Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Make the world less depended on oil.

One more step towards a world that is less oil depended than it is at this moment. sciencedaily.com is reporting that scientists leaded by David Grewell from Iowa State University have succeeded in reinforce plastics with nanoclay -- pieces of clay that are only 10 billionths to 20 billionths of a meter thick.

Plastic made from soy is biodegradable and during the manufacturing of the plastic you are not depending on oil, as is currently the case by most plastics made nowadays. So we are less depending on oil and it is more environmental friendly. Soy-plastic might well be the main replacement product for the current oil-plastic products.

The Soy Works Corporation is currently one of the biggest soy-plastic manufacturers on the market.

Stern Review on the economics of climate change

The most comprehensive review ever carried out on the economics of climate change was published today. The Review, which reports to the Prime Minister and Chancellor, was commissioned by the Chancellor in July last year. It has been carried out by Sir Nicholas Stern, Head of the Government Economic Service and former World Bank Chief Economist.

Sir Nicholas said today:

"The conclusion of the Review is essentially optimistic. There is still time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, if we act now and act internationally. Governments, businesses and individuals all need to work together to respond to the challenge. Strong, deliberate policy choices by governments are essential to motivate change.

"But the task is urgent. Delaying action, even by a decade or two, will take us into dangerous territory. We must not let this window of opportunity close."

Impacts and risks from uncontrolled climate change

The first half of the Review focuses on the impacts and risks arising from uncontrolled climate change, and on the costs and opportunities associated with action to tackle it. A sound understanding of the economics of risk is critical here. The Review emphasises that economic models over timescales of centuries do not offer precise forecasts - but they are an important way to illustrate the scale of effects we might see.

The Review estimates that the dangers could be equivalent to 20 per cent of GDP or more.

In contrast, the costs of action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change can be limited to around 1 per cent of global GDP each year. People would pay a little more for carbon-intensive goods, but our economies could continue to grow strongly.

If we take no action to control emissions, each tonne of CO2 that we emit now is causing damage worth at least $85 - but these costs are not included when investors and consumers make decisions about how to spend their money. Emerging schemes that allow people to trade reductions in CO2 have demonstrated that there are many opportunities to cut emissions for less than $25 a tonne. In other words, reducing emissions will make us better off. According to one measure, the benefits over time of actions to shift the world onto a low-carbon path could be in the order of $2.5 trillion each year.

The shift to a low-carbon economy will also bring huge opportunities. Markets for low-carbon technologies will be worth at least $500bn, and perhaps much more, by 2050 if the world acts on the scale required.

Tackling climate change is the pro-growth strategy; ignoring it will ultimately undermine economic growth.

Moving to a low-carbon global economy

The second half of the Review examines the national and international policy challenges of moving to a low-carbon global economy.

Climate change is the greatest market failure the world has seen. Three elements of policy are required for an effective response.

The first is carbon pricing, through taxation, emissions trading or regulation, so that people are faced with the full social costs of their actions. The aim should be to build a common global carbon price across countries and sectors.

The second is technology policy, to drive the development and deployment at scale of a range of low-carbon and high-efficiency products. And the third is action to remove barriers to energy efficiency, and to inform, educate and persuade individuals about what they can do to respond to climate change. Fostering a shared understanding of the nature of climate change, and its consequences, is critical in shaping behaviour, as well as in underpinning both national and international action.

Effective action requires a global policy response, guided by a common international understanding of the long-term goals for climate policy and strong frameworks for co-operation. Key elements of future international frameworks should include:

- Emissions trading
- Technology co-operation
- Action to reduce deforestation
- Adaption

You can find more information on the UK HM Treasury department website.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Cake and a vulnerability.

The people at Microsoft are not as bad as some anti MS people might think. They even send a cake to the FireFox team to congratulate them with there latest release.

Just a couple of days before the launce of the latest FireFox, Microsoft shipped their latest version of IE, version 7. Even do a lot of people where very pleased with this it was only a matter of time, to be exact a single day, to find the first security bug in the latest IE version.

