Link Collection

May 30, 2008

LOTD for May 30

Filed under: Uncategorized — gokamoto @ 10:47 pm

Apparently the spying by Deutsche Telekom went on for far longer than they admitted earlier this week. In stead of going on from 2005 to 2006 like they admitted, it looks like they actually bugged journalists at the Financial Times back in 2000! Recruiting spies to film the editorial offices of a respected publication seems makes this story really bizarre to me:

An Iranian-born US citizen was charged with nuclear smuggling. He worked for the largest US nuclear power plant for 17 years, then loaded software from the nuclear plant, quit his job, and took the software with him to Iran:

Iran and al Qaeda are reported to be in secret talks, which is amazing because those entities have hated each other for a long time. Iran has a lot of hostages that are high-level al Qaeda people, including 2 of Osama’s sons:

Interesting article about devices that showed up in James Bond movies that only now is technology making them a reality:
Article link

This Air Force base in North Dakota came under serious scrutiny after they mistakenly loaded 6 nuclear bombs onto a B-52 that flew across the country and then sat unattended for hours on the flight line (since nobody knew they put nuclear weapons on that plane!). That base failed a nuclear surety inspection in December, making them look worse. They then had 6 months to prepare for their next inspection…and they failed miserably. Having guards in a restricted area play video games on their cell phone is bad. Having airmen completely unaware of their duties is worse. Even worse is that this base will still continue to handle our nuclear weapons despite the 3 significant failures:

DARPA’s funding for research with monkey brains and joysticks came under sharp criticism four years ago, but now it is being acknowledged for being responsible for advances in prosthetics:

Comcast is looking to hire someone to snoop around their internet customers on behalf of the Federal Government:

The Army is looking to equip an entire brigade with Land Warrior:

Europe is experimenting with a system that uses cameras on airplanes to try to detect terrorists and other dangers caused by passengers:
Article link

Comcast discussed why they decided to invest in the new Clearwire:

Analyst report says that laptops with embedded 3G capability will be a must-have thing for businesses next year:

Infineon significantly shrunk the size of their 3G platform:

RIM executives are meeting with Indian government officials to try to avoid a permanent ban on Blackberries in India:

Housing prices are falling faster than they did during the great Depression!

At least 1 billion people are expected to watch videos via the web by 2013:

Only 7 of the top 30 newspapers were down year-to-year, with some newspapers showing huge gains (Dallas Morning News was up 88% over last year!)

VGChartz gave some interesting sales figures for console game sales, so I’m going to take some notes on them. Please ignore the rest of this if you are not interested.

All numbers are in millions of games sold (note: Wii Sports comes with the Wii in the US but not in some other countries)
Top 10 selling Wii Games:
Wii Sports: 23.66
Wii Play: 12.49
Super Mario Galaxy: 6.56
Super Smash Brothers Brawl: 5.38
Mario Party 8: 5.2
Mario Kart: 5.12
Zelda: Twilight Princess: 4.81
Mario and Sonic Olympics: 4.44
Wii Fit: 4.37
Guitar Hero III; 2.7

Top 5 selling PS3 Games:
Grand Theft Auto IV: 3.61
Motorstorm: 3.29
Call of Duty 4: 3.23
Resistance: Fall of Man: 2.84
Assasins Creed: 2.66
(Rock Band sold 0.6, Guitar Hero III sold 1.28, Madden NFL 08 sold 0.86)

Top 10 selling XBox 360 Games:
Halo 3: 7.87
Call of Duty 4: 6.04
Gears of War: 5.2
Grand Theft Auto IV: 5.13
Forza Motorsport2: 3.86
Assasins Creed: 3.74
Guitar Hero III: 2.98
Eldar Scrolls IV: 2.47
Madden NFL 08: 2.44
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance: 2.43


May 29, 2008

LOTD for May 29

Filed under: Uncategorized — gokamoto @ 9:57 pm

Apparently it takes just 6 hours to hack into the FBI’s crime database and there are gaping holes in the network security of our government and many of our biggest companies:

Article about the amazing hackers in China that work on behalf of the Chinese government. The hackers may be responsible to two recent and widespread blackouts in Florida and the Northeast:

