Monthly Archives: July 2006

It’s like stealing from a big monopolistic corporation

I can’t help but assume this amusing page is a humorous jest and ploy to sell novelty toys. It looks like someone had a little too much fun with a soldering iron and superglue and decided to dedicate a webpage to it. Interesting considering the rest of the site looks fairly legit. Of course the patent they claim applies to these devices has nothing to do with the devices themselves.

So what am I talking about? You’ll have to go see for yourself!

Phone distribution in small business and residental applications

One of the best ways to distribute phone lines in residential and small business applications is to use some kind of punchdown block in combination with a star (also called home run) topology. While the site is not completely devoid of commercial aims (they do sell equipment) the Phone Man site has great explantions of how to wire 66 and 110 blocks for phone distribution (when you don’t have a PBX type system and simply wish for all phone lines to go to all jacks).

For what it’s worth I recently bought a DSL splitter from the site for a recent project and highly recommend installing a centralized DSL splitter such as the Wilcom PS15-I3S and doing away with all those individual DSL filters around your house.

Schneier suggests US Navy has patented the firewall

Respected computer security analyist and writer Bruce Schneier has suggested that the US Navy has filed for a patent which could apply to many computer firewalls. While there remains some debate in the security community about whether this applies to all firewalls or only application level firewalls it could still have widespread impact on the network security market.

Isn’t public data great?

Thanks to this website at the National Weather Service (a friend to all free data lovers these days) you cna get a complete list of counties in the US and US territories. The list includes data such as the NOAA/NWS FIPS codes, centralized coordinates and a description of where in the state the county is located. The list is currently provided in three formats at least one of which (dbf) can be opened in the free OpenOffice Calc (spreadsheet) program. If you don’t have a use for this data right now at least you can look at this lovely map of all 3110 counties in the continental United States.

Blog software upgraded

Tonight I upgraded from an outdated CVS version of b2evolution to the latest 1.8 beta. I also had to remove a lot of old spam comments that got away from me and, in the interests of time, dumped all comments made on the site since April. If you posted a (non-spam) comment and it was lost in the purge I apologize. The antispam features are much improved in version 1.8 so we’ll see how it holds up in this high traffic environment. If you have any problems or complaints please let me know.

I know that site updates have been few and far between but my life has been quite crazy for, well, a long time now; but especially this summer. I think I can promise a special series of articles in August so stay tuned for those. I also hope to get back to the semi-frequent updates, commentary and news postings you’re familiar with.

In other realms I am still working on a complete redesign of the web site, now over two years in the works (some backlog, eh?) I think that the redesign will go live towards the end of August or beginning of September. Of course if you’re one of the many people or groups who are waiting for a custom software project it means one less thing in front of you in line. Of course there is that book to write which I’ve starting plotting out and could consume quite a bit of time…