Friday, December 18, 2009

Odd Secunia PSI Result

I did a Secunia PSI scan on my Windows 7 laptop. It found no insecure programs, but gave this strange result:
Security Threats:
Secunia System Score: [?]
Secunia PSI WorldMap:
Your Secunia System Score of 100% is 5% HIGHER than the average user from Georgia, United States.
Compared to users WITHOUT the Secunia PSI installed, your Secunia System Score is 85% WORSE - install patches now!
Last Full System Scan: [?]
3 minutes ago
How could a 100% rating be 85% worse than anything? What an odd bug. Still, I highly recommend the tool for those interested in keeping a Windows PC up to date.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Running Windows 7 as a Truecrypt Hidden Operating System

My favorite whole drive encryption system, hands down, is Truecrypt. One of the interesting features is the notion of plausible deniability. One of the ways this deniability may be accomplished in through a hidden operating system. I don’t really need the deniability features, but I have found that the hidden operating system is useful in allowing me to keep Windows XP on my laptop, but being able to seamlessly boot into Windows 7 (I have also set up Windows 2008 Server in the same way).

I have a 160GB hard drive, which I divided into a 40 GB partition and another 120 GB partition. I have XP installed on the 40GB partition, which is my C: drive. I have another D: drive where I keep data. That’s the 120GB partition. It is important to have a similarly partitioned hard drive. It is also vital that the 120GB partition have enough space to hold all of C:, i.e., 40GB. Do a full sector level backup on the drive. I use Knoppix, then use the dd command to copy the entire /dev/sda drive to a file on a USB hard drive. You should be able to access the individual files on D:. Use ntbackup to run a backup from within Windows XP on the D: drive. Once you have all this done, you can install Windows 7 from scratch, reformatting all the partitions, but only installing on the 40GB one. Leave the 120GB partition empty.

After installing Windows 7, run Truecrypt, pull down on the system menu and select “Create Hidden Operating System . . .” Follow the prompts to create it as normal. After you delete the original partition (the last step in Truecrypt’s hidden OS creation sequence), you should then restore the boot sectors and the first partition from your backup. If you used dd, this just means booting into Knoppix and running something like:

dd if=/path/to/backup/file of=/dev/sda bs=512 count=<number of the last sector of the /dev/sda1 partition, which you can determine by running fdisk –l –u /dev/sda>

This will write over the hard drive up to the point where our outer volume which holds the hidden partition starts. When you reboot, you will boot back into your old Windows XP. It will probably freak out about not being able to get to D. Just install Truecrypt, then mount the outer volume using the outer volume password. You can then restore your backup into that volume.

Finally, encrypt the XP system. This will install the Truecrypt boot loader, where you will be able to provide either the XP decryption password or the Windows 7 decryption password in order to choose which operating system you wish to run.

This allows me to run two versions of Windows with no fear whatsoever that they will interfere with one another. Also, it gets me into the habit of performing disaster recovery backups on my laptop.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cory Maye Granted New Trial

Radley Balko has been calling attention to this horrible crime against an innocent man by my home state of Mississippi. Finally, Maye has been granted a new trial.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lawyers Write Law, And Then Are The Only Ones To Make Millions

Of course, I am sure this was merely a by-product of sincere efforts to assist the poor and oppressed.


Sent to you by Robert A. Wicks via Google Reader:


via Techdirt by Mike Masnick on 11/17/09

It's difficult not to become even more cynical when you read stories like the following one. Sent in by Eric Goldman, it's about a state law in California that was mainly written by two lawyers: Joaquin Avila, a law professor from Seattle, and Robert Rubin, the "legal director" for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. So, here's the interesting thing: since this state law has been put in place (seven years ago), the only lawsuits have been brought by Rubin's committee or Avila and they've made themselves over $4 million with a few more lawsuits pending and a bunch more threatened (again, all from either Avila or Rubin's committee).

What a great deal: write a law, and then be the only lawyers to use the law to make millions.