Berkeley Bionics (startup company with UC-Berkeley researchers) has an impressive super suit that gives the wearer beyond-human strength:

Foster-Miller (iRobot’s main competition in the military sector) was awarded a $400 mil IDIQ contract for their robots that detect and disable explosives in Iraq and Afghanistan. The article also mentions that iRobot will also be able to announce a big military contract soon:

Blackwater sued the city of San Diego for dragging their feet in issuing the final certificate so that they can open their training center. They claim that the mayor and city attorney are playing politics and could cause them to miss their Monday deadline specified in their Navy contract:

The Pentagon wants a laser attack warning system for satellites. They are apparently concerned that recent failures of spy satellites are due to Chinese laser attacks:
Article link

Article stating that NASA should be working on asteroid defense instead of what he calls a wasteful Moon base mission. However, he points out that the Moon base would bring at least a decade of funding, which is why he said that NASA went along with it:

New filter may be useful for cleaning up power station emissions (a big global warming problem) cheaply and much more efficiently than current techniques:

Nigerian rebel group threatened to attack oil installations and military checkpoints to mark the one-year anniversary for Nigeria’s President. If it happens expect gas prices to shoot up even more:

Google demoed Android’s user interface–the Google-led platform apparently looks like an open-source version of the iPhone with a lot of Google stuff integrated in the system:

Microsoft expects at least 50% annual growth for its Windows Mobile OS:

India’s Tata will use Qualcomm’s A-GPS to launch the first location-based service in India:

India is issuing guidelines next month for their 3G and WiMAX spectrum auctions, with the expectation that commercial service will begin in January 2009:
Article link

Long-range WiFi APs are being pushed as a cheaper alternative to WiMAX:

The SEC filed lawsuits against 8 former AOL executives. Four of them already settled with the SEC for a total of $8 mil, which enables them to avoid having to admit guilt. The guy that paid $4 mil to settle his lawsuit sure paid a steep price to avoid admitting guilt:

Santa Fe group says they are allergic to WiFi and want WiFi banned from public buildings:

8 Megapixel cameraphones may be coming soon…that is better resolution than my digital camera!

Lots of info on the rumor that Kobe had an affair with a Lakers cheerleader. The Laker Girl has apparently been kickoff off the squad and there are supposedly some photos being shopped around to tabloids for sale:

Yahoo says that Microsoft is not interested in a merger but does describe some of the complicated parts is the deal that Microsoft is interested in (selling off their Asian assets, etc.):

Google’s paid clicks in the US market shot up last month:

82% of the money that the Obama campaign spent on online advertising went to Google:

May 28, 2008

LOTD for May 28

Filed under: Uncategorized — gokamoto @ 8:19 pm

Interesting (and quite harsh) article about why nobody seems to believe what the Navy leadership says:

Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan wrote a book that is extremely critical of the Bush Administration that he was a part of, even specifically criticizing Rove, Rice and Cheney:

The White House responded to McClellan’s criticism in this article, but the article basically makes things seem even worse than the Washington Post article:

It appears that ABC News, the Drudge Report, and the FBI were caught by a prank message that they had thought was coming from al-Qaeda:

NOAA warns insurers that they forecast 12-16 named storms during the June-November hurricane season that is about to start:

The sun has Earth-sized tornados that can be seen with our equipment now:

Brookhaven scientists found enzymes that help plants resist fungal infections, and it might have beneficial effects on humans health too:
Article link

Here are some broad details on the $601 bil Pentagon budget approved by the House:

The Blackberry is now banned for sale in India because its encryption does not allow India’s government (or even RIM itself) to read the encrypted information:

There is a security hole in the RAZR phone, so if you have a RAZR you should avoid accepting JPEG images:

Costs have *really* come down! It now costs just $318 for a WiFi (11b/g) bridge with a 5-mile range:

An unnamed company gave Voyant a $2 mil contract to build 3000 white-space radios:
Article link

Via released a low-cost laptop with WiMAX support under an open-source license:
Infoworld article

Google’s CEO said that in a few years mobile advertising (on devices like the iPhone) would generate more money than web advertising!

