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Thomas C Greene

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The terrorists I party with

Part 3 It was a "fuel-air bomb" that would create "a superhot fireball". Anyone care to guess what I'm referring to here? A diabolical new weapon from some DoD skunkworks, perhaps? A metaphorical description of the space shuttle Challenger exploding, maybe? Actually, that was how ABC News's The Blotter with Brian Ross described the …
Thomas C Greene, 27 Jul 2007
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Can Osama keep Bush afloat?

Part 2 As we discussed in part one, terrorism in general, and al Qaeda in particular, are again dominating the news. It's now just about impossible to find a report of any terrorist act (or quasi-terrorist act, like the recent failed car bombings in London), without reference to Osama bin Laden or his famous franchise. Interestingly, …
Thomas C Greene, 25 Jul 2007
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Breakfast with bin Laden

Part 1 I shot Lennon; I shot the Pope. I shot the devil; now you got no hope. -- Suicidal Tendencies It's been an interesting month: I've been breakfasting with Osama bin Laden rather often lately. I can hardly open my morning paper nowadays without reading about al Qaeda. Apparently, there are al Qaeda cells all over London, al …
Thomas C Greene, 24 Jul 2007
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Beavis and Butthead in London jihad

Police and securocrats know that there aren't enough real terrorists in the world, which is why they have to keep manufacturing them. This is because citizens tire of being watched by cameras, frisked and x-rayed, having their belongings searched, giving fingerprints to so-called friendly nations on entry, contemplating the …
Thomas C Greene, 29 Jun 2007
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Winning the (propaganda) war on cancer

A couple of years ago, the American Cancer Society gaily reported that cancer survival rates have been improving dramatically and steadily. A few weeks ago, Cancer Research UK announced a similarly sunny prognosis for the public at large: UK survival rates have doubled in 30 years. Yes, we are all "surviving" longer with cancer …
Thomas C Greene, 15 Jun 2007
Windows

Don't let Windows Indexing Service know too much

Privacy workshop The Windows Indexing Service catalogues the contents of your hard disk, and even the contents of files, to make local searching faster. This service creates and later consults a number of small databases containing data about your disk's contents, including the actual contents of files, which can undermine the practice of good …
Thomas C Greene, 10 May 2007
channel

Clearing swap and hibernation files properly

Privacy workshop Most privacy-conscious users are familiar with deleting files securely, that is, destructively with overwriting and with wiping free space on their disks. But two items that often get overlooked are the swap file (or swap partition), and the hibernation file. Let's start with the swap file. This is an area of your hard disk …
Thomas C Greene, 05 May 2007

How to enjoy media in any region

Cheap airfares and the so-called "global economy" have got us all travelling internationally like never before, both for business and pleasure. And whatever the purpose of one's trip, two great joys for the traveller are eating and shopping in foreign places. Most of us eagerly bring home merchandise not available locally. As …
Thomas C Greene, 28 Apr 2007
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MPAA veteran Jack Valenti dead at 85

Former Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Chairman Jack Valenti is dead following complications of a stroke suffered in March. The voice of the MPAA for nearly 40 years, Valenti's public career began during the Johnson administration, when he served as an advisor and confidant to the late President. Valenti is best …
Thomas C Greene, 27 Apr 2007
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Reg called more balanced than Wired

Letter Our recent story on government data mining in Singapore drew a letter form Dave Snowden, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Cognitive Edge, which is involved in the project. Says Dave: I have just been passed your article in The Register on Singapore's RAHS project, which is slightly more balanced that the Wired article, …
Thomas C Greene, 06 Apr 2007

Why I won't buy a Dell next time

Comment I recently bought a "Vista capable" desktop PC from Dell. It was a good opportunity to play the secret shopper and report the experience as an ordinary consumer, instead of reporting as a tech journo reviewing hardware supplied by the maker and tweaked to perfection before delivery. I had bought a PC from Dell years ago and had …
Thomas C Greene, 04 Apr 2007
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Singapore invests in TIA snake oil

Comment Retired US Admiral and convicted felon John Poindexter has been a busy man since Congress scrapped his Total Information Awareness (TIA) system and punctured his Orwellian dream of linking every government database imaginable in pursuit of evildoers, as Wired News reports. Indeed, the Iran-Contra scandal alum has got a seat on …
Thomas C Greene, 29 Mar 2007
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Vista security overview: too little too late

Review Microsoft has gone out on a limb to promote Vista not merely as "the most secure version of Windows ever" (every recent version is marketed with that tired slogan), but for the first time as an adequately secure version of Windows. "We've got the message and we've done our homework", the company says. So let's see if the reality …
Thomas C Greene, 20 Feb 2007
arrow pointing up

