Thursday, May 31, 2007

Houston, we have a problem - we all need new email addresses

Oh boy... here it comes. Now that Comcast has taken over the cable modem network in Houston from Road Runner, everyone needs a new email address. The domain will officially be killed at the end of the year.

To ease the switch, Comcast will be providing users with a “migration tool”. Haha. So you can move to an email address and have to change your email again the next time you change email providers.

If now isn't a good time to register your own domain and take control of your own email address destiny, I don't know when is. You can register a domain with 1&1 for $5.99 per year and you get free email account with up to 200 aliases. You can get 5 additional email accounts with 2GB of storage each for $0.99 per month. If you use a Windows Mobile device you can get an Outlook enabled account which includes Outlook Mobile Access for $6.99/mo.

Take this as an opportunity to get your own domain name and control your own email destiny. Once you own your domain name you'll never have to change your email address again.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Integrity Church - Dude You Got a New Website

Well... talk about a Cinderella story. Integrity Church in Burlington, North Carolina just went from this:

To this:

That's what I call a dramatic church website overhaul. The new design is definitely more in line with Integrity's stated purpose of being an innovative church in its region.

Read more about the new features and information about the new Integrity Church site here. They were previously hosted by a service called "ThisChurch" that provided the equivalent of web training wheels. They are now in complete control of their own website running a full Joomla CMS engine on 1&1 web hosting.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bird comments on Bush's politics...

Bird Sh*ts on Bush During Press Conference

"Seems a passing sparrow took an opportunity to weigh in on what the President had to say."

From ABC:

As President Bush took a question Thursday in the White House Rose Garden about scandals involving his Attorney General, he remarked, "I've got confidence in Al Gonzales doin' the job."

Simultaneously, a sparrow flew overhead and left a splash on the President's sleeve, which Bush tried several times to wipe off.

Deputy White House Press Secretary Dana Perino promptly put the incident through the proper spin cycle, telling ABC News, "It was his lucky day…everyone knows that's a sign of good luck."

Friday, May 18, 2007

What kind of web worker are you?

Excerpted from Web Worker Daily

The Digital Bedouin: This is the web worker that gets the most media attention, the roving nomad “able to set up shop wherever there is an Internet connection, chairs, tables, and sources of caffeine” and running a company or a consulting business on the go.

The Telecommuter: Unlike the digital bedouin, the telecommuter normally works from one fixed location, and is a full-time employee - it’s just that the location is (usually) home rather than office. Some people telecommute full-time, others combine telecommuting with some more traditional days in the office.

The Entrepreneur: Gone are the days when being self-employed meant drumming up business from your local community. Whether you’re selling t-shirts or accounting services, the web can give you global reach from your own home office.

The Corporate Web Worker: We think this is the most overlooked class of web workers: people in a traditional corporate setting, going into the office every day but still using the web to empower themselves and gain amazing productivity. If the web enables your job: you’re a web worker.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Covad ADSL2+ Service

Covad now offers business class ADSL2+ services in many of the popular areas of their footprint. The 8Mbps/1Mbps, 10Mbps/1Mbps and 15Mbps/1Mbps speeds are $149.95, $174.95 and $194.95, respectively. Service is available in 758 central offices across 11 markets.

The new ADSL2+ speeds are available in the following markets:
Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington DC.

Customers need to be within 4,000 feet of the CO to get the fastest 15Mbps service.

Covad also launched bonded T1 service in almost all of the markets. 3mbps symmetric T1 service - 2 T1s bonded together. As with any T1 product, there are no distance limitations but pricing is way higher than that of any DSL type product. T1 service includes very strong SLAs.

Pricing and availability are already loaded in the Anyion Services real-time quoting engine.

Money changes... well... not much

What changed in his lifestyle after Warren Buffett made his first million? Not much. (better shoes)

What changed in his lifestyle after Warren Buffett made his first hundred million? Not much. (more people know his name)

What changed in his lifestyle after Warren Buffett made his first ten billion? Not much. (a personal Gulfstream jet.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

GAO Says Homeland Security Is Breaking Privacy Laws

Not that anyone the Republican led side of the government actually listens to the General Accounting Office these days... but.

