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Writing To NTFS-Disk On OS X

Gnomie rantom from our chat room writes:


I’ve started to use OS X since last Friday (4th of July) and I did encounter a problem with it. So I decided to let you know about this so that you can tell this to other OS X beginners, in case you do see this helpful. Problem is known as “writing to NTFS-disk on OS X” and here’s solutions for it.

  1. Go and download MacFUSE.
    – Select .DMG that describes your version of OS X. There are versions for 10.4 and 10.5. This is required for the next tool to work.
  2. Go and download NTFS-3G.
  3. Now you just double-click MacFUSE (.DMG, usually downloaded files go to your username/Downloads/, e.g. Pirillo/Downloads) and install it; it does have instructions built into it.
  4. Now you open NTFS-3G and install it.
  5. Restart your OS X.

That’s it; now you have permission to write your NTFS-disk. Be warned though that you can’t copy from NTFS-disks folder which is named with Scandinavian alphabets (ä, ö, and å [a with two dots on it, o with two dots on it and a with a circle on it]). This is quite unnecessary information for those who do not have these alphabets in daily use. I recommend to type in only English for NTFS’s folders.

Did Google Purposely Block Anti-Obama Sites?

Over at the Washington Times there is an article about how Google may have purposely blocked anti-Obama sites. Depending on who you wish to believe, the blogger’s, Google, the anti-Obama crowd, the bottom line is that the sites were in fact blocked. According to the story, Google identified the sites as spam, but there are also allegations of Google being biased in their blocking of these sites. The tale of woe states:

“You will not be able to publish posts to your blog until we review your site and confirm that it is not a spam blog … Sincerely, the Blogger Team,” Google said in an e-mail to the owner of Come a Long Way, one of at least seven blogs that were shut down. The affected blogs are all opposed to the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat, and have a common association with the anti-Obama Web site JustSayNoDeal.com.

The suspension lasted five days in the case of comealongway.blogspot.com, according a post on the author’s new site at comealongway.wordpress.com. Several of the affected bloggers told Simon Owens of Bloggasm.com that they suspect supporters of Mr. Obama used Google’s “flag” function to report them as spam.

The company is looking into what happened but thinks the blogs were accidentally identified by spam detection software, Google spokesman Adam Kovacevich said.

Not everyone is satisfied with that explanation.

“While Google claims to be a neutral gatekeeper, the pattern of evidence increasingly suggests otherwise,” said Scott Cleland, president of McLean-based Precursor LLC and chairman of Netcompetition. org, which opposes so-called “net neutrality” regulation that would prohibit Internet service providers from slowing or blocking Web applications that hog bandwidth, among other provisions.

Mr. Cleland suggested the company is censoring content, violating one of the very net neutrality principles – as enumerated by the Federal Communications Commission – they are pushing to be codified in federal legislation.

Well here is my two cents worth. First of all this is going to be one of the most hotly contested elections is a long. long time. These two candidates are so opposite of each other, that there is going to be considerable controversy. But what is becoming evident is that the supporters on both sides, are attacking not the positions either takes, but on a personal level.

This political season is going to be very volatile. :-)

But what do you think?

Comments welcome.


This Week’s Xbox Live Arcade Releases

Schizoid,” the first Xbox Live Arcade game developed with Microsoft’s XNA Game Studio technology, and “Golf: Tee It Up!” launch on Xbox Live Arcade this Wednesday, July 9, 2008 at 9:00 a.m. GMT (2:00 a.m. PDT).

Schizoid is a fast and furiously paced action game with simple, intuitive gameplay. Billed as “the most co-op game ever,” reflexes and smarts are key but sharp teamwork pays off even more! Ram your way through waves of glowing enemies: single player with an AI bot helper; or co-op multiplayer with two players offline or online through Xbox Live. Schizoid features over 120 challenging levels of mayhem that will appeal to casual and hardcore gamers alike. For the brave player, Schizoid offers the intense Uberschizoid game mode, in which a single player controls two different ships at the same time.

Developed by Torpex Games,

Schizoid will be available worldwide for 800 Microsoft Points and is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB.

Pick up and play a few quick holes on your own or compete in a full 18-hole multiplayer tournament with friends in Golf: Tee It Up! Both beginners and experienced golfers can easily join the fun on beautiful, panoramic and challenging courses. With the unique Focus feature, you can read the green or control the ball’s spin in flight to achieve amazing precision! Golf: Tee It Up! features zany, customizable characters and a variety of game modes including stroke, cup, or match play with local or Xbox Live multiplayer modes.

Developed by Housemarque and published by Activision, Golf: Tee It Up! will be available worldwide for 800 Microsoft Points and is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB.

Domain Hosts Won’t Always Tell You When Something’s Expiring

One of my customers runs a very successful dog training business in Chicago. A year ago, I’d helped her move her Web site to a new host, although we kept her domain name/DNS hosted with her original service. To facilitate this, we purchased that domain hosting company’s DNS management service, which was priced at $5.00 for twelve months.

