Microsoft Hearts Big Brother

Microsoft has developed a USB plug-in device that cops can use to quickly extract "forensic data" from computers--running Windows, of course. (hat tip B.)

Seattle Times:

Via email, a Microsoft spokeswoman said COFEE is a compilation of publicly available forensics tools, such as "password security auditing technologies" used to access information "on a live Windows system." She cited rainbow tables as an example of other such tools, and "was NOT confirming that COFEE includes Rainbow Tables." [meaning it does]

It "does not circumvent Windows Vista BitLocker encryption or undermine any protections in Windows through secret 'backdoors' or other undocumented means." [ri-i-ight]

Further, she reiterated that the tool is intended for use "by law enforcement only with proper legal authority." [ri-i-ght]

Moronically Obvious Social Observation in the Service of Sucking Up to Government Award of the year (so far) goes to Microsoft's General Counsel Brad Smith:

Smith compared the Internet of today to London and other Industrial Revolution cities in the early 1800s. As people flocked from small communities where everyone knew each other, an anonymity emerged in the cities and a rise in crime followed.

sideshow as main event

The Chicago reverend and "how the candidate deals with it" is a manufactured controversy. If the US media focused on the Bush administrations's machinations for the upcoming attack on Iran with the same laser intensity it has focused on the Chicago reverend non-issue a bloody debacle might be preventable. The US media has already decided who it wants for a next president--a warped 71 year old warmonger white dude married to a woman worth $100 million. The Chicago reverend is the firing shot. It's not important in and of itself. If everyone spent the same amount of brain cells concentrating on Juan Cole's blog and the reality of what's happening in the Middle East right now that they are spending on "having an opinion" on the Chicago reverend and the all important "character" issue of "how the candidate deals with it" there might be hope for the US. As it is the media still sets the agenda and everyone, including the blogosphere, follows it.

Hannah Montana Wildhack

(apologies to the late Kurt Vonnegut for the latter part of the name)

Idea for a TV series: 15 year old female pop star lives large, graces the world's stages, and is managed by loving parents, both former country singers. Massive corporation has a line of toys based on her and millions of girls buy her records and dolls and read about her in the gossip mags. She has a secret identity, however, as an online Goth and troll, who makes extremely difficult techno "art" music and goes on "tech art" websites and debates with geek artists from all over the world. As the troll she rejects corporate values, "family values," and conspicuous consumption, and is a hero to a large number of alienated boys and girls and even adults who do not suspect her true age. Her online fans are not as great in number as her "push media" fans but the former are more intellectually influential. In the first year of the series she starts a viral campaign on the Net to ridicule and "weaken the brand" of her media self. Will her parents and company bosses find out who is behind the campaign?

Hannah Montana Wildhack: Catch the Buzz