As for the law itself, it was a law that apparently very few people were asking for -- requiring that state courts carve out specific districts that favor minority groups, so they are not excluded from local elections. Here's how the AP describes it:
The California statute targets commonly used "at-large" elections -- those in which candidates run citywide or across an entire school district. Avila said that method can result in discrimination because whatever group constitutes the majority of voters can dominate the ballot box and block minorities from winning representation. As a remedy, the law empowers state courts to create smaller election districts favoring minority candidates.

Officials in several California communities said they never heard complaints of voter discrimination until the lawyers stepped forward. In one case, the Tulare Local Healthcare District, now known as Tulare Regional Medical Center, was sued even though its five-member governing board is a rainbow of diversity -- two emigres from India, a Hispanic, a black and a white. The lawsuit argues Hispanics, who make up about a third of local voters, have been shortchanged.
Of course, there are many reasons why the exact makeup of a governing board might not match the exact percentage of the population (including the simple fact that most people vote on issues, not the ethnicity of the people they're voting for). But, even if there was a problem it seems highly questionable that the two lawyers who wrote the bill are now profiting tremendously from it and appear to be the only ones who do so.

It's stories like this one that make us so nervous about so much legislation. This is the type of law they create: it maysound good (who's going to argue against diversity?). But, the actual law appears to have been nothing more than a way for these lawyers to go around collecting millions, while disrupting communities and schoolboards, and sending their taxpayer money to these lawyers.

Permalink | Comments | Email This Story


Things you can do from here:


Monday, November 2, 2009

David E. Davis, Jr. on Cash for Clunkers

In the December 2009 issue of Car and Driver (article not available online), David E. Davis, Jr. lambasts the wildly popular "cash for clunkers" program:

Not until the government got involved was anyone stupid enough to pour sodium silicate into the engines of the trade-ins on used-car lots and render them useless except as junk to be sold by the pound.

A fleet of American used cars like, say, 1977 Chevrolet Caprices could be shipped to any country in the Third and Fourth Worlds and would revolutionize the way people live. Women with sick children would not be hitchhiking 50 miles to clinics.
Of course, the environment is far more important than a few million poor foreigners. The government bureaucrats, in their seemingly never ending quest to absolutely perfect their abilities to do evil, work tirelessly to minimize any actually good secondary effects from their actions.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Failing the Irony Test

The UK House of Lords is considering new laws banning forced labor and involuntary servitude. In a shocking oversight, these laws are not expected to cover the huge amounts of labor required of Britons to pay the taxes levied on them by the government. Clearly, private slavery is the only bad kind of slavery.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ukraine's Got Talent - Kseniya Simonova

My Favorite Collard Greens


A bunch of collard greens. I literally mean a bunch, as in how they are sold fresh in a grocery store, or an entire plant, if you are one to pick your own.

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3-4 smoked turkey necks or fatback or strickalean, if that’s your cup of tea. Cut the oil in half if you use either of those.

Large pot with lid (3 gallons or so)



2 packets of Sazón Goya

Cut and wash the greens in the sink. Wash them at least twice to get all the grit out. Heat the pot on medium heat. Add the oil to the pot and allow it to heat for a minute or so. Put enough greens in the pot to fill it to about 4 inches from the top. They should sizzle. Stir the greens into the oil, steadily adding greens until the entire bunch is in the pot. Stir them to coat them in the olive oil. Add enough water to completely cover the greens. Add the turkey necks, the Sazón Goya, and a tablespoon or more of salt to taste. The amount of salt that different people like in greens varies tremendously, so don’t be surprised if you use much more salt than this. Stir everything up, set the heat to low, then cover it and let it simmer. The traditional way would be to simmer them for about 40 minutes. You could use far less water and simmer them for only 20 minutes for a different sort of dish. I tend to go for the long simmer, which is how my family always did it. Serve with hoecakes (also called hot water cornbread).

