Books

GAIM Encryptiong using Off The Record (OTR) on Windows

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As of now, you just install Gaim from http://gaim.sourceforge.net/downloads.php

Then, install OTR from http://www.cypherpunks.ca/otr/.

Then, if you're using the Gaim beta, you need to install the files form this zip: http://lists.cypherpunks.ca/pipermail/otr-users/2006-January/000531.html

Then, you probably have to restart the progroms and reboot half the world. Then, go to Tools> Plugins in Gaim, enable Off The Record messaging, and configure it. In Configu you need to generate a key.

If the party on the other end is also using OTR then your conversations can be encrypted.

Enjoy!

Rikki Tikki Tavi - A Children's book name for a kid's level understanding of social bookmarking

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Rikki Tikki Backstory

So, this morning I found Rikki Tikki Tavi's Garden a reference to the childrens book where a mongoose defeats an evil pair of snakes. The name is well chosen: this user is attempting to defang a group of employees from the Center for American Progress, one of whom uses a snake username on some social bookmarking sites. And it is the involvment in the social bookmarking that is pissing off this particular mongoose.

He (or she...) doesn't have comments enabled on that blog, which pissed me off, so I wrote a lot more than I probably should have on the subject.

How Social Bookmarking Works



People who like a story will bookmark and "vote up" that story. You may not agree with them, but that's how it works.

Digg has an uneasy relationship with self-promotion that comes from the community. The Digg FAQ doesn't say how to handle it so instead we get community opinion on the matter. And therefore we get dissent from that opinion. That's how the real world works - deal with it.

Reddit saw that problem with Digg and set the ground rules off the bat. Right in the Reddiquette it says:

Post links directly to interesting things. Old content and self-promotion are okay, because Reddit is a meritocracy.

So let me repeat: People who like a story will bookmark and "vote up" that story. This is not a case of people being shills. It's reality.

How American Non-Partisan "Political" Nonprofits Work

Much as I hate to see it, the reality is that American law currently allows an organization to be a nonprofit think tank (gaining all sorts of tax and social benefits) but only if they are "non partisan". The IRS test for "non partisan" has to do with advocating for a specific politician. Most people just assume it's the appearance of a bias, which is not true. However, both the popularly accepted idea of "non partisan" as being "unbiased" and the IRS test of "not advocating for a person" are crossed every day!

Hey Googlebot - Colorado Linux User Enthusiast Group mail list archive

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Please go re-index the Colorado Linux User Group List Archives because they were offline for a little while and you forgot about them but now they are BACK! And they're badder than ever.

Thanks, you're the bestest,
Greg

Best Cell Phone Provider in Denver

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Like I said...people ask me for my opinion. And I give it here instead of in email because now the rest of the world gets to enjoy the glory of my opinions:

Your website says you have an opinion on everything...I need an opinion
on cell phone service providers in Denver....

We use Cingular and are pretty happy with them. The coverage is solid around Colorado, though Sprint is putting out ads saying "best coverage in Denver". I'm not sure who is best around Golden specifically, but vaguely remember both sprint and cingular working fine up there. I just got a new sim card that will work in more international places - but I haven't tried that.

Verizon is also known to be pretty good. With Verizon you may have better international roaming options since they are part owned by Vodafone (largest international carrier).

T-Mobile is CHEAP, but the coverage is worth what you pay (i.e. the coverage is not good). If you don't care about getting consistent service and just want a lot of minutes for not much money, t-mobile is good. They also have cheap options for data coverage (e.g. to use with a blackberry) if you like that kind of thing.

Cricket is cheap considering the unlimited minutes and the coverage on the front range is decent. However, roaming is not free nor do they cover a very large part of Colorado and if you care about having any features (voicemail, call waiting) Cricket quickly becomes just as expensive as a moderate amount of usage from another provider.

Simply The Best

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Many times people ask me:

"Greg, what is the best {something}?"

Most of the time I have an answer. That's because "I know the stuff". I'm an early adopter. I do research. I just bought a new computer and was asked "how long have you been thinking about this?" well my answer was since I was born.

This section of the site is my collected knowledge on the subject of the "best" in software, technology, and other "stuff". Most of the artiles in it are old, this just provides simpler navigation to find all the nuggets of wisdom.

The House You Build: Making Real-World Choices to get the Home You Want

A guide to several homes, the decisions behind them, and general advice for designing a home with an architect (so you waste less of the architect's time).

Available in Denver Library.

Noble Savage, nostalgie de la boue, and Origins of Virtue

I read Matt Ridley's book Origins of Virtue a while ago, but just now in reading an article by iMomus in Wired about Nostalgia For Mud I was reminded of the Origins of Virtue.

The book takes an anthropological/sociological look at the idea of altruism, gift giving, and community to find where the history of animal and mankind these ideas have come from. Ridley notes how a certain species of bat will go out looking for food, return to the nest, and share food that they have with other bats who did not find food. Since the bats are not guaranteed to find food when they go out hunting, this provides the community with an insurance or "shared risk" policy that helps them all stay helathy. However, they keep track of who they have shared food with and if someone becomes a "free rider" on the system then the rest of the bats will stop sharing with them. Sounds an awful lot like the 1996 "Welfare to Work" and change from "entitlement" to "Temporary Assistance" kinds of changes that were made to welfare programs in the US.

Another interesting part of the book was a review of a set of Australian tribes that each produced different goods which they would trade with each other. They didn't need to trade - they could have all produced the items themselves and not had to trade. Ridley theorized that they forced themselves to specialize, to become reliant on each other, because it reduced the chances that the tribes would fight with each other. Ever hear of the Smoot-Hawley tarriffs (and their contemporaries) which probably helped usher in World War II? What about the establishment of the European Common Economic Zone (the commercial side of the EU) as a means to foster inter-reliance and reduce the chances of war. Would Germany, France, and England go to war today? Not as long as trade depends on it. There are certainly other reasons for a country/state to specialize, but as the US has shown with our Strategic Oil Reserves countries generally only specialize to a point and then will try to maintain some of the capability in an area to maintain a smidgen of independence.

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