Secunia published the bug they found on there website.

A vulnerability has been discovered in Internet Explorer, which can be exploited by malicious people to disclose potentially sensitive information.

The vulnerability is caused due to an error in the handling of redirections for URLs with the "mhtml:" URI handler. This can be exploited to access documents served from another web site.

Secunia has constructed a test, which is available at: http://secunia.com/Internet_Explorer_Arbitrary_Content_Disclosure_Vulnerability_Test/

Secunia has confirmed the vulnerability on a fully patched system with Internet Explorer 7.0 and Microsoft Windows XP SP2. Other versions may also be affected.

New rules for carry-on baggage.

My current job requires me to travel from time to time along several European countries. So I am traveling quite regular with my hand luggage and my name-tags I got from the guys over at bits of silicon hell.

Due to the fact that a lot of us travel to all kinds of office in Europe we have a special department that handles those matters. They book the hotels and the flights, make sure everyone has the tickets on time and that everyone is aware of the latest legislations. Due to this last part of there job the just send us a e-mail to inform us about the latest legislations concerning carry-on baggage. So now we are having the same situation on all European airports that I already experienced during my trip from London to Amsterdam during the latest terrorist problems.

Please find the latest information about the new legislations below:

-----Original Message-----

New rules for carry-on baggage at all airports in the European Union

Effective November 6, 2006, new rules for the contents of carry-on baggage will apply for all airline passengers throughout the European Union (EU). Passengers may only carry small quantities (max. 100 ml per container) of liquids, gels and aerosols in their carry-on baggage. The packaging of these products must also meet specific requirements. This applies for all passengers departing from or catching connecting flights at airports within the European Union.

The new rules apply for liquids such as water and other soft drinks, but also extend to gels, pastes, lotions, and the contents of aerosols. This includes toiletries such as toothpaste, shaving cream, hair gel, lip gloss, and facial creams

The following rules apply for liquids in carry-on baggage:
· You are only allowed to carry liquids and gels in containers with a volume of 100 ml or less;
· These containers may only be carried in a transparent plastic bag;
· Each passenger may only carry one such transparent plastic bag;
· The volume of the transparent plastic bag may not exceed 1 liter;
· The transparent plastic bag must be re-sealable;
You may bring a transparent plastic bag from home.

During the introductory period, you will receive transparent plastic bags free-of-charge at all airports in the Netherlands.

Two exceptions will be made:

· baby formula that is required during the flight;
· medication that is required during the flight

You will still be allowed to make (tax-free) purchases at European airports after passing through passport control and aboard flights operated by European airlines. Liquids and gels that you purchase after passing through passport control or aboard the aircraft will be packed and sealed for you in the shop or on board, if necessary. The package seal will remain valid for 24 hours. If you have to catch a connecting flight, you will not be allowed to break the seal until you have reached your final destination.
Separate presentation of contents
When passing through security control, you will be required to present all liquids separately. The transparent plastic bag should be sealed and easily re-sealable. You are also required to separately present your coat, jacket and larger electrical equipment, such as laptops, when passing through security control.

Please inform your travelers about this.

-----/Original Message-----

You can find more information on the KLM website.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Something new and something nice. Well maybe it is not that new and it might be out there for some time but to me it is new. LibraryThing.com is a place to show which books you have in your personal library. This way you can also find people with the same intereset and who read the same books as you do. To take a look at my personal library please follow this link.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Ms. Dewey, the new search engine.

While some companies are thinking about how to build a next generation of websites that interact in a more human way with the users some companies just build those kind of websites. EVB created a search engine interface in the form of a woman behind a counter that is willing to help you to find your answers.

It is true that a search engine like Google is just fine, it is working like a charm, the results are fast and accurate however there some times that you just think the Google interface is a little dull. It would be very nice if Google introduced something like a virtual search assistant that like EVB created Ms. Dewey.

There is however a little warning that I like share with you before you start using the search engine, Dewey has a little temper from time to time.

