| Friday May 27th 2016

Photo of the Day


Flickr user musely gets a gold star today for both effort and execution, for this clever series of shots lining up currency with the D.C. buildings depicted on them. We suspect this is one of those things that seems simple, but in practice is a lot more difficult than it looks to get everything in focus and lined up perfectly. The nice thing about our city? You can tour all those landmarks and plenty more without ever having to take any of that $85 out of your own pocket.

The Vice Fund

The Vice Fund is an investment strategy that is defensive in nature, where investors are banking that growth in the industries will take place independent of any economic conditions.

They invest in companies, both domestic and foreign, engaged in the aerospace and defense industries, owners and operators of casinos and gaming facilities, manufacturers of gaming equipment such as slot machines, manufacturers of cigarettes and other tobacco products, and brewers, distillers, and producers of other alcoholic beverages. They believe that there are numerous investment opportunities in these sectors which have been largely overlooked by other funds. While many of the most widely held and well-known mutual funds invest in companies doing business in these sectors, no other mutual fund concentrates solely on these four sectors.

“People will see the fund and think it’s one thing that it’s really not. We’re not doing this to make any sort of political statement or a social commentary, and we’re not advocating these behaviors in any way. Our job is to study the fundamentals behind these industries and these businesses and try to make money for our investors.”

The Altria Group, which controls cigarette giants Philip Morris USA and Philip Morris International, is traded on the New York Stock Exchange and is the largest holding in the Vice Fund, making up more than 7 percent of the assets. Phillip Morris International recently signed a deal with China to distribute Marlboro cigarettes in the country.

“Tobacco is still a great investment because the cigarette companies have tremendous pricing power,” Norton said.

Gaming, alcohol, tobacco and the defense sectors are all tied together by five common threads according to Norton. Those are high demand regardless of economic conditions, the global nature of the businesses, high barriers to entry, large profits, and having the government as the largest beneficiary because of high tax rates.

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How To Freeze Your Credit Report Turn Your Browser Into a Weapon


Red Tape Chronicles has a good guide for how to set up a credit report freeze at each of the three major credit bureaus.

A freeze means no one can access your credit report unless you “thaw” your report. This means no new credit cards, loans, or mortgages, either by you, or by a potential identity thief. You will need to freeze the report with each bureaus. Not surprisingly, after fighting with Congress for four years against allowing for consumer freezes, the bureaus have made it difficult, requiring the mailing of certified letters, utility bills, different kinds of personal information, and charging fees. Here’s the step by step:


List Of Drivers On Your Machine


List all the drivers you’ve installed on your Windows machine by typing driverquery from the command line (start->Run->cmd->OK). This works under Windows XP, 2003, and Vista systems; WindowsVistaPlace states that there is even more information to glean from this simple program: remote system direction, output, and information about signed drivers, among others. Loving the power of that little black box? Get to know your friendly neighborhood command line.


Prison Break


I thought on TV shows they put some ridiculous Apple/DOS GUI?



At one of Toronto’s locations of The Bay department store, four giant screens have suffered from the infamous Blue Screen of Death for days. You’d think that someone would, I dunno, turn off the freakin’ screens. Or, at minimum, there’s gotta be some 2.4gHz nanny cam feed they could leech for at least a few days before anyone complained. Because after the first 24 hours or so of BSOD, we begin to think that they like the aesthetic.

Full size after the jump.

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Is Jay-Z signaling a recession?


There is something quite alarming on the recently released “Blue Magic” music video.

The song, by the wildly successful rap artist and businessman Jay-Z, is on an album of songs accompanying/inspired by the Ridley Scott movie “American Gangster,” starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crow.

But it wasn’t sex, drugs, violence or explicit language that shocked my conscience.

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Steve Jobs (Apple computers) Quote


“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward. Maybe they have to be crazy. How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels? We make tools for these kinds of people. While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

HOWTO: Recover A Linux Password

linux password recovery

I thought I might share with you a way to recover password on a *nix system. The commands and screen shots are from Ubuntu, but this basic process should work for any distro.

When you create an account on a Linux system, the password isn’t stored. Instead, the hash of the password is stored in /etc/shadow. Here is a portion of my shadow file. The password hash field begins with $1$.


Now, if I want to discover the passwords for those accounts, I need to enlist the help of John the Ripper.

