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Pico USB Flash Drive

If you’ve been around the technology world for a while, you remember your first gigabyte, others remember forty megabytes while even some remember luggage-sized 5 meg drives. It continually shocks us when newer and smaller storage is made available, and we get all giggly when it happens.  Don’t lie, you know you do.

Barely bigger than the tip of your fingertip and less than 4mm thick, this USB drive holds an amazing 8gb of information.  Allowing you to store full length movies, 5 days worth of music and a whole library worth of books.

It comes with a chain to help you keep track of it and is priced at $49.99.  It can be purchased from Think Geek and other online retailers.



  • Smallest size yet largest capacity USB flash drive around
  • 8 gigs, yet the size of your fingertip
    • 31.3mm x 12.4mm x 3.4mm
  • Polished Chrome finish
  • Shock and water resistant
  • 200x speed, 30MB/second
  • Mac, Windows, and Linux compatible

Statement of Religious Faith on License Plates

In South Carolina, automobile license plates may be a statement of religious faith:

“…The state plans to issue plates featuring a Christian cross and the words “I Believe,” but a group advocating the separation of church and state says that goes too far.”

link: South Carolina plans license plate for Christians

If this precedent goes forward, wouldn’t other religions and faiths be entitled to state their affiliations on South Carolina license plates? Secular interests would have a strong argument that they too deserve a statement on license plates. South Carolina may have a strong argument from corporations like Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Starbucks and so forth. If South Carolina allows a religious statement on automobile identifiers, it opens the space on millions of license plates to other interests who want to express a ‘personal message’.

Catherine Forsythe

Hitachi Promises 5GB on 3.5” By 2010

All bets are off now. Windows ‘7’ doesn’t have to be lean and mean. With Intel predicting 12 to 16 cores on the desktop and now Hitachi saying 5Gb will be available on one 3.5” drive by 2010, there’s no problem for Microsoft, except making sure that every machine has a Blu-ray ROM so that the OS can be delivered on one optical disk.

from Maximum PC –

While SSDs continue to come down in price and up in performance, hard disk drives keep ballooning in size. And just when we thought we were becoming spoiled with storage space, Hitachi hits us with a humdinger by announcing plans to release a 5TB hard drive by 2010. That’s FIVE freaking terabytes in a single 3.5″ drive, or half the storage capacity of the human brain, claims Dr. Yoshihiro Shiroishi from Hitachi. In more concrete terms, 5TB equates to about 5,000 hours of video, or more than a million songs. Throw two drives together and you could store a human brain’s worth of porn!

Hitachi’s pledge trumps an earlier prediction the company made back in October 2007 when it said 4TB of storage would be likely by 2011. Instead, Hitachi will employ Current-Perpendicular-to-Plant Giant Magnetoresistance (CPP-GMR) magnetic read heads to pack an additional terabyte than initially anticipated, and a year sooner than predicted. CPP-GMR will make it possible to achieve data densities of 1TB or more per square inch, paving the way for even larger hard drives.

Home theater buffs will undoubtedly herald Hitachi’s announcement, but what about everyone else? Are we reaching the point of diminishing returns in terms of hard drive space?

The only thing left after that is Apple releasing a 1.8” drive iPod using this technology, and calling it the ‘Lifetime iPod’. (‘cause it might take that long to listen to all the songs stored)

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How To Deal With Debt Collectors

With the economy the way it is, more and more people are falling behind and getting harassed by debt collectors but there are things you can do to make them stop.

CNN reports the first thing you should do when contacted by a debt collector is demand proof of the debt.

If a debt collector contacts you, your first move should be to ask for proof of the debt, said Linda Sherry, of Consumer Action, a consumer advocacy group. “What you should get is a real document with your signature that shows you applied for the debt.”

Collection agencies use a practice of tracking people down called “skip tracing.”

“Sometimes they make huge leaps between what’s real and what’s not,” Sherry said. You might have been contacted erroneously, just because you have the same name as the debtor they are looking for, or their old cell phone number.

Even if the debt is yours, it could be old enough to no longer be collectable. Some debt has a statute of limitations, which can range from three to 15 years, depending on your state. Make sure you find out your debt’s expiration date because once you pay a portion or initiate a payment plan, the clock starts ticking all over again, Sherry said.

However, I feel it’s more important to get advice from a Consumer Advocate Lawyer or a Lawyer that has lots of experience dealing with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act before taking the calls and speaking with debt collectors. It’s not the end of the world, and they can’t do anything to you, if you hang up on them or don’t pick up the phone! Also once you have a lawyer the collectors must stop calling you once you tell them to deal with him or her.

If you have the ability to pay, and do owe the debt, the best thing you can do is attempt to work out a payment plan and start paying off the debt but get an agreement in writing before submitting any payment.

