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TSA has a new red button

tsa_logo.gif …At least I think it’s new. Never encountered this yet at any airport until yesterday. And I wasn’t about to get delayed home for taking a picture so I’ll just describe it.
After stepping through the metal detector, the TSA personnel asks you to push a red button. I asked, which red button since there was this thing covered up in mesh or something and I assumed I had to push right in the middle. The TSA guy pointed to the red button to the side. Interestingly enough, I push the button and I was done.
The button itself wasn’t a biometric sensor as far as I could tell, just a standard red button. But the covered up ‘mesh/tape or whatever it was’ area was more interesting. As I was putting on my shoes, I looked back and noticed that the device was tied to a laptop. If the person pushes the red button, and it flashes green, then they’re good. If it flashes red, then they have to go through more screening.
Which made me wonder. Was that middle area a camera? And if so, is TSA using facial recognition software? That would mean that there’s a database somewhere that it’s being tied into but I don’t know for sure. All I know is that I’ve never seen this before and found it quite interesting considering I travel enough on business to have seen all the fun security things including the shoe air puffer. The entire thing could be much more simple, but I’m just curious as to if anyone knows what that was and what it does since it was only in a smaller airport where I saw it.
Definitely something that captures your attention when it’s change out of the usual security travel habits of “take off shoes, take out laptop, put in bin, put stuff on conveyor, walk through detector, grab stuff off conveyor, move along.”

Movie Review: Doomsday

This was one British film that I was looking forward to seeing after seeing the previews. It was a Madmax type post-apocalyptical film where the Reaper virus wipes out many people and the government walls them off and abandons them. Thinking that they’ve all died, satellite imagery picks up one day that people are still alive there. And London suddenly has an outbreak of the virus again.
So they send Major Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra) of the Department of Domestic Security, off to find the cure in the zone with a military team.
Doomsday, while pretty interesting, was also way too bloody and gory for my tastes. The movie itself shows cannibalism, and decapitation of which seems to be a part of movies these days, even though there’s not much need for it. All in all, I thought that it was a brilliantly conceptual movie but didn’t need all the mumbo jumbo gore factor.
What was interesting in this movie was the way it portrayed government thought. Here, it basically had a Prime Minister that was controlled by a fascist advisor. And how they would hold-back the cure to seem like they were heroes when they released it. That’s pretty ruthless, but sometimes people make everything political. Thought that was definitely interesting. While this movie had some reminiscence of Children of Men, I think that it didn’t quite reach the depth of that film.
Apple iTunes If you would rather get this movie digitally, I would recommend taking a look at the iTunes version of it. This movie was the first Bluray release by Universal since HDDVD so, you’d be missing out on some of the quality factor, but sometimes… it just really doesn’t matter for some movies.

Solaris: Console loss fix after cold boot

solaris.jpg If you’re sitting at a server, there should be three lights on it. One LED is the power. The next is maintenance. The third is system (looks like a two arrows in a circular pattern).
Depending on the light blinking, it can tell you crazy things. Like whether or not your server is entirely hosed. On a Sun 3500, here are the LED codes:
Left LED (green)
On — the power supply is delivering DC power
Middle LED (yellow)
On flashing — (first 60 seconds of AC power) self tests are running
Off — (after self tests end) no hardware failures detected
On — (after self tests end) hardware failure was detected
Right LED (green)
Off — (first 60 seconds of AC power) self tests are running
On flashing — (after self tests end) system is running
Off — (after self tests end) system cannot run; repair is needed
I can tell you that the issue I ran into was an Left: On, Middle: Off, Right: Flashing. According to the chart above, the server is working right? But it was after a cold boot because the console froze on a probe-scsi-all. And the console would not come back up. After spending much frustrated time trying to figure out how to make it connect again, I did the following:
Power cycle console.
Yup. That’s it. That resets the console to work with the server. Go figure. And it seems that not many people run into this issue since I have yet to see a fix documented somewhere for this. Oh well. Good times.

Digsby

1_blists_t.jpg If you’re looking for a client that can do everything1, then Digsby might be your key to a bright bright future.
It can do all of your major IMs (Yahoo, AIM, Microsoft Live, ICQ, and more), and it can check email and connect up with Facebook, Twitter, and keep track of several social networking things all from one single client.
This is actually pretty neato skippy, although I have to say that with all of this, I’m actually surprised that it doesn’t support IRC at all like some other IM clients. Sort of important if you’re actually trying to do the whole all-in-one thing (of which I totally approve). It supports Windows, MacOSX, and linux, which is great and I have to say that it really takes all-in-one clients to a new level. Remember back in the gaim and trillian days? Oh yes. It was nice wasn’t it. This just makes it that much better.
1 – Everything is is slightly relative isn’t it.

