“A previous version of this story incorrectly quoted Dropbox cofounder Drew Houston saying ‘anybody with nipples’ instead of ‘anybody with a pulse.’”

— Wired regrets the mistake...

And the winners are…


4 days, 19 hours, and 45 minutes after submitting my music database to the in-development iTunes Music Recommendation service, here’s what it came back with:

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Dreams


I usually don’t remember my dreams, but Thursday morning I woke up with an incredibly vivid recollection of my old apartment, including the landlord, the odd arrangement of parking spaces, little details about my old motorcycle, a visit from my parents, even how much I was paying for rent.

When I woke up, it was a good ten minutes before I was confident that none of it was true. I had to actually review the length of time that I know I lived at each apartment in California and Ohio to make sure that I wasn’t missing one, and it took almost as long to convince myself that I have in fact never owned a motorcycle.

The whole experience makes me a touch more sympathetic to people who become convinced of past-life regressions, suppressed childhood abuse, alien abductions, divine revelations, and other false memories. It was so real that even now, listening to the recording I made while the dream was fresh, I feel the urge to dig through my financial records looking for rent receipts and motorcycle-maintenance bills.

Trojan horse or false advertising?


This claim from Intego doesn’t pass the sniff test. If it actually worked the way they claim, the correct response would be a trivial security patch from Apple, not the mass purchase of a third-party “protection” package. I smell marketing, not security.

Update: the story finally hit Slashdot, and, sure enough, their explanation of the “security hole” was nonsense. The proof-of-concept “trojan” has to be distributed in a StuffIt archive, because the actual problem is the presence of code in the resource fork, which will not survive standard Internet distribution methods. It has nothing to do with embedding executable content into an MP3 file; it’s just an old-style Mac application with a funny name.

Update: here’s a free tool to check downloads for any attempt to make use of Intego’s mob-marketing gimmick. Much better than paying $60 for a week’s worth of “insurance”.

Update: here’s a free folder action you can attach to your download folder to automatically catch any attempts to exploit this vendor publicity scheme. See, aren’t you glad you didn’t send Intego any money? :-)

Return of the Keyboard


A company in Canada has decided that the time is right to bring back the tank-like keyboard that old Mac users loved and hated, in an up-to-date USB version.

It’s already sold out through the end of April.

iTunes Music Recommendation service


This is a new “if you like X, try Y” service set up as a student project at University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana). Does it work better than Goombah? Dunno yet; so far I haven’t been able to get it to work. I can upload my iTunes database, but it fails trying to download recommendations (probably due to being Farked, Slashdotted, BoingBoinged, Lileksed, Instapunted, or some other combination of high-profile links).

I can think of two reasons why it’s a better bet, though: first, it looks like they’re doing the work on the server side, rather than chewing up hours of CPU time on your computer, and second, Goombah hasn’t updated their client or database in months.

Ah, just got through, and discovered one disadvantage to server-side processing:

Your music database is being processed. This window will show your recommendations once they've been computed.
Notice: The server is a little backed up, hence the long wait. Once the server gets caught up the wait will be ALOT shorter, until then I would recommend that you don't hit the resend button.
Your estimated wait for results is 8 hours, 44 minutes, 40 seconds. You may quit and log back in at anytime to check on the status of your recommendations.

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Best handgun storage


Franzen Armloc II Pistol Case

I’ve had one of these for years, and I don’t think there’s a better product on the market. It’s made of a Kevlar-reinforced composite, has separate combination and key locks, and includes a pair of sturdy mounting plates that let you attach it to a wall or bed frame. I doubt that even highly motivated kids could get the gun out without power tools, and a burglar who didn’t bring a sledgehammer would have a hard time stealing it.

It also makes a great range case, particularly when you’re training new shooters who may be concerned about the (wildly exaggerated) risks of keeping a gun in the house.

Trigger locks are a foolish and dangerous choice, mandated by bureaucrats who either don’t know better or simply don’t care. This is safe gun storage.

Update: Went looking for the manufacturer’s web site, and found an undated press release claiming that Armloc cases are being issued to every US Customs agent. The site looks a bit stale, but I’m inclined to believe that it’s still true.

Dungeons and Dragons 2?!?


I refuse to believe that the original turkey made enough money to justify a sequel.

Solutions in search of problems


Actually, in this case, even the people responsible for installing this speeder-detecting traffic light seem to find it easier to come up with problems that it will create than any that it could possibly solve.