Tuesday, February 24, 2004


Lost in TranslationThis review, my sixtieth, was just posted on Amazon:

(Five Stars) Gentle, languid story of loneliness and unrequited love

Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is a fading American action-movie hero visiting Tokyo -- courtesy of a $2 million dollar check -- to film commercials for Suntori liquors. Spending a week camped out in a luxury hotel he soon meets 25 year-old, American Charlotte (played beautifully by Scarlett Johansson). Her photog husband is off gallivanting around the country on various shoots. These two lonely Americans, often unable to sleep or shake off the very 'foreigness' of Japan, soon find interesting company in each other. She is bright, a Yale philosophy graduate, who is struggling with her role in life. He is -- at heart -- a washed-up actor, uncomfortable in his long-standing marriage. Together they encounter more of Japan than either would have alone.

The mysterious ending is wonderful... and open to many interpretations. Coppola has done a masterful job both telling a story and weaving beautiful cinematography into a cohesive whole. Photographed languidly, at a pace that captures a week of both characters' lives, you will revisit the story repeatedly in your mind. And that's the mark of an exceptional screenplay.

The Heat is On

The heat is onHonestly, I can't tell whether this is a serious article or not. If it is... it's pretty damn frightening.

"Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us ...
· Secret report warns of rioting and nuclear war
· Britain will be 'Siberian' in less than 20 years
· Threat to the world is greater than terrorism

Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us


"Key findings of the Pentagon:
· Future wars will be fought over the issue of survival rather than religion, ideology or national honour.
· By 2007 violent storms smash coastal barriers rendering large parts of the Netherlands inhabitable. Cities like The Hague are abandoned. In California the delta island levees in the Sacramento river area are breached, disrupting the aqueduct system transporting water from north to south.
· Between 2010 and 2020 Europe is hardest hit by climatic change with an average annual temperature drop of 6F. Climate in Britain becomes colder and drier as weather patterns begin to resemble Siberia.
· Deaths from war and famine run into the millions until the planet's population is reduced by such an extent the Earth can cope.

Key findings of the Pentagon

World's Largest PKI Implementation

Understanding PKIFound this very interesting Kuro5hin feature a few days ago, which describes the DOD's PKI implementation. It happens to be the world's largest PKI, involving millions of users. There are some interesting details (like multi-megabyte CRL's) spelled out in this 'behind-the-scenes' review.

"Implementing a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) on any scale is a challenging, politically-charged task for an IT professional. Even though a working PKI is an important piece of a complete security package for an organization, the lack of interest, misunderstanding, laziness, and downright paranoia of the typical user population can turn a PKI effort into just another morass of documents for which the contractors have been paid and long ago moved on to some new revenue channel. Given the dismal success rate, it's difficult to imagine a successful PKI, not for hundreds or even thousands of users, but for millions. Yet, that seems to be what the Department of Defense (DoD) has accomplished in their Common Access Card (CAC) project - the new identification cards being issued to all US military personnel. To date, CAC PKI project has issued and manages more than six million digital certificates and corresponding smart cards..."

Problems and Promise in the World's Largest PKI

"My Pascal Ownz your C"

K&R CAnother good article from Kuro5hin... James Joyce reponds to Brian Kernighan's railing diatribe against Pascal with a well-constructed article. I'm as much of a old-time C hack as anyone -- who's long since graduated to mostly C++, C#, PHP, Java and the like -- and harbor a deep affection for the 'multi-platform assembly language'. But... I've got to admit that Mr. Joyce has some good criticisms for the sultan of C.

"Brian Kernighan, the documenter of the C programming language, wrote a rant entitled Why Pascal is Not My Favourite Programming Language. I can picture him thinking to himself smugly as he repeatedly strikes facetiously at Pascal by describing a few of its small flaws over and over again.

Unfortunately, time has not been kind to Kernighan's tract. Pascal has matured and grown in leaps and bounds, becoming a premier commercial language. Meanwhile, C has continued to stagnate over the last 35 years with few fundamental improvements made. It's time to redress the balance; here's why C is now owned by Pascal...

Why C is not my favourite programming language

Can't muster much sympathy

Defending your digital assetsSecurity News Portal reports the following: "A Palestinian militant group accused American and Israeli groups Saturday of hacking into its Web site and destroying it. Islamic Jihad, which has carried out suicide bombings in Israel, said the unidentified groups had destroyed the site to silence 'the Palestinian voice.' In a statement faxed to The Associated Press in Beirut, the group said: 'In an attempt aimed at silencing the Palestinian voice - which speaks for the resistance and defends the Palestinian people's right - hostile and malevolent Zionist and American quarters have struck the official Web site of Al Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad movement.'"

Security News Portal


Google HacksLooks like Orkut is down again, at least for the moment. One wonders why -- given Google's commitment to open-source -- Orkut was built on the .NET platform. Wouldn't LAMP (Linux-Apache-MySQL/Postgres-PHP/Perl) be the obvious fit? And strategically, given Google's escalating war with Microsoft - why tacitly endorse a platform that benefits only Microsoft?

In any event, it will be a great test case for a massively scalable .NET implementation. And there is little question (in my mind, anyway) that C# is significantly better than Java. At least from a pure, 'programming language' perspective. After all, Anders had quite a bit of time to look at languages like Java, Python, etc. before formulating the rules that would become C#.

C# and Java - Comparing Programming Languages

dir @ jos

Here's the Google query that returns all of my replies on JOS. And, no, it's not by popular demand. :-)

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