If we explore the EVB website some more we find out that EVB has created a lot more than msdewey.com. They are responsible for a enormous fleet of good designed websites like whensheshot.com , the Adidas KG3 website and turningleaf.com. Those are just a couple of examples of good designed websites they have made but personally I find them ALL very good designed and well thought true.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Again a slashdot posting

And because I enjoyed it so much to have a frontpage article on Slashdot.com I just tried to get a second story approved and at this moment it is on the frontpage.

You can deeplink to the article via this link.

The item discusses the possibility of the Viking mars mission missing some critical signs of possible life on Mars due to not completely working equipment. It links to a PNAS article which you can find via this link.

Please read the complete posting also here:
Johan Louwers writes "The Viking mars mission in 1976 might have missed signs of life due to not completely working analysis equipment. GC-MS on the Viking 1976 Mars missions did not detect organic molecules on the Martian surface, even those expected from meteorite bombardment. This result suggested that the Martian regolith might hold a potent oxidant that converts all organic molecules to carbon dioxide rapidly relative to the rate at which they arrive. This conclusion is influencing the design of Mars missions. We reexamine this conclusion in light of what is known about the oxidation of organic compounds generally and the nature of organics likely to come to Mars via meteorite."

Friday, October 20, 2006

Slashdot posting

Yes, I have my first posting on the front page of Slashdot. I posted a item I found on newscientisttech.com on slashdot and it was accepted as a good story and therefore accepted.

You can deeplink to the article here. Basilcy the short introduction as it can be found on Slashdot is this:

suntac writes to mention an article on New Scientist, reporting on a Stanford study of internet addiction. The study finds that the U.S. is 'rife' with internet addicts, who may be as addicted as alcoholics to their sweet sweet net connection. From the article:
"Nearly 14% of respondents said they found it difficult to stay away from the internet for several days and 12% admitted that they often remain online longer than expected. More than 8% of those surveyed said they hid internet use from family, friends and employers, and the same percentage confessed to going online to flee from real-world problems. Approximately 6% also said their personal relationships had suffered as a result of excessive internet usage. 'Potential markers of problematic internet use are present in a sizeable portion of the population,' the researchers note."
While obviously allowing relationships to suffer so you can surf eBay is a problem, where is the line between relying on the internet for news and information and addiction?

For most geeks the Slashdot thing might not be that important however most of the people from the geek community are frequent readers of this website so having a frontpage item is nice even do it is not about yourself.

Google Techtalks

In the past I already have posted several Google TechTalks. To be honest I have become quite addicted to them, some of them are very insightful and gives you a great deal of information. So if I am aloud to give you some advice, if you are not a Google employee, watch those video’s they can give you some very nice pointers for your own projects.

It is just like my advice as to read some RFC’s if you can find the time.

Please find some of them in this post and take the time to take a look.

Google TechTalk by Phillip Hallam-Baker:
Dr Hallam-Baker is a leading designer of Internet security protocols and has made substantial contributions to the HTTP Digest Authentication mechanism, XKMS, SAML and WS-Security. He is currently working on the DKIM email signing protocol, federated identity systems and completing his first book, The dotCrime Manifesto which sets out a comprehensive strategy for defeating Internet crime.

Dr Hallam-Baker has a degree in Electronic Engineering from Southampton University and a doctorate in Computer Science from the Nuclear Physics Laboratory at Oxford University.

ABSTRACT Internet Crime is a serious and growing problem. Phishing, Advance Fee and Consumer fraud continue to grow at alarming rates. Internet crime is a business that makes huge profits for some. But despite the fact that security has regularly polled as almost every type of Internet user's top priority over the past ten years, almost none of the security mechanisms developed in response are effectively controlling Internet crime.

Google TechTalks by Narayanan Shivakumar:
Shivakumar is a Google Distinguished Entrepreneur. Earlier, he was a Director of Engineering responsible for many of Google's advertising products and Google Search Appliances. Before Google, he cofounded Gigabeat ('99), a startup in the online music space, and later acquired by Napster. He graduated with a BS '94 (Summa Cum Laude) from UCLA in Computer Science and PhD '99 in Computer Science from Stanford University.