For some more tips see CNN’s article, Debt collectors on the rampage.

The contents of this post are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. I’m not a lawyer, so I do not give legal advice. If you should have any questions please consult a licensed attorney.

Mystery Case Files: Huntsville For Mac

There should be an image here!Crime spree baffles Huntsville police!

Do you have a keen eye for details? See if you can locate enough hidden clues to solve the crimes and become a Master Detective! Mystery Case Files: Huntsville provides gamers with a collection of intriguing mysteries and brain-teasers to solve. There are picture puzzles to ponder, strange crime scenes to explore, and much, much, more!

With thousands of hidden clues, it’s a new game each time you play!

[Download free trial of Mystery Case Files: Huntsville]
[Buy Mystery Case Files: Huntsville]

Ballmer and Icahn Get Chatty

It appears that Steve and Carl are like a couple of mischievous schoolboys, who can’t let something go until they are sure they have either destroyed something, or figured out why they can’t do it.

A notice on Tech Crunch states that ‘the boys’ have been discussing all the different scenarios that might play out if they go after Yahoo again.

Then, an addendum to the article states that Yahoo is willing now, to hear all serious offers, so come on down and play ‘let’s make a deal’.

This is the sort of garbage that will drive the news for a few days before anything happens, it always works that way. By the time it starts to die down again, it will be time to move – if all the schoolboys stop being petulant when they don’t get things exactly their own way. The egos here are just too big for any boardroom; better hold this one outdoors.

from Tech Crunch –

Dissident Yahoo shareholder Carl Icahn and Microsoft have been talking to each other (as has everyone else involved in a possible Yahoo deal, including Yahoo and AOL over the weekend). In a letter to shareholders, reproduced below, Icahn notes that he and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer have been discussing possible transactions over the past week, and that Ballmer ” made it clear to me that if a new board were elected, he would be interested in discussing a major transaction with Yahoo! . . . immediately.”

Microsoft is throwing its weight behind Icahn’s proxy battle, going so far as to signal that an Icahn-controlled Yahoo is the only one that it is willing to restart negotiations with. Icahn says Microsoft won’t enter into any deal with the current Yahoo board because of the risk that the company will be “mismanaged” in the nine months or more it could take to finalize a deal of this size. He states:

Steve made it abundantly clear that, due to his experiences with Yahoo! during the past several months, he cannot negotiate any transaction with the current board.

In a coordinated statement it just released, Microsoft confirms that while it has “concluded that we cannot reach an agreement” with the current board and management at Yahoo, and that “after the shareholder election Microsoft would be interested in discussing with a new board a major transaction with Yahoo!”

Microsoft is basically telling the market that the only way a Microsoft deal can be revived is by voting the current board out. Yahoo’s stock is up 10 percent this morning on the news to $23.50, last time I checked.

Icahn makes it sound like he and Ballmer are closer than two teenage Best Friends Forever, talking on the phone for “as long as an hour,” gossiping about what they plan to do to Yahoo. But Microsoft is not guaranteeing anything, just that it would talk to Yahoo again if a new board is elected that is more open to a deal than the current one. It would be Microsoft’s fiduciary duty to do so anyway. Ballmer just likes slapping Yahoo around. He is not really committing to anything.

Yahoo, for its part, plans on arguing at its shareholder meeting that selling its search business to Microsoft makes no sense. But one of its counterpoints to Icahn’s original five-point plan, that Microsoft is no longer interested in a full acquisition of Yahoo, is now officially invalid.

but then we have the addendum

Update: Yahoo responds, saying these announcements are silly because Yahoo’s current board is ready to negotiate a full sale of the company with Microsoft. Here is the full statement (I’ve bolded parts of it for emphasis):

Yahoo!’s Board of Directors continues to stand ready to enter into negotiations with Microsoft Corporation for an acquisition of Yahoo!. Indeed, as recently as June, Yahoo!’s independent directors and management approached Steve Ballmer about just such a transaction, only to be told that Microsoft was no longer interested even in the price range which they had previously proposed. Now Mr. Ballmer and Mr. Icahn have teamed up in an apparent effort to force Yahoo! into selling to Microsoft its Search business at a price to be determined in a future “negotiation” between Mr. Icahn’s directors and Microsoft’s management. We feel very strongly that this would not lead to an outcome that would be in the best interests of Yahoo!’s stockholders. If Microsoft and Mr. Ballmer really want to purchase Yahoo!, we again invite them to make a proposal immediately. And if Mr. Icahn has an actual plan for Yahoo! beyond hoping that Microsoft might actually consummate a deal which they have repeatedly walked away from, we would be very interested in hearing it.