Solaris: Changing an IP address

solaris.jpg Changing an IP address is a little more difficult than your usual commands in linux. At least if you want to change it permanently.
If you just use the ifconfig command, that is only a temporary solution. It will automatically reset itself upon a reboot. So you have to do that and also edit /etc/hosts, change your /etc/defaultrouter (this is the file that points to your router or whatever is sending your broadcast).
Usually this is enough, but in Solaris 9 and up, you might need to edit your /etc/inet/ipnodes if it’s been changed before. Also, if you use VLSM (variable length subnet masks), then you’ll also need to edit /etc/netmasks.
No one ever said Unix was easier. Just more stable.

Skiiers and snowboarders will soon be afraid to enter the UK…

If you have anything to do with winter sports, I’d probably avoid the U.K. for now. News of the confiscation of the War on Terror: The Boardgame is spreading like wild fire all over the Net.
Why? Because ‘the balaclava “could be used to conceal someone’s identity or could be used in the course of a criminal act”.’ Wow. And you would think that the word Evil printed on it doesn’t throw someone off a bit. And on top of it, pretty much every person that has ever worn face protection for skiing or snowboarding has owned something that could be used for some bad act. In fact, you could wear costume masks from Halloween and whatever else you see on television or movies.
Next thing you know, pantyhose and cosmetics will be confiscated since they can “conceal someone’s identity”. At which that point, there would be officers’ wives revolting. Or something. Now if it wasn’t a legitimate product, and there were fake pistols or something in the game, I would say that it might put security at risk. But a giant stitched “EVIL” across the forehead? Wow.
Either that, or there’s a huge conspiracy from the companies that make those jester type snowboarding hats.

iTunes Saturday

Apple iTunes Apple iTunes Apple iTunes

Music Review: Tim Myers – The Good Life – EP


I’ll admit. I didn’t get the entire EP album. The only reason I’ve been playing this song over and over again is because it’s a catchy tune. A Beautiful World by Tim Myers. And after seeing the Target commercial above a couple times during the Olympics? I just had to have the song. So I went and grabbed it off of Tim Myers - The Good Life - EP - A Beautiful World.
And I wasn’t disappointed. You know how sometimes if you hear thirty seconds of a song, the rest really sucks? This isn’t like that which gives me a new artist to look forward to in the future. Gotta give it to Target for finding this amazing piece and putting together a pretty snazzy commercial.

Movie Review: Thr3e

There’s just something about really good psychological thrillers that keep you sitting on the edge of your seat. And usually, they have some sort of crazy psychotic killer in them. Usually.
So it wasn’t any surprise that Thr3e was as predictable as it was. I’d say that half-way through the movie, I had already made several assumptions and they were confirmed by certain thoughts when they showed parts of the end. I was actually somewhat surprised since there was a part that I didn’t quite get and that part also didn’t make too much sense.
But that’s okay. It’s Hollywood! Things don’t have to make sense. Or something like that.
While being a total bomb in the box office, and being ripped apart by movie critics, I actually found it to be one of the better thriller movies that I’ve seen. There are so many bad ones out there that this was almost a breath of fresh air. So maybe it’s just one of those things. An interesting factoid is that this movie was distributed by Fox Faith which targets evangelical Christians. While the book of the same name by Ted Dekker, is found under contemporary Christian literature, I really didn’t find this movie exactly having Christian content. I suppose being derived from one that writes Christian literature was good enough, but psycho killer films just doesn’t exactly ring with faith, regardless of the religion.
Definitely an interesting choice of distributors. But it still captured my attention long enough to be very enjoyable.

Netflix having issues with inventory system

Netflix, Inc. Full disclosure: I’m also a shareholder of this company.
It seems like Netflix has been having some issues with their inventory systems and it’s actually costing them a lot of money with each day that it’s down. As of today, it’s still not completely fixed but as a customer? I’m not that worried.
One of the most interesting things about being a customer of Netflix is that even when you don’t know about the problems they’re having? They find some way to make it up to you, and everyone else that’s effected or would have been effected by it. Even it wasn’t exactly their fault. In this case, their inventory system blew up somehow and caused delays to the delivery systems.
That would explain a lot considering we had returned a couple things, but there weren’t replacements. Looking online, it seems like they’re set to ship tomorrow, but who really knows for sure. But really, the greatest part is this:

We’re sorry to report that since Tuesday we’ve been experiencing issues with our shipping system, so many of you have not received DVDs in a timely manner and many of you have not received emails letting you know we got a DVD back from you.
We pride ourselves in delighting you, and we’ve let you down. We apologize and are working around the clock to restore normal operations. To all of you whose shipments have been delayed, we’ll be automatically applying a credit to your next billing statement. Or, if you are new to Netflix and your first shipments have been delayed, we recognize that this is not a good way to begin your Netflix membership and we’ll automatically extend your free trial.
Our goal is to ship DVDs as soon as possible and to keep you updated. Again, we are sorry for the inconvenience we’ve caused you and thank you for your patience.
The Netflix Team


See that middle paragraph? They’re going to credit people because of it. Yes, it was their fault, but you know how many corporations don’t play the right customer service role to solidify loyalty? Many. And Netflix continues to surprise me with this type of attitude. That kind of stuff will get them far in a world where customer loyalty is hard to come by.