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Another Difference between Public and Private

I drove through a Walmart parking lot and noticed how well the drainage system they have works. It takes some serious flooding to damage a Walmart to the extent that roads, schools, and government buildings have been damaged during the recent flooding in the Atlanta area. I snapped a pic of it. It was doing a very good job of keeping that parking lot clear. That’s very different from what we see of government “services,” where the need to please the customer is lacking, to say the least.

2009-09-26 16.44.50

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Rangel’s no Angel

Charles Rangel, the first black man to head the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and Congress’s foremost proponent of slavery, has perhaps topped all of his peers at displaying contempt for those he supposedly serves. In response to reporters’ questions about hidden personal assets, Rangel responded:

I recognize that all of you have an obligation to ask questions knowing that there's none of you smart enough to frame it in such a way that I'm going to respond.

Well, at least he actually does give an accurate assessment of the press. Truth in politics is such a refreshing change of pace.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Open Source Future

One of the major factors which will fuel Linux and other open source projects' development will be the developing world. I was listening to a podcast about Ardour, an open source digital audio workstation. One of the interesting things which was mentioned was the ability of members of the community to sponsor code. That is, a person can offer a bounty to have bugs fixed or features added. The fact that incomes vary very widely across the globe can actually help a lot here. Most of the consumers of this software are located in the developed world and have higher incomes than the developing world. As people in areas which have very low average incomes become more technically savvy in software development using free software, some of them will be able to earn nice incomes using their knowledge. This is outsourcing writ large.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Solid State Ubuntu

I decided to install Ubuntu 9.04 to my 2GB CF card. I wanted to avoid wearing out the CF with writes, so I settled on this method. I installed the server to one partition, so /usr/local is in the root filesystem. You can create the script anywhere in the root filesystem, but i used /usr/local.

Create a /usr/local/bin/ file with the contents below:

rsync -a /var.perm/ /var/
mount -t tmpfs tmpfs -o mode=1777 /var
rsync -a /var.perm/ /var/

Make a soft link from it to /etc/rcS.d with:

ln –s /usr/local/bin/ /etc/rcS.d/

This will cause it to run right after the filesystems are mounted, before any services which write to /var are running.

Add a cron.hourly script to rsync from /var to /var.perm, and you are all set!

I modified this a bit after the inital post. I changed the script:

find /var/ -type f -exec rm -f {} \;
mount -t tmpfs tmpfs -o mode=1777 /var
rsync -a /var.perm/ /var/
mount -o relatime /dev/vgraid/lv_squid /var/spool/squid3

The find line is actually only needed once. I just deleted the files from the underlying (flash) filesystems, leaving the directory structure. No need to waste space. After that, I mount the /var manually, then copy the permanent files into it. Finally, since I run squid on this server, I mount the squid cache directories after /var. All the other local filesystems get loaded from the scripts in the /etc/rcS.d directory. I also have an hourly cron job which runs the following:

#!/bin/shrsync --delete-excluded --delete-after --exclude=*.pid \
--exclude=spool/squid3/??/??/* --exclude=cache/apt/archives/*.deb\
-av /var/ /var.perm/

This copies all the directory structure, and most files, from /var to the flash card. I skip the squid cache files, since they take up too much space.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Calling it what it is

A friend of mine, who has a young child, has begun to replace a certain concept with the word “socialism.” For example, “my son just took a massive socialism in his diaper.” Could there be any better description of the nature of the thing than that? It is easily applicable to any number of situations. Something really disgusts you? Scream “socialism” in complete disgust. It works well in some common phrases. “Socialism happens.” “Same Socialism, Different Day.” But I think it works nowhere quite so well as in a phrase used by the older folk during my childhood: “you don’t socialism where you eat.” That one works whether or not you do the mental substitution.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Parents Scaring Daughter

My wife decided she wanted to pay our 10 year old daughter back for always trying to scare people.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Private Security

The heroic Norman Horn interviews private security expert Gil Guillory about security without the state.
Listen to the Podcast.

