“You can drive from coast to coast across the middle of the country and never pass through a single county that voted for John Kerry.”

— Mark Steyn takes on election-results bigotry

Wear a bikini, go to jail

If you’re lucky. It seems that Vida Samadzai, also known as Internet pin-up girl Miss Afghanistan, is in serious trouble back home.

Fortunately for her, she fled to the US at age fifteen, where she’s not only allowed to wear bikinis in public, but also study at a California state university. For her next act of cultural independence, I suggest training at Gunsite; she may need it soon.

Oh, this is gonna suck…

Ready? A Major Motion Picture Event, written and directed by the man who brought us Independence Day, about global warming. The sort of global warming that causes a simultaneous breakout of tornados, tsunamis, and other CGI disasters all over the world (or at least the parts Hollywood is interested in), and then brings on an instant ice age.

I figure he’ll find a way to blame it on Bush.

Adobe CS suite adds revision control, insecurity

Version Cue is a revision control system for Adobe applications, introduced as part of the new CS suite. It’s off by default. It makes local copies when you check out files, and requires explicit commits. It’s based on public standards (WebDAV and XMP, implemented with Tomcat). You can lock a file to keep others from editing it, and you can break locks set by others.

All good so far.

If you turn it on, it defaults to sharing your projects with everyone on the local network. Privacy and user administration are optional, and must be administered locally, from their GUI tool; usernames and passwords are not integrated into your network infrastructure (Windows or Mac). It appears to be non-SSL WebDAV, which means anyone on the local net can sniff passwords and access anyone’s “secured” projects. For real fun, they recommend starting with wide-open desktop-based project sharing, and adding dedicated servers and access controls later. It doesn’t look like there’s any direct support for branching, labeling releases, or reverting to previous versions. Oh, and turning it on chews up a minimum of 128MB of RAM on each machine.

Not so good.

Makes me glad I don’t do user support for graphics/publishing people these days. I’d hate to have to strangle a manager who insisted on rolling this thing out right away.

On the flip side, if you’ve got the RAM and you turn off sharing, it’s A Good Thing for people who do a lot of tinkering in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. I’m going to be importing a few of my Illustrator projects to try it out, while I read the available documentation. If it runs correctly under Panther Server, I might even use it for photo editing in Photoshop, as a convenient way of preserving the raw scans side-by-side with the corrected versions. After I upgrade my laptop to 2GB of RAM.

Update: I just spotted something hilarious in the Version Cue Preference Pane.

workgroup size screenshot

Yes, that’s right; a large Version Cue workgroup is 10+ people. Gotta love that scalability!

They Don’t Live

At least, not at Borders. Nine days after special-ordering a copy of the They Live DVD, released in September, I received the following postcard:

“The publisher reports that this title is currently OUT OF STOCK. Your order has been CANCELED. Please check back in a few months if you are still interested. Thank you.”

Fortunately I was able to find a copy at Suncoast, and if that had failed, Amazon has it in stock. Hey, Borders, guess what I’m going to do the next time I can’t find something in your store?

WPA needs strong passwords

Wi-Fi Networking News reports that Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) is vulnerable to dictionary attacks. This means you gain nothing by turning it on unless you choose a strong WPA key.

The best source I've found for creating strong keys is Arnold Reinhold's Diceware page. There's a wealth of information here, including a number of alternatives to the main Diceware system, such as creating a strong password using only coins and your keyboard.

A few additional tables are only listed on the original ASCII version of the Diceware article. I particularly like the random syllable table, since you can print it out and carry it in a small container with a set of dice.

1bcdfgh 1a
2jklmnp 2e
3qurstvw 3i
4xzchcrfrnd 4o
5ngnkntphprrd 5u
6shslspstthtr 6y

There are a lot of online stores that sell casino dice, but if you ever get to Las Vegas, many of the big hotels sell their used casino dice in the gift shop. The Luxor even sells theirs online for $2 a pair. You can get their playing cards, too.

Today’s I’m-not-a-telemarketer call

“You realize I’m on the do-not call list?”

“We’re not trying to sell you anything, we’re just offering you a low interest rate.”

The Lending Company. Typical mortgage broker, apparently operating out of Scottsdale, AZ. They did not supply any caller-id.

Super screen

I want one of these. Screw putting it into a PDA, though. A 300dpi LCD display? I want it on my 15” PowerBook!

Of course, it would probably cost more than my Lexus, but I can dream, can’t I?

Halloween tally

I live in a suburb densely populated with families, most of which have children of trick-or-treating age. As an old campaigner myself, I feel a natural sympathy for the kids, and so I pass out double handfuls of candy that weigh, on average, half a pound.

Unfortunately, despite the ever-increasing safety of our streets, it looks like post-9/11 fears are driving the celebrations indoors, to shopping malls and community centers. I don’t know what it’s like at those events, because I stay home and pass out candy. I hope the kids are getting a good haul.

2001 was my first Halloween at the new house, and I was pleasantly surprised at how many kids turned up. I got maybe half as much traffic last year, and had enough leftover candy to feed the office for months.

This year, I cheaped out and only bought about 25 pounds of candy, so the 42 kids I’ve seen so far have made a serious dent in it. If I get a late rush, my fallback plan is to start passing out dollar bills; I’ve got thirty of them, which should satisfy another 15 little monsters.

Unfortunately, my cul-de-sac doesn’t look terribly inviting. More than half of the houses are dark, so I’ve gone out of my way to make it obvious that I’m in the game. The normally-garaged car is in the driveway, all the lights are on, the door is partially open, and the new teaser trailer from Alien vs Predator is blasting out of an upstairs window in a continuous loop. Seems to be working.

Oh, and the pizza driver was deeply confused about the $10 tip. Guess most people don’t think of Halloween as a major tipping holiday.