ABSTRACT Google deals with large amounts of data and millions of users. We'll take a behind-the-scenes look at some of the distributed systems and computing platform that power Google's various products, and make the products scalable and reliable.

Google TechTalks by Mark Miller:
Mark Miller Open Source Coordinator E Project at erights.org Dr. Miller is a designer of several distributed secure programming languages including Vulcan for Xerox PARC, Trusty Scheme for AutoDesk, Joule for Agorics and Fujitsu, Tclio for Sun Labs, and E for Electric Communities, ERights.org, Combex, and HP.

ABSTRACT The first Authorization Based Access Control (ABAC) model dates from Dennis and van Horn's 1965 Supervisor. Strikingly, their paper does not mention security as a separate concern. Rather, they considered modularity, naming, abstraction, composition, and security as inherently related problems, to be simultaneously addressed by a unified set of abstraction mechanisms. The close relationship between their model, lambda calculus, and object-oriented languages was appreciated and stated clearly by the mid 1970s. To emphaisize these relationships, we term their model "object-capabilities".

Unfortunately, the formal models of access control used in the academic security literature created a tragic disconnect between theory and practice. These models implicitly assumed away the power that abstraction contributes to security. With these blinders on, security theorists then "proved" that object-capability systems could not enforce various basic policies, despite the existence of actual systems that were already doing so.

Visitors from RSA Security

Yesterday I posted a video presentation on the weblog about authentication. Today I checked the visitor statistics to see if I hade some views and to my surprise I hade quite a lot of visitors from Rsa Security Inc. The first visit came in after a search via the icerocketsearch engine. Some time after that the rest came in via bookmarks.

I think the first visitor mailed the rest of them to point them to this video. I personally see this as a good thing as it means that the guys at RSA are watching the stuff I post about security on the weblog.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

OMB M-06-16

GuardianEdge Technologies Inc., a market leader in reducing the cost and complexity of enterprise data security, released a White Paper for federal government agencies working to comply with the June 23, 2006, computer security memorandum issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB M-06-16) regarding the state of information security for Personally Identifiable Information (PII). The GuardianEdge White Paper, “Protecting Remote Information,” provides the information help federal agencies need to meet the August 2006 deadline for compliance, including guidance not found in original OMB memo.

The OMB issued memo M-06-16 in response to the recent laptop computer theft at the Office of Veterans Affairs, which placed nearly 27 million U.S. veterans and active service personnel at risk of identity theft. In the memo, the OMB specifically asks all federal agencies encrypt personally identifiable information under their control within 45 days using guidelines developed by the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST). The purpose of this recommendation is to compensate for the lack of physical security controls when data is removed or accessed from outside agency locations.

While the OMB memo sets forth clear objectives for protecting remote information, the GuardianEdge White Paper provides specific descriptions of how to effectively respond to each action item listed in the OMB memo and NIST security checklist, using widely accepted data protection best practices.

This OMB White Paper is available for download on the GuardianEdge Web site. Further information about the OMB directive can also be found by visiting the GuardianEdge OMB Solutions page for Federal Agencies .

cracking WEP and WPA

A short presentation about cracking WEP and WPA wireless networks done by Brian Young.

RSA security

A presentation about RSA security and authentication. It is done in an informal and nice way. You can still learn some things about authentication and the way of thinking about access.

IBM commercial

I just keep wondering who is making the commercials for IBM. Again a good commercial from IBM and about Linux.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sun SVP of Software on open source Java

Old news but now on my blog...Sun Microsystems' software boss Rich Green at Linuxworld San Francisco talks about the progress that the company is making towards releasing Java under an open source license.

IBM e-Business TV Ad - Hackers

A funny commercial I already have seen a couple of times but I think now is the time to post it. IBM has done a good job to make a commercial about security and hackers compromising the security of a corporate network.

Sun Microsystems Project Blackbox

Project Blackbox from sun is out in the open. And it is cool, at least I think it is a cool thing. Sun has put a datacenter in a shipping container. If you buy or rent one of those baby’s you get a datacenter equal to a supercomputer in the top 200 range.

