This has been my favorite song for a week or so... (although I've been listening to a lot of classical music too)

"A Heart Filled Reaction To Dissatisfaction"

by City of Caterpillar

Hello, I'd like for us to talk, but right now is not such a great time.
Maybe when it's more convenient for me and I get something out of it.
We'll start off slow, maybe rides to work, that's all I can take for now.
It's hard to please everyone, alright?
I promise.

I think I'm more happy when there's no sorries.
How's it feel to have such fools attracted to you?

I think I know well I know I think -- I sort of have nothing to say and if I did I'd say nothing at all.

I think I'm more happy when there's no sorries.
How's it feel to have such fools attracted to you?

Now I'm too scared to touch a friend like you.

I don't think I have a single reader that would like this genre of music.

It's called screamo... apparently a clever way of combining "scream" and "emo". Basically, it's technical, emotional hardcore punk rock with lots, and I mean lots, of screaming. Perfect for graduate school. If you'd care for a taste, check out the snippet of this tune at emusic here.

Tokaji: Florida Non-Votes with New Equipment

elections, news, problems, research, usability

Link: http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/blogs/tokaji/2005/02/florida-non-votes-with-new-equipment.html

Despite all the security concerns surrounding electronic voting, and some of them are real, moving to electronic and precinct-count optical scan voting technology has been a very good thing for Floridians. More of their votes, many more, were counted in 2004 than was the case four years ago.

Yes, but how can we assure that these votes were counted as they were intended to be cast?

Peer Impact to go live...

copyright, p2p, research, policy, DRM

Link: http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,119259,00.asp

From Steve Fox at PC World:

Legit Peer-to-Peer File Swaps

The Buzz: A little startup is about to make a huge splash, introducing a legal and music-industry-blessed file-swapping service. Peer Impact breaks from the gate with a massive catalog, courtesy of the major labels (Sony BMG, Universal, and Warner; at press time, an EMI agreement was being negotiated), with plans for video, animation, and games in the works. Tunes come with a license and a key, and the system's BitTorrent-like mesh architecture breaks files into packets that can be downloaded from multiple sources and reassembled on your PC. Pricing is the usual 99 cents per song, but users get discounts for sharing bandwidth and acting as content hosts.

Bottom Line: Finally! A P-to-P model that both the suits and the geeks of the world can love. This is going to be big.

Trouble installing WPBlacklist 2.8...

system, blogging, hacks, open source, SIMS

I had a bit of difficulty installing WPBlacklist 2.8 for a Wordpress blog... here's how I recovered.

So, the spammers have hit the p2p blog. (I can't use AuthImage because its usability stinks; I had more than one complaint of entire comments being arduously typed in and then lost when the auth code was mistyped).

So, I decided to use the Wordpress port of Jay Allen's MT-Blacklist, called WPBlacklist. Unfortunately, I had some significant problems with the install.

When, as the instructions indicated, I ran blacklist-install.php this action would only barf a bunch of php onto the screen starting with:

query($sql); // update table structure for WPBlacklist 2.1 [...]

Why was this happening? After looking at the php code, I had a feeling it was not able to create the blacklist table in the blog's database. So, this means I had to create it by hand using mysql from the command-line.

Here's what I did.

  1. Enter mysql from the command-line and type use db (where db is the name of the database for your blog or for you depending on if you have a separate database for the blog and other activities).

  2. Create the blacklist table using the following mysql script:

    (`id` int(11) NOT NULL auto_increment, 
    `regex` varchar(200) NOT NULL default '',
    `regex_type` enum('ip','url','rbl','option') 
    NOT NULL default 'url', KEY `id` (`id`), 
    FULLTEXT KEY `regex` (`regex`)) 
  3. Prepare the table for the WPBlacklist format suitable for WPBlacklist after version 2.1:

    `regex_type` `regex_type` 
    enum('ip','url','rbl','option') NOT NULL 
    DEFAULT 'url';
  4. In your Wordpress backend, got to "Plugins" and "Activate" the WPBlacklist plugin.

  5. Click the "Blacklist Configuration" link in the description of the WPBlacklist plugin on the "Plugins" page. Import Jay Allen's blacklist and change the settings as you like.

Voting System Performance Rating Launch

elections, certification/testing, reform, vendors, standards, news, research, policy, usability

Today the Voting System Performace Rating (VSPR) organization launches. I'm the chair of the Existing Systems Explication working group. It is a privilege to be a part of such an impressive and properly oriented organization.

Here's more from the Newsweek coverage ("A Step Forward in The Voting Wars"):

So it's nice to be the first to report a development that might help things out. A renowned cryptographer with a keen interest in voting, David Chaum has persuaded a team of election officials, computer scientists, interest-group advocates and voting-equipment makers to join in a coalition called Voting Systems Performance Rating (VSPR). The goal is to generate a set of voting-system standards that everyone can agree on%u2014sort of a Consumer Reports for election machines. There would be ratings in areas like security, privacy, reliability and accessibility to the elderly and the disabled. After the group does its work, states and counties would have a way to evaluate voting equipment before they buy. Voters could be more effective watchdogs, since VSPR's work would be public. "In voting systems, the thing you need most is transparency," says Chaum.

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