Centrino 2 is launching on July 14–smaller, longer battery life, faster, and WiFi/WiMAX support included:

Andrew Seybold feels that the new Clearwire (and WiMAX itself) has been overhyped and will dissappoint users when it is finally available. He also calls 16e a 3G technology, not 4G:
Article link

Michael Dell says that he could take Steve Jobs in a fight:

May 27, 2008

LOTD for May 27

Filed under: Uncategorized — gokamoto @ 4:30 pm

I had a little extra time today because I had a lot of short periods of time when I was waiting for MATLAB to finish, so today’s LOTD is longer than normal…that may happen more on days where I do a lot of MATLAB work.

The IAEA says that Iran is hiding nuclear research and suspects it may be focusing on nuclear weapons. They were more blunt and conclusive in their report than they normally are:

Pres. Carter said that Israel has 150 nuclear weapons:

iRobot and MetalStorm showed off their armed robot that can fire up to a million bullets per minute!

MetalStorm put out an announcement about the demo and didn’t mention iRobot much in it:

DARPA is looking to fund research into a silly putty-like substance that can help soldiers with compound fractures:

Our defense budget is now more than $600 bil per year, about twice what it was in 2000 (it was $300 bil in FY 2000), but the number of auditors and investigators we have has remained about the same. So, we have “gaps” in the oversight of defense programs, because each auditor is responsible for $2.03 billion when in 2000 it used to be an auditor per $642 million in Pentagon contracts. In addition to auditors being stretched thin on the contracts that they audit, $152 billion per year in defense contracts are never audited for fraud or abuse! Considering all of the crimes that have been found lately with how unscrupulous people are spending our defense funding, I would think that we would want to hire more auditors!

McCain said that we should reduce the number of nuclear weapons the US has and to eliminate the bunker busting program:

Congress actually already killed the bunker busting program. So, that pledge by McCain isn’t going to make a huge difference:

There are a lot of complaints that the bullets our Army is using are not suited for the Army’s current role. Apparently those bullets were chosen decades with Soviet helmets in mind and are not well suited for close combat and the types of scenarios that our Army has faced in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, etc.

Russia denied that it shot down a Georgian spy drone, but the UN found conclusive evidence that Russia was responsible:

The military has become so unpopular in the UK that they actually had to pass a law banning discrimination against personnel wearing their uniforms. I find it hard to believe that shops, *hospitals*, and *public institutions* would actually prevent those wearing military uniforms from entering certain premises!

This Belgian woman calls herself a “female holy Warrior for al Qaeda” and she basically browbeats Muslim men to fight for al Qaeda. She apparently is very prominent on the web. She collects $1100 in unemployment benefits each month from Belgium:

Tightening border security is hurting trade between the US and Canada:

More on this issue, also going into how the delays due to border security are making supplies and raw materials arrive late at manufacturing plants, costing companies and consumers money:

Deutsche Telekom admitted (after a newspaper outed them) that they bugged the phones of their top executives and board members, as well as business journalists. Their latest spin is that they intercept the phone calls, but they did not listen to them. 32% of the company is owned by the German government, one of the many interesting subplots of this case:

Vodafone’s CEO Arun Sarin is stepping down after leading Vodafone for 5 years:

China announced that it is ready to issue 3G licenses–this will be a huge deal for the companies around the world that are involved:

China will merge all of its phone companies into 3 large groups in order to provide competition for China Mobile. This will happen before the 3G licenses are awarded:

The FCC may auction 25 MHz in the 2.1 GHz AWS band:

Startup company Wi-Fi Rail wants to provide WiFi access to BART passengers in San Francisco. The city would pay nothing, the company plans to get money from advertising and subscriptions by riders. Standard Cisco APs would be used:

Videoconferencing is being increasingly used for businesses to eliminate business trips:

Europe’s top internet security agency says that Facebook and Myspace should be policed:

The Presidential election will significantly affect Federal research funding. I hope that NSF has their funds doubled like both Hilary and Obama pledge…
Article link

An advance made by UC-SD researchers was featured in CSI: Miami recently:
Article link