Very strange – it sounds like the people at Yahoo are tired of fighting the good fight (against both Microsoft and Google) and are ready for the big payoff before retiring to that desert isle.

the actual statements from Icahn and Ballmer here

In typical blah-blah-blah fashion they both talk about superior value for stock holders – short term. That is the trouble these days, it’s always a refrain of that Janet Jackson song, ‘What Have You Done For Me, Lately’.

Looks like Yahoo is a goner now, and as I have predicted Icahn will be insinuating himself into the works at Microsoft. The gates of Troy are close, and Ballmer, Gates, and Microsoft deserve whatever they get.

Quote of the day:

Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before. – Mae West

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The Body’s Own ‘Cannabis’ Is Good For The Skin

Scientists from Hungary, Germany, and the U.K. have discovered that our own body not only makes chemical compounds similar to the active ingredient in marijuana (THC), but these play an important part in maintaining healthy skin. This finding on "endocannabinoids" just published online in, and scheduled for the October 2008 print issue of, The FASEB Journal could lead to new drugs that treat skin conditions ranging from acne to dry skin, and even skin-related tumors.

"Our preclinical data encourage one to explore whether endocannabinoid system-acting agents can be exploited in the management of common skin disorders," said Tamas Biro, MD, PhD, a senior scientist involved in the research. "It is also suggested that these agents can be efficiently applied locally to the skin in the form of a cream."

Biro and colleagues came to this conclusion by treating cell cultures from human sebaceous glands (the glands that make the oil on our skin) with various concentrations of endocannabinoids (substances produced by the body that are similar to the active ingredient in marijuana). Then they measured the production of lipids (fat cells, such as those in skin oil), cell survival and death, and changes in gene expression and compared these outcomes to those in an untreated control group.

"This research shows that we may have something in common with the marijuana plant," said Gerald Weissmann, MD. "Just as THC is believed to protect the marijuana plants from pathogens, our own cannabinoids may be necessary for us to maintain healthy skin and to protect us from pathogens ."

[Cody Mooneyhan @ Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology]

12,000 Laptops Stolen At Airports Each Week

It seems that laptop thefts from the nations airports are skyrocketing, and according to one report, over 647,000 laptops are stolen each year. The estimate is that about 12,000 go missing each week. That seems like an incredible amount of thefts and should warn laptop users of the dangers they may face while traveling. According to this article:

The Ponemon survey was commissioned by Dell, which on Monday announced new security services to commercial customers that include tracking and recovery of lost laptops and prevention of data theft.

Dell’s laptop tracking service uses technology including GPS (Global Positioning System) to locate and recover lost laptops. The data protection services include the ability to remotely delete data on a hard drive and services to recover data from failed hard drives.

The article also states that about 10,000 thefts a week happen at 36 major airports, while another 2,000 laptops are taken per week from mid-size airports. It is unkown which airports have the most thefts, since this information was not included in the article.

Be safe. Keep your laptop close when travelling.

Comments welcome.


Ebola – It might be safe to work with?

Ebola is one of the most dangerous pathogens that we have here on Earth today.  Due to it’s contagious nature it is forced to be worked with in a bio safety level four facility.  Modern science is investigating ways for mankind to work with the pathogen in less secure areas.

Scientists have made the lethal virus Ebola harmless in the lab, potentially aiding research into a vaccine or cure.Taking a single gene from the virus stops it replicating, US scientists wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal. (Link)

This is such an amazing advancement in modern science. A great example of what we can do with technology today. Being able to remove a gene from a very deadly virus, so that we can research it (with less risk) just blows my mind away.What is even more important is that this did not destroy the ‘scary’ part of this virus. We can still use the virus to do research, as long as it is used on genetically modified organisms:

It can, however, grow in cells which have themselves been genetically modified to produce the viral protein that would normally be made by VP30. This means that it will be possible to study modified Ebola in these modified cells without any risk that a virulent virus might infect people. (Link)

Even with the new safety of Ebola, I would not go near the virus. The concept is great, but in person it would be a very scary thing to face.  Would you come face to face with the virus and play with it, even if it were deemed safe?


NetNewsWire v3.1.7b2

There should be an image here!This RSS (Really Simple Syndication) reader can fetch and display news from thousands of different Web sites and Web logs.

NetNewsWire includes a Weblog editor that allows you to post to blogging sites such as Movable Type, Radio UserLand, and Blogger, and a scrapbook that stores news headlines, URLs, subscriptions, and draft text.

The Find command allows you to search through current news. NetNewsWire is scriptable via AppleScript and other OSA languages and includes a Scripts menu where you can add your own scripts.

[6.35M] [OS X 10.4/10.5] [FREE]