Everything worked great.

Fast forward a year, and the customer calls me in a panic as her Web site has suddenly become unreachable — with some random “placeholder” Web page coming up instead. She thought her Web site was somehow hacked. In reality, it was something much less sinister, albeit entirely avoidable. Within minutes, I’d determined that the DNS management service we’d purchased a year ago had expired, so requests for her Web site were not being directed properly. The hosting company never bothered to send out any kind of e-mail notice in advance of this. In my eyes, this is not a good business practice.

I renewed the DNS management option (which cannot be ordered for more than a year at a time), reviewed the DNS records, and soon her Web site was reachable again. I suggested to the customer that she setup an Outlook task reminder for the sole purpose of having her renew the service in 10-11 months. At some point, I told her she ought to consider moving her domain name and Web hosting to another, more proactive host that takes a more proactive approach to customer service.

$2 Bill Making a Comeback

Most people have seen the $2 bill and know that it is a real denomination of U.S. currency.  People collect them, trade them and you get funny looks from cashiers when you spend them.  What most don’t know is that the $2 bill is readily available at your local bank.  All you have to do is ask for them.  If they don’t have them, they will order them for you, usually at no charge but at a minimum quantity.

Lately the $2 bill has been making a comeback.  Experts can’t say what is driving demand for the bill.  Historically it was given out as change at race tracks, tips at strip clubs and, because it bears his face, commonly seen at Thomas Jefferson’s Estate/museum.  As of April 30, 2007 there were $1,549,052,714 worth of $2 bills in circulation worldwide.

It has been around for a long time. 1928 was the first $2 in its current design and size, but it was around before that as larger notes.  Many people think their $2 bills are worth something as a collector item.  However, unless you have one from the 19th century, they are just face value.

Some people are trying to bring the bill back as a common denomination to save space in your wallet and make giving change easier.  Who knows, maybe one day we will see that infamous $3 bill with Clinton on the face?  I doubt it.

So, next time you are at the bank, ask for $2 bills and watch the looks of excitement and curiosity you get when you spend them.  Hopefully, you won’t experience what this guy did though.


Ever wanted to make your own clothes?

Ever thought of a slogan or image you would want on a piece of clothing? Well quite a few sites have picked up on the idea and allow you to customize your own clothes. T-shirts, hoodies, hats, and even bags and purses are customizable through sites like Cafepress. Cafepress allows you to create your own clothing using your own designs and sell them for Cafecash. Cafecash allows you to order clothes from other shopkeepers. Now you may not be able to make money directly for selling your clothes, but at least you could buy the clothes you like.  Give it a shot if you’re handy at Photoshop or GIMP, or if you have a scanner draw up something and create some clothes.  It’s a great start for entrepreneurs looking to get into clothing design.  Check it out, I did, and it’s kinda fun.

Here’s a sample shop called Radiohead Clothing

Have a good one,


Baseball Diamonds: The Left-Hander’s Best Friend

Baseball diamonds are a left-hander’s best friend.

That’s because the game was designed to make a lefty the "Natural," according to David A. Peters, Ph.D., the McDonnell Douglas Professor of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis and uber baseball fan. Peters is a mechanical engineer who specializes in aircraft and helicopter engineering and has a different approach to viewing America’s Favorite Pastime.

First of all, some numbers.

"Ninety percent of the human population is right-handed, but in baseball 25 percent of the players, both pitchers, and hitters, are left-handed," said Peters, a devoted St. Louis Cardinal fan who attended "Stan the Man’s" last ball game at Sportsman’s Park in 1963. "There is a premium on lefthanders for a number of reasons. For starters, take seeing the ball.

"A right-handed batter facing a right-handed pitcher actually has to pick up the ball visually as it comes from behind his (the batter’s) left shoulder. The left-handed batter facing the right-handed pitcher has the ball coming to him, so he has a much clearer view of pitches."

Then, Peters says, consider the batter’s box. After a right-hander connects with a ball, his momentum spins him toward the third-base side and he must regroup to take even his first step toward first base. In contrast, the left-hander’s momentum carries him directly toward first.

"The left-handed batter has a five-foot advantage over the right-handed batter," says Peters. "And that means the lefty travels the 90 feet to first roughly one-sixth of a second faster than the righty. That translates to more base hits for the left-hander, whether singles or extra base hits because lefties are getting to the bases more quickly."

Even Jim Thome and Jason Giambi?

The left-handed pitcher generally is much more difficult to steal off, as, from his stretch, he peers directly at the runner; the right-hander must look over his shoulder and wheel to first base, giving the runner more of a warning of the pitcher’s intent.

Positions advantageous to southpaws are pitching, first base and right field. For the positions, the advantage is the favorable angles lefties get, enabling them to throw the ball more quickly across the diamond to second, third and home. One position a lefty rarely plays is catcher, for the obvious reason that it is difficult for a southpaw catcher to throw over so many right-hand batters.