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Bypass any Firewall or Throttling ISP with SSH


On some networks it’s impossible to use BitTorrent. For example, if you’re at work, school, or connected to Comcast or a public hotspot. But there’s an easy solution to overcome this problem. By using a secure connection (SSH), you can bypass almost every firewall or traffic shaping application.

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Why Commercials Before Movies Is Worse Than Piracy

never-watching-commercials.gifBeing subjected to advertising is just something we’ve come to expect in our daily routines, and for most of us, we’ve become so conditioned to various advertising methods that we don’t even think twice about it. There is nothing wrong with advertising in and of itself. It’s how we learn about products, services and entertainment. Advertising is also the big main source of revenue for things we hold dear like television and The Movie Blog (which is 100% funded by advertising), so I’m certainly never going to rail on the evils of advertising.

However, advertising in movie theaters is a topic that has been brought up here on The Movie Blog more than a few times, and a recent report by the Cinema Advertising Council in the New York Post begs us to once again revisit the issue. We’ve all figured that commercials playing in movie theaters was worth a lot of money… but did you realize its worth almost HALF A BILLION DOLLARS? The IMDB gives us this:

Revenue from in-theater advertising rose more than 15 percent to $456 million from $395 million a year ago… The Post quoted CAC Chairman Cliff Marks as expressing the belief that moviegoers are becoming “more accepting” of screen advertising. A recent Arbitron poll indicated that two-thirds of moviegoers “don’t mind” the ads.

Don’t mind the ads? DON’T MIND THE ADS???

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How Hackers Work

hacker.jpgHowStuffWorks takes a stab at separating a real hacker from what the media and public consider a hacker. Considering every script kiddie considers himself the l33t h@x3r this article is pretty good.

Thanks to the media, the word “hacker” has gotten a bad reputation. The word summons up thoughts of malicious computer users finding new ways to harass people, defraud corporations, steal information and maybe even destroy the economy or start a war by infiltrating military computer systems. While there’s no denying that there are hackers out there with bad intentions, they make up only a small percentage of the hacker community.

The term computer hacker first showed up in the mid-1960s. A hacker was a programmer — someone who hacked out computer code. Hackers were visionaries who could see new ways to use computers, creating programs that no one else could conceive. They were the pioneers of the computer industry, building everything from small applications to operating systems. In this sense, people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were all hackers — they saw the potential of what computers could do and created ways to achieve that potential.


BluRay supporters camping out at Walmart trying to stop people from buying HD-DVD


How pathetic this guy’s life must be?

Spent 3 hours at Wal-Mart today. I stoped 11 out of 12 people from getting HD-DVD players. I will be spending a lot of time down thier the rest of this year. It is the best I can do to help the less tech savy not get screwed on this half-step format. One couple I talked too went straight over to the games section and picked up a 40GB PS3. The wife said about HD-DVD “We have purchased Toshiba products for over 10 years and we have never been disipointed in them. I can not believe that they would sell a product that is not of the upmost quality.” Two other’s went ahead and picked up the 80GB which really shocked me , because that is a lot more than they came in expecting to spend. One of these people was an older man about mid 50’s he said “It would really be nice if they posted the differances between these products more. Seeing 30 of those GB things compared to 50 really gives you more of a idea about these products than price and names.” The only one I could not stop from buying it was this 27 year old guy that said he already had the 360 HD-DVD drive for his 360 in the living room, and he wanted to get this one for his bedroom.

Overall I think the day went well. I was surprised to see so much traffic towards HDM. It seems this year will see a lot of sales in this spectrum of the market. I am going to do my best to try and make sure that these Walmart shoppers in my area make an informed decision before purchaseing into HDM. Hopefully it will help Blu win and put us on track to a medium that will last for a solid 15 to 20 years.


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What goes on inside a cylinder in your engine?

We want off the U.S. terror watch list

andersonx.jpgMore than 15,000 people have appealed to the government since February to have their names removed from the terrorist watch list that delayed their travel at U.S. airports and border crossings, the Homeland Security Department says.

The complaints have created such a backlog that members of Congress are calling for a speedier appeal system that would help innocent people clear their names so they won’t fall under future suspicion. Among those who have been flagged at checkpoints: toddlers and senior citizens with the same names as suspected terrorists on the watch list.

“To leave individuals in this purgatory is un-American,” says Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., who says she’ll introduce legislation to try to streamline the process.