Friday, May 8, 2009


At Starbucks, the baristas (as if) usually ask you if you want room for cream. I always say no, since I noticed that if you say yes, they leave a good inch and a half clearance in the cup. That much milk/cream in coffee really changes the nature of the drink for me. Apart from the change in taste, the drastic change in temperature spoils the thing for me. If I wanted a latte, I'd order a latte. But, I actually sometimes see people pouring coffee off the top so they can pour a half cup of milk into the cup.

BTW, Starbucks' lattes use way too much milk. The ratios are all wrong. And they do Italian roasts, which is a bit dark, compared to what I typically like (half city to full city roasts). But they are better than the convenient alternatives. I do wish they offered more variety in roasts, though.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I wish people would just stop using mathematical language if they don't know how

I just saw a commercial which claimed a diet supplement helped people lose "an average of up to 4 times the weight." Which is it? An average, or a maximum? Is it the highest average in a series of studies? I've been hearing this language more and more in recent times, and I'm sick of it. Can we get a bit of clarity here?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tethering a Blackberry 8703e with Windows 7 Beta

I recently installed Windows 7 beta on a Dell Latitude D630 and could not get Sprint Smartview to properly install. I finally found a solution which, while a bit kludgy, does work: using the BB over bluetooth as a dial-up-modem. I found the instructions on, from user “camattin.”

  1. Go to your network connections
  2. click create a new connection
  3. select 'Connect to the Internet'
  4. 'Set up my connection manually'
  5. <next>
  6. 'Connect using a dialup modem'
  7. <next>
  8. check only the box for the 'Standard Modem'
  9. <next>
  10. give the ISP box some value.. i.e. "SprintPCS"
  11. <next>
  12. enter '#777' for the phone number
  13. <next>
  14. can opt for anyone's use or my use only
  15. <next>
  16. leave the username & password fields blank
  17. unless your situation warrants it, unselect both checkboxes (use this account when anyone connects to the internet, make this the default internet connection)
  18. <next>
  19. <finish>

This finally allows me to use my laptop when I am away from wifi. Smartview is the only important application I have not gotten working under Windows 7, which has been amazingly stable for me.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Congratulations, President Obama!

I just wanted to congratulate President Barack Obama in his performing that grand rite of passage for American Presidents. No, not any such silliness as his first bill or executive order. I meant something much more important. Today, President Obama ordered his first murder.

So, while you can look into the loving eyes of your own beautiful daughters, somewhere in Afghanistan, a grieving family will never look into the loving eyes of three children again.

Free Talk Live

My favorite radio show hands down is Free Talk Live. It is consistently pro-liberty, and the hosts, Ian and Mark allow callers to talk about whatever they like. I called in last night and talked a bit about race (about 1:35:00 into the show).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Libertarian Papers

Libertarian Papers is now online! The welcome text below is taken from the site.

Welcome to Libertarian Papers!

To Authors, Readers, and Potential Libertarians:

A new libertarian journal—a new type of libertarian journal—is born today. Libertarian Papers is an exclusively online peer-reviewed journal. Its home is this elegant, fast, easy-to-use website. Please feel free to browse around.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Prank Call - Social security Check

Watch that sharing spirit go away if you threaten to cut that check.

Anthropomorphizing the American Civic Religion

Obedience to the state is a form of idolatry. The American civic religion, as it is often called, is the American denomination of this faith, which is common around the globe. In some places, the state religion, and the older, more authentic varieties, have been merged into something which confuses both the faithful and their opponents. In America, no such merger has occurred. This does not, however, mean that America is immune to the sort of religious savagery which grips much of the world.

The American civic religion, in stark contrast to that of much of the world, has never has an unambiguous instantiation upon which large portions of the populations could agree. America has always fancied itself a "melting pot," blending together people of disparate cultures, races and religions. This is not an entirely accurate notion, but this variety of backgrounds from which Americans originate has proven an important impediment to state power. Southern Baptists, Lutherans, Jews of varying levels of religious fervor, and Catholics have never been able to agree on enough to begin a campaign of terror on those who differ, even if they had those among them who would be amenable to such an arrangement. American disunity has been of major import in maintaining domestic peace.