Vista first look: Bugs and confusion

Review The most prominent feature of Windows Vista is its cost. So, before we get into the nuts and bolts of how it behaves, let's talk about value for money. Because at these prices, it had better be good. The stand-alone version of Vista Ultimate retails for €600, or $780 here in Ireland. Amazon.com is selling this $780 version to …
Thomas C Greene, 14 Feb 2007
fingers pointing at man

How to install a Vista upgrade on any PC

Microsoft is running an unadvertised sale on Windows Vista. For the price of an upgrade edition requiring an existing copy of Windows, anyone can have a stand-alone version of Vista that will run on any PC. Indeed, the upgrade editions are full versions, simply waiting to be told to install themselves regardless of what OS is …
Thomas C Greene, 12 Feb 2007
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US preps vast DNA dragnet

In a move reminiscent of Nazi Germany and 21st-Century Britain, the US federal government is about to implement rules requiring routine DNA collection from suspected illegal immigrants and anyone arrested by federal authorities, regardless of whether they are ever convicted of a crime. DNA collection will be performed in any …
Thomas C Greene, 06 Feb 2007
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Florida chucks touch-screen balloting

Florida, the epicentre of hopelessly confused US elections, is chucking touch-screen ballot machines in favour of optical scanners, the Associated Press reports. Governor Charlie Crist (Republican) announced the new initiative on Thursday, and called on the legislature to authorise the needed $32m in extra funds that the …
Thomas C Greene, 02 Feb 2007
channel

Firefox 2.0: happier browsing, but secure?

Review It's long past time to bother telling anyone how much better than IE Firefox is. Faster, smaller, more responsive, with tabbed browsing and useful extensions galore. It's also lot more secure than IE, partly because it's open source, and particularly because it's not integrated with the underlying OS. Firefox's security bugs …
Thomas C Greene, 30 Jan 2007
For Sale sign detail

Is Windows Vista ready for you?

Because I'll soon have the pleasure of evaluating Windows Vista forThe Register in a series of articles concerned with the user experience, administration tools, and security features, I wanted to be certain that this new OS is compatible with my hardware. Fortunately, Microsoft has a website devoted to answering these …
Thomas C Greene, 29 Jan 2007
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Flying wang survivor threatens DMCA action

Comment Has Linden Labs gone mad and started attacking the very journos who satisfy its dependence on hype? A couple of recent headlines would suggest so, but readers needn't be alarmed. The ZDNet headline got it a bit wrong: "Virtual land owner challenges press freedom in Second Life", suggesting that freedom of the press to operate …
Thomas C Greene, 08 Jan 2007
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E-vote systems certifier de-certified

The leading certifier of US electronic voting systems, Colorado outfit Ciber, Inc., is no longer permitted to issue certifications, after federal investigators discovered appallingly haphazard testing regimes, the New York Times reports. Ciber, which certifies the majority of US election devices, was unable to document how it …
Thomas C Greene, 05 Jan 2007
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Teen shot dead by police over stolen PS3

An 18-year-old North Carolina man, suspected of stealing two PlayStation 3 consoles, was shot dead by police executing a search warrant at his residence. Peyton Strickland was gunned down in his house by deputies as he answered the door, the Wilmington Star News reports. . He was unarmed, according to witnesses. University of …
Thomas C Greene, 05 Dec 2006
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Feds implement mass passenger data trawl

Whenever the US government runs afoul of public opinion with some data-mining scheme threatening to invade the privacy of millions, it changes the name and then goes ahead as planned. We had the "Total Information Awareness" (TIA) federal scheme to mine official and commercial databases, which morphed into the MATRIX, an …
Thomas C Greene, 01 Dec 2006
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DoJ to review domestic surveillance

Comment With January approaching, bringing foul weather and a Democratic majority to Capitol Hill, the President has abandoned one of his cute little dodges that had shut down Congressional inquiries into the NSA's mass wiretap scandal. The Department of Justice (DoJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) will now conduct a review of …
Thomas C Greene, 29 Nov 2006
cloud

Fake boarding pass brouhaha settled amicably

The FBI has let Indiana University graduate student Christopher Soghoian off the hook for having posted a fake boarding pass generator on his website. Soghoian had intended to illustrate the ease with which a person on the no-fly lists could gain access to secure areas of an airport, although it is unlikely that anyone could …
Thomas C Greene, 29 Nov 2006