems since 2001.

[ Full Story @ Linux Pipeline ]

Source: Linux Pipeline © 2004 CMP Media LLC.

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October 09, 2004

Stop SQL Injection Attacks Before They Stop You

Official advice from the source — ASP.NET developers take heed.

Armed with advanced server-side technologies like ASP.NET and powerful database servers such as Microsoft® SQL Server™, developers are able to create dynamic, data-driven Web sites with incredible ease. But the power of ASP.NET and SQL can easily be used against you by hackers mounting an all-too-common class of attack—the SQL injection attack. The basic idea behind a SQL injection attack is this: you create a Web page that allows the user to enter text into a textbox that will be used to execute a query against a database. A hacker enters a malformed SQL statement into the textbox that changes the nature of the query so that it can be used to break into, alter, or damage the back-end database.

[ Full Story @ MSDN Magazine Sept 2004 ]

Source: MSDN Magazine Sept 2004 © 2004 Microsoft

Related websites (not necessarily endorsed by In The Faith):

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Colin Angus Mackay's "SQL Injection Attacks"

A must-read for web developers everywhere. Although, Colin’s article specifically handles SQL injection attacks for the ASP.NET environment, his advice can be applied to any data-driven web application. Let us be secure from intrusion.

Every day I see messages on various forums asking for help with SQL. Nothing wrong with that. People want to understand how something works, or have a partial understanding but something is keeping them from completing their task. However, I frequently also see messages that have SQL statements being built in C# or VB.NET that are extremely susceptible to injection attack. Sometimes it is from the original poster and, while they really need to learn to defend their systems, that is fine as they are trying to learn. Nevertheless there is also a proportion of people responding to these questions that give advice that opens up gaping security holes in the original poster’s system, if they follow that advice.

[ Full Story @ Stuff that’s in my head ]

Source: Stuff that’s in my head © 2004 Colin Angus Mackay

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October 07, 2004

House passes 2nd anti-spyware bill

Adds penalties of up to five years in prison

WASHINGTON - The House on Thursday passed the second bill in three days that would outlaw “spyware,” irritating software that quietly monitors the activities of Internet users.

It would add penalties of up to five years in prison for people convicted of installing such programs without a computer user’s permission.

The bill, known as the “Internet Spyware Prevention Act,” passed 415-0. It would give the Justice Department $10 million to crack down on companies and others that secretly install spyware and those who attempt to trick victims into disclosing personal details and financial information in e-mail scams popularly known as “phishing.”

[ Full Story @ MSNBC.com ]

Source: MSNBC.com © 2004 MSNBC.com

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October 06, 2004

Bill imposes hefty 'spyware' fines

Finally, something that makes a lot of sense. Pass legislation against those spyware creeps. Dump Internet Explorer and take control of your life with FireFox, Opera, Lynx, a homing pigeon, something… just NOT IE…

WASHINGTON (AP) — Companies and others that secretly install “spyware” programs on people’s computers to quietly monitor their Internet activities would face hefty federal fines under a bill the House passed Tuesday.

The most egregious behaviors ascribed to the category of such software — secretly recording a person’s computer keystrokes or mouse clicks — are already illegal under U.S. wiretap and consumer protection laws.

The House proposal, known as the “Spy Act,” adds civil penalties over what has emerged as an extraordinary frustration for Internet users, whose infected computers often turn sluggish and perform unexpectedly.

[ Full Story @ CNN.com ]

Source: CNN.com © 2004 Cable News Network

Related websites (not necessarily endorsed by akv):
FireFox Web Browser
Opera Web Browser

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July 29, 2004

CLASP -- Classic ASP Framework

If you are transitioning from Classic ASP to ASP.NET, this is a cool framework to implement in the meantime….

CLASP - Classic ASP Framework

In short, CLASP is a Framework developed in VBScript for the development of Classic ASP WEB applications. Now, you may ask yourself, why should I consider CLASP when there is ASP.NET out there?.

- Need to maintain/extend current ASP Applications that will not be migrated over to .NET in the near future.

- All the above while making sure that your code will be easily ported to ASP.NET.

- It is a white box, nothing to hide here!, you can modify the code to suit your needs.
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