Now America is threatened, not from disunity or lack of patriotic fervor, but something quite different. America, its people and ideals face a grave threat from the very civic religion which their disunity has previously neutered. Barack Obama represents a grave threat to America, though not through any particular fault of his own. Indeed, George Bush is perhaps the man most responsible for the threat, as the extraordinary disillusionment with his Presidency has sparked a yearning in the hearts of many for a rescuer, a hero, a messiah. The national consciousness has been captured by Obama in a way I have never witnessed in my life. His ascension as the state god now made flesh should be alarming to all who oppose the state and its predations.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Political Correctness and the Death of Dialog

I was watching television and an old episode of The Jeffersons came on: Jenny's Low. Jenny is a biracial girl, and the episode addresses her long lost brother, Allan. Allan, unlike Jenny, can "pass" for white. This has caused a great deal of jealousy in Jenny. I found it very interesting that a program, made in 1975, was much more frank in both addressing genuine racial issues, but was also considerably less politically correct than shows we see today. The show's protagonist, George Jefferson, is not afraid at all to use the "n-word," as it is usually referred to in polite company.

The show fearlessly addresses issues both of race and skin shade, which has long been an extremely important cultural phenomenon among blacks. That level of frankness is a much better way to improve relations both among and within races than the fear and avoidance commonly witnessed today. The risks the speak frankly, even controversially, have put The Jeffersons into the collective American consciousness in a way that more modern, PC programs simply cannot match. Over 30 years later, the issues of race and class brought up by shows such as The Jeffersons and All in the Family are as relevant as ever.

The years since that time have largely been marked by television which is far less risky. Television producers may claim the title of "controversial" through cheap trickery such as sex and violence, but few, if any, will actually address significant issues in an even handed way. They are perfectly willing to upset people who will never watch a program at all, but few are willing to challenge the audience itself. Fewer still are willing to challenge the powers that be. Political correctness is the order of the day, and we are all the worse for it.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Stand up for your rights

In the words of legendary singer/songwriter Bob Marley, "Get up, stand up, stand up for your right." The heroic Andrew Carroll decided to stand up for his in the city of Keene, New Hampshire. As expected, the police arrived shortly thereafter. Note the onlookers' apt description of the situation in which this peaceful young man is "getting arrested for touching a plant."

Carroll was charged with a misdemeanor and released.

Sharing all your music with Firefly Media Server

I have a cross-platform household. My wife and daughter use Windows, I use Windows for work and Ubuntu for meaningful things ;). I have a lot of music and audiobooks, mostly in mp3 format, but a few things in ogg, flac, and mp4. Everyone likes to listen to something, but how to share all the files? There are many solutions, of course, but the most convenient one for me was the one which allowed my wife to easily access the music with iTunes. The solution was the Firefly Media Server. Installing this under Ubuntu could hardly be simpler. From a command line, as root, type:
apt-get install mt-daapd ffmpeg
This will get you the software you need. After the packages are installed, edit the /etc/mt-daapd.conf file and change the location of your media files to wherever you keep them. After saving the file, issue
/etc/init.d/mt-daapd restart
I have occasionally found cases where Ubuntu starts services immediately after installing them. Restart means it will stop the process first, if there is an active one.

Wait a couple of minutes, for Firefly to scan your media files, and they should be accessible via DAAP. iTunes will discover the new server automatically, if the computer is on the same subnet as the server. I am told that Songbird works well with Firefly as well.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Miseducation of the Negro

Brutus weighs in on the state vs. blacks:

"There is some discussion whether Officer Mehserle shouted racial slurs before he shot Mr. Grant. The racial dimension to the Grant shooting masks the true culprit of this crime. It is almost an incontrovertible fact that blacks and police are eternal enemies, but unfortunately blacks have misunderstood the nature of Leviathan. The elimination of racism in the police department would not end the violence and abuse police officers visit upon the public. This is because the State is a territorial monopolist of ultimate decision making. It is the ultimate judge in all cases on conflict including conflicts involving itself. Thus, it has an incentive to provoke conflict and judge the matter in its own favor."