The latest from the GAO is a report noting that the Department of Homeland Security appears to be breaking privacy laws by not telling people how it uses personal information for people flying into and out of the country. With all of these efforts to set our elected officials straight, you'd think that people would hit back against these GAO reports. Unfortunately, it seems like they are almost universally ignored. It's great that the GAO seems to keep telling it like it is -- but when everyone ignores those reports to focus on industry approved talking points, are they really holding anyone accountable?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Are you a human being or a human doing?

So here's a question to ponder. Are you a human being? Or have you evolved into a human doing?

Human doings are those who no longer enjoy doing what they are good at doing but yet fail to be good at doing what they enjoy.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Even the President Gets Hooked on Broadband

Once you have broadband, you never want to go back, which is presumably why the Air Force Air Mobility Command and the Defense Information Systems Agency are looking for commercial satellite communication firms to continue to provide high-speed Internet service on the fly to Air Force One and the other 17 planes that fly senior leaders around the world.

Boeing originally provided broadband to Air Force One via its commercial service that linked airlines to the Internet, but Boeing folded that business, called Connexion, last summer because of poor sales. However, Boeing continues to provide the broadband service to the Air Force VIP fleet, which transports the president, vice president and other pooh-bahs, including the secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security, State and top military commanders.

While internal Air Force budget documents indicate the service is satisfied with Boeing, whose airborne broadband contract runs through fiscal 2008, the Air Force's request for proposals seeks alternative suppliers capable of providing broadband voice, video, data and video teleconferencing services to the VIP fleet, with 50 or more users connected at the same time.

Besides the Boeing 747s which serve as Air Force One, the VIP fleet also consists of 757s, 737s and Gulfstream executive jets, with the bulk of the aircraft based at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

DISA also intends to beef up VIP air fleet service through the specialized AT&T “Northstar” network, which provides T-1 circuits (1.54 megabytes per second) from a terrestrial network in the United States over UHF radios to Air Force One.

The Northstar network provides close-to-complete coverage for aircraft operating in the continental United States, according to a background paper from MITRE, but DISA wants to extend the network's reach and has awarded a sole-source contract to AT&T to provide on a 24-hour notice two teams of personnel and gear ready to install a temporary ground site wherever Air Force One or the command post aircraft travel.

While a T-1 circuit pales in comparison to the 5 megabytes-per-second service offered by Connexion, it’s good to know our leaders can still do some serious Web surfing and download a lot of PowerPoint slides (the digital glue of government) on the expanded Northstar network at 1.54 megabytes per second while zooming around at 35,000 feet.

Press 'Asleep At The Wheel' On Astroturf

Allowing baby bells a greased track for 'franchise reform'

Consumer advocate Bruce Kushnick wonders why nobody in the press seems to care that the baby bells are using consumer groups (often fake ones) to manipulate the public as part of their recent push for video "franchise reform". Consumer advocates (real ones) note the reform bills making their way through dozens of states will eliminate public access, legalize cherry picking resulting in less broadband penetration, erode local eminent domain rights, and strip away consumer protections -- which will lead to higher prices.

Yet the vast majority of the news coverage of these laws is bubbly editorial regurgitation of incumbent lobbyist talking points, fed to consumers via these conflicted groups. In a piece for the Harvard University Nieman Watchdog, Kushnick laments the fact that nobody in the technology sector seems particularly concerned about any of this (there are, after all, iPhone stories to write).
You would think it would be embarrassing for the press and media to quote astroturf and co-opted groups as ‘authentic’ – but most press simply are asleep at the wheel. In many cases, as with the Newark Star Ledger, op-ed pages run pieces by astroturf or co-opted groups while news coverage seldom questions why various non-profits have come forward to support a corporate position.
He points to similar Gordon Cook concerns from last summer. Also see the older Common Cause report on astroturf organizations and their impact on public telecom-related discourse.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

FDA Approved Viral Adulteration of Our Food Supply

On Friday, August 18, 2006, the FDA approved a viral cocktail to be sprayed on foods we eat. This is the first time viruses have been approved for use as food additives. The FDA wants you to believe it will be safe to consume these viruses every day for the rest of your life with no adverse health effects. Not surprisingly, the FDA doesn't want you to know which foods are adulterated in this manner, for fear you may not buy them; thus, no labeling will be required. This is a monumental announcement by the FDA, indicating they are throwing all caution to the wind regarding the safety of our food supply.