"It wasn’t all that long ago when first basemen were predominantly left-handed and most right fielders were left-handed," Peters says. "That has changed, at least since the late sixties."

There’s even a bias toward the lefthander in ballpark design. Right field in most parks (just think of Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park) is usually shorter than left field because of the preponderance of right-handed hitters.

While traditional thinking holds that the right-handed batter has the advantage over the left-handed pitcher, because the breaking ball goes into the batter’s power threshold, it’s not always the case, says Peters. And it’s that familiarity thing again.

"Because only 10 percent of the population is left-handed, kids grow up and mature in baseball seeing a left-hander just 10 percent of the time they bat," he says. "So, it can be hard for both lefties and righties to face a southpaw. It’s why some left-handed batters look dreadful matched against a lefty."

Some batters don’t like facing southpaws because their ball is purported to have a natural movement away from a right-hander and into a lefty.

"There’s no scientific evidence to support this, but I wonder if lefties get that movement from learning to write in a right-hander’s world," Peters says.

[Tony Fitzpatrick @ Washington University in St. Louis]

Some people

I frequent a forum for a wrestling site out on the interweb. We have a user there who apparently thinks that he is some sort of tech god and his word is rule. There was a thread started about suggestions for a computer, and it boiled down recently into a “best way for non geeks to learn”. This other user seems to think that just by looking at podcast and YouTube videos that anyone and everyone should be able to dive in and work on their computer. He fails to see that there are some people that just can’t get up the courage to touch anything on an electronic device because they are fearful of damage to it. He/she assumes that just because he learned something and feel confident at it, everyone should.

Eh, I guess that is commonplace with some people. They tend to think, “if I can do this, anyone can.”  Sadly, I learned how to set up and run lights and sound for theatrical sound, so just by watching a video online or a podcast, he should be able to focus lights, get a great color mixture, cue the show in  the board, set up the speakers, wireless and wired mics and have everything sounding perfectly fine and then run the show and not make glaring mistakes. If he can do that his first show, I will eat my underwear.

Cholesterol Drugs for Eight Year Olds

This may be the medical model of the future. In an attempt to prevent future cardiac problems, cholesterol drugs are suggested for children as young as eight years old:

“…It is the strongest guidance ever given on the issue by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which released its new guidelines Monday. The academy also recommends low-fat milk for 1-year-olds and wider cholesterol testing.

Dr. Stephen Daniels, of the academy’s nutrition committee, says the new advice is based on mounting evidence showing that damage leading to heart disease, the nation’s leading killer, begins early in life.”

link: Cholesterol drugs recommended for some 8-year-olds

The long term use of cholesterol drugs, starting that early in childhood, is not known. The empirical data simply are not available. The safety is educated conjecture with the available data at hand.

A pharmaceutical solution may be fit the cultural zeitgeist better than exercise, diet and change in life style. These alternatives take time and far more effort than a medication solution. However, some people balk at beginning children on a preventative chemical regime as young as the second grade. The negative consequences may be realized in the future generations of these children.

Undoubtedly, this recommendation will have the full unbridled support. For the pharmaceutical industry, this medical approach could translate into billions of dollars of annual profits. Hopefully, parents will retain the choice in whether their child receive this preventative treatment.

Catherine Forsythe

Firefox Is Still The Safest Browser According To Study

No sooner did I do an article about Internet Explorer I spot this study which was completed over an 18th month period, establishing Firefox as the most secure. But what is interesting is the reason why Firefox is most secure. It is because users are more inclined to update the browser with the latest fixes and patches. In fact, Firefox will auto fix itself. The articles states the problem as:

Profit motivated cyber-criminals have rapidly adopted Web browser exploitation as a key vector for malware installation. Due to the methodology of exploiting Web browser vulnerabilities and the unpredictable browsing patterns of typical users, for widespread infection of vulnerable hosts the criminals must seed a mix of popular and high-traffic websites, or incentivize users through email spam, with URLs directing potential victims to Web servers hosting their malicious content. The former method is commonly known as drive-by download, where drive-by refers to the fact that Web browsers must initially navigate to a malicious page and download refers to the covertly downloaded and executed malware – typically trojans. As popularity of this attack vector has blossomed, there have been frequent reports of hundreds of thousands of Web sites succumbing to mass-defacement [1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] – where the defacement often consists of an embedded iframe. These iframes typically inlcude content from servers hosting malicious JavaScript code designed to exploit vulnerabilities accessible through the user’s Web browser and subsequently to initiate a drive-by malware download. These mass-defacements cause once-benign sites to turn against their visitors. Even pages owned by institutions like the United Nations (un.org), the UK government (.gov.uk) and many others have succumbed to such attacks. In 2007, Google uncovered more than three million malicious Web addresses (URLs) that initiate drive-by downloads [9]. 

According to the study, which is quite lengthy and very in depth, Microsoft seems to have trouble fixing their browser. This leaves IE users at risk. Strange. One would expect IE to also have a built in fix and patch ability. Maybe this is the price they paid for having IE incorporated with Windows.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.