Microsoft lost another patent case against Alcatel-Lucent. This time even one of their previous wins was taken away:

Microsoft detailed its new product to advertisers, which it hopes will win market share away from Google:

Wake Forrest is the first top-30 ranked University to make the SAT and ACT optional for applicants:

Toyota is building a second hybrid car battery plant as part of its push to ramp up their production of hybrid cars:

With polls showing that gas mileage is the #1 influencer for car purchases, automakers are offering deals on gas as a way to get people to buy their cars:

Apparently the iPod and iPhone have really hurt aftermarket car stereo sales, so Pioneer and JVC are launching new campaigns to try to attract customers:

Oprah’s TV ratings are down and she has received a lot of criticism lately. Opinions on the decline range from overexposure to her support for Obama to her support of a spirituality book that upsets some Christians:

The Japanese government just urged parents in Japan to limit their kids’ cell phone use:

May 26, 2008

LOTD for May 26

Filed under: Uncategorized — gokamoto @ 10:39 pm

Apparently the discovery of the Titanic was actually just a cover story for a mission to inspect the wrecks of two cold war submarines:

Apple filed for a patent that might indicate they are interested in putting solar cells on iPods and MacBooks. That would be a really interesting addition to their product line and give them a big distinguishing feature on their products:

Auto sales soared at this Missouri car dealership after they offered a $250 credit to a gun shop or $250 gas card with each car purchase. Almost everyone chose the gun credit over the gas card, which surprises me because everyone needs gas but not everyone needs a new gun. And if they want a gun that costs less than $250, the unused credit is wasted…while the $250 gas card will definitely be fully used:
Reuters link

Higher gas prices have changed the buying habits of Americans–a decade ago 1 in 8 cars was a compact or subcompact, this year it is 1 in 5. For the first time, 4-cylinder cars passed 6-cylinder cars in sales last month:

The first spam was sent 30 years ago over Arpanet…now businesses will spend $42 BILLION this year to fight spam:

I didn’t realize that Linens ‘n’ Things went bankrupt–though we had noticed that they were sending out much better coupons lately. 120 stores closing (27 in California) is big. The $42 million in gift cards that will no longer be honored soon is really interesting…I hope that everyone uses their gift cards right away! This is one of the biggest retailers to go bankrupt and it just went private fairly recently:,jo05_linens_web.article

Some stats about the bankruptcy for Linens ‘n’ Things. I feel really badly for the 2500 people who will lose their jobs:

Singapore is banning 2 porn websites in what they call a symbolic move. I wonder how many people in Singapore never heard of those two websites but will want to figure out a way to check them out now?
Reuters link

I didn’t realize that there were so many house swapping websites already. This might be an option for Lori’s parents–they could swap their home in Kahaluu for one in San Diego:

May 25, 2008

LOTD for May 25

Filed under: Uncategorized — gokamoto @ 11:39 am

Pregnancy cravings are on the rise for some reason…and I have no idea why 17% of pregnant women went to eat coal!

A study found that brain training exercises actually do boost intelligence:

The study found that the more the people trained, the better their IQ and problem-solving boost:,-study-shows.html

Gene therapy is actually giving sight back to people who are blind!

Man hits and kills a dog with his car…then sues the dog’s owners for the damage to his car. The judge threw the case out of court:

Four men apparently made up that they were chiefs of a Native American tribe in Utah and refused to recognize federal or state law. The judge ruled that their tribe was a “complete sham” and fined them $63k:

Air France pilot was “showing off” to a boy who visited the cockpit, turning the plane left and right…unfortunately he steered the plane in the path of another plane and had to execute emergency manuvers to avoid a collision, scaring everyone on the plane!

Wisconsin man didn’t want to say his real name to the cops, so he made up a name…and the name he picked was actually the name of a man who had an active warrant for his arrest for felony vehicular homicide!