Are you willing to stand in line for a virus-laden sandwich? How do you like the idea of buying virus-infested food for your family? The first virally contaminated foods entering our food supply with the blessings of the FDA will be luncheon meat and poultry. Live viruses will be sprayed on foods such as cold cuts, sausages, hot dogs, sliced turkey, and chicken.

At issue is the very real problem of a poor quality FDA-approved food supply that is already full of diseased and sickly animals, many of them imported from other countries. The use of antibiotics during growth and radiation during food processing is required by the fast-food animal farms owned by multi-national companies to cover up the horrendous health of the animals they wish to feed to Americans. Animals in poor health are a friendly place for bacteria to grow and prosper, especially after such meat goes to market. Rather than address the source of the problem, the FDA wants to add another adulteration into our food supply.

The stated goal of the new FDA-approved viruses is to kill a rare bacterium known as Listeria monocytogenes. This bacterium is killed by cooking; however, it poses a problem in meats that are cooked during processing and not cooked again prior to consumption, so it can readily infect foods such as deli meats.

Yes, the FDA plans to use one infectious organism to fight another. The carnage of battle will end up in your digestive tract along with the victorious live viruses, which the FDA assures us will not attack human cells. However, they cannot possibly be certain the viruses will not attack the friendly bacteria that make up the lining of your digestive tract. The FDA approval was based on scant human testing, mostly from unrelated medical experiments. Such safety data is woefully inadequate to determine safe ingestion of a specific product by humans over the course of a lifetime.

Turning Loose the Bacteria-Killing Viruses

The company that produces these biotech viruses is Baltimore-based Intralytix, Inc. The viruses are known as bacteriophages, viruses that kill bacteria, or phages for short. Phages have been around a long time, living as parasites inside many bacteria.

Intralytix uses biotechnology to grow viral phages in a culture with Listeria, in theory teaching the viruses to recognize the bacteria. The FDA-approved cocktail contains six different viruses intended to attack one strain of bacteria.

This concoction is then sprayed on food. If Listeria is present in the food, the bacteria will ingest the viruses. This results in massive viral replication inside the bacteria, until such point as the bacteria simply bursts. This battle results in significant production of bacterial poisons called "endotoxins", as the bacteria tries to defend itself. When the bacteria burst, these endotoxins are released. These, along with the victorious live viruses, will now be on the food that will be eaten.

The FDA and Intralytix would like us to believe that these viruses will only attack the specified bacteria they are intended to kill and will be harmless to humans. I'm sorry to burst their bubble, but they can't possibly guarantee such safety. It is true that the viruses, at least at this time, cannot recognize human cells. However, the virus can potentially recognize normal bacterial cells in the human digestive tract and may be able to adapt to infect one or more of these friendly bacteria.

The FDA Certainly Knows There Are Risks

The FDA had some concerns about the amount of bacterial endotoxin in the Intralytix product before it is sprayed; however, FDA tests apparently showed that the product was adequately purified and so they declared it safe if used as approved. Will the FDA diligently monitor the quality of this product once it is on the market, or will it go the path of many FDA-approved drugs that the agency can't keep track of?

There is certainly a risk that humans will be exposed to excessive amounts of endotoxin. This could come from the manufacturing of the viral cocktail, the interaction of the viruses with bacteria after being sprayed on food, and/or the interaction of the viruses with bacteria in the digestive tract.

The human immune system is highly reactive and sensitive to bacterial endotoxins. They provoke allergy, asthma, autoimmune problems, and elevate cholesterol. They also interfere with the healthy function of cells lining the digestive tract. Researchers have demonstrated that the presence of bacterial endotoxins can start cancer in the colon .

Additionally, the human immune system reacts directly to viral phages. Thus, a person who eats a lot of processed deli meat is certain to evoke an immune reaction to the viruses. What will this reaction be? Allergy? Asthma? Autoimmunity? Cancer? How can the FDA approve a food additive that it knows can induce a variety of human immune responses? Phages are so good at disrupting normal immunity that they are being considered for use as part of organ transplant medicine.

The ingestion of significant amounts of viral phages into the human digestive tract is a wild card full of unknown outcomes. For example, it is certainly possible that these phages, which constantly mutate in order to survive, are likely to find a way to infect bacteria they were not intended to infect. Since phages are parasites, they could hijack the friendly bacteria of the digestive tract and turn them into viral machines, constantly generating viral particles that are likely to confuse the human immune system, if not directly infect the body. We know from history that these viral phages can turn innocuous bacteria into a killer, which is how cholera occurs.