A single Project Blackbox could accommodate 250 Sun Fire T1000 servers with the CoolThreads technology with 2000 cores and 8000 simultaneous threads. A single Project Blackbox could accommodate 250 x64-based servers with 1000 cores. A single Project Blackbox could provide as much as 1.5 petabytes of disk storage or 2 petabytes of energy-efficient tape storage. A single Project Blackbox could provide 7 terabytes of memory. A single Project Blackbox could handle up to 10,000 simultaneous desktop users. A single Project Blackbox currently has sufficient power and cooling to support 200 kilowatts of rackmounted equipment.

You can view more about the project on this website and you can download more pictures here.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Brussels again.

Currently I am at the European HQ of my company where my normal desk is and I am preparing to go to Brussels again. I will leave in a short while. It was planned that I already left but someone suddenly planned a fire-drill in the middle of the day so I just have spend a half hour in the parking lot waiting to be allowed to enter the building again.

So after I finished this little blog post I will take my laptop and run for the Thalys to be on my way to Brussels again. I am planning on having some beers there so I do not want to be late ;-)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Updating the blog again.

It is a shame, I have rested so well during my holiday and after I came back I have been running and chasing all kinds of things. One and a half week back and I need a other holiday again to rest from those 2 weeks.

I did not even have time to update my weblog properly. So again a apology about me not updating my weblog frequently. I will better my life again and pick up the routine of updating.

Some people might wonder what is keeping me so busy that I have had no time to update the weblog. Well, back in the country I have immediately send away again by my company to go to Brussels a couple of days to support the local Belgium office during the go-life of the new Oracle e-business suite iStore implementation we prepared before my holiday to Scotland.

So I have been a couple of days in Brussels, I have been visiting my parents to thank them for taking care for the plants and look after the mail when we where gone. I have been seeing some friends and, something we all know, I have been working on my full e-mail box and taking care of all the questions and requests that pended in the inbox during my absence.

I will update you all about my trip and I have some good news in a short while to share with you so please gibe me some time and I will share about the good news and the story about the trip, I will update you all in a short while. Meanwhile I will update the weblog with the regular stuff about computers, websites and other cool things.

One website I just found out about I do not want to keep from you, take a look at http://www.yutakaloveslondon.com this is how a website should look like. Very nicely done.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

2006 RSA Conference

Scott McNealy giving a keynote speech on the 2006 RSA Conference and please note the jokes in the beginning to Bill Gates who did a speech just before Scott.

Digital generation gap

Carp magazine, a Dutch magazine, is running an article on the digital generation gap and if it really exist. It has interviewed a quite large group of people on what techniques and systems they use and divided them into age groups. This way they tried to identify which age group can be identified with what kind of technique.

I personally think there is a gap but I do not think it will fit into the groups carp has interviewed. It is more divided between the users and not users. I believe there is a gap in the way people use technology now a days but I have the strong feeling that people who where there at the beginning of the internet are quite as heavy users as the people who started to ride the wave on a later moment. I even think the people who where in using the internet in the first days are heavier users than the new users.

It is true, maybe the new users are viewing the internet more as a tool and not as a network and system but the new users are mostly using only the commercial and hyped systems on the internet. They tend to forget about the old systems that are still there. And maybe some of the new systems out there today are better but not more reliable in my opinion.

It is nice that you can use skype and it is nice you can make social networks using all kinds of websites and it will indeed make your life more easy in some ways. It also makes your life more complicated in a lot of other ways. People getting connected today will only learn about the new systems that are out there and not the new ones. That is to say if they are normal users, if you are more than normally interested you will most likely be learning about a lot more. Take a group of people who are now using the internet for about two years and ask them about telnet, ssh, ftp, or even ask them about TCP/IP and what it is. I think most of them will not be able to give you a answer.

They simply use the upper surface of the internet as a tool and forget about how it is working and about all the things below the surface that can make your life even more fun.

Isn’t it a shame?