This mayor in Chile wants to improve the quality of life of his elder citizens…so he’s giving them free Viagra:

This elderly penguin (25, when normal life expectancy is 15) was losing his feathers until he was fitted with a wet suit. After 6 weeks his feathers grew back and he didn’t need the wet suit anymore:

This DC couple had their wedding guests and them take the Metro train to go from their ceremony to their reception, right in the middle of rush hour for the train! The $1.65 per person was much cheaper than a limo, and they had a nice experience to talk about later:

LOTD for May 24

Filed under: Uncategorized — gokamoto @ 12:27 am

This man was sentence to jail because his daughter did not earn her GED…even though his nearly 19-year-old daughter was living with her mother and not her:

Minnesota school district has to go to a 4-day school week (cutting out Mondays) in order to save money:

This Philly gay organization is having rodeos to “show that they are normal”…but a contest to put pink underwear on a goat seems to be something out of the ordinary:

This JetBlue passenger was ordered by the pilot to sit in a bathroom for hours during his flight because a flight attendant found the jump seat too uncomfortable. He is suing JetBlue for $2 mil:

The total number of fat cells in our body remain the same because the fat cells that die are replaced by new ones. Losing or gaining weight just affects how much fat is stored in the cells, not how many fat cells we have:

May 23, 2008

LOTD for May 23

Filed under: Uncategorized — gokamoto @ 4:46 pm

I hope that everyone has a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend!

iRobot’s new robot for the Army uses a controller that is based on a Nintendo game controller:
Aviation Week article

Boeing’s Hummingbird UAV set the endurance record by flying for 18.7 hours straight
Aviation Week article

San Diego’s mayor may try to block Blackwater’s new training facility:

DHS got the idea for their new UAV from the TV show 24. NASA took ideas from Star Trek and SciFi books, so DHS people getting ideas from 24 does not surprise me:,2933,357322,00.html

The DoD may try to block Apple’s acquisition of PA Semi:

Interesting that 96% of servers with dynamic IP addresses were only used to send spam. Those servers accounted for 42% of all spam during the study period:
Articles link

Google co-founder Larry Page went to DC to lobby for public access to white spaces:

Yahoo currently has 10 board members and just renominated 9 of them for the board, with the plan to eliminate the 10th board position. This will not make Icahn happy because he wants his people on the board:

Videocon makes air conditioner, refrigerators and lots of other consumer electronics in India. It looks like they will be opening a whole new market because they are apparently buying Motorola’s cellular handset business:

I’ve heard the LifeLock ad on the radio several times, where their CEO gives out his Social Security number and says that his identity is safe due to their service. Well, it turns out that there is a class-action lawsuit against them now and there is at least one documented case of identity theft for the CEO:

AT&T issued a press release on how they had an all-time high of 78 million text messages for American Idol:
Press release

Verizon responded to their rival AT&T by issuing their own press release about how they delivered nearly 58 billion text messages in the first quarter of 2008:
Press release

Activision is adding drums, bass guitar, and a microphone to Guitar Hero, responding to MTV’s Rock Band game:

Looks like the XBox 360 and PS3 contain some toxic chemicals, with the Wii having a less amount of them:

Lori loves the Celebrity Baby Blog. People Magazine must love it too because they just bought it!

Interesting article on the most expensive hamburgers in the US:

May 22, 2008

LOTD for May 22

Filed under: Uncategorized — gokamoto @ 5:03 pm

Pres. Bush is allowing Cuban-Americans to send cell phones to relatives in Cuba:,0,512946.story

Americans spend 2x the time browsing the web on their smartphones than UK citizens do:

Nokia says that its comments were taken out of context and that they are NOT planning to release cell phones based on Linux:

I agree with the survey results that cell phone use on airplanes should be restricted to non-talking features only:
Press release

Qualcomm just invested in femtocell and picocell maker ip.access:
Press release

Fentocell trade group agreed upon an interoperability standard:

picoChip just released their LTE femtocell and picocell reference designs:

iPhone users in Germany actually user internet services 30x more than other cellular users. 1/3 of iPhone users in Germany are on T-Mobile’s most expensive phone plan:

Soldiers in Iraq have been issued modified paintball guns to act as non-lethal crowd control weapons:

Lockheed got a patent for their “spooky radar”, which can detect stealth aircraft and see camouflaged objects:

“Grasshopper” robot sets a high-jump record–the 5 cm tall robot jumped 27 times its own height! The previous record was 17x height, so it well beyond the record! The robot weighs just 7 grams!
Article link