Furthermore, the Listeria bacteria are not going to take the issue lying down. They will develop resistance to the viruses over time, as we have seen with the overuse of antibiotics. Going down this path we are likely to have hundreds of viral food additives in the food we eat, all designed to combat some possible infection coming from poor quality food. Sooner or later we will inadvertently create deadly new super-strains of bacteria and/or parasitically infect the human digestive tract with an untreatable infection.

There is also the very real possibility of unintended viral recombination. What happens when a person with viral stomach flu eats food containing a dose of this viral food additive? It is certainly possible for the genetic material of the flu virus to interact with the genetic material of the viral phages, provoking an undesirable new viral infection.

Let's not forget that the FDA won't tell us which foods in the food supply contain genetically modified organisms (GMO). Seventy percent of the packaged food on grocery shelves already contains GMO adulterated food. These foods have viral promoter genes woven into the DNA of every cell, a technique used to implant a pesticide toxin into every cell of this fake food (see Fight for Your Health, chapter 15). What happens when the viral phages interact with the viral promoter genes in GMO food? What new virus will be encouraged to form?

Keep in mind that the FDA wants to conduct this experiment on our food supply to protect a small minority, only about 2500 people, who are made seriously ill by this infection each year. The ill are mostly pregnant women, elderly with compromised immunity, and small children. It would be a lot more to the point if the FDA would simply warn such people that eating these foods, due to their poor quality of production, may be dangerous. What the FDA should really do is improve the quality of our food supply, the true source of the problem. Why expose millions of Americans to an unproven ingestion of live viruses for the benefit of so few?

The FDA has failed miserably for the past century to protect the public from the adulteration of our food supply by vested interests. This is just one more insult added to a long list of injuries.

The Tip of an Iceberg

Intralytix has an agenda for the American food supply, as well as for healthcare in general. This recent FDA ruling allows Intralytix and other similar biotech companies to get their foot in a door that should be slammed shut and bolted closed.

The company is also seeking FDA approval for viral sprays to treat foods that could be contaminated with E. coli and Salmonella, which means that similar "trained" viruses could end up in a majority of the protein foods in our food supply.

Intralytix sees financial opportunity. They have already licensed their now FDA-approved viral spray to an undisclosed multi-national company for use around the world. When the CEO of Intralytix, John Vazzara, was recently asked about this partner company, he refused to disclose their name. The grand profit-driven biotech experiment on the health and well being of all Americans is now in full swing.

John Vazzara also owns stock in, as well as provided seed money to start, SteelCloud Inc. (formerly Dunn Computer Corporation). SteelCloud is a defense contractor with lucrative deals with the Department of Defense, recently landing a 3.4 million dollar contract with the Department of Homeland Security.

Congress should investigate the financial ties and backroom dealings that would allow this bizarre food additive approval by the FDA.

Of course, we will need new wonder drugs to combat the new bio-tech produced infections. Americans will stay sick and the sickness-driven bio-tech industry will flourish. The bio-tech industry will make people sick on the front end and treat them on the back end. It's a win-win situation for profit on illness.

The FDA is Rapidly Becoming a Public Enemy

Experimenting with viruses being added to the food supply is incredibly dangerous and reckless. It is completely impossible for the FDA to guarantee safety in the near term or the long term. Thus, the FDA has made the bureaucratic decision that relative safety is acceptable to them. What right does the FDA have to tamper with the food supply in this manner?

It is quite clear that the Bush agenda has been to promote American biotech companies as the new future for American prosperity. Administrative opinions have trumped science in virtually every situation wherein safety conflicts with profit.

The FDA will refuse to require labeling on food sprayed with viruses, just as they refuse to require notification that food has been genetically modified and contains toxins in every cell. The reason is obvious; no person understanding these issues would buy or eat such food. Thus, the FDA acts to hide the information from the public to foster profits for biotech companies and the growth of the biotech industry. This is a betrayal of the public trust.

The leaders of the FDA are personally responsible and need to be held accountable. This means Andrew von Eschenbach, M.D., temporary head of the FDA and his chief science officer, Scott Gottlieb, M.D. These men are not only obsessed with approving risky drugs for the benefits of Big Pharma, it is now clear that they are willing to allow obvious adulteration of the food supply. They seek to control what we eat, and they are tampering with survival of the human race.