The Homeland Security Department says it gets about 2,000 requests a month from people who want to have their names cleared. That number is so high that the department has been unable to meet its goal of resolving cases in 30 days, says Christopher White, spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration, which handles the appeals. He says the TSA takes about 44 days to process a complaint.

In February, the TSA launched the Traveler Redress Inquiry Program, a one-stop shop for people to appeal links to the watch list, which flags anyone with potential ties to terrorism. The list has more than 750,000 names.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., says he will grill officials at a hearing on Thursday. “Given the widespread use of the terrorist watch list, the redress process is of paramount importance,” he says.

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Fedora 8 Released Today


Fedora is a Linux-based operating system that showcases the latest in free and open source software. Fedora is always free for anyone to use, modify, and distribute. It is built by people across the globe who work together as a community: the Fedora Project. The Fedora Project is open and anyone is welcome to join.

The Fedora Project is out front for you, leading the advancement of free, open software and content.

As usual… Microsoft’s days are numbered… this release seals the deal… and for those Ubuntu users, no offense… but this release is pretty ruthless.

Screenshots after the jump.

Download for free.

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The Vista Death Watch

Microsoft has extended the life of Windows XP because Vista has simply not shown any life in the market. We have to begin to ask ourselves if we are really looking at Windows Me/2007, destined to be a disdained flop. By all estimates the number of Vista installations hovers around the number of Macs in use.
How did this happen? And what’s going to happen next? Does Microsoft have a Plan B? A number of possibilities come to mind, and these things must be considered by the company itself.
So what went wrong with Vista in the first place? Let’s start off with the elephant in the room. The product was overpriced from the outset. Why was it so expensive? What was special about it? All the cool and promised features of the original vision of Longhorn were gutted simply because it was beyond Microsoft’s capability to implement those features.
This failure to deliver what was promised—even after several delays in the product’s release, by the way—did nothing to excite anyone. It made the company look bad. It directly resulted in a no-confidence vote that was manifested in a lackluster reception and low sales. Microsoft should have scrapped the project two years ago and instead patched XP until it could deliver something hot.
To make things worse, there are too many versions. Exactly what is the point of that? Don’t we all just want Vista Ultimate? The other versions seem like a way to maybe save money for some users who cannot afford to get the real thing. You can be certain this version glut results only in complaints about what each variation is missing.
Microsoft’s initial approach to marketing this turkey was obviously going to be to put it on just new machines, which would eventually saturate the market, but the PC manufacturers squawked and demanded the continuation of XP sales. Though there is some chatter about how Linux could use this lull in the Microsoft juggernaut to make some real headway onto the desktop, this is unlikely to happen. But Microsoft, with all its paranoid thinking, might have believed it to be possible. So XP is still with us and will be until deep into next year.
I should mention here that much of this mess, I strongly believe, is due to Microsoft’s recent obsession with Google and online search. Now Microsoft wants to be in the advertising business because Google is in the advertising business. Meanwhile, it can’t do its real job.
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Carbon Fiber Wallpaper

This is just for fun.


Carbon fiber desktop – Learn how to create this.


Vector Magic


Stanford University research project on converting bitmap images to vector art, aka “auto tracing” or “automatic vectorization”. Similar to Adobe Illustrator’s Live Trace and CorelDRAW’s PowerTRACE but works better in many cases. Upload image and get a converted result (EPS/SVG) in a few moments.


Download gOS, the operating system of Wal-Mart’s $199 PC

This week Wal-Mart started selling a $199 PC with a Linux based operating system called gOS pre-loaded. A lot of websites mistakenly reported that the “g” stands for Google, because this stripped down operating system has direct links to a bunch of Google services like YouTube, Docs & Spreadsheets, and Blogger. But gOS is actually a stripped down “green” operating system based on Ubuntu.

And you don’t need to buy a $199 PC to load it. You can download gOS right now. Unfortunately, the developer’s site seems to be down at the moment, but you can find gOS on several Torrent trackers.

The ISO weighs in at 728 MB, making it a tight fit for a CD-R, but leaving plenty of room on a DVD-R. And like almost all Ubuntu-based operating systems, gOS comes as a LiveCD, meaning you can take it for a test drive without installing anything. Just boot your PC from the DVD. When you’re done, shut down, pop the DVD out and reboot into Windows, Linux, or whatever you’ve been using up until now.


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