Boeing fired a high-energy laser from an aircraft:

The FBI is looking for informants to infiltrate local protest groups in preparation for the Republican National Convention. This article mentions how the FBI asked someone to infiltrate “vegan potlucks”…is that really a gathering that is a concern of our government? It is interesting how the FBI will actually create disturbances at times just so they can arrest people that react to it:

Google Sites is now available to any registered Google user:

Honda is expanding its hybrid car line. $20k for a 5-passenger hybrid car seems like a good price point:

Microsoft is trying hard to catch up with Google and has a new program that offers cashback for users who use their search engine and purchase something:

American is the first airline to announce a $15 charge for the FIRST checked-in bag, with an additional $25 charge for a second checked-in bag. The other airlines went along with the $25 charge and I wonder how many will match this charge for the first checked-in bag. This will result in some REALLY packed overhead bins for carry-ons!:

Barnes & Noble lost even more money this past quarter than previous quarters and is considering a bid to buy Borders:

May 21, 2008

LOTD for May 21

Filed under: Uncategorized — gokamoto @ 7:14 pm

Biotech company in California will have 5 auctions to allow people chances to clone their dogs, with the auctions starting at $100k.

Israeli jailers use a custom-built computer program to interpret the barks by the guard dogs. The computer program has been so successful for Israeli prisons that the company now has 100 customers in Israel, including farmers:

Looks like a new process could make titanium much cheaper soon:

Article about how selling off property rights in space would spur space development:

The UK is considering a plan to store ALL phone calls, e-mails, text messages, and Internet use for ALL of the people in their country!

Retired University of Tennessee professor was indicted on violating ITAR rules by using a Chinese grad student without informing the government:

Two BAE executives were detained at the Houston Airport because US officials allege that BAE has a big bribery slush fund:

Israel is looking to make a flying unmanned car to serve as a robotic ambulance that will pick up injured soldiers in the field:

The DoD’s work on “intelligent” robotic limbs kind of sounds like the old TV show “6 Million Dollar Man” come to life:

This company has a new product that could be a solution for pilots that need relief during long flights:

Jet-powered bicycle available for $650:

Interesting that the more UAVs we use the less useful information we might get because there is just too much data to process:

The company that makes the Opera browser has been collecting info on sites that its users visit. Very interesting to see the difference in web surfing patterns in the US, India, and Russia:

Neat new technique could allow airplanes to repair themselves, even during a flight:

Banks use spyware and other surveillance techniques to monitor their employees:

Christian Dior is releasing its $5k cell phone, just like Prada and D&G already have done. I didn’t realize that Dolce & Gabanna sold about $350 mil worth of D&G gold Razr phones last year!

This guy analyzes why Apple is changing its policy from being able to buy 3 iPhones per person at AT&T stores to being able to buy only 1 iPhone per person:
Infoworld article

AT&T has just about finished its HSUPA (3G) build-out, just in time for the 3G iPhone:
Press release

Some large investors are backing Icahn in his attempt to force Yahoo to sell itself to Microsoft:,0,1979731.story

The government might cap early termination fees:

Interesting how this entrepreneur feels that Apple has taken away the profitability of TV companies and Google has taken away the profitability of print media:

Neilsen reports that MySpace and Club Penguin have not been growing compared to last year (Club Penguin is actually down 7%), but LinkedIn grew 361% and Facebook grew 56%:

The One Laptop Per Child Project announced their 2nd-generation $75 laptop:
Infoworld article

Yao Ming does a LOT of charity work for China charities and donated $70k to an earthquake relief fund…and then was sharply criticized for not donating more. The Internet criticism got so bad that Yao apparently had to raise his donation to $280k (2 million yuan):

12-year-old boy was charged with drunken driving after crashing his stepfather’s pickup truck. He had a 10-year-old friend as a passenger and was lucky not to be hurt after jumping a guardrail and crashing down a steep hill into a forest:

Interesting article on how some pro athletes have had the “curse of the celebrity girlfriend”

Manhattan restaurant sells a burger for $175 that is topped with gold:

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