The FDA does not truly know how safe viral phages are to consume on a regular basis. They have no idea of the cumulative effect over the course of a lifetime, especially as more of these viral cocktails are added to the food supply. They have no way to measure how this new type of adulteration in the food supply will interact with the poor digestive/immune health of half the American population, in combination with all the other serious adulterations already approved by the FDA. The FDA lacks due diligence in honoring its mandate to protect the American public.
Boycott Viral Tainted Foods, Support Your Sustainable Farmers

The only hope Americans have is to resurrect the quality of our food supply. Doing so is against the odds, as there are billions of dollars of profit-mongering taking our food supply in the wrong direction. One day Americans will realize that food security is as important to national security as any other topic. It is now crystal clear that we cannot count on the FDA to do the job that Harvey Wiley, M.D., envisioned one-hundred years ago.

How can any responsible parent feed virus-tainted food to their children? The FDA should be forced to revoke this approval. Since the FDA is refusing to make food companies list the viruses as ingredients in food, consumers have no choice but to avoid buying all foods that could be sprayed. I see no other way that safety can be assured, since the FDA refuses to do its job and is putting American's health at risk.

Every American has an obligation to support food security for our nation. Congress must correct the leadership at the FDA and the FDA itself. Americans must quit buying poor quality toxic food. Your greatest ability to change this problem is based entirely on what you purchase.

Get connected to the sustainable family farms in your community. Buy meat that is range raised without antibiotics and synthetic growth hormones. Demand that the food you are eating is labeled with a country of origin. Buy American; buy locally-produced food whenever possible. Support those who truly believe in being the stewards of our land and food for our people and for future generations. These good people are being squashed out of existence by multi-national agribusiness, companies that could truly care less about the quality of our food supply or the security and health of Americans. How you spend your money is your most powerful vote. Vote for those who care.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

More than 5 credit card digits = lawsuit for retailers

Credit Receipts From Rite Aid, Wendy's, Fedex Draw Fire for Containing Certain Consumer Data

So far this year, plaintiffs' lawyers have filed more than 100 federal lawsuits seeking class-action status against big merchants such as Rite Aid Corp., Wendy's International Inc., FedEx Corp., TJX Cos. and Inter Ikea Systems BV. Also in the line of fire are lesser-known regional restaurant chains such as In-N-Out Burger and Melting Pot fondue restaurants.

A slew of suits brought on behalf of consumers have been filed in recent weeks in U.S. district courts in California, Pennsylvania, and Kansas.

Merchants are under pressure to help ensure the security of electronic transactions. Still, most of the nation's retailers don't comply with the card industry's myriad rules that prohibit the storage of certain customer data and require the installation of sophisticated firewalls to protect their computer systems.

Earlier this year, TJX, parent of discount clothing chains T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, disclosed that its computers had been hacked in a security breach that left at least 47.5 million of its customers vulnerable to fraud.

The requirement that retailers cut off card data is part of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, which sought to protect consumers from fraud and identity theft amid the growing use of electronic payments. Although it was enacted more than three years ago, the law gave retailers some breathing room to make the change. In addition to the receipt requirements, the law also gives consumers the right to obtain a credit report, without charge, every 12 months.

As of Dec. 4, retailers are prohibited from printing more than the last five digits of a credit-card or debit-card account number on receipts that are handed to customers. The receipts also can't include the account's expiration date. The law applies only to electronically printed receipts, rather than those that are written by hand or imprinted on old-fashioned manual machines.

"Slips of paper containing people's financial information should not be floating around," says J. Mark Moore, a lawyer at Spiro Moss Barness LLP in Los Angeles. The law firm has filed more than 40 lawsuits against retailers, charging that they "knowingly and intentionally continued to use cash registers which were not programmed to, or otherwise did not, comply" with the law.

Although the Federal Trade Commission is responsible for enforcing the law, the legislation also gave consumers the right to sue for violations. For those who receive receipts with the full account information, the best thing to do is either keep it in a safe place or rip it up, experts say. A consumer can also report a violator to the FTC. A spokesman says the agency hasn't received consumer complaints about violators and hasn't brought any enforcement actions tied to the law. The agency's regional offices are working with retailers to remind them of the law.

The lawsuits contend that retailers are "willfully" violating the law -- a practice that could result in fines of